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Old 30 June 2017, 09:16   #41
drHirudo
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Most of that doesn't sound very factual, and certainly doesn't match my experiences.

Any Amiga can use HD floppies (formatted to 1760kB) if you have a high-density drive, but only the A4000 came with one. This is another thing where the market chose the lowest common denominator, not a technical limitation. Just like with the joysticks.
So, its the third parties to blame for the Amiga not coping with the time after 1985? If Amiga games were released on HD disks instead 2 DD disks and requiring 3 buttons Joysticks instead of single button, all the people would have bought HD floppy drives and 3 button Joysticks, the Amiga 500 (Batman pack for example) would had HD floppy and 3 button joystick in the pack and eventually slot for off the shelf hard drive. But then, it was Commodore's responsibility to give software and hardware manufacturers directions and demand to support the latest technologies available. If HD external floppies were available for Amiga back in 1980-es, everyone would buy them for having extra space, the software publishers would had published DD and HD floppy versions of the games, and eventually only HD floppy versions with possibility to boot from DF1: and eventually the HD floppy would had come as a standard. It was easy to create a new standard if the third parties wanted to enforce it. Remember, the Amiga 1MB is not stock Amiga option. The 512 KB expansion memory was third party trapdoor addition, but almost everyone in early 1990-ies had it, because without it many cool games didn't work.
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Old 30 June 2017, 09:27   #42
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The 512kB extra RAM is actually one of the few things Commodore did provide (as the A501) from the beginning

I don't think anyone disagrees that Commodore made poor marketing choices, especially later on. They should have pushed upgrades to the systems much more. But as the topic was "from day 1", high-density floppies, hard drives and such simply were not a realistic option for the A1000.

The technology was pretty much all there, just not utilized to the full extent by the market.
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Old 30 June 2017, 09:40   #43
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But as the topic was "from day 1", high-density floppies, hard drives and such simply were not a realistic option for the A1000.
Exactly, the design of the A1000 was done in what 1982/3? and released in 1985, HD 3.5" floppies didn't exist until 1986, its ridiculous to say they should have included it!
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Old 30 June 2017, 09:46   #44
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Exactly, the design of the A1000 was done in what 1982/3? and released in 1985, HD 3.5" floppies didn't exist until 1986, its ridiculous to say they should have included it!
I didn't say they should have included it. I said it was mistake to not use the already standard 720 KB disk format from 1984 (PC, Atari ST), which made it later difficult to adapt the new HD floppies format. I.e. if the Amiga 1000 used standard interface for floppies, many people in as early as 1986/1987 would have upgraded to HD floppy drive.
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Old 30 June 2017, 10:02   #45
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Originally Posted by drHirudo View Post
I didn't say they should have included it. I said it was mistake to not use the already standard 720 KB disk format from 1984 (PC, Atari ST), which made it later difficult to adapt the new HD floppies format. I.e. if the Amiga 1000 used standard interface for floppies, many people in as early as 1986/1987 would have upgraded to HD floppy drive.
The ST didn't have the standard 720k format in 1984, it took a couple of years for them to get to the DS DD disk format, by which time it was a whole mess as you had games shipping with a single sided version and double sided version as companies were stuck not to support early adopters.

Plus Amiga was not like PC, we didn't want to keep buying extra equipment, which why it was a budget computer compared to a PC.
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Old 30 June 2017, 10:29   #46
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I'm sorry but the floppy drive wasn't an issue until the 1200 came out.. Then commodore wanted to avoid confusion of games being released on dd and hd disks. The problem was they should have adopted hard drives as standard from kickstart 2 onwards.. This would have negated the floppy disk anyway

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Old 30 June 2017, 10:57   #47
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Hard drives were too expensive for budget computers esp upto 1990 in the hundered of pounds, it wasn't until 92 when Commodore first put them in A600 models, still at a costly £500 for a measly 20mb hdd, when the £400 A1200 was coming out the same year, it took no genius to understand why these models bombed.
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Old 30 June 2017, 11:02   #48
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Especially small 2,5" hdds were EXTREMELY expensive. Fortunately, at least A1200 was capable to carry some 3,5" hdd models internally. My first HDD in A1200 was 512MB 3,5" IBM-DALA and comparing the price to its 2,5" equivalent was 1:3 at that time.

