Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:32 pm

vido wrote:
Mathias wrote:Finally the news are online. You can also see the prototypes of the enclosure.

Please look at http://acp.atari.org for the news.


Finally! And what a news! :)
Firebee is progressing really well in my eyes. Soon it will be finished enough for me to buy it.
I like the enclosure and waiting to be available and price defined.

But to be really usable I need working MiNT setup. Any news about that?


When will the blitter be finished? Is the machine STe compatible?

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:04 pm

vido wrote:But to be really usable I need working MiNT setup. Any news about that?


Not yet. I'm waiting to MiNT too, I can't really use my Firebee as I want until MiNT is running.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby vido » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:06 pm

Frank B wrote:Is the machine STe compatible?


As I understand Firebee right now is not compatible with anything else as we could say it is TOS compatible.
I think the goal is to be as much Falcon compatible as it is possible. Right Mathias?

Personaly I dont see any sense the goal would be STE compatibility. STE compatible computer allready exist and it is known as SUSKA project. I guess STE compatibility on FireBee could be reached by software emulation if there is anyone to do that. And there is also FPGA which can be programmed to reach better compatibility on hardware level, but as I said, I dont see the point that STE compatibility would be the first goal.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:17 pm

vido wrote:Personaly I dont see any sense the goal would be STE compatibility. STE compatible computer allready exist and it is known as SUSKA project. I guess STE compatibility on FireBee could be reached by software emulation if there is anyone to do that. And there is also FPGA which can be programmed to reach better compatibility on hardware level, but as I said, I dont see the point that STE compatibility would be the first goal.


The FPGA can easily be reconfigured. So a possibility is to load the Suska firmware, restart the FPGA and then you have an STE to play games on. When you're finished playing, load the ordinary Firebee firmware and restart the FPGA again. The Firebee team has full access to the Suska firmware (actually, all ST chips are implemented using the Suska FPGA firmware) so this is a real possibility, but I don't think it has high priority now. The first step would be to get it at a level where it's atleast as compatible as a Hades.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby jfl » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:31 pm

joska wrote:
vido wrote:But to be really usable I need working MiNT setup. Any news about that?

Not yet. I'm waiting to MiNT too, I can't really use my Firebee as I want until MiNT is running.

What are the reasons that MiNT is currently not running?
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:37 am

Frank, no news about the Blitter recently. else we would have told it.

vido wrote:
Frank B wrote: we could say it is TOS compatible.
I think the goal is to be as much Falcon compatible as it is possible. Right Mathias?

Absolutely correct vido. In the Beginning of ACP reloaded we thought to make it TT compatible, but than people demanded Falcon. So it will become as much Falcon compatible as possible.

I also like the hint to the SUSKA board(s). Let me be clear; There is much possible with the FireBee, but it´s target group is not the gamer or RETRO guy. Go on and support Wolfgang Förster, if you like a STE or ST. As already outlined, it would be possible in theory, if someone will care about it. But I would like to not see any posting in future like "Uh my Monkey Island doesn´t work at the fireBee - such a crap" :wink:


About MiNT; "theoretically it only needs manual patching of the assembler files"
Lets go on step by step. first the PIC code and the BaS and MiNT in near future.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:07 am

joska wrote:The FPGA can easily be reconfigured. So a possibility is to load the Suska firmware, restart the FPGA and then you have an STE to play games on. When you're finished playing, load the ordinary Firebee firmware and restart the FPGA again. The Firebee team has full access to the Suska firmware (actually, all ST chips are implemented using the Suska FPGA firmware) so this is a real possibility, but I don't think it has high priority now. The first step would be to get it at a level where it's atleast as compatible as a Hades.


Then it ought to have 2 modes - STE mode and the FireBeeeee mode.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Dal » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:30 am

Mathias wrote:But I would like to not see any posting in future like "Uh my Monkey Island doesn´t work at the fireBee - such a crap" :wink:


Surely with the falcon build of ScummVM....? :roll:
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby SofiST » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:40 am

joska wrote:The FPGA can easily be reconfigured. So a possibility is to load the Suska firmware, restart the FPGA and then you have an STE to play games on. When you're finished playing, load the ordinary Firebee firmware and restart the FPGA again. The Firebee team has full access to the Suska firmware (actually, all ST chips are implemented using the Suska FPGA firmware) so this is a real possibility, but I don't think it has high priority now. The first step would be to get it at a level where it's atleast as compatible as a Hades.


