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#1 Willsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:34 AM

So as not to pollute the F18 info thread I'm starting this thread for random F18A related questions!

#2 Willsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:34 AM

Am I right in thinking the GPU has a pixel plot instruction?
Does it have a LINE instruction? I can't remember now.

A simple yes/no is fine - I realise it's not the appropriate time to be jumping into discussions of drawing on a bitmap screen!

#3 matthew180 ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:18 AM

strange forum behavior... resubmitting post.

Edited by matthew180, Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:28 AM.


#4 matthew180 ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:28 AM

Actually the F18A Resource and Info thread would be a perfect place for this question. There is no "best time" or any kind of organization to the information. People are going to ask about what they are interested in, which is probably going to be the graphics stuff, and leave the more boring parts for last. I think that is great and I hope it will help generate some enthusiasm and interest.

I'll post a detailed response in the other thread after I reply to the multi-color sprite request. But briefly, yes, the GPU has dedicated pixel instruction that I call "PIX" (real original, I know). It is actually a re-purposing of the XOP instruction which is not implemented because the GPU does not have workspace pointer (the registers are "real" in the GPU, not memory-based). Thus, you can still use any 9900 assembler to generate code for the PIX instruction by simply using XOP, or setting a label like:

PIX EQU XOP

The instruction has two primary modes of operation, one that works with the bitmap layer (BML), and the other that helps with the original GM2. When using the BML, the PIX instruction can plot a pixel in a single instruction, or about every 100ns to 200ns.

No, there is no hardware support for line drawing, and I have not written a line drawing routine for the GPU yet. I have half of the code done, but ran out of time to finish and test it.

#5 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:29 PM

So as not to pollute the F18 info thread I'm starting this thread for random F18A related questions!

Good idea!

My question is: Has anyone compiled a list, and download locations, of programs that exploit the 80 columns supported by the F18A?
:arrow: If so, what is the URL for the resource?i

#6 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:16 PM

Good idea!

My question is: Has anyone compiled a list, and download locations, of programs that exploit the 80 columns supported by the F18A?
:arrow: If so, what is the URL for the resource?i


There are none. There is not enough memory currently available on the F18A to support anything useful in 80 columns.
I would suggest you seek out a legacy 9938/58 device if you want to do any serious 80 column work with a 99/4* device.
Any of the legacy devices will support 80 column Funnelweb in some form, IMHO the most useful editor ever written for our lovely computer. :)

#7 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:25 PM

There are none. There is not enough memory currently available on the F18A to support anything useful in 80 columns.
I would suggest you seek out a legacy 9938/58 device if you want to do any serious 80 column work with a 99/4* device.
Any of the legacy devices will support 80 column Funnelweb in some form, IMHO the most useful editor ever written for our lovely computer. :)


I would say that is very untrue. The SAMS has 1024K that can be used. Though not VDP memory like the other 80 Column cards had it can be used for the F18

#8 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:40 PM

There are none. There is not enough memory currently available on the F18A to support anything useful in 80 columns.


THAT is truly disappointing, as the configuration I'm going for is a NanoPEB/F18A combination. So basically you are saying that all I'll get is a 'pretty picture' and not much else? I was hoping, at the very least, to get an 80 column version of TI-Writer. I think I'm beginning to understand why so many people have gone to 100% emulation.
Everytime I turn around I discover I need to buy something else. So far, I have to get an F18A, SuperCart & Joysticks in that order.

I really like Classic99 where I can assign the joystick to the keyboard if I want to.

#9 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:48 PM

I would say that is very untrue. The SAMS has 1024K that can be used. Though not VDP memory like the other 80 Column cards had it can be used for the F18


I'm assuming of course that you are talking about a "Sam's Card" for the P-Box... which I do not have.

As of now I know 4A DOS will do 80 column, SuperCart (required).
The CF2K will 'DISPLAY' text files in 80 columns (unable to get a working copy so far as it seems to get corrupted when zipped somehow on the authors end).

#10 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:52 PM

I would say that is very untrue. The SAMS has 1024K that can be used. Though not VDP memory like the other 80 Column cards had it can be used for the F18


You can say it is very untrue, but you would be very incorrect. The SAMS card does not support the Funnelweb editor.

