LOAF Fixes an Amiga (or: ¡Hola Amigas!)

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Bandit LOAF, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation! Staff Member

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    AMIGA! Is there no word more thrilling to the human soul?

    If you're reading this and thinking: what the heck is an Amiga? then you're probably... an American! Amigas were available here but they were never more than an also-ran, a distant third or fourth or seventh in the titanic struggle between Macintosh and PC.

    If you're reading this and thinking "Amigas, eh? Jolly good." then you are British and know what's going on. The Amiga was HUGE in Europe and England especially, where they were the last desperate strike against having to use the same kind of computer as normal people (you know, along with the BBC Micro and the Sinclair and the Acorn and half a dozen other weird space computers.)

    (Finally, if your reaction was: "eh mate, thems a fuzzy wagger" then you are an Australian and should seek help.)

    The one exception is in professional video work, where American Amigas found a real niche. Thanks to an invention called the "Video Toaster" (yes, we're all thinking of the After Dark flying toasters right now, just let it happen) the humble Amiga became an unexpected powerhouse in the field of video editing and 3D effects work. In fact, the still-popular LightWave 3D package got its start as software bundled with the Toasters. The quality of a given 1990s TV show can be determined entirely based on whether or not an Amiga was involved in the effects work and editing. SeaQuest? Amiga! Sliders? Amiga! The X-Files? Amiga! Babylon 5? Amiga... okay, so it's not a hard, fast rule.

    The Amiga had a graphical interface which I assume without checking was called AmigOS, and was appealing in that period of history before Microsoft decided to just force everyone to use Windows. The line ended in the early 1990s and they were always a little underpowered compared to their PC equivalents... but they were plucky and have a host of fans to this day. Amiga people continue to do insane things to Amigas, much like Wing Commander fans continue to do insane things to Wing Commander. There are even some weirdo modern Amigas made by other companies that may or may not be real.

    All well and good, but why does LOAF care? Well I'll tell you, you jerk, I care because there's...

    ... A PORT OF WING COMMANDER FOR THE AMIGA!

    It's true. In fact, the Amiga port of Wing Commander was the very first one announced, in 1990. In the first Origin catalogs that listed Wing Commander an Amiga port was listed as "COMING SOON" from Origin.

    And it never happened.

    But you just said it DID happen! Jeez, let me tell the story, internal narrator.

    Origin had ported a mess of Ultimae to the Amiga, as was the style at the time, and I guess they thought Wing Commander would work the same way (Ultima 3 through 6, for the records.) The thing is, Wing Commander in 1990 was a monster. It was a game that needed a 286 and wanted a 386. That thing's eating suns for breakfast! And the Amiga, while full of spit and vinegar, didn't have the processing power for a straight port. ESPECIALLY the affordable Amiga that everyone had at the time, the A500. Origin quietly forgot they had ever planned an Amiga port and went back to what they did best in 1990: cancelling Worlds of Ultima sequels.

    Then, a few months later, Origin struck a deal with a company named Mindscape. They licensed the original Wing Commander to Mindscape, who planned to monetize it with console ports. Super Nintendo, Genesis and so on. The stuff the kids were using at the time. And the licensing rights included the Amiga, since Mindscape had a major European wing. But to port Wing Commander to the less powerful Amiga and have it be anything like the PC version you were going to need a genius.

    Luckily, they had one. Enter Nick Pelling. Mindscape asked Pelling, a British game programmer of some note, if he thought it could be done. Yes, he said, he thought Wing Commander could be done on the Amiga with few changes to the finished product... and what's more, he'd like to be the one to do it. The source code was messy, he saw, a result of the large team involved in putting the game together. One person, one really really smart person, could tighten it enough to run effectively on a lesser computer. And that's just what he set about doing.

    ... until he got terribly sick. Midway through development, Pelling contracted viral encephalitis, which is one of those diseases that completely knocks you out and that there's a good chance you don't survive. Mindscape, in a move that no other game publisher in the history of ever has ever pulled, opted to wait for him to recover instead of giving the project to someone else. After some months Pelling recovered, finished the game and it was released in 1992!

    And what he turned in was spectacular! The single limitation from the PC version was that the majority of Amigas couldn't display 256 colors. They could, at best, do 64... and that was in a graphics mode that wasn't suitable for an action game. He was stuck with 16. Instead of simply going with the EGA graphics, though, he came up with a system where the game dithered the more colorful graphics down to sixteen colors so they approached the PC version. And it ran pretty well on an Amiga 500... and spectacularly on the newer Amiga 1200s. Wing Commander became something of a hit and certainly the best game for showing off the fanciest Amigas... but the market quickly faded.

