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GCW Zero - new retrogaming open source handheld!

wondermega

Member
still really eager to get my hands on one of these, warts and all. My old GP32 is just not cutting it anymore and this looks miles, MILES better by way of comparison. Too broke though, hopefully I can pick up a decent-shape 2nd hand next year sometime..
 

pje122

Member
Just finished Harmony of Dissonance on my unit. Was a pretty great experience outside of the sub-optimal d-pad and buttons and I will hopefully remedy at some point.

Been looking at neoprene cases for this thing. Does anyone know if I should go with a Samsung Galaxy Sx or Samsung Galaxy Notex case? I wonder if an Sx case might be too snug but a Notex case might be too big?
 
So is thing powerful enough to emulate/is there a great emulator for PS1 games or is this thing not powerful enough for that? Obviously it can't do any dual stick games due to lack of a second one
 

sörine

Banned
So I should stick to my PSP as a PSX emulator or make the plunge on the NVIDIA shield? I really do like the form factor of the Zero though :X
Shield's great (and also gives you N64, DS, PSP, some Dreamcast and maybe someday Saturn) but I do prefer the Zero's formfactor. Zero would be perfect for 8/16bit if not for the bad dpad/buttons.
 
So I should stick to my PSP as a PSX emulator or make the plunge on the NVIDIA shield? I really do like the form factor of the Zero though :X

I'll second that the Shield is pretty great for emulators. I haven't touched my GCW-Zero since I got one. Probably going to end up selling it.
 

devonodev

Member
Well my Kickstarter unit arrived yesterday, and I've had a little bit time to test it out, trying to focus on the device itself and not how long it took me to get it.

It runs games well, I'll give it that. But the buttons stick, and the dpad grinds against the sides, and has issues with certain directions. It's also all very squeaky. It's hard playing games that require pressing lots of buttons rapidly and changing direction quickly.

Apparently this gets better with use, but if "getting better" means grinding the paint down, leaving ugly white marks on the dpad until it works, then that's already happening. I still need to try grease it up when I get a chance, hopefully that will help. I can't even do a running crouch in Mario 3.
The color on the screen is more washed out that I was expecting. I knew I wasn't getting a high-end screen, but I thought it would have a bit richer color. The resolution doesn't really suit GBA games, but it fits SNES well enough and it probably was the best choice for the price.

The OS, app menus and most games are very basic, and not very attractive. You can tell most of the designing was done by developers. Also every game seems to have a different way of exiting, I've even had to do a hard reset because I couldn't find any way of exiting a game. As a Nintendo fan, I don't like Y being the top face button but I can get over that, however I get Start and Select mixed up too often. It's opposite to how I feel it should be.

This is a good device. Is it worth the $155 including postage I spent January 2013? No. But it makes a good basic handheld emulator if you can get it cheap, with some good homebrew games, and you might have some fun with it if you're a developer. I'm a disappointed customer though.
 
My phone is my emulation machine. Even runs Dreamcast games to an extent. Using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 btw. Dat OLED! Also runs PSX games in high res OpenGL mode flawlessly (most games anyway, Tekken 3 is 1080p60).


The controller is amazing and costs like $15. Search eBay for the iPega 9025. It has clickable sticks and everything.
 

zaphod79

Member
This is a good device. Is it worth the $155 including postage I spent January 2013? No. But it makes a good basic handheld emulator if you can get it cheap, with some good homebrew games, and you might have some fun with it if you're a developer. I'm a disappointed customer though.

My kickstarter unit arrived about 2 weeks ago and my experience of it is pretty much the same as yours its not really much of a step up from my ancient dingo - it will probably end up on ebay shortly
 

Surkow

Member
My kickstarter unit arrived about 2 weeks ago and my experience of it is pretty much the same as yours its not really much of a step up from my ancient dingo - it will probably end up on ebay shortly

Not a step up in terms of hardware or software? I consider 60fps emulation for numerous platforms quite a step up compared to the performance of emulators in Dingux or µC/OS-II (native OS) on the Dingoo A320. And we hardly scratched the surface of what still can be ported to the device. Most of the software doesn't even use the GPU or the co-processor.
 
