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GatesBoy™ FAQ - Cartridge Details

  1. What are GatesBoy™ and CaptiGate™?
  2. Is GatesBoy™ or CaptiGate™ more suitable for my project?
  3. Is GatesBoy™ Hardware or Software?
  4. Which versions of Game Boy is GatesBoy™ designed for?
  5. Is the GatesBoy™ cartridge supplied in a case?
  6. Do you also sell empty cartridge cases which I can use to house my own PCB design?
  7. Do you also sell daughter boards?
  8. Does GatesBoy™ work with the Game Boy Advance?
  9. How is GatesBoy™ being used?
  10. Can I backup my games using GatesBoy™?
  11. What is GatesBoy™ NOT designed for?
  12. Does the cartridge contain a Flash programmable ROM for my program?
  13. What is the size of the Flash ROM?
  14. Is there any RAM?
  15. Can I have my own Startup Logo instead of "Nintendo"?
  16. How many Inputs and Outputs are there?
  17. What is the DB25 I/O pinout?
  18. Does the board have space for ICs or are they already on it?
  19. How do I use a SmartMedia card?
  20. What size Mother Board can the case accomodate?
  21. What size Daughter Boards can the case accomodate?

GatesBoy™ FAQ - Application Development

  1. Do I need a special programmer to program the cartridge?
  2. What download cable do I need?
  3. What Operating Systems can I download from?
  4. Where are the Download instructions?
  5. Is Sample Code available?
  6. Can I program in Basic?
  7. Can I program in C (GBDK)?
  8. What if my program is larger than 32 KBytes?
  9. Can I program in C++?
  10. Where can I get an assembler?
  11. What Game Boy application development tools are available?
  12. What is the best FAQ site for Game Boy Dev?
  13. Is there a GUI package available?
  14. What is a PLD or PSD?
  15. What are the attractions of PLDs and PSDs?
  16. Where can I get free PLD / PSD design software?
  17. Where can I get free PCB design software?
  18. What help can you give me for my own PCB design?
  19. Where is the Game Boy Pocket / Color Dev mailing list?
  20. Where is the GBBG (Game Boy Beyond Games) WebRing?
  21. Where can I find other programmable cartridges?

FAQ - Cartridge Details

  1. What are GatesBoy™ and CaptiGate™?
    GatesBoy™ is a cartridge designed to plug into the Nintendo Pocket and GBC (Game Boy Color). It provides reprogrammable Flash ROM and enhanced I/O facilities. Whilst GatesBoy™ works with the Game Boy Advance, it uses the 8 bit, not the 32 bit processor in the Advance. CaptiGate™ on the other hand is NOT a cartridge. It is a small box with a plug which fits into the GBA Link Port, and an expansion socket which connects to your PC (for downloading) or to sensors. Find out more about CaptiGate™ at EducatingMario.com
  2. Is GatesBoy™ or CaptiGate™ more suitable for my project?
    If you want to develop your own special hardware or software and you only need the 8 bit GBC processor, get GatesBoy™. If you have a Game Boy Advance or SP and want something really cool that works "out of the box" without any hardware development or programming get CaptiGate™ at EducatingMario.com
  3. Is GatesBoy™ Hardware or Software?
    The GatesBoy™ cartridge is Hardware *NOT* Software.
  4. Which versions of Game Boy is GatesBoy™ designed for?
    GatesBoy™ is designed for the Game Boy Color, Pocket, and Light. It will not work with the original Game Boy (which has "Dot Matrix with Stereo Sound" marked above the screen). Whilst GatesBoy™ works with the Game Boy Advance, it uses the 8 bit, not the 32 bit processor in the Advance.
  5. Is the GatesBoy™ cartridge supplied in a case?
    Yes, the GatesBoy™ cartridge is supplied complete, in a case.
  6. Do you also sell empty cartridge cases which I can use to house my own PCB design?
    Yes.
  7. Do you also sell daughter boards?
    We do not produce any daughter boards, but we can assist you with your design.
  8. Does GatesBoy™ work with the Game Boy Advance?
    With the Game Boy Advance, GatesBoy™ works in GBC compatibility mode, so your program has access to all the enhanced I/O features of GatesBoy™. However, the GBA specific features (ARM processor power and speed) are disabled. Currently there is no known method of enabling the ARM processor when a GBC cartridge (like GatesBoy™) is plugged into a GBA. You can, of course, stretch your images to fit the full width of the GBA screen.
  9. How is GatesBoy™ being used?
    Some examples of what is possible and/or what customers have done using GatesBoy™.
  10. Can I backup my games using GatesBoy™?
    NO. Because GatesBoy™ does not have a game connector socket for you to plug your game into.
  11. What is GatesBoy™ NOT designed for?
    GatesBoy™ is NOT designed for Game Boy game development or backing up, downloading or copying Nintendo copyrighted material found in Nintendo Game Boy cartridges. The enhanced I/O features of the GatesBoy™ cartridge mean that a copied Nintendo Game Boy cartridge will not work.
  12. Does the cartridge contain a Flash programmable ROM for my program?
    Yes.
  13. What is the size of the Flash ROM?
    The Flash ROM is 128 KBytes.
  14. Is there any RAM?
    There is 2 KBytes of RAM in the cartridge. It is volatile RAM as there is no battery in the cartridge. If you need to make this RAM non volatile you need to add a 3V battery inside the cartridge.
  15. Can I have my own Startup Logo instead of "Nintendo"?
    Yes.
  16. How many Inputs and Outputs are there?
    The female DB25 connector has 5 Bi-directional lines, 5 Output and 4 Input (all TTL). +5V from the Game Boy is also present but you should use this with great care to avoid damaging either your Game Boy or your GatesBoy™. In any case, you should not draw more than 10 mA.
  17. What is the DB25 I/O pinout?
    See DB25 I/O pinout.
  18. Does the board have space for ICs or are they already on it?
    The GatesBoy™ cartridge is supplied fully functional and tested ( see specs ). There is, however, a lot of space in the case for hardware development. See here for size of Mother Board. We recommend you use one or two plug-in Daughter Boards to add your custom hardware to your cartridge.
  19. How do I use a SmartMedia card?
    Whilst provision is made for a SmartMedia card in both the Mother Board layout and the opening slot in the plastic case, NO SMARTMEDIA CARD INTERFACE IS INCLUDED WITH THE GatesBoy™ CARTRIDGE. The 20 pin header for the plug-in Daughter Boards is dedicated to carrying all signals to the SmartMedia card connector mounted on the Mother Board. One possibility is to use a second 3.3V processor (low power!) on a Daughter Board in a circuit that you design and build yourself. SmartMedia Specification details
  20. What size Mother Board can the case accomodate?
    See here for approximate dimensions for your Mother board design.
  21. What size Daughter Boards can the case accomodate?
    See here for approximate dimensions for your Daughter Board designs.

