October 1994 MAGazine Volume 10 Number 10

Table Of Contents

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

The newsletter is published monthly for distribution to the members of the Memphis Amiga Group. MAGazine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews, and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions are welcome and may be submitted in hardcopy or via disk in ASCII format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - (901) 759-1542 V.32bis hi speed operating CNET PRO v3.05c software. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Bob Nunn

Lightwave Demo's for October

We have lined up a Lightwave Demo. David Pickett with Opus 2 will be showing the latest and greatest effects using Lightwave and Video Toaster. Dont miss it!

Club Officers for '95?

I really wanted someone else to take the helm last year. My wife and I both have been active in users groups for 6 or 7 years now and really would like to retire. Our jobs are both becoming more time consuming and complex and we are spending our first year in a new house. In the next few months we will need your help in finding suitable replacements. Our January elections will be here before you know it and we will not be continuing with the club as officers. We both will still be active members. Help us by letting us know your thoughts and if you are willing to participate in some form.

Commodore UK?

The lastest rumor is that Commodore UK's bid was accepted. I am still waiting on official word. Getting a bid accepted is like buying a house, you ain't done until all the paperwork is signed, and you have to have all the money.

Commodore Auction?

There was an auction of all the contents of the Commodore Headquarters in Westchester. Several MAG members raised some cash and Keith Burns ended up flying up there. He purchased 15 pallets of assorted and sundry goods. I am keeping in touch with them as they receive and sort through the items. I am sure they will be anxious to move any goods they aren't personally using and I will try to help keep everyone advised.

Ham Fest Bargains!

With Ham Fest coming up the second weekend in October, you may want to start stashing some cash. There are always some bargains there if you take the time to search them out. MAG will not have a booth there this year since we only had minimal interest from the general public. Remember that $15 Teac SCSI tape drive I bought last year? Ham Fest will be Oct 8 and 9 at the Showplace Arena. (Just south of Walnut Grove and Germantown Rd.) 8:30-4:00 Saturday and 8:30-2:00 Sunday. Admission $5/person.

Gateway Computer Show

The show is Oct. 29, 11:00-6:00pm in Bridgeton, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. If you wish to make travel arrangements and/or stay at the Holiday Inn, contact Best Way Travel at (800) 325-4942 and tell them you're with the Gateway Computer Show. If you want to stay at the Knight's Inn, which was cheaper and within walking distance of the show auditorium, the number is (314) 291-8545. We stayed at the Knight's Inn last year. While it wasn't the best, the rooms were clean and I didn't notice any bugs!

An additional note about the classes. The Toaster class and the Arexx class will both be held at noon. The D-paint class and DTP class will be at 2:45.

Admission to the classes is on a first come, first serve basis so send in you money for the classes ASAP to insure a spot. Admission to the show is free if you sign up for a class.

OS 3.1 for the Amiga

My Amiga 2000 that I run the BBS on had been operating on the system version 2.1. Fortunately before Commodores' demise they had sold the distribution rights for the updated operating system to an outfit in Germany. I installed it in my system. It's main benefit is faster graphic redraw and it now supports CD-Rom use without second party software. If I was already running version 3.0 software I wouldn't have spent the money for the changes.

I have heard that AIBB reports double the speed on graphics handling over the earlier system, but personally have noticed very little change. It is nice having Multiplayer and Amiguide built in now and the ability to display workbench pictures without having to resort to another program. Since I already have CD-Rom software installed I have yet to try the bilt in feature. The manuals are very well done with pertinent examples, diagrams and screen-requester shots.

Headgap has Fred Fish 1-1000 Online

I will likely have Fish Disks 500-1000 with directories and file descriptions available by the time you read this. I will not likely put up the directories for 1-499 since it takes a lot of time.

The early Fish Disks will be available to download but will not have descriptions of individual files. I have Kingfisher available for free download which is a database of all Fish Disks 1-975, you can use it to pre-search for programs or just browse the directories of the later disks. There are also text files in the text ud area that give you a simple text listing of the disks. The files are named ALIB.

Ultimate Mod Collection CD Now Online!

If you like computer music, I now have this CD online with full directories to make it easy to select programs. Call Operator Headgap BBS. The system has more features than ever and plenty of room! Featuring 2 CD's Online, 2.3 Gigabyte of available hard drive storage, and 2-28,000 VFAST Modems Online! 901-759-1542 & 1543!