    The version itself is super cool. It lacks some PC-specific things, like analog joystick control and the MIDI score (which it exchanges for the people-argue-about-which-is-better Amiga MOD score) but it's mostly identical... save for easter eggs that only WIng Commander fans would find, like the fact that the TrainSim has rotating images of the Kilrathi fighters at the ship selection screen instead of the VDU pictures!

    There were plans to port the Secret Missions and even thought of Wing Commander II, but none of it ever happened. There was a very cool coda, though. Pelling updated his Wing Commander port for later AGA Amigas, which could display 256 colors. That version was never released, but it was turned into the pack-in launch title for the Amiga CD32 game system! The CD32, released in limited numbers in the US even, came with a CD containing a fancier version of Wing Commander for the Amiga.

    One more fun Amiga connection: the ships in the original Wing Commander were rendered on an Amiga! An Amiga 3000 running lightwave was used by an external company hired by Warren Spector. The team provided the line art you see in Claw Marks and were given images of the ships at different angles to use in the finished game.

    So, obviously, my goal is to play the original version of Wing Commander for the Amiga on the original hardware. Which means... I need an Amiga.

    Actually, what I decided it means is that I need ANOTHER Amiga. Because the last time I worked on this project, before all the cataclysms, I had actually bought an Amiga... sort of.

    What I had was actually an Amiga CD32 game console with an additional aftermarket module called the "SX-1." The SX-1 is designed to plug into the CD32's expansion port and turn it into a "full" Amiga, roughly equivalent to the Amiga 1200.

    The problem is that it's ugly as hell, a little slow and oddly fragile. It makes the console a giant L-shaped monster, with the part that sticks out being not attached very well. And it's not a GENUINE Amiga, it's... something Germans (I assume, because they're good at things) made. Plus, look how cool Karga looks right now. I was high on the idea of plugging in a third computer to the same keyboard and mouse and obsessed with the idea of eventually stacking an Amiga desktop over top of Bertha on that little rolling shelf.

    That said, I decided I would find my box of Amiga CD32 equipment before I did anything else. It would have a keyboard and a mouse and the WC diskettes and so on. I had used it ONCE, for about five minutes, when Cpl_Hades came to visit before D*C. We had put everything in a box somewhere before we left and there it sat for the next half a decade.

    ... but where was it? If I haven't made it clear before, I am as close to being one of those TV hoarding people as you can get without keeping my old dead cats. My house is walls of books and video games and old consoles and computers and so on. But I had a mission, gosh darn it, and I was going to find the box of Amiga stuff.

    Saturday I dug into the attic that's just off my bedroom. Surely it was in here - a sea of unlabeled boxes that went for miles and miles. I pulled all the boxes out, looked in them and (to my credit) put them back in in a very organized fashion. But covered with asbestos at the end of the day I was a failure. No CD32. I found my CDX and my SNES, which I pulled out for part four of this series, but saw neither hide nor hair of Amiga.

    So I tried my closet. My closet is... a death zone. Boxes and boxes of old video games stacked to the ceiling. I must have boxed the Amiga up and stuck it in the closet, where it was layered with more boxes, right? A good six hours of deconstructing the closet revealed... absolutely nothing.

    Is it... under my guest bed? Another death hole, with boxes farther back than I could reach. A few hours of grabbing and organizing revealed that... no.

    Did I throw away my CD32 and my SX-1? Am I an idiot? No and yes, respectively. It turns out that the whole treasure box was in the OTHER attic, the one I don't store things in (it has all my brother's Star Trek figures.) In fact, it was sitting in plain sight, apparently the last thing anyone had ever put in that attic ever. In the middle of the room. I brought it out and examined this time capsule from the last time I tried to build the ultimate WC setup:

    - Amiga CD32 console. I'll need this... later.
    - 33.6 modem? I must have bought this for proto-Karga and then never installed it. Oh well, I have a 56.6 model now (same brand.)
    - The SX-1.
    - Wing Commander for the Amiga on 3.5" diskettes.
    - An external 3.5" disk drive for the SX-1.
    - An Amiga mouse and keyboard (actually, the latter seems to be a PC keyboard that the previous owner physically rewired.)
    - The weird boomerang controller for the CD32.

