Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Like riding a bicycle?

It's been a long time between posts, for several reasons. Babies, closing the office... resulting in not having the time nor the inclination to tackle engineering-related extra-curricular activities, especially those requiring significant effort!

So... an update? Unfortunately not related to NGPACE, but my first foray back into FPGA development for quite some time. I haven't been working with FPGA's at all in the last few years until very recently, and now I've been contracted to work on a design incorporating a rather nice FPGA (in fact the exact same device I am using for the NGPACE motherboard) that we are bringing up right now; a design that is perfect for retro video game emulation! ;)

I discovered only a few days ago that a colleague involved in the project at work owns a Tempest cabinet! That got me curious and after some research I re-discovered that Jeroen Domburg, a.k.a. Sprite, implemented Black Widow in an FPGA sometime around 2012, (very similar hardware to Tempest) although he interfaced that to a vector monitor.

Turns out that Tempest, unlike Black Widow, uses the Atari Mathbox hardware, which I don't have the time to implement right now. Rather, I thought I'd get Black Widow up and running on our new board, just for kicks. I used the same crude rasterising/decay technique that I did for Asteroids several years ago, although I added colour! It gives surprisingly good results, more than adequate for a proof-of-concept demonstration.

Maybe now I'm on a roll I'll be able to get back to NGPACE...


  1. Hey man, are you still working on this? There is another person working on something similar here...


  2. Very cool! Any chance of sharing the vhd files to have a look - would be very interesting to try the same with Star Wars (as I have a raster monitor in mine!) Rgrds