DE10-Lite-Ful FPGA Dev Board Hack Plays The 1981 Classic Defender

DE10-Lite Dev Board / Game Controller

We’re not sure what the assignment was, but the results of [Garret Carter]’s homework for his Digital System Design class at Tennessee Tech couldn’t help but capture our attention. Below the break you can see what [Garrett] describes as a “simplified stylized version” of the 1981 arcade hit “Defender”.

With the goal of keeping the price low but keeping performance as high as possible, [Garrett] set forth to program the DE10-Lite FPGA development board in VHDL. The results are convincing, and while not perfect, came in under budget.

The DE10-Lite board gave [Garrett] the opportunity to get even more creative, using the dev board’s onboard switches, buttons, 7-segment LED’s and accelerometer to full effect. In this case, the dev board is not only the game, but also the controller and status display. A very neat hack indeed!

If you want to make your own, you can get the full project details at [Garrett]’s Github page. And [Garrett], we don’t know what marks your professor will give, but we give you an A+, would definitely play again.

While FPGA development boards aren’t necessarily inexpensive, our own Jenny List shows where you might be able to find a used but workable FPGA board for a fraction of the cost, If you know where to look.

6 thoughts on “DE10-Lite-Ful FPGA Dev Board Hack Plays The 1981 Classic Defender

  1. Looking very nice! I like the smooth hi-res stars combined with the more retro Defender-esque “sprites”.

    Not using a “soft core” CPU for this, but all done with VHDL logic (it looks like). A somewhat challenging way to make a game (but tends to produce 60Hz silky smoothness). Well done.

  2. When one Xilinx Logic Cell is equivalent to one Altera Logic Element, the DE10-Lite has 50k LEs.

    I have the original Pacman with Z80, ROM and RAM running on a Xilinx Spartan-3E (XC3S500E) with 10k Logic Cells.

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