Project DoomBox

I had several spare parts from my previous PC projects in my possession and wanted to do something with it. So I decided to do my first PC case-mod with retro parts. The finished PC should be able to run DOS games like DOOM 1/2, Duke Nukem 3D and others.

These are the spare components I used:

To make the PC complete I ordered several parts from Amazon:

This is what I came up with:

The chest has several holes in the bottom as air inlets. The fan of the power supply blows out the hot air on the back.

I used the RJ45 coupling to get ethernet to the backside and soldered the PS/2 adapters for keyboard and mouse myself.

The display and the speakers get their power from the ATX supply so everything turns on when you hit that power switch… 

On the software side I used FreeDOS as an operating system and made myself a game launcher menu using DJGPP and the GRX library. I was even able to find code to play samples with the SoundBlaster. A short video of the box booting into the menu and running doom is available here.

This was actually the second try on the launcher menu. I already implemented a version using FreeBASIC which worked fine on all my PCs and in DOSBox but failed to switch into graphics mode on the DoomBox. I tried to change the graphics board, but with no effect. Seems to be an issue with the mainboard itself as swapping out all the other components didn’t work either…

 

SwinSIDuino

Two recently build nano SwinSID

Recently I built some nano SwinSID following these instructions.After testing one of these little buggers in my Franken-C64 I decided I want to try to connect it to an Arduino.

SwinSID in heavily modified C64

Some wire placing and code writing later I was able to access the SIDs registers and now I wanted to make some music…

Wiring done

The idea was: use a PC based C64 emulator and replace the SID emulation with the SwinSID connected via USB. First I tried jsidplay2, but I had no luck understanding the timing for the emulated 6510. Luckily I found kernal64, a C64 emulator implemented in Scala.

I had never before used Scala, but as it is Java based I was shortly after able to do this:

 

Please find my patched kernal64, the Arduino-sketch, schematics and some instructions here.

 

A Wifi modem for the C64

As there is a growing number of ESP8266 base Wifi-modems for retro computers out there I decided to build one myself.

My personal feature list:

  • connected to and powered by the C64 userport
  • simple, AT command based interface
  • usable with existing terminal software for the C64 out there
  • 2400 baud (I wanted to keep the circuit as simple as possible)
  • an OLED display for status information and show effect

The parts list (links are provided for reference and convenience only, they are no affiliate links):

The schematics (Updated on 20.08.2017):

The firmware can be found on GitHub, I used an existing firmware, removed stuff I didn’t need and added OLED support. To compile you need the Arduino IDE, the ESP8266 arduino core and the esp8266-oled-ssd1306 library.

Wifi-modem booting and connecting:Connected to Wifi:Connected to BBS: