"Who is it?"
It's your boss, Peter G.
"Aw, what the hell do you want now?!?"
I opened the door and entered the room. My head of Research And Development was looking at me with apprehension. Relax. I haven't given you anything tough, have I?
"Well, no...but I know you! A little success, and you start looking to go bigger!"
Is progress on the immediate project going smoothly?
"Well...yes...the prototype circuit is all set, nothing to it. Once the last component arrives, final construction can begin."
What were the specifications?
"Stock parts to be easy to replicate, so easy to build you could use match solder, dirt cheap to make. Other than waiting for the paint to dry on the housing, you can knock one of these out in fifteen minutes, and that assumes you get the polarity of the power wrong."
Good. I think you can agree that I do not give you impossible missions.
"...wait...what do you want?"
"That's an electronic game."
Yup. Basketball from Mattel Electronics.
"You can get these for three bucks on eBay. Why do you want to build one?"
I don't want to build a basketball game....
"YOU WANT TO MAKE A CUSTOM ELECTRONIC GAME?!?"
Yeah. Arcade size. For convention appearances.
"ARE YOU NUTS?!? YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THIS IS GOING TO TAKE? SOLID STATE CIRCUITRY! LOGIC GATES! WHY DON'T YOU JUST USE YOUR POWERFUL BRAIN AND PROGRAM A REAL ARCADE GAME MACHINE?!?"
Simple reason. Think about what you are asking -- yes, I could bang out a simple game in my sleep and stick it in a cabinet. But there's an obstacle -- power. I would need a power supply for the monitor and one for the CPU. That means I need to be near an electrical outlet. And not every con can give me a power drop.
"So let's just build it using a laptop computer as the guts."
Laptop batteries only last about two hours due to the limitations of the X86 architecture.
"They make hi cap batteries. You have one for your netbook, and an external brick that gives you an additional five hours."
That won't work for every laptop, and means I would have to customize the inside of the cabinet for each laptop. I want something lightweight, standard, and can last for hours using only D cell batteries.
"And you're going to mount this in an arcade cabinet? No one's going to want it."
It's not to sell, it's just to attract people to my area without being obnoxious.
"Which means it has to be an actual working game, not just random flashing lights. What kind of game?"
Don't know yet. I am not going to design something and then say, Make this happen. I want to know what my limitations are first, and I'll design around that.
"And the R&D is on the cheap, too, right?"
"When are you hoping to have this?"
Officially? February 2014 is what I want. But if you can get it by February 2013, that would be awesome.
"Well...you're asking for a lot of work...but it's not that much work. Just a simple game? Basic logic circuits?"
More or less. Like the old handhelds from the 80's. Nothing GameBoy.
"So just LED lights to represent what's going on, not an actual graphical display...I'll see what I can do. It's a long shot, but I might be able to have something so you can have your toy by February."
Thanks. Keep me posted....