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Old 27 July 2019, 06:24   #21
Hewitson
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Originally Posted by AmigaHope View Post
Yeah I played a ton of games that needed the numeric keypad.

The A1200 and the CD32 were just too damn underpowered. If they'd doubled the CPU clock, added even just 1M of fast RAM, and released them just a tiny bit earlier they could have been contenders. 4X the performance for not a huge increase in component costs (25Mhz parts would have only been a few dollars more expensive -- remember 50Mhz was top of the line at the time -- and 1M of RAM would've added maybe $30 at wholesale prices in 1992.)
A 25MHz CPU would have been considerably more expensive. Not just a "few dollars".

One megabyte of RAM would have cost a lot more than $30, as well.

I'm not disagreeing with you though. The 1200 was pathetically underpowered, and in it's standard configuration (meaning no HDD), not really that much better than the 500.

It's debateable whether AGA was a worthwhile upgrade or not. Regardless, few games that are actually worth playing took advantage of it.
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Old 27 July 2019, 13:49   #22
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On the topic of numeric keypads - there were workarounds for software that ran using the OS input handler. I can't recall if one was included with the A600 or not, but there definitely was software that let you 'emulate' the keypad. If your software didn't use the OS you were out of luck.

On the topic of underpowerdness: the A1200 is clearly much faster and 'better' than the A500. Now, whether the rather big boost in performance, numbers of colours, sprite sizes, higher resolution screen modes and RAM over the A500 was enough or not is something that can be debated (and this has been done to death in several threads).

As Hewitson correctly points out, the main problem here is lack of software. There was very little software available that did AGA justice and most good AGA stuff (what little there is of it) that did come out was released after Commodore had gone under.
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Old 28 July 2019, 03:09   #23
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On the topic of underpowerdness: the A1200 is clearly much faster and 'better' than the A500. Now, whether the rather big boost in performance, numbers of colours, sprite sizes, higher resolution screen modes and RAM over the A500 was enough or not is something that can be debated (and this has been done to death in several threads).
Let's put this into perspective, though. The 500 was based on the A1000 released in 1985. The 1200 came 7 years after that.

Was the technology 7 years better? Not even close, maybe 3 and even that's being generous.

If the Megadrive was as small of an upgrade as the 1200 was, few Master System owners would have thought it was worthwhile.
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Old 28 July 2019, 17:00   #24
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Let's put this into perspective, though.
No. You didn't do anything of the sort when you said it wasn't "much better than the A500", so I see no reason to do that.

I don't care whether you personally like the A1200 or not. I merely care about some semblance of reality remaining when we're talking about these systems. Calling the A1200 "not much better" than the A500 is simply factually wrong. This has nothing to do with opinion. The specs are well known and simple to look up. They conclusively prove that the A1200 was a big upgrade.

The A1200's problem was (and still is) a lack of good software. I can think of perhaps two (maybe three) A1200 games that used the platform anywhere near it's potential. These few games are far beyond what an A500 can achieve. And some of those games are extremely new.

So yes, if you want to call the A1200 crap - go right ahead. Just don't spread false information like that. There's too much of that already.

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Old 31 July 2019, 21:06   #25
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It's true, not many games fully utilized the sprite enhancements of AGA -- most just upped the number of colors and called it a day.

BUT it still did feel more like an enhancement than a generational upgrade. You got a faster CPU, more RAM, more colors, bigger sprites, mass storage controller. Maybe somewhat better than upgrading Megadrive with MegaCD (3 year gap), but nowhere near as good as upgrading with 32X (6 year gap). (It should be noted that both these addons suffered similarly to AGA/CD32. Lots of mildly-upgraded shovelware, or small color enhancements. Very few titles used the MegaCD's DSP, and a fair number of 32X games mostly just improved the audio and had more colorful sprites vs the Megadrive version.)

