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GCW Zero - new retrogaming open source handheld!

Vitacat

Member
Well... so I decided to keep my GCW Zero afterall. :)

Took it off eBay.

Basically I tried the Atari Lynx emulator. It seems to run most games well, and I miss my Lynx. So I'm keeping this thing. Why not. It's weird and interesting.

EDIT: tried several more emulators. I'm impressed. This thing is actually really good for retro emulation. I just hope people keep developing stuff for it.
 
I can do that on my GB Micro without any issues.

I guess I still prefer the old PSP for emulation, too.

Yeah, that's where we differ. I just really dislike using the PSP. I don't find it to be comfortable on the hands, I don't care for the inputs, it's just all very unpleasant to me.

I have a Micro and an AGS 101 along with an EZFlash for GBA too. I want to get a Rose Colored Gaming backlight modded original GBA too. I'm just a hardware addict.
 
I also considered selling it but I decided to keep it because I cant think of another portable machine that is smaller/similar in size that can emulate SNES as good as this.

Also, even thought I love original hardware, I would rather play GB/GBC/GBA games in the ZERO than anywhere else, the PSP is too big, the Shield is too bulky to take outside of the house, lets not start about cell phones.

Im very tempted to sell it and get the newly announced everdrive for my GameBoy color but in the end it cant beat the convenience of having so many machines in one device.

I havent used it in over 2 months, not because I dont like it, but because all my portable time has been devoted to the 3DS lately.

I did put around 10 hours into it playing Donkey Kong Country for SNES and Doom 1 and 2.

Found some issues with the buttons sometimes not detecting when they get pressed but it hasnt been bad enough for me to rage over it.

Well... so I decided to keep my GCW Zero afterall. :)

Took it off eBay.

Basically I tried the Atari Lynx emulator. It seems to run most games well, and I miss my Lynx. So I'm keeping this thing. Why not. It's weird and interesting.

EDIT: tried several more emulators. I'm impressed. This thing is actually really good for retro emulation. I just hope people keep developing stuff for it.

I really hope development continues on it, especially the Video-Out, its worrying that we havent heard anything new regarding that.
 

Vitacat

Member
Yep, I still have fingers crossed that they can complete the firmware.

TV-out would be nice, as well as a proper sleep mode and various other things like triple buffering and USB controller support etc.

But I'm enjoying this thing a lot the past few days. It's really good for retro emulation. SNES, GBA, NES and several others are superbly emulated.

Also, regarding controls, I'm finding my controls have improved since using it more! My dpad seems to do diagonals a bit easier (but it's still slightly squeaky) and my buttons really don't stick anymore it seems.
 
Yep, I still have fingers crossed that they can complete the firmware.

TV-out would be nice, as well as a proper sleep mode and various other things like triple buffering and USB controller support etc.

But I'm enjoying this thing a lot the past few days. It's really good for retro emulation. SNES, GBA, NES and several others are superbly emulated.

Also, regarding controls, I'm finding my controls have improved since using it more! My dpad seems to do diagonals a bit easier (but it's still slightly squeaky) and my buttons really don't stick anymore it seems.

The only SNES rom that chugs for me is Kirby Dream Land 3, other than that, it runs amazing.

Im still waiting for someone to prove me wrong, is there a smaller device with physical buttons than can play SNES games this good?
 
The only SNES rom that chugs for me is Kirby Dream Land 3, other than that, it runs amazing.

Im still waiting for someone to prove me wrong, is there a smaller device with physical buttons than can play SNES games this good?

Xperia Play

It also does PSP/PS1/N64 etc....
 
The only SNES rom that chugs for me is Kirby Dream Land 3, other than that, it runs amazing.

Im still waiting for someone to prove me wrong, is there a smaller device with physical buttons than can play SNES games this good?

Try manually setting the Frameskip to 1. The manual says Auto gives you better performance than setting it manually, but in some cirumstances I've found that the exact opposite is true. You'll lose some effects this way (like really fast flicker effects; the "Finger" cursor in Final Fantasy games being a great example) but it smooths things out pretty well.

The nice thing is that you can save these settings per-game so if you find something that works for Kirby but mungs up other games, you're not stuck switching things around all the time.
 
