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Offline CaptainJester

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Make it work; make it better.


« Reply #30 - Posted 2004-11-20 02:12:56 »

Quote
Another nitpick: one cannot have failed to notice that even 8yr old kids these days have phones that play 2D (hell, and even 3D!) Java games on them. Who needs a console when you've got a phone that does it? And just think about the next-gen game phones around the corner with hardware 3D acceleration :/

Cas Smiley


Because playing a game on cell phone sucks.  The controls can be unresponsive and the screen is small.  With this console idea, you use your tv(?) and can go to 640x480 or whatever the target is.

Offline princec

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« Reply #31 - Posted 2004-11-20 10:17:42 »

Got a PS2/GC for that sort of entertainment though...

Cas Smiley

Offline CaptainJester

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Medals: 12
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Make it work; make it better.


« Reply #32 - Posted 2004-11-20 13:55:25 »

Quote
Got a PS2/GC for that sort of entertainment though...

Cas Smiley

For $170 plus $40-$60 per game.  Smiley

I think this idea has a good intermediate market.  Even if the price of some games go as high as $20.

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Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #33 - Posted 2004-11-21 04:19:06 »

Looks like someone is looking out for you, Cas:

http://icculus.org/manticore/

Unfortunately, Manticore is nowhere near ready to use. But it might be an option for a second gen device.

Also:

http://www.nvidia.com/page/goforce_3d_4500.html

NVidia just unveiled this. I'm not sure, but I think that the GoForce 4500 3D is the first actual 3D chip targeted at mobile phones. Pricing is currently unclear, as is the question of whether the GoForce could power a console.

Of course, none of this hardware is making it into the first gen console (I'm having a hard enough time cramming everything into $50), but it is something to keep an eye on. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline Tzan

Junior Member





« Reply #34 - Posted 2004-11-22 15:25:22 »

When you say 50$ I think you mean the shelf price. That means with only 20% going to the retailer, you need to make the unit for 40$.
Offline jbanes

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« Reply #35 - Posted 2004-11-22 17:04:03 »

Quote
When you say 50$ I think you mean the shelf price. That means with only 20% going to the retailer, you need to make the unit for 40$.


Correct. And that's assuming we break even. If the consoles are sold at a profit, then the hardware must be even cheaper per unit. That's what what makes this such a challenge.

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline princec

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Medals: 367
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« Reply #36 - Posted 2004-11-22 17:24:05 »

Hm, you can barely get a nice bit of Lego these days for that sort of money... are you sure you're not being a tad unrealistic on the price of "toys" these days? I mean, this ain't no cuddly stuffed bunny or anything, it's a complex electric wotsit...

Cas Smiley

Offline Tzan

Junior Member





« Reply #37 - Posted 2004-11-22 17:30:45 »

I just bought the boardgame HeroScape a few days ago for $50.
Lots of nice plastic bits for designing other games with, if the game stinks. Smiley


http://www.hasbro.com/heroscape/
Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #38 - Posted 2004-11-22 17:46:49 »

Quote
Hm, you can barely get a nice bit of Lego these days for that sort of money... are you sure you're not being a tad unrealistic on the price of "toys" these days? I mean, this ain't no cuddly stuffed bunny or anything, it's a complex electric wotsit...


Thankfully, electronic wotsits are pretty cheap. Here's a list of potential parts from Digikey:

Smart Card Connector $0.91 - $2.47

USB Connector $0.95

FPGA $11.55

Those are just example parts. Some parts I have to make educated guesses about (e.g. SDRAM can be purchased on the consumer market for ~$4 for 32MB). Other parts we'll try to keep on the FPGA or ASIC. The more we can pack on the FPGA, the cheaper this thing should be. PCBs can also be manufactured dirt cheap (about $2.90 in 1000+ quantities).

In short, the $50 price range should be quite doable. The R&D to make these parts work together along with business deals to get cheaper parts (e.g. large quantities of FPGAs) is what's going to be difficult. FWIW, I'm working on both areas. I've already gotten licensing concessions for JOP, and I've started poking around with the VHDL in ISE Webpack. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline nonnus29

Senior Member




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #39 - Posted 2004-11-25 18:14:30 »

Heh, its the 'internet zeitgeist' or something.  I just recently discovered the hardware side computing via vhdl and fpga's as well.

