Contents | < Browse | Browse >

===========================================================================
            Report of the Computer '95 Show in Cologne, Germany
  Andreas Malerz                     malerz@athene.informatik.uni-bonn.de
===========================================================================

Report of the Computer '95 Show, 10.-12.11.1995 in Cologne

(c) by Andreas Malerz (malerz@zeus.informatik.uni-bonn.de)

You may use this article in your *free* online-magazine, if you leave the
copyright-note completly intact.  Commercial publications should ask for
written permission from the author.

Special permission to Jason Compton is granted to publish this article in
AmigaReport.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Remark:
I am using my Amiga for programming and playing, sometimes some graphics
with bitmap-orientated software.  That's why I am not very competent in
writing about eg.  video- or sound-applications.

Furthermore, english is not my native language.  Hopefully I will not make
too many mistakes.

-----------------------------------------------------------

The "Computer '95" differs greatly from shows as the "CeBit" in Hannover or
the "Systems" in Munich.  It is a user-based show, for end-users to take a
look on existing hard- and software and finally to spend lots of money on
them.

That's why there were many booths just selling hardware like mad.  Well, I
will not describe them at all, they were not so interesting.  I will
concentrate on the news.

First, guess what:

AMIGA TECHNOLOGIES:

They had a very big booth, in which lots of workplaces were installed to
demonstrate professional applications on Amigas, eg.  Internet-access,
Rendering, Video, MultiMedia (> Scala), Sound and Music (in combination
with a keyboard) and, very interesting for me, a brand new C/C++ compiler.

To show the Internet access, they had some A1200s with AMosaic and any
TCP/IP-installation, I don`t know which, because I was not able to work
with the machines by myself.  It was very impressing, because the buildup
of the pages was fast and the gfx very nice.  Lots of guys, who had
probably never seen WWW, became big eyes.

Video-cutting, titling and whatever was shown on plain(-looking) A1200 and
an A4000.  The demonstration of Scala was really good, they had lots of
pre-made scripts and the guy on the machine was able to create complex
scripts in a few minutes.  The results were shown on monitors and also on
some TVs.

One Amiga was connected to a keyboard (electronic piano, of course) and a
young boy of perhaps 16 years was playing and manipulating a lot of sounds.
As mentioned before, I am absolutly ignorant about that, so I skipped the
demonstration.

I spent the time in a talk with the programmer of "Storm-C/C++".  His
company based in Germany has developped a C/C++ development enviroment
including editor, compiler (no frontend as SAS), debugger and make-utility.
They sold a preview version of their system, which is not finished
completly, but should be shipped in the beginning of 1996.

The editor was not very strong compared to eg.  GoldED, but the main
features were included, furthermore some special abilities as
keyword-highlightening, setting breakpoints (for debugging) directly in the
editor, compiling from editor etc.

I cannot say anyting about the compiler, because I have not seen very much
of it.  The same about the debugger.

The enviroment did not a typical "make" with make-file etc, but a gui-make
which was completly controlled via drag'n'drop.  It seemed very
comfortable, but I am not sure, if it really useable.  (A developper from
Switzerland suggested to abandon such senseless crap and to include a
SAS-compatible "make")

I have heard, AT has talked to SAS about continuing development of their
C/C++ compiler and to another company here in Germany.  So I asked the guy
if AT would like to make this programm to their new development-tool.  He
answered, AT is up to now not really sure about the new OS and the new
computers.  This is due to the fact that they are travelling from one show
to the next at the moment.  In the end of this year, when the main shows
are finished, these questions should be answered.  I seemed to me a bit
slow, since they announced to present a Prototype of the new generation of
Amigas next year.  Well, we will have to wait and see.

All in all, I was very satisfied with the presentation.  The guys at the
machines were very competent and the software was stable and (in that
hardware-configuration) powerfull.  It seemed to me that lots of users got
the opinion, that the Amiga is a small, but nevertheless powerfull and
easy-to-use computer.

The next booths are listed in alphabetical order:

ACORN Computers:

This might be out-of-topic, but I think it is not bad to look over the brim
of the plate (if you do not understand this, you should learn german :)
They introduced their new Risc-PC 700.  Man, I was really impressed.  It
was mainly used for image-processing and DTP, and it was really fast.
Compared to the DTP-soft for Apple (a few meters away), it seemed to me
comparable powerfull, but much faster.  In their prospects, they wrote, the
soft is about six times faster than a standard 486/66.  I would say, even
faster.

