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Apollo Team Activity Report (March 2019)page  1 2 

Renaud Schweingruber
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 295
28 Mar 2019 21:37


March Activity Report
 
Nearly 4 months -- itís what it took to hang over Decemberís parties and go back to writing this activity report. Water hadnít time to freeze under the bridge and quite a lot of things happened during that time. Not all of them are gigantic and impressive steps on the user side but their complexity got as high as their requirement. Letís try to get them now under the scope of a rising sun and welcomed spring.
 
Vampire V1200
 

 
 
Majsta, with the help of Claude (aka the NSFW shaolin monk), are working on bringing up the Vampire V1200. Things are coming along and Igor has already shown very positive results some weeks ago. Card is booting nicely at the moment at x6 speed (hint: base clock of A1200 is twice the A500 ;-P).
 
Amiga 1200 is a special beast and all its revision have very different behavior which we need to go through each of them methodically. We should not assume because we have it working on some very common and widespread revision like the 1D4 that it will be the same with others. Some other A1200 accelerators even needed fixes on motherboard to make them work correctly. Our goal is to avoid modifying A1200 boards **at all**.
 
We also want to think smart about mechanical part of the Vampire 1200 and we hope to bring a way for users to swap out devices from the Vampire without having to open their case. By the way, we will also make sure that Vampire 1200 is compatible with the original Commodore case and A1200.net remastered version.
 
If not already done, it might be time to get your A1200 ready by having it recapped by a professional (we have several in the community).
 
GOLD2.12
 
Team is gathering some various fixes and little improvements which happened during the V4 Standalone development. These changes can easily be back-ported to Vampire V2 GOLD2 core branch :
  - Mouse hotspot and editable hardware 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)
  - Core revision in a register
 
Vampire V4
 
Work has been going on smoothly on the Vampire V4 Standalone during past months. Chris is actually busy working on the onboard Ethernet chip and Gunnar improved core by a great margin on the chipset part. Jens « DeepSubMicron » also jumped in V4 VHDL development and is adding nice features to core to get inputs working in a seamless manner.
 
We are now in a state where the Vampire V4 Standalone could nearly be sold, even if all features would not be yet enabled (thatís one of the main point of FPGA technology and we could take advantage of it).
 
Production-wise, discussions are on-going right now with local and trustworthy companies to make the dream come true.
 
Vampire V2
 
Majsta will receive another Vampire 600 batch within next weeks. Some required chips were delayed and things werenít as fast as we expected but things should be on track for middle of April.
 
AROS 68k
 
Thanks to wawa and kalamatee, AROS 68k support got improved, beginning on the IDE compatibility side. This was a long lasting issue that finally got solved. Tests builds are booting now every time up to the Workbench. This opens the door to much faster improvement on AROS 68k.
 
EmuTOS
 
Lot of things are also moving in the EmuTOS world to embrace the Vampire : a new fVDI driver is on the work to speed things up, FastIDE support has been successfully added and MapROM is fully working now.
 
This year events
 
Your next appointment with Apollo Team will be at OufParty 2019, on 1st and 2nd of June 2019 in Martigny (CH). Do not miss the registration on the OCCC club website (http://occc.club/) !
 
Final words
 
I hope we made it clear that things are on-going without interruption and that working on some topics doesnít slow down others despite the limited resources we have. We are also super excited as anyone can be to have new products getting ready for releases. Timeframes can sadly be sometimes elastic in such hobbyist project and we understand that some people could get frustrated when things are not going fast enough in a world made of digital instantaneity and same-day deliveries. For those, I would like to remind that we are a super small team reinventing things partially documented (when documented) done 25 years ago by several teams across multiple companies.
 
We choose to share over what we are working on and not be too secretive on our development to let people enjoy that journey with us. Thatís also part of our motivation and fun.


John William

Posts 386
28 Mar 2019 22:20


Renaud Schweingruber wrote:

March Activity Report
   
  Nearly 4 months -- itís what it took to hang over Decemberís parties and go back to writing this activity report. Water hadnít time to freeze under the bridge and quite a lot of things happened during that time. Not all of them are gigantic and impressive steps on the user side but their complexity got as high as their requirement. Letís try to get them now under the scope of a rising sun and welcomed spring.
   
