Amiga App Store Review part 3 – IndieGO! AppStore for AmigaOS4.x

Okay, so now we are here at part 3 of the Amiga App Stores, see part 1 (AMIStore by A-Eon), and part 2 (Jack for Amiga AppStore).

I downloaded this from a post on Sept 7 from AmigaWorld.net. I also found that there is a link to both this GUI version and a command line version from the official IndieGO! website.

This software is the product of the same team that is working on AEROS, a software distro that has a Linux base with a hosted version of AROS running on top. The x86 version will allow the use of Linux, Windows (via WINE) and Amiga software all in one. An interesting combo that I hope to try one day.

The IndieGO! store will eventually (once it comes out of beta I’m sure) use AmiCoins/IndieCoins, an new form of payment supported by this software and maybe more in the future. These coins will be purchased in their online store. I’m not sure if other payment services like Paypal will be available. Using a virtual coin system like this is similar to how many of the recent free2play games do their in-app purchases. I would think that changing the value (and therefore profitability) would be easier by using an interim virtual currency that is completely controlled by one group (as opposed to bitcoins which have a value based upon market demand). It will be interesting to see how this works out for them.

Anyway, back to the AppStore in question.

The client download extracted out and didn’t include an installer or Icon launcher. That’s okay, this software is still in beta. I’ll assume the final version will include these. For now, I had to launch by going to the extraction folder, setting the window to show all, then double clicking the default icon with the name AppStore:

Oh, before I did this, I read a readme file that indicated that slower systems (such as my low-RAM WinUAE OS4.1 install) would benefit by lowering the resolution, so I found the global config file, and opened it to find the screen resolution settings and changed the width and height values from 0.85 (85%) to 0.5 (50%). This controls the width and height of the AppStore window to be 50% of the entire screen.

I was first prompted to accept the terms:

I was then presented with a login screen, which also had a register button:

Clicking register, I was able to set up a new account within the app, without having to go to their website. This was a nice addition over AMIStore I reviewed earlier. I was also allowed to use the username I chose instead of a generated one like AMIStore. I did, however, have to go check my email to confirm the registration.

After the confirmation email, the app successfully logged in:

Then, the the default AppStore menu is shown. The upper left icon is slightly discolored to indicate that it has focus. This is the entrance to the real AppStore. Other items include: User Profile, Settings, Log Out, Exit, News, download manager, etc.

Clicking the upper left AppStore icon, you get into the subsection where you have News, Special offers, Sales Items, App Search, redeem coupon, and filter by Platform.

Clicking the filter Icon to show only apps for a particular platform brings up a scrollable list:

The strange thing here is that you can’t currently use the mouse to scroll this list. You have to use the arrow keys. Also, you can only filter on a single platform. It would be nice to be able to include more than one platform (like Amiga OS3.x and Amiga OS4.x).

Then, after setting the filter by platform, going into the Catalog Browser brings up various category icons. This beta version still has most of them showing the default icon, so you have to hover over them to get the subcategories (like utilities, office, games, etc).

The top left button goes back a step in navigation. Clicking the Games category brought up a sublist showing game Genres:

I clicked the Action genre (the one with the ABUSE cover) and got a crash:

This memory-related issue may have been due to running AmigaOS4.1 on WinUAE, which is limited to 128MB when using the CyberStormPPC (I should convert to BlizzardPPC as I read that you can go up to 256MB). I had other things running so I reset WinUAE and was careful to not start anything else and only run the IndieGO! store.

After restart, I got into the Action Game Genre okay:

I can also scroll down, but only via the arrow keys to see the rest of the entries (please ignore the graphics garbage, this is a WinUAE config issue, using 2900b24):

I selected Alien Breed – Tower Assault demo for Amiga OS3.x and was presented with a buy screen:

Clicking the BUY button on the right brought up the confirmation screen:

Since this beta had a price of ZERO for everything, the purchase went through without having to purchase AmiCoins right now:

Now, it shows that it is “owned”:

and now the downloading can be started by clicking the Download button (which changes the button text to say Downloading…):

I had NetSpeedometer running and the downloading was unusually slow. Not sure what was going on as I’ve seen speeds ten times faster in the WinUAE environment. Also, it was downloading chunks, then nothing, then more chunks. I have no idea what server it was connecting to but I hope it is faster in the future:

Finally, the tiny file was downloaded and this window was presented:

Here’s where things got a little strange again and I am not sure if it was the app or my WinUAE environment. I saw the highlight flickering between “Execute the Package” and “Do Nothing”. I also couldn’t click anything so I finally, forcibly ended the app and found the downloaded file under the install folder in a user / download folder. It was just an LHA archive in this case. I could then manually take over if I wanted to.

    Conclusion:

So, this is really the main competitor to AMIStore. Both are not in a state of being ready for the general public. It appears that the AMIStore by A-Eon may be slightly ahead in terms of readiness for final release.