On the other hand, the price was impressive, too.  4200 DM with 8 MB RAM, 2
MB V-RAM, 850 MB HD, CD-ROM and an additional processor-board with 486SX. 
(With the last mentioned board, the RiscPC is fully PC-compatible, it can
run eg.  "Windows" in a window on the desktop at a reasonable speed.)

Well, the Amiga 4000 was sold at 4300 DM.(minimum)

ACT ELECTRONIC:

They had developped the Apollo 4040/4060 acclerator board and were
demonstrating and selling it.  This board is very compact and can be used
in A3000 and A4000.  It has a SCSI-II controller onboard and room for 128MB
RAM.  (two PS/2-slots).  The Apollo 4040 was priced with 1799 DM.

AMIGA OBERLAND:

The had the new Reflection V3.0 with them, demonstrating it on an Amiga
4000 and on a PC with Windows 95.  I am not very competent with raytracers,
but the guys watching it seemed very impressed by the gui and the new
effects.  Furthermore AmigaOberland is the distributor of all
Softwood-products here in Germany.  I asked for a demonstration of
FinalWriter 4 and FinalCalc, but they had no machines for that.  Hrmmpf.

APPLE:

Well, Apple was there, too.  Their demonstration was very loud and
remembered me of one of these very foolish game-shows on TV.  I didn't stay
for long.

ASCON:

They had three games: Pole Position (or so), a business-game dealing with
formula one which is also converted for Amiga, Elisabeth I.  (don't know if
it will converted) and a heli-sim, which will not be ported.  Elisabeth I.
looked very nice and complex, but the guy explaining me the game was very
boring.

BLACK LEGEND:

They had a big booth with some PCs with "Tower of Souls", but nobody was
there to answere questions.  You could only play the game, which was a bit
difficult, because I didn't know the story or my task.

BLUE BYTE:

The first thing I did was going to Blue Byte to take a look on Albion,
their new role-playing game.  (The team of Ambermoon did it.) Man, it is
absolutly great.  Fantastic!  Superp!  (You have found out, that I am not
able to keep objective on that.) Then Eric Simon told me, that it will NOT
ported to Amiga or Mac.  After I got first aid, I was thinking of buying a
PC just to play that game.

All in all, Blue Byte is not going to port anything for our computer, since
they believe that the situation of Amiga is not safe at the moment.
Hopefully, this will change.

COMPEDO:

Every year, this company has a big booth just for selling ink for printers
etc.  I always wonder, how they make profit with this, but probably they
do.

CORPORATE MEDIA:

Very funny.  The were listed in the booklet to the show, but not on the
plan and I was not able to find them.  I was very dissapointed, since they
are distributors of the Emplant emulators.  Maybe I was too stupid to find
them.

D.I.D INTERNATIONAL:

They had a booth full of high-end machines (DraCo, Pentium 120 etc.) for
modelling and rendering.  It looked very interesting, but I didn't
understand a word.

ELECTRONIC ARTS:

They showed games from Origin, Bullfrog and themselves.  First pictures and
films from Wing-Commander IV (so boring, cinema is better!), an impressive
demo of Dungeon Keeper (very fast -but on which machine!?!- and great!) and
some football game with a strange perspective.  It looked really good, but
I am not sure if it will be as playable as Sensible Soccer.  Needless to
say, that nothing will be ported to our beloved Amiga.  Sniff.

FISCHER HARD & SOFTWARE:

They are the official distributor of Amigas here in Germany.  Needless to
say, they were selling Amigas like mad and lots of other hardware like
acclerators, hard-disks, CD-ROMS etc.

HAMA:

The big producer of genlocks was there with a big booth to demonstrate
their genlocks for Amiga.  Well, the results looked very impressing, but I
do not understand the technique beyond this.

HIRSCH & WOLF:

In former times, they distributed the developper-material for Commodore.
At the moment, they have no license to do it, but they sold lots of
Hardware from various producers as MacroSystems USA, DKB USA etc.
Furthermore, they had the GURU-book from Ralph Babel and, absolutly new to
me, MUI 3.  Unfortunately, there was no demonstration and no update from
MUI 2.3, they only sold it for 40 DM.  (which was, in my opinion, too much,
since all SASG-products cost 30 DM.

