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Amiga

The Amiga Turns 25 289

Posted by kdawson
from the follow-the-bouncing-ball dept.
retsamxaw reminds us that yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Amiga. "[The Amiga] debuted to rave reviews and great expectations — heck, InfoWorld said it might be the 'third milestone' in personal computing after the Apple II and the IBM PC. ... Commodore was a famously parsimonious outfit, but it splurged on the Amiga's introduction. The highlight of that Lincoln Center product launch was a demo in which pop art legend Andy Warhol used an Amiga to 'paint' Blondie's Debbie Harry. The exercise didn't prove much of anything other than that Warhol was able to use the paint program's fill command, but it was heady stuff... Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings — most notably OS/2 and Linux... But Amiga nuts of the 1980s and early 1990s... remain the ultimate fanboys, even though it hadn't yet occurred to anyone to hurl that word at computer users."
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The Amiga Turns 25

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  • I'm a fanboy, still have my A500 an A1000 and an A2000HD - never have been able to get a SCSI cd-rom working in the 2000, unfortunately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dotgain (630123)
      They were good machines, but my A1200 was revolutionary (for me at least). Smaller than the A500, packing 2MB RAM standard and an internal hard drive. Since I could use the Power supply + monitor at my clients office, it was almost like a laptop for me. I used it to write the accounting system for a small business using HiSoft Basic, rendered my first 3D stuff on it, and even got on the net with SLIP, later PPP, and had my first experience with the web.

      I thought at the time the web was unbearably slow w

      • by sznupi (719324)

        600 - this one was almost like a laptop.

        (hey, don't laugh; it was quite nice machine - and the price helped in some parts of the woods)

      • by NiceGeek (126629)

        Back in the day, I would have killed for an A1200, even now I'll consider maiming for one. My other machines (besides the A500) I've come across at garage sales, but I've never seen an A1200 in the wild.

        • by voss (52565)

          They do sell Amiga 1200's on ebay. They sell even now for a couple hundred dollars.

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            Just download an emulator. All of the fun ... none of the diskettes.

            (Ok, you won't be able to program any PWM effects on the 'power' LED, but hey...)

      • by flatlinr (1858284) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:04AM (#33019668)

        Really? The A1200 was kind of...meh. Seriously, the Amiga 1000 was revolutionary when it came out in 1985! The Amiga 500 was revolutionary when it came out in 1987 because it made the Amiga affordable. After that? Nothing much. The Amiga 1200 came out in fall of 1992 and what kind of specs did it have?

        Sure, the 68EC020 at 14MHz was of course an improvement over the 68000 at 7MHz, but c'mon! It's five years since Amiga 500!
        Only 2MiB of chip RAM (and no fast RAM) - once again, it's been five years!
        Graphics were kind of braindead, just adding two bitplanes and making a total mess of the color registers. Could have gone with a chunky mode instead.
        Blitter is exactly the same as the old Amiga 1000 for goodness sake!
        Sound is exactly the same as the old Amiga 1000...

        Remember that in 1994, the Playstation came out. Compared to Amiga (and especially CD32 which came out a year earlier) now that is revolutionary again!

        Yeah, of course I thought the A1200 was the shit at the time, but that's cause I was a blinded Amiga fanboy. Luckily, it wore off (even though I still actually have two A1200 and one A600 in my closet somewhere); for some people, it's chronic. Just go to amiga.org and watch some deluded people, not in jest or in irony, argue that the Amiga is, in 2010, a better computer than a PC. Oh, the humanity!

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      The A1000 is the one true Amiga - gotta love the tuck-away keyboard design (and the nice keyboard).

      The A500 was an amateurish-looking waste of desk space. I'm sure that's partly what killed it off as a 'serious' computer. Put one of those side by side with an IBM PC (and model M keyboard) and see which one gets chosen for 'business'.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        500 for home, 2000 for office ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jazzmans (622827)

      I loved my Amiga 2000, it was an amazing machine, light years ahead of apple macintosh....
      It wasn't untill I installed OS/2 on a 486 that I had another truly multi-tasking machine.
      Then Linus Torvalds came along.

