AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Monday, November 26, 2018

AmigaOS 3.1.4 digital download edition back online

AmigaOS 3.1.4 is available for digital download again!

This re-release apparently isn't motivated by a change in the legal situation between Hyperion / Itec / Amiga Inc. / Cloanto / ... , but a poll held by Hyperion via facebook.

Go here to purchase your digital copy of AmigaOS 3.1.4:
http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php/where-to-buy/direct-downloads/188-amigaos-314

Or get the physical media edition from a dealer near you:
http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php/where-to-buy/dealers


http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/images/stories/OS3.1.4/005.png


Sources:
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2018-11-00044-EN.html
https://www.facebook.com/HyperionEntertainment/posts/2482976675262312

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Barbarism increased: Barbarian+ for Classic Amiga

Classic beat'n'hack'em game "Barbarian - The Ultimate Warrior" got a fan-made facelifted remake, and is now available on Aminet.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

WARP 1260 accelerator board

Oh this looks and sounds sooo good: a new 68060 accelerator for Amiga 1200 is underway. And it has some awesome features.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrE0XLFWsAAon3V.jpg

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Art of the Algorithms

Not strictly Amiga, but very Amiga nonetheless: "Moleman 2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms" is a 2011/2012 documentary film from Hungary about the home computer demo coding scene.

If you're into swapping, trading, cracking, coding, intros, demos, cracktros, and that kind of stuff, "Vakondok 2 - Demoscene" - the film's original Hungarian title - by Director Szilárd Matusik is just perfect for you.

It explores the Hungarian demo scene, a fascinating insight into the history of demo coding, how demos are made, who makes them, who watches them. Amiga related content pops up here and there, but where it doesnt it's still a very enjoyable watch for anyone interested the demoscene, digital visual and audible art, computer programming, or computer hardware.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkZcTg1JWU


Note that large portions of the audio track are in Hungarian, but you can use YouTube's subtitles for an English translation.

You can go to http://www.molemanfilm.com to find out more about "Vakondok 2" and the other "Vakondok" movies.


Sources:
http://vakondok.com / http://www.molemanfilm.com
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2170661/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkZcTg1JWU

Monday, October 8, 2018

AmigaOS 3.1.4 Frequently Asked Questions answered

The same day the operating system update was released, a FAQ has been uploaded to AmiNet. If you have questions about or issues with AmigaOS 3.1.4 this might be the place to start looking for answers:

http://aminet.net/package/docs/help/AmigaOS_3.1.4-FAQ

Monday, October 1, 2018

56 new links in the AMIGA alive web directory

Another update to the AMIGA alive Web Directory - 56 links added, now 340 websites listed!

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.



Rise of the undead: AmigaOS 3.1.4 released

In Amigaland, 3.1.4 comes after 3.9: 18 years have passed since the last update of AmigaOS3 - since yesterday you can purchase a new release, AmigaOS 3.1.4!

----- ----- ----- ----- -----
UPDATE 2018-11-06: Software-only distribution of AmigaOS 3.1.4 has stopped, physical media (floppys & ROM) release is available at your Amiga dealer now!
----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Gathering information from various sources (see end of article) it's assumed it has these features:
  • Support for large harddisks (HD_SCSI_CMD, TD_64 and/or NSD) and "super floppies"
  • Support for long filenames, pipes, softlinks, hardlinks
  • "DiskDoctor" program is back, upgraded and matured, recovers data from damaged floppies and harddisks
  • Native support for 68000-68060 CPUs, and a more robust auto-configuration process
  • many ROM modules and CLI/shell commands bugfixed and updated
  • Workbench updated, new Preferences editors in GadTools style, printer drivers and support tools updated
  • "edit" and "MagTape" removed
  • CrossDOS and CD-ROM filesystem updated, including multithreading and support for Rockridge, Joliet and UDF
  • new professionally designed iconsets (multicolor, classic 4-color)
  • new intuition.library provides window off-screen dragging (optional)
  • workbench.library and icon.library loaded from disk due to increased size
...and more.

