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Apollo Team Activity Report (June 2019)page  1 2 

Renaud Schweingruber
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 295
14 Jun 2019 11:42


June’19 Activity Report
 
Last report didn’t reveal any explosive details but showed we were working quietly on some deep topics to make some more noise later on. This activity report should be a bit different, not as exciting as summer fireworks but more like a summer celebration band warming up under your bedroom window on Sunday morning. Like a fine-tuned orchestra, lots of instruments are coming together to make some wonderful music this summer.
 
Vampire V1200
 

 
Majsta finished the final Vampire 1200 V2 design (note the V2, we will detail it later) with some advice of Claude. Our previous and working prototype required quite some mechanical changes, since Majsta designed blindly without A1200 case for reference (seriously).
 
We thank Philippe Lang for providing one of his A1200.net case to Majsta to test check mechanical form and function in an actual Amiga 1200 case. In parallel, Majsta was also sent an original Commodore A1200 case for test fitting. Everything is fine now.
 
A working Vampire 1200 prototype was shown at OufParty booting to Workbench successfully and running applications. It still needs some work to fully communicate with all chips available on the A1200 motherboard but it runs already quite stable. Next step for Majsta will be to order and solder some V1200 test boards for team so we can polish core accordingly and get a release candidate ready.
 
As AGA is already present in A1200, Vampire 1200 V2 will be shipped with a GOLD2.xx core branch for initial release. This will satisfy most users that still want to have native Amiga output enabled.
 
Regarding the “V2” numbering, simply put it means that the Vampire 1200 V2 is part of the current V500/V600 family.
 
Specifications of the final V1200 card will be:
  - Cyclone 3 FPGA
  - 128MB SDRAM
  - 1x Digital Video Out port
  - 2x Expansion ports
  - 1x microSD port
  - 1x Fast IDE port
  - 1x JTAG port
  - 1x IDE/PWR/Reset pins (for tower users)
 
So yes, the fastest A1200 ever made will soon hit the market and we are aiming at a summer availability through your favorite resellers. I would just warn people about one thing: availability. We are totally aware that demand will be very high and our production speed won’t satisfy it. It won’t come as a surprise that this activity will impact V500 and V600 production for a while. I would advise people interested in purchasing V500 and V600 cards to act fast and declare interest with their resellers so they can forecast sales and receive a batch of V500 and V600’s for their orders.
 
Vampire V4
Vampire V4 and Apollo Team took a collection for Gunnar to fund the delivery of a large stash of energy drinks direct to his house. Well it looks like he drank a bunch of them since AGA has evolved *a lot* from the GOLD3 Alpha stage. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks who played games and sent us bug reports (big shout out to Prosonic who was main contributor outside the team).
 
AGA game compatibility is a paramount objective but keep in mind we are *not only* doing a 1:1 reimplementation of it, we are also improving it (as we are with every part of the chipset). As of today, we have most of AGA games working and only a small subset of them will require deeper attention. 
 
Our SAGA development is going well and features:
  - DDR memory support
  - PIP (you could watch RiVA full color on a 4-color Workbench 1.3 screen) on both PAL and RTG
  - Copper can now also control RTG screens
  - PAMELA with 8 DMA channels, 8-16bit channels, 24Bit HiFi Mixing
  - Overscan support
 
We are also super happy to have *the* Reshoot-R game working perfectly on our AGA. For the small story, Reshoot R on V4 debugging was done live at the OufParty in Martigny on a piece of cardboard.
 


 
GOLD2.12
GOLD2.xx core branch is still under active development. It is pretty obvious that future GOLD2.12 releases will match the V1200 release due to their shared use of the Cyclone 3 platform, thus all our Cyclone 3 products will receive ongoing improvements.
 
A reminder of planned changes:
  - Mouse hotspot and editable hardware RTG sprite support (requires driver update)
  - Auto-turtle mode when game is running in ChipRAM (improves game compatibility)
  - 15-bit PC / 16-bit PC / 32-bit ARG and 32-bit BGR modes support (driver improvement)
  - morelibspace command not required anymore for AfAOS users (saves a reboot)
  - FastIDE also enabled on writes now
 
GOLD3
GOLD3 is also not forgotten as last year our GOLD3 Alpha for V2 accelerators brought proof of our ongoing work. GOLD3 development should be resumed as soon as we are happy enough with V4 progress and backport V4 changes to GOLD3. It actually makes no sense to backport things now since we are still improving AGA. Indeed, each day spent not developing V4 will delay all other topics.
 
Final words
Exciting moments are coming in the next weeks and we want to make sure we share every one of them with you. Regarding the price of the coming products, production cost of Vampire 1200 V2 will be a little higher (mainly due to acquiring the non-standard out of production A1200 connector) than the current V2 range. Due to this extra work anyone can understand the card could cost also a bit more too. But still, in V1200’s current development stage, any guess on price might still be wrong until we communicate recommended selling price to resellers.  Any comments read on forums and website are *all* speculative and thus unconfirmed information. Also, when we say summer, don’t distort it to “July”: on this planet, July is a month and not a season.


