Jun 14

Friday Post: Joysticks

Hey All,

So, I’ve been looking at more joysticks, and I want to tell you about an experience I had with a cheap $15 Chinese joystick I imported.  I buy a lot of items from China.  This time it was a disaster.  I believe I ended up inadvertently getting a return rather than new stock, so I’m waiting for the vendor to explain the issue before I give up on them entirely (the other products I purchased were in good working order).

The joystick i purchased is supposed to be a Welcom WE-6200.  There are a lot of joysticks that look like this one, just browsing aliexpress will bring up dozens of similar products.

The one I received had:

  • solder on the underside,
  • a crack in the case that was “covered up” with sharpie
  • buttons that didn’t fit well.
  • mushy and sticking buttons
  • directly soldered connections rather than quick disconnects.

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Other than that, it does work.

PiPlay is coming along.  I’m finishing up the joystick config system.  I’ve add mednafen to the list of emulators.  I’ve done some code modifications to it to enable it to work on console with DISPMANX.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

 

Jun 08

Very Late Friday-ish Post: Compiling

Hey All,

Sorry for the very late post, I’ve had some family visiting from out of town and spent the weekend catching up.

For PiPlay, I’ve been spending some time getting into the nitty gritty of some of the emulators.  PiFBA happens to have a config file hardcoded in it’s source code.  Because I use PiFBA for a few different systems, I needed to have individual configs.

My patched version of PiFBA is available here as source code: https://github.com/ssilverm/pifba-config-patch

Looking back, it wasn’t that difficult to patch, but my C++ is rusty, and I needed some friends help to get it running.

I’ve also been playing with SDL and DISPMANX.  One of my favorite emulators is Mednafen, but it has a problem running on the console.  If you use DISPMANX and try to run Mednafen, you get an SDL error (due to not needing SDL_GetVideoInfo()).  I’m recompiling Mednafen right now which replaces the SDL_GetVideoInfo() call with generic video heights.  DISPMANX should scale correctly anyway, so I will see how it looks.

On that note,  I also had to deal with my favorite compiling issue on the Raspberry Pi: hq4x and running out of memory.

This is why I love the Raspberry Pi (and Linux).  I learn something new everyday.  To add or subtract swap space, type:

sudo /etc/dphys-swapfile
Change 100 to the desired amount of swap.  I used 300 for hq4x
/etc/init.d/dphys-swapfile stop
/etc/init.d/dphys-swapfile start

The swap space will be created, and you can now compile without crashing (usually).

Have a good week everyone!

-Shea

 

May 16

Friday Post: Themes

Hey all,

 I’ve spent the past week on a lot of administrative PiPlay stuff, but I do have a couple of neat things to show.

Theme Support

 Controller Config (very early)

Big thanks to Matt from the forums for coding up the theme support and Dan for helping with the controller configuration.

Desktop Arcade

On my off time (hah) I’ve been working on a desktop barcade machine.  I’ve done 2 days of 3 coats of paint, 1 day of sanding, and I’m getting ready to do another few layers of paint.

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Have a great weekend!

-Shea

May 09

Friday Post: FUNDED!

Hey All,

Thank you so much for your backings and support.  Over 400% funded!  What did I do to celebrate?

Icee

 I got a delicious post-Kickstarter celebratory Icee 🙂

Updates

To keep you all updated on my progress, I created this:

PiPlay Update Board

As I finish tasks (or add new ones) I will be updating this board (notice the green filled in dots at the bottom) and letting everyone know.

PiPlay Case

I got the PiPlay case in my hands last night.  It looks and feels great.  There is only a minor alteration that needs to be done.

Everyone who backed a tier with the case will receive this version that has Kickstarter Edition branding.

PiPlay Case Kickstarter Edition

 PiPlay

Lots of cool work is being done on PiPlay.  Theme support is now built in, but it does have some quirks.  We are fixing that, and it should be part of the PiPlay 0.8 beta 4 release.

Bartop

I got in a Bartop Arcade Kit from Rich’s Arcade today.  I am going to take pictures as I build it, and put that up as it’s own post.