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 a board of directors lunch meeting at beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, October 8 (before the general meeting). For more information about the location of the lunch call Bob Nunn at 901-759-1541.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1994

President
Bob Nunn
(901) 759-1541

Vice President
Thomas O'Brien
(901) 872-6962

Secretary
Cheryn Nunn
(901) 759-1514

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

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

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disk are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003
OR see Bill at the next MAG general meeting.

For Sale

VLab framer grabber card for Amiga 2000/3000/4000 - $275
Fargo color printer w/ribbons for dye-sub, mono, & wax - $800
Call Ken Winfield at (901) 383-9559

Advertising Rates

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

INFO

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

Don't forget! Classified-style advertising space is free to members.

What is a multisession CD drive?

A CD has an "index" area which contains track details; this is what is read when you first stick an audio CD into a player. Photo-CDs have a separate index area each time they are written (because it is impossible to "update" the index area). A multisession drive is one that knows to look for multiple index areas. The full details are contained in the Phillips/Sony/Kodak "Orange Book" standard for writable CDs.

The issues of CD-WO and how multisessions are recorded are addressed in the European Computer Manufacture Association (ECMA) new standard ECMA 168, which became a stadard in June of 1992. The title of the standard is "Volume and File Structure of Read-Only and Write-Once Compact Disc Media for Information Interchange". This standard expands upon the ISO-9660 CD-ROM standard.

HACKED AMIGA PROGRAMS

Here are the latest known versions of some programs known to have hacked fake or trojan copies floating around. Archive names are listed when known, along with the person who reported the fraud. (thanks from us all).

02-02-94 VirusZ II 1.05, 68544 bytes is a fake. The original is Virus Z II 1.05 is 66116 bytes long. Reported by Georg Hvrmann.
20-03-94 X-Copy 8.5 66424 bytes is a trojan. Installs the Fmfoj Xjsvt v2.2 (Eleni) boot virus, which can damage your harddisk.
17-05-94 Decompiler (Autoboot Disc Creator), 53.992 bytes is a trojan, Renames your harddisk directories. Reporte by W. Gorzkowski.
25-05-95 Hacker 20.980 bytes unpacked is said to optimize your modem settings, but in fact it is a trojan
04-06-94 DOSTrace 2.18, 10.636 bytes is a fake version. Reported by Peter Stuer.
05-06-94 DMS 2.13 92.440 bytes packed in a file named "Dms213ur.lha" will format your harddisk. Reported by Kim B. Jensen.
15-06-94 NoCare27.lha 28.848 bytes unpacked delete your HD files.
18-06-94 DMS2.12 lha, Device-Masher System, DMS/FMS-Masher 2.12 Extra Turbo 92.208 bytes is a fake.
20-06-94 Ua62.lha, Ua-dialer v6.2 26828 bytes PPacked, 51.956 bytes unpacked is said to damage your S/Dir.
02-07-94 NCOmm 3.09 221.056 bytes is said to be a trojan, which installs the eleni virus, that can damage your harddisk.
07-07-94 Hd_speedup.exe, 6252 bytes unpacked found in "Hd_Speedup.lha" will damage your harddisk. Reported by Steen Brushaard.
15-07-94 Clx_doom.lha, Doom 32020 bytes is a nasty trojan, which change your assign and setpatch command. Reported by Edwin Leenders.
23-07-94 Elien_virus_checker 0.1 is nasty trojan. Found in a file called "elien.exe". 1016 bytes PPacked, 596 bytes unpacked.
02-08-94 Esp-dmpd.lha (DiskMaster 2 PAL Fix) is said to contain a linkvirus.
16-08-94 Amix43.lha, AmiExpress 4.3 173.764 bytes unpacked is a fake and is said to have 2 backdoors.
23-08-94 God-j12.lha, JiZaNSi 1.2 - IFF 2 ANSI converter 22.008 bytes unpacked is a trojan. Reported by Peter Hansen.
24-08-94 Viewtek22.lha 93.844 bytes contains a link virus. Reported by Betasoft.
01-09-94 Dskslv3.DMS. Disksalv 3.01 106584 bytes unpacked is said to be a trojan. Reported by Dave Haynie.
08-09-94 Vmk30.lha, Virus Memory Kill V3.00 2620 bytes is a trojan which will damage your harddisk. Reported by Chris Hames
11-09-94 Vzii110.LHA, VirusZ II 1.10 70452 bytes is said to be a fake this is not true. Reported by Teddy Petersen.

