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Old 23 January 2011, 22:45   #1
Zetr0
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New: AG-Launch WHLoad Launcher for 2MB Amiga (alpha release)

Hello my fellow EAB'ers =)

I recently posted this over on AmiBay, but I feel since I got a bit of help here - I should post the fruits of labour here too.

Over the last week in the snippets of time that I normally struggle to find, I create an application based in AmigaGuide for the lesser memory equipped Amiga machines. I tired of the game-listing programs that ate several megabytes to create a list of games that constantly has to scan, load and or use to much ram for itself. even with an 8MB FAST machine it can take a serious hit from using these other WHDLoad launchers.

I felt there was a better, quicker and more efficient way - and I call it AG-Launch, for the wont of a better name

AG-Launch provides you with an easy to use interface (amigaguide) and buttons to choose and load games - great eh?



(click image)


Want to know the best bit... it fits within 260kb and gives you access to all 2000+ WHDLoad game titles virtually instantly.

AG-Launch is designed around Classic Workbench 68k but will work with any Classic Workbench distro, also it should work with any Workbench with IGame. in the following example (on a 2MB ECS machine) AG-Launch is loaded from CLI to maximize available memory (although can be loaded in workbench) -

so here are some shots of it in action (click images to Zoom).


Booting with no start up: (hold both mouse buttons on boot)


Heres the CLI prompt


Executing the script


Da daa!!! here she is in all here version 0.1 alpha glory


So lets choose a category .... ermmm I think I will have a 'P'


There are many Games to choose from, say a 4 disk Project X?
AG-Launch saves RAM by only uses the memory for one category at time


Yay! load me some GAME! -
AG-Launcher uses WHDLoad 17 beta!




I would of taken an earlier screen shot,
but I was funking out to the music!




So if you have a memory limited 2MB Amiga then I suggest you give this little application a go.

download AG-Launch 0.7c

Installation is VERY easy and found in the READ me =)



Greets and Thanks:

KillerGorilla, the WHDLoad developers, Bloodwych, and the EAB/AmiBay forum chummies



Remember

This software is completely alpha and should not be released or used by any sane person, so, please enjoy =D

Zetr0

Last edited by Zetr0; 27 February 2011 at 13:47. Reason: updated version 0.7c
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Old 23 January 2011, 23:09   #2
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Excellent work Just what I'm looking for.

About to get the CF in my A1200 soon instead of a hard drive, so this is absolutely spot on for that.
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Old 23 January 2011, 23:15   #3
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Nice Zetr0,

Does this have to use that specific version of WHDload?
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Old 23 January 2011, 23:25   #4
Zetr0
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@Kippers

indeed, it need WHDLoad 17 beta - as the 16.9 has a bug in it that prevents it from using PRELOAD or NOT to PRELOAD accordingly.

WHDLoad 17 beta automatically chooses which pending on the amount of RAM in the system that is available to it.

=)
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Old 24 January 2011, 00:04   #5
Bloodwych
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Excellent work Zetro!!!! Impressive, 260K!!!

I can add this to the ClassicWB multiboot menus: http://classicwb.abime.net/classicweb/multiboot.htm

...and RAD: launcher, once it's ready if you like. It would be ideal for this, also in the main Workbench if you're low on RAM.
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Old 24 January 2011, 04:31   #6
T_hairy_bootson
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I LOVE THIS IDEA. Cant wait to try it on one of my miggies.
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Old 24 January 2011, 06:46   #7
Zetr0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodwych View Post
Excellent work Zetro!!!! Impressive, 260K!!!

I can add this to the ClassicWB multiboot menus: http://classicwb.abime.net/classicweb/multiboot.htm

...and RAD: launcher, once it's ready if you like. It would be ideal for this, also in the main Workbench if you're low on RAM.
AWESOME!!! I was just about to message you about how to do this! LOL!

All one needs is a button that launches the amiga guide file "agl-main.guide" in A-Games: directory

AGL uses an assign AGL: that should point to the root of the games folder - such like "sys:games/" or "A-Games:" and there rest is handled internally =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by T_hairy_bootson View Post
I LOVE THIS IDEA. Cant wait to try it on one of my miggies.
Give it ago, and gimmie feedback - remember this is an epically alpha release so there might be some games that dont load due to filename issues - if you could make a list of any that dont that would be great as I can update the agl.guides =)

Last edited by Zetr0; 24 January 2011 at 06:54.
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Old 24 January 2011, 09:42   #8
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Great job, Z!
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Old 24 January 2011, 15:54   #9
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Awesome work! I need this!

Any chance it will have joystick support in future releases?
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Old 24 January 2011, 16:18   #10
Bloodwych
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zetr0 View Post
AWESOME!!! I was just about to message you about how to do this! LOL!

