I learned to code on a Vic-20 and C64 (basic and assembly), but the Amiga was my first exposure to C, and LaTeX, and 3D modeling / video editing. I grew up relatively poor in Baltimore City, and this was an astonishing amount of capability for something so affordable. (I also learned soldering because I only had 512k of chip ram on my A500, and Commodore's official RAM upgrade was too expensive, so I bought my own RAM chips and soldered them directly to the mainboard)
I have an unlimited amount of nostalgia for this machine (and Babylon-5!)
Compare this to the 1984 launch of the Mac which cost $2485 MSRP, all of these capabilities came for only $1285 ($1595 with monitor), or the A500 ($699 MSRP)
As you can tell, I'm still bitter and annoyed at how Commodore mismanaged and squandered the marketing and sales of this machine. The Amiga was so advanced, it wasn't until PCs arrived with SuperVGA cards and SoundBlaster audio that I was enticed to leave the Amiga platform. The Mac128k at school seemed like a toy in comparison to my Amiga and what it could do, but somehow all of the media attention was on it. It's as if someone launched an iPhone in 1985, and no one cared.
Commodore had no clue what to do with it. It's like Apple launched iPhone, then Jobs spent the rest of the marketing budget on a yacht then told engineering to make everything cheaper. Eventually Gould and Ali were on 3x what the CEO of IBM got in the same years.
Tucked away somewhere, I still have the 1985 issue of UK's PCW (the serious magazine, comparable to Byte) when the A1000 was first reviewed. Something like 15 pages of glowing praise and how nothing else is in the same universe, it'll change the world, etc. They barely touched an Amiga ever again.
I don't know how that would have changed things -- Be came to a sad end itself, after all. But it's hard not to wonder.
The Amiga platform is an era which I wouldn't trade for anything. I feel sad for people who didn't have the opportunity to experience and live it first hand.
But the thing about the original Mac, to me at least, was the finesse, good taste, personality and coherence of the whole thing.
I didn’t have that feeling again until I saw BeOS and later the original iPhone.
Far more people learned to hack and code and be creative on platforms like the Apple 2 or C64 and Amiga (or Atari ST) than they did on the 1984 Mac, it was way too limited and on-rails (and expensive!)
I did DTP on the Amiga, for example, by using LaTeX to do all of my work in college, produce postscript files with dvi2ps and then taking the files to my college lab and printing them on expensive printers. A $500 Amiga was producing reports with AMSTeX or LaTeX that looked like they were professionally typeset by a $5000 Mac setup (in 2018 dollars)
Sure they did. The Mac was “the computer for the rest of us”. It wasn’t supposed to be hackable, like the Apple II, which was a hackers dream machine.
I only take issue with the “creative” part of your comment.
That it was.
Worse in every way, several times more expensive, and yet stupidly successful.
I curse the retarded suits at commodore main offices at the US.
It did better in Europe, because UK commodore had some decent marketing.
XCopy. whistles innocently
But truly, one of the greatest early games was Fairy Tale Adventure which came out in 1987.
He drew heavily from technology culture, and found innovative ways to save money on production.
He was able to get consultation from the NASA JPL (and credited them), and he pioneered early CGI; season 1 supposedly built a rendering cluster out of 486 computers.
Another way this show was trailblazing was that it was the first network television show shot in 16:9.
You can read more about it on the Lurker's Guide (That is a usenet reference), which contains excerpts from the newsgroups where he gave feedback to fans after each episode.
They contain all of the original scripts for every episode (in some cases multiple versions) as well as commentary written by JMS about both what is going on on-screen and off-screen. They have some really detailed information on the challenges he faced running this show in an exceedingly raw and real fashion. Sadly, they are only available in print and are very expensive.
http://jmsnews.com has complete archives of all of JMS's usenet postings, which span the entire period the show was on the air (as well as many years before/after). Again, some of this is very raw, like where he discusses the feature film due to be announced "in a few days" about the telepath war (which we never got :().