Warp Engine 4040

Review by Andre Perusse

PRODUCT NAME

Warp Engine 4040

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The Warp Engine 4040 is an accelerator, RAM expansion, and SCSI-2 card for the Amiga 4000.

COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Macrosystem Development
Address: 24282 Lynwood, Suite 201
Novi, MI
48374 USA
Phone: (810) 347-3332
Fax: (810) 347-6643

LIST PRICE $1695.00 (US). Street price is about $1450.00.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

An Amiga 4000 or A4000T. [MODERATOR'S NOTE: A previous reviewer stated tht the board works on the A3000T as well. -Dan]

SOFTWARE

AmigaDOS 2.1 or higher.

COPY PROTECTION

None.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 4000 Tower, 2 MB Chip RAM, 16 MB Fast RAM (60 ns). Workbench 3.1. Quantum 1800S 1.8GB SCSI-2 Hard Drive. NEC 3xi Internal Triple Speed CD-ROM (with ASIM CDFS v2). Emplant Deluxe with version 4.7 of the emulation software. Multiface III I/O card.

INSTALLATION

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: If you are not comfortable opening up your Amiga, then you should have the work done by an authorized Amiga service center. Opening your Amiga yourself may void your warranty, and careless work may even damage the machine. -Dan].

Installation of the Warp Engine involves removing the Commodore supplied 68040 processor card and replacing it with the Warp Engine. Note that the Warp Engine does not occupy a Zorro slot. The 4040 model come with its own CPU, so you can sell your old processor card to an Amiga 3000 owner. A heat sink and fan (one unit) is provided with the 4040 though there is no mention of it in the documentation. You must peel off the sticker and stick it on top of the 68040. Placing the Warp Engine in the CPU slot of the 4000 can be tricky. The plastic standoffs are rigid and I had a tough time getting them to snap into the holes on the Warp Engine board.

The documentation states that it might be easier if you place the standoffs on the 4000's motherboard first and then put the Warp Engine in. I found, however, that it was easier the other way around.

If you want to connect your internal hard drive to the Warp Engine, a cable is provided. There is no SCSI activity LED Connector on the WarpEngine card, however. You must connect your computer's hard drive activity LED directly to the hard drive. There is also no way to connect external SCSI devices to the Warp Engine. The manual states that an external connector is available from MacroSystems, should you want one.

Next, there is a series of jumpers that must be configured for your system. You must tell the Warp Engine whether or not to AutoBoot off of the integrated SCSI-2 controller. The behaviour of the controller must also be set (you can make it slower or faster depending on your hard drive), including whether or not to support LUNs. You must also tell the WarpEngine what kind of memory you have installed on it. You must set jumpers for the size of the biggest SIMM module, and whether or not you have any double-sided SIMMs installed. Double-sided 16MB SIMMs take a lot of power and are not recommended by MacroSystems.

A disk comes with the Warp Engine that contains various utilities. There is no Installed script. Just drag the drawer labled "Warp Software" onto your hard drive.

REVIEW

I can sum up this entire review with one word: AWESOME!! The 4000 Tower used for this review virtually hovers off the floor! I am indeed greatly impressed with this unit. The Warp Engine comes in an unassuming, white box with the same kind of cover as the advertisement in AmigaWorld Magazine. The box contains the Warp Engine, a heat sink & fan, plastic standoffs, a thin, spiral-bound book, and a disk.

