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Old 15 July 2019, 21:38   #481
Foebane
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Originally Posted by sandruzzo View Post
If A1200 was in all part 4x A500, who cares about Chunky mode!
Because Chunky mode would be faster, as it is on PC. Have a look at this article which describes why Doom just wouldn't work on a vanilla A1200.
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Old 15 July 2019, 22:11   #482
grond
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
I honestly don't get this entire argument - yes, it would've been nice to have gotten more

Not only get more but also to be allowed to give them more of our money for a better product.





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but the A1200 really was quite a bit more powerful than the A500.



[...]



IMHO, that is not 'a little more'. The A1200 ran rings around the A500 speed wise and could do all sorts of things the A500 simply couldn't.

Yes, I admit I downplayed the A1200 a little for the sake of my argument. BTW, I was a poor kid and bought a C=64 with datasette when the neighbourhood kids got their A500s. My first Amiga was an A600 which I bought new for 299 DM (!!!) in 1993 because it was so cheap and I thought that I had always wanted one, so why not? It didn't live much more than a year and then was replaced by a used A1200 which I immediately upgraded with a 1230/882 @ 50 MHz, 8 MB of fastmem, 330 MB 2.5" hdd and an internal HD floppy drive. (As you can tell, I had more money by then... ). Anyway, I certainly wasn't disappointed with the A1200, I didn't even notice its existence until quite a while later. And I still think it is the best of the bunch as the big box Amigas (that certainly were more capable) didn't do it for me. But just because I (as many of us) liked that computer it doesn't make it the right market strategy.




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It's machines like the Falcon and the later Archimedes models (which were more expensive, but also (much) more powerful than the A1200) failing as well that has me so convinced it wouldn't have changed anything.

I really can't say much about Ataris or Archimedes because I lack knowledge about them and their market impacts. I think Commodore was in a much better position than these companies. Commodore once was so mighty that they bought MOS, the company that produced the CPUs that Apple used up to the first Macintosh that preceded the Amiga by only very little. The last thing that Commodore did right was to buy the Amiga. And it may have been better for the Amiga if this had not happened.





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Apple is... Interesting. I'm not sure I'd call what they did in the 1990's a sign of them doing well though. They only just made it.

Yes, but they made it and nobody else. They made it because they did a few things right between 1984 and 1994...




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Anyway, I think you and I have a different opinion here and that's fine. I can see your side of the argument, hopefully you can see mine.

I sure can and I have enjoyed this discussion. The Amiga kindled my interest in assembly programming, then microprocessors and eventually microelectronics. This made me become an electronics engineer and microchip developer. The young man in me just refuses to accept that it all was in vain. But the rest of me with the greying hair can see your points just fine...




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As nice as Amiga OS is, I've never been convinced it was truly optimised for drawing speed.

Oh, it definitely is! Without the OS efficiently offloading a lot of jobs to the blitter it wouldn't have been possible to have this sophisticated OS and GUI running on such puny hardware.





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As an example: I remember having a 'toy program' that let you move windows across the screen fully drawn on the Amiga and that ran surprisingly well compared to the normal OS window drawing and updating.

Yes, but the OS always targeted a 7 MHz 68000/OCS and when you had that "toy program" it was probably running on a better Amiga. They never even bothered to compile AmigaOS kickroms for AGA computers for 68020 which was the lowest CPU grade there have ever been in AGA Amigas. All kickroms are plain 68000 code.
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Old 15 July 2019, 23:44   #483
roondar
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Originally Posted by sandruzzo View Post
If A1200 was in all part 4x A500, who cares about Chunky mode!
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Originally Posted by Foebane View Post
Because Chunky mode would be faster, as it is on PC. Have a look at this article which describes why Doom just wouldn't work on a vanilla A1200.
It's 100% true that Doom would not run on a vanilla A1200. And even if it somehow fit in memory and we'd have been crazy enough to run the game, it would still have run worse than it does on a 386SX and that ran Doom very, very poorly.

But there's two things to add here:
  1. If you put a CPU in the A1200 that is about as fast as the recommended PC hardware for Doom and use a good c2p routine, it actually runs rather well. Now that does mean using a 68040/40Mhz accelerator or better and the equivalent PC will still likely run it at a higher frame rate, but it can be done.
  2. If we take the base A1200 and give it a chunky mode and 'unlimited bandwidth' to chip memory, the 68020 in the A1200 would still not be able to do Doom any better than a 386 of the same speed. Doom requires a lot of CPU grunt and the actual chunky display pixel writing Doom does is only a small part of the overall workload. Doom spends quite some time calculating the values of the pixels it draws, and this would not be sped up at all by using a faster Blitter or a fast chunky mode.
For Doom to run well, you want fast access to graphics memory in a chunky format (which is the problem everyone acknowledges on Amiga forums and was a big problem on the Amiga due to the extra step) and a fast CPU to calculate what pixel needs to be what colour and run the game (which is what many people seem to ignore). It's that last thing that makes Doom have a recommended system that is a fast 486, as a 25MHz 386 can quite happily push out over 20MB/sec. Which is more than enough to do 60FPS 256 colour graphics in 320x200. And yes, I do know the 386 would've been limited by the video bus - the point I'm making is that it's not writing the pixels that was the problem here.

