Uzebox - open source 8 bit console - kits now available!

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danboid
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Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:48 pm

Uzebox - open source 8 bit console - kits now available!

Post by danboid »

The nesdev forums is one of only two forums on the internet where I can be fairly certain that a few of you will already know about the Uzebox, the other being avrfreaks, but I expect it will be an unknown platform to some of you despite its vintage.

The Uzebox is a fully open source, retro minimalist games console, heavily inspired by the NES and SNES and is still having new games written for it almost 15 years after its introduction. It has a spec inbetween the two original Nintendo consoles but is closer to the NES (although the CPU is a bit faster than the SNES') as its based on a 8 bit Atmel microcontroller, similar to the Arduino. It uses SNES joypads.

Some of my fave Uzebox games include:

Starduino - a demake of Starfox. Possibly the most impressive 8 bit game I've ever seen.
Tornado 2000 - like Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar. Speaking of the Jag, I think the Uzebox now has more games written for it than were commercially released for the Jaguar!
Flight of a dragon - A polished platformer. Reminds me a bit of Turrican on the C64.
Joyrider - Like an 8 bit GTA.
Alter Ego - a fun puzzle platform game.

There are also remakes of Super Mario World, Great Giana Sisters, Castlevania, Bubble Bobble, Bomberman and Columns amongst others for the Uzebox, in various stages of completion.

Everything relating to the Uzebox is fully open source including the kernel, the PCB gerber files, the schematics and the documentation. The source is freely available for most games too, which is great for those wanting to learn games dev who understandably might feel overwhelmed by hugely complex modern game engines like Unity, Unreal and Godot etc or even the Amiga.

The big news today is that kits containing all of the parts (except the SNES connectors) required to build your own Uzebox are available from Digikey now. See this forum thread for the details:

https://uzebox.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=35517

I was able to successfully build a Uzebox with precisely no previous electronics experience. It is undoubtably one of the most fun and rewarding things I've ever done and something I'd highly recommend to all fans of retro computing who would like to learn the basics of electronics and have fun developing a truly open platform.

https://uzebox.org
danboid
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:48 pm

Re: Uzebox - open source 8 bit console - kits now available!

Post by danboid »

There is now an easier to build version of the Uzebox called the Uzebox Omega.

I have uploaded a short video of me using Linux and vim via telnet on a Uzebox Omega using Uzenet wifi and a PS/2 keyboard adapter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywfHZAgZv9U
danboid
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:48 pm

Re: Uzebox - open source 8 bit console - kits now available!

Post by danboid »

v1.4 of the Uzebox Omega was released late last month and I got one built and tested last weekend.

Revision history

v1.4 Changed the power connector footprint to use slots and improved the RCA jack footprints.

v1.3 Added support for using a micro SD socket.

v1.2 Introduced the following changes:

Uses Farnell slotted pins style RCA jack for the audio and composite video sockets.
Uses the switch inside the RCA sockets to disconnect audio and CVBS from MiniDIN if an RCA plug is plugged in.
Added inscriptions to the bottom silkscreen for the sockets.
Increases the diameter of the small mini din socket footprint holes to 1.1 mm.

https://uzebox.org/wiki/Omega#Revision_history

Uzebox-Omega-v1.4.jpg
Golden-Uzebox-Omega.jpg
danboid
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:48 pm

Re: Uzebox - open source 8 bit console - kits now available!

Post by danboid »

The Uzebox has recently gained a C64 BASIC emulator and a text mode only Apple II emulator, both of which require the PS/2 keyboard adapter to use.

https://uzebox.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=37744#p37744

https://uzebox.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11538
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