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Main »» Tutorials

Classic AmigaOS Emulation - A Guide for WinUAE (6 pages) (5-May-2006)  Popular
(Read 91562 times)
This is an updated version of my WinUAE guide originally published by on the 19th of August 2002. Meanwhile WinUAE has reached a "v1.2 public"-state (!) and includes many improvements including OpenGL/DirectX display filters (for enhancing graphic output), Catweasel support (hardware for reading classic Amiga formatted diskettes with today's diskdrives) and an overall more cleanly designed user interface. For most people who are unfamiliar with AmigaOS and the use of Amiga emulators, setting up a usable AmigaOS emulation environment can be a daunting task. I have often heard of even veteran computing professionals feeling like complete computing newbees again when being confronted with all the Amiga jargon floating around on Amiga forums. With this article I intend to help provide information and pointers to resources for getting familiar with classic Amiga emulation while focussing on the freely available WinUAE emulator for the Windows platform. With this guide setting up an advanced classic emulation environment shoulld be possible for any PC user. But I still like to point out that although E-UAE (/ UAE) ports, which are available for many other platforms, is not the focuss of this guide, most of the contents should be useful to users of Richard Drummond's E-UAE ports for alternative platforms as well. Amongst other operating systems there are ports available for AmigaOS4, MacOS X, Zeta / BeOS and Linux.

Today the Amiga platform is about to re-enter the computer arena with new AmigaOS4 based systems. Currently more than one thousand AmigaOne owners have access to a developer pre-release version) and the final release will become available for classic Amigas equipped with PPC expansions as well. OS4 (Pre-release user screenshots: 1, 2, 3, 4) is a dramatical improvement of earlier AmigaOS releases and a port of the OS to the PPC processor. These processors are also used for former Apple Macintosh confihurations. To get an impression of the state of AmigaOS4 have a look at Amiga's 20th birthday event show report and at some early demonstration videos: March 2005, August 2005, February 2006. AmigaOS was clearly ahead of any competitor was during the 80s - Just have a look here to get the idea: Computer Chronicles video).

This article also includes many WinUAE screenshots, videos and information on acquiring and using freely available software.

Setup your Emulation Box

Minimal requirements:

- Any modern Windows PC.
- AmigaOS 3.0/3.1

Acquiring AmigaOS 3.0/3.1 legally.

Option 1: Getting the ROMs from an Amiga you own.
Option 2: Buying the Amiga Forever emulation package from Cloanto.
Customized AmigaOS 3.x -Click for a larger version
For this guide version 3.0 or 3.1 of the Amiga Operating System is required. Version 3.0 was first released together with A1200 and A4000 computers in 1992. The A1200 was targeted at ordinary home users and computer hobbyists, while the A4000 was mainly aimed at professional graphics and video artists. Today only 2nd hand classic Amiga models are still commercially being sold but you may be able to find a good deal at advert websites. In 1993 AmigaOS 3.1 was released as an upgrade option for all Amiga models (OCS/ECS/AGA chipsets) build since 1987 and years later also CD based AmigaOS 3.5 and AmigaOS 3.9 releases followed.

On classic Amiga computers AmigaOS consists of two pieces. A hardware chip called the kickstart ROM which contains the kernel, some drivers and some other system libraries. Mainly due to this ROM classic Amigas are able to boot directly into advanced games and even applications from diskettes or CDs. The complete icon and menu driven environment however came distributed on separate diskettes or on a CD.

Option 1:AmigaOS 3.x -Click for a larger version

If you currently own a classic Amiga computer you can use a utility which comes distributed with the Amiga emulator WinUAE to write an image of your ROM to disk. This utility is called "transrom" and is located in the "Amiga programs" directory where WinUAE would be installed. This process is well explained well in this transrom tutorial.

Also needed for this tutorial is an ADF (Amiga Disk File) image from one of the Operating System diskettes labelled "Workbench version 3.0" or 3.1. For this, you can use the "transdisk" utility which is also included with WinUAE. The command "TransDisk >ram:mydisk.adf" will simply write 900k disk image files of the disk that is located in DF0: (normally the internal diskdrive) to your RAM. When you have these image files, you can use CrossDOS (Included with AmigaOS) to copy the files to high density Windows formatted diskettes (or other media at your disposal) or simply transfer the files to your PC over a Network.

Option 2:

If you do not own an Amiga, you can obtain a legal copy of all necessary files and lots of extras from Cloanto's Amiga Forever emulation package. This package also includes pre-configured AmigaOS environments, exclusive networking software and some historical videos. (Note that you need to store the included rom.key file within the same directory as AF's Amiga kickstart files)

Store the required kickstart image file and workbench ADF on your PC's hard drive. Preferably in the WinUAE/Roms directory.

Table of contents
  1. Setup your Emulation Box

  2. Creating an advanced emulated AmigaOS environment

  3. Acquiring legally free software for AmigaOS

  4. 10 freely distributable Amiga software titles

  5. 10 of the best Amiga PD Scene games

  6. 10 ex-commercial Amiga games

- MikeB
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