Ok I have a confession to make, today’s blog post is not being written as usual on my AmigaOne X5000. The reason that today’s blog post is being written from another computer is that I had the opportunity to attend the Amiga 32 event which took place in Neuss, Germany.
Following on from the success of Amiga 30 two years ago, event organiser Markus Tillmann decided that it would be a good idea to host another show and who am I to complain, after all long gone are the days when you used to attend a World of Amiga show like they used to have either in Cologne or at the Novotel in London and I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to attend a show 100% dedicated to the Amiga.
I arrived at the Rheinisches Landestheater in Neuss at around 9.30am to find that the doors were already open and there were already a good number of people inside.
The show was laid out on the top floor of the venue and there were about 30 different exhibitors spread out across 70 or so tables in the venue along with a big stage occupying the middle where a number of presentations were planned for the day.
I was given the following program notes and show guide which I am keeping as there is a link to Cloanto’s website to download a copy of Amiga 7 Plus Edition and C64 Forver Plus Edition including licence key.
First stop was a desk which seemed to have a big queue of people around it and for a good reason, The Vampire team were in attendance showing off their FPGA based accelerators for the A500 and A600.
As you can see from the above photograph, they were showing off the video playback capabilities of the Vampire accelerator which were being played through a HDMI output to the monitor. I had to say it looked very impressive that a classic machine of the level of an A500 was able to do this with ease thanks to the power of the 68080 processor.
I got the opportunity to see it running Quake I which ran pretty well on an A600, although to be honest I prefer to run this on a much nicer and higher resolution that my X5000 offers, but I have to acknowledge this ran really well and would have impressed quite a few people.
Here is another shot of a machine in Picasso96 mode running Doom and three demos at the same time.
The picture quality of the HDMI output is really nice on the Vampire.
Here are some benchmarks for those who are into that type of thing. Suffice to say if you buy a Vampire or a Next Generation Amiga machine, your benchmarks are going to be a lot better than that of a classic setup!
Here we have a pic of the Vampire running AmigaAmp which is something that even a classic un-expanded A1200 had trouble with sometimes.
Finally we have a view of the boot screen which replaces the standard Amiga boot screen once the A500 or A600 is switched on.
I did ask about the status of the much-anticipated A1200 version and was told that this is still in the pipeline and they were still working on a few bugs so it looks like we may have to wait a bit longer for it to appear.
Would I buy a Vampire? Well if I was only into my classic machines then yes, I would be interested in one although I think you will be limited by the current limits of OS3.1 or 3.9 especially when it comes to things like web-browsing.
Next up was a trip to the Factor 5 stand which had a nice A1000 on display. Having never seen an A1000 in the flesh it was nice to be able to see it close up and appreciate its nice keyboard with the red coloured Amiga keys. Playing Turrican 2 on this machine was a little strange as I had to get used to the loading times which are incurred with playing from a floppy disk. I guess in the age of WHDLoad you kind of get spoiled with instantaneous loading of games.
Next up was a trip to the MorphOS stand and a chance to look at something I was really looking forward to which was the latest version of MorphOS 3.10 being demonstrated on the X5000.
I have to say it looks very nice and I am a big fan of the blue environment. Sadly I didn’t get too much of an opportunity to play around with this as I would have liked as the desks were surrounded by the MorphOS Team who were busy tweaking things. Maybe it was because I was wearing one of Hyperion’s new sweatshirts advertising that I was powered by AmigaOS and MorphOS after all is considered the competition, who knows, but they didn’t seem to keen to give too much away. One of the team did let me know that they are looking at releasing this on the X5000 towards the end of this year. Personally I am not into the politics of the red and blue camps, I am just a user that wants to use my machine and have fun with it regardless of the OS and having never had the chance to play with MorphOS previously, I am looking forward to trying this out fully if this is coming out by the end of this year.
Individual Computers were in attendance with a whole host of goodies for the classic range of machines. They also had a version of the C64 reloaded Mk2 on show which I am very interested in getting my hands on. Fortunately you can pre-order this on the website https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/produkt-details/product/c64-reloaded-mk2.html#filter=*
Next up was a trip to the Cinemaware Retro stand where the lovely Sven had a long-awaited set of goodies for sale. Wings Remastered Edition for Amiga OS4 and MorphOS was on sale for €50.00 and Rocket Ranger for Amiga CD32 was €45.00. We have been waiting for Wings Remastered for quite a while now and it was nice to actually see this on sale at the show.
For those who are interested in picking up a copy of either game, these can also be ordered at http://retro.cinemaware.com/shop/
Ironically enough next to the Cinemaware Retro stand was the programmer Daniel “Daytona675” Mussenner who was responsible for the conversion of Wings Remastered. Here he was showing off his conversion of Tower 57 which is progressing along nicely. I had a nice go of this game which was running on the X5000 and have to say I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be picking up a copy when it is finally released which will hopefully not be too long in the future.
It was time for a presentation, this time former head of Commodore UK David Pleasance who spent some time talking about his new venture FriendUP which was also on display at the show.
HunoPPC had a stand set up with his X5000 on show and an update to Final Burn Alpha which I will be trying out when I get back home. Finally there is support for the MSX series of computers in the latest update which is great as we do not have an MSX emulator on Amiga OS 4.1. He also showed me the new SNES and IGS arcade emulation which now sits within the latest version of Final Burn Alpha. He also gave me some handy hints and tips for configuring this, so hopefully I will be able to give you guys a full report on this fantastic piece of software.
HunoPPC has his X5000 in this nice case. I really like the display at the top.
Also on display was the demo of a new game which is due for release on the CD32 which is Alarcity.
There is a look of Virocop about this game, but sadly I didn’t think much too this game in its current form. I know that this was only a demo, but I do hope this does improve prior to its official release.
