GP32 Wanna write an emu for GP32 of this hand-held?


saimo

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Hello everybody!

It is a tough challenge, but I am trying to be concise.



PREAMBLE (just to give an idea of how concise I am going to be...)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is years now (almost 6) that I am working on a hand-held device, whose
foremost aim has always been... pure FUN.
Now it has grown so much that I think it is about time to share this fun
with the world.

Currently, its only tangible implementation is an emulator for the classic
Amigas - but this emulator is not necessary for developing another
emulator for the GP32.

I am searching for enthusiast coders who want to have some real fun with
a really cool piece of "hardware" (obviously this is just my humble - and
biased - opinion).
Of course I would be glad of knowing of happy users, too - there is little
point in having a platform without users, right?
Lastly, I will not slam the door in the face of any company interested in
pulling out a real hardware machine :) - but, frankly, I do not even dare
to dream of this as a real-world possibility. A more sensible one would be
the development of emulators for other platforms - welcome as well, of
course ;)

Let's have a look at what I am offering, without diving into technical
details - there are large technical manuals for that and I want to
concentrate on the fun part here.



WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The device is named "MOM" and can be looked at as yet another GameBoy-like
console.
Why does it exist?
Simple: I wanted to have *fun* ^_^
Both developing it and developing _for_ it.
I wanted a device which was easy and funny to hardware-hit; I wanted a
device which was as much coder-oriented as possible, but still powerful
and flexible. So in 1998 (or maybe even 1 year before) I came up with some
design sketches and since then I never stopped working at this project...
... if only I could have worked on it constantly, the release date would
have come much before! - it is quite late, indeed.

I see I am getting lost, despite my initial promise.
Sorry, I just can not resist.

Among its features you can find:
- an MC68030 CPU
- a video architecture entirely based around the concept of extremely
flexible and powerful sprites (scalable, flippable, etc.)

For more information, you may want to have a look at the official website
(http://saimobvq.interfree.it/MOM/index.html).
For a complete overview of the system I strongly advice to read the
"MOM - developer's manual" and watch the "deMOMstration", an application
that actually runs on the device itself and that shows some of its key
features.



RELEASE/DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am releasing it only now because:
- finally both the general design and the emulator are in a very
advanced stage
- finally the emulator has been tested on 060 (totally developed on a
humble - yet loyal - 030)
- finally there is a little application (the "deMOMstration" mentioned
above) which *visually* illustrates many features of the device - so
you do not have to wade through large technical manuals (that do exist)
to get the idea: all you have to do is spending 10 minutes of your life
sitting & watching
- finally I have some free time to dedicate to potential requests - I got
my Computer Science degree just a few weeks ago and so I will be free
in the near future (ooops! this is now outdated by far, as I lazily
spent the last 2 months happily doing a lot of other unrelated
activities :p)

The distribution packages (just ~500 kb in all) include:
- MOM developer material: documentation, includes, tools, etc.
- MOMiga: MOM emulator for the Amiga
- MOS: an OS for MOM (comprehensive of development stuff)
- deMOMstration: MOM+MOS application that shows some of the key features
of MOM
- MEMOU: MOM+MOS (little) game

To get everything to work, it is enough to unpack the archives, CD in
the directory chosen and launch the script "go_d" to see deMOMstration
or "go_M" to play MEMOU.
No writes to HD will occur (unless you explicitly specify to save the
memory card to HD).

The whole package is e-mailware: if you use it, you *must* send me an
e-mail.
Any _commercial_ use or product based on any or all of its parts is
strictly *prohibited* if not explicitly authorized by a written agreement
with me.



IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THE EMULATOR (MOMiga)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

- it requires an Amiga with at least a 030, AGA and native graphics
output - i.e. redirection through scandoublers or graphic-cards is
likely to produce bad visuals (this is due to the fact that it uses
SHRES screens)
- only rather old versions have been tested on 040 - I have no clue
whether it still works on that CPU, but it should
- it has not been tested on NTSC machines and some parts do not take into
account NTSC timings - yet, it should work anyway
- it is a very complex piece of code: I did my very best to make it as
clean as possible and actually it works perfectly on my machine and on
some 060-equipped Amigas that 2 friends (hello, Timo & Richard!) used
for beta-testing - but beware of patches! Some (combination?) of them
could cause problems (in which case, it should be enough to reboot
without startup-sequence and run it after just SetPatch)!
- it can *not* work on UAE because it requires an MMU, which AFAIK is not
emulated yet



HOW CAN YOU PUT YOUR HANDS ON IT?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Simply surf to http://saimobvq.interfree.it/MOM/index.html and download
all the archives.
There you will find also a lot of other interesting information.

For comments, requests of clarification, flames and anything else, write
to saimobvq@interfree.it .



SUMMARY OF AREAS OF INTEREST
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

- development of applications (which I use to call "cartridges")
- development of emulators for other platforms
- development of some specific parts of MOS (for now just data packing
and .mod replay routines (and maybe IEEE math routines))
- adaptation of include files for more programming languages
- porting of support tools to other platforms
- betatesting
- development of the real device ;)

If you are a developer and want to start a MOM project, choose the 4-byte
ID that will mark all of your productions: this way I can make an official
and public list of developers.

