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Apollo Team Activity Report (October)

Renaud Schweingruber
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 355
08 Oct 2017 17:06

It’s been a while since release of GOLD2 in January 2017. Apollo Team has been working hard on different topics in parallel to bring Amiga users a great experience with their current and future Vampire accelerators. Let’s sum up a bit what are working on and what is coming next.
-- GOLD2.7 – « The number after the point » release --
Since GOLD2, lot of work has been made on the 68080 core. Even if we released an experimental and interim build called GOLD2.5 which added support for SDNet and library for developers, core part was still GOLD2.
Right now, Apollo Team is working quite hard on testing GOLD2.7 core which will be a major update since GOLD2. The number is small but the changes are big :
  - AMMX2 : AMMX has been improved with a full new set of vector instructions
  - Full rewrite of the RTG graphics driver, optimized to get benefits from the AMMX2 instruction set
  - Added FastIDE functionnality (to speed up Amiga 600 on-board IDE)
  - Added hardware sprites support
  - Exec now handles AMMX context switching
  - Added MapROM functionnality (brings EmuTOS/FreeMint/AROS for example)
  - Added hybrid software/hardware FPU (with help of FEMU)
  - Added HyperThreading support
  - Added Bn register (E0 to E23: Data registers, fully 64bits, accessibles by AMMX)
  - Added vampire.resource for developers
  - Added processor.resource for developers
  - Added BANK instruction
  - Speed up of memory clock frequency
  - MDMA (Magic DMA channels)
  - Scanline support for DIGITAL-VIDEO Lowres modes

This GOLD2.7 will be the last core before the awaited GOLD3 core and will be released for Vampire 600 V2, Vampire 500 V2 and the upcoming Vampire V4.
-- GOLD3 – Lady SAGA on stage --
In parallel to GOLD2.7, lot of efforts have been put into bringing AGA to the 68080 core. Testing methodicaly every single known AGA games to understand how they work and create SAGA as not only an AGA reimplementation but getting it to the next performance level takes a very  very long time.
The beauty behind SAGA is the speed benefit brought by the FastRAM speed to ChipRAM. With GOLD3, any AGA screen is fast. Superfast Workbench in PAL feels like your Amiga was waiting for some new fresh air. GOLD3 removed the handbrake.
GOLD3 will also make life easier for everybody as you will be able to use a single digital cable for both AGA/RTG and audio.
The dream of bringing AGA to all OCS/ECS Amigas is being a reality with GOLD3. Remember when you were young how frustrated you were with your A500 when you couldn’t run an AGA game that your friend with A1200 could ? This time will soon be over.
-- Vampire V4 --
Team work has the benefit to let us have several open tasks at the same time without having to finish them sequencially. Vampire V4 was designed silently by ceaich while work continued on the core side. Announced in August and still aiming for a general release in Q4’2017, the Vampire V4 will be a next step into the further development of a standalone product.
We were very impressed seeing how mainstream IT websites relayed the information. It means a lot for us and we are pretty confident that the product could bring old users back into the Amiga scene. That coverage has put a lot of pressure on our shoulders but is also very exciting as we are discovering new lands that were never explored until now.
  TheRegister : EXTERNAL LINK 
  HotHardware : EXTERNAL LINK 
  IndieRetroNews : EXTERNAL LINK 
  Tweakers.net : EXTERNAL LINK 
  GameStar.de : EXTERNAL LINK 
Mass production also started to bring as soon as possible cards for team members, in order to be able to polish core as much as possible for the initial release. A big stock of parts also arrived to fulfill first deliveries to resellers.
For the record, all details about the incoming product is still available at :
-- What’s next ? --
Amiga32 is clearly  a deadline for us and so we are pushing hard to bring things together and show our work in late October at the meeting. Some team members living near will be there attending the event and able to show off all our goodies. We are all looking forward for this great event
Exciting times ahead in Amiga-land !

Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 770
08 Oct 2017 17:31

Renaud Schweingruber wrote:

  This GOLD2.7 will be the last core before the awaited GOLD3 core and will be released for Vampire 600 V2, Vampire 500 V2 and the upcoming Vampire V4.

Thanks for the work, even the report. Monthly progress is astonishing, and is a summ of all known and done up to date.

I like few never advertised by benefitial tips, such as "new chipRAM speed" (DDR5 with v4), RTG driver first to go AMMX and even enabling of HT. Great combination of old and new.

Does above mean V4 500 Vampire will soon be ready with core 2.7, and 600, 1200 and Standalone even before GOLD3?

I wish you much success at Amiga32 event (who would say!)

Thomas Blatt

Posts 180
08 Oct 2017 17:47

That sounds like Mozart in my ears :)

Henryk Richter
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 128/ 1
08 Oct 2017 18:17

Renaud Schweingruber wrote:

  - Exec now handles AMMX context switching

Small correction: The Exec bundled with Gold2 and 2.5 had AMMX context switching already built in.

New is: Our new VampireSupport Kickstart module enables AMMX context switching on the fly. So far, Exec 40 (3.1), Exec 45 (3.9BB2) and Exec 34 (1.3) have been successfully tested with the new approach.

David Wright

Posts 364
08 Oct 2017 21:33

I was told there would be support for scsi connected hot tea makers with speed improvements in brew time.

Mallagan Bellator

Posts 393
08 Oct 2017 22:05

I really hope someone links the videos being recorded from Amiga32 and post it here, so that everyone can see!!

Gregthe Canuck

Posts 274
08 Oct 2017 23:09

Thanks for this posting. It does a great job summarizing the future core releases.

Apollo Team rocks!

Rod March

Posts 119
09 Oct 2017 00:21

David Wright wrote:

I was told there would be support for scsi connected hot tea makers with speed improvements in brew time.

I guess tea-making upgrades are being held back for Gold 4... ;)

Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 770
09 Oct 2017 01:24

Here are the boys that make impossible possible:
  Nickname  Activity  Country
  BigGun  CPU Designer  Germany
  ceaich  CPU and Hardware Designer  Germany
  majsta  Hardware Designer  Serbia
  Bax  Developer (C, ASM, SIMD)  Germany
  claude  Driver+HW developper  Germany
  flype  Developer (C, ASM)  France
  grond  Tester, Consultant  Germany
  ShK  Tester  Finland
  TuKo  Tester, WebDev, PR  Switzerland
  cgugl  Dgalaga master,Orb keeper  Italy
  pisklak  Tester  Poland
  Crom00  Graphist, Tester  USA
  Guibrush  Tester  Switzerland
  arczi  Developer (C)  Poland
  xboxOwn  Best Fan Ever  Wonderland
  Source> Apollo Wiki EXTERNAL LINK 

Sebastian Blanco

Posts 145
09 Oct 2017 03:35

Great news, and awesome amount of work guys making the future of Amiga now.

Chris Dennett

Posts 67
09 Oct 2017 10:29

I'll be testing v4 soon, in the A500+ that I bought, then later as standalone.

posts 11