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Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:31


Roman S. wrote:
@Gunnar - what is 'Amiga way' and 'not Amiga way' depends solely on someone's point of view. I only know what is obsolete, and what is not...

And yet you don't. And while point-of-view certainly does play some part into what is and is not "Amiga-Fu", I think we can all agree that there are somethings that are "more Amiga" and somethings which are not. For example, 68K, ECS/AGA, Kickstart and Workbench are all "more Amiga" than not.

WinUAE is not Amiga. It's emulating an Amiga. It is not even Amiga-Fu because you need to install it on a Windows machine that needs 20GB just to boot the OS. That's not even slightly "Amiga".


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:32


Roman S. wrote:
Copper controlled color changes become obsolete when we stopped using indexed color screen modes.

The COPPER is used for a lot more than colour changes. Briefly, we can use it to use sprites for a tiled layer and fast scrolling or even drive the blitter for some fast polygon routines. The COPPER is also instrumental in HOW the video works on Amiga and is why it was so popular for video production at the time. If all we want is more colour depth,. the Amiga has always had HAM and RTG.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:32


Roman S. wrote:
Or when double-buffering became a common technique.

Became common? Double-buffering was not used on PCs early on because the bandwidth on ISA was horrible, had a fixed frame layout and used expensive VRAM that maxed out at 64KB which was just enough to do one 320x200 Mode-X page.

Aside from a few games that don't need it, I'm sure double buffering was used from the start on the Amiga. Also, double buffering has zip to do with the COPPER.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:33


Roman S. wrote:
Sprites (besides the mouse pointer sprite) became obsolete with fast blitting capabilities, etc.

3D killed sprites, not fast blitters. And not because it was better at 2D, but because 3D simply killed 2D. The last generation of 2D machines, such as the NES, Sega Genesis and NEO GEO were sprite monsters and it too a LONG time for PC's to come close through "brute force". Even after 3D, though, sprites were used for on-screen 2D elements because it's much more efficient than blitting.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:33


Roman S. wrote:
I know extending the chipset this way is probably fun to the team, but as a  (hopefully) future Vampire user... well, I mainly care about compatibility with current software, as I seriously doubt we will see many serious new games utilizing such exotic chipset features (if they will came at all... remember the Xena/Xorro from the PPC world?).

Oh my. PowerPC is a dead end -- was when it started. There are probably more active Vampire users right now than PowerPC. Making your hardware HARDER to develop for is a stupid approach and only serves to drive even more people away from PPC. Like the stupid price tags didn't already.

RTG (e.g., SAGA) was done first because it was a LOT easier, not because we didn't want AGA. Right now the team is 100% focused on pure-AGA compatibility.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:35


Roman S. wrote:
@Ian, Joe - for the SAGA to be 'universal', it has to be:
 
  1. Universally (or at least - broadly) accepted - didn't happen as of yet and I doubt it will ever happen... read what, for example, Toni Willen writes about Vampire emulation in WinUAE

Since when was UAE the de-facto Amiga? I think you have that backwards. My Amiga 1000 is a real Amiga. The millions of real Amigas are real Amigas and I couldn't give two tits about what Toni does or does not do with WinUAE. It's goal is to emulate the Amiga not define what an Amiga is or is not.

For SAGA if you write SDL or Picasso96 compatible code it will run as well on UAE as a Vampire.

With AMMX, it's pretty easy to check for the 68080 and have two different function calls. Take GNGEO for example. There is almost no way this will run well on a 68060+RTG kit (sorry FPGAArcade); the 68060 is simply too slow. But we still retain the original functions so that it's possible to run and develop on UAE. So it's not a "missed" feature by any means.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:36


Roman S. wrote:
2. It's specification has to be frozen (and I mean - frozen, removing 'just this tiny piece of bizarre functionality probably no one ever used' is definitely not a frozen state) and available to everyone - AFAIK it didn't happen as of yet

Frozen? Because there was never a Picasso III or IV?

It's rather silly to be worried about Gunnar removing stuff when he's consistently done the opposite. The 68080 is actually a super-set of the whole 68K lineage including instructions Motorola themselves omitted in the 68040 and 68060.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:38


Roman S. wrote:
Until both happen, it will be Vampire-only and not universal in any way.

At what point does none of this matter?

The 68060 is a slow processor. RTG on the best Amiga cards is choked by the Zorro bus and AGA is at best useful only for compatibility.

