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PhantomInterrogative 
Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 13:25:49
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

In a previous thread, which went too long, I made reference to a speech given at the ADAMcon 7, in which Richard Drushel made some statements that may be relevant to the current Amiga situation. Here are a few snippets and the lesson to be learned.

First lesson: if you are an Amiga user (whatever flavor), learn to program.
Second lesson: if you are an Amiga dev, don't do it primarily for financial reward (although profit is a wonderful incentive to program).

Quote:
At this point, new ADAM software can only arise out of the goodness of someone's heart, or as a necessary part of some new bit of ADAM hardware which needs driver code. Anybody who thinks he can recoup more than perhaps media and mailing costs will be quite disappointed. You can't sell software for what it's worth, either intrinsic worth to the ADAM community because it's such an improvement, or worth to you because you slaved over it for a year to get it working. If you want as many people as possible to use it, your only real option is to give it away. Given the shrinking ADAM community, the number of people willing to vote with dollars for new software is also shrinking. Those of us who are programmers wish from time to time that this were not so. In my own case, the $10 US per copy of my SmartBASIC 1.x that I profited over my media and printing expenses was used to buy ADAM hardware so that I could better support it through my software.
Of the 40-odd copies of SmartBASIC 1.x that I have sold since its introduction in 1991, probably 25 were sold in the first two years, another 10 the third year, and an odd copy here and there thereafter. More have been given away as door prizes for ADAMcons lately than have been sold. If SmartBASIC 1.x were new for ADAMcon 07, I would be lucky to sell 5 copies at the convention itself, a few over the next year, and subsequent "new" copies would only move as ADAMcon door prizes. I wouldn't even recoup the photocopy costs for a minimum run of 10 manuals.

In 1995, if you are an active ADAM programmer, like me, there is no way that you can be doing it for hope of financial gain--by now, there's none to be had. I'm an ADAM programmer because I'm intrinsically interested in the ADAM. I write software for me, and if other people find it useful, that's great, but I'll program whether anybody else cares about what I'm doing or not. For me, it's been fun (though often challenging and frustrating) to learn about how the ADAM works, and how to make it do interesting things.

Unfortunately, I have not found many other people like me in the ADAM community. There aren't many of us programmers left, for a variety of personal and professional reasons. *I* don't believe you need a Ph.D. in order to learn how to write your own software in SmartBASIC or even assembler, but most of *you* out there believe otherwise; and I can't overcome the strength of your belief. There are many practical benefits to doing your own programming, not the least of which is that you can make your program do exactly what *you* want it to do. More important nowadays, however, is that ADAM programming skills can be part of your maintenance toolkit. If all the ADAM newsletters disappear, all the ADAM BBSes go off-line, no more ADAMcons are held, and you can't find anybody else who has an ADAM, then you, like Robinson Crusoe, can be self-sufficient on your own desert island. For me, that is an important motivation--because I'm really worried that the ADAM is about to become a desert island.


The full text of the speech is here.
gopherproxy.meulie.net/sdf.org/0/computers/historical/adam.tx

Last edited by PhantomInterrogative on 06-Jun-2012 at 01:40 PM.

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vidarh 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 14:01:12
#2 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 4-Jan-2010
Posts: 580
From: London, UK (ex-pat; originally from Norway)

@PhantomInterrogative

A fascinating read... I note also that despite the worried "Rich
Clee's ADAMcon 04 dream of an ADAMcon 0E (that's 14 in hexadecimal) seems quite improbable to me now", they are amazingly still going: http://www.adamcon.org/ - though howering around the dozen or slightly above... Now that's dedication.

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Belxjander 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 14:33:13
#3 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 4-Jan-2005
Posts: 557
From: Chiba prefecture Japan

@PhantomInterrogative + @all

That resonates with me and the Amiga community ... I've decided to do what I am doing and give away the results...
Even with asking the community for help, every single person who has donated has had me ask "are you really sure about this???" or something to that effect to my knowledge,

So even if I go quiet for a while, I am still "slaving away" over what I want to see working regardless of the opinions of others that are saying for me to give up or go away...

I've planted my feet and making my home, glad to see this community is willing to at least provide constructive feedback as well as negative responses...