FAQ - Application Development

  1. Do I need a special programmer to program the cartridge?
    No. All you need is a Parallel Port of an IBM PC . USB is *not* supported.
  2. What download cable do I need?
    An IBM PC type parallel port cable with a 25 pin male connector at each end. If you want to make your own, connect pins 2-9 and 11-19 at one end to the same pin numbers at the other end. If all 25 pins are connected that is also fine.
  3. What Operating Systems can I download from?
    Download software is provided by STM who support Windows NT / 2000 / 98 / ME / 95.
  4. Where are the Download instructions? Download instructions
  5. Is Sample Code available? Sample code in NucBasic™, C and Assembler
  6. Can I program in Basic?
    Yes, NucBasic™ allows you to download your NucBasic™ program to the ROM where it can autostart. Using the PEEK and POKE commands you can read and write directly to the DB25 I/O pins. Jeff has kindly released source code, so you can even customize NucBasic™ to suit your needs.
  7. Can I program in C (GBDK)?
    Yes, GBDK is a popular C Language Compiler.
  8. What if my program is larger than 32 KBytes?
    Memory pages are 32 KBytes, 0000h - 7FFFh. Programs up to 32K Bytes do not need paging. For larger programs, do not use the GBDK or assembly language bank switching support functions. Instead, write directly to the page register of the PSD memory chip. This register is defined as "PAGE" in the "psd813f2.h" header file (to be included in your C program) and "PSD8x.inc" include file (for assembly). Each page is 32 KBytes, and the ROM has 128 KBytes, so you have pages 0 - 3.
  9. Can I program in C++?
    We do not know of any C++ compiler / translater targeting the Game Boy.
  10. Where can I get an assembler? RGBDS is a very popular assembler for the Game Boy.
  11. What Game Boy application development tools are available? Jeff's GB dev'rs site
  12. What is the best FAQ site for Game Boy Dev? Jeff's FAQ
  13. Is there a GUI package available?
    Take a look at Game Boy Terminal Server
  14. What is a PLD or PSD?
    PLD is a Programmable Logic Device, and STMicroelectronics have packaged both a PLD and Memory in a single IC, they call their IC a PSD. See what is an EasyFLASH PSD? PLD / PSD devices can have their logic gates "rewired" by downloading a new set of logic equations.
  15. What are the attractions of PLDs and PSDs?
    See what is an EasyFLASH PSD? Less hardware, lower cost, quicker time to market, "no soldering" field upgradablity. Rapid hardware development is achieved without soldering as the logic gates of the PLD can be "rewired" simply by downloading a new set of logic equations!
  16. Where can I get free PLD / PSD design software?
    We use PSDsoft Express. It is powerful, easy to use and free. It should teach you a lot about PLDs (Programmable Logic Devices). PSDsoft Express
  17. Where can I get free PCB design software? We found PCB Elegance easy to learn. Their free demo version allows you to do PCB designs with up to 250 pins, which is more than enough for most GatesBoy™ Daughter Board designs.
    PCB Elegance
    An excellent list of links to PCB design software can be found under "Design Tools" at Olimex They also offer a PCB prototype service.
  18. What help can you give me for my own PCB design?
    Here are the approximate dimensions of the Daughter Boards and the Mother Board. We can also supply you with PCB outlines for PCB Elegance.

DNC Ltd. has been serving the development community since 1997.
GatesBoy™ FAQ updated 6 August 2004.
GatesBoy™ and NucBasic™ are trademarks of David Nathan Creations Ltd.
Game Boy, Game Boy Advance & Nintendo are trademarks of Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Kyoto, Japan.
PSDsoft and EasyFLASH are trademarks of STMicroelectronics Inc.
SmartMedia is a trademark of Toshiba Corporation.