Pandora News
BattleJewels (29-03-2010) (Pandora Game)

BattleJewels is a Puzzle-Action-RPG. Plays like popular jewel games, but is played head to head against a never-ending sequence of enemies. Experience points are gained towards levelling up, and gear may be purchased, and skills and spells may be learned.,0,0,0,25,48

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A dream becomes reality (Pandora misc)

The production is running on high speed!


Didn’t we all dream about that the case mass production should become reality?

Well, it has. We got some brand new pictures for you.
The mould has been successfully calibrated and mounted on the machine.
The pieces you see are the first that has been spit out by the machine, so those are testing ones which are being checked.
Not all have the finishing applied – one nice picture that does show how it will look like with finishing applied is the one with the battery lids.

Those samples are being checked – and if they are okay (and they really do look fine), they will continue to spit out the cases and apply finishing.


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Keep it going (Pandora misc)

News from EvilDragon!


Long time no blog post – and a lot has happened, really!

First, let’s start with some OS development. The OS is getting better and better. We will probably add another minimal menu, similar to gmenu2x with no fancy effects and graphics but PND-Support. This is for all the purists of you.

Also, notaz and DJWillis are slowly stepping forward in getting WiFi working. While it’s not perfect, the packet loss is decreasing and things are getting better. It might still be a long way (or it might be finished soon, you never know with such things), but it’s improving.

I also successfully managed to setup a Bluetooth PAN connection to my mobile phone. I got an IP address via DHCP, I got DNS resolving and I could ping the phone. Pinging websites outside of the phone didn’t work yet, but that might be my mobile phone (custom cooked ROM, never tried Bluetooth PAN before). As I did use the terminal to set that up (it only takes a few lines to do so), the next step is including this into the Network Manager.

Next let’s go on to the Mass Production:
As most of you already know, we moved the assembly from US to UK – we’ll do it ourselves! This is because the company in US finally gave us a price for doing this – a ridiculous high price.
The boards will still be populated there, but we will assemble the units ourselves. Craig is currently setting up the village hall to turn into a proper place to do this, including buying everything needed (ESD stuff, etc.)

Our current roadmap is like this:
(note: It still depends on the case production and on the board production. This is based on the dates they did tell us – but as we already experienced a few times, we are a small client for them and therefore have low priority… let’s hope they keep their dates this time!)

March 18th: Production of 1000 cases is finished and will be shipped to UK.
March 22nd: 1000 cases will arrive in UK and will be inspected. If all is well, the next 3000 will go into production.
March 22th – March 26th: 500 populated and tested boards and all parts will be shipped to UK.
Approx. April 1st: Assembly will start.

Yep, another promise broken – whereas the company in Texas told us they can test 1000 boards a week before, it’s now down to 500 boards a week. At least they kept their shipping dates for all the prototypes and testing boards so far, so March 22th – March 26th should hopefully be fine.

Some parts already started to arrive in UK, e.g. the PSUs are there.

We decided to start on April 1st to have a small bufferzone for the stuff to arrive. It doesn’t make much sense if we all sit around in the village hall without having any parts to build together :)

The complete assembly process will be broadcasted live via Webcam. That will be fun!

The Pandora stirred up a lot of interest in Germany currently.
I’ve been at the CeBIT in Germany doing a presentation about the OpenSource gaming handhelds and of course the Pandora.
It was crowded. Thanks to Radio Tux, you can listen to the presentation. You can also download the PDF I used for it here.

They also did another interview here.

And if anybody wants to watch it, we’ve got the full thing available as video on Youtube here.

Beware, it’s all in German!

After the presentation, a lot of guys (some from the community as well) could get their hands on the Pandora and play with it. They all loved how well the controls and the keyboard work. Looks like our design is working well :)

That’s it for today – hopefully we have good news within the next two weeks

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Angry Drunken Dwarfs (17-03-2010) (Pandora Game Port)

In Angry, Drunken Dwarves, you are an angry, drunken dwarf. Why are you so angry? Who knows. But you’ve decided to take your aggression out on other dwarves, by dropping gems on their heads. Lots of gems. ADD is a member of the classic “falling blocks” puzzle game family, similar to the Capcom game Puzzle Fighter. The goal of the game is to build large gems by matching up colors, then break them, raining more gems down onto your opponent. The first person whose field fills up, loses.,0,0,0,25,41

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C-Dogs (17-03-2010) (Pandora Game Port)

C-Dogs is an arcade shoot-em-up which lets players work alone and cooperatively during missions or fight against each other in the “dogfight” deathmatch mode. The original DOS version of C-Dogs came with several built in missions and dogfight maps. This version does too.

The author of the DOS version of C-Dogs was Ronny Wester.,0,0,0,30,42

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Exaile v0.3.1b (Pandora Application)

Exaile is a music manager and player for GTK+ written in Python. It incorporates automatic fetching of album art, lyrics fetching, scrobbling, support for many portable media players, internet radio such as shoutcast, and tabbed playlists.,0,0,0,6,43

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Free Heroes 2 (17-03-2010) (Pandora misc Port)

The Free Heroes II project (FHeroes 2) aim to create a free implementation of Heroes of Might and Magic II engine using SDL.

