1. OCAU Merchandise now available! Check out our 20th Anniversary Mugs, Classic Logo Shirts and much more! Discussion here.
    Dismiss Notice

RetroFlag GPi Case

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by th3_hawk, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,096
    Location:
    Kilsyth 3137
    My interest in Raspberry Pi's was re-ignited recently after moving from a VM based PiHole to a physical one. This led to me purchase one or two (or three or four) new RPi's. One RPi4 is currently being overkill and running the PiHole and uploader for solar data to PVOutput, although there is a spare Pi Zero W waiting for an OTG Ethernet adaptor to allow it to be hard wired to take over those duties...

    I have Retro Pi installed in its not quite 100% working state on the Pi4 and played a few games with a PS3 controller. I've also been lusting over one of these for ti's more authentic controller but don't really want to spend that much until the software catches up to the Pi4.
    https://core-electronics.com.au/pimoroni-picade-10-inch-display.html

    In the meantime, I bought myself a RetroFlag GPi Case (and another Pi Zero W) from Core Electronics. It's running Recalbox and seems to handle the Gameboy Advance games I've tried very well. I've also loaded up all the OG Gameboy games I grew up playing... already got both rockets in Tetris, and it's so much nicer playing on a backlit screen.

    Here is a terrible picture for now, it does look much much better in real life with a 2.8" IPS display at 320x240.
    [​IMG]

    This works fine for games, Recallbox (and Retro Pi) have decent sized text for game selection and most menu items, but a larger and higher res screen is needed to do anything else. Being a low powered unit, this resolution probably works in its favour.

    I will say that using the rear mounted shoulder buttons, especially on such a small device with larger hands isn't great, but it works well enough for the games I've played that need it.

    Recalbox has (mostly) worked fine, Retro Pi was where I started but apparently (and poorly documented) it needs extra configuration to work with the GPi Case... which leads to my only real complaint for this device. There is no way to access any of the USB ports while the Pi is installed in the GPi Case. Mind you, running a CLI on that screen would also be impossible anyway, so as long as you have WiFi setup SSH works fine. A small passthrough cable/socket would solve this problem, especially for people running the non W model of the Pi.

    Rather conveniently I have a second Pi Zero W mounted into an open case (which is an awesome little addon I might add) so I can just drop the Micro SD card into that and away we go (although you may need to turn on/off the composite output when moving between devices, something I don't know that I have done since switching to the composite output).


    I'm very keen on the whole arcade cabinet thing, although I don't know that I have the right tools (or patience) to build my own so have been (trying not to) go down the rabbit hole that is the world of arcade cabinets. I'm not even a purist, an LCD is just fine for me! But I'd really like a two player stand up cabinet... one day.
     
    elvis likes this.
  2. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,384
    Location:
    Broadview SA
    If you're interested in building an arcade cab, might I suggest the next rabbithole over? https://forums.overclockers.com.au/...r-console-arcade-hardware-simulation.1253887/
     
    th3_hawk likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,096
    Location:
    Kilsyth 3137
    I saw that thread and was doing some reading in there. It also supports my understanding that all of these various systems/options for the brains of the cabinet are somewhat interchangeable. So I could buy/build a cabinet around a Raspberry Pi today then drop in a different brain later with minimal work to wire up the joysticks/buttons/etc.

    When I look around (noting that this is just the first google hits from today), flat pack cabinets are in the $500+ range depending on what you want. Premium finishes cost more and of course, there is still all the hardware to buy

    eg: http://www.arcadeworx.com.au/product/two-player-arcadeworx-upright/

    And completed machines are in the $3K+ range new,
    eg: Something like this or this, other than the total cost, is very attractive for the 'Just Works' approach to some retro gaming.

    Second hand units seem to be in the $1,500+ range unless you get lucky.

    I'm a tinkerer from waaay back, so the idea of building something myself is right up there in the appeal factor, but then to get the sort of finish I would like an off the shelf unit would help alot. I think I could get about 75% of the satisfaction of building something from scratch by simply buying all the components and assembling it myself. Then the question over what to put inside comes up, would a fully hand built system I could tinker with be fun... sure. But what is the play vs tinker ratio (and is tinking enough fun in itself ;) )

    These two alone look like they would get me most of the way there (using a spare screen from home).
    https://www.mygamesroom.com.au/shop/lowboy-flat-pack-cabinet-yellow/
    https://www.mygamesroom.com.au/shop/arcade-blaster-essentials/

    Or a 22" screen here and that should be pretty much complete:
    https://www.mygamesroom.com.au/shop/22-lcd-monitor/


    Ahhhh... rabbit holes to consider from all directions :D
     
  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    On my list of things to make is a "Game Man" (oversized novelty Game Boy).

