Written by David Brunet from Obligement - November 2019
Translated by Tygre - January 2020
Amiga and Titanic
In the show Retro Recipes broadcast on December 14th, 2019, host Christian Simpson shows an Amiga 4000 used to create Apollo 13, Titanic, True Lies and other films. For example, he discovered previously lost images related to the film Titanic. For example, we see the artist Chris Evans painting.
Most of the original footage from Titanic was lost because the backup tapes were stored in a room near an inverter (electric power supply). And the magnetic field erased the tapes...
The archive containing all the data is available on Archive.org. This Amiga 4000/040 was used on the sets of Titanic and Apollo 13. The computer was an integral part of the making of these films. We learnt, for example, that the computer had an interface with the "motion control" camera on the set, which uses ARexx scripts, to coordinate the camera's repetitive movements to add multiple layers to the same mobile plane, such as people, fog, effects, etc.
The equipment includes an Amiga 4000/040, a PAR acquisition card, a PAR display card, an Ethernet card, a RapidFire SCSI controller, three memory modules on the motherboard, a 68040/25 MHz processor on the motherboard, a 120V power supply (non-functional), a new 240V power supply, a Commodore 1084 monitor and an Amiga mouse (the keyboard is not present).
This Amiga 4000 and its components were donated to Christian Simpson by its previous owner, Cris Blyth, who was an employee of the production company Digital Domain, and who recovered the Amiga from a dumpster about 30 years ago. Some cinematic treasures were hidden in this Amiga.
This computer was then sold at auction on December 24th, 2019, for $2,100.
A1222 Plus and Special AAA Offer
A-EON Technology announced on December 23rd, 2019, the start of pre-orders for the limited edition A1222 Plus Early Adopter. This edition includes the Tabor motherboard, which has been beta-tested over the past four years, and a license for AmigaOS 4.1 Early Adopter that will entitle you to access updates when they become available. A-EON Technology commissioned the production of 100 motherboards. The price is set at 400 euros and availability is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
In addition, A-EON Technology will also be selling a combo, named AAA and priced at 115 euros, which will include the following products:
- The Enhancer Software 2.0 collection.
- A mouse and a mouse pad Amiga.org.
- Personal Paint 7.x drawing software for AmigaOS 3 and 4.
- ImageFX graphics editing software for AmigaOS 3.
- The AmigaSYS software distribution "special 35th anniversary" for AmigaOS 3.
- A digital copy of the documentary Viva Amiga Extended Remix (as soon as available).
- An AAA display box.
- A certificate A1222 Early Adopter.
To pre-order the limited edition A1222 Plus Early Adopter, you have two options:
- Option 1: Buy the AAA combo that will automatically qualify you for the purchase of the A1222 Plus. www.a1222plus.com, which will open on January 7th, 2020.
AROS One v1.2
AROS One is a software distribution for AROS x86 (ABIv0) designed by Carlo Spadoni. The author published version 1.2 on November 19th, 2019. AROS One is based on the latest AROS system files, includes a set of directory icons made by AROS and is configured with the Wanderer desktop with AfaOS. AROS One v1.2 includes all the latest software and updates, all the most common files have been associated with the most convenient tools in the Workbench and Dopus4. The JanusUAE emulator and the WHDMenu graphics interface have been added to best manage Amiga games under WHDLoad. In addition, a new wallpaper appeared, as has a new theme for windows and a new configuration for AmiStart (launch bar) [eab.abime.net].
On December 19th, 2019, Toni Wilen published the version 4.3.0 de WinUAE, his Amiga emulator for Windows with the following changes:
- Rewriting of the high-DPI graphical interface.
- Improved no-delay synchronization stability.
- Improved compatibility for on-the-fly switching of chipsets.
- SPTI CD/DVD access mode now internally emulates all CD audio controls.
- Improved hot insertion/disconnection on PCMCIA port.
- Bug fixes for the A2024 monitor, CDTV's audio CD function, 24-bit RTG mode, etc.
- Removing all internal rest cycles in 68020 processor mode (this slowed down the processor and wasn't really used).
- New hardware management: Overdrive hard drive, IDE/SCSI Trifecta controller, SCSI Mastercard extension, Scala MM electronic keys.
A Backup Kit
Polish publisher Amiga.net.pl released the first CD of the new A2 Extra CD series in December 2019. Each issue will contain software selected by theme with add-ons. A2 Extra CD #1 is a backup kit to launch AmigaOS and a backup utility without using a hard drive. This is useful for repairing a damaged disk. The minimum requirement is Kickstart v2.0 and 1MB of memory. In addition to the CD, this combo includes a spare floppy disk, ten Amiga stickers of different colors and a discount coupon for your next purchase from this publisher. The kit can be ordered in a box or in a digital version. Price: 20 PLN (4.69 euros) [amiga.net.pl].
