It's Spanish For Girlfriend
January 2, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

An Amiga computer emulated in your browser, complete with games and demos.

Written in JavaScript with WebGL and a bunch of HTML5 APIs, so best interacted with using a modern browser (Chrome, etc) and a fairly high-end machine. Source available on Github, if you want to play with the code.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (53 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Where's the simulation of shoving 3.5" floppies in and out every 30 seconds?
posted by GuyZero at 11:36 AM on January 2, 2013 [14 favorites]

Lotus Turbo Challenge II!

I am 14 again!
posted by Cosine at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2013

1337 dO0d!
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on January 2, 2013

Wow, you weren't kidding about needing a high-end machine.
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on January 2, 2013

Where's the simulation of shoving 3.5" floppies in and out every 30 seconds?

And more to the point, where do I insert all my old floppies? I've still got 'em, including the final draft of a certain screenplay that never actually got printed.
posted by philip-random at 11:47 AM on January 2, 2013

Slow as hell on my "development" machine. Can't even read the greetz and the euro BBS numbers in the cracktros.

For reference : First there was Menace .... And now Psygnosis presents .... A DMA design game... Blood Money.

Check that shit out. HAM graphics and digitized sound. That intro took up the whole first disk.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

The wobble on the emulation under load is pretty great as an amusing sub-plot to all this. Lotus was running about 133% load consistently during gameplay (and so the announcer sounded like a bad monster impression) but the Enigma demo was whipsawing back and forth pretty wildly throughout which sort of fucked with the musical feel of the whole thing.

And god bless those fancy unreadable fonts.
posted by cortex at 11:50 AM on January 2, 2013

Where's my Video Toaster so I can re-render all of season one of Babylon 5 in its original quality and resolution???
posted by PapaLobo at 11:50 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Where's the simulation of shoving 3.5" floppies in and out every 30 seconds?

A590 hard drive dude. That thing changed my life.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm loving the super-slow-motion unevenness of it, pretty cool (using a terrible old laptop).
Have to drop a little love for Hunter any time we talk about Amiga games, would love to see that on here!
posted by Iteki at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hunter was like GTA: War Criminal.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am loading something that's called Total Destruction. I forgot what game it's from, but now there's a picture that seems to be Khomeini with a wig made of skulls.
posted by Mister_A at 11:55 AM on January 2, 2013

I prefer modernity.
posted by dfriedman at 11:56 AM on January 2, 2013

Hard to tell the features from the bugs so far.
posted by Mister_A at 11:56 AM on January 2, 2013

But will it display Guru Meditation #'s?
posted by FishBike at 12:00 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a Xetek FastTrak SA-5 external SCSI enclosure for my 500.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:00 PM on January 2, 2013

Wow, you weren't kidding about needing a high-end machine.

Agnus, Paula, and Denise are pretty high maintenance.
posted by kersplunk at 12:05 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

You know how people do those "use only a tablet for 30 days" blogs? Someone should do one with an Amiga. Wonder if you could get something like gmail even close to useable on an Amiga.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:16 PM on January 2, 2013

Wow, I never thought I'd see anything like that; I recall chortling with glee that my Amiga could emulate a Mac, but nothing could emulate my Amiga... now this!

Unfortunately doesn't run well on my 3.5GHz i7 Hackintosh using Firefox - Project X SE reports that it's running around 200% but in reality the frame rate is perhaps a third of the original, and all of the sound effects and speech are drawn out and deepened... and unfortunately even with it playing slower, it's still too tough for me (even though it was one of my favourite games ever)

Ad hominem - I'm pretty sure that you could cope using one of the more modern Amiga machines with the latest operating system; going back to a 2MB A1200, perhaps not.
posted by Chunder at 12:19 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Zowee this just looks like out-takes from the trippy bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
posted by Mister_A at 12:23 PM on January 2, 2013

Chunder, just run UAE.

Native code will sort you out.
posted by jaduncan at 12:28 PM on January 2, 2013

I love what people are doing with JS but performance wise I'm constantly finding myself in decades past.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2013

Seriously though, this is insanely impressive. The first computer I owned was an Amiga 600, followed by an Amiga 1200 which I then got a hard drive for. I'd used BBC Micros and Atari STs, but to my ten year old self it was a huge leap from BBC BASIC to AMOS BASIC (and then Blitz) in terms of being able to blit stuff around the screen, do raster bars with copper, get the custom chip to do collision detection, stuff like that.

