Grid was donated by @packetbob . 32 Max7219 drivers arranged as 16x2. each one running a 1088AS single color LED matrix.
The ESP8266 it was running on would crash all the time, silently. Replaced it with UNO.
Used Arduino MD_Parola library to check that I was in the right direction, got “hello world!” to display on the first 12 panels, then things got weird.
Removed the entire display from the frame, reworked the solder joints, glitching went away.
Image demonstrates full pixel control with a custom fast sin curve and a rapid blit method (stacks column pushes to skip no-op commands).
The refresh rate is garbage but definitely enough for scrolling text. Will be going to my nephew that’s been game modding for ages and wants to get into hardware hacking.