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. 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. However, by late 1993, the PC had caught up, and the Amiga couldn't keep Commodore from bankruptcy. Europeans still argue whether the Amiga or the Atari ST is the better machine.

Development was headed by Jay Miner, who designed the earlier Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit. 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.

Games

Models

Amiga 1000

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

Amiga 2000

Starting with the 1987 models, programmers can toggle the second filter, and several like Jason Brooke and Chris Hülsbeck happily turned it off. This also dims the power LED, which coined the name LED filter.

Amiga 500

Arcadia

Mastertronic's coin-op cabinets are based on the Amiga 500. They have a Config button ("No more inaccessable dip switches") and can save 2 KB worth of configurations and statistics.

The hardware came as follows:

  • The Super Select System is a cabinet with 10 slots and a TenPlay Control Program. Into each slot, arcade operators can plug a "Mega Board Game Card" (a.k.a. "unique Megaboard plug in cartridge").
  • The Electro Choice MGX is a rebrand for British arcade company Electrocoin.
  • The Horizontal Conversion Kit has only one slot and a OnePlay Control Program. Some games, including Leader Board (ARC), came as a customized cabinet.
  • Aaargh! (ARC) runs on its own and is not compatible with the control programs.

Most (if not all) games and control programs are optimized for NTSC Amigas, including those developed in the PAL region. The VGMPF does not know if Arcadia was ever based on PAL Amigas.

Amiga 1500

Amiga 2500

Amiga 3000

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

Amiga 3000UX

Amiga 3000T

Commodore CDTV

Amiga 500+

Amiga 600

Amiga 4000

Starting with the October 1992 models, 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

American Laser Games

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

CUBO CD32

The Italian company C.D. express added a coin interface to the Amiga CD32 and published games on CD.

Music and Sound

Every Amiga has a Paula chip, up to two filters (depending on model), two CIA chips which provide two timers each, a 68000-based CPU, and two kinds of RAM, clocked as follows:

Region Paula CIA Screen refresh
NTSC 3579545 Hz 1/5 of Paula 59.826 Hz
PAL 3546895 Hz 1/5 of Paula 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 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 play huge samples of whole prerecorded patterns. Most games contain small loopable samples of instruments and play them lower or higher to match notes.

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 rippers retrospectively for composers' drivers, like DL (for David Lowe), DW (David Whittaker), HIP, HIPC (both Jochen Hippel), MC (Mark Cooksey) and WB (Wally Beben).

One such composer, Karsten Obarski, released The Ultimate Soundtracker. Soon after, starting March 1988, a plethora of unofficial packers and new features followed in formats like OKT and MED. Outside the Amiga, only MOD prevails. Ripping as CUST or SC68 is also possible, but usually unnecessary.

With those editors out, samples were spread around in RAW or IFF format and sometimes used unfittingly (to the derision of Atari ST fans). 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 becoming less popular. Some drivers also generate samples in real-time (just as the song plays): JCB and Sonic Arranger can perform pulse width modulation; Protracker V1.1B and 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 of Amiga file formats:

Links