If you have any Fast RAM on the motherboard of your 4000, you can move it on to the Warp Engine for increased performance. The Warp Engine has 4 SIMM slots (which accept industry standard 72-pin SIMMs) that can hold 4, 8, 16, or 32 MB SIMMs in any configurartion. Very flexible. 60ns SIMMs are recommended to achieve the best performance. For all of you who think benchmarks are important, here they are (courtesy of AIBB v6.1 - compared to stock Amiga 4000/040):

EmuTest 1.88 Writepixel 1.47
Sieve 2.87 Dhrystone 1.61
Sort 1.76 EllipseTest 1.12
Matrix 2.25 IMath 1.61
MemTest 4.61 TGTest 1.15
LineTest 1.02 Savage 1.63
FMath 1.61 FMatrix 2.80
Beachball 1.71 InstTest 2.41
Flops 1.60 TranTest 2.22
FTrace 1.69 CpITest 1.71

Sysinfo (version 3.23) reports 29.89 MIPS and 7.58 MFlops. Most startling in the above benchmarks is the memory speed of the Warp Engine. With the 60ns 16MB SIMM module, the Warp Engine's RAM speed is over 4.5 times faster than a stock 4000!! Sssssssssmmmmokin'!!

With a Quantum 1800S 1.8GB SCSI-2 hard drive, SysInfo reports a read speed of over 3 MB per second. DiskSpeed 3.1 reports a slightly more conservative speed of 2.5 MB per second. While the Quantum 1800S is no Seagate Barracuda, this is still very fast.

Real world performance is the only benchmark in my book, however. I am running a 16 colour Workbench that feels like a 4 colour Workbench. Icons and windows just fly onto the screen. Response from the Amiga is instantaneous. Click on the close gadget of a window and it's gone before you can blink. Screens open faster and programs load much quicker. Boot-up time was reduced by almost 10 seconds over a stock 4000 with an IDE hard drive. I can run the Emplant Macintosh emulator in 256 colours with absolutely no slowdown. PageStream 2.2 screen updates are so much faster with the Warp Engine 4040, it's a dream to use.

The included software consists of SCSI hard drive partitioning and formatting software, a modified HD ToolBox icon to work with the Warp Engine, a device driver, a SCSI handler (if do not set the Warp Engine SCSI controller to autoboot), and a CLI command to map Kickstart into Fast RAM. The lack of an Installer script is disappointing, but then there's not much to install. In fact, the Warp Engine will work fine without any of its supplied software installed. The included SCSI drive partitioning software is not as good as HDToolbox, in my opinion. It does not tell you how big your drive is in megabytes, only in blocks.

DOCUMENTATION

The small manual is clear and concise. It contains detailed technical information on how thw Warp Engine works, which is great for all you techno-nuts out there. The installation instructions are well laid out in a step-by-step fashion. The only thing missing was an explanation of the heat sink. Although I knew how to install the heat sink and fan unit, I think MacroSystems should have at least mentioned it.

LIKES

This board is fast! MacroSystems did not cut corners at all on this card. It has a fast SCSI-2 controller and easy memory expansion. Its performance with Emplant is most impressive. The integration of accelerator, SCSI-2 controller, and RAM expansion on one card is a definite plus. And no precious Zorro slot is taken.

DISLIKES

The Warp Engine is rather expensive. Certainly not in everyone's budget, at $1500 (US) it's a bit steep. Installation of the 4040 in a 4000Tower presents a problem, as well. With the fan on the CPU and/or SIMMs installed on the board, the drive bracket can no longer be installed. You must use a hack-saw to cut out areas for the fan and SIMMs to poke through. Luckily, it's not that difficult. Lastly, the lack of a SCSI activity LED connector on the Warp Engine is a bit of a let-down. If you have more that one hard drive, you can only connect your computer's LED to one of them. On a board that it so well designed, this oversight is inexcusable. The lack of an external SCSI connector is also a mark against the Warp Engine.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

The only other product that compares to the Warp Engine is GVP's G-Force 040. I have never used the G-Force, so I don't know how its speed compares. However, the G-Force uses GVP's custom SIMM modules, which are much more expensive than the industry standard SIMMs the Warp Engine uses. And the G-Force does not come standard with a SCSI-2 controller - it's an option.

BUGS

Not found.

VENDOR SUPPORT

I've had no reason to call MacroSystems, so I have no idea how well they support their products. I did call their support BBS, however, and the technicians appear to answer all questions.

WARRANTY

Because the unit is not mine (I am a dealer configuring this for a client), I was interested in the warranty of the Warp Engine. So I started to read the legalese on the first page. About 3/4 of the way through the disclaimer, there is a sentence that says, "If you have read all of this, your brain herein, will be turned into mush." I heartily agree with that sentence as I can never figure out what exactly the warranty covers. As it turns out, the last page of the manual states that the Warp Engine is warranted against manufacturing defects for 2 years.

