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SFCave for Arduino

Posted 2012.08.06 11.48 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Hobbies

Back in the days of Palm Pilot, there was this great little game called SFCave. It was easy to learn, difficult (for me at least) to master, but it was a quick-n-easy thing to pick up and play when you had a minute or two to kill.

I’ve written an Arduino sketch inspired by SFCave, and all you need is an Arduino, a 128×64 OLED from Adafruit, and a single pushbutton.

You are ‘flying’ a ribbon through a cave. You can’t control your speed (it gradually increases) and the cave gradually gets narrower and narrower. Gravity is a factor – push the button to thrust upwards, release it to fall downwards. Try not to crash into the ceiling or floor.

There is no end, the only goal is to see how long you can last / how far you can go. The score is a frame counter, each time the screen advances the score goes up. Check out the action:

You can download the sketch here:

64 Pixels of RGB Fun!

Posted 2011.06.03 8.40 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Taking some time off from my MCP project while waiting for some more components to arrive, last night I put together a Meggy Jr. from Evil Mad Scientist Labs.

The Meggy Jr. is an open-source handheld video game platform. The ‘screen’ is an 8×8 matrix of RGB LEDs. Despite such a ‘low-rez screen’ there’s actually quite a few games out there that are very playable.

It comes with “Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes” pre-programmed on the uC and over a dozen more examples are included in the free development libraries, which work with the Arduino IDE.


Over-Engineering FTW!

Posted 2011.05.01 12.57 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So a while back I was talking about building a Game of Life display – blinking flashing lights is what it’s all about. For those who aren’t familiar, Conway’s Game of Life is sort of a zero-player game. It’s a mathematical progression that simulates a sort of simple life evolution.

Using the kits from Adafruit, I started back in December with a small array, 12 x 8 cells (96 LEDs). Over the next few months I added to it and grew it till now it’s 20 x 16 cells (320 LEDs!) This is a good size, I think. I mean, you can always go bigger. You can never have too many LEDs. But still, one ought to draw a line at some point.

Next step was making it pretty. So I have it framed with a wood frame and protected with a sheet of dark green acrylic. Sort of like a framed piece of artwork on the wall. Including the frame it’s about 21″ wide and 17″ high.

Now that it looked good, I wanted an elegant, electronic, complicated way of turning it on and off. You know, better than flipping a switch like some sort of cave-man.

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The Pixie Point System

Posted 2010.11.09 8.14 in Cats, Pointless Blather

Pixie seems to be a little confused on how the points-system works. I’m hoping she will read this, and maybe print out a copy to keep handy so she can reference it later.

  • 5 Points – Catching a mouse.
  • 10 Points – Killing a mouse.
  • -5 Points – Letting a mouse go.
  • -10 Points – Letting a mouse go in my bedroom.
  • -15 Points – Letting a mouse go in my bedroom at 3:00am.
  • 0 Points – Catching & killing a mouse, but keeping it a secret.
  • -25 Points – Hiding the mousey remains so I won’t find it for a full month.

The real problem here is that it only takes one or two mistakes to wipe out the points she earns from a couple good jobs. This is only compounded by the fact that she doesn’t quite grasp the intricacies of the system, so she may think she’s done an awesome job in her own mind, while I meanwhile am spending the past month wondering what the heck is that smell in the livingroom and where the heck is it coming from.

I Gotta Dingoo

Posted 2010.04.14 7.34 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I got me a Dingoo. It’s suposedly an open-source generic handheld gaming computer. Designed and made in the People’s Republic.

I managed to brick it in about an hour.

I’ll try and unbrick it today. Then maybe I can have some fun with it.

WTF is a Totodile?

Posted 2010.03.17 22.34 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So there’s this new game that just came out for the DS, called Pokemon. I don’t really get it. There’s these wild semi-magical beasties that you catch, squish them down into little balls, then release them now and then and force them to fight each other for entertainment and money.

Anyhow, it came with a pedometer that connects wirelessly to the game card, and I wanted to know how it worked.

Before I got out the magic screwdrivers and scalpel, I did play with it for a bit. I got a Totodile, and I named him Bungee. He defeated a bunch of other wild creatures. He can scratch and squirt water and glare menacingly.

But then I got bored and started prying things apart…

The cartridge casing looks black, but it’s transparent – you can shine light through it. The big chip is the ROM, it’s 1Gb (128MB). The smaller chip above that is a flash ram for the game saves, it’s 4Mb (512kB). At the top is the IR transceiver bit, below that is an oscillator. The chip on the right is some kind of microprocessor.

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Exciting World of Flash Carts

Posted 2010.01.20 13.13 in Computers/Internet/Technology

A few weeks ago I posted about poking around inside a Nintendo DSi – I took mine apart and had a peek inside, and was looking for any info out there on hacks or mods for it. I was more thinking about hardware hacks, but most of the ‘hacking’ people have been doing appears to be in terms of running homebrew apps and games and stuff.

Anyhow, so eventually I learned about ‘Flash Carts’, although this isn’t actual news to anyone who’s been a gamer any time in the last 10 years I’m sure.

These things are neat though – one of the things I wanted to do with my DSi was to be able to copy some of my games onto an SD card and then I’d have my favorite games in there all the time. Most DS games are less than 64MB in size, and with a 4GB SD card you can fit a whole lot of games. But Nintendo doesn’t let you do that. For one thing you can’t copy the game data off the game card, and then even if you could, the DSi won’t run games from the SD card.

So back to the Flash Carts – in olden times, these were a dedicated cartridge that had a flashable memory chip (i.e. instead of a factory-burned ROM it was an EEPROM that could be burned, erased, rewritten, etc.) and with special hardware you could copy a game file onto it, or if it had lots of memory you could copy a few game files onto it.

Nowadays they have Flash Carts that themselves have a micro-SD slot, so you can put any size micro-SD card into it and have almost unlimited storage space. I got one of them, an “Acekard 2i” and a 4GB micro-SD card.

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