Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I want this Video Game Shield? These games only look half as good as Halo: Reach or Starcraft 2!
While the graphics aren’t up to par with current generation gaming, the programming skills you use to make cool video games on the Arduino are transferable directly to other cool things on the Arduino, and the logical thinking and computer programming thinking is also transferable to make cool video games on a computer or console.
Man, this kit is awesome!
Well, that isn’t really a question, but this kit didn’t come out of a vacuum. Arduino is doing an excellent job introducing physical and embedded computing to an new audience. avr-gcc and avr-libc, while we sometimes complain, are excellent projects. Having an open source toolchain is really awesome. Myles Metzler did a great job with his TVOut Arduino library, and Solarbotics is the first place we saw make a locking connector for the Nunchuck plug out of a PCB. Peter Fleury’s most excellent I2C library is what we used to make our Nunchuck and ClassicController libraries, with a few tweaks. Rickard Gunee has some good documentation on generating TV signals with a PIC.
Where can I find out more information about the TVout Arduino library?
Where can I talk to all the other Video Game Shield fans? I really want to share my ideas, or code up someone else’s, or show off some cool stuff I’ve done!
We have a Video Game Shield forum at the Wayne and Layne forums.
Does this work with PAL TVs or only NTSC?
This should work just fine with both NTSC and PAL TVs. While we don’t have any PAL TVs to test with, we’ve heard from Massimo himself that the Video Game Shield works with PAL.
What else do I need besides the Video Game Shield?
You need an Arduino (with an Atmega328 chip). The Duemilanove boards have had this chip since around March 1st, 2009. Older Duemilanove and Diecimila boards can be upgraded with an Atmega328 chip that has been programmed with the Arduino bootloader.
Arduino Megas will not work completely out of the box! There is nothing we can do in software to make this happen! If you use a few jumper wires to connect to certain pins on the far end of the board, it will work great! Conversion details and photos are available.
To show a picture, you need an RCA cable. One end should look like the photo below, and the other end should plug into something that can show a picture, like a TV or a portable DVD player. If you have a box of cables, you probably have one of these. We have some cables available for purchase in our store, but they should be available for a few dollars online or at an electronics store. Gold-plated (or jewel-encrusted, or …) cables are NOT necessary.
To provide input to the Video Game Shield, you can use a Wii Nunchuck. They look like the photo below. They can be purchased online or at an electronics store for less than 20 dollars. If you have a Nintendo Wii, you already have at least one. It is not strictly necessary to have two Nunchucks, but it’s more fun to play games with a friend!
You can also use a Wii Classic Controller, or even make your own controller with buttons, switches, and potentiometer knobs.
What pins does the Video Game Shield use?
The Video Game Shield uses the 3.3V line, as well as the 5V line and ground. Digital pins 7 and 9 are used for video, and digital pin 11 is used for audio. Pin 12 is used to select between Nunchucks. Analog pins 4 and 5 are used for the I2C interface to the Nunchucks.
My kit doesn’t work! Can you help me?
Most people who build the Video Game Shield don’t have problems, but there are a few things that can cause problems. It’s best to start with the basics, confirming the simple things work, and work your way up to complicated things.
Are you missing some parts from your kit? We try our best, but sometimes it happens. Contact us and we’ll get some parts in the mail.
Did you have problems building your kit? Post in the Wayne and Layne forums.
Are you pretty sure you built your kit right, but it doesn’t seem to work? First, load the Test example from the Video Game Shield library. Press Compile, and make sure there are no errors or red text in the bottom pane of the Arduino program. If you don’t see this example or there are errors, make sure you installed the library as directed in the Download page. If the error still happens, post in the Wayne and Layne forums.
Remember, the more clear you are about your problem, the better we can help you.