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Miroslav Parvanov

Posts 5
30 May 2018 18:22


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  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.

Very valuable pdf!! Thanks!
Please forgive my ignorance and if I don't use the right terminology, but is it possible to use Copper in Vampire to display more than 256 colors at the same time? As far as I understand AGA can display images with 8 bitplanes at most. Is this limitation present in SAGA + new Copper? Hope my question makes sense :(

And another question ... From what I read in the pdf and elsewhere about AGA and the "playfields", it seems that each playfield can display images with 4 bitplanes at most. Does that mean that images on each playfields should have at most 16 colors? Sorry again for the noob questions.

Thank you for your time.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4758
30 May 2018 19:34


Miroslav Parvanov wrote:

is it possible to use Copper in Vampire to display more than 256 colors at the same time?

Yes.
AGA did support 256 colors.
But you could change them with the copper.
This means you could have 256 colors on top of screen e.g in the sky
and more / new colors on the bottom of the screen (ground)

Miroslav Parvanov wrote:

As far as I understand AGA can display images with 8 bitplanes at most. Is this limitation present in SAGA + new Copper? Hope my question makes sense :(

Saga has 9 planes and 512 color registers for the display + 256 colors for the sprites = 750 colors total.

And SAGA does support higher color GXF modes.
E.g you can with the copper select the display to be 65000 colors, or truecolor = 16.000.000 colors even

 
Miroslav Parvanov wrote:

  And another question ... From what I read in the pdf and elsewhere about AGA and the "playfields", it seems that each playfield can display images with 4 bitplanes at most. Does that mean that images on each playfields should have at most 16 colors?

Yes this is absolutely correct!
On AGA the maximum you could do is 2 playfields each 16 colors - but you could change the colors each row with the copper - this means you could have much more colors on the screen.

Lionheart for example used 2 x 8 colors in the game = 16!
But the colors were changed them with the copper again and again - This gave the game over 100 colors.
Lionheart was not even AGA - With AGA you can do the same or mmore and get hundreds of colors.

With SAGA we could in theory offer a lot more.
We have 9 planes and we could run them in semi-chunky mode giving per plane 16 colors each.
Actually we were talking before that in theory we could offer more playfields easily for example 8 playfields each 16 colors e.g for parallax and score display plus in the 9th plane a playersfield with 256 colors - this would be no problem.



Roman S.

Posts 149
30 May 2018 20:11


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  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.

 
  Not really - VGA card (books I had as a child didn't cover earlier PC cards) allowed to scroll a part of the screen (by changing few CRTC registers), while the second part was kept still.
 
  Sure, it wasn't as powerful as copper effects, but PCs simply went forward instead of further developing inflexible solutions. Try to use the original Amiga copper to animate rain, or layers of stars moving downwards in a Galaga-style game; limitations would arise rather quickly. And I'm only asking to change the direction of animation by 90 degrees...
 
  PCs went different way - first there were fast CPUs, capable of calculating animations in a real time. Afterwards HW texturing changed everything. And, years later, shaders did a revolution once more. Each solution was more generic, than the previous one.
 
  Yes, you can add more planes, more colors, more and bigger sprites, etc. - but honestly, how many quality titles using them do you expect? Today even writing proper SD card slot drivers seems to be a problem taking years to solve :(


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4758
30 May 2018 21:05


Roman S. wrote:

Try to use the original Amiga copper to animate rain, or layers of stars moving downwards in a Galaga-style game;

You are funny - Deluxe Galaga has layers of moving down stars.
And these layers of Stars are done using Amiga chip set - without wasteful copy of data.

Sorry but I do not get your point.
SAGA does offer both worlds - all the AMIGA tricks plus all the PC GFX-modes. And you can even combine both in parallel.




Roman S.

Posts 149
30 May 2018 22:09


That's probably why they look like this - having like 7 or 10 layers of clouds smoothly moving horizontally was quick&easy thanks to changing settings each several raster lines by a copper list - but moving objects vertically with 7 or 10 different speeds is much more complicated and processing time consuming.
 
My point is the same for SAGA and all the other hardware extensions - for the end user only these HW features matter, which the software actually uses.

SAGA via Picasso96 driver = cool, tons of software will benefit!
SAGA giving more bitplanes and useable with copper = meh...
 
