Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-16 @ 05:14

Grzyb wrote:
realnc wrote:If Grzyb has a point, I'm struggling to understand what it is. Can someone enlighten me?

The point is simple:
We all agree that Amiga computers were good for games.
But some people claim they were also good for other purposes, especially compared with PC - and this I'm not buying, that's all.


I'm not arguing for how useful 80s Amiga software is today but in 1988 if you spent PC money on an Amiga it had superior hardware in every department and the base models couldn't be touched for value. Applications like Deluxe Paint and Scala pioneered professional media work on commodity hardware and broadcast video titling wasn't even possible on a PC but alas the rarity of examples like those are the reason people wrote off the Amiga as simply a games machine.

The Amiga had potential that went untapped and lacked the cadence of hardware improvements that the PC saw. Although that doesn't mean that it wasn't a useful system for many purposes. Only the need to work with other people who used MS Office forced me to even consider a PC in the mid-nineties. If I'd known how good the Mac emulation was at the time I'd have strung that time out even further.

The fastest Mac is an Amiga :D
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Screw period correct, I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby Scali » 2019-5-16 @ 07:16

Grzyb wrote:On the other hand, I'm absolutely sure that the majority of Amiga users still used low-end A500 floppy-only machines in the mid-90s.


Which doesn't say too much.
There were floppy disk systems for Nintendo as well, yet most people used Nintendo with cartridges only.
You have to see things in perspective here: Because the Amiga never quite took off as an office machine, there wasn't really a need for a HDD to store your applications and data.
Most games and applications fit on one or two disks, so just an Amiga with an extra drive worked fine. You did see many people with an extra drive by the way. I'd say that it was more common to see Amigas with 2 or more floppy drives, than it was for PCs.

Grzyb wrote:A1200 - often with HDD, but it's usually some large, modern drive, so I guess they were originally sold as floppy-only


The A600 and A1200 had an A600HD and A1200HD version respectively, with a factory-installed HDD.
I have an A600HD myself.
Most people bought the regular A1200 and then retrofitted a 3.5" HDD in there themselves, because it was often cheaper (especially if they could use some secondhand drive from a PC).
It was easy to add the drive to the A600 and A1200 because they had onboard IDE interfaces. The earlier Amigas did not have an onboard HDD interface.

Grzyb wrote:Not original, there's no HDD in a stock A1060 - the specs clearly state: "Space provided for a Hard Card Device".


As far as I know, they were either sold bare, or with the hardcard pre-installed.
I believe you could also buy a hardcard from Commodore themselves to upgrade it.
At any rate, this was the earliest and easiest way to add a HDD to an Amiga 1000, and it has been possible (and used) since 1986.

Grzyb wrote:Really, I've found it amusing - what's the easiest way to add an HDD to an A1000? By adding a PC to it! :D


That was just the *first* option.
As the other video I posted shows, you could also get sidecars for Amiga 1000 that were only a HDD controller + drive. Which were easier to use than the Sidecar (basically the same as the later solution for the A500).
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby Scali » 2019-5-16 @ 08:08

Grzyb wrote:But some people claim they were also good for other purposes, especially compared with PC - and this I'm not buying, that's all.


That's your problem.
I think for most it's easy enough to see that PCs are nothing special, hardware-wise, and the hardware of an Amiga can do anything that a PC can, and more.
All you need is the software, and that software was never ported to Amiga, so it got stuck in PC/DOS-land.
Even so, you could run this software on an Amiga with the Sidecar or bridgeboard.

So I think everyone else will agree that the Amiga can offer anything your average 80s PC could, and more.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby Scali » 2019-5-16 @ 08:12

Unknown_K wrote:I think the Blizzard 68030/50 was the gold standard since few people ever had an 060 in a A1200 (or other Amiga).


I was talking specifically about the demoscene.
Ever since the late 90s, most AGA-targeted demos are written specifically for the 060 (as in: hand-optimized assembly routines that are specifically written against the dual pipeline architecture (pOEP and sOEP). If they run at all on an 030 or 040 system, they are way too slow to fully experience the demo as intended).
Such as the demos from The Black Lotus: http://www.pouet.net/prod_nfo.php?which=16337&font=4
https://youtu.be/m1kw4otknuQ
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-16 @ 08:14

Scali wrote:That's your problem.
I think for most it's easy enough to see that PCs are nothing special, hardware-wise, and the hardware of an Amiga can do anything that a PC can, and more.
All you need is the software, and that software was never ported to Amiga, so it got stuck in PC/DOS-land.
Even so, you could run this software on an Amiga with the Sidecar or bridgeboard.

