Original Post

Hi,

I just completed schematic entry and PCB design on a Virtual Boy Multicart design I’m calling MultiBoy 32.
Specs first and then some more discussion.

1. Flash space: 32 slots of 32Mbit RAM via a 1Gbit Flash.
2. RAM space: 256k x 16 SRAM space (8k x 16 per slot) using MRAM (no battery needed).
3. Full 16bit SRAM bus instead of the production 8bit width.
4. On board 32bit microcontroller (MCU) for programming slots.
5. USB input for interfacing and control.
6. Games loaded via SD card slot.
7. On screen game selection themed around my 8bit VB character Do-Do.
8. Arduino compatible MCU (custom firmware development if you’re so inclined).

MultiBoy name for obvious reasons. Several reasons for the 32 number. There will be 32 slots of 32Mbit for a total of 1Gbit Flash (ROM) space. Also 256k x 16 of SRAM space which is divided among the 32 slots to give 8k x 16 (close to the production cart SRAM space of 8k x 8 but wider bus width). The microcontroller on board is also 32bit (cheaper than comparable 8 bit, faster to program slots, built in USB). I’ll probably run the MCU at 32MHz just for fun.

I have a stretch goal of using the USB port as a built in USB link cable as well. Hardware hooks are in place. Firmware should work but some details will need testing.

The reason I’m announcing now is because the board is dense, and with several BGAs, there will be NO hand assembling of these units. I will have to get this assembled by my PCB house and that means knowing up front how many to order.

So if you think this is something you’re interested in, then please let me know. Only collecting an email list for now. Please email me at mellottsvrpage@gmail.com . How many get ordered will affect the pricing. Can’t commit to a price at the moment but based on my experience with VB projects and the current BOM cost, think ~$150. More details to follow.

Timeline, we’re probably looking around 4-5 months from now. I also need the on-screen code for the title selection (volunteers?). Even 5 months might be aggressive if ducks don’t all line up. Think summer release. I will do a small 25 unit prototype run initially before doing the full hopefully ~100 unit production batch. Next steps are to get fabrication and assembly quotes.

Background on myself since not everyone may be familiar with me. I’ve been an R&D Electrical Engineer for the last 10 years. An electrical technician for 7 years before that. I’ve designed and/or built quite a few VB related projects in the last 3-4 years including: VB link cable, USB link cable, VB cart programmer, SNES to VB adapters, VB controller to PC adapters, first VB 128/256Mbit reprogrammable cart, 16Mbit reprogrammable cart, and others. Professionally I do system and electrical design for very high end head mounted displays and other AR/VR related gear. I’ve been designing and building VR related projects for over 20 years. I’ve maintained and updated http://www.mellottsvrpage.com with VR projects and reviews I’ve done since 1998.

So there it is. Lets see what the reaction is and if we can finally get a VB multicart built for the VB.

Thanks,
Kevin

  • This topic was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by mellott124.
142 Replies

email sent
thanks

Email sent
Incredible job !

PM’d

Is this project still alive?

Decoryah wrote:
Is this project still alive?

Still alive but definitely paused. I’m back studying again. I was entertaining the possibility of having someone else pick up the project and continue with it but haven’t had time to pursue it further.

Great for your studies !
Too Bad for us

I’m still interested, and I know that studies are top priority, so good luck with your studies man, I can wait 🙂

yup, looking forward to the next update

What about an intermediate step? Not a full MultiBoy 32 but something like a multislot Flashboy? No on screen game selection but dip switch or usb selection of games? 8 slots or so of 32Mbit. The development would be much shorter and I could possibly pull it off while studying. What are people’s thoughts? Just an idea at this point.

Anything that is able to store more than one game would be definitely an improvement 🙂

mellott124 wrote:
What about an intermediate step? Not a full MultiBoy 32 but something like a multislot Flashboy? No on screen game selection but dip switch or usb selection of games? 8 slots or so of 32Mbit. The development would be much shorter and I could possibly pull it off while studying. What are people’s thoughts? Just an idea at this point.

As someone who doesn’t have a Flashboy but really would like a way to play homebrews (on the VB) that sounds great. As long as you think you’ll be able to balance your studies with the development of a “multislot Flashboy” I’m all for it.

Sing me up for one! 😉

I’m in !
it would be a very nice tribute for such an incredible console

Mumphy wrote:

mellott124 wrote:
What about an intermediate step? Not a full MultiBoy 32 but something like a multislot Flashboy? No on screen game selection but dip switch or usb selection of games? 8 slots or so of 32Mbit. The development would be much shorter and I could possibly pull it off while studying. What are people’s thoughts? Just an idea at this point.

As someone who doesn’t have a Flashboy but really would like a way to play homebrews (on the VB) that sounds great. As long as you think you’ll be able to balance your studies with the development of a “multislot Flashboy” I’m all for it.

Sing me up for one! 😉

Ok I’ll think about it. Maybe call it MultiBoy Lite. Or just MultiBoy to distinguish it from the 32 version I announced.

Yeah, i’d be up for that in the meantime, but i think folk are more than happy to wait for the 32. Enjoy the studying.

Would the price for the in-between solution still be > $100?

Personally I’m not in a hurry for this, and the current Flashboy option isn’t much more inconvenient than what you’re describing. I bought something like that for the Lynx and it was really annoying having to flip switches to change games and remember what bank was what. In the end I found myself just using it like the Flashboy where I would just leave the selector in one spot and USB load new games as I wanted to play them.

From my admittedly pedestrian viewpoint the only real advantage to the multi-slot Flashboy you’re describing is that it could theoretically support Hyper Fighting whereas the the Flashboy can’t. I say theoretically because the full Hyper Fighting ROM has not been released (at least not that I’ve ever been able to track down) so it’s an academic distinction.

That said if you find yourself at a point where you’re just no longer interested in dedicating the time to finish the original design and it’s a multi-slot Flashboy or nothing, well obviously that’s preferable.

HF is 32Mbit

While I am not the developer and have no say in his final decision, I would also like to add that having to flip hardware switches or re-connect the cart to the computer to select new games, seems like a step backwards. It sounds much less efficient and time consuming than having to re-flash the FB/FB+.

As stated above, HF is just too large to fit on the current FB+ design. Even it was dumped. With that said… If anyone has a simple plug-n-play Windows compatible hardware to dump the HF ROM (that would function correctly the 1st time — I’ve no wish to make a project of this) and would like to make it available, I would be more than happy to dump and release my cart. It’s been long enough.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Lester Knight.

Lester Knight wrote:
While I am not the developer and have no say in his final decision, I would also like to add that having to flip hardware switches or re-connect the cart to the computer to select new games, seems like a step backwards. It sounds much less efficient and time consuming than having to re-flash the FB/FB+.

I feel 100% the same way.
Would rather wait for the MultiBoy 32 personally.

Lester Knight wrote:
If anyone has a simple plug-n-play Windows compatible hardware to dump the HF ROM (that would function correctly the 1st time — I’ve no wish to make a project of this) and would like to make it available, I would be more than happy to dump and release my cart. It’s been long enough.

I’ve got a copy of the original rom file. I’ve also got a dump I made from my cart with Kevins cart flasher/dumper, although I recall that one being an overdump. Not hard to trim, and I know it works as I use it for 2 player HF as I only have the one legit cart.

I’m all for making it public too, just don’t want to step on anyones toes/make anyone angry.

I did spend some time looking into one that may be simpler. Turns out the electronics would be nearly the same so not much different in effort.

I may have a small window in January to come back to the MultiBoy to push it to the next step.

 

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