...but AGA was definitely not the generational shift like upgrading from Megadrive to Saturn or PSX, which was also only a 6 year gap.
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Old 02 August 2019, 16:42   #26
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If things had gone differently with the A300 and it had hit a lower price point then I can totally see the point in it. Being able to sell it at say £200-250 pounds and the new A1200 at £399 would have been like having the C64 and the A500 back in the late 80s early 90s.
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Old 02 August 2019, 20:00   #27
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Originally Posted by AmigaHope View Post
BUT it still did feel more like an enhancement than a generational upgrade. You got a faster CPU, more RAM, more colors, bigger sprites, mass storage controller.
It all depends on what you call a generational gap. When the A500 was first out, the idea of having something as powerful as the A1200 for that price was pretty much complete fantasy. I'm certain everyone here would've been ecstatic if we could've bought the A1200 in 1987 for the price it ended up launching at. To me that feels like the 'litmus test' for such things.

Of course, your mileage might vary and that's essentially my point here
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...but AGA was definitely not the generational shift like upgrading from Megadrive to Saturn or PSX, which was also only a 6 year gap.
There's plenty of reasons you might feel AGA was something of a let down. Most of them (IMHO) having to do with Commodore releasing it rather than AAA (which had been hyped for a few years by then) and releasing it so late and frankly, so unsupported (this is actually a bit odd as they supported the VIC-20, C64, C128 and even the Amiga 1000 with their own software/commissioned software initially but just stopped doing that somewhere along the line).

However, I still don't think the above is a fair comparison. The number one reason that the Saturn and PSX felt so much like a generational shift was the inclusion of hardware accelerated (and for the time very fast) 3D. Their 2D capabilities (while an improvement over the 16 bit era), were not nearly as impressive a jump.

It just so happens that this shift to hardware 3D only started around 1994, which was long (over two years in fact) after AGA was designed. In fact, by as early as mid/late 1993, Commodore themselves were apparently heading in that direction.

Both may represent a six year tech difference, but one happened across an industry wide shift, the other did not. Kind of like how the Atari 8-bit computers from 1979 would still compare somewhat favourably to most hardware from 1984, but not so much to hardware from 1985 (as that year the industry had started to shift to much higher colour and resolution capabilities as standard).

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Old 02 August 2019, 21:48   #28
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However, I still don't think the above is a fair comparison. The number one reason that the Saturn and PSX felt so much like a generational shift was the inclusion of hardware accelerated (and for the time very fast) 3D. Their 2D capabilities (while an improvement over the 16 bit era), were not nearly as impressive a jump.

Both may represent a six year tech difference, but one happened across an industry wide shift, the other did not. Kind of like how the Atari 8-bit computers from 1979 would still compare somewhat favourably to most hardware from 1984, but not so much to hardware from 1985 (as that year the industry had started to shift to much higher colour and resolution capabilities as standard).
Actually the Saturn's 2D capabilities were pretty god-tier and a huge jump over any 16-bit system (or any 32-bit system for that matter). It had easily the most powerful background engine in VDP2, and the VDP1 spritelist engine could pump out thousands of sprites per frame. In fact the Saturn didn't have any purpose-built 3D engine -- it just used scaled/rotated sprites as the rasterization engine for polygons. They included a general-purpose DSP with the intention that developers would use it for 3D vertex calculations, but it was so hard to use (and not particularly fast) that most games just used the CPUs. There's some really good articles online from the dev of Sonic R explaining how he used the DSP in conjunction with the CPUs to calculate some of the 3D in parallel.

It would be fair to say that the Saturn was the last and greatest 2D system, that was so damn powerful that it managed to do good 3D.

Regarding *when* the generational leaps happen with the Atari 8-bit example, fair enough, that makes sense. But it would be fair to say that the Atari 8-bits were the Amiga of 1979 in that they were so far ahead of everything else that 1982's C64 was still worse in some respects. They were ahead of the game. ...but that killer team left Atari and that's how we got the Amiga.