Despite the focus of this section is on development, the most important
role is played by... users! The more, the happier I am.
Of course, I do not expect many users to be attracted right now that there
is only a simple game and a technical presentation.
Anybody willing to help me create a user base? ;)



WANT TO KNOW MORE?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, then why don't you have a look at the deMOMstration? ;)
Seriously, believe me: it is worth a thousand words.

Thanks for reading this far.

Best regards,
saimo



P.S. I am searching for a job...
As you may imagine, I would love to develop for a hand-held device...
not to mention that working with a good team on a GameBoy or GP32
title would make me sooo happy...
... any offers?
 

mithris

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Damn, that was much text and no images..:(

Anyway, it sounds damn cool!..
Is there any way to get the real hardware?

---
mithris
 

saimo

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@mithris

mithris posted on Sep 10 2003 at 12:30 PM said:
Damn, that was much text and no images..:(

Sorry, but this was just intended to be a (simple :unsure:) manifesto.
You can find the pictures in the screenshots section of the website at http://saimobvq.interfree.it/MOM/index.html .

Anyway, it sounds damn cool!..
Is there any way to get the real hardware?

Honestly, I don't really know.
I'd think that it's techinically possible, but I don't know if it makes sense economically.
A guy told me that maybe it's feasible with limited resources, and he's investigating in that sense (but I'm still waiting for an answer).
Anyway, I don't know the architecture of the GP32, but I think it's a lot more powerful (hence it can emulate - even if not at full speed, maybe - my MOM) and that it is a nice machine as well - but my point is that my machine is really nice to fiddle with... it's been born just for that!

Keep the comments coming in! :)

Regards,
saimo
 
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mithris

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Anyway, it sounds like something fun to write applications for..
But since there was no toolchain? for linux, it seems kinda hard.

But it would be really cool to have the real hardware, perhaps it could be implemented in a FPGA?

---
mithris
 

khephren

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Is there much point in emulating a 'virtual' handheld that may never be produced though? Surely programmers would be better producing stuff for the GP natively?
 

mithris

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If you design a virtual handheld with reasonable specs you could also make sure it's easy to implement a virtual machine for it on several platforms.
And if you do that, one can develop games etc for multiple handhelds..
Which would be cool.

---
mithris
 

saimo

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@khephren

I was actually wondering just the same... and, indeed, the idea of posting here was suggested by another guy! And it took him quite a while to persuade me :eek:
If you are _really_ curious, you could read the thread at http://amiga.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.p...d=10917&forum=8, where I express the same doubt of yours.

Anyway, one of my goals is having emulators of my machine on as many platforms as possible... so why not trying on the GP32, which is both an excellent platform for emulation _and_ could actually provide a sort of incarnation of my little toy? ;)

Regards,
saimo
 

saimo

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mithris posted on Sep 10 2003 at 12:56 PM said:
Anyway, it sounds like something fun to write applications for..

Yep, right! It was indeed my first and foremost aim!
If I had not had to work on emulation, documentation, support tools, the OS, etc. I'd have spent a lot of time programming apps/games for it!

But since there was no toolchain? for linux, it seems kinda hard.

Are you referring to the difficulty of developing apps for MOM on a Linux box or any other non-Amiga platform?
If so, yes, you have a point.
Unluckily for now only M68k assembly is supported and the emulator runs only on Amigas.
That's why other opportunities of working at the MOM project include porting of stuff to other platforms - BTW: adapting the include files for C is just a matter of patience, and then writing apps in C should be just as easy... the point is that I need someone who wants to do it...
of course, still having an emulator is a crucial point also for developing.

But it would be really cool to have the real hardware, perhaps it could be implemented in a FPGA?
This is exactly what the other guy is investigating on... even if I do have strong doubts (more info in the aforementioned forum).

Regards,
saimo
 
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Whilst there is more point to developing native stuff for the GP32 - I thought that this sounds like fun. No other reason other than it can be done. A cool project - something fun to get your teeth into. A virtual Platform that could gain cult status - populate itself on many machines. Something to do to show off.

Plus is would be cool to see this thing as a handheld - as thats what is intended to be. Point is if it can be done - why not?

Because you can is the right answer - it's the rock and roll answer. Whats the point is just an excuse. ;-)
 

saimo

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@Bobsonsirjonny

Nice to see you here!

"Cult machine"?!? :eek:
Oh, no... I don't think it will ever become such...
for me, it would be a great satisfaction knowing of people having fun with my project... of course, if that gets me a job, money or whatever... well, who complains ;)

Anyway, thanks again for the suggestion and keep sending ideas in ;)

Regards,
saimo
 

khephren

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Bobsonsirjonny posted on Sep 10 2003 at 01:41 PM said:
Plus is would be cool to see this thing as a handheld - as thats what is intended to be. Point is if it can be done - why not?

Because you can is the right answer - it's the rock and roll answer. Whats the point is just an excuse. ;-)
You got me with the rock and roll. That'll always convice me. I like the fact that the demo stuff looks very Amiga like too... :)
 
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saimo

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khephren posted on Sep 11 2003 at 02:05 PM said:
You got me with the rock and roll. That'll always convice me.
So this means you're going to write the emu for the GP32? ;)

I like the fact that the demo stuff looks very Amiga like too... :)
And does this mean that you saw it in action? Or did you see just the screenshots?
You know, I love to receive feedback...

Regards,
saimo
 
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