HISOFT SYSTEMS:

Unfortunately, they only showed some hardware, but no programming
languages.  I saw the "Squirrel", a SCSI-interface for the Amiga 600/1200,
a music-sample hardware with powerful software.  (They said, it is
powerful, I don't know!) It is a sampler, which can save 8-bit data
directly to disk, it has a midiinterface and a sequencer.

HK-COMPUTER:

Besides lots of standard-hardware (harddisks, RAM, whatever) they showed
the "Graffito", a real-time 24-bit digitizer with their software.  I only
saw some results, but not the software, since the booth was everytimes
full, I reached it.  Sorry about this.

IBM:

They had a very big booth to demonstrate their OS/2 operating system.  The
main presentation was very loud and the guy doing it talked about the
"other" crap-operating-systems for the PC.  I think, he meant MS-DOS, but
I'm not sure, because I left the scene very quickly.  The demonstration of
OS/2 on some workplaces were not so interesting for me, since I have no PC.

INFOGRAMES:

They had a big booth with some terminals with games for children on it and
some absolutly stupid persons around there, not knowing the difference
between a harddisk and ROM.  I didn't stay too long.

IRSEESOFT:

The main thing on their booth was, as every year, the new version of
TurboPrint.  (It was Version 4) The booth was full of prints from good
color-printers, which looked great.  Furthermore they had Picture-Manager
3.0 with them, this is a kind of database for pictures, but with additional
functions for image-processing, conversions and, of course, viewing.
Compared to AdPro, the functions were kind of poor, but this was not the
intention of it to be as powerful as AdPro, it is simple a specialized
database.

LEISURESOFT:

On their booth, there were "21st century", "Black Legend", "Magic Bytes"
and "Microvision".  They had lots of computers for playing their actual
games, but the guys around were just selling-personal, not very competent.

M-TEC HARDWARE DESIGN:

As you might know, they bought the rights of GVP.  There were no new
products, they just sold there hardware.  (and made a good profit, I
suppose)

MAXON COMPUTER:

I'm not sure how known MAXON is in the USA, but in Germany, they are very
well known as a producer of applications for Amiga.  They put stress on
their raytracer MAXON CINEMA 4D, Version 3.  It is a powerful and fairly
fast raytracer, which is used very often here in Germany, as far as I can
say.  Furthermore they had a landscape-generator and a "plant-generator"
for the raytracer.  The results looked very good, but it is difficult to
explain it now.  You should take a look on it, if you are interested.  They
had also a new version of MaxonTOOLS with them, something similar to DOpus
V.  To me, it looked very useful, but not so good as DOpus.

MERIAN:

They had a small booth to demonstrate their "Database Prof.  3.0" and some
masks for Organizing, a video-database and some business-masks.  It seemed
to me, that they made a small, but nevertheless powerfull database, which
is worth to look at.  Unfortunatly, I do not understand lots of databases,
so you should take a look on it, if you are interested.

MICROPROSE:

They had the new formula-one game with them and some others.  I didn't
looked too much on them, because they told me, no Amiga-ports are planed up
to now.  Sid Meier was not there, otherwise I would have talked to him, and
the other guys around there seemed very boring.

MICROSOFT:

HARHARHAR.  They had a booth as big as our guest-toilet to sell some
programs.  I did not talk to them.

MS MACROSYSTEM COMPUTER:

Their booth was full of DraCos with lots of Video-Equipment.  Whow.  I
talked to one competent-looking guy and told him (the only one I did) I
would like to write an article for Amiga Report.  He kissed my feet and
asked me to talk to someone else because he is not competent for me.  He
then talked to someone else to help me, I was promptly told everything I
would like to know.  The guy who was talking to him before got kicked.
(Next time, I will tell them, I am the son of Bill Gates and Hillary
Clinton and I would like to get a few DraCos for free.  :)

The DraCo itself is an amazingly fast machine.  Firstly I asked for the
standardsoftware as raytracers, dtp and so on.  He showed me some programs
as MaxonCINEMA 4D and some others and they were very fast.  After that he
showed me the special software for video-works.  Certainly I'm not very
competent on that, because I don't know what is possible with other
systems, but the guy got great results in just a few seconds.  For example,
he got a small film from me with his camera, got it directly on the
harddisk, manipulated it with some scripts and showed me the result.  Huh,
great!  I was really impressed.  I think they did a real professional
system to work with.