      Thank Bog!
      jaz

    • by dltaylor (7510)

      Which version(s) of AmigaDOS?

      Which drives have you tried?

      Are you using an A2091, or something else?

      I have a Toshiba/Sun 2X that works just fine, although finding the DB-25 to SCSI cable was a bit tricky.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:42AM (#33019230) Journal

    The big, not-often-told truth is that IBM PCs sucked donkey ass, compared to the Amigas. I remember the huge hype that surrounded the IBM PC, so I wanted to have a look. I was spoiled on Amiga's full-fledged GUI (G for Graphical!) that permeated all the applications present on the Amiga. When I saw the apps on the IBM PC, I couldn't believe my eyes - in the most negative way possible: the poor ASCII graphics sported by the apps present on the IBM PC were a colossal turn-off. And the computers were considerably more expensive than the Amigas, even without soundcard and color graphics. And "colour" on the IBM PC meant 4 colours (CGA)! Of course, CGA cost you an arm and a leg.

    I mean, c'mon! IBM PCs and Amigas? No comparison. The only thing the IBM PC had going for it were the three magic letters.

    • by piggydoggy (804252) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:53AM (#33019262)
      The first IBM PC was released several years before Amiga, in 1981. By 1985 the PC world had ATs with 80286 processors and EGA. No doubt Amiga was still massively superior at multimedia at the time, but in the end, open architecture and expandability won.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:10AM (#33019314) Homepage Journal

        in the end, open architecture and expandability won

        No, "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" won, just as "nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" tends to win today. It's really amazing to me how people continue to try to come up with technical justifications for behavior that's clearly driven by non-technical concerns.

        • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:57AM (#33019458) Homepage

          That was even probably more general - "nobody got fired for buying non-toy computers" won. One of the problems of Amiga was probably how inexpensive they were ("it can't be good for that little!"), and in large part sold via toy shops...

          • by scottgfx (68236)

            That was true. I was friends with the local Southwest Florida Amiga dealer. He expressed that very issue to me almost 20 years ago.

            It was a fascinating time though. I even got to meet Jay Miner once and later talked to him through his BBS called "The Mission"

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            One of the problems of Amiga was probably how inexpensive they were ("it can't be good for that little!"), and in large part sold via toy shops...

            That was a killer weakness for the Amiga: You went to Computerland to buy an IBM, but you went to Toys-R-Us to buy an Amiga.

            (The other killer weakness was Commodore, but that's a different rant).

        • by NotInTheBox (235496) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:00AM (#33019468) Homepage

          It was not openness that won. It's never openness that wins.

          Very visible continuous progress is needed to become popular. Visible continuous progress is better then openness. Openness can be a way to obtain continuous progress, but openness is neither required nor sufficient.

          Amiga was advanced, but it did not develop anywhere, it was so advanced but somehow no-one could be found to take it the next step forward. So it became stagnant while PC developed. We can see the same thing with Apple, a 1995 Mac was nearly identical to that of 1985. Only after Jobs came back, taking with him a whole team from NeXT, did the Mac go anywhere fresh. We even have seen this with Microsoft IE 6, which started out great, but then nothing No-one there to take the next step.

          To many who want conserve what they have, and not enough who want to move progressively forward. To take the next step, especially with a successful, advanced product is scary and the results are uncertain. One needs to have amazing self-confidence to be able to take the next step again, and again, and again Most people's fear, uncertainty and doubt will prevent them from making the next step consistently, often waisting millions of dollars and many months on aimless research and development in the process. Sometimes even leading to products which are then canceled with in a few months.

          The best strategy seems to be to take the next (often obvious) step with a product on a regular schedule (every few months, at most once a year). Occasionally this step should be a leap, but it does not have to be every time. If you are able to, it also seems to help to only talk about actual deliverable products and implemented features: Don't announce products which are not ready for production, don't talk about features not yet implemented (anyone remember Longhorn?). Any progress is better then no progress, even minimal progress is better then the disappointment of vaporware. So keep your plans private/secret until you are ready to deliver an actual product.

