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Daedalus2097

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About Daedalus2097

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  1. To be fair, unlike many PSUs for 8-bit machines, the original Amiga PSUs rarely fail and take the machine with them. Typically they just become unstable (resulting in crashes), or stop working altogether. But the modern PSUs based on off-the-shelf modular supplies will work just fine, and will be cheaper to find than an original. Not wanting to scaremonger, but it might be worth checking a new PSU with a multimeter before plugging it in - the other day there was a report in one of the Amiga groups of a guy who bought a PSU from someone who was building and selling them, and the 5V and 12V outputs were swapped in error. That motherboard is most likely a writeoff, and those machines are getting expensive... As for the floppy drive, as already said, most models have a built-in drive. A Gotek or similar is a good substitute for ease of use. Some models of Amiga also have an internal IDE port, which makes for a more convenient experience, but also needs a RAM expansion to get the most of. Finally, as well as the battery check, some Amigas have capacitors that tend to leak and damage the motherboard. The A600, A1200, A4000 and CD32 are all in that category. If it's one of those models, I strongly recommend getting the capacitors changed by someone competent with that sort of work. If they're not leaking already, they will.
  2. Okay, I've looked into this further and there is indeed an NTSC release of Double Dragon 2, though it only makes the Amiga Love article more confusing. The version of the game that was fussy about Agnus chips was PAL only. Later, it was fixed for ECS compatibility and released in an NTSC version with a modified screen layout, so all NTSC versions should work with the "newer" Agnus chip, since ECS implies the later Agnus. So the problems in the article are either from the version of the game tested being PAL and just working on an NTSC Amiga because only an NTSC OCS setup was available, or some other issue, potentially with the floppy drive, on the A2000 that was tested and failed. And while the screenshots show the bottom of the screen to be a little cropped, this could equally be a poorly adjusted monitor, and on balance, I suspect that it is actually the NTSC version (which does work on ECS), and the A2000 drive is less than ideal. NTSC IPFs are available, but they're only of use for emulators - a Gotek can't deal with them AFAIK. It would appear that only the earlier PAL version was cracked, and nobody felt the need to crack the later, fixed NTSC version. Games with custom disk geometry are usually only available in original form in IPF format - to get them into ADF format, they need to be cracked versions. Plan 9 seems to be in a similar situation - there appears to have been an NTSC release but the ADFs available are all based on cracks of the PAL release - including one which is supposedly fixed for NTSC use and might be worth trying.
  3. Most games were available in NTSC territories, but not necessarily any different from the PAL version other than having different distributors (and probably different packaging as a result). A well-written game that stuck to 320x200 resolution would work equally well on either system. But that is pretty interesting, and I'm all for learning more about things I didn't know! Neither of these are games that I've ever really played, but I can only find reference to PAL versions. So, where can I find an image of the NTSC versions of these? I'm interested to see how they've changed them to fit the lower resolutions.
  4. It would appear that those games, like many others, were PAL-only releases by European software houses. Apparently the Amiga had a much bigger following in Europe for games than the US, and most software houses released primarily or exclusively for the local markets. Many games also work on NTSC Amigas because they limited their vertical resolution to 200 lines, but games that used the full PAL screen resolution of 256 lines would be cut off at the bottom. Of course, there's also the issue that many games would also synchronise to the screen refresh so timing might be a little bit off, but sometimes that can actually be a benefit. The software houses involved (Virgin and Gremlin Ireland) primarily released in Europe, so I don't think you'll have much luck finding NTSC copies. If you have a newer A500, or any later model Amiga, you can switch to PAL mode when needed for games. Naturally, you'll need a display that can do 50Hz, but most displays should, and the Commodore monitors from back in the day do.