So, you'd still need a fast CPU for Doom even if we had AAA. I doubt that Commodore would've released an A1200 style computer with a 68040 (or even a high end 68030) even if they did have AAA.

But I do agree to a point: if the A1200 had more memory bandwidth to chip memory and a chunky mode - it would've been easier to get it to run Doom as long as you installed a proper turbo card with a 68040+ on it. And who knows, maybe such an 'A1200' would've done better in the marketplace and give us Doom. But that would've meant convincing the Amiga crowd to pay for those turbo cards and not just get the SNES version instead.
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Originally Posted by grond View Post
Not only get more but also to be allowed to give them more of our money for a better product.
I understand your point and you know my position so I'll leave it there
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Yes, I admit I downplayed the A1200 a little for the sake of my argument. BTW, I was a poor kid and bought a C=64 with datasette when the neighbourhood kids got their A500s. My first Amiga was an A600 which I bought new for 299 DM (!!!) in 1993 because it was so cheap and I thought that I had always wanted one, so why not? It didn't live much more than a year and then was replaced by a used A1200 which I immediately upgraded with a 1230/882 @ 50 MHz, 8 MB of fastmem, 330 MB 2.5" hdd and an internal HD floppy drive. (As you can tell, I had more money by then... ). Anyway, I certainly wasn't disappointed with the A1200, I didn't even notice its existence until quite a while later. And I still think it is the best of the bunch as the big box Amigas (that certainly were more capable) didn't do it for me. But just because I (as many of us) liked that computer it doesn't make it the right market strategy.
Oh, I definitely agree there were problems with the AGA product line.

For a start, as I've always understood it, AGA was essentially born of a 'panic reaction' by Commodore. At the time, AAA was not yet anywhere near ready and the A500 had been selling really well*. Then 'out of the blue'**, somewhere in 1992 A500 sales suddenly dropped dropped through the floor and Commodore was in trouble. So they decided to very rapidly get AGA out the door to stave of said trouble. Given how little time they apparently spend on it, it's a miracle it turned out as well as it did.

The key take away here is that Commodore had waited too long and now their product was not meeting the demands of their potential customers any more. The AGA machines were a pretty big improvement, but also still had some of OCS/ECS's limitations right in the chipset which turned out to be problematic moving into 1993 and onwards (such as low CPU->Chip Memory bandwidth limits and no chunky graphics).

*) as in: sales of the entry level Amiga (A500/later A500+ & A600) were up year on year with double digit percentage growth (or more, one year saw their sales doubling IIRC) every single year since the A500 was on sale. Until mid-1992. Then it suddenly sharply declined.
**) to be precise, a shade of blue known as 'Segatendo 16 bit' or was it 'Nintenega 16 bit'?
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I really can't say much about Ataris or Archimedes because I lack knowledge about them and their market impacts. I think Commodore was in a much better position than these companies. Commodore once was so mighty that they bought MOS, the company that produced the CPUs that Apple used up to the first Macintosh that preceded the Amiga by only very little. The last thing that Commodore did right was to buy the Amiga. And it may have been better for the Amiga if this had not happened.
Market impact of the Falcon was very poor, the Archimedes did better in this regard but was still a small player - Acorn actually soldiered on for quite a while with the Archimedes. Specs wise, both the Falcon and the later models of the Archimedes offered quite a few of the things named in this thread on the 'A1200 wishlist'. The Falcon had a chunky mode and the Archimedes had that, a very fast CPU (not in MHz, but it was a true RISC processor and punched above it's weight category as a result) and a really high overall system bandwidth (something on the order of 48MB/sec in 1992). Both also offered at least 256 colours and the Archimedes got an official Doom port (albeit only in 1998 ). IMHO, the Archimedes has been underrated in retro land due to it's obscurity outside of the UK and it being squarely aimed at the education market at the time.

As for Commodore buying MOS and Amiga, they did indeed do that. But they also did both for much less money than you might have guessed. As for the Amiga, the only other alternative was Atari buying them and they wanted to make it into a simple console. IIRC, R.J. Mical one said he felt that Commodore had done a lot of good and that it would've been much worse if Atari had won.
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Yes, but they made it and nobody else. They made it because they did a few things right between 1984 and 1994...
As I understand it, they got bailed out by Microsoft in 1997 and would've gone bust otherwise (https://www.wired.com/2009/08/dayintech-0806/) - apologies in advance for the ad-heavy page.
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I sure can and I have enjoyed this discussion. The Amiga kindled my interest in assembly programming, then microprocessors and eventually microelectronics. This made me become an electronics engineer and microchip developer. The young man in me just refuses to accept that it all was in vain. But the rest of me with the greying hair can see your points just fine...
Like you, I didn't have much money. I started out in 1988 (I think, may have been 1989) with a C64 and Datasette. Upgraded to an A500 later after saving up an entire year for it and then on to the A1200 (later with my beloved Blizzard 1230MKIV). The Amiga essentially got me into studying computer science. I absolutely loved my A1200 at the time and wanted to learn how to properly program in large part because of it (and my A500 and C64 before it). Without Commodore, I'd have had a very different career path.
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Oh, it definitely is! Without the OS efficiently offloading a lot of jobs to the blitter it wouldn't have been possible to have this sophisticated OS and GUI running on such puny hardware.
I'm not saying Amiga OS is inefficient, merely that drawing lines is a pretty big performance hit on the Amiga even with the Blitter accelerating them (8 cycles per pixel per plane is pretty painful). It seems to me like something you could mostly avoid, instead getting by with simpler operations.
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Yes, but the OS always targeted a 7 MHz 68000/OCS and when you had that "toy program" it was probably running on a better Amiga. They never even bothered to compile AmigaOS kickroms for AGA computers for 68020 which was the lowest CPU grade there have ever been in AGA Amigas. All kickroms are plain 68000 code.
It was running on my A1200, indeed.

