Apologies for the lack of posts over the last month, what with a trip to the US last month, coupled with work commitments and of course the busy Christmas period, I have not really found much time to update, however now that a New Year has arrived, what better to get back into the groove by doing another post and a Happy New Year to you all!
Today I am going to look at getting a classic Amiga title running on the X5000 natively in the form of Wipeout 2097. I have to admit to being a huge fan of the Wipeout series of games, having first been introduced to this back in the late 90’s when I first played this on my Sega Saturn. Made by Psygnosis back in 1995, the series spawned a number of sequels, including Wipeout 2097 which not many people are aware was actually converted to the Amiga by Digital Images back in 1999.
The specifications to run the classic Amiga version of this game are actually quite high as they require a Power PC accelerator to run this on an A1200 machine. Given that the X5000 machine is also Power PC based, you would assume that it would run without any problems, however the version which was released on the Amiga requires WarpOS which was a Power PC based kernel for use on Phase 5 PowerUP Power PC accelerator boards. WarpOS functionality is of course present in AmigaOS 4.1 under emulation, however it has been rather selective over which programs to run and whilst recent attempts have been made at addressing this problem through an updated release of ReWarp, which has allowed me to run games that did not run previously, certain programs like Wipeout 2097 end up hanging and ultimately crashing the system if you try to use the existing Warp3D.library.
The secret to getting Wipeout 2097 running on the X5000 is to download a piece of software called Wazp3D which is a CPU only implementation of Warp 3D. As Wazp3D relies a lot on CPU power, this can mean than on slower machines things tend to run a little slowly to the point that it is unplayable, but as we are blessed with the power of the X5000, it becomes less of an issue as you will soon see.
Wazp3D can be downloaded from OS4 Depot here. To make sure this is properly set up on your system, you will need to do is place the OS4 Version of Wazp3D in your libs folder and then with the existing version of Warp3d.library you will need to rename this to something different. I for example, choose to call this Warp4D.library so I can easily remember where it is and more importantly it then easy for me to rename when I want to restore things to how they were. You will need to keep the original Warp3D.library in order to run other pieces of software which will make full use of Warp3D so it is important you don’t delete this and you simply rename it for the purposes of running this game only. Next you will then need to rename the Wazp3D.library as Warp3D.library. You will then need to place the Wazp3D prefs icon in your Prefs folder of AmigaOS 4.1
For test purposes, I will be using an ISO file of the game that sadly does not have the in-game soundtrack. Google and Bing are your best friends here in helping you find this ISO image of the game, however having burned this image to a CD-Rom, I can confirm that this also runs from the CD if you are lucky enough to own a copy of the original game.
If you are using an ISO, you will need to mount the disk like I have done here in Disk Image GUI.
You will then see that the disk image is viewable in Workbench on the left hand side as WO2097CD
I would then recommend installing the game on to one of your partitions and make sure that you select the Full 70MB install.
Once the game files are installed on the machine, it is time to open up the Wipeout folder, click on the Icon and fingers crossed should be graced with the following menu.
Before we proceed any further, I would recommend opening up the Wazp3D preferences as there is a slight adjustment to make here to ensure that the game runs as quick as it can. If you open up Wazp3D preferences, you will need to amend the third option down from the top which is named “Hack Texts” and change the option in the drop down menu to RGBA (fast). Once this is done, on the Wipeout 2097 launch menu, I would recommend that you also select the following options:
Graphics Mode: Double buffered screen
Mode ID: Select screen mode 640×480 RGB32 mode
Speed Limit: make sure the unlimited box is ticked here.
For the sound settings you need to make sure that the Audio AHI option is left ticked,
For reference the settings that you will need are below before you click on play.
After pressing play, you will get a Grim Reaper in the form of a DSI error, however you are safe to ignore this and you should find that the game loads up the introduction screen.
Which finally leads on to the title screen.
Sadly this game appears only to support the keyboard and mouse on the X5000 as I was unable to get the joy pad to configure via Amiga Input or via Low Level.library. Controls are pretty easy on the keyboard anyway with the direction keys acting as up, down, left and right and the S key acts as your accelerator. Space will also let you fire weapons that you collect during the game and which you can use to immobilize your competition, hence the name Wipeout to the game.
Gameplay wise, Wipeout 2097 probably isn’t as good as the original, in so much as the number of tracks are limited to six in total and certainly if you have played the original version which was released on the Playstation and Saturn before this version, you may wonder where the Championship mode had disappeared to. Graphically the Amiga version really shines, I mean just look at the screenshot above, it looks absolutely amazing. Sound wise the sound effects are a little choppy and muffled using the ISO image that I have which is a bit of a shame. It would be interesting to test this out with a full copy or another ISO which has the full tracks, but hey there is nothing to stop us here running a few techno tunes via Tunenet and then opening up the game, it does indeed work and given that the Amiga version didn’t have the Prodigy tracks that were found in the Playstation version, I think this could be a neat workaround and gives you the freedom to play with a whole host of different tunes playing in the background.
Speed wise, Wipeout 2097 performs quite well actually, it’s certainly as quick if not quicker than the original Playstation version, so the power of the CPU on the X5000 under Wazp3d is more than able to cope with this. Certainly when i played this on my Sam 460 machine, Wazp3d was too slow for it to run correctly, so to finally have a version that I can play on the Amiga even if it means having limited sound or using my own music streamed via Tunenet is more than adequate. Below is a video that I have taken of the game so you can judge for yourselves how well this works.
I will certainly try to get my hands on a proper copy if I can with the correct in-game music, however I guess this is dependent on finding a copy at a reasonable and not inflated eBay prices! Sadly I have seen a few of late at around £50 which I consider a little steep considering Vesalia up until not too long ago had this on sale for around £10.
Until next time have fun with your Amigas! I am off for another crack at Wipeout 2097 before bedtime!!