          • by snuf23 (182335) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:35AM (#33019746)

            The innovations in the PC came mostly from external development outside of IBM to the open PC architecture. If you were there in the old days you would remember the competing video and audio standards, memory specifications etc. 3rd party hardware was instrumental in creating the PC we know today.
            When Jobs came back he leveraged the established PC standards to move the the Mac forward. Apple used to be a company that used only internally developed hardware (stuff like Nubus and Appletalk). Jobs pushed the company to use standards such as USB and eventually transitioned Mac to commodity processors and busses (Intel and PCI/PCI express).
            A single company can't compete with unique hardware vs commodity hardware, that's the story of the PC platforms domination and the transformation of Apple.

            • A single company can't compete with unique hardware vs commodity hardware, that's the story of the PC platforms domination and the transformation of Apple.

              You can't make a universal rule out of what happened in one particular market over one particular time frame.

              For example in the 1980s, before the PC was inexpensive and featureful enough to compete in the home computer market, various companies with unique hardware dominated. MSX was a commodity design, many of the commodity electronics companies tried la

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tepples (727027)

              A single company can't compete with unique hardware vs commodity hardware

              Yet all video game consoles of this generation use unique hardware.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Jeremy Erwin (2054)

              The first mac to come with PCI slots were the Powermacs 7200, 7500,8500, and 9500 (all introduced in August 1995). Apple purchased Next (and the services of Steve Jobs) on December 20, 1996. Besides, Nubus was developed outside of Apple [wikipedia.org]

        • by hitmark (640295)

          especially given how many buy from the fruit because of the "experience".

        • by mcvos (645701)

          Parent needs to be modded up sky high.

          At home, it's often the person with the most technical know-how that makes the decisions, but in business, it's the people whose job it is to make business decisions, and those are usually not the people who understand or appreciate technical specs. But they do know who the business leader is, and tend to go for the safe choice, big name, with managers/sales people who talk the talk and know how to play golf (or something).

          And once people got used to something at work,

          • by Patch86 (1465427) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:01AM (#33019660)

            And the slightly less sceptical version of what you're saying is that there are other concerns with buying technology other than the performance and cost of the technology itself- support contracts, training costs, supplier relationships, interoperability concerns (real or imagined, technical or otherwise).

            I'd love to see my business upgrade from XP to a Linux distro, for example, instead of Win7. But I can barely imagine the cost of retooling the entire company, retraining the whole staff, rehiring half the IT department with newly skilled sorts, and burning bridges with MS (who really do give a pretty VIP service to our company, being a pretty big buyer).

            Calls of "switch to the better, cheaper products ffs!" from we on the lower ranks really don't account for the half of the corporate shenanigans that go on.

        • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:07AM (#33019680) Homepage

          Complete and utter rubbish.

          The effect that you are refering to only happened in the business market, and the home market was where Commodore made most of their money and sales.

          What killed the Amiga was stagnation. Sure it was way ahead of the competition when it was released, but it didn't improve enough, quickly enough. By the mid-90s the Amiga was competing against chunky 256-colour display and faster processors.

          Doom killed the Amiga. Comanche killed the Amiga. Every step that the PC took towards being a commodity marketplace for hardware killed the Amiga.

          And by the time the Voodoo was released it was already dead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by blind biker (1066130)

        The Amiga was every bit as expandable as the IBM PC [wikipedia.org] and way more open. I think you are making a huge disservice to computer history, if you think IBM PC won because of "expandability and openness", and disregard the importance of the three magic letters.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Where were the clones?

          Yes, I know it was, sort of, an oversight on the part of IBM - still it happened; probably would be much harder with the hardware of Amiga; and the OS wasn't from some 3rd party manufacturer happy to supply it to anybody.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hitmark (640295)

          i wonder if the PC clones was one reason. That way, one could run a el-cheapo at home, using the same software and hardware as the official IBM, with whatever support agreement the workplace had with IBM and so on, at work. Heck, the managers may even look the other way on someone copying those programs, if it meant the person could work at home if "needed" (more like demanded).

          basically, the hardware platform turned commodity. And thanks to microsofts deal with IBM, they where free to sell their software t

        • Why do they mod (+3, Informative) a post with a link proving exactly the opposite of what the post says?

