Defender of the Crown, art by Jim Sachs, was remarkable so soon after the machine's release. Especially as much was painted pixel by pixel. It was ported to PC, in CGA and I think EGA, not that anyone could afford EGA! He wasn't treated at all well by Cinemaware for the game that made the studio. http://amiga.lychesis.net/game/DefenderOfTheCrown.html
Some notables missing though.
No Eric Schwartz, Tobias Richter or Ken Offer? Eric did the Amy the Squirrel, Juggler 2, Aerotoons, and a bunch of logo work for Commodore. Doesn't seem to have done much since.
Ken did the HAM animation that was a major step up from juggler and a few others. Can't remember if he developed or just worked for one of the early 3D sw companies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT09y-MpC4E
Tobias did a lot of early Amiga CGI and animations, and the Star Trek game. Later CGI for TV DS9 and Star Trek TNG, now running http://www.thelightworks.de/
There's bound to be a few others I forgot.
To me, it was the only computer I've owned that had personality, which I can't completely describe what that means, but no other computer has felt like my Amiga.
It had superior:
- graphics hardware, including the copper and the blitter
- HW extensibility
The Amiga outpaced all other PCs (x86 DOS/OS/2/Windows and Mac) for half a decade, and was a fantastic gaming platform for its time.
That was so complete that Sun tried quite hard to licence the 3000UX as an entry level Sun workstation. Commodore couldn't/wouldn't agree licencing.
Which rather sums things up.
What were the choices? C64 and Spectrum were yesterday's news. PC's were 4 colour CGA or EGA if spending a fortune, could go "beep", and ran DOS or Windows 3 that supposedly multi tasked but in reality could background print or crash, yet cost loads. Mac's were single colour and oh so expensive. The ST was a quick cheap hack solely to ruin the Amiga's day after Atari failed to buy (rip-off) the Amiga. It had midi which meant it found a significant niche.
Amiga had prioritisable pre-emptive multi tasking that actually worked, and multi colours. It compared with workstations Even AmigaDOS that took a lot of flak was better than the others as it felt rather like Unix lite to use. Porting most unix command line and terminal apps was pretty trivial.
Most of the ideas were innovative; dozens of DMA channels, copper and blitter as co-processors with their own memory access, autoconfig that worked. Ten years later Windows 95 came out with plug and pray to finally end the pissing about with jumpers, shared interrupts and bios config. Wasn't as good as Autoconfig, nor anything like as reliable.
Workbench and Intuition were easily the best designed API of any of the OS's. Code sizes were tiny thanks to shared libraries. I remember when I had to switch to PC - one package I ran came on something like 15 or more Windows floppies. The Amiga version had come on 2, yet did more. The second disk was example files. It was the same when I tried my first GUI hello world under windows - why is this 50k when the amiga version, that had the same resizeable window, icons and such, was something under 1k? Why do I have to write all this glue code to do things the OS should be doing?
There was a Unix-like inclination to open standards and data sharing - IFF (jointly with EA of all people!), datatypes, Arexx. There was a Mac-like inclination to better hardware - HDDs and CDs were SCSI, avoid impacting the processor etc.
Commodore didn't know what to do with it and ended up marketing as a second rate console/games machine, cost cutting and delaying the next machines, and they had an asshole for CEO who was bleeding the company dry. The demo scene probably made more sales than C=.
It should have obliterated Microsoft and PCs as on every significant point it was comparing a Mercedes with a Trabant. The Byte and PCW reviews on its 85 release felt similarly. I imagine early Mac owners feel similar, for different but equally justified reasons.
It's hard not to be nostalgic or feel there was a huge missed opportunity to build the future on a better foundation.
It just evokes a feeling of exploration, learning, and adventure to me. Like I'm on the HMS Beagle...and I've brought an Amiga.
Loved the music too! That game was one of the first I ever played. It was dark, extremely difficult but with mind blowing graphics. Even though it forced you to watch a lot of the animated intro after each time you died I somehow never grew tired of it in the same way I did other games. It was other worldly
Of course all of that happened on other 8/16-bit systems as well, and there were certainly exceptions on the Amiga. It's just such a contrast to the obvious love and attention spent on still scenes. I wonder if it has to do with the demoscene roots of so many Amiga artists and devs.
(Color-cycling animation still blows my mind, though. Fullscreen looping animation with only a single flat image taking up space in RAM. http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/)
But the key thing is always artist time - and the extent to which artist time is finite is related to the budget! And budgets on SNES and Megadrive games were probably a lot higher, on account of the larger potential market...
Can you elaborate on that?
In CPU terms I guess they're all about the same. The SNES's CPU is half the speed but no less effective for most types of code, and possibly more so for some, as the 68000 is not an efficient CPU.
But both console systems had more colours on screen, more sprites, character-based playfields, and more playfield rendering options. (The SNES has the advantage here, but the Megadrive has two 16-colour playfields, plus sprites, which is more than the Amiga can muster.) Result: more of the on-screen razzle-dazzle that you want, to a greater or lesser extent, with lots of colours, and no nede to cheat by using the copper to just add a nice gradient background.
Of course, the Amiga has the copper and the blitter, which give you more flexibility, and the sprites can be as tall as you like. But this never seemed to actually translate into games that look better.
The Amiga had HAM-mode with over 4000 colors!
> But this never seemed to actually translate into games that look better.
I think this has more to do with the production culture.
At that time the other PC systems didn't have good looking games either. But the arcade systems had.
I think shops like Konami translated a culture of good looking games over to the early consoles. (something that certainly was fostered by Sega and Nintendo.)
But these 2D graphics are like paintings, in some cases rather impressionistic, which is something else entirely.
The have been some non-photorealistic 3D games like that, LoZ: Wind Waker springs to mind. Absolutely beautiful game, very cartoony and abstract.
Anyone have good experience with emulation? I’d love to play some Marble Madness for old times’ sake.
That being said, there is a growing scene around MiSTer and raspberry pi emulation options, if you're into hardware hacking. The MiSTer costs quite a bit more but feels more "real".
It's kept up to date and tracks WinUAE.
This will happen with all those nice 8bit- and 18bit-machine's graphics too.