Talking of other games, Reshoot-R was on show and looked very impressive. It looks subtly different from the first version which was a really good shoot-em-up with hypnotic visuals and sounds.
This version looks to have much more polished graphics and plays quite well, so this is another release that I will be looking forward to sometime in 2018.
Next up was time to head over to the A-Eon stand to have a first look at the A1222 which was making a public demonstration with Amiga OS4.1 for the second time. It was unveiled at the Amiwest show last weekend but this was the A1222’s first European showing.
I had a good play around with this system as I was very curious to find out how it compared to the Sam460cr based AmigaOne 500 machine that I have upgraded from. The good news is that this machine appears to be more capable a beast which should hopefully satisfy the requirements of most users. Here you can see it running a few Warp3D Nova demos.
I also got a glimpse into the possible casing for the A1222 which looks very nice. It appears to be a Fractal Design Core 500 case.
Having had the chance to comparing the two machines, both the Vampire and the A1222, I would stick my neck out here and go for the A1222 over the Vampire, simply because having used Amiga OS4.1, you have the best of both the classic and next generation worlds with full access to Amiga OS4.1 which is something that will not be possible with the Vampire as great as it does look.
Whilst I was at the A-Eon desk I had the chance to meet the hardworking Christian Zigotsky who is responsible for the many Power PC Linux updates that are available for the X5000. We chatted about 3D hardware acceleration with my current Radeon 7750 card and he has given me some good advice about installing a second graphics card in my machine that will support this under Linux, so this will be a good project to undertake over the coming weeks.
There were all sorts of interesting other displays on show at Amiga 32, like this 3D printer which was churning out trapdoor cover slots for the A1200.
As you can see this type of cover provides much-needed ventilation for any card which is plugged into the trapdoor expansion slot of the A1200 and will help to address any stability issues.
There was a lovely A2000 on display here in a clear glass top display.
I really do like this illuminated display.
This A1000 had been stripped down to its barebones and had been reconfigured on a wooden board so you can see all of the insides.
The Micronik A1200 Tower which still looks nice today.
Here we have a CD32 with the ProModule and a very lovely CD32 key board.
Here is a very rare piece of kit which is a Video CD/MPEG-1 module for the Amiga CD32, you often don’t see these.
Back on the main stage it was time for a presentation from Chris Huelsbeck who composed many classic Amiga tracks like Turrican 2, Apidya and R-Type. He was joined on stage by the programmer of Tales of Gorluth, Patrick Nevian who is an extremely talented musician in his own right.
Together they performed a good set which had most people stop and gather round to listen to.
Highlight of the presentations was the arrival of ex Commodore employees Dave Haynie, Ron Nicholson and Jeff Porter who was head of Research and Development. Their Q&A was really insightful. Here you can see Jeff Porter being presented with a custom-made framed special A500 motherboard in recognition of his achievements.
We also had Trevor Dickinson co-founder of A-Eon Technology take to the stage to give an update on various bits and pieces. During his presentation, he announced that there would be an upgrade to the Enhancer Software package to version 2.0 and that there would be an upgrade to the current set of Radeon drivers which are now running at version 3.3. Version 3.3 is a bit of a breakthrough in Amiga terms as the 256MB graphic memory barrier which has been present will no longer exist meaning that machines will be able to make use of the full memory of the graphics card resulting in faster games and better video playback.
The A1222 whilst it was being shown publicly is still lacking a few drivers, namely the sound and ethernet along with some FPU modification tweaks. Hopefully people will not have to wait too much longer into 2018 for this great little machine to appear.
I also picked up a few cool items whilst I was at the show. The first of which was an item considered to be nothing but a hollow promise. Well here is a copy and I shall enjoy reading this.
A special version of Amiga Joker was being sold at the show and was going like hotcakes, in so much as German and non-German speakers like myself were all picking up a copy priced at €5.00.
Managed to pick up some software too, Art Effect and Spherical Worlds on CD-Rom which should both run fine on the X5000.
A rather cool Amiga 32/CD32 limited edition mouse mat
Most expensive purchase of the day at €80.00 came picking up this new licensed case for the A1200 from the great people at www.a1200.net who were in attendance.
Although my A1200 itself does not get used so much, it was nice to pick up a new case for this machine to replace my battered 20-year-old machine which was staring to look a little yellow and aged.
In all, the event at Neuss was a great day out and there was certainly lots to see and play around with, although unless I must have missed their tables and they were stuck somewhere no-one could find them, Phase 5 were missing by their absence as they were due to occupy tables 1 and 2 near the bar area.
**Update 30th October****
I have received confirmation from several people in attendance that Salvador from Phase 5 had turned up late to the event sometime between 3pm and 4pm and was there along with some 1260 MK3 boards and other protoypes. I personally am a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see these, but I guess there will be other opportunities no doubt. By that point in the afternoon I think it was fair to say that attention had shifted across to the excellent presentations and music sets that were taking place on the main stage.
It was nice to visit a show which was totally dedicated to developments on the Amiga scene and it was certainly well attended with at least 520 people in attendance according to the event organisers and various other sources. According to the organisers too, they could have sold a few more tickets but it was clear from the size of the venue that they were sadly limited by the numbers occupying the venue and by the time many people got wind of the show’s existence, many more people wanted to attend than there were spaces available. The venue certainly was busy without feeling totally crowded so it was probably a good thing that numbers were limited, but it is something that event organisers may have to consider moving to a larger venue in future as the demand to attend one of these shows is clearly there.
The show had a really nice atmosphere too and it was nice to be able to visit various stands in between the interesting presentations which were taking place. If you do get the opportunity to visit an upcoming Amiga show in the future, please do take the opportunity, I certainly plan on doing so if another one comes up.