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They Call Me Mr. Chips--A Question About IC's

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Pete Holland Jr., Oct 26, 2005.

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  1. Hey, everybody!

    This is going to be a long message, but I'm doing it so you can see the
    scope (or lack thereof) of the project I have in mind.

    When I was a kid, I wanted my own video arcade game. Naturally, lack of
    funds and being underage made that a pipe dream. Lately, I've been looking
    at people who make cabinets to house computers running the MAME program and
    getting their own arcade games. My Plan B is to simply code the game, load
    it onto my old P100, stick it and my old 256 color monitor in a cabinet,
    and bingo! My own custom arcade game. But my Plan A has my curiosity, and
    I need advice from people who know electronics.

    In those old days as a kid, I came up with a solution to building a custom
    video game without it being so expensive--I would use LED's like in the
    handheld games I played. My autoracing game, for example, used 24 LED's,
    in a 3X8 field. Crude, but it got the point across, and it was fun. There
    is a genre of games called impulse games that are along the lines of what
    I'm thinking of. My local video store has a Simon-type game. Four
    flashing lights, repeat so much of the sequence and you get a free rental.
    Also, I don't know if you remember "wall games", which used a series of
    lamps to indicate what was going on. I remember a baseball one at a
    Shakey's Pizza I went to as a kid. Long story short, the game could work
    along those lines. No complex displays, which makes the machine more
    flexible as far as size goes. Basically, a king size version of the games
    you find playing baseball or Tetris in the toy aisle.

    The problem is this: I expect I'm going to need custom IC's for the game
    logic and controlling sounds, the display, reading the controller, etc.
    Admittedly, you can get an Athlon for less than $100, but they made
    millions of those and could spread out the expense. I'm looking at only a
    few (just in case I fry one or two during construction), and small custom
    jobs are usually more expensive. Is this idea cost prohibitive ("Sure, we
    can make them, but the minimum order is 1,000")? Also, my own electronics
    skills are very basic. Is this idea too ambitious?

    The Plan B would be more satisfying, but Plan A is a childhood dream, and
    you know how tough those are to let go. What do you think?

    Dobre utka,
    Pete Holland Jr.

    Beware of programmers carrying screwdrivers.
  2. Dan Hollands

    Dan Hollands Guest

    It is not clear why you would need any custom IC's

    With the wide variety of microprocessor, microcontroller, and programmable
    logic arrays (PLA), I can't imagine what you need that would have to be
    custom. Todays programmable chips pretty well eliminate the need for custom
    ICs for digital purposes in small volume applications.

    Dan Hollands
    1120 S Creek Dr
    Webster NY 14580
  3. Like an FPGA, or a CPLD. Have a dodge around the xilinx website
    (see older Xilinx devices if you're after 5V compatibility) - you really
    don't need a Gigahertz beast to make what you describe. You'd have to learn
    a programming language to get them going, but once you have that under your
    belt you can forget about ASIC.
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