Preversion of Icaros Desktop v2.3.0
Paolo Besser offers since Decembre 19th, 2019, a preversion of Icaros Desktop v2.3.0, software distribution for AROS x86. In this new version, reserved for project contributors, he added or improved many things:
- Added software: LEU 0.7 (spreadsheet viewer), flac (audio tool), ViewT, ZuneHexEditor (hexadecimal editor), Ezekiel (graphic tool), UserMenus (office menus), LilCalendar (calendar), IconPoser (icon editor).
- Added games Saga, AmiFish/StockFish and Frets On Fire C++.
- The Lua script language became mandatory (it is now in the system, not in the "Development" directory).
- Icaros 32-bit can run on a 64-bit Linux.
- New version of HostBridge, a software bridge (by Paolo Besser and Nicola Scendoni) to use programs of the host system (only Linux currently). Now Linux programs can be run at startup.
- Overhaul of MyWorkspace, the directory containing your data/media.
- AmiStart settings are no longer overwritten during updates. AmiStart settings for the Linux host version were added.
- Software update: EasyRPG-Player 0.6.1, SQLMan, Timekeeper, HivelyTracker, InstallerLG, VIM, ModExplorer, VAMP, ZunePaint, ZuneView, etc.
3D Update for AmigaOS 4
Since the end of December 2019, all registered users of Enhancer Software lot have an updated RadeonHD graphics drivers (v3.7), ogles2.library (v2.11), Warp3DNova.library (v1.68), W3DN_GCN (v1.68), and W3DN_SI (v1.68). These libraries are the work of Daniel Muessener and Hans de Ruiter [www.amigans.net].
Yann LeCun Was an Amigan
Yann Le Cun, 59, is a researcher in artificial intelligence and artificial vision. He is considered one of the inventors of deep learning. He was awarded the Turing Prize on March 27th, 2019. Surprise, in his autobiography ("Quand La Machine Apprend", Odile Jacob), we discover that he used an Amiga:
"Notre collaboration [NDLR: entre Léon Bottou et lui] est facilitée par le fait que nous possédons le même type d'ordinateur personnel: un Amiga de la société Commodore. A la différence des PC et Mac de l'époque, les Amiga ont des propriétés similaires aux stations de travail Unix répandues dans les départements d'informatique outre-Atlantique: on les programme en langage C avec le compilateur gcc et l'éditeur de texte Emacs. J'écris ma thèse sur mon Amiga avec le système de traitement de texte pour informaticiens LaTeX. Nous échangeons nos bouts de programmes à distance en connectant nos Minitel à nos Amiga..."
On his personal Website, the Amiga is also mentioned. He reveals that he owned an Amiga 1000 and 4000. He was also playing music with a MIDI Yamaha WX-11 plugged into his Amiga with the Bars and Pipes program. [Amiga Impact].
A New Little ACA for A1200
Since the end of December 2019, Individual Computers offers a new accelerator card for Amiga 1200. Its name is ACA1211 and does not propose a change of processor. Instead, the ACA1211 adds memory and speeds up the computer IDE port. According to the manufacturer, the 66 MHz SDRAM memory on this card speeds up the A1200 68EC020 processor by 2.3 times. A MapROM option (1MB) is available, as are two clock ports. Adding memory up to 11.5MB is possible without compatibility problems with the PCMCIA port. And as the memory is added to the address 0x00c0.0000, your A1200/ACA1211 will be more compatible with many A500 games that require a memory extension. Price: 99.96 euros. If you buy a new ACA12xx card in the coming year, Individual Computers will return the price of the ACA1211 [icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/product/aca1211.html].
AmigaOS 4: MiniGL Also for Radeon Polaris
Daniel Müßener gave a nice Christmas present to Radeon RX400/500 graphics card owners with Polaris chips. On December 31st, 2019, he released a version of MiniGL for the Radeon R400/R500 Polaris chip-based cards. This new version of MiniGL, called MiniGL4GL4ES, is a set of replacement libraries for MiniGL and GLUT, built on GL4ES, allowing to play old MiniGL games on AmigaOS 4.
Why did MiniGL games not run on Polaris? Because the original MiniGL works over the former Warp3D driver that has not been implemented for this type of graphics cards. Sometime before, Roman Kargin and Sébastien Chevalier ported GL4ES on AmigaOS4 (which is also an OpenGL implementation) but that did not work over Warp3D, but over OpenGLES2 (so 4ES), which works on top Warp3DNova for which Hans de Ruiter added management for Polaris cards.
The current version of MiniGL4GL4ES consists of two libraries: minigl.library and mglut.library. It is an alpha version, some games work (like Quake 3 and Jedi Knight), others do not and, most importantly, do not run multiple MiniGL programs at the same time [OS4Depot].
