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Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:17 pm
by tidalwave
I would like to suggest a simple boot strap style loader that simply looks for a program at a specific location. Very much like original cartridge based game consoles. You plug in the SD card, hit power on, and the game on the SD card runs.

I'm not an expert on any of this, but I'm guessing all that would be required is a decent BIOS to initialize everything before starting the program. Of course I'm not sure how GPU access would work. Everyone keeps saying the GPU driver is closed source so I guess the BIOS would have to be a super stripped down version of Linux? Is there any way to interface to the Linux OpenGL ES driver without having Linux installed?

The end result of this project would be to allow simple games to be programmed for a vtech style console for kids to play, but with 100x more power.

Any insight or suggestions is appreciated.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:20 pm
by asb
I imagine how this will work is that people would distribute images containing their software and a stripped down Linux install (no need for much else on the rootfs other than the libraries needed by that particular application). Community members might write tools and guides etc to help do this after launch.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:22 pm
by na1pir
It might be good idea to look into GeeXboX or MoviX Linux distribution for media center. But instead mplayer gui auto-run would point to some sort of game or similar program.
GeeXboX might already be partly compatible with R-Pi because I see download links for tegra2 and omap4 arm cpu.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:31 pm
by ats
I was looking into creating an image for RPi that booted into a simple interface for launching games or downloading them from an online or USB repository. I think it would be a pain to have to change the SD image every time you wanted to play a different game.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:12 pm
by tidalwave
@ats I agree the idea is to prototype an actual console game system. The development system would allow simple downloading of the game. I just think it would be really cool to make a decent game console with support for several different types of controllers i.e. - NES, SNES, SMS, N64, PS, etc. but have a simple plug in 'Rom' cartridge to play a game.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:21 pm
by abishur
I plan on using one of the r-pis to do this (probably the media center one since it will already be attached to my TV ;) ) I would, however, encourage that any such system designed did not support direct downloading of games as that's the sort of thing Nintendo or Sony copyright lawyers really attack.

If someone really was considering doing this, it might be easiest/most immediately useful if they created it as an add-on to geexbox/xbmc or some similar media center OS that already exists. (my only thought process there is that it would take advantage of people like me who are already taking advantage of a media center OS)

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:30 pm
by ErvKosch
I guess I would make a simple Linux on the SD card and the 'game cartridge' would just be a read-only USB device that the OS looks for. The OS would be very simple and the SD card large enough to hold the save files and settings. Most of the program functions would be on the game cartridge so the OS could be as simple and fast as possible while leaving the widest development possibilities.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:08 pm
by toxibunny
Quote from abishur on November 4, 2011, 20:21
I plan on using one of the r-pis to do this (probably the media center one since it will already be attached to my TV ;) ) I would, however, encourage that any such system designed did not support direct downloading of games as that's the sort of thing Nintendo or Sony copyright lawyers really attack.

If someone really was considering doing this, it might be easiest/most immediately useful if they created it as an add-on to geexbox/xbmc or some similar media center OS that already exists. (my only thought process there is that it would take advantage of people like me who are already taking advantage of a media center OS)

I get the idea they're not talking about an emulator box, they're talking about a special tiny OS for a raspberry pi games console that you plug in special raspberry pi console games cartridges to use...

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:48 pm
by Jessie
This topic is one of my intended uses for the R-Pi when I get one. I figured some type of stripped down linux, and write some API libraries to make development of simple games easy. Start out with some simple tile based setups, and then develop more complex ones. Of-course better programmers could always ignore the API and program more complex software in ASM and C direct to hardware.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:05 pm
by Thunder__X
Can you replace the shell like in windows and autorun the emulator on boot?

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:27 pm
by CartBlanche
Wow, another game related thread, this is promising. What do you think about MonoGame 2.0

Could this, with the Mono runtime, be the underlying API framework that will get the most game developers to target this kind of device? Maybe have 2 options, those who want a simpler API can use XNA/MonoGame, while those who want to get down and dirty and extract more horse power can use the native OpenGL ES APIS directly?

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:47 pm
by Autarc
Dunno how well you know the OpenPandora project - but it uses an customized Angstrom Linux (running at similar specs to the PI) focused at open source & retro games :)
=> Official Site
(don't get scared away because they still shipping the first batch, I ordered mine 3 years ago and will happily wait to finally get it ^_^)

Although they had some trouble during the time, they put their effort in enhancing the software and already got quite a repo. Currently they are working on producing the new units in Germany and then focusing on improving the OS (e.g. including an additional launcher based on Qt). Before you try and create your own "game-focused-distro", I recommend to look at the project and talk with some guys in the community :)

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:34 am
by tidalwave
@CartBlanche using MonoGame sounds like a win as I am an excellent XNA programmer! I really like that platform and I think it would make an excellent base for one of the API's.

