AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Friday, May 3, 2019

SkillGrid - new vertical shoot'em up game for Amiga!

Amiga games developers are pretty active these days - here's the latest release in Amiga shoot'em up games. And it's an impressive one.

"SkillGrid" is a new vertical shoot 'em up for AGA Amigas by Simone "RETREAM" Bevilacqua, who by the way is also responsible for the excellent BOH and Huenison games, among others, and has created a little gaming universe made of his creations.

So now he's released SkillGrid, which takes place in the same universe, and again has somehow to do with some Evil Masters - you can read the full saga on SkillGrid's homepage (see links below).

https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMjc1ODAwLzE2OTU5ODgucG5n/original/i%2B3Q9L.png

Among SkillGrid's features are
  • original tactical gameplay mix of shooting and catching/dodging
  • endless game with procedurally generated stages
  • in-depth scoring system
  • sub-games and boss battles
  • parallax scrolling
  • transparency
  • pixel-perfect collision detection
  • hi-quality prog-rock music [Author's note: Yeah, baby!]
  • speech

...and many more.

https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMjc1ODAwLzE3MDUyMjUucG5n/347x500/5YhmqE.png

A couple of different editions are available, including a physical "Deluxe Edition" with CD, floppy disks, 16-page booklet, postcards, badges, and even a A3 sized poster! Very nice.


Here you can see SkillGrid in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLLtD4nr5ck

Judging from the screenshots, the music, and the video, this is an awesome game. Gameplay looks above-average, the action is frenetic, graphics are good to stunning, smooth and stylish, and then there are these outstanding music tracks (some of which almost speak out "I love Iron Maiden!") and sound effects.

Bevilacqua's work is really impressive, he's applying minimalistic gaming ideas from the smartphone-generation to the Amiga, and does so with amazing technical skill. The boxed "Deluxe Edition" of SkillGrid (or any of RETREAM's games, for that matter) is just beautiful, a must-have for any serious Amiga gamer.


Find out more, listen to the music, and get your copy of "SkillGrid" at:
https://retream.itch.io/skillgrid

If you just want to order your physical edition you can go here directly:
https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/skillgrid-amiga

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Have you played "SkillGrid" yet? Please leave a comment below!

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Sources:

https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/skillgrid-amiga

https://retream.itch.io/skillgrid

https://www.retream.com/

https://www.facebook.com/R37R34M/

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/04/skillgrid-wicked-aga-shoot-em-up.html

GoADF! - advanced ADF utility

Krzysztof "Bitplan" Donat from Poland has just released a nice tool to handle your ADF files, and do a bit more.

GoADF! is more than just your average ADF disk writing tool. It shows information about your ADF files, like filesystem type, used/free space on disk, and more, it can extract individual files from an ADF, it can mount ADFs as a logical drive to AmigaOS, of course it can write your ADF files to floppy disk, and it does a couple of other useful things.

It also has a nice Workbench GUI, and it's free. :-)

Get your copy of GoADF! at:
https://bitplan.pl/goadf/index.html

 

https://bitplan.pl/img/ss_splash.png

Sources:

facebook

https://bitplan.pl/goadf/contact.html

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/05/goadf-fantastic-piece-of-amiga-software.html
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New facebook group for BlitzBasic/AmiBlitz coders

Yes, indeed, there used to be no facebook group specifically for Amiga BlitzBasic/AmiBlitz coders. This situation has just changed.



BlitzBasic, or AmiBlitz, is a BASIC dialect, originally developed specifically for the Amiga, keeping the Amiga hardware's special features in mind, allowing reasonably unexperienced coders to get great results, and quickly. Many games have been written in BlitzBasic, including the outstanding Lemmings-clone Blobz.

Surprisingly there wasn't a facebook group dedicated to Amiga BlitzBasic - until now. Amiga BlitzBasic coders now have a group on facebook to share, exchange, and chat about their BlitzBasic experiences.

The group's name is "Amiga BlitzBasic & AmiBlitz", it's a closed group, and as such of course you need to have a facebook account, and request to join the group.

C u there! Happy BlitzBasic coding!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Shogo: Mobile Armor Division" available as digital download

Oh, that's a nice one: "Shogo: Mobile Armor Division", one of the best FPS games ever for the Amiga, originally released in 2001 (for the Amiga) can now be purchased as digital download.

http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/images/stories/shogocover.jpg
http://hol.abime.net/1912/screenshot
"Shogo: Mobile Armor Division" was initially released for Windows in 1998, and was one of a couple of ambitious ports to the Amiga platform done by Hyperion. The digital download is only 14.95EUR, and you need a next-gen Amiga running AmigaOS4.1 or some decent - in other words: PowerPC - AmigaOS3 hardware to run the game.

Click this link for more details:
http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/index.php/news/37-games/278-shogo-mobile-armor-division-available-as-digital-download-for-amigaos-3-and-4


Sources:
http://hol.abime.net/1912
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shogo:_Mobile_Armor_Division
https://www.facebook.com/HyperionEntertainment/posts/2566146990278613

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Support the APECAT

An interesting little project by Norwegian developer Stian Søreng, the APECAT - short for "Amiga Processor Expansion Card for Application Transfer" - aims to enable you to upload data directly to your Amiga's memory.