Try manually setting the Frameskip to 1. The manual says Auto gives you better performance than setting it manually, but in some cirumstances I've found that the exact opposite is true. You'll lose some effects this way (like really fast flicker effects; the "Finger" cursor in Final Fantasy games being a great example) but it smooths things out pretty well.

The nice thing is that you can save these settings per-game so if you find something that works for Kirby but mungs up other games, you're not stuck switching things around all the time.

Thanks for the tip, I will give it a try next time, wouldnt mind being able to play Kirby 3
 
Wow, how have I missed this thread and any news of this device? Looks really promising.

So, there's no TV out?

It has ports for Analog out and HDMI out, unfortunetly they havent been added to the firmware so they are useless right now :(.

yup, and i backed the project day-1 :p

Thats terrible, I backed the KS around 3 days before it closed.

Really weird how he handled the whole thing, I guess he just grouped orders by country and not by backing time :(, I hope you get it soon.
 
Really weird how he handled the whole thing, I guess he just grouped orders by country and not by backing time :(, I hope you get it soon.

Yeah i think this is the way for all Kickstarters i've backed. the rewards are not fulfilled by backing date but by country/shipping area. USA always taking top priority.

Turrican Soundtrack Anthology i also received weeks after the first backers received theirs. That was a little annoying too because it was a numbered 5000 unit limited run and i was hoping to have an early numbered unit instead of one of the last ones :p

Finland is the wasteland of Kickstarter rewards :(
 

Delt31

Member
so thinking about buying one. Questions for those who have it:

Does it run gen and snes games perfectly no frameskip?

Screen looks tiny - quality?

EDIT - reading through, lots of concerns. Damn I was hoping this was the solution to perf emu. I love OLED screens so galaxy s3 might be the best (as my vita is good too but it doesn't play the games as good as my psp, which still doesn't play them great).
 

Awakened

Member
so thinking about buying one. Questions for those who have it:

Does it run gen and snes games perfectly no frameskip?

Screen looks tiny - quality?

EDIT - reading through, lots of concerns. Damn I was hoping this was the solution to perf emu. I love OLED screens so galaxy s3 might be the best (as my vita is good too but it doesn't play the games as good as my psp, which still doesn't play them great).
Genesis emulation is just as good as it is on my PC using the port or Genesis Plus GX and runs everything except Virtua Racer silky smooth. That port doesn't have any configuration options though, so no 4:3 aspect ratio correction or button remapping. Picodrive has button remapping, but less accurate emulation.

SNES emulation is pretty good with the port of SNES9x 1.43. The dev that took over that port did some tests with the latest SNES9x code, which is more accurate, but the Zero isn't fast enough to handle it. The latest release that works with the newest firmware supports triple buffering, which makes SuperFX games run much better. I tried Yoshi's Island on that and found it to run full speed most of the time, with some stuttering here or there.

The screen is ok. Compared to my iPhone it's a little washed out looking, but without the direct comparison I tend to forget about it.

One thing the Zero has over anything with Android on it is very low (not noticeable to me) input/display or sound lag. Trying out a Nexus 7 2013 with a few different wired pads felt pretty crappy to me in that regard in SNES9x Ex+ and RetroArch. A few posters in the Shield thread had similar feelings. When I had my iPhone jailbroken I didn't notice any sound lag with RetroArch or any other emulators I tried and with an iControlPad or Wiimote the input lag was far less noticeable than the wired controllers on the Nexus, but not quite as good as the Zero. Not everyone will notice those types of lag so it might not bother you though.

I think the Vita could be an amazing emulation device if it ever gets opened fully (not the existing PSP based solution) for homebrew.
 
Genesis emulation is just as good as it is on my PC using the port or Genesis Plus GX and runs everything except Virtua Racer silky smooth. That port doesn't have any configuration options though, so no 4:3 aspect ratio correction or button remapping. Picodrive has button remapping, but less accurate emulation.

SNES emulation is pretty good with the port of SNES9x 1.43. The dev that took over that port did some tests with the latest SNES9x code, which is more accurate, but the Zero isn't fast enough to handle it. The latest release that works with the newest firmware supports triple buffering, which makes SuperFX games run much better. I tried Yoshi's Island on that and found it to run full speed most of the time, with some stuttering here or there.