          You say "The Amiga was every bit as expandable as the IBM PC and way more open"

          Your wikipedia link says "One expansion port for add-ons (memory, SCSI adaptor, etc), electrically and physically identical to the Amiga 500 expansion port (though the Amiga 500's version is inverted)"

          Excuse me, but my IBM-PC had seven expansion slots. And, much more important, I could go to any computer store and actually buy

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by hitmark (640295)

            try the A2000, launched at the same time.

            https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Amiga_2000 [wikimedia.org]

            5 zorro 2 slots, 2 16-bit isa, 2 8-bit isa. Sadly, it was sold only by way of specialist retailers, and so had less exposure then the A500.

          • by snuf23 (182335)

            The Amiga 2000, 3000 and 4000 had multiple internal expansion slots. I'm not sure on the 3000, but the 2000 (which I owned) and the 4000 had both CPU and video slots as well as multiple general expansion slots.

            I agree with you in that saying the Amiga was "as expandable" is incorrect. However, no third party developer managed to creat an Amiga video card upgrade that was an accepted standard (at least not until the PC was well on it's way).

            PC clones gave the platform marketplace penetration. Third party har

        • by snuf23 (182335)

          You really think this?

          The Amiga was tied to the custom chip set. Even ROM revisions broke software.

          Only the more expensive Amigas allowed for video expansion and that was commonly used for flicker fixers or toasters.

          There was never a method to upgrade an ECS Amiga to an AGA one, either from Commodore or from a third party.

          The majority of Amiga sales were of the lower end 500 series which only had the side expansion bus.

          Later on post-Commodore there were certainly a number of expansions made to the architect

    • by sznupi (719324)

      But in the end, open architecture of PCs proved beneficial, also / especially to us. It was at least good enough in some areas at the beginning, and vastly improved in the meantime. Even MS wasn't so bad - for all their faults, they mostly succeeded in commoditizing the hardware; that made OSS easier, too.
      Amiga...well, for a long time now its zombie focuses on outrageously milking what's left of their fans.

      Not saying they weren't great in their time; and really affordable, also in places where PCs would pro

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      Not to mention jumpers for configuring expansion cards?!? Amiga was plug and play all the way. The zorro bus even went from 16-bit to 32-bits without needing a new slot format, they just multiplexed it by having an addressing cycle and a data cycle.

      The bus was also asynchronous, it wasn't clocked, although the custom chips on the motherboard were clocked at about 25Mhz.

      PC architecture has always been a case of "that is just about good enough" and it still continues today with USB3 (requires CPU intervention

  • I miss my old A500. Can't believe I gave it away.
    • by Phrogman (80473)
      I sold mine and bought an IBM 286, the difference was staggering. The only good side of the IBM PC was that it had a HD.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        me too but I sold mine to purchase a 486SX, I even waited to finish Indiana Jones Fate of Atlantis on my new (used) PC because I could not take the constant Floppy swapping anymore.
        It took me forever to save the money for my PC but when I finally had it, I loved it.

        • I had two external floppy drives for my A500. Great for games that were smart enough to check all drives for the next disk.

          Moved up to an A600 that I bought off a friend for £30, then eventually my parents got me an A1200 with 68030EC, 16MB RAM and a 200MB HDD. Those were the days :) I really wanted a 680x0 processor with an FPU, or a PPC board, but I couldn't afford it and we eventually ended somehow up with a 486 (which I guess I loved simply because I could play Quake on it), then a PIII.. with Win

          • by Trolan (42526)

            I had two external floppy drives for my A500. Great for games that were smart enough to check all drives for the next disk.

