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Why was the Amiga Kickstart 1.x “Insert floppy” graphic so bad? (stackexchange.com)
115 points by andy_herbert 47 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments

If you want to see what the image would look like at high resolution -- I couldn't resist making a small JS implementation: http://ianhenderson.org/kickstart-vector.html

Beaten to the punch, but at least we took fairly different approaches: http://beyondloom.com/tools/amigogh.html

That was an hour of fun on the week end. Another one in SmallBASIC:


Nice, yours definitely nails the authentic look!

Nice. Might be interesting to try ctx.scale(0.9,1) or whatever ratio approximates the pixel shape on the Amiga in that video mode...would square up the shape of the floppy.

Thanks for the suggestion -- I changed it to use the 11:13 ratio documented for NTSC at http://amigadev.elowar.com/read/ADCD_2.1/AmigaMail_Vol2_guid... (apparently PAL pixels are actually square).

Added to mine. Experimentally, it looks like a 4:3 ratio makes the floppy come out square, which lines up with expectations.

Now imagine your boss coming back a week later.... panic, I showed it to the client and they love it. Can you quickly change it to hold the floppy between the index finger and thumb - at an angle? It's probably easy to do.

There is a youtube video in the comments with a recreation of the vector image from the original graphics:


Using AMOS Basic nontheless

Yes, a powerful language paired with an incredibly fast interpreter/compiler even on low end Amigas; not a BASIC fan here, but have to admit it was really great. It's also Open Source [0], although it's entirely written in M68K assembly language (hence the high speed) which would likely turn any porting effort into a nightmare.

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20151031001644/http://www.pianet...

Root cause: The Amiga didn't have curves in its graphic primitives.

Just this week i read an article in a 1986 Byte magazine which included a comparison of the Amiga and Macintosh graphic privatives. The Amiga had color routines, but the Mac had circles, curves, rounded rectangles, and a few other desirable shapes that the Amiga lacked.

Except for the text, the Kickstart image is not a bitmap, it's the output of a vector drawing program using the built-in ROM routines. No curves, and that's what you get.

Edit: September, 1986, page 251.

How funny, I've been on an 80s Amiga Cracktro/Demoscene kick this week and it is an image frequently seen and tweaked in many demos.



(I couldn't find the specific intros with the funny graphic...)

An unfinished, but "sorta working" attempt to recreate that vector drawing data onto an html canvas.


I didn't do the color flood fill, and something isn't quite right, but it's recognizable.

I tried to debug it by assigning a different color to each path:


but it just gets the color of the final path, and I don't know why.

I fixed the errant lines bug and updated the link.

Tossing my JS implementation onto the pile as well, I guess. Missing the flood fill command; picked the wrong graphics library for this and it was too late by the time I'd realized it. ;) Easy enough to change over to something else, but it's time to move on.


I never would have guessed that the Kickstart 1.x graphic was vector, but it’s so clear in retrospect. It’s not hard to spot the nodes of the pre-Bézier shape paths once you’re looking for them!

ROM space was definitely at a premium, similarly the PS1 booting splash screen was a rendered 3d graphic, with synthesized sound, not a static image with PCM data.

You can have some fun with causing it to corrupt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VcbhDbCY7Q

Bad? What about iconically good? Instantly recognisable definitive Amiga ... that's good isn't it?

In the mid-late 80s, I didn't think anything about the Amiga was as polished and nice looking as the Mac, but the insert floppy graphic didn't stand out to me as below the standards of the rest of the interface.

Yes, it's pretty great by the standard of the time!

It also has an odd mix of anti-aliased text and non-anti-aliased. Additionally, I don't like the aspect ratio of the floppy disk.

> Additionally, I don't like the aspect ratio of the floppy disk.

The Amiga used a standard 320x200 pixel mode [1] for it's boot screen. On a normal 4:3 CRT this mean the pixels are non-square. Since CRTs are analog, it doesn't really matter to the monitor, but if you just look at the digital bits without stretching them it looks a little flat.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_13h

For me mostly the aspect ratio looks too wide. Not sure if it also looked like that on an Amiga monitor, did it have square pixels?

Most TV output and home computer monitors in the 1980's did not have square pixels.

Source: lived through those times...

I thought it was just the Amiga. Like, Macs had square pixels, to my recollection, both 512x342 and 640x480. I had forgotten that VGA was 320x200 not 320x240, but PCs also had 640x480, so it seems like square or not square depended on the mode.

Strictly speaking, I don't think square pixels were a characteristic of the monitor. If you looked closely there were little dots on a shadow mask monitor considerably smaller than the average pixel, or horizontal gaps between the wires on a trinitron.

And just to throw a wrench into things, EGA had modes like 640x350.

What’s even more impressive is a basically identical graphic was in the 8KB A1000 boot ROM, to ask for a Kickstart disk

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