Games of the Capacitor Party 2019
The Capacitor Party 2019 is an Amiga rally that took place from November 1st to 3rd, 2019 in Malaga (Spain). Among other productions, some games for Amiga Classics were published:
Wacomtablet is an AmigaOS 4 USB driver for Wacom graphics tablets. This is a project by Alexandre Balaban, started in 2012 and based on the pilot "The Linux Wacom Project" on Linux. Version 1.1 of November 3rd, 2019 has an updated code from input-wacom v0.44 that manages penPartner, DTU, DTU, DTUS, DTH1152, PL, PTU, Bamboo (optical pencil) and Graphire graphics tablets. Previous non-released versions already added the management of various graphics tablets, such as the Intuos Pro, Bamboo One and Cintiq 13HD [OS4Depot.net].
Antiryad Gx v4.7
Antiryad Gx is a game creation tool available on several platforms, including AROS, AmigaOS 3 and MorphOS. This free software is the work of the French company Arkham Development. Version 4.7 of December 6th, 2019, offers bug fixes, optimizations, and improvements to the string API. The previous version 4.5 (November 2018) improved file recovery as well as the plugin system [AntiryadGX_4.7_install.7z].
Dominium and Chicago 90 Free
In November and December 2019, Amiga Future magazine offered a free download of two additional games. The first is Dominium, a strategy game, by Black Pearl, published in 1993 on Amiga OCS by Microïds. The second is Chicago 90, a racing game published by Microïds in 1989 also for Amiga OCS.
AmigaOS Games 4: Roman Kargin to the Rescue
The development of AmigaOS 4 is slowing down, new programs are becoming scarce, but one person is still trying to provide good games to this system: Roman Kargin, who ported in recent weeks a number of games requiring a powerfil configuration, including a recent 3D card as well as the libraries Warp3DNova.library and ogles2.library. As a result, there are SuperTuxKart v0.8.1 (racing game), Night Of The Zombies (subjective shooter), H-Craft Championship (racing game), Neverball v1.6.0 (skill game), Friking Shark v1.2 (shooting game), Foobillard++ v3.42 (pool simulation) and evenand even Hydra Castle Labyrinth, a platform game that does not need 3D. As a bonus, Roman Kargin also ported Irrlicht Engine, a graphics engine used to make 3D games.
Word Me Up XXL 1.61 for MorphOS
Word Me Up XXL is a platform game designed by Boing Attitude. Version 1.61 for AmigaOS 4 was available since May 2015 but it was only recently released for MorphOS, on December 18th, 2019. Following the release of MorphOS v3.12, some graphics bugs appeared. The main objective of this Update v1.61 is therefore to correct these bugs:
- Fixed the black screen that could appear between screens.
- Compiled with GCC v4.4.5 (previously v2.95.3) and SDK v3.14.
- The avatar smoothly shifts when viewing help about it.
- Fixed bugs about the non-use of the mouse to click the buttons [-] and [+].
- Fixed some labels at the end.
Simone Bevilacqua of Retream completed Blastaway, his action/shooter for AmigaOS 4.1 and Windows. This is a gamed inspired by Wizard of War with graphics à la The Chaos Engine. It presents 50 screens spread over five different worlds. Configuration required: 500 MHz processor, 32-bit graphics card, sound card, 20MB of memory. The price can be set freely [retream.itch.io/blastaway].
ModExplorer Likes SID
ModExplorer is an audio player designed with Hollywood by Joerg Renkert. Its peculiarity is that it allows you to listen to music online directly from sources such as Aminet, Modland and modules.pl [Translator’s note: like AmiModRadio before it]. Since its 2.0 version, this player can also play modules in the SID format (from the Commodore 64) or 125,000 modules according to the author. This program is available for AmigaOS 3, AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, and AROS [evil.bplaced.net].
BestWB is a software distribution for AmigaOS v3.x designed by Ignacio Gully. This distribution attempts to improve AmigaOS v3.1.4 with the addition of various tools and scripts, without adding heavy and useless components for the system. Version 1.3 of November 15th, 2019, offers new features (personalization of the titlebar via TitleShadow, integration of the AHI audio system), updates four tools (IconLib46 v46.4.518, ToolsMenu v1.10.2, TSGUI v2.6b21, and WBDock v2.14), fixes some bugs and removes DOSPrefs that is too buggy [lilliput.amiga-projects.net/BestWB.htm].
OBSTMUI is a MUI graphical interface to launch your OpenBOR games, those derived from the Beats Of Rage game engine. OBSTMUI is implemented by Frank Brandis, it works on AmigaOS v3.x, and it is recommended to use an AGA or RTG screen [Aminet].
Iris v70 and v71 Beta
New beta versions of Iris, the email client developed by Jacek Piszczek for MorphOS, were published in the last two months. Here are some of the changes, in addition to some bug fixes:
- Implementing drag and drop of emails in folders.
