2013-08-28-prototype-01

Have you ever wanted to play two player Super NES games online? Growing up, did you have few friends that were interested in video games, and because of that, ended up playing single player games? (But enough about my personal life!) A hacker named Michael Fitzmayer from Europe has recently created a new device that could make it possible to play your favorite multiplayer SNES games via IP!

2013-08-28-prototype-03

Fitzmayer has developed the SNESoIP, which is an ethernet adapter network bridge that will permit one to share localized controller inputs online. While it’s still very much in the early stages of development, the entire open source project is fully functional, and can currently be used to play multiplayer games over the Internet.

How does it work? The adapter is continuously sending 4-byte data packets to a remote server, and it is also receiving 2-byte answer packets from the same server. The 2-byte field holds the current state of your SNES controller, which is a 16 bit shift register, and where 12 bits are being used to represent button states. (Indicating which button states have changed, for when a button is pressed.) Updates packets are constantly being sent to the server at all times, even if the local controller state does not change state.

2013-08-28-prototype-02

To make it easier to sort out which controller is player 1 and which is player 2, SNESoIP also has incorporated a “Switch” mode, which will exchange the two players in the software part of the device. To activate this mode, you would hold down the B and Y buttons on your controller during startup. To deactivate, reboot the SNESoIP without any buttons held down.

The current features of SNESoIP:

  • Plug and play (IP is obtained via DHCP)
  • DNS lookup of the server host name
  • Small firmware size (fits on an ATmega8)
  • Easy to rebuild (even on a strip board)
  • Low component count

Future possibilities that could be implemented later:

  • Adaption of other platforms (Sega Mega Drive, etc)
  • Possible cross-platform capability
  • Server-controlled BBS system
  • Interface to avoid hard-coded configuration
  • Detailed documentation

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In addition, it appears that a version for the classic Game Boy (with Super Game Boy compatibility), as well as the possibility of a PS2 style keyboard adapter (for the possible BBS System, perhaps), could be in the works as well, as shown above.

There doesn’t seem to currently be any plans to offer the devices for sale on a mass production level. However, since the entire device schematics are open source, thus allowing anyone with the required skills of building one to do so, people that want to build one are not completely out of luck. More details, and the schematics and parts needed can be found on the page below. And those that would like to talk more about it, can join the IRC chat room, also found below.

SNESoIP: https://github.com/mupfelofen-de/SNESoIP

IRC Chat: http://de.irc2go.com/webchat/?net=euIRC&room=retrotardation