  Vampire V1200
   
 
 
   
  Majsta, with the help of Claude (aka the NSFW shaolin monk), are working on bringing up the Vampire V1200. Things are coming along and Igor has already shown very positive results some weeks ago. Card is booting nicely at the moment at x6 speed (hint: base clock of A1200 is twice the A500 ;-P).
   
  Amiga 1200 is a special beast and all its revision have very different behavior which we need to go through each of them methodically. We should not assume because we have it working on some very common and widespread revision like the 1D4 that it will be the same with others. Some other A1200 accelerators even needed fixes on motherboard to make them work correctly. Our goal is to avoid modifying A1200 boards **at all**.
   
  We also want to think smart about mechanical part of the Vampire 1200 and we hope to bring a way for users to swap out devices from the Vampire without having to open their case. By the way, we will also make sure that Vampire 1200 is compatible with the original Commodore case and A1200.net remastered version.
   
  If not already done, it might be time to get your A1200 ready by having it recapped by a professional (we have several in the community).
   
  GOLD2.12
   
  Team is gathering some various fixes and little improvements which happened during the V4 Standalone development. These changes can easily be back-ported to Vampire V2 GOLD2 core branch :
  - Mouse hotspot and editable hardware 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)
  - Core revision in a register
   
  Vampire V4
   
  Work has been going on smoothly on the Vampire V4 Standalone during past months. Chris is actually busy working on the onboard Ethernet chip and Gunnar improved core by a great margin on the chipset part. Jens « DeepSubMicron » also jumped in V4 VHDL development and is adding nice features to core to get inputs working in a seamless manner.
   
  We are now in a state where the Vampire V4 Standalone could nearly be sold, even if all features would not be yet enabled (thatís one of the main point of FPGA technology and we could take advantage of it).
   
  Production-wise, discussions are on-going right now with local and trustworthy companies to make the dream come true.
   
  Vampire V2
   
  Majsta will receive another Vampire 600 batch within next weeks. Some required chips were delayed and things werenít as fast as we expected but things should be on track for middle of April.
   
  AROS 68k
   
  Thanks to wawa and kalamatee, AROS 68k support got improved, beginning on the IDE compatibility side. This was a long lasting issue that finally got solved. Tests builds are booting now every time up to the Workbench. This opens the door to much faster improvement on AROS 68k.
   
  EmuTOS
   
  Lot of things are also moving in the EmuTOS world to embrace the Vampire : a new fVDI driver is on the work to speed things up, FastIDE support has been successfully added and MapROM is fully working now.
   
  This year events
   
  Your next appointment with Apollo Team will be at OufParty 2019, on 1st and 2nd of June 2019 in Martigny (CH). Do not miss the registration on the OCCC club website (http://occc.club/) !
   
  Final words
   
  I hope we made it clear that things are on-going without interruption and that working on some topics doesnít slow down others despite the limited resources we have. We are also super excited as anyone can be to have new products getting ready for releases. Timeframes can sadly be sometimes elastic in such hobbyist project and we understand that some people could get frustrated when things are not going fast enough in a world made of digital instantaneity and same-day deliveries. For those, I would like to remind that we are a super small team reinventing things partially documented (when documented) done 25 years ago by several teams across multiple companies.
   
  We choose to share over what we are working on and not be too secretive on our development to let people enjoy that journey with us. Thatís also part of our motivation and fun.

These are all awesome news! - grin - I am happy to read this!! :D :D I am looking forward to having my V4 soooon eeeeeeeeeee.

By the way....I grinned when you used words like "instantaneity" r "Timeframes can sadly be sometimes elastic" heheh! You are a walking Thesaurus hehe ! I would love to use you in writing my game story :D



Jonny Pulli

Posts 46
28 Mar 2019 22:28


Nice news! the only thing i want is the AGA in Wampire V500 V2+

But thanks for your work! :)


Sean Sk

Posts 246
28 Mar 2019 23:34


Renaud Schweingruber wrote:
Amiga 1200 is a special beast and all its revision have very different behavior which we need to go through each of them methodically. We should not assume because we have it working on some very common and widespread revision like the 1D4 that it will be the same with others. Some other A1200 accelerators even needed fixes on motherboard to make them work correctly. Our goal is to avoid modifying A1200 boards **at all**.

