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Amiga software covers a wide range of software for the Amiga computer, both productivity and games, both commercial and hobbyist. The Amiga software market was particularly active in the late 1980s and early 1990s but has since the period 1996/1999 dwindled into almost only a hobbyist scene.

During its lifetime, the number of applications made available for the Amiga was in excess of 2,000, with over 10,000 utilities (these utilities are almost all collected into Aminet major repository). However, it was perceived as a games machine from outside its community of experienced and professional users. In fact, there were also more than 12,000 games available for Amiga.

Some Amiga programs were ported to other platforms or inspired new programs still used today, such as those aimed at 3D rendering or audio creations, e.g. LightWave 3D and Blender, whose development started for the Amiga platform only. The first multimedia word processors for Amiga, such as TextCraft, Scribble!, and Wordworth, were the first on the market to allow implement full-colour WYSIWYG (with other platforms still only implementing black and white previews) and even allowing the embedding of audio files.

Programs are still being developed for Amiga operating systems.

Productivity softwareEdit

The article splitted section covers: Graphics, Video, Design and CAD Software, Graphic Utilities; Vector Graphics programs and converters; Amiga based Word Processors; some Amiga advanced Text Editors, with programming facilities and features for basic formatting of huge text files, lists of programs, advanced script programs; Amiga Database and Spreadsheets; Science, Entertainment and Special use programs: Entertainment for kids and adults; Fractals, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence; Route Planning; Personal Organizer, Notebook, Diary software; Personal Budget, Home Banking, Accounts; Software for special purposes.

Support and Maintenance UtilitiesEdit

The article splitted section covers: Commodities and Utilities; Hard Disk Partitioning; Diagnostic Tools; Vga Promoting Tools for ancient Amiga Software with TV resolution graphic screens; Game loaders for storing and autoloading from Hard Disks the original Amiga, autostarting non standard Floppy Disks; Disk Copiers; Backup and Recovery Tools, Archives and Compression Utilities; Command Line Interfaces and Text-Based Shells; Amiga graphical GUI interfaces with WIMP paradigm; Amiga Advanced Graphics Systems; PostScript; TrueType Fonts, Color Fonts and Anim Fonts; Font Designer Software; Amiga Advanced Audio System; native, external, widely common used, and third party Filesystems; Datatypes; MultiView; MIME types; USB stacks; Firewire stacks (IEEE 1394); Printer Drivers; Video digitizers; Graphic Tablets; Scanner Drivers; Genlocks, Chroma-Key, signal video inverters; InfraRed Devices and remote controls; WiFi and Bluetooth Devices; Special devices.

MusicEdit

[Section to be developed]

Amiga Instant Music, DMCS (DeLuxe Music) 1 and 2, Music-X, TigerCub, Synthia, Dr. T's KCS, Dr. T's Midi Recording Studio, Bars and Pipes (from Blue Ribbon Soundworks, a firm which was bought from Microsoft and it is now part of its group. Bars and Pipes internal structure then inspired to create audio streaming data passing of DirectX libraries), AEGIS Audio Master, Pro Sound Designer, AEGIS Sonix, FMSynth by Christian Stiens (inspired by Yamaha´s FM-operating DX Series), SoundFX (a.k.a. SFX), Audio Sculpture, Audition 4 from SunRize Industries, SuperJAM!, HD-Rec, Amiga Audio Evolution, RockBEAT drum machine.

Audio Digitizers SoftwareEdit

Together with the well known Dr. T's Midi Recording Studio, Pro Sound Designer, Sonix, SoundFX, Audition 4, HD-Rec, and Amiga Audio Evolution, there were also lots of Amiga software to pilot digitzers such as GVP DSS8 Plus 8bit audio sampler/digitizer for Amiga, Sunrize AD512 and AD516 professional 12 and 16-bit DSP sound cards for the Amiga that included Studio-16 as standard software, Soundstage professional 20-bit DSP expansion sound card for the Amiga, Template:dn 12-bit sound sampler which is connected to the PCMCIA port of Amiga A600 and Amiga A1200 models, and the Concierto 16-bit sound card optional module to be added to the Picasso IV graphic card, etcetera.

Mod music file formatEdit

Starting from 1987 with the release of Soundtracker, trackers became a new type of music programs which spawned the mod (module) audio file standard. The Mod audio standard is considered the audio format that started it all in the world of computer music. After Soundtracker many clones (which often were reverse engineered and improved) appeared, including Noisetracker, Startrekker, Protracker. Also many deratives appeared, amongst which OctaMED and Oktalizer.

