Q68 Advance Notice

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Peter
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Re: RE: Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Peter » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:28 pm

Zarchos wrote:I do not know if it is possible with your board (if the FPGA is 'only' for the CPU, I doubt it. What would be needed is that the FPGA also includes the graphics and memory controller of the QL. This way, I believe, additional features could be added).

As I wrote earlier in this same thread, the Q68 FPGA also contains a graphics controller with QL and Q60 modes, an SDRAM controller, the QL system core, two PS/2 controllers, serial port, sampled sound device, two SDHC card controllers, ROM, fast RAM, extension bus controller. All this was designed by me, so in principle I could add whatever I want, as long as the chip has enough space.

Zarchos wrote:Also, in the case of a linear (ie chunky) screen mode, an additional instruction to load from memory, perform a bit clear operation with the mask equivalent of the value you want to store on screen (ie the data composing the sprite), the ORRing of this 'mask cleared' background with the contents of the sprite you want to display, and finally the storing of the result to memory, could make the whole process faster than th sequence of 68000 instructions to perform all the necessary steps.
It would help to fast plot sprites on screen (for the edges, where the contents of the memory composing the background on screen has to be preserved) and also to fast plot horizontal segments on screen (again for the edges, where the contents of the memory composing the background on screen has to be preserved).

Instead of such specific hardware accelleration, which requires drivers and software we don't have for the QL, I'd rather add CPU cache someday, and/or use higher speed grade chips.
Overall that would be likely to end up with larger speed gain. (This is not an announcement.)

Zarchos wrote:As far as the 'normal' QL is concerned, I already came here to post that, to me, you should pay attention to TerribleFire's (ie Stephen Leary) open source FPGA accelerator board for the Amiga and ST : to me, this project is a perfect condidate to boosting the original QLs.

Could you provide a specific link? At first sight, TerribleFire looks like an Amiga specific 68020 board, in which case a SuperGoldCard remake or one of Nasta/Dave's projects seem more suitable.


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dilwyn
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Re: RE: Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby dilwyn » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:11 pm

Peter wrote:Instead of such specific hardware accelleration, which requires drivers and software we don't have for the QL, I'd rather add CPU cache someday, and/or use higher speed grade chips.
Overall that would be likely to end up with larger speed gain. (This is not an announcement.)

Not an announcement... Drat. He he :twisted:

To be honest, rather than delay Q68 arrival, or even wait for a later second release, I'd rather see the development of a software sprites package for game makers. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case that I doubt the skills and devotion of people like Peter and Dave and Nasta to make this possible of course.

Of course such developments on the hardware side could bring significant speedup possibilities.

On the original QL (and we are still taking of retro systems games here) we saw quite a few games which proved what could be done purely in software with well designed memory manipulation and the like, so with more modern "QL" platforms even more should be possible, even though we are talking of moving much more memory about in 16-bit colour than in QL modes. Even back in 1984 Linus Torvalds had written a fairly basic software blitter for BBQL (Black Box QL) systems.

I appreciate what is being discussed here is important in terms of QL software development, but I feel that a software sprites package for GD2 systems would at this stage anyway be of more use, provided we can find someone with the experience and skills to write one ar adapt one of the freeware sprite systems already out there,though those currently only work on 512x256 QL screens in QL colour modes.


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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby afx » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:47 pm

Another question:

Q68 / SMSQE will support keyboard localization or specific drivers will be provided? (french, spanish, italian, german, ...)


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Peter
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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Peter » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:39 pm

The Q68 SMSQ/E binary can be configured with the usual keyboard and message language codes, i.e. 33=F, 44=GB, 49=D, 39=IT, ...


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Re: RE: Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Zarchos » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:17 pm

Peter wrote:
Zarchos wrote:I do not know if it is possible with your board (if the FPGA is 'only' for the CPU, I doubt it. What would be needed is that the FPGA also includes the graphics and memory controller of the QL. This way, I believe, additional features could be added).

As I wrote earlier in this same thread, the Q68 FPGA also contains a graphics controller with QL and Q60 modes, an SDRAM controller, the QL system core, two PS/2 controllers, serial port, sampled sound device, two SDHC card controllers, ROM, fast RAM, extension bus controller. All this was designed by me, so in principle I could add whatever I want, as long as the chip has enough space.

Zarchos wrote:Also, in the case of a linear (ie chunky) screen mode, an additional instruction to load from memory, perform a bit clear operation with the mask equivalent of the value you want to store on screen (ie the data composing the sprite), the ORRing of this 'mask cleared' background with the contents of the sprite you want to display, and finally the storing of the result to memory, could make the whole process faster than th sequence of 68000 instructions to perform all the necessary steps.
It would help to fast plot sprites on screen (for the edges, where the contents of the memory composing the background on screen has to be preserved) and also to fast plot horizontal segments on screen (again for the edges, where the contents of the memory composing the background on screen has to be preserved).

Instead of such specific hardware accelleration, which requires drivers and software we don't have for the QL, I'd rather add CPU cache someday, and/or use higher speed grade chips.
Overall that would be likely to end up with larger speed gain. (This is not an announcement.)

