ECE497 Project GameSystem

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thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder

Team members: David Savrda Ian Kowalski

GitHub link:

Grading Template

I'm using the following template to grade. Each slot is 10 points. 0 = Missing, 5=OK, 10=Wow!

00 Executive Summary
00 Installation Instructions 
00 User Instructions
00 Highlights
00 Theory of Operation
00 Work Breakdown
00 Future Work
00 Conclusions
00 Demo
00 Late
Comments: I'm looking forward to seeing this.

Score:  10/100

(Inline Comment)

Executive Summary

This project will be to make the beagleboard in to a functional mobile gaming system. The idea is to use emulators, buttons, and a lcd screen to allow the user to play games from multiple systems.

As the project stands there are several things that we have decided for the project. The first is that we will try to use a LCD7 Cape as our display. Additionally we have decided to attempt to control the games with an xbox controller. Lastly we have narrowed down our systems that we may emulate down to playstation1, game cube, snes, and gameboy advanced. The current goals are to get the cape and the xbox controller to work before moving on to emulating a system.

As of Oct 26 we have gotten the LCD cape to work perfectly fine with the bone. However there is one important thing to note. Because the cape is an A2, the beaglebone must have a SD card that it can boot off of. This is not a huge issue but it is important to note.

It must be noted that there is no current Angstrom support for the xbox controller, and our attempts to download and install drivers for it have proved unsuccessful. We attempted to download and install xboxdrv-linux-0.8.5, but were unable to get the necessary files on angstrom to run it. As such the current state of the project must be examined. There are 2 paths that are currently open to us the first is to attempt to write a driver for the xbox360 controller to allow us to read from the controller. This path would probably take the remainder of the time allocated for the project, as neither of us know how to do that, and it will probably be quite complicated. The other path is the abandon controlling the emulator with the controller, and focus on getting the emulator up and running, and using a different control scheme. We currently discussing these potential items, and will decide shortly.

Based off of the above, we have decided to stick with our original goal of running emulators on the beagle bone. As such, we will set up our own controller to generate keypresses based off of gpio buttons. Unfortunately, this means we cannot use the lcd cape as it removes our access to gpio buttons. For now we are trying to compile and run bear24w's gamingcape emulators, as they have been installed and run on the beaglebone and run before.

Our attempts to crosscompile the gameboy emulator provided by bear24w have proven unsuccessful, as our versions of linux either will not compile (64 bit does not compile 32 bit easily and our 32 bit is encountering issues with compilers). While we were eventually able to resolve the issues with the compilers allowing us to run the ./configure file. However, during our attempts to make the file we encountered syntax errors meaning the compilers we tried to use were most likely wrong, or libraries were out of date. When attempting to use the provided binary on the beaglebone, we encountered errors with a missing library. Attempts to manually install the library failed, and we were unable to get the emulator running.

The wrapper is currently the most function item on the project. It watches the gpio ports and creates key events when a gpio port receives a signal. The SNES emulator works but requires a joystick to function and will not take input from other sources. The Sega Master system emulator runs but like stated above it does not handle key event correctly rendering the games unplayable.

So after trying 3 different emulators we finally found an emulator that works, but it still has some issue that needs to be overcome. We are currently using a SEGA master system emulator, which as successfully been run. We are currently able to run Phantasy Star, and Ultima IV. However the problem lies in the fact that the emulator does not seem to be processing input events correctly. As of current the emulator can take input from the mouse. Attempts to read the mouse input were successful, however attempting to apply these instructions to keyboard proved unsuccessful.

Unfortunately was have not managed to get any emulators working properly on the Angstrom distributions. As a result we are attempting to set up a Debian flash which according to our research should have better results then the Angstrom distro. The current goal is just to try and get some game/emulator running on the BeagleBone.

Unfortunately our attempts at using another distro have failed, so instead we have set up a simple game of snake in a shell that relies on keyboard inputs, with the gpio wrapper can be used with.

Overall we feel that this project should have been doable, given a different distro of linux, as there are projects out there where people have succeeded before us. Overall, we would recommended using a full version of linux as opposed angstrom, specifically gentoo (used in bear24w project as far as we can tell) or ubuntu (has plenty of tested emulators).


If you have hardware, consider Small Build, Big Execuition for ideas on the final packaging.

Installation Instructions

Give step by step instructions on how to install your project.

  • Include your github path as a link like this to the read-only git site:
  • Be sure your is includes an up-to-date and clear description of your project so that someone who comes across you git repository can quickly learn what you did and how they can reproduce it.
  • Include a Makefile for you code.
  • Include any additional packages installed via opkg.
  • Include kernel mods.
  • If there is extra hardware needed, include links to where it can be obtained.

User Instructions

Once everything is installed, how do you use the program? Give details here, so if you have a long user manual, link to it here.


Here is where you brag about what your project can do.

Include a YouTube demo.

Theory of Operation

Give a high level overview of the structure of your software. Are you using GStreamer? Show a diagram of the pipeline. Are you running multiple tasks? Show what they do and how they interact.

Work Breakdown

Emulator Research - 5 hours - David

Wrapper Research - 5 hours - Ian

VisualBoy Setup - 8 hours - David/Ian

SNES Setup - 2 hours - David

Sega Master System Setup - 8 hours David/Ian

Doom Emulator Setup - 6 hours David/Ian

Wrapper - 2 hours Ian

Also list here what doesn't work yet and when you think it will be finished and who is finishing it.

Future Work

Suggest addition things that could be done with this project.


Give some concluding thoughts about the project. Suggest some future additions that could make it even more interesting.

thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder