28/11/2022 – Analogue Pocket GET

Hello again. A thing I bought a year ago finally arrived, and it’s pretty sweet.

The Analogue Pocket is an FPGA emulation device that specifically plays GameBoy and GameBoy Advance games. FPGA is hardware emulation, not software, so it leads to greater accuracy in terms of emulation. This generally means less visual glitches but also has the downside of emulating the slowdown in games that would suffer it on real hardware.

Although you can play real cartridges on this thing, the OpenFPGA side is the most interesting part. You can just load FPGA cores made for it and then boot games off the Micro SD card. I have Neo Geo, NES, SNES, and Mega Drive cores on mine. Pretty much all the games I’ve tried have worked perfectly, and GameBoy games especially look gorgeous on the screen.

My major issue with the thing is that I don’t find it particularly comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Much like actual Nintendo handhelds. It’s not as bad as the 3DS or Switch JoyCons, which cause literal circulation problems for me, but there’s still things I would have changed.

I mean there is one more issue; the price. I think I’ve spent £400 on the thing all-and-all. It was £300 for the thing and dock, plus shipping, then the FedEx tax was £70 (Customs charges are a fucking scam), and then another £40 for a Micro SD card and UK USB-C plug. Yeah, it comes with a US plug. Be fair warned.

But I like the thing, and I’m gonna enjoy playing it. I actually did a stream soon after I got it where I played a bunch of games, check it out:

In other news, Indie LIVE Expo is happening soon. Why am I bring up here? Well Rotaction is going to appear during the first day when they discuss currently released games, so keep an eye out for it. But this is the first time one of my games has appeared at a major event, although it’s the second time it’s been promoted. The event will be streamed on the 3rd and 4th of December. Check it out, there’s loads of cool games.

Now, I’m going to talk about what I’m currently working on.

7DFPS (7 Day FPS) Jam is coming up in December, and I’ve decided that I want to take part. So I’m putting together a few things to practice and learn how to make stuff for it. I’m looking at stuff like Probuilder and Pro Grids for fast generation of levels, and learning how to do raycasted bullets with appropriate effects, as you see in the video above.

Now I know what you’re thinking, the Jam hasn’t started yet and I’m over here making stuff. Well, there’s no rule that says I can’t work on stuff a little early and most of this work isn’t going to be used in the Jam game. But it’s better I figure out these problems now, rather than during the Jam.

As for the side project I’ve been working on:

Well, progress is slow. I can shoot a bow now, but it’s a giant mess. Unity’s Rig Builder tool is such a giant mess to use that making it this far is generally surprising for me. But to explain the issue, layers upon layers upon layers. At some point I had to undo a lot of work and replace it with a canned animation, which is how I got the bow aiming and firing to work. Although I can explain some of that as well. When I started with the rigging, I was basing it on the idea of driving the player animation in relation to the bow. That was dumb, now I’m driving the bow animation in relation to the player, which is simpler to implement and has lead to better results.

Well that’s it from me for this time. Now I have to publish this before my power goes out. Which is a thing that’s happening today. Fun times. At least I have some books to read.

Till next time.