Mar 18

Friday Post: Cool Stuff

Hey All,

Got some cool stuff to post!

First off, got my Pi3 and have pics to show.

IMG_20160305_123135035_HDR IMG_20160305_123142557_HDR IMG_20160305_123151811_HDR IMG_20160305_123201893 IMG_20160305_123221663 IMG_20160305_123230360 IMG_20160305_123255506 IMG_20160305_123303098 IMG_20160305_123338411Love this device so much!

BUT, what I’m more excited to show off is a very early prototype of a project a coworker and I are working on!

12722257_10104959026967052_78897063_oIt’s a Raspberry Pi Zero powered portable gaming system styled after the Nintendo GameBoy Advance using an SPI TFT and some other little cool things.

This is the first PCB I’ve ever helped design, and I placed the order for it this week.  Boards shipped today, which means they will get here between 8 and 40 days.  Argh, the waiting sucks!

On another note, Pokken Tournament came out today for the Wii U.  It’s a really cool Tekken inspired Pokemon fighting game and so far I am loving it!  My Nintendo Network ID is SSilver2k2 so if you want to fight, add me 😀

I also picked up some really cool Nintendo retro consoles this week.

IMG_20160318_212020422 IMG_20160318_212026477 IMG_20160318_212054261 IMG_20160318_212134085

This is the Sharp Famicom Twin.  It is the Japanese version of the NES (Famicom) and the Famicom Disk System combined into one unit.  I also picked up the Family BASIC addon which allows you to do rudimentary programs in BASIC (HuBASIC) for the NES.  BASIC programs can be saved and loaded off of a cassette tape player, or loaded from any audio player.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

 

 

May 15

Friday Post: F-Zero AX

Hey All,

So, I used to collect arcade games, but when I moved, I had to sell my collection.  Now that I own a house with a garage, I’m able to start rebuilding my mini arcade (and using PiPlay in the mean time 🙂 ).

One of my favorites and prized machines was an F-Zero AX.  This is the companion to the GameCube’s F-Zero GX.  It has a magnetic card reader, which allows you to save your pilot data between racers, and has a gamecube memory card slot which can access your save data.

I got very lucky that my original machine went up for sale, so I was able to repurchase it!!

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The board it uses is called the TriForce, which is a regular GameCube with more memory.  The game is on optical media, but rather than using gamecube optical discs, it uses GD-ROMs.  Yep, the same media used in the Dreamcast.  In fact, the platform is a collaboration between Sega, Namco, and Nintendo (hence, TriForce).  The racing cabinet is a standard Namco / Sega model.

It’s really awesome, and I’m so glad to have it back.

Have a good weekend!

-Shea

Jan 02

Friday Post: 2015!!!!

Hey All,

Happy New Year!!! 2014 was an amazing year for me:

  • Got contracted to write a second book (almost done)
  • Ran a successful Kickstarter
  • Had YTD 64,000 downloads of PiPlay
  • Spoke at PyCon, Computers in Libraries, and EDUCAUSE conferences
  • Participated in Orlando Maker Faire
  • Was able to hire the very talented Elizabeth Williams to be part of my team at work
  • Developed software that is helping 60,000 students
  • Added a very cute and very annoying kitten to our family
  • Learned a few new technologies that I had been putting off
  • Watched my wife get a great new job
  • Watching my friends start families
  • Made some new friends

Not to say everything has been great, but the good has totally outweighed the bad.  I have to thank all of my readers as well.  I couldn’t have done without you all.  Thank you!

Amiibos

So I’ve been hit by the Amiibo bug.  I started cutting out these stands for my collection.

IMG_4653 IMG_4654 IMG_4655 IMG_4656 IMG_4657 IMG_4658 IMG_4659 IMG_4660 IMG_4661 IMG_4662 IMG_4652I may have gone a little overboard.

PiPlay

The next version of PiPlay is really coming along.

snapshot

You can see our game listing screen now shows a lot more info.  We are also moving a lot of our configs into SQLite DB files for faster retrieval.  This is going to be an awesome release!

Happy 2015 everyone!