As for the Kickstart, are you absolutely sure? I seem to recall WinUAE refusing to load the A1200/A4000/A3000 3.0+ Kickstarts on an A500/A600/A2000 environment with a message that it requires a 68020 to run these Kickstarts.

Last edited by roondar; 15 July 2019 at 23:56. Reason: Clarified some small things
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Old 16 July 2019, 09:38   #484
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
As for the Kickstart, are you absolutely sure? I seem to recall WinUAE refusing to load the A1200/A4000/A3000 3.0+ Kickstarts on an A500/A600/A2000 environment with a message that it requires a 68020 to run these Kickstarts.
I'm pretty sure it was all 68000 code, but perhaps the issue with WinUAE is simply a check it does when you're using machine-specific environments? Have you tried using a non-specific setup with a 68000 and a 32-bit ROM? Or maybe it's hardware initialisation stuff... Anyway, I expect the Kickstart modules were compiled with backwards compatibility in mind, so the same modules can be used to upgrade previous, non-AGA machines.

3.5 and 3.9 were the only ones actually compiled with 68020 optimisations AFAIK.
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Old 16 July 2019, 09:47   #485
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At least A1200 3.1 ROM crashes if not 68020+. It executes DIVL.L. I guess 3.1 utility.library is 68020+ only.

3.0 works with 68000.
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Old 16 July 2019, 10:31   #486
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
If you put a CPU in the A1200 that is about as fast as the recommended PC hardware for Doom and use a good c2p routine, it actually runs rather well. Now that does mean using a 68040/40Mhz accelerator or better and the equivalent PC will still likely run it at a higher frame rate, but it can be done.
For 030-class CPUs you'll lose something like 20 to 30% to c2p at low framerates. The loss will be higher for increasing framerates. E.g. if you run Quake at 1fps the added effort for c2p is negligible. If you want to run Wolfenstein at 40fps, well, you can't.

Having to deal with c2p is not very attractive to a coder. It has been a sport for Amigans to find fast c2p routines and, as already stated, it took several years to arrive at the solutions we have had since the late 1990s. None of them make the planar disadvantage disappear. It is a nuisance.


Quote:
[*]If we take the base A1200 and give it a chunky mode and 'unlimited bandwidth' to chip memory, the 68020 in the A1200 would still not be able to do Doom any better than a 386 of the same speed.
That's why Commodore should have offered 020 and 030 CPU cards right from the start just like they had the 030 and 040 for the A4000. And looking at how Ambermoon runs OKish (for an RPG) with floor and ceiling textures on the unexpanded A1200, I think a chunky mode would have meant a considerably larger 3D window.


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Doom requires a lot of CPU grunt and the actual chunky display pixel writing Doom does is only a small part of the overall workload. Doom spends quite some time calculating the values of the pixels it draws, and this would not be sped up at all by using a faster Blitter or a fast chunky mode.
I tend to disagree. One 320x200 frame are 64KB. At 30 fps you would spend about 30% of the total available CPU time just for copying the data to chipmem. Even a fast 030 cannot do 8bit c2p at copy speed, so the percentage becomes even larger. If, on the other hand, chipmem had been as fast as normal RAM of the time minus the screen DMA, you would simply have drawn the buffer in chipmem, updated the DMA pointers and be done with the frame.

Furthermore, Doom really doesn't need much CPU grunt, it needs memory bandwidth above all. All the renderer does is to collect pixels from textures and put them in their place. Since the binary space partition tree algorithm is so good, it hardly ever needs to draw a pixel twice. But it needs to set each and every pixel once per frame. The added stuff is a DIV per pixel column on the walls and ceilings. That's not really computing intensive.


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Doom as long as you installed a proper turbo card with a 68040+ on it.
Doom can run well enough on an 030.


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For a start, as I've always understood it, AGA was essentially born of a 'panic reaction' by Commodore. At the time, AAA was not yet anywhere near ready and the A500 had been selling really well*. Then 'out of the blue'**, somewhere in 1992 A500 sales suddenly dropped dropped through the floor and Commodore was in trouble. So they decided to very rapidly get AGA out the door to stave of said trouble.
That's not how I remember it. Originally the AGA features were already planned for the A3000 but Commodore pushed the A3000 out of the door before it was finished giving us "ECS". Then nothing happened for another few years...

The A600 was a total desaster and actually resulted in heavy losses. It came in 1991. When it was demonstrated inside Commodore, the staff went "wtf, even more of the same old, same old?"

Commodore even made it for another three years after that. AGA+chunky should have come with the A3000 in 1989, then things might have gone differently. Commodore wasted all that time and development budget on the stupid 8bit computers and then couldn't compete when there were better machines on the market. Those machines didn't come out of nowhere, they had been in development for some years, too...


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The key take away here is that Commodore had waited too long and now their product was not meeting the demands of their potential customers any more.
Yes. The question is how much too long they had waited. They didn't understand that the evolving computer business absolutely required them to start developing the next big thing the very moment they had their newest product out the door.


