Publishing zx81paint on AmiNet led to me reviewing a lot of old C code, and creating an ASCII text editor is certainly an essential project for every C coder.
Actually it started a long time ago: In the late nineties, I was impressed by text editors like Microsoft's "Frontpage" and some MacOS programs, which were among the first to show "tabbed" documents, have integrated shell functions (e.g. recursive search), and some other features I hadn't seen before in GUI text editors. So my idea of a program called "proWEB" was born, an HTML editor with advanced functions like sophisticated TABLE creation, FRAME management, etc. Well, time has passed, web development has changed, my preferences have changed, operating systems have changed, and so on. But the idea of a great text editor, according to my personal taste, has remained. In it's first early incarnation for AmigaOS, "proWEB" didn't really get far. There was a second incarnation for AROS which got considerably further, but I was a bit over-ambitious, and under-educated in software architecture, so that one slowly but steadily came to a halt, too.
Nowadays, having created a lot of smaller programs, slowly developing a usable concept of a program's architecture, and with some experience with C compilers (vbcc is my favourite) gained, I resurrected this old project again.
Among the first steps of resurrection was to find a nice short name you can easily type into your shell - so now "proWEB" has become: "reED", preferably spoken (and certainly typed in as) "reed", which is a reference to a) my name, b) editing, and c) Phragmites Australis. :-)
To my surprise it took me just a day to make all code adjustments from AROS' gcc to AmigaOS' vbcc, including lots of stylistic improvements, and I got a working executable. The code now doesn't use any special compiler features, and should work with gcc, probably SAS-C, etc. just as it does with vbcc. There were a couple of minor differences between AmigaOS and AROS that needed to be taken care of - for example my old AROS system used a font called "ttcourier" instead of "courier".
"reED" running on AmigaOS3.9 in 2022!
Looking at this old code from my "modern" perspective, it's quite a mess, a lot of things can be done much simpler. But "reED" is more sophisticated than I remembered: It has it's own GUI layout engine, it has a massive menu (which I use more like a notepad, many functions not yet implemented), uses ASL file requesters, it can edit multiple documents, it can mark/cut/copy/paste - and it has actual tabs with keyboard control! Colors might be a bit harsh, though. ;-)
I'm not sure if it makes any sense to devote lots of energy to this project - but it's a sort-of success even at the current stage of development. AmigaOS is great, AROS is great, and why not support both at the same time, it's really easy. (Well, gcc will do, but we still need an updated vbcc for AROS to make it perfect.) And in the end, AROS is just AmigaOS, so it just makes a lot of sense.
Let's see what other old (or new) stuff I can dig out from my harddrive... there are a couple of games I have to seriously review and rework...
Do you like to create software for the Sinclair ZX81? This little paint program might come in handy.
zx81paint creates ZX81 character set images, and can save them in file formats suitable for ZX81 development.
Being the first release at version 0.1, it's quite a simple program, but it's already usable. zx81paint has its own file format for loading and saving, and can additionally save raw byte sequences of ZX81 character codes, and ASCII text BASIC program code for processing with "zxtext2p".
zx81paint v0.1, showing its included example picture
zx81paint requires Workbench 2.0. It opens a 320x256px window, so you might need a PAL Amiga, or adjust your NTSC Workbench size. Currently it's unaware of screen resolutions, so it looks best on 1:1-pixel-aspect-ratio screens e.g. Low Res, High Res Laced, or RTG screens.
See Readme-file included for usage information, and more.
Three arcade conversions, an AGA conversion of a classic Konami platformer, and a new cyberpunk themed shoot-em-up.
Final Fight Enhanced
1989 Capcom coin-op brawler "Final Fight" in it's 1991 Amiga version is one of the games that couldn't live up to it's full potential because of limited resources put into it's creation - especially from today's perspective, with highly experienced developers around, and new tools for game creation available, it's a bit of a disappointment regarding graphics, speed, and playability.
Final Fight 1989 original arcade graphics
Final Fight 1991 U.S. Gold Amiga version graphics
Developer Brick Nash aka Prototron has decided to change that situation, and is working on an enhanced conversion of "Final Fight". It's work-in-progress, and no definitive hardware requirements have been set, but an early demo runs on 68020-equipped Amigas.
