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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 8:31 PM   #1
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The Black Art of Video Game Console Design

The Black Art of Video Game Console Design
by Andre LaMothe
ISBN 0-672-32820-8

As programmers, I'm sure many of you have yearned for something just a bit different, more interesting and engaging, something bigger/better/faster, maybe even something physical to poke and prod besides the keyboard of a computer. Maybe you have that innate, burning desire to take it to the next level. Perhaps in the past you've heard that hardware is faster than software and you would like to know how and why this is so. Maybe you have written software that you would like to see converted to hardware but had no idea how to get started? The Black Art of Video Game Console Design fills the void and answers all of these questions and much, much more.

No prerequisites are required to fully enjoy this useful text other than some basic knowledge of programming in general. The book's focus is geared toward understanding and interfacing hardware and does not teach programming. The treatment of electronics, however, begins at the intro level and quickly encompasses the basics along with semiconductor theory preparing the reader with a strong foundation to begin their journey.

Analog and digital design are discussed, as well as the pros and cons of each. Lamothe's laid-back writing style aids the readers comprehension of his explanation of circuit analysis. From this point, the reader is taken through a windmill of subjects all relevant to the books purpose such as physical hardware construction, computer architecture and design, microprocessors and microcontrollers. Combinational logic, SSI/MSI blocks, flip flops, FSM, etc. -- It's all there.

My favorite section would have to be the embedded design chapter which walks the reader through the design of several different types of gaming console systems. This sections begins with a discussion of designing a gaming system using Parallax's SX28 chip on to the 6502, 6809, and z80. Graphics treatment is in-depth and NTSC/PAL are covered well. Sound, communication, inputs and game cartridges are also discussed in this chapter.

Obviously some programming must be discussed to make our gaming system useful. LaMothe covers this as well beginning with "Why Program in Assembly Language?" which explains the obstacles that must be overcome when programming embedded systems. Further details are included about programming the XGameStation which is a product promoted and sold by LaMothe at and is a fine development board for setting your newly acquired knowledge in motion.

It's incredible to note the sheer amount of information that is contained in this book. Even more impressive is the fact that details are not excluded or limited in any way. The explanations are straight to the point and thorough. The CD included with the book has all code samples as well as many useful development tools, including a few for professional circuit design. Tutorials, design files and data sheets can also be found on the CD along with an ebook copy of LaMothe's book The Black Art of 3D Game Programming with source code. I highly recommend The Black Art of Video Game Console Design to those with an interest in electrical engineering, hardware, game console design and overall "knowledge sponges".
-- lostcauz

Stepped in what?...
Behind whose barn?...
I didn't even know they had a cow!
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Old Nov 5th, 2015, 12:33 PM   #2
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Re: The Black Art of Video Game Console Design

Nice to know about your design thanks......
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