Game Pie Advance now known as Freeplay Zero (by Freeplaytech)

Hey everyone. As you might know, we’re working on launching a Kickstarter campaign very soon. Part of that effort has been a “rebranding” of this project. I really liked the name Game Pie Advance, but as we move forward, this project needs to stand on its own.

You may already know that Freeplaytech is a name that we’ve used in the past (like Twitter @Freeplaytech), but it had not previously been tied to any particular product line. Now what you know of as the Game Pie Advance (GPA) will become known as the Freeplay Zero, because it is built around the Raspberry Pi Zero. In this way, I guess that the Freeplay Zero will be the first piece of “Freeplay Tech.”

For now, this Game Pie Advance site will still exist. The new Freeplaytech website will become a landing page to support the Kickstarter campaign. If you signed up here to get news, your email address will be added to the new site’s email list. Just think of it like we are moving to a new home. The stuff we’re doing has outgrown our old GPA house, so we’re moving it over to Freeplaytech.com.

I hope it’s not too confusing.

By the way, I keep mentioning the Kickstarter, but I haven’t yet mentioned WHEN it will launch. I know it’s surprisingly soon, but I think we are (fingers crossed) hoping to launch on May 15th. Of course, that might get pushed back, but I’m going to really try to get everything ready by then.

Update: I knew that when I finally said (out loud) the day we’re targeting, something would happen. I have 3 birthdays and a mother’s day in the next 4 days, and the guy helping with video production is also swamped. I hope we can hit the 22nd, now. We still have a lot to do between now and then, so it’s probably for the best. I just hate the wait.

14 thoughts on “Game Pie Advance now known as Freeplay Zero (by Freeplaytech)”

  1. Hello good day,

    Some time ago I follow your project and I have to tell you, that is one of the most interesting arcade projects I have seen.

    All elements seem of quality and ingenuity to fit perfectly

    I love that you move forward with the project and I think it will finally evolve positively.

    I am looking forward to purchasing one of your packs (I already have the rest of the necessary material)
    Jejejeeje I just hope that with the new project prices will be maintained.

    Greetings and if you need anything do not hesitate to publish it that will help you in the necessary.

    Jordi

  2. Hello,

    great to hear that campaign is near (starting on my birthday ;-). I don’t know if you have read the comment on the last news and I hope you don’t mind if I post it again.

    ————————————————————

    I’m really eagerly waiting for the campaign to start. This is exactly what I was looking for the past weeks: an kind of easy to build solution of a pie based handheld console with a nice and clean retro design.

    Some things I would love to see in such a campaign (and I hope there might be a chance as you have to deal with asian companies anyway as it seems) are:

    * some kind of pre-modified shell for your PCB – produced by one of the reproduction companies perhaps. A cadridge-like dust cover or hatch might be possible this way as well
    * display glass with custom print instead of the “gameboy advance” text
    * a way to use a second set of the start/home buttons rubber for use as x/y (in case there is really no way to place full-size x/y buttons on the PCB. This way the design would look even more consistent.
    * retro design for the shell and buttons. If you find some company to produced a modified shell for your PCB, then there might be a chance to let it be produced in the style of the original gameboy, the nes or snes like rose colored gaming did. Together with recolored buttons (also for start/select/x/y)
    * nice to have but not really necessary: add-on PCB or solution to reposition the sdcard slot to get access to it without opening the console

    Perhaps all this could also be accomplished together with the guys of retromodding.com or rose colored gaming if this is easier instead of dealing with another asian company.

    Sorry if these are stupid demands or way out of scope of your project – I just thought these might raise even more the interest in this.

    Keep up the great work and regards

    1. Hey Purity! Yes, I had read through them before. I’m sorry. I must have forgot to reply. I will try to address them individually.

      Pre-Modified Shell: This is definitely something we are exploring, but there is just so much to do and we are focused on our areas of expertise. We are working with someone that will likely have the ability to produce GBA shells soon. We don’t yet know if they will be able to pre-mod them for our kit or not. We are also looking for other shell solutions. It’s all just too soon to include these as part of the Kickstarter campaign. Just know that we’re working on it, but it’s not to a point where we can promise anything at all.