You need to own the original game to play it.,0,0,0,29,44

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Vice (C64 emu for Pandora)

A C64 Emulator for your Pandora, a port of Vice!,0,0,0,72,46

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Vice Misc (25-03-2010) (Multiple emus for Pandora)

Emulators for CBM2, C128, PET, Plus4 and the VIC.,0,0,0,72,47

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Whats To Expect (Pandora misc)

EvilDragon keeps us updated. Here are more progress news about the soon to be Pandora release:


Chinese New Year holidays are over – work has begun at the factory!

We are in daily contact with them, so here is a brief roadmap of what should happen when:

At the moment, the machines are maintained, cleaned and prepared to go into normal production run again. Production will start during the next days, probably on Monday. Then lots of Pandora cases should be spit out each day :)

While they do this, we try to make them another Silkscreen sample and send us a picture of it (not the whole sample) within this week. If it’s fine, we’ll use the silkscreen – if not, we’ll just go with plain cases, to not waste anymore time.

As for the OS, the devs are really working hard on it right now (despite not having time, as they have so much things to do in real life).

It will surely not be the most polished OS ever released yet, but if you want a polished OS, go get an Apple (and miss all the fun we’ll all have by enhancing the Pandora OS together!)

So, what can you expect, what will not work, where are tweaks needed?

What does work:

The desktop fully works. It’s like a normal PC desktop. You have your file manager, your windows, your apps, etc.
PND system is working. You can simply copy games onto your SD Card, put it into your Pandora – and PLAY!
Apps: Installed apps do work fine so far. That includes Midori, Abiword, Orage, Pidgin, XChat, etc.
Audio Playing: XMMS working fine.
Movie Playing: Working… but has some issues (see below)
USB Devices: You can connect USB Sticks, harddisks, mice, keyboard, etc. Normal things run out of the box.
TV Out: The TV Out cable works fine, SVHS only for the moment though (see below)
Power Saving Mode: Yep, it’s included and does work. At the moment, it should last for about 50 hours, not too long, but there might be a lot more components which could be switched off to save more power. Good enough to leave your Pandora lying around for a few hours without having to reboot it.
LED Warning (Blinking) on low battery with automatic shutdown when the battery status becomes critical.
Keyboard, us nub as mouse, touchscreen, everything working.

What issues are there?

The biggest issue: WiFi is still work in progress. The driver works, without using SDIO it was slow, DJWillis is working on it, but it’s time consuming. It MIGHT be ready when the Pandora ships, but it might be WiFi will still take a bit longer. Maybe some devs want to help out here once they get a Pandora in their hands :)
There’s no software audio mixer yet. This means you can only use the volume wheel. No big deal if you’re just listening to music or playing games, but multiple sounds at once will not work yet. Also, the equalizer isn’t yet working.
Some apps have to be optimized for the small screen: Fullscreen apps like Midori, Abiword, etc. do look fine. Some stuff however (XFCE4 Settings, etc.) are using windows bigger than 800×480. They are completely usable, but you have to move the windows around to access all buttons.
Movieplayer: While basic movie playing works, it does not use any hardware accelerations yet. DVD Quality xvid videos do play fine, but H264 is too much without hardware acceleration. Also, in windowed mode the videos are playing before the menus. Watching movies in fullscreen mode works nicely. Things should be way better when hardware support is included :)
There is a lot to tweak and optimize here and there. Bootup speed can be increased, more themes (fingerfriendly ones?) could be created, some minor issues like the normal logout of Ubuntu-Netbook-Launcher doesn’t work (you need to use a menu entry), etc. Nothing serious that makes the unit not usable, but there are a lot of things that can be improved within the next months!

So, except for WiFi, all things do work well so far but can be optimized a lot.

Please don’t expect to have perfectly working games and emulators on day 1 – adopting to a new system will take some time and except for some core OS developers, nobody has a Pandora yet. Once delivered, games should start to pop up and become optimized pretty fast!

Some of that stuff might be fixed until first release – let’s hope for WiFi! :)

Another quick note on updating the system:

When things work fine, we’re going to setup our own repository server for firmware updates. You can then easily do a system update with the Pandora. The packages we use will be tested so that they shouldn’t break anything :)
In the beginning, the updates will be full flash updates, until the basic system will be completely stable. Then we’ll setup the repository server (which basically means: when WiFi is working).

Everyone who wants to help us can do so. There will be a bugtracker for reporting any issues. The complete system is already available via GIT to all devs, so patches and bugfixes can basically be sent to us by everyone :)

The first few months with the new OS will be pretty exciting! I’ve seen how well our handful of devs have been able to get the system working so well, it will fly away when a lot more devs are helping out!

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