Racing The Beam With Super Hexagon

Early game consoles like the Atari 2600 had a very, very limited amount of RAM. There wasn’t even enough RAM for all the pixels on the screen; instead, pixels were generated by the CPU as they were being drawn. It’s playing with scanlines and colorbusts with code, something we’re now calling. ‘racing the beam’ for some reason.

[Sam] is in the middle of an EE degree right now, and for a digital design class he needed to write some Verilog. At the time he was addicted to the game Super Hexagon, and the game mechanics are simple enough for an FPGA. He built his own implementation, but not one with framebuffers. He’s using a pipelined approach where each pixel’s value is calculated just a few clock cycles before it’s displayed. It vastly reduces the memory requirements, on his Altera DE1 board compared to the framebuffer approach.

Video below.

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FPGA-based Turbografx 16 clone

turbografx_clone

[Gregory] wrote in to share his most recent project, an FPGA clone of the PC Engine/Turbografx 16 console. You may remember him from last year, when we talked about his SEGA Genesis FPGA clone. He just couldn’t leave well enough alone, and decided to resurrect yet another 16-bit machine in FPGA form.

He has been working on the project for about three months now, but he has been making very quick work of getting everything up and running. As of a few weeks ago, the project was in a pretty unstable alpha stage, but after pounding away at some bugs, he is now able to render any game he pleases.

The clone uses an Altera DE1 board just like his previous builds, and he has been able to emulate all three if the main chips that make up the Turbografx logic board. He has yet to work on the Programmable Sound Generator, but that is slated for the near future. While the FPGA currently stores ROMS in its flash memory, he has plans to add the ability to load games from an SD card.

Keep reading to see a pair of videos showing his console clone in action, it’s impressive.

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