There are already a ton of titles that are using the very Vampire specific feature set. Most of the developers working on Vampire stuff only incidentally keep backwards compatibility at this point -- there's very little motive to do so anymore.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:46


Sorry, but no one (here anyway) cares about FPGAArcade and it's slow 68060 (or worse, the silly idea of using a Pi Compute Module as a soft-CPU).
 
  UAE is not a market leader -- the goal of UAE is to emulate real Amigas not define what that is. Anyone coding specifically for UAE (e.g., using uaenative.library), should be hung, shot and quartered.
 
  Hitting the hardware MUST be done at some level. Either we do it in the game or through some abstraction layer (aka driver). Aside from a few crappy Workbench games, every Amiga game hits the hardware and that's not going to change any time soon. Personally, I hate SDL and AHI -- they are so bloody slow and until we have more MIPS than we know what to do with, we'll continue taking shortcuts for performance.
 
  Now, if FPGAArcade implements AGA with a few special features that aren't present in the Vampire and vice versa AND goes on to sell a few thousand of them, then we have a problem with further fragmentation. But since both are FPGA based, it's not impossible for either party to steal each other's good ideas. Honestly, maybe a little competition is good. But so far, I haven't seen the FPGAArcade as a viable competitor at all.


Renee Cousins
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 134
29 May 2018 18:54


Gilles Dridi wrote:
<snip abotu AAA>I understood that 68080 with AMMX (SIMD) is used instead ; isn't it ?

Yes. AMMX borrows more from Altivec than Intel MMX as it's name might otherwise allude to, minus all the support for SIMD floating point, with a few helper opcodes that make things like texture mapping in software super trivial.

Honestly, AAA was a boondoggle. So many Amigans seem to think of it as some holy grail that we should reinvent, but Commodore was only going to make everything more complex and push the Amiga into a deeper feature deficit. The fact that it never really existed beyond a spec-sheet and some non-working prototype hardware further reduces any value in using the design.


Peeri the Sunlight

Posts 33
29 May 2018 19:00


Gunnar is right. This is Amiga way. Smart coder can easily check if Vampire exist and have OCS/AGA version only.... Or just print message "Needs better hardware"

I'm coder, Lazy like ent... But still I always feel sick to use some buggy or burdening layer to do what hardware naturally do.

I suggest all (Amiga) coders to read some thing here:
EXTERNAL LINK  and EXTERNAL LINK 
Just want to have Seka or AsmONE... to support AMMX...
Let Apollo / Vampire unite scattered Amiga fans.
(Sooner or Later Toni will add Apollo features to WinUAE)


Roman S.

Posts 149
29 May 2018 20:15


@Gunnar, @Peeri - go to GenerationAmiga, check the News Amiga Games, and judge by yourself how many of these games were likely to be using SAGA features if the Vampire with SAGA was currently available... You can make SAGA Amiga way, PC way, doesn't matter - probably 99% of game coders would simply use SDL and/or CGX API. Yes, "smart coder will" - but we don't have many smart coders with enough spare time left.

@Renee Cousins

"...is not Amiga..."

I'm sure you will easily find a lot of Amiga fans, ready to spend literally hundreds of hours discussing what Amiga is, and what is not. I'm definitely not one of them :)

"The COPPER is used for (..)"

Doesn't matter what for it is used in decades-old software. When extending the HW, what it does matter - is how, in reality, it WILL be used.

".. double buffering..."

PCs were not always ISA... in SVGA and PCI times (AFAIK this is the performance level the Vampire aims to achieve, more-or-less) double buffering was being used a lot... and noone really needed Copper for double- or tripple-buffering, much less flexible V-Sync support could do.

"3D killed sprites, not fast blitters"

Believe me, this wasn't the reason. Sprites are tied to particular HW, you have limited amount of them, you often need really careful coding to get all of them, it was hard to abstract them in efficient way as different HW had quite different capabilities - so portability was a nightmare. They had to go...