Michal Pietal

Posts 17
14 Jun 2019 12:04


Sounds great!!

Thank You, The Team, for all Your recent effort!
 


Peter Weuffen

Posts 23
14 Jun 2019 12:22


awesome work as always guys

- prosonic


Tango One

Posts 100
14 Jun 2019 12:28


Why v2 and not v4. ?

or when will we see V1200 with V4. ?


Ronnie Beck

Posts 67
14 Jun 2019 12:35


tango one wrote:

Why v2 and not v4. ?
 
  or when will we see V1200 with V4. ?

This question has been answered time and time again.  The plan for V4 was ALWAYS to release the standalone versions first.  When the kinks have been ironed out of that, then other versions can come, including for the A1200.  In the meantime, the V2 is being made for the A1200.


Marlon Beijer

Posts 142
14 Jun 2019 12:42


tango one wrote:

Why v2 and not v4. ?
 
  or when will we see V1200 with V4. ?

Because the v1200 is designed by Majsta, while the v4 is designed by Ceaich.

May I remind you that this is a small hobbyist team, that has worked in parallel on two different products to satisfy potential customers, while also having to work day jobs. Don't be greedy, be grateful! :)

Personally I don't mind the v1200 being based on v2. That means that there is a common ground for developers to aim for. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the Amiga machines would get v2 based hardware as well.

Then it would be easier to develop software for specific targets.

v2 with original chipset
v2 with Gold3 (SAGA, Pamela etc)
v4 with original chipset
v4 with Gold3 (SAGA, Pamela etc)

Besides the RAM there's not much more difference between the targets.


Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 989
14 Jun 2019 12:51


Thanks for nice round up, kudos for SA progress as well as to Majsta for making V2 for 1200. Nice times!



Nsklaus -

Posts 63
14 Jun 2019 12:53


good report, thank you.


Tim D

Posts 35
14 Jun 2019 13:02


Awesome progress guys!!


Sascha Wintz

Posts 15
14 Jun 2019 13:35


Very exciting! Thanks for the update!


Pitteloud Stephane
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 33
14 Jun 2019 13:41


ha, now I know where my zucker package was ! Damn.


Sean Sk

Posts 245
14 Jun 2019 15:29


Renaud Schweingruber wrote:

Final words
Exciting moments are coming in the next weeks

You're not wrong!!
I'm so excited I think I'm gonna explode!

In regards to customer demand, do you guys ever see yourselves ramping up production level to meet demand, or do you feel it's not advisable financially? I would imagine that the demand is definitely there.


Jonny Pulli

Posts 46
14 Jun 2019 15:50


Best report of this year! Nice work :)


Herbert Markart

Posts 17
14 Jun 2019 17:12


Thanks for the Info.
I got one question though:
Will Gold3 for V2 support floppy drives?


Jean-Baptiste Bolcato

Posts 41
14 Jun 2019 18:16


> Also, when we say summer, don’t distort it to “July”:
> on this planet, July is a month and not a season.

On that line of thought - the Summer season ends the 23rd of September... So we're talking 3 months max?! This is getting real indeed. Awesomely excited. Can't wait!!


Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 989
14 Jun 2019 18:33


Herbert Markart wrote:

  Will Gold3 for V2 support floppy drives?

Any Vamp that is inserted in Classic (all but standalone) can work
with 1.76MB and 880MB floppies.



Marlon Beijer

Posts 142
14 Jun 2019 20:16


Vojin Vidanovic wrote:

Herbert Markart wrote:

  Will Gold3 for V2 support floppy drives?
 

 
  Any Vamp that is inserted in Classic (all but standalone) can work
  with 1.76MB and 880MB floppies.
 

Are you aware that floppies doesn't work in the Gold3 Alpha? No? Don't answer questions you don't have the answer to.

Herbert Markart wrote:

  Will Gold3 for V2 support floppy drives?

 
I'm certain they will resolve the issue with on-board chipsets when they get back to v2 Gold3 development after the release of v4-standalone.


Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 989
14 Jun 2019 20:32


Marlon Beijer wrote:

  Are you aware that floppies doesn't work in the Gold3 Alpha? No? Don't answer questions you don't have the answer to.
 

 
  Alpha does not support res higher then 640x but V4 cores have been demonstrated to do better :) Well, yes, my answer is ahead of official one, but all the limits of AGA in GOLD3 alpha except RTG/FPU support V2 lacks space for, should be abandoned with final. As you and team say, once V4 is ironed and out.

Meanwhile, core 2.12 is a nice improvement :)
 


OneSTone O2o

Posts 159
15 Jun 2019 07:22


Really goog news. My A1200 already waits for a trapdoor board swap.

How about Atari? What's the status there? I mean, Vamp in real machines, not standalone...?


Kamelito Loveless

Posts 48
15 Jun 2019 16:13


1:1 reimplementation of AGA imply recreation of the custom chips at the gate level. I don’t think any FPGA reimplementation is doing that. They’re instead following the hardware manual and other bits of info and then adding bits here and there when incompatibilities arise. am I wrong if yes please explain.

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