    So, pretty neat. I was VERY happy to find it, even though I killed an entire weekend doing so. And wasn't going to use it anyway. You can find a picture here (also used in the old thread): http://www.wcnews.com/loaf/photos/karga/karga-oldtoys.JPG

    So now I had to decide what kind of Amiga I wanted.

    Wing Commander's box helpfully tells me that it can run on the A500, A600, A1200, A2000, A3000 and A4000.

    I wanted a desktop unit to intergrate into my stack, so the 'in a keyboard' Amigas were out. That kills the A500, A600 and A1200 regardless of specifications.

    The A2000 was the desktop version of the A500 (MORE OR LESS, OKAY AMIGA GUYS) and every review I read said that it just wasn't enough to run Wing Commander. And I want the best possible solution, so that was out.

    I thought about going with a 3000, which lacks the AGA chip for the 256-color version (I have a CD32 for this) but connects to a VGA monitor more easily and had the connection of being a machine Wing Commander was built on... but I ultimately went with the 4000.

    I just needed to get one. Shockingly, American A4000s proved to be pretty common on eBay. It turns out that's because it's just RIGHT NOW that video production companies are decomissioning them! So there's always two or three American A4000s on eBay. They seemed to go for between $200 and $500... a lot for one Wing Commander game, but I had just gotten my tax refunds and I was willing to wait and shoot for the low end of that spectrum. Or so I thought.

    There were a few different options: plain A4000s without a video toaster, which were a minority... A4000s with all kinds of hobbyist upgrades... and A4000s with video toasters. The big problem is apparently that the original battery in the A4000 would leak and destroy the motherboard if not replaced... so the ones belonging to video companies, which were regularly professionally serviced, were the best option. But, of course, when they included the toaster and other goodies they were significantly more expensive.

    What I learned next was that a LOT of people want Amigas. Every auction ended with people sniping me at the last minute (despite my attempt to do the same.) A4000 after A4000 went for $500 or more because I wasn't willing to pay that much. I carefully watched one after another and lost them all.

    Until last weekend, when a pretty nice A4000 with a toaster from a video production company in Pennsylvania showed up. It came with the monitor and everything, which I think scared some bidders away (no one wants to ship a monitor.) I have a little extra money saved, I said, I'll go up to $450 (actually, $200 of it wasn't 'real' money, it was in my Paypal account for some work I'd done in my spare time and wouldn't really use for anything else.)

    And so Sunday afternoon I won my new Amiga! The seller shipped it immediately and it is due to arrive TONIGHT! So, this is the pre-game thread. I hope it's all in working order, the listing sounded great... we'll know soon! If not, it'll be my job to get it working... and then to make it play Wing Commander as well as it can... and then to integrate it with the Bertha/Karga stack! (An Amiga with a toaster has a cool rainbow on the case, it's going to look GREAT.) Along the way we'll learn more about Amiga joysticks (ooooh), other Amiga games and... stuff you can do with an Amiga. And since I have a Video Toaster and all kinds of production software, we can make a new season of seaQuest DSV.

    It also needs a name! I asked the seller if it had a name and he never replied, so... it'll probably be up to us! And a gender, I guess (in case it wasn't clear, Karga was male because Kilrathi ship names are masculine, while Bertha was female because duh.) Stay tuned!

    Want to learn more about Amiga games? This site is GREAT: http://hol.abime.net/1721 (that's the Wing Commander entry, of course. Includes a good dozen or so scanned articles!)
  2. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation! Staff Member

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  3. -danr-

    -danr- Commodore

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    Thanks for these epics. I think that Brits will particularly enjoy this installment, the machine was really quite popular here. I had an A500 and then an A600+. I'm sure other limeys here will follow this with interest and offer better advice than I can if you get stuck.

    Wow! I never knew about this!! A new Wing Commander gaming experience potentially within reach. I must look that up...

    The 3000s and 4000s were used extensively for effects in British TV production, one great example I can remember was the 3D intro of starships on the 90s daytime 'chart show'. I think they were used for some of the effects in 'Red Dwarf' - an English comedy with cult status here now. Either way, an A4000 was pretty much the one to drool for by the time it came out. I can't remember if they were more expensive than a comparitive IBM PC at the time, but as a kid I recall the Amiga gaming magazines to be considerably more costly than the PC ones, some of them would include a couple of game demos on a 3.5" floppy glued to the front cover, it felt like a cool club to be part of. Kind of like the American 'Mac vs PC' battle, in England, you could be an Amiga kid instead.