            I think the whole concept of how disks were addressed was the underlying reason for this. Having the disk name be one of the accessors was key. ATLANTIS10: was ATLANTIS10: whichever drive it was in, or whereever it was Assigned to. The HD installer for FoA was simply a series of:
            Copy FD0:* HD0:Indy/
            Assign Atlantis#: HD0:Indy/

            That was also a key thing for people to remember when implementing the early days of copy protection: your disk name is not a unique butterfly, it can be moved.

      • by antdude (79039)

        I hope I didn't regret getting rid of my old Apple //c, its 8.25" floppy disks (LOGO, games, etc. -- no idea if they still worked) and its external drive, ImageWriter, II, etc. a few years ago when being evicted from my home. I did check eBay and Craig's list to see the prices but they pretty low. Maybe in 100 years, they will be. :( I assume these old Amigas are worth a lot. I also was told that Texas Instrument 99/4A is worth a lot these days.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:54AM (#33019270) Journal

    Given the persistent failure of Official Management of the remains of the Amiga, Its OS, there are those who decided they can do without such management...
    The Status page [sourceforge.net] and News page [sourceforge.net] of the open source project AROS [sourceforge.net]

  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:54AM (#33019272) Journal
    It's on YouTube here [youtube.com]. The raw history of the occasion makes up for the downbeat aspect.

    And just a month and a half ago, I came into possession of an Amiga 2000, with all the parts and manuals. Unfortunately, it seems not to be in working order, as nothing appears on the screen after a power-on. Ah, someday, maybe...
  • Interesting (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkeelsnc (1102563)
    Actually the Amiga was quite an advanced machine at the time. It is too bad that Commodore did not market it aggressively enough over time. Someone mentioned how poor PC programs looked compared to the Amiga. This is true. But I don't think the "three magic letters" are what made PC's so popular but rather the fact that PC's at the time already had all of the popular and "killer" business applications of the day. It also had M$'s monopolostic marketing and sales strategies which are exactly the strategi
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:25AM (#33019552)

      Having been there (still have a bunch of Amiga's - that I never use anymore sadly - including an A4000 with a Phase 5 233 MHz PPC board and video toaster/flyer) I don't think it was a marketing issue until the early to mid 90's when Commodore started to face serious problems.

      In the early days of the Amiga I recall 4 or 5 magazines, one official one, TV ads, ads in 3rd party magazines (I remember vividly seeing ads for the machines in various video/multimedia trade journals). IDG - with Amigaworld shows you how big it was really - this is the same company that publishes Macworld and Infoworld to this day (and consequently I knew the writing was on the wall when one of the editors for Amigaworld - now writes for Macworld).

      I think the problem was a bit more deep sadly - one of mindshare more than anything. When I started working in video part time with a friend - this was in 91-92 when the A4000 came to market many of our colleagues used to think it was hilarious we took the machines seriously. Never mind we were the first shop in town to do editing via disk, (5.25" Quantum SCSI disks :)), and the only shop in town that could do 3D graphics for a long time (long before the flyer we used the DPS Personal Animation Recorder - it rocked). The 3d animations from the demo reel we worked on back then still looks pretty nice today (despite being only on VHS). It was a serious computer developed by some really smart and talented software and hardware engineers, but people didn't see it that way.

      At the local computer club most ms-dos/mac users used to decry Amiga users with statements like who needs multi-tasking (the claim back then was "I'm far more productive doing one task at a time thank you very much"), and oh all those wonderful animations and graphics/sound we could do too with the right hardware.

      Sadly Amiga met the same fate as NEXT, SGI, Apollo and almost Apple (yes if Steve didn't come back - they would be a topic in some history book right now).

      Also I should mention - out of all the companies who have bought Amiga - Commodore was the only company to actually release marketable hardware and advertise said hardware. I think while they mismanaged their entire business down the toilet - they certainly did a much better job than most have (managing the Amiga that is).

  • by dougsha (247714) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:58AM (#33019284) Homepage
    Here's a playthrough of my bestselling Amiga game The King of Chicago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17xQQ-PMPBs [youtube.com] It sold 50k copies for Cinemaware - not bad for 1987. Some reviews: http://channelzilch.com/doug/kocblurbs.htm [channelzilch.com] I'm still proud of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EvilIdler (21087)

      WE'RE NOT WORTHY!