IMG_3865

Enjoy!

-Shea Silverman

May 02

Friday Post: It’s Over 9000!

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The PiPlay Kickstarter has gone over $9000!!!!

So far, we are working on theme support, joystick support, joystick configs, auto grabbing of game screen images, screen image previews, and more emulators.

I’ve also started a joystick build so that I can test out different encoders easily.

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  • $30 for the encoder, joystick, and buttons from eBay.
  • $15 for the case and $5 for the drill hole bits from Harbor Freight.
  • Ability to carry around all my stuff in a joystick case: Priceless!

 

Custom menu from the PiPlay forums:

I’m going to go celebrate!

 

-Shea

 

Feb 21

Friday Post: Gear

Hey all,

Wooo it’s Friday! Next week I’m speaking at UCF’s Information Fluency conference.  I’m very excited.  Presenting an application I wrote that helps with Online Learning.

Time to get to work on PiMAME.  Making great progress.  Can’t wait to release it 😀  One of the issues I ran into was that I didn’t realize git sub-modules don’t update to the latest code, they stay at the commit they were committed in.  Anyone who has been using the installer for 0.8 has been running on older code, which explains why the bug fixes weren’t being seen.  It was a silly mistake on my part and will be fixed soon.

Misumi

Misumi is offering a free $150 credit for new customers placing an order via credit card.  In the reddit thread advertising this promotion, a few people have put together a build list with part numbers for making your own 3D Printer.  This will greatly decrease the price of building your own RepRap.  I’m going to try and build a Smartrap Mini.

UUGear

I got an email today about a new hardware company that’s making items for the Raspberry Pi.  They are called UUGear, and they are making some pretty good looking sensors and add-ons.  I haven’t yet had a chance to test their products, but the online store should be opening soon.

USBHUB_01 USBHUB_02

 Titanfall

I was playing the Titanfall beta over the weekend, and I can’t remember ever being this excited over a game.  Mechs, freerunning, jet packs!  It’s like my inner 12 year old was asked to make a video game and he delivered.  Sorry for the terrible quality video.  Here is a couple minutes of my Titanfall gameplay:

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Jan 17

Friday Post: January

Hey All,

It is the middle of January and it already feels like a year full of events has occurred.  I turned 30.  It’s a weird feeling not being in my twenties anymore.  It will take some getting used too.  I spent my birthday with good friends.

My new computer has been built and is running beautifully.  Had to return the old PSU because one of the fan blades cracked, which was causing it to overheat.  Picked up a Corsair modular PSU and it’s been running 24×7 with no issues.

2014-01-12

PiMAME was featured in the January / February issue of Raspberry Pi Geek.  It was given a 2 page spread, as well as reviews of other gaming environments for the Pi.

RPG_UK_02-2013

 

PyCon 2014

I was notified that I was chosen to give a poster session at this years Python programming conference, PyCon, in Montreal.  I am very excited to be showing off the work I have done with Python and the Raspberry Pi.  It’s going to be April 9th through the 11th.  The past two conferences have been amazing, and I am excited to be able to have more of a role this year. More information is available at us.pycon.org

Adafruit

Back in 2012 I hacked together a crude but effective USB power cord with a switch.  Adafruit is now selling a professionally manufactured cable that does the same thing for only $2.95.

Mine:Photo Jul 22, 4 13 45 PM

Adafruits:1620_MED

 

I’m so glad this cable has finally been made.  It was a pain to hand make them!

Have a great weekend all!  PiMAME news next weekend 😀

 

-Shea

 

Aug 09

Friday Post: Semester Startup

Hey All,

Happy Friday!

I have one week until the Fall semester starts at UCF.  Everyone in our department is rushing to make sure we are all ready, everything is updated, and everybody’s happy.  I’m excited.  I think this semester is going to be wonderful.

Leap Motion

Over the week I bought a Leap Motion device.  Ever since I saw the preview of it, I was awe struck.  This device has the ability to make a huge paradigm shift in the way we provide input and controls to our computer systems.  It makes me even sadder to say that I returned it.  I had such high hopes for the device, but, there were just too many things wrong on the software side.