  5. An lha is an archive like a Zip file, not a disk image like an ADF. Also, I think you're confusing the hard drives and floppy drives. On the Amiga, the floppy drives are labelled DF0: for the standard drive, and DF1:, DF2: and DF3: for the additional drives. Hard drives are typically labelled DH0: for the first partition, DH1: for the second and so on, though those labels can and do change depending on circumstances. A basic installation of Workbench on a virtual hard drive is more or less a given if you were intending to use the system for anything other than running games from floppy images, so setting up the virtual hard drive with the Workbench 3.1 installer disks is the very start, and necessary for using WHDLoad. You don't need 4 hard drives, though traditionally Amiga users tended to have multiple partitions (e.g. Workbench: for the OS, Work: for programs, Games: for games). I would advise setting up a shared hard drive directory that is accessible from both the Amiga and Windows, which will make it simple for transferring files downloaded in Windows to the Amiga. Lha is a command line program, so you need to run it from the Shell. You can download the lha.run package from Aminet, run it in the Shell and it will unpack itself as a couple of different files including executables for a couple of different CPUs. Copy the one you want into the SYS:C directory of your boot drive and rename it as lha. Then, when you have an lha file you want to extract, navigate to its location in the Shell, then use lha to unpack it: lha e archiveName.lha For this purpose, I like to put the archive in the RAM disk, unpack it there and then copy the contents to wherever they should be on the hard drive. The WHDLoad package itself would be one of these archives, and then if you find pre-installed games, they would be more. Once WHDLoad is unpacked, it will have an installer script that you double-click to take you through the process, and games that are unpacked simply need to be dragged to wherever you keep your games on the virtual hard drive. To be honest though, I'm sure there are hard drive images you can download that will have all this already done and include 95% of all games ever released for the Amiga, and this would be the way to go for simplicity. I doubt very much these guys selling fully loaded CF cards online for £20 have set up the OS, utilities and installed thousands of games themselves - they just found a 4GB, 8GB or whatever image, downloaded it and stuck it on a card. It's not really my thing (I prefer to have a small collection of games, most of which I actually own), but such images are occasionally talked about in Amiga Facebook groups and the likes.
  6. Yep, pouet.net tends to be updated with any new versions of things, and reworked / fixed demos will turn up usually on both. The whole point of WHDLoad was/is to be able to install copy-protected games to the hard drive, which is why it's mostly geared towards real hardware and original disks. WHDLoad on WinUAE has the drawback that it can't install from real disks, which means you either need to find images of the original disks. ADF images commonly found are most often of cracked versions, not originals, since the ADF format doesn't support the non-standard geometries used by many copy protection schemes. The images of original disks are typically in IPF format, which are more difficult (but not impossible) to find. The modified nature of the cracked versions means the WHDLoad installers don't often work with cracked images. That all said, you can find pre-installed games from a few places. First, if you look around on auction sites, you'll find plenty of options for buying compact flash cards preinstalled with thousands of games. These will be chock full of WHDLoad-installed games and are usually pretty cheap. The intention of them is to connect to the IDE port of an A600 or A1200, but if you have a card reader, you can either mount the card directly in WinUAE as a hard drive, or take an image with any disk imager software and use that image as a virtual hard drive in WinUAE. That'll be you set up and ready to play. The second source is to look for pre-installed archives of WHDLoad games. The key thing here is that they're frequently distributed as .lha archive files, so searching with that term should turn up plenty of results. Download, unpack to your Amiga's hard drive and you're sorted. It's important to remember to unpack in the Amiga environment, and not on the Windows side, because unpacking with WinRAR or similar will lose some of the unique file properties supported by Amiga filesystems and that can prevent programs from working. In both cases, it's also worth bearing in mind that WHDLoad is very flexible and can be adjusted to suit virtually any hardware setup. The downside of this is that when you get a game that someone else has installed on their machine (both the options above come from this method), it will be configured for their hardware and might not work well on other configurations. The most common hardware setup is probably something like an A1200 with OS 3.1, an 030 CPU, 2MB chip RAM and 16 or 32MB of RAM, so start with that and it should match what most of the original installers were using.
  7. Oops, I meant to post about this before it happened, but forgot. Due to all the happenings, the regular Amiga Ireland event in January didn't happen this year. Instead, there was an online meeting held, which was well attended and saw some interviews, gaming competitions, creative competitions, and previews of new games and hardware. For anyone that's interested in catching up, there are some highlight videos available here.
  8. I'm not familiar with CSDb, but a quick look reminds me of https://ada.untergrund.net/ in Amiga terms, which is an archive of demos and details on the scene from the Amiga's life, right up to the present. http://www.pouet.net/ is another site that's more focused on the current demo scene, parties and so on, also worth checking out.
  9. Hmmm, if it's 23-pin then it should only fit the floppy port or the RGB port - the other large ports are 25-pin serial and parallel, and you might bend pins forcing it into them. My guess is some sort of dongle for copying copy-protected disks using an external drive, but I've never seen one before. Looks like a DIY job.
