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Socoder -> Retro Stuff -> Jay's A600

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Posted : Sunday, 06 March 2022, 08:07
Jayenkai

Jay's A600


For the past few days I've been chipping away at getting the Amiga up and running again.

The other day I bought a new USB mouse dongle because my new mouse wasn't compatible with the old USB mouse dongle.
Unfortunately, it also doesn't appear to be compatible with this one, either.
Either that, or the system's not got enough juice to run a PCMCIA Compact Flash card at the same time as running a USB mouse...?
*shrugs*

I've headed back to AmigaKit and bought an Amiga-Port Mouse..

Essentially, then, I've done everything so far with only Amiga+Cursor Keys/Amiga+Ctrl/Amiga+Alt as my mouse.
It's slow, it's annoying, and oh my god I wish I had a mouse!!!
(Holding Shift speeds up the movement, but even then it's in blocks and is awkward, and you get yourself tied up in knots trying to remember if you're holding the mouse button or just the mouse-movement button, and letting go of either Ctrl or Shift at the right time, and .. Aaarrghghh!!!)

But I've coped, just about, and over the past few days I've actually managed to get quite a lot working.

My "Boot disk" is extremely basic, with a driver for the compact flash, one for Fat95, a few files in the c/ folder, and then a very simple startup-sequence that mounts the Compact Flash (CF0: ) then reassigns SYS: C: DEVS: LIBS: L: FONTS: et all, directly over to the CF0: drive.
From there, the Compact Flash is in charge, and all other booting commands are done from that.
No disk-grinding here!!

So far, it seems to be working reasonably well, and a few of the games I've tried from there are working alright. MasterBlaster runs, Octamed runs. AMOS doesn't, but I don't think I had it set up correctly. Deluxe Galaga doesn't, either, but that might be a memory issue.
By the time the CF device is loaded, and Workbench booted, the system's ram is down to about 0.6Mb of ram...
hmm..
...
Oh yeah, I also ordered a 1Mb ChipRam expansion card.

Fuck sake, the amount of money I've spent on this system in the past week...

Obviously NDos disks aren't going to work with this method, so most commercial games won't be working, unless run from a standard floppy disk. I guess I have to look into WHDLoad for that, but I'm not entirely sure that'd be happy to work with the Compact Flash, as opposed to an actual HardDrive.


View on YouTube

Specs


Amiga is a plain, original model, unexpanded A600 with no frills (although I will be adding a 1MB expansion once it gets here in a few days)

The A600 has a Compact Flash reader stuffed into the PCMCIA slot, and the card is a 128Mb one that I luckily had on hand.

The 4GB CF that came with the reader doesn't appear to work, whether that's because the card needs to be formatted correctly, or the original A600 Kickstart can't understand it, I'm not sure. (The A600 is on Kickstart v37.299, before the IDE/HardDrive stuff was added to the rom, so I expect that might be playing a part in it.)

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Posted : Tuesday, 08 March 2022, 05:48
Jayenkai
Still waiting for that mouse/1MbChip to get dispatched from AmigaKit. Grr.. The last order took only a few days, and yet this order still hasn't even been packed.
Wonder if they're having issues with chips or something?
Hmm....

Meanwhile, started looking over at AmigaStore.eu, where they have Kickstart rom chips available. Mmmm..

I've spent far much more than I should've this month.
It'll have to wait for another day.
I'll get this mouse, then get everything up and running, before thinking about more upgrades.

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Posted : Tuesday, 08 March 2022, 10:34
AndyH
Warning Will Robinson! It's so easy to get just another thing and before you know it you've spent s small energy bills worth on retro hardware and other gear But it makes us happy so why not!

I would love to get my A500 and ST out, but where would I put them?

-=-=-
Andy H
8-bit games at www.hewco.uk
Cartoons at awful.ovine.net
Ovine at ovine.net
Posted : Tuesday, 08 March 2022, 13:52
Jayenkai
"Which obviously won't work with Bluetooth Mouses" they say..
So I never bothered to try it, because what's the point when the manufacturers TELL YOU it's not going to work.

But, damn, I really need a mouse to get things going properly, and I don't have any other mouses in the houses.

So, I stuffed the Bluetooth USB dongle into the USB->AmigaMousePort dongle, and turned on the mouse.
Well, fuck my hat.



I have a working wireless mouse on my Amiga!!
True, the mouse port now looks like Frankenstein's Monster, but at least it works!!

You know what, screw people who tell you stuff.. They don't know shit!

So, with that going, I started playing with Mouse-Power!
I've organised my folders a little better, saved layouts of the primary folder's windows, and started organising where things oughta go.
"Snapshot? WTF is that!?"
10 seconds later..
"Damn.. How do I save the positions of windows, again??... Aaaah!!"

The memories are flooding back.