The screen is ok. Compared to my iPhone it's a little washed out looking, but without the direct comparison I tend to forget about it.

One thing the Zero has over anything with Android on it is very low (not noticeable to me) input/display or sound lag. Trying out a Nexus 7 2013 with a few different wired pads felt pretty crappy to me in that regard in SNES9x Ex+ and RetroArch. A few posters in the Shield thread had similar feelings. When I had my iPhone jailbroken I didn't notice any sound lag with RetroArch or any other emulators I tried and with an iControlPad or Wiimote the input lag was far less noticeable than the wired controllers on the Nexus, but not quite as good as the Zero. Not everyone will notice those types of lag so it might not bother you though.

I think the Vita could be an amazing emulation device if it ever gets opened fully (not the existing PSP based solution) for homebrew.


Who do you follow or how did you learn about the new firmware? , completely missed that they released a new one, can you link me to it? Thanks
 

Tempy

don't ask me for codes
so thinking about buying one. Questions for those who have it:

Does it run gen and snes games perfectly no frameskip?

Screen looks tiny - quality?

EDIT - reading through, lots of concerns. Damn I was hoping this was the solution to perf emu. I love OLED screens so galaxy s3 might be the best (as my vita is good too but it doesn't play the games as good as my psp, which still doesn't play them great).

It's not gonna beat OLED screens, but I have no issues with the screen. Emulation is generally quite good - better than PSP. Main issue is with iffy build quality on the buttons.
 

Awakened

Member
Who do you follow or how did you learn about the new firmware? , completely missed that they released a new one, can you link me to it? Thanks
It was posted about on Dingoonity in the Releases section and is available for download on the official site's firmware update page. There were some issues with the initial release soft bricking a few people's units, but they seem to have ironed that out. They even made an easy to use recovery CD image for people to reflash that had the issue. Luckily I had no problem with the first or current version of the update.
 
It was posted about on Dingoonity in the Releases section and is available for download on the official site's firmware update page. There were some issues with the initial release soft bricking a few people's units, but they seem to have ironed that out. They even made an easy to use recovery CD image for people to reflash that had the issue. Luckily I had no problem with the first or current version of the update.

Sweet, thanks, forgotten to check up on that place, seems I have to upgrade some of my emus :)
 

Vitacat

Member
Analog went bad on mine a few weeks ago, and I'm sending it in for replacement.

Meh. Hopefully the new one lasts longer.
 
finally got my unit! :D

you know it's a console for the hardcore when the update screen looks like this:


installed some apps and emulators, everything seems to run really good! Used Megaman X as my benchmark test, that game is very picky with emulation speed and sound.

the Select button is a little too close to B button for my hands, keep accidentally pressing it all the time. Dpad is a little creaky but other than that it feels good. The big 4:3 screen is the killer feature here, games look very sharp.

i welcomed it to my handheld family as the middle son :D
 

Surkow

Member
finally got my unit! :D

you know it's a console for the hardcore when the update screen looks like this:


installed some apps and emulators, everything seems to run really good! Used Megaman X as my benchmark test, that game is very picky with emulation speed and sound.

the Select button is a little too close to B button for my hands, keep accidentally pressing it all the time. Dpad is a little creaky but other than that it feels good. The big 4:3 screen is the killer feature here, games look very sharp.

i welcomed it to my handheld family as the middle son :D
Very nice collection of hardware. I'd suggest you use silicon grease to solve the creaky D-pad. Did you update to the 2014-05-05 release?
 
Very nice collection of hardware. I'd suggest you use silicon grease to solve the creaky D-pad. Did you update to the 2014-05-05 release?

yeah it's updated and i'm trying to find silicon grease from local hardware stores.

Congratulations! Good to see people have been enjoying it, I'm still waiting for my KS unit. :(

Hope you get it soon! Have faith! :D


There's already some amazing developers working on ports and great games, ZDoom is already running and a 10 year old kid(!) made configs to run Brutal Doom on it :D
http://boards.dingoonity.org/gcw-development/zdoom/

Quake 2 runs great too!

Get on the Dingoonity boards and help out if you have any experience in programming and want to find the latest releases!
 

Tobor

Member
Welp, my purchase has been fully justified.