No screenshots or reviews have surfaced yet. Judging from AmigaOS 3.1.4's features, it's unlikely it will run on 512K Amigas, but contrary to OS3.5 and OS3.9 the 68000 CPU is still officially supported. Also it looks like this version is meant to replace the OS3.5/OS3.9 branch of AmigaOS, though with a little work it's still possible to keep your existing OS3.5/OS3.9 installation intact, if you prefer.

In other words:


A physical set of 3,5" floppy diskettes and ROMs will be available shortly.



Sources:
http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/index.php/news/1-latest-news/189-amigaos-314-for-68k-releasedhttp://hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php/where-to-buy/direct-downloads/188-amigaos-314
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-09-00046-DE.html
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-03-00061-DE.html
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2017-10-00059-DE.html
https://forum.amiga.org/index.php?topic=73661.0

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The awesomeness: Amiga hardware news - galore! (2/2)

Even more pure awesomeness. The Amiga community is without a doubt the most active and knowledgeable in the retro scene.

Paul Rezendes' Amiga 4000 replica mainboard


We've already reported about this project - and, yeah, it's done, thanks to Paul and the community!

The GoFundMe campaign has reached and even exceeded the amount of money required, and Paul Rezendes was pretty quick at getting the first boards produced and tested. By now the files created have been released to the public, and you can even order a board from Paul.

https://github.com/Acill/A4000RevB/blob/master/Images/20180804_091312.jpg?raw=true

Another fantastic addition to the range of newly available Amiga parts. Now there's no excuse not to resurrect your battery-leakage-damaged Amiga 4000 from the attic!

The fundraising campaign can still be found at:
https://www.gofundme.com/amiga-4000-replica-with-schematics/

The files required to build your A4000 replica mainboard can be found at:
https://github.com/Acill/A4000RevB

Take a look at Paul's website for some pictures of these beauties, and order a board if you like:
http://www.acill.com


...and arananet's Amiga 4000 daughterboard!


With the Amiga 4000 replica mainboard done (see above), and John Hertell's A3660 Amiga 4000 CPU board done, you might be wondering "cool, but I still can't build my Amiga 4000 without a ..."

Daughterboard. Wonder no more.

Eduardo Luis Arana has published the files required to build a updated daughterboard. The ISA ports has been removed, and it now includes a 15KHz VGA display connector to use with a breakout / backplate bracket. And it has some nice fiery design on the backside.

https://github.com/arananet/A4000db/blob/master/img/1.png?raw=true

You can grab the files required build your new Amiga 4000 daughterboard from GitHub at:
https://github.com/arananet/A4000db


Amiga S-video board


The Amiga's video connectivity features, while being highly convenient about 25 years ago, have turned out to be somewhat problematic today, and every update to them is warmly received.

http://electronics.chroma.se/svideo2.jpg

This board connects the any Amiga's 23-pin display output, and has a composite video, an S-video, and a 15KHz VGA output connector. Picture quality is claimed to be higher than Amiga-built-in outputs, especially using the S-video output.

Here we have another little success story regarding teamwork among Amigans: this circuitry is the one being used in John Hertell's ReAmiga 1200 for video output - nice! (see part 1 of this article)

Go to this website for more information about the Chroma Amiga S-video board:
http://electronics.chroma.se/svideo.php


K1208 and A1200 SDE+ 8MB FastRAM, SPI (SD, Ethernet) boards for Amiga 1200


Derived from Stephen Leary's TF328 project by Kipper2k, and further developed by Solidcore and Mike Stirling, these are two similar expansion boards for the Amiga 1200.

The specifications read as follows:
  • 4MB/8MB FastRAM jumper (4MB for PCMCIA support)
  • microSD card slot, up to 4GB FAT95 (FAT/FAT32) formatted cards (SPI 8MHz)
  • Ethernet ENC28J60 SPI module support (SPI 8MHz)
  • Real-time clock
  • 2800+ dhrystones on stock Amiga 1200 (14MHz 68EC020)
The situation with these boards is a bit unclear, no conclusive information about final development and availability could be found. It looks as if currently only the software for the cards (drivers and firmware) has been released to the public.

