Possible Arduboy Color on the way?

Hi, I have had my Arduboy and have snooped on this forum for a little while so I think I know all of the eventual comments coming my way. But for the sake of just asking, is a Arduboy Color in the works? I say this as I haven’t visited the site in a while and I noticed that “Micro Arcade” line of products exist and with a color screen. I know that those are manufactured by Super Impulse using the Arduboy hardware design. But I was wondering if that is going to translate into a new Arduboy for those of us who would appreciate a little color?

I think that is a valid question? I know that has been on many peoples wish list for a while for the arduboy. And the topic in of itself has been beaten to death. But it just surprised me to see a color lcd product endorsed(?) by Arduboy and even sold together and not see a new side model color Arduboy. lol

Maybe it has to do with cost of those screens as it has been in the past, that and the available memory on the Arduboy being as low as it is. But just curious.

Thanks for the eventual feedback.

xnL32

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I can’t speak for Kevin, but from what I gather the answer is ‘probably not’.

Arduboys with flash cartridges for more space are almost certainly the next step,
and there has been the occasional talk of maybe getting a more powerful CPU,
but colour probably isn’t likely.

Partly because it’s still really divisive, and partly because the extra CPU boost needed to make it viable would mean the ‘colour Arduboy’ would probably be competing with the likes of the Pokitto and the Gamebuino Meta, and competition isn’t good for sales.

That’s the impression I’ve been getting at least.
Maybe @bateske has been plotting something without our knowing?


As for the Micro Arcades,
the companies who own the IP for the games probably have the money to burn if the Micro Arcades flop,
so they probably don’t worry about the cost of the screens.

Part of the problem with things like the Arduboy is the economy of scale - to reduce costs you have to be able to be able to guarantee a lot of sales.

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Very true. Extra storage would be nice. Though maybe even a greyscale screen would be nice to have some extra depth without having to use the tricks I have seen on here that redraw things at a high rate.

And I actually didn’t know about those other projects. So that helps me see things a bit more clearly. Thanks for your response. I will have to keep an eye out over here for what happens.

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As far as I’m aware, that’s something a lot of people actually want,
but the problem is that they just don’t make 4-colour screens,
or at least not at the size the Arduboy uses.

Using a full colour screen but only actually using a limited number of colours might be a possibility,
but that’s still likely to need a more powerful processor at least.

Come to think of it I’d be interested to see if someone good with hardware (e.g. one of the people who made a ‘homemade’ Arduboy) could do some experiments with that to see what kind of processing power is possible with the standard 32u4 chip and a colour screen.

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That would be interesting. Maybe someone can chime in and take on such a thing. I think I saw once that someone was playing around with such a thing. But yeah, I think the only thing to make the Arduboy universally appealing is giving the display some depth. Now whether or not that is color or 4 color grey scale I don’t know.

All I know is that when ever I showed someone the Arduboy they think its cute and cool, but are put off by it just being black or white. I then proceed like a nerd to show them the Donkey Kong screen demo emulating different shades of grey, But the flickering messes with peoples eyes.

But I am sure most of us probably have experienced this to some degree or so. I personally was a big fan of the OLED 1bit display as it looked awesome. But I now yearn for the extra shades.

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Ironically a large chunk of the userbase has said that the black and white is part of what attracts them in the first place.

That and the limitations.

Some people like having to struggle against memory constraints because that’s a rare experience these days.
(Modern computers have ridiculous amounts of RAM for programs to guzzle without a care in the world.)

In some ways my instinct is to say “if only having black and white puts you off, then maybe the Arduboy isn’t what you’re looking for?”.

But at the same time I think 4 colours would be nice.
(Specifically 4. Be they 2 greys, 1 black and 1 white, or any 4 colours.)

I can’t say I disagree there…
I’ve never been a massive fan of the attempts to ‘fake’ grey.

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Yup, count me as part of that user base. I love the simplicity, the fact that it’s literally turning on or off an LED. There are plenty of little game consoles with color screens already out there.

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+1  

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Make no mistake, I as well am apart of the people who were attracted to the Arduboy by it’s 1bit display. Hence on me purchasing one. Same goes with the implied limitations of the hardware. As someone who believes that limited hardware made game developers really innovate in the early days of game consoles and computers I fully support Arduboy’s back to basics approach.

But at the same time, I think the extra bit of “color” or shades of grey would allow for a bit better expression in the games produced. Not like the marvels that are being pumped out by this community, working with mere on or off pixels isn’t “expressive”. lol

Also something that has a slightly broader appeal while retaining its niche stand in the market of other small portables would be beneficial for growing a community.

But that is all. Thanks for the insight on the original topic though.

Cheers.

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Don’t forget the fact (imho) that the “limits” arduboy has might push gamebuilders to be even more creative as to gameplay and graphics. Try to make a nice recognizable sprite on a tiny b/w screen, thay takes a lot of creative power!
Has adding colours to tetris enhanced gaming fun?
And don’t forget the retro feel…

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Only if it can run pico8!

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lol, Uh? @bateske wouldn’t that require at least an ARM based cpu? Thusly being more expensive to produce? I mean I am not going to lie, a dedicated Pico-8 machine would be really nice. Though I believe the aforementioned Pokitto uses Pico-8 or at least something like it. Not to mention the now defunct handheld that was the PocketCHIP.

With that being said, Lua is very easy to digest for newcomers with it’s basic syntax.

