[Robert Baruch] wanted to tackle a CPU project using an FPGA. One problem you always have is you can either mimic something that has tools and applications or you can go your own way and just build everything from scratch (which is much harder).
[Robert] took the mimic approach–sort of. He built a CPU with the express idea of running Infocom’s Z-machine virtual machine, which allows it to play Zork. So at least when you are done, you don’t have to explain to your non-tech friends that it only blinks an LED. Check out the video, below, for more details.
If it were just the Z-machine on an FPGA, we’ve seen that before. We’ve also seen people take the long road and build up everything around their custom CPUs. What makes this interesting is a very detailed set of videos describing the CPU and how it came to life.
We don’t mean there’s a five-minute video describing the CPU. Each of the six videos are substantial (most are longer than 40 minutes) and [Robert] walks through the Verilog code, using the Xilinx tools, and simulation. There are more videos to go, but with about four hours of video in the can, you might want to get a head start and watch them now.
If you’ve ever wanted to watch over someone’s shoulder while they are doing a significant Verilog FPGA design, this is your chance. We’ve seen the end result done before. If you want a peek at how it is to build the CPU and all new tools, A2Z is a good example of that. Maybe someone will port Zork to it soon.