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Creating a game system from scratch. Where to start

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Quantum99k, Feb 15, 2014.

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  1. Quantum99k


    Feb 15, 2014
    I am trying to make a game system from scratch. Sure i can just get a small laptop motherboard and slap a screen on it but doesn't really seem like i accomplished anything by attaching a screen to a mother board.

    I would like to know where do I start. I already have a couple of programmers and a game is currently underway.
    I have the processor
    I have the Screen
    the touch interface.
    the controller/ casing designed.
    and the specs i would like for this

    the problems are i don't have a gpu currently. but i have a good idea of what i would like.
    if i knew how to piece motherboards together, or even if i knew what parts to connect together to get the desired effect,I would, but i don't know how. how would i go about doing this. everywhere I've look everyone is just putting everyone down. saying just make it for windows or linux. I'm tired of the half baked answers and want some result, some leads on where to start.

    If anyone could please help I would greatly appreciate it
  2. Laplace


    Apr 4, 2010
    If most people seem unwilling or unable to provide 'good' advice for your endeavor it is probably because they all get their processor, display screen, touch interface, controller, and GPU integrated together within a casing by going to Best Buy, Staples, or Walmart and purchasing an integrated product already bundled with Windows. Of course, one does not actually have to use the Windows if you would prefer to do the hardcore device programming yourself. Good luck with that.
  3. Xenophotean


    Jun 22, 2013
    So if I understand you correctly, you would like to build a machine with a custom operating system that will play video games?

    There is a very fundamental problem with your approach. You want to create a video game and not a machine, right?

    Operating systems are platforms to build upon. People are telling you Windows and Linux because you would spend a lot more time (I am talking years, if not decades) writing a custom operating system for a custom device that would play 3D or even 2D rendered games.

    This is because engineers that wrote the drivers for these operating systems spent a lot of their time getting their hardware to work with Windows and Linux, and did not have in mind that someone would re-purpose their product. For example, most people do not like to go out and buy a product like a USB game pad, take it home, then program a driver for it. So instead the idea is to use a platform like windows and build upon it, supplying the user with the software they need to get their product running as it was intended to run.

    I offer you an alternative that seems more plausible.

    Frankenstein'ing' together a machine from parts off a site like You can find a motherboard to accept the processor you have, and RAM for the mother board. You can find a graphics card with the GPU you would like that will fit in your mother board. Then you could create a custom case to house all of the other peripherals you spoke of.

    When you have it all set up, You can slap on windows or linux and start the real hard part, programming the game ><.
  4. Quantum99k


    Feb 15, 2014
    i would like to make the machine not the game.although we do still have a game under way for the pc. and even if it takes years i'm up for it. Also its not a major operating system like windows. just one to launch games and listen and play some media. Me buying some parts off newegg then piecing it together give me no sense of accomplishment. a simple os like steam will do i. however it still needs drivers the utilize the machine potential and play the game to its fullest.\

    thanks though
  5. Xenophotean


    Jun 22, 2013
    O.K. now that I understand you better. You are looking to build almost like an OUYA?

    Bigger scale?

    You could build an arm based product. Something like the Tegra 4 would be next in line processor wise. (OUYA uses the Tegra 3) I think that would be right in-line with what you are thinking.

    Something like the OUYA runs a custom android operating system which is just Linux 'under-the-hood' when it boils down to it. (Linux's cousin)

    (Steam is a program, not an operating system, which runs on Windows and Linux and Mac which is again basically like Linux's step-brother)

    You could look into making your own derivative/distribution to Linux? This will allow you to layer your own User Interface on top of Linux, you could have it boot to this? Kind of like the OUYA does or like a raspberry pi with emulation station on it?

    Queue the saintly music.
  6. donkey


    Feb 26, 2011
    ok time for some reverse engineering,
    if you want to know how its done find one and pull it apart. figure out what each part does, every single part too don't forget a capacitor, resistor or chip.
    next step is an operating system and you have to know your board back to front so that you can get it to run smoothly.
    sit down and figure out what you want, processing speed, graphics, ram etc.
    now if its a high end game goto PC and stay there, I can always run compatability mode if need be. if you are trying to make something for anti piracy, goto sony and sell your idea as they will pay for something that works.
    the gaming industry has lots of systems that went nowhere. my best gaming system to date is the Raspberry pi as I can play all my nes, snes, master system mega drive games on one item and it cost me a total of $50AU.
    last but not least, open source. if you get a community of opensourcers going you will find people willing to contribute. the issue here is once you open source something people can make it at home, however Arduino and raspberry Pi did this and still make a living of it and the following is getting bigger daily.
    coming out soon will be more and more computers and $100 that get faster and faster. if you are seriously going to make ONLY a gaming console than good luck, but is you make an experimenters computer with GPIO ports so we can send you back cool projects then by all means let me know how you go.
    last and not least, is coding. now Microsoft, Nintendo, apple and Sony all have different OS's . yours will be a 6th (remember microssoft has 2). you will start of with only your games and no one elses so why would I buy a console that has 3 games and may take a year before a 4th is out when I can buy any of the others that came out with 10 (in sony's case they were really bad though) and promise at least 1 new game per month? not including their online stores add to that your console won't have the rights for cool games like Titanfall, or Battlefield etc
    then PC have indie developers releasing games all the time like CNC renegade-x which is due out later this month for PC and totally free....... I mean you have to come up with something huge to bite into that market, or go the opposite way and go open source then when people make it at home and have fun with friends on their own games they will have something no other game developer has offered so far (excluding gary's mod which is weird)
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009

