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Amiga Machine Code Course (markwrobel.dk)
153 points by doener 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

Very few things in life compare to kicking back late at night, turning on the Amiga and spending the next 12-15 hours in ASM-One writing and executing 68k assembly in tight feedback loops -with the occasional crash- until exhaustion forces one to stop. I spent the best years of my life with the Amiga and I wish I could do it all over again..

Later, I moved on to doing realtime graphics in DOS, first with Turbo Pascal and inline assembly (reading Denthor/Asphyxia tutorials) and eventually C and although I have fond memories of that period too, the Amiga will always remain supremely vivid in my memory. Utterly unforgettable.

The meaning of life is to become a legend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jziQBWQxvok

> Very few things in life compare to kicking back late at night, turning on the Amiga and spending the next 12-15 hours in ASM-One writing and executing 68k assembly in tight feedback loops -with the occasional crash- until exhaustion forces one to stop.

I am just starting to understand this feeling -- both with a real Amiga 500 and with UAE on my "Pimiga" -- and oh, man. There really is nothing like it, aside from maybe programming a Lisp Machine.

Similar experience.

I was sadden to have gotten a 386SX instead of an Amiga, like everyone else on the group, in retrospective my parents were right in sponsoring a PC acquisition instead of the Amiga.

However our "demoscene" gang used to spend weekend, mostly saturdays, where the Amiga owners would bring their computers into someone's place.

Then we would have a mix of ProTracker or Assembly coding sessions, and some gaming to relax as well.

I kept using my Amiga(s) as my main computer as long as possible, then switched to Windows NT and OpenGL. Very happy to have skipped the HIMEM/extender/etc. nightmare on MSDOS :)

> (reading Denthor/Asphyxia tutorials)

oh man I read those as well! Nostalgia overload right now.

Did you make that? Pretty sick!

Kefrens did.

It's one of the best Amiga demos ever made running on a machine with a 7MHz CPU and 1MB of RAM.

My mom's old boyfriend (bio father passed away early in my life) was quite the pain in the ass to me. However - he's always been a fan of Amiga. He had an Amiga 3000(I think?) Filled with pirated games and with various different RUSH album wallpapers. Ohh, good times! He was never a programmer, but he did know about every little tool and command line command available to the Amiga. My 10 year old brain couldn't comprehend how good multitasking was on a computer that slow.

I strongly respect Amiga, and believe that Amiga could have and should have been the company to dominate computers. It boggels my mind that Amiga has faded into relative obscurity all these years later. Folks don't know what they missed.

Read "Worse is Better" by Richard Gabriel.

It's not the only factor in the Amiga story since Commodore's incompetence in the business and marketing domain is the stuff of legend, but it certainly resonates.

If you want to see what an Amiga 500 can do in the right hands:


Eon by TBL from Revision 2019.

I wanted to learn assembly language on the Amiga so bad when I was a kid. The demoscene guys were my heroes, but I didn't have a guide, and certainly no modem. I got AMOS basic for my birthday instead.

Not the worst start I guess, they're still making popular games with its distant descendant Multimedia Fusion today.

Years later when we emptied that house, I found an assembly programming manual. Turned out it was there all along...

It doesn't really feel tempting to go back and learn it now, though.

My story exactly. Played around with Amos, was interested in assembler but it wasn't practical to get into it. I went to the library and could only find one manual about game programming tricks (not the basics) in 68000 asm, but it was too advanced for me and I didn't even have an assembler. You just had whatever software your friends happened to have or what was included on coverdisks that came with magazines.

Also like your story, later I realized that I could actually have had access to the software and information, since I was going every year to the Assembly demoscene event and could have surely found the tools and information there if I had just tried harder.

It's incredible how now you can just get any software and such wonderful tutorials for anything imaginable that you could want to learn. What a time to be alive.



"Before we continue to letter 2 of the Amiga machine code course, I want to show the debugger in WinUAE.

It’s a real gem and it makes your life as a programmer a whole lot easier."

I think the closest anyone can get to the glory days of Amiga hacking today, is to be found in the ZX Spectrum Next - which looks to be becoming the most profound hacking platform for lovers of alternative computing environments, so far ..


The things people are doing with this amazing machine today really remind me of the life and enthusiasm that was in the Amiga scene back in the day.