Not a step up in terms of hardware or software? I consider 60fps emulation for numerous platforms quite a step up compared to the performance of emulators in Dingux or µC/OS-II (native OS) on the Dingoo A320. And we hardly scratched the surface of what still can be ported to the device. Most of the software doesn't even use the GPU or the co-processor.

I consider the screen alone worth the upgrade from the A320. Hopefully the scene will keep developing cool stuff for it, waiting on hdmi output and bluetooth support next :D
 

MBison

Member
I just started messing with this after having it for a long time. How the holy hell do you transfer stuff to the GCW? I put some emus (.opk file type?) on a miniSD but I can't find them when I put the miniSD into the GCW.

I'm sure I'm an idiot but damn why is this not straight forward :)
 

Surkow

Member
I just started messing with this after having it for a long time. How the holy hell do you transfer stuff to the GCW? I put some emus (.opk file type?) on a miniSD but I can't find them when I put the miniSD into the GCW.

I'm sure I'm an idiot but damn why is this not straight forward :)

Put the .opk files in a directory called "apps". See the Quick Start Guide for more information.
 
I hope I can get an honest answer out of this:

bad news is, if it doesn't do it now, it never will... the development is pretty much dead on the Zero (pun intended). The analog stick is just for show... it does nothing. There are also other things they included that they never wrote drivers for... so they are just for show also... even the ones they did fix, like rumble and tilt don't have any uses. It also uses weird button combos for simple things like volume and turing the system off on etc... it also locks up frequently if you move between emulators often. At least they fixed most of the corrupt save issues.

How true is that?? I would be really bummed out if Analog and HDMI out never make it, or if the stuff like Rumble and gyros are never used for anything.

I guess my questions is more about, who is working on drivers and firmware? is it just hobbyist that contribute from time to time or is there developers assigned to it regularly?

Also, havent been to the forums lately, but is game/emulator development dead aswell?
 

Surkow

Member
I hope I can get an honest answer out of this:

bad news is, if it doesn't do it now, it never will... the development is pretty much dead on the Zero (pun intended). The analog stick is just for show... it does nothing. There are also other things they included that they never wrote drivers for... so they are just for show also... even the ones they did fix, like rumble and tilt don't have any uses. It also uses weird button combos for simple things like volume and turing the system off on etc... it also locks up frequently if you move between emulators often. At least they fixed most of the corrupt save issues.

How true is that?? I would be really bummed out if Analog and HDMI out never make it, or if the stuff like Rumble and gyros are never used for anything.

I guess my questions is more about, who is working on drivers and firmware? is it just hobbyist that contribute from time to time or is there developers assigned to it regularly?

Also, havent been to the forums lately, but is game/emulator development dead aswell?

I'm sure you are referring to this post? It's surprising to the developers of the project to hear that supposedly the analog stick doesn't work and isn't implemented in games, that development is dead and that emulators lock up.

The entire project is supported by volunteers. Nobody is assigned to anything. It's hard to take such a response seriously when you've been working on a project for years in your spare time. Software development will be continued even if the hardware is no longer produced. We are in it for the long run.
 
How true is that?? I would be really bummed out if Analog and HDMI out never make it, or if the stuff like Rumble and gyros are never used for anything.

I guess my questions is more about, who is working on drivers and firmware? is it just hobbyist that contribute from time to time or is there developers assigned to it regularly?

Also, havent been to the forums lately, but is game/emulator development dead aswell?

yeah, the analogue stick works with emulators and games that support it, some have it enabled, some dont. Same with rumble and gyroscope. Developers can use them if they want to, they are features. The device itself is a blank canvas.

hdmi out firmware update is still coming.
 

