For our final project, we knew we wanted to construct a video game that had not been made before in ECE476. While brainstorming for project ideas, we came up with many games, but they had all been done before. After many attempts, we came up with Jezzball. It seemed like a good choice to us, because it was a game that we had both enjoyed as a child, and we felt a nostalgic impulse to recreate the classic game. Since we had both not played it in such a long time, we searched online for a freeware version of the classic game, but were only able to find various adaptations, that we felt didn’t do the original justice. This compelled us even further to complete the game, not only for our enjoyment, but for the pleasure of all classic gamers out there.
The recreation of Jezzball consisted of using two Atmel Mega32 MCU’s on prototype boards, an old PS/2 mouse, and a black and white TV. One of the MCUs is used to control the logic for the actual game play and outputting to the TV. The other is used to interface with the mouse. We communicated between MCU’s using the built-in SPI. We chose this method of communication as opposed to the UART or just using port pins because SPI provided a synchronous and fast transmission. We were forced to use two MCU’s because outputting video to the TV is very time critical (each frame must be timed and synced), and we could not add mouse input on top of the already processor intensive Jezzball control logic.
Outputting to the TV, we generated a non-interlaced signal that consists of a sync and a video signal. Our signal differs from the NTSC standard interlaced signal in that we generate pairs of lines of the same pixels where the NTSC would have generated alternating lines of pixels. We used a standard RCA cable to connect to the TV video and sound.
Communicating with the mouse involved using the PS/2 mouse protocol for a standard 6-pin Mini DIN. This is discussed in more detail in the hardware design section.
Although Jezzball was originally created and copyrighted by Microsoft in 1992, it has been adapted many times since its creation. We feel we did not violate any copyrights, as modified our version from the original, and do not intend to profit from the game in any way besides our final project grade and our own satisfaction.