Interesting how easy is everything by you. It reminds me on people watching some match on TV. They always think that could do it better :D
As is visible, people, who really works on it thinks 'little different' .
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:02 am

jfl wrote:
joska wrote:
vido wrote:But to be really usable I need working MiNT setup. Any news about that?

Not yet. I'm waiting to MiNT too, I can't really use my Firebee as I want until MiNT is running.

What are the reasons that MiNT is currently not running?


Some assembly code that must be adapted to the ColdFire. This work has been started but it not complete. I would also assume that the MMU-code would need some work to allow memory protection to work.

XaAES consists almost exclusively of C-code, I'm not sure if anything needs to be done to it at all.

But there are also other things to consider. MiNT needs XHDI for it's loadable filesystems, and I don't think there is a XHDI-compliant driver for the Firebee yet.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:41 am

wongck wrote:
joska wrote:The FPGA can easily be reconfigured. So a possibility is to load the Suska firmware, restart the FPGA and then you have an STE to play games on. When you're finished playing, load the ordinary Firebee firmware and restart the FPGA again. The Firebee team has full access to the Suska firmware (actually, all ST chips are implemented using the Suska FPGA firmware) so this is a real possibility, but I don't think it has high priority now. The first step would be to get it at a level where it's atleast as compatible as a Hades.


Then it ought to have 2 modes - STE mode and the FireBeeeee mode.


Maybe. There is no focus on making it truly STE-compatible yet. But one would have to choose. You can't make it really STE-compatible and really fast at the same time ;) So maybe it's correct to say that making the Firebee really ST(e)-compatible would require two modes.

Anyway, most of the ST hardware is there (or to be more precise, in the FPGA thanks to the Suska firmware) but not everything is working correctly yet. The biggest problem with true ST compatibility is the CPU. It's too fast for games and demos, and it's missing a lot of addressing modes found in the 68000. This is currently solved by emulating the missing instructions in software, but this doesn't fix all problems and the speed-issue is still there. To solve that the CPU would have to be emulated as well. This can be done either in the FPGA (as on the Suska board) or by the Coldfire.

The latter has actually already been done. There is a 68k emulator for the Firebee that runs any 68k-program. It's using the Musashi 68k emulator (as used in many arcade emulators) and it's running about six times faster than a ST. So the Firebee is able to emulate a ST using either only the FPGA or a combination of the FPGA and a software emulator. But currently there is nobody working on such a solution.

Edit:

Here's a screenshot of Gembench running under the software 68000 emulator on my Firebee. The Firebee is running in 1280x1024x16bit (hence the black userdefs - they doesn't work in "true colour" modes), and the results are relative to an 8MHz ST in monochrome mode.

GB_EMU.JPG


I know that Gembench is a pretty useless benchmarking tool, but I chose it as it normally doesn't run on either my Milan or Firebee.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:02 pm

Dal wrote:
Mathias wrote:But I would like to not see any posting in future like "Uh my Monkey Island doesn´t work at the fireBee - such a crap" :wink:


Surely with the falcon build of ScummVM....? :roll:


Does ScummVM work properly on a Falcon? Anyway, why use the Falcon build when you can use the Firebee-build? ;)
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby christos » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:12 pm

I wonder what some good benchmarking tests would be? Something that would make sense for real world applications.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:14 pm

joska wrote:The latter has actually already been done. There is a 68k emulator for the Firebee that runs any 68k-program. It's using the Musashi 68k emulator (as used in many arcade emulators) and it's running about six times faster than a ST. So the Firebee is able to emulate a ST using either only the FPGA or a combination of the FPGA and a software emulator. But currently there is nobody working on such a solution.


that would certainly mean something to old-school gamers.
But it does compete directly against Suska.... but I am sure that is no worry.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:21 pm

christos wrote:I wonder what some good benchmarking tests would be? Something that would make sense for real world applications.


For the software 68k-emulator you mean? I don't know, benchmarks are pretty useless in general. Most applications spends almost all their time idling, so it's hard to come up with benchmarks that actually means something.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Frank B » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:23 pm

Let me rephrase my question :)
Is it hardware register compatible with the STe? Does it have hardware scrolling, DMA sound etc?

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:26 pm

wongck wrote:that would certainly mean something to old-school gamers.
But it does compete directly against Suska.... but I am sure that is no worry.