Hopefully this platform can live on and we can get to see many more "AmiWest" and other conventions]

Belxjander

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PhantomInterrogative 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 14:40:41
#4 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

@vidarh

The Amiga situation is far better than the ADAM situation. When Coleco went under, no company to my knowledge wanted to buy the ADAM technology to continue its development. It was kept alive by users alone. The Amiga has had owners and professional developers keeping it alive, albiet by life support. Despite the differences, the lessons remain the same for a small community. If we want our SAMs, A1XEs, X1000s, Classics, MorphOS, and AROS machines to preform some function for which no one has done any development, then perhaps we should stop complaining and pick up a copy of Kernigan and Ritchie. I've been slowly learning the C language. It really is not that hard until you get to pointers. Even then, I've heard there are tricks to mastering pointers.

Last edited by PhantomInterrogative on 06-Jun-2012 at 02:48 PM.

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jabeck 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 15:16:49
#5 ]
Member
Joined: 29-Oct-2010
Posts: 44
From: Unknown

Nice - I'm finally about to be a part of the community again after 20 long years (aside from emulation) - when my A1200 arrives next week. I'm also a programmer, and looking to do a little bit of coding (for fun) here and there as my learning curve allows!

I always wanted an ADAM when they first came out, but was never lucky enough!

There is something very interesting and rewarding about programming an older machine from my younger days, vs the Windows programming I do at work!

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PhantomInterrogative 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 15:55:22
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

@jabeck

Before the Amiga came out in 1985, I wanted a Colecovision or an ADAM. In comparison with my Odyssey2, and my friends Atari 2600s and intellivisions, the Coleco seemed to be the best game/graphics machine around. A few years ago, I wondered what ever happened to the ADAM. I stumbled across this speech, finding it to be relevant to the Amiga's situation at the time (~1999... more than a few years ago... I guess I'm getting old).

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ChrisH 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 16:04:21
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Jan-2005
Posts: 6672
From: Unknown

@PhantomInterrogative Quote:
the C language. It really is not that hard until you get to pointers. Even then, I've heard there are tricks to mastering pointers.

Welcome to my soap box

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I can usually be found on www.Amigans.net (my favourite Amiga forum).
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue...

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kamelit0 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 16:08:54
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2011
Posts: 558
From: Unknown

@ChrisH

isn't your page about C++ not C?
Kamel

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Hypex 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 16:13:49
#9 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 8445
From: Greensborough, Australia

@PhantomInterrogative

I'm not familiar with this ADAM hardware. At first I thought this was talking about the ADAM bootloader used in some routers. Kind of how UBoot would be in some places as well as the X1000's CFE used in Broadcom routers.

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PhantomInterrogative 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 16:36:28
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

@Hypex

Coleco toys, famous for the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls in the early 1980s, wanted to enter into the realm of video games and computers. Coleco put forth the Colecovision game console and the ADAM computer (both using the same or similar motherboard much like the A500/CDTV). The Colecovision/ADAM had the best graphics and sound for its time. However, the videogame market crashed right after the release of the ADAM, dooming it to a footnote in the pages of computer history. Only a year or two after the ADAM's release and demise, the Amiga hit the shelves, making the likelihood of anyone resurrecting the ADAM platform for its graphics capabilities pointless. (Not to mention, it had a dreaded tape drive.)

Video of ADAM doing 3D graphics, including a well known bouncing sphere...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9_RELXSeps

Last edited by PhantomInterrogative on 06-Jun-2012 at 05:52 PM.

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PhantomInterrogative 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 16:40:48
#11 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

@ChrisH

"C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg."
- Bjarne Stroustrup

"If C gives you enough rope to hang yourself, then C++ gives you enough rope to bind and gag your neighborhood, rig the sails on a small ship, and still have enough rope to hang yourself from the yardarm"
- Anonymous quote from the The UNIX-HATERS Handbook

PS: Since it is taking me a long time to learn C (I've lots of other responsibilities being the father of an autistic child), would you suggest that I try picking up E or one of E's derivatives instead?