CONCLUSIONS

If you can afford it, buy this card. If you can't afford it, sell your grandmother. You will not regret it.

Jim Godown (901) 454-0001
Viva L'
AMIGA
BUY · SELL · TRADE
Memphis, Tennessee

Simon the Sorcerer CD32 game review

by Alen Buxey

PRODUCT NAME

Simon the Sorcerer (Talkie) CD32

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This is a CD32 silver disc conversion of the AGA floppy based Amiga game "Simon the Sorcerer."

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Adventure Soft
Address: PO Box 786
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B74 4HG UK
Telephone: 021 352 0847
Distributors: PDQ 021-625-3377

LIST PRICE

This copy cost 39.99 UKP from a computer store with a blue and yellow sign in Portsmouth, UK.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

A CD32. A mouse is recommended. (The joypad is usable.) Audio speakers of some sort, to hear the speech. (Otherwise you won't be able to play the game.)

SOFTWARE

None.

COPY PROTECTION

None that is visible to the user.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

CD32 equipped with: FMV (Full Motion Video) module, mouse.

INSTALLATION

Just insert the silver CD into the CD32 and boot up!

INTRODUCTION

For those that haven't played or heard of Simon The Sorcerer ("STS"), here is a quick description. STS is a graphical adventure in the same vein as many of the LucasArts productions (e.g., Monkey Island I & II). The background story is that a boy named Simon is given a dog as a present. With this dog comes a weird scroll. Well, while playing with the dog one day, the scroll is rediscovered and activated. The Result? A warp tunnel to another dimension of course! The dog jumps in and Simon follows... this is shown in the game as an Attract Mode intro sequence. Game on....

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW..?

The first thing that might hit you, if you have played only the OCS/ECS version before, is the graphics. This is the AGA version here, most definitely. This means that 256 colour palettes have been used unsparingly to give a very atmospheric feeling to the game. Indeed, some of the scenery in the woods and caves looks extremely lifelike. But there is still the "sweeping" problem... that is, the mouse must almost always be swept over the whole scene to discover obects - as they are not well defined. There again, if they were, the objects would be too obvious and the adventure would be too easy.

SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING'S COMING

The sound! The sound! wow! Incredible. Valhalla may have claimed to be the first ever Amiga speech adventure, but this game wipes it into the ground - to the other side of the world!

Every character in the game speaks. Every single person has a different accent (no "all scottish a la Liberation" her!!). There is no repetition of samples. In fact, the main character (Simon) is voiced by the famous "Chris Barry" (of 'Red Dwarf' and 'Brittas Empire' fame). The other voices are done by famous impersonators (well, within British television entertainment circles anyway). The speech means that all text that used to be printed to the screen is now absent. The only text is for your use: to select what you want to say to the other characters. Thus, without sound, the game cannot be played since you can't hear what is saidl

The music has been revamped too (slightly). It can be turned off if desired, and it is not required for playing the game.

HUMOUR

The game is very enjoyable, not just because it is a long lasting adventure game (at least a weeks worth of brain usage), but also because of the constant bombardment of humourous touches. Silly sketches and references to classic fairy tales constantly abound, not to mention plain and classic British humour!

You learn to like the depressed woodman, Swamp thing, barman - the list is endless.

THE END

Eventually I will finish the game. So I don't know whether there is an ending animation (which is unfortunate really - as I would really like to say whether there is...). But it will take me a while yet.

DOCUMENTATION

A brief, printed manual is supplied with STS. It details enough that you can get started, but not too much to give the game away.

If you are new to graphical adventures, you MAY get stuck, but the point'n'click interface is so easy that documentation is almost made redundant. For example, to use the whistle, you click on "Use", and them click on the picture of the whistle in your inventory. (I won't tell you where to do this, though.)

LIKES

The graphics. They use the palette fully and are beautifully drawn. The sound. Real voices for every character! Data: 2 hours of speech. Over 3,500 individual samples. The game - a great graphical adventure that will waste many hours!