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IMHO, the Archimedes has been underrated in retro land due to it's obscurity outside of the UK and it being squarely aimed at the education market at the time.
To me the Archimedes always was a mystery machine that was supposed to be vastly superior to everything else but that nobody had ever seen. It was a unicorn.


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As I understand it, they [Apple] got bailed out by Microsoft in 1997 and would've gone bust otherwise
Yes, because they were the biggest of the remaining bunch and Microsoft needed a living competitor to avoid monopoly related troubles. Commodore could have been the biggest remainder. They once were the No. 2 in the computer business behind IBM.


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As for the Kickstart, are you absolutely sure? I seem to recall WinUAE refusing to load the A1200/A4000/A3000 3.0+ Kickstarts on an A500/A600/A2000 environment with a message that it requires a 68020 to run these Kickstarts.
I remember reading a discussion about this. Thomas Richter knows for sure. I seem to remember that he said something along the lines that compiling for 020 would only give a few percent more speed but would increase the maintenance and testing effort.

EDIT: I have just seen what Toni Wilen has written. I guess we can conclude that at least parts of the available 3.0+ kickstart versions are compiled for plain 68000.
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Old 16 July 2019, 10:43   #487
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Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
At least A1200 3.1 ROM crashes if not 68020+. It executes DIVL.L. I guess 3.1 utility.library is 68020+ only.

3.0 works with 68000.
Interesting... So there must be a different version specially compiled for the 68000 versions of 3.1? The V37 utility.library is supposed to detect the CPU and use appropriate instructions for 68000 and 68020+ setups, so it seems an odd decision to drop that functionality.
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Old 16 July 2019, 12:56   #488
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For 030-class CPUs you'll lose something like 20 to 30% to c2p at low framerates. The loss will be higher for increasing framerates. E.g. if you run Quake at 1fps the added effort for c2p is negligible. If you want to run Wolfenstein at 40fps, well, you can't.
Surely higher frame rates do not make c2p relatively more expensive? They should make drawing graphics more expensive at about the same rate (irrespective of chunky or planar). The limits of c2p on the Amiga have a lot to do with chip memory bandwidth and not with frame rate per se: there is only a maximum of about 7mb/sec available to the CPU (in a best case scenario) no matter how much or little GFX you wish to draw.
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Having to deal with c2p is not very attractive to a coder. It has been a sport for Amigans to find fast c2p routines and, as already stated, it took several years to arrive at the solutions we have had since the late 1990s. None of them make the planar disadvantage disappear. It is a nuisance.
I never said it wasn't a nuisance, I said you could still run Doom on an Amiga with a fast CPU with reasonable results even with c2p. That's not actually the same thing as there not being at a disadvantage. The point here wasn't that it was no problem, but that it also had to do with other things than just the AGA chipset - merely changing AGA in the A1200 into a fast chunky display would not have given the vanilla A1200 Doom.
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That's why Commodore should have offered 020 and 030 CPU cards right from the start just like they had the 030 and 040 for the A4000. And looking at how Ambermoon runs OKish (for an RPG) with floor and ceiling textures on the unexpanded A1200, I think a chunky mode would have meant a considerably larger 3D window.
Sure. I never said there would be no advantage to chunky. I was only talking about Doom on a base A1200.
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I tend to disagree. One 320x200 frame are 64KB. At 30 fps you would spend about 30% of the total available CPU time just for copying the data to chipmem. Even a fast 030 cannot do 8bit c2p at copy speed, so the percentage becomes even larger. If, on the other hand, chipmem had been as fast as normal RAM of the time minus the screen DMA, you would simply have drawn the buffer in chipmem, updated the DMA pointers and be done with the frame.
A genuine question: if what you say about the game not actually needing CPU grunt but rather memory bandwidth is true, then why is spending 50 or so % of the available CPU time drawing pixels a problem? You clearly have memory bandwidth to spare at that point?
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Furthermore, Doom really doesn't need much CPU grunt, it needs memory bandwidth above all. All the renderer does is to collect pixels from textures and put them in their place. Since the binary space partition tree algorithm is so good, it hardly ever needs to draw a pixel twice. But it needs to set each and every pixel once per frame. The added stuff is a DIV per pixel column on the walls and ceilings. That's not really computing intensive.
I'm not so sure I agree. Certainly, give Doom more memory bandwidth and it runs a lot better, but even then... Well, take a look at these four videos of Doom running first on a 386 & 486 with the same ISA VGA card and then on a 386 and 486 with a VLB graphics card (which has lots of bandwidth). Edit: for fun, I've added Doom on the A1200 with a 68040@50MHz.

See here for the ISA 386: [ Show youtube player ]
And here for the ISA 486: [ Show youtube player ]
Here for the 386 VLB: [ Show youtube player ]
And here for the 486 VLB: [ Show youtube player ]
Edit: Lastly, here is the A1200 with a 68040: [ Show youtube player ]

Now, it's clear that neither ISA card runs the game as well as the 486+VLB does, but there's still a pretty visible difference between the two ISA versions - the 486 clearly does better. More to the point, the 386 with the VLB card is visibly slower than the 486 using ISA.

