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Some Amiga questions


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Is it possible to boot Amiga games from ADFs on a real Amiga from an SD card device of some sort, these days? I vaguely remember seeing that it is

 

Can you set up an SD card to be recognised as a standard Amiga hard drive , by a real Amiga? Using some kind of interface, I guess? 

 

Can you do this on any Amiga? Ideally I'm thinking of an A600 that can load games in both ADF and WHD format from an SD card, somehow. 

 

 

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You can use a Gotek floppy drive emulator to run games from a USB stick.  It's very easy to do and inexpensive, the amiga simply sees the Gotek as DF0.  Don't know about question 3 but having an FDD solution in conjunction with WHD Load would work fine. I used to have an Amiga 600 with that very set up.

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I am not sure what the advantage of a Gotek over an IDE-Sd solution would be - won't a Gotek be limited to ADF files, meaning you're going to be stuck playing buggy cracked copies of games (unless you have your own media to rip)? I think someone mentioned you can boot WHD files (which are always clean) from it, but not sure how that would work?

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WHDload should work with non-AGA games on a Kickstart 2 A600 (assuming you don't end up with the version that wont work with internal hard disks) but is mostly tested on Kickstart 3.1, a Kickstart upgrade is easy and cheap. You would also need a RAM expansion (probably an extra 1MB chip and 4MB fast).

 

I went through all this over the past year and got an A1200 with 8 meg expansion which works with everything pretty much.

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3 hours ago, mikejenkins said:

WHDload should work with non-AGA games on a Kickstart 2 A600 (assuming you don't end up with the version that wont work with internal hard disks) but is mostly tested on Kickstart 3.1, a Kickstart upgrade is easy and cheap. You would also need a RAM expansion (probably an extra 1MB chip and 4MB fast).

 

I went through all this over the past year and got an A1200 with 8 meg expansion which works with everything pretty much.

Do you mean there is a version of Kickstart 2 that doesn't let you use an internal hard disk?

Is that the original A500+ kickstart 2? (2.04 if memory serves...)

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8 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

Do you mean there is a version of Kickstart 2 that doesn't let you use an internal hard disk?

Is that the original A500+ kickstart 2? (2.04 if memory serves...)


Not quite - very early ones have 2.05 37.299 which doesn’t have IDE or PCMCIA support (I have no idea how they managed to achieve that). The fix is again easy and cheap - new Kickstart ROM. 

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So say I was to buy something like this ...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Angle-CF-2-5-IDE-44-PIN-Adapter-Licensed-Workbench-3-1-Amiga-600-1200-586-/124332883930?_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49292

 

Can I just use my PC to copy WHD archives onto the CF card, pop the card into the adapter, open up the 600 and plug it into the IDE - then power up and it will boot to WB with all my WHD games available?

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I would hold out until whatever the Amiga version of The C64 turns out to be. If it's a full sized Amiga with working keyboard and ability to load ADFs or WHDLoad files from an SD card, then you'd be better getting that than original hardware.

 

The reason being is that it's really difficult going back to the Amiga now and you have to be prepared for spending a lot of time getting grips with the nuances that might have been fine 25 years ago, but they're a real pain in the arse to deal with now. 

 

Something basic like you're thinking of getting an Amiga 600 and you want to play WHDLoad games? Well, the first thing you'd have to buy is additional memory. WHDLoad works by loading in the entire image into memory (there is a way of not loading it into memory, but it's not very good). That means for every floppy disk a game takes up, you need 800k of memory on top of the memory required for Workbench to run. So a 3 disk game needs over 2.5MB of free memory and unfortunately the Amiga 600 only came with 1MB of onboard memory. You can stick to single disk games, but even then the compatibility is incredibly low. I know this, because I went through it with a 600! Getting original extra memory is really hard to find, so you'd be better off buying a modern solution like this: https://amigastore.eu/480-furia-4033mhz-fpu-for-amiga-600.html , but that's an extra 100 euros on top of the Amiga 600 itself, but you would end up with a lightening fast Amiga to be fair.

 

The Compact Flash storage solution is really good, however it's another pain in that adding any files to it really needs you to run an emulator on your computer to be able to mount the CF drive and copy the images over (because the Amiga uses  completely different file system that's not compatible with modern computers). IIRC you can buy the Amiga Explorer application that does allow drag and drop to the drive natively, but I've never used it. 

 

All in all, you're looking at not just a significant amount of money (original hardware, accelerator, CF storage) but a massive amount of time due to the sheer 'Faffness' of it. That's why I think you might be better off waiting until more details of The Amiga (or whatever it will be) are released and then you'll be able to make a better decision. 

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It’s certainly not cheap but the A1200/600 option is pretty straightforward - once you have the computer, RAM expansion and hard drive solution you can use a £10 PCMCIA-CF adapter in the side to transfer stuff between it and a modern machine using a FAT formatted card. I quite enjoy getting everything working but others may not. 
 

You can get 4MB fast RAM for an A600 for about 30 quid but it’s one of the dodgy clip-over-cpu types like the Furia. And then you would want to recap it if it hasn’t been so another 50 ish. 

 

You then have the issue of what to use for a display - I use an old CRT I got cheap as I haven’t found an acceptable modern solution, you would hope whatever the new Amiga remake turns out to be will sort this (although going on past performance I’m not holding my breath). 

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Wouldn't you also have the compatibility issues between Amigas as as well?  When I use an Amiga emulator on PC I'm continually shifting between running games and scene demos on a 512K Amiga 500, 1Mb Amiga 500, 2Mb Amiga 1200 etc.  I remember back at the time there were loads of games that were not compatible on the A500 Plus , and other games that could not be played on the A600 because there was no numeric keypad. Then the A1200 came along and there were further issues with back compat.  