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saimon69 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 19:04:55
#12 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Dec-2007
Posts: 268
From: Los Angeles, CA

@PhantomInterrogative

Since some time i have this idea of writing a post about the lack of beginner/intermediate cross-platform RAD tools for amiga programming and also about the serious lack of understandable tutorials for Amiga/os4/MOS/AROS programming form scratch: all courses i seen so far require an intermediate/advanced knowledge of C(pointers, memory allocation, structures and also some OOP principles), a detailed insight of how a computer and display works, the availability of RKRM or a similar high level documentation and an almost vertical learning curve; imo programming right now for Amiga is the almost forgotten hidden magic art that can be transferred only to the initiated, if possible even in a more criptic way that Linux programming is nowadays.

Lets also add - cross platform talking- some complicated and inadequated shell-driven tools (GCC/GDB) that requires a non indifferent knowledge of the toll itself in order to reach some kind of deliverable result or some sorta meaningful debugging report;

We have AMOS and blitz on the classic Amiga, however those are more meant for building applications/games using their own libraries in separate screens, therefore (unless there are extensions i am unaware of) tied to the classic hardware; heard about XAMOS and have some hopes for it;
A good RAD tool seems to me to be Hollywood but, when like me is needed to go on paycheck to paycheck is hard to find some cash to buy it;

i loved Amilua and Zulu on AROS and seems to me is a good place to start for some fast app with the plus that is open source; however the lack of manpower prevents it to be even more powerful (somebody might help Mazze to add further bindings like Cairo and aREXX and to implement callback hooks for more advanced Zune/MUI apps); MorphOS has a similar implementation but as far as i know has been decided by its developer to keep the platform advantage and therefore it is closed and not compatible.

I however really would love to see some hand-holding tutorial from scratch that teaches me all the basics and innards of Amiga programming both at a basic and advanced level.

Saimon69

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kamelit0 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 6-Jun-2012 19:32:44
#13 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2011
Posts: 558
From: Unknown

When I was younger we played a lot with the Coleco which was a very good console for it's time. Favorite was Touthankam, Looping, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon was also amazing...When we saw ads about the Adam we wanted one...but then we switch to 8bits computer instead then Amiga.
The Adam story is brillant, a very lucid guy. It sum it up to be creative by learning about the machine to master it and produce software.
What is lacking on the Amiga is an OOP API that do the hard work for you a bit like Openstep or Cocoa and so reduce development time. I don't know if Commodore back then had planned such API but this is something that is missing. It's not that important to have HW acceleration, OpenGL, SMP if it takes ages to develop apps.

Sometime I wondering if one solution is to create a forum that would only be accessible to the ones who are creating with their Amiga being, arts, music, code, sound anything that can be produce with the Amiga, then I suppose that in this kind of forum people will complain a lot less and will be more creative and deliver to the others who can join as soon as they create. Of course the site we know now will still exist...too extreme?

Kamel

Last edited by kamelit0 on 06-Jun-2012 at 07:52 PM.

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Hypex 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 24-Jun-2012 15:14:01
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 8445
From: Greensborough, Australia

@kamelit0

Quote:
What is lacking on the Amiga is an OOP API that do the hard work for you a bit like Openstep or Cocoa and so reduce development time. I don't know if Commodore back then had planned such API but this is something that is missing.


Actually they had. And it was working. They implemented Objects within Intuition and Datatypes. They could be sound, graphics, GUI gadgets or anything really. And you would call methods on them. OS4 has continued this with the library interfaces idea.

Unfortuately both approaches are based on C and have not been moved on from there. Where the Object system would be better is with an OOP language like C++. It would be be possible to create C++ headers I think to encapsulate the Obejct system in proper OOP but we really need an offical way of doing it.

Still, there's always a chance someone will come along and make AmigaOS more OOP friendly, like how it was going to be.

Last edited by Hypex on 24-Jun-2012 at 03:16 PM.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 24-Jun-2012 15:35:26
#15 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1697
From: Australia

Interesting read, but Id have to disagree about the graphics hardware being anything special unless it came before things like c64. From the above it sounds like they were similar timeframes, which wouldnt be favorable to the Colecovision/ADAM.
Having said that though, I dont know which came 1st, but I seem to recall having a Colecovision before I had a c64, so maybe it was earlier.
I had the chance to play Colecovision "Smurfs" recently, a favorite of mine as a child. While it invoked feelings of nostalgia briefly, I quickly realised how bad a game it was :)

@saimon69

Blitz is a bit of an under appreciated/misunderstood language. By default it has always been able to be system friendly (in fact its written around this ability, even if "BLITZ" mode does have some great hardware hitting functions.). A person can use mui/reaction, opengl, ahi, heck even sdl, along with a plethora of other apis and toolkits through Blitz. It's probably best described as a blend of c, asm, and basic. Fantastic IDE as well in later versions (best on the amiga in my opinion). It's main downside though I guess is that it's 68k only (there are some wos/pup ppc "extensions", but I dont know much about them).