My first Amiga was A600 and I had to connect it to a 40MB obsolete second-handed 3,5" HDD which was put outside the computer. It was really uncomfortable.
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Old 30 June 2017, 11:35   #49
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Originally Posted by drHirudo View Post
I didn't say they should have included it. I said it was mistake to not use the already standard 720 KB disk format from 1984 (PC, Atari ST), which made it later difficult to adapt the new HD floppies format. I.e. if the Amiga 1000 used standard interface for floppies, many people in as early as 1986/1987 would have upgraded to HD floppy drive.
There was no standard 720 kB 3,5-inch floppy format in 1985. Name one PC that came with a 3,5-inch drive.

The Atari used a 1770-based controller but still didn't get HD floppy support until the MegaSTE, because it's not a matter of just swapping out the controller.

I think what did cause the Amiga floppies to seem unreliable was partly the fact that the average Amiga floppy saw ten times more use than the average PC floppy, combined with the fact that games and demos used custom formats with little error correction and stretching the limits with regard to track lengths, sector sizes and number of tracks.
OFS is quite a reliable format, designed to preserve data as far as possible even on bad media.
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Old 30 June 2017, 13:48   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajk View Post
Most of that doesn't sound very factual, and certainly doesn't match my experiences.

Any Amiga can use HD floppies (formatted to 1760kB) if you have a high-density drive, but only the A4000 came with one. This is another thing where the market chose the lowest common denominator, not a technical limitation. Just like with the joysticks.
Some A3000 did also come with a HD-floppy-drive. Got two of these.
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Old 30 June 2017, 17:48   #51
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IMO, the Amiga 1000 was very good for the time due to the influence of Jay Miner who was a visionary. It was ahead of its time so far that people (including management at C=) didn't understand the amazing future yet. C= just didn't upgrade it properly or fast enough and was clueless on how to market it.
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Old 05 July 2017, 23:53   #52
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I think the amiga 500 was good as it was. Except for the 4 channel sound, should have been six.

What amiga lacked was not really the hardware. amiga 500 was a great kit. It some sort of software standard guidelines.

Commodore should have had a sort of "nintendo seal of approval" for games that held a certain standard.

Like 2 button joystick support
optional hdd install if its more than 2 disks.
Some guidelines on how many diskswaps you are allowed to have.
some routines for saves and such.
probably something more i cant think of now.
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Old 06 July 2017, 00:40   #53
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Ok, I didn't read this thread, so maybe this was already mentioned before, but for me the worst feature of all the early Amiga models was the limitation to display only 50 or 60 FPS on PAL or NTSC and with the terrible interlace flickering, a real pain for your eyes. Without a flickerfixer these Amigas were just unusable. I could use my A2000 with a flickerfixer, the ECS Denise and the Euro36 monitor driver at 724*512@56, but that was still far from perfect, and Commodore never fixed it! I'm very glad to use WinUAE nowadays.
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Old 06 July 2017, 01:01   #54
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and Commodore never fixed it!
Well - they did on the A3000 with Amber.
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Old 06 July 2017, 08:19   #55
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I think NorthWay pinned lot of the shortcomings. If I have to pick the top two I would say:
* Blitter and sprites without a horizontal flip feature. This alone would have saved half of the RAM in most of the games
* No Fast RAM. Even 32KB would have permitted to exploit the parallelism between CPU and Blitter. This was a distintive advantage of Amiga that was never used in games because not standard. This could have been implement with just 2 SRAM chips.
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Old 06 July 2017, 11:33   #56
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Originally Posted by drHirudo View Post
1. Digital joystick - the same one as in Atari 2600 with SINGLE button! Like what the hell they were thinking? Designing the most sophisticated gaming machine, with the crappiest joystick possible as standard!?
You're totally wrong here. Even the Atari 2600 supported analogue controllers. The connector was chosen because it was a defacto standard, and a reasonably good one at the time as well. The Amiga supports digital with up to 3 buttons just fine, and analogue with up to 5 buttons. The issue was that developers didn't bother, or thought of the Amiga as a more powerful C64, artificially knobbling their games to suit that one-button system. Had the A500 shipped with a 2- or 3-button controller, things may have been different, but in no way was it the Amiga hardware's fault.