If you want to know more, check these links:http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?p=1212721
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?100275-A1208-8MB-Fastmem-SPI-(SD-Ethernet)-Board-for-A1200
https://www.mike-stirling.com/2018/05/sd-card-and-ethernet-on-the-amiga-1200/
https://github.com/mikestir/k1208-drivers
https://github.com/mikestir/k1208-cpld

(If you can clarify about the situation please leave a comment, thanks!)


Inexpensive A500 hard disk interface


A nice little addition for your quick harddrive needs might be this straightforward Amiga 500 harddisk interface. It requires a floppy disk to boot from and has been successfully tested with Kickstart 1.3 and 2.0.

Now this one has a feature that cannot be praised highly enough:
As you can see in the picture below, it has two expansion port connectors, one after another - the front one is an adapter to standard 2.54mm pin grid connector, and the other one is the pin grid connector mounted to the PCB. As the author says in the README file: "[...] future expansions will be developed with pin headers as their main connector." Huge sigh of relief. Finally someone starts to get rid of proprietary, hard-to-obtain connectors, and replaces them with widely available, future-safe solutions. One small step for an expansion board, hopefully one giant leap for Amiga-kind.

https://github.com/AmigaPorts/a500hdd/blob/master/doc/nib.jpg?raw=true


As of now the latest commit to the GitHub repository happened just 11 days ago, so this is apparently under active development.

The projects website is located at:
https://github.com/AmigaPorts/a500hdd




BONUS HARDWARE:

GRETA FastRAM/microSD/ethernet expansion board for Amiga 500


A couple of years ago, Martin "endofexclusive" Åberg from Sweden created GRETA, a Xilinx Spartan FPGA-based expansion board for Amiga 500. It's build to add 8MB SRAM, a microSD slot, and 10/100MBit ethernet controller to the Amiga. The project files have last been updated on August 1st 2016, and hardware programming is still incomplete - currently only RAM expansion is supported.

GRETA seems to be some kind of forgotten gem among Amiga hardware expansions - the specifications look fantastic, it contains all of the features one would like to have on a single PCB. As it seems, there's only some programming required to make things work.

https://github.com/endofexclusive/greta/blob/master/doc/mounted_components2.jpg?raw=true


Wouldn't that be a nice project to pick up and give it some love?

Looking at the other amazing expansion boards that have come out in recent years, probably even an unexperienced programmer would be able to add ethernet and microSD mass storage support to the device, there's plenty of material out there to study and learn from.

If you're interested, go to GitHub, and start building your GRETA:https://github.com/endofexclusive/greta

You may find more information about GRETA in this forum thread on a1k.org:
http://www.a1k.org/forum/showthread.php?t=54707
(currently a1k.org doesn't accept new member registrations)


* * *

Thanks for reading!
Support Amiga hardware development!
Donate!
Buy stuff!

* * *


This part 2 of this article - have you read part 1?

* * *

If you spot an error please report by leaving a comment below.
If you don't, your comment is still appreciated. ;-)

Sources:
http://www.acill.com
https://github.com/arananet/A4000db 
https://github.com/endofexclusive/greta
http://www.amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2016-04-00050-EN.html 
http://www.nemesiz4ever.de/board/thread.php?board=1&thema=11


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The awesomeness: Amiga hardware news - galore! (1/2)

It sounds too good to be true, but in these cases it isn't a hoax. There is a lot, and may I repeat, A LOT going on in Amiga hardware world... In fact it's so much I've split this into two parts.

7-bit's SPI controller for the clockport


On April 24th 2018, 7-bit Retro Electronics announced a new product: The "SPI MasterBus CP" controller for the clockport.

SPI is a simple, flexible, fast serial data interface that allows multiple devices to be connected. It's used by numerous types of devices across all computer platforms, e.g. as an interface to memory card readers (SD, SDHC, CompactFlash, ...), ethernet controllers, flash memory, for CPLD programming, and many more applications.

That makes a fantastic addition to the Amiga's capabilities!

Here are some "SPI MasterBus CP" specifications:

Designed for Amiga A1200’s clock port
SPI bus clock speed: 25 to 195 kHz
Full-duplex data transmission
Up to 4 devices with Slave Select lines

Built-in software will allow you to manage several characteristics of the controller.