Clearly, running the VLB 486 version is by far the best - so bandwidth does help. But without a fast CPU to back it up, Doom just does not run that well even if it has bandwidth to spare. The 386 VLB version ran very poorly, even though it had a ton of video bandwidth. Only when the fast memory bandwidth was coupled with a fast CPU did we see frame rate go up to much higher levels.

And lastly, the A1200 with the fast 68040 does a reasonably good job as well: it's clearly faster than either 386 even with the c2p penalty and it seems to be faster than the 486+ISA as well. Edit: I know the A1200 does not run full screen, but it seems to be 320x200, which is identical to the PC version.
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Doom can run well enough on an 030.
I've never seen that happen myself. Just take a look at Doom on a 68030 Mac (which has chunky graphics and fast processor access to video memory*): [ Show youtube player ]

Maybe the Mac version is horrible, but I've never seen Doom run well on a 68030. That said, if you have a better example I'll be sure to take look
*) Compared to AGA at any rate: the 68030 in the Mac IIvx can push 4 bytes to VRAM every 8 cycles = 16MB/sec write speed.
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That's not how I remember it. Originally the AGA features were already planned for the A3000 but Commodore pushed the A3000 out of the door before it was finished giving us "ECS". Then nothing happened for another few years...
Interesting, I remember it very differently. I don't remember anything about AGA features on the A3000 at all - only the A3000+ that became the A4000 instead. Now, I'm more than willing to accept I'm wrong, but I would like some more info to be sure.

Do you know anywhere I can find this stuff?
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The A600 was a total desaster and actually resulted in heavy losses. It came in 1991. When it was demonstrated inside Commodore, the staff went "wtf, even more of the same old, same old?"

Commodore even made it for another three years after that. AGA+chunky should have come with the A3000 in 1989, then things might have gone differently. Commodore wasted all that time and development budget on the stupid 8bit computers and then couldn't compete when there were better machines on the market. Those machines didn't come out of nowhere, they had been in development for some years, too...
A small correction: the A3000 was first sold in 1990 and the A600 went on sale march 1992 (only a couple of months prior to the A1200 ). I do remember stories about the staff being disappointed with the A600 but as I understand that had more to do with the result than the original plan: the original plan was the A300, a cut down A500 on the cheap.

But the A600 was more expensive than the A500, while not offering any real benefits over it to those who didn't want an (expensive) hard disk, so it failed. Some of the first A600 motherboards actually say A300 on them, which is kind of funny I guess.
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Yes. The question is how much too long they had waited. They didn't understand that the evolving computer business absolutely required them to start developing the next big thing the very moment they had their newest product out the door.
To be fair, the generation of computers they had made their money on all had unusually long cycles. Take for example the NES: a 1982 design still on sale in 1992. The upgrade to that was released in 1990, eight years after release. Or the 286, a 1982 design still put in new products (that managed to sell) in 1990.

This is not to say you don't have a point, merely that it was not just Commodore that wasn't putting new stuff on the market quickly and that the market mostly seemed to accept older stuff. This did rapidly change around the early 1990's and they should've seen that coming with the specs of some of the newer stuff on the market.

So I'm not giving them a free pass or anything.
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To me the Archimedes always was a mystery machine that was supposed to be vastly superior to everything else but that nobody had ever seen. It was a unicorn.
It was indeed very rare outside of the UK, but the specs are simple to find as are plenty of examples of the machine in action that show that it indeed is rather interesting and fairly powerful for the time. Note that I never owned one. I got interested in them after hearing the Amiga developer of Pacmania comment in an interview that the Archimedes version of that game was best.

And then I started looking it up and checking YouTube videos and it is indeed an impressive machine.
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Yes, because they were the biggest of the remaining bunch and Microsoft needed a living competitor to avoid monopoly related troubles. Commodore could have been the biggest remainder. They once were the No. 2 in the computer business behind IBM.
They were once No. 1, though that did not last very long. It is a giant shame what happened to Commodore and mostly self inflicted.

A good cautionary tale of what happens when you let the owners of a company focus purely on personal and shareholder gain and not consider the rest much. Sounds sadly familiar to how Apple is being run today.
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I remember reading a discussion about this. Thomas Richter knows for sure. I seem to remember that he said something along the lines that compiling for 020 would only give a few percent more speed but would increase the maintenance and testing effort.

EDIT: I have just seen what Toni Wilen has written. I guess we can conclude that at least parts of the available 3.0+ kickstart versions are compiled for plain 68000.
I certainly accept that. It was merely me wondering as the kickstart refused to start and now I know why.

Last edited by roondar; 16 July 2019 at 13:03. Reason: Added an A1200 with 68040 to the comparison video list
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Old 16 July 2019, 13:30   #489
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
Surely higher frame rates do not make c2p relatively more expensive?
Of course, they do. The c2p always takes the same time, e.g. 20 milliseconds. If you want to do 40fps, you will spend 0.8 seconds of each second just doing c2p. If you want to do 1fps, you have 0.98 seconds of each second of the processor all for calculating the screen contents.


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merely changing AGA in the A1200 into a fast chunky display would not have given the vanilla A1200 Doom.
Yes, I agree (I actually didn't think this point needed discussing).


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A genuine question: if what you say about the game not actually needing CPU grunt but rather memory bandwidth is true, then why is spending 50 or so % of the available CPU time drawing pixels a problem? You clearly have memory bandwidth to spare at that point?
I don't understand this question.