"Sorry, but no one (here anyway) cares about FPGAArcade and it's slow 68060 (or worse, the silly idea of using a Pi Compute Module as a soft-CPU)"

I care - I don't mind the soft/hard-CPU, I want the chipset in FPGA (as my MiSTer does - the chipset emulation is always perfectly fluent, no matter what!), I want the Kickstart be the very first thing that gets displayed (within a second or 2 since power-on, without any "MSI/Asus/Gigabyte Gaming Motherboard" logo before), I want AmigaOS/WHDLoad/P96/AHI/Poseidon/RoadShow compatible HW and drivers, I want as much of the original ports as possible, I want reasonably fast flash storage, I want reasonable form-factor, I want power-efficient HW. I plan to get both Vampire and FPGA Arcade and use the one that suits me better... possibly switching to another one if it's new ground-breaking firmware changes my preferences :) Not everyone has the same expectations as you.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4519
29 May 2018 20:41


Roman S. wrote:

  You can make SAGA Amiga way, PC way, doesn't matter - probably 99% of game coders would simply use SDL and/or CGX API.
 

 
Maybe you have seen the TOWER57 game?
Tower57 looks very similar to an AMIGA game.
But its coded "the PC way" and not the Amiga way.
 
Maybe you have seen those reports of MOS users
using 1 GHz G4 PPC which reported that the game runs sluggish.
 
Doing something "the Amiga-way" or "the PC-way" makes a huge difference.
 
We will provide the possibility to do all coding "the Amiga-way".
This means you can use several Playfields, smooth scrolling, all this fully Copper controlled - with no CPU usage.


Eric Gus

Posts 367
29 May 2018 21:23


Renee Cousins wrote:

  Sorry, but no one (here anyway) cares about FPGAArcade and it's slow 68060 (or worse, the silly idea of using a Pi Compute Module as a soft-CPU).
 

 
  I care .. or at least I think its a very novel approach to use a mix of software CPU on a compute module with hardware in FPGA.. that concept no one has really explored .. and in that I find it interesting.. will it make me run out and get an FPGA Arcade.. no probably not but I love that someone is thinking "out of the box" .. and in that I am fully behind them.


Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1627
29 May 2018 21:23


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Maybe you have seen the TOWER57 game?
  Tower57 looks very similar to an AMIGA game.
  But its coded "the PC way" and not the Amiga way.

I do own it, its not demandability to hardware, its a bit of repetability and non-intelligence that I object to. Similar is with MACE, it has nice graphics, looks like Amiga shooter but is too repeatable and hard at times.

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Maybe you have seen those reports of MOS users
  using 1 GHz G4 PPC which reported that the game runs sluggish.

I believe it was more to graphics card. It could be played on SAMs but using converter plugged in RadeonHDs or SAM460 with such gfx card. On MOS and OS4 sys using Radeon 7000/9000 with 32/64MB VRAM it would become sluggish and require lower res, 16-bit settings and similar tweaks to get framerate.

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Doing something "the Amiga-way" or "the PC-way" makes a huge difference.

Surely. OS4 ports rely on pure muscle of a G4/PA Semi/Freescale CPUs with weird names and/or graphic card.

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:
 
  We will provide the possibility to do all coding "the Amiga-way".
  This means you can use several Playfields, smooth scrolling, all this fully Copper controlled - with no CPU usage.

... with more Chip RAM, 16-bit sound, more colours and improved copper on GOLD3 and more FAST RAM and dual kickstart,USB and LAN out of box, full ApolloFPU on v4 Nice Amiga way  :-)


Miroslav Parvanov

Posts 5
30 May 2018 00:34


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:
 
  We will provide the possibility to do all coding "the Amiga-way".
  This means you can use several Playfields, smooth scrolling, all this fully Copper controlled - with no CPU usage.

Hi Gunnar.
I'm new here and very like what you guys do and have done so far. I myself don't own any amiga (except for one CD32 console that I bought a long time ago on eBay), because Amigas were not very popular in the 80s/90s in my country (Bulgaria) and there was no place to buy one.
I will definitely buy Vampire v4 once it is released so I have some questions:

1. Do you guys have already or plan to provide any documentation for SAGA and how to program for it? 
2. What's the best source to find information on how Copper work? Anywhere to find good code examples as a starting point?
3. Do you think it's possible/realistic to program for SAGA without knowing any 68K asm?
4. Are there/Will there be high-level APIs (C/C++) for all the nice things that SAGA supports?
5. Is there such thing as "IDE+compiler+debugger" that could be run on V4 standalone when it is available? What do you think would be the best to be used when programming on Vamp V4 for Vamp V4?

Thank you for your time and keep up the good work!