Final Fight 2021 Prototron Amiga early demo graphics
There's obviously still a lot of work to do, but it already has a couple of new features: parallax scrolling, an updated title screen, 2-button joystick support, and music plays while you're fighting.
The game known as "Castlevania" in most places ("Akumajou Dracula" in Japan) gets a remake for AGA Amigas.
This fantasy themed platform adventure game is probably best known from it's initial versions running of Nintendo console hardware, and it's one the defining games of the genre.
An official Amiga version has been available since 1990, but now (finally!) it looks as if we could get a new, polished version for AGA Amigas which makes proper use of graphics hardware, and provides smooth gameplay. A "prototype" is available, and although unfinished it's already and quite obviously a huge improvement over the previous version.
After "Pacman 500" and "Ms PacMan 500", Jean-Francois Fabre continues to create great conversions of great arcade games with "Amidar500".
If you've never played "Amidar" you certainly should do so now. Originally released in 1981, it's one of the classic arcade games, just like Space Invaders, Pac Man, Centipede, and a couple of others. With it's grid-capture gameplay it sits somewhere between Pac Man, and Qix, another huge classic. So basically you get arcade history galore and tons of fun with this addictive game!
"Scramble" is yet another Konami arcade classic that got ported to the Amiga by Jean-Francois Fabre.
"Scramble" is pretty much the mother of all side scrolling space shooters, but there was never a proper port of the original arcade game for the Amiga. Well, now there is! "Scramble500" aims to recreate the original experience as close as possible, with faithful graphics, sound and gameplay, including all levels of the arcade version. Two- and three-button joysticks are supported, as is the CD32 joypad.
Amiten Games has released a great looking work-in-progress shoot-em-up that goes by the name of "CyberPunk Alien City".
Neon lights, green aliens, a hero with a big gun, and a groovy soundtrack - the game is still in early development stage, but a playable demo is available, and it totally feels "Blade Runner meets Mars Attacks!" - very promising!
The game requires an Amiga with 1MB ChipRAM, some acceleration / A1200 is recommended.
In this issue: a game inspired by "Gravity Force", another "Tetris" game, a character-set based action adventure, an original top-down view shooter, and a virtual board game.
Caves & Cargo
This is an arcade action game similar to "Gravity Force", under development by EAB user TheoTheoderich: Fly your spaceship through caves and collect cargo.
It's not finished, but a playable version has been released, and it looks like a lot of fun. Graphics are simple, but pleasant and effective, your spaceship sprite is small and agile, the game has a "2-player race" mode, and nice speech samples add some serious atmosphere.
A slightly accelerated Amiga (FastRAM, or Amiga 1200) is recommended for good performance.
"Choctris" is a Tetris clone with extras, originally shown at RetroKomp 2018 as an early beta. In Dec. 2021 an updated version was released - and, yeah, it's a very nice Tetris with tasteful graphics, decent sound effects, some hypnotic MOD music playing along, and some specials: different playing modes (classic tetrominos, additional tetrominos, "blind" mode), playing mode options, support for audio CD music playback when running on CD32 or CDTV, and a couple more.
"Choctris" runs on any Amiga with Kickstart 2.0 or higher.
Dave Murray aka "The 8-bit Guy"'s character graphics based action adventure "Attack of the Petscii Robots" has been ported to the Amiga, and released commercially in both digital and physical form.
It's an interesting project that has it's roots in the fixed character set of a Commodore PET 8-bit computer - and the end result, which is available for many home computers from Atari to ZX Spectrum, now also for the Amiga, is indeed a fun top-down view action game with some tactical elements.
The Amiga version has the same grid based gameplay as the other versions, but uses more detailed graphics. The game runs on any 512KB Amiga, requires an extra 512KB for music, and supports keyboard, one and two button joysticks, and CD32 joypad. Prices range from 10$ for the digital-only edition, up to 65$ for a physical boxed edition, hand-signed by the author himself, which includes among other goodies an actual CD32 compatible joypad! Not bad.
Additional sources: https://twitter.com/Vesuri https://www.indieretronews.com/2021/12/attack-of-petscii-robots-hot-news-as.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyf7tiSO9vo (original game release video)
Project Quest - Chapters 1 and 2
Electric Black Sheep's latest game production is "Project - Quest", a fantasy themed arcade action shooter similar to their previous one, "Project Horizon".
