Arduboy FX difference

So I have the Arduboy FX and I’ve been looking over tutorials and other types of help to get to grips with it. Every now and again I come across information that’s only relavent to the non-FX versions of Arduboy especially since most of the tutorials and documentation are form before the FX came out. I was wondering if there are any guides that explain the differences or if there are any FX specific tutorials around?

One example I saw recently is that there is a flashlight mode that you get from pressing a button while turning on the unit which doesn’t work wiht the FX. Is there an alternate way of getting the flashlight. It also looks like this mode can be used for various troubleshooting that seems to not be needed for the FX, but flaeshlight mode itself sounds interesting.

The Arduboy FX is a normal Arduboy with an extra (flexible) circuit board soldered on. That circuit board holds two chips: the ‘FX chip’ or ‘Flash chip’, which is essentially an extra block of flash memory, and a controller chip that can be used to overwrite the Arduboy’s bootloader with ‘firmware updates’.

At the moment the flash chip only acts as a space to store multiple games, but it would be possible to create games that are designed to access the memory as part of their gameplay, e.g. for storing levels and graphics. So far, none do (or at least none that are complete, playable games).

That aside, the Arduboy FX plays all the games a normal Arduboy would, and otherwise behaves much like a normal Arduboy would, so you can just write games normally and as long as they don’t use any FX-specific features those games will run on both an FX-enabled Arduboy and a ‘regular’ Arduboy.

The so-called ‘flashlight’ mode is actually incorporated as part of the games rather than the bootloader, so the vast majority of games will support it, but it can only be accessed when booting into a game, before the Arduboy screen scrolls down.

(The bootloader may support something similar, I’m not sure.)

All ‘flashlight’ mode actually does is:

  • Set all the screen pixels to ‘on’ (i.e. white)
  • Set the LED to full white light
  • Enter an infinite loop so the Arduboy won’t do anything else until restarted
    • This part is why it’s useful for troubleshooting - it effectively prevents the game from loading, which is useful if the game ends up doing something that interferes with loading

The FX’s custom bootloader mostly eliminates the need for ‘flashlight’ mode though, because it’s easier to force the console to boot directly into the bootloader when you reset it. (I think this is done by holding a certain button at a certain time, but I can’t remember which without checking the documentation.)

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Or, if it’s a later production Arduboy FX it will have the flash chip added to the main circuit board and there will be no flex circuit board or controller chip. Here, the controller chip isn’t required because this version has the required bootloader preinstalled.

Turn the arduboyFX on , hold up, press A. Most games have flashlight mode, so it should work most of the time.

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