Working on new Arcade Wing!

Jack Gassett

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An exciting new development at Gadget Factory is the Papilio Arcade Kit. We currently have a prototype running and are hard at work on documentation and a final version of the Papilio Arcade Wing.

The Papilio Arcade Wing is being developed with through hole parts so anyone can build it DIY. The features are:

-12bit VGA for up to 4096 colors

-A stereo audio jack that is fed by a high speed Delta-Sigma DAC

-A DB9 Joystick port that allows Atari 2600, Commodore 64, and many other Joysticks to be plugged directly in. Classic Arcade joysticks can be easily interfaced by wiring them up to a female DB9 connector.

There will be open Wing Slots to add features such as extra joystick ports, MIDI inputs, SD cards etc.

Currently the Pac-Man hardware has been ported and is running great. There are several other Open Source VHDL projects out there such as, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, and Space Invaders. As long as the game uses less than 55KB of RAM then it should run just fine on the Papilio Arcade Kit.

The other really exciting development is that it should be very possible to port the uzebox project to the Papilio Arcade Kit. The Uzebox project provides an easy to program environment to port existing games or make your own game. I would be very interested in collaborating with anyone who wants to help with porting the Uzebox code.

The Papilio Arcade kit boots up and is ready to play a game in under 5 seconds and has very modest power requirements.

Watch for a video showing the prototype in action.

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Just in the last couple days I came across two FPGA Arcade projects that should work with the Papilio Arcade kit.

Retromaster has an awesome project to recreate an Atari 2600 on an FPGA! It should be very possible to port this to the Papilio Arcade kit and I'm trying to contact Retromaster to see if he has any interest in collaborating. has an equally awesome project to port the NES to an FPGA. He is targeting an expensive digilent board so it might be great to work on porting the project to the low cost and open source Papilio One with the Arcade Wing (Papilio Arcade Kit). I will also see if he is interested in collaboration.

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That sounds really fun! I'm keen to see the video.

The next important feature to add is a lcd shutter glass adapter. Imagine : playing to space invader with aliens and asteroïds all in 3D!

What screen resolution  do you achieve?

Will it run on the 250k version of the Papilio?


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Well, the first design that has been ported is Pac-Man that has a resolution of 224x288 but the FPGA should be able to easily do much higher resolutions. The limiting factor here is more of the amount of colors than the resolution, this low cost VGA design can only do up to 4096 colors. But future revisions can use video DACs to get more colors.

I'm initially targeting the Papilio One 500k because of the extra BRAM that it has, many of the existing HDL Arcade game projects out there use external SRAM so most of the porting effort is to squeeze the design down to use the onboard BRAM. From what I've seen none of the classic Arcade games used more than 45K or RAM so this is doable, its just a bit of work and maximizing the available BRAM makes the job easier. Once there are more games ported it will become clear whether shrinking down to fit into the 250k version is feasible.

Hahaha, Space Invaders in 3D! Now that would be cool! It should be possible with some work I suppose, that is the beauty of doing this with the Papilio One, there will be Wing slots left open for expansion such as 3D glasses or MicroSD. If someone thinks of something cool to add later it is very easy to do.

I just uploaded a video to Youtube:


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  • 2 years later...
  • 4 weeks later...

How about small bank of dip switches? They would be handy for things like configuration switches, or to control the scan doubler. I find that I rarely use the pushbuttons on the original arcade megawing because it's almost impossible to play a game using those little buttons, although they are handy for coin inputs and start buttons. I've never used the PS/2 ports for anything either. If it is not desired to give up any of the current features, switches could share I/O pins with something else and would not interfere if switched off.

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