I eventually got a PC, which was way more powerful numbers-wise, but quite clunky at a time when PCs still blatantly looked and felt like accounting department office machines, and certainly lacked the custom chip Video Toaster genlock Deluxe Paint Protracker cool factor.
posted by kersplunk at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Works on neither Firefox 17.0.1 or Internet Explorer 10 on my Windows 8 machine. I assume this is one of those "Works in your browser (assuming it's Chrome)!" posts. At last I understand what those Mac users are complaining about!

So Chrome is the de facto standard now, at least amongst important opinion-formers. That's useful to know as a developer. I'll install a copy for HTML5 links from MetaFilter, anyway, if I can stop it running lots of update services...
posted by alasdair at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2013

Yep, works perfectly on Chrome!
posted by alasdair at 12:36 PM on January 2, 2013

The 'description' page tells you which browsers are supported, and how well they perform. Chrome is definitely a bit better than Firefox - perhaps around half normal speed.

Even so, colour me impressed - I just found the Advanced page, and discovered that you can select a local disk image and lo! It works! Kinda

I know that I could just use UAE - I have bought pretty much every release of AmigaForever going back until it began - it's just that it's so mind boggling that this can be now done in a browser...
posted by Chunder at 12:40 PM on January 2, 2013

It's Spanish For Girlfriend

Which, upon further reflection, doesn't strike me as creepy in the least.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:44 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Chrome is indeed pretty much the default on this kind of thing, Firefox being a laggard and IE being unfashionable and occasionally lacking needed features.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on January 2, 2013

(ahem) gwint, you missed Apple ][ in javascript
posted by k5.user at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

IE being unfashionable and occasionally lacking needed features.

In this case WebGL, which probably places it in the "never going to happen" category.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

omG much nicer in Chrome.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on January 2, 2013

Still not great tho.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on January 2, 2013

It's Spanish For Girlfriend

Which, upon further reflection, doesn't strike me as creepy in the least.

Or, uh, true. Try "novia".
posted by Fnarf at 12:55 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Whoa I'm inserting a virtual disk on Alien Breed!
posted by Mister_A at 1:00 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rick Dangerous was just as brutal as I remember! Pity Cannon Fodder isn't on the list. Cool find, though, thanks!
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:23 PM on January 2, 2013

We recently hooked up a real Amiga 500 with It Came From The Desert and a disk swap every time the giant ant reared his head at Elmer's Farm. Nothing quite captures the real thing: the look of the monitor, the feel of the Atari joystick. But this is great.
posted by steinsaltz at 2:00 PM on January 2, 2013

Yeah, except that SOMETIMES Firefox (and more rarely, IE) is puzzlingly faster than Chrome for heavy-duty JS. For example, I'm working on a project right now where Firefox is about twice as fast as Chrome. I wish I could figure out why.

Interesting. TBH I'd expect IE 9 & 10 tip crush Firefox under almost all circumstances, and Chrime to beat the both of them, but maybe it's caught up a lot in the last few versions.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on January 2, 2013

Heh.. I never knew It Came From The Desert was originally an Amiga game. I had that on my TurboGrafxCD.. and boy howdy, having FMV (even if apparently the TGCD version had significantly less FMV and sidescrolling action where there previously was none) made me a GOD amongst my friends. We would intentionally let the ants eat people just for the gruesome (well.. for the era) images of people eaten alive by ants..
posted by mediocre at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2013

Firefox is now very very good at JS.
posted by jaduncan at 2:15 PM on January 2, 2013

If you're interested in real Amiga emulation, the WinUAE program does a fantastic job. It is deep wizardry in code form. At one time, we used to think that the Amiga would never be emulated, because it was so complex, and while we were wrong about that, it took a LONG time. The ST and Mac were emulated very early, but not the Amiga.

Getting it running can be pretty involved, though. You will need an Amiga ROM, and you will need at least some game floppy images. If you want to get more advanced, you'll also need copies of the OS disks and, ideally, a hard drive image. (You can build these yourself, but you have to know the Amiga.)