- Overhaul of all actions on multi-selected email lists.
- Added a MIME type to check the integration of images.
- Added an ARexx "ATTACH" command.
- Fixed the session manager to request new OAuth2 keys before they expire.
- Fixed GMail disconnection after one hour of Iris use.
- Fixed a problem that sometimes prevented sending e-mail.
IconLib v46 Also for AROS
Peter Keunecke has been working for a few years on IconLib, a library optimized in 68k assembler to display AmigaOS v3.x icons more quickly. In addition to two bug fixes, version v46.4.520 released on December 12th, 2019, offers an alpha version for AROS 68k [Aminet].
Amiberry is an Amiga emulator (derived from WinUAE) for the Raspberry PI and other ARM processor-based computers, maintained by Dimitris Panokostas. Versions 3.0 to 3.0.11 were released in November and December 2019. In particular, they propose the following changes:
- SCP image management.
- Better management of IPAC controllers.
- Recognition of two joysticks when a keyboard is plugged in.
- Management of the LePotato Libre Computer and Raspberry 4.
- Use of the latest version of WinUAE.
- Generation of better geometries for partitions over 1GB.
- If the Zorro II memory conflicts with the PCMCIA memory, the PCMCIA is disabled.
- Slightly improved performance by changing the compiler's flags.
- Memory management pushed to 1GB (Zorro III memory) and 128MB (Fast memory).
- Removing SDL1 code. Amiberry is only available in SDL2.
- Management of the v3.1.4 ROMs of the Amigas 500 and 4000.
Ask Me Up XXL v3.5.0
Jerome Senay of Boing Attitude offers, since November 2019, the new 3.5.0 version of its Ask Me Up XXL quiz game for AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, and Windows. The main novelty is that you can turn on or off extensions (new questions) for solo game modes (quiz and survival). Previously, you had to answer all the basic game questions (there were 1,600) before you could play the installed extensions. Other changes: optimizing the fluidity of explosions, updating questions, graphics patches for MorphOS. Price: 19.99 euros, free update for people who have already bought the game [glames.online.fr/products/askmeup_xxl.html].
In addition, in 2016, Jérôme Senay created an extension for his quiz game Ask Me Up XXL. The extension, named Multitheme #1, was sold for 3.99 euros. Since November 2019, the author offers this extension free of charge to all users of Ask Me Up XXL (v3.5.0 minimum). As a reminder, Multitheme #1 brings no less than 400 new questions, divided into 15 topics, and is available in French, English and Spanish [AskMeUpXXL_Multitheme1.zip].
And that's not all, Jerome Senay spoils his customers because he also offers the free Game of Thrones extension for Ask Me Up. It brings 113 new questions about this famous series, in French, English, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese [AskMeUpXXL_GameOfThrones.zip].
Finnish programmer JPV released a new version, v1.5, of its RNOComics player, which now manages HTTPS (AmiSSL v4 required) for Issuu, the free electronic publishing platform for magazines, catalogues, and newspapers. This makes the search function work as it should. Update 1.3, released in November 2018, added PDF file management and proposed an overhaul of the rendering engine. Remember that this software for MorphOS and AmigaOS 4 can open any compressed file or directory including uncompressed images. RNOComics manages CBR, CBZ, CBT, and all xAD-managed files. It has an intuitive graphical interface in MUI and offers classic options for enlargement, rotation, history, and many others [Aminet].
GoADF! is an ADF file management tool, created by Polish developer Krzysztof Donat. This tool has many features such as ADF file reading, writing, exploring, and using virtual disks. Version 2.0 of November 15th, 2019, offers the management of new types of files (DMS, ADZ, and HFE), adds a module to convert HFE/ADZ/ADF/ADF/DMS image files to ADF/ADZ, the ability to sort through all lists, and new configuration options. GoADF! requires an Amiga under Kickstart 2.0, a 68000 processor, 1MB of memory and a hard drive [bitplan.pl/goadf/download.html].
Carsten Siegner updated Morpheus, his word processor for MorphOS. Version 1.2 of November 2019 features a graphic object system to insert and edit pixel and vector images, adds three libraries (wmf.library, svg.library, and dr2d.library) and saves pages in pictures (JPG, PNG, TIFF) [Aminet].
Firmware of HxC Floppy Emulator
The HxC STM32 USB Floppy Emulator is a floppy emulator that plugs into USB, designed by Jean-François Del Nero. He has been working hard for months to improve his firmware. The beta versions 3.3.x and 3.4.x appeared in recent months and include QuickDisk emulation, an improved display (20x24 or 40x24 resolution), a new management of the raw format (*.IMG and *.DSK), the management of w30, s50, s33, s55 files from Roland machines [hxc2001.com].
