posted by Mike Bouma on Mon 19th Aug 2002 06:48 UTC

"Acquiring legally free software for AmigaOS"
The Amiga has been the main birthing ground for "Pubic Domain," "Freeware" and "Shareware" applications, gaming and demo Scenes. This is an important reason why there are over 50,000 software titles written for the Amiga platform. Of these, over 5000 games were written for the Amiga platform, a large majority of these were targeted at low-end 7Mhz OCS/ECS Amiga systems from mid-late 80s and early 90s. Regardless of what the age may suggest to you, even these early machines are very powerful systems for 2D games and at the time State-of-the-Art for 3D gaming as well.

PerfectPaint-Click for a larger version Sadly, most Amiga arcade conversions are not as good as compared to the arcade originals. At the time this was mainly a result of companies wanting people to spend lots of cash at arcades halls instead of just buying an Amiga conversion. Take for instance the Amiga conversion of the arcade classic The New Zealand Story," which despite of being an excellent game on the Amiga, offers less colorful graphics than the 8-bit coin-up original! This despite to the fact that any Amiga could easily handle identical graphics as well. Luckily, there are good arcade emulators like MAME available for most platforms, including for Amigas. To understand how powerful low-end or high-end Amigas models were at the time, you need to look for software directly targeted at the Amiga platform. A good place to start is the AIAB website which is offering several Amiga classics including Lemming, Walker and Shadow of the Beast free for download. Another good location for games is Back2Roots.org, as it offers a very large quantity of ex-commercial Amiga games. Note however that permissions were given specificly to these websites for distributing these software titles.

Also fans of Boulderdash/Emerald Mine type games are well served at the Emerald Web website. Here there are hunderds of clones being offered freely for download. Finally the center of most freely distributable Amiga software is Aminet, an enormous file archive where new Amiga related files are being uploaded on a daily basis.

Some last WinUAE emulation tips and information:

- Windows PCs are not able to handle emulated Amiga screens very well. Therefore most AIAB applications are configured to be displayed on the desktop screen instead of opening their own screens. On real Amigas it is often preferable to use a separate screen specificly configured for the application so that you would always get a full screen application with the resolution and color depth for which the software was designed. However if you switch between different screens using different display properties under WinUAE, you will get a black screen (sometimes you will shortly see the underlying Windows desktop as well) for a couple of seconds which can be very annoying for Amiga users. It is better to either make sure that the same display properties have been selected for all screens or to mainly use the main desktop screen.

- Screen dragging: The ability to display different screen resolutions and color depths within one monitor display is not possible on modern PC hardware. Only classic Amigas and some early graphic cards are able to support this functionality. This feature eventually wasn't supported by any graphic card anymore because no other OS was able to support this feature.

- For good links to forums and information regarding UAE and Amiga games, take a look at the TOP 10 Amiga Game Sites and AmigaMOS.com topsites. Other active English languaged Amiga emulation forums are Amiga Emulation Talk, UAE Discussion board, EAB WinUAE board or forums on more general Amiga orientated websites like Amiga.org and www.amigaforums.org.

- When downloading software you will encounter several icon styles, some are drawn with 4 colors as this saves system resources on old un-upgraded Amiga models. Another widely used Icon style is MagicWB which only uses 8 colors but looks good and works fast on i.e. un-upgraded A1200 systems. AIAB uses NewIcons with up to 256 colors. Truckloads of free NewIcons can be found on Aminet and on specific Icon websites like Zapaticons. GlowIcons are similar to NewIcons but are IMO less "cute" and offer a "glow" effect when they are selected. AmigaOS3.5 (1999) and AmigaOS3.9 (2000) introduced an updated icon.library and therefor many icons found on the internet (i.e. these great game Icons) cannot be used directly with AmigaOS 3.0/3.1. Advise: If you like AmigaOS, upgrade to AmigaOS 3.9-2. (2002) :-)

- Some games don't run properly when the JIT emulation is enabled. (Examples are IK+, Lemmings, Stunt Car Racer and Deliverance) You can disable JIT emulation at any time during the emulation by setting the "Cache Size" slider under the "JIT Settings" group on the "CPU" tab to 0-Megs. Don't forget to re-adjust these settings when you return to AmigaOS, as the emulation would slowdown considerably.

- If at any time a game is running too slow you can alter the "Refresh" slider under the "Display" tab.

- You can add internet support by enabling the BSDsocket.library emulation at the "Misc" tab.

- Now that you have AmigaOS running you may wonder what AmigaOS looks like on ordinary Amigas or what you can do to customize its look and functionality. Here are several screenshots along with more information by AmigaOS users.

Within the following sections I will give pointers to locations where good freely available Amiga software can be found. I will also include brief descriptions and emulation tips if necessary. Note however that there are also many good commercial software titles available at more than one hundred Amiga dealers around the world. You can add CD support at WinUAE's "Hard Drives" tab.

Table of contents
  1. "Setup your Emulation Box"
  2. "Creating an advanced emulated AmigaOS environment"
  3. "Acquiring legally free software for AmigaOS"
  4. "10 freely distributable Amiga software titles"
  5. "10 of the best Amiga PD Scene games"
  6. "10 freely available ex-commercial Amiga games"
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