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Pico8 computer

This blog is an account of my attempt to build a retro stand alone pico8 computer.

below is a crude mock up the shape it will take.

The computer is a Raspberry Pi 3 with a 1024*600 LCD screen.
It has a mechanical keyboard, integrated power, amplifier, speakers, a
few switch's and LED's. Ports at back will offer flexible power switching, and integrated voltmeter.

The case is partly 3d printed, and partly made from acrylic sheet, it will be sanded and
sprayed a suitable colour and adorned with a pico8 logo.

I may also have a hardware cartridge slot, for pico8 cartridges(with SD cards in them)

Progress so far:
Pi image complete, with working screen and auto boot into Pico8
Base acrylic sheet is all cut read to assemble,
all parts are ready to go.
I also intend to have a concave screen and have built a mould to form the plastic.

If anyone is interested I can provide more details as the project progresses.

P#20096 2016-05-01 13:58 ( Edited 2018-07-25 22:09)

This looks awesome! I can't wait to see the finished product

P#20103 2016-05-01 16:21 ( Edited 2016-05-01 20:21)

Mm, you're trying to build a dev kit? I don't think the consumer model had a keyboard.

Regarding a cartridge slot, what form factor would you use? A lot of people seem to imagine something like the atari 2600 cartridge - 2 cm thick, about 8 cm wide - but the cartridge images pico-8 spits out always looked more like something you'd see on a HuCard/Turbochip for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, or a Sega Card format used for the SG-1000 through Sega Master System. The latter also seems like it'd be easier to manufacture at home to hold an SD card, though if you used a full USB drive a cartridge would be preferable.

P#20109 2016-05-02 00:57 ( Edited 2016-05-02 04:57)

It's so dreamy! <3

P#20110 2016-05-02 01:29 ( Edited 2016-05-02 05:29)

The stand alone computer as almost done.
Its a fairly poor workmanship, so look like its be found from 1980's and been bashed about!

It has a fan for the pi 3 and a script to turn it on over 65 Degrees C.
has a 16000mah battery. Speaker and inputs for mouse/joypads.

I also made this cart, not working yet.
Ill get the 3d file uploaded to thingiverse (one day!)

The screen is 1200x800 hdmi with touch input.
Games run perfectly on pi 3.

P#22183 2016-06-03 15:59 ( Edited 2016-06-03 19:59)

That's pretty cool!

P#22184 2016-06-03 16:19 ( Edited 2016-06-03 20:19)

Awesome work!

How does the cartridge work? Is it a USB dongle or SD card?

It would be cool if you could have the Raspi start Pico-8 with the .p8 file it finds on the USB/SD cart.

P#22186 2016-06-03 16:42 ( Edited 2016-06-03 20:42)

Thank you.
I guess it could be done, a python script could load fist. Copy the file to pico8 folder, then Python could run a command line argument to boot the pico with a file. assuming there is an argument for this. I know there is one for splore.

The cart does not have anything in yet, but I designed it to behollow, so I made room for an sd card, or more likely a USB stick. I have some USB sockets that can be fashioned into a cartridge port, so I might make a slot on the top for it!

P#22193 2016-06-03 17:35 ( Edited 2016-06-03 21:35)

-run will actually support running from any arbitrary path, regardless of if it's in the pico-8/carts/ folder

P#22194 2016-06-03 18:12 ( Edited 2016-06-03 22:12)

Hello Vermeer
very nice retro set :) awesome work
i also have a wavershare 1024*600 tft touchscreen with rpi, that would be awesome if you could post/share the IMG file.
i can not mange to install pico on rpi :/

P#25927 2016-07-26 14:52 ( Edited 2016-07-26 18:52)

I wonder if old CompactFlash cards might work for carts. I'm sure small ones go for pennies, and you only need, what, 64k at most for a .p8.png file?

P#25982 2016-07-27 18:29 ( Edited 2016-07-27 22:29)

NFC tags might work for carts. NFC type 3 can store up to 1 MB. (Type 4 holds up to 32 KB which would be just enough except not all of it is usable.) Another option would be to store the BBS ID of a cart on a tag, then fetch it over the Internet when the cart is inserted. The smallest and cheapest tags would be sufficient for that. Slightly better would be an ID that corresponds to an Internet-updated lookup table, so published carts can be "upgraded" as new versions are published. Some IDs in the table can be reserved to refer to local files for "writable carts."

Inspired by this NES emulator project that was just posted to Hackaday, which uses NFC to store a filename in a pre-stored library of NES ROMs:

More info on NFC: NFC for Beginners

P#26096 2016-07-29 14:15 ( Edited 2016-07-29 18:55)

That "Nintendo" is super cool. I think NFC cards for carts is great too! Thanks for sharing @dddaaannn

P#26098 2016-07-29 14:48 ( Edited 2016-07-29 18:48)

This seems like the best thing I will ever get.

P#54430 2018-07-25 18:09 ( Edited 2018-07-25 22:09)

can you give a 3d model of this computer for 3d printer&

P#115596 2022-08-11 08:40

that cart is the undisputed best cart that could be done


P#118165 2022-09-29 16:33 ( Edited 2022-09-29 16:33)

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