"Project Quest" is still under development, but you can already play chapters (levels) 1 and 2. Very much like it's predecessor, it looks great, with detailed graphics, nice little animations, and vivid colors. Sound effects are a great match for the visuals, and it has a moody background music score.
Not too often comes a (virtual) board game along: "Castle Danger" is a conversion of a Windows freeware game that was first released in 2001.
It's basically chess with guns - and, as opposed to the PC original, it has a 1-player mode with computer AI. If you like a nice round of grid-map based, turn based strategy playing with a buddy, or against the CPU, this game is certainly worth looking at.
Great 1993 fantasy RPG "Ambermoon" gets a couple of updates from developer Pyrdacor: If we got that right there's a patched original of "Ambermoon", and extension of the original game called "Ambermoon Advanced", and a complete rewrite in C# (for Mac, PC, Linux) called "Ambermoon.net".
Jens Schönfeld / individual Computers is showing his commitment to Amiga RTG software by releasing another update of P96 graphics card driver.
Here's a copy of the v3.3.1 list of changes:
The Cirrus5434.chip driver was broken (Piccollo64, Matze's graphics card) and did not switch back from direct color modes to chunky modes.
One release of UAE had an issue by indicating that it would support mode mixing, but forgot to provide the necessary call-backs in some configurations. P96 provides now default call-backs avoiding the crash.
Bitmap handling was simplified and streamlined.
The Visiona driver supports now panning and interlace.
The installer places now the P96 version into ENVARC:Picasso96/Version so you know what you have on the system.
The installer no longer provides wrong default selections for the available boards in case the list of installed boards requires more than one page.
The installer makes a very tiny consistency check on the unpacked files as some people unpacked on the PC, and then protection bits were incorrect.
Also the installer for Buddha has been updated to v1.4. See links below for all the details.
A fantasy shoot'em-up, a couple of Christmas games from 2021, and some exciting work-in-progress: Rick Dangerous AGA and Guardian The Legend of Flaming Sword!
In Jan. 2022 an old MSX game got remade for the Amiga: Konami's "Knightmare", a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up with a fantasy theme.
It has a great background story - your goal is to rescue Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, from some evil Prince of Darkness. That sounds very epic, but of course a shoot-em-up is all about the shoot-em-up, and it's a good one in that regard.
This Amiga port aims to be a perfect, enhanced conversion of the original MSX game, with remastered graphics, updated soundtrack and sound effects, accurate recreation of the gameplay, a new hi-score table, and more, all running on Amiga 500 machines with 512KB ChipRAM and 512KB FastRAM.
Two Christmas 2021 releases by NIVRIG, one based on "Turbo Tomato", the other on "Dodgy Rocks" - both very entertaining games. It looks as if the two games were only available for a limited time, but if you like you can check the sources below for more details - and don't worry, you can still get "Turbo Tomato" and "Dodgy Rocks" for some good arcade action.
Bean vs. The Animator release and christmas special
Since we last reported about "Bean vs. The Animator" the game got released on itch.io, and a very lovely single level version with a cute Christmas theme was made available for free in time for Christmas 2021. It's called "It's Snow Joke", and - yeah, if you're in a solemn mood, why not obliterate tons of evil machines with some Jingle Bells playing along?
The game runs on any Amiga with 1MB ChipRAM and Kickstart 2.04 or better.
Z-Team is working on a remake of popular classic platformer "Rick Dangerous", for AGA Amigas (including CD32) with 1MB of additional FastRAM.
The original game has many fans, and with an AGA enhanced, updated remake it will probably soon have even more. Current version number is beta 0.4, so for the final release a little more patience is required - but it already looks fantastic, and you can download the current development version if you want to try it out.
Here's a very good looking work-in-progress, and it has an epic title: "Guardian - The Legend of Flaming Sword"
It's a new platformer for ECS and AGA Amigas which is under active development, currently in some alpha stage. But from what we can already see it's obvious there are some very talented graphics artists at work, and it's also been quite a while since we've last seen a game character go surfing with his cat. Very promising material!
