This page is a log of the progress made in the design and construction of the Game Man system. Please e-mail me with comments and questions about the Game Man, I would love to hear your feedback.
9.23.05 - 9:25am
It's the project that won't die! The GameMan has somehow come back into the internet spotlight after being featured on boingboing.net. This site has had a huge traffic surge the last few days, and fortunately, the server has held out fine so far.
For anyone in Canada, get your DVR's fired up as apparently the GameMan will be featured on a show called the Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. Wow!
And just an update for anyone who is curious, the GameMan is still living. It rests peacefully in a corner of my own home and continues to be quite the conversation piece for anyone who stops by and sees it.
5.7.03 - 9:48am
The GameMan made it's appearance in Electronic Gaming Monthly in the June 2003 Issue. You can see the article in the pic below (i'll get some better scans up soon):
There's been a renewed interest in the GameMan over the past several weeks, I even got some interest from FHM magazine, but they decided not to run a story since Maxim already ran it and they are competitors.
In other news there are two big video games related items:
1. I'm going to E3 this year! Hooray! I'll be there all three days working in the mornings at the Capcom booth. If you're going to be there, stop by and say Hi!
2. I'm working on a new monster video game project. Presenting: Cocktail Arcade at the Loungespot.
3.13.03 - 11:55pm
Believe it or not, the GameMan is back in the spotlight. Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine is doing an article that will feature the GameMan. They are actually sending out a photographer, and rented a studio space for a photo shoot. The shoot is tomorrow afternoon, so I spent a couple of hours tonight cleaning the 'ol GameMan up and redoing some of the labels on the cartridges. The GameMan looks as good as it did when it was completed one year ago. It's kinda hard to believe that it's a year old and still getting media attention. Anyway, tomorrow should be exciting, I'll post pictures from the shoot on this website early next week!
10.30.02 - 1:42pm
The GameMan will be making it's second public appearance ever this Friday at the C-level lab in Los Angeles as part of the Memefest event. If you want to see it the GameMan in person and have a chance to play it, this is your chance!
9.21.02 - 5:38pm
Well, Maxim magazine finally printed the feature on the GameMan. I must admit I wasn't really that impressed, but hey, you can't argue with publicity on a scale as large as Maxim. It's still pretty cool. I've been reading a lot of posts on various message boards where people are commenting about the reality of the GameMan. To confirm for everyone: Yes, it is real. Yes, it works and is fully playable. If you still have any doubts, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me about it.
View the blurb in Maxim October 2002
7.29.02 - 10:22am
The GameMan made it's first appearance in a magazine this month. It was featured in the Official Nintendo Magazine in the United Kingdom. Click the links below to see the article.
- The cover
- The table of contents
- Second listing
- The actual article
Keep your eyes open for the October issue of Maxim magazine for it's next article!
5.14.02 - 11:13am
The GameMan has been living peacefully in my living room for the past few months, it makes quite the conversation piece. I received an A+ as my grade for it as my senior project.
There has however, been a very interesting recent development. A writer for Maxim magazine contacted me a few weeks ago, and expressed interest in using the GameMan as part of an article about 'video-game inspired art.' I have since talked to him on the phone and submitted several pictures of the GameMan. He tells me that it is currently being reviewed by the editors. As soon as I hear more about this, including what issue it will be featured in, I will be sure to let know.
3.29.02 - 10:35am
I've added a bunch of new pictures on the 'Play It' page, as well as a guestbook. Go ahead and sign it!
3.26.02 - 11:54am
I've updated the entire "Build It" page. All of the original images are back, and now thumbnailed for your viewing ease. Check it out! Should a flood of web traffic ever return, the server should be a bit more ready this time for it. There's also a new pic on the "What is It?" page of the GameMan in action.
I will also have many new pictures posted within a week, including pictures from the GameMan's first public showing at UCSD.
3.23.02 - 2:45pm
For those of you who have managed to find the new home of the GameMan... welcome! After the enormous flood of traffic that killed the old GameMan website, as well as my own, I have setup a permanent place for the GameMan here at the LoungeSpot. Sorry, but I don't have pictures up right now, they will be coming soon.
The big show was last Monday night, and everybody loved the GameMan. I got a ton of positive feedback from all kinds of people, and I am very pleased with how everything went. A big thanks to everyone who's put in so much time and help for this project. Stay tuned for further updates, pictures, and news about the GameMan!
