|DVPlayer playing Highlander 3 on SAM460ex!|
On this day, the 12th of August 2020, my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex celebrates its' 8th Anniversary! It's hard to believe it's actually 8 years old, but it's true. 8 years old and still good as new, but with many software and driver updates!
As known to most people already, my AmigaOne 500 is based on ACube's SAM460ex motherboard running an 1.15Ghz AMCC 32-bit PowerPC SoCs CPU with a floating point unit (FPU). It has 2GB of DDR2 fast memory with boost-feature in UBoot BIOS from 2015. It has an onboard 16-bit SM502 soundchip that is not used. My AmigaOne 500 is using a Radeon HD 6670 1GB PCIe graphic board and the 24-bit ESI@Juli XTe PCIe MIDI soundcard, replacing the onboard soundchip. On the PCI slot, a SATA 2-ways controller card is connected to my Samsung 500GB internal SSD harddisk, where AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 and Workbench Enhancer 1.5 are installed, along with partitions for Work, Diverse and Games as well. I also have a very fast DVD read-write drive.
|Latest retro portrait of myself in GIMP|
During all these 8 years of owning my AmigaOne 500, it has undergone a lot of updates and configurations. I remember all the AmigaOS 4.1 updates I had from Update 4 and all the way now to Final Edition Update 1 with Workbench Enhancer 1.5 from A-EON Technology.
So what do I use my AmigaOne 500 for? It's not like it's taking over my Win10 PC completely. Unfortunately not, as we know that the Amiga lost ground and fell behind the technology weel after the fall of Commodore in 1994. But the Amiga today is mostly considered more like a hobby. It still gets most of the job done, except for watching Blu Ray or 4k Blu Ray, advanced streaming and video editing. These things are done on PC and XBox.
|My AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex setup|
How the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c actually works
|NSM-patched OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c|
For almost 2 months now, I have used the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c I received from the Norwegian ex-coder - Kjetil S. Martinussen. I found his email through Google and told him I was working on Amiga music, using OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c. As so, I asked nicely for the NSM-patched version, so he was kind to provide me one. It was a simple replacement of the main OctaMED file in the SoundStudio drawer, so I just did.
|My ESI@Juli XTe soundcard in 32-bit mode!|
For those of you who wonder what the NSM is. NSM is like an Arexx script for OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, done by the Norwegian ex-coder Kjetil S. Martinussen back in 1997.
By hacking the binary code of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, he managed to extend all standard features of the tracker, far beyond the standard limitations! It would actually mean that the tracker becomes more than 200.000 times more effective! The mixing routines, the DSP Echo effects, the speed of the tracker, stability, MIDI support and so much more, breathing "new" life to the old 68k based tracker, that is still very much useable today! I'm very happy!
As seen on the snapshot above, I have configured my ESI@Juli XTe 24-bit PCIe MIDI soundcard, which I call "Julia", to use 32-bit HIFI Stereo++ mode with 32-channels in 96Khz for all Units. Unit 0 is the same as Music Unit, so all Unit 0-3 use 32-channels in best possible quality at the highest possible frequency without slowdown!
You probably wonder how my Sound Prefs can be so clean and tidy? I removed unused audio drivers by making a copy of the AHI drawer from DEVS, bringing it to STORAGE. Then I moved over all unused audio drivers, except of HDAudio.audio and Envy24Th.audio, from DEVS:AHI to STORAGE:AHI. This might be a good idea to do, to prevent different audio systems to conflict with each other. Remember to make backup.
Speaking of channel settings in AHI/Sound Prefs, it has never been properly explained the true purpose of setting different channels for all these units. I'm not even sure my setting with 32 channels is correct. There is probably no "correct" choice to this, but at least I would be happy to know what the RECOMMEND channel choice for all unit is.
Because I use the Workbench Enhancer 1.5 expansion from A-EON Technology, you can see from the snapshot that the PPC version of AHI is intergrated into the Sound Prefs. It makes sense, considering it has to deal with different soundchips and soundcards.
When setting TheMaestrix, a unique tool that tricks AHI to think your soundcard is a MaestroPro 16-bit soundcard, to use AHI Unit 0 for music production, it allows TheMaestrix to use the 32-bit HIFI Stereo++ mode to get the very best 16-bit quality from the MaestroPro 16-bit emulation in 48Khz. It works marvellously, and even 16-channel Mix modes sound much clearer with both this setting in TheMaestrix information, together with the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudo v1.03c!
