But around the time Doom was released on PC, it seemed like the Amiga's graphics performance, once so ahead of its time, had fallen far behind. I switched to a Pentium 60 PC and apart from the occasional twang of nostalgia have never looked back.
I'm really curious what the motivation is for those die hard Amiga fans and hackers now, so many years later. Is it nostalgia, the community, the technical challenge of working within the system's limitations? What is keeping you around?
So I'm not really part of the active Amiga community but I'm following loosely by reading http://amiga-news.de/ and listening to BoingsWorld, a German Amiga podcast (http://boingsworld.de/).
I think there are about 3 different groups of Amiga fans.
1. the hardware group
2. the emulation group
3. the demo group
IMHO the hardware group is the one group who wants to run something Amiga-like on their vintage (68k) or slightly vintage (PPC) hardware. Those people get a kick out of having a useful and fast system without all the cumbersome and inefficiencies of modern systems.
The emulation group just wants to use the old software or play the old games. Those usually don't care about the non-68k systems as it is much easier nowadays to emulate the old systems with one of the UAE forks.
The demo group uses whatever system they have to produce stunning demos. Getting new cool effects out of 30 year old systems is really amazing and shows what an incredible machine the Amiga still is.
I think A-EON mostly serves the hardware guys.
On the hardware side you have people that want something they will deem as "classic enough". Basically it at least needs to be 68k, possibly with PPC card, and various extents of modern expansions (some of which may not leave much of the original machine in actual use...)
You also have a number of people who care about the architecture for various reasons, but don't care about the actual hardware. There you'll find a number of FPGA projects. There is some overlap here, though.
Then you have the PPC crowd which is split between MorphOS and OS4. OS4 users has been A-Eons primary market given that they are selling actual new PPC hardware (with a second design underway), though they've lately started adding more products for classics, and have been courting MorphOS people too. MorphOS runs on various second-hand PPC hardware.
Then as you say there's the people who are fine with emulation.
Then you have AROS, which is largely hardware agnostic (ports to ARM, PPC, 68k, x86).
Within this there really are a lot of different motivations. E.g. you find classic users who just want to play games, but there are also hardcore classic users who try to use classic Amigas as their main computers.
I haven't followed Amiga developments for a while, last I remembered it appeared the Natami project was parked due to some differences in direction, with the project to create a new 68k FPGA CPU splitting off into a separate project.
I noted that the Minimig AGA core reached v1.0 this year, which is good news, is compatibility fairly good now?
I've not kept up with the Minimig cores. I'm more interested in AROS (though I check in on the FPGA projects now and again because I find them fun to read about), but have had very little time for that too lately.
AROS is a bit odd, as they are trying to build a full-blown OS although most of the people are probably running it in the hosted version on Linux.
IMO using one of the free unixoid OS as foundation with AROS on top would make more sense. I'm sad that Amithlon didn't work out.
Using classic Amiga as main computers is a hardcore task. I can see that it is not impossible to achieve with PPC Amigas and MorphOS or OS4. But for an 68k Amiga, I don't think it's possible without severe limitations.
This goes for the software as well; I understand that system in and out and I can build a simple OS from scratch (in assembler or C) and low level demos from scratch in days. The limitations make it interesting what the possibilities are; being clever with assembler and hardware can lead to very interesting results 'formerly not possible'.
For me the best 8-bit example is the actively developed; http://www.symbos.de
Then again; I would not know why you would make new hardware instead of going for the originals; it's not really the original feel / idea at least for me.
Although I personally did not own one, all of my friends did. I was the PC dude of the group.
So I got to use it when we gathered for some coding/gaming sessions back then.
The whole experience was awesome, how the OS and hardware were integrated together, the programming hardware that was available, some of the OS concepts like the libraries.
However in 2015, given the current computer architectures, I think nostalgia could be the only reason.
I hope my kid will appreciate some of those games as mentioned in other posts. sighs
It wasn't Doom that convinced me to switch from the Amiga to Wintel, it was MP3. My P100 was adequate but you weren't doing a lot of other things during playback.
Of course. I find it amusing that a machine that we deemed as so powerful (020/AGA) and on which we saw such nice graphical exhibitions isn't powerful enough to run 44KhZ/128Kbit mp3. It's more of a testament of time and Amiga itself (it was powerful!).
I think the hardware was really fun to work with. It had the copper processor and blitter which were programmable and powerful, and their use/abuse enabled really cool looking effects which drove the demo scene.
The 2d games still looked better and moved faster than on games for a good few years until directx and graphics cards started to catch up, and of course with 3D the pc win with brute cpu power
AROS (free implementation of AmigaOS3) and Minimig (free implementation of the hardware for FPGA) is where it's at.
But graphics performance is poor without a graphics card.
I actually headed over to A-Eon's page. I've been postponing getting one of their systems for about three years now, for various reasons, and I finally thought I'd say yes.
Sadly, it turns out they're all discontinued: http://www.a-eon.com/?page=products .
For all the awesomeness of AmigaOS 4, the hardware continues to be sadly elusive, as it has been ever since the demise of Commodore.
I will admit, though, that even at its strangest, the Acorn community never produced anything as mind-numbingly strange as this:
You can probably blame Apple for this, the CPU was from PA Semi.
Amiga fans the original Apple haters. I loved running the Mac OS emulator and getting fast performance with a slower chip.
I used to be unofficial Amiga support for Prestel/Telecom gold back in the Day.
Probably just jealous that Apple had decent management that didn't throw away its performance lead.
"When the Amiga came out, everyone [at Apple] was scared as hell." (quote from former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassée, Amazing Computing, Nov. 1996)
Apple was a big bunch of haters on anything Amiga and told big fat lies about their own machine or the future machines that were right around the corner that would blow away the Amiga. (If around the corner was six years than they were not lying).
On an Amiga had a Motorola 68000 chip just like the Mac, but the emulator on my 1 mhz 68000 would out preform System on a 2 mhz 68000 family chip.
Did you mean 7 MHz 68000?
I know I wasted too much time participating in flame wars on ANN in those days. In hindsight, I wish I had abandoned the Amiga much sooner and walk away with with mostly good memories.
The Video Toaster may have extended the Amiga's usefulness by a few more years, but for most users by the early 90s a spiffed out 386 or 486 PC clone with vga and a sound blaster offered comparable performance & features to the AGA Amigas.
It was an amazing machine vastly superior to its competitors from 85 till the early 90s though.
Even stranger are the commercial software projects -- for which there are dozens. The creators will never come close to even making their time back with sales of very complex apps, so why not just release everything as Open Source or Freeware? There's no business model in the world where it makes sense to sell Amiga software anymore, and with the massive OS fragmentation any given port must sell in the low dozens even for very popular titles.
It absolutely doesn't make sense and seems very self defeating for what could be a more vibrant hobbyist platform.
Some background infos and also Pics from Cyrus Board:
I'm surprised to see such out-dated technology still being used today.
What's MorphOS? That's a long story. To save you the convoluted history, let's just say it's an Amiga-like operating system from the Amiga community.
According to the FAQ on the website, MorphOS runs on 'Powerbook G4, iBook G4, Mac mini G4, eMac, Power Mac G5, and Power Mac as well as on computers and systems based on EFIKA, Pegasos I, Pegasos II and Sam460 mainboards.'
Here's a video of MorphOS booting on a PPC Mac: