Portal:Amiga

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Amiga

The Amiga is a family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985. The original model is one of a number of computers with 16 or 32-bit processors, 256 KB or more of RAM, mouse-based GUIs, and significantly improved graphics and audio compared to previous 8-bit systems. This includes the Atari ST—released earlier the same year—as well as the Macintosh and the Acorn Archimedes. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Amiga differs from its contemporaries through the inclusion of custom hardware to accelerate graphics and sound, including sprites and a blitter, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

The Amiga 1000 was released in July 1985, but production problems kept it from becoming widely available until early 1986. The best-selling model, the Amiga 500 was introduced in 1987 (along with the more expandable Amiga 2000) and sold four to six million units in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Amiga 3000 was introduced in 1990, followed by the Amiga 500 Plus, and the Amiga 600 in March 1992. Finally, the Amiga 1200 and the Amiga 4000 were released in late 1992.

In addition to being popular for gaming, the Amiga found a prominent role in desktop video, video production, and show control, leading to video editing systems such as the Video Toaster. The Amiga's audio hardware made it a popular platform for music tracker software. The processor and ability to access megabytes of memory enabled the development of 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D, Imagine, and Traces, a predecessor to Blender.

Although early advertisements cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, especially when outfitted with the Sidecar IBM PC compatibility add-on, the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software. Poor marketing and the failure of later models to repeat the technological advances of the first systems resulted in Commodore quickly losing market share to the fourth generation of video game consoles, Macintosh, and the rapidly dropping prices of IBM PC compatibles, which gained 256 color graphics in 1987. Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994 after a version of the Amiga packaged as a game console, the Amiga CD32, failed in the marketplace.

Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line, including Genesi, Eyetech, ACube Systems Srl and A-EON Technology. AmigaOS has influenced replacements, clones, and compatible systems such as MorphOS, AmigaOS 4 and, AROS. ( Full article...)

Selected article

WHDLoad is a software package for the Amiga platform to make installation of software to a hard disk easier, for such things as demos or games. Allowing for better compatibility for Amiga software, which can sometimes have hardware incompatibilities making them hard to use in emulated environments due to the widely varying hardware specifications of the Amiga product line across its history. WHDLoad basically circumvents the operating system in the Amiga for greater compatibility and preserves the original program environment.

WHDLoad makes it possible to autostart an installed floppy disk image by clicking an icon.

Two special parts are required, each one especially written for the client program: To install media, it must be read from the original disk and written to an image file on the hard drive by the "Imager". Then the installed program can be run from a virtual disk drive with the "Slave" interface. ( Full article...)

Selected biography

Jon Hare
Jon Hare
Jon "Jops" Hare (born 20 January 1966, Ilford, Essex, England) is an English computer game designer, game artist and musician. He is one of the two founder members and directors, with Chris Yates, of Sensible Software, one of the most successful European games development companies of the late 1980s and 1990s.

Hare was co-designer and artist of all of Sensible's hits prior to 1992 including Parallax, Wizball, Microprose Soccer, SEUCK and Wizkid. He was also the lead designer, composer and creative director of Mega Lo Mania, the Sensible Soccer series and the Cannon Fodder series, some of the most popular software franchises of the mid-1990s. ( Full article...)

Selected picture

Amiga 1200
Credit: Boffy b
Amiga 1200 with mouse and two external floppy drives.

Did you know...

... that Joe Pillow was the name given on the ticket for the extra airline seat purchased to hold the first Amiga prototype while on the way to the January 1984 Consumer Electronics Show?
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

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