I don't think that old-school gamers would buy a Firebee. If STE-compatibility is what matters then the Suska is a better alternative. It's an STE without any fuzz.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:29 pm

Frank B wrote:Let me rephrase my question :)
Is it hardware register compatible with the STe? Does it have hardware scrolling, DMA sound etc?


It's hardware register compatible with the Falcon. Does the Falcon have the STE hardware scrolling? If not, then no ;)

It does have STE DMA sound though. And ACSI, the MFP, YM, ACIA and so on.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Frank B » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:00 pm

joska wrote:
Frank B wrote:Let me rephrase my question :)
Is it hardware register compatible with the STe? Does it have hardware scrolling, DMA sound etc?


It's hardware register compatible with the Falcon. Does the Falcon have the STE hardware scrolling? If not, then no ;)

It does have STE DMA sound though. And ACSI, the MFP, YM, ACIA and so on.


The Falcon has most of the hardware of the STE. There are a few differences. No 6khz DMA sound, screen has to be aligned on a multiple of four. The Falcon has STE hardware scrolling.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:48 pm

SofiST wrote:Interesting how easy is everything by you. It reminds me on people watching some match on TV. They always think that could do it better :D
As is visible, people, who really works on it thinks 'little different' .


Sorry, I do not get it, ...
Who said everything is easy? In this case you are the one sitting in front of the TV and Joska is one of those who "really works on it".

Sorry guys, but it´s making me angry. A lot of good people spend their complete spare time for this project for two years. You put extreme high pressure with questioning everything to people - in the mid of development. Now what shall we discuss if not the possibilities recently? If you do not like to see the potential of that machine, ok your part. But than take the answer "No ST or STE recently"

But people who are developing it, even await one day it will be possible to run MacOS or Amiga 68k Stuff. You know we heard a lot of "Ah ColdFire is crap, it will never work with 68k" or we heared that "Hardware is a silly idea" etc. etc. Now that things are progressing, that the first real 68k apps are running, we are again talking about future music, instead of recent developments.

So noone said it is easy, but a complete ST(E) in FPGA could be done, if someone would care about it, with a reasonable amount of work. Even if I think Suska is the better way.

And finally evey one can count in and imporoove things, at any time!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:58 pm

Frank B wrote: The final piece is the blitter for me. Preferably with the extensions I proposed :)
I have the Blitter proposals in mind. I hope it will become possible, but I do not promise it. In every case its updateable in the future and that is the nice part. So maybe you have to wait 1 1/2 years more but finally it can happen.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:00 pm

Mathias wrote:Sorry, I do not get it, ...
Who said everything is easy? [bla, bla, …]

And that does not mean I like to kill every discussion or criticism.

It´s just that I would like to solve issues, and se what really is demanded.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby vido » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:47 pm

Mathias wrote:
Mathias wrote:Sorry, I do not get it, ...
Who said everything is easy? [bla, bla, …]

And that does not mean I like to kill every discussion or criticism.

It´s just that I would like to solve issues, and se what really is demanded.


Mathias,

you are doing great job taking care of FireBee development and all the developers which are doing this for free in their spare time ... its awesome!
Some people just dont get it. But that is not wrong. They have their wishes and are "frustrated" as there is no easy way (to go to shop and just buy) to become reality.

I am not contributing anything to FireBee project, but I am just happy about any progress it is done.

But I have my opinion about things and my opinion is that ST/STE compatibility should be one of the last goals of FireBee project. There is Suska which is truly STE compatible computer and if someone wants it, it can buy it! Wolfgang also needs support in his project. If there is someone who would like to do STE compatibility on FireBee now, its just ok. I guess, every contribution is welcome. But I dont think that should be the goal right now.

Mathias, you should continue with your project as you have in your plans. I find this just awesome something is really done!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Frank B » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:20 pm

Mathias wrote:
Frank B wrote: The final piece is the blitter for me. Preferably with the extensions I proposed :)
I have the Blitter proposals in mind. I hope it will become possible, but I do not promise it. In every case its updateable in the future and that is the nice part. So maybe you have to wait 1 1/2 years more but finally it can happen.


:) Cool. It is a neat project. I will buy one at some point.

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:54 am

Mathias wrote:Sorry guys, but it´s making me angry. A lot of good people spend their complete spare time for this project for two years.


That's why sometimes it better just to keep the project a secret :roll:
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