Ming Mecca - Voltage Controlled Videogame Console

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wcfields
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Ming Mecca - Voltage Controlled Videogame Console

Post by wcfields » Sat May 04, 2013 3:30 pm

[video][/video]

tl;dr: 160×192 pixel resolution patchable 8-bit videogame console for Eurorack that uses NES controllers. MSPR: ~$1000 for console, $350 per controller module. Uses hot-swappable SD cards as cartridges

From http://www.specialstagesystems.com/system-overview/
With the heart of a video synthesizer and the brain of a videogame console, Ming Mecca is the first of its kind: an ontological toy, a videogame easel, and a love letter to all things retrofuture. Designed for use in Eurorack format synthesizers but built to meet the demands of even the most seasoned micro-galactic interlopers, Ming Mecca modules will take your rig where no rig has gone before.



Image

From Joystiq:
"Special Stage Systems is hoping to have Ming Mecca ready to ship to customers by summer of 2014. Price hasn't been determined yet, but Bartee estimates it will be "in the neighborhood of $999 for the World Core, $350 for the Control Core," which he says is competitive with similar modular synthesizers. For DIY enthusiasts, firmware source code and schematics for Ming Mecca are already available for free, and Special Stage Systems will release the PCB and panel designs after the retail launch."
http://www.joystiq.com/2013/05/03/ming- ... nthesizer/



Demo Videos:
[video][/video]

[video][/video]

Image

ImageImageImage
Width: 14HP
Max Depth: 1.75″
Power: 130mA@ +12V, 0mA@ -12V

Supports standard NES controller + NES Advantage

Integrated square wave generator provides turbo / retrigger capability

Doubles as a gate-to-trigger converter with voltage controlled trigger length

6 dedicated gate outputs / 2 analog outputs / 1 turbo input / 1 turbo output

Chaotix mode generates highly diverse digital noise when accessed via Konami cheat code





Image
Image

Width: 56HP
Max Depth: 1.78″
Power: 215mA@ +12V, 0mA@ -12V
160×192 pixel resolution via standard composite NTSC output

Highly responsive engine maintains fast control rates and full 60 FPS progressive video output

2×4 simultaneous colors / 2×16 palettes / 86 total colors programmable

2 voltage controlled sprites with 32 addressable bitmaps

2 voltage controlled tiles with 32 addressable bitmaps / 16 tile maps

Assets replaceable via Secure Digital (SD) Card, FAT16 or FAT32 format

Integrated gravity and collision processing rendered across 7 dedicated gate outputs
ImageExperimental Half Hour - LA's own television show of experimental music and performance art.

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Eli
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Post by Eli » Sat May 04, 2013 4:25 pm

:woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah: :woah:

This is nuts. I just saw the post on synthtopia about it and was about to post it here myself. Very creative concept....

The trailer is awesome too.

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neon
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Post by neon » Sun May 05, 2013 2:58 pm

Yeah, this thing is totally mindboggling. Also very cool is this Illucia system that one of the people from Special Stage is apparently just about to release - apparently it's going to feature OSC control. Both of these are totally open source! Here's the Ming Mecca DIY page with schematics and firmware, and here's the Illucia Github repository. :love:

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spaceship
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Post by spaceship » Tue May 07, 2013 9:41 am

Pre-ordered!

That looks so flippin awesome.

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brent
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Post by brent » Wed May 08, 2013 3:27 pm

Unreal. It looks like a fairly slender panel too. Is this just the magic of Arduino or something? Impressive regardless. I love how they've got a Commodore monitor in that one pic.

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Post by Yoa01 » Wed May 08, 2013 3:35 pm

I got to play with this thing at AHNE 2013, and now I REALLY need one!! ...And some NES controllers. Seem to be short on those.
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daverj
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Post by daverj » Wed May 08, 2013 6:15 pm

brent wrote:Unreal. It looks like a fairly slender panel too. Is this just the magic of Arduino or something? Impressive regardless. I love how they've got a Commodore monitor in that one pic.
It uses a "Propeller" CPU from Parallax, which is basically a multi-core chip with 8 PIC clones in it.

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Post by lizlarsen » Thu May 09, 2013 9:30 am

This has been a very exciting project to watch develop!

For a while I've been talking to Jordan about cross-compatibility with LZX modules. There is an expansion header on the World Core with enough output pins to try to add an LZX RGB 1V output driver and sync connection. This would likely be a slim expander module with 1V RGB outputs. Jordan has also informed me there is a jumper on the back of the World Core which can select 1V or 5V scale for all the CV inputs! Logic inputs respond at 0.5V threshold already. So this is all great news if you're interested into using Ming Mecca in your LZX system, or in tandem with it, in a "fully integrated" fashion.

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Post by ZibraZibraZibra » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:35 am

is there any news on this?

im debating on breadboarding the schematics. but the only experience I've had with programming chips is arduino, what are these propellor MCU's written with?

i don't think i can wait any longer for this bad boy to come out haha.

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Post by ZibraZibraZibra » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:48 am

what i would give for a pcb board and firmware chip!

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Post by Arturo00 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:33 am

ZibraZibraZibra wrote:is there any news on this?

im debating on breadboarding the schematics. but the only experience I've had with programming chips is arduino, what are these propellor MCU's written with?

i don't think i can wait any longer for this bad boy to come out haha.
I'm pretty sure these are being shipped. I know Liz has one and hex.inverter has one too. Perhaps those were preorders. Not sure.

