FPGA Emulator for Atari© Tempest arcade game

EEL 4914/EEL 4915 -- Spring/Summer 2011 -- Group #3

Don Harper, Dir. of Technology, UCF

Tony Camarano
Robert Higginbotham
Drew Hanson
Robert Baker


Vic Vector is a game emulation project which preserves the classic arcade game Tempest by Atari© using modern technology. Using the original schematics and specifications for Tempest as a foundation, the digital and analog components are re-created with Verilog HDL and an updated hardware design. The primary objective was to maintain the game characteristics, qualities, and flaws while implementing a more efficient, effective, and robust design. The project combines a Xilinx Spartan 3E 500K FPGA - a moderately small-scale chip - with a prototyping board containing the analog components such as the Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC) and analog op-amp integrators. The FPGA contains all of the Verilog HDL modules which model the digital components of the game. These include the 6502 Microprocessor, Atari© Math Box, Vector Generator, and game memory. The analog circuitry processes the digital output from the FPGA to generate voltages changes in X-Y coordinates. The Laser Galvanometer Scanner CW20 receives these voltage levels and the game images are produced. The project uses a game controller similar to the original. It is a spinner wheel controller that yields a data and clock input, which dictate a player's position in-game.