    My first Wing Commander gaming experience was Wing Commander on the Amiga A500 in 1992, you have my attention.
  4. CMDBob

    CMDBob Ensign

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    Heh, I've always thought Amiga's to be strange things, worthy bit's of kit in their own right, but strange none the less (I grew up with PCs just as the Amigas were going out of fashion). Hope it works well, really. (also, looking at the miscellaneous bits and bats pic, I see you have a Playstation Analog Joystick, just the thing to play watch chug to about 5fps if you're lucky play Descent and enjoy WC4 on the PSX with.) Namewise, I got nothing.
  5. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation! Staff Member

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    Awesome! I'm hoping to get a lot of input from the probably-British Wing Commander Amiga veterans this time around. The only time I ever played the game myself was when Hades (an actual British person) was visiting, and he set it up to run on the SX-1. So I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing.

    I do know Red Dwarf, though! I watched it growing up: the public television station where I lived would show Doctor Who at 10 PM on Saturday night (whole serials, not one episode)... and then an episode of Red Dwarf afterwards at 12:30 or 1 AM or whenever. So it was always a challenge to try and stay up to catch it all... but it got a generation of dedicated American geeks into some British sci-fi many years before everyone could just stream everything on the internet.

    I don't think I had any consciousness about the Amiga at all when I was growing up. I guess when I was a teenager I knew they'd used them for the CGI on Babylon 5 and I thought of them as something exotic... but they were never part of the home computer culture (I remember pouring over the PC magazines as a kid, dreaming of the perfect computer from all the specifications in the ads.)

    My UPS tracking number says that both the Amiga packages are at home now! Another two hours of work...

    Oh, I forgot part of the story! Nick Pelling, who did the port, ended up going back to school and is now an expert on historical cryptography mysteries! He wrote a book on the extremely weird "Voynich Manuscript" and he has a blog here: http://www.ciphermysteries.com/

    Search for "Wing Commander" and "Dangeous Streets", they're on the CD together. Looks like you can get a copy for pretty cheap in the UK! There's a patch out there that will let you run it on an actual Amiga instead of just the CD32. (Or in an emulator.)

    Hah, yeah, that's for WC4 PSX. The domestic consoles will be part 4!
  6. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation! Staff Member

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    Oh yeah! Here are the photos included with the original auction. Apparently the new Amiga comes with a Video Toaster, something called a "Warp Engine" and a "Kitchen Sync."

    anuga1.JPG amiga2.JPG amiga3.JPG
  7. -danr-

    -danr- Commodore

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    For the first time since 1992, a man in North America sits at work anxiously wishing the minutes away, for his A4000 has arrived at his house. But seriously, extremely cool project - I dare say that depending on your intentions, it may be more challenging than the Mac or the PC. Amiga software is a science of its own, and if the hardware is familiar in terms of components (CPU, RAM , 3.5" etc), yet idiosyncrantic in it's design, the operating system is a truly unfamiliar beast of computing. Amiga OS 1.3 on my A500 lagged miles behind Windows 3.1 in terms of home user-friendliness, but excelled in other wonderful and intuitive ways. Be sure to check out Deluxe paint, if you can, and compare it to Paintbrush of the time. Even the early Deluxe paint was astonishing in its 3D abilities, yet came with the same operating system that allowed for users to erase the contents of the OS itself by accidentally dragging content from a root folder into 'trashcan' - Baffling, but it happened to me as a curious 8 year old, crippling the computer beyond home-user repair.

    The 4000 should be more like an equivalent PC of the time, can't wait to hear about how it is to use as a relative newcomer, it's functionality and it's intuitiveness. *Gets popcorn*.

    It's mindblowing to think of the notable US following, given the severity of the 'English' humour in the show, the rough accents and often 'BBC budget' effects :) Great show - and still in production for more!

    Enjoy your new toy, and don't smeg it up ;)
  8. CMDBob

    CMDBob Ensign

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    Heh, from what I've read, the Warp Engine is an expansion board that added a faster processor, more ram and a few scuzzy SCSI connnectors (understandable for the Toaster, rendering takes lots of RAM, a fast CPU and a good, fast HD connection, even now.) and the Kitchen Sync is apparently a "time base corrector & sync generator". I think those are to generate accurate timing signals for video. Not being an old broadcast video editor, I couldn't tell you more. (plus, from what I can gather off the net, the Kinchen Sync apparently runs off the 'good' ol' ISA bus!)

