You may recall the Raspberry Pi, a barebones PC for emerging markets that they hope to sell for $25. When we wrote it up earlier this year, there wasn’t much in the way of demonstration: a few stills of the PCB and a video with founder David Braben describing his plan for the device. But today we have a demo that both captures the geek imagination and proves the device has legs: they’ve got it running Quake III.
Not that it’s some big accomplishment to run a game released in the last millennium, but it actually does pretty well. The device uses a 700MHz ARM processor and has 128MB of RAM enabled here, and lacking any on-device storage, it’s running the OS (Debian CLI) and the game off an SD card.
Check out the video:
They could hit higher framerates, but wanted to show that 1920×1080 with 4xAA was possible. Naturally you could reduce this quite a bit and max out the refresh rate on your monitor; Q3A isn’t exactly the most graphics-intensive game on the market.
The game isn’t being emulated; they actually compiled the open source version for their Debian build. They plan on networking a few together and playing a deathmatch soon.
Now, the point of this isn’t that now, impoverished children in Kazakhstan will be able to hone their all-important FPSing skills. It’s more of a proof of concept showing that a (fairly) modern piece of software can be adapted to the hardware they’ve put together: the Raspberry Pi really is a full-on computer. And while there are Micro ATX boards and systems out there (very useful ones in fact), they don’t come anywhere near the $25 mark. You still need an LCD, keyboard, SD card or USB drive, and so on, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation is all about lowering the entry barrier and providing everything that’s needed in a basic computer for as low a price as possible.
Keep up with the project here. They’ve still got a lot of work to do before they make this a viable product, but things seem to be moving along rapidly.