@Autarc I have heard about OpenPandora, but I forgot about it. Thanks for the links I will definitely look into that.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:44 pm
by ats
I think it would be useful if there were a set of guidelines for creating games so that they could be downloaded/launched from a single interface, wrote data to a specific location, and used a standard set of screen resolutions. It might also be useful to use one of the packaging schemes (.deb, .rpm, or pacman files) so you could add dependencies for external libraries (SDL, Mono runtime, etc.) that will be handled automatically and each game doesn't have to ship with their own. Then you can have multiple front-ends for launching the games so it can be integrated into existing products or a customer launcher can be written specifically for the RaspPi.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:38 pm
by gsw
Not to diverge this thread, but I started up a similar topic here:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....038;t=1025

I think that having an AdvanceCD (containing both AdvanceMAME (for arcade game simulation) and AdvanceMESS (for classic computer and other gaming system emulators) build, possibly one that is optimized for RPI/ARM would be nice. As for always booting directly into the game or classic computer operating system, I want to say that you can make AdvanceMENU do that. However, if you have an image, then the easiest thing is that it includes whatever roms are free and legal so that the base image is at least of some use. Then from that point, it would be great to have a wiki with clear instructions how to set it up to do what you are saying (load a single emulator with a single game).

I would personally love to see more classic computing and classic gaming aficionados not give up emulation just because it isn't the real thing or because the emulators themselves are a little clunky. This is our history, and we need to preserve it.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:34 pm
by noeska
I am referring to the post on bypassing the shell on linux boot from the previous page:
Should be doable, but maybe not in a way you expect. Think of the way linux is able to display a gui login screen. And think of the way ubunto is able to provide info when entering the shell.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:36 pm
by ats
Quote from Jessie on November 4, 2011, 21:48
This topic is one of my intended uses for the R-Pi when I get one. I figured some type of stripped down linux, and write some API libraries to make development of simple games easy. Start out with some simple tile based setups, and then develop more complex ones. Of-course better programmers could always ignore the API and program more complex software in ASM and C direct to hardware.

This is what I'm primarily getting a R-Pi for. I was thinking of using SDL for the graphic and networking libraries, but I might also see if I can make a custom library specifically for the Raspberry Pi (just to see what actually goes on under the hood).

I'd be interested in seeing what games people make and maybe setting up a place to share them. I'm planning on making some networked games (I have a multiplayer Tetris clone in the works), so maybe a few people with model B R-Pis would be interested in a challenge :)

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:23 am
by CartBlanche
So any further advances on this idea?

I still think the Pi would make a great small hand-held console.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:48 pm
by DexOS
Yes, me and Dave are coding a small R-PI OS that could be used for this, if enough support was gotten.
We have already got a basic graphic to work on a bare bones R-PI
Image
Theres also a x86 ver.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYJx2zZK7c8
The x86 ver is small only 60k, including full tcp/ip stack.
But it only worth doing if enough people want it.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:35 pm
by cheery
Um.. Could I get the source? I'd like to see how you did it and whether you documented it better than what's in the forums already.

I think about writing a demonstration kernel that could be used as a reference for porting kernels and learning to write them.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:22 pm
by DexOS
cheery wrote:Um.. Could I get the source? I'd like to see how you did it and whether you documented it better than what's in the forums already.

I think about writing a demonstration kernel that could be used as a reference for porting kernels and learning to write them.
To get to this stage, we have done other 1000 read/writes to the sd card, and theres still a lot more to learn, once i am happy that i have all the details, i will post a tut.

We want people to want the real time bare metal OS, that boots in a second, that lets you have full hardware access and can be programmed in basic, not how its coded.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:07 pm
by normal
This was one of my first ideas when I heard about how there could be any number of OS installed to the RPi just by changing SD cards. My idea was to create an arcade board based on teh Pi and run a single arcade cab with it at the center, like how an regular cab could have different PCBs changed out. But I didn't even know that doing something like that would be so controversial and anti-opensource...... :? :cry:

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:10 pm
by abishur
This is a warning to both sides. This thread is not another thread discussing the pros/cons of open vs closed source so please drop the debate and get back on topic or I'll close this thread (the OP is free to start another thread about this project if they cannot escape the open/closed source debate in this thread). If you want to discuss that please make a thread in the appropriate section (Off Topic) and be sure to keep it civil, this is a perfectly legit project and the make has the full choice to do whatever he/she pleases.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:29 pm
by Dave_G_2
abishur wrote:This is a warning to both sides. This thread is not another thread discussing the pros/cons of open vs closed source so please drop the debate and get back on topic or I'll close this thread (the OP is free to start another thread about this project if they cannot escape the open/closed source debate in this thread). If you want to discuss that please make a thread in the appropriate section (Off Topic) and be sure to keep it civil, this is a perfectly legit project and the make has the full choice to do whatever he/she pleases.
Fair enough abishur.
May I ask you to please move the offending posts to the Off Topic section (under a heading which you feel is appropriate)
as I would like to respond to tuftys last post.

Re: Game Console OS

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:04 pm
by abishur
Moved posts to this thread (that's a link). Let me know if I missed any posts, I very lightly skimmed things as I got bored of the open/closed source debate a decade ago :-P