31 August 2021

Animated Shapes

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. In the final part of our introductory graphics series, we’re looking at animation. We’ve already seen animation with hardware sprites, but double buffering gives us maximum creative freedom with fast, tear-free motion. We’ll be making extensive use of our designs from 2D Shapes, so have a look back at that post if you need a refresher on drawing shapes. This post was last updated in February 2022. Read more

4 August 2021

News: July 2021

Project F news is your monthly update on the FPGA project, with tasty tips and links from other developers thrown in. This month, iCE40 SPRAM takes centre stage, filled triangles add graphical goodness, we learn that Linux will fit on an iCEBreaker, and discover FPGAs on Mars. If you have any comments, share your thoughts with @WillFlux or find me on 1BitSquared Discord. Read the August 2021 news or see the news archive. Read more

30 July 2021

SPRAM on iCE40 FPGA

The iCE40 UltraPlus distinguishes itself from the rest of the iCE40 FPGA family by including a relatively generous 1 Mb (128 KiB) of single port synchronous SRAM known as SPRAM. SPRAM blocks are much larger than BRAM but are limited to a single port and 16-bit data bus. In this quick FPGA recipe, we learn how to use SPRAM with Yosys and contrast it with Block RAM. If you want to learn more about other FPGA memory, see FPGA Memory Types. Read more

1 July 2021

News: June 2021

Project F news is your monthly update on the project, with tasty tips and links thrown in. Last month’s issue was well received, so I’m continuing with the experiment. June wasn’t the easiest of months, with a stint of COVID self-isolation1, but I’m happy to have written about Verilator and SDL. If you have any comments, find me on Twitter @WillFlux, or open an issue on GitHub. Read the July 2021 news or see the news archive. Read more

11 June 2021

Verilog Simulation with Verilator and SDL

It can be challenging to test your FPGA or ASIC graphics designs. You can perform low-level behavioural simulations and examine waveforms, but you also need to verify how the video output will appear on the screen. By combining Verilator and SDL, you can build Verilog simulations that let you see your design on your computer. The thought of creating a graphical simulation can be intimidating, but it’s surprisingly simple: you’ll have your first simulation running in under an hour. Read more

30 May 2021

News: May 2021

As well as the occasional big blog post, I make many smaller FPGA discoveries and Project F updates each month. I thought it would be interesting to share a few of these in a monthly news post. What do you think? Let me know via @WillFlux or open an issue on GitHub. Read the June 2021 news or see the news archive. Blog In May, I added two blog posts: Hello Arty Part 3 and FPGA Sine Lookup Table. Read more

27 May 2021

FPGA Sine Lookup Table

In this FPGA recipe, we’re going to look at a straightforward method for generating sine and cosine using a lookup table. There are more precise methods, but this one is fast and simple and will suffice for many applications. This post was last updated in October 2021. This post is part of a series of handy recipes to solve common FPGA development problems. There are also posts on fixed-point numbers, division, and square root. Read more

17 May 2021

Hello Arty - Part 3

Welcome back to our three-part FPGA tutorial with SystemVerilog and the Digilent Arty A7. In this third instalment, we build a countdown timer and model traffic lights. There’s a lot to get through this time: enums, case statements, button debouncing, shift registers, and the all-important finite state machine. This post was last updated in December 2021. New to the series? Start with part 1. Get in touch: GitHub Issues, 1BitSquared Discord, @WillFlux (Mastodon), @WillFlux (Twitter) Read more

27 April 2021

Project F Verilog Library

I like to learn by doing, by trying things out and experimenting. However, this is hard with FPGAs; there’s a significant lack of practical Verilog designs online. The Project F Library is the latest part of my attempt to make things a little better for FPGA hackers and beginners. Over the last couple of years, I’ve built up a small collection of handy Verilog modules. The Library brings these modules together with documentation and test benches to make them more accessible. Read more

17 March 2021

2D Shapes

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. Building on our designs in lines and triangles, we’ll draw rectangles, filled triangles and circles. We’ll finish off this part by drawing a castle with our shapes. This post was last updated in January 2022. In this series, we explore graphics at the hardware level and get a feel for the power of FPGAs. We’ll learn how displays work, race the beam with Pong, animate starfields and sprites, paint Michelangelo’s David, simulate life with bitmaps, draw lines and shapes, and create smooth animation with double buffering. Read more

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