Atomic PI emulation setup notes

I mostly game on PC, but at one point I set up a retropi for emulated console multiplayer. Mario Kart ran pretty well (sprites and all!) but BattleTanx wasn’t performing. That’s the N64 game that I probably played the most of, and it’s cracking good multiplayer, even at the 9FPS that the Pi could manage. That was sort of the experience I was after though, so I went looking for something a bit more powerful.

Enter Digital Loggers. There was a kickstarter for a board called the Atomic Pi. It’s about the size of two Raspberry Pis and has an Intel Atom processor rather than the Pi’s ARM core. It’s still smaller than any one of the various consoles I plan to emulate on it, which is a nice bonus.

For this setup I got the Atomic PI with the small breakout board that provides a (more or less) standard adapter plug. I’m using this power brick and this multi USB hub (because there is only one USB port on the board.) It comes with a soldered-in EPROM you can boot from and write an OS to, but OSs on the eprom are painfully slow so I would recommend installing your OS to a MicroSD card like you would with a RasPi. I’m using Lubuntu, and it’s performing pretty well considering the big screen it’s on, I’m sure your favorite lightweight distro will also do well. You’ll want something that ships with a desktop for emulation though

Back to Battletanx: To get it running in Mupen64Plus (which you can install with apt along with a barebones GUI for opening ROMs and managing settings) with Rice video you need only change the config in one way:

ScreenUpdateSetting = 7

There are some glitches (the button that makes the flame tank fire sideways and makes the FLP-E tank flip get stuck) but it’s mostly playable. And Mario Kart still runs great.

LEGO Shop At Home Scans: 95-99

A while back, I was trying to find a specific Lego catalog that I’d looked at as a kid. However, when I tried to find the specific one I was looking for, I realized that very few of these catalogs from the 90s had been immortalized by the internet. However, many of them where on sale for reasonable prices (and Sabrina wanted a Scanner for old family Photos anyway) so I got to work.

? 1995

Holiday 1995

January 1996

Holiday 1996

Spring 1997

Summer 1997

Holiday 1997

January 1998

Spring 1998

Summer 1999

Fall 1999

The raw files are here on my archive.org account, if you find my (largely imagemagick-powered) PDFing of the files inadequate. If the PDFs appear small just zoom in, they’re about as high-res as they can be without creating artifacts on the screens I tried. I plan on also scanning the ones that I personally saved when I was a kid, and will post those here too.

And the specific catalog I was looking for? Turns out it was Holiday 1997. Twenty one years ago. The page I was looking for in particular turns out to be this one.


In Appreciation: Termux

I’ve been playing with Termux quite a bit in the last couple of days. Being able to do development-any development-while standing on the train is an awesome feeling. I think the site undersells what it is-it’s your compiler in your pocket. It’s ssh in your pocket. I’m redoing my website on my phone (the mobile experience is crap at the moment) by editing the sources in vim, then hosting it locally with Python.