7 May 2022

Display Signals

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. Last time, we played Pong against our FPGA; this time, we revisit displays signals and learn about palettes and indexed colour. This post was last updated in June 2022. In this series, we explore graphics at the hardware level and get a feel for the power of FPGAs. We’ll learn how screens work, play Pong, create starfields and sprites, paint Michelangelo’s David, simulate life, draw lines and triangles, and animate characters and shapes. Read more

12 March 2022

Racing the Beam

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. Last time, we got introduction to FPGA graphics; now, we’re ready to put our graphical skills to work with some simple demos. I hope these examples inspire you to create your own demos and improve your hardware design skills. This post was last updated in June 2022. In this series, we explore graphics at the hardware level and get a feel for the power of FPGAs. Read more

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

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

28 January 2021

Lines and Triangles

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. It’s time to turn our attention to drawing. Most modern computer graphics come down to drawing triangles and colouring them in. So, it seems fitting to begin our tour of drawing with triangles and the straight lines that form them. This post will implement Bresenham’s line algorithm in Verilog, creating lines, triangles, and even a cube (our first sort-of-3D graphic). This post was last updated in January 2022. Read more

30 October 2020

Framebuffers

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. In the previous two parts, we worked with sprites, but another approach is needed as graphics become more complex. Instead of drawing directly to the screen, we draw to a framebuffer, which is read out to the screen. This post provides an introduction to framebuffers and how to scale them up. We’ll also learn how to fizzlefade graphics Wolfenstein 3D style. In the next part, we’ll use a framebuffer to visualize a simulation of life. Read more

28 October 2020

Hardware Sprites

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. In the previous part, we updated our display signals and learnt about colour palettes. This part shows you how to create fast, colourful graphics with minimal logic. Hardware sprites maintain much of the simplicity of our Pong design while offering greater creative freedom. This post was completely revised in June 2022. In this series, we explore graphics at the hardware level and get a feel for the power of FPGAs. Read more

22 September 2020

Life on Screen

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. In this post we’re going to use the designs we created in Framebuffers to experiment with Conway’s Game of Life. 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

30 July 2020

FPGA Pong

Welcome back to Exploring FPGA Graphics. Last time, we raced the beam; this time, we’ll recreate the classic arcade Pong and play against our FPGA. This post was last updated in June 2022. This post was completely revised in April 2022. In this series, we explore graphics at the hardware level and get a feel for the power of FPGAs. We’ll learn how screens work, play Pong, create starfields and sprites, paint Michelangelo’s David, simulate life, draw lines and triangles, and animate characters and shapes. Read more

26 June 2020

Video Timings: VGA, SVGA, 720p, 1080p

To work with standard monitors and TVs, you need to use the correct video timings. This recipe includes the timings for four standard display modes using analogue VGA, DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort: 640x480 (VGA), 800x600 (SVGA), 1280x720, and 1920x1080 all at 60 Hz. CRT monitors typically support higher refresh rates in addition to 60 Hz, such as 72 and 85 Hz, but most LCD monitors do not. There are an increasing number of televisions and monitors that do support high refresh rates, but these are beyond the scope of this guide. Read more

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