     
I would imagine this would be a pretty huge task to undertake. It's easy to forget how many A1200 revisions are out there and how difficult it would be to take them all into account due to their individual idiosyncrasies. I've even been told that motherboards of the same revision can behave differently from one another. Keep up the awesome work. :)
     
Renaud Schweingruber wrote:
If not already done, it might be time to get your A1200 ready by having it recapped by a professional (we have several in the community).

 
Both A1200 mobo's that I have (1D4 and 2B) are ready to go for one of these babies. Looking forward to grabbing a V1200. My mate is itching for one of these since he doesn't have a Vampire at all. :)
 
Renaud Schweingruber wrote:
GOLD2.12
     
Team is gathering some various fixes and little improvements which happened during the V4 Standalone development. These changes can easily be back-ported to Vampire V2 GOLD2 core branch :
    - Mouse hotspot and editable hardware 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)
    - Core revision in a register

 
This is something I'm really looking forward to. "Auto-turtle mode" sounds really intriguing. Will this work with games booted and running from floppy disk? If it does, this will be awesome.
 
Renaud Schweingruber wrote:
AROS 68k
   
Thanks to wawa and kalamatee, AROS 68k support got improved, beginning on the IDE compatibility side. This was a long lasting issue that finally got solved. Tests builds are booting now every time up to the Workbench. This opens the door to much faster improvement on AROS 68k.

 
It'll be good to have an alternative operating system available to use considering the legal debacle going on with AmigaOS at the moment.
 
Renaud Schweingruber wrote:
We choose to share over what we are working on and not be too secretive on our development to let people enjoy that journey with us. Thatís also part of our motivation and fun.

 
Thanks for the information Renaud. Got a lot of good things ahead to look forward to. :)
 


Mario Vieira

Posts 2
29 Mar 2019 00:10


One question regarding the Vampire 1200.
 
  My setup is A1200 -> OSSC -> flat screen monitor.
 
  With the V1200 will all graphics be outputted through the vampireís DIGITAL-VIDEO or do I have to keep using composite for legacy graphics (games, etc.) and DIGITAL-VIDEO for Workbench?
 
  Thank you and keep up the good work!
 
 


Sean Sk

Posts 246
29 Mar 2019 03:31


Mario Vieira wrote:

One question regarding the Vampire 1200.
   
  My setup is A1200 -> OSSC -> flat screen monitor.
   
  With the V1200 will all graphics be outputted through the vampireís DIGITAL-VIDEO or do I have to keep using composite for legacy graphics (games, etc.) and DIGITAL-VIDEO for Workbench?
   
  Thank you and keep up the good work!

 
I believe it will largely depend on which GOLD branch you use. For legacy games the GOLD 2.x branch will use the A1200's RGB and Composite ports, whereas the GOLD 3 branch will use the Vampire's own DIGITAL-VIDEO output.

Bear in mind that GOLD 3 is still in testing phase at the moment.
 


Simo Koivukoski
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 428
29 Mar 2019 04:34


sean sk wrote:
This is something I'm really looking forward to. "Auto-turtle mode" sounds really intriguing. Will this work with games booted and running from floppy disk? If it does, this will be awesome.

It does auto SLOW CPU when PC is in Chip- or Pseudo-Fast (Ranger "Slow Fast") -RAM area.


Tim D

Posts 35
29 Mar 2019 07:24


Thanks a lot for the updates guys!!! Awesome work! SO with some luck we'll see a v4 standalone release still for this year...

What's the exact roadmap for the V1200? If I understand it correctly, the current one being developed is not a v4, but more like a v2 enhanced (v3). Will there also be a 1200v4 afterwards?


Ronnie Beck

Posts 67
29 Mar 2019 07:51


Great work guys!


Renaud Schweingruber
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 295
29 Mar 2019 08:59


Tim D wrote:

Thanks a lot for the updates guys!!! Awesome work! SO with some luck we'll see a v4 standalone release still for this year...
 