The hardware is top notch.  It just works.  The software was crummy at best.  It requires a lot of CPU power to run.  I tried it on a Core 2 Duo, and the input lag was horrible.  On a Core i5 it was fine, but I shouldn’t require that much CPU power just for an input device.  The app store was also disappointing.  There were a lot of apps available, but the vast majority cost money.  The third party free mouse driver software wasn’t top notch.  It made using the computer a chore.  In reality, the software made it feel like a poor man’s kinect.  🙁  I am willing to give it a second chance, because the hardware is top notch.  They just need the dev team to put some polish on the UX.

Raspberry Pi Pip-Boy

This is really cool. Panda from Hardware Libre posted this in the comments and on the PiMAME forums.  This is a homemade Raspberry Pi Pip Boy.

Raspberry Pi Camera NoIR

So, last week at FamiLAB, Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Software at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, paid us a visit and talked to us about hardware, software, and a cool version of the Raspberry Pi camera that is being released.

Photo Aug 03, 4 07 24 PM

It’s called the Pi NoIR, and it’s the Camera Board without the IR filter.  Without the IR filter, you are able to capture part of the infrared spectrum, which you can test out by pointing your TV remote to the camera and pressing a button.  What is invisible to your eye will show up on the camera sensor, and on your screen.  A flashing beam of light coming from the remote control.  There is a whole genre of IR photography, and this will allow you to get started in it.

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That’s all for this week,  I hope you all have a good weekend!

-Shea

Jul 19

Friday Post: Fun Week! Pacific Rim, Oculus Rift, and a Neat Pi Case

Hey all,

This has been a fun week.  Long, but fun.

Pacific Rim

If you haven’t seen Pacific Rim yet, do yourself a favor and go see it.  It will make your inner 12 year old boy very happy 🙂  After watching the movie I had to pick up the Gipsy Danger Jaeger action figure:

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Oculus Rift

A FamiLAB member has been working with an Oculus Rift development kit for the past few weeks, and very generously allowed me to borrow it for a few days.  The device is well worth the money, and was comfortable to wear with my glasses.  That said, it makes me want to get contacts so I can wear it with even more comfort.

I played Team Fortress 2 for a while and Half Life 2. A few of my coworkers tried Surgeon Simulator 2013 with it and that was really hilarious to watch. We also loaded some 3rd party drivers which allows more games to run that aren’t meant to on the device, and even though there were bugs, it was still playable.  The big disappointment with the device right now is the low resolution screens.  You really notice the pixels at first, but after the immersion kicks in, you learn to ignore it.  Luckily Oculus VR has stated that the consumer version will have much higher resolution screens.

Photo Jul 18, 3 06 05 PM IMG_20130717_100201_1 IMG_20130717_094652_1 IMG_20130717_094726_1

Engrained Products Raspberry Pi Case

The awesome people at Engrained Products sent me one of their Pi cases to try out.  It’s fantastic.  I’m really impressed with how they put in the little cuts so that the wood can bend freely.  Also the cut gears are a great touch.  I’ve been using the Adafruit case but I am going to switch to this one.

Photo Jul 19, 2 35 06 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 35 24 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 35 56 PM

 

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Take care!

-Shea

Jun 21

Friday Post: Telepresence Robots!

Hey All,

First off, no PiMAME this week.  Still working out bugs.  It’ll be soon I promise 🙂

I’m 99% done with my book.  Content is all done!! Woo!  Now I’m just working on the preface.  I’m really excited to get back the edited version and do the final touches 😀 😀

Mike Dicillo created a really Arcade cabinet for PiMAME made entirely out of Lego.  It is freaking awesome!  http://www.mikedicillo.com/legocade/#

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Onto the topic, my department got a cool new member this week.  A telepresence robot!  Specifically a Double Robotics unit.

It’s an iPad on a Segway, thats connected to the internet, and allows you to connect to it from anywhere in the world.  It was awesome to test it out and attend a conference in another building.  We had a coworker who is currently in another state connect to it and pilot it around the office.

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We live in the future!

More PiMAME news soon 🙂

 

-Shea