A New Hope

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This year the STARFORCE PI Awakens!

With your help of course – our plan in the next few months will involve designing and prototyping the 3D models necessary for production, giving you a more rounded impression of the finished product. Afterwards, a pre-ordering campaign of 100 STARFORCE PI units will start! This pilot batch will also include some review and dev units, for tech journals and blogs, which allow us to showcase the system. People can try it out themselves, and generally gain a more concrete impression of the system. We’ll also be able to give early versions to our software partners, so we can start solid optimization of emulation platforms to release with the system.

There will be some practical changes made with this STARFORCE PI compared to those presented in the Kickstarter Campaign:

Case:
Injection Molding will be replaced by Laser Sintering (more appropriate for small volume, but higher per-unit cost).

RasPi:
Rather than offering RasPi B+ or 2, we want to switch to RasPi Zero, to offset increased per-unit case costs. Its performance ranks between the B+ and 2, so a good compromise.

Controls:
It was clear most backers preferred the SANWA Joystick option, so we’ll put SANWA controls in as standard!

Some benefits of a smaller volume means we don’t have the rather large overhead and initial investment that comes from large volume production, assembly and testing. This should save us some money, but it does mean we have to switch to Laser Sintering, which generally makes the case 3-4 times more expensive than an injection mold case. Also, with the reduction of overhead and using the RasPi Zero, we should be able to switch from generic controls to SANWA controls without raising the pricepoint. This is a very preliminary estimate though; please don’t see this as a hard promise just yet. Our priorities are to keep the general function and esthetic of the console the same, as well as the price.

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The STARFORCE NEO – A Neo Geo Mini Videogame System

So how much would it cost to have original arcade hardware with a portable formfactor?

As I’ve mentioned in one of my videos, Bartop mods can be bulky and expensive. During the coming months we’ll be in the 3D model development stage of the SFP production prototype, so there’s little for me to build. I thought it’d be good to compare a decent portable arcade system that emulates several consoles (STARFORCE PI) versus a decent portable arcade mod with original hardware from the Neo Geo MVS. So I’m going to build the STARFORCE NEO – A Neo Geo Mini Videogame System.

I won’t give you too many spoilers, but I can tell you it’ll be quite a bit bigger than the SFP and that it’s built around an original Neo Geo MV1C board, and it will be… Glorious.

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2 thoughts on “A New Hope

  1. Big fan of the project. Keep up the good work.

    It does seem that anyone with the wherewithal to obtain and load ROMs onto a Raspi wouldn’t mind, and might affirmatively prefer the Starforce Pi as a kit?

    The Zero strikes me as a headline-grabbing loss leader to draw some attention away from Chip and keep Raspi relevant. Are you sure they’ll ever actually be available in quantity?

    Good luck!

    Like

    1. Cheers, much appreciated! A kit is definately something we’d like to offer, but that’s not very difficult to do once the Arcade Case and Shield have been developed. In fact, we’d probably sell all the loose components, like batteries, screen, joysticks, as well when we offer kits. However, for a small volume campaign of about 100 units we first want to offer fully functional STARFORCE PI systems in pre-order and just get the product out there. If people can see, touch and play the system we can go to a larger volume production, and start offering kits, color changes, etc. But that’s more on the longterm, for now the pilot batch has priority.

      The case itself should be able to work with both RasPi 1B+, 2 and Zero, so we can if we can’t grab hold of enough Zero’s as the time arrives, we can fall back on the older models if need be. It will also take at least another 4-5 months before we can start production, as Solidworks 3D models need to be well designed and optimized for production, so hopefully by then the quantity of Zeros is increased.

      Thanks for your questions, Anthony, don’t hesitate to keep’m coming 🙂

      Like

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