If you wanted to create a VGA card, you might think about using an FPGA. But there are simpler ways to generate patterns, including an old-fashioned EPROM, as [DrMattRegan] points out in a recent video.
Generating video signals is an exercise in periodicity. After all, an old-fashioned CRT just scans at a certain horizontal frequency and refreshes the entire screen each time it starts over. VGA is made to drive this technology. An EPROM chip can easily generate repeating patterns when driven by a counter at a known frequency.
As you might expect, there were a few software glitches to work out, but in the end, the circuit did its job, displaying a fixed image on a VGA monitor.
If you haven’t run into [Matt] before, he has a complete series on how he built a “wire-by-wire” Apple II clone. We will warn you, though. Don’t click on the link unless you have some spare time. The 18 videos take over two hours to work through, but there is some beautiful prototyping and a lot of good information in them.
You can go even lower tech for a VGA card, if you like. Just try not to look like this breadboard.
Thanks [Stephen Walters] for the tip.