In addition, Jean-François Del Nero also updated the HxCFloppyEmulator software for its floppy drive emulator on December 8th, 2019. This is the 184.108.40.206 version that now manages MacOS Catalina 10.15, scripts, SPS CAPS (on Linux), as well as the Kurzweil K25 (K2500)/K26 (K2600) and Game Doctor SF3/SF7 files [Changements, Téléchargement].
FluxEngine is a cheap USB floppy interface, built by David Given, for reading and writing non-PC floppy disk formats. This component, launched in 2019, allows using a conventional PC floppy drive to read/write Amiga, Macintosh CLV, CP/M 128, and other exotic formats. It consists of a single basic card with a floppy drive connector welded on it. No additional custom card control, no complicated surface mounting, and no worries: nineteen simple welds and you've finished mounting. You can make one for $15 (excluding shipping) [cowlark.com/fluxengine/index.html].
New Productions of the Demo Scene
Here are the productions of the Amiga demo scene added to the site pouet.net the past two months:
- Dose 2, PowerPC/RTG demo by mfx.
- Glenztro, OCS intro by TEK.
- Merry And Happy, OCS demo by Agima.
- Checkerboard Madness, AGA intro by Void.
- Recoil, OCS cracktro by Scoopex.
- Dreams 30, AGA demo set by Void.
- Hacker 100%, OCS cracktro by Scoopex.
- Versus #9, OCS/PowerPC/RTG diskmag by Nukleus and Void.
- Feedback #8 - AmigaOS 4 Edition, PowerPC/RTG musicdisk by Void.
- Five, OCS demo by The Deadliners.
- Razzle-Dazzle, OCS intro by Y-Crew.
- Blue Artifact, 40 ko OCS demo by SFL.
- Dreams 29, AGA demo set by Void.
Tower 57 Update
Publisher Benitosub released an update (No. 13) for its action game Tower 57. It fixes a bug that could generate invalid backups. In addition, the acknowledgments were extended. The update is done automatically at the launch of the game if you are connected to the Internet [benitosub.itch.io/tower-57].
Black Dawn Rebirth Available
In 1994, Andrew Campbell begun the role-playing series Black Dawn for Amiga OCS. This series was continued in 1995 by the team of Z Soft (Shaun Watters, Tim Gilbert...) who produced three episodes. Shaun Watters returned to his first love and announced in early 2019 a brand new episode, Black Dawn Rebirth, based on a futuristic sci-fi/horror theme. This time, the game is commercial and published by the Canadian company Double Sided Games. The price is 12.99 CAD (dematerialized version) or 59.99 CAD (boxed version). Some numbers: 64 colors on screen, seven dungeons and twenty-one levels to explore, fourteen weapons, twenty-one types of enemies (three per dungeon). In addition, there is a long intro. that takes a whole floppy disk and 3D effects are available for the fastest Amiga [doublesidedgames.com].
A few days later, a v1.1 update was released to correct a graphical bug during the right/left movement and adds a plot available in the terminals distributed in the different levels.
On December 1st, 2019, Marcus Sackrow updated MUIMapparium, his client for OpenStreetMap collaborative maps. This is version 0.8 that updates searches (the server used had changed the way it provides data), adds keyboard shortcuts, and offers a more stable and fast AmigaOS 68k version. MUIMapparium is available for the following Amiga variants: Amiga 3.x, AmigaOS 4, AROS i386, AROS ARM, AROS x86_64 and MorphOS 3.8 [Translator’s note: it doesn’t work on Vampires] [blog.alb42.de/programs/muimapparium/].
Sensible World of Soccer 2019-2020
A new update for the football game Sensible World Of Soccer is available since December 19th, 2019. Philipp Habermann and his site team at Sensible Soccer United Community offers an update with data from the 2019/2020 season (teams, players, coaches, skills...). There is an Amiga OCS version (HDF and WHDLoad) and one for Windows.
Riva is an MPEG video player for Amiga 68k originally designed by Stephen Fellner and Laszlo Torok and updated by Henryk Richter. Two binaries are provided in the archive, a classic m68k compatible version (68040) and an AMMX version, for the Apollo Gold 2 and superior processor core of the Vampire. The source code is available in the archive, under GPL2 license. Changes since v0.53 are:
- Fixed DHAM6 and DHAM8 graphics modes in the 68k version.
- Optimizing the DHAM8 to apologize for breaking at the beginning (significantly higher speed).
- Added a 14-bit audio output option (HQAUDIO).
- Added a 16-bit PAMELA audio output on the Vampire v4 (HQAUDIO).
- Fixed and improved audio/video syncing.
Over the past two months, Edgar Schwan updated several programs for AmiCygnix, Environment X11 for AmigaOS 4: Claws Mail, EasyTAG, UFRaw and XSane.