Perhaps with the success of the ZX Spectrum Next, we might see a new wave of machines, which build upon their 80's ancestral architecture and provide a way out of the walled gardens in which we are all trapped ...

The Amiga community is big, certainly much bigger than ZX Spectrum or Atari or Commodore 64 or pretty much any other retrocomputing community I'm aware of.

There is continuous development in both software and hardware. The Amiga demoscene is also very active (it never really slowed down) with productions that would be considered unreal in the past, and constantly upending each other.

Besides the golden age in the 90s, it's never been a better time to have classic Amigas as your hobby.

I don't doubt that - but have you seen the energy being generated around the ZX Next? It's pretty significant - and the fact it can load other cores is key, I think, to what's going to happen around this scene in the next 6 months.

I definitely agree that Amiga users have kept the machines alive. ZX Next is like that, for Speccie fans and other 8-bit aficionados.

Coppershade[0] also very good.

[0]: http://coppershade.org

The post on the HAM (hold-and-modify) video mode is particularly interesting: https://www.markwrobel.dk/post/amiga-machine-code-letter12-h...

I found a box of Amiga software in the garage a couple days ago - I may stumble upon an Amiga 500 hardware box as I get further in the garage.. is there a group that is collecting these and putting them out there or something? I don't want to throw them away if people would use them.

People will buy anything Amiga related for good money on ebay, however:


Is where the 'real' Amiga collectors hang out, if you sold there first, it would be appreciated.

Thanks for this info! I will not trash them and instead convert to treasure.

Yes Commodore fans tend to buy several Amiga systems so if one fails they can use another.

There are several projects to restore Amiga systems like Checkmate 1500: https://www.checkmate1500plus.com/ It is an Amiga 1000 type case an Amiga 500 or ATX motherboard etc can be put into.

There is this Vampire chip that plugs into the 68K Socket to turbocharge the Amiga. A PowerPC adapter to run the latest Amiga One software on the 500, SDcards to emulate floppy and hard drives.

The Vampire is now also standalone, so you can buy a new Amiga with superior specs.

There are two kinds of vampire cards, the new standalone and the older ones that piggyback off of an existing Amiga.

The Vampire standalone is not really "a new Amiga with superior specs". It has a lot of compatibility issues and it comes with AROS firmware by default which is not Amiga OS but an extremely buggy OS reimplementation by volunteers that's still far from being complete. The main issue with standalone Vampire is that it tries to do too much and is basically a closed-source incomplete (e.g. it still doesn't do AGA properly) FPGA reimplementation of classic Amiga hardware. The Mister FPGA does similar things but is opensource and is a much better proposition in my view.

The vampire cards that slot into existing Amiga machines are basically CPU accelerators with a lot of memory and a graphics card built-in. Again, I find them a lot better than the standalone vampire. It's too bad that the Apollo team (creators of Vampire) keep biting off more than they can chew by branching into side-projects all the time and not honoring promises they made in the past (e.g. Gold 3 core for Vampire 600).

I'd suggest the miSTer instead. OSHW cores. Vampire might be somewhat faster, but it is very closed.

It would be cool if someone made a miSTer 68k CPU replacement, like how Vampire can accelerate an original Amiga.

The 68k cpu implementation used in the minimig miSTer code is tg68k.

I agree it would be cool.

Yes, there is demand for these, see auction sites.

Definitely check trapdoor expansion for RTC battery and remove if present. If you're lucky, there is still no damage.

You might consider checking whether what you have fills any gaps in the Internet Archive's collection. You would still be able to keep / sell the disks – they only need a copy of the bits.

I still remember those days when I would sit down at my Amiga after coming home, fiddle around with my floppy disks before settling with a game to play. This course brings back fond memories of the Commodore era.

This is a really interesting resource. Not only because of the teaching, but because of every little link that sends you down a path of learning about the history of Amiga development.

This looks great and would love to go through it.

I wish someone would do an Atari 8bit course as well! I didn't get heavy enough into Atari asm as a kid.

This is as close as I found a course: https://youtu.be/y3apDStF3Es

What's the best way to get started on OSX? I've tried to get up and running with FS-UAE several times, and never get it to work.

This is what I grew up on. Very cool to see this!

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