I started hunting on my CUAmiga CoverCDs that I have backed up to the NAS (via the Mac.. The Amiga isn't accessing the NAS any time soon!)
I knew it was in there, somewhere, and eventually found the Blitz 2.1 demo, then followed the guide to get that onto my "Hard Drive", and it does indeed ... almost work.
It crashes quite hard because, at this point, there's only about 450Kb of ram left for it, but at least it finds all the libraries and whatnot.

Now to "upgrade" the demo to the full version, which is simply a case of finding the disk, and hoping it works.
> Reveal 🔎

I'll leave that for another day.
Could really do with that 1Mb ChipRAM upgrade now. Where's AmigaKit when you need them!?

-=-=-
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Posted : Thursday, 10 March 2022, 17:31
Jayenkai
Amiga+V to cancel, Amiga+B to confirm.
Aaah, the forgotten skills.
...and makes it more frustrating that MacOS doesn't seem to have that. Grrr..



DPaint's running now, and I used the "Install EasyADF" icon to .. install EasyADF to my "hard drive". Tee-hee-hee!!
EasyADF comes with the CompactFlash reader and is used to convert floppy disks into .adf format files.
Doesn't work for NDos disks, though.
I think .dms might do that.. not sure. Will have to investigate.

I emailed AmigaKit earlier asking if the order for my ChipRam was going ok, and they said the ChipRam expansions are handmade, so I have to wait a bit longer. D'oh!
Aw well, at least I know it's not some crazy shortage issue or anything.

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Posted : Friday, 11 March 2022, 08:34
Dan


I think i have used transadf to read the disks out. http://amiga-storage.net/?page=Devices/Floppy&file=TransADF_4.0.46.lha

It is much easier to do it with a CF card than back then, when i had only a PC and 2 floppy disc controller ... XD
Posted : Friday, 11 March 2022, 13:36
Jayenkai
Don't put a compact flash card into a Mac. Jesus, fuck, the amount of shite that built up on there in just a week or so.
"Why is 128Mb not enough?!"
.. Because ".Trashes" is using 80Mb!!!

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Posted : Friday, 11 March 2022, 16:48
therevillsgames
Ah, DPaint... I created so many sprites in DPaint 3 for my AMOS PRO games!
Posted : Saturday, 12 March 2022, 18:58
Jayenkai
Timely!!!



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Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 05:52
Jayenkai
ChipRam card was posted on 11th.
Royal Mail tracker currently says "An update will only be provided when we attempt to deliver your item."

.. So, basically they aren't even fucking attempting the delivery.
Thafuq!?!?!

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Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 08:07
Jayenkai


Hurray!!
They got off their arses!!!
My little A600 now has 1.5Mb free, once Workbench, the Compact Flash driver, Fat95 and MagicWB are all loaded.
Now to attempt to do things with it!

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Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 10:09
rychan
Wonderful news!
Posted : Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 10:38
AndyH
Yay!
Posted : Thursday, 17 March 2022, 05:51
Jayenkai


Let the learning commence!

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Posted : Thursday, 17 March 2022, 07:17
AndyH
I don't remember a lot about the A600, I had an A500 and had moved over to a 486DX2-50 when they came out. Was working in a computer shop over the summer at the time and they had 600's and 1200's out for sale.

Did the A600 run any faster? Just reading your newsletter about Frontier Elite, wonder if it performs better than on the 500?

Edit: and nice manual! I have AMOS and AMOS Pro still, never had blitz on the Amiga, although I would have liked it I think.

-=-=-
Andy H
8-bit games at www.hewco.uk
Cartoons at awful.ovine.net
Ovine at ovine.net
Posted : Thursday, 17 March 2022, 07:45
Pakz
The 600 had the same cpu(68000) as the 500. The a1200 had the new cpu. I had one after my a500.

The atari competition had a faster running 68000 motorola cpu. It ran 3d a bit faster.

A friend of mine felt quite betrayed after he got the amiga 600, then discovered the a1200 to be released. He had spend his savings on the 600.
Posted : Thursday, 17 March 2022, 07:54
Jayenkai
I never gave Blitz much of a chance on the Amiga. I was too AMOS'y, but one day I happened upon a copy in Game of all places, so snatched it up.
.. about 2 or 3 months later, I "upgraded" to PC, and Blitz got more or less abandoned.
I'll be giving it more of a go, now, I think.

The A600 was more or less an A500+ with its numpad chopped off, the RFModulator internalised, and a PCMCIA slot added.
Other than that, I'm fairly certain it's the same, underneath.

The system "can" handle an IDE internal 2.5" drive, or an internal Compact Flash with an adaptor. But my A600 has the very early revision of the Kickstart rom (37.299) which doesn't yet include anything to actually handle the internal IDE interface.
.. d'oh!!
It can just about cope with a PCMCIA Compact Flash adaptor.

Frontier loads so fast I was gobsmacked!! I'm fairly sure that's the Compact Flash doing most of the grunt work, but also can imagine they coded it to load the front end nice and fast, then load more in the background while the lovely intro plays...