My very first 16ch Amiga track was "You Are Someone", from my Helgis collection of 10 personal Amiga tracks. It's a very good Synth Pop Ballad with very nice flow to it. The fact that all the channels are so clear to hear, makes it more exciting to do 16 channel Amiga music in the future. There actually seems to be an increased interest into that.
The OctaMED Music Club I created on Facebook earlier now has over 70 members and is still increasing. It's not that the club is reciving new members every day, but as for every month that goes, there seems to be at least 2-4 new members showing up.
This proves there is still a huge interest in using any OctaMED version for tracker music, even today, being on Amiga, Mac or PC that supports it. Originally, the club started with focus on the OctaMED for Amiga only, but realized that also PC and Mac users have the possibility to play around with OctaMED in a way or so, so therefore it was better to spread this group, or club we call actually, to PC and Mac users, in addition to Amiga.
These days, I'm working on 2 "charity" Amiga mods called "Pray For Beirut" and "Remember Hiroshima". So much happening in the world these days. The Covid-19, Trump vs Bieden, the explosion in Beirut and the 75th Anniversary or Memorial of what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago. Shows just how important life is.
I even have a Boya microphone to use for picking up new sounds to sample for my Amiga music. The one I have isn't the best for vocals, but it's possible to do most of the editing of samples with Audacity on PC, then test them out on the Amiga through OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c. I have a lot of fun doing this. It's so very cool!
Checking updates with Updater and playing with AmiCygnix 1.6 stuffs
|Latest AmiCygnix 1.6 environment is faster!|
Recently, I got to download the latest AmiCygnix 1.6 from OS4Depot.net. The new update to the Linux environment to run on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex is a lot faster and more stable than before! It's using a newer GTK+ programming language done by Edgar Scwhan. I was one of his beta testers for new graphic drivers to use for his AmiCygnix environment and standalone applications like AbiWord and GIMP.
AmiCygnix could best be described as a Lite version of a Linux environment. You have the possibility of either running the AmiCygnix desktop (snapshot left above), or to run the standalone applications and games that run under AmiCygnix environment. Apps like AbiWord, Gnumeric and GIMP. I mostly run the standalone GIMP to edit my many photos and snapshots you see in this blog. Along with plugins like Beautify, it makes GIMP extremely powerful and flexible! Based on Layers might be annoying, but as long as you stick to photo editing with GIMP, you don't have to bother with Layers.
As AmiCygnix 1.6 is getting all its' stuff updated these days, there are also plans to port a newer version of GIMP to AmiCygnix. GIMP version 2.8. This one should be even better and more powerful to use. Hopefully, plugins like Beautify should be available also for this new version once it's ready for AmiCygnix. It all looks very promising! So in a way, you actually get quite a pretty advanced and modern office bundle from AmiCygnix!
|Pidgin MSN with Facebook!|
Another cool standalone app to use under AmiCygnis is actually the Pidgin Messenger, and now it has a new Facebook plugin that allows you to chat with your Facebook friends. You can also add your Yahoo Chat contacts, Twitter and ASL connections. Although, I limit myself just to Facebook here. As I happen to often have much to do, I rarely get time to chat a lot, so it's mostly limited to small talk now and then, and that's ok, really. I like it that way.
But when I really need to talk to someone urgently, like some people who are working on important updates to AmigaOS4 and hardwares, like Trevor from A-EON, then I can just send him an instant message through Pidgin, and just wait to see him connected to leave a chat with him.
All in all, Pidgin is very useful and is probably currently the only Messenger that is working on the Amiga. The snapshot to the right here should just make you excited to use it.
|Latest Odyssey v1.23r5 Beta 7 running!|
Aside updates to AmiCygnix, the native AmigaOS4 version of Odyssey Web Browser - the HTML5 browser based on WebKit, is now to be found in version 1.23r5 Beta 7. Kas1e is very kind to help updating this excellent AmigaOS4 browser, making it faster, more stable and more modern, more supportive as possible to use! Kas1e also has plans to port version 1.25 of Odyssey from MorphOS platform to AmigaOS4!
The browser is really fast and nice to use for most surfing purposes, and its' spoofing abilities has extended to spoof as more modern browsers and versions of these. The new additions is to spoof as Edge 80 from Windows 10 and Nintendo Wiiu. You can spoof as Firefox 74, Internet Explorer 11, Opera 67, Safari 13, Chrome 80, Nintendo Wiiu, IPhone 13 and IPad 13.2.3. Lots of choices!
Still, there are some sites that don't open up so well with Odyssey, no matter the spoofing or the default setting. Sites like Google and YouTube have done a lot of changes, so this would mean that new scripts for Odyssey have to be written in order to be able to access the changes the way they have become. It's a natural result of progress in technology and functionality, and Amiga needs to be able to handle them.
