Thursday, 11 December 2014

Looking back at 2014 on Amiga

With December now upon us and Xmas coming soon, it is that time of year again when I take a look back on the major happenings in 2014 in Amiga land. There has been a lot happening!

My AmigaOne X1000 with Ducky Zero custom Amiga keyboard and two Radeon HD cards running AmigaOS4.1.6 and DOpus 5.9

Amiga hardware

On the Amiga hardware front in 2014 we saw the new A-EON AmigaOne X5000 released to Beta testers, and demonstrated at AmiWest 2014.

Tekmage's AmigaOne X5000 on display at AmiWest 2014

AmigaOne X5000 system board up close

In addition there was also the announcement at AmiWest 2014 of a new ACube Sam 460CR (Cost Reduced) system running AmigaOS 4.1.6 to be released soon. The plan seems to be to release a cheaper Next Generation Amiga system for those unable to afford an X1000 or Sam460ex system.
 
Loriano "The Daddy" Pagni also released a small run of specially customised Ducky Zero mechanical keyboards with Amiga keys in 2014.

Ducky Zero keyboard with Amiga keys on AmigaOne X1000, released in 2014 (Loriano Pagni)

Individual Computers released the Rapid Road USB hardware in 2014, allowing Classic Amiga systems to use USB 2.0 devices at USB 2.0 speeds for the first time, and allowing power input to avoid the need to have a  powered usb hub, which was required for previous USB solutions.

A-EON also released the Radeon HD 2.4 graphics drivers on the AMIStore in 2014, providing new 2D Composite video functionality on Radeon HD graphics cards on AmigaOne X1000, X5000 and Sam460 systems. Primarily the benefits will be felt in AmigaOS4.1 Final Edition, but video playback is also improved on AmigaOS4.1.6 also.




Operating Systems

On the Amiga Operating System front in 2014 we saw the release of MorphOS 3.7 and Icaros Desktop 2 (AROS).

My Acer AspireOne ZG5 netbook running Icaros Desktop 2.0, released in 2014.

Closer look at Icaros Desktop 2.0, released in 2014.

My Powerbook G4 15" laptop running the 2014 released MorphOS 3.7 with Apple Airport WiFi support - no more USB WiFi dongles!

MorphOS 3.7 in action, released in 2014 with the optional Chrysalis Pack also installed

Also we had the announcement and demonstration at AmiWest 2014 of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, expected to be released by Hyperion as a paid upgrade by the end of this year.

 AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition new features been shown at AmiWest 2014

So all three Next Generation Amiga operating systems saw substantial new upgrades in 2014! It is fantastic to see the ongoing development of the Amiga platform in 2014 and beyond.

In addition we also saw some important work in the emulation world in 2014, with QEMU-PPC support added by Toni Wilen for PowerPC processor emulation in WinUAE and later ported to the FS-UAE Amiga emulators too, making it possible to run AmigaOS4.1 Classic under Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

I demonstrated this development with my own emulated AmigaOS4.1.6 Classic build at AmiWest 2014 running on Windows 7. I used it for the programming seminar before the main AmiWest 2014 show also!

My Macbook Pro i7 laptop running AmigaOS4.1.6 Classic under WinUAE at AmiWest 2014

A-EON also released Ubuntu Live Remix 12.04 LTS for the AmigaOne X1000 in 2014, the easiest installation of Ubuntu I have ever done! :-)

 A-EON Ubuntu Live Remix 12.04 LTS - released in 2014 for AmigaOne X1000

A-EON Ubuntu Live Remix 12.04 LTS - released in 2014 for AmigaOne X1000

Last, but certainly not least is the very recent release of AmiKit 8, a highly customised pre-configured Classic Amiga setup for users who want to run the most beautiful AmigaOS3.x system with all the myriad of patches and utilities installed and configured to taste, but lack the time needed to build it from scratch themselves. You can download from here.