3.14.02 - 11:01am
I just realized something. I'm 23 years old. I've been in college for 5 years. What do I have to show for it? A huge giant gameboy art project. Whoa! Coooooool.
3.14.02 - 9:11am
It's getting closer. The project is due on the 18th, I only have a few days left. I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon working on it. The software is complete, I added a secret page with 17 extra gameboy games to play. I also dissambled the entire computer and got the whole thing mounted inside the Gameman. It's pretty crazy how I mounted it to make sure that everything will fit, but so far, it looks like it'll work. Remaining tasks: Wire buttons togeter. Mount button assemblies. Wire and mount power socket. Mount lables to cartridges. Buy cloth to cover speaker holes, and line the game cartridge slot. Build a display stand. That's really about it. I spent a good hour last night playing my Gameman. It's really quite the impressive sight to see this huge Gameboy with the screen in it and working and playing games. It's actually pretty damn fun too.
Anyway, the final push is here! Next update, I should be able to annouce the completion of the Gameman and details of it's first public showing.
3.11.02 - 8:26am
For the third time, the weekend's goals were met. Everything got painted! I'm pretty surprised at this point to see how well everything is coming together. It's not perfect by any means, but for something created mainly with backyard tools, it's not too damn bad. I've installed the monitor and played through it's first test run in the box last night. It was really exciting. I haven't posted the pictures from the weekend yet, you can expect to see them in a few days. It's going to be extremely busy from here on out, the project is due on March 18th! That's only SEVEN days!
3.4.02 - 8:14am
Not too much to say other then it was another successful weekend. Again, I set out with lofty goals and actually was able to meet each of my goals for the weekend. The main body is ready for painting next weekend. Check out the build it page to see the latest images of the Gameman!
2.25.02 - 8:28am
It was a very busy weekend! I set out with the goal of getting the entire frame and body built by the end of the weekend. Amazingly, somehow, I met my goal. And I am very happy with the results so far.
One of the reasons that we were able to get SO much done this weekend was planning. I spent a few evenings last week working hard on my AutoCAD drawing. I created detailed drawings for each piece, each layer of the system. I knew that if I did my drawings completely enough, that we would be able to make the best use of our time over the weekend. Plans in hand, I headed up for my parents house in LA for the weekend on late Friday night.
My dad and I went out to Home Depot and returned home with $70 of wood, glue, and sandpaper. We bought huge 4' x 8' sheets of 3/4" particle board for the main layers of the body. They were really heavy. Early saturday morning we got started and worked all day. By the end of saturday, we had the basic shape worked out and all the major pieces cut out. Sunday's task was to further develop the shape by cutting out the radius on each corner, and then putting the whole thing together. We used regular carpenter's wood glue as well as screws to hold it all together. It turned out to be a very solid structure, and I have no fear at all of it coming apart. In all, by the end of the day, it weighed a whopping 68 lbs. We still have to add: the back panel, buttons assemblies, computer and screen, and of course paint. I estimate it will be pushing 85 to 90 lbs by time it is complete. All in all though I am very happy with it so far, and I am really excited with where it is going. Next week, we will round off the edges on the side, and install the button assemblies. My goal for next week, is to get it completely ready for painting.
I have to quickly acknowledge my father for all his hard work and help all weekend. I could not have done it with out his help.
2.19.02 - 4:27pm
I took advantage of my extra time yesterday as there was no school for President's Day. I spent the afternoon working on the Shell program for my big gameboy. Since I have decided to go ahead with making giant removable game cartridges, I needed to develop a way to load games with a shell program, with the triggers being keystrokes. I went ahead and wrote the program to wait for either a "1","2","3","4", or "5" keystroke and then launch an according game. The program itself was easy, just some simple code to watch for keystrokes. The tricky part was mimicking the Gameboy's startup sequence, with the Nintendo logo dropping down from the top. I diligiently recreated the Nintendo logo by counting each pixel from my old Gameboy and transferring that into a useable graphic. The only challenge that I see so far, software wise, will be getting the Keyboard Encoder to first push the number key to launch the program, and then making a delay before pushing an "Esc" key. I need the Esc command to remove the title bar from the VisualBoyAdvance program. Unfornately, my copy of the encoder configuration software is corrupted, so I have to wait to get a working copy before I can actually see if I can get the delay working.
