Thread: Bloat
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Old 03 October 2001, 23:48   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 500
I'm just sick & tired of all the vocal people saying that Amiga software was great & pc software doesn't compare cause of all that 'bloat'.

Back in 1993 I purchased an A3000/25. Like most people, I had disks of pirated games. Around 800, to be exact.

So I get my shiny new A3000, and the first thing I try to do is play some of my older games. Well, as some of you know, and others don't (or have conveniently blocked from your memory), there was no such thing as WHDLOAD (to fix poorly coded games) back in 1993. In fact, with a straight boot off of 2.04, there were a grand total of around FIVE games, out of about 800 disks, which worked on the new machine.

Now, you could get a few more to work by softkicking into 1.3, and a few more by using Bootcache or other hacks, but the sorry-ass state of Amiga programming (yes, these same games you rave about, quite frankly, had AWFUL programming) meant that very few games were actually playable on the new machine. Some of it was due to the 68030's caches, the VBR, ECS, the fact that expansion memory was *not* in Zorro-2 space, using the "highest address byte" to store data (which was now a valid part of an address), etc, but it all boiled down to the fact Amiga Games programmers, as a whole, had awful programming practices.

Prior to the A3000, I had an Amiga 500 with 1MB of RAM. Even the first 512k RAM expansion broke a whole lot of games at the time. Then, when Kickstart 1.3 came out, I added a hard disk to my A500. While 1.3 didn't break a lot of software (Commodore was still bending over backwards trying not to break badly written software), the # of games which could be installed on my shiny brand new 30MB hard disk was very small, certainly less than 5.

As a former developer, I can assure you, that Commodore had told developers, *well* in advance, all the "rules" for writing software, on the Amiga. Those few that followed the rules (Cinemaware among them) had games that worked on the A3000. The rest, crash and burn.

The point is, some "bloat" is needed in order for software to run on different configurations. If you slam the hardware directly and ditch the OS, of course, you can write "less bloated code", but it also means that you lock yourself into one hardware configuration. YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. You either need to build the flexibility into your program (or "bloat" as you people seem to call it) to deal with different situations, or you don't, and only work with a narrow subset of hardware.

The Amiga never had the flexibility that the modern PC does: mutliprocessor support, 3D video/audio, unified [DirectX] API for 3rd party hardware abstraction, native networking support, virtual memory, protected memory model, etc. Windows 2000 does all of these things. Do you really think that Windows is all that bloated when you consider all of the services that the OS supports? It's like some of you guys completely missed the boat when Microsoft phased out Windows 3.x and DOS...
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