Hey guys I'm sure many of you read Slashdot, and you may have seen the article about the XGameStation. Now I have never done any electronices programming (not even sure if this is considered electronics) and am just now finishing my first book on x86 Assembly. So I'm wondering, before I buy that, is it worth that much money or worth getting even at all? I realize that it's somewhat "retro" in it's capabilities, but I think it's neat to program on a "Super Atari 2600". What do you guys think?

P.S. - At the time of this posting the website for XGameStation wasn't working, but it's a $200 device basically like an Atari 2600 with a little more "umph".
Posted on 2004-08-26 19:18:52 by DaRetard
The price seems kind of steep. But we will need to know more to make certain that the price is justifiable.
Posted on 2004-08-26 20:01:21 by x86asm
Not sure if this justifies the price, but I forgot to mention that it comes with 3 e-books. One for learning how to program ASM for the device, one for Windows Graphics Programming (supposedly helps with learning the basics of graphics), and the other I can't remember. It also comes with the assembler, an emulator for PC, and a "replica Atari Joystick". Again since the site is currently down that's from memory ;)

*EDIT: I just visited the site and it's once again up :)
Posted on 2004-08-26 21:50:05 by DaRetard
The price is par for hardware development kits for microcontrollers. And the XGS is packaged like one. The price range of the dev kits I'm interested in run from US$200 to US$500.

The XGS sports a microcontroller that's software compatible with the Microchip PIC 16F54. But the Ubicom (formerly Scenix) chip runs much faster than the ones Microchip sells.
Posted on 2004-08-26 23:47:59 by tenkey
Sounds like a cool device, but uses an 8-bit microcontroller at 80MIPS. I think I would wait for the ARM7 based version of this thing. Very impressive though :-D
Posted on 2004-08-28 14:18:36 by x86asm
Well me being the n00b that I am, I had no idea what "ARM7" was so I googled and found this. So it's basically just a 32-bit microprocessor? This would make programming a little bit more complex would it not? And just a quick question--is MIPS "Million Instructions Per Second"? Thanks for all the help ;)
Posted on 2004-08-29 16:05:16 by DaRetard
you'd best try programming on PalmOS devices:
- they're cheap. The one I have here is $300, and there are devices for $200 that can be bought second-hand for $50 (or even cheaper at an auction site).
- they have 320x320 16-bit color graphics
- programming on them is really easy - asm, C, C++, Java, Pascal, Basic; upload to device is just a few seconds
- the instruction set is really easy, the cpu is little-endian and you can develop games on Windows with DDraw, then easily port them
- the GCC compiler is cool, and you can set up Visual Studio as your IDE!
- you can easily sell any games you've made - and people want games
- even really simple games like packman can sell. The company I work for sell a Karateka port :)
- the cpus are 100, 140 and 400 MHz and most instructions take 1 cycle... so you've got a lot of power in your hands
- you can use .wav and stream custom-generated sound during your game, and you can even stream mp3s if you manage to port an mp3 decoder


Though, there are several issues that keep most of the coders from this "gold mine", but I managed to fix them (and I keep these fixes for the company). And I can help you with that (share the fixes).
- there's no startup code published anywhere, that will launch native ARM code. The applications start as running in Motorola 68000 cpu -mode (emulated), and everyone's gotta make their own shell in order to use the 100MHz cpu... funny. Actually, there are 2 such shells published, that really don't work as one should expect.
- the assembler is only one - GAS. The GAS syntax is horrible, so I made a macro preprocessor to boost development.

I myself am making a 3D game in my spare time (however scarce it is) :oops:
Posted on 2004-08-29 17:06:04 by Ultrano
Ultrano,

thank god you don't have to program for Symbian OS (i.e: N-Gage).
now thats one OS ppl should have need to think before designed.
sure you code in C/C++/ASM and can use VC IDE -> GCC, but the way they designed the 'apis' and resources sux soo much i could kick them in thier arses.

Palm (windows cd) is cool cuz its still windows alike programming so i could adapt easily.

btw,
Karateka ownz!!
Posted on 2004-08-29 17:12:02 by wizzra
lol, whata coincidence, I just got a Palm VII (Motorola 68000/68328 based @ 16Mhz) with 2MB RAM for like $9 (I'm like so cheap so ehh why not). I am trying to code for it too, though my handheld is pretty old, but nonetheless it was only $9 :D
Posted on 2004-08-31 16:22:57 by x86asm
Well me being the n00b that I am, I had no idea what "ARM7" was so I googled and found this. So it's basically just a 32-bit microprocessor? This would make programming a little bit more complex would it not? And just a quick question--is MIPS "Million Instructions Per Second"? Thanks for all the help ;)

Ya the ARM7 is a 32-bit microprocessor, a bit easier to code games for since you have to utilize a lot of variables whilst microcontrollers were designed for minimalist applications. The ArM7 would open a fairly large door of new opportunities!
Posted on 2004-08-31 16:25:44 by x86asm
you'd best try programming on PalmOS devices:
- they're cheap. The one I have here is $300, and there are devices for $200 that can be bought second-hand for $50 (or even cheaper at an auction site).
- they have 320x320 16-bit color graphics
- programming on them is really easy - asm, C, C++, Java, Pascal, Basic; upload to device is just a few seconds
- the instruction set is really easy, the cpu is little-endian and you can develop games on Windows with DDraw, then easily port them
- the GCC compiler is cool, and you can set up Visual Studio as your IDE!
- you can easily sell any games you've made - and people want games
- even really simple games like packman can sell. The company I work for sell a Karateka port :)
- the cpus are 100, 140 and 400 MHz and most instructions take 1 cycle... so you've got a lot of power in your hands
- you can use .wav and stream custom-generated sound during your game, and you can even stream mp3s if you manage to port an mp3 decoder


Though, there are several issues that keep most of the coders from this "gold mine", but I managed to fix them (and I keep these fixes for the company). And I can help you with that (share the fixes).
- there's no startup code published anywhere, that will launch native ARM code. The applications start as running in Motorola 68000 cpu -mode (emulated), and everyone's gotta make their own shell in order to use the 100MHz cpu... funny. Actually, there are 2 such shells published, that really don't work as one should expect.
- the assembler is only one - GAS. The GAS syntax is horrible, so I made a macro preprocessor to boost development.

I myself am making a 3D game in my spare time (however scarce it is) :oops:


Thanks for all that info :). The thing that makes the XGS appeal to me, however, is the fact that it is vintage. I'm not looking to make high-tech games for windows. I'm looking to learn a little bit about electronics and remake some old classics along the way. So although the Palm sounds pretty neat/easy, I think I may go with the XGS simply because it isn't as powerful and I can learn about basic electronics along the way :)
Posted on 2004-09-02 07:57:21 by DaRetard