A year and a half after its scheduled January release date, a beta version of the highly anticipated version 1.1 of the operating system that powers the Analogue Pocket has finally been released. While it supports additional controllers while docked, the Memories feature that stores save states, and the openFPGA feature (which promises new console support through third-party core development), the beta does not include all expected features.
Particularly absent is the Full Library feature that populates game data when you insert a cartridge, and the Screenshot feature that will also populate your save files under Memories. Less officially, but perhaps most interesting for handheld owners, it’s unclear if this milestone of AnalogueOS 1.1 was what delayed the long-awaited jailbreak which, following all previous Analogue products , promises to replicate the built-in functionality while adding sideloading support. ROM files.
At release, the Pocket only supported a handful of 8BitDo controllers, as well as the Switch Pro and PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. The new 1.1 beta brings support for a host of new 8BitDo controllers, as well than support for the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. Support for any Xbox controller is notably absent. We asked Analogue if support for Xbox controllers is still planned.
The Memories feature works as promised. While the original Pocket version supported save states – the D-pad up or down and the Analog button saved or restored a state during gameplay – it was not possible to save these and switch from game to game. Now, Memories features, accessible from the home screen, can store up to 128 save states for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Game Gear games. Analogue press materials state, “In the near future, Memories will evolve into features that display every save state with a screenshot showing exactly where you were in-game when the save state was captured, as well as sorting options to view backup states organized according to your preferences. ”
The Library feature makes an appearance here, but it’s only half-baked. When you insert a cartridge, it is sure to load enough title, system, developer, game publisher and more on the Game Details screen. But it is not possible to browse your games , or all games available on a console, or to create playlists – all features originally intended to be included. Again, Analogue promises further development here: “In the near future, Library will evolve into a reference-level database for playing, exploring and sharing. A scholarly cataloging of the entire history of video games. You will be able to search and explore in all its breadth; system by system, game by game, region by region, developer by developer, publisher by publisher, revision by revision.
And finally, the Pocket’s so-called openFPGA component, intended to give third-party developers access to creating additional cores beyond the console’s built-in portable cores, launches with a core recreating one of the very first video games ever made: the 1962s. Space war! for the legendary PDP-1 computer. The kernel will be distributed directly by its author, Spacemen3. Analogue’s Chris Taber told Polygon to expect more third-party cores today, while noted MiSTer core developer Jose Tejada polled his Patreon supporters to gauge the appetite for porting his hearts in the pocket. There is some debate about the merits of porting these open source efforts to a monetized platform by a private company, as explained here Bob, founder of RetroRGB.
An FPGA developer just posted a poll on their Patreon account, asking if we think they should wear their hearts on the @similar poached. Although I am constantly learning and changing my opinions, after almost 20 years in hardware development, my opinion is divided, but very strong… pic.twitter.com/1tn4LRKvAb
— Bob from RetroRGB (@RetroRGB) July 26, 2022
While we wait to see what cores might launch on Pocket today, Taber tells us that Analogue has “gotten a few thousand applications” for its development program and should have access to a “proper development documentation section” from his site today. When asked if he foresees the MiSTer cores being ported to Pocket, Taber said, “Due to the fact that Pocket is deliberately designed for FPGA development of video game hardware, it will be able to support loads virtually all third-party cores, even when comparing the LE [logic element] differences between something like [MiSTer’s] DE10-Nano.
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