In the period from 1987 to 1995 when Amiga audio (which was standard in Amiga computers) was of greater quality than a a standard home computer, PC compatible systems began to be equipped with 8-bit audio cards inserted into 16 bit ISA bus slots. Soundtracker Module files were used on PC computers and were considered the only serious 8bit audio standard for creating music. The worldwide usage of these programs led to the creation of the so-called MOD-scene which was considered part of the Demoscene. Eventually the PC world evolved to 16-bit audio cards, and Mod files were slowly abandoned. Various Amiga and PC games (such as Worms) supported Mod as their internal standard for generating music and audio effects.

Some trackers can use both sampled sounds and can synthesize sounds. AHX and Hively Tracker are special trackers in that they can't use samples, but can synthesize the sound created by Commodore 64 computers.

Some modern Amiga trackers are: Digibooster Pro and Hively Tracker.

Development of popular Amiga tracker OctaMED SoundStudio was handed over to a third party several times but the first two parties failed to produce useful results. A third attempt at creating an update will be undertaken by the current developer of Bars 'n Pipes.

mod format limitationsEdit

Initially trackers (and the mod format) were limited to 4 channel, 8-bit audio (due to restrictions of the Amiga's soundchip) and 15 (and later 31) sampled instruments. By using software mixing some trackers achieved 6, 7 or 8 channel sound at the cost of CPU time and audio quality. Modern trackers can handle 128+ channel, 16-bit audio quality and can often handle up to 256 instruments. Some even support software synthesizer plugins as instruments.

Speech synthesisEdit

The original Amiga was launched with speech synthesis software, developed by Softvoice, Inc. [1] This could be broken into three main components: narrator.device, which could enunciate phonemes expressed as Arpabet, translator.library which could translate English text to American English phonemes, and the SPEAK: handler, which command-line users could redirect output to, to have it spoken.

In the original 1.x AmigaOS releases, a Say program demo was included with AmigaBASIC programming examples. From the 2.05 release on, narrator.device and translator.library were no longer present in the operating system but could still be used if copied over from older disks.

The speak handler was not just a curiosity, or a gorgeous demonstration of capabilities of Amiga. In fact, the word processor ProWrite since its version 3.2 was able to read an entire document using the speech synthesizer for the benefit of blind users.

ProgrammingEdit

Although a large amount of programming languages and compilers where available for the Amiga, most development on the Amiga was done using C and C++, 680x0 assembler and various Basic dialects.

Many games and software, especially in the early years of the Amiga were written to directly access the hardware instead of using the operating system for graphics and input. Especially games could archieve much more fast and smooth gameplay, but at the cost of compatibility with newer Amiga models.

Cross platform libraries and programming facilitiesEdit

Several Cross platform libraries and facilities are available for Amiga:


Amiga in all those years lacked of a complete IDE (Integrated Development Environment). This fact changed in 2005/2006 with the creation of Cubic IDE, based on Amiga modular text editor GoldED.

Brief List of Languages available on AmigaEdit

Assemblers: ASM-One Macro Assembler, Devpac Assembler, SEKA Assembler

Basic dialects: AmigaBASIC from Microsoft, ABasic, AC Basic Compiler, GFA BASIC, HiSoft Basic, AMOS BASIC, Blitz BASIC

C-compilers: Aztec C, DICE C, VBCC, Lattice C, SAS/C, Storm C, HiSoft C++

PASCAL: Amiga Pascal, Kick-Pascal, High Speed Pascal, Free Pascal

other languages: JForth, Amiga Logo, Oberon, Perl, Ruby, Amiga E, FALSE, Python, REBOL, ARexx, Amiga GNU C++, Amiga Installer standard program is a LISP interpreter, Modula-2.

Descriptions of some LanguagesEdit

ABasic was developed by MetaComCo and was bundled with AmigaOS 1.0 and 1.1.

AmigaOS 1.2 and 1.3 came bundled with AmigaBASIC (and a complete manual), which other than also being a BASIC dialect, was not related to ABasic. AmigaBASIC was the only programming language (and the only tool) made by Microsoft for the Amiga computer. Its best feature was the lack of numbering lines of code, which was the first attempt in 1985/1986 to create a new kind of approach in programming. Microsoft then added this feature to all its development language tools. As AmigaBASIC was bundled with so many Amiga's it was one of the most common used language in the early years.