Here's an early video showing SD-card access in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7HeQqHj56o

Keep an eye on their website for full specifications, project progress, and availability:
https://retro.7-bit.pl/?lang=en&go=projekty&name=SPICP


Jeroen Vandezande's Amiga 1200+ mainboard


With increasing age, Amiga 1200 mainboards (among others) run the risk of taking damage from leaking capacitors, and of course over a timespan of about 30 years there are a lot of other factors that may shorten - or quickly end - a mainboards life.

Wouldn't it be nice to just have the opportunity to purchase or make a new one?

This is one of two projects (see below for the other one) recreating the Amiga 1200 mainboard, Jeroen's "Amiga 1200+" is an updated version with some changes.

The project is covered by Creative Commons license, and you are free to build your own mainboard!

Here's a list of changes compared to the original Amiga 1200 1D4 mainboard, taken from the project website:
  • Gayle, Budgie and the DRAM have been removed and the functionality has been moved to a daughterboard. This board can also contain a CPU.
  • Video output has been moved to a seperate output board. This board get all Lisa output signals and also all the typical Zorro signals. This means that an RTG card can be developed.
  • The PCMCIA slot has been removed and in the free space a power switch, boot selector switch (DF0:/DF1:) and a uSD card slot have been added. 
  • A single supply universal power input has been added. (15V - 36V)
    From this the following voltages are created:

    * 5 Volts: main power rail 5 Amp capable

    * 12 Volts: 1 Amp capable

    * 3.3 Volts: 0.5 Amp capable (for daughter boards)
    * 1.2 Volts: 0.5 Amp capable (for daughter boards)
  • Two PC standard 3 Pin fan headers are added to the board. 
  • Terrible Fire compatible SPI port for network chip 
  • Extension board connector for mouse/joystick. (One is in development that has USB Mouse and two classic DB-9 connectors and autoswitches when fire button is pressed.)

The "Terrible Fire compatible SPI port" is an especially nice addition: it shows that Amigans work together - way to go!

Now head over to Jeroen's website, and start building your enhanced Amiga 1200:
https://bitbucket.org/jvandezande/amiga-1200


John Hertell's Amiga 1200 replica and ReAmiga 1200 mainboards


The other project recreating the Amiga 1200 mainboard comes from John "Chucky" Hertell, well known Amiga hardware guru.

He had already created the A3660 Amiga 4000 replacement CPU module (see http://wordpress.hertell.nu/?p=537 and http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=89200 if you want to know more), and asked the community for his next reverse-engineering project, which turned out to be the Amiga 1200 mainboard. Well, about two months later, and with the help of other members of the Amiga community, Mr. Hertell had a clone of the original 1D4 version mainboard in Gerber file format!

But he didn't stop there, adding some modifications to the board - here's a list of changes:
  • Supports round and square powerconnector
  • New reworked composite video logic, with additional S-Video support
  • RF-Modulator removed and replaced with optional buffered VGA connector
  • Selectable SEL signals for floppy
  • Optional NMI (IRQ7) possibility
  • Resetheader
  • A500 compatible keyboard connector (currently untested)
  • Support for the Ratteswitch with solderoles for required signals so no need of a socket on CIA
  • Extra powerconnectors for +12 and +5V fans, and extra powerconnector close to CPU slot
  • PCMCIA reset fix
  • Optional onboard LEDs where LED and +5V are separated also optional “opt” led, with jumperwire for PCMCIA activity LED
 
http://wordpress.hertell.nu/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/A1200pcb.jpg
Well, what can you say - another awesome job by Mr. Hertell.

Check his website for complete first-hand information, and files required to build your own Amiga 1200 or ReAmiga 1200 mainboard:
http://wordpress.hertell.nu/?p=587

Note that you can also buy ReAmiga 1200 PCBs from Mr. Hertell - income from these sales will partly be donated to Swedish children cancer fund. See link above.

 

Commodore Amiga AA3000 / A3000+ recreated


Both Matthias 'Matze' Heinrichs' and Christian 'Scrat' Euler have recreated a legend: an AGA-chipset equipped Amiga 3000!