Odyssey 1.25 for AmigaOS4 shouldn't be so far behind, but when it's ready, then the real fun begins browsing more demanding sites, making your Amiga more of the main computer to use in your days. While waiting for 1.25, get yourself the Beta 7 version of 1.23r5 and make the best of it. It's a really fine, fast and efficient Amiga browser to use.
|Updater from Workbench Enhancer 1.5|
The Updater app from A-EON's Workbench Enhancer 1.5 is really helpful. It's possible to update a wide range of system files as well. Mostly files that are connected to A-EON's own bundle of upgrades, drivers, games and apps.
Version 2.0 of Workbench Enhancer is to be a FREE upgrade from the paid 1.5 upgrade. I paid for upgrade 1.5 by buying the Radeon Driver Upgrade around a year ago, so version 2.0 will be received for FREE when this one is ready, AFAIK.
It's a bit strange that Hyperion Entertainment didn't do these updates the way A-EON did. It gives a little impression of either a small "conflict" between A-EON and Hyperion, or just a matter of competition. Of course, it's a bit dangerous to speculate on something like that without evidence, but still you can hardly ignore the impression. Whatever the truth behind it is, it's still very nice that A-EON are able to provide something as important as the Workbench Enhancer, and other goodies for AmigaOS. They certainly improve AmigaOS a lot!
While the Covid-19 pandemi certainly complicates things, Hyperion Entertainment are still stuck in quite a limbo battle with Cloanto over Amiga rights, especially the Amiga brand. We all hope the trial between Hyperion Entertainment and Cloanto will end later this year. Until then, we have to be patience and just have faith. There's a lot going on behind the scene we don't know much about. A-EON are working on bringing their X5000 and A1222 out to market, and updating drivers and support for these in AmigaOS4.
Hyperion Entertainment are believed to help updating the core elements of AmigaOS4. Optimizing these as much as possible. The most important element to update is the ExecSG microkernel. It might now reach the third generation of the ExecSG kernel, supporting SMP multicore, memory protection and other modern features. Support for A1222's special SPE functions and the X5000, as well as improved support for all the other existing AmigaOne and SAM models, including Classic Amiga as well.
The future is looking good. The progress might be slow but steady. AmiWest 2020 might happen, but probably in a more digital way. The show will go live in October this year, and we should by then learn more what will happen with the AmigaOS4 and hardware.
This is probably wild speculation at the moment, but as Apple now have moved to use ARM CPUs for their new Mac systems, putting an end to x86, it is possible that Amiga might choose the new open source platform called RISC-V. RISC-V is like a successor to PowerPC, being backward compatible and based on much of the PowerPC and Power technology, pushing that technology as much forward as possible. The RISC-V foundation was established in 2010, so it's relatively very new and promising, as rumours say that all PowerPC development will end in 2020, completely fasing out all support for it by 2022. If that's the case, moving to RISC-V is the best for the Amiga! But only time will tell what will actually happen. For now, we enjoy PowerPC on Amiga!
Nostalgic and modern gaming on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex system
|BlobWars from 2017 is smooth on SAM460ex!!!|
Who remembers BlobWars? BlobWars is an excellent, smooth but modern 2D platform game to play! Version 2 is the latest, being released in 2017, ported from the Linux environment to AmigaOS4! It's quite smooth to play, even in full screen! I believe it's ported with SDL2 engine, but don't know for sure. Anyway, it's smooth and a lot fun to play. Music feels cool and modern, too! Never boring to play BlobWars!
Graphic is awesome, and so is the sound effects along with the music that add atmosphere to the gameplay.
|eGame launcher with many games|
The eGame launcher is a handy little tool that allows all standalone games to be launched with a single click, as seen of the snapshot.
As the snapshot shows here, you can also see many of the games that run in RunInUAE emulator, but now with the FREEWARE WHDLoad, which allows the classic hardware-banging games to run straight from harddrive!
The WHDLoad based games allows you to jump straight into the classic Amiga games without waiting! Loading is lighting-fast, and if you run the 68040 support configured for UAE, most games should run very smooth!
Unfortunately, AmigaOS4's USB support for using joypads and sticks, could have been more like MorphOS's Poseidon USB system, so I don't really get to play the old games that demand the use of a joystick or pad in a way, but I can play some of the old adventure games using WHDLoad, so that's cool.
|Latest ScummVM 2.1.1 based on SDL2 engine!|
ScummvM is a very cool engine that allows you to play any 2D nostalgic adventure games on most platforms today, even AmigaOS4. Latest ScummVM is version 2.1.1, although there is a small 2.1.2 update, but not made for AmigaOS4 yet. It might be ported soon.