    Hehe, Red Dwarf, many a good evening spent watching that show! It always seemed really British (which is a good thing, being a brit and all) and I pretty much always laughed. Can't wait for series X, meself.
  9. -danr-

    -danr- Commodore

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    Spoiler: The Amiga WC1 has a superb soundtrack, I've just hit up YouTube and been taken back to my childhood. I'm rather jealous of Ben again.



    This vid doesn't show it...but IIRC they even crammed in the OriginFX 'Orchestra' Trailer at the start.
  10. CMDBob

    CMDBob Ensign

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    Heh, the music IS damn good (then again, is there a WC game without good music?). I scoured the news archive, and was able to find the news post with the source mods for WCAmiga. (it's here: http://www.wcnews.com/news/4232 )
    -danr- likes this.
  11. Youngblood

    Youngblood Commodore

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    As another Brit that first played WC on my amiga 500+ then 1200 and cd32 this is really good stuff! I must admit im one of them that has always said the music is much better on the Amiga.
  12. Youngblood

    Youngblood Commodore

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    Yep it was in there!
  13. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff Staff Member

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    I was always aware of Amiga, I just don't think I've ever encountered one in the wild...

    It kind of reminds me of Tandy's for some reason though, which I did run into a few times.

    Similar to LOAF, the local cable providers here run a couple of the Public Broadcast stations from the US (one from Seattle and another from... either New York or Detroit) which is where I first encountered Red Dwarf. They'd also periodically run Red Dwarf marathons. For whatever reason though I think they would at times skip certain episodes and I don't think I saw past series 7 though I think they did show some of the later series. However I recently watched them all on Netflix. And while I like some moments in the later series most of the good stuff pretty much ends with Series 5 with some reasonable bits in 6. Though I did enjoy the recent miniseries which was a riff on Blade Runner.
  14. capi3101

    capi3101 Rear Admiral

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    Wow...the VT4000. I haven't even thought about the Toaster in years; cut my teeth on the 4000.

    Didn't really know they ever used the Amiga for anything else in America. This could be interesting.
  15. jjcoolay

    jjcoolay Captain

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    Oh Tandy tandy, tandy.... That name takes me back. My first computer was a tandy. A little off topic but hours of kings quest,Space quest and police quest back in the day... hmmm also some Lesuire suit Larry I think?
  16. Dondragmer

    Dondragmer 1st Lieutenant

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    For completeness, the BBC Micros were a subset of the machines made by Acorn Computers. In order of manufacture, they were the Acorn Atom, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron and Acorn Archimedes. If anything, the Archimedes deserved success more than the Amiga... and received less. However, its most innovative feature - the ARM microprocessor architecture - lives on in 10 billion smartphones, cameras and printers. Also, the music notation program "Sibelius" was first written on the Archimedes, and only later ported to Windows and Mac OS.

    Where I went to primary school in Australia, there was a single Archimedes; on rainy days at lunch time, a queue would form to play Lander. Not that any of us got anywhere, given its fiddly controls. There were a number of BBC Micros, too. I even encountered one while taking high school physics in 1998; its sole job was to run a BBC BASIC program that visualised the fields created by electrical charges on a 2D plane.

    Yes, I used the DOS port of Deluxe Paint Animation for many years, and even now I'm amazed by its capabilities. Years after I started using it, I discovered that a single change to the 3D settings would switch on anti-aliasing, permitting some very precise drawing even in 320*200*256 MCGA. Did the Amiga version offer that, too?
  17. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation! Staff Member

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    There's good news and there's bad news. Well, to start right out, there's some especially bad news: the sound doesn't work. The output is distorted and barely audible. Research has revealed that this is something of an inevitability for old Amigas. Some of the capacitors in the sound circuit leak electrolytes and damage the sound circuit.

    Luckily, this is not the end. There is a way to replace the bad capacitors and repair the damage to the motherboard. And it's not expensive per say... it's just a lot of work and uses some electronics skills that I don't have yet. Here are the instructions: http://amiga.serveftp.net/audio_repair.html

    I've already e-mailed the person who runs that site, who does Amiga repairs in New Zealand, to ask for an estimate for him to do the repair for me. I also spoke to my father, who is far more knowledgeable about actual electronics, who said he could help (I don't have the vision to work in such a small space, anyway.)