Cas linked to xgame station; a couple of things are notable about that product.  1) it has a 16bit cpu  2) its primarily aimed at hobbiest and students and 3)  the community around it exploded as soon as it was announced.  They had an emulator and a port of the 'c for small devices' to it 6 months or more before the actual hardware was available.  Nehe even coded some demos for it iirc.  4)  Its early 80's level tech.

I think this toy concept of yours is interesting.   Have you considered the education market? ie 'Learn to program and make games in java on this nifty console!'

Oh, and here is a Dreamcast on a chip.
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Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


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« Reply #40 - Posted 2004-11-25 19:24:52 »

Quote
Heh, its the 'internet zeitgeist' or something.  I just recently discovered the hardware side computing via vhdl and fpga's as well.


Heh. :-) I think sudden movements like this are pretty normal, though. When you look at the software market (espeically the types of troubles EA is having as of late) and you look at the amazing advancements and price drops in the hardware field (300,000 logic cells for $12 an FPGA?! Sign me up!), it's fairly obvious where attention is going to shift.  In fact, all these changes mean that custom hardware may again be the best way to build computers and gaming machines. Just imagine a computer composed of two to four FPGAs instead of CPUs! The FPGAs could be dynamically reconfigured to meet whatever demands the user places on the system. It may even make new hardware widgets a thing of the past! Grin


Quote
Cas linked to xgame station; a couple of things are notable about that product.  ...  2) its primarily aimed at hobbiest and students and 3)  the community around it exploded as soon as it was announced.  ...  Nehe even coded some demos for it iirc.  4)  Its early 80's level tech.


Indeed. The XGameStation is a very popular item with the community. The biggest issue with it, however, is that they intentionally chose underpowered core components while chosing overpowering fringe components. That makes it a very interesting device to travel back in time with, but not such an interesting production platform.


Quote
I think this toy concept of yours is interesting.   Have you considered the education market? ie 'Learn to program and make games in java on this nifty console!'


Muy thoughts on the community are as you see them. i.e. To target a specific market and price point, but make the console open enough for the community to provide the games. :-)

Quote


Amazing how hardware keeps marching on, isn't it?

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline monkeyget

Senior Newbie





« Reply #41 - Posted 2004-11-27 09:01:58 »

Great project. I hope it'll succeed  Smiley
Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #42 - Posted 2004-11-30 10:35:11 »

@monkeyget: Thanks for the support! :-)

@everyone:  I was Christmas shopping for the kids this week and ran across a little console called "V-Smile". The V-Smile is basically a Super Nintendo equivalent that's targeted at the educational market. Its price is just outside of the JGC target price, as are the games. More info can be found at:

http://jgcwiki.datadino.com/jgcwiki/index.php?title=Similar_Products

I think this proves that a console with the planned specification and price point is actually quite feasible. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #43 - Posted 2004-11-30 11:29:34 »

Well, I just saw an ad on TV for a Barbie-console (yeah, the doll) for £50.

"plugs into the TV or works standalone as sound only, no graphics".

What you need to do is start watching (c)ITV between 15:50 and 16:50 each day Smiley.

/me admits only to watching "My parents are aliens" which is often considerably funnier than most "adult" sitcoms...I recently noticed quite a lot of dodgy jokes that I'm sure fly straight over the heads of anyone under 16.

I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it, but it's good to have in the background whilst waiting for stuff to happen (compiler, tea break, etc).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #44 - Posted 2004-11-30 12:41:51 »

Quote
Well, I just saw an ad on TV for a Barbie-console (yeah, the doll) for £50.

"plugs into the TV or works standalone as sound only, no graphics".


Hi Blah!

Do you by any chance mean this thing?

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=2276650&cat=103288&type=5&dept=4171&path=0%3A4171%3A119668%3A103288#long_descr

That's the closest thing I could find that matches your description. It doesn't appear to plug into the TV, though...

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline blahblahblahh

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http://t-machine.org


« Reply #45 - Posted 2004-11-30 13:58:54 »

Nope. It has a magnet-based graphics tablet (by the looks of the tv ad) with drop-in faceplates (each of which is just a piece of cardboard by the looks of things) so you can point and click on different areas.

This is the main unit, and it plugs into a TV to display what looks like a 5-bit or 8-bit vector image on the TV, and do animations etc in response to the pen/tablet actions.