      King of Chicago was one of the first five games I had for my A500 back in the day. It's the game that prompted me to get (read:beg my parents for) the RAM upgrade to play like it was meant to be played. Wow, how did we ever manage those loading times? Still waiting for a remake :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snuf23 (182335)

      I was one of those 50k. :)

      Props to you and Cinemaware. Not always 100% successful, I appreciated trying to push the computer game further. A long time since I still see the influence in current games. Thanks for your work.

  • by mccalli (323026) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:03AM (#33019292) Homepage
    Digg are currently running this story, and there's a post on there leading to this:
    Software Patent ended CD32 and Commodore Amiga [xcssa.org]

    It describes how Commodore lost a software patent fight over, believe it or not, blinking a cursor using XOR. They owed $10m as a result, and were also prohibited from bringing CD32 into the US. Since Commodore had bet large on the CD32, this was a fatal blow.

    Read it, it's interesting. I didn't realise this and've read more about Commodore than many. If you're interested in the history of Commodore, and it is interesting, try "On The Edge [variantpress.com]", which describes it very well. The book is sold out in many places but I imagine it will be possible to locate copies.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • by kriston (7886)

      I'm not so sure since my local Amiga retailer had CD32 machines for sale among the A3000, A4000, and A1200 machines.

    • by keeboo (724305)

      It describes how Commodore lost a software patent fight over, believe it or not, blinking a cursor using XOR. They owed $10m as a result, and were also prohibited from bringing CD32 into the US. Since Commodore had bet large on the CD32, this was a fatal blow.

      First time I hear that.
      Any confirmation from an ex-Commodore engineer?

    • by lmnfrs (829146)

      If you can't find the book but still want some Amiga history, Ars had a good series [arstechnica.com] a few years ago.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Digg are currently running this story, and there's a post on there leading to this:

      That post seems to be nonsense, because you could buy a NTSC CD32 in various shops in the USA. But betting large on the CD32 would have been a failure no matter how you sliced it because there were not enough titles to sell as a games console, and the system was too expensive anyway. But maybe someone could corroborate it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mccalli (323026)
        "That post seems to be nonsense, because you could buy a NTSC CD32 in various shops in the USA."

        Reading the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org], it seems those were Canadian stock brought across the US border. That entry also bears out the XOR patent story, and searching around on the web seems to confirm multiple sources for it.

        It's news to me too - only learned about it today. But it does seem to have validity. Agree with the rest of your post though - betting big time on the CD32 would have been...well....interesting
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Reading the Wikipedia entry, it seems those were Canadian stock brought across the US border.

          That doesn't really seem like a big problem, does it? AFAIK there was no such thing as an Amiga shop that wasn't totally rinky-dink (Software Etc. only sold A500s so they don't count) and having to order from Canadian suppliers wouldn't have even slowed them down. All I know about the CD32 is that when it became available in the US (At, I believe, cheaper-than-UK prices... I don't have any of my old Amiga rags any more with their teensy-tiny-type price lists) it STILL cost more than it ought and I sure coul

  • One megabyte of "Chip" Memory made me fall in love. Custom chips and the Blitter were decades ahead of everyone else.

  • Why Amiga? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:33AM (#33019388)
    On Amiga, it was possible to create what we call today "flash games" and "flash animations" which used some 0.1% performance of todays desktop PC (because that was available). Yet, today with similar animation/games computers are easily eating whole CPU and even sometimes newest CPU cannot keep pace with animation. Today, you get close to "feeling" of Amiga programming only if you make shader programs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VinylPusher (856712)

      I call bullshit. Even some of the most simple Flash games would be impossible to re-create on a (then) mid-range Amiga.