Because Commodore wanted to save money, an update was never made for AmigaBasic. Due to AmigaBasic's vast number of known bugs and limitations it was immediately discarded by professional Amiga developers in favour of other programming languages such as GFA BASIC, Aztec C, Lattice C, and then AMOS. These bugs and limitations included:

  • crashes on newer processors and AmigaOS versions newer than 1.3 in regard to using subroutines (gosub) and sound
  • the editor being written for NTSC and so not using the full screen on PAL screens (a TV standard very common in Europe)
  • commercially released BASIC's provided better IDE's and better (faster) performance

SEKA assembler was a popular tool among game and demo programmers in the early years of the Amiga. Later Devpac and AsmOne became popular assemblers. SEKA, DevPac and AsmOne all were IDE's and included editor, assembler, linker and debugger.

Devpac Assembler by HiSoft was a professional assembler program that became the de facto standard for assembly programming. It was also able to be used for Cross-platform development for any other Motorola 68k-based device, such as the Atari ST. It was common for programs to be jointly written for the Amiga and Atari using Devpac on the Amiga. However, since the Atari ST was closest to the "lowest common denominator" of the two machines, programs would be tested on and built primarily for the ST.

IDE (Integrated Development Environment)Edit

Until recent times Amiga lacked of real IDE programs. All the development were made with advanced text editors such as Emacs, MicroEmacs, Cygnus Editor and Gold Ed (Gold Editor), which were capable to highlight syntax of various kind of code programming languages. Goldd Ed then evolved in a complete IDE environment commercial program called Cubic IDE.

Actually most used Amiga IDE programs are the commercial program Cubic_IDE and the commercial program CodeBench that sometimes is released with limited functions as free-licence version.

Application Building ToolsEdit

Some Amiga programs were not languages, but complete application tools. Among these we remember: CanDO, Amiga Vision, Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit also known as SEUCK, 3D Construction Kit, 3D Construction Kit II and in some degree The Director (BASIC-like language aimed at multimedia, presentations and animations) and AMOS itself could be considered application building tools, more than simple programming languages (even if SEUCK was aimed at games, 3D Construction series, could handle also some sort of 3D VRML). Other tools that can build independent applications or "self loading projects" were Scala Multimedia and actually Hollywood Designer.

CanDO was one the first application building tools, capable of creating programs for the Amiga that were totally independent (compiled or full binary). It is based on a visual interface, after the style of modern "visual programming" approach to programming which became famous with Visual C and Visual Basic from Microsoft. Although CanDO has nothing in common with Visual C and Visual Basic, it is a program mouse driven with an icon approach, and its internal programming is really like an interactive flow chart of functions, just like VISUAL programming tools from Microsoft.

Like CanDO on Amiga, there is Amiga Vision. It is a VISUAL "application building" tool made by Commodore itself in the times of the launch of Amiga A3000, and it was released for free to all those who bought an Amiga A3000.

The Vision is more than a language aimed at multimedia, all icon driven, and the flow chart of the functions was realized all graphically, on a page in which the user could arrange visually all the icons each one representing a program function. Vision saved files (projects) could not be used as pure binaries. From this point of view, the Amiga Vision "application building" tool was an interpreted language.

The AmigaBasic created by Microsoft, CanDO, and then Amiga Vision inspired Microsoft itself to an approach to Visual programming with their line of Visual programming languages, such as Visual Basic and others.

MultimediaEdit

[Section to be developed]

Drivers for Multimedia Devices and Special Input FunctionsEdit

Software for people suffering of diseases and limitations in movementsEdit
  • JakeBoard input software and hardware system emulating keyboard and mouse to be used by persons with physical limitations and/or problems of movements. Software and hardware schemes are actually freely downloadable at BlackBeltSystems Amiga Software page on their site.
  • Talkboard similar to jakeboard, is a speech-generation system for persons with severe handicaps of movements. It is also freely downloadable.

CD FilesystemEdit

AsimCDFS, AmiCDROM, CDVDFS, Allegro CDFS, CacheCDFS

CD, DVD and Blue Ray Burning ProgramsEdit

BurnIt!, Frying Pan, MakeCD, AmiDVD, DVDRecord, DVDAuthor

MakeCD is the first Amiga program to support DAO, (Disk At Once). Frying Pan is the first Amiga program capable to create DVDs. Now both FryingPAN and BurnIt! are capable to handle DVD.