All one needs is a button that launches the amiga guide file "agl-main.guide" in A-Games: directory

AGL uses an assign AGL: that should point to the root of the games folder - such like "sys:games/" or "A-Games:" and there rest is handled internally =)



Give it ago, and gimmie feedback - remember this is an epically alpha release so there might be some games that dont load due to filename issues - if you could make a list of any that dont that would be great as I can update the agl.guides =)
No problem , it would be very easy to include. All the files are in place - I'd just edit a couple and it would be ready. The ClassicWB has scripts for almost everything - it would be a simple case of editing the scripts with the assigns, environment requirements and execute.

iGame is excellent for screenshots and quick searching, but uses the most RAM. I have the game list launchers, but even they use 2MB for a fully populated list.

The question is, does the AmigaGuide have to be written and edited by hand to include everygame, or can it have a search script to automatically add or find games?
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Old 24 January 2011, 17:12   #11
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@Bloodwych

In this first version (proof of concept) I wrote a PC C++ program to create the AmigaGuide(s) - in its simple infancy it just read the directory names within each category an created a game launch button based on that (based on a proforma).

At the moment to change anthing or update it you need to do this either by hand or the PC program, but I plan to convert this to a an Amiga program that will do all this for you. I am looking at either using AREXX (which I have had a play with) or re-compiling the program on the Amiga - perhaps with a GadTools front end so that it can scan and create the games listed properly -

going into the GAME:category/gamedir/ folders and scanning for the .info - create an entry into an amiga guide that wbrun will then use etc.

So you would run this program on the Amiga it would then scan the games directories and then update the guides accordingly.

That's the plan at least lol!


I would like to have it so that when the user wants to add game/demo to their favourite menu, an AREXX script pops up asking for a Button Name and then a requester to the game directory - this in turn is then appended to the Favourites guide.
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Old 24 January 2011, 17:39   #12
Bloodwych
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That would be excellent. You've come a long way in a short time with this launcher. Well done Zetro.
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Old 24 January 2011, 17:45   #13
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@Bloodwych

To be honest my friend, had it not of been for the Classic Workbench 68k/Lite then this wouldn't of happened either!

I shall have to add this to the credits methinks =D
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Old 24 January 2011, 22:50   #14
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Did some quick testing - works great, nice and simple, exactly as described.

Guess what - it works with Workbench 2.1 AmigaGuide too - even without classes, help and datatypes which came in with MultiView in WB3. So I can add it to the GAAE pack.

Do you intend on keeping the guides actually in the Games drawer? Or do you see having a separate drawer for AGLaunch? As long as the guide uses relative paths, then you shouldn't need to have the guides actually in the games directory (at the moment I see you use AGL: for the guide links). I'm not sure if this is possible, but I think it would be nice to have AGLaunch in its own drawer, with only an assign to AGL: used for games.

Also, noticed you are using WBRun. OS3.9 came with its own WBRun, but I included the one from the other ClassicWB packs in the form of WBRun2. Don't know if this causes issues. Have you tried KGIconload?

Even though this is an early release, it's perfectly usable as a launcher right now. It boots, uses little ram and launches every (or close to it) WHDLoad game already! I think my Gamelist Launcher (based on LazyBench) is redundant! It takes a lot longer to load and uses more ram.
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Old 25 January 2011, 00:11   #15
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Hey Bloodwych. So do we wait to use it till you get it adapted to CWB?

Last edited by Retrofan; 25 January 2011 at 00:22.
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Old 25 January 2011, 01:57   #16
Bloodwych
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No need to wait Retro if this is useful to you - Zetro has made it very easy to use and setup yourself; just place the files in a few drawers and launch the guide in Multiview. No need to wait for me to do anything.

Plus I won't be releasing this in the packs until Zetro feels it's ready. He has mentioned above it may have some naming issues with certain titles.
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Old 25 January 2011, 03:06   #17
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Small problem if your not using SYS:Games.

Although I can edit S:ag-launch to point to my setup Work:Games, the actual files that launch the game point to SYS:Games.

Would it be better to alter these to AGL:Games or maybe an assign would work.

Edit2: Also found that the wbrun that comes with the CWB errors with 'needs workbench.library v45', I renamed wbrun2 to wbrun and it works ok.

Hope you don't think I'm nit picking.

Last edited by Arnie; 25 January 2011 at 12:21.
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Old 25 January 2011, 13:35   #18
Zetr0
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@Bloodwych

I am truly humbled by your efforts my friend. I am pleased and honoured that this guide-based system works well enough to be considered a part of the GAAE pack!

Initially I just grabbed a brute force approach in developing the guides - hence why they were up so quickly - I would love to work with you more on this - since the premise of its design is to work with Classic Workbench 68k =)

so however you would like to integrate them - that will be the way it shall be done =D

I think the idea of a centralised guide system (in its own directory) is a smashing idea, since the paths are relative it doesn't' matter where the guides reside!

this would make the work in updating the guides much much easier!

