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microcat - The ultimative ARM based handheld game console

Started by DarkestEx, August 09, 2015, 09:50:08 PM

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DJ Omnimaga

As long as it's not locked down like the TI-Nspire CX and that the supported languages don't have the severe slowdowns that Nspire Lua had at times, then I think it's fine.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus CE, Casio fx-CG10, HP Prime, fx 1.0 Plus, fx-7400G Plus, fx-9750G Plus, fx-9860G, HP 39gII
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Huawei P30 Lite

Vogtinator

There should at least be a possibility to make native apps.
Only allowing bytecode to run is an unnecessary restriction.
Loading binaries from SD would be nice.
  • Calculators owned: TI-Nspie CX CAS, Casio FX-85ES

DarkestEx

August 13, 2015, 05:13:33 PM #17 Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 10:38:56 PM by DarkestEx
Quote from: Vogtinator on August 13, 2015, 04:53:55 PM
Looks interesting so far, although I wonder why a seperate µC for power control?
Most ARM µCs have a lot of power control built-in.
Quote- ARM Cortex M0+ Core @ 48 MHz
- 128 KB builtin RAM (expandable)
Let me guess, a STM32F0? I like those chips a lot, I have the F407 and F429 discovery and they're really useful.
Why not a slightly more powerful core like a Cortex M4F, though? Faster floating point processing could be nice to have.
This iswas our current chipset:


DescriptionManufacturerPart
ARM CPUAtmelATSAMD21G18A-AU
WiFiEspressivEXP8266-07
SRAMMicrochip23LCV1024
Power control MCUAtmelATTINY13A
Audio amplifier with volume controlTexas InstrumentsLM4811
Address decoderNXP74HC139

Of course other features are nice, but we really have quite a tight budget already.
Also it must be a TQFP or QFP with 48 pins

Quote from: Vogtinator on August 13, 2015, 05:05:20 PM
There should at least be a possibility to make native apps.
Only allowing bytecode to run is an unnecessary restriction.
Loading binaries from SD would be nice.
Sorry native apps are impossible.
Its not an unnecessary restriction but its just impossible for us to get any external native code to run with its variables inside of 32KB internal RAM.
Bytecode is always ran directly from SD; its never loaded to RAM.


Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on August 13, 2015, 05:01:59 PM
As long as it's not locked down like the TI-Nspire CX and that the supported languages don't have the severe slowdowns that Nspire Lua had at times, then I think it's fine.
Well we will of course try to make it as fast as possible. ;)
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

DJ Omnimaga

By the way I hope you can manage to get this console produced for as cheap as possible so that you can charge a small enough price while still making a profit. Imagine if you had to buy each part at different retailers and paid different shipping fees >.<. That could easily rack up the production costs to $100-200 per unit. Over here if you buy a processor on Ebay from USA some people charges $40 in shipping.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus CE, Casio fx-CG10, HP Prime, fx 1.0 Plus, fx-7400G Plus, fx-9750G Plus, fx-9860G, HP 39gII
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Huawei P30 Lite

DarkestEx

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on August 13, 2015, 11:35:10 PM
By the way I hope you can manage to get this console produced for as cheap as possible so that you can charge a small enough price while still making a profit. Imagine if you had to buy each part at different retailers and paid different shipping fees >.<. That could easily rack up the production costs to $100-200 per unit. Over here if you buy a processor on Ebay from USA some people charges $40 in shipping.
We buy basically everything except three parts from Farnell Electronics.
In the case that we don't form a company, we might not be able to order directly from them, so mass discount is less significant in such a case.
We hope to get it below 90 eur in this case.
But if nothing goes wrong it should be available for about 59 EUR + shipping
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

Strontium

August 14, 2015, 12:36:00 AM #20 Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 12:42:31 AM by Strontium
Quote from: DarkestEx on August 13, 2015, 08:51:47 AM
Quote from: Strontium on August 13, 2015, 12:13:42 AM
What OS will it  run, if any? Will it be able to run code in any language that can compile to ARM assembly?
It will run our custom OS we're working on.
About languages, we don't support running ARM assemblies,  as this is not possible on our architecture.
Basically it's like Java - you have a virtual processor running on the microcat that executes our own improved assembly code that you can write directly or use one of our compilers that we're working on to generate assemblies for you.
Benefits are smaller code sizes, easy game writing, library support, code is loaded directly from sd card, so it won't be loaded into ram.
This allows for games without any size limitations.
So, you can't use any programming language? Also, could you please elaborate on how there can be no native code? How is that even possible?
  • Calculators owned: TI Nspire CX, HP Prime
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: NES

DarkestEx

Quote from: Strontium on August 14, 2015, 12:36:00 AM
Quote from: DarkestEx on August 13, 2015, 08:51:47 AM
Quote from: Strontium on August 13, 2015, 12:13:42 AM
What OS will it  run, if any? Will it be able to run code in any language that can compile to ARM assembly?
It will run our custom OS we're working on.
About languages, we don't support running ARM assemblies,  as this is not possible on our architecture.
Basically it's like Java - you have a virtual processor running on the microcat that executes our own improved assembly code that you can write directly or use one of our compilers that we're working on to generate assemblies for you.
Benefits are smaller code sizes, easy game writing, library support, code is loaded directly from sd card, so it won't be loaded into ram.
This allows for games without any size limitations.
So, you can't use any programming language?
Well in theory you can use any programming language possible, but you have to write something first that compiles a language to claw bytecode.
The other good thing about bytecode is that it basically runs on other devices too without much modification (even a PC for testing and debugging).
We hope to be able to make claw debuggable over wifi, but until that it will take some time.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

Unicorn

So I could port my TI-BASIC games over if there was a compliler? :P
  • Calculators owned: I own all of them: PICKACHUP TI 84+ CSE TI 83+ SE TI something something ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: PICKACHUP ??? ??? ??? ??? ???



