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Sunday, 6 June 2010


Been playing around with this for a week or so. In fact its more like the pure unalloyed joy of Winuae, plus Octamed 5 and a few sound samples and a throwback to the late nineties when I made Dance music just for me. Friday night I called MED night, an excuse to fire up Soundstudio on the Amiga and put some tracks together, in order to emulate my heroes (Largely Derrick May and Juan Atkins but latterly Electro, thanks to Dave Clarkes Electro Boogie X Mixes). Oh and some dub too we never released any of our stuff, although I did give a split tape of Music 2000 Tracks and Amiga hits to a mate. Depressingly none of the tracks convert well when transferring them across to MP3 file format on PC, and we did some corkers (as well as some right old shit).

Sadly WinUAE doesn't make it easy for you, and could really do with taking a leaf out of the Playstation Emulation scene, that relies on plugins for most tasks. There is a big fuck off list of things covering the likes of for various processors, Kickstart roms (Amiga BIOS, display options and Adf Files of old floppy games. Its frighteningly complete and at the same time arcane and obscure heres a list of stuff that I've come across.


Getting a video or audio clip of anything is a prime example of the pure unfriendliness of WinUAE, something that is a simple dropdown menu command in Nestopia, actually takes numerous trips to various menus in WinUAE, specifying commands and resolutions and even then your never sure if it'll work. (In fact if it does, it'll run so slowly while doing this you'll wonder why you bothered in the first place). Adding a category to the side bar with a few output options and codecs could alleviate this a lot.

File formats.

Currently all you can run is ADF files which are copies of the Amigas floppy disk format, its the only format that WinUAE recognises and nothing else. Which is a shock because late in the Amigas life most stuff would have been released on CDROM instead of Floppy, and yet its not covered, no iso. or CDROM for you. Another shock is that there is a rival format called IPF international preservation format which covers disks too and yet requires a plugin (which despite following its instructions WinUAE will not recognise). Lastly Amigas use the lha. format to pack files (zip is never used - though lzx is). Look on Aminet and you'll see miles of lha. files without exception, and yet WinUAE relies only on ADF only.

ADF ADF (sorry Earth Defence Force).

The other thing with ADF files its that nothing and I mean nothing will open them or indeed create them save for a few transfer programs. While this isn't actually a problem for WinUAE indeed this is its strength that it can make new ADF files to store programs and files, its certainly needs looking at.

Stuff WinUAE does well.

F12 Program break.

This is probably the best of the lot you can exit the program at any time by pressing F12, to switch disks or generally fiddle with the settings. Remains a genuine feather in its cap and a true modern achievement.

List of stuff.

The big list at the side of WinUAE is not only baffling but counts as one of its most joyful things, finding the quickstart guide and everything else is a breeze because its all labelled correctly. Changing between Amigas and going from the and ancient A1000 to a no less venerable but capable A1200 with 060 processor and 128meg of ram.

Stuff I wish WinUAE did.

Used a folder on the desktop as a harddrive, because while most amigas didn't have them, they were more common during the late phase when Commodore went bankrupt and acutally became an necessity in the end.

Didn't distinguish between chip ram and regular ram, an A500 with 4GB memory, fuck yeah, make it so.

Use samples and stuff already on your desktop. Unlikely, it would take an awful lot of converting to IFF. or Raw format, to make this work.

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