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Even the Apple II had better Joystick as standard 16-pin DIP socket for Analog Joystick with TWO buttons.
Ugh, and where would one buy such a custom bit of hardware? Why further knobble things with even more non-standard connections? Part of the Amiga's appeal was that it could use things like standard printers, modems etc. without expensive or hard-to-find custom hardware.

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I really can't explain how almost every Amiga game sucks from this limitation.
Agreed, but again, this has precisely zero to do with the Amiga hardware.

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The game programmers had to invent the up for jump, but what about the jumping on ladder or more than one weapon, or special moves.
Entirely their own doing.

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2. No MIDI port! The machine with the best sound capabilities, not suitable for musicians because they were not able to plug in their MIDI talking instruments directly and had to use 3rd party hardware, which may come with incompatibilities and troubles.
The Amiga's serial ports were perfectly capable of MIDI communication. Yes, fitting ports might have been nice and maybe would have seen it used in an ST-type role. But then again, adaptors were cheap and relatively commonplace; if you wanted to use MIDI, it wasn't a big deal. On the other hand, if you *only* wanted it for MIDI (let's face it, Paula audio is nice, but certainly not production quality), the ST was a far cheaper machine and just as capable.

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3. HAM mode was a hack, mostly useless for other than static pictures! Okay, you wanted graphics people to design the most awesome graphics and cartoons on the Amiga. Then why the HAM mode was neglected and left just like it was back from the days when Jay Miner experimented with it and was going to remove it, because he saw it was not very useful. Remember they left the HAM mode, because there was going to be a hole in the chip, not because they saw it as usable.
And what advantage would there have been from not having it? Being able to display images in close to true colour (very close on AGA machines) is better than only being able to display them in 32 colours.

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4. Non standard floppy disk format, very error prone! Yes, the Amiga written disks were giving much more errors that PC or Atari written disks. Simply because the Amiga wrote more bytes per sector, tracks and disks. I love the idea of getting more data on single disk, even the double sided feature was nice, but most of the manufactured floppies were tested as 720 KB PC disks.
I don't really buy this. The disks were manufactured as 1MB disks, and I never saw any difference in rates of failure between PC formatted and Amiga formatted disks. And I used them a lot to transfer between the two. (I did get lots of CRC errors but that was a CrossDOS thing...)

Quote:
On the Amiga, writing more data meant more probability of errors, since you were using the disk with a format not supported by the manufacturer. Back in 1990-ies when I was buying packs of disks usually sometimes I had whole boxes of 100s disks simply not working on the Amiga and giving errors.
Sounds like your drive was knackered. The disks aren't manufactured with the sectors in place. The medium is created and then formatted, but the medium itself doesn't contain anything that says "PC formatted", or where errors could hide in that sort of fashion.

Quote:
5. No hard disk controller on board. Back in 1985 there were already 10 MB hard disks for under $1000. Having the option to buy off the shelf hard drive and install it in your Amiga would have made the machine much more desirable for the business users. Because of the hard expansion options (especially for hard drive) the Amiga was often looked by the business oriented people as a toy for gaming, not for serious productivity work.
Hard drives were an expensive addition to most machines back then, and certainly not standard. Buying a drive for a PC meant having a PC with the appropriate expansion slots, adding a controller card, adding a drive, configuring it all, and then being careful not to sneeze near it in case you ruined the fragile setup. Pretty much the same situation as the Amiga 2000 then. There were side car options for the A1000 which were expensive of course, but that was the idea of that connector. There were still PCs sold in 1985 that only had a 5.25" floppy drive!