      The Amiga would struggle even with a 'match-3' game where any case arose that the grid full of symbols all had to fall down at the same time. You've got to remember that the Amiga didn't have enough graphical horsepower to move even a 16-colour 320x256 screen full of objects around at 50 or 60fps. Oh, it could move the entire screen around as one object, but the Blitter couldn't shift actua

      • Re:Why Amiga? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by strikethree (811449) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @08:32AM (#33020458) Journal

        Holy cow! Have you never played Armour-Geddon? This was a game in a completely 3D environment. You could use 6 different types of vehicles to move around the very large environment. You could fly a jet fighter, a bomber, or a helicopter. You could drive a heavy tank, a light tank, or a hovercraft. You could use up to 6 vehicles at a time (set a waypoint and then hit F1 through F6 to jump into the drivers seat of another vehicle).

        The gameplay was fantastic. You were trying to prevent the computer controlled enemy from gathering enough energy to fry everything on the planet surface. The power gathering was represented by 3d towers that had light beams going from them to the next tower in line until you got to the gathering point of all the towers. These "powerlines" were ditributed all over the surface.

        My friends and I played this game for YEARS. I would love to recreate it. We almost perfected beating the game. Our strategy was to run a mission (we created the parameters for it. It was not a mission required by the game) where we would fly a jet equipped with a laser, a night sight, and a drop tank for extra range. We would fly low to avoid radar and start following power lines to junctions, destroying the towers on the way to the junctions (you had to start at the end of the powerline as each tower was more difficult to destroy when it had more power flowing through it). Flown (very!) carefully, a single jet flight could darken most of the map and return.

        The next step were bomber missions where we would either pick up missing neutron bomb parts or drop teleport devices. One mission was called the Swooping Bat Mission because we flew a bomber across the landscape (low, to avoid radar) and picked up a bomb part that was surrounded by pyramids. There was no way in other than through the air. The trick was to stall the bomber just above the part so you could pick it up and then punch the engines to full throttle so you could climb enough to miss the sloping slides of the pyramids. (this was so difficult that for months, we were convinced it was impossible to do!)

        Near the energy gather point, there is a line of "mountains" (pyramids again) with a valley. We called that cocaine alley because when you flew through it, you could not shoot fast enough to destroy everything. We usually took a laser, a rack of rockets, and a rack of guided missiles. The rockets were to destroy the "stubborn" towers and the missiles were for the jets. You would end up with a LOT of jets chasing you and guided missiles were the best weapon for shooting down other planes... however, (near cocaine alley) I once shot a jet down with a tank using a normal artillery shell!

        Meh, this is all tl;dr I am sure. My point is that all of this was possible on my Amiga 500 with only 512k of chip RAM and a 7mhz processor. Your claims about the graphical weakness of the Amiga are not true. How else could a simulated 3D enviroment like that, with such possibilities (shooting down a jet with an artillery shell!), be created?

        The Amiga was just plain awesomeness. It had multi-tasking all the way down to its hardware. The Agnus chip could be blitting crap across the screen while the CPU was busy calculating crap elsewhere. Anything that required raw CPU horsepower was slow, but since each chip could do its own thing, you could have tons of crap going on at once.

        While I am it, I really really miss DPaint IV. Heh, with its name, you would think it was just a paint program like Microsft Paint. No. That thing had all sorts of tools that I have not seen in any one package since then. It would more realistically be called an animation program. You could make animated brushes and move them through time with just a few keystrokes. It was awesome. I really miss my Amiga. Modern computers are nowhere near as fun and useful and cool.

        strike (sad)

  • by LoadWB (592248) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:44AM (#33019422) Journal

    I came late to the Amiga party. Eh, just before Commodore tanked and I began my migration from BBSs to the Internet. I am still rockin' and rollin' 18 years later (holy shit, it really HAS been that long?!) Even my nick/handle/alias is homage. Got my trusty A4000D and several "classic" companions, and a recently-acquired MacMini running MorphOS 2.5. Good times had then, and still yet to be had.

    I am sure a lot of people know by now, what with Google and all, but there are a good number of Amiga sites and enthusiast groups, as well as MANUFACTURERS (yes, we get new, modern hardware, too!) amiga.org is a good place to start, though there are many other sites. And let us not forget AmiWest (maybe I will finally make it this year...)

  • That guy is a walking train wreck, I worked with him long ago.

