February 1992 MAGazine Volume 8 Number 2

Table Of Contents

The February General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, February 8 from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the New Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis.

Plans for the Video SIG meeting will be announced at the general meeting, Saturday, February 8.

Don't forget, if you don't come to the General Meeting, you'll miss out on the Disk of the Month, available only at the General Meeting. It's only $2.00 each for members.

From the Presidents CLI

by Brian Akey

President's CLI,

The main demo for this month is Imagine 2.0. It is a new version of a 3D program that has been around for years. The newest version looks to be there best. Mike Wallace has agreed to show the club this new program. After the main demo, we are still planning on splitting into groups. For those interested in the workbench we will continue helping people with questions on the system. For the video people we will be showing another video tape. Finalcopy might be shown at this meeting if we have enough time. If you are looking for a good word processor Finalcopy looks to be the best. Don't forget that the animation/art work contest is still on for this summer. If you have any art work done on the computer this is your chance to show off. The entries will be on disk if it can run on the clubs machine of if it is a long demo it can be recorded to VHS video tape. There should be a big prize for this demo. That all for now. See you at the meeting.

Notes From the Editor:

by Larry Evans

I would like to say hello to all readers of this publication. This is my first attempt to edit this magazine, and I hope you all enjoy reading it. As time goes on I am sure we both will think of ways to improve the quality of the MAGazine. So if you have a suggestion or want to write a short article, get in touch with me; we'll talk about it.

Meeting Schedule

1:00 Start Meeting announcements
1:15 Main Demo
1:50 Disk of the Month
2:00 Break
2:15 Split into 3 groups
2:50 Questions or announcements
3:00 Meeting Ends

FROM THE MIDNIGHT REVIEWER...

Product Greens (The Ultimate 3-D Golf Simulation)
Publisher Microprose
Type Sports Simulation
Amiga DOS 2.0 Compatible
Hard Drive Installable

Midnight walked into his local Amiga software store and saw yet another golf game for the Amiga. Lets see there is only about 20 out already and now another one. So I picked up the box and the screens didn't look to great, still with not much else to get I bought it, and boy did I stumble right in to a winner.

Greens is the first golf game to use flight simulator technology for the game play, and I tell you it works really well. Greens contains hills, water, sand and the like but the hills are really hills. For example a green is up on a hill, you hit your shot and it is short, the ball will roll back down the hill, real 3-D and its great. There are several different ways to view the ball in flight, one has the camera following about 20 ft behind the ball as it is in flight, really nice effect. And unlike any golf game on the Amiga it is fast, on a 3000 a new screen update takes less than one second, the scrolling is as good as any flight simulator that I have seen.

Greens come with 6 courses, each with a driving range and putting green. Your player can be left or right-handed and you can change the stance and swing of each. The computer will play about a dozen variations of golf rules, your know, skins, medal, tournament and the like. You can pan a 360 degree view at anytime from anywhere on the course. The courses are laid out like a real course, in other words you can see a green or fairway off on another hole while your playing this hole. The game will keep stats on each player and save them out to disk, it also has a replay feature for any shot. This game also has a grid for showing slop of the green, a window that shows the lye of the ball, a wind indicator, and a reserve angle view for putting.

I have a tough time finding any faults in this game, maybe the 16 color screens, 32 would be nice but might slow the game down, and maybe a satellite view. The game installs on your hard drive and will run under 2.04 Quite simply, this is the best sports game on the Amiga yet.

** Midnight Rating....95 **

Midnight has spoken..

Rumors and Stuff

by Larry Evans

The following rumors are just that... rumors. Some say that I just make most of it up, but in fact, most of it comes from messages on GEnie. I often lift entire sentences and weave it all together so that you get the most up-to-date, if not the most accurate, of Amiga rumors. I would like to add that I will not be responsible for inaccuracies or mistakes. After all, this isn't Newsweek magazine you'r reading.

In the UK 2.04 has not been released yet. Only one company (WTS electronics) is selling 2.04 ROM's imported from the U.S. There is the A500+ though, but I don't know how sales are doing.

The Video Toaster was also named "product of the year" by Video Review magazine. They were also clear about it being in large part an Amiga. They made some comment that video editing will be "revolutionized" in the next couple of years.

One case has been reported that the ICD Flicker fixer (FF) has been generating some unwanted interference. Neighbors keep complaining that they saw computer screens on their TV. The (FF) was using a Seiko Multisync CM-1440 as the monitor; but the same interference happens when the (FF) was hooked to a Commodore 1950 monitor. I guess while living in a condominium you won't be able to use the Flicker Free since the computer setup may violate residential FCC regulations.