So I think everyone else will agree that the Amiga can offer anything your average 80s PC could, and more.


It's rare that I see eye to eye with Scali on anything but in this case what he said pretty much wraps it up.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 08:14

To those that say that the Amiga platform was no good for productivity, then my answer is that I have Word Perfect (5 I think) in my disk boxes.

If anyone is looking for what is avaliable for the Amiga, then there are these tosec collections out there. Just go looking for a files list.

Disney actually made software that was meant for creating cartoons on computers. It is a sweet piece of software. It was demoen on the computer cronicles.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-16 @ 08:21

While not a perfect fit for Workbench, WordPerfect for Amiga was fairly feature-complete compared to its DOS counterparts.

Image

Wordperfect Amiga in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pgKpwc6h1g

There was also Wordworth, Excellence and ProWrite:

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby Scali » 2019-5-16 @ 08:22

brostenen wrote:To those that say that the Amiga platform was no good for productivity, then my answer is that I have Word Perfect (5 I think) in my disk boxes.


I had WordPerfect on my Amiga as well, I believe version 4.1. But I have to admit, it wasn't as good as the DOS version. Seemed like a quick-and-dirty port.

Mind you, the Amiga had some 'native' word processors, which were actually very good, and obviously made use of the GUI, unlike WordPerfect.
Wordworth is probably the most popular one: http://www.generationamiga.com/2017/07/ ... processor/

Apparently there's even a Wikipedia article dedicated to the subject:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_pro ... y_software
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 08:30

Scali wrote:
brostenen wrote:To those that say that the Amiga platform was no good for productivity, then my answer is that I have Word Perfect (5 I think) in my disk boxes.


I had WordPerfect on my Amiga as well, I believe version 4.1. But I have to admit, it wasn't as good as the DOS version. Seemed like a quick-and-dirty port.

Mind you, the Amiga had some 'native' word processors, which were actually very good, and obviously made use of the GUI, unlike WordPerfect.
Wordworth is probably the most popular one: http://www.generationamiga.com/2017/07/ ... processor/

Apparently there's even a Wikipedia article dedicated to the subject:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_pro ... y_software


Was it not Word Perfect that was kind of like the golden standard of word processing, until MS came with Word 6.x for Windows 3.1/3.11?

It sure was inside academic circles in Denmark at that time. Everyone that were a teacher, used WP for Dos, and nobody knew about the Amiga edition. The academic circles were like "We don't get GUI, because we love letters". Referring to the fact that they were not intemidated by any text-based only user interface. They simply did not understand any Graphically based user interface at all. And generally, people did not understand why any Graphical User Interface was good for anything.

It might have been different in other places on the globe.

The youth and teenagers on the other hand... Oh boy. The middle class and working class were just a sucker for the Amiga. And it was mostly teens from the age of 14 to young adults in their early 20's that bought an Amiga. They were the ones that owned most computers.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby Scali » 2019-5-16 @ 08:38

brostenen wrote:Was it not Word Perfect that was kind of like the golden standard of word processing, until MS came with Word 6.x for Windows 3.1/3.11?


Yup. I actually worked through a whole course on WordPerfect 5.0 back in the day, to learn all the ins and outs of page layout etc. Which was a drag, because it was not WYSIWYG.
WordPerfect was famous for its 'underwater screen', where you could see all the special commands between the text.
It's a bit like LaTeX, or HTML if you like.
And LaTeX is still the standard in academic circles. It may not be WYSIWYG, but if you understand the markup language, you can get what you want. I suppose WordPerfect was popular for exactly the same reason.
And obviously, being originally a PC-product, WYSIWYG wasn't an option, because people had either MDA or CGA. You could get a page preview if you had CGA (or Hercules), but it was really slow. The Amiga obviously didn't have that limitation.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 08:43

appiah4 wrote:While not a perfect fit for Workbench, WordPerfect for Amiga was fairly feature-complete compared to its DOS counterparts.

