Gameduino 3X Dazzler

by Excamera Labs

An Arduino shield with a GPU, FPGA, HDMI, and Python support for gaming and audiovisuals

$3,188 raised

of $10,000 goal

32% Funded

Pledge Now

$39

Dazzler Arduino Shield

A single Dazzler, ready to work with your Arduino or Arduino-like.


$89

Dazzler Python Game Pack

A Dazzler Arduino Shield, an Adafruit Metro M4, a 16 GB microSD card, and two Wii Classic-compatible controllers.


$99

Dazzler Core Pack

Three Dazzler Core modules, and a 0.1" adapter board for easier prototyping.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Geeky Gadgets

"A new Arduino shield will soon be launching via the Crowd Supply website offering an easy way to add a wealth of features to your next Arduino gaming project. "

The Gameduino 3X Dazzler is an Arduino-compatible shield that outputs HD picture and sound to any HDMI display or TV.

The Dazzler is ideal for game designers using Arduino or CircuitPython, makers who want rich, responsive data and text visualizations, and anyone who wants superb visuals for their Arduino project.

The graphics and sound are generated by a powerful BT815 EVE embedded GPU. The shield also has two Wii Classic ports for a plug-and-play game console. With an easy-to-use graphics drawing API and dozens of samples and demos to use as starting points, it’s by far the most powerful Arduino games system available today.

Every aspect of the design is open source and hackable:

  • the PCB design
  • the Verilog code for the HDMI, J1 CPU and system peripherals
  • the J1 CPU running on the FPGA
  • the J1's firmware that drives the Dazzler's extra features

The board itself has additional "hacking" interfaces: a JTAG port for FPGA reloading, and a UART header for direct chat with the onboard FPGA. Its unique combination of tightly-coupled GPU and FPGA opens up new creative possibilities. As a truly open platform, the Dazzler can be anything you want it to be.

Features & Specifications

  • 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
    • The shield includes the Dazzler Core, which is an SMD module that includes GPU, FPGA, and HDMI
  • Hardware interfaces:
    • Standard SPI up to 36 MHz for Arduino communication
    • UART up to 1 Mbps for FPGA connection
    • JTAG for FPGA reloading
    • All inputs are 5 V tolerant
  • Programming: Gameduino library for Arduino and CircuitPython. Dozens of examples.
  • Terminal mode: functions as an ANSI terminal with high-speed UART
  • Current consumption (typical): 180 mA
  • Dimensions: 83 mm x 53 mm x 20 mm

The BT815 GPU

The open source GD library drives the onboard FT815 GPU. This GPU is a state-of-the-art embedded video engine, with:

  • 32-bit internal color precision
  • OpenGL-style command set
  • up to 2000 sprites - sprites can be any size
  • 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
  • hardware support for JPEG, PNG and ASTC images
  • AVI format video playback
  • built-in rendering of gradients, text, dials and buttons

The Dazzler Core

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

Terminal Mode

The Dazzler also has a Terminal Mode. In this mode 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. It’s incredibly useful for debug and information displays, and of course requires no graphics programming at all.

Pledge Packages

Dazzler Arduino Shield

The "Dazzler Arduino Shield" is the shield, ready to work with your Arduino or Arduino-like.

Dazzler Python Game Pack

The "Dazzler Python Game Pack" is everything you need to get immediate games action in Python. The powerful Adafruit Metro M4 is is ready-loaded with the Gameduino library and sample games. It includes two Wii-classic compatible controllers and a 16 GB microSD card pre-loaded with Gameduino graphics.

Dazzler Core Pack

For makers who want to gets hands on with Dazzler’s unique combination of embedded GPU and FPGA, the "Dazzler Pro Pack" includes three Dazzler core modules, plus a 0.1" breakout board for easier protyping. An early version is pictured above; final version will have two rows of 0.1" holes for breadboard or jumper connections.

Open Source Hardware, Firmware, Software

Manufacturing Plan

PCB manufacture and assembly is being handled by Boktech in Shenzhen, who did such a great job on SPIDriver, I²CDriver, and Gameduino 3X. Orders will be placed with Boktech right after the campaign closes. As always, we do the final programming, calibration and testing of every unit here in Pescadero, USA.

Risks & Challenges

The designs have been prototyped through multiple iterations. The firmware has been tested with fanatical thoroughness. This mitigates a lot of the risk. The remaining risk is in manufacturing execution:

  • There is some risk that the PCBs could be mis-manufactured
  • There is some risk of component shortages, which will hold up

production.

These are generally the same issues that may occur with any PCBA fabrication. Should any issues arise that would set back ship dates, backers will be informed via project updates.

Funding ends on Oct 29, 2020 at 04:59 PM PDT (11:59 PM UTC)


Credits

Excamera Labs


James Bowman

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