I have a wide range of different adventure games to play through ScummVM 2.1.1, that is based on a faster, more flexible SDL2 port with resizeable windows. The games are everything from Larry 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, Police Quest 1-3, Space Quest 1-6, Indy Last Crusade and Fate Of Atlantis, Broken Sword 1 and 2, Monkey Island 1-3, DOTT, Quest For Glory 1-2, King Quest 1-6, The Colonel's Bequest, The Sorcerer 1-2 and some others. Many great adventures!
|Broken Sword in latest ScummVM 2.1.1!|
I always enjoy playing the Broken Sword adventure games. Both the first and the second game. The snapshot shows the first game near the end of the game. Very thrilling, very beautiful to play!
Both graphic and audio are awesome in Broken Sword. The voices are loud and very easy to hear. A really fine game to play. It plays quite smooth on my SAM460ex with Radeon HD 6670 card. It's even possible to stretch the window the way you want it, which is very useful!
|Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Adventure|
Indy 3 and 4 are other adventure games I love to play in ScummVM. The VGA version in 256 colours look very beautiful and modern. I think the snapshot speaks for itself. Very beautiful and exciting to play. You never get tired of these old adventure games! Certainly brings the nostalgic feeling back, and it's all possible on the Amiga! How cool isn't that, eh? I bet you think it's cool!
Indy 4 I play has the Voice version, adding more excitement to the atmosphere of the game. Indy 4 has more puzzles and an interesting story about discovering Atlantis - the lost city.
Another adventure game I love to play is Monkey Island. From snapshot to the right, it's Monkey Island 3, which looks very different from MI1 and 2. MI3 uses cartoon-like graphic and animation.
I remember. The game gave me a lot of laugh, with all these funny talk and play!
Simply another fine adventure to play with awesome graphic, sound and music!
|Monkey Island 3 running in ScummVM 2.1.1!|
I remember. The game gave me a lot of laugh, with all these funny talk and play!
Simply another fine adventure to play with awesome graphic, sound and music!
Playing DVD movies with DVPlayer on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex!
|DVPlayer playing The Ortagon DVD on SAM460ex!|
DVPlayer is a fantastic handy movie player that allows you to play most DVD movies on your AmigaOS4 system! The snapshot here shows me playing the old movie The Ortegan with Chuck Norris. A Ninja movie, actually.
DVPlayer supports AC3 coding and subtitles. As you can see of the snapshot, I can view Norwegian subtiles and have great AC3 sound of movies supporting these. The Ortegan is a very exciting movie with a lot of action! If you like Ninja fight, this one is one to watch! It's believed to be Chuck Norris' greatest success ever!!!
It's such a nice thing to watch old DVD movies on your Amiga. Just simply turn off the lights, make yourself some good food or snacks, and something to drink. Lean back and play a good DVD movie in DVPlayer on your Amiga, and simply relax!
|Highlander 3 The Sorcerer DVD in DVPlayer!|
Highlander 3 The Sorcerer DVD is another great thrilling action movie by Christoffer Lambert back in the mid-90s.
Movie plays smooth as other supported DVDs on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, with AC3 and subtitles.
All of this works as a charm, and playing old DVDs on your Amiga is just so cool!
In the future, the Emotion player, that is quite new, handling faster video playback in higher quality, might be used to play DVD, Blu Ray and 4k Blu Ray stuffs. Only time will tell, but it's exciting and very promising!
The Emotion player is to have a new update soon, that allows even 4k playback of movies! No kidding, really! New codecs make that possible, and with these Radeon GFX cards like the Polaris with Warp3D Nova support, it should be fully possible to playback 4k contents on your AmigaOne system!
Amiga's future is certainly very promising, and all the thing you have read from this blog is fully possible on the Amiga. Never a boring moment to use your Amiga system!
As this concludes my blog for now, I would like to point out that I'm very happy my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex is still working as new, even 8 years later after I bought it from GGSData in Sweden and lives in Norway. I'm taking good care of my little baby!
Thank you all for reading my Amiga blog and supporting my Amiga music. There will be more music, as these days I'm working on "Pray For Beirut" and "Remember Hiroshima". After these, the funny parody, called "Who Let The Trump Out".
Enjoy the blog. It's a long read, but if you love the Amiga as I do, you'll enjoy it.
Helge Kvalheim aka HKvalhe, Norway