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Important firmware update for SMS plug-in

After some users reported trouble accessing their SMS cartridges, I took the opportunity to update the firmware to the latest version of Dean Camera’s USB library LUFA, and get a few other long-overdue items off my todo list. I highly recommend all SMS plug-in users to update their Retrodes to firmware v0.18c-alpha3 or later, even if you have not experienced any problems so far. As always, please find the latest files and updating instructions on the firmware page.

A personal message

Update (March 22, 2013): We’re back! So the “a few weeks” turned out to be exactly 10 weeks and 2 days. Absolutely worth it — thank you for your patience. Matthias

Dear Retrode fans, German version / Deutsche Version

Not the kind of message you’d quite expect to hear from me these days: this is to inform you that I have decided to take “a few weeks” sabbatical from the Retrode. The reason is simply that I am overworked. My regular job in computer graphics research currently demands 80-90 hours per week (important project deadlines approaching until mid-February), and I feel that I really need to see my wife and my 2-month-old baby son for more than a few minutes each day. In addition, the coming weeks will also pave the way for the next five years of my work and family life, including another relocation to a different continent. So, at the moment, there is simply no way I could give the plug-ins the 100% of focus that they need to become really great, and you, my customers, the attention that you deserve. I have therefore decided to put all Retrode matters on hold until the storm is over, and I’m asking you for your understanding and a little more patience if you have a pending pre-order.

Please note that this probably sounds worse than it actually is. All open orders of Retrodes (not plug-ins) will be served in the next few days; I’m just closing the store for new orders until further notice. If you absolutely need a Retrode now, there are other places on the internet that still sell them. Plug-ins are not abandoned either: all things that are done by external partners (cases, electronics, assembly) and don’t involve me personally will move on even while I’m gone. Please understand that I won’t be more specific about the “a few weeks” until they’re over. If you can’t wait that long, please let me know (matthias@retrode.com), and I will refund your order.

This message supersedes all previous estimates, including the now-infamous “week of January 14″ e-mail to plug-in pre-orderers. Don’t be sad; that stuff will still be great – just “a few weeks” later… :-)
For now, please accept my apologies and join myself and my family in looking forward to calmer times. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience!

Kind regards
Matthias


German version / Deutsche Version:

Liebe Retrode-Fans,

aus aktuellem Anlass werde ich alle Retrode-Tätigkeiten für “einige Wochen” (bitte nicht nachfragen) aussetzen. In meinem Hauptberuf stehen in Januar und Februar einige extrem wichtige Projektfristen an, so dass ich derzeit 80-90 Stunden pro Woche arbeite. Es bleibt also auch ohne die Retrode schon kaum Zeit für meine Frau und mein 2 Monate altes Baby. Da ich der Plug-in-Fertigung und euch, meinen Kunden, in dieser Situation nicht meine volle Aufmerksamkeit schenken kann, sehe ich keine andere Möglichkeit, als den Laden dichtzumachen, bis sich die Wogen bald wieder geglättet haben. Insbesondere diejenigen von euch, die auf Plug-ins warten und bereits bestellt haben, bitte ich um Verständnis für meine Situation.

Zum Glück ist alles nicht so schlimm, wie es sich zunächst anhört: Alle bis dato bestellten Retroden (keine Plug-ins) werden diese Woche rausgehen, weitere gibt’s auch noch an anderen Stellen im Internet zu kaufen, und auch die Plug-in-Fertigung bei unseren Zulieferern läuft weiter. Nur solche Tätigkeiten, die meinen persönlichen Einsatz erfordern, bleiben eine Weile liegen. Wenn ihr nicht länger auf euere Plug-ins warten wollt, teilt es mir bitte mit (matthias@retrode.com) und ich werde euch den Kaufpreis zurückerstatten.

Bitte seht mir nach, dass ich diese Entscheidung getroffen habe, um meine Arbeitslast ein wenig gleichmäßiger übers Jahr zu verteilen. Bald geht es weiter in alter Frische und mit 100%igem Einsatz! Bis dahin danke ich euch für euere Unterstützung und Geduld.

Liebe Grüße,
Matthias

Anniversary Competition Aftermath: And The Winners Are...

Happy Birthday Retrode

Earlier this year, we celebrated the Retrode’s third anniversary with a big competition. A long time has passed since then, so for those of you who haven’t forgotten about this, here is finally the long overdue announcement of the outcome. (Even with a ton of work, a newborn baby and lots of sleepless nights, I have even managed to send everybody their prizes at long last… Hooray for the winners!)
Again, on behalf of the entire team: Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone for joining the party, it was such fun!

29 hearts

Tell your friends about this card! Here’s the link:
http://www.retrode.org/birthday/?t=0&c=22#c22

Grand Prize (Jury Award)

Happy Birthday Retrode !

by LeGrosPixel

Happy Birthday Retrode ! :)
http://www.retrode.org/birthday/

103 hearts


Tell your friends about this card! Here’s the link:
http://www.retrode.org/birthday/?t=0&c=33#c33

Grand Prize (Hacker Award)

The Retrode is turning 3. Happy Birthday, Retrode.

by l3w1z

This is my entry into the Retrode 3rd birthday competition (Aimed at the hacker award).

