The original Gameduino transformed the humble Arduino into an FPGA-based video game powerhouse, with VGA and audio out, and a powerful library for managing sprites, backgrounds, collision detection and audio. After the first Kickstarter, subsequent Gameduinos featured built-in screens and FTDI's powerful EVEFT8xx graphics processors to enable handheld open source gaming. Gameduinos can be seen in all kinds of projects, from analog synths to oscilloscopes to external displays for the Pebble smartwatch. But with his new Gameduino 3X Dazzler, James Bowman updates the original 2011 video-out concept with 2020 tech!
The Arduino shield is actually a carrier for the Gameduino 3X Dazzler board, whose castellated 2mm headers allow it to be easily mounted to another PCB. The combination of BT815 GPU and Xilinx Spartan-6 enable video output at 1280x720 (720p) over HDMI (as well as audio). In addition to a microSD slot for asset storage, the shield features two Wii Classic controller ports — a common feature for modern retro-style boards due to the controllers' use of I2C. In addition to Bowman's J1 CPU, the FPGA has an integrated terminal baked in via his TermDriver core — plus plenty of space for new functionality (and since it's open source, you can replace it with your own firmware, or remix the existing firmware any way you like)!
As with prior Gameduino projects, expect excellent documentation and examples, along with complete source code and even behind-the-scenes details such as how to make your own. In addition to Arduino support, the Dazzler adds Python drivers for game development in CircuitPython. The Gameduino 3X Dazzler Arduino Shield is now available for pre-order on Crowd Supply, starting at $39 with free US shipping!
- GPU: BT815 1.1 gigapixel/s embedded GPU with 1 Mbyte video RAM, 8 Mbyte flash and:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• 32-bit internal color precision
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• OpenGL-style command set
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• up to 2000 sprites of any size
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• smooth sprite rotate and zoom with bilinear filtering
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• smooth 16x antialiased circle and line drawing in hardware
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• hardware support for JPEG, PNG and ASTC images
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• AVI format video playback
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• built-in rendering of gradients, text, dials and buttons
- FPGA: Xilinx Spartan-6 LX9 FT256 with 8 Mbyte flash
- Video output: HDMI 24-bit at 1280x720 (720p) with 48 KHz stereo audio
- Storage: microSD slot
- Extra input: two Wii Classic controller ports
- Hardware interfaces:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• Standard SPI up to 36 MHz for Arduino communication
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• UART up to 1 Mbps for FPGA connection
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• JTAG for FPGA reloading
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀• 5V-tolerant inputs
- Gameduino library and examples for Arduino and CircuitPython
- Current consumption (typical): 180 mA
- Dimensions: 83 mm x 53 mm x 20 mm