I am thinking of changing the AGL: to be for the "SYS:/programs/AGL/" directory (where there will be 28 guides "agl-main + 0_9 - Z.guides" with the Game locations within the guides set to "A-Games:" this would integrate the guide system much closer to how CW works

I will revise the system to this method tonight - should only take about 20 mins =D


I used wbrun as this is what is installed on Classic Workbench 68k, I know that later CW's use Wbrun2 - originally I used macro's to develop the buttons - reducing the size of each file to under 6KBytes each - however a very strange problem occurred.

have a lookie here - from what I discovered- unless you are using CWOS39 + BB1&2 then MACRO's are not Parsed the same way - hence broken i.e

Code:
@MACRO Game "@{\"$1\" SYSTEM \"wbrun a-games:p/$1/$1\"}"

@{Game "ProjectX"}
The above works perfectly under CWOS3.9 + BB1&2 but under any other CW or regular WB it doesn't render the Button - hence the Macro is ignored.

This is because when you use the SYSTEM command the use of " \ " (Backslash) is literal and breaks the processing of. Without the " \ " the the MACRO fails anyway as it beleives the line is ended with the " " " (parentheses) - finding this out was a much source of annoyance.

I tried updating AmigaGuide / AmigaGuide.library / multiview & everything else I could think of - but it still wont process the indentifyer to the \" when a SYSTEM or even RX (AREXX) command is used.

In the end I decided to just write a C program on the PC that compiled guides for all the present categories of a-games:

what we can do is have two systems - one to use WBRUN and another to use Wbrun2 unless you think that there is a better program to call that all the CW's share?


@Arnie

I will update this tonight, to the method above with a simpler install method too.


@thread

My humble thanks for your support and feedback guys =D
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Old 25 January 2011, 13:44   #19
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All thanks to you Zetro for a nice launcher. After looking through the guides I noticed that only the "A" guide points to Sys:games, all the others point to AGL:Games.

By editing the ag-launch from: " assign >NIL: AGL: sys:games/ "

to: " assign >NIL: AGL: WORK: WORK:Games/ "

it now works for me. Thanks again.
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Old 25 January 2011, 14:41   #20
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This is such a good launcher, that I feel you should make it a separate universal package that can be installed by everyone, "Zetro's AGLaunch" - not just tailored to fit into the ClassicWB. I am pleased you are happy to let me include this however - it will make the packs better for low mem users.

In the ClassicWB packs, AGLaunch would ideally be running from the "SYS:System/AGLaunch" drawer, as that's where I install items closley integrated with the system. iGame is in Programs, but that only runs from Workbench and isn't system integrated. AGLaunch would be tied into the multiboot menu.

So......to cover all bases (ClassicWB integration and stand alone package) this is what I'd suggest (and only suggest, you may have a better idea! )

AGLaunch as the title of the program drawer. All guides in this one drawer as you suggest, or the alphabetical guides contained within a separate drawer to the main guide file (this is neater if it's also to be a stand alone package, but choose which is easier for you to work on).

In the main AGLaunch drawer is an IconX .info file for the main AGLaunch guide, to launch AGLaunch directly from Workbench by double clicking to run a script and set all the relevant Assigns and environment variables.

Also in the AGLaunch drawer is a S drawer, containing an AGLaunch-Startup file. This is the file to be executed to run AGLaunch from a shell/boot environment. It can be user edited to their needs if they want change the games or program location by altering the assigns. People can then simply execute S:AGLaunch-Startup from shell or their own scripts (or simply call it AGLaunch and make it a script and place it in the C drawer - so it will be executed just by typing the command "AGLaunch" from a shell prompt).

The Assigns in the statup scripts. Not sure what is possible, but I see two options:

Single Assign - relative path calls

Assign set to A-Games: (or AGL:, I can always set AGL: to A-Games: myself).

Guide paths all relative. So you simply change the directory to the main guide location in the execution script and no assign is required. So for instance, if AGLaunch is in the "SYS:System/AGLaunch" drawer and the alphabetical guides in the "SYS:System/AGLaunch/AGLGuides" drawer, the script would contain the line

Assign AGL: A-Games: (user changable)
SYS:System/AGLaunch (user changable)
SYS:Utilities/MultiView agl.main.guide

Then the alphabetical guides would either be in the same drawer, so no path change necessary for calling them, or you use the links "AGLguides/AGL-a.guide" to call them and "/alg.main.guide" to recurse a path back to the main guide page. No absolute assign required. Is this possible in an Amiga guide file? Relative paths, links and calls seem to be how most guide files work.

Multiple Assign - this is if you are using absolute path calls

Assign AGL: A-Games:
Assign AGLaunch: SYS:System/AGLaunch (again, user changable)
SYS:Utilities/MultiView agl.main.guide

Then all your guide calls would be using the AGLaunch: assign. So "AGLaunch:AGLguides/AGL-a.guide" and "AGLaunch:agl.main.guide" become the links.

Not sure if that makes sense at all! Just thinking out loud.

Last edited by Bloodwych; 25 January 2011 at 15:04.
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