 


Miroslav Parvanov

Posts 5
30 May 2018 22:36


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  AGA did support 256 colors.
  But you could change them with the copper.
..

OK, this is something I didn't know
 
Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Saga has 9 planes and 512 color registers for the display + 256 colors for the sprites = 750 colors total.

Nice. I guess there will be documentation on how to use the additional plane and color registers? 

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:
 
  And SAGA does support higher color GXF modes.
  E.g you can with the copper select the display to be 65000 colors, or truecolor = 16.000.000 colors even

Are those higher GFX modes - the so-called RTG modes? I saw somewhere this RTG abbreviation. I'm asking because I want to know what to look for on the Internet. Any PDF file that you can recommend for those graphics modes :) ?
 
 
Gunnar von Boehn wrote:
 
  ... but you could change the colors each row with the copper - this means you could have much more colors on the screen.

Yeah, definitely didn't know that. That actually explains a lot. I wondered where all those colors came from if the fields are restricted to 16 colors per playfield (AGA). Now I know :D Do you think that the source code of any of those games you mentioned can be found on Internet so I can see how they do the magic with the Copper - to change the colors on per line basis?

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:
   
  With SAGA we could in theory offer a lot more.
  We have 9 planes and we could run them in semi-chunky mode giving per plane 16 colors each.
  Actually we were talking before that in theory we could offer more playfields easily for example 8 playfields each 16 colors e.g for parallax and score display plus in the 9th plane a playersfield with 256 colors - this would be no problem.

It would be absolutely amazing if you guys implement this hybrid mode!!

Man, I wish I had more time to read all those interesting stuff. The realm of Amiga is so cool. I like the efficiency in Copper (you mentioned that the cpu is not involved in the scrolling operations). I hope it's not too hard to program for it :) Is Copper capable of scaling and rotation operations as well or what I'm asking for is too much? :))) I guess the answer is NO, because I didn't find any info about that.

You guys should definitely release a PDF with all the differences between AGA and SAGA, once SAGA is feature complete, so the buyers of Vampire can use all the cool stuff it supports.


Mallagan Bellator

Posts 381
31 May 2018 01:18


Renee Cousins wrote:

 
Honestly, maybe a little competition is good.


If you talk about Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii U / Switch and Xbox, yes. On Amiga? No!
Fragmentation is one thing we DONíT need, ever again on the Amiga. What we need is a freakin standard, that everyone can enjoy, and honestly, the Vampire range of products is it!
What Gunnar and the team are doing here is the best thing to happen to the Amiga since the A4000! Seriously


A1200 Coder

Posts 62
31 May 2018 05:44


Roman S. wrote:

That's probably why they look like this - having like 7 or 10 layers of clouds smoothly moving horizontally was quick&easy thanks to changing settings each several raster lines by a copper list - but moving objects vertically with 7 or 10 different speeds is much more complicated and processing time consuming.
   
  My point is the same for SAGA and all the other hardware extensions - for the end user only these HW features matter, which the software actually uses.
 
  SAGA via Picasso96 driver = cool, tons of software will benefit!
  SAGA giving more bitplanes and useable with copper = meh...
   
   

Not sure what you mean by having objects moving vertically with different speeds, but if you mean several overlapping layers scrolling vertically, then that is done most cheaply with bitplanes, just assign your bitplane groups, and scroll them with different speeds, and choose palette so that overlaps and transparencies are shown correctly. With AGA, you can have up to 8 different layers (8 bitplanes), but just 1 color each, and the transparencies. Or less layers with more colors. You don't need copper for this, just bitplanes. Scrolling vertically is usually easier than horizontally, you dont need much HW support to do it fast.

Chunky graphic modes are really good for texturemapping and also CPU sprites - its much faster to put a sprite pixel out with move's and transparencies handled with an add, instead of cookie cut operations, and pixel shifts that are required in bitplane modes.



Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1691
31 May 2018 06:46


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  You are funny - Deluxe Galaga has layers of moving down stars.
  And these layers of Stars are done using Amiga chip set - without wasteful copy of data.
 

Since De Luxe Galaga AGA was one of most addictive games of the time, I wonder could we do Warblade effects this time.

Warblade Vamp style would be great!

