Drag'n'Derp: coming soon to an internet near you!
With the first hand-built carts in the wild for some time now, large-scale release is approaching.
There's still a couple of manufacturing issues to sort out, but I'm hoping to offer the first batch of 100 carts in mid-May. Stay tuned for details!
I'm Not Dead
and so neither is the cartridge project - I've just been really busy.
I'm currently assembling resources for batch fabrication. The latest batch of PCBs is AWOL, and I'm waiting on various other things. Nonetheless, aiming to have a batch out around the end of October.
Also, adding a firmware feature to support drag'n'drop firmware updates. Stay tuned!
Drag'n'Derp lives! Tags: cart hardware
So, no update on this for a while; real life has been keeping me busy.
Nonetheless, I have found some time recently to get another tranche of work done on the cart design, to the point of having a couple of working prototypes now in testing.
What is it?
I'm building a new Gameboy cartridge. Not GBA, not DS, original Gameboy.
Why? Because a lot of people still use them, in particular for creating music with software like Johan Kotlinski's LSDj. And to do this, you need a flashable cartridge.
Currently available carts need custom drivers to talk to a computer, and for many types, a cart reader device. This limits their compatibility, and the drivers tend to be poorly maintained after release, too.
Another issue is that all current carts use battery-backed RAM to save user data to - read: music that artists have spent many hours on. These batteries can last ten years in a well-designed system - from the date of manufacture, putting a lifespan on the cartridge and leading to scary reliability issues as they age.
24MBit (3MByte) flash ROM
1MBit (128KByte) Ferroelectric RAM
Instead of battery-backed SRAM, the cart uses F-RAM, which maintains its contents in the absence of power, and has a data retention span on the order of a hundred years.
USB mass storage emulation
The cart appears similar to a thumb drive, allowing ROM and RAM contents to be copied via drag and drop. No drivers are required, and supports all USB-capable platforms.
These features are provisional. This is not a multi-boot or multi-file cartridge.
So some prototypes are up, and being tested; this cart is real, and it is coming.
And here's a video of the fabrication of one of the prototypes, courtesy of Tom Gilmore!