Wednesday, June 3, 2009

leaving on a jet plane

I've been a bit busy lately as recently I graduated from college in Michigan and returned to my hometown in New Jersey. I'm in the process of packing up all my stuff for a cross-country move to start work in California. Things are a bit hectic, so I haven't done much work on the project, but i will very soon! Most recently, I've been working on some boring freelance webdev work to help recoup some of my expenses on this project which I'm hoping to wrap up within this week.

When I get back to this project I plan to tackle a bunch of stuff (in this order, i think):
- Bring up the usb port on the board: I want to be able to load code to the fpga over usb. This would save me a lot of hassle right now, since my laptop doesn't have a parallel port, and all I have now is a parallel port jtag cable. I've been using a second computer as a "Cable Server" which more or less works, but it's totally not ideal. I realize now that there are actually low-cost usb cables for loading code to this fpga (digilent makes one for ~$40USD) but my board was designed to be programmable from usb using an onboard 18f PIC, and I'll assuredly be using the PIC for some other stuff, so I might as well start with this.

- Start working on the menu to select games from the sd card: The venerable lint_ has spent a good deal of effort writing SNES code to help with reading files from the SD card. He's done a great job so far, and it's about time i start working on the hardware side.

- Special chip support: I'll probably start with the DSP chip (used in super mario kart) just because it's KILLING me that whenever I show off this cart to my friends, we can't play SMK! My plan is to synthesize a small CPU on the FPGA and write some code to emulate it (the original dsp chip was just a microcontroller running some code). I originally planned to use the xilinx picoblaze, but it would be nice if I could use something with a C compiler. My only concern is code size (if the code is too large, it won't fit in the fpga block ram). I also don't know how much block ram i'll end up needing for runtime memory.