AmiKit 8 loading screen, running on FS-UAE under Ubuntu 14.04 on Asus i5 laptop

All that is needed is a copy of Amiga Forever (from Cloanto) to copy the required copyrighted files during the installation of it. This AmiKit distribution is available as a self booting USB stick for purchase, and also free download to setup and run on your favourite Amiga emulator - WinUAE, FS-UAE, E-UAE, etc. There is even a distribution of this now available to load onto Classic Amigas directly called Real AmiKit. Plenty of helpful instructions are included to get you started.

In my case I loaded AmiKit 8 onto my newly built Ubuntu 14.04 Asus Core i5 laptop, running it under FS-UAE.

FS-UAE screen showing the running AmiKit 8 installation

AmiKit 8 Workbench, with Start Menu shown

AmiKit 8 DOpus 5.9 integration, running in Workbench replacement mode. MUI 4 is included also.

Certainly it has been a great year for operating system upgrades for Amiga, with plenty of new features to explore!


Games

On the games front in 2014 we saw fewer titles released than previous years, but still quite a few new games to try out on Classic Amiga, and the Next Generation Amiga platforms too:

Me And My Shadow - released in 2014 on AmigaOS 4.1 (Huno PPC)

Tales of Gorluth - released in 2014 on Classic Amiga (Amiworx)

Flappy Bird - released in 2014 on Classic Amiga (Michael Gibs)

Amazing Voxel Bird Saga - released in 2014 on AmigaOS4.1 and MorphOS 3.7 (Cherry Darling)

Ace Of Hearts - released in 2014 on AmigaOS4.1 and MorphOS 3.7 (Cherry Darling)

HunoPPC also released his substantial catalog of AmigaOS4.1 game ports and some previously unreleased titles in an Acube Games Bundle DVD in late 2013 so it missed my look back last year - I got it in 2014:


Here is a small selection of the many games on offer by HunoPPC in this bundle, focused on the titles I hadn't seen and played before until 2014:

 HexGem

 Metal Slug

Secret Maryo Chronicles

Amazing Voxelnoid - released in 2014 on AmigaOS4.1 and MorphOS3.7 (Cherry Darling)

I particularly enjoyed playing Me and My Shadow and Voxelnoid in 2014 - they are fun games!

App Stores

One of the key releases in 2014 for Amiga platforms has been a new application purchase and delivery model commonly used these days on the very popular Apple, Microsoft and Google portable devices - the App Store.

The first of these is AMIStore (by A-EON), released on AmigaOS4.1 in 2014 and soon to be released for Classic AmigaOS 3.x platforms too.

 AMIStore - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 showing All Product view. 

AMIStore - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 showing M.A.C.E Product Overview detail.

Also released in beta test form in 2014 is IndieGO App Store, aiming itself not only for Classic and Next Generation Amiga platforms, but other platforms too.

 IndieGO App Store - released in Beta test form in 2014, running on Icaros Desktop 2.0

 IndieGO App Store - released in Beta test form in 2014, running on Icaros Desktop 2.0

Applications

With the release of the Amiga App stores in 2014, and the emphasis placed by A-EON on the need for new content and applications in a big way in 2014, and a lot of work has gone into releasing a lot of interesting applications for our favourite platform.

 DigiBooster Pro 3 music tracker - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 (APC & TCP)

PT1210-MK1 Protracker module mixer - released in 2014 for Classic Amigas (Kikencorp) - Image of two Amiga 600's setup with a mixer using the software taken from their Facebook page

 MUI 4 gui program development framework - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1

MUI 4 was also released for AmigaOS3.x via AmiKit 8 in 2014, and it was already available on MorphOS previously.


