RetroWiz

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tinctu
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RetroWiz

Post by tinctu » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:06 pm

Hello.

Here is our AVR project we are working since late 2011.
It is based on Jerry´s AVGA platform.
(He is also behind all RetroWiź hardware, HW designer).
I am WWW and FORUM admin, enclosure designer.
We call our platform RetroWiz. (from "Retrocomputer Wizard" or "Retrogaming Wizard").

Image

Our webpage will be here:
http://www.retrowiz.com

Our forum is online (since 12.nov.2012):
http://www.forum.retrowiz.com

1st early prototype - brown AVGA y. 2009:
Image

Video AVGA platform:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mMdc-rNNtU

Screenshot from AVGA platform:
Image

Hackaday Blog:
http://hackaday.com/tag/avga/

RETROWIZ:
2nd prototype // green one y.2011-2012:
Image
Image

3th prototype PCBs // blue one y.2012:
Image

Our JAVA game editor:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_fMk- ... editor.png

SPECs:
{still work in progress, not final}

PCB half size of Raspberry Pi...
172x200 x 16 colors
simple FM synth codec
menu and firmware on chip
20 mhz/8bit risc cpu (ATMEGA328)
stereo audio out
VGA out
PS/2 keyboard port for keyboard or arcade joy hacks
C language API
SD card port
good price

It will be awesome platform for FM music, pixelart, retrogames, indiegames, coding... Something like Sega SG-1000 or Sega Master System but with fast 20MHz RISC (fast background scrolling).

Join FORUM, join DEVELOPMENT and welcome to RetroWiz world...

Have a nice day.

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:16 pm

Nice! I wish you success!

Any chance of the resolution going up to at least NES or SMS levels?

Is that 16 colors simultaneous on screen out of a palette or 16 colors total?

TmEE co.(TM)
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Post by TmEE co.(TM) » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:22 pm

Majority of the CPU time goes into making the GFX, I guess when they go NES or SMS level there is no time left for sound and game...
Last edited by TmEE co.(TM) on Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mida sa loed ? Nagunii aru ei saa ;)
http://www.tmeeco.eu
Files of all broken links and images of mine are found here : http://www.tmeeco.eu/FileDen

Stef
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Location: France - Sevres
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Post by Stef » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:39 pm

Very nice project indeed :)
As djcouchycouch i would have see a higher resolution as well, as 256x200 or 320x200... but that might not be possible as TmEE said.

sega16
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Post by sega16 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:36 am

One thing that did not make sense to me is why use an atmega328 when 32bit arm chips with more flash and ram can be bought for less money well at least last I checked on mouser and digikey. The odd thing is that I atmel is the one with the cheaper arm processors and they are same company.

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:36 am

sega16 wrote:One thing that did not make sense to me is why use an atmega328 when 32bit arm chips with more flash and ram can be bought for less money well at least last I checked on mouser and digikey. The odd thing is that I atmel is the one with the cheaper arm processors and they are same company.
Sure, he could make it a four core ARM with built-in PVR and 1GB of ram... but that defeats the whole purpose of the card. This is a retro card, with an 8-bit CPU and low-res graphics.

tinctu
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Post by tinctu » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:32 pm

Thanks for nice comments!

Here are my answers...
1.) Why only low res?
On TV (PAL or NTSC) we can do 344x200x 16 colors (we have made some tests on TV too). But we choose to use VGA (it is on every new TV, monitor, better pixels view).
So we can do only 172x200 x 16 colors at this moment (maybe in future firmware and motherboard, overclocking we will do hires). Anyways maybe we will produce PAL version with 344x200 (RetroWiz PAL) in future. But it will needs RGB to PAL chip converter and price will be higher...

But on other side it is comparable to ATARI 800 or C64 160x200 mode:
Look at this 160x200x4colors ATARI 8bit game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeKd4eUK57w

But we have 20Mhz so graphics is very fast!!!

2.) Why only 16 colors?
We use fixed palette by resistors. So we can use only this colors:
Image
On RetroWiz2 there will be 256 or 4096 colors or even more...