Anyway, revealed myself to be a huge B5 nerd here, but, I do believe it was in a number of ways one of the most visionary TV shows on air at the time, highly serialized plots 5 years before the sopranos and computer VFX that movies couldn't touch at the time.
Speaking of ST-TOS, B5 doesn't look too bad compared to the remastered (!) ST on Netflix.
Would LOVE to see a well crafted remaster, with some of the techniques that can improve images based on neighboring frames, and maybe a rework of all the CGI for higher detail. I'm have surprised there hasn't been a fan effort considering how far even desktop gaming tech has come since the series.
But some of the writing still holds up.
Most of the humor that still hits for me is because of the incredible comedic pairings.
Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik
(I started listing the others, then realized there's a huge number of notable pairings, so instead: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0105946/fullcredits/cast?ref_=m_t... )
It seems like JMS never met a genre cliche or trope that he didn't like. Crusade, what there was of it, was even worse.
The worldbuilding was much better than anything in Trek until (ironically) DS9 came along.
If I may ask: what specifically didn't you like about the writing?
Thanks for your reply.
Honest question: does anyone know of any TV series that had a firm, 5 (or multi-year) arc planned out in detail years before any filming began?
Babylon 5 got funded when JMS described, in detail, the last scene of the last episode in the last season.
There were flash forward scenes in season 2 that took place in season 4. Two years later, they meshed together perfectly.
Has any other show been like that? I'd love to know. (:
If you read the books, you'll learn the truth is much more interesting than that. While JMS absolutely had a large number of ideas, and an overall arc, it was far from firm. Every character had trapdoors built in in the event that the actor left the show (e.g. Andrea Thompson/Michael O'Hare).
It wasn't Babylon 5 that sparked the trend, but in 2004 Lost, Battlestar Galactica and then later on a few following shows like Prison Break came along and were very successful with the long story arc.
The concept of the seasons-long story arc is now basically endemic in modern TV. I think it's a situation where the highs are higher, but the average is much worse across all TV.
The issue I think is that the writers can't experiment like they could in the past with the more monster-of-the-week type formula.
A bad idea in a modern show is baggage you have to deal with for the rest of the show. In old school TV, the end of the episode came around and erased all sins. It also forces the writers tell a complete story each episode.
Consider Star Trek: TNG. There are a whole pile of really terrible episodes of that show, but there are also amazing ones. I don't think it's possible for a show like Star Trek: Discovery to ever reach the heights of TNG given the baggage it has signed itself up to deal with.
Anyway, even B5 had a plenty of "monster of the week" filler episodes as well. They were generally of much lower quality than the plot episodes.
I’d be really interested if they did an abridged version of DS9 in HD. Sadly it’s the fillers that are putting me off from rewatching it.
Battlestar Galactica was a great show but Unfortunately I ruined it a little for myself when I watched a “how it’s made” style show midway though the second to last series and they commented about some of the writing decisions they made. That’s when I realised they were just making it up as they went along as well (previously I thought the same as you in that they had a pre-defined arc). Battlestar Galactica did still have some amazing writing though, even if I was a little saddened by my realisation.
Not exactly, I don't think; from what I understand GRRM has provided outlines that go beyond where the novels, so while there is more to flesh out (even before changes made for the TV medium), they aren't flying as blind as a show that's working completely season to season.
Ouch, Joss Whedon tried to cram it into the film Serenity when Firefly got cancelled, I daresay there's far more detail I am not versed in.
I mean... that's just stupid.
Compare it to the anime Cowboy Bebop, which in my opinion did it correctly, blending the themes of the Western genre without forcing in the tropes and idioms in ways that threaten to break immersion.
“Space Western” is more accurate; except for a couple of flashbacks, the Civil War analog was past-and-background, just as is the case with the Civil War itself traditionally in the Western genre.
> Compare it to the anime Cowboy Bebop,
I'd rather not, since (despite the Western genre being an influence on both), they are so radically thematically different that there is really no point in comparison.
I liked the idea of a Chinese culture, was this in parallel?
The western idea was a bit too TV friendly.