Edgars website EXTERNAL LINK


Djole Djole

Posts 35
31 May 2018 08:58


Miroslav,

try here:

EXTERNAL LINK


Thellier Alain

Posts 116
31 May 2018 09:17


Miroslav Parvanov wrote:

    Are those higher GFX modes - the so-called RTG modes? [...] Any PDF file that you can recommend for those graphics modes :) ?
   

 
  Yes
 
  Picasso96 was the functions added to the system to manage graphics card on big Amigas like a4000,etc...
  It is use typically to open screen/ draw bitmaps in more colors than classic AGA.
 
  As SAGA offers 16bits/32bits screen modes it can be used with P96 like other graphics cards
 
  Coding for p96 is very similar to using graphics.library for os friendly apps as once the (say) 32 bits screen is opened it can be used by the other OS functions : it is what mean RTG = that the OS use the new feature (32 bits) transparently

 
See
 
  EXTERNAL LINK   


Chris Holzapfel

Posts 52
31 May 2018 11:03


"What we need is a freakin standard, that everyone can enjoy, and honestly, the Vampire range of products is it!
What Gunnar and the team are doing here is the best thing to happen to the Amiga since the A4000! Seriously"

I can not agree more!


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4758
31 May 2018 12:14


Roman S. wrote:

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  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.

 
Sure, it wasn't as powerful as copper effects, but PCs simply went forward instead of further developing inflexible solutions.

 

Your post a lot to this topic but unfortunately
your post indicate a lack of understanding of the topic.
 
* The AMIGA was not inflexible.
 
* The AMIGA offered ways to do certain things a magnitude more flexible than others.
 
 
Lets look at a real world example:
 

PC Game

 
Amiga Game

 
Both EGA PC GFX and AMIGA use planes.
Both systems have a similar CPU speed and similar memory speed.
 
The AMIGA concept was because of the COPPER and other Hardware feature way superior and magnitude more flexible.
 

Yes then Commodore went belly up - and the technology progressed normally - and the computers got more MHz and more memory.

But it should be obvious that if you combine the options:
* More MHz
* More / faster Memory
* And clever flexible GFX chipset

Then the possibilities to make awesome games are the greatest.
And this is exactly were we are going to.

We keep all the clever designs of the Amiga and add in addition to this the world fastest 68K CPU, and the world fastest AMIGA memory controller.




Roman S.

Posts 149
31 May 2018 21:19


@A1200 Coder - if each layer divides the available amount of colors for the main plane by 2 or 4, or 8 (depending what it displays) - then this is cheap in terms of time, but definitely not cheap in terms of resources. This was a good trick - but only for a few years.

@Gunnar - you are comparing a business oriented machine (which didn't have any gaming features) with gaming/multimedia machine. Apples vs oranges. PC started being a gaming machine in early 90's - with VGA/SVGA and SoundBlaster. And the Amiga approach (slow CPU, but HW capable of raster effects) proved to be inferior rather quickly.

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

But it should be obvious that if you combine the options:
  * More MHz
  * More / faster Memory
  * And clever flexible GFX chipset

Then the possibilities to make awesome games are the greatest.
And this is exactly were we are going to.

What is obvious, is that you won't have greatest games without good programmers and artists. And they are gone - they are selling games on Steam, Apple Store, etc. They won't be willing to spend time writing great games for the Vampire to sell... maybe 3000 copies of the game? Not to mention the learning curve - todays' programmers don't use raster effects to move objects, taking care now many planes they have to their disposal, which planes are available at this moment, etc. - they just pass new location to their vertex shader. Puff - done.


Mr Niding

Posts 444
31 May 2018 21:45


So Roman S, what you want Gunnar to make is Wintel cpu on a fpga, which needs a emulator for Amiga compability?

We got those already, called Windows, intel/amd and nvidia...



Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4758
31 May 2018 21:46


Roman S. wrote:

Gunnar - you are comparing a business oriented machine (which didn't have any gaming features) with gaming/multimedia machine. Apples vs oranges. PC started being a gaming machine in early 90's - with VGA/SVGA and SoundBlaster. And the Amiga approach (slow CPU, but HW capable of raster effects) proved to be inferior rather quickly.

 

I was comparing a 8 MHz PC with 640 KB and bitplane GFX
with the AMIGA with 8 MHz and 512 KB Ram and bitplane GFX.
Both machines are from the same time and both have roughly the same hardware "spec".
Of course the clever Amiga Chipset gave the AMIGA 10 times more gaming power.

