Big Amiga blog link post

Okay, so I’ve run across some really cool Amiga links (mostly blogs) which I thought I’d share here.

I’ve divided it between Next Gen and Classic. I’ll make a permanent link to this post on the right size menu as well.

NextGen Classic
Epsilon’s AmigaOne x1000 blog Epsilon’s Classic Amiga blog
Jack for AmigaOS mFilos’s Amiga blog
Coder’s Blog AmigaOneX blog
HKValhe’s AmigaOne 500 blog The Big E-UAE JIT blog
GTMooya’s Amiga 4.1 blog Old School Game Blog
Delirium Technology’s blog – Amiga section JAmiga (Amiga Java) development blog
Hyperion’s Amiga OS blog Amiga Gamer blog
Trevor’s Amiga blog (A-Eon) Amiga games
AmigaOne Computing blog Amiga 68k blog
Portacall’s Amiga software development blog Classic Amiga
OS4 Coding Blog Commodore is Awesome
HDRLabs HD Radeon development blog RetroGamer Amiga section
Mac Mini OS4 blog Lallafa’s project blog
ICAros development blog FitzSteve’s Amiga Retro blog
o1i’s Blog Amiga Raspberry Pi drive

Some Amiga Classic news

Okay, so this isn’t going to become a news site but occasionally, when many things happen at once that are interesting, I’ll comment. This is classic-side news:

Vampire 600

  • The fastest Amiga 68k accelerator is almost ready, and it’s only for the Amiga 600 at the moment. The Vampire 600, designed by Majasta, is prepping for the Phoenix core, a shrunken version of the Apollo core which will provide 68000 level instruction set at 100MIPs, faster than most Amigas even with 68060’s.

    Kipper2K has taken over production for now. Price is $125 USD.

    MUI

  • After 20+ years, MUI for AmigaOS3.x/68k users is getting bumped from 3.8 to 3.9. I believe release 3 of MUI3.9 was just released. Check out their website.
  • Over at Amigans.net, danbeaver just posted how to get an Amiga printer to work with USB printers. This looks handy!
  • A British group is selling the Cyclone RX adapter, which allows the Amiga to use Playstation controllers (most likely PS1). They are selling on ebay it appears.
  • And finally, there is a side scrolling game released for both Amiga and CD32 consoles using the Backbone game dev system (free on Aminet). The CD32 ISO and LHA files are downloadable.
  • Various thoughts and musings about Classic Amigas

    This post is just a collection of various thoughts I’ve been having about classic Amigas. Instead of making several tiny posts, I thought I’d put them all into one.

    The User Interface

    What is it about the Classic Amiga UI? As far back as the late 90’s, I just can’t stop staring at how the UI looks? I know that others UI’s would be considered prettier and more useful than the Amiga UI, but there’s just something that I can’t quite pinpoint. Here are a few thumbnails of some recent ones that mesmerize me (click for larger ones):

    From a Draco system

    From WinUAE with powericons

    From AmigaSYS4

    Continued Hardware development

    It’s amazing that computers made nearly 20 years ago continue to get hardware products. Let’s take a look at just a few:

    The Amiga Prisma soundcard for both Zorro slot and clockport enabled Amigas. This is a very nice soundcard that can be used in large zorro slot amigas as well as an Amiga 1200 (or other models that have expansions that include a clockport connector).

    Then there is a plug-in MP3 player so that your CPU doesn’t have to do all the work, it has its own player software and is cheap, and works on nearly all Amigas.

    A long-time Amiga hardware developer, Elbox, recently expanded their product line again, this time to add PCI adapter boards for the Amiga 3000’s. These, plus their other PCI Mediator boards, allow the use of cheap PCI expansions.

    There is a new, zorro slot, mini USB controller board that is fairly inexpensive for big box amigas called the MiniThylacine board. It’s ordered on a piece-by-piece basis and the assembler takes orders constantly.

    And then there’s a company called Individual Computers that makes a whole line of products for Amigas. From accelerators to flickerfixers, they continually prove their willingness to support the Amiga. Their most recent part, the ACA500, allows the use of Amiga 1200 accelerators in an Amiga 500. Someone even got Amiga OS4.0 running on the BlizzardPPC board on the ACA500.

    Wow, it’s amazing the dedication there is in the Amiga community.

    Update on Amiga hardware projects

    Okay, so it is with great sadness that I had to abandon my Amiga 1200 Classic Tower project. Funds and time didn’t allow me to work on everything I needed to, so something had to go. In fact more than one something.

    My first step was to sell the Angled PCMCIA adapter. The motherboard I had seemed to have a damaged PCMCIA port so I couldn’t use it anyway. Next, my main tower, which was a Micronik Infinitive, along with the A1200 rev2B board, as well as the Micronik 6860 ZorroII busboard, powersupply and adapters went into it as well.

    I also sold the GVP accelerator and all 36MB (2x16MB and 1x4MB) GVP custom SIMMs were sold as well. Still no shortage of collectors out there. I also am selling a spare parts tower too.

    I’ve decided to focus on two new projects, which I’ll blog more about soon. One is based on NextGen technology.

