Open-Source Arduino Shield with a GPU, FPGA, HDMI, and Python Support for Hassle-free Game Designing Experience

Published  September 22, 2020   0
Gameduino 3X Dazzler Arduino Shield by Excamera Labs

Gameduino 3X Dazzler by Excamera Labs is an Arduino shield open-source, easy-to-use, and completely hackable audiovisual platform designed for game designing using Arduino or CircuitPython and projects that require high text visualizations. The shield comprises a BT815 GPU, a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, an HDMI port, and two Wii Classic ports that give users the experience of a plug-and-play game console.

The shield also has two Wii Classic ports for a plug-and-play game console. The graphics and sound in Gameduino 3X Dazzler are generated by a powerful BT815 EVE embedded GPU. An easy-to-use graphics drawing API and numerous samples and demos to be used as starting points; this is by definitely breaking the grounds and proving to be the most powerful Arduino gaming systems.

From PCB design to Verilog code for the HDMI, J1 CPU and system peripherals, J1 CPU running on the FPGA, and J1's firmware that drives the Dazzler's extra features, every aspect of the design is open source and easily hackable. JTAG port for FPGA reloading and a UART header for a direct chat with the onboard FPGA is the additional hacking interfaces. It’s a unique combination of tightly-coupled GPU and FPGA opens up new creative possibilities.

Gameduino 3X Dazzler is a core module with 2 mm castellated pins and includes the FPGA, GPU, and HDMI output. The core module is joined to a shield adapter board for Dazzler Arduino Shield, and for people who want to make use of the Dazzler directly, the core itself is made available.

The Dazzler has a Terminal Mode in which it listens on a serial line and simulates an ANSI full-color terminal. This mode shows your Arduino text output on a large-screen monitor. This helps in debugging and information displays, without any graphics programming.

There is an open-source GD library that drives the onboard FT815 GPU. This GPU is a state-of-the-art embedded video engine with32-bit internal color precision, OpenGL-style command set, up to 2000 sprites (varying sizes), 1 megabyte of video RAM, 8 megabytes of attached flash, smooth sprite rotate and zoom with bilinear filtering, smooth circle, and line drawing in hardware (16x antialiased). Adding to the list are hardware support for JPEG, PNG, and ASTC images, AVI format video playback, and built-in rendering of gradients, text, dials, and buttons.

Key Features and Technical Specifications of Gameduino 3X Dazzler

  • GPU: BT815 1.1 gigapixel/s embedded GPU with 8 Mbyte flash
  • FPGA: Xilinx Spartan-6 LX9 FT256 with 8 Mbyte flash
  • Video output: HDMI 24-bit at 1280x720 (720p) with 48 kHz stereo audio
  • Storage: microSD slot
  • Extra input: Two Wii Classic controller ports
  • Form-factor: Gameduino 3X Dazzler is an Arduino-compatible shield. It includes the Dazzler Core, which is an SMD module that includes GPU, FPGA, and HDMI
  • Hardware interfaces: These include standard SPI up to 36 MHz for Arduino communication, UART up to 1 Mbps for FPGA connection, JTAG for FPGA reloading, and all the inputs are 5 V tolerant
  • Programming: Gameduino library for Arduino and CircuitPython with numerous examples.
  • Terminal mode: It functions as an ANSI terminal with high-speed UART
  • Current consumption (typical): 180 mA
  • Dimensions: 83 mm x 53 mm x 20 mm