These things seem to annoy you, fair enough, but I think you don't really understand what exactly you're annoyed at.

Last edited by Daedalus; 06 July 2017 at 12:01.
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Old 06 July 2017, 15:15   #57
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Some things off of my Amiga "It would be nice if..." pile

1. A faster CPU.

Even in '85 when the first machine was released the 68000 was getting a bit long in the tooth. Fast forward to the release of 2000 and the 500 and it's already the thick end of 10 years old and 7mhz just isn't cutting it anymore. A 68020 might have been a bit too rich for the time but a 14mhz 68000 would have been a bit more like it and surely wouldn't have added a whole lot to cost of the BOM.

2. Fast RAM.

To go with the above, there's simply no getting around this if we want to make the best use of it. 512k of Fast RAM for the 500 certainly would have increased the price of the machine by a fair bit, but would have been worth it. Giving the thing far better general application performance as well as mitigating the downsides of chipset memory contention for games.

3. More colour registers.

This one really bugs me. We get 6 bitplanes but only enough registers for 32 colours. And even more annoyingly, they didn't even leave room in the address space to easily add more later. Which meant that we only got the poor man's option of EHB later down the line for ECS, as well as the slightly clumsy method of addressing the pallette required for AGA.

4. MS-DOS floppy disk support

Okay, we got CrossDOS later with release 2.0. But this absolutely should have been there from day one. The benefits of directly reading media from the business computer in the US market, if not the world, seem glaringly obvious now. But even back then, somebody surely would have at least mentioned it while they were all sitting round the whiteboard throwing ideas around. I guess the bean counters won that argument, even though it wouldn't, I guess, have required any changes to the hardware?

5. More sprites.

For games, more hardware sprites would have been nice. More's always better, right? However you could argue that you might never, ever, have enough sprites, regardless of how many there are. You could also argue that using blitter objects makes up for this deficiency* But, a mere 8, four colour sprites was already pretty stingy in '85 and multiplexing only gets you so much and only within certain scenarios.

6. More sound channels.

Much like the above, you could argue that you could never have enough. But only 4?!?!?

Adding that lot up gives us a machine that would have completely wiped the floor with the ST and the average IBM clone** typical of the time period and, I propose, would have been something that would have at the very least held its own against the Mega Drive and SNES in the later years even if it hadn't changed a single bit.

B

*which, it does. But only up to a point.

**even more than it did already.

Last edited by Old_Bob; 06 July 2017 at 15:22.
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Old 06 July 2017, 15:31   #58
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Which meant that we only got the poor man's option of EHB later down the line for ECS
That's interesting! Did we only get Extra Half-Bright modes in the ECS chipset? I was using them on my A1000 while coding in AMOS - made a palette-cycling lightshow type thing that I was very proud of, and it used EHB to get more colours...

Was my A1000 an ECS or an OCS chipset?
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Old 06 July 2017, 15:40   #59
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That's interesting! Did we only get Extra Half-Bright modes in the ECS chipset? I was using them on my A1000 while coding in AMOS - made a palette-cycling lightshow type thing that I was very proud of, and it used EHB to get more colours...

Was my A1000 an ECS or an OCS chipset?
Hmm, it would seem that my recollection is incorrect on this point. A quick check reveals that some 1000s were shipped with a Denise capable of EHB and some not. So, presumably all 500s were, in fact, good for EHB?

I'm blaming old age

B
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Old 06 July 2017, 15:46   #60
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I had never even thought about that until you mentioned it! I had always assumed that EHB was standard for all Amigas.
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