 

Nov 23

Late Friday Post (yeah it’s Sunday): IAAPA! Super Smash Bros!

Hey All,

Sorry for the super late post.  The weather changes here in Florida knocked me on my butt.  I’ve been in bed for the past two days trying to get over this cold.  Going from 40 degrees to 70 to 80 back to 40 just messes with me.  It also didn’t help that I ran myself ragged on Friday.

IAAPA

So Friday was the “members of the public” day at IAAPA.  IAAPA stands for  International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which means that if you ever wanted to see how a ride works, or where to get new arcade machines, or pretty much anything within the amusement / coin op sector, this is the place.  I go every year and it is always a blast.  The biggest noticeable trend this year is how un-3d everything is.  2 years ago every ride and game had a 3D gimmick to it.  Now, pretty much nothing is 3D except for the big ride experiences.

This year some of my coworkers went with me.  They enjoyed themselves.

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U came out this weekend.  Holy crap it is amazing.  I had friends over on Friday, we played 8 player smash, and it was a riot.  I will have the image of me playing as Samus getting the smash ball and taking out all 7 of the other players in one final smash attack burned into my memory for a very long time.

It’s a beautiful, well made, extensive game.  I have no idea how long it is going to take me to unlock everything.

The game also includes support for Nintendo’s new NFC characters called Amiibos.  Think Skylanders but different.  For now, the way they work is dependant on each game.  For Mario Kart 8, it just unlocks new outfits.  In Smash Bros, they act as a super smart CPU character.  The figures are really well made and look good sitting on display.

IMG_4536

I’m still trying to get some of the NFC info from them.  I’d love to write a program to back up the data, but it’s hard finding info on the MIFARE Ultralight chip it identifies as.

If you have any info please let me know!

Have a good week all,

-Shea

Oct 10

Friday Post: Custom Carts

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  This week I got in two cartridges that I am very to share with you all.  The first one is a custom SNES cart called StarFox Legacy!

StarFox Legacy contains three games:

  • The original StarFox
  • The StarFox competition game (a modified version that has a timer set and you have to rack up the most points before it runs out)
  • The unreleased StarFox 2.

To change games, you hold the reset switch down for 3 seconds.  It’s a really cart, and I’m glad I was able to acquire it.

The second cart is made for the Sega Genesis, and is a homebrew game some of you may know called FIX IT FELIX JR!!!  Yes, someone programmed a recreation of the game from the movie Wreck It Ralph!  It’s really well done, the label looks awesome, and I love it.

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 7 is coming!

Nothing too groundbreaking in this one.  Bug fixes for the controller setup, a popup window on first startup to give you some hints as well as a change log popup.  Some bug fixes, a little bit of speed improvements, background sounds.  I’m also switching out the python flask built in webserver for gunicorn.  It causes great speed improvements, uses less RAM and CPU.  When I switched to it, I noticed a lot of SNES games stopped stuttering.

I’ll be uploading the image this weekend and the updater should be available shortly.

-Shea

 

Sep 06

Friday Post: PiMAME 0.7.9

Hey All,

PiMAME 0.7.9

PiMAME 0.7.9 is now uploaded to SourceForge

A new release of PiMAME is being uploaded.  This time it’s 0.7.9, and the biggest edition is DGEN, a Sega Genesis emulator.  PiSNES now supports 2 players, and the script was updated to not overwrite some of the config files.  You can use the update.sh script right now to upgrade.  I’ll update this post once the new image is on SourceForge.

Pokemon Rumble U

So, I’m a sucker for collectibles.  Make little collectible figurines, add NFC, and let them interact with a video game, and I might as well just hand over my paycheck to the developer.  I have so far kept myself away from Skylanders, and Disney Infinity, because I KNEW I would spend too much, but now Nintendo has come into the market with Pokemon Rumble U.

It’s an inexpensive Wii U game.  Download only.  It’s like a combination of Super Smash Bros., Mario Party, and bullet hell games.

There are 649 in game Pokemon to catch/befriend/see, but the real fun comes with these:

There are 18 different figurines to collect, and each one levels up as you play.  When you bring them to a friends house, you can place the little figure on their wii u gamepad and it brings over all your stats and moves.