The Van Gogh graphics board from Expansion Technologies.

It is supposed to have 8 bit graphics, VGA and Super VGA resolutions - non interlaced. It is supposed to work with any program that uses only the libraries (that should include workbench) and list for $299 USD. Almost sounds too good to be true.

Well perhaps it is. When a called was placed to Expansion Systems (who also manufacture the Data Flyer hard drive systems) about the Van Gogh device and asked them a few questions about the board. At best, we got evasive answers. After trying to persuade the (very polite and well-versed in Three-Stooges genre) lady who answered the phone to let us speak to someone who might be able to answer our questions. She transferred us to a man who gave even less information, and was less polite about it.

Here are some of the questions asked, and the extent of answers we were provided with.

Q1. Does the board support sprites?

A1 Yes, the first two sprites are supported.

Q2. Is it supported by the 2.0 Display info database, and/or public screens?

A2 No, I don't think so. The software isn't written for it yet.

Q3. Is there/will there be any developer information available?

A3 I don't think so.

Q4. Are the Van Gogh screens draggable like normal Amiga screens?

A4 I'm not sure what you mean. [later] No, I don't think so.

Q5. Does the board use VRAM or conventional DRAM?

A5 I'm not sure.

Q6. Can the board be used simultaneously with other Amiga display modes if 2 monitors are used?

A6 [Unknown]

Q7. Then, it can be used with only one Multiscan monitor?

A7 Yes, probably.

Q8. Does it impose any speed penalties on Chip RAM bus operations from the higher bandwidth? (Note, this is a more devious rewording of question 5, for those who understand the difference...)

A8 I don't know

Finally, we relented, and asked them to send us some marketing literature, presuming that it might have more concrete information. What we recieved promptly: was a double sided DTP'ed page with a blurb on the front, and Tech Specs on the back. Barring the 10+ spelling/grammar mistakes, it looked reasonably professional. From the tech specs, we did learn that it does in fact use VRAMs, and that your existing motherboard Chip ram can be remapped to be $c000000 (add more zeroes here,to taste) Fast RAM. It also notes the horizontal and vertical scan frequencies for the various modes, and the refresh rates. Apparently, it uses a VERY odd 43Hz(?). Our calculator is still trying to calculate what that is a multiple/factor of. Perhaps it's just one better that 42. Overall it's a board that drops into the Agnus socket on your motherboard giving 8-bit graphics in VGA / SuperVGA resolutions, if you have the monitor for it. Although update times would still be slow, due to chipram bandwidth. This board also allows you to upgrade to the 2mb-Agnus, fitting the second meg on the board which you'll be needing, if you want to do ANYTHING with the SuperVGA and still run programs. We don't know how well it runs, but since graphics.library allows up to 8-bitplanes, it should work, theoretically. Of course, that's all on paper. In reality, it may not be as nice as it sounds, the biggest problem I foresee being the bandwidth to chip ram. However they appear to use VRAM which could circumvent this problem. Something like Van Gogh is a giant step in the right direction. The real BEST thing is for CBM to do a hires, 24-bit chipset - no hack there. True enough. Or at least do a spec so someone with some guts can do one.

RAMBRANDT PRODUCT PREVIEW

Video and Graphics System For Amiga 2000 and 3000 series computers.

by Ray Hines
DreamStates BBS

Rambrandt Amiga offers workstation power for desktop video, multimedia, industrial and scientific applications. For video and graphic professionals, and industries demanding high performance graphics and video workstations, the Rambrandt Amiga system offers features and performance at a revolutionary price.

Rambrandt has two framebuffers with adjustable resolutions of up to 1024 x 1024 pixels per buffer in 32-bit color. The Rambrandt Twin-Board Graphics System is based on the Texas Instruments TMS34020 40MHz 32-bit graphics processor, with 34082 graphics/math coprocessor.

For video and graphics applications, (Rambrandt has composite and RGB video input), and (composite and genlockable RGB video output). Through Rambrandt's RGB and composite video output, displays of 16.7 million colors are possible in resolutions up to 1024 x 1024. Rambrandt can digitize video from a variety of sources in 16.7 million colors in real time 1/30th of a second. The dual buffers can be linked for a contiguous, scrolable work area of up to 1024 x 2048 pixels.

Rambrandt's standard configuration is two four megabyte banks of fast video RAM (VRAM) and eight megabytes of RAM (DRAM) for resident application software. NTSC and PAL versions are available to support video and graphics applications world wide. Rambrandt is an ideal system for video and graphics work, multimedia, computer aided design, medical industry, industrial and scientific simulations, and entertainment industry applications. For film and video production work, Rambrandt is capable of an unlimited variety of digital video effects such as flipping, page turns, colorization, solarization, polarization, up to 8:1 zoom, rotations, picture-in-picture (PIP), live resizing, digital graphic overlay, and many real-time 24-bit animation and digital video effects.