  10. Yep, and it didn't end with the 16/32-bit era either - even in recent times, some games are written for the lowest common denominator (typically a console), and later ported to more powerful consoles and the PC, not using the full capabilities of either. Or, going the other way, PC versions of games not properly scaled back for console, resulting in a clunky and slow experience. Yeah :/ From memory, R-Type was a bit smoother on the Amiga, but it's not something I've played a lot of, especially in recent times. It's funny though, the Amiga inherited many features from the Atari 8-bits, like the hardware scrolling, the display lists and related palette & split screenmode tricks, the sprite functionality, since Jay Miner was a key designer of both chipsets. The ST didn't get that opportunity, so lacks those features in the chipset. Yeah, Pacmania is like night and day. If you have an AGA machine, give Banshee a look. Very impressive looking shoot-em-up with co-op play. Worms DC too has some lovely smooth scrolling and lots of parallax, but is AGA only. The original Worms is still great though, if not quite as pretty... On older Amigas, games like Shadow of the Beast and Agony are a decent display of what can be done on an A500
  11. Yeah, the 500 and 600 trapdoor options are basically just a cheap way of filling the complement of RAM available to the chipset. Anything beyond that needs more significant expansion. But the chip versus fast RAM explanation above is pretty good. I'll elaborate with some more information The two main types are chip and fast (sometimes also referred to as graphics and other). The chipset can access chip RAM without the CPU, leaving the CPU free to go do other things and adding to the system's efficiency. Fast RAM is out of the chipset's reach, so the CPU can work on that while the chipset's working on chip RAM. This means the fast RAM is much faster, because it doesn't have to share the bus with the chipset. However, some fast RAM is faster than others - early A500s, for example, have the second 512K of RAM in the trapdoor assigned as fast RAM, but it's on the chip RAM bus. This makes it no faster than chip RAM of course, so it was a pretty common modification on later models to enable it for chip RAM use. That "slow" fast RAM is sometimes called "Ranger" RAM, and there are a couple of poorly coded games that are hard-coded to use it at its expected address. From a coding / OS perspective, the RAM model's pretty simple. If your data needs to be used by the chipset (e.g. bitmaps, sounds), then you put it in chip RAM. Anything else you put in any RAM. The OS will allocate that RAM from whatever the fastest RAM is, moving onto the slower RAM as the faster RAM is exhausted, eventually using the slowest chip RAM for other data if no fast RAM is available at all. Some early games as I mentioned above unfortunately bypassed this elegant allocation system and assumed certain types of RAM were at certain addresses, resulting in instant crashes when you tried to run them on a different configuration (later Amigas, including the 500+, don't have Ranger RAM). I guess these coders were coming from the 8-bit world where you own the hardware and there's no OS memory management to speak of... While it's true that a lot of games appeared very similar between the ST and the Amiga, unfortunately this was often because developers would simply write code that would work on both platforms with a minimum of changes. This of course reduced the work involved, but also meant the features unique to either platform were never used. Examples where the ports were developed separately tend to show a more dramatic difference. Pac-Mania is a good example, where the Amiga's overscan, blitter and sprites are used to good effect, while the ST lacked equivalent capabilities. The fairly recent port for the STe fixes some of these shortcomings, but of course won't work on the ST.
  12. I'm sure you could get one cheaply on eBay from a local source, they're generally cheap and easy to find. The FlashFloppy Wiki has some good info on flashing a Gotek: https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy/wiki/Firmware-Programming
  13. Be careful using a real serial port. Most people using USB-Serial adaptors for programming these things are using TTL-serial, which is like RS-232 but lower voltage and inverted, so using a standard serial port could damage it without a MAX232 chip or similar in between. TTL serial adaptors are pretty cheap though, probably as cheap as a small MAX232 breakout board.
  14. Replacing capacitors in the A500 is much less of a critical thing as it is for the 600 and 1200. The older-style capacitors used in the A500 are less prone to leakage, and when they do leak, they're less likely to damage the board. So I tend not to bother with A500 recaps myself unless there's an issue with audio or resetting that's down to their failure.
  15. I've used a couple of different adaptors specifically designed for PS/2 mice which have worked very well, and you can still buy PS/2 mice for buttons. The Cocolino worked well for me for many years directly with a basic Logitech optical mouse, though it had issues with my KVM. Switching to a Micromys solved the KVM issue so I can still use that same Logitech mouse with all my machines. If you need to use a USB mouse, the Rys Mk. 2 adaptor has proper HID mouse support so it should work with mice supporting the standard protocol. I believe it lacks support for the scroll wheel though, which may or may not matter to you, but for me that's an unfortunate oversight.
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