    Sorry to be really blunt .... but if you dont understand any of what you wrote that I quoted, then you really have somewhere between zero and none at all chance of accomplishing what you desire.
    Its pretty obvious by your questions and responses that you have very little electronics experience. You really need to spend many years at university studying microprocessor and assoc I/O systems.

    Once you have done those years of study, you wont have to ask those questions because you will hopefully be educated enough to realise the complexity of what you are considering

    Your grand scheme type project is a common thing seen on the forums around the internet, where people think they can throw a few IC's, resistors and capacitors together and produce some wonderful machine. It just doesnt happen that way

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  8. donkey


    Feb 26, 2011
    ok an extension of what dave is saying is what do you want? antialiasing? 1gb dedicated? what processor is it that you are using?
    now the basic PC uses x86 chips(someone is going to correct me I know) but the pi that is a 700mhz computer uses a different cpu from the ARM family. as such certain things just can't happen easily for example windows does not run on the pi, Linux in its native form does not work either, also I cannot just hook up a graphics card and have it work.
    figure out what you want from the GPU, figure out what processor you are going to use it on, then you need someone to put it all together.
    the main processors of different computers work different ways.
    imagine 2 power plants one is wind the other coal..... yeah sure I can swap a few things between them but overall they are totally different so each needs its own specific parts even though they both do the same thing: produce electricity.
    you may need to find a community of electronic engineers that are willing to spend some time training you. but right now all we know is you want a gpu.
    right now what you have may be 4 things from different systems. just because they are all gaming systems does not mean they go together. try playing an XBOX game on a Playstation.

    You tell us so very little, yes you have a processor, and a screen and this and that..... but you have not told us things like TYPE OF PROCESSOR, HOW IT CONNECTS TO SCREEN, VOLTAGE REQUIREMENTS and on top of all of that you will also need someone to design the board that makes the whole thing interact. so even if you have the processor, the mother board is still not up. so how can we tell what to put where?
    you seriously need to sit down with an electronics engineer or 3 (they cost money) and go through the whole thing with them. There are places called hackerspaces(and a myriad of others) that you can go to and talk to students studying a wide variety of subjects. These will include electronic engineering. They may be able to put you on the right path.
    now from a designers experience get ready to be told what you have is an empty glass, remember this though, just because the glass is empty does not mean you have nothing, you have the capacity to fill that glass. Your idea is an empty glass right now. you will need to sit down with someone who knows EXACTLY what they are doing and get them to help fill the cup til you have something you can give to the general public.
    if you get really stuck for what you need sit down and read specifications on gaming consoles. these include but are not limited to:
    processor speed, model number and chipset needed
    RAM type and how much
    STORAGE being SSD simple hard drive, blu ray, USB etc etc etc
    Graphical requirements
    all of these things MATTER. and as you appear to have very little knowledge about electronics I would suggest you listen to those that you meet and gather information. I highly doubt you will be able to do any of this with the people you currently have unless you are hiding the fact one of them is an EE.
    I have had many ideas over the years and while a few of them remain on the drawing board none of them were ever done totally by myself. I think of a concept and then google my heart away trying to improve on it, I ask friends if it seems simple and I usually give a few friends a sample to try and break... I mean test it lol
    Best of luck with this project and I hope to see the Quantum system out sometime before 2020... but unless you listen to the engineers on this site or others... it will be something to put on the drawing board and leave.

    There is a lot of referrals to the raspberry Pi in my responses. now these guys started building something in their basement and got it working. they play Doom on it and its a slow but very small board. I am not kidding its quite fun to play with and they sell for bout $50.
    THE REASON I MENTION THIS is because it is something they sat down and designed and put together and had a lot of time to play with. so maybe an email to their company which seems to be a very open group of developers might put you onto a track that will end up getting what you want.
    BEFORE EMAILING THEM put together an overall idea. what you have presented me so far is very limited, and as a designer I am telling you no one will look at this. put together what you want, tell them you want to play call of duty 3 type games with the same graphics and frames per second. tell them you want load times to be minimal. tell them you want games like planetside where you can travel from one side to the other of a country (bout 200km) without load times hindering playtime. TELL US WHAT YOU WANT. this is called a design.... unfortunately what you have given us so far is an idea. you really need to give an overall design and tell us WHAT DO YOU WANT IT TO DO?
    if all you want is a gaming system then I got an N64 here you can have..... dunno if it'll work but hey going of what you told me so far there is as much chance it will work as the chance it won't
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