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 upcoming 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. Follow the road to production via the Inside Excamera Labs newsletter — and sign up to be notified of the product launch on Crowd Supply!