Fortunately, you can buy an official package with fully licensed ROMs and OS and everything: Amiga Forever is a one-stop shop for basically the whole kit and kaboodle. It comes with ROMs and hard drive images for multiple versions of the operating system, and a bunch of games. It uses the same WinUAE engine, and you could do everything they're doing yourself, except get the ROMs and their games legally, but it's nice when it's all predone for you, especially if you never knew the Amiga in the first place.

When you run one of these emulators, please remember that this system was incredible when it was shipped, in 1985. A 7.1Mhz processor, four channel stereo sound (just 8-bit, but it was 1985!), expandable to 8.5 megabytes (which was probably physically impossible to do in a desktop), and multitasking. Yes, the same tech that we all use constantly, the ability to run multiple things and bounce around between them, you could do pretty comfortably on a 7.1Mhz processor, in 512K of RAM, in 1985.

In an earlier comment about the Amiga, a couple years back, I said this:
Amiga owners frothed and foamed and hated on the world because they KNEW it was the right way to approach computing. They KNEW that everything else was just a toy in comparison. And they were right. Essentially all of the important Amiga features (multitasking, great graphics, great sound, abstracted storage drivers, replaceable filesystems, system-level print drivers, vaguely Unixy command line) ended up being absolutely critical to what we consider a good computer. It was so frustrating to KNOW that this was the right way to do it, but not be able to get the rest of the world on board.

If you were dumped onto a good 1990 Amiga machine, you'd still be able to function more or less like you do now. It would be slow, and somewhat crashy, and frustratingly primitive in many ways (the print drivers were especially bad), but you'd be able to organize your workflow and operate almost exactly the way you can in 2010. You'd recognize it as a blurry approximation of a modern machine, and you'd be more comfortable there than on anything else made at the time.
In some ways, using an Amiga is actually more annoying than using a PC of the same vintage, precisely because it's like looking at a modern machine through a vaseline-covered lens. You expect things to work in particular ways, especially window management, and they're just different on the Amiga. Using an old DOS PC is purely command-line, so your mousing and clicking instincts aren't constantly frustrated, and you might be up to speed a little faster in DOS.

Nonetheless, if you were to somehow slip back 20 years in a time warp, you would probably end up being more comfortable on an Amiga than on anything else, if you invested the time to unlearn your mousing habits, and understand what it was doing. Well, okay, as long as you're not a graphic or publishing professional. If you do either of those, you'd probably want a Mac. Amigas were never very good in those areas.
posted by Malor at 3:17 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Just tried Turrican 2 on my MacBook Air. The tracker music losing and gaining speed like a wonky Walkman struck me as being some kind of anachronistic mash-up of different kinds of obsolete technologies, a bit like the that RGB split effect in music videos. Which suggests that it may well become a stylistic hallmark of whatever follows chillwave/hypnagogic pop/hauntology.
posted by acb at 3:37 PM on January 2, 2013

Amigas were never very good in those areas.

It's not like the original Mac was some sort of powerhouse though. Quite the opposite. Apple was just better at getting third-parties to develop apps on their platform. If Adobe or Aldus (ha! remember Aldus?) had ported to the Amiga oh what might have been.
posted by GuyZero at 4:04 PM on January 2, 2013

Anyone else get into AMOS on the Amiga? I remember spending entire holidays coding stuff on that, GUI's, games... all now lost sadly.
posted by Admira at 5:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Our family business actually did a fair bit of DTP work on the Amiga before caving and getting a Power Mac and then shifting to PC. I wouldn't say it was ideal but it was certainly possible.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on January 2, 2013

Oh, sure, there were a couple of basically acceptable DTP apps on the Amiga, but they weren't wonderful. The font facilities on the Amiga existed, but they were very primitive, so programs had to handle all that themselves.

Hell, the whole Amiga print system was ... hmm. Well, basically, it looked like it was thrown together by computer people who had no real interest in printing. It could print either straight text, like any other word processor, or basically take a displayed screen, in its what, 72dpi glory? If that? And then blow that image up to fill a page, but without any antialiasing at all. So you could print what was on the screen, but it was a direct, horribly blocky rendering, and that was the ONLY thing it could do. It did have drivers, so that you could print that garbage on most printers, and it could print color on the few color dot-matrix printers, but the whole subsystem was a steaming pile of cat crap.