Amiga Future is a great printed Amiga magazine, and they also have a very respectable collection of software to freely download from their website. In Jan. 2022 another full, formerly commercial game was added: 1989 point-and-click adventure "Time" by Empire software. It has quite an ambitious scope - actual time travel - and indeed there's a large amount of animations, graphics, things to pick up and use, and so, stored on the two game floppy disks. Reviews from the time of it's initial release were favourable, and it's certainly still fun to explore "Time"!
Go to Amiga Future's website to download "Time", and many other full versions:
Among the many arcade style game releases, in this issue we also have a slightly unusual point-and-click adventure from Germany.
Around July 2021 arcade action game "Turbo Tomato" by Nivrig games was released, and got an update to v1.1.0 in October.
It's a fast paced collect-and-evade game involving bombs, obviously tomato, and mutated vegetables. Doesn't that sound awesome? Yes it does, and you can even play it in 2-player-cooperative mode. Lots of levels, lots of enemies, and lots of explosions should keep you entertained for hours and hours.
You can get a digital edition of "Turbo Tomato", but real Amiga gamers choose the "Deluxe Collector's" edition - see link below video for both options. The collector's edition includes a 3.5 inch floppy, printed manual, poster, stickers - and a "Turbo Tomato" magnet for your fridge.
The game requires an Amiga with 1MB of ChipRAM and Kickstart 2.0, and can be installed to harddisk.
After developer Jean-Francois Fabre aka JOTD's "Pacman 500" comes "Ms Pac-Man 500" - another near-perfect arcade conversion.
Many classic games running on coin-op machines in the 1980s got ported to home computers and consoles back in the day, at the time when they were successful at the arcades, or shortly after. "Pac Mac" and "Space Invaders" would be quite prominent examples, everyone wanted to have these games running on his/her machine - sometimes regardless of the price: "Pac Man" for the Atari VCS 2600 had to make huge sacrifices in graphics and sound, resulting in a game that looks vastly different from the arcade original. Some Amiga conversions are especially disappointing, where better quality would've been technically possible, but wasn't achieved due to lack of hardware programming know-how by the developers. In some cases, for whatever reasons, a game wouldn't be available for the Amiga at all.
Well, so here's "Ms Pac-Man", near-perfectly converted from the original, with all the levels, intro animation, intermissions, and so on, in smooth 50Hz framerate, for all Amigas with at least Kickstart1.3 and 512K RAM (or Kickstart 2.0 and 1MB RAM) - great work!
"Shadow Warrior" is another first person shooter that was ported to the Amiga by BSZili around April/May 2021. Just like his other "Build" game ports "Blood" and "Exhumed" ("Powerslave"), it requires a powerful Amiga (68040/68060/Vampire), and some game data files from one of the PC versions. An updated version of "Shadow Warrior" was recently released to AmiNet.
It's quite a gory game, with a tone similar to "Duke Nuke'em 3D", but in terms of Amiga-first-person-shooters it's certainly also among the best, bringing "advanced" raycasting techniques from the PC to the Amiga.
What started as "Kung Fu Master Remastered" has become "Devil's Temple": Graeme Cowie was working on a remake of arcade beat'em-up classic "Kung Fu Master" for OCS Amigas, with a planned release date some time in early 2022, but the author's goals have changed a bit: Over time this remake has turned into a re-imagining of the idea, with very different graphics, additions in gameplay, an original soundtrack, and so on: Son of Kung-Fu Master!
A playable demo has been released, along with a teaser video, and pretty much everything about this game already looks and sounds great. Fans of beat'em-up games will love this new title, that obviously has elements from "Kung-Fu Master", but also "Renegade" and "Final Fight", all presented in full 16-bit Amiga quality.
Author Timo Kloss has released his point-and-click adventure "Ermentrud - Held mit Pferd" ("Hero with horse"). Initial development of the game dates back about 20 years, when it was created on the Amiga using the author's own "Inga" graphic adventure engine. (You can find it on AmiNet.) For some reason it was never properly finished - until Dec. 2021, when Timo decided to fix it and stitch it together, and release it to the public.
So we get a somehow incomplete, but well playable, good looking,
outstanding sounding (~190MB WAV soundtrack!) graphic adventure that should give you at least a couple of hours of good fantasy entertainment, with its funny storyline and dialogue, about 20 game characters, and about 40 locations to visit.