It’s using NFC tags inside the figure’s base to read and write this data, and if you hold it up to an Android phone with NFC, it will try and read the data.  So far I have been unsuccessful getting a good data dump, but it would be neat if I could back up my figures stats and try moving them to blank tags.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Dec 31

Raspberry Pi Powered SNES

Hey All,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  This is what I assume to be the last post of 2012.  Might as well end it with a bang 🙂

A fellow member of FamiLAB (Orlando’s Hackerspace) has made a great write-up of his Raspberry Pi powered SNES.

I have been watching Ted (Waterbury) work on this project for the past few months, and the work is nothing short of incredible.

I hope everyone has a great new year.  May 2013 bring you joy, happiness, and success.

-Shea

 

Nov 23

Friday Post: Happy beginning of the holidays!

Hello All,

Happy beginning of the holidays.  Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday… To all my friends here in the US, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I spent some great time with my family.  To all my friends in other countries, I hope you are having a wonderful week 🙂

Raspberry Pi Camera

The Raspberry Pi Foundation today released the first video of the Raspberry Pi Camera.  It looks like it’s going to be an awesome piece of kit.  $25, 1080p video, 5MP pictures.  I cannot wait to order one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8N7kgtL0-Ts#!

Wii U

So I was able to purchase a Wii U Deluxe set during Black Friday.  I was not expecting to come home with one.  I was really just driving around looking at the lines.  Toys ‘R Us had opened at 8, it was 8:20, and the line was short, so I decided to go in.  I went to the back of the store, where the electronics section was, and asked if they had any Wii U’s in stock.  I was completely shocked to be given a ticket for a deluxe model.  My fiancee didn’t believe it either.  2 hours later (yay, waiting in line to pay) and I’ve got this thing hooked up.

The first thing it needed to do was download a huge update.  It took about 2 hours to download and install. After that, it was smooth sailing.  The system is awesome.  The gamepad is not just a gimmick, it works amazingly well.  It acts as a universal remote for my TV and my Cable box.  It’s much faster to browse the  cable guide using the Dpad than using the remote itself.  Netflix is better on the Wii U than on the Xbox 360.  To be able to select from the queue on the gamepad, watch it on the TV, or press a button and switch the stream straight to the game pad is so cool.  It’s seamless.

Nintendoland is this consoles version of Wii Sports and Wii Play combined.  You can use the Gamepad to play the games in single player mode, but to use 2 player you need to use Wiimotes.  It’s nice they kept backwards compatibility.  The ninja minigame is a lot of fun.

I also purchased New Super Mario Bros. U.  The game is gorgeous in hi-def.  The multiplayer mode can be a relationship killer though.  Just warning you!  The game plays like all the other NSMB games, but that’s a good thing.  It’s great fun 🙂

Spark Fun Free Shipping

For Cybermonday,  Spark Fun will be doing free shipping!  Happy Hacking!

Megacynics DeskCade

To anyone who hasn’t read the webcomic Megacynics, you should start.  It’s a great comic, Ash and Steve are cool people.  I recently made a DeskCade for them.  This time I tried it out of Acrylic.  It took less time, but cost a bit more in raw material.  I’m really happy with the look of it though.  I have to find a better materials supplier.

Ornaments

I’ve also started making some ornaments on the laser cutter.  I’m thinking of starting an Etsy store for them.  I’m taking requests, so leave a comment!

 

Take care all!

Jul 31

Raspbian on Raspberry Pi – MAME, MESS, Quake3, NeoGeo, and Cave Story Binaries

Initial impressions with Raspbian.  Everything seems to be either playable or faster than before.

  • MESS is noticably faster.
  • MAME was a LITTLE faster (it all depends on the game).
  • Gngeo (Neo Geo) was still playing at full speed.
  • Cave Story works fine as long as music is disabled.
  • Quake 3 Arena plays but sometimes crashes (as seen in the video)

Binaries are available below:

Let me know if something doesn’t work or if you need help.  Hope everyone likes these!  Thanks to those who helped put some of these binaries together!

Tutorials Available Here