BlueHD from german programmer Carsten Siegner is a MorphOS program capable to authoring and burn HD-DVDs in these formats:

  • Normal Video-DVD (european PAL)
  • HD-Video-DVD HDTV (mkv-h264/AAC) (that are recognized by some newest BlueRay Player)
  • HD-Video-DVD HDTV (MP4-h264/AVC)

Disk Images and ISO files ManagementEdit

  • ISO-o-Matic software is an Amiga CD Image converting software and supports: b5i, bin, CD-i, img (normal/CloneCD), mdf (Alcohol 120%), nrg (Nero Burning ROM), pdi and uif.
  • ISOMount mounts CD ISOs, PC floppy disk images and Amiga diskimages. Supports: Amiga (ADF) 880KB ether OFS and FFS), MS-DOS (IMG) from 360KB up to 2.88MB (Fat12), Atari ST 800KB (Fat12), MAC GS (file image of Mac has no extensions) 800KB (MFM encoded), CD (ISO) - every size, including floppy specific.
  • MountVirtual and DiskImage programs for AmigaOS and MorphOS that mount CD ISO images as standard Amiga devices. Supports CD ISO images and Amiga diskimages such as ADF, DMS, IFS. MountVirtual requires DiskImage.
  • VirtualCD uses ISOs and CD-Images as virtual drives
  • mkisofs and Amkisofs are Amiga portings of MaKeISOFileSystem

(A complete list of Amiga ISO managements and converters is available on Aminet official Amiga repository)

Internet and communicationsEdit

This section splitted article covers: Modem software, Direct Connect, BBS managing, Fidonet, Packet Radio; Prestel, Videotel, Videotex, Minitel; Teletext, Televideo, Viewdata; FAX, Answering Machine and Voice Mail; ISDN; Networking and Ethernet protocols; World Wide Web (TCP/IP Stacks, Browsers, E-mail programs, Newsreaders, Internet Radio, Proxy server support programs, PPP, Telnet, Podcasting, Amiga RSS Feed, Distributed Net, Google Services, Amiga Instant Messaging and Chat, FTP and FTP Server, Weather casting news, Webcam supporting, Clock Synchronization, SMS Short Messages, Web development & HTTP Server, Peer2Peer, VCast (Online VCR), Youtube, Flash player, Monitoring webpages, Remote Desktop, SSL, SSH, etcetera.); Communication Protocols.

Various UtilitiesEdit

AmiDOCK is an Amiga utility that creates Application Launching Docks on the desktop. Amiga users began to appreciate the Docking station at the age of the NeXT computer, and then due to Acorn Archimedes RISC OS docking station. Archimedes computers were popular in Great Britain because they were adopted in Schools of all grades. Young Amiga users (there were 1,500,000 Amigas in the United Kingdom) spotted docks on Archimedes at school and asked for it on Amiga also. Various docking stations were born as 3rd party hobby utilities and then officially integrated in AmigaOS classic since version 3.9.

Directory Opus was a file utility program. When this software was released, the popular Amiga magazines proclaimed that it was the most important software ever released for the Amiga and "should be built into the operating system". Directory Opus went on to create a "replacement OS" for Workbench which overlaid itself upon the system. It started as a file manager, and then became a complete GUI replacement for AmigaOS alternative to official Workbench.

Much shareware and free software was written for the Amiga and could be obtained via the Fred Fish disk series or from the Aminet software archive.

Because the custom chipset shares RAM (and therefore the memory bus) with the CPU, the CPU's throughput increases measurably if the display is disabled. Some processor-intensive software, such as 3D renderers, would disable the display during calculation in order to gain speed.

EmulationEdit

During the years, Amiga was able to emulate other platforms or game machines, or to run directly a vast range of other Operating Systems than AmigaOS. Noteworthy are:

Medusa (Atari ST emulator), Fusion (Macintosh Emulator), AMax and AMax II, (Macintosh), GO64 (Commodore C64 emulator), Transformer and PCTask (it was an Intel 8088 emulator, all software based, capable to emulate Intel pc based platforms ranging from PC XT 4,7 and 7 MHz on Amiga500, up to 80486 running at 12 MHz on A4000 and other accelerated Amigas), A64 Package (C64), Amiga BBC Emulator Acorn BBC emulator, Atari ST Emulator (AtariST), Hatari (Atari ST and STE), Basilisk II (Macintosh) classic, Frodo (C64), PSXE (Sony PlayStation), Hu-Go! (PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16), FunnyMu (Creativision, Funvision, Wizzard), AmiArcadia (Arcadia 2001, VC 4000, TVGC), etcetera.

VICE emulator it is modular based and capable to emulate all 8-bit machines made by Commodore: C64 (a patch of VICE it is capable to emulate also C64dtv, C128, PET including CBM II version (but excluding "non-standard" features of SuperPET 9000), Plus4, VIC-20, etcetera.