Image

Wordperfect Amiga in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pgKpwc6h1g

There was also Wordworth and Excellence:

Image

Image


Perfect pieces of software, for the average joe, and small business. The question now, is how to transfer files from Amiga to PC (last statement is retorical, we all know how hard it was)

I mean.... There were still no golden standard for standardisation and compatibility on a file level, across all platforms. That had to wait untill years later. And still not perfect today, between something like Windows and Linux. Yet today it is miles ahead of what once were the norm.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-16 @ 08:43

I'll give you my experience with Word processors: They were an almost entirely DOS affair until 1991 when Works 2.0 and Word 1.1 were released for Windows. Works 2.0 changed my dad's ENTIRE LIFE as he started typing all his reports with it and his effectiveness was almost doubled, it was that profound. But before that? Wordperfect was the gold standard, but other worthy competitors were WordStar and ProfessionalWrite. I was a ProfessionalWrite guy myself, but these three were what was taught and used for academia and business.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 08:58

appiah4 wrote:I'll give you my experience with Word processors: They were an almost entirely DOS affair until 1991 when Works 2.0 and Word 1.1 were released for Windows. Works 2.0 changed my dad's ENTIRE LIFE as he started typing all his reports with it and his effectiveness was almost doubled, it was that profound. But before that? Wordperfect was the gold standard, but other worthy competitors were WordStar and ProfessionalWrite. I was a ProfessionalWrite guy myself, but these three were what was taught and used for academia and business.


Yeah... Technical schools used Lotus suite for dos, yet that was the school for the working class. University, college and highschool, used Word Perfect. In Denmark that is. I have no idea what business school used. I just remember, that people did not like Word before the one that came with Office 4.x. I think it was Word 6.x that changed it all. My teachers were like all against any MS Word, before Office 4.x. they called it a feeble attempt by MS and they said that the only reason why it came so far in releases at that time, was because MS were snobs and thought too high of them self. Of course those teachers were highly influenced by the Unix world and Dos world. Yup. Even the Unix administrator hated Word processors from MS. He would rather use an C64 as he put it.

Now... He was a strange dude, and totally a fanboy of Vax servers. He's ultimate dream machine was an Digital Alpha station with NT on it and anything non MS word processor.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby spiroyster » 2019-5-16 @ 09:21

Grzyb wrote:But some people claim they were also good for other purposes, especially compared with PC - and this I'm not buying, that's all.


And not to mention the host of 3D modelling and raytracing programs available for the Amiga. PC had nothing like this, you needed a real expensive SGI machine to have this capability. The Amiga used its hardware elegantly, rather than brute force like a PC. Ergo a simple 68k could be easily (if not more) productive than a 286 which has arguably more number crunching capabilities. Lightwave3D and Cinema4D (both still used today) being the notable examples of programs written on the Amiga for the Amiga. VIM was also written on the Amiga for the Amiga. And there are hosts of image editors which could only exist on the Amiga at the time (due to its superior support of colours and video modes). My friends mother was an accountant and used the family Amiga for actual work!

The software catalogue for Amiga was huge, and I would go so far to say easily bigger than that of the PC. With Amiga's demoscene stuff... it was more a case of "what can I get AN Amiga to do" (stock configuration), rather than "what can I get MY Amiga (which could have a non stock configuration) to do"... as been said, while upgrades were available, not many people actually needed them. Second disk drive (and sometimes HD) certainly being the most popular.... but not actually needed, more of a luxury.

I guess you needed to be there at the time and experience Amiga to understand what they were capable of compared to contemporaries. People forget that x86 was not the best architecture (then and arguably even now) and Motorola 68k ruled supreme (it is sometimes wondered how x86 became de-facto... although personally I think this was due to incompetencies of other competitors, rather than IBM/x86 being the best).

The masses of games were a by-product of an emerging younger generation using the technology they were suddenly exposed to at the home (not office or school). I can't help but think while Commodore enjoyed the market share mainly due to games... they were forever trying to push Amiga as the business machine that it was kinda first envisioned as (A1000). It could be said, the user base commandeered the tech, and decided what do with it... and this was certainly a younger aged demographic (non-professionals, students etc), rather than older (working professionals) which were the type of people who probably had a PC at home...for work. Unless you needed a computer for work (which probably accounted for a tiny percentage of the working population until mid/late 90's), it was unlikely most homes even had a PC at home.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby PTherapist » 2019-5-16 @ 09:22

appiah4 wrote:I'll give you my experience with Word processors: They were an almost entirely DOS affair until 1991 when Works 2.0 and Word 1.1 were released for Windows. Works 2.0 changed my dad's ENTIRE LIFE as he started typing all his reports with it and his effectiveness was almost doubled, it was that profound. But before that? Wordperfect was the gold standard, but other worthy competitors were WordStar and ProfessionalWrite. I was a ProfessionalWrite guy myself, but these three were what was taught and used for academia and business.


I used many Word Processor packages for DOS back in the day, but my main ones were Works 2.0 & WordStar (I forget which version, but it ran on a very old DOS 1.x machine).