Sadly, there's no open source re-creation (yet?) of the mainboard, probably due to technical difficulties (8-layer board) - but nontheless, this is another great example of the capabilities of the Amiga community. Who would've thought we'd see these ultra-rare machines outside of Commodore's laboratories one day?

Read the full story with pictures and files over at amiga-news.de:
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2018-08-00030-EN.html



* * *

That's it for today - 

* * *
If you spot an error please report by leaving a comment below.
If you don't, your comment is still appreciated. ;-)

Sources:
https://retro.7-bit.pl/?lang=en&go=projekty&name=SPICP
https://retro.7-bit.pl/?lang=en&go=aktualnosci&view=132
https://bitbucket.org/jvandezande/amiga-1200
http://wordpress.hertell.nu/?p=587
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=93015
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-08-00030-DE.html
http://www.bigbookofamigahardware.com/bboah/product.aspx?id=23

Thursday, July 19, 2018

WinUAE 4.0.1 is out

Famous Amiga emulator WinUAE has been updated to version 4.0.1, as always fixing numerous bugs, and adding new features.

The most advanced and best known Amiga emulator just got another update. No huge changes, mostly bugfixes, and some new features like adding emulation of the QuikPak 4060 accelerator board.

The "Win" in "WinUAE" of course stands for "Windows", but did you know WinUAE is also probably the best Amiga emulator for Linux? Yes, you can install "wine" on your Linux machine to run Windows applications, and WinUAE will work nicely with it.

Whatever hardware you want to run WinUAE on -
head over to http://www.winuae.net and grab your copy!


http://www.winuae.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/winuea_v10.png


Sources:
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-07-00028-DE.html
http://www.winuae.net/

Friday, June 15, 2018

"Worthy" - new game for all Amigas

Good news for OCS Amiga gamers, there's some fine looking new game out to satisfy your addictions.

Alex Brown with Simone Bernacchia and John Tsakiris just announced the availability of their new action puzzler "Worthy" via facebook.

According to Alex's post on facebook, "Worthy" is a new game, that runs in 320x256 / 32 colors / 50fps on any PAL Amiga with 1MB RAM. It has smart enemies that interact with lots of different game level elements in complex ways.

Cute, nicely animated comic style graphics, funky music, retro arcade sound effects, and as with any good game it's about collecting diamonds to win a girl's heart, encountering numerous enemies and obstacles along the way. Who can resist that?

What sounds good on paper also looks good on video, you can watch a release trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq_9-0SUrvQ

Find more information about "Worthy" on the publisher's homepage, and on their facebook page:

http://pixelglass.org
https://www.facebook.com/pixelglassamiga


To purchase "Worthy" head over to https://amiga.net.pl/index.php?lng=eng and grab your copy - now!


And for game developers Alex Brown has shared his GitHub page, on which he hosts some of his older projects for you to study: https://github.com/alpine9000


Sources:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CommodoreAmiga/
http://pixelglass.org/
https://amiga.net.pl/index.php?lng=eng

Monday, June 11, 2018

Another success story: New cases for Amiga 500!

Philippe Lang and A1200NET, who already created new Amiga 1200 cases and keycaps are going to create professional molds for new compatible Amiga 500 cases.

It's another amazing success story from the self organizing, crowd-funding Amiga-scene: According to the Indiegogo project page, as of today $186,734 USD have been raised, and the project was 112% funded on May 31, 2018!
 

These new cases feature a number of improvements over the original ones, apart from being brand-new:

- screwholes with metal threads
- immune to UV-light
- prepared to house a Vampire 500 V2 or Raspberry Pi 3 mainboard
- or of course an original Amiga 500 mainboard
- Vampire ports extender, allows routing of internal LAN / USB / HDMI / SDcard connections to proper outlets (e.g. disk drive opening)
- different colors available: white, black, light blue, orange, and more
- signatures by Amiga celebrities like Dave Haynie and David Pleasance, among others
- metal case badge, floppy buttons, rubber feet, and trapdoor covers included

The whole thing seems to be well on it's way, and mass production of cases is planned towards the end of 2018, to be shipped in April 2019.

Of course if you want to support the project you still can, there are numerous packages available for you to claim - from "Unique Solo" - one case - to "Quad damage" - four cases - or silver and gold metal coated editions, or a beautiful "Scourge Of The Underkind" collector's edition.

