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Hey guys,

 

It's been a while since I was last here so I thought I'd pop in and say hi to all the old timers I used to know.

I wonder how many of them are still here poking around, trying to beat them FPGA gates into submission :)

 

A

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Hi Vlait! Big things mate, I met someone special and about two years ago I decided to move to the other side of the planet to be with her. So I quit my job, sold my house and everything I owned and moved to Sweden with nothing but a suitcase :)

I've been living in Sweden ever since with my amazing Swedish woman who speaks perfect English (so yeah, not a catfish after all). Took a bit of time to get accustomed to the Swedish language, get a job, get a drivers licence all over again from scratch because the Swedes won't convert a NZ drivers licence to Swedish but they will quite happily convert a Japanese one... pretty loopy.

The best think about Sweden is IKEA ?, no no I joke, It's the meatballs. But seriously, best thing about Sweden is the people, they're pretty great and the country has some great culture. The worst thing about Sweden is the goddamned ads for gambling. You can't watch TV or listen to radio without having 3 to 4 stupid ads in every ad break about the same 5 or 6 shitty online casinos that promise you easy money. It's so infuriating.

So anyway, family life can be pretty hectic but lately I've had some time to get back into the hobby and drifted back to FPGA stuff. Our apartment isn't such that I can have my man cave full of equipment like I used to, but with FPGA stuff all I need is a small corner with a laptop.

I'm just now putting the finishing touches on the 1942 arcade game which is what I've been working on lately. Sorting out some sprite issues and will do a final push to github in the next few days, then that game is done.

Then I have another project in mind which is something I've wanted to do for a while but I've been scared to touch it because it's a bit of a monster compared to the games I've done so far and likely a very long term project. Lots of custom chips, lots of memory (maybe too much for an FPGA), fancy audio with FM and speech synthesis, 68010 CPU, etc, I don't even know if I'll be able to finish it once started, but I plan to make a fair effort into it and if I fail, maybe someone better than me can continue it. Here's a hint:

Gauntlet_ARC_ghosts.png

 

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Congrats! That's a huge change in life... people, weather, culture all very nice but probably quite a bit different to NZ :D

We're practically neighbours now, gimme a shout whenever you're visiting Finland (or Estonia for that matter, it's only a 2 hour ferry from here)

The game after 1942 might require more than 1 small fpga :P 

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Hi Alex, long time no hear..

I made the opposite trip some 30 years ago (Sweden to US) but still have my roots there and go back several times a year (actually going there this coming Wednesday).

I finally got around to work on one of my old projects that I left unfinished - Doom running on Pipistrello. The project was based on a port of Chocolate Doom to the NIOS soft processor by two guys from Finland and I got it to sort of work but had not realized how much they had sacrificed to get it to work on NIOS.  The sound system was completely hacked up (8 channel stereo sound effects cut down to a single mono channel with no volume control) and the game crashed at the end of the first level due to non-implemented stuff.  So I put back the original code from Chocolate Doom so the game worked and got the full sound system working by porting over the sound mixing from the Linux version of doom.  I also added mouse support so the game is now really playable.

The only thing really missing now is to play the music tracks.  They were implemented in a format similar to MIDI and played on DOS via an OPL2 or OPL3 chip found on some sound cards.  I looked around I found that Greg Taylor had done a clone of OPL3 using systemVerilog running on a ZYBO board so I decided to try a port of that code to plain Verilog (since ISE do not support systemVerilog).  After some stuggle (systemVerilog has some powerful features that are hard to replicate in Verilog) I got it to work - both the full OPL3 and cut-down version that only support the OPL2 features (Doom only use the OPL2 subset).  The OPL2 version fits in an LX9 together with a Microblaze_mcs system.

Here is a link to a video showing it running: http://www.saanlima.com/videos/IMG_4880.mov

Next thing is to incorporate it into the doom version.

Cheers, Magnus

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Wow that sounds like a lot of work, well done. Do you publish your sources for these kind of projects (do you have a repository somewhere, like I do on github) ?

I see the Pipistrello 2.0 has been discontinued, too bad, I think it was a great dev board and I still use mine due to the size of the LX45 and the built in sound/HDMI connectors.

Have fun in Sweden, I live in Kalmar but I work in Mönsterås.

 

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Well, I do have a github account but have been bad at updating it. 

The opl3 code for pipistrello can be downloaded here: http://www.saanlima.com/download/pipistrello-v2.0/opl3_pipistrello_lx45.zip

The latest doom bitfile for pipistrello is here: http://www.saanlima.com/download/pipistrello-v2.0/doom.bit

The latest doom c source code is here: http://www.saanlima.com/download/pipistrello-v2.0/mb_doom_sound3.zip

Without support for Spartan6 in Vivado and no more updates for ISE, the old Spartan6 boards are unfortunately getting obsolete, and with the subsidized pricing of the Digilent Arty boards etc. there is very little incentive for me to develop Artix7-based replacement boards :(

Kalmar is a nice place with a castle and all.  We have an apartment in Örebro that we use as a home base in Sweden.

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I know what you mean. I have an Arty board that I bought two years ago but haven’t used it yet.

The closest I’ve been to Örebro is Eskilstuna which is where my sambo’s mom lives.

PS the 1942 arcade game is now complete, works on Pipistrello. You can get if from my GitHub in link above.

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Looks and sounds fantastic, good work there! I’ve been taking a little break from my project as I came down with tonsillitis and been feeling very sore and drained. Also the weather’s been very depressing as we head well into autumn, it’s been foggy all day every day for over a week now from morning till evening. I feel like I’m living in the Silent Hill movie. Overall it looks pretty cool but I haven’t seen the sun in a while and I miss it.

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Cool!  Yeah, winter is Sweden is not for the faint.

As for Arty, I do have one too, and to make it a bit more useful I designed a pmod add-on board with the stuff missing compared to Pipistrello.

pmod1.jpg

 

 

pmod2.jpg

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