Put this together in an afternoon, using an arduino with firmata uploaded to the board and a bunch of Light Dependant Resistors to detect the lack of light when a hand is placed over it. This gave me the idea of naming this project the arduino birthday card, as it acts in a similar (but not completely the same) way to the musical birthday cards available.

I used this tutorial for the text-to-speech part: http://amnonp5.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/text-to-speech/

For the "Happy Birthday" tune, I used jFugue which makes for easier music programming in Java: http://www.jfugue.org/

The visuals are all processing (processing.org for more information), except the animated flames. Those are .gif images located somewhere on the internet. (No idea who they belong to, and am happy to credit them if they see fit).

This could have been made a lot more portable using a raspberry pi, and could potentially help with other projects I’m working on for university (Such as a scary Doom mod that uses live data from the human body to change the game play).

Thanks for giving us back our good times, and hope you have another excellent 3 years.

78 hearts

Tell your friends about this card! Here’s the link:
http://www.retrode.org/birthday/?t=0&c=26#c26

Grand Prize (People’s Award)

Happy 3rd Bithday Retrode!

by Predicate99

Happy 3rd Birthday Retrode! Thank you so much for giving our favorite classics a second chance. May you have many more birthdays. Happy Birthday!

What’s a Retrode? Go to http://www.retrode.org/ to find out more. If you liked the video please vote for me, or enter the contest yourself. The more the merrier.

Letters and Numbers Model Pack by Gnien.kremfaen:
http://www.garrysmod.org/downloads/?a=view&id=101035

Super Mario Props by UnintelGen:
http://www.garrysmod.org/downloads/?a=view&id=130769

Music: Super Mario World Ending Credits

Runner-Up Prizes

Jan Sperling
RetroNascher
Matt Sephton
OhmWolf
WhoKnowsGaming
consolingmyself
ifreak490

Click on links to view their videos!

Mac users, rejoice!

Editing config file

Retrode Utility – Editing config file

Frustrated with the way that Mac OS X handles Plug and Play devices, specifically his Retrode, [cyco] decided to do something about it. He has developed Retrode Utility, an extremely useful tool that allows OSX users to edit their Retrode’s config and install firmware updates without having to use the terminal. Read more and download the utility over on the Community Forums.

Plug-in adapters available for pre-order

February 2012 plug-in prototypes (final N64 version will have different print and two controller connectors)

February 2012 plug-in prototypes (final N64 version will have different print and two controller connectors)

Finally, some news on the plug-in front! We’ve found a supplier for cartridge shells, and we’ve got some estimates from people who can equip them with the proper cutouts. The electronic side had been finalized a while ago, so we can now go ahead and push production forward.

There will be three types of plug-in adapters, compatible to all generations of the Retrode (Golden Edition and the current, black, Retrode 2): for N64 (including two game controller ports), the Game Boys and Master System. Please find the technical details over at retrode.com, where they can also be pre-ordered. Estimated (pessimistic) date of availability: Dec 31, 2012. Pre-orders will be served first.

Improving obscure plug-in adapters

New: if you want to test Muzer’s latest improvements on VCS2600 and TG16/PCE support, please try Firmware v0.18b alpha for Retrode 1 and Retrode 2. Please find updating instructions on this page.

My (incredibly messy) workspace for Retrode development

My (incredibly messy) workspace for Retrode development

Many design and development decisions that turned the Retrode into its current form originate from community input. Today, I’m delighted to introduce one of our most prolific forum members, Muzer. He’s been following the project for quite some time now, during which he has done a great job starting and maintaining the feature suggestion thread where ideas for future features are collected and structured in an easily accessible way. The plug-in adapter thread follows a similar idea, serving all those users who are getting tired of constantly having to ask me about plug-in adapter news. Besides, he keeps on providing all other sorts of constructive input which we’re incredibly grateful for. It is also plug-ins that he is going to write about here, especially the ones I haven’t been able to give my full attention lately. In the past few days, he has been investigating issues with the Atari 2600 plug-in, and made some important improvements to the firmware that will greatly benefit auto-detection of the different bank-switching mechanisms, and compatibility in general. His changes will be merged into the next official firmware update for all of us to enjoy. Next on his agenda is better plug-in support for TG16 and PC Engine. Please join me in welcoming him to the Retrode blog! Matthias

Hello!

This is quite a long and technical write-up of the changes I made to the Atari 2600 code and how I came up with them. The firmware version that implements them isn’t (at the time of writing this!) released yet, but it should probably be soon. Feel free to skip this post if you’re not interested in the technical side of things.

 Read more… »

USB cable trouble?

We’ve only just become aware of a problem that may affect some Retrodes manufactured between Dec 2011 and June 2012: the USB connector sits so far back that the connection can be unreliable as a result. This depends on the type of cable used. If you have the impression that your USB cable is sitting too loose, we suggest that you use a sharp knife to remove a little slice of rubber (1mm) from the cable connector, as shown here:

usbconn2

This should greatly improve the reliability of your USB connection. If you have any further problems, please let us know!

Best regards,
Matthias and the Retrode team.