Oh, and there's even more: if the project reaches it's "stretch goal" of $189,000USD, project backers will receive new Amiga "tank"-mouse cases, too!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/new-compatible-case-for-amiga-500-plus#/


https://c1.iggcdn.com/indiegogo-media-prod-cld/image/upload/c_limit,w_695/v1520575661/cy6t8kk6e2hqsxx1vx2c.png


Source:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/new-compatible-case-for-amiga-500-plus-computers#/

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sneak preview: Thrust is the way...

To be continued.

Amiga 4000 opensource mainboard: alive and well

Paul Rezendes' Amiga 4000 mainboard replica is moving along quite nicely. 

Paul Rezendes from California, USA, has started a funding campaign to have PCB data files recreated professionally from an Amiga 4000 mainboard, and publish these under open-source license. A couple of weeks ago the goal of 5000$ was reached, and meanwhile has even been exceeded.

A few days ago, Paul posted another update on his project page, now showing first screenshots of the actual PCB files that have been created. When done checking for errors, the files should probably be released to the public via the project's GitHub page around next week!

https://d2kw0licpa1moo.cloudfront.net/28730374_1527979674.9891_updates.jpg

Amazing stuff - becoming reality.

Here's Paul's GoFundMe campaign page, see there for more information and latest updates - and you can still make a donation:

https://www.gofundme.com/amiga-4000-replica-with-schematics/

Note that GoFundMe does not accept PayPal - if you want to donate using PayPal, the guys from Amiga On The Lake are watching this campaign, too, and are happy to receive your donation and forward it to Paul Rezendes' GoFundMe account!

http://amigaonthelake.com/aotl-donations/

Thanks Paul, AmigaOnTheLake, and the rest of the bunch!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 31st - International Amiga Day


Happy International Amiga Day everyone!
What's your Amiga activity today?
Make sure you have at least one! :-)

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jay Miner!
(1932 - 1994, "Father of the Amiga")

Thank you Mr. Dragon “Gyu” Gyorgy
(1966 - 2015, initiator of the "International Amiga Day")

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Amiga quiz on heise.de

Popular german IT news site Heise has created an Amiga quiz for everyone to test his/her knowledge about our platform.

If you've spent some time with your Amiga, the questions should be pretty easy to answer correctly, probably even if you don't speak german.

But it's a good opportunity to refresh your memory - and to show the world we're still here!

I just scored 290 points - can you beat my result? :-)



https://heise.cloudimg.io/width/700/q75.png-lossy-75.webp-lossy-75.foil1/_www-heise-de_/imgs/18/2/4/0/7/8/4/5/amiga_klein-9d0454a79c5cb183.jpeg

Monday, April 9, 2018

Amiga 4000 mainboard goes opensource!

Amiga 4000 mainboards are becoming rare these days, and are difficult to repair. But there's hope in sight. A lot of hope. In fact so much hope that you can almost grab a new one! Yes, we can make this happen!

Paul Rezendes from California, USA, has started a funding campaign to have PCB data files professionally recreated from an Amiga 4000 mainboard, and publish these under open-source license.

(This does not include any boards actually being produced - it's only about the data files required to do so.)

Now let's think about this for a second. First thing that comes to mind is that some hardcore Amigans will produce a few new mainboard from the data files, for repairs, or maybe build an A4000. But the really exciting stuff starts when people start modifying the PCB. Just imagine the possibilities... PCI onboard, a new low-cost CPU card connector, streamlined design getting rid of old/unused components, scandoubler onboard, (Mini)ATX formfactor, ...this has the potential to become a quantum-leap forward in Amiga hardware development like the Vampire boards are!

Here's Paul's GoFundMe campaign page:

https://www.gofundme.com/amiga-4000-replica-with-schematics/

Note that GoFundMe does not accept PayPal - if you want to donate using PayPal, the guys from Amiga On The Lake are watching this campaign, too, and are happy to receive your donation and forward it to Paul Rezendes' GoFundMe account!

http://amigaonthelake.com/aotl-donations/


Now head over to GoFundMe or Amiga On The Lake, and make your donation!
We're almost there! Yes, we CAN make this happen!

https://d2g8igdw686xgo.cloudfront.net/28730374_15223301610_r.jpeg

Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Traces" - "Blender" was born on Amiga

Did you know "Blender" had a precursor? And it's Amiga software?