Lhadatt

Member
The entire project is supported by volunteers. Nobody is assigned to anything. It's hard to take such a response seriously when you've been working on a project for years in your spare time. Software development will be continued even if the hardware is no longer produced. We are in it for the long run.
Hey Surkow! I just wanted to say that I appreciate that you and the rest of the team are still involved with the Zero and active in the community. Thank you!
 

Lettuce

Member
The entire project is supported by volunteers. Nobody is assigned to anything. It's hard to take such a response seriously when you've been working on a project for years in your spare time. Software development will be continued even if the hardware is no longer produced. We are in it for the long run.

Hey Surkow, I'm sure you've been asked this a lot but any chance of RetroArch coming to the Zero??
 

Surkow

Member
Hey Surkow, I'm sure you've been asked this a lot but any chance of RetroArch coming to the Zero??

People already attempted to port RetroArch (it's cross platform, so it should be doable). The problem however, is that many of the "cores" still need to be ported to or optimized for MIPS. Porting RetroArch doesn't mean the cores can be compiled for the target platform. It's better to focus on porting individual emulators first and make them perform well, before looking into a frontend like RetroArch.
 

Awakened

Member
People already attempted to port RetroArch (it's cross platform, so it should be doable). The problem however, is that many of the "cores" still need to be ported to or optimized for MIPS. Porting RetroArch doesn't mean the cores can be compiled for the target platform. It's better to focus on porting individual emulators first and make them perform well, before looking into a frontend like RetroArch.
There is a PSP version of RetroArch being tested that could probably help with that. Since the Zero is more powerful I imagine you could do a lot more with a port made specifically for it though.
 

Surkow

Member
There is a PSP version of RetroArch being tested that could probably help with that. Since the Zero is more powerful I imagine you could do a lot more with a port made specifically for it though.

Many of the cores listed already work as separate ports on the GCW Zero or are replaced by upstream versions (like TempGBA, the upstream version is ReGBA). The exception would be Mednafen PSX emulator. In general, MIPS specific JIT/dynarec work is missing in high profile emulators implementing the libretro API.
 
I'm sure you are referring to this post? It's surprising to the developers of the project to hear that supposedly the analog stick doesn't work and isn't implemented in games, that development is dead and that emulators lock up.

The entire project is supported by volunteers. Nobody is assigned to anything. It's hard to take such a response seriously when you've been working on a project for years in your spare time. Software development will be continued even if the hardware is no longer produced. We are in it for the long run.

yeah, the analogue stick works with emulators and games that support it, some have it enabled, some dont. Same with rumble and gyroscope. Developers can use them if they want to, they are features. The device itself is a blank canvas.

hdmi out firmware update is still coming.

Thanks for the answer guys, I must say that I was just wondering mainly because I love the Zero, and I have been letting people know about it any chance I get, I still believe its the best SNES emulator at this size.
 
Thanks for the answer guys, I must say that I was just wondering mainly because I love the Zero, and I have been letting people know about it any chance I get, I still believe its the best SNES emulator at this size.

size, infinite battery life and the perfect 4:3 screen makes it the best emulator handheld ever made in my opinion.

and as i've said, it's a tinkerers device, people should not expect it to be plug&play commercial product :D It's kinda like the Devkit of Oculus Rift! Maybe they should emphasize that in their marketing.
 

gundalf

Member
i got mine last June, thought those were the last international orders to go out. You might want to get in touch if your unit was lost in the mail.

I doubt it got lost, since i never got a dispatch confirmation in first place.

Just speculation, but I think that the Founder got a good offer from ThinkGeek with better profits and sold them the 1st Wave Kickstarter Units and then sending the 2nd Wave to the Backers which introduced the heavy delays and stupid excuses.
 

gundalf

Member
pfff, you think you've got it bad, I blew almost $300 on getting a pair of iControlPad 2's. Never seeing that money again.

Damn² 300$ into nothing!

At least I learned something and do not back Kickstarters anymore, which really helped me to dodge the bullet several times on projects I was interested, but never went into something.
 