Things I liked about AMIStore:

  • Full Installer and launch Icon
  • Ability to Use Paypal
  • More finished feel to the category browser
  • Auto download and extract after purchase

    Things I didn’t like about AMIStore:

  • It didn’t have an in-app registration mode
  • It didn’t allow me to use the username of my choice
  • It didn’t detect and show my local currency
  • Euro-VAT tax for non-Euro customer (not sure of the customs rules)

    Things I liked about IndieGO!:

  • Register for an account in the app, instead of another website
  • Can login using my choice of username
  • Support for other platforms
  • Might have a larger catalog at the moment
  • Coins? (maybe, or maybe not… do we get charged VAT when buying coins?)

    Things I didn’t like about IndieGO!:

  • No installer or launch Icon
  • UI is a bit slow and had a memory issue
  • Switching between mouse and keyboard for navigation
  • Didn’t auto download/extract (would be a nice option setting)

    So, there you have it: Amiga AppStores (as of December 2014). Both are showing promise. At the moment, if I had to choose, I’d choose AMIStore, but I’ll definitely also have IndieGO! as I feel it will eventually get the kinks worked out.

    Good job everyone. Let’s Keep Amiga relavent in this day and age!

  • Amiga App Store Review part 2 – Jack for Amiga Appstore

    So, here’s the 2nd of the 3 “App Stores” for Amiga. It’s actually part of a much larger utility called Jack for Amiga. I can’t help but think “Jack” is short for “Jack of All Trades”. This utility does a LOT of things. However, I’m only looking at the App Store for now.

    Installation was a bit tricky. I downloaded the app, extracted to the RAM drive and proceeded to start the Installer Icon. I was then presented with a helpful splash screen, which had to be closed to proceed:

    Closing this then opened a CLI (command line interface) for IconX which must have been running an install script. However, the window output only showed a 0 the whole time, so I wasn’t sure if it was working or was stuck. Something a little more verbose would have helped.

    It ended by asking if I wanted to add a dock image, which I agreed to. It was installed in SYS:Utilities

    I then had the chance to choose the language:

    It then informed me that I needed to choose a Home Directory for Jack. I’m thinking this will be a central download location and will be prompted later. I also get an exit install splash screen (not shown).

    Here’s where things got a little strange. I am then shown an error message:

    So, I go digging into the installation folder for Jack and see a Welcome to Jack file. I open that and read that I must have some other items pre-installed for things to work right, plus a few recommended items. So, I’m off to download thebar.mcc and AISS and install them both:

    AISS:

    (Something descriptive like this would have been useful when installing Jack)

    thebar.mcc:

    (traditional installer, used for Amiga 3.x and 4.x, autodetected which)

    So, then I thought I had enough to start, but was warned that the version of textEditor.mcc needed (15.44 or newer) wasn’t found. Off to Aminet and I found it and installed it:

    I also downloaded and installed Push4Dock and Wordnet (both recommended in the Welcome to Jack file). Wordnet installed okay but Push4Dock’s installer wasn’t set up right and I eventually had to read the install script and manually do the install by hand via CLI.

    So, at this point, I’ve been warned multiple times that a reboot may be necessary. I did so and upon reboot, I start getting AmiDock warnings that images weren’t found. These pointed to an error (probably on my part) about Push4Dock. Anyway, I was able to start up Jack. I was first asked to find the Home Directory folder, so I made one and pointed to that.

    So, Jack’s initial window is a calender:

    Clicking the Dashboard button gives this window:

    So, then, with App Store highlighted, I click the Configuration button in the lower left. This launched a sync/download window:

    Finally, this finishes and I get a window where I can click the icons for the categories:

    I clicked Games and it took a while to parse the file it downloaded and build the list. Clicking an item and selecting the Info button at the bottom gave this two-tabbed window with info and reviews/comments:

    I noticed a tab in the main appstore window for Games, so I clicked that and got what I’m guessing are featured games with complete cover artwork.

    This appstore appears to be just a fancy front end to OS4Depot files. I checked other categories and found a lot of entries. The addition of the comments/reviews was nice. Also, there is a button called Donations. The list that comes up is for developers that have registered that donations are accepted for their work:

    You have to sign up / login for Jack to be able to donate (and I’m assuming to use the comment system).

    There are buttons to tweet and make facebook posts about the app, email a friend and check for updates on an existing installed app.

    I wanted to test what it did in terms of download and install so I choose Office category and selected AOrganizer. It was added to the download window (a queuing system it appears):

    It says “downloading…” while in progress, then the downloading disappears and you have to double click that item in the list. This opened the downloads folder (probably under the Home Folder):

    It didn’t offer an autoinstall. Not sure if this is due to Jack or the app in question. At this point, I just double clicked the icon and used unarc to extract to RAM. The app itself appeared to not have an installer so I just copied the folder to my WORK: drive and ran it directly:

    Conclusion:

    The app store in Jack isn’t quite in the same category as the AMIStore reviewed previously

    It’s more of a way to interact with the OS4Depot software repository. It does offer a handy way to queue up downloads, read and leave comments and donate to the developer. I’m assuming the update functionality works too. This is more like Grunch (review coming soon) than AMIStore.

    I can see this being handy. I have the feeling I’m not using it the way it was intended. I’m also assuming the other, massive functionality that Jack Provides is part of the attraction of this software. I may review other portions of Jack in the future.

    Anyway, Jack itself is worth the download but I hope you install thebar.mcc and AISS before hand and avoid the issues I had!