Uzebox

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Uzebox
Uze open console 01.jpg
Uzebox with a Super Famicom controller
Type Video game console
CPU ATMega644
Memory 4K
Storage SD/MicroSD
Input Joypad, mouse

The Uzebox is a retro-minimalist open source video game console design. It is based on an AVR 8-bit general-purpose microcontroller made by Atmel. The particularity of the system is that it uses an interrupt-driven kernel and has no frame buffer. Functions such as video sync generation, tile rendering, and music mixing is done realtime by a background task so games can easily be developed in C. The design goal was to be as simple as possible yet have good enough sound and graphics while leaving enough resources to implement interesting games. Emphasis was put on making it easy and fun to assemble and program for any hobbyists. The final design contains only two chips: an ATmega644 and an AD725 RGB-to-NTSC/PAL encoder.

The Uzebox was listed in Make Magazine's definitive open source hardware projects of 2009.[1]

Features[edit]

Uzebox prototype connected to a TV and showing a game
  • Low parts count and cost: The system is made of only two chips and discrete components.
  • Interrupt-driven kernel: No cycle counting required, sound mixing and video generation are all made in the background.
  • 256 colors: Accomplished by using a R-2R resistor ladder DAC.
  • 4 channels sound engine: The sound subsystem is composed of 3 wavetable channels and 1 noise or PCM channel.
  • MIDI In: With a music sequencer, allows the creation of music directly on the console.
  • Retro controllers: The joypad inputs uses standard NES/SNES controllers interface.
  • SNES Mouse Support.
  • SD/MicroSD card interface.
  • Expandable: I/O lines and peripherals are still available, like the UART and SPI port for one to experiment.
  • Emulator: A fully cycle-perfect emulator greatly eases development.
  • Gameloader (beta): Load and flash games stored on SD cards.
  • API: Develop games using an API that provides multiple video modes, sound driver and more.
  • Open source: The software and hardware design are totally free and licensed under the GPL.

Hardware Specifications[edit]

Uzebox AVCore's board described
  • CPU: ATmega644 microcontroller
  • Total RAM: 4K
  • Program Memory: 64K
  • Speed: 28.61818 MHz (Overclocked)
  • Colors: 256 colors arranged in a 3:3:2 color space (Red:3 bits, Green:3 bits, Blue: 2 bits)
  • Video output: NTSC Composite and S-Video
  • Sound: 8-bit mono, mixed at ~15 kHz and output via PWM
  • Inputs: Two NES/SNES compatible joypad inputs
  • External storage: SD/MicroSD
  • Options: MIDI-in interface

Implementations[edit]

Since its inception, the Uzebox design has been commercially implemented as the Fuzebox Do-It-Yourself kit[2] and the Uzebox AVCore, a fully assembled unit. In 2011 two further Do-It-Yourself kits released - the Uzebox DIY kit [3] and the EUzebox DIY kit with SCART output for the European market.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]