Commodore should have realized this and kept the lead they had in 1985, and realized that they'd need real transformational change for their next generation. It's like fighting WWI with the best naturally aspirated fabric biplanes, and then just making the biplanes better instead of building supercharged metal monoplanes for WWII.
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Old 03 August 2019, 00:44   #29
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Actually the Saturn's 2D capabilities were pretty god-tier and a huge jump over any 16-bit system (or any 32-bit system for that matter). It had easily the most powerful background engine in VDP2, and the VDP1 spritelist engine could pump out thousands of sprites per frame. In fact the Saturn didn't have any purpose-built 3D engine -- it just used scaled/rotated sprites as the rasterization engine for polygons. They included a general-purpose DSP with the intention that developers would use it for 3D vertex calculations, but it was so hard to use (and not particularly fast) that most games just used the CPUs. There's some really good articles online from the dev of Sonic R explaining how he used the DSP in conjunction with the CPUs to calculate some of the 3D in parallel.

It would be fair to say that the Saturn was the last and greatest 2D system, that was so damn powerful that it managed to do good 3D.
I think I didn't get my point across here. My point was not that the Saturn's 2D wasn't better than that of 16 bit consoles. My point was that even though the 2D on the Saturn was miles better from a technical perspective, it didn't look miles better. It looked like more of the same, with some extra objects, more details and better colours. But still very much a similar experience.

This is not a dig against the system in any way, I'm trying to get at the whole "diminishing returns" problem that is faced here. Sure, the Saturn could display a metric ton of sprites and use more colours and layers, but the 16 bit systems already could display enough sprites to more than cover the screen and did layers as well. So yes, it was certainly better - but the kind of better that makes it look like more of what was already there.
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Regarding *when* the generational leaps happen with the Atari 8-bit example, fair enough, that makes sense. But it would be fair to say that the Atari 8-bits were the Amiga of 1979 in that they were so far ahead of everything else that 1982's C64 was still worse in some respects. They were ahead of the game. ...but that killer team left Atari and that's how we got the Amiga.
Well, I'm not sure I completely agree that the 8-bit Atari's were that far ahead of the curve, but that's widely off-topic
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Commodore should have realized this and kept the lead they had in 1985, and realized that they'd need real transformational change for their next generation. It's like fighting WWI with the best naturally aspirated fabric biplanes, and then just making the biplanes better instead of building supercharged metal monoplanes for WWII.
I guess Commodore was initially reluctant to invest even more money into a machine that didn't sell very well at the beginning. It took somewhere around 1988-1989 for the Amiga to start selling really well.
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Old 03 August 2019, 10:03   #30
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Did commodore tell vendors the a1200 was coming out and if so when?

a600 Release date, March 1992
a1200 21 October 1992
I was a vendor, and was given no advance warning of either machine. We just got a wholesale price list from Commodore NZ which had a new model on it. I also remember ordering A500s and getting A500+s instead. Before that we didn't know it existed!

However, part of the reason for this may be that magazines took 3 months to get to New Zealand. And of course there was no Internet, so news traveled slow. Commodore probably thought we would already be expecting the new models, not realizing how in the dark we were.

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I just personally would never used Amiga 300 name.
Imagine the confusion it would get at the market:
Is this Amiga 500, with half memory? Or half of the games is not working?
Or maybe all working, but processor is on 4Mhz, so games are half speed
Agreed. A600 was the perfect name - one step up on the A500, which is what it was.

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Originally Posted by AmigaHope
Commodore should have realized this and kept the lead they had in 1985,
But Commodore didn't have the lead in 1985, they had a machine with unfinished firmware that had to be booted with a 'kickstart' disk. But they had to get something out, or they would have lost what little potential market may have existed.

The problem with having a radically advanced OS and hardware is that developers have to get familiar with it before they can do it justice. Other home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and C64 took years to get there with much less to learn, and with no significant advances over their lifespan. In the Amiga's case it didn't make much sense to keeping 'leading' with even more advanced hardware before developers had even gotten to grips with the existing architecture.