Claws Mail is an email client that aims to be fast, powerful, and easy to use. It depends very little on the desktop environment but integrates as much as possible. It uses the GTK2 toolbox and offers: managing the visualization of PDF attachments, plugins for vCalendar messages (Outlook, Evolution), a feed for RSS news, Python management, and iMAP4 and NNTP protocol management. Edgar Schwan, after porting v3.7.1 ten years ago, decided to update its port to v3.9.2 [claws-mail.lha].
EasyTAG is a tool for viewing and editing information in MP3, MP2, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP4/AAC, MusePack, Monkey's Audio, and WavPack files. The port is now based on v2.1.8, which handles MP4/AAC and WavPack files, improves CDDB management, and offers new icons in the style of AmigaOS 4 [easytag.lha].
For its part, UFRaw is a tool for manipulating RAW image files. This fourth version for AmiCygnix goes to v0.22. It can handle Adobe Digital Negative files, Alpha Raw Format, ARRIRAW Image, Canon Raw, DC25 Digital Camera File, Epson RAW File, and many others. [ufraw.lha].
Finally, XSane is a scanner pilot system created by Oliver Rauch. In its v0.999, many new scanners are recognized. Edgar Schwan warns that data transfer can freeze your system, due to the USB stack of AmigaOS 4 [xsane.lha].
Windows à la MagicWB
Sylvio Kurze admits that he never liked the look of Windows. So, he embarked on a project (Amiga Magic WB - Windows conversion Project) whose goal is to provide a graphic theme and features for Windows as close as possible to MagicWB. The result is amazing. This include 2,500 icons, mouse pointers, wallpapers, etc.
A New Amiga Dealer
The small Amiga market is decidedly indestructible: a new French Amiga shop was launched on December 21st, 2019, by Jérôme Marchal, the instigator of the Amiga France website, via his company Jamm Computing SASU, based in Bourg-en-Bresse. Its name is MicroMiga and is only available online www.micromiga.com, a shop that is clear, fast, and without fuss. The shop already offers some products, mostly hardware but a section for games and software is also present, although it does not include much at the moment.
Amiga Forever 8 R3
The emulation suite Amiga Forever 8, designed by Cloanto for Windows, was updated to "R3" mid-December 2019. This is a free update for users of v8, who can get the new version via Amiga Forever "Help" dialog box. The price of Amiga Forever 8 remains unchanged: 9.95 euros (Value Edition), 29.95 euros (Plus Edition), and 49.95 euros (Premium Edition). This new version offers the following changes:
- Reconfigurable on-screen keyboards, with multi-tactile management and options for keyboard shortcuts.
- Possibility to perform certain actions in full-screen mode, without returning to window mode (change of floppy disk, take a break, take back, save...).
- Managing more joysticks.
- Ability to convert a hard drive into an image file and vice versa.
- Support for direct-connected drives (to make it easier to share media between Amiga and emulation systems).
- Support for amiga-style drag and drop: multimedia files, screenshots, audio files and documentation can be added to a title, and vice versa.
- Integrating a change log feature.
- The RP9 reader and toolbox now handle the importation and conversion of ".uae" files.
- New options in the developer menu.
- Management of multi-monitor and high-resolution DPI functions introduced in versions 1709, 1809, and 1903 of Windows 10.
Trap Runner for Christmas
The Night Owl Design team has released a special Christmas version of their platformer Trap Runner (subtitled Black Strawberry Cake). This new edition offers a new story, two new worlds (four classic levels, a level with jetpack, and a final boss for each world), ten new soundtracks, two new game actons (pushing boxes and jumping on a trampoline), and a new ending. This freeware game made in 68k assembler is available for Amiga OCS [night.owl.de].
Marcus Sackrow develops programs (LEU, MUIMapparium...) in Pascal for years. He uses FreePascal, an open-source and multi-platform compiler for Pascal. He released version 3.2.0 for AROS, MorphOS, and AmigaOS 3/68020 in December 2019 [Aminet].
AmiKit XE v11.1
Jan Zahurancik has been offering v11.1 of AmiKit XE since December 12st, 2019, AmigaOS 3.x software environment designed for Amiga emulation on Windows. Changes includes:
- Added the game HollyMan (clone of PacMan).
- Added Hollywood Player v8.0, IconEditor v2.0, ModExplorer v2.0, MUIMapparium v0.8, and Hollywood RapaGUI v1.2 and SID v1.2.
- Updated many programs, such as AmiKit Live Update v1.8, MorpheuZ v11.1, AmigaAMP v3.26, IBrowse v2.5 (demo), IconLib v46.4.520, RiVA v0.54, SnoopDos v3.9, SysInfo v4.3, WHDLoad 1v8.6...
- The AmiStart launch bar now shows the new programs.
- The archives under Directory Opus 5 are now open via the XADOpen component.