3D artist and photographer Piotr Zgodziński has held an interview with Ton Roosendaal, original primary author of the well known and widely used "Blender" 3D graphics software, and published an article, including the interview, some Blender history, and information about "Traces" - the earliest precursor to Blender, made on Amiga!


It's a very interesting article, with lots of screenshots of "Traces", and maybe best of all: usage instructions, executable and sourcecode!

"Traces" is another example of the impact the Amiga platform had at the time. Like Samplitude, Cinema4D, LightWave, and many other applications, Traces/Blender was developed on the Amiga due to it's groundbreaking hardware capabilities, and would later spread to other platforms, becoming an industry standard.


Click the link below to head over to Piotr Zgodzińsk's website, read the article and get "Traces"!


Note that at the end of the interview is a link to another (video) interview held with Mr. Roosendaal about the history of Blender. At approx. 7:16 in the video, he mentions the Amiga computers in use at his company "NeoGeo" from 1989 to 1991.

 Sources:
http://zgodzinski.com/blender-prehistory/
http://zgodzinski.com/
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-03-00047-DE.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blender_(software)
https://download.blender.org/source/chest/ 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJEWOTZnFeg

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

60 new links in the AMIGA alive Web Directory

Massive update to the AMIGA alive Web Directory - now 285 websites listed!

With new sections "Demoscene" and "MorphOS", and 60 new links added.
Happy surfin'!



Sunday, February 4, 2018

New page: The AMIGA alive Web Directory

Did you notice we have a new page? It's the AMIGA alive Web Directory, with more than 200 links to Amiga-related websites! Happy surfin'!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rarest of the rare: The Commodore Amiga CD1200

The arrival of CD-technology for personal computers caused a huge shift in software development and user experience. The added storage capacity led to a hugely increased amount of content delivered with a software title. Gone were the days of swapping floppy disks, now a single CD could deliver everything required, and much more. CD was everything and everywhere.

Commodore's CDTV, with a built-in CD-ROM drive, was an early attempt, but the underlying original Amiga hardware wouldn't benefit too much from a CD drive, and there was simply not much experience in how to make good use of the CD's extra capabilities. But after the PC and Apple Macintosh market had established the technology and created a demand for added content, it became a must for the Amiga, too. The only Amiga model to make full use of CD-technology is the CD32 console, booting from CD without any additional setup, playing back full motion video and integrating the Amiga's audio with the CD's 16-bit audio tracks.

Wait. The only Amiga model? No. In fact there was another Amiga model that could do the same things, of which nine units were built, and only one is known to still exist today. It's probably the rarest of all (near) market-ready Commodore Amiga developments. It's the legend, the one that should have boosted sales to new heights, potentially saving Commodore from bankruptcy.

It's the Commodore Amiga CD1200.

http://www.bigbookofamigahardware.com/bboah/media/download_photos/cd1200_2.jpg


Just to avoid confusion, we're talking about the "Commodore Amiga CD1200" - not the "Commodore CD 1200 Controller" for the CDTV, or the "Alfa Data CD1200" PCMCIA controller for the Amiga 1200.

It's a CD-ROM drive to be connected to an Amiga 1200, and with a little extra. It has a custom "Data Input" connector, that connects to an expansion board in the Amiga 1200's internal expansion port via cabling routed through the Amiga 1200's backside blanking plate. It also routes Amiga audio signals through, merging them with CD-audio. The expansion board adds a FastRAM SIMM slot, and - in a proposed later model - would have had another custom chip, and room for a 68030 CPU upgrade.

The CD1200 was presented to the public at the CeBIT 1994 show in Han(n)over, Germany. It's goal was to unite and boost Amiga CD32 and Amiga 1200 hardware and software sales, by being compatible with the former, and adding a CD drive to the latter.