In the PC world developers were able to ease into more advanced hardware while the OS stayed virtually static, and they only had to reach a small fraction of the market to get sufficient sales. But their biggest advantage was having a huge head start of around 7 years. By the time the Amiga hit the market in earnest PC developers had already done CGA and EGA, and were moving to VGA. They didn't have to learn the complexities of an advanced custom chipset and OS, and the lack of chipset features was solved by simply throwing more mips at it.

Turns out that this was the winning strategy - start with under-powered but open ended hardware, a barely adequate OS, and a famous name to suck in buyers. Then release incremental advances as the market demands them, with plenty of time to change course because you are already the market leader.

However I am glad that Commodore developed the Amiga the way they did, sticking with a tried and true design rather than constantly changing it. The A1000 was so advanced compared to anything I had any experience with that it took me about year to understand the OS and hardware well enough to confidently write software for it. If they had released the A1200 in 1989 I would not have been ready for it, and if they had radically changed the chipset to do 3D etc. it would have been a nightmare!

It made sense to move on from machines like the Spectrum and Amstrad CPC because they quickly reached their limits, but not so the Amiga. It took many years before developers were able to wring the most out of the OCS chipset, and even today the AGA chipset has probably not been fully utilized. But now the Amiga is now finally in the lead - of retro computing! We haven't even reached the limits of what can be done with 1992 hardware, let alone Vampires etc.
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Old 03 August 2019, 10:47   #31
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It would be fair to say that the Saturn was the last and greatest 2D system,
Never had one, but looking at the specs I would say that as a 2D games console it may have been the greatest, but as a system it sucked compared to any Amiga.

In the 1980's Sega had a strong following in New Zealand with the SC-3000. A cottage industry quickly sprung up as people wrote software that was sold by the local distributor, and many users enjoyed programming as well as playing tape and cartridge games. Some even got the Super Control Station which added a disk drive etc. At the same time Sega released the SG-1000, which was a cut-down machine that only played cartridge games. It didn't sell nearly as well as the computer. From that machine they developed the Master System etc., and computer users moved on to other platforms.

Comparing any console to a full-blown computer is unfair because the computer can do so much more than play cartridge games or CDs. The Amiga could have gone that way too (as it was originally designed to do) and no doubt would have been 'greater' as a games console, but so much less overall.

The one saving grace of the CD32 was that it was only a short step away from being an A1200. You could plug in a keyboard and mouse, and then the only thing missing was a way to get your own software into it (which I solved by creating a minimalist floppy drive adapter). If it had been just a dedicated console with no computer functionality I would not have bought one, and I bet many others would not have either. Because no matter how great a console may be, it's still only a console.
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Old 04 August 2019, 09:17   #32
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amiga 600 - in 1992 nobody wan't it, amiga 1200 was already announced, everyone wait for amiga 1200.

amiga 1200 - presented at end of 1992, available at summer 1993, just three months before DOOM. Underpowered, overproviced, main reason to bankrupcy of Commodore. Should have chunky pixels and slots for fast ram.
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Old 04 August 2019, 11:04   #33
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amiga 600 - in 1992 nobody wan't it, amiga 1200 was already announced, everyone wait for amiga 1200.

amiga 1200 - presented at end of 1992, available at summer 1993, just three months before DOOM. Underpowered, overproviced, main reason to bankrupcy of Commodore. Should have chunky pixels and slots for fast ram.
Ah, back with the 'alternative facts' I see.
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Old 04 August 2019, 12:05   #34
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Some insane amiga fanatics never accept that Commodore bancrupt because amiga 1200 was too slow to play DOOM.
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Old 04 August 2019, 12:32   #35
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amiga 600 - in 1992 nobody wan't it, amiga 1200 was already announced, everyone wait for amiga 1200.
No it wasn't, and nobody (apart from developers with NDAs) knew what was coming.

