7. The future

7.1 Other uses of the PlayMobile prototype

In our study we only made two games with our prototype, but it can be used for more purposes like the following.

 

7.2 Gameboy Advance

In the first quarter of year 2001 Nintendo will start selling a new Gameboy called Gameboy Advance [12] [21], it will look like shown in Figure 7.1. This is much more powerful than the old Gameboy and Gameboy Color. The new more powerful system will most likely be a success as it has few competitors and all the old Gameboy games will still work with the new system.

Figure 7.1: Pictures of Gameboy Advance in different angles.

 

If the PlayMobile should be turned into a commercial product it should be implemented on the Gameboy Advance. Not only because it is the new system, also because it would make the implementation more easy as it has a built in UART and some other hardware features making the GBA a more suitable system. The built in UART makes it possible to just attach a Bluetooth module to the system link port without needing any additional hardware.

 

7.2.1 Game Boy Advance vs. Game Boy Color

The following table shows differences between the GBC and the GBA:

Game Boy Advance

Game Boy Color

CPU

32-Bit ARM with embedded memory

8-bit Z80

Screen

2.9" TFT reflective screen

240x160 resolution

65,535 possible colors

511 simultaneous colors in character mode; 32,768 simultaneous colors in bitmap mode

2.3" TFT reflective screen

160x140 resolution

32,000 possible colors

56 simultaneous colors

Size (mm)

135w x 80h x 25d

75w x 133h x 27d

Weight

140g

138g

Power

2 AA batteries

2 AA batteries

Battery Life

20 hours

10 hours

Software

Cartridge format

GB Color compatible

Game Boy compatible

Cartridge format

Game Boy compatible

Table 7.1: GBA vs. GB

 

7.3 BT plug in for the GBA

7.3.1 Hardware

The built in UART in the GBA makes it possible to attach a Bluetooth module to the link-port without adding any additional hardware. One might just want to add a blue LED to show BT activity. There is power supply available in the link port, enough to support a Bluetooth module, so there is no need for batteries in the plug in. The antenna could be etched on the PCB together with the rest of the circuit.

 

7.3.2 Software

The software in the BT module must be at Application level to be able to setup piconets and to connect to a GSM phone. To support DoCoMo games some additional software is probably needed.

Standard multiplayer games for the GBA will not work. It is possible to connect a GBA to a DoCoMo phone (using a special cable) and play some of the games, these games will most likely also work with Bluetooth and also with GSM phones connected through Bluetooth. (If the Bluetooth module is set to emulate a DoCoMo phone when it receives non Bluetooth commands, it would require some additional software modification to the Bluetooth module)

If this product is made, there will be a need of cooperating with major game developers to create games that supports Bluetooth and GSM over BT. Games supporting this product could be marked with a Bluetooth logo or a Viking or similar to indicate that it has been approved for use with this product. (In the same way as multi player games that support gaming over a cable has a cable symbol on the package)

 

7.3.3 Mechanics

The mechanics for this product will be quite simple, only two plastic pieces forming the box, some contact elements and the PCB. This thesis focuses on electronics and software, but just to demonstrate how simple this product would be to manufacture we show a simple drawing of what the mechanical solution could look like in Figure 7.2. Two plastic casing halves are snapped together, the PCB is attached to the bottom half with a screw that not only keeps the PCB in place, it also is applying pressure to the contact spring ledges to get a reliable connection. The light guide is needed for the blue LED on the PCB informing the user of Bluetooth activity.

Figure 7.2: Ideas for the mechanical solution.