I’ve just made available an updated version of the Sega Megadrive / Genesis core for the Turbo Chameleon 64. The only change is to the joystick handling – I’ve untangled the joystick directions and remapped the buttons slightly.
There’s still not a lot of point in using a traditional 1-button C64 joystick with this, but I’ve also fixed a bug in my previous attempt which prevented the CDTV infra-red controller from working. This does now work, and the buttons are mapped as follows:
Play / Pause => Megadrive Start
Volume Up => Megadrive A
A => Megadrive B
B => Megadrive C
I’ve mapped Volume UP to button A simply because it physically feels in the right place. The CDTV pad isn’t super-responsive, so trying to use for serious gameplay is an exercise in frustration, but it does work, and the controllers are readily available from AmigaKit.
The new core can be found here: fpgagen_chameleon_20180305.zip
Well it’s been nearly a year since my last post, and in the break between Christmas and New Year I once again have a few spare hours to tinker with projects. I’ve used a few of these to get the MIST Sega Genesis / Megadrive core working, at last, on the Chameleon 64.
In the Christmas break I’ve finally found a little bit of time to tinker with FPGAs again. Not enough to tackle anything major, but I’ve done a little bit of bug fixing on the OneChipMSX core.
Or so I thought. Continue reading
One of the challenges I’ve faced in the ZPUDemos project is keeping the various targets up to date. When I add a peripheral to – for example – the SDBootstrap SOC, I have to modify each and every target’s project file to match, and it’s very easy to lose track of which ones have been updated and which ones haven’t.
ZPUDemos currently supports no fewer than eight different target boards, and contains eleven different projects – that’s a lot of project files!
In an attempt to make this more manageable, I’ve written some scripts to generate project files automatically, from a list of RTL files, and a board-specific template file. I’ve taken the opportunity to clean up the whole project, too, so the directory structure is more logical. Continue reading
It’s good to be able to report that the upstream ZPU project – and also the toolchain – has officially moved from its previous home to github, so the source for the GCC port can now be found here: https://github.com/zylin/zpugcc\
Better yet, this repo contains the various build fixes needed to compile this old version of GCC on a modern Linux system, so much of my previous “Setting up the toolchain” post is no longer relevant, and has been updated accordingly.
Part 7 – Loading data from SD card.
In this part of the series I’m going to look at the most useful aspect of the control module – using it load data from SD card and pass it to the host core.
To make a meaningful demonstration, the host core needed to be able to do something with the received data, so I’ve pulled in the SDRAM controller and VGA framebuffer from the ZPUDemos project. What I’ve called the “host core”, the part of the project which the ZPU-based control module is supporting, is now capable of displaying a 640x480x16-bit VGA screen from SDRAM, and as such the project is now quite a bit more complicated; however, the only new file needed by the control module itself is spi.vhd which handles communication with the SD card.
Part 6 – resource sharing
So far we have the control module merging an on-screen display with the underlying host core’s video output, responding to keypresses and running a simple on-screen menu. The largest single addition now will be SD card access, which I will explore in the next part. In this part, however, I’m going to talk about resource sharing.
Some cores, like the test-pattern generator we’ve been using so far or the PC-Engine core, make no use of the keyboard or SD card, so giving sole access to the control module is no problem. If, on the other hand, the underlying core does make use of keyboard and SD card (such as the OneChipMSX core, for instance) we need to have some way of arbitrating for access to these resources. Continue reading
Part 5 – Adding a Menu
Having talked in depth about the hardware in previous parts, in this part I’m going to talk about the software side of things.
I mentioned before that the character ROM contains 128 characters which, from characters 32 upwards, are standard 7-bit ASCII. I’ve added some special characters in the lower 32 character slots, however, which have uses in drawing the OSD. The extra characters are as follows:
- 0 – 7: solid blocks 7 pixels high, 1 to 8 pixels wide, left aligned in the character cells. Useful for drawing progress bars.
- 8 – 15: As above but right-aligned within the character cell. May be useful in progress bar applications but I haven’t actually used these yet, so might eventually reassign them.
- 16 – 19: Arrow heads, pointing right, left, up and down, respectively. (The right arrow is used as a cursor in the menu.)
- 20: Checkmark
- 21: Cross
- 22: Cycle
- 23: ellipsis
- 24 – 31: Currently unused
For the OneChipMSX and FPGA PC Engine cores I put together a simple, lightweight data-driven menu system, which can be found in CtrlModule/Firmware/menu.[c|h]
Part 4 – Keyboard control
So far we have the control module printing a message to the screen and autonomously sending signals to the underlying core. Now it’s time to make it somewhat interactive!
To do this we need to add Keyboard support. Many FPGA platforms still have support for PS/2 keyboards simply because they’re electrically simple and don’t require much in the way of high speed transceivers or carefully-routed circuits to drive them. Thus the PS/2 keyboard is a de-facto standard for FPGA projects, even to the point that on the MIST platform (which has no PS/2 ports, but does have USB ports) there is a bridge component available which makes the keyboard masquerade as PS/2. This is taken care of in the MIST-specific toplevel file, which allows the main project files to be identical between platforms.
To add keyboard support we need three things: a hardware interface to the PS/2 socket (whether it’s real or emulated!), software to drive that hardware interface, and support for interrupts, so that the CPU doesn’t have to poll the hardware waiting for keystrokes.