    I can't believe anybody would do business with him. There must be a lot of gullible fools out there.

  • by drHirudo (1830056) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:41AM (#33019768) Homepage
    The Amiga turned 25 and I am extensively using Amigas since 1993. That's seventeen years. Things changed a lot since the early 1990-ies. First it was the BBSes, where an Amiga with modem more than fine. Then the Internet era came, where I was connecting to the Internet and downloading games and scene demo off Aminet and enjoying them. Then the 68000 line of processors was getting old and slow, but hopefully the PowerPC accelerators came to give the old machines an enormous speed boost. Then new machines appeared based on faster, more powerful and newer processors. And now in 2010 we have more new Amiga machines coming - the Sam 460 and the Amiga X1000. My Amiga history and experience is excellent, so I have no reasons to move to other platforms. Cheers
  • Sure they are cool and retro and all that, but what are/were they actually good for? I mean activities that one might actually get paid for.

    The only time I ever saw an Amiga actually doing something useful was at a live show, where an Amiga was used to generate the (admittedly cool looking) video images projected behind the performers. Everything else seems to be just games and standard applications available on any normal computer.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Sure they are cool and retro and all that, but what are/were they actually good for? I mean activities that one might actually get paid for.

      The Amiga had a pretty good DTP suite from what I hear, but you had to have a video card to make it useful for anything. So that knocked out about 99.99% of the potential market; you could buy a mac for what it cost to get an Amiga capable of doing justice to business applications. Then again, if you just wanted to be able to run some Mac software, you could buy an Amiga 2500 and an emplant board and get the same CPU as a IIci, yet still get better performance while running Mac programs, because the Mac II

  • My Amiga Memories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stele (9443) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @10:44AM (#33021024) Homepage

    I got one of the first A1000s. I bought the white ROM Kernel Manuals several months before I got the machine. I learned C by reading the RKMs and K&R.

    Several months later I bought one of the first memory expansion boards (the Insider I think) from a small computer shop called Michigan Software. They ran a BBS that I frequented.

    I spent thousands of hours with Amiga Paint, Aegis Animator (I think) and a music program (can't remember the name). Once I recorded a version of GhostBusters that I hand edited in the music software, than I added vocals using the speech synthesizer. I was 15.

    The next year in high school I wrote a molecular modeling program for the science fair. You could load models and rotate them with a joystick. I remember being frustrated that I wanted BlitMaskBitmapRastPort() which allows you to blit an image through a mask, but my ROM kernel didn't have it. Eventually the new ROMs came out and I could finally finish it. Took me all the way to Puerto Rico for the International Science Fair and I won first place in computer science for it, as well as several awards for photography, for taking long exposure pictures of the computer screen in a dark room. My father had an Anvil Case custom built for the trip, and I remember when we got to the hotel room I unpacked the Amiga to make sure it had survived, and it wouldn't turn on. My sponsor was freaking out. I quickly popped open the top case, re-seated the memory board, and it started up fine. My sponsor thought I was a genius.

    I was at a SIGGRAPH in 1989 and met several of the Amiga inventors (RJ Mical, Dale Luck, and some others). We ended up at RJ Mical's house (I think, it might have been Michael Bittner's house) talking about what it would take to build a 3D accelerator. Copper Bittner was there - I always thought she had a cool name. I was honored, at 18, to be taken into the fold.

    I made a lot of pizza money in college selling my Periodic Table of the Elements program through Fred Fish (rest in peace) disks. I still have some German Deutsch-marks that someone sent me from Germany.

    I remember the first time I tried closing a door on one of those walking plant things in Dungeon Master, and watching it get crushed to death, and laughing my ass off, spewing Jolt and M&Ms everywhere.

    Later I sold a bunch of programming articles to Amigaworld Tech Journal. Those were fun times.

    Eventually I sold my A3000, all my disks, peripherals, manuals, everything for $500, because I wanted to buy a PC to play Ultima Underworld. It's probably just as well, as I'm now sitting on several SGI machines in the basement that aren't worth anything either.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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