 

In my head, the idea of having an Amiga with every piece of software ever made for it installed on a hard-drive (even a 4Gb card would be ludicrously big for a computer with storage measured in megabytes) sounds brilliant, but I spend so much time changing the settings on the emulator between Amiga models, different kick-starts, adding and removing ram, it makes me think that real hardware would be more limited than emulating it all on PC?

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6 hours ago, gone fishin' said:

I would hold out until whatever the Amiga version of The C64 turns out to be. If it's a full sized Amiga with working keyboard and ability to load ADFs or WHDLoad files from an SD card, then you'd be better getting that than original hardware.

 

Well no you wouldn't because it'd still be a cheap emulator box with a shitty joystick made by shittier people.

 

If that's what you want you can get something 2/3rds better with a Raspberry Pie 400 right now.

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On 22/11/2020 at 10:09, mikejenkins said:

WHDload installs tend to fix compatibility issues, so will do things like downgrading Kickstart etc etc when you launch them. Compatibility issues only tend to occur when a WHDload installer doesn’t exist, although some of them are still buggy. 

Oooh that's worth knowing, thanks for that. I might do this myself now, just as a project.  I have an A1200 in the loft, would be cool to fill it up and make it a one stop complete unit.

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All of this is what frustrates me with the Amiga scene. I would give real money for a Krikzz style drag & drop, plug & play solution instead of all these fudges.

 

I have an a600 and a1200. Put a CF card with WHD into the 1200 to then discover you need more RAM. Add more RAM and then realise some of the images aren't working or just crash out and I can't just plug the CF Card into a PC and drag a replacement image over like most other retro systems. Even PS2 or Wii HDD installs were way simpler than this.

 

Everything is a ball ache. Even over my preference to play on real hardware I'm stating to think I should just drop all my Amiga stuff and emulate the games I actually want.

 

As a retro experience, the barriers to entry are just too problematic for me.

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1 hour ago, new666uk said:

All of this is what frustrates me with the Amiga scene. I would give real money for a Krikzz style drag & drop, plug & play solution instead of all these fudges.

 

I have an a600 and a1200. Put a CF card with WHD into the 1200 to then discover you need more RAM. Add more RAM and then realise some of the images aren't working or just crash out and I can't just plug the CF Card into a PC and drag a replacement image over like most other retro systems. Even PS2 or Wii HDD installs were way simpler than this.

 

Everything is a ball ache. Even over my preference to play on real hardware I'm stating to think I should just drop all my Amiga stuff and emulate the games I actually want.

 

As a retro experience, the barriers to entry are just too problematic for me.

 

It's the nature of the hardware and how games were developed for it. A lot of games were coded to the metal for the original A500 and when they ran on systems where the memory map wasn't exactly the same or they wrote data to memory addresses that were used for hardware registers on newer models everything fell over.

 

There's umpteen variations of kickstarter ROM and OS running across umpteen variations of hardware the games were never built or tested to run on and then WHD Load installs are custom hacks of games which aim to fix some of this, but can introduce their own problems and won't have been tested on every set up either. Back in the day I used to joke that any given model of Amiga wasn't even compatible with itself. On top of this hacked versions of games introduced their own set of problems and frequently missed subtle copy protection measures that changed things in game and sometimes these are the versions made in to WHD Load packages.

 

A curated Amiga experience optimised to present each game at it's very best would be incredible if it was done well, but it would take incredible attention to detail and real hardcore knowledge of the various systems and their quirks as well as the games themselves to pull off.

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3 hours ago, new666uk said:

All of this is what frustrates me with the Amiga scene. I would give real money for a Krikzz style drag & drop, plug & play solution instead of all these fudges.

 

I have an a600 and a1200. Put a CF card with WHD into the 1200 to then discover you need more RAM. Add more RAM and then realise some of the images aren't working or just crash out and I can't just plug the CF Card into a PC and drag a replacement image over like most other retro systems. Even PS2 or Wii HDD installs were way simpler than this.

 

Everything is a ball ache. Even over my preference to play on real hardware I'm stating to think I should just drop all my Amiga stuff and emulate the games I actually want.

 

As a retro experience, the barriers to entry are just too problematic for me.


 

As a “retro experience” it’s pretty authentic, in that it hasn’t moved on much from when you put RAM expansions and hard drives into Amigas (“fudges”) 30-odd years ago, except now you can google things when something doesn’t work. Once up and running it’s fairly painless however. 
 

If you just want to play old games then another option is probably best (and likely a lot cheaper). 

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15 hours ago, mikejenkins said:


 

As a “retro experience” it’s pretty authentic, in that it hasn’t moved on much from when you put RAM expansions and hard drives into Amigas (“fudges”) 30-odd years ago, except now you can google things when something doesn’t work. Once up and running it’s fairly painless however. 
 

If you just want to play old games then another option is probably best (and likely a lot cheaper). 

 

100% this. My A1200 is now a relatively painless (i.e. the odd thing still crashes) experience, everything is a couple of clicks away and I've got it running on any HDMI or VGA enabled display. So that's great.

 

It cost £££££££s though, which is less great considering it mainly sits here on my work desk behind my monitor. But hey, It Just Works.

 

(just emulate via a Pi or whatever)

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Sometimes you have to accept you can't do everything and while I'm gonna make sure both my Miggies work once normal life is a thing again, I'm going to very happily get a single machine image SD card for a Pi 400 as my day to day Amiga.

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