    There's several of these out there on the Internet already, but I'd love to have a crack at one. I'd probably make 2, and gift one to a mad keen Pokemon fan I know.
     
    th3_hawk likes this.
  5. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,384
    Location:
    Broadview SA
    The trouble is finding a really nice screen. A 16:9 screen would be pretty silly on a Game Boy, and even the original Game Boy was a little wider than square, so 4:3 is probably a good compromise. The nicest 4:3 panels for DIY use that I'm aware of are the iPad 4 panels + a custom display driver. Most of those are just adapters for the native eDP interface to a fullsize displayport, but you can buy an HDMI version if you shop around, like this one: http://abusemark.com/store/index.ph...oducts_id=58&zenid=brm3jel4acbe0cv5jjvkqsc6a2

    Trouble is, though, those are 2048x1536 panels, and 2048 * 1536 * 60 = 189ish MHz. I don't think a MiSTer can be persuaded to work that high - it was never expected to drive more than 1920 * 1080 * 60 = 125ish MHz

    Now admittedly those screens are excessively nice, but it's the kind of project I don't feel is worth doing unless you're doing it properly...

    So yeah. That's why -I- haven't built a giant Game Boy. Thought about it, yes, but done it, no.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,096
    Location:
    Kilsyth 3137
    I dint know about others, but a larger version of the GPi case with larger screen would have been my choice. Even better a GPi Advanced with a big screen I think would be a better form factor for what is clearly a market comprised of older people with larger hands, early onset arthritis and failing vision :p
     
  7. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,384
    Location:
    Broadview SA
    After writing this, it occured to me that history extends backwards, and the iPad 2 was a thing. 1024 x 768 is plenty for a gameboy.... 5x integer scale with minimal wastage for Game Boy and Color, and not too bad at 4x for GBA. And the size is pretty much exactly 4x scale for an original Gameboy, so that's cool.

    Can you buy those adapters? Yes! https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HDMI-VG...2-LP097X02-SLQ1-1024-768-Ipad-2-/291881133833
    Am I tempted to try it now? Yes...I mean, not right now, I'm a bit skint, but eventually.

    EDIT: It occurs to me that a 3:2 panel might also be a reasonable choice. I wonder if a MiSTer could drive the 1920 x 1280 panel from e.g. a Surface 3? First I need to find a part number for that panel anyhow...
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Current plan is to use a shitty old 16:9 LCD I've got lying about with the outer case removed, and simply mask it with a piece of thin plastic or wood to be the right ratio.

    I can make a custom front-end skin that will have the same 10:9 aspect ratio. That's relatively easy with skinning tools for things like RetroArch and other frontends.

    This project I'm considering will be RPi driven purely for cost. It's a fun thing to be given away to someone else, and likely be used only for Pokemon games. So lag/latency is at the bottom of my list of concerns, and at the top of the list is making something that looks the part at minimum cost.

    I previously made an RPi powered project which was a Moon Patrol look alike:
    http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,141846.0.html

    (I promise I'll move that to OCAU one day).

    Similarly that was made at lowest cost because it was a give away, and the owner still plays it some years later. It had a Pi2 in it, which was plenty for the 2-button games of his childhood.
     
  9. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,289
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I love these handheld pi projects but I have no need for portable gaming so talk myself out of making something similar whenever i consider it as it would ultimately go unused.

    All of the controls, decals and other bits and pieces aren't cheap when you add them up but the starting point of ~$500 for some raw MDF with no T-Moulding or veneer is definitely a hurdle when building a cabinet.

    Makes this type of project much more feasible.
     
  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Nah. I built my Moon Patrol for less.
     
  11. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,289
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Free hand jig saw to cut the side panels then sand?
     
  12. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Combo circular saw and jigsaw. Then basic MDF prep and finish.
     
  13. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,289
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Might be time for me to buy a cheapish jig saw and have a crack at making a bartop. I miss having something to work on!
     
    elvis likes this.
  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    As much as I loved the machine I made for my mate, I do think it was too bulky.

    I'd like to make more bartops from here on. They're cheaper, quicker to make, more space effective, and easier to transport. Particularly as gifts for casual gamer friends, they're much more sensible.
     
    WuZMoT likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,096
    Location:
    Kilsyth 3137
    My issue with a bartop is that you have to find a place to put one to be able to use it. I don't have a lot of bench space as it is... or just about any table surface that doesn't already have a function. Add to that I would also have to find a place to store the unit when it's not in use and I have to find lots of space. An upright (or even a cocktail) cabinet still needs to find a home, but once it's there it's done and it's not taking up bench space.
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    41,764
    Location:
    Brisbane
    My plan is to make them with a reliable carry handle and a non-slip base. If the footprint is small enough and there's nothing hanging off them (recess all power connectors and whatnot), then they can be stored easily, pulled out when someone wants to play, bang it on a counter top or kitchen table, have a blast, then easily put it away again.

    Making that functional-but-not-ugly is the trick. Hopefully it works out.

    As it stands, the guy I gave the Moon Patrol standing cabinet to loves it, but it's clearly a massive thing that annoys him at the same time. :lol:
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: