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Procraftination Simulator 3000
Ever want to surf the web AND use PICO-8?
Not wasting enough of your time?
Welcome to Procrastination Simulator 3000!
This WIP is my attempt to learn how to use LUA and PICO-8 in a more or less unconventional manner.
-Up scrolls up.
-Down scrolls down.
-more to come later.
Currently I am trying to:
-Get everything to display correctly
-Get text to generate in appropriate places
-Refine the art
-Make the pages
-Art that allows for the drinking of soda and laughing (+SFX)
-Ideas for the initial 8 web pages
-Add in some more humor and counters
-Maybe more web pages
Feel free to fix/edit/steal anything here. Seeing how others with more exp do the same thing will be useful for me to see.
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UPDATE: Added a concept using pico-cad. not very specific but it was a lot of fun
The purpose of this physical console is to:
1. Capture the retro-inspired essence of the Pico-8 software in a physical form, while re-imagining what it means to have a physical cartridge
2. Have old meet new with a sleek yet elegant 30x65mm body.
3. Reduce e-waste and create something that can be used as it is, or gut /hack it for different projects. This is achieved via the following concepts:
3.1. Doing away with the idea that a “physical cartridge” needs to be a separate part printed every time. However, it is important to capture the essence of a physical cartridge in a newly inspired way. The 33mm IPS 240x240p display on the front of the console has the sole purpose of displaying the art of the cart being played; not the game play itself. This is intentional because despite the console's small form-factor, it is meant to be plugged into a power source and a TV, just like in the old days.
(Later this display might be replaced with an e-ink screen, and the case re-formed as to be worn like a necklace. One could show everyone the cart you’re rocking! This is because e-ink doesn’t need power to maintain the image. This will also reduce power consumption.)
3.2. Although a micro USB port is present for the purpose of plugging in peripherals for development (such as a keyboard, mouse, controller, etc), a start button, d-pad, and two buttons are included to maximize real estate of the console. My idea was to reduce the need to buy an extra controller, further reducing the footprint of the hardware. Including a small control scheme also allows for the cartridge-art to be better noticed while in use.
3.3. Use of multi-purpose components. The console is powered by a Raspberry pi zero W and a 4-8gb micro SD. all the components can be completely repurposed (such as the screen, buttons, etc). Ideally the Pi will load pico-8 on boot with a very lite version of raspbian in order to reduce power consumption. A physical on/ off button will be included to initiate a safe-shutdown. The code used will also be visible for those who wish to repurpose the console as it is.
4. Intentional exclusion of a dedicated battery. This is to fully emulate that old-school feel and further reduce waste.
5. Quality DAC audio out for high quality music development or playing games in otherwise quite environments.
What is done? What needs to be done?
1. The initial concept and measurements have been made, the DAC, screen, software, and hardware have been measured and initially chosen.
2. The final hardware is yet to be chosen: chances are I may polish the design and change out some parts to make it more beautiful.
3. The software is in early stages. I'm trying to get all the hardware to talk with each other correctly and have images displayed when I want them to be. I have a lot of learning to do here. But a lot of it seems very straightforward.
4. Creating the CAD concept file and the printable CAD file. This will likely be the last step, since it shouldn’t be too hard, but measurements might need to change. When I am back home on my regular computer, I will organize my notes into a nice image and diagram for you all to see (instead of my somewhat free-hand drawing I have uploaded).
I love the idea of having a console that really captures the old school vibe, but is convenient and good looking. I’ve seen a lot of really cool consoles being made for pico-8 and a lot of people are really into having “realia” of the carts. However, although I think it’s cool, I keep feeling really bad about the amount of plastic and throw-away parts being created. When I had a NES, I really loved having cartridges poking out, adding to my imagination of the game I was playing. As time went on and I began traveling more, I found real cartridges to be inconvenient. I couldn't even see the art when plugged it in anymore (like with the 3DS or PSP)! I wanted old technology to meet new standards, much like how the pico-8 is a new "console" with old school restrictions.
I have no idea. I will do a little bit every day. I am a student with a full time job so I’m going to do my best, especially during weekends and holidays.
If you like this idea and you think I am too slow to put-out, steal all my work! Make it yourself! I’d love to see someone make this before I do and share the ideas they have.
Open Source Hardware:
I’m using this term a little wrong, but I will share and document everything as it comes along. This includes CAD files and all the software I come up with. Ideally, this will be something you can make at home or hack to be better. It’s a project of love.
Update #1: 1/28/2022
I made a rough concept in PicoCAD! I put it at the top of this page. Further schematics and CAD progress will be added as I go on.