For £50 you'd be looking at at least $50, if not more.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #46 - Posted 2004-11-30 16:08:44 »

Odd. That sounds a lot like the InteracTV system, but that's from Fisher-Price instead of Mattel. Next time you see the commercial, you'll have to take note of the product name. I'd love to find more info on the device. :-)

Java Game Console Project
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Offline Virum

Junior Member




Like a leaf in an icy world, memories will fade


« Reply #47 - Posted 2004-12-09 06:15:47 »

My uncle's very much into hardware (he's an EE), I'll show him this thread; he might be able to give suggestions or (unlikely, he's really busy) help.

It's time to prove to your friends that your worth a damn. Sometimes that means dying; sometimes that means killing a whole lotta people.

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Offline gojira

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #48 - Posted 2005-01-22 18:54:25 »

Very cool idea.  I'm going to have to check out the wiki.

Personally, I'd like to see it do just a bit more, like add a DVD player.  How do you get kids in the back seat to stay quiet?  Just plug in a video for em, ask any parent.

Add CD music playback too, and DreamCast style 3D graphics.  All for around US$75.   I think that'd work.

But the basic plan is way cool.  I hope something comes of this.

Offline jbanes

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Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #49 - Posted 2005-01-24 22:39:33 »

Quote
Personally, I'd like to see it do just a bit more, like add a DVD player.  How do you get kids in the back seat to stay quiet?  Just plug in a video for em, ask any parent.


As a parent, I can attest to this sort of feature. HOWEVER, that's a completely different market from what I'm targetting. You can already purchase a Playstation or portable DVD player to do the same thing.

Quote
Add CD music playback too, and DreamCast style 3D graphics.  All for around US$75.   I think that'd work.


The problem is that the console would stop competing with things like the Jakks controllers and the new Atari console, and start competing with the Playstation, XBOX, and GameCube. That is not a market JGC could win in.  

Not to mention that you can't add a DVD player and expect the complete console to remain at $75 or less. The drive mechanics + MPEG decoder chip + controller chips are pretty expensive. It would also complicate the design considerably. Instead of decompressing the entire datastream into memory, random access support would need to be added. :-/

Quote
Also, while the JOP looks cool, it's just a Ph.D. project. I'd recomend something like ARM instead. ASICS have bugs just like software, except bugs in hardware are MUCH worse than software bugs. I know, I use to test ASICS. Something like ARM is used widely and is more likely to be debugged than a one man project like JOP. Trust me on this.


I'm pretty close to dropping ASICs for FPGAs in the production design. The reason is that the Spartan 3s have actually gotten cheaper than low volume ASICs. This opens up quite a few possiblilties in the way of reconfiguring the hardware on the fly.

As for using an ARM, I have considered that. However, JOP already has a highly optimized JVM, which makes it a very valuable project. The ARM route would require a JVM from scratch (or expensive licensing of one). Programmers would question why they can't just program the ARM, and find a way to do exactly that.

Quote
But the basic plan is way cool.  I hope something comes of this.


Glad you like it. And keep the suggestions coming. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline sonicviz

Senior Newbie





« Reply #50 - Posted 2005-01-24 23:12:12 »

http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/09/02/news_6106533.html

• OS: Windows XP Embedded (customized)

Wonder if it runs Java...
Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #51 - Posted 2005-01-25 01:28:23 »

Quote
http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/09/02/news_6106533.html

• OS: Windows XP Embedded (customized)

Wonder if it runs Java...


Doesn't matter. With a 4.2 GHz CPU, up to 2GB of RAM, a Radeon 9200SE, and other PC goodies, I think it's just a little out of the price range I'm targetting. I'm thinking more along the lines of a 100MHz processor w/ 8mb of RAM and some custom graphics hardware. That will help keep the console in the $25-50 range. Nice thought, though. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline gojira

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #52 - Posted 2005-01-26 00:56:52 »

Quote
I'm pretty close to dropping ASICs for FPGAs in the production design. The reason is that the Spartan 3s have actually gotten cheaper than low volume ASICs. This opens up quite a few possiblilties in the way of reconfiguring the hardware on the fly.


Just curious: what's the top clock speed for these FPGAs?  The one's I've worked with were quite slow.  Maybe they've sped up?
Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #53 - Posted 2005-01-26 01:14:30 »

Quote


Just curious: what's the top clock speed for these FPGAs?  The one's I've worked with were quite slow.  Maybe they've sped up?