Or, talk to Jordan Bartee directly. He frequents Muffwiggler and he's definitely on facebook.
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Post by ZibraZibraZibra » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:50 am

cheers man, I've sent him over an email.

just can't wait to get it out at shows! :O

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Post by jbartee » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:11 am

Hello!

Just to clarify for anyone else following along, the units sent to Liz and Hex were "pre-pre-order," more like demo units. They are the only units being sent out ahead of the commercial run.

I'm currently building the first batch. There was a pretty annoying delay with a bad run of panels, but we're still on track for a late august / early september release.

No kits this time -concentrating 100% on getting the retail units built and shipped.

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Post by supersounddesign » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Pre-order request sent :)

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Post by monads » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:45 am

This is good news! My pre-order was sent almost a month ago so I'm on board as well :)

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Post by seank » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:50 pm

preorder request sent!

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Post by jbartee » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:51 pm

Hello! lots of new info / pics in the other thread:
viewtopic.php?t=83893

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Post by jbartee » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:50 pm

Hello Video Synthesists! Ming Mecca is launching today. World Cores and Control Cores are now in stock at Analogue Haven.

Image

More info over in the Euro thread:
viewtopic.php?t=83893

Thanks! :party: :party: :party:

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Post by rewordings » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:15 am

This is one module that defies my comprehension, but I definitely enjoyed the promo video :nana:

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Post by monads » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:53 pm

Jordan, any developments on the World Core Expander module? I'm wondering if integrating the video of World Core with LZX it's best to wait for the Expander module or grab the LZX Color TBC? The Color TBC can interface with other external video inputs, where as the Expander module appears soley dedicated for World Core to LZX??? If the later is true, what benefits will the Expander module offer over the Color TBC?

lizlarsen wrote:There is an expansion header on the World Core with enough output pins to try to add an LZX RGB 1V output driver and sync connection. This would likely be a slim expander module with 1V RGB outputs.

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Post by jbartee » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:46 am

monads wrote:Jordan, any developments on the World Core Expander module? I'm wondering if integrating the video of World Core with LZX it's best to wait for the Expander module or grab the LZX Color TBC? The Color TBC can interface with other external video inputs, where as the Expander module appears soley dedicated for World Core to LZX??? If the later is true, what benefits will the Expander module offer over the Color TBC?

lizlarsen wrote:There is an expansion header on the World Core with enough output pins to try to add an LZX RGB 1V output driver and sync connection. This would likely be a slim expander module with 1V RGB outputs.
So it turns out the TBC is not currently compatible, unfortunately. This is due to LZX being a 480i format vs Ming Mecca's 240p. The TBC can't process the progressive signal correctly.

We're hoping to add an optional 480i CVBS output mode to the World Core via a firmware update at some point down the road, which would make it TBC compatible. And obviously the expander, further down the road, would make integration much simpler. The advantage of the expander is it would be a much higher quality video output (as opposed to converting the composite signal, this would add native RGB output to the World Core).

In the meantime, I'm also looking into using external converter boxes to convert the World Core's 240p signal into 480i component for use with the Visual Cortex. I'm pretty sure I've found an easy, affordable solution for this, but I'm waiting for my Cortex to arrive to make sure. I'll post back in this thread once I know one way or the other... if it works it will get Ming Mecca and LZX systems communicating right away for $80 or so.

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Post by monads » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:19 am

Good to know on the TBC compatibility issues! Might want to update the FAQ section on SpecialStage website.

I too was thinking about Visual Cortex integration which prompted the question. It looks like the Exapander module may be the more elegant straightforward connection. Let us know how the converter box workaround goes in the meantime when you get a chance to test.

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Post by jbartee » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:24 pm

monads wrote:Might want to update the FAQ section on SpecialStage website.
Whoops! Thanks for the heads up. There's a note about TBC incompatibility on the Analogue Haven order page but I forgot that our FAQ addresses the TBC as well. Just updated it to reflect the current situation. Sorry about that.

I'm pretty confidant that the converters I'm testing are going to work. One is the Ambery composite to component converter. It can be a little fiddley, requiring disconnecting and reconnecting the composite video input 2 or 3 times when it first powers on before it will lock onto the Ming Mecca sync correctly, but once it locks it's rock solid 240p to 480i conversion and surprisingly high quality for such a cheap box. Just need to get the Visual Cortex in to make absolutely sure it's output is compatible with the module.

The other thing I'm looking into is old DVD-RW decks. These had composite inputs and often had component outputs, so it should be possible to use them essentially as a passthrough. The advantage of these, if they work, is that they can be bought on ebay for $20-$30 with broken drives, since we only need them for their format conversion.

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Post by monads » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:51 pm

Just spent a good part of the afternoon messing around with the 'Winter World' pack! Great stuff!!!

Good job on the fish/penguin sprites Jordan/Molly :tu:

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Post by jbartee » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:39 am

monads wrote:Just spent a good part of the afternoon messing around with the 'Winter World' pack! Great stuff!!!

Good job on the fish/penguin sprites Jordan/Molly :tu:
Awesome, glad you're digging it! We had a lot of fun putting it together. Hope to put out some more in the near future :party:

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