      Custom Display Glass: Again, this is definitely something we want to do, but it’s a bit dependent on what happens with a pre-modded shell.

      Rubber X/Y: In fact, this is something we have explored and even tested. It works. We can do it. The problem is that it’s not better than the tall tactile switch. We’re working on it, but so far it hasn’t been something that we think is ready for a product. Until we have something we’re pleased with, it (like the other things mentioned so far) has to remain on the wish list.

      Retro Shell: I think this goes with the pre-mod shell topic. I agree that this is cool. 🙂

      SD Card: This is very tough to do with the Raspberry Pi Zero, but you might get a birthday present. There’s a bit of a “surprise” that we haven’t yet announced, because we’re still trying to be sure that the idea works well. We could know more by the end of today even. Stay tuned. We may or may not announce anything before the Kickstarter, but there might be something that fixes this issue.
      In the meantime, search eBay for “micro sd extension.” I have tried the cheap (about $3) ones. They are a bit too bulky. This one (www.ebay.com/itm/131565092246) could possibly work very nicely, but I have yet to try one.

      RetroModding.com: We’re working with them, now. I think some of the aforementioned items may be things they help with.

      1. Hello Ed,

        thanks for your detailed reply. In general it was way more positive than I expected. Great to hear that you are open for these ideas – of course I understand that it takes time and that some things might not be feasable but great that you are discussing about/working on it.

        That microsd card extension cable looks really interesing – I’ve never seen this before, it might really be an option.

        Keep up the great work and I wish you a smooth campaign.

        Greetings

        1. 2 things:
          1) A guy (just last night) emailed me with a photo of his GPA using a SD extension. I think it works fine, but it’s kinda loose in there. At least it gives him access to it.
          2) Just this morning I met with the guy helping us with video editing/production. Not only is he swamped right now, but I actually have 3 family birthdays and a mothers day in the next 4 days. Even if we could hit the May 15 KS launch target, it’s smarter for us to push it back a week.

          New Kickstarter launch target = May 22nd. It bothers me to miss the goal, but it’s for the best. While that stuff is being worked out, we’re moving forward with exciting technical developments!

          1. yeah, the problem of this extension is, that you cannot mount it in the case as you have to open a small metal holder to insert the cards instead of sliding the card in. But perhaps there is a way (later on), to create an extension cable yourself, where you use a different part which holds the card, so that it can be attached to the case again (or the pi zero board).

            No problem for the delay – hurrying up, just to met a certain date might produce new problems anyway…

  3. So, I have been doing some software/temperature tests on the RPi Zero.

    And to my finding emulating a PSX is completely do-able. The only downside would be the lack of L2/R2 buttons. Any chance and L2/R2 button could be present on the board? Even just an optional solder point would work honestly.

    For those wondering what my setup for emulating PSX is:
    RPi Zero W
    RetroPie 4.2.3
    sudo nano /boot/config.txt
    make sure the arm_freq=1000

    1000 is the official frequency of the RPi Zero, but because they use the same package for RPi 1 the default is set to 700. 700 is an underclock for RPi Zero (W), although you could see how low you could go while maintaining normal emulation.

    Set screen resolution to 640×480 seeing as the tft screen will have even lower resolution this is more than fine. I only tested it with hdmi, so setting it to the even lower tft resolution, if possible would not hurt.

    And lastly from the optional packages, download pcsx-rearmed. The librerto core(lr-pcsx-rearmed) is a lot slower than the original emulator.

    testing both RE2 and megaman 8 they both seem to run full speed.

    I understand not everyone will want another 2 buttons on the back as well. But at least having the option would be amazing. And I would love you forever :P.

    1. Forgot to include the temperatures: They barely scratch 55 in a closed container, after 1 hour of PSX 3d gaming.

    2. I think it may be possible to add extra buttons as solder points on the Freeplay CM3. The Freeplay Zero (Pi Zero) is using all the GPIO, IIRC.

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