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Atari ST vs Amiga?


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#1 retrogeek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:34 AM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.

Edited by retrogeek, Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:34 AM.


#2 Warriorisabouttodie OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:00 AM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).

#3 thomasholzer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:02 AM

The Amiga was designed as a gaming machine right from the start, as it was to be a console-only at first (no keyboard) (source: Retro Gamer magazine).

Edited by thomasholzer, Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:03 AM.


#4 retrogeek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:37 AM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).


What perplexes me is how SOTB doesn't take advantage of the ST computer. The Atari ST (based on what I know) would be capable of producing a much better version of the game if programmed correctly. For example: the ST's midi capabilities would have produced some killer tunes for the game. The video comparison was interesting nonetheless, but I can see the bias in the way the video was produced. Like Defender of the Crown, SOTB was designed to showcase the Amiga's capabilities as a gaming machine. What about the ST? The more I spend time playing some of the newer games via emulation, the more I see companies that cut corners just to release their games. What I have noticed is that some of the earlier Atari ST designed games played and sounded far better than some of the newer titles. It's very sad... I even noticed that Cinemaware was also guilty of this.

The ST version of Defender of the Crown was a better game because it contained elements that weren't included in the Amiga version due to time constraints. The siege scene had greek fire and disease, while those elements were excluded from the Amiga version (again due to time constraints). Of course, the Amiga version served one purpose -- to showcase the Amiga's video and audio capabilities while the ST version focused more on game play.

However, I have noticed that later Cinemaware games for the ST seemed very lazy. Take my favorite game The King of Chicago for instance: the Amiga version had incredible sound / music, while the ST version suffered from terrible, almost pc-speaker 'beep-like' music. We all know that the ST can produce far better music, but the developers at the time just didn't seem to care. Why is this?

Edited by retrogeek, Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:46 AM.


#5 ppera OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:13 AM

My memories say that Amiga was launched in 1985 as ultimate graphic/video editing machine (not gaming, not gamepad) . It was priced about some 3000DM, alone without monitor.
Obviously things changed pretty fast in couple years, so Amiga became popular as gaming machine in reduced version - half RAM (512KB, keyboard machine) in 1987 .

'Why is this' -... simple - game sales were more relevant, and it resulted in focus on Amiga versions, especially after 1990- I remember that getting F1 GP (Microprose) in 1991 in Germany, for Atari ST was hard, and costed some 20% more than Amiga version, even if it was nothing worse. Simple marketing.

#6 Christos OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:15 AM

SOTB ST.. an example on how NOT to code the ST.

#7 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:21 AM

SOTB would be pushing the ST to it's limits, where the Amiga version barely scratches the surface.

Doing MIDI tunes would have been pointless - why such effort when maybe 1% of owners would have been able to hear them?

Anyway - this argument has been done to death for 23 years now. Just watch the last 20 seconds of that clip for the reasons why the Amiga was clearly better at gaming.

#8 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:23 AM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).



Ofcourse it was a 100% fair comparision.
There is really no ST game outdoing the capabilities of the OCS/ECS Amiga.
Vice versa... many games are ported badly to the AMIGA, not using the given hardware abilities, while people like TEX did 100% Jobs on the ST.

It is a clear thing: You'd need 2 ST to put into one machine to have one Amiga. The Copper and the Paula chip are real working co processors. You cannot "emulate" them on an 8MHz 68000 and think that things go faster then.

Edited by emkay, Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:24 AM.


#9 TwiliteZoner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:42 AM

SOTB would be pushing the ST to it's limits, where the Amiga version barely scratches the surface.

Doing MIDI tunes would have been pointless - why such effort when maybe 1% of owners would have been able to hear them?

Anyway - this argument has been done to death for 23 years now. Just watch the last 20 seconds of that clip for the reasons why the Amiga was clearly better at gaming.


Atari waited too long to release the STE which is more on par with the Amiga than a stock ST. I have an ST and an Amiga, but I still prefer the ST overall.

#10 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:49 AM

The STe is the machine which should have been released in the first place - but still has a shortfall against the Amiga.

I was mystified about the choice of the pathetic YM sound chip back then and still am now. Amy or dual-POKEY (or even single POKEY) would have been the much better choice.

The bottom line is that the ST was a step backwards in many regards from the 8-bit line. Once the initial excitement died down, it became clearly apparent that the machine was lacking in many areas.

Also, with both machines, getting rid of text modes was a bit of a mistake. Games could have been even better with it's inclusion.

#11 TwiliteZoner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:56 AM

The STe is the machine which should have been released in the first place - but still has a shortfall against the Amiga.