PHASE 5 DIGITAL PRODUCTS:

I was a bit disappointed with their booth, because it was just for
information and nothing for sale.  They showed their complete range of
acclerators, gfx-boards etc.  Impressing to see an Amiga 4000 with
Cyberstorm 060 and Cybervision 64 and an 20"-monitor, but not new at all. 
The Cyberstorm 040 is not produced any more.

Interesting was a prospect for a new project, called PowerUP.  They plan to
do a PowerPC-card.  As they said, some software-producers as Softwood,
Almathera etc.  are doing native versions for their board.  As far as I can
say, they plan to provide a second processor, which can be used by special
software, which is probably very cpu-consuming as raytracing etc, but also
by "normal" software, since th PowerPC would provide a drastic
speed-increase.  The also mentioned, that the CyberGraphX-software will
completly ported to the new platform.

The release-date of the new board will be in the middle of 1996.  An
upgrade from "phase-5"-acclerators is planned.

PRODAD SOFTWARE:

They offered a big range of software to work and manipulate videos.  Very
interesting for proffessionals were their complete-systems including
genlocks, cutting-systems, video-effects, animation, titling...

R2/B2 COM-SERVICE:

They developed a new energy-supply for Amiga 500/600/1200, so that it is
possible to add lots of hardware to these computers as harddisks, CD-ROM,
acclerators, SCSI-controllers etc.  It seemed to me nothing really
difficult, but I haven't seen such a thing before and the idea is very
good, since the A4000 is very expensive at the moment.

STEFAN OSSOWSKIS SCHATZTRUHE:

They are selling lots of CD-ROMs for Amiga, eg.  Aminet, Meeting Pearls,
GoldFish etc.  Furthermore they had some commercial software as Wordworth,
XiPaint, TurboCalc 3.5 etc.  It was mentioned in the booklet about the show
that Fred Fish, Urban D.  Mueller and some others would be on the booth,
but I have not seen them.

VIDEOCOMP:

They were at the booth of phase 5 and showed mainly Lightwave 3D on some
high-end machines as Pentium 90, SGI Indigo, Amiga 4000/60 and DEC Alpha. 
It was not very interesting for me, since I will never ever have such
machines.

VILLAGE TRONIC:

The main thing I saw on their booth was the network-card "Ariadne" combined
with AmiTCP/IP.  There were some workplaces with AMosaic running and I
found out that Bill Clinton plays Golf.  The system was really fast and
stable, it was good fun to play with it.

WARNER INTERACTIVE:

As you might know, they have bought Renegade and are distributing lots of
games.  I saw Sensible Golf for PC and "Z".  I was not able to find out,
what you have exactly to do, but it has great graphics and animation.  Lots
of the play-gfx is handdrawn and creates a great atmosphere.  They were not
sure, if it is converted for Amiga, the main development is on a PC.

Well, that's it.  All in all, Amiga Technologies did a good job in
presenting their computers, only the price of the A4000 was (and is) much
too high.

The Amiga 1200 was sold very well, I have seen so many people carrying
their new computer or monitor, but I haven't seen any boxes of A4000. 
Maybe they are not produced in big numbers yet.  As far as I have heard,
Scala has ordered 1000 units and perhaps NewTek will order another 1000. 
Probably they will satisfy them first.

From the view of a user of tools, utilities, databases, video-apps etc.,
this show was a great success.  Lots of producers of professional soft and
hardware were present.  There is a lot of development in this area,
exspecially here in Germany.

From the view of a game player, this show was IMHO very disappointing. 
Most new games to be seen are only planned for the PC.  I have not seen any
games especially for Amiga.  I really hope, AT has built up some
connections to german companys such as Blue Byte, Ascon and Software 2000
and certainly also to some other companys as MicroProse, Origin or
Bullfrog.   Otherwise we will not seen many new games for our machine.

That was my report.  Hopefully you find it useful in some way.  Certainly
this was in lots of cases not very objective, but I tried my best to give
you some infos about one of the biggest computer shows here in Germany.