I never really liked WordPerfect, but that was probably because I didn't get to experience it until after it lost it's crown to MS Word. Even WordStar with it's many many command key options & multiple menus seemed more intuitive to use to me than WordPerfect. Though in WordPerfect's favour, as far as user friendliness goes it had an edge over other competing software such as LocoScript.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby ph4nt0m » 2019-5-16 @ 09:51

brostenen wrote:And not to mention that hard to explain "soul" that the Amiga have. You need to experience it, first hand, in order to understand what it is all about. If you have a chance to play and try an Amiga500, then please do it. Then find a 1987 x86 MS-Dos computer and an 1987 Mac and play with them... Then you will see what makes the Amiga so special and why other platform did not fully catch up in 1995.

Well, there were fast and expensive x86 PCs back in 1987. For example, a 20MHz Intel 386DX was much faster than a 7MHz Motorola 68k. The former could also have much more memory, much higher bandwidth and a real FPU. 486DX made the difference even more noticeable. However this Intel hardware was very expensive, that's why it has never competed with Amiga in the 1980's. Different markets, different purpose.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 09:55

Well... Personally. I did not get used to Word untill Office 2010. And I still miss the simplicity of Word Perfect. On the other hand, then Word Perfect is not good for those that are not thinking logical. WP is extremely logical based, and that might have been it's force in a world of geography, history and science.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby brostenen » 2019-5-16 @ 10:14

ph4nt0m wrote:
brostenen wrote:And not to mention that hard to explain "soul" that the Amiga have. You need to experience it, first hand, in order to understand what it is all about. If you have a chance to play and try an Amiga500, then please do it. Then find a 1987 x86 MS-Dos computer and an 1987 Mac and play with them... Then you will see what makes the Amiga so special and why other platform did not fully catch up in 1995.

Well, there were fast and expensive x86 PCs back in 1987. For example, a 20MHz Intel 386DX was much faster than a 7MHz Motorola 68k. The former could also have much more memory, much higher bandwidth and a real FPU. 486DX made the difference even more noticeable. However this Intel hardware was very expensive, that's why it has never competed with Amiga in the 1980's. Different markets, different purpose.


No. Not true.
You needed a serious fast x86 machine, in order to compete against the Amiga arcitecture. There were no such thing as a superiour x86 machine in the 1980's and well into 1992/93. And if you found something that beated the Amiga, then it would only beat on certain levels and not all. And you would have to have tons of money. Like silicon graphics machines.

X86 machines used brute force from the CPU alone compared to the Amiga that used different controllers and processors for indevidual tasks. Like the difference between single and multitasking. Try moving bitmap gfx on a 1987 x86 machine, formatting a floppy, playing sampled music and writing a letter at the same time and not using the CPU as the only chip for data processing inside the machine. Try that on a 386dx40 with ISA only cards. How about having 8 programs open at the same time, on MS Dos 5.0 or 6.22.

If you have followed this discussion, then you will know that the Amiga was an overall better machine for the money, untill some 1992 to 1993. And even with the introduction of Win95, the Amiga were still overall better. Plug and Play was laughable, compared to autoconfigure, untill somewere between 1998 and 2001.

And were is the Ramdisk that are 100 percent dynamic? It is on the Amiga. Sure we do not need it today, yet it still display that there are at least one technology left, in were the Amiga still have it's edge over the x86.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby BushLin » 2019-5-16 @ 11:23

brostenen wrote:...If you have followed this discussion, then you will know that the Amiga was an overall better machine for the money, untill some 1992 to 1993. And even with the introduction of Win95, the Amiga were still overall better. Plug and Play was laughable, compared to autoconfigure, untill somewere between 1998 and 2001.

And were is the Ramdisk that are 100 percent dynamic? It is on the Amiga. Sure we do not need it today, yet it still display that there are at least one technology left, in were the Amiga still have it's edge over the x86.


Easy now, there's no need to go overboard... I was a diehard Amiga user until after the release of Win95 and while the Amiga still had some inherent design advantages I wouldn't claim that a half decent Win95 PC isn't an obvious jump in capability and OS features.
15khz video and DD floppy had already gone from 1985 leading tech to part of the reason it was losing market share. Pound for pound, the Amiga architecture was still very efficient but it was now up against an 800lb gorilla and that's before you even looked at applications. Also, while ISA needed config, let's not pretend our Amiga upgrades were all 24/7 stable.
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Re: Why is Amiga so popular with retro community ?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-16 @ 11:29

brostenen wrote:There were no such thing as a superiour x86 machine in the 1980's and well into 1992/93.


Technically, the PC was the superior plaform from 1991 onwards IMO. Cost being prohibitive is another matter entirely.
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