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Hardware Hacking Displays Open Source Games Build

Mario Reduced To 8x8 With Open Source and Arduino 94

Posted by timothy
from the demand-2-by-2 dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The open-source Arduino electronics platform has received a ton of attention from the hardware enthusiast community. And one more follower is joining the fray — Mario himself. The mustachioed plumber of console video game fame has been converted into an eight-by-eight LED matrix by Carnegie Mellon University student Chloe Fan. However, the game isn't quite the Mario you know from your legacy Nintendo Entertainment System. For starters, it's just lights. While one often sees the game's LED-backed grid used in devices like the open-source Monome, where it can function as a push-button toggle for music beats and effects, Fan's version of Mario uses the grid as a display only. Mario — or rather, a one-light representation of the game's hero — is controlled NES-style through the use of two buttons. One button makes Mario move forward; the other makes him leap into the air."
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Mario Reduced To 8x8 With Open Source and Arduino

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  • Live version (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Sunday March 14, 2010 @10:59PM (#31477548) Homepage Journal

    I've always enjoyed this version [youtube.com] of super mario

  • Just lights (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    For starters, it's just lights.

    So.. just like Nintendo's Mario game then.

  • by suso (153703) * on Sunday March 14, 2010 @11:01PM (#31477570) Homepage Journal

    This 8x8 version almost looks like a combination of Super Mario and Tetris.

  • Give that girl a free Slashdot-Goldaccount! But really nicely done. I made a tetris with one-colored leds and a arduino but this is way cooler. Love the music on the video too (in the full article)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    His main site is down, all I can find is an article from Hack A Day. http://hackaday.com/2009/12/08/ledboy-super-pixel-brothers/ [hackaday.com] The last version I saw even had working Goomba and Bullet Bill style enemies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ircmaxell (1117387)
      Don't forget, the Arduino is significantly more powerful than the original NES.

      Nes: 1.66 mhz, 2kb ram
      Arduino (ATMega 328): 16mhz, 32kb ram

      Not to mention that the Arduino contains a boot-loader...

      Sure, the DIY part is cool, but to say that this was a difficult feat isn't very accurate...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bitrex (859228)
        The ATMega328 only has 2KB of RAM - the 32KB is its Flash storage which holds program data since the microcontroller is Harvard architecture. The NES had 2KB plus 2KB of video RAM, plus RAM for the sprites. Even with the ATMega's higher clock rate I think replicating the performance of the 6502 in a video game system with it would be a challenge.
  • Nintendo lawyers in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

  • Chloe Fan (Score:5, Funny)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @11:28PM (#31477762)
    I love you. If you had Princess Leia hair buns in your profile pic, you'd be the perfect woman.
  • by esaulgd (1754886) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @11:28PM (#31477764)
    Other than the music, there's nothing on the game to make it "Super Mario Bros.". The player character runs and jumps over generic obstacles without making any use of SMB physics or any other distinctive elements. If anything it's closer to Pitfall.
    Then again, "8x8 platformer created with Arduino" wouldn't attract as much publicity.
    • The electronics and programming may be fairly rudimentary for an EECS major , but the the fact that she is a cyborg and can do this is what surprises me.
    • by Kingrames (858416)
      If I had created a game that was a(n?) homage to some game I liked back in the day, I'd call it that, and not something I hadn't intended it as.

      I see it as appropriate here.
      • by daveime (1253762)

        There's no need for the (n?).

        The word starts with a consonant, and just because Americans seemingly can't pronounce the letter H, doesn't mean you have to lower yourself also.

        A Homage, not Anomage. Your children will thank you.

        • There's no need for the (n?). The word starts with a consonant, and just because Americans seemingly can't pronounce the letter H, doesn't mean you have to lower yourself also.

          The "h" in "homage" is silent in the preferred pronunciation [merriam-webster.com]. So if you're using the preferred pronunciation it's "an homage", just like "an hour"; but if you're using some dialect where the h is pronounced, "a homage" would be correct.

          So either could be ok here, but I have a strong urge to punch people who say "an historic occasio

    • But, for a lot of the younger generation a platformer means Super Mario Bros just as a hoover means a vacuum cleaner. While not anywhere near the legal definition of a generic trademark, there really are no other 2d platformers that they will have been exposed to.
    • From a coder's POV this is a great example of input/output processing on Arduino!

  • How can you tell a regular brick box from a question box that will give you a coin or even a magic mushroom or a fire flower or coon suit or something? And for that matter, how do you tell the difference between a magic mushroom and a coupa trooper or something? You can't!
    • by santax (1541065)
      I don't know if she has implemented it, but you could easily by applying different colors to different objects.
  • Based on an overclocked and more powerful Atmel, but a lot more impressive given the hardware. http://belogic.com/uzebox/ [belogic.com]
  • Seriously, in a microcontrollers class, whether its a stamp, HC12, 8051, whatever, isn't the final project at this level of neato? Not sure why this story is noteworthy, especially because it's not really identifiable as SMB other than the first few blocky shapes might be identifiable as the terrain of level 1-1. Most iPhone apps are more impressive.