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4519
30 May 2018 06:18


Miroslav Parvanov wrote:

  1. Do you guys have already or plan to provide any documentation for SAGA and how to program for it? 
  2. What's the best source to find information on how Copper work? Anywhere to find good code examples as a starting point?
  3. Do you think it's possible/realistic to program for SAGA without knowing any 68K asm?
  4. Are there/Will there be high-level APIs (C/C++) for all the nice

If you want to learn how to code the Amiga HW then a very good recommendation is the "The Amiga Hardware Reference Manual".
http://ada.evergreen.edu/~tc_nik/files/AmigaHardRefManual.pdf

You can program the Amiga hardware using any Language (ASM/C/...)

The HW registerinterface defined by Commodore is an API that can be used by any language.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4519
30 May 2018 06:49


The main difference between a PC and the AMIGA display is the following.
 
The PC display is a big block of memory e.g. 1 MB that is displayed from 1st to last byte - each frame.
If you want to "move" parts in this display like e.g. do some parallax background scrolling then you need to really move/copy big amounts of data in this memory - each frame.
 
On the AMIGA you can do this differently you can tell the GFX hardware
to display first this piece of memory, then that piece, and then another piece.
So instead copying mega bytes of memory - the COPPER just needs to tell the display what memory space to show.
 
You can see this in many great Amiga games.
For example Lionheard - you see the parallax scrolling background with the Clouds Flying over it?
On a PC display you need to copy mega bytes of data for this - again and again and again - to get this scrolling.
 
On the AMIGA /COPPER display no copying is needed at all.
 
 

If I wanted to explain this difference to someone with no computer experience than I would say :

Imagine you have a house with several rooms :
Bathroom, Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom.
In the AMIGA house you simply walk in the room you want.
If you want want to drink a coffee, you walk in the kitchen and get it, then walk in the living room sit there and drink it, if you want another spoon of sugar, then you would get it again from the Kitchen, and maybe after this you might walk in the bathroom.

On the PC - you only have 1 ROOM.
So to get the coffee you would 1st tear everything from this room, then you would call the installation service to build you the kitchen in this room, then you would make your coffee, then you would call the building company again to tear our the kitchen, and install you a new living room, and when you want the spoon of sugar you would against break down the room, and have the installation guys to build you again a kitchen.

You see in real world - no one would be as crazy to reconstruct your house 100 times the day.

The difference between AMIGA and PC way of doing it should be clearly visible now.


Alan Haynes

Posts 132
30 May 2018 09:03


Well said Gunnar.

The more I read these pages the more I wonder how many of these respondents have ever done anything else but play games on any computer. Also how many have looked at what you have tried to explain about the Vampire.
I am not a programmer but I am a user. I have played a few games and there are about 5 that I like and play regularly but mostly I want to use the Amiga or its new incarnation, The Vampire, for day to day use.
I always loved the ability of the Amiga to allow screen dragging and without the copper this could not be done.
I think a lot of people have also missed the point you have made many times that the Vampire fixed the 68K that Motorola broke.
The Vampire will run software that worked on a 68000, 68020, 68030, 68040 & 68060.
It means I can run old software until newer versions become available or a newer option from a different programmer comes along.
Isn't that the best of both worlds?
Microsoft couldn't do that and forced millions of people to buy newer versions of their software every few years whether they wanted to or not.
I love the Vampire 2 a500+ and look forward to Core 3 and the release of the V4 Standalone.
Vampire rules and so does the Apollo Team.

Cheers from Australia


Sean Sk

Posts 327
30 May 2018 09:24


Hi Gunnar. Now that GOLD 3 will be hitting the streets soon and we have a clear understanding that it will be using the AGA chipset in the core itself and only outputting video through DIGITAL-VIDEO, just wanted to know if there will be further development on the GOLD 2 core to perhaps improve WHDLoad compatibility? This is for those still wanting to use RGB out. Or will that be it for GOLD 2 now that GOLD 3 is imminent.
   
    You mentioned in my thread on WHDLoad game compatibility that to solve much of the problems you would have to take full control of the blitter, which you are working on at the moment. I guess this would mean it would have to become part of the Apollo Core itself, is that correct? Is this something planned only for GOLD 3 (since it completely bypasses ECS chipset) or can it also be possible with GOLD 2 as well? I know in previous discussions that we have had, using a blitter that's part of the Apollo Core itself is next to impossible to use with RGB video out, since that would be using the ECS chipset. Just wondering if any technical hurdles had been overcome or is that still the same for now?
   
    Anyway, thanks again for all your hard work you and the Apollo Team do for the community. I'm so excited with all this core development. You guys are champions. :)
 
  Also cheers from Australia. :)

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