    Since this seems to be the fate of all A4000s, I can't just buy a new one. The line must be drawn here! So, this isn't going to be a quick march to victory... it's going to be a real slog. But it should be pretty entertaining!

    ... and with that, here's the initial setup!

    First of all, let me introduce a small piece of equipment which I recently added to Karga:

    [​IMG]

    This small, nervous grey cat just LOVES hanging around the computers. Normally the cats don't come upstairs at all, but for some reason her younger brother has recently started pummeling her mercilessly. He thinks it's a wonderful game, but she wants out... and so she very sweetly goes up the stairs and reaches for the door knob to let me know she'd like to come visit with me. So there she is, nestled between Karga's monitor and keyboard.

    [​IMG]

    It's not surprising to come home and find a dead vole or a bird left for me... but today she was VERY proud of what she'd caught.

    [​IMG]

    What was in the boxes? MILLIONS OF PEANUTS! Before doing anything else I cleaned these up. My home may be a giant mess, but I couldn't think straight if there were peanuts everywhere.

    [​IMG]

    And under all the peanuts... the original Commodore boxes from 1992! How cool is that? Damn, I won't be able to throw these away, will I?

    [​IMG]

    Next, I put together the Amiga on my computer testing octopus circle rug. Everything made sense except... the mouse. Where the heck do you plug it in? I wondered as I carefully examined the inputs on the back with a magnifier. After a while I checked the manual and discovered that you plug it in to the side of the computer. Huh.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Amiga booted up just fine and brought me right into Video Toaster! That could be a problem? The button to quit Video Toaster and go back to the "Workbench" was, unexpectedly, hidden in the settings menu.

    [​IMG]

    Check out all the manuals! I brought a few to work today to read at lunch. Just like Scotty. Except he probably wouldn't be afraid of de-soldering a motherboard.

    My first big challenge was the disk drive. When I started it wasn't reading diskettes properly or at all. Were my Wing Commander disks bad or was there something wrong with the drive? I plugged an external Amiga disk drive (from the CD32) in and tried that, with similarly poor results. That suggested something was wrong with Wing Commander.

    But then I tried booting directly to Wing Commander and... it worked!

    [​IMG]

    I couldn't play, though: it wouldn't detect the disk change to Disk 2. Very frustrating! I did a little reading and found that Amiga disk drives don't work like human ones at all: they have a little sensor that's constantly looking for disk changes. The word on the street was that if this sensor has trouble then you're screwed and need a new drive. Or, since I have a CD-ROM, maybe I could put WC1 on CD and side-load it somehow.

    But let me just throw a barrel at it...

    Yes, before breaking down and buying a new drive I decided to try the computer repair person's number one trick: jam a compressed air tube in there and pray.

    [​IMG]

    Success, swapping disks now works instantly. Wing Commander I installed right to my hard drive.

    I know there was some question about how Amiga OS (which is sadly its real name, I've learned, rather than AmigOS) will come off to someone who has never used it before in this modern era.

    In all honesty, it did okay. My first reaction is that it's ugly as sin. The Video Toaster had a pretty startup image, but the Workbench interface was all blocky grey nonsense that reminded me of using GEM (a goofy Windows alternative in the early 1990s that I have never seen anywhere but the British private school I went to in France.)

    ... but then I realized that this is an OLD computer. In fact, it's the oldest computer in the collection (other than that Mac Plus, which doesn't count because it's not for WC.) The Amiga is from 1992, while Bertha is from 1997 and Karga's motherboard and processor are from 2000. For the others I was able to go with a system that was a generation or so beyond the last Wing Commander... since Amiga died with the 4000, I didn't have that choice.

    Anyway, usability. Clicking the left mouse button to bring up menus at the top of the screen didn't seem intuitive, but I figured it out very quickly. I also very quickly figured out how to stop Video Toaster from booting on startup: just drag the Video Toaster icon out of the WBStartup container.

    I also figured out the command line stuff pretty quickly where needed. Wing Commander asked me what hard drive I wanted to install it to and gave the example of "HD0:wingcommander." That told me there wasn't enough space, but I immediately figured out that my free space was on the other hard drive, and that the drives are numbered in order. HD0, HD1, HD2, etc (and then the diskettes are DF0, DF1, DF2, etc.; not sure where the CD-ROM is yet.)

