Hey guys! After sucessfully launching Raspiboy then RetroStone on Kickstarter, 8BCraft is proud to present you RetroStone 2 !
We're back today with RetroStone 2 !
I heard at all your comments to understand what needed to be improved on RetroStone. The motherboard had to be completely redesigned to bring you the best improvements as we'll see below!
RetroGaming is constantly gaining in popularity, especially with the developments of single boards computer (raspberry pi, orange pi...). They enable us to make homemade retrogaming consoles. However those required lot of knowhow on electronics and DIY. You may have seen "Gameboyzero" projects on internet and understand how difficult assembling one can be!
RetroStone 2 is here to bring you the best and most simple retrogaming experience.
You can use it to play to over 50 old video game systems : Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Super Nintendo, NES, Megadrive/Genesis, MasterSystem, gamegear, Atari, MaMe and so on. You can have a look here to all the supported systems.
In more technical terms they are basically SBC (single board computers) with all the peripheral needed to make a handheld console (screen, speaker, battery...), making it perfect to run Emulation Station/Retropie.
So yes, all your childhood video games on one handheld console, that you can plug to your TV, and play multiplayer. Yes that's a high five to my-10-years-old-self!
But wait! You are saying that we can play any game of our childhood, what does it mean exactly? Does RetroStone2 comes with games integrated?
Software : Retrostone2 is compatible with Retrorangepi (Retropie distribution for Allwinner processors. Thanks Retrorangepi team to have made a A20 version!!!). Retropie is an awesome emulation station software. It comes with a wide range of systems supported : Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Super Nintendo, Megadrive/Genesis, Atari, MaMe and so on. Check here all the supported systems.
The interface is very intuitive, and highly customizable. You can choose between a lot of themes !
Games : To install a game you need it's ROM file. A ROM file is a computer file containing all the game's data. You can legally download ROM of unlicensed games on the internet.
Some homebrew games of which makers agreed to have their games integrated into Retrorangepi :
For licensed games legality of downloading ROM depend on your country. In some you need to have original copy of the game. In some others it may not be legal at all to download ROMs from internet.
Then to install the ROM simply transfer it with a USB stick to RetroStone.
Develop your own game, share them and discover other RetroStone user's games !
I think there's a lot of potential to develop and share your games! There's a topic on the 8BCraft forum dedicated to this. Let's make it more alive! :)
Also RetroStone2 is also compatible with most other A20 SBC OS (Armbian, Android...).
HDMI output : you can connect RetroStone to your big TV !
Easy microSD access !
3 USB connectors and soft-shutdown button!
Play up to 4 players !
Take RetroStone everywhere with its compact form factor! No more boring flights for you!
Audio control & standard micro-USB 5V charging port!
Inside you have a RetroStone Pi2, this SBC (single board computer) runs a A20 processor which is 2 cores 1.0GHz.
Joining me on kickstarter is not only about getting a nice game console. It's also about the journey of the project! As you can check on my two first Kickstarter campaign Raspiboy and RetroStone1 I made a point to give good updates (check for yourself here and here). With interesting facts on production.
Here are exemples of what people thought of them!
- Screen is now a 3.5" IPS 640*480 DIGITAL vs the 360*240 flickering composite of the first model of RetroStone. That's 4 times more pixel! Some pictures to compare :
- PC screen protector added for product durability.
- Battery is a removable now, so you can change it and keep playing.
- Battery capacity has been increased to 4000mAh.
- ON/OFF button is push type now, pressing it launch a soft-shutdown. Saving you from SD corrupt of hard-shutdown.
- Better heat management and battery life : H3 is famous for overheating. Also as screen is driven by A20 directly we save the power that was used by the composite->RGB chip.
- Battery monitored directly by the CPU, enabling us to read battery remaining % capacity on the display! Also we can add an automatic soft-shutdown when battery is low, avoiding SD corruption of hard shutdown!
