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Old 28 August 2001, 22:57   #1
MethodGit
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Question The big question: What made developers choose between dos and NDOS format?

Just thought I'd ask this: what exactly made developers decide between compiling their games in either a dos (Workbench-compatible) format, or an NDOS (weird, Workbench-does-not-understand-alien-system) format? Restrictions? Thought of whether the games deserved to be HD-compatible? What?
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Old 28 August 2001, 23:49   #2
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I'm no expert but I would guess there were two main considerations:

1) If you don't use an Amiga DOS disk you don't need to bother loading the various parts of the OS that are used for disk accessing (hence, less memory used etc)...although having said that I would have though such routines would be in Kickstart. I suppose it would also be faster to use your own routines rather than those provided by the OS?

2) Copy protection: even my grandmother could copy an Amiga DOS disk; it isn't quite as easy to do so with NON-DOS, copy protected formats.

Well, at least I tried I guess
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Old 29 August 2001, 00:02   #3
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HD installation was not considered. Man, Amiga HDs were NOT very popular until 1993ish.

As tikTok said, copy protection was the main issue, I presume. And the fact that you could use your custom routines.

They were not thiking about pleasing pirate scumbags when making them :P
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Old 31 August 2001, 08:28   #4
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This is coming from yet another non-programmer type-but is only what I recall from numerous Amiga gaming magazine interviews.

I seem to remember the main complaints from programmers in the early years of the Amiga claiming that if the games were written to be OS-compliant they would've been too slow.

Akira was also right about Hard drives being a luxury item not being in regular use either. I seem to recall though that following development of Kickstart/WB2.x Amigas Commodore "forced" all the developers to start writing OS compliant software.

I'm not sure of the exact reasons but I think it had something to do with the older titles not working on later Amigas (Using the ECS & AGA chipsets)-I'm sure the programmers out there would know what the CBM issues were.
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Old 31 August 2001, 09:52   #5
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CBM didn't have the power to force programmers or publishers to do anything. You could choose to buy the developers kit or not, but even that wasn't required and very few publishers bothered with it. And the few that did still didn't follow the rules, so it was irrelevant. By not using the system, they had better control and speed (and more memory to work with using their own routines, not unlike demo coders did with their productions.)

As for CBM and older games not working, at an Amiga show I attended in Long Beach in either '93 or '94, I spoke with most of the CBM corporate pigs (suit and tie guys) regarding the incompatibility of old games. I suggested that they look for some way to have the newer machines have a fallback mode to support their older Kicks and OS's, but was told quite bluntly that they not only didn't care about compatibility with ancient software, but that they weren't interested in doing anything for games support. They were too busy following Jim Drew around trying to suck his dick because they were believing all the bullshit he was spewing (very effectively).

Overall, the show was quite miserable and depressing, but not a total loss. I got to hang out for several hours with Jim Sachs. I got to hang out with and believe hours and hours worth of Jim Drew's lying bullshit. Several other highlights, but the pinnacle of the show was getting to meet and shake hands with Jay Miner, who was by this time wheelchair bound and fairly close to death.
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Old 31 August 2001, 10:17   #6
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You've met Sachs and Miner? Wow. That's uber cool

I've only met Petro Tyschenko (or however you spell it). He's always a happy guy.
 
Old 31 August 2001, 10:45   #7
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Yeah, they were great. Sachs hung out with my group and had lunch with us and stuff because I was with a very elite group of graphic artists (a graphic company I co-founded, who are big time now) including such pretigious personalities as Phil Norwood (who created Alien vs. Predator), among others. Jim was very nice, soft-spoken, humble and quite excited at the time over the work he was doing on Defender of the Crown II for the 3DO. He said E/A were very good to him, unlike CBM who stiffed him financially. He had nothing good to say about CBM at all, which even dimmed his viewpoint of the Amiga.

Jay was very cordial, despite the fact that he appeared to be in a lot of pain. Still, he put on a smile and dealt with the fact that everywhere he was wheeled, a crowd followed with people just wanting to touch him or say hi. Very sad seeing this brilliant visionary in this condition.
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Old 08 September 2001, 14:37   #8
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Question

Without wanting to raise the hackles of bad memories too much Twistin' Ghost, were the "Men In Suits" management of CBM really as diabolical as the press & everyone said they were?

How did they compare with their R & D people who seem to try so hard at bringing out the vaunted AAA chipsets & RISC CPU designs?
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Old 09 September 2001, 22:56   #9
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I'd read articles and seen videos with the R&D guys (and have even talked with Dave Haynie, among others), and yes, they were night and day from the 'men in black', who were about as out of touch as what you have heard. They just walked around quoting press releases, and being the stodgy old farts that they were. I can see how this group of men would refer to Amiga users as 'fanatics' and I doubt if any of them ever used the Amiga. They seemed more anxious to aim for the business market to compete with PC's and Macs, so any US show fit that need (especially with Jim Drew telling everyone there that his Amiga ran 99% of all PC and Mac apps perfectly, among other fabrications...)
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Old 10 September 2001, 02:06   #10
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Dos vs NDos

OK guys, most of what is said is here is correct:

1. AmigaDos - A complete idiot can copy these games, so they were not going to sell too many of this type after the initial single copy was sold!

2. NDos - Again easy to copy, anyone with XCopy or any of the million variants could copy them.

3. MFM - Hardest as they usually require some assembler knowledge and/or hardware like Cyclone.

The real trick is of course to add another layer of copy protection to the software, such as a word from the manual or a long track on the disk which appears as a hidden file. This makes it harder to copy (but once again, futile after one person has cracked it as that copy is then spread. I don't think Gary Bracey/Ocean ever let on too much about this as in several interviews over the Robocop 3 dongle protection he said "it stops the casual man in the street copying it" which is crap - the cracked version simply got spread "in the street" as he says!)

The other point you mention is if a game uses AmigaDos files, you can load them via the operating system but if you do this, you lose a lot of extra memory (and you can write your own routine - many have - which emulates loading the files the same way anyway) and then have to structure the entire game legally by allocating memory etc. Most games want every byte of the 512k or 1Mb they can so kick out the operating system as soon as possible and load via their own loaders. (This is also why some games with files on the disk cannot be simply copied to RAM: and loaded as they have their own disk reading routines in them).
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Old 10 September 2001, 14:46   #11
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Stuff-up-the-game-protections

I've never seen the originals for the two games you mention but in fact it's a piece of cake - instead of the "crash computer if copy is detected" they simply set a flag "pirate ahoy"...

During the game at vital stages, check for "pirate bastard onboard" and hide vital object/add impassible wall/remove peaches from tree/make water level rise and kill player etc...

The best protection is of course AFTER a way into the game like the damn Larry games (Larry 3 especially which asked crap from the manual all through the game) or after a quite long level like in Arabian Nights...
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Old 10 September 2001, 20:07   #12
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I love that kind of protection. Megalomania's one is also funny. Once you try to enter an island to play, you hear teh sound 'it's all over!!' , and then a screen appears with your mug and a handy 'pirate' sign below it and the sample keeps on saying 'it's all over!!!'
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