Update #2: 1/28/2022
I spent some time really looking at the kinds of hardware I want, and the end-result. Got my components picked. More importantly, I've come up with a timeline:
1. Picking out the hardware --FINISHED--
2. Next will be getting the breadboard + components and piecing everything together. I plan on using a EEPROM CAT24C32 to configure the buttons. Although my component list is solid (and well documented) right now, I'm toying with the idea of what kind of directional pad to use (either the traditional d-pad, or using an analogue stick similar to the PSP system. Results will be determined by ease/availability.) Thankfully living in China has the perks of everything being easy to get.
3. Software V, 1.0 This is essentially getting everything hooked up and working. Not working 100% how I want it to work, but working as in the screen is synched with the pi, buttons do what they need to, etc.
4. Using KiCAD to create a PiHAT. I want this project to be very slim, so streamlining everything into a circuit board is important for the final design. There will be a lot of design choices, like most comfortable place to put the buttons (I kind of like the way they are placed when the games are played on the Iphone 13 Mini).
5. Software 2.0 This is getting my software to do everything I want it to do perfectly: the machine boots into SPLORE, the screen now serves the purpose of only displaying cartridge art (or working standalone if not hooked into an HDMI), buttons aren't wonky. basically a functional machine.
6. Print the circuit board and soldier. At this point everything should be in the final stages. Further testing will ensue.
7. Design the case in CAD and get it 3D printed. This will take some time, but it's important to do last since I will know how to house everything. I have initial written schematics right now but I will need to do a final measurement when paper becomes reality. Also needs some art direction and the like. Choosing materials and colors. Not too worried about this yet though.
8. Put it all together, check all documentation, make it available. The heart of this project is to make it available to anyone who will want to do it themselves. I don't have a real desire to go around selling my work. Too much effort. I'd rather make something cool and then let others take the wheel. Chances are if I document it well and easy enough, even a novice could do something really cool with it.
Update #3: 1/29/2022
After a while, I decided I wanted more of an x/y input nub to save me a headache of cutting out and measuring a d-pad. Then I came across the PSP1000 nub. I thought would be perfect, but then I figured I could reduce to a cheaper smaller nub for use. As a result I came across this:
Basically the thing I want to make, but not 100% the same as mine. Okay, bit of a letdown, but this is my learning project dammit! So I will still work on that. In the meantime, I wondered to myself if it would be better to do away with all unnecessary buttons. stick to the roots of a home console, and not a gameboy. after all, why go through all the trouble to make a pico-8 Arduboy?
I have made a minor re-design. It's an early concept. It will save me a little time and money on version 1, while I work out the kinks for the gameboy like device. Possibly, I could make this a little clam-shell rectangular prism that could easily fit in one's pocket. Only a power button and screen (and outputs of course). make it really minimalistic - which would give me a chance to really stress the art designs for it after. Here is my sketch up so far. let's see where it goes!
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First time posting! I just finished setting up Pico-8 on my Raspberry Pi Zero WH. Took me a long time but I want to pass on my experience incase someone else wants to try this.
I wanted to have a portable console, so I bought the Game Pi 20 (GAMEPI20) case to use as my initial build. (because it was cheap and I am still tinkering with this system).
I chose Retropie because it's an app running on top of Raspbian Lite, and I wanted to keep using this as a functional terminal-based computer when not gaming.
- First off, I flashed the image for Retropie 4.7.1 found here to a 16gb SD card:
- Then I followed the hardware instructions here:
- I followed the tutorial at this youtube link to get retropie set up with Pico-8, but read my step 4 before you watch it:
- The Controller:
4.1 In the video, the creator doesn't make it very clear, but the -SPLORE.sh file should be put in the ROMS folder for the pico-8.
4.2 The file he supplies, "sdl_controllers.txt" ,will not work with the GAMEPI20. I had to make my own. Here is how you do it:
4.3 Make a file called "sdl_controllers.txt" and paste the following code into it:
15000000010000000500000000010000,GPIO Controller 1,platform:Linux,a:b7,b:b1,x:b4,y:b0,back:-a1,start:+a1,leftshoulder:b3,rightshoulder:b6,dpup:-a0,dpdown:b11,dpleft:b10,dpright:+a0,
Save, then exit.
place this file you just made into the pico-8 directory instead of the one supplied in the youtube video. Then watch the rest of the video to get everything running.
I switched my theme to Super Retro Boy because it looks nicer on the tiny screen.
- Enjoy! It took me a long time to figure out how to map the buttons. I hope I save someone my headache!