This is one big advantage of A20 over H3 is that it has a dedicated power management unit (AXP209), which communicate with A20.
- System is stable. Because we had some stability issues on RetroStone1 (boot/crash issues on some units) we conducted a lot of testing in order to make sure there won't be this kind of issue on RetroStone2. The boards boot 100% time and there's no crash/instability issues.
By connecting a screen, keyboard and mouse, your console becomes the perfect living room computer. Write a novel, surf YouTube or watch your movies on your big screen while kicking back on your couch.
We made 2 versions for RetroSone 2 : the normal and the pro edition. If you'r a casual gamer, the normal edition is probably enought for you. Pro version adds some non-essential features that may interest advanced users.
Pro edition features :
- 8 GB NAND memory. You may ask 'What's the point of 8GB NAND when we can get cheap SD memory?'. Answer is better boot time and better reliability. So idea is to have the operating system on the NAND and ROM library on the SD card.
- SATA m.2 connector : This enables you to add a SSD to your RetroStone 2 (2242 form factor), this enables you to add up to 1TB !
- Joystick connector : This small FPC connector enable you to add a P**3000 joystick very easily (only need to drill a hole in the case).
- Resistive touch panel connector : Currently RetroStone2 does not have a touch panel as I have not found suppliers willing to work for small quantity yet. However in the future a touch glass may release, having the connector will enable you to upgrade it easily when it release.
- Additional glass protector : Your unit will ship with the polycarbonate screen protector, however we'll ship along a glass screen protector. So depending on your preference you can change to the glass protector.
- 64GB SD card instead of the 8GB (or 16GB with facebook share free upgrade! See below)
A limited edition CLEAR BLUE color RetroStone2 is available on Kickstarter only! So don't miss the chance to get it!
Available both for normal and pro versions. You will choose color after the end of Kickstarter, we'll send you a survey.
This limited edition will be available only on Kickstarter, so don't miss it ;)
RetroStone 2 will come with 8GB SD card, which can already hold hundred of games.
Upgrade from 8GB to 16GB memory for FREE by sharing RetroStone 2 kickstarter on facebook!
Copy the URL of your facebook post and save it for later. At the end of the Kickstarter I will send you a survey for shipping details, there you will be able to put your URL to get the free memory card upgrade!
Makers I have not forgotten you! RetroStone2 may come assembled but we left room for customization!
RetroStone2 has 60 GPIO and more interfaces like TVin/TVout available so that you can make your RetroStone2 unique!
Optional buttons built-in the RetroStone Pi2. And casing has layout for those optional buttons! So you just have to drill the buttons holes to add those buttons.
Also adding the joystick is easier as there is no solder needed for pro-edition, just connect the joystick to the small connector and drill a hole on the mark. If you have normal edition you'll need to solder a connector or solder joystick directly to the vias.
That's something I often hear. Lot of kickstarter project are scams and never deliver their promised product. But that is because lot of them are selling ideas that are not ready to industrialize. Sometime you can even see their pictures are just 3D modeling, meaning they don't even have prototypes. Or they can have prototypes that are not ready for industrialized production.
As my 3 first Kickstarter campaigns can attest I am as transparant as I can be, my prototypes are really ready for production. And I did delivered all my backers!
Please check the reviews on my website to see to see for yourself : www.8BCraft.com
It can be :
- For yourself to have some good fun with friends.
- To make a gift to a special someone. (They will be ready for Christmas! )
- To discover the world of hackerspaces, fablabs and SBC (single board computers).
Future retail price will be 159€, so don't miss the Kickstarter special prices!
119€ : Get the RetroStone2 at EARLY BIRD price !
129€ : Get the RetroStone2 at Kickstarter price !
179€ : Get the RetroStone2 Pro Edition.
235€ : Get two RetroStones2 at EARLY BIRD price !
255€ : Get two RetroStones2 at Kickstarter price !
350€ : Get two RetroStones2 Pro Edition at Kickstarter price ! For more add 175 for each.