True the arcs weren’t that perceptible I realised them as Serenity rushed through them all; I did like the Han Solo angle of not independent of a huge state enterprise. Although a bit about what a “confederate” vibe implies
JMS at least didn't try to cram the remaining plot into a single film. Some of the plot is out there as unfilmed scripts and some made its way into book series, and most of it we may just never know at this point because WB doesn't care about Babylon 5.
JMS supposedly had contingency plans for losing any of the actors, but O'Hare in particular was difficult because his character was supposed to be the central mythic figure. (This is why he shows up again later on as a guest star; one specific aspect of the character was already set up to the point that they couldn't work their way out of it easily.) Unfortunately, O'Hare had to leave the show for health reasons after the first season.
You can see that in similarities with various characters -- Lyta Alexander/Talia Winters, Jeffrey Sinclair/John Sheridan, Catherine Sakai/Anna Sheridan. (Note that the former encountered First Ones in a season 1 episode, setting up the possibility of her encountering the Shadows between season 1 and 2.)
I never watched Lost though.
If I may ask, assuming you watched the show: did they ever film scenes from years in the future, seamlessly connecting them in the present and then later on?
Thanks for your reference.
No. Those things cannot be used together that way.
And I'm pretty sure that's the comparison the grandparent was suggesting.
In fact at the time they made me think if I ever wrote a Sci Fi arc that I’d plan the whole thing out like that in painstaking detail.
Turns out the YA Sci Fi novel draft I’m working on now (my first novel) was primarily pantsed and not plotted. Go figure :-)
Game of Thrones, though adaptations where the source material is spread out over multiple seasons are probably cheating a bit.
Season 1 is slow and terrible in some places. Particularly the CRT monitors look very dated along with the clothing which is supposed to be futuristic but screams 80's. The rest is good from the plot to many of the actors (Garabaldi, G'kar, Londo, and Delenn) come to mind, but many others were also great.
I think Delenn sells a female powerhouse role so much better than any other actress I've seen in science fiction. She is intelligent, thoughtful, funny, a master politician, and even a little scary at times even though on the whole the character reflects serenity. Her arc is great too. There are so many good Delenn scenes that depict her character's wit and badassery that it is hard to choose a favorite (dealing with G'kar early in season 1, defending the station on a Minbari battle cruiser, challenging a military dictator on her homeworld).
It's still a huge shame that Warner Brothers supposedly lost all the digital originals for the special effects shots, because they should have easily had a chance to recompose the show for true DVD quality and then again for a decent Blu-Ray rerelease. Some alternate universe has amazing Babylon 5 remasters today on Blu-Ray versus the letterboxed no-worse-than-SD DVD copies ours is left with.
(Another weird twist to the story here is that one tale has it that Warner Brothers blames French company Vivendi for losing the digital SFX archives, which WB loaned to Vivendi for a B5 game under development under the old Sierra games brand that was eventually cancelled. Which also isn't the only property that WB seems to have "lost" to Vivendi, as WB should probably be the owner of the No One Lives Forever videogame IP, by way of buying developer Monolith into WB Games, but Vivendi lost the publishing contract somewhere and no one seems to know in this timeline if WB actually does own it or not.)
There are a bunch floating around:
>You’ve possibly read or been told all the original CGI files were lost . . . . Well, no, they haven’t – though some may be lost by this point while others are buried pretty deep - plenty do still exist. For the best part of 10 years I’ve been sitting on a whole pile of Lightwave 3D models and scene files which someone who will remain nameless arranged for me to receive. Those are frame for frame renders of the original shots - using the original models and textures which haven't been updated in any way other than rendered out at 1920x1080.
IIRC, that was the actual plan from the beginning: render for SD TV in the 90s, then re-render when HD TV became common and computer power increased enough for it to be practical to render at those definitions.
Still, a few more years of progress on neural nets (can GANs be applied to vocal cadence and intonation?) and I won't envy the position of mid-tier voiceover artists.
We then were one of the first video projectors and we used that for the projector.
Seriously, what is the Amiga of the current market? What is that product that fosters creativity and is so futurist?
Kinda weird and annoying.