I was mystified about the choice of the pathetic YM sound chip back then and still am now. Amy or dual-POKEY (or even single POKEY) would have been the much better choice.

The bottom line is that the ST was a step backwards in many regards from the 8-bit line. Once the initial excitement died down, it became clearly apparent that the machine was lacking in many areas.

Also, with both machines, getting rid of text modes was a bit of a mistake. Games could have been even better with it's inclusion.



I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it also didn't help that the ST had to be rushed into production after Atari lost out on the Amiga chipset after partially funding the venture.

You know it's funny, I always kind of considered the Amiga an Atari computer, all things considered with Jay Miner being the designer.

Edited by TwiliteZoner, Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:58 AM.


#12 Math You OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:57 AM

If Atari had spent a few more months improving the graphics chip they could have added years onto the ST's lifespan.

They should have also considered putting a 12.5mhz cpu under the hood aswell (a 16mhz cpu wasn't available at the time). I know it would have meant more expense, but a 12.5mhz ST have still been cheaper than an Amiga or Apple Macintosh.

Atari didn't need to make a cheap computer, only a computer that was cheaper than the competition.

Edited by Math You, Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:15 AM.


#13 Christos OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:04 AM

None of this changes the fact that SOTB ST is an extremely bad conversion of an extremely bad game. I won't say they could make it as an eye candy as on amiga (and no it pushes amiga too, not just the surface) but they could make it look and play decent. They didn't. I wonder if the release is an in-house joke by psygnosis that some how got away. If they had ISO, it would have been taken away from them.

#14 retrogeek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:09 AM

None of this changes the fact that SOTB ST is an extremely bad conversion of an extremely bad game. I won't say they could make it as an eye candy as on amiga (and no it pushes amiga too, not just the surface) but they could make it look and play decent. They didn't. I wonder if the release is an in-house joke by psygnosis that some how got away. If they had ISO, it would have been taken away from them.


Thank you! This was my point; the Atari ST version could have been far better than it is.

Edited by retrogeek, Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:10 AM.


#15 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:22 AM

None of this changes the fact that SOTB ST is an extremely bad conversion of an extremely bad game. I won't say they could make it as an eye candy as on amiga (and no it pushes amiga too, not just the surface) but they could make it look and play decent. They didn't. I wonder if the release is an in-house joke by psygnosis that some how got away. If they had ISO, it would have been taken away from them.


Hm...

What are the ideas of how they could have done it better?
Ok, the technical achievement got better later-> Some found the possibility for setting the screen starting adress to create 50Hz scrolling . But this doesn't help with a multi parallax scrolling-> the CPU has to do all the work.
Digi music? I don't see how it could be used in the game, thinking about the fact that the FPS are rather low.
Adding colours? Just again: Look at the possible FPS at the used "flat" colour mode.

I guess, the only way to make it smoother in fps and gameplay was to reduce the parallax more than it was reduced already.

Wings of Death (for example) is using no parallax. So it took benefit by the hardware adress changing.
Particular this game shows the real upper limits of the ST. On the AMIGA 50% stands still during the game.
In other words: While the ST was full busy with this game, in theory you could write a letter on the same screen while your friend is playing the game on the AMIGA with the joystick..

Edited by emkay, Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:30 AM.


#16 TwiliteZoner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:11 PM

None of this changes the fact that SOTB ST is an extremely bad conversion of an extremely bad game. I won't say they could make it as an eye candy as on amiga (and no it pushes amiga too, not just the surface) but they could make it look and play decent. They didn't. I wonder if the release is an in-house joke by psygnosis that some how got away. If they had ISO, it would have been taken away from them.


Hm...

What are the ideas of how they could have done it better?
Ok, the technical achievement got better later-> Some found the possibility for setting the screen starting adress to create 50Hz scrolling . But this doesn't help with a multi parallax scrolling-> the CPU has to do all the work.
Digi music? I don't see how it could be used in the game, thinking about the fact that the FPS are rather low.
Adding colours? Just again: Look at the possible FPS at the used "flat" colour mode.

I guess, the only way to make it smoother in fps and gameplay was to reduce the parallax more than it was reduced already.

Wings of Death (for example) is using no parallax. So it took benefit by the hardware adress changing.
Particular this game shows the real upper limits of the ST. On the AMIGA 50% stands still during the game.
In other words: While the ST was full busy with this game, in theory you could write a letter on the same screen while your friend is playing the game on the AMIGA with the joystick..