#11 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:37 PM

You can say it is very untrue, but you would be very incorrect. The SAMS card does not support the Funnelweb editor.


True I used the 80 column version of FW with my TIM card but FW could have supported the card with AMS RAG.
I was not talking about FW anyway I was saying the there is memory for the F18 using the SAMS, but then I have always uses GRAM/SAMS/SCSI/TIM with my TI99/4A
I do miss the TIM and SCSI cards the most in Classic99.

#12 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:50 PM

Mark Wills' Turboforth supports 80 columns on the F18A. It only takes 1920 bytes to display an 80x24 text display. The F18A has 18k, that's plenty.

The trick with older software is whether it used the rest of the VRAM that was available to it or not. To my knowledge nobody has sat down and tried to port any of the older software yet, or listed whether it uses the extra memory (anything that is just displaying 80 columns would not, for instance, but anything using it as extra buffer would).

The actual activation of 80 columns is compatible with the 9938, so porting software just means making sure that it doesn't use any VRAM beyond the first 16k.

(edit: remembered this after I posted it) There's also an 80 column hack of Multiplan - I tested that for someone else and it appears to work with the F18A too. I only verified as far as it booting up and functioning.

Edited by Tursi, Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:53 PM.


#13 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:12 PM

To bad only TEXT is supported on the F18.

XHI and X80 and Y.A.P.P. and some others were killer programs on the TI with a TIM card.

#14 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:28 PM

I went a tried a FunnelWeb and Diskfixer 80 Columns from ftp.whetch.com -- Diskfixer 80 Column works fine. FunnelWeb's editor displays in 80 columns but doesn't appear to work, it would just reset when I tried to do something (that said, it said right on that screen that it expected 128k of VRAM was present. We have full source to FunnelWeb, so we can probably fix that if it's important enough.)


#15 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:50 PM

I went a tried a FunnelWeb and Diskfixer 80 Columns from ftp.whetch.com -- Diskfixer 80 Column works fine. FunnelWeb's editor displays in 80 columns but doesn't appear to work, it would just reset when I tried to do something (that said, it said right on that screen that it expected 128k of VRAM was present. We have full source to FunnelWeb, so we can probably fix that if it's important enough.)

Indeed. RAM beyond the initial 16K is the "problem". Not all of the 80-column programs expect the extra RAM but many do. Most of the 80-column programs I wrote use the extra VRAM pages for buffers,storage, or page flipping. I never gave a second thought to using the RAM since all of the similar devices (whether the Geneve itself or add-ons for the TI) had a minimum of 128K available.

I looked at the F'web 40-column editor source and for someone with time, I believe the buffer requirements could be reduced to make room for the extra memory required to display 80 columns. Also, the actual text buffer appears to be located in the memory expansion space. This differs from the 80-column version which uses the extra VDP VRAM for quite a few different purposes, which dismisses the code-base as usable with the F18A. Display routines for the editor, the menus, and utilities such as the directory function would all require work to convert from 40 to 80.

#16 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:18 AM

Indeed. RAM beyond the initial 16K is the "problem". Not all of the 80-column programs expect the extra RAM but many do. Most of the 80-column programs I wrote use the extra VRAM pages for buffers,storage, or page flipping. I never gave a second thought to using the RAM since all of the similar devices (whether the Geneve itself or add-ons for the TI) had a minimum of 128K available.

I looked at the F'web 40-column editor source and for someone with time, I believe the buffer requirements could be reduced to make room for the extra memory required to display 80 columns. Also, the actual text buffer appears to be located in the memory expansion space. This differs from the 80-column version which uses the extra VDP VRAM for quite a few different purposes, which dismisses the code-base as usable with the F18A. Display routines for the editor, the menus, and utilities such as the directory function would all require work to convert from 40 to 80.


Yea the SAMS is the only way.

#17 matthew180 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:43 AM

Everytime I turn around I discover I need to buy something else. So far, I have to get an F18A, SuperCart & Joysticks in that order.


I suppose what you *need* depends on what you are trying to do. All the things you mentioned were made after TI dropped support for the computer (other than joysticks). Without a head, 3rd party companies made up their own hardware/software specs that were not compatible with anyone else (which is reasonable I suppose, but crappy for the user). I don't think it is possible to assemble a 99/4A that can have/do everything. If you like to edit text on your 99/4A then you should probably focus on getting a geneve.