Quote:
Well, take a look at these four videos of Doom running first on a 386 & 486 with the same ISA VGA card and then on a 386 and 486 with a VLB graphics card (which has lots of bandwidth). Edit: for fun, I've added Doom on the A1200 with a 68040@50MHz.
I think this pretty much underlines my point. The 386 works against a superslow graphics bus which speedwise is pretty much like AGA. If you can calculate each frame in almost no time (486 with ISA), the CPU will spend most of its time stuffing graphics data down ISA's throat but will come up with a reasonable overall experience. A 386 with VLB would probably compete easily. The 486 with VLB flies.

Now for the A1200 example: I'm not sure it compares right. The PC demos are running the timedemo where gameplay is slowed down or sped up with the processor speed (on a modern computer the timedemo would finish in a split second making the dude run at almost light speed). This makes the slow examples appear slower than they were perceived at the time because you're essentially running through honey.

The A1200 is just somebody playing at what seems to be a reduced resolution on a PAL screen (less DMA, more AGA bandwidth). We can't tell it's not using EHB mode which speeds up c2p a lot.


Quote:
Do you know anywhere I can find this stuff?
I read the A600 story and about the longstanding desire within Commodore for something new and exciting to supersede OCS/ECS in a "book" by a German support staff for Commodore that was recently linked somewhere for free download. I read it during my easter vacations and it was overall so confusingly written and overall bad that I threw my printout away after finishing it. But somebody here will surely know who that guy was.

I'm sorry I can't support the A3000/AGA story with facts.


Quote:
But the A600 was more expensive than the A500, while not offering any real benefits over it to those who didn't want an (expensive) hard disk, so it failed.
Yes, this is another reason why everybody but the head management knew it would flop.


Quote:
To be fair, the generation of computers they had made their money on all had unusually long cycles.
Yes, this is true. The business was changing and they didn't notice. They thought they could keep their ways forever. But then they could have known better: they saw how important it was to make the C=128 (EDIT to add: and C=65) compatible to the C=64 but more powerful at the same time. Why did they not see that all Amigas had this ability to be (mostly) downwards compatible right from the start? They could have made it more powerful all the time without breaking compatibility and without having to make much of an extra effort.


Quote:
A good cautionary tale of what happens when you let the owners of a company focus purely on personal and shareholder gain and not consider the rest much.
It's more a problem of short-term bonuses. If I cut the dev budget now, I will get better quarterly numbers and thus a higher bonus while I continue to cash in on yesterday's product. When everything crashes and I haven't got a product to sell, I'll have another job at another company...
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Old 16 July 2019, 13:51   #490
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@roondar

from my experience, Doomattack is very playable on a 68030@50mhz

Last edited by vulture; 16 July 2019 at 14:03.
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Old 16 July 2019, 14:37   #491
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Originally Posted by grond View Post
Of course, they do. The c2p always takes the same time, e.g. 20 milliseconds. If you want to do 40fps, you will spend 0.8 seconds of each second just doing c2p. If you want to do 1fps, you have 0.98 seconds of each second of the processor all for calculating the screen contents.
Oh, I see. I got that wrong, sorry - I forgot you need to do c2p as an extra on top of simply pushing the pixels.
Quote:
I don't understand this question.
What I meant is: if Doom is limited primarily by video memory bandwidth and not CPU speed, but drawing the screen only takes 50% of the CPU including the c2p pass - shouldn't it run pretty well then?
Quote:
I think this pretty much underlines my point. The 386 works against a superslow graphics bus which speedwise is pretty much like AGA. If you can calculate each frame in almost no time (486 with ISA), the CPU will spend most of its time stuffing graphics data down ISA's throat but will come up with a reasonable overall experience. A 386 with VLB would probably compete easily. The 486 with VLB flies.
But it really doesn't. The third video I showed is a 386 with VLB and a VLB card and it clearly runs much slower than the 486 with ISA card.
Quote:
Now for the A1200 example: I'm not sure it compares right. The PC demos are running the timedemo where gameplay is slowed down or sped up with the processor speed (on a modern computer the timedemo would finish in a split second making the dude run at almost light speed). This makes the slow examples appear slower than they were perceived at the time because you're essentially running through honey.
Ah, that does make the comparison to the A1200 less valuable.
That said, I still think the A1200 video I showed had it running fairly well, time demo or not.
Quote:
The A1200 is just somebody playing at what seems to be a reduced resolution on a PAL screen (less DMA, more AGA bandwidth). We can't tell it's not using EHB mode which speeds up c2p a lot.
Fair enough, I don't know if it's in 64 colours. The resolution however, does seem to be 320x200, which is an exact match for the PC version. It's probably PAL though, but that's pretty much the standard for the Amiga - the vasty majority of Amiga's were sold in Europe. Requiring it to run NTSC mode seems rather strange for a game that itself doesn't run at more than 35FPS on PC's (hard cap).