Zarchos wrote:As far as the 'normal' QL is concerned, I already came here to post that, to me, you should pay attention to TerribleFire's (ie Stephen Leary) open source FPGA accelerator board for the Amiga and ST : to me, this project is a perfect condidate to boosting the original QLs.

Could you provide a specific link? At first sight, TerribleFire looks like an Amiga specific 68020 board, in which case a SuperGoldCard remake or one of Nasta/Dave's projects seem more suitable.


TerribleFire YT channel is here : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4uiU ... AxNh7TGsmQ
It is easy to find the videos relative to his TF530.
His accelerator is more a 030 running at 50 Mhz than a 'mere' 68020.
And yes it is intended to work for the Amiga and the ST.
Some of the many videos available :
https://youtu.be/7vfkjtZAQmo
https://youtu.be/ZZV0LDOXRA8

I don't understand why you talk about drivers to use new features, when anyway for new games running on a new platform it is up to the coder to write his routines to make full use of the new hardware the game is intended to run on.
Does the QL absolutely work in a windowed system, meaning you can't address the screen memory directly ? Please tell me it is not the case ...

Depending on how much time you want to invest in, you can either implement some very optimised hardware features as found in gaming systems (Amiga or consoles) or easier chips as found in the Archies (where basically, if you have a 2 Mhz timer, a programmable memory controller feeding the video chip under DMA, and a video chip with all registers permitting to entirely define all the 'electronic / hardware' values to define a screen mode) you can get vertical and hardware scrolling, and the ability to wobble your screen, via hardware, and change the palette precisely per scanline and even several times per scanline (you have an end of a scanline interrupt to do that, thanks to the 2 Mhz timer triggering an interrupt when the timer counting down at 2 Mhz reaches 0).

I repeat I do not know enough about the QL, which is certainy why you can find some of my ideas rather ... strange, to say the least ;-)
Of course, if you find me 'annoying', just tell me, and I will quietly leave you among QL users.
To me the new QL or accelerated QL will be an ultra small market anyway, a niche inside a niche, so unless the ambiance is an incentive to actually produce something on it, I have enough business just everywhere else that I can drop it with no regrets whatsoever.



So you've got something very important to do right now ?
Why not first waste some precious minutes of your life watching some stupid videos about games and demos on the Archimedes on my YT channel ?
---> https://www.youtube.com/user/Archimedes75009
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Peter
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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Peter » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:09 pm

Not 'annoyed' at all. This is just not the time where I would start to develop a new graphics accelerator hardware. It has been hard to finish the Q68 at all, and if I can spend more time, I need to deal with more urgent work like docs, tests, ethernet drivers, etc. Also, I still have not given up the hope that at some time in the future I can actually use one of my machines, instead of always only doing system development work. :)


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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Derek_Stewart » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:39 pm

Hi,

There is no problem writing directly to the screen memory, theonly problem is that the game is only limited to that specific machine.

There has been some games on the QL that assumed the screen memory was in a standard place. But with operating systems that have higher resolution the screen memory base address changes.

Are you prepared to make the source code freely available?

I have no problem with having non-standard games.

I also think please stay, the QL community needs programmers


Regards,

Derek
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Zarchos
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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Zarchos » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:52 am

I don't want to hijack the OP thread.
The price charged for the games will depend on the wish of the people composing the studio, although it is true, being real enthousiasts, I think it should be in a budget area ( 5 to 10, GBP). If big box games are produced and a thick manual must be printed, it should be more in the GBP20 area.
Anyway, it'll be a collective decision.
The studio will be mine, the offices too (inside the museum), but I am not a tyran.
I don't think the source codes will be made available though, if it is to see them reused by others and they earn money with our hard work.
Of course each game would be coded to work on as many QL systems as possible, but they should have minimal specs to be playable.
Now please, back to the original topic ;-)



So you've got something very important to do right now ?
Why not first waste some precious minutes of your life watching some stupid videos about games and demos on the Archimedes on my YT channel ?
---> https://www.youtube.com/user/Archimedes75009
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Peter
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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby Peter » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:00 am

The highcolour screen memory layout on the Q68 is the same as on the Q40/Q60.
Details on page 5 of the hardware documentation at http://www.q40.de/download/harddoc.pdf
Using the least significant bit for blue or green instead of grey is acceptable.

Hint: The Qemulator software also supports the Q40/Q60 (and now Q68) highcolour scheme, even direct access like the real hardware.


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dilwyn
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Re: Q68 Advance Notice

Postby dilwyn » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:04 am

In case it was my posting about the software sprites which caused the offence, I apologise if it was.

Both outcomes - hardware graphics solutions and the software sprite systems for games programmers - would be very welcome. In an ideal world I would ask for both.

In case the QL scene never really gets the hardware graphics developments, I just felt that the software solutions would enable to cater for existing QL systems without such hardware systems, that's all.

But I agree with just about everything else that's been said on this thread though.


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