    I have 2 Eyetech AmigaOne boards, one is XE and the other is Micro. I’m also prepping to sell the A1XE machine (motherboard and case and expansion cards), and just focus on the Micro for now.

    The new projects will be fun, I have no doubt! The funds from selling the tower project will help bring this to fruition.

    Stay tuned!

    Some really good new games are available now

    A while ago, I posted a blog post about where to find good games for nextgen Amigas.

    AmigaSoft has some good games ready or in the pipeline.

    Those places have been adding more games, in particular, BSzili has added some really good ports of existing PC games. He’s recently ported a major studio game (Jedi Academy) to all 3 Nextgen platforms. Read his interview here. Here’s a video of Jedi Academy running on OS4.1:

    He’s even made a start at porting Homeworld (one of my personal favorites) to Amiga OS4.1, but I think he’s put the project on hold for a bit.

    So, more fun time for Amiga NG users!

    How to make an Amithlon Laptop


    Okay, when do you a search on Google for “best laptop for Amithlon”, it’s really hard to find anything concrete.

    Many people, if they wanted a laptop with an Amiga-OS on it, would probably just put some version of Windows on it, and then load up WinUAE. While that would work and would provide drivers for the underlying hardware, it’s just hard to feel like an Amiga, even if you do hide the telltale signs of Windows loading up and running.

    Amithlon is a great choice as it just feels like real, classic (but fast) hardware. It boots up super fast as well.

    Amithlon is an amazing bit of software, written in the early 2000’s that was an attempt to push AmigaOS more towards an x86 solution, long before AROS was in the working state it is today. A really smart and talented guy by the name of Bernie (who is responsible for the JIT- Just in Time compiler for WinUAE), decided to make this software.

    His thinking was that if he just took the absolute, minimal Linux 2.4 Kernel, and put in a JIT 68k CPU emulator, plus some amiga-side interfaces to x86 drivers, he could do it. He did not build in full custom chipset emulation, as his logic said that it would mostly be game players that wanted that, and those game players probably had real Amiga hardware. This freed him up quite a bit to focus on OS compatibility.

    Unfortunately, he made a deal with H&P to publish this along with their QNX+UAE emulator, right before a major legal battle ensued, causing him to drop the project and leave the Amiga community altogether.

    However, he left behind enough so that others took up maintenance, with the most recent update to version 4 coming in 2010.

    So, how do we use this to make a great Amiga/Amithlon laptop? Well, I spotted a few videos on youtube of someone who had taken a Dell C610 laptop and turned it into a great Amithlon laptop. It turns out that the video, audio, IDE, USB and ethernet hardware is fully supported in newer versions of Amithlon software.

    You can routinely find these machines on Ebay for under $100USD. There are two main configurations, go for the better one: 14″ monitor and 1.2Ghz PIII CPU. Don’t go over 1GB of RAM, as Amithlon has a problem with that. The one I have is at 768MB of RAM to be safe. Don’t worry, for OS 3.9 (built into Amithlon), this is plenty!

    So, get your Amithlon CD (they haven’t been sold in years, so don’t ask me how to get it), and then go to this thread to see the setup guide: http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=31613 It’s a long thread but VERY helpful. You can see the evolution this guide went through over the years.

    I ended up not needing the latest version 4 of Amithlon kernel and drivers by Milanca. I found that version 3.10 by Gary Colville was just perfect!

    My configuration ended up having 3 partitions: 1) 5GB for WindowsXP (needed for wireless setup, as well as other utilities barely needed anymore, and the Grub launcher, 2) a small Linux parition ( less than 500MB ) where the Amithlon basic kernel files are located (grub launches thes), 3) and the Amiga parition.

    On the WindowsXP partition, beside the GRUB launcher, I have a utility (either Norton or Acronis) that allowed me to set the Amiga partition to type 0x76. I then used WinUAE to format that parition so that the Amithlon boot parition could see it. I then followed the Amithlon setup guide to get everyone installed and set up right.

    Install Poseidon from Aminet, as well as ARAKAttack to get the USB ports working. Install all the boing bag updates, 1-4, and you’ll be ready to go. The Amithlon setup guide

    Then, to get wireless working on the laptop, see my previous post about the Vonets cheap wirless bridge. I’ve installed the free version of Miami for TCP access, although the one that comes with AmigaOS3.9 should be adequate too. If I ever take the laptop somewhere to a different wifi network, I can reboot into WinXP, run the Vonets configuration utility, then reboot back into AmigaOS.

    Here are a few pictures of my finished laptop, running Amiga OS3.9 with BB1&2: (click each for larger image)

    Picture 1: Case closed with Amiga Boing Ball sticker (from Zazzle), fits perfectly over the old Dell label

    Picture 2 & 3: The GRUB boot options (WinXP, normal Amithlon install, emergency Amithlon boot)

    Picture 4: Workbench loaded up, more CPU speed, RTG speed, faster response and higher memory than any real Amiga classic hardware than I’ve ever had before:

    Hope you have as much fun making a powerful, portable and inexpensive Amithlon laptop!