Itaca Innovation has launched a campaign on Crowdsupply for a DIY open hardware retro-gaming console called uSVC. The uSVC is a simple, DIY game console that enables you to create and play retro-style 8-bit games with standard USB controllers and keyboards. It comes as a kit, so you will need to assemble it, and you only need basic through-hole soldering skills to assemble it. The only thing you do not have to solder is the microSD card socket.

The uSVC can be viewed as:

  • A DIY soldering kit that is optimized for simplicity and fun
  • A retro-gaming console with three pre-installed games
  • An educational platform featuring a comprehensive Application Programming Interface (API), and a series of guides that will enable you design your own games in no time
  • A development framework that encompasses more than gaming use, but also with the expansion headers you can connect third-party peripherals, and you’ve got everything you need to design any number of low-cost devices that depend on USB connectivity and VGA output

The uSVC is capable of displaying up to 256 on-screen colors at its standard resolution of 320×200 pixels. It also enables a 57 Hz refresh rate (or it can render up to 400 lines with a pixel aspect ratio of 2:1). It features four 8-bit PCM channels mixed to a 10-bit mono channel and samples at 30 KSPS. It also enables an optional global low-pass filter with a per-frame selectable low-pass frequency. The uSVC can handle multiple video modes, including 8×8-pixel tiled modes with 16 or 256 colors, and a 2 bits-per-pixel (bpp) bitmapped mode that supports up to 256 on-screen colors by changing the palette every 8 horizontal pixels.

Tiled modes support sprites with the following features:

  • Sprites up to 128 pixels in width or height are automatically handled by the graphics engine, so you don’t need to join smaller sprites to achieve larger ones
  • Up to 128 8×8 sprites can be drawn in one 256-color frame if they are 8-pixel aligned
  • For arbitrary alignment, up to 66 sprites can be displayed in one 256-color frame
  • All tiled modes support horizontal and vertical sprite flipping
  • The 256-color tiled mode supports 90°, 180°, and 270° sprite rotation and x/y swapping
  • By blending sprites and background graphics in 256-color mode, uSVC also supports partially transparent sprites that can be used to represent explosions, smoke, ghosts, and other lighting effects
  • Choose whether to give layer priority to sprites or tiles


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Muhammad Bilal

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