    About the only thing that is slashdotty is that the electronics platform is open source electronics, but I'd rather see an article about an open source rapid p

    • by paul248 (536459)

      It was deemed newsworthy because:

      1. There's a video.
      2. A girl made it.

    • Yeah, this is on the level of an ENGS62/31 project, and I'd hope that most EEs would be able to do this by the time they graduated. Still, as such projects go it's pretty good; if I were teaching a course at that level and a student handed this in as a final project she'd get an A on it.
      • by dimeglio (456244)

        I don't understand the pertinence or relevance of open source hardware. When you purchase electronic components, you pay for the licensing costs of these components as part of the purchase price (in this case Atmel). What you do with these components, especially if you wish to market your product, is still subject to existing or prior patents - for example the plant hydrometer from TFA. I must be missing something so thank you for enlightening me.

        • I guess that the availability of schematics and hardware specs makes it easier for people who want to write drivers; I can't see much broader (say, legal) significance than this. Of course, I'm not a lawyer.
  • by Tablizer (95088)

    It's a bomb! Lock her up and probe her anus immediately!

  • Super Mario:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdbs9N7x_3w [youtube.com]

    Err...crossover between Pong and the Matrix:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dcmDscwEcI [youtube.com]

    Tetris:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bekQU9l8hk [youtube.com]

  • From my pov, it went from "did not know it existed" to "why is everyone so excited" pretty much over night. I don't get it and would appreciate it if anyone told me why this particular bit of hardware hit home so hardly.

    • by kobaz (107760) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:27AM (#31481046)

      From my pov, it went from "did not know it existed" to "why is everyone so excited" pretty much over night. I don't get it and would appreciate it if anyone told me why this particular bit of hardware hit home so hardly.

      Because when I was in EE classes in college it took weeks (probably faster for someone who knows what they were doing) to build up projects using ICs and little microcontrollers. The microcontrollers also had to be programmed with a UV eraser and reprogrammer, which required having a printout of the machine code in hex, and typing it all by hand into an eeprom programmer.

      Now with the Adruino, you get a USB interface to a very cool little chip that you can upload C code on to. There's also bunches of modules (shields) that you can link together to create your project. Ethernet modules, wireless modules, input device modules, output device modules (led/lcd screens). All these boards can work together in harmony... versus building all this stuff from scratch with the basic components. They are also quite cheap compared to what it would cost to build from scratch.

      • by dissy (172727)

        I share the GPs opinion, just for different reasons.

        The Arduino is a good decade behind the times as far as all the features you list.
        It's hard to get excited about a product that does what a lot of us in the micro controller field have been doing back in the early 90s using PIC and basic stamps and SX chips and the like.

        Full micro controller hardware on one chip (CPU, ram, flash, timers and clocks, interrupts, and external hardware modules made just for the chips packaging)

        While the PIC is a poor example (

        • It's a platform for hobbyists and kids, not for those in industry, clearly. The learning curve is incredibly shallow for people who have no experience with this stuff. For many, it's a great starting point.
        • by KenSeymour (81018)

          It may be no big deal to someone who has been working in embedded systems for a while, but it lowers
          the barrier of entry for the rest of us.

          I am just starting to get into micro controllers. At work, I have worked on PIC18 and PIC24.
          For either of those two, you need an ICD 2 or ICD3 to get your code into them. That will set you
          back a good $200. Alternatively, you can find a board with a serial boot loader. Then there
          is the C compiler. The unrestricted one will set you back another $500.

          By contrast, the

      • by cecom (698048)
        The rest of your post notwithstanding, the beginning is seriously misleading. Surely if you had a printout of the machine code, you also had another way of transfering it to the eprom programmer, like a serial cable. I have developed a few projects like that back in the day - no debuggers, you had to pipeline eprom erasing and programming to save time, etc, but it wasn't nearly as hard as you make it to be.
  • Hardly.

    Now "Kamikaze Ducks" impressed me. BASIC source (in some old old computer hobbyist magazine back around 1982 or so), which I ported to every computer (from DEC mainframe to Commodore 64) I had access to.

    But a single pixel "jumping" up and down, a static "terrain" (e.g., blocks) that can move left to right?

    And this girl's in college?

    If she were 9, I'd be impressed.

  • Because let's be honest: with a game you can win my just repeatedly jamming the buttons for hours on end, it's not like screen resolution matters.
    • I get the same thing from Tekken or Street Fighter. Granted, the buttons have to stand up to me palming all 6 of them repeatedly with a lot of intensity.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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