Fast interview with Stéphane Pitteloud from Apollo Team

Hi Stéphane, can you introduce yourself ?

Hello, my name is Stéphane Pitteloud, I am 42 years old (24/09/1976), married with 2 children, living in Switzerland and I’m part of the Apollo team.

How long have you been using the Amiga?

My birthday party, 12th of June 1923 (private joke by Tuko) On the left, me discovering I will be unable to connect that printer to my Commodore 64. On right, my friends laughing because they knew the whole story.

I received an Amiga 500 for my 12th birthday. I will always remember that moment: my two lucky best friends already lucky had each an Amiga 500, while I had a Commodore 64. When I opened my gifts at my birthday party, while my friends were there, I received .. .. a printer! Looking at the printer, I noticed that my father made a mistake because the printer did not have the proper connector for my Commodore 64. I was a little disappointed. Then, after a while, we went up to my bedroom with my friends to have fun. That’s when I discovered a brand new Amiga 500 installed on my desk instead of my Commodore 64. Finally, my father was not wrong, he got me !

On the left, me half-happy half-pissed off when I discovered the Amiga 500 and the true story. On the right, my friends laughing even more.

What is your current configuration?

I had a lot of Amiga, and I actually kept them all. I had the A500 which I spoke above, then an A1200 and then an A4000. After that, I had a Pegasos I, quickly replaced by a Pegasos II, first under MorphOS then under AmigaOS 4. I finally replaced my Pegasos II with an AmigaOne X1000. Since 2015, faced with the lack of evolution of OS4, I returned to the classic. I built an Amiga 1200 with Blizzard PPC + Bvision, and I actually got back the pleasure of using this machine again. This is probably due to the fact that returning to classic, I gave up the idea of making the Amiga my main machine. In 2016, I met TuKo, who was already in the Apollo team. He came to present the Vampire at the AMF, the Swiss Amiga club. I had already heard about the Vampire but I had not realized its potential. Since that meeting, my main Amiga is a vampirized Amiga. The machines that are on my desk are an Amiga 500 with a V500+ and the V4. I use my V600 in a crystal casing for the exhibitions where we go time to time, like the Amiga 32 in Neuss last year or the Alchimie in France. I only plug my X1000 and my 1200 PPC for comparison tests and don’t use them anymore.

My desk at home. Here we see the V500+, the iMac (my all day machine) and the V4.

What are your favorite activities on Amiga?

Since I abandoned the idea of using my Amiga as the main machine, I do different things on it. I no longer do word processing, mail or web. My main activity on my Amiga is to test different softwares according to the current goals of the team :

  • When we are working on the GOLD3 core, I spend my time launching games to test their rendering.

  • When we are busy making the V4 stand alone, I test the system more generally.

  • When we are getting ready to release of a core for the Vampire V2, I am more on uses of long duration.

I use RiVA a lot in “party” mode, launching randomly videos or AmigaAMP to listen to web radios. I also have my IRC connection often on, which is a good way to tell other members when the Amiga actually crashed.

In fact, I like to play adventure games with ScummVM (disclaimer: despite what TuKo can say, Monkey Island is far better than Simon The Sorcerer. At the moment, I’m discovering NeoGeo games that I have never had the opportunity to test before, thanks to GnGeo which has been ported to the Vampire and is still being optimized by a member of the team. But my biggest activity, you guessed it, is flashing cores 🙂 Sometimes, there are more than 5 core per day that are compiled by the team, and we have to check them.

A closer look at my V500, running the 2.11 gold core.

As a member of the Apollo Team, how do you view the future of the Amiga with Vampire?

The Vampire is an Amiga approach that has never been explored until now. For the first time in the Amiga history, it’s not just about making an accelerator card but this time if goes far beyond that : creating a new chipset that succeeds the AGA, as well as a new CPU that succeeds the 68060. I hope that the Vampire will be seen as the worthy successor of the Amiga 1200/4000 by the community and that so talented coders who are active or inactive in our community will want to use the additional possibilities offered to let the Amiga go even further.

 

Can you tell us about the future secret projects of the Apollo Team? 😀

And this is my V600 that I use for the show. The crystal case is a nice option to let people see what’s inside the box.

Nope If I did that, where would be the pleasure of discovering them (I would also need to kill you. Did I say I’m a graduate of the Swiss army ?) Beside that, things can and will change along the way. What we do has never been done before, and we are exploring new possibilities when we move forward . But rest assured that many things are being cooked right now by the team !

What is your opinion on AmigaOne X5000?

I have an X1000 which I do not use anymore. Right now I can not use an Amiga NG as an everyday machine and given the fact that for reasons quite understandable, the NG can not launch the old Amiga games natively, I’m not longer really interested in this branch.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that it exists, I admire the work that has been done and I think it’s great that such an alternative exists. The landscape of the Amiga is so vast, that there is choice for everyone, it is a thing that is great and that any amigaist should appreciate. If we do not like a solution, there are a lot of other who reach out to you.

And a closer look at my V4, running the the latest test core. Here we have 11 MB chip ram and 500 MB fast ram.

Finally, do you have something to say to our readers?

Yes, the team members are very motivated, there is 24 hour activity on the IRC channel, and test cores

apollo team

Some Apollo-team members at the Amiga 32 in Germany : from left up : Claude, BigGun, Ceaich, Bax, and down from left me and TuKo.

come out every day. A lot of things are going on behind the scenes. Recreating an Amiga from 0 and pushing its specifications further is something that has never been done before, and it’s something that takes time. We want to have total control of the machine. For example, that’s why Chris is developping our own implementation of USB, to allow the keyboard and mouse recognition already at boot. We do not want to use a linux that runs in an enclave of the machine to run the USB, as for example others FPGA project do with help of an ARM CPU, we want it to be the 68080 that manages the machine. The adventure is just beginning, the future looks exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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