I think the Mac's font system and early support of Postscript were much of what drove its success in that market. The Amiga was fine for relative amateurs, but if you were good, and had good equipment, you wanted a Mac.
posted by Malor at 6:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, and the Atari ST was actually pretty good at DTP. It had a very nice 640x400 monochrome screen available, and as I recall, some downright decent software. When I was selling Amigas, I would send most people looking for DTP over to the ST side of the store.

I think they had to do all the font rendering themselves on that system, too, but that monochrome monitor seemed to attract better developers.
posted by Malor at 6:36 PM on January 2, 2013

Has anyone notified Eric W. Schwartz?
posted by radwolf76 at 6:45 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

We used Gold Disk's Professional Page on an A1000 with an NEC LC-890 Postscript printer that cost more than the computer, and it handled Postscript fine as long as you used the fonts in the printer. We also had Professional Draw, Gold Disk's Adobe Illustrator knock-off, which also worked well with a Postscript printer. We had the Supra 4X4 20 MB hard drive which still needed a boot floppy to start-up the system and transfer to the hard drive. I did have a Kickstart ROM socket installed so that I didn't have to put in a Kickstart disk first.

Before that our word processor was a C64 with BI-80 card and amber monitor for 80 columns, PaperClip from Batteries Included, and a Brother HR-15 daisy wheel printer.

Also, I got on the internet via dial-up with an A1200, Miami as the TCP stack and AWeb II as the browser as late as 1999. If Gmail still has the basic html mode it probably would work with it.
posted by rfs at 8:17 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Deluxe Paint III is all I have to say on the graphics discussion. I just got caught up in a 6 part tutorial on youtube. Really interesting to see how concepts were expressed before we landed in today's standard vocabulary. Deluxe Paint had a basic layers system, which they described as "fixing the background" (basically flatten layers) or using the "spare screen".
posted by Iteki at 5:18 AM on January 3, 2013

There was an RPG that I played as a young child on the Amiga. I do not remember its name, but I have always wanted to go back and play it. It was isometric, like a very primitive Diablo. I could be wrong about this, but I believe what you did was start playing as the eldest of 3(?) brothers, and go out on some sort of quest, and slowly find useful gear. Then, when you died, you did not respawn, but you then started playing as the next eldest brother, and had to go collect the gear from your brother's corpse. It was a fantasy world. I might have dreamed the stuff about the brothers, but I'm almost certain that going and finding your corpse factored into it. Does anyone know the game I'm talking about, and where can I find it emulated?
posted by Caduceus at 8:14 PM on January 3, 2013

What you're talking about is The Faery Tale Adventure, Caduceus. It was very popular, although I didn't like it that well.

I don't you're going to just find it emulated online, because, as we can see from this link, Javascript isn't fast enough yet to do that. (and may never be.) You'll either have to set up a virtual Amiga with WinUAE, or buy yourself a prebuilt environment like Amiga Forever, linked upthread, and then find the ADF (Amiga Disk Format) floppy images you want.

I imagine it will work beautifully, though if you build the emulated environment yourself, you will probably have to learn a little more about the Amiga hardware than you really want to.

The floppy drives have device names of df0: and df1:; you can have more, but from from a quick scan online, it looks like FTA doesn't like df2: and higher, and also doesn't work right on Kickstart 2.0 and up.

In checking online, it appears that this configuration would probably work well for TFTA:

1. Amiga 500 hardware (68000, Original Chip Set (called OCS)), standard speed
2. 512K of 'chip' (graphics) RAM
3. 0K of 'slow' RAM (non-graphics, but still slowed down by the graphic chips)
4. 1 megabyte of 'fast' RAM (non-graphics, but runs full speed all the time)
4. Two floppy drives, df0: and df1:

Find images online (I can't help with that, sorry), 'insert' the images into those drives, and boot up. It should work from there, I would think. If you need to swap disks, F12 will bring up the WinUAE settings page, where you can 'eject' and 'insert' new floppy images. If you're having to do a lot of floppy switching, there's some kind of hotkey configuration thing that should make it much faster.

It appears that the game was patched by crackers to run from a hard drive, but the time investment in getting that all operational is probably not worth it, unless you really end up loving the game, and actually want to play it all the way through. You can MeMail me if you want help with that.
posted by Malor at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

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