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Hardware Level VGA and SVGA Video Programming Information Page
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F R E E   V G A
This page is home to the FreeVGA Project -- dedicated to providing a totally FREE source of information about video hardware.  Additional goals/information are located here.
"Keep on rocking in the free world." - Neil Young

Latest News
        08/01/1998 -- More information is now up, including a large portion of the "standard" VGA reference.  Some other minor changes have been made to other information.  Expect more updates in the not too far future.

        06/20/1998 -- The work contiues.  Added three new mirrors.  Some of the information that was located in the VGA reference, but really applies to video programming in general has been moved to the new Background Information (formerly Introduction) section of this page, and has been released.  Also, a glossary has been added defining terms related to video programming, but is not very comprehensive at the moment, although this should improve over time. Many minor corrections have been made to the released material after being pointed out by the insightful people reading the information.  Thank you!

        06/08/1998 -- The mirror list has been updated with the new entries. Special thanks goes out to all those who have donated their personal resources to advance the project's goals.  Also, the first section of *real* information is online, the low-level programming introduction.  This section has been relatively stable for quite some time, and seems to be releasable.  It is my goal to release the information after it stabilizes, and has been verified for accuracy.

        06/04/1998 -- If you are looking for the current work-in-progress, and have been given the passwords for the archive for review purposes, it can be downloaded here.  For those with current problems/questions that this page addresses, please feel free to use the Feedback Form to contact the author.  If a link is marked with (WIP), it is not posted online and at this time is available only for review, upon request, and under specific limitations.

Mirror Sites
        At this time, the project is experimenting with the feasibility of maintaining mirror sites to make this information more widely available.  The following mirror sites are provided for your convenience.  If you are interested in hosting a mirror site of this information, please contact the author for more information. If you are experiencing problems with any of these mirrors please use the Feedback Form to contact the author, as it is likely my fault that the problem has arisen.

        This page's purpose is to provide free low-level programming information to programmers interested in the low-level details of programming the VGA and Super VGA adapters, in a format independent of operating environment or programming language. This page is not intended to be a reference to graphics or game programming algorithms but rather a reference for those people attempting to implement such algorithms in whatever environment they are using. This page is not intended to be a showcase of web technology and thus will use HTML features and graphics only when it is necessary to convey information. For example, I have left the colors and fonts set to the default, so you can actually use the default preferences in your browser. I am continuously adding material to this page and have tried to incorporate links to other sites with valuable information. Background Information
        Foremost, this page is meant to be a place online where one can learn about low-level programming (If everyone knew all of this information then this page would be redundant!) This section contains general information that can be very helpful when attempting to use the programming information located on this site. Standard VGA Chipset Reference
        This section documents the subset of functionality present on nearly all computers today. The VGA BIOS utilizes only a fraction of the capability of the VGA hardware. By programming the hardware at the lowest level, one gains the flexibility to unleash the hardware's full potential. Super VGA Hardware Chipset Reference
        This section documents the known functionality of specific VGA/SVGA chipsets. Because developers of chipsets and video cards face incredible competition, they have added features and functionality far beyond the standard VGA hardware. Unfortunately to programmers, these features have been implemented differently in each particular chipset, and even differently between products by the same manufacturer. It is difficult to obtaining information on these chipsets and their implementations, particularly so if the chipset is considered "obsolete" by the manufacturer. Because of the open-ended nature of this topic (chipsets are under constant development) this page will be updated constantly as new information becomes available. Other Video Hardware Reference
        This section is for video hardware that does not specifically fit into the category of VGA or SVGA, such as MPEG hardware, video capture hardware, non-integrated 3D accelerators, virtual reality gear, digital video cameras, stereoscopic 3D goggles, TV tuner cards, non-VGA compatible video adapters and the like. This is another open-ended topic but is not the primary focus of this page.

Tricks and Techniques
        This section contains useful information on how to utilize the VGA/SVGA hardware to optimize specific tasks or implement visual effects. Many of these techniques have been utilized by game and demo programmers alike to push the envelope of the hardware's capacity.

Other References:
        This section gives some pointers to other available VGA hardware information available. Note that they are listed here because Product Recommendations
        The FreeVGA Project does not make hardware recommendations as pertains to hardware covered by the documentation, in an attempt to prevent any conflicts of interest.  However, there are other products that can be extremely helpful when implementing the information found here, such as monitors, test equipment, and software.  I will not refuse any request to list a product on this page, however I will categorize it depending upon its importance and suitability for video related software development using opinions of myself and others.  If you disagree with the opinion here, please use the Feedback Form to voice that opinion, such that it can be taken into account. Warnings and Disclaimer Feedback
        I can be reached online via the Feedback Form.  Consider it your moral obligation to send feedback about the page, including inaccuracies, confusing parts, missing info, questions/answers and other feedback type thingies.

Notice: All trademarks used or referred to on this page are the property of their respective owners.
All pages are Copyright © 1997, 1998, J. D. Neal, except where noted. Permission for utilization and distribution is subject to the terms of the FreeVGA Project Copyright License