The Amiga Portal

The 1987 Amiga 500 was the best-selling model.

Amiga is a family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985. The original model is one of a number of mid-1980s computers with 16- or 16/32-bit processors, 256 KB or more of RAM, mouse-based GUIs, and significantly improved graphics and audio compared to previous 8-bit systems. These systems include the Atari ST—released earlier the same year—as well as the Macintosh and Acorn Archimedes. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Amiga differs from its contemporaries through the inclusion of custom hardware to accelerate graphics and sound, including sprites and a blitter, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

The Amiga 1000 was released in July 1985, but production problems kept it from becoming widely available until early 1986. The best-selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 along with the more expandable Amiga 2000. The Amiga 3000 was introduced in 1990, followed by the Amiga 500 Plus, and Amiga 600 in March 1992. Finally, the Amiga 1200 and Amiga 4000 were released in late 1992. The Amiga line sold an estimated 4.85 million units.

Although early advertisements cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, especially when outfitted with the Sidecar IBM PC compatibility add-on, the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software. It also found a niche in video production with the Video Toaster hardware and software, and Amiga's audio hardware made it a popular platform for music tracker software. The processor and memory capacity enabled 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D, Imagine, and Traces, a predecessor to Blender.

Poor marketing and the failure of later models to repeat the technological advances of the first systems resulted in Commodore quickly losing market share to the rapidly dropping prices of IBM PC compatibles, which gained 256 color graphics in 1987, as well as the fourth generation of video game consoles.

Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994 after a version of the Amiga packaged as a game console, the Amiga CD32, failed in the marketplace. Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line, including Genesi, Eyetech, ACube Systems Srl and A-EON Technology. AmigaOS has influenced replacements, clones, and compatible systems such as MorphOS and AROS. Currently Belgian company Hyperion Entertainment maintains and develops AmigaOS 4, which is an official and direct descendant of AmigaOS 3.1 – the last system made by Commodore for the original Amiga Computers. (Full article...)

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Hunk is the executable file format of tools and programs of the Amiga Operating System based on Motorola 68000 CPU and other processors of the same family. This kind of executable got its name from the fact that the software programmed on Amiga is divided in its internal structure into many pieces called hunks, in which every portion could contain either code or data.

The hunks in an Amiga executable file could exist in various types. There are 32-bit hunks, 16-bit hunks, and even some 8-bit hunks.

Types of hunks were standardized in AmigaOS, and well documented in The AmigaDOS Manual edited by Commodore to explain to programmers how to code on the Amiga, during the years in which Commodore manufactured Amiga computers. Their structure was officially codified and could be changed only by a Commodore committee, which then communicated the modifications to the developers for new releases of the Amiga operating system.

The structure of an Amiga hunk is very simple: There is a header at the beginning of the hunk indicating that that kind of "portion of code" is a known and valid Amiga hunk type, then follows an ID which indicates the length of the hunk itself, and at the bottom is the segment of the hunk which contains the real code or data. (Full article...)

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Jon Hare
Jon Hare
Jon "Jops" Hare (born 20 January 1966, Ilford, Essex, England) is an English computer game designer, game artist and musician. He is one of the two founder members and directors, with Chris Yates, of Sensible Software, one of the most successful European games development companies of the late 1980s and 1990s.

Hare was co-designer and artist of all of Sensible's hits prior to 1992 including Parallax, Wizball, Microprose Soccer, SEUCK and Wizkid. He was also the lead designer, composer and creative director of Mega Lo Mania, the Sensible Soccer series and the Cannon Fodder series, some of the most popular software franchises of the mid-1990s. (Full article...)

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[[File:|center|500px|The Amiga 4000.]]
Credit: Kaiiv

Did you know...

... that Joe Pillow was the name given on the ticket for the extra airline seat purchased to hold the first Amiga prototype while on the way to the January 1984 Consumer Electronics Show?

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