Commodore Amiga

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Platform - AMI.png
Amiga
Amiga.jpg
Released: 1985-07-23
Discontinued: 1997-??-??
Developer: Commodore
Type: Hardware & Software

The Commodore Amiga is the 16-bit successor to the popular Commodore 64. It was co-designed by Jay Miner, like the earlier Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit. The Amiga 500 model was the best selling home computer of the late 1980s. The Amiga featured better graphics and sound than its competitors, sported a graphical user interface, and true multitasking. Unfortunately, DOS ended up winning over the PC market, and the Amiga couldn't keep Commodore from going out of business.

Amiga is Spanish for female friend, and its custom chips are named like women and after their functions. Half a year before release, Electronic Arts and Commodore created the influential IFF format together. Europeans still argue whether the Amiga or the Atari ST is the better machine.

Games

Models

Amiga 1000

In the original 1985 model, Paula's output goes through two filters, which cannot be turned off. Software can only dim the power LED.

Amiga 2000

Starting with the 1987 models, software can turn the second filter off. Doing so will also dim the power LED.

Amiga 500

Arcadia

Mastertronic's arcade cabinets were based on the Amiga 500.

Amiga 1500

Amiga 2500

Amiga 3000

Starting with this 1990 model, every Amiga is based on ECS (Enhanced Chip Set). It supports more resolutions than OCS (Original Chip Set), during which samples coincidentally can also play higher.

Amiga 3000UX

Amiga 3000T

Commodore CDTV

Amiga 500+

Amiga 600

Amiga 4000

Starting with this 1992 model, the first filter was removed and every Amiga is based on AGA (Advanced Graphics Architecture). It supports much more color, and several games came in separate AGA versions; some even with different soundtracks.

Amiga 1200

Amiga CD32

This was one of the first CD-based game systems available. However, the system was poorly received and canned only months after its initial release, and had its North American release canned as a result.

Amiga 4000T

Music and Sound

Every Amiga has a Paula chip, up to two low-pass filters, a 68000-based CPU, and two kinds of RAM, clocked as follows:

Region Paula Screen refresh
NTSC 3579545 Hz 59.826 Hz
PAL 3546895 Hz 49.92 Hz

Some music (less than on 8-bit platforms) is synchronized with the screen refresh. The different clocks above mean that pitches arranged for one region differ by unremarkable 0.9% (16 cents) on the other region and speeds by up to very remarkable 20%.

Samples must be in the Chip RAM as Paula can access only that. Notes and code should be in the Fast RAM as the CPU can indeed access it faster. This is one reason why in some formats, samples are in a separate file from the rest.

On rips, filenames come after the format's extension. Therefore, most players on other computers don't see such files automatically. To play them, you may find it easiest to drag'n'drop them into the player.

You can also attach CD-ROM drives, and games and their music can run from CD at the same time. The Commodore CDTV and Amiga CD32 came with a built-in drive.

Composition

Some games from 1987 use huge samples for whole patterns (in RAW or IFF formats usually). Mostly though, small samples are used as instruments and played lower or higher to match notes. The filters turned out unpopular, and several programmers and gamers turned off what they could.

To arrange songs with instrument samples, early composers programmed their own drivers and typed notes into an 68000 assembler. Such soundtracks must be ripped in CUST, SC68, or spin-off formats created by the ripping scene retrospectively for composers' drivers, like DL (David Lowe), DW (David Whittaker), JT (Jeroen Tel), HIP, HIPC (both Jochen Hippel), MC (Mark Cooksey) and WB (Wally Beben).

One of these composers, Karsten Obarski, released The Ultimate Soundtracker. Soon after, since March 1988, a plethora of unofficial packers and new features followed in formats like OKT and MED (although outside the Amiga, only MOD prevails). Ripping as CUST or SC68 is also possible, but usually unnecessary.

When trackers came out, samples were spread around and sometimes used unfittingly. Professionals recorded a chord as one sampled instrument, making the Amiga sound like it is playing more than four instruments at the same time; arpeggios were less popular. Some drivers also generate samples just as the song plays (real-time): JCB and Sonic Arranger can perform pulse wave modulation; TFMX can manipulate existing samples; Oktalyzer and TFMX mix up to 8 tracks together into 4 channels.

Missing

These games have their soundtracks (entirely or a part of it) ripped in neither Amiga file formats:

Links