Odyssey 1.23 Web browser - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 allowing YouTube playback (Kas1e)

 Odyssey 1.23 Web browser - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 allowing Vimeo playback (Kas1e)

 Fractals for Sketchblock - fractal generator released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 (Andy "broadblues" Broad)

 Directory Opus (DOpus) 5.9 - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1, AROS and AmigaOS3.x (Kas1e)

 BigSister Webcam viewer - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 (Massimiliano Scarano)

 Little Brother Webcam viewer - released in 2014 on AMIStore (Z-Tools) for AmigaOS 4.1 (zzd10h)

TwittAmiga - first Twitter GUI client for Amiga, released in 2014 for AmigaOS 4.1 (Oliver Urbann)

MPlayer GUI - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 (Deniil 715)

 Live for It MPlayer optimised for AmigaOne X1000 - released in 2014 for AmigaOS4.1 (An updated release for 1080p playback on AMIStore soon for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) (Kjetil Hvalstran)

 CANDI - Animated Workbench backdrops - released in 2014 on AMIStore for AmigaOS4.1 (EntwicklerX)

Personal Paint 7.3 PPC - released in 2014 on AMIStore for AmigaOS4.1 and AmigaOS3.x (Andy Broad)


 Z-Tools - Suite of utilities for AmigaOS4.1 - released in 2014 on AMIStore by zzd10h


 E-UAE JIT Beta 5 (Almos Rajnai) and RunInUAE JIT Beta (Chris Handley) - released for AmigaOS4.1 in 2014

 FileSysBox NTFS support - released for AmigaOS 4.1.6 in 2014 (Hyperion)


 Kryoflux - Amiga floppy read/writer software for Kryoflux hardware - released for AmigaOS4.1 in 2014 (Kryoflux Products & Services)


NemoSound - AmigaOne X1000 sound mixer - released on AMIStore for AmigaOS4.1 (Lyle Haze)

Radiance Graphics Suite has also been announced in 2014, planned to be released on AMIStore when AmigaOS4.1 Final Edition is available.

There is also work being done on bringing Octamed Soundstudio onto AmigaOS4.1 as well, with A-EON acquiring the rights to it and Warp3D support for Radeon HD cards which will open up many Warp3D games on AmigaOS4.1 to be able to be run on the AmigaOne X1000 without an old legacy Radeon 9250 PCI graphics card installed.

Certainly there has been more applications released this year and I sincerely hope this continues into 2015.

AmiWest 2014

This year I was finally able to save the money to attend my first ever AmiWest show in 2014, held in Sacramento, California.

It was a lot of fun and great to meet so many passionate Amigans and see the ongoing developments for our platform first hand - to see the X5000 up close, play with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, see demonstrations of various games/applications, and to demonstrate MorphOS, Icaros and Minimig systems to attendees.

I also got to hear about the final days of Commodore UK from the perspective of Colin Proudfoot, the ex Commodore UK MD at the banquet.

Finally, I also got to meet and hear from Trevor and Matthew Leaman (A-EON), Steven Solie (Hyperion), also many AmigaOS 4.1 developers and many Amigans I had chatted with on IRC but never met in person - Ken (both of you!), Mike Brantley, Val, Eldee, Tony, Bill, Brian, Andy, Tom and too many others to mention - it was great to meet you all this year!

SACC huge Amiga display at AmiWest 2014

Friday night Classic Amiga Clinic - Tekmage's unwell Amiga 4000 being looked at.


Steven Solie during his presentation

 Trevor and Ken "Sundown" discussion at A-EON/AmigaKit table

 Colin Proudfoot (ex Commodore MD) speaking at the banquet

My table at AmiWest, with plenty of discussion about all things Amiga all weekend!

A-EON also announced at AmiWest 2014 they bought the Amiga forum websites amiga.org and amigaworld.net in 2014. There has been plenty of debate in the Amiga community about this move, but if it keeps forum websites online for the forseeable future to discuss all things Amiga then it is a good move for us all.

Look out for my AmiWest 2014 coverage article I have written for more detail in an upcoming Amiga Future magazine. :-)

There have also been plenty of other Amiga shows held around the world throughout the year!

I wanted to point out all the things that have happened in 2014 for Amiga - there has been many positive developments as you can see - and 2014 is not quite finished yet!

We still have AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition release to look forward to this year, and Radiance Suite along with it - and no doubt plenty more developments in 2015.



Whew - well that summarises 2014, lots happening still!

I will be offline from this blog for a bit from now, as usual during the Xmas/New Year period. I should be back in late January-ish as usual.

Until then, I wish you all and your families a Very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2015!