I feel that right now, I am at the most difficult point in the project. The concept is cemented. The software is just about done, the eletronic design is there. Now I have to start building, and let me tell you, I am scared. I have lot's of experience putting together wacky electronic systems. I have zero experience in fine woodworking. I'm going to give it my best though, and make the best looking project possible, rest assured, regardless of what it looks like, it will run and play great!
2.13.02 - 9:20am
I made a major change yesterday while up at the lab in Chinatown. Eddo has introduced me to the magic of Keyboard Encoders! I am going to use a KE24 module. So far it looks like it's going to work really well to translate the button pushes into usable keystrokes for the emulator. Best of all, it saves me the enormous task of dismantling and rewiring a keyboard. Yay! This week will be focused on software and getting the shell program put together. Next week, construction officially begins.
2.7.02 - 9:24am
Lots has been happening this week with the project. There's some good news to report and some bad news as well.
1. I bought a flat panel screen on Tuesday. It is the Sylvania SF150. It is a 15" screen, with a true 15" diagonal viewing area. This makes the dimensions of the screen 9" x 12". I have decided to use the 12" length of the screen as the actual length of the Gameman screen. This means the screen will be a bit 'stretched' (it doesn't look bad at all), and makes the screen as large as possible. After running my calculations and scaling my CAD drawing, that puts the overall scale of the piece at 6.48. That means we're talking a Gameboy that is 3.1' tall and 1.9' wide. It's not the mammoth Gameboy I originally envisioned, but it's still a big-ass Gameboy. I do have a problem with the screen though. It has a bad pixel. I contacted the Tech Support at Sylvania yesterday. I received my response today and I was NOT happy with it. All they did was reply with a .doc attachment that outlines their defect acceptance criteria on their LCD screens. Basically if it has more then three pixels that are bad, it is rejected, 1 or 2 pixels that are bad though apparently is fine with Sylvania. Stupid idiots. I don't have time to waste trying to return it at Fry's so I'm just going to live with it. So unfortunately, there will be a single dot of bright yellow in the middle of the screen at all times. Grrr. I'm going to write a mean nasty letter to Sylvania.
2. I found a suitable emulator. The program is Visual Boy Advance. It is actually a Game Boy Advance emulator, but obviously runs old Gameboy roms fine. Best of all, it has a beautiful full-screen mode that fills the entire screen. Seeing it run on my new flat panel is quite a sight. It really gives a true sense of how the project will turn out.
3. I dug my old computer out of my closet. It's a Pentium 200MMX (back when having an MMX PC was something special) with 32meg RAM. It's not a powerhouse by any means, but I assumed it would be ok. When I installed Visual Boy on it, I noticed right away though that the processor was just too damn slow. I found a temporary solution by making it skip every 3rd frame while running the emulator. This basically brings it up to regular speed. If you look really closely at it, you can see that it's a bit choppy, but overall, as a worst case scenario, it works pretty damn well. I just don't have the money to buy another PC for the project.
So as you can see, things are coming together quite nicely. I took pictures of everything I did yesterday and will be posting those in the build page, as well as posting links for the Visual Boy software.
2.5.02 - 10:10am
After meeting in class yesterday and presenting the project to the class, the following changes were reccommended:
- although expensive, use a flat screen lcd screen
- consider building removable cartridges
- reduce scale of project, a 15" screen should be sufficient
Everything seems pretty good. There is a really nice 15" flat screen available for $350. It should work nicely. I do have a serious problem right now though, and that is that I am having a very hard time getting an emulator to run in true 'full-screen' mode. So far everytime I set an emualtor to run in full screen mode, it leaves a huge black border around the game window. This will be unacceptable in the final project. I need to find an emulator, or a way to make an emulator display the game as true full screen. I am going to keep working this week to find such a way to do this.
2.4.02 - 9:52am
I've added a few emulators programs and ROM files. I'm a little bit nervous about putting these online, because I know plenty of sites have been shutdown for legal reasons for doing the same, but in the name of academics, I am putting up the files anyway. Have fun!
2.2.02 - 4:45pm
I just got back from work where I was working on the big CAD file for the Game Man. I spent the afternoon measuring each little detail of the Game Boy body and transferring that information into a model in CAD. Once I get ahold of a suitable TV screen, I will be able to dynamically scale my model to fit the screen, and start building. More updates to come!
1.31.02 - 6:57pm
The page is up! I've spent a lot of time working on this webpage, and so far I am really happy with the design and how it has turned out. The more I work on this project, I realize just how daunting of a project it is going to be. I am however, very excited about it and I am going to pour all my energy into to make it happen.