For graphic work, Rambrandt is a star performer. Its high-resolution, double-buffer architecture with true 24-bit color and 16 color overlay makes interactive 24-bit painting easy. Pixel level control and 8:1 real-time hardware zoom give graphic artists capabilities to create stunning images in 2-D and 3-D. Rambrandt's coprocessor with built-in 3D functions will render three-dimensional scenes and animations with display images make it the ideal host for a graphics database. Rambrandt can provide 3-D modeling and graphics software power found previously on workstations costing tens of thousands of dollars more.

Desktop publishing in high resolution, black and white or 24-bit color, is fast and efficient with Rambrandt. With scrollable work areas of up to 1024 x 2048, Rambrandt offers desktop publishing capabilities, going far beyond those currently available in the personal computer market. Computer-aided design software can take advantage of Rambrandt's high speed, built-in drawing and calculation abilities. For architectural and engineering design, Rambrandt offers CAD muscle to finish projects faster. Screen redraws and object calculations are virtually instantaneous, translating ideas in to visual images in fractions of a second.

Rambrandt's blinding graphic processing speed offers tremendous potential to the industrial and medical market. For graphic and scientific simulations, Rambrandt has the power to process hundreds of thousands of variables and calculate complex simulation systems, producing high quality visual results. Simulations can be displayed in real-time on monitors and recorded to tape for presentations. Medical applications such as magnetic resonant imaging (MRI), chemical and molecular modeling, biological simulations, and many more are possible with Rambrandt.

Hundreds of image processing functions are built-in to Rambrandt's hardware. Image enhancement, image recognition, histography, and many other functions can be processed with blinding speed. Application software for scientific work, such as geology, seismology, astronomy and other branches of science can take advantage of Rambrandt's image processing engine.

Rambrandt is a landmark for the entertainment industry. Interactive simulations can be run in 24-bit color and in high resolution, creating realism and excitement, taking entertainment software to the limits of game designer's creativity. Real-time flight simulators, fast paced three dimensional action/adventure games, and other spectacular software can tap into Rambrandt's resources to create stunning new video games. Multiple Rambrandt boards can be linked to create exceptional virtual reality systems. Rambrandt opens doors for new concepts in entertainment, at a revolutionary performance vs cost factor.

Simply stated, Rambrandt represents the state of the art in Multimedia and graphic workstation power. The multifaceted Rambrandt integrates professional desktop video, graphics production, desktop publishing, CAD and many other functions. No other single product offers such a elegant and powerful solution to such diverse applications. Rambrandt's visionary design will satisfy the increasing demands of many industries. Several man-years of professional hardware software engineering have gone into Rambrandt, to assure that Rambrandt will meet the demands of not only users, but also application developers. Rambrandt's not only to use, its easy to develop for.

Rambrandt offers unique software compatibility to the development community through its Standard Amiga Graphics Extension (SAGE). PP&S and Digital Micronics Inc. (DMI), with Commodore's cooperation, established this standard at the Amiga Developer's Conference in Denver. SAGE provides a simple and efficient way for developing applications which are compatible with Rambrandt, DMI's Resolver, and other 340x0 hardware products. SAGE libraries are available to other manufacturers who wish to enter the market. SAGE has been enthusiastically received by the Amiga Developer's Association, and a number of major Amiga software development companies have expressed Developers interested in SAGE can obtain the professional developer's kit, which includes manual, SAGE libraries, and source code examples. This complete kit is available for the nominal fee of $300.

The standard configuration board with a 40MHz 34020 processor, 34082 coprocessor, 8MB of VRAM, and 8MB code RAM, is expected to be released at a manufacturer's suggest list price of $3995. Rambandt is compatible with Amiga 2000 and Amiga 3000 series computers, AmigaDos 1.3 and 2.0, in NTSC and PAL versions.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS for the Rambrandt