You mean to tell me I could have avoided all those arguments over who plays games or who writes letters if I had only gotten an Amiga earlier? Damn, I guess hindsight is 20/20. :ponder:

#17 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:31 PM

You mean to tell me I could have avoided all those arguments over who plays games or who writes letters if I had only gotten an Amiga earlier? Damn, I guess hindsight is 20/20. :ponder:


I guess, my english isn't good enough to fully understand this sentence.

But, yes. Back in the 80-90s I had my A2000. Every demo that ran from Harddive and worked with the Workbench together, I ran in the background for listening to the music, while writing a letter. Just one mouse move switched between the workbench and the demo then.
(A2000 with 5MB memony expansion , Kick 1.3 50MB SCSI HD)
Not to mention that the copper worked side a side with the main processor. So you really can name "multiprocessing" what happened there.
You see... Everyone tries to listen to music while working. Today with a streaming tool and some office program.
In 1989 I used the programmable Noiseplayer to listen to digitized music and did my work with "Dokumentum" (for example) ... a german writer tool.
It also was possible to print "photos" (at amiga quality) and to play a game like Othello plus listening to the music...

Edited by emkay, Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:33 PM.


#18 lp060 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:38 PM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).



Ofcourse it was a 100% fair comparision.
There is really no ST game outdoing the capabilities of the OCS/ECS Amiga.
Vice versa... many games are ported badly to the AMIGA, not using the given hardware abilities, while people like TEX did 100% Jobs on the ST.

It is a clear thing: You'd need 2 ST to put into one machine to have one Amiga. The Copper and the Paula chip are real working co processors. You cannot "emulate" them on an 8MHz 68000 and think that things go faster then.


Likewise, you'd need to put 2 amigas in one box to get the hard disk access, floppy access, and serial speed of an ST/TT. As someone pointed out it was a game box hacked into a computer. It seems obvious the I/O was an after thought. If you think the ST was rushed, please watch the Commadore 25th anniversary celebration and hear for yourself the words of the guy who was in charge of the amiga project. They had no real plan what they were doing either and it was also highly rushed. When they asked the guy about the worst moment of development, when he was the most worried, he discussed the amiga operating system coder. It's hilarious.

#19 TwiliteZoner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:48 PM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).



Ofcourse it was a 100% fair comparision.
There is really no ST game outdoing the capabilities of the OCS/ECS Amiga.
Vice versa... many games are ported badly to the AMIGA, not using the given hardware abilities, while people like TEX did 100% Jobs on the ST.

It is a clear thing: You'd need 2 ST to put into one machine to have one Amiga. The Copper and the Paula chip are real working co processors. You cannot "emulate" them on an 8MHz 68000 and think that things go faster then.


Likewise, you'd need to put 2 amigas in one box to get the hard disk access, floppy access, and serial speed of an ST/TT. As someone pointed out it was a game box hacked into a computer. It seems obvious the I/O was an after thought. If you think the ST was rushed, please watch the Commadore 25th anniversary celebration and hear for yourself the words of the guy who was in charge of the amiga project. They had no real plan what they were doing either and it was also highly rushed. When they asked the guy about the worst moment of development, when he was the most worried, he discussed the amiga operating system coder. It's hilarious.



Yeah that is a great video. The only issue I have with it is when Jack makes the comment he took over Atari to destroy it.

Edited by TwiliteZoner, Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:51 PM.


#20 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:56 PM

Likewise, you'd need to put 2 amigas in one box to get the hard disk access, floppy access, and serial speed of an ST/TT. As someone pointed out it was a game box hacked into a computer. It seems obvious the I/O was an after thought. If you think the ST was rushed, please watch the Commadore 25th anniversary celebration and hear for yourself the words of the guy who was in charge of the amiga project. They had no real plan what they were doing either and it was also highly rushed. When they asked the guy about the worst moment of development, when he was the most worried, he discussed the amiga operating system coder. It's hilarious.



The AMIGAos really had some "C" flaws. Just like the Disk access. But a simple patch only was necessary to speed up the Disk access heavily. Otherwise than the ST, the AMIGA had a programmable Floppy interface, making a copy of the whole disk as double as fast as the ST could even think of.
Harddrive issues? Well, I bought an ICD SCSI-Controller which was also clearly faster than the megafile.
A known problem is the serial port which seems to be too "noisy" for a simple 115kb data transfer.

The biggest mistake commodore made was to make the Kick 2.x and 3.x incompatible to the Kick 1.x version. Or in other words: It was not possible to use "new tools" , after Kick 2.0 appeared. Even for a simple depacker you had to create a Kickstart switcher, or to buy a new machine.
So I used my A2000 until the 486(33) PC was there. And went off...