"Ermentrud" is currently only available in German language, but for many platforms (AmigaOS 3.x with graphics card, AmigaOS 4, MorphOS, Windows, MacOS), and obviously requires a harddisk.
Since 2019 "10 Minute Amiga Retro Cast" is organizing the "Amiga Art Contest", where all sorts of Amiga art creations - images, animation, sound - can be submitted. The 2022 event has just been announced.
You can submit your artwork to the following categories:
1. Handdrawn artwork
2. Digital photography
The rules are quite simple: "As long as your Amiga created it, you can submit it." Prizes will be given to the first place and second place winners of each category, plus an extra "Best of Show" winner.
The contest goes from June 1st 2022 until October 11th 2022.
Oops, it's been quite some time, catching up with 2021/2022 Amiga game developments: an old platformer got remade, "Black Dawn" got another sequel, a new turn-based strategy game was released, an iso-3D adventure game got re-released, and good old Pac Man makes another appearance.
Abu Simbel Profanation - The Full Adventure
Originally created in 1985 for the ZX Spectrum, and first released for the Amiga in 2001, the "Abu Simbel Profanation" recently got a facelift remake for AGA machines called "The Full Adventure".
It's a funny multi-screen arcade platformer with beautiful graphics, an upbeat soundtrack, and many different enemies and obstacles. Among the sound effects is a spine-chilling scream that you're gonna hear whenever you lose a live - which probably is quite often, as the difficulty level of the game is said to be hard as nails. Niiice!
The game requires an AGA Amiga with 2MB FastMEM and a 030 CPU.
Here's a gameplay video from YouTube channel Ransom (2021-09-28):
Additional sources: http://www.indieretronews.com/2021/09/abu-simbel-profanation-full-adventure_27.html http://hol.abime.net/6323 (OCS/ECS game from 2001) https://s0yamigamsx.wordpress.com/abu-simbel-the-full-adventure/
Black Dawn Rogue / Technomage
Black Dawn saga continues: In early 2021 the follow-up to "Black Dawn Rebirth" was announced, and by October we got a first teaser video, with a second one following closely in December, and the announcement of "Black Dawn Technomage" in January 2022. Well, everybody likes a good dungeon crawler game, and the latest "Black Dawn" sequel - quite like it's predecessors - very much looks like it's going to be just that.
Also it looks as if the authors would like to keep the aforementioned first teaser video private to famous retro-gaming news website "Indie Retro News", so we'll just provide you with a couple of links here:
By far the majority of Amiga games released these days are platform/jump-and-run games. For a welcome change, here's turn-based strategy game published by Bitmap Soft in May 2021.
It's a spiritual successor to Windows game "Slay" which dates back to 1995. "Slayers of High Toro" runs on any Amiga with at least 1MB RAM, and is available as a physical "Deluxe Collector's edition" with some nice extras for a great retro experience: 3.5 inch floppy in a glossy A5 box, color printed manual, badge, stickers, and a poster.
Great looking dungeon adventure game "Blade" by Mark Sheeky, first published in 1998 by Alive Mediasoft, was released for free around Sept. 2021.
"Blade" title screen as seen on https://marksheeky.itch.io/blade
According to the author, it's his most ambitious Amiga game project, and the isometric game screens and cutscene graphics certainly look impressive.
"Blade" in-game screen as seen on https://marksheeky.itch.io/blade
With lots of levels, potions, scrolls, and spells, there's quite an amount of things to discover and explore for adventure gaming fans. "Blade" runs on pretty much any Amiga with at least 1MB of RAM, but might require harddisk installation.
"Blade" in-game screen as seen on https://marksheeky.itch.io/blade
Go to the game's website for more information and download:
Of course you know Pacman, the legendary pill-eating yellow dude who's relentlessly being hunted by ghosts. "Pacman 500" is another release of Namco's 1980 classic, this time attempting to stay as close as possible to the original arcade machine.
From what we can see it's quite successful at doing so - apart from minor changes due to different screen orientation (the arcade machine uses a 3:4 display, as opposed to the Amiga's 4:3 aspect) it indeed looks and sounds and feels just like the original!
Another great arcade remake, "Pacman 500" runs on any Amiga with 512KB memory.