Running PICOPi on the Retroflag GPi case
I just got a Retroflag GPi case, which is a cool little enclosure for a Raspberry Pi 0(W) that has the form factor of a GameBoy. This gadget is intended primarily for emulation, but I REALLY wanted to use it as a portable pico-8.
Spoiler alert - I did.
Most tutorials for the GPi case focus on getting RetroPie running, and there are also resources out there for getting pico-8 running in conjunction with RetroPie. This is fine, but I really wanted a gadget that quickly boots into pico-8, no questions asked. Luckily, a software engineer going by Gamaral developed an image for all raspberry pi models that fast-boots into pico-8. This is, to my knowledge, the closest we can get today to dedicated pico-8 hardware.
Goal of this tutorial
This tutorial will focus on getting PICOPi running properly on a raspberry pi 0(W) in conjunction with the GPi case. You can find all of these materials for purchase on most online retailers. There are plenty of tutorials showing how to build the thing once you get all the materials (non-trivial!). I will not cover this.
Physical stuff you need
- Retroflag GPi case
- Raspberry pi 0 (the W model has wifi onboard, but the setup is the same, and it doesn't matter since the picopi image has no widi support anyway)
- SD card formatted to FAT32
Software you need
- Patch files for GPi case http://download.retroflag.com/
- PICOPi download for Raspberry Pi A-B-0
original site is downhttps://github.com/paloblanco/rpi-buildroot/tree/rpi/dist
- Raspberry Pi build of pico-8 (You can get this from the downloads page here on lexaloffle)
What you need to do
NOTE Since I am not sure about the licensing on the code I am linking to, I have opted not to copy-paste the exact code you will be copying around. Trust me, though, it's pretty easy.
DOUBLE NOTE as with all DIY projects, you are taking on the risk yourself in installing all of this software - I am not responsible for any bricked hardware.
- Assemble the GPi case and the Pi 0 (I am not going to help you with this)
- Insert your sd card into a computer (win/linux/mac doesnt matter)
- Follow the PICOPi directions for setting up your SD card
- Here is where things get a tiny bit tricky. Extract the contents of the GPI case patch somewhere on your computer, then navigate to GPi_Case_patch\GPi_Case_patch\patch_files. You should see two items here, config.txt and a directory named "overlays".
- Open config.txt, and copy all the contents of the file to you clipboard. Navigate to your SD card, open config.txt, and paste all of these contents ABOVE all the contents on the SD card. Your config.txt on your sd card should flow like this:
- All text from GPI patch config.txt
- All text from PICOpi config.txt
- In SD\config.txt, navigate to the #OVERCLOCK section, and remove the pound sign from all the overclock specifications. You need these to run pico8 properly
- Copy the overlays directory from the GPi patch, and copy this to the root of your SD card.
- The GPi instructions might have told you to flip the "safe shutdown" switch under the battery cover to "on." We want it "off," since PICOPi already has safe shutdown built in to it.
- Thats it! plug in your sd card and you should be ready to go! I was impressed by how easy this was.
You will need to pull the sd card in and out of the case to load new games, since PICOPi has no wifi support, but that is a small price to pay for the ULTIMATE pico8 handheld. Enjoy!
Trying to set up PICOPI on Retroflag GPi case with zero w. Pico-8 loads beautifully, either in Splore mode (offline) or directly into a cart (if named "rom.p8" in SD root directory). However, I'm running into 2 issues:
[EDIT - fixed both issues, but I'm keeping the post to help others]
- The buttons do not work at all. I double checked everything, and they are just not functioning.
FIXED - the solderless board that connects to the Pi zero is tricky. It doesn't actually "snap" in, so it took me 3 tries to get the case snapped & closed in a way that would keep the board connected. And, it doesn't stay reliably connected. I should probably just solder it.
But while connected, the buttons work great. :/
- Splore will not see any carts at all - I have several carts in pico-8/carts and in pico-8/bbs/carts. Splore is locked to "Favorites" screen, since buttons will not function to switch screens in Splore
FIXED - "Favorites" had no contents, but now that buttons work, I am able to navigate through to other carts. I can also add carts to Favorites using buttons.
Splore will read any .p8 or .p8.png files in pico-8/carts
It's possible to catch those Downloads through the WayBackMachine:
Or another possible Solution: Pico8 using Raspbian
@paloblancogames That's a great idea! I think it would be a shame if that project would not have some further exposure...
@Astorek86 Thanks a lot, i didn't think about WayBackMachine, i was able to download the image from there! I would prefer picopi over a pico8/raspian install since it feels much more like a console, wich was the original idea of picopi!
Files hosted on github
After looking things over (briefly), I think it is OK to host Guillermo's files on github. He already had a repo which could be used to build the files from source, so I forked his repo and added a "dist" directory. The link above goes to the distributables of the forked repo. I copied over the readme as well.
At this point, I will probably also add the edits I made to the files to get things running on the GPi. Stay tuned.
Lastly, if you have any info about Guillermo, please share. Thanks.
- I corrected the links in my original post to point to this repo. Again, if someone here has concerns about licensing or thinks this is not the proper way to handle this, please let me know.
@paloblancogames Thanks a lot! Really cool to see this project in a repo agian!
As with Guillermo, i only read of his passing in an youtube commentary. After looking at all his stuff and realising he stoped posting on his youtube channel and twitter for a long time i already expected the worst...was really shocked never the less as he was relatively young. He was ill of cancer, thats all i know.
So...turns out I've been using the wrong model of Pi 3. RIP.
At least Pi Zero version works on my old Pi Zero W with little to no problem at all. I found that out the hard way.
Sorry for all the trouble.
Anyway, I might get a GPi Case later, y'all...and then follow this tutorial of course.
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