This is a pretty cool reincarnation of the old-school vector graphics arcade games – now reborn on FPGA. You just might recognize vector graphics from such classic arcade games as Asteroids, Gravitar, and Tempest. Vector was an interesting display technology at the time, differentiating itself from pixel-based video game graphics by using a method of line drawing rather than pixels and sprites. In this gamer’s experience, the vector games always looked so much sharper while lacking the color and animation of many standard arcade games.
Project creators Todd and Andrew got ahold of an old-school vector graphics display from an Asteroids cabinet and decided to go crazy with it, creating their own vector video card, and so much more.
The guys made their own DAC and Amplifier board that plugs right in to a Nexys2 FPGA dev board. This was after they tested out some 3D drawing code with a gnarly handmade R2R DAC they used to draw and rotate a cube on an oscilloscope screen.
Not only did the guys build a vector video card, they also connected the FPGA’s VGA out to a monochrome monitor for an in-game HUD. Awesome work that blows away anything available in the golden days of vector arcade games. It’s a beautiful piece of engineering that certainly deserves its own cabinet.
Enjoy the video and let us know what you think in the comments section!