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It's a Uzebox that plugs straight into your TV. This takes the awesome homebrew 8-bit retro game console and adds more awesome.
40 backers pledged AU$ 5,176 to help bring this project to life.
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About

Uzebox DTV - Retro Gaming goodness in the palm of your hand project video thumbnail
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AU$ 5,176

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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

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Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

Introducing the Uzebox DTV (Direct to TV). It takes an awesome homebrew 8-bit retro game console (called a Uzebox) and squeezes it into a controller that plugs directly into your TV! All you need to supply are a microSD card and a 5V power supply (any modern phone charger should work).

If you are not familiar with the Uzebox, it is an open source (free to share), 8-bit, homebrew gaming console. It was created in 2008 by Alec Bourque, with the goal of having an easy-to build and easy to program system, with enough resources available to make programming games fast and fun.

There are seven years worth of games, tutorials, and community already built around the Uzebox.

Lots of familiar games
Lots of familiar games

  

Plug and play

Just download a game onto a microSD card, plug the Uzebox DTV into your TV, and enjoy the retro goodness. With only a few exceptions, the source code for these 80+ games and demos are all available to download, compile, and learn from.

The chip at the heart of the Uzebox is an Atmel ATMega644, the same family of chip used in the Arduino. It is extremely easy to program, yet you can still do amazing things with it. There is also a forum where you can ask questions and participate in the game making community.

All your games on an SD card
All your games on an SD card

Get coding games now

You don't need any electronics experience to start playing games. Just download a game onto a microSD card and pop the microSD card into the controller, and plug it into your TV. Enjoy the goodness!

When you are ready to start writing your own games that is easy as well. You don't need any assembly language skills. Everything about a normal game can be written in C. The Uzebox API has functions already written for doing most common things a game needs with respect to graphics, sound, and I/O.

There are tools for creating your own graphics, sounds, and levels for platform games.

The emulator running in windows
The emulator running in windows

There is also an emulator to run Uzebox games on your desktop PC. This is great for when you are developing a game, because you can test each iteration of your game immediately after compilation, without having to even touch any hardware. The emulator even has a GDB server built-in for debugging code in your IDE.  (If you're not a programmer YET and these acronyms don't make sense trust me that this feature is 100% pure goodness!)

You can also use the emulator to share your creations with friends that don't have Uzebox hardware.

What can it do?

The capabilities of the hardware are around on par with early 1980's 8-bit computers. A typical game will have

  • 240x224 resolution
  • 256 colors on screen
  • 5 channel audio
  • X/Y scrolling
  • Up to 32 sprites on screen

There are however 12 different video modes including

  • 120x96 pixel bitmap
  • 240x224 256 color tiles and sprite modes
  • 480x224 high resolution text mode
  • 256x224 4 color vector graphics mode

 What is under the hood?

The Uzebox is a complete two chip computer system. All the color TV graphics and sound is done by just an Atmel ATMega644 and an Analog Devices AD723 color converter.

Specs:

  • CPU: Atmel ATMega644
  • FLASH: 64KB (60K user 4K bootloader)
  • RAM: 4KB
  • EEPROM: 2KB
  • Inputs: 12 button SNES controller
  • Outputs: RCA mono audio + RCA composite video
  • NTSC conversion : Analog Devices AD723

It is comparable to a Hackvision with 2x the memory and higher resolution color TV output.

Why are we doing this?

Simmone and Andrew are both passionate makers and teachers.

Simmone is the coordinator at Hands on Brisbane and also teaches many of the workshops helping people learn new skills.

Andrew is a long term electronic tinkerer that creates things like The Asteroid Belt and games for the Uzebox like Tornado 2000. He regularly teaches people how to make electronic things. More to the point, over the years he has taught scores of people how to write computer games.

That is where the Uzebox DTV comes in. The Uzebox itself is an awesome platform for learning to write games on, however many people are intimidated by having to build it themselves. The Uzebox DTV is pre-built, so you can use it immediately, without having to know how to solder. It will help build the Uzebox community, and hopefully can help get YOU involved in writing games, and sharing them with your friends.

Risks and challenges

I have already made several of these at home for myself and a few friends, so all we need is the money to get a batch manufactured. I've got a local manufacturer lined up so we can get them made and shipped within the next couple of months.

There is no injection molding, no custom parts, no exotic components. It's basically a case of order parts from Digikey: purchase PCBs from China: get all the parts assembled: pop them in a plastic case: ship them to the backers.

If we "go viral" and get many 1000's of backers we would have to ship out in batches on a first come first served basis. Any slip in shipping dates will be communicated to backers in project updates.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1 or more About $1

    A little support and kindness

    Get a warm fuzzy feeling for supporting the Uzebox DTV. That feeling alone is easily worth $2, so that's a 50% saving right there! You also receive my personal appreciation and thanks for helping this project succeed.

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    3 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $8

    A little more support and kindness

    Maybe you don't want a Uzebox yourself, but you would love ten times the warm fuzzy feeling the $1 reward offers. Not only will you feel great for helping the Uzebox DTV become reality, but we will include your name in the credits of the next Uzebox game that we write.

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    1 backer
    AU$

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 60 or more About $43

    Early Bird UzeBox-DTV

    (approx $45 USD)
    One Uzebox DTV. Included is the integrated controller, an AV/Power lead and instructions. You will need to supply your own microSD card and a 5V USB style phone charger (or any other 5V source)

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 27 backers
    AU$

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 70 or more About $50

    First Batch UzeBox-DTV

    (approx $55 USD)
    One Uzebox DTV. Included is the integrated controller, an AV/Power lead and instructions. You will need to supply your own microSD card and a 5V USB style phone charger (or any other 5V source)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 3 backers
    AU$

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 70 or more About $50

    Very unlikely second batch UzeBox-DTV

    (approx $55 USD)
    One Uzebox DTV. Included is the integrated controller, an AV/Power lead and instructions. You will need to supply your own microSD card and a 5V USB style phone charger (or any other 5V source)

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    0 backers
    AU$

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 580 or more About $413

    Classroom/Friends Pack

    (approx $430 USD)
    10x Uzebox DTV units. Perfect for Educational / Hackerspace use. Get a group together to go through the tutorials, and share the fun AND the games you create. This reward includes free shipping.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    3 backers
    AU$

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 650 or more About $463

    Tutorial pack

    (approx $490 USD)
    An early production Uzebox DTV + 10 hours of personal tutoring in making your own game. If you are overseas this can be via Skype, or if you can travel to Brisbane AU then it can be in person.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
    AU$

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 5,000 or more About $3,557

    Your own game

    (approx $3750 USD)
    At this level I will write you a Uzebox game of your choosing - obviously within the technical limitations, but we can push those boundaries when we get to them.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    AU$

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Funding period

- (30 days)

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