Regardless, I am surprised to see you commenting that.lol

Like @Pharap mentioned I thought this project was that of economy of scale of the project. I mean, simular hardware still utilizing the ATmega line of microprocessors should still suffice with added removable storage and an extra Bit of color. Regardless, kudos.

I can confirm it does not support Pico-8.

(If you meant to say ‘ARM’ then yes,
it uses an ARM Cortex M0+ family processor (specifically an LPC11U68).)

I’m not sure if that would even be powerful enough to support Pico-8,
it woud depend how fast and how small a Lua engine can be made.

Pico-8 doesn’t give a ‘minimum spec’ as far as I can see,
the closest it has is “~700MHz CPU”, but that’s for an x86/x64.
That or the chip that Raspberry Pis run on, which is a 1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A72.
Either way I’ve never seen any benchmarks for Lua on an embedded system,
though I’m aware of projects like eLua that aim to make Lua suitable for embedded systems.

I very much agree with this.

Lua was actually the 3rd language I ever learnt (even before I learnt C++) and it’s heavily used for vide game scripting.
(Don’t Starve, Legend of Grimrock, Garry’s Mod - just to name a few.)

You’d need to pick one at least another 1KB of RAM.
Progmem should be less of an issue with the FX chip.

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@Pharap, I did mean to say Pico-8. lol I honestly was lead to believe this when I scrolled to the bottom portion of their website and saw a little screen cap of Celeste, which famously was prototyped in Pico-8 and then later developed for PC and such. So unless someone made a port? I actually had hope it ran Pico-8 truthfully. lol

Also I just noticed that you are apart of their community as well. And I saw your reply to someone speaking about Pokitto supporting Pico-8. Fair enough. lol

Yes, it’s a port of the Gamebuino META port/remake of ‘Celeste Classic’.

Most Pico-8 games could probably be rewritten in C++ and end up using less resources as a result, but that kind of rewriting takes time and effort.

Currently only something running Windows, OS-X or Linux on x86/x64 or a decently powered ARM chip could pull that off.

If Pico-8 were open source then you’d probably see a lot more devices running it,
but as long as it’s closed source anyone who wants to develop a version has to make some kind of business deal with Lexaloffle.

There are plenty of other fantasy consoles,
but they don’t have the same popularity and media coverage as Pico-8.

That’s not particularly surprising though,
if you’re profiting from something, you’ll typically make a lot of effort to advertise,
and if you aren’t then you probably won’t bother much.

Fortunately it is possible to like the Arduboy and the Pokitto equally. :P
(I’m not the only one after all.)

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Very interesting information! And BLASPHEMY! Liking TWO things at ONCE!? ARE YOU MAD!?

In all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with that. lol

As for Pico-8, I think that eventually with the popularity of the virtual console they could probably strike a deal with a manufacturer to produce a dedicated Pico-8 console and I think it would do very well. I do wonder though if that was a possibility if monetizing games made with and for Pico-8 would become more so common? Who knows.

But before we get too far off topic with Pico-8 discussion on a Arduboy forum. lol

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Yes, but no actually in most cases you get a more powerful processor dollar for dollar going ARM. The Atmel chip is unusually expensive for what it is in the industry. As best as I can tell is because it’s actually produced as a lower volume chip relative to other things. As far as what you are actually getting from the chip that is worth the money at the end of the day these chips are extremely robust. It is very difficult to actually blow up one of these processors or stick them into a state that cannot be reflashed.

They are intended to be used in environments like automotive or something where there is a lot of noise and transients and weird power conditions.

But yeah I’ve addressed it a number of times, basically any incremental upgrade to Arduboy and it is just trying to compete with other open source consoles on the market.

ALSO, the biggest issue I see is that the market for consoles and this kind of stuff just doesn’t really exist like it did in 2015. Everyone was excited about new little gizmos and iphones being thinner every year and kickstarter was new and exciting.

It’s really difficult to build a following behind a product, and for a lot of reasons the timing was right for Arduboy. I don’t think it’s easy to start out with a crowdfunding campaign and expect to sell 10,000 units again unless it is something that is truly revolutionary and “useful” to “normal” people in some way. Or at least offer a value that nothing else out there has.

As far as I’m concerned what is going down with pico8 is the best thing besides Arduboy, and the sheer amount of content you could put on the device would be a slam dunk. That and people in their community have been wanting a console for a while.

The pocket chip was nearly it. Something between a pocket chip and an Arduboy. With industrial design that looks closer to the playdate.

I also would kind of just like to have a job working at Panic on the playdate. I applied for a position there if anyone wants to tweet at them or email them that you think they should hire me. :slight_smile:

So yeah, that’s the way the news goes.


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@Tariq just brought my attention recently to the GameShell, which supports Pico-8. Though it is pricier and bigger than most of the little retro game devices out there.

I agree with you that a dedicated Pico-8 console would be gangbuster, especially with its insane popularity right now.

Anyway, the Arduboy is perfect with black and white and between the hardware and this community it’s the first thing that got me to actually finish making a game (I tried with Pico-8 a few years ago).

Oh cool didn’t know the Game Shell could do pico8! That’s pretty good! Yeah a bit expensive, but that is a high quality device. I also really like what Pokitto has done as well.

But that kinda proves my point even on the pico8 compatibility, someone else is doing it. It’s unlikely I would be able to get it much smaller or better in any appreciable way.

As far as color goes though actually, I still think I would like to make a drop-in pcb for the Micro-Arcade that you can re-use the case, battery, speaker and display and it will have a SAMD51 on it and be compatible with circuit python. But that’s firmly into a later next year kinda thing.