The primary goal of the F18A was to get a nice VGA output from a 99/4A, which IMO it achieves. Adding the other enhancements were more game oriented and mostly things I always wish I could have done on the 99/4A. Doing a lot of text editing was not on my list of "things to do before I die". Writing an arcade game was. I think the 9918A did not have 80-columns because it was not feasible on a TV. I threw in 80-column support because in the TI community it seems to be a big deal, but that depends on who you are I suppose. For me, I never use it, would not miss it.

The F18A only has the original 16K because that is what the FPGA I chose could support without external RAM. Actually, any low-end FPGA is going to be lacking in internal block-RAM, and the FPGA I picked was at the top of the pack in that area. I thought about adding more external RAM, but it would have increased the board size and cost beyond what I figured people would pay. Heck, in the original design I had a USB port, hardware mouse, dual-head output, and at least 1MB of VRAM. I cut all that in order to keep the cost down and get the thing done in a reasonable time frame. Even the current cost of the F18A seems to be a deterrent. I'd love to make them cheaper, but the extremely low volume means I can't meet any minimums for price-breaks. If anyone wants to sponsor making 1000 units, I'll get the costs down. :-)

As said before (thanks Tursi), on the F18A you can set 80-columns just like you would on the 9938/58, you just have to stay within the original 16K of VRAM space. However, on the F18A, the text modes (40 and 80 column) can both support the 30-row enhancement (40x30 and 80x30), and both modes have enhanced color support where each of the 256 tiles can have its own fg/bg color. The bitmap layer can also be used with the text modes since it is a "layer" and not a "mode", and sprites can be active as well. You can use the scroll registers but they will probably mess up the display (they were designed specifically for the Graphics Mode). All the other F18A enhancements are also available with the text modes, i.e. the GPU, 32-bit RNG, 32-bit counter, palette registers, etc.

Also, if someone wanted to dig into the guts of the F18A, there is a 1MB flash on board and about 600K of it sits empty. That could be used for a RAM-disk, non-volatile storage, or even extra display memory (with some GPU coding). A standard library could make it very useful for really fast storage.

The SAMS card does not support the Funnelweb editor.


Actually, it is Funnelweb that does not support the SAMS.


#18 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:01 AM

Yea the SAMS is the only way.


I wouldn't say it is the only way. It is certainly a possibility to achieve a similar buffer size. However, I was suggesting that modifying the 40-column version, which does not rely upon any extra video RAM, seems a realistic possibility.

#19 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:11 PM

I suppose what you *need* depends on what you are trying to do.


I have to admit, I'm really limited on space. So the Nano-PEB was my only financially viable option. I had considered a Corcomp Micro Expansion system at one point with a SD card floppy emulator, but could not find the CorComp anywhere for a decent price, (the ex-wife kept my old one!) When a Nano-PEB became available on Ebay I HAD to get it. Of course the F18A is next on my list (about the end of next month). It'll be REAL NICE to have a decent picture coming out of the TI. I'm really hoping to see some kind of modified TI-Writer come out that can use the F18A. To be honest, with all the fantastic programmers on this board I was surprised that one did not already exist.

I do want some some flexibility though, and I know there are some "UberCarts" being designed and put together out there, like a bank switched 64K SuperCart like device that might even possibly be able to have a version of RXB on a special chip. I'll be looking to see what develops over the next few months... actually I cannot wait for WINTER... so you super programmers can be shut-in and start working again! HA! HA!

I doubt it could be done, but it would be cool if one of these supercarts could be used as active memory for video support in conjunction with special calls from a modified program. Oh well..

Thanks!

#20 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:47 PM

I'm curious why you so desperately need extra video memory? :) 80 column text only takes as much video RAM as two 40 column text screens. (technically less if you include the character set, I'm just talking about the display buffer.)

I haven't really looked at updating TI Writer or FunnelWeb simply because I've never used them. Back in the day I did all my TI editting in regular old Editor/Assembler (even wrote my resumes in that), and today I do all my text file editting in Windows.

If it's super important to you to have an 80 column editor on the F18A, then, is /just/ TI Writer enough? We can probably hack that up to show 80 columns in an evening. :)

#21 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:04 PM

Actually, it is Funnelweb that does not support the SAMS.