GamesEdit

Games were an obvious application for the Amiga hardware, and thousands of games were produced. It was common for games to be produced for multiple formats in the days of the Amiga. For example, a game might be produced simultaneously for Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and so on. Since the Amiga hardware was the most advanced of all, the games were usually developed on an Amiga, and the Amiga version would be the "gold standard" of the bunch.

DemosEdit

The Amiga was a focal point for the "demo scene". The Amiga thrived on public domain, freeware and other not-for-profit development. The demo scene spearheaded development in multimedia programming techniques for the Amiga, such that it was de rigueur for the latest visual tricks, soundtrackers and 3D algorithms from the demo scene to end up being used in computer game development.

PiracyEdit

Because the Amiga was one of the first game-oriented computers to feature a built-in floppy disk drive, which allowed for easy copying, it was also the scene of much software piracy. Many of the arguments pertaining to software piracy, intellectual property rights in software, the open-source movement, and so on, were well-developed in the Amiga scene by the early 1990s. It was not unusual for a demo group to be openly involved in software piracy.

Several anti-piracy measures were introduced during the Amiga's reign. One was the practise of distributing software on disks that contained secret "keys" on high-numbered tracks, which were officially unused. The Amiga disk drive officially only read tracks 0-79 from a double-density disk, but in reality it could easily read tracks 80 through 82. Official disk-imaging software would ignore these tracks, so that a duplicate of a boxed disk would not contain the key and the software would not work. A similar technique involved writing to sectors of the disk that would not normally be used. However, special copy software called "nibble" copiers appeared, which could exactly reproduce any disk an Amiga could read.

Publishers therefore turned to other methods. Hardware dongles were occasionally used for high-end software. Some software manufacturers would force a user to type a word from a particular page number and line number of the manual, meaning that successfully pirating software included photocopying a large quantity of text. Sometimes the text from which the key was chosen was designed so that photocopiers would produce illegible copies, meaning that pirates had to retype or handwrite the text, or else give up.

These and other schemes lead to pirates "cracking" software by altering a copy of the code bypassing the copy protection completely. There was not a protection scheme that was not eventually broken. One almost exception was the scheme on the Amiga version of Dragon's Lair which became the holy grail of crackers Worldwide. Eventually it was released in a modified format that circumvented the copy protection.

Piracy has been cited as a reason for the death of the Amiga, however, piracy was just as prolific on other platforms. For example many games for the ZX Spectrum could be copied using nothing more than an ordinary cassette recorder, leading to a massive culture of playground game trading - that machine however lived a long and fruitful life nonetheless. The same happened with C64 again with cassettes, or with PC software copied on floppy disks by organized piracy, or finally, in more recent ages, it happened with PlayStation I and the enormous success it had due to the diffusion of pirated CD games even diffused as ISO images on early pirate sites on internet together with PC software. There was a vast amount of Amiga software available in the marketplace and Commodore's mis-marketing of the machine is well documented as the reason for its own demise.

"Decrunching"Edit

File:Amiga decrunching.png

The Amiga's floppy disk drive allowed 880 kilobytes on a single disk, which was comparable to the memory of most Amigas (usually 512 kilobytes, often 1 megabyte). In order to increase the yield, the Amiga was one of the first computers to feature the widespread use of compression/decompression techniques. Also, the disk drive had a slow transfer rate, such that using processor-based decompression could actually lead to faster loading times than loading uncompressed data from disk. Early implementations of decompression code would write rapidly varying values to a video display register, causing the screen's scan lines to break into multiple segments of colourful noise, which would become finer as the decrunching neared the end. This effect was psychedelic, very easy to implement, so it stuck; it was pioneered on the Commodore 64. The use of "decrunching" became so ubiquitous that the effect was a standard. The effect was commonly seen in pirated games or demos.

Reference notes:

  1. Aminet tree, Aminet Statistics
  2. Amiga WHDload site download section reports that this program supports actually 1991 games (and it is far from creating a complete list of all Amiga games).
  3. Lemon Amiga (a program that adds MAMElike interface to WinUAE Amiga emulator) reports in its statistics window section 3453 known Amiga games.
  4. Obligement France reported in january 2009 a list of 13,528 known Amiga Games, as divided in 12,416 original games, 953 games extensions or data disks for original games, 125 level editors or game editors for existing games, 34 loaders to let Amiga run some games created on other platforms.

External linksEdit

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