For anyone who doesn't know what this image means (shame on you!), UQM, an open source port of Star Control 2, has been ported to the GCW Zero. It runs great, and it is glorious. You can get the .opk here.
 

HUELEN10

Member
Welp, my purchase has been fully justified.



For anyone who doesn't know what this image means (shame on you!), UQM, an open source port of Star Control 2, has been ported to the GCW Zero. It runs great, and it is glorious. You can get the .opk here.
This is, without a single doubt in my mind, the greatest thread bump to grace this forum; a new way to play SC2 is always welcomed!

I envy you, I wish I had a good way to play that amazing game on the to. Glad it hear it runs great.
 

MrChom

Member
Bit of thread necro... are people still using these? How's the current state of SNES emulation on them? How's the build quality turning out for people?

Also....is there anything better at the same price point?
 

pje122

Member
I recently purchased a DMG-01 D-Pad off eBay for my GCW Zero. Has anyone had any experience taking apart their unit and installing a new D-Pad? I need to borrow a dremel or something to help cut out the appropriate shape I think...
 
Bit of thread necro... are people still using these? How's the current state of SNES emulation on them? How's the build quality turning out for people?

Also....is there anything better at the same price point?

I use mine exclusively for SNES emulation, its great for that, as I have said before, you cant find anything smaller that runs SNES roms this well.

Only issue is the weird feeling D-Pad, has certainly killed me in some platformers a few times, but its not a deal breaker.
 
Bit of thread necro... are people still using these? How's the current state of SNES emulation on them? How's the build quality turning out for people?

Also....is there anything better at the same price point?

Its no necro, this is the "ot"

And the device like the Dingoos before it are a device for the scene that develop stuff for it slowly but surely.

New stuff is coming and not even all the device features are activated yet. Keep up to date at Dingoonity.org forums. SNES emulation is near perfect.

I use for emulations, Quake 2 and BrutalDoom mainly :D Quake 2 even has working multiplayer!

About something "better" it's a thing of preference. No other device has the same perfect 4:3 screen. But you can do most of the emulation with a cracked PSP or an Android device. But the Dingux development stuff around the GCW is fun to get into and quite unique.

Build quality, my dpad is squeaky too and i replaced it with a Gameboy dpad. Also the headphone jack only gives sound to the right channel :/
 

desu

Member
My D-Pad was far from good, dunno how many times I died in DKCR because of it, even after 10-20h using it. That's the reason I pretty much stopped the console, however the screen was actually pretty good.
 
Is this system still available to buy? Has another similar portable been released since?

Alternatives are devices like those from Gemei or GameGadget. Don't expect much of a scene or support however (plus these competing devices aren't exactly recent).

Yup, there really is nothing like it. The older ones are the Dingoo units that this is a "spiritual sequel" to, made by the community themselves. GamePark or Pandora are more like it.

an nVidia Shield or something might be newer as far as portable electronics go, but even those do not have a dedicated development platform through the Dingux operating system. They are android devices (both in good and bad).

The GCW is a hobbyist tinkering device (both in good and bad) :D

The 4:3 fullscreen display really is the killer feature of the GCW, pixelperfect gaming instead of stretched blurry stuff! :D
 
Its no necro, this is the "ot"

And the device like the Dingoos before it are a device for the scene that develop stuff for it slowly but surely.

New stuff is coming and not even all the device features are activated yet. Keep up to date at Dingoonity.org forums. SNES emulation is near perfect.

I use for emulations, Quake 2 and BrutalDoom mainly :D Quake 2 even has working multiplayer!

About something "better" it's a thing of preference. No other device has the same perfect 4:3 screen. But you can do most of the emulation with a cracked PSP or an Android device. But the Dingux development stuff around the GCW is fun to get into and quite unique.

Build quality, my dpad is squeaky too and i replaced it with a Gameboy dpad. Also the headphone jack only gives sound to the right channel :/

Man im glad I havent tried headphones with it because this will legit make me go mad when I do.

And yeah the screen is glorious, played some Metal Gear Ghost Babel on the GBC emulator and it looks so damn good.
 

Surkow

Member
Man im glad I havent tried headphones with it because this will legit make me go mad when I do.

And yeah the screen is glorious, played some Metal Gear Ghost Babel on the GBC emulator and it looks so damn good.
Probably an issue with the connector, headphone output is stereo.
 