3.) Why 8bit and not 32bit???
RetroWiz wants to be retro. We want to produce boards for 8bit or 16bit games/software feeling... So no another Raspberry Pi or Android like board. Our goal is use one chip MCU and use onchip RAM and onchip EEPROM and generate sound, graphics. Games will be writen in C or ASM and runing on our micro-core OS/firmware (so no LINUX or ANDROID). As on oldschool computers/consoles was. RetroWiz1 is our first board ever. We are learning from development lot. Every day (step by step). But we are brainstorming RetroWiz2 too, it will be based on 32bit ARM cpu (72Mhz or maybe 168Mhz with 128KB or 1MB Ram, bigger eeprom) which will be powerful board for 16bit like games with hi-res, better palette (lot of colors) and stereo FM+SAMPLES audio codec with more channels. So it will be like MEGADRIVE on steroids. But first we want to make 8Bit AVR based game console and than put our all skills and what we have learnined to RetroWiz2 ARM.

Thanks for nice replies. I appreciate them. I will post here all news. Or you can look at our forum:
www.forum.retrowiz.com

I will write and start new topics there too... Website will be here in 2 weeks...

-Mat-

sega16
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Post by sega16 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:57 pm

Now I see the same reason why I would write a program for the genesis or NES you know this does sound fun how much will it cost to buy?

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:18 am

Thanks for those answers, tinctu!

Would you happen to have some kind of software emulated version of the hardware for someone to tryout without actual hardware?

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:41 am

tinctu wrote:But on other side it is comparable to ATARI 800 or C64 160x200 mode:
Look at this 160x200x4colors ATARI 8bit game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeKd4eUK57w

But we have 20Mhz so graphics is very fast!!!
You can find some really good games these days on the A8 - the scene is really pushing that platform. This is a good example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAjvlSCf7CE

tinctu
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Post by tinctu » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:40 pm

@sega16 - I hope final price will be under 40-30Euros :).
@djcouchycouch - Yes there will be emulator (flash or java for WWW and maybe C for computers too).
@Chilly Willy - I know. I have 4x Atari 130XE :) at home. Atari is together with Sega my fav. computer platform.

sega16
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Post by sega16 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:31 pm

Wait though if this wants to be 8-bit why doesn't it have a video co-processor? All 8-bit systems that I am aware of (c64,NES,gameboy master system/game gear,atari-8bit computers and atari 2600,5200,7800) have a VDP.It would still be 8-bit but not have all speed used up for video generation.

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:20 am

sega16 wrote:Wait though if this wants to be 8-bit why doesn't it have a video co-processor? All 8-bit systems that I am aware of (c64,NES,gameboy master system/game gear,atari-8bit computers and atari 2600,5200,7800) have a VDP.It would still be 8-bit but not have all speed used up for video generation.
The 2600 doesn't have a VDP - it has a Television Interface which simply clocks some bits out of internal registers to the palette for each line. The CPU draws everything by storing each line to those registers, and even handles the sync signals.

There were a number of similar 8-bit systems... the Timex/Sinclair el-cheapo system was the same way, using the CPU to draw the display. Whatever they are using in the Atmel chip has got to be more of a VDP than either or those two. :D

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:56 am

Chilly Willy wrote:The 2600 doesn't have a VDP - it has a Television Interface which simply clocks some bits out of internal registers to the palette for each line. The CPU draws everything by storing each line to those registers, and even handles the sync signals.

There were a number of similar 8-bit systems... the Timex/Sinclair el-cheapo system was the same way, using the CPU to draw the display. Whatever they are using in the Atmel chip has got to be more of a VDP than either or those two. :D
I've read enough articles about making Atari 2600 games describing what a bitch it was to make anything work that I hope to <insert deity here> that they never use that :)

I like how their system is 8-bit but in a kind of low-power computer style and not a console NES/SMS style. Whatever that means :)

tinctu
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Post by tinctu » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:07 am

Hmm so we have 20MHz 8bit RISC CPU ;). So dont worry about graphics speed. That CPU got 20MIPS... We use lot I say lot of speed for FM codec (micro emulation) and graphics (generation) true. But you still have at least 3MIPS or 4MIPS for user program.

On RetroWiz2 ARM there will be DMA (direct memory access) so ultrafast blitter like graphics will be possible. On RetroWiz1 there will be fast background scrolling too...

For example:
C64 6502 CPU got 0,5MIPS at 1MHz (Not Dhrystone)
Megadrive / Atari ST 68000 CPU 0.700 MIPS at 8 MHz (Not Dhrystone)
Acorn ARM 7500FE - 35.9 MIPS at 40 MHz
PC Intel 386DX 9.9 MIPS at 33 MHz

PS: I will post all programing infos/tutorials/docs as PDF on our WWW or forum.

Graphics: We use BMP-our format converter. So you can use GIMP, TILESTUDIO... Or we have own JAVA sprite/animation/charset editor...
Last edited by tinctu on Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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