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Old 12 February 2015, 04:10   #44

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Montreal
Posts: 129
Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
I guess it's just a HUGE coincedence that the best software on the Amiga is done in asm then.
As others mentioned that is likely true only for games.
Few people would use assembly to write a very large software which needs to be maintained and evolved over time, which is the case for most productivity programs.

Moreover, yes, it is indeed a coincidence.
The Amiga arrived a bit before the beginning of the period when games coders started the transition between assembly and C.

For 8 bits computers there was no way out of assembly, the CPUs were so limited that you had to crank out every single cycle out of the machine to get decent results. The Amiga is at least one order of magnitude faster than the fastest 8 bit home computers of that time and allows for much more latitude in language choice but alas the inertia of the existing pool of coders meant that most early games were written in 68k assembly. So necessarily most good games would be too. The causal effect is the reverse one.

Dungeon Master is 95% C (if not 100) and it's a fantastic game. Sure it could be a bit smoother at times but most of the time this is not necessary. Writing it in C gave the coders way more time to concentrate on gameplay and the ergonomics of the UI and the game is a textbook example of good user experience design. This couldn't have been done using assembly: modifications of the control flow and/or data structures takes way too much time, in C it's much easier.
It's pretty clear that this was an advantage: when it arrived, there were no other games like it. RPGs were static ugly things with mostly 2D graphics and limited game world interaction but DM offered consistent and very sandboxy like interaction with the game objects: something that you get via C typing system and is doable but hard in assembly.

So yes, it's a coincidence: had the Amiga arrived 5 years later this would have been much different.
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