JOP can run on a Spartan 3 at about 87 MHz, and a Cyclone at ~100MHz. Xilnix claims the Spartan 3 can hit ~400MHz with the right pathways. The Virtex chips are WAY more powerful, but they're also WAY more expensive. :-)

EDIT: I looked up some of the standard propoganda for you.

http://www.xilinx.com/products/virtex4/overview/performance.htm
http://www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xil_prodcat_product.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&ioid=-8265&isoid=-19147&ipoid=120046&itype=2&iLanguageID=1&iCountryID=1&sSecondaryNavPick=Devices&sGlobalNavPick=PRODUCTS

As you probably know, the MHz and actual thoroughput depends on your chip design.

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 367
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #54 - Posted 2005-01-26 08:38:00 »

Could we get some kind of blitter in this thing cheaply? I expect that even at 30MHz a Java interpreter would be easily fast enough if it had a bit of help from hardware blitting.

Cas Smiley

Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #55 - Posted 2005-01-26 13:04:12 »

Quote
Could we get some kind of blitter in this thing cheaply? I expect that even at 30MHz a Java interpreter would be easily fast enough if it had a bit of help from hardware blitting.


Of course. In fact, the use of a hardware blitter was very much part of my Master Plan. Here's the evolution of concepts I've been going through:

1. Use hardware overlay for sprites. This is how a lot of Old Skool game machines did it. The background was the primary video signal, then the signal was modified for each sprite that needed to be laid down. That's why when the older game machines slowed down, the sprites would begin to flicker.

2. Use a framebuffer with pre-calculated YUV. The framebuffer would be fed through a standard set of accelerated 2D operations. (e.g. line, circle, image transform and blitting) The use of a framebuffer also means that an Alpha Channel could be added. This would allow for many of the effects that you use in PuppyGames.

3. Extend the 2D operations out to provide acceleration for basic 3D operations. A lot of the work would still have to be done in software, but a good chunk of the more expensive stuff could be moved to hardware. This is very similar to how early 3D cards functioned.

At this point, I'm 80% certain that I'll dump option 1 and go with option 2 or 3. Option 3 will be highly dependent on exactly how much I can fit into the Spartan 3 FPGA, and how much the functionality reduces the overall speed of the chip.

Hey, I just got an idea for a new contest. Instead of the "4K contest", we can do the "How much logic can you fit in a Spartan 3 contest?" It would be a real challenge. ;-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline gojira

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #56 - Posted 2005-01-26 13:58:27 »

Ok this looks very cool.  Even 50-60MHz would be good for a final product.

The hardware blitter is a good idea.  I'd ask for a descriptor chain (the ability get the hardware DMA to step through a simple list of sprites, rather than just one at a time) and stretch/scale transform for 2.5D games (think Space Harrier).  

Lines and cirlces are ok but normally I don't think a game uses these.

Oh, and a scrollable background.   Very important that one.  And maybe some sort of tiles for backgrounds too.  (Ie, scrolling bitmaps or tiles, in the same hardware.)

Ok, hehe, enough demands. Wink
Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #57 - Posted 2005-01-26 14:09:24 »

Quote
Ok this looks very cool.  Even 50-60MHz would be good for a final product.


Indeed. Once you reduce most expensive operations to one cycle, even a few megahertz starts to sound fast. :-)

Quote
The hardware blitter is a good idea.  I'd ask for a descriptor chain (the ability get the hardware DMA to step through a simple list of sprites, rather than just one at a time)


Actually, I was considering an opcode design like 3D cards use. That way you can build a memory queue between frames, and then use the VSync time to populate the YUV buffer. The "render to screen" clock would run at ~27 MHz, and would be independent of the main CPU clock. Gotta love how you can put parallel processing on the same FPGA. ;-)

Quote
and stretch/scale transform for 2.5D games (think Space Harrier).


Don't worry. That's what I meant by "image transformations". Besides, I want to code a Wing Commander clone one of these days!
 
Quote
Lines and cirlces are ok but normally I don't think a game uses these.


Poppycock. Primitives are extremely useful for various special effects. And 3D work is very much about screen primitives. I hope no one minds perspective affine texture mapping? :-)

Quote
Oh, and a scrollable background.   Very important that one.  And maybe some sort of tiles for backgrounds too.  (Ie, scrolling bitmaps or tiles, in the same hardware.)


Umm... yeah. I'll let the coder just rebuild the framebuffer every loop through. That should allow him to do whatever he wants. :-)

Quote
Ok, hehe, enough demands. Wink


It's always good to discuss these things. Otherwise I might forget something. :-)

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline CaptainJester

JGO Knight


Medals: 12
Projects: 2
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Make it work; make it better.


« Reply #58 - Posted 2005-05-24 09:15:38 »

Any new updates?

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