??? ??? ??? ??? ???

DarkestEx

Quote from: Unicorn on August 14, 2015, 02:14:46 AM
So I could port my TI-BASIC games over if there was a compliler? :P
Yes it is possible if somebody either makes an interpreter or a compiler. One more reason why this is possible is that the monochrome TI-Calcs have the same resolution then the microcat.
Even grayscale is natively possible as the microcat has a full color screen.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

Snektron

Watch out you don't get sued by TI if you make a ti basic interperter/compiler though :P
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+
Legends say if you spam more than DJ Omnimaga, you will become a walrus...


DarkestEx

Quote from: Cumred_Snektron on August 14, 2015, 11:43:08 AM
Watch out you don't get sued by TI if you make a ti basic interperter/compiler though :P
Why should we get sued :P
It's just Basic.
But I don't plan making such an interpreter / compiler (yet?), as there is a whole lot of things to do already.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

princetonlion.tibd

Did TI copyright/patent (I don't know which word to use) TI BASIC or something like that?
  • Calculators owned: TI-83+, TI-84 + CSE, Voyager 200, TI-Nspire
Anyway war sucks. Just bring us your food instead of missiles  :P ~ DJ Omnimaga (11.10.2016 20:21:48)

DJ Omnimaga

Quote from: DarkestEx on August 13, 2015, 11:42:41 PM
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on August 13, 2015, 11:35:10 PM
By the way I hope you can manage to get this console produced for as cheap as possible so that you can charge a small enough price while still making a profit. Imagine if you had to buy each part at different retailers and paid different shipping fees >.<. That could easily rack up the production costs to $100-200 per unit. Over here if you buy a processor on Ebay from USA some people charges $40 in shipping.
We buy basically everything except three parts from Farnell Electronics.
In the case that we don't form a company, we might not be able to order directly from them, so mass discount is less significant in such a case.
We hope to get it below 90 eur in this case.
But if nothing goes wrong it should be available for about 59 EUR + shipping
60-70 would definitively be fine if we got enough freedom with that device. Everything is more expensive in Europe than in North America (except mobile plans) so it's harder for Europeans to sell something cheap enough to North Americans, but if it was like 100 euros, then we can get an used Xbox 360 or PS3 for cheaper.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus CE, Casio fx-CG10, HP Prime, fx 1.0 Plus, fx-7400G Plus, fx-9750G Plus, fx-9860G, HP 39gII
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Huawei P30 Lite

DarkestEx

August 14, 2015, 10:22:22 PM #28 Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 10:27:48 PM by DarkestEx
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on August 14, 2015, 05:23:40 PM
Quote from: DarkestEx on August 13, 2015, 11:42:41 PM
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on August 13, 2015, 11:35:10 PM
By the way I hope you can manage to get this console produced for as cheap as possible so that you can charge a small enough price while still making a profit. Imagine if you had to buy each part at different retailers and paid different shipping fees >.<. That could easily rack up the production costs to $100-200 per unit. Over here if you buy a processor on Ebay from USA some people charges $40 in shipping.
We buy basically everything except three parts from Farnell Electronics.
In the case that we don't form a company, we might not be able to order directly from them, so mass discount is less significant in such a case.
We hope to get it below 90 eur in this case.
But if nothing goes wrong it should be available for about 59 EUR + shipping
60-70 would definitively be fine if we got enough freedom with that device. Everything is more expensive in Europe than in North America (except mobile plans) so it's harder for Europeans to sell something cheap enough to North Americans, but if it was like 100 euros, then we can get an used Xbox 360 or PS3 for cheaper.
Well, how much freedom would you all like?
We try to make it as free as possible, but we still want to make it secure - no game should be able to hack local computers or collect data. We will certainly have quite a few security functions, but they will all be similar to Android. So when installing Apps you will be prompted with all the permissions an app does request and you can't run it without accepting them.
Also about the price, we will have different models, so you can choose between only the populated pcb or a full console with case or a starter kit with a usb cable and a microsd with the system already preinstalled.
The 59 EUR are for a console with starter kit (as calculations are right now). We don't know if we will really form a company to get greater mass discount (if not it will get more expensive). Discount is also possible - if we sell 100 units, one unit would be a lot cheaper.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc, Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Hewlett-Packard 95LX
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Original Commodore 64C, C64 DTV, Nintendo GameBoy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

c4ooo

There is little security on windows, and yet people get along fine. You should know what you are installing. But that's just my personal, honest opinion :P

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