Minimig (Amiga) core discussion

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kolla
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Minimig (Amiga) core discussion

Postby kolla » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:35 pm

Since quite a few of us are in mostly in it for Amiga use, I think a dedicated topic for that purpose is justified :)

First a start to the github page: https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Minimig-AGA_MiSTer

A small disclaimer - I don't really use Amiga so much for gaming. Though I love to play the occasional Worms DC, Lemmings, Turrican etc, I spend most of my time doing is other things, like using various music software, graphics and animation, as well as exploring the operating system itself, shell and rexx scripting, doing whacky stuff like bringing "modern world" resources to the Amiga, managing my kubernetes clusters and servers in the cloud from the Amiga shell command line (or Directory Opus listers, heh) :)

Having both MiST and MiSTer, there are two things I really miss on the MiSTer

* Direct access to the FAT32 partition from the Amiga, where the cores etc are located.
* Networking - the serial port - where did it go? :)

About access to the FAT32 partition, I can understand why direct access to the SD card is not desired, as it is "owned" by Linux. Having both Linux and AmigaOS access the FAT32 filesystem would surely not end well. But, an easier ways to transfer data to the Amiga side is desired, one that doesn't involve ADF files as transport medium.

One workaround is having a Linux kernel with Amiga FFS support, so it can mount images with Amiga filesystem under Linux, let the user sftp/scp/whatever files to it, unmount the file, and then user can attach the image from menu as a disk and access it from Amiga side. This method has its issues, the image should not be in use by AmigaOS when Linux is writing around on it, so at least it should not be mounted on Amiga side at that point, maybe not even "attached" by the core as a drive.

What I imagine as a better solution, is to somehow network the Amiga side and the Linux side, and then use well known and proven protocols from the Amiga to reach filesystems on the Linux side - ftp, nfs, smb (ew). And this brings me to the second point above... where did the serial port go?

On the MiST I use the serial port for networking with a Raspberry Pi zero, which then exports filesystem shares, acts as NAT router, web proxy, rsh/ssh hop-host and whatever else I can think of. It is not at all fast, quite slow actually (5k/sec), but it is rock solid, and that helps. The fun part is that with the MiSTer the "pi" is already there, it "just" needs some wiring up. I have looked at the sources for the firmware a little, and first got the impression that the Amiga serial port was forwarded to the native serial port output (merged with the Linux serial console output?), but nothing I have sent to the serial port from Amiga side ever showed up, so I guess not. I can imagine some would want the serial port available on GPIO pins, attach a MAX3232-RS232 DB9 adapter for playing games over null modem cable too :)

Thinking of other scenarios/challenges...

* implementing a well supported Zorro ethernet card on the FPGA, that can use existing drivers (most obvious choice being A2065)
* implementing a new Zorro ethernet card on FPGA, which then also require new SANA2 drivers
* route ethernet packages to a tap interface on the Linux side
* ... and for example add it to a bridge interface along with eth0, so that when you physically plug in the MiSTer, the Linux gets one IP-address on the LAN and the Amiga side gets another on the same LAN.
* ... alternatively, like I do, use the Linux side as NAT router for the Amiga side.
* route ethernet packages to something else - a dedicated ethernet port on GPIO pins for the Amiga? I personally would not want that, though :)

* hybrid emulation - not use FPGA at all for networking, as UAE can do all this already, and also has built in bsdsocket.library

But then I think we are perhaps more talking about enhancing UAE with the FPGA, than giving Minimig an emulated CPU + FastRAM.
Not that I have anything against that, UAE also allow sharing of hosts filesystem directories as "disks" on the Amiga side, so it would solve that issue too.

A fun brain twister scenario is where you have the ARM system with Amiga chipset on the FPGA, where a native ARM OS can access the Amiga chipset, very much like how PowerPC on PowerUP cards can access Amiga chipset - I'm sure the AROS guys could find some use in that, hehe :D

Allright, this become sort of long, a brain dump of ideas from my side - reactions and other ideas are welcome :)

I will look more into the serial port thing (hopefully xmas brings more time), as in any case I would love to have a serial login tty of the Linux side available on the serial port of the Amiga.