  What's the exact roadmap for the V1200? If I understand it correctly, the current one being developed is not a v4, but more like a v2 enhanced (v3). Will there also be a 1200v4 afterwards?

Still no crystal ball at home yet but we are exploring options to find best one to have "a super product in time". We might even decide to have an entry-level V1200 and an higher one.


Kamelito Loveless

Posts 50
29 Mar 2019 12:42


Nice, but it would be awseome if the Standalone V4 is shipped as a final product like the new A1200 case/keys/kb and not in a horrible PC case. All standalone should look the same as the A1200 is, this will ease brand recognition IMO.


Ian Parsons

Posts 176
29 Mar 2019 15:32


Unfortunately the new A1200 case is not designed for the V4 standalone and vice-versa. As I understand it the V4 (is/)has (being/)been modified for easy mounting in the planned new A500 cases and the new A500 case will have an option for additional vampire ports below the floppy drive opening (requires internal extension cables). The A1200 cases would need a "hack" to mount the V4 standalone (unless it is/will be modified for easier fitting) and both cases will require an adaptor interface to use an Amiga keyboard. Both cases will have unused rear port and floppy openings with a standalone and need a power supply cable to trail through one of the port openings unless a connector is hacked into it. This all makes the current case and V4 standalone designs unsuitable to market together as a "final" product.

I have a new A500 case on order and funds allowing it will have my A500 motherboard with a V4 accelerator in it. Tthe A500 will be mainly a "keyboard adaptor" and "power supply" and I'm hoping a USB mouse can still be used seamlessly with it.


Mario Vieira

Posts 2
29 Mar 2019 18:06


sean sk wrote:
I believe it will largely depend on which GOLD branch you use. For legacy games the GOLD 2.x branch will use the A1200's RGB and Composite ports, whereas the GOLD 3 branch will use the Vampire's own DIGITAL-VIDEO output.
 
  Bear in mind that GOLD 3 is still in testing phase at the moment.
   

Thanks Sean



Andy Hearn

Posts 224
29 Mar 2019 22:18


Thanks for the update :D great work and news as always!

right, time to get the A1200's recapped then! I was going to see if I could get the timing fixes done as well, but it seems like you have that in hand anyway :)
I was mulling over weather you guys might do a base and or beefier versions; even if it's just more ram...
see if we can bring the extreme racing time trial leader board web page back from the dead.

great to hear you want to put out the V4 as "feature complete" as possible



Sean Sk

Posts 246
30 Mar 2019 03:55


Andy Hearn wrote:

see if we can bring the extreme racing time trial leader board web page back from the dead.

Ha! I'll be up for that! :)


Barana V

Posts 48
30 Mar 2019 04:18


I look forward to these reports.
Thx Renaud.
    Silly question which has probably been answered elsewhere, will the v4 board work in attached mode on an a500 also?


Allonsanfan %

Posts 32
30 Mar 2019 07:40


Is there still work being done on getting the V4 to work in A500/A2000 or is this road closed and the only V4 is the standalone version? In your original announcement it was the A500 version which was supposed to be released first.

(I get that the V4 will take over the machine anyway, so the "host" Amiga is not really needed for anything, but I personally like the idea of having some kind of original hardware inside my case.)


Barana V

Posts 48
30 Mar 2019 11:44


" so the "host" Amiga is not really needed for anything"
Well a few things; a genuine Amiga Keyboard, access to power,access to the floppy(valuable,since they've said they're not going to bother with floppy drives),access to the parallel and serial ports, the RGB port  power and drive leds, access to an under cpu clockport card oh and access to the  ZI plan


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 3869
30 Mar 2019 11:50


Allonsanfan % wrote:

I get that the V4 will take over the machine anyway,

 
This is misconception.
You as user can choose.
The Vampire can work as "normal" CPU accelerator.
The Vampire can also provide you a very fast RTG solution.
You as user do NOT need to use the RTG.
If you like PAL more than everything - you can use PAL just as before.

The Vampire also offers you the option to use an enhanced chipset.
This means AGA + 8 voice 16bit Paula (codename Pam)

You can take this option but not need to.

Its your choice.


Sean Sk

Posts 246
30 Mar 2019 11:55


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

You as user can choose.

.....And this is why I love the Vampire.


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