You can read about the CD1200 in Amiga Format's first-hand post-CeBIT report: 
https://archive.org/details/Amiga_Format_Issue_059_1994-05_Future_Publishing_GB

Now what makes the CD1200 such a rare piece? Well, first of all, according to Beth Richard, lead engineer on the project, only nine prototype units were built.

Eight of them got lost in the turmoil of Commodore's bankruptcy, and only one unit resurfaced. And even that one wasn't instantly recognized as the rarity it is.

Listen to Andy Spencer from the Retro Computer Museum Leicester retell the story of discovering the unique CD1200 in a dusty barn (video by The Centre for Computing History):

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

But the true recognition of the CD1200 came after Ravi Abbot had been visiting the Retro Computer Museum Leicester, and published his video about it in November 2016:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LmFmH4YNBA

Established YouTuber Dan "kookytech.net" Wood has picked up the subject, and had a more in-depth talk with Andy, and Ex-Commodore UK's David Pleasance. His video of December 2017 covers the unsuccessful search for other CD1200 units still in existence, the rediscovered CD1200's relocation from the back of the museum to a more prominent place, and lots of details from Andy and David:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYq_F5-fAaw

Would the CD1200 have been able to save Commodore? Well, maybe. In 1994 Sony scored a huge hit with it's Playstation console, which has a CD drive, but also offers hardware 3D acceleration and 16-bit 24-channel sound. A CD-drive had become a must-have, but chipset development and platform architecture had also been moving forward rapidly. A CD32, or CD1200-equipped Amiga 1200, wouldn't have been able to compete with PC and console development for a long time, but maybe CD1200 sales, and now-CD32-compatible Amiga 1200 hardware and software sales would've bought Commodore enough time to release the next generation of CD1200 with CPU upgrade, and so on. But it's just speculation.

For Amiga 1200 users it would have been a fantastic addition, with a 68030 CPU on board, especially due to the beautiful design that matches the Amiga 1200 one's. And Amiga CD32 owners would certainly envy the added horsepower, memory, keyboard and i/o-ports.

From todays point of view it would of course just be great to have such a device, in whatever condition or configuration, because it's sooo Commodore Amiga. The fact that there's presumably only this particular one in existence, a rare piece from the last days of Commodore, makes it pretty much the collector's item par excellence. Time will show if maybe another CD1200 exists - maybe it resurfaces due to the raised interest created by discovering and exposing this one.


Until then, all we can do is visit the Retro Computer Museum Leicester and feast our eyes on the one that's there.

All we can do? Amigans weren't Amigans if they weren't willing to do something about that. Yes, there is some minor activity going on: A facebook group is dedicated to resurrecting the CD1200.

In the video by The Centre for Computing History (see above), Andy Spencer says he'd like to open up his CD1200 one day, and maybe, together with the pictures published in magazines, and knowhow from people involved with the project, this will give the insight required to recreate the CD1200 and it's expansion board.

Nothing has materialized yet, but who knows, they also said Doom can't be done on the Amiga...

* * *

For your nostalgia-needs, here's another video presenting the CD1200 - note the fake Amiga 1200 case with a built-in CD1200, which is impossible due to CD size, but an intriguing idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oydGCxBRL10


Some magazine reports about the Commodore Amiga CD1200:


CU Amiga, issue 128, May 1994
https://archive.org/details/CommodoreUserIssue1281994May
http://amr.abime.net/issue_615

CU Amiga, issue 054, August 1994
https://archive.org/details/CUAmigaIssue054Aug94
http://amr.abime.net/issue_618

Amiga Format, issue 59, May 1994
https://archive.org/details/Amiga_Format_Issue_059_1994-05_Future_Publishing_GB

Amiga Format, issue 66, December 1994
https://archive.org/details/amigaformatmagazine-066

Amiga User International, Vol. 8 No. 6, July 1994
http://amr.abime.net/issue_869

* * *

Thanks for reading!

Do you have more information about the Commodore Amiga CD1200? Did you spot a mistake in the above article? Please leave a comment!

Additional sources:
http://www.bigbookofamigahardware.com/bboah/product.aspx?id=1604
https://archive.org/details/Amiga_Format_Issue_059_1994-05_Future_Publishing_GB
http://amr.abime.net/issue_869