Last edited by fishy_fis on 24-Jun-2012 at 03:37 PM.

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RobertB 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 24-Jun-2012 18:00:50
#16 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 16-Jun-2006
Posts: 895
From: Visalia, California

fishy_fis wrote:
Quote:
Interesting read, but Id have to disagree about the graphics hardware being anything special unless it came before things like c64. From the above it sounds like they were similar timeframes, which wouldnt be favorable to the Colecovision/ADAM.

Agreed. The C64 had a maximum screen resolution of 320 x 200, whereas the ADAM had a screen res of 256 x 192. Both had 16 colors. However, the ADAM could have 32 sprites, compared to the C64's 8 sprites.

Truly,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group
http://videocam.net.au/fcug
July 28-29 Commodore Vegas Expo v8 -
http://www.portcommodore.com/commvex

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fishy_fis 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 24-Jun-2012 23:08:31
#17 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1697
From: Australia

@RobertB

Actually the c64's resolution is sort of misleading. The resolution inside the border was 320x200, making the actual screen resolution something like 384x260. Granted a person couldnt easily draw in the borders, but it was possible, and regardless pixel sizes where still consistant with something using a resolution of something like 384x260.
I cant claim to know a lot about the colecovision/adam's sprite hardware, but again the c64's "on paper" specs are pretty different to what can be achieved with a little hardware trickery. Games like turrican2, armalyte, katakis, sent dozens of sprites flying around the screen nice and smoothly.

Not that I want to turn this into a c64 vs Adam thing, but I dont recall anything even close on the Colecovision (although to be fair I only ever had about 1/2 dozen games for the colecovision, vs. hundreds of c64 games).

Im too lazy still to look it up, but I am starting to suspect that the ADAM/Colecovision was before the c64. I recall playing the Colecovision for the 1st time and thinking it looked nice (ladybug and smurfs in particular). Had I played the c64 before that I dont think Id have been particularly impressed.

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BCP 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 25-Jun-2012 1:44:36
#18 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-Mar-2003
Posts: 173
From: Indianapolis, IN USA

@PhantomInterrogative & Hypex

The Coleco Adam's graphics chip was a Texas Instruments TMS9928A, a variation of the TMS9918 used in the TI 99/4A, hense the resolution, number of colors & the 32 hardware sprites.

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AmigaOne X1000 & Amiga 4000

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PhantomInterrogative 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 25-Jun-2012 16:43:55
#19 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2004
Posts: 725
From: The Interrogative Lair

@BCP

I just remember that the graphics of the Coleco were far better than my Odyssey2(Videopac), my friends' Atari2600s, and Intellivisions. Even when I got a C64, some of the Coleco games seemed to be better than the C64 versions. Consider Dragon's Lair. There are a few scenes where the Coleco version looks better (more colorful). Of course, that could be more of a matter of programming rather than hardware ability.

c64
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXWsyXRMCQI

Coleco
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSinFyg6Y5Q

Last edited by PhantomInterrogative on 25-Jun-2012 at 04:46 PM.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Lessons for Amiga from the ADAM community
Posted on 25-Jun-2012 18:38:10
#20 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1697
From: Australia

@PhantomInterrogative

That's pretty darn cool actually. They both look better in some ways (Dirk's a little excessively yellow on the coleco/adam though), but the coleco/adam version is considerably faster. I remember playing Dragon's Lair on the c64 when I was younger. It received terrible reviews and at the time I enjoyed playing really bad games (c64 review of Azture in C+VG inspired the interest in bad games).

I cant say it was a good game, but it was a disappointment in that it wasnt nearly as bad as I was expecting. Had a very cool loading system too where successive levels would be loaded while current one was being played (on the C64 at least, I cant comment on the version for the ADAM/Coleco as the youtube video is the 1st Ive seen of it.).

Quite impressive for the machine its running on.

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