The APECAT - a successor of the "68k Sandwich" (see "Sources" below) - is quite a simple circuit board, using an ATmega128 controller, that sits between the Amiga 500's mainboard and the MC68000 CPU. Being able to use a PC computer and this board to "inject" software directly to the Amiga's RAM would hugely simplify a software developer's work, and also has a lot of potential for retro gamers.

BUT! It doesn't work yet. So far things look promising, but there are still a few issues to iron out - so Stian Søreng asks for YOUR help!

If you're an Amiga hardware / assembler guru maybe you can contribute?

Go to his blog site and project page for more information:
http://jmp.no/blog/work-in-progress-apecat

Sources:
http://jmp.no/blog/a-68-sandwich
https://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2019-03-00035-DE.html

Thursday, March 14, 2019

71 new links in the AMIGA alive Web Directory

Another update to the AMIGA alive Web Directory - 71 links added, now 410 websites listed!

We also have a new section "Usergroups".

If you're looking for something specific, make sure to check the "Misc / Mixed" section, as some websites cover multiple different subjects, e.g. software authors may have created very different applications.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Does Muse's "Algorithm" steal from "The Last Ninja - Wilderness"?

Retro is hip. Calvin Harris and many other contemporary musicians openly state the influence the nowadays called "retro-scene" had and has on their work. Do Muse owe more than just a bit to "The Last Ninja"?

"The Last Ninja" is frequently listed among the best games ever for the Commodore 64 and the Amiga (as "Ninja Remix"), and on either platform it's blessed with an outstanding soundtrack. Among all of "Last Ninja"'s music tracks, composed by Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees, the best known is probably "Wilderness", of which many remakes can be found on the net, including live band renditions.

In 2018, Muse released their album "Simulation Theory", and on first sight you get the (semi-)retro idea they obviously had. The cover instantly reminds you of "Blade Runner" , "Strange Days", "Tron", and the likes, the whole bunch of 70s to 90s science fiction cinema classics. Equally does the music take you back a couple of decades. The opening track's drums almost speak out "eight-zero-eight", and it's classic analogue synth sounds all over the place.

So let's start at what could be the beginning:

Commodore 64, "The Last Ninja" - "Wilderness" by Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees, 1987

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbBENI8sHFE

A masterpiece of 3-channel SID composition. The only thing it lacks is a distinctive drum sound, but once you get it, it still has a strong underlying groove, and on top of that some beautifully crafted melodies, mostly in the pentatonic scale, along with lots of arpeggiated chords.

Three years later, Jochen Hippel creates a remix of the same composition for "Ninja Remix", with added drums, emphasizing the groove (and adding an uptempo section):

Amiga, "Ninja Remix" - "Wilderness" by Jochen Hippel (based on original C64 version), 1990

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjFO9VxTo-Y

Fast-forward to 2018, Muse's "Algorithm" from "Simulation Theory", listen especially to the chords after the drums have entered, and some of the melody sections:

Muse - "Algorithm", official music video, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8f5RgwY8CI

Isn't it staggering? There's even arpeggiated chords. Matt Bellamy from Muse has also openly stated his Amiga-roots, even that "...Muse wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Amiga 500...", so it's no surprise we hear a lot of the then-common sounds and styles in Muse's music. Portions of "Algorithm" almost sound like a direct hommage to the Commodore 64 and Amiga game music composers at the time, and in this case even some of the chord progressions match.

Did Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees' "Wilderness" slip into "Algorithm"? Did Muse steal from the composers? Well, fortunately there's no copyright on chords and sounds alone. The overall composition of "Algorithm" is very different from "Wilderness", and especially the vocal sections evoke a very different mood, so there's probably no question "Algorithm" is a standalone creation. But still there is a huge "Oh yeah...!", as the similarities to 80s and 90s video game music are undeniable, and obviously intentional. Certainly not directly taken from "Wilderness", but at least on a subconscious level it is possible "The Last Ninja" has left a lasting impression in the back of the Muse's minds (or Bellamy's). And if it's not "Wilderness" specifically, then it's the blend of game music by composers like Martin Galway, Chris Huelsbeck, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Anthony Lees, and others, and the technical equipment available at the time - including an Amiga 500 - that certainly have contributed to "Algorithm". It's as if Muse are giving a friendly nod, maybe even taking a bow, to the generation of 8-bit musicians. Retro computer music has become a part of music history. Given Muse's popularity, one could say it has left it's niche existence somewhere between children's bedrooms and demoparties, and reached the open mainstream.

Ben Daglish passed away on Oct. 1st 2018.
Anthony Lees passed away in Aug. 2016.
R. I .P.

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Additional sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ninja
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_Theory_(album)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Bellamy
http://hol.abime.net/982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB2gNA0cQYo
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/matt_bellamy_muse_wouldnt_exist_if_it_wasnt_for_video_games__my_amiga_500_pc.html
https://www.remix64.com/news/ben-daglish-is-no-longer-with-us.html
https://c64audio.com/blogs/news/anthony-lees-an-obituary 

All used names and material belong to the respective owners.

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What's your opinion? Leave a comment in the comments section below!