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

The background music. Too repetitive. Luckily, it can be turned off. The speed of Simon's sprite. He lurches along as if he's pulling a 2 ton weight behind him. I thought that this would have been fixed for the CD32 version. (It doesn't damage the game, though.) Some samples click at the end; however, this is not noticeable with the music on.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

Liberation on the CD32 was a different type of adventure. It was an RPG (Role Playing Game), so that doesn't count. (STS is better though.)

Until "Beneath A Steel Blue Sky" comes out for the CD32, this is the only graphical adventure so far available.

BUGS

None found so far.

VENDOR SUPPORT

I have not contacted the vendor for support yet. I can see no need for anyone to do so either. Any hints required for the game can be found in magazines and on Aminet.

As for support... Simon The Sorcerer 2 will be coming out in November! New storyline, new plot, new characters! Expect a preview on Usenet.

WARRANTY

28 days warranty from the shop where it was purchased. The warranty is applicable only to the holder of the receipt.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the best ever CD32 game so far! Sorry for my over enthusiasm, but this game breaks the mould of all other console games. There isn't a single console game like it on any other platform. Once again, the CD32 creates a first in the industry! No game will ever be "perfect," so 98% is all that I can award it.

Copyright 1994 Alan Buxey. All rights reserved. (But if you want to quote something from within this review, you can.) - Alan Buxey kcci1@solx1.susx.ac.uk

Picasso II Graphics Board Review

By: A.B. Laughton

PRODUCT NAME

Picasso II grahpics board

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A 24-bit graphics board for Amigas with Zorro slots.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Blittersoft Address: 40 Colley Hill Bradwell Milton Keynes Bucks. MK13 9DB Telephone (0908) 220196 BBS (0908) 310208 Internet: paul@bsoft.demon.co.uk

LIST PRICE

Various options, either 1MB or 2MB (recommended) RAM. Currently #349 for 2MB version, #499 for 2MB & TV Paint 2.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

Amiga with Zorro 2 or Zorro 3 slot. Monitor capable of 38KHz (minimum) to 64KHz (to show all modes). A hard drive and 3MB RAM are almost essential for dealing with 24-bit images.

SOFTWARE

AmigaDOS 2.04 or greater.

MACHINE USE FOR TESTING

Amiga 4000/030, 2MB Chip RAM, 8MB Fast RAM, Mitac 15 inch "Hyper-VGA" monitor (28-64KHz) Standard 80MB Hard Drive (1.0 MB/sec). Internal high density floppy drive and external 880K floppy drive. Kickstart 39.106, Workbench 39.29

INSTALLATION

The manual describes this in clear detail. The hardware part is easy. (NOTE: the A4000 comes with warranty stickers on the case which have to be removed before you can install any internal expansion. Mine were removed by Wang when they replaced a faulty SIMM. I was told that removing these stickers does not void the warranty because A4000's are meant to be user expandable. You might like to check this yourself.) [MODERATOR'S NOTE: If you are not comfortable opening up your Amiga, then you should have the work done by an authorized Amiga service center. Opening your Amiga yourself may void your warranty, and careless work may even damage the machine. - Dan]

The software installation requires that you know some technical details about your system; in particular, the maximum frequency your monitor can accept. They take great care to state that you can destroy your monitor by entering the wrong details here!

REVIEW

One of the things that makes the Amiga such a great computer is its graphics. In the days of the first A500's, home computers were expected to use a domestic TV and the Amiga was king (queen?). When I took my new 500 to a TV shop to get a SCART TV, the assistant tuned right past the frequency, thinking it was a TV station.

Since then things have changed. For serious work, or even frivolous work, a TV is not good enough. Monitors such as the Phillips 8832 make a big improvement in the picture quality, but they cannot increase the resolution above the TV limits that the Amiga was built to. Meanwhile, the PC world was enjoying higher and higher resolutions and cheap monitors. The problem is that PCs use a whole different set of standards from the TV ones. (This is why Amigas excel in desktop video.)

The AGA chipset is a step in the right direction by having a new mode, called Productivity, which works with the PC monitors.

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: Actually, Productivity mode debuted in the ECS chipset. - Dan]

Unfortunately most programs expect a TV type output, so you will probably need to keep your TV anyway. A1200 owners score massively over us poor 4000 owners because the 1200 has two Video Out ports to the 4000's one. