PC [Showcase] Prototype: Displayable Character set


I could have waited.
I could have taken the time to put my clean-up plans into action.
I could have brought a fantastic, clean and working device that is easily replicable for everyone on T-MEC, instead of this mess of confounding, miraculously functional wires.

But who has the time or patience to risk not having the glory of being the first person to make a screen that can load different characters? In any case, I do not.

What I present to you today is a kabelsalat that can load (currently) four pixel arrangements onto a single 8x8 dot matrix display. This, if you haven't received the clue yet, isn't its final form.

It comes with a few major components. The first is the screen.
It looks something like
The way it works should be self-explanitory. It can be expanded infinitely horizontally, although is limited to the 8 pixels vertically. I prefer to separate what I call 8x8 "chunks" (my previous term, "blocks", is easily confused with in-game 1x1 blocks) to allow simplified tileability when the time comes.

Before anyone asks, there is a way that

Placing two junction boxes per torch can reduce the space between pixels to one block, although not every row will be uniformly lined with a single wire colour. With a few brain cells (or a design superior to my my own) you should be able to figure it out.

The second most important component is the character storage.
Fully manipulatable, the "images" are stored in their raw from here, and can be edited at any moment. From this piece, data is sent through lots of wire, followed by a serializer. In a future version, these entire pieces will become serializers themselves, cutting a few myriad of wires off of my current construction.

Other Important components, created skillfully by @NiraExecuto, are the Serializer and Deserializer. I owe a huge thank-you to them for making a component that I am not using to its full potential as of now (I just built everything wherever I wanted and connected them via absurd amounts of wire.), but in an improved version, will be what makes everything flow smoothly. From here the signal is carried between the character storage and the screen.

The input is made of a few parts, some of them obsolete.
The first part, splitting the two lever input into a 4-possibility output, should be credited to @DicemanX, as seen in his recent video. This decides which character storage "box" 's data is loaded.
The dummy is there simply to provide delay between the transmitter's reset and the loading of the data. There are surely better ways to do this. The green dummy wire was meant to do something that did not work to satisfactory standards while still doubling the size of my apparatus.
The lever above the others begins the transmission process.


What it looks like
This is a very large contraption, too space-and-memory-consuming for an image on this forum. If you really want a good look, try here instead.

The first priority with this is to clean up the mess, chop the size into a small fraction of what it is now, use brain cells, and make it convenient for other to replicate and use in their own computers. Character storage will be made out of serializers (small ones too, I intend to remove the reset line).
With that done, there are two ways I can see three ways I can add to this (three, I guess, counting more complex screens.)

The first is to add to the character list. When I first made this, I envisioned all alphanumeric characters, most punctuation seen in English and common programming languages, and possibly Cyrillic or Greek to fill the empty spaces (hearts and smily faces work too. Alternatively, we could try to replicate the first section of unicode). A total of 128 or 256 (7 or 8-bit input as opposed to 2-bit) characters was ideal. I present today an embarrassing total of four, one of them being blank. A few more might enliven the display, make it interesting, and make it useful.

An increase in the amount of "Chunks", in other words displays makes our second method. My original intention with this was to have a series of chunks which can each be filled with their own character, forming words, possibly even phrases (loading text files, anyone?). To simplify things, due to my impatience, I left this at a total of one chunk. It is a sad and lonely chunk, although I wish to give it companions soon.

I have a personal life soon to be flooded with exams, studying, family, a big need for sleep, and many other things we all know of and live with in real life. It may be a while before I update this.
If anyone wishes, they have every right (and even my support) to build a better version of their own. T-MEC has always amazed me, lets see what we can do!
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