575€ : Get the family & friends pack of 5 RetroStones2 at Kickstarter price !
7350€ : Special retailer pack : 70 RetroStones2 !
Help us unlock the stretched goals by sharing the project!
50 000€ - Customization kit
Change your buttons to customize the colors of your RetroStone2. The extra silicone can be used for the optional buttons.
100 000€ - Onboard WIFI!
Adding wireless capability do not just increase the unit production price, it drastically increase certification costs. This is why we have to reach this target to include wifi.
150 000€ - Onboard Bluetooth!
200 000€ - 2 additional GPIO buttons !
Those two buttons are GPIO buttons, so they can be link to any script you would want to use them for. The most likely is that with retrorangepi we will set those buttons for 2 main functions :
- Direct brightness setting. Currently we added in the Emulation station "start" menu a brightness setting. But that requires to quit the game to change brightness so it's not ideal. That's why we thought it would be better to also have direct control on brightness.
- Alternatively you could use those buttons as additional controller buttons. Not the most convenient, but if you really need some additional buttons for some games, here they are!
500 000€ - Surprise!
In order to accelerate development, we have already made the injection mold! So it will only need time to make the main board!
September 2019 : End of crowdfunding
October-november 2019 : Production
December 2019 : Product certifications (CE and FCC certifications)
End of December 2019 : Shipping to you guys!
Note, if we reach the stretched goals of on-board wifi/bt we might need more time before going on production.
Should you use FundedToday?
For your information FundedToday brought 28 backers (2hours before the end). For $1500 + 30% of their pledges. So around $3100 (average pledge is 175€ = 193$). Without counting their pledges that may not go through the payement (usually 5% but who knows if their pledges are fake ones? No way to know that unfortuantely. So let's say 5%).
Their earned me 28*193*0.95 =~ $5100
So a total of 3100/5100 = 60% of total pledge amount. That leaves us 40%. Remove 8% for kickstarter that leaves you with 32% for manufacturing and shipping.
So no it was clearly not a good investment.
Risks and challenges
Operating system challenge: Retrorangepi did not support A20 in the past. So we had to work with their developper team to develop the system for this processor, which involved some hard work!
There are still some software things to parameter on which we are still working:
- NAND memory version (to enable pro-version to use the NAND memory).
- HDMI audio is currently not supported on linux mainline for most allwinner processor.
- HDMI on-the-fly switch is not functional yet while gaming. We aim to make a on-the-fly switch, so that you can connect to TV while playing. On-the-fly switch currently works on desktop mode, and need more work to work on EmulationStation.
- Battery status overlay.
- SSD function in emulationstation : need more work. Not sure how we're going to interface it on EmulationStation.
All these should be fixed before we deliver you.
Production challenge :
In order to make this kit so affordable we must reach our fundraising goal because:
1- The casing require injection molding. And injection molds are really expensive.
2- PCB : we have to order more than 1000 units if we want to have workable prices. Indeed most of the electronic components of the PCB have minimum order quantities of 1000-5000 pieces!
Therefor we must reach about 1000 orders to make this price possible!
Hardware development is done, everything is ready: 3Dmodels are done, PCB design is done, and manufacturers are ready to get started. The only thing that is missing is a 1000 pieces order! All the project needs now is you guys!
Back us now and help us reach our fundraising goal so that it will become reality !
RetroStone2 does not come with any software or games pre-installed. You can flash the memory card with the OS of your choice. It's very easy to do and instruction to do so will be available on the website.
RetroStones2 will ship from ShenZhen in China, to avoid any delivery problems we will declare full value of the products. Please note that there might be taxes applied by your country customs.
Please provide phone number for delivery, failure to do so might prevent delivery to be successful.
Please note that opening the RetroStone2 (for customization or any other reason) will void the warranty. Sorry, this is because of the risk of damaging the electronic with electrostatics. Unless I give you authorization while discussing by email (for repair for example)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)