 
When you think of a PC with 100MHz and VGA card - then you have no AMIGA to compare this with.
An advanced AMIGA chipset was designed to be on same tech-level as the PC-hardware - but to beat PC with more clever chipset.
We all know that unfortunately these new AMIGAs never reached the market.
Therefore we could not see how better the gaming potential of the AAA chipset was.

While Commodore failed here - we can finish what was planned now.
   
 
Roman S. wrote:

  What is obvious, is that you won't have greatest games without good programmers and artists.

   
    Even if there might be not an army of game coders waiting now -
    why should we not be allowed to improve the AMIGA chipset?
   
    You spend here a huge amount to talk the idea to improve the Amiga down. This attitude helps no one.
    How about spending your time to do something for Amiga instead?


Peeri the Sunlight

Posts 42
31 May 2018 23:00


I think Roman S. is not a coder nor know anything about coding... It is like trying to explain final fantasy 11 to lemon.

But let me try:
In PC there was many vendors of all kind of chip sets and motherboards
  -Cirrus, S3, Nvidia, ADM, Intel, Via, Pyramid etc...
all these chip sets worked bit (lot) differently, had own particularities.
Early days there was lot of compatibility issues. Coders needed to support all available chip sets.

Somebody was developing program to interpreter things to chip sets. It takes vast amount of time to translate everything to chips.
Later hardware evolved, CPU:s came faster, graphic cards started to calculate, so that interpreter cold do more. Finally these layers evolved so that two major branches were left, OpenGL and ... and some other... Dont remember now :)
Over these there was coming engines, which were doing things what was not implemented to graphic card nor earlier layers... and there came more and more of these layers... just to make things more ... demanding... programs did not have any touch of hardware... cheer, easy but slow. all programs contain all code to all kind of hardware.. (mouse or printer driver is more than gigabyte long)

Now if you look Major operating systems, they are not fitting one floppy disk, not even CD disk... no not even 10... maybe 300 would be a best guess. This is not because operating system it self takes so much memory, but because of layers what you require here.

In Amiga, no need of layers. And you need to be silly to wish layers. AHI, RTG etc are great if you have different types of hardware. Not for standard chip sets, OCS, ECS, AGA, or SAGA.



Gildo Addox

Posts 31
01 Jun 2018 07:13


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

 
  We keep all the clever designs of the Amiga and add in addition to this the world fastest 68K CPU, and the world fastest AMIGA memory controller.
 

So, are the Copper-Specific limitations enhanced on the vampire? As I know, the Copper has been great for Video Beam on CRT Monitors. Are there enhanced possibilities for TFT Monitors with higher resolutions?

Thanks a lot


Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1691
01 Jun 2018 08:49


Roman S. wrote:

  What is obvious, is that you won't have greatest games without good programmers and artists. And they are gone - they are selling games on Steam, Apple Store, etc.

...  which planes are available at this moment, etc. - they just pass new location to their vertex shader. Puff - done.

We had them once upon a time. Knowledge dont die easily. I am all for supplying Vamp and new feat docs to "survivors" like e.g. Galaga Author. Will they make titles to small niche market is all their decision.

While we should keep our RTG,AHI,Warp3D ... improved chipset does no harm :) And our programmers will be able to acess it from that side (minus w3d for now)


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4758
01 Jun 2018 09:25


Gildo Addox wrote:

So, are the Copper-Specific limitations enhanced on the vampire?

Yes

Gildo Addox wrote:

As I know, the Copper has been great for Video Beam on CRT Monitors. Are there enhanced possibilities for TFT Monitors with higher resolutions?

Yes

The original AMIGA 1000 GFX chips could display
modes up to 720x576 and 64 colors in EHB
and up to 4096 colors in HAM,
these modes could be 100% controlled by the Copper.

The AGA did upgrade this to up 256 colors normal display
and up 250,000 colors in HAM,
all fully controlled by the Copper.

Commodore did plan an upgrade of this with higher resolutions and more colors.

SAGA is this now.
With SAGA you can run resolutions up to FULL HD, and Truecolor -
all fully controlled by the copper.

SAGA is a the true AMIGA successor chipset.



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