• We have added an "AG" Registration date/Username profile option. If you add this upon signup we'll be able to verify faster thanks. (If already joined you can edit under profile settings.)

    If you had an account on OG1 you will need to re-register as this is a new start for all.

Dreamcast Keep Dreaming Project

Zeigren

Refugee
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
15
AG User Name
Zeigren
AG Join Date
01/19/2014
dc_pile.jpg


I’m starting a project for the Dreamcast, here’s a quick blurb

The Keep Dreaming Project aims to provide the Dreamcast community with an open-source ecosystem for hardware research and development.

Hardware
  • Breakout boards
  • Development boards
  • Other tools and final designs
Collaboration
  • GD-ROM Drive Emulator
  • Wireless Network Adapter
  • Wireless Controller
  • Project Management Platform
  • Documentation Platform
  • Developer Chat

There’s a thriving community developing hardware and software for the Dreamcast, however many of us work alone. How many people have tried to create a Dreamcast GD-ROM drive emulator? Network adapter? Wireless controller?

Many of these complex projects end up taking a single person years to complete if they do at all. A common ecosystem with a solid hardware foundation will make collaboration easier, avoid reinventing the wheel, and reduce time spent troubleshooting.
More information will be up on my website and on Patreon, but of course feel free to ask me questions here!

Edit: Added a post about the initial progress and some of my design choices for the openGDROM
Edit2: Discord Server
 
Last edited:

einsteinx2

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
39
Love this project! Do you have a Discord server? I've found that to be a great way to collaborate.
 

Zeigren

Refugee
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
15
AG User Name
Zeigren
AG Join Date
01/19/2014
I do now! Added the link to the original post
 

NightBreeze

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Really cool, I love the idea of having readily available breakout/dev boards for tinkering with the Dreamcast!

A lot of the things you're working on interest me, I've recently purchased most parts needed to build a GD-ROM emu using the iCE40 dev-board and I've been planning wireless mods for Dreamcast controllers (using the nRF52840 chip for BLE).

I read your post on the openGDROM design decisions, and I'm curious about the iCE being only available in BGA package? When I was evaluating it's feasibility for some dev projects I could've sworn it was available in both QFP and QFN packages which should be fine. You also mention the performance of iceGDROM has issues, are you referring to the software side or do you believe the hardware also doesn't cut it?

I'd also love to know more about the Wireless Network Adapter, I realize it's in the planning stage but if you have anything to share that'd be cool. A project I haven't started yet but am considering is a mod to the Dreamcast modem that bypasses / emulates the conexant chip, providing either ethernet or WiFi, a bit like the moband adapter (which appears to be dead?) except it utilizes the modem hardware for G2 bus connector and ASIC chip.

Anyway, it looks like the DC has great things in it's future :).
 
Last edited:

Zeigren

Refugee
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
15
AG User Name
Zeigren
AG Join Date
01/19/2014
Right now the plan is to use the nRF52840 for the wireless controller as well.

The ice40HX8K used in the iceGDROM is only available in BGA, but some of the other ice40 parts are available in other packages. I don't actually have my own iceGDROM so this is coming from other people, but they either haven't been able to get it to work or it works very slowly. It's sort of a mix of both, using an external MCU instead of the softcore would probably be enough to get the performance up.

Turns out the guy making MOBAND is still working on it! I'd like to avoid having to remove the modem connector or piggybacking off of it so my idea would be for a completely emulated solution. Although that's just what I want lol
 

NightBreeze

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Oh, that's cool, maybe we'll be able to collaborate! I'm also considering using an FPGA for the maple bus (for energy savings?), although first version might just rely on the nRF chip and bit banging. Eventually also looking to emulate memory cards and create receivers for other bluetooth peripherals (e.g. keyboard, mouse).

Looks like you are absolutely right about the iCE40 chip, I somehow missed that those packages aren't available for the HX8K. Thanks for clarifying about the iceGDROM.

I agree with you about the modem though, my thought was that it'd be easiest to emulate the conexant chip but I'd be quite happy with a modless solution if we can work out the connector. Well, here's to hoping MOBAND still becomes a thing!

PS. I've joined the Discord also 😁.
 

Zeigren

Refugee
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
15
AG User Name
Zeigren
AG Join Date
01/19/2014
FPGAs on average will consume more power than a microcontroller, of course that comes with a big "depends on what you're doing". Right now the design we're working on uses the nRF and a CPLD.

Yeah emulating the actual modem chip could potentially be easier instead of emulating the whole thing.

The Maple Bus breakout board has like $3 in parts and the connectors on the G1 Bus breakout are like $10 total, those won't change much. Everything else is still really up in the air.
 

NightBreeze

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
FPGAs on average will consume more power than a microcontroller, of course that comes with a big "depends on what you're doing". Right now the design we're working on uses the nRF and a CPLD.
You're probably right, I have zero experience with FPGAs/CPLDs (but interested to learn), so it's basically just a thought I've been entertaining at this point. The question is if a balance between performance / power consumption can be found. That said, I'm currently looking into if the nRF chip can fill that hole by itself using the GPIOTE / PPI.
 
Top