I did try to find a different version with a 68040 above 25MHz, but that turns out to be quite difficult. There's a bunch with a 25MHz 68040 and a bunch with a 68060 but no 68040/40MHz ones.
Quote:
I read the A600 story and about the longstanding desire within Commodore for something new and exciting to supersede OCS/ECS in a "book" by a German support staff for Commodore that was recently linked somewhere for free download. I read it during my easter vacations and it was overall so confusingly written and overall bad that I threw my printout away after finishing it. But somebody here will surely know who that guy was.
Would be interesting indeed. And it does fit with the AAA development timeline, which allegedly started in 1989.
Quote:
I'm sorry I can't support the A3000/AGA story with facts.
Understand, I'm not saying you're wrong - just that my memory differs.
Quote:
Yes, this is another reason why everybody but the head management knew it would flop.
Indeed.
Quote:
Yes, this is true. The business was changing and they didn't notice. They thought they could keep their ways forever. But then they could have known better: they saw how important it was to make the C=128 (EDIT to add: and C=65) compatible to the C=64 but more powerful at the same time. Why did they not see that all Amigas had this ability to be (mostly) downwards compatible right from the start? They could have made it more powerful all the time without breaking compatibility and without having to make much of an extra effort.
I agree that they should've and could've done better.
Quote:
It's more a problem of short-term bonuses. If I cut the dev budget now, I will get better quarterly numbers and thus a higher bonus while I continue to cash in on yesterday's product. When everything crashes and I haven't got a product to sell, I'll have another job at another company...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vulture View Post
@roondar
from my experience, Doomattack is very playable on a 68030@50mhz
I found only one video that specifically said it ran Doomattack (I found plenty of ADoom and others though) and it doesn't seem to run much better than on a 386 to me. Everybody is different and I do admit that I might have played Doom like that on my A1200 back in the day, but I personally don't think it looks very playable. Doom is all about fast action and immersing yourself into the game and that, to me, requires a better frame rate than that. That's subjective though, I know.

Here's the video: [ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by roondar; 16 July 2019 at 14:50.
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Old 16 July 2019, 14:39   #492
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Oh, come on! Just reduce that window a little bit
Anyway, it's a recent memory. On a Blizzard MK2, I might post a vid to see what I mean. It's important to use the right settings too.
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Old 16 July 2019, 14:45   #493
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Originally Posted by vulture View Post
Oh, come on! Just reduce that window a little bit
Anyway, it's a recent memory. On a Blizzard MK2, I might post a vid to see what I mean. It's important to use the right settings too.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's impressive considering it's AGA and runs on a 68030 - but I'm comparing it against the recommended system for Doom (i.e a 486 with VLB graphics) and it falls well short there.

Now, put a fast 68040 in there (or a 68060 if you want to leave nothing to chance) and the game runs much nicer. I wish I had either for my A1200

Should you make a video, I'd be interested to see in what settings you run and how it performs. I always try keep an open mind - I could be wrong. But then I want evidence
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Old 16 July 2019, 14:55   #494
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
It was indeed very rare outside of the UK, but the specs are simple to find as are plenty of examples of the machine in action that show that it indeed is rather interesting and fairly powerful for the time. Note that I never owned one. I got interested in them after hearing the Amiga developer of Pacmania comment in an interview that the Archimedes version of that game was best.

And then I started looking it up and checking YouTube videos and it is indeed an impressive machine.
While the Archimedes is indeed impressive, especially considering it gets its power from considerable simpler chips (CPU, VIDC, MEMC) than those in the A500, the specs do not tell the whole truth. The 256 color mode on the Archimedes is very much crippled - just 16 color registers, the remaining 240 colors are derived from those 16 in some quite obscure way, most games just used the standard palette and therefore look considerably worse than real 256 color modes like VGA or AGA. I would even say that Amiga EHB in general looks better than 256 colors on the Archimedes (it's however a chunky mode). Hardware scrolling is undocumented and even then only possible in steps of 2 pixels. There is no support for parallax scrolling. The sound hardware supports 8 channels with nice stereo panning, true, but as it has only one DMA channel for sound, sample data has to be prepared with all channels interleaved. Furthermore, it plays all channels with a single sample frequency, which is specified by an 8 bit linear period value and therefore not usable for musical tunings, and does not have a volume per channel (but mu-law like logarithmic quantization on the other hand). This means that music players need CPU-assisted mixing, which explains why most games on the Archie do not use 8 channel music and sound rather mediocre - an average 4-channel mod player needs around 20-25% CPU time. And there is a very aggressive, permanent low pass filter on the early models which needs some soldering to disable it.
Last but not least considerably worse code density compared to the 68000. The Archimedes looks great on paper, but a lot of things are less rosy when taking a closer look. And while the CPU is ace, it cannot compensate for everything.

Don't get me wrong, for 3D stuff or anything needing CPU power the Archie runs circles around the A500 (and the 1200), no doubt about that. Same for applications, much nicer flicker free high-resolution modes. It even has a nice MMU that was totally wasted on a single-tasking operating system. But for action games, IMHO there wasn't a better home computer or console system than the A500 available in 1987, at least in Europe and the US.
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Old 16 July 2019, 17:25   #495
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Oh , I'm not saying it's as good as on a 486 mind you. Just comparable to a 386@40. And that it's very playable even if not silky smooth, which is subjective obviously. I'll try to get a vid up to see what I mean by that.
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Old 16 July 2019, 17:31   #496
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grond View Post
I read the A600 story and about the longstanding desire within Commodore for something new and exciting to supersede OCS/ECS in a "book" by a German support staff for Commodore that was recently linked somewhere for free download. I read it during my easter vacations and it was overall so confusingly written and overall bad that I threw my printout away after finishing it. But somebody here will surely know who that guy was.

