Contents | < Browse | Browse >

===========================================================================
                               Reader Mail
===========================================================================

From: Erlend Pettersen <Erlend.Pettersen@fix.no>

One of the things I miss on the Amiga now, is good 2D-games. Everybody seems
to have been taken by 3D-mania.

I can remember a lot of good 2D-games. The Turrican-series, Giana Sisters,
The New Zealand Story, World/Summer/Winter-games, Syndicate, North and South,
and a lot of other good games that came out in the Amiga's golden days.

I can't remember any really good 3D-games, that I have played for many hours.

So, why can't the software-publishers make any good 2D-games? I miss it, and
I'm sure many others do too.

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

From: Rick Lui
      ismail@ionsys.com

SUBJECT: AGAExtender: 24bit+chunky on AGA without GFX board.

[The AGAExtender is not the only device of this type in existence.  There
are at least two other AGA RGB attachments that provide chunky displays.
-Jason]

AGA obsolete for multimedia, image processing, games and SFX?  Perhaps not.
Thanks to an independent hardware designer in Italy who discovered that the
AGA computers can (at maximum bandwidth) achieve a LOT more than most think
possible.  With the help of a small, low cost external adapter in the RGB
port the Amiga becomes a superior graphics and sound system.  This is
achieved through a clever design that does NOT require a DSP for 16 bit
sound and does NOT require a SVGA chip for 24 bit graphics.  This
relatively simple circuit is based on a line buffered design and uses a
constant maximum AGA bandwidth (Lisa chip supplies an SHRES signal).  This
means low cost to manufacture and full compatibility with all AGA systems
independent of CPU type and speed. 

The concept is simple; we can avoid having to upgrade to a new graphics or
sound chip by easily exploiting the tremendous untapped resources
(bandwidth) of the standard AGA machine.  The aim is to upgrade to 24 bit
graphics and get 16 bit sound.  All the extra features delivered by the
AGAX design would not implicate additional costs but are simply the fallout
of a versatle design (free goodies).

- plugs into RGB port of any AGA machine (does not hinder existing HW)
- true colour (24 bit) plus 8 bit Alpha channel for SFX 
- YUV conversion for fast MPEG/JPEG display
- resolution independent of scanning frequency (hardware mode promotion)
- chunky screen modes (optional chunky+planar combination) 
- real-time zoom effects (CPU-free!)
- parallax effects and sprites (quad playfields and transparency)
- hardware image flips and rotations
- crossfading & cross-transparency (CPU-free!)
- vertical/horizontal anti-aliasing (linear interpolation)
- 4 channel 16 bit 3Dsurround sound (44KHz; independent & asynchronous)
- 4 separate audio connectors (2 Amiga+2 AGAX) for 4 way speaker systems
- fast and safe software switch from AGA to AGAX 
- agaextender.library in development to provide complete OS legal use 

The AGAExtender gives programmers and hobbyists virtually unlimited
capacity to create and develop MS rear kicking software.  For example,
hardware scaling and a chunky screenmode will free the CPU to show full
screen MPEGs at a very high frame rate (who says you need a 100MHz Pentium
to do that!) Another example, Scala multimedia type software using hardware
crossfading and cross-transparency running with little or no CPU overhead.
Think of all the extra CPU power left for other combined special effects! 
Imagine AlienBreed3D with 8 bit Alpha channel "fog/light" effects and 3D
surround sound with real-time echo and reverb so true to life that you can
locate exactly where the monsters are with your eyes closed!

Bizzetti's design is like a gift from heaven for AGA owners providing
compatibility with all current software and hardware and delivering many
things that the PC's SVGA chips could never do (CPU-free crossfading,
CPU-free scaling, Alpha channel playfield, etc.) not to mention the AGAX
audio capabilites.  The beauty of it all is that it is relatively simple
and inexpensive to build.  Unfortunately, Bizzetti does not have (likely
never will) the financial or R & D backing of AT.  AT is moving in the
opposite direction (PowerAmiga) and their differences in philosophy may be
irreconcilable; perhaps a 3rd party manufacturer would be interested in
making lots of money and becoming very popular. 

Bizzetti's dream is to take the million or so AGA Amigas into the year 2000
with the reassurance that Amiga does possess the absolute best technology
which no PC box can offer.  He needs the support and encouragement of the
entire Amiga community.  Don't look at this as a sad plea to save our
beloved AGA Amiga.  Instead, see it as a chance for Amiga to reign supreme
in audio and visual once again!  Let Bizzetti, AT and Amiga dealers know
that there is a demand and need for this innovative product (otherwise we
may never even see a prototype). 

"Nowadays the competition is MultiMedia, and the Amiga needs a
revolution...  millions of already installed machines cannot and must not
become obsolete.  The solution exists, and it's optimal both technically
and commercially." - Fabio Bizzetti

The designer (Fabio Bizzetti) can be reached at <bizzetti@mbox.vol.it>
Please download the file AgaEXTENDER.lha (on Aminet or this BBS) for design
details, illustrations and low level operations (all you VLSI/ ULSI
engineers should take a look at this and give some feedback.

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

From: Tak Tang <tst92@ecs.soton.ac.uk>

Dear AmigaReport,

Regarding Mike Erasmus' letter (AR 405) -

No, unfortunately there are no Visual Basic type software for the amiga
(yet), although there are a few promising GUI editors, which take much of
the drudgery out of coding a gui, and could form the basis of a VB type
program.  I guess the closest we ever got to point and click programming
was AmigaVision, although the pro version was only available to CDTV
developers.  Regarding compilation - I'm told that VB2 compiled the code
into 'p-code', rather than machine code.

Finally, regarding SQL.  I'm trying to get hold of ASQL, by Charles
O'Reilly.  I understand its still being worked on, though it has an arexx
port, which could be used to tie things together.

Regarding Ron Upton's letter (AR405) -

You could try MainActor, which comes in three versions - shareware,
available on aminet; professional and broadcast, both available in the UK
from BlitterSoft (I think).

I also have a (commercial) program named AWorks.  I got it from a cover
disk, though I cant remember which.

Both the above programs will read the animations from disk, so memory is
not a problem.

Regards,

Tak

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

From: Carlos M M Rodrigues <l39597@alfa.ist.utl.pt>

 Jason,

I'am an avid reader of AR for a long time (2 years to be more precise) and
I would like to give my congratulations for the excellent job that you and
all the AR staff have been doing on this magazine, but I write this letter
mainly to express my frustration for the type of support, or lack of it,
that some Amiga developers give.

I read with interest the letter wrote by Shane Kuntz in AR405 and I'am
forced to agree with the points exposed there, but what I don't really
understand is that, we have finally a company decided to bet on the Amiga
and some developers decide that it's time to leave the machine behind and
go to machines like the BeBox, simply because they think the machine will
not have any great future.

Before continuing let me say that I know the technical characteristics of
the BeBox and I even have screen shots from the GUI.  At first sight it
appears to be a great machine but let me remind what happened to a machine
called NeXT.

If those developers stopped supporting the Amiga, only to concentrate on
the PC or Mac market, I would understand, but leaving a machine that
already has the market position and the support that the Amiga has and go
to a platform like the BeBox is something I really don't understand.

For the first time we see people, with years of programing experience on
the Amiga, involved in the PPCAmiga OS project, for the first time we see
machines like the Walker that will give us the possibility not only to buy
Amigas at prices commonly practiced in the PC market, but even to use PCI
peripherals and it is precisely at this time, that some developers start to
lose their hope on the future of the machine.  As Shane Kuntz said, a
pessimistic Amiga community sucks but a pessimistic Amiga developer
community sucks even more.