Cheers! :cheers:
-- kolla

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Re: Amiga on MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:07 am

I fully agree Minimig needs more love. My usage of Amiga is limited by games and demos. May be some fun with good old AMOS i've used ~25 years ago. I would love to see RTG but no one wants to share the code and i cannot make it alone from the ground.
Serial port is not implemented on Minimig for MiSTer. But it's possible to add it as it's done on MiST.
I don't like idea to use GPIO for serial because, as you've said, MiSTer already includes RPi and it's better to route Serial to ARM part where it will be routed to Ethernet.
Some time ago i've tried to make a terminal core which will simply connects by serial to ARM part and become a console, so you won't need to connect to USB console port to do something in Linux part. Unfortunately i haven't succeeded to route a virtual Serial into my code so Linux could recognize it as standard serial. This is a core part for cores using serial port . If someone is willing to help me with this, then it would be good.

As for Amiga FFS - it should be supported in my Linux code. I've explicitly added support for Amiga FFS. So this kind of file import/export should work.
With addition of secondary SD card it's possible to implement direct access to this card.

The main problem is to find the developer who will improve the core. Don't look at me - i have many other things to do. I can help if there will be real intention to add something into Minimig.

Hybrid emulation is another topic. It's pretty large project and requires a dedicated developer. From my point of view it's easier to add CPU+FastRAM emulated on ARM to Minimig, than adding FPGA part to UAE. At least in the first version. UAE has it's own GUI based on X-Windows. Linux on MiSTer doesn't include any graphics library. Also Linux has no access to screen directly - it should be provided by FPGA (you will need to implement overlay), so you will have a pretty hard time with porting UAE.

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Minimig Audio Options

Postby keito » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:42 am

Are there any?

I've checked the Mister config.ini to see if I can force audio output to mono, but I can't see that I can.
Cannot see any audio options in the minimig core for this either, unless i'm missing something?

For Amiga with its hard left/right panned stereo channels this would be really useful...

I can make it happen using my audio equipment by routing the audio signal through my mixer and putting it into mono, but I was wondering if this was a feature that either already exists or might be in the plans for a future release?

Not sure if the Mist minimig core has audio options like these, I don't have one and haven't yet checked :)

K.

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:15 am

There is no option for mono output.
All devices are stereo couple decades. It's hard to find the mono audio today. Though in 80x situation was opposite.

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby Newsdee » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:42 am

Just wire both channels together with a simple circuit outside:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple- ... o-to-Mono/

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby keito » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:24 pm

Sorgelig wrote:There is no option for mono output.
All devices are stereo couple decades. It's hard to find the mono audio today. Though in 80x situation was opposite.


Well the amigas stereo is hard panned left and right with no stereo positioning (unless using a software mixer like AHI)... this kind of stereo doesn't sound too good with 2 channels hard left and 2 hard right, but passing them through as mono or combined channels makes a difference when listening.

I guess if you only have a small speaker setup or tv/monitor speakers most people wouldn't care. But as a seasoned tracker and musician I definitely appreciate having these options :)

Just wire both channels together with a simple circuit outside:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple- ... o-to-Mono/


Cool! I will have to look at his more in detail after work :) I would rather not hardwire anything, as if I am writing music / tracking I need to have the stereo option available to me too. However I can achieve all this simply at home without need for any wiring, it would just be handy to have the option available in the core, but it's not such a big deal, I was curious :)

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:01 pm

Probably simple resistor ~1K between L and R would make the panning not so hard and will keep stereo output.
MiST has such resistor on the board, but it negatively affects the sound on other cores, so i decided not to include it.
But it's easy to add it manually if you prefer some degree of mixing.

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:03 pm

New release will have Stereo mix option, so you will be able to choose 0%, 25%, 50%, 100% mixing.

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby keito » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:04 am

Sorgelig wrote:New release will have Stereo mix option, so you will be able to choose 0%, 25%, 50%, 100% mixing.


Amazing, thank you! This does help a lot! Might make a video to show the effect in action, though that depends on your own audio setup too when watching it lol.... either way, i can now track on the minimig core to compose pt* modules as well as synth modules like ahx etc, might make a video to demonstrate it!