#21 lp060 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:59 PM

Yeah that is a great video. The only issue I have with it is when Jack makes the comment he took over Atari to destroy it.


Yes, but he's laughing pretty hard when he says it. Does not sound serious at all. If he'd of kept a straight face then it would have bothered me too, but he didn't. :)

#22 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:54 PM

I spent a good portion of last night browsing the Atari ST forums looking for good discussions. While browsing, I encountered a thread that contained a video from Youtube entitled "Atari ST vs. Amiga" in pictures. I have to agree that still pictures can't really help identify the capabilities of both machines. I decided to visit Youtube to find more videos done by this 'group' and encountered a game play video comparison of Shadow of the Beast for both platforms. They did a pretty good job; you can view it here:




My thoughts on the video? I believe Psygnosis cut some corners when converting SOTB to the Atari ST.


Shadow of the Beast games are not a fair comparison. It was designed from ground up to show off the capabilities of the Amiga. They are comparable systems and both platforms have games that out do the other but even though I like them equally the Amiga had better hardware for gaming and in the end had the edge in gaming (for a while over any other mainstream system!).



Ofcourse it was a 100% fair comparision.
There is really no ST game outdoing the capabilities of the OCS/ECS Amiga.
Vice versa... many games are ported badly to the AMIGA, not using the given hardware abilities, while people like TEX did 100% Jobs on the ST.

It is a clear thing: You'd need 2 ST to put into one machine to have one Amiga. The Copper and the Paula chip are real working co processors. You cannot "emulate" them on an 8MHz 68000 and think that things go faster then.

Please.... We were a dealer and repair center for both Atari and Amiga back in the day. As we all know Amiga was actually an Atari with a really awful commodore o/s. We sold Atari ST 3 to 1 during the entire run of both machines. Amiga was viewed as a game system(which it was designed as sort of 1600xl)(nothing wrong with games!) and ATARI as more of a home/business machine that could also play excellent games. It was first to run mac and pc software as well as it's own ( a great selling point!) The Amiga would have done much better if it had been done as a console (which it was later CD32). I agree the graphics hardware was superior to the ST just as the Atari 8bit was superior to the C64 or even worse the apple.That did not prevent C64 from having great games. As you will all recall pc's were still deciding about window or OS2 and it hadn't been decided yet. This was a great time to be selling something NOT PC or Mac. They were both really innovative and we did very well selling both. Over 4Mill per year on 90% Atari and Amiga. For a small store not bad!

#23 TwiliteZoner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:16 PM

Yeah that is a great video. The only issue I have with it is when Jack makes the comment he took over Atari to destroy it.


Yes, but he's laughing pretty hard when he says it. Does not sound serious at all. If he'd of kept a straight face then it would have bothered me too, but he didn't. :)


Yeah I know. He was working the room.

#24 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:34 AM

Please.... We were a dealer and repair center for both Atari and Amiga back in the day. As we all know Amiga was actually an Atari with a really awful commodore o/s. We sold Atari ST 3 to 1 during the entire run of both machines.



I don't see, why to blame the AMIGA OS.
I had a 1040 STF before. I bought the ST, because I really was an 800XL freak ;-) and thought, the ST was really better and the software was more serious.... And, Yes, two programs were really serious : Calamus and .... erm.... don't know ;-)
The "so much better" TOS showed me very often those nice bombs... what the heck... it was a SIMPLE single task OS, not even capable of doing a filling routine without running into a bomb screen...
They told me the TOS was a very stable thing, but there was no day passing by without a bomb. OK, except days I only played GAMES.
Because the coders put all knowledge into the game programming on the ST... because it was sold better than the AMIGA in that time.
The AMIGA had the AMIGAOS and the workbench. Having a Harddrive in it, it was easy to enhcance the features of the os. Using it was as easy as using window-based OS from today then.
Guru meditations were there, but people may oversee that the AMIGAOS was a full 32Bit multitasking system and the lacking wasn't in the OS. The CPU lacked by memory and execution protection. So, bad coded software could "overlap" with other software and put the AMIGA into the Guru's heaven (or hell)...

Except the fact that the ST had the 70Hz b/w display for a better "Workplace" it was a cheap product with a horrible OS.
If you blame a complex thing like the AMIGAOS for its lacks, what to say about a simple TOS that shows even (more) lacks?

Edited by emkay, Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:48 AM.


#25 Math You OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:43 AM

I don't this the ST's low resolution, green and white desktop looked very professional compared to the Amiga's medium resolution 'workbench'.

I know it's kind of trivial, but a computers desktop does play a part in creating its public image. Just take a look at the Apple Macintosh.




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