CTMS34020 Processor 40 MFLOPS peak speed at 40 MHZ, 32-bit architecture with 512 byte Cache
TMS34082 Coprocessor 32-bit mth/graphics coprocessor Onboard 3-D Vector Support and rendering engine parallel Processing Capability
Memory 8 Megabytes of 44C251 1 megabit VRAM Pixel/bit-aligned block transfer rate of 142 megabits/second, 8 Megabytes of DRAM resident applications
Input RS-170A (Composite), CCIR-624 (PAL), and RGB (DB9 Targa Pin- Compatible)
Output Externally Synchable RGB (DB9 Targa Pin-Compatible) RS-170A (Compositie), CCIR-624 (PAL)
RGB Resolutions Variable form 320X400 to 1024, in 8 or 32 bits 1024x2048 scrollable work area by combining buffers.
*Non-Interlaced 320x400, 320x480, 640x400, 640x480, 512x512, 640x640, 800x600, 800x640, 1024x512
*non-Interlaced 800x800, 1024x768, 1024x1024 (thousands of other custom resolutions possible)
Composite Resolution 768x480 (NTSC), 768x576 (PAL)
Pixel Depth 8 bit or 32-bit, user definable
Horizontal Scan rate Programmable 15.734 KHz (nominal NTSC), 15.625 KHz (nominal PAL) Range 15-34 KHz
Vertical Scan Rate Programmable 30 Hz (nominal NTSC), 25 HZ (nominal PAL) Range 25-100Hz
Interlace programmable 2:1 Interlaced, or Non-interlaced
Amiga Bus Interface 4 x 12 8k DMA blocks, directly addressable
Hue, Saturation, Contrast Software adjustable via digital pots in 256 levels each.
Palette 16.7 million colors displayable from a palette of 16.7 million colors Alternative display of 256 colors from a palette of 16.7 million colors.
Overlay 8-bit Alpha channel with 16-color overlay Alpha channel color key between buffers
Image Capture Full frame and field capture in 1/30th or 1/60th of second. Real-time image capture in 24 bits up to 1024x1024 resolution. Gray- scale image capture in 256 shades. Multiple resolutions in composite and RGB, up to 1024x1024.
Image Processing Bit-blitting, Hardware Zoom and Pan, Dynamic Resizing, Run- Length Encoding, and JPEG Compression Support
SAGE Library Over 200 graphic functions, with 2-D and 3-D graphic libraries: LINEDRAW, POLYDRAW, CUBICSPLINE, PHONGSHADE, GOURADSHADE, and more.
Fast Image Loading NTSC overscan image in less than a second, 1.5MB 24-bit image in less than 4 seconds

ALL TRADEMARKS ARE ACKNOWLEDGED, PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE!

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second saturday of each month in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be an officers lunch meeting at GRIDLEYS in the formal dining room beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, February 8 (before the general meeting). For more information call Brian Akey at (901) 377-1093.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1992

President
Brian Akey
(901) 278-6354

Vice President
Donnie Webb
(901) 363-8025

Secretary
Raymond Ginn
(901) 353-4504

Treasurer
Micheal Cervetti
(901) 386-2584

Librarian
Ken Winfield
(901) 382-3339

MAGazine Editor
Larry Evans
(901) 383-1828

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Hardware Rentals

FutureSound audio digitizer kit - $1 per day
FrameGrabber OR SuperGen - $4 per day
(Hardware rentals are for Members Only)
A variety of Amiga specific videotapes are also available
from the club's hardware library.

Disk Sales

MAG library and Fred FISH disks are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Ken Winfield (901) 382-3339
OR see Ken at the next MAG general meeting.

Changes or Corrections

Please help me get accurate information on all members. If you know someone on the members list that we don't have complete information for, please let me know. Send all name and address information, updates, or changes to:

Larry Evans
5754 Riverhead Ave
Memphis TN. 38135

For Sale

Your Classified AD Here

Free of charge to members call,
write, or see in person

Larry Evans
MAGazine editor
5754 Riverhead Ave.
Memphis TN. 38135
(901) 383-1828

Classified Ads will run for one issue of MAGazine and then, if you want your AD to run again, you will need to get in touch with the MAGazine editor, either at the meeting, by phone, or by mail. Thank you for your continued support.

Dues Notice

Dues must be paid at or before the General Meeting of your EXPIRE date. If paid on or before this time, the renewal rate is $15 for the year. If you wait past the General Meeting (second saturday of each month), you will be dropped and must renew at the new member rate of $20 for the year.

Please pay at the General Meeting or send dues to:

MAG Dues
c/o Michael Cervetti
(901) 386-2584

Financial Report for the Memphis Amiga Group February, 1992

Beginning Balance $857.63
Income
Dues $140.00
Disk Sales $236.50
Mouse Pad $16.00
Tape Rentals $0.00
Total Income $392.50
   
EXPENSES
Newsletter exp. $55.00
Fish Disk, ect. $60.88
Geine $20.00
2.40 Rom and switch $116.76
Total Expenses $252.64
   
Ending Balance 997.49