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Posted : Friday, 18 March 2022, 13:15
Jayenkai

View on YouTube

A short video showing how quickly Frontier loads.
Sure as hell beats listening to a couple of minutes of "grrr.. grunt grunt.. grrr.. grrrrrraawwrrr.."
(or does it?!)

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Posted : Friday, 18 March 2022, 17:19
therevillsgames
I spent way too much time playing Frontier as a kid on my A600! It still blows my mind that it only came with 2 disks and the second disk just had pre-saved games on it!
Posted : Tuesday, 22 March 2022, 16:52
Jayenkai

View on YouTube

*phew*

Sprites still aren't working. Need to read a bit more. But I got a nice parallax scroll field going, with the stars on a background plane and the floor on a second one.
I only have a 16 colour screen, so I'm not sure how the sprites will work, colour wise.
I'm pretty sure I can cope with the base gameplay.. After all it's just a ball and 2, maybe 3 spikes onscreen at once..
The nice swooping score-value things probably aren't going to happen.
And I'm not really sure how to draw the score onscreen, yet.

Still plenty of learning to do!
Woot!

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Posted : Friday, 25 March 2022, 16:31
Jayenkai

View on YouTube

Tonight I got my sprites working as they oughta be. The Spikes are currently completely random, so I need to figure out how to do Random Seeds.
On top of that, there's the need for a GUI. Not sure how that's going to work!!

(Music was added afterwards!! I doubt I could get an Amiga to sing like that!!)

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Posted : Friday, 25 March 2022, 17:19
rychan
Woo! More spikes to dislike!
Posted : Monday, 28 March 2022, 04:23
Jayenkai


Well, I *thought* I understood strips!!

Strips in BlitzAmiga uses the Amiga's uncanny ability to handle a bazillion different things at once, to chop the screen into vertical slices.
Within these slices you can set the area to be either lores, hires, or dual-playfield. (I'm sure there are other options)
Each slice can has a specific height, but you need to be sure to leave a 2 line gap between each strip.

In the above shot, the top strip is 32 pixels high, and is supposed to hold the GUI. The rest of the game is in the lower 200'ish pixel strip.
But for some reason, the top-most strip isn't quite coming out as it oughta.
Hmmm..

The little pink rectangle is drawn in code, so I know it's "trying" to draw what I'm asking, but something's not quite right.
More work is required, methinks..

-=-=-

...Screenshot taken using an Emulator...
I've reproduced my A600 in FS-UAE (Not WinUAE, because I'm not on Windows!) and am regularly backing up the contents of the Compact Flash to my NAS, where the emulator can access it as if it's a physical Compact Flash. Luvly!!!

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Posted : Monday, 28 March 2022, 14:50
Jayenkai
Sorted that.
Oddly, even though the top slice is set to being only a single-bitmap, so "Show Bitmap#" should have worked, it didn't..
It oddly expected me to give it a Front and Back bitmap. "ShowF Bitmap1#" and "ShowB Bitmap2#"
Then it worked fine without the glitchiness.

Hmm...

Got sound working. Took AGES to figure the pitching out. It's a very odd pitch method, being something like 360 = As normal, through to 1 being super-duper fast.
o_O!
(eg, 360 = 1.0, 1=5.0'ish)

Can't get music working.
.. Well, I "can" get music working, but I can't get the music to mix with the SFX, so I'm going to give up on that, I think.
Maybe it's doable, but ... It definitely didn't sound it!!
(and yes, of course I accounted for the lack of channels. All sounds are in channels 1 + 3. Mod played in channels 2 + 4. Wonky chaos ensued!!!)

At one point, I had the MacBook being a Mac, Remote Desktop'ing to Windows on "display 2", and the Amiga Emulator on "display 3", with Ctrl+Left/Right to switch between displays. (If you Fullscreen an app on MacOS, it becomes a screen on what would normally be a virtual desktop)
Such a fucking weird experience, and hopping between different keyboard-shortcut layouts was driving me bonkers!!


Next issue, a lack of Pseudo-Random numbers. Rnd() is 100% random, so I can't do specific re-seeded paths.
Grrr.
I'm going to do a bunch of re-writing of my current random generator, and see if I can get it working on there.
.. Hell, it works fine in SmileBASIC!!
Should be alright, right?!
Hmmm...
It does require a really long string, though. Not sure BlitzAmiga can do long strings.



But, yeah, been playing SpikeDislike on an Amiga, today.
\o/yeay\o/

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Posted : Monday, 28 March 2022, 15:41
Jayenkai

View on YouTube

... that "RightAmiga+X" shortcut.. Not easy with one hand!

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Posted : Tuesday, 29 March 2022, 06:19
Jayenkai
*follows tutorial on how to do a function*
*function fails to work*
*and again*
*and again..*

... *squints* ..
Is that a squiggly bracket?!
FFS, it's a pissing squiggly bracket!
Right, functions are working, now.

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