See the store page for resellers.

Alternatives are devices like those from Gemei or GameGadget. Don't expect much of a scene or support however (plus these competing devices aren't exactly recent).
Thanks for this. The UK retailer doesn't have it in stock, would have been willing to buy at £100! There's a European retailer that has the black model in stock. Looks like there's a built in battery, does it charge via USB or do you also get a power adaptor to charge the system? My only concern is ordering from the Euro retailer only to find it comes with a two-pin plug.

EDIT: is it relatively easy to use? As in, drag and drop roms / easy to install emulators?
 

Surkow

Member
Thanks for this. The UK retailer doesn't have it in stock, would have been willing to buy at £100! There's a European retailer that has the black model in stock. Looks like there's a built in battery, does it charge via USB or do you also get a power adaptor to charge the system? My only concern is ordering from the Euro retailer only to find it comes with a two-pin plug.

EDIT: is it relatively easy to use? As in, drag and drop roms / easy to install emulators?

Not sure if it comes with a dedicated charger. I personally only use the included USB cable to charge the unit via USB.

Installing programs is as easy as moving applications to /apps/ on an external micro SD card. Internal is a bit more difficult. For now it requires FTP or you can use the dedicated Windows program for file transfers. Alternatively you can just read the Quick Start Guide about installing applications. In the future the firmware will probably switch to using MTP.
 
Probably an issue with the connector, headphone output is stereo.

definitely just an issue with my unit, should open it up again and see if there are any loose wires :D

Looks like there's a built in battery, does it charge via USB or do you also get a power adaptor to charge the system? My only concern is ordering from the Euro retailer only to find it comes with a two-pin plug.

EDIT: is it relatively easy to use? As in, drag and drop roms / easy to install emulators?

yeah it charges via USB and it comes with an USB charger.

It's "relatively" easy yes, but again, it is a hobbyist device. installing apps is easy as long as you set the device IP from it's network settings and plug it in via USB and launch the GCW Zero Manager app Surkow linked.

Games like BrutalDoom will require you to edit some .ini files and install different files to different folders. There are tutorials and it's "quite" easy but don't go in expecting automated operation like with commercial systems such as the DS or Vita.

Don't be scared though! :D it's lot of fun and there is a bunch of stuff available for it already: http://boards.dingoonity.org/gcw-releases/gcw-zero-release-index/
and most can be installed in a click or two with the Manager app.
 
sörine;135254923 said:
Oh wow, I didn't realize hardware mods had come this far for gcwzero. I may have to give my system another look if I can replace the dpad and buttons.

The DMG D-Pad and DS Lite buttons are really tempting but im so afraid to mess up my unit, rather not.
 
Not sure if it comes with a dedicated charger. I personally only use the included USB cable to charge the unit via USB.

Installing programs is as easy as moving applications to /apps/ on an external micro SD card. Internal is a bit more difficult. For now it requires FTP or you can use the dedicated Windows program for file transfers. Alternatively you can just read the Quick Start Guide about installing applications. In the future the firmware will probably switch to using MTP.

definitely just an issue with my unit, should open it up again and see if there are any loose wires :D



yeah it charges via USB and it comes with an USB charger.

It's "relatively" easy yes, but again, it is a hobbyist device. installing apps is easy as long as you set the device IP from it's network settings and plug it in via USB and launch the GCW Zero Manager app Surkow linked.

Games like BrutalDoom will require you to edit some .ini files and install different files to different folders. There are tutorials and it's "quite" easy but don't go in expecting automated operation like with commercial systems such as the DS or Vita.

Don't be scared though! :D it's lot of fun and there is a bunch of stuff available for it already: http://boards.dingoonity.org/gcw-releases/gcw-zero-release-index/
and most can be installed in a click or two with the Manager app.
Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'll be sure to post in here if I have any questions after I (hopefully) get one.
 

devonodev

Member
Well after so many updates this past year saying the final kickstarter units would be sent out in the next few weeks, I have a shipping number! I really must be one of the very last to get it sent out. This device better be good, it's been a long wait.
I just checked, and I backed it 26th Jan 2013, with an estimated delivery of March 2013.
I'll be so angry if I get a defective unit.
 
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