    [​IMG]

    I didn't want to keep it on the floor, so I went ahead and set it up in the area next to Karga and Bertha. Once I get that sound fixed and pick up a few converters she can slide right onto the lower shelf above Bertha!

    So, something of a disappointment that it all wasn't perfect immediately... but also more fun to be had in the long run.
  18. Cpl Hades

    Cpl Hades Mr. Kat Staff Member

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    Hi. I'm British and I know what's going on.

    Wow, that thing is amazing! I kind of want my own now but I don't have the money or the space to throw at something like that. I hope you do manage to get the sound working, it'll become a great little project. I wonder why the ebay seller didn't know about that problem? Have you tested it with something other than WC?

    Also Workbench can be made prettier. I'm not sure what version you have on the hard drive.. probably 3.1? There are programs such as MagicWB that will pretty it up a bit, and it looks much better at higher resolutions but then you only have a basic monitor right now. I *think* you'd probably need something like this or some weird combination of PCI adapter and VGA card to get a decent resolution.

    Also for anyone interested, here's a conversion chart for crazy Amiga terminology:

    "Kickstart" = BIOS
    "AmigaDOS" = DOS (duh)
    "Workbench" = Windows
    "Agnes" = Memory control chip
    "Denise" = Video control chip
    "Paula" = Sound control chip
    "Guru Meditation" = Blue screen of death. Except it's red and flashes.
  19. Youngblood

    Youngblood Commodore

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    Not sure if anyone is intrested but thought I would post this link here as it is related to the Amiga infact if you look at the site it looks like Amiga might be making a come back along with the C64 http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx
  20. hardwired

    hardwired Spaceman

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    Hi, and let me take this opportunity to introduce myself.
    I'm a long Wing Commander fan, devouring every scrap of info from the early preview shots on the magazines (when it was "Wingleader") to its launch on the PC and later on the Amiga.

    I will not bore you with my WC story, a quick summary is on my review on Lemon Amiga: Amiga WC Review
    Still there are some notes I wish to add to your enterprise, Bandit LOAF.

    First of all the Amiga WC is playable from floppy if you have at least two floppy drives. I had three on my A500 days and had not problem with disk swapping. In that front the Amiga WC was well thought, it only took 3 DD floppy disks (contrary to the 5? HD floppy of the original PC), and not much floppy swapping.
    But as CPU goes anything bellow a 12.5 mhz very limited (while playable or barely). Besides if you want to have all the animations and gfx of the game you require at least 1.5 mb of ram. So standard 1mb A500 with one floppy drive is not the real way to play the game.
    Of course the game was launched when A600 with HD was being sold as the minimum setup, and A1200 the default one, so the game naturally found gamers which were able to enjoy it. You have an A4000 so you're ready to go!

    I myself got an A1200 with HD (which was about 500€ in current currency) and the game was totally transformed (I finished the game about 3 times). I later played on an A4000, and I found it more challenging than it should be - it was at top speed! Up to the challenge?

    But of course the GFX being OCS only was always something that did not please me having AGA chipset on 2 computers (capable of easily displaying 256 colours on screen from a palette of 16 million).
    Then I got myself the CD-32 version, but wasn't able to load it on my A4000. First of all I found out I had to swith the fastmem. Really idiotic...
    Then it just was a mess sometimes, or with a few twicking with CD-32 emulation mode of my CD-ROM drivers, I managed to run but it wasn't really enjoyable (and actually was faster on my 68030 setup than rather 68040 one). Eventually I found out that the game had been totally rewritten to use the AKIKO chip on the CD-32 (wich does chunky to planar Amiga modes).
    That was my experience back then, I might have made some mistakes on my setup...

    I later found a patch on the Aminet to run the CD-32 version, with that I was finally able to run the Amiga CD version and with the right settings was able to apreciate the best Wing Commander 1 for any platform (exception for recent rewrites for PC wich I never seen but should have better audio than the original I guess).
    There's an almost full tutorial to get the Cd32 version running on the this forum post

    One important note: if you're unable to fix the A4000 audio problems you're not going to apreciate Amiga Wing Commander. The audio was the reason that so many people were able to play WC on an amiga 500 or 600.
    By the way, the CD32 has slightly better and more audio than the original version. And the WinUAE emulation cannot replicate the real audio quality of the Amigas - So the Youtube videos don't do justice to it (with some tweaking might be near perfect but it takes much hassle and you have the real hardware).

    The best of luck to your project - Hope you get both versions working in perfect order...

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