Amiga Format October 1992:-

"A600 price cut shocker"

"Monday August 10th saw the official retail price of the Amiga 600 slashed by £100 to £299... This is the first time an entry-level Amiga model has seen a price cut in Great Britain. Commodore have suggested that the effects of the recession on UK high street sales have prompted the move"...

"Sumner also gave reasons why Commodore would make a price cut "if we altered the price we may gain more sales, knocking some out of the consoles, some out of the PC area.". Clearly Commodore now believe that this is possible".

What's missing here? No suggestion that they might have been clearing out A600's because the A1200 was about to be released. There were constant rumours about what Commodore might have been working on, but that didn't stop people (including myself) from buying A600s.


"New Amiga certain to be A2000 replacement"

"Speculation is rife about the specification for the Commodore's latest Amiga...the new machine will be called something along the lines of A2200 or 2400 and will cost "somewhere between the price of an A1500 and £1000" which is right where you would expect the 2000 replacement to sit. This would seem to counter rumours of an A800 or A1000 classic, which had been mooted as a possible mid-level machine."...

"A letter purporting to be from a developer in Holland who is in possession of two new models has recently stirred up debate, even though the letter has already been discredited. It refers to two models, one of which is a 68040 equipped A3000-based machine referred to as the A4000, and the other is a new mid-range model in a smaller, three-inch high 'pizza box' case."

"How large a pinch of salt to take with all this rumour and counter-rumour is entirely up to you."

So what happened to this 'pizza box' mid-range model which was to replace the A2000? We got the A1200 instead. That's no bad thing, but it certainly wasn't what most people were expecting.

Quote:
amiga 1200 - presented at end of 1992, available at summer 1993, just three months before DOOM.
DOOM
Quote:
Although Petersen said that it was "nothing more than the computer equivalent of Whack-A-Mole"...

The game again sparked controversy throughout a period of school shootings in the United States when it was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, were avid players of the game. While planning for the massacre, Harris said in his journal that the killing would be "like playing Doom"
Possibly the most overrated game in computing history - but appealing to a certain mindset.

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Underpowered, overproviced, main reason to bankrupcy of Commodore. Should have chunky pixels and slots for fast ram.
Speaking of Whack-A-Mole...
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Old 04 August 2019, 14:18   #36
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To prevent this thread degenerating in yet another bunch of insults, I'll stop posting in it. I've made my position clear enough and I have no time for that sort of nonsense.
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Old 04 August 2019, 17:20   #37
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"New Amiga certain to be A2000 replacement"

"Speculation is rife about the specification for the Commodore's latest Amiga...the new machine will be called something along the lines of A2200 or 2400 and will cost "somewhere between the price of an A1500 and £1000" which is right where you would expect the 2000 replacement to sit. This would seem to counter rumours of an A800 or A1000 classic, which had been mooted as a possible mid-level machine."...

"A letter purporting to be from a developer in Holland who is in possession of two new models has recently stirred up debate, even though the letter has already been discredited. It refers to two models, one of which is a 68040 equipped A3000-based machine referred to as the A4000, and the other is a new mid-range model in a smaller, three-inch high 'pizza box' case."

"How large a pinch of salt to take with all this rumour and counter-rumour is entirely up to you."

So what happened to this 'pizza box' mid-range model which was to replace the A2000? We got the A1200 instead. That's no bad thing, but it certainly wasn't what most people were expecting.




If this had come out in 1992 with the 4000, I would have sold body parts to get one!


Just Imagine if that was what we had got instead of the A1200
We would ALL have had the option to EASILY drop in a Video card for chunky display and I imagine that every single one of these machines would have had one by now in 2019.


Zorro III Bus too slow for shifting the pixels? Im sure that GVP, Phase 5 at ell would have built cards combining the CPU, FAST RAM and display circuitry together!
(Imagine that, would we have been able to build a 24 Bit chunky display FASTER with an 060 than the equiv Pentium/VGA combo?)


CBM may have failed but this machine would have been a hit

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