This is very cool for me, as I need to write some tunes for various demoscene projects and while my real Amiga is waiting repair I can get started using the MiSTer!

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Re: Minimig Audio Options

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:26 am

already released.
requires to update MiSTer binary as well.

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Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby udo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:40 pm

Hi,

the Minimig Core has this useful feature that all Amiga-Files may go to the Amiga directory on the SD-Card. All files but one - the ROM.KEY file needs to be in root of SD-Card.

With this little change in config.c (Line 73) this last file could go to the Amiga directory too:

if(FileOpen(&file, "Amiga/ROM.KEY") || FileOpen(&file, "ROM.KEY")) {

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:13 pm

You don't need this file if you use plain Kickstart ROM. It's simply leftover from original Minimig. I even not sure if it still properly used. I would rather remove this encryption when i will revise this part of code.

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby udo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:35 pm

Sorgelig wrote:You don't need this file if you use plain Kickstart ROM. It's simply leftover from original Minimig. I even not sure if it still properly used. I would rather remove this encryption when i will revise this part of code.

If You use the Kickstart-Files as they come from Amigaforever this file and the "encryption" is needed. I would not remove this feature, I think a lot of people are using the Kickstart from there. I know I could easily build a tool to decrypt the Amiga4ever file offline, but that would be needed to be done by everybody who uses Amiga4ever files.

At least I can tell You for sure that the decryption with the ROM.KEY is currently working in MiSTer as expected.

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:48 pm

ok. i will keep it and fix the path

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby misterjbam » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:27 am

for information with MiSTer_20180101
I have no image on the hdmi for the core Amiga.
no worries with others MiSTer_XXXX

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:22 am

fixed.

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby misterjbam » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:01 pm

thanks thanks
it's works

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby NML32 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:37 pm

I'm not sure what's wrong but I don't get any video when I use the latest build Minimig_20171229.rbf.
I do get video from Minimig_20170922.rbf

I've verified the video resolution in MiSTer.ini
I'm using video setting 0 (1280x720@60) for HDMI in Mister.cfg
Minimig_20170922.rbf displays 1280x720@60 on my TV just fine.

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:31 am

Make sure you've updated MiSTer to latest one. Previous release had a bug.

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Re: Minimig Core ROM.KEY Location

Postby NML32 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:11 am

Sorgelig wrote:Make sure you've updated MiSTer to latest one. Previous release had a bug.

Thanks, that was it.

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Regression between Minimig_ 20170922 and Minimig_20171229?

Postby kolla » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:31 pm

For me, Minimig_20171229 behaves weird in all kinds of ways that suggest memory problems (pixel artifacts, random crashes and reboots, being asked to insert disks with broken volume names ... all kinds) while the 20170922 core works rock solid. Using HD720 mode for Workbench. Same behaviour on both two last MiSTer firmware releases. If I was to randomly guess, it's as if memory speed went from 150MHz to 167MHz, and my board cannot do that, but I don't see anything in the commits suggesting this :)

Am I alone in seeing this?
-- kolla

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Re: Regression between Minimig_ 20170922 and Minimig_20171229?

Postby NML32 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:31 pm

I see random crashes also.

Edit: I recorded some errors and crashes with core Minimig_20171229, hopefully, this will help.

https://youtu.be/GxmVyzSsjkk

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Re: Regression between Minimig_ 20170922 and Minimig_20171229?

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:01 am

As a large core, Minimig is easy affected by FPGA heat. Before i didn't use heatsink+fan and tested the core on a naked FPGA. I had hard time to compile the Minimig without instabilities. Currently i'm using heatsink+fan and test the cores on much cooler FPGA which from one side giving good results in testing the core, from other side doesn't give guaranties it will work reliably on hot FPGA.

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Re: Minimig (Amiga) core discussion

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:09 am

All Minimig/Amiga related discussions should be posted in this topic.

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Re: Minimig (Amiga) core discussion

Postby kolla » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:54 am

Well, my MiSTer has a very active fan, and the FPGA chip is not at all warm. The 0927 core does whatever I throw at it, the 1229 core barely manages to boot, with random failures constantly. Clearly something fundamental changed.
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