I've just returned from DConf 2017, in Berlin. There I gave a talk on how to use an extension of the D programming language (DHDL) to design hardware. I showed a demo of Classic Empire, a game written by Walter Bright (the original creator of D), running on a Papilio Pro, inside a soft-core RISC-V CPU, plus my own handmade "wing" IO accessories and respective controller IP blocks (VGA, 7-segment, sound, etc.). You can see a quick demo below:
You can also see the full talk, if it sparks your interest:
Thanks to the generosity of GadgetFactory, we raffled a Papilio Pro and some accessories to the participants of the talk:
Gauging from his reaction, Vang Le was very surprised and happy to be the winner, and he's looking forward to exploring the world of FPGAs.
In my demo I loaded the binary code for the game through the USB/UART, using a custom utility. In the next few months I plan to further tweak this demo, so that the game code is loaded from flash and it works with standard GadgetFactory wings. When that is done, I'll provide the bit stream files for the combined hardware design + the game. Walter Bright has indicated that he would provide permission for the FPGA version of the game to be distributed freely, so GadgetFactory could use it for its showcase. Later, I will provide the source code for my whole setup; I used the LDC 2 D compiler with the (old) LLVM RISC-V backend, and I had to workaround a lot of bugs of invalid RISC-V code. When the new LLVM RISC-V backend is released I expect all of that to be alleviated or completely fixed, which will help with the release of the complete demo setup.
I'll keep providing updates and feedback here on the GadgetFactory forums. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Luis3m), or email me if you have any questions (http://www.luismarques.eu/about).
Also, a shout-out goes to Mike Field, whose book / tutorial helped me get started with FPGAs and hardware design. I shared the love for his book with some conference participants :-)