Surkow

Member
I doubt it got lost, since i never got a dispatch confirmation in first place.

Just speculation, but I think that the Founder got a good offer from ThinkGeek with better profits and sold them the 1st Wave Kickstarter Units and then sending the 2nd Wave to the Backers which introduced the heavy delays and stupid excuses.

You assumptions are wrong. ThinkGeek receives units directly from the factory. Whenever they order something, usually a new batch needs to be produced. Kickstarter units are sent from the USA and are stored at the arcade of Justin Barwick. Many Kickstarter units have been returned for being undeliverable. Just contact Justin Barwick via Kickstarter or via the support email to get things sorted out. Shipping has become more expensive than what people originally paid (especially with all the returns and the international shipments), so he's basically paying the difference out of his own pocket. Despite that, people are still receiving their units.
 
I still haven't got mine either (or any indication of dispatch) and I'm also international. I was waiting for an update to confirm that everything was sent before I got in touch but there's been no GCW update in 4 months. I see in the comments that units are still being shipped.
 

Surkow

Member
I still haven't got mine either (or any indication of dispatch) and I'm also international. I was waiting for an update to confirm that everything was sent before I got in touch but there's been no GCW update in 4 months. I see in the comments that units are still being shipped.

I'd recommend you to get in touch and update your address information to remind Justin that you have not yet received your unit. Just try to avoid spamming the communication channels.
 
I'd recommend you to get in touch and update your address information to remind Justin that you have not yet received your unit. Just try to avoid spamming the communication channels.

I sent through an email on the 29th of April and still haven't heard back (or received my unit) for the record.
 

gundalf

Member
Hey everybody, after nearly of two years waiting I finally got my UPS tracking!
I already lost hope a long time ago but now it's happening - hope it won't turn out to be just a bunch of rocks in a box..

@Surkow
I think I know you from somewhere, Wii VC injection?
 

gundalf

Member
I got finally my Kickstarter Unit on my hands and this is worst console I ever had!

  • cheap plastic
  • crappy display
  • flickering background light
  • cheap buttons with long way
  • worst ergonomic ever
  • buttons are loose
  • joystick thumb rotates - useless
  • bezel occludes upper display
  • flat back with no grip
  • internal memory can be accessed only via network
  • production "filth" (plastic particles, glue, etc.) not cleaned
  • Software not updated since 2014

The only good thing is that the console is super light and the battery last long.
So yeah, no Hardware Kickstarters anymore for me.
 

Lyte Edge

All I got for the Vernal Equinox was this stupid tag
Yup, it's crap. I used mine maybe twice and permanently shelved it. Did they ever get the HDMI out and USB controller support working? That would give it new life for me.
 
I actually like mine, but do agree on the hardware issues.

Regardless of me liking it though, its just shelved, mainly because even though Android based devices are inferior in some ways, their convenience and flexibility just cant be beaten.

And once Retroarch implemented shaders on the Android builds, it was the nail in the coffin for my GCW, I rather just play my Game Boy games on the nVidia shield using DMG shaders :(

Maybe if I was still taking the bus and had to carry stuff on my backup It would make sense to use the GCW because of its size, but as it is, the Shield is more convenient.

Maybe I should sell it.
 
cant' agree the complain about the screen, it's perfect for retro games.

and it is still a very niche device. You have to browse dingoonity forums and such to find new updates for it. You could program USB and HDMI support for it yourself! :D
 
I absolutely love mine, had no issues with it once I knew how to set it up. Thankfully, didn't get a kickstarter unit. I have a GCW to keep my Japanese PS Vita and New 3DS XL company.
 

desu

Member
Finally something, better than nothing i guess. GCW opened a 3D-printing shop to buy new dpad's and face buttons if you still haven't modded one yourself. Quite expensive tho as you will need to buy 4 buttons separately. Bringing the total to 26$ (US) and 38$(EU)

Those prices ... considering my dpay is total shit (to the point that I can't even sell the unit because I would feel bad for the buyer).
 
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