The association WArMUp announced on November 2nd, 2019, the 3.12 version of Chrysalis, its software distribution for MorphOS v3.12. This distribution allows to easily and quickly get a complete and pre-configured environment. It contains a selection of programs, games, and emulators for MorphOS. The ISO image (720MB) is freely downloadable on MorphOS-Storage. We note the update of a number of programs, like Iris beta 69, MPlayer v1.3.0, WebRadio v1.10, VidentiumPicta v2.0, ScummVM v2.1.0, and ACE v1.19.
Two New Wichers
Polish company Retro 7-bit announced the arrival of two new expansion cards:
- The Wicher 508i (already available) is an accelerator/memory card for Amiga 500/500. It replaces the computer 68000 processor. It offers PLCC68 support for a 68000 processor, up to 11MB of Fast memory, a 2.5" IDE connector, and an I2C controller. You can increase the processor frequency up to 50 MHz. MapROM functions and BootROM are included.
- The Wicher 608 (available soon) is a memory card for Amiga 600. It offers 11MB of memory and leaves the PCMCIA port functional. MapROM function included.
Vampire: Distribution of Pirate Programs?
For years, an unlicensed software distribution, based on AmigaOS v3.9, targeting Vampire accelerator cards, was available on the Internet. This is the Coffin distribution, which comes with tons of pre-installed programs, including games and applications previously distributed commercially. Gunnar von Boehn repeatedly said that neither he nor the Apollo Team were involved in the distribution of Coffin.
But in the days following the Amiga 34 rally, during which the Vampire v4 standalone card was officially launched, an increasing number of users reported on the site www.a1k.org (and on www.apollo-core.com) that they received a CF card with the pre-installed Coffin distribution from Gunnar von Boehn himself, when purchasing their Vampire v4 standalone (see screenshots of messages in German: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 et 6).
When other users began to criticize this way of launching a commercial product on the market (selling 32 Vampires v4 standalone worth 550 euros during Amiga 34 should have generated sales of more than 17,000 euros in a few hours), the Apollo Team spokesperson (known as "Grond") explained that the Team had to return to the Amiga Kickstart due to start-up problems with the AROS ROM and had purchased Kickstart 3.1 licenses from Mike Battilana (Cloanto) during the rally. In addition, Haage and Partner agreed to the distribution of AmigaOS v3.9, always according to Grond.
However, this would explain only a tiny fraction of the programs contained in Coffin, the latter having a total size of 32GB, including a complete collection of pre-installed WHDLoad games as well as many other commercial programs, such as Cinema 4D, SAS/C or Foundation Director's Cut. There are even commercial programs still on sale, like AmigaOS 3.9, and this is generally frowned upon, even in a retro community rather favorable to abandonware.
The editors of the Website Amiga-News.de wanted to know more. Because of their own conversations with Haage and Partner a few years ago, they doubted the claim that the Apollo Team had obtained permission to distribute AmigaOS v3.9. Amiga-News.de contacted Mr. Haage, who stated that he was not aware of the Vampire project and had no contact with the people behind it. According to him, none approached Haage and Partner to inquire about AmigaOS v3.9.
Amiga-News.de also contacted Gunnar von Boehn to clarify the situation and to forward their message to Grond, because they did not have a contact address for Grond. Gunnar von Boehn said that his team "considers the current legal situation regarding AmigaOS v3.9 to be very sad" and mentioned that "even properly purchased licenses may not guarantee legal ownership" (Amiga-News.de assumed that he referred to the legal battle between Hyperion and Cloanto). Gunnar von Boehn did not mention Coffin in his reply but admitted in a subparagraph that he thought that Vesalia still sold AmigaOS v3.9. Amiga-News.de did not receive a response from Grond [Amiga-News.de].
In comments on the post on Amiga-News.de (in German), Gunnar von Boehn said: "Due to the lack of legal clarity on the operating system, the team clearly chose AROS. The Vampires are therefore pre-installed with AROS." "In addition to AROS, the ROM also contained a licensed version of AmigaOS from Cloanto." We also learnt that not all users have received their Vampire with Coffin.
SDK update 3.14 for MorphOS
The MorphOS development kit, currently in version 3.14, received an update on November 11th, 2019. This new version contains updated binutils and fixes some minor problems, such as disk space (reduced installation size by about 1GB). This SDK requires MorphOS v3.12 and about 2GB of disk space [www.morphos-team.net/downloads].
Death of Chuck Peddle
The American engineer Charles "Chuck" Peddle died on December 15th, 2019, at the age of 82. He was one of the eight people in Motorola's team working on the 6800 processor in the early 1970s. He left the company for MOS Technology in 1974 where he co-created the 650x processor series and even the PET, one of the world's first computers. MOS Technology was acquired by Commodore, which turned it into its electronic chip division, which were found in particular on the Amiga.