Actually, it goes both ways. :)

#22 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:25 PM

I'm curious why you so desperately need extra video memory? :) 80 column text only takes as much video RAM as two 40 column text screens. (technically less if you include the character set, I'm just talking about the display buffer.)

I haven't really looked at updating TI Writer or FunnelWeb simply because I've never used them. Back in the day I did all my TI editting in regular old Editor/Assembler (even wrote my resumes in that), and today I do all my text file editting in Windows.

If it's super important to you to have an 80 column editor on the F18A, then, is /just/ TI Writer enough? We can probably hack that up to show 80 columns in an evening. :)


Don't know who you're asking. :)

But I know the answer, large text (source) files. Example: HSGPLOADER source file, which is 68k.
One can also configure Funnelweb to have two text files open at once and switch back and forth instantly between them.
I believe the limit for one file is 120k, and for two files - 60k each. It's close to that if not exact.
Could I break it up and work on it in pieces, yes. But it's not as convienient as having it all in one file.
Some would disagree, they like to work on small pieces of source at a time, and that's ok, to each his own.
I like to easily be able to see the whole thing at once.

The same could be aplied to an article one is reading or writing.

I think I used the EA editor for a month or two, then was very pleased to find the wonderfulness of Funnelweb. :)

Gazoo

#23 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:40 PM

Gazoo is correct using Funnelweb 80 column with a TIM and RAMDISK and SCSI I could make source or list files on the TI that would only at the time fit on a PC.
Most of my RXB Source could be one huge file and not have to be broken up like I am forced to do today.

The biggest issue I have is you have to save the file then load the other file to search for what you wanted to change, pain in the ass and time consuming on a TI.

Using Classic99 is very close to that, but still when I want to make a RXB USER file the limits of size are back again. I miss 80 column BUFFER SIZE most.
The display of 80 column is nice but without the storage it is like a popsicle with a 1/4 inch handle stick, it just makes a mess.

#24 matthew180 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:41 PM

Placing a file editing limit based on available RAM (or VRAM) is a limitation of the editor IMO. That's a cop-out. What if I wanted to have 10 or more files open at once as I commonly do when working on programming projects? If you only have a floppy disk, then you are limited no matter what, and if you have a hard-drive system, then a 120K limit seems, well, limiting.

I have never used FW either, as I prefer to write code on a more convenient platform these days. But, I agree, to each their own.

With the F18A you are not going to get FW support without mods. However, with the F18A there is potential to support up to 500K worth of files at better than hard disk speed.


#25 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:59 PM

I'm curious why you so desperately need extra video memory? :) 80 column text only takes as much video RAM as two 40 column text screens. (technically less if you include the character set, I'm just talking about the display buffer.)

If it's super important to you to have an 80 column editor on the F18A, then, is /just/ TI Writer enough? We can probably hack that up to show 80 columns in an evening. :)


Desperately need? No, just desperately WANT! You see to me, the partial (windowed view) in TI-W/BA-W is a royal P.I.T.A. If I mistype something, I may miss the mistake. If I can ACTUALLY SEE the whole page as it's intended to be viewed, life is much easier. Besides, is it really a crime to actually want the TI to be USEFUL? I'll never be able to cruise the Internet on it, but I'd really like to use it for more than a doorstop.

One useful program is REMIND-ME and there is even a SuperCart version of it. Now, how fast does it take for windows to boot up? In that amount of time, I can already have Remind-Me, loaded, running and be checking my schedule on the TI. Having a decent display (80 columns) would also be USEFUL for notes, and other data. You ask is TI Writer enough? For me yes, I'm not trying to do anything fancy, just the basics. If I want to do fancy stuff, I'll use my new laptop. I might also add that some reasonable amount of utility goes a long way in JUSTIFYING new toys for the TI.

I'd be willing to bet that if some NEW or UPDATED programs became available that used this new gear, more of that same hardware would be sold. Software has always driven hardware sales, always has, always will.. I bet it's no different on an "obsolete" machine, which may not be so obsolete with some new goodies. At the very least it would keep the TI alive longer and things would not be so stale or stagnant. Let's get some excitement going here! :)





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