I'm sorry I can't support the A3000/AGA story with facts.
Book possibly Petro Tyschtschenko's but haven't read.
Did read 'Commodore - The Inside Story'.
Couple of facts from Haynie's chapter & timeline:

1990 - A3000 ECS, 68030 (& tested working 'golden' 68040 for NYC unveiling) - 32bit Zorro3, 32bit chip & fast ram. Bus speed not tied to chipset.
1991 - Feb-1st prototype AAA 'Pandora' chipset, dubbed 'A3000+' up and running
1991 - A1000+ (based on A3000), A1200, A300 in works

Then..

1991 - Prudential/Medhi Ali/Bill Sydnes. All hardware projects stopped/sabotaged or grind to a halt for months. A1000+ cancelled. Revised A300 to A600 specs.
Scaled down A3000, zorro2 only versions ordered- A2200, A3400.
No sales orders at all for those. None. So in panic the A4000 was cobbled together.

1992, -A600 March, A4000 April with absolute cheapest 040 possible, A1200 Oct
1992 - terrible xmas sales with small demand for 1200 & 4000
1993 - Sydnes out. CD32 later that year

Last edited by activist; 16 July 2019 at 18:11.
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Old 16 July 2019, 18:10   #497
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Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
At least A1200 3.1 ROM crashes if not 68020+. It executes DIVL.L. I guess 3.1 utility.library is 68020+ only.

3.0 works with 68000.
There are multiple reasons for crashes and hangs if you use the wrong kickstart. One is that the utilitiy library on some machines is 020 only (that is now CPU dependent for 3.1.4, i.e. it selects itself the best available instruction model, including the 68060). Another one is that the mathieeesingbas expects a FPU on some machines (that is now also fixed in 3.1.4). Another that (minor parts) of the graphics.library are 68020 only on some machines. Just another that on the A4000,a special module performs a RAM test to identify its speed grade (that is the A4000 bonus) and this test is just an endless loop (due to the way how the test works) on any other machine, so the A4000 bonus hangs forever. (That is not fixable and a matter of a poor design).
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Old 16 July 2019, 18:19   #498
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The A1200 wasn't a disappointment, it still is a massive disappointment.
There aren't many reasons to own one. Few games, most times just slightly updated ones from ECS, a few demos here and there (and lots require super expensive 060s to run)...

There are easier and cheaper ways to run Amiga stuff and the 1200 is not one of them.
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Old 16 July 2019, 18:51   #499
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Originally Posted by chb View Post
While the Archimedes is indeed impressive, especially considering it gets its power from considerable simpler chips (CPU, VIDC, MEMC) than those in the A500, the specs do not tell the whole truth. The 256 color mode on the Archimedes is very much crippled - just 16 color registers, the remaining 240 colors are derived from those 16 in some quite obscure way, most games just used the standard palette and therefore look considerably worse than real 256 color modes like VGA or AGA. I would even say that Amiga EHB in general looks better than 256 colors on the Archimedes (it's however a chunky mode). Hardware scrolling is undocumented and even then only possible in steps of 2 pixels. There is no support for parallax scrolling. The sound hardware supports 8 channels with nice stereo panning, true, but as it has only one DMA channel for sound, sample data has to be prepared with all channels interleaved. Furthermore, it plays all channels with a single sample frequency, which is specified by an 8 bit linear period value and therefore not usable for musical tunings, and does not have a volume per channel (but mu-law like logarithmic quantization on the other hand). This means that music players need CPU-assisted mixing, which explains why most games on the Archie do not use 8 channel music and sound rather mediocre - an average 4-channel mod player needs around 20-25% CPU time. And there is a very aggressive, permanent low pass filter on the early models which needs some soldering to disable it.
Last but not least considerably worse code density compared to the 68000. The Archimedes looks great on paper, but a lot of things are less rosy when taking a closer look. And while the CPU is ace, it cannot compensate for everything.

Don't get me wrong, for 3D stuff or anything needing CPU power the Archie runs circles around the A500 (and the 1200), no doubt about that. Same for applications, much nicer flicker free high-resolution modes. It even has a nice MMU that was totally wasted on a single-tasking operating system. But for action games, IMHO there wasn't a better home computer or console system than the A500 available in 1987, at least in Europe and the US.
A friend has pointed out the following about the Arc:

QTM soundtracker takes no more than 12. 5 % to play a 4 channel Amiga MOD. Before QTM the Arc had Coconizer and it took 15% maximum. Only the very 1st soundtracker used 20 to 25%.

And also this:

The too powerful sound filter issue is easily fixed on the A300 and A400 series because there is on the motherboard the connector for unfiltered sound and it is protected. There is no need of soldering.
Only the BBC A3000 needed a bit of soldering.
The other Archimedes with ARM3 and ARM250 CPU / SOC still have a filter but not as powerful as in the previous machines.
The portable Archimedes (A4) and the RISC PCs have no filter at all.

Last edited by trixster; 16 July 2019 at 20:09.
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Old 16 July 2019, 19:55   #500
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So, here's a rather bad clip of DoomAttack running Doom on my Blizzard MK2. Personally, as I said, I find it to be very playable:

[ Show youtube player ]

EDIT:
I've to note here, that the video looks worse than the real thing in motion, much more jitter, cheap-o chinese phone camera et al.

Last edited by vulture; 16 July 2019 at 21:08.
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