FTS4 for Amiga Explorer
FTS4 (File Transfer Serial 4) is an implementation of Cloanto's Amiga Explorer protocol that currently only manages serial connections. It is a simple program, created by Guenter Bartsch, for the transfer of files between an Amiga and a client via a null modem cable. FTS4 requires at least AmigaOS 1.3. AmigaOS 2.0 is recommended [github.com/gooofy/FTS4].
Façade for Gotek
The DB 3D-Printing Services Website recently offered a 3D printed façade for Amiga 2000, which allows two Gotek readers to be integrated. Price: 43 euros [3dprintserviceshop.com/en/welkom/amiga-2000-cover-gotek-version/].
KOG and Huenison Updated
Simone Bevilacqua released mid-November an update to his 2008 arcade game KOG. This new version includes simplified and optimized CRT filters, a 6x zoom, hardware-accelerated zoom, a fixed frequency of wild shooting mode, a few sounds correction, and a reworked manual. The game requires AmigaOS v4.1, a processor clocked at least 500 MHz and 20MB of memory [retream.itch.io/kog].
A few days later, it was the turn of Huenison, his shooter/reflection game for AmigaOS 4, to be updated with the same improvements as KOG: simplified and optimized CRT filters, 6x zoom, and hardware-level accelerated zoom [retream.itch.io/huenison].
Greaseweazle, Stronger than Kryoflux?
After developing FlashFloppy (a firmware for the Gotek player flashed under HxC), Keir Fraser started another project called Greaseweazle, a USB interface for reading/writing floppy disks on a PC. Like Kryoflux, Greaseweazle reads the magnetic layers of the floppy disks regardless of the floppy disk format and records the information in a file-image (Flux Level Image) in the format Supercard (SCP), allowing reading and writing copy-protected disks.
Remember that SCP disk files are managed by WinUAE and FS-UAE and, using external tools, can be converted to the more common IPF format. You can also create ADF images if the disks are not copy-protected.
Greaseweazle consists of a Mikro controller card that costs only a few euros, connected to a floppy drive and then plugged into the PC via USB. All necessary software is available on Github under a free license [github.com/keirf/Greaseweazle/wiki].
Cooling System of ACA1240/ACA1260
The ACA1240/ACA1260 accelerator card were announced by Individual Computers a year ago and will be the most powerful cards in the history of this German manufacturer. On November 15th, 2019, the first photos of the prototypes were released, showing mainly the cooling system. Individual Computers chose an active system, a fan, with a heatsink that will replace the ventral trapdoor of the Amiga 1200. Fan speed can be adjusted [icomp.de].
Emu68 Shows the Tip of Its Nose
Early 2019, Michal Schulz announced the development of an Amiga 68k JIT emulator for the ARM version of the AROS operating system. An alpha 0.1 version of this emulator, named Emu68, is publicly available since November 8th, 2019 [www.patreon.com/posts/binary-for-you-31425592].
Another Memory Card for A600
Lotharek presents a new extension card, named eX601, by Boris Krizma, the developer of the Furia accelerator card. The eX601 is very small and offers 1MB of additional Chip memory, a real-time battery clock, an extension base for the ECS Indivision, and two clock ports. Price: 39.48 euros. Available after January 4th, 2020 [lotharek.pl/productdetail.php?id=281].
AMOS with AGA
Après avoir découvert un dépôt GitHub concernant AMOS Professional, et contenant tout ce qu'il faut pour pouvoir recompiler AMOS Professional, Frédéric Cordier s'est lancé un défi en mettant les mains dans les sources de ce langage de programmation lancé par François Lionet il y a plus de 25 ans.
In a discussion thread on Amiga Impact, Frédéric Cordier summarized the history of his work on what will become his own version, called AMOS Professional X. Some new features include managing dual playfield low resolution into two 16-color screens (instead of two 8-color screens previously) and managing 256 colors, always in low resolution. The French developer then added the "Load Iff" method to load 256-colour images.
The next step is to display high-resolution graphics (Hires, UHres, SHres) up to 256 colors, up to HAM6 mode, and check all graphic functions for their compatibility with AGA, and adapt them if needed [github.com/AmiDARK/AMOSProfessional-X].
Painting and Playing
Multiplayer games are often a lot of fun. This is also the goal of the Raliza Software team (Rafael Lima, Rodrigo Siqueira, Deborah Muth, and Edson Leal Jr.) who offer a new free game for Amiga OCS: BattleBrush. This Blitz Basic game features four brushes of different colors fighting to paint more canvas than their enemies! BattleBrush is played at four simultaneously, to brighten up your long winter nights [ralizasoftware.neocities.org/amiga.html].
Recoil Discovers the Amiga 30 Years Later
Recoil is a shooter, clone of Defender, directed by Special FX and published in 1989. It was previously only available on Atari ST, but Phill Boag-Butcher, aka Galahad of Scoopex, ported it on Amiga, 30 years after its initial release. Necessary configuration: Amiga OCS and 1MB of memory [English Amiga Board].