Bulgarian open up hardware specialist Olimex has introduced a new single-board computer (SBC) design, designed close to the Espressif ESP32 microcontroller — and designed with FabGL programming and retro-gaming emulation firmly in brain.
“I uncovered about the FabGL library when we started producing Agon Mild 2,” Olimex founder Tsvetan Usunov clarifies, referring to his fork and respin of Barnardo Kastrup’s Agon Gentle Zilog Z80-primarily based SBC. “The ESP32 was employed as a graphics, audio, and IO [Input/Output] keyboard co-processor for Bernardo’s Z80 design. Upon checking the library, I uncovered that the creator, Fabrizio Di Vittorio, had presently established many emulators for Altair 8080, [Commodore] VIC20, and even previous DOS PCs!”
This new one-board computer system from Olimex is constructed with a single function in head: currently being the finest FabGL board it can be. (????: Olimex)
That was more than enough to pique Usunov’s curiosity in designing a board customized especially to FabGL: the ESP32-SBC-FabGL. “I preferred to make a board that could be made use of as a graphics/seem/IO co-processor for other retro desktops centered on distinctive processors,” Usunov explains. “As you could guess, this will be pretty practical platform to generate retro desktops based mostly on [the] similar basic principle as Agon Light 2, so some retro desktops dependent on this platform will adhere to, but do not talk to when.”
The board is crafted all around an Espressif ESP32-WROVER module, pairing an ESP32 microcontroller with an additional 4MB of flash memory and 8MB of pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM). There is a VGA connector for an external screen, as very well as a header for an Liquid crystal display increase-on, a 3.5mm analog audio jack, PS/2 connectors for a keyboard and mouse, microSD storage, and Olimex’s trademark UEXT connector for exterior hardware. There is certainly even a lithium-polymer battery header, furthermore an on-board buzzer which can be enabled or disabled with a components jumper.
As properly as working indigenous code, the device can emulate a assortment of vintage components — this kind of as the Altair 8080. (????: Olimex)
An appealing twist in the style is what Usunov phone calls the “Entry Bus” header. “The Access Bus will provide [an] interface to retro processor HATs [Hardwares Attached on Top] for graphics, seem, keyboard and mouse,” he explains. “The Lcd HAT will let handheld game consoles to be created very easily.”
The initially output prototypes of the ESP32-SBC-FabGL are at present going through tests, having currently proven their support for all the various FabGL demos — which includes emulating an Altair 8080 running Digital’s CP/M and an IBM Pc working MS-DOS.
Pre-orders will open quickly, Usunov promises in the announcement blog site article, priced at €15 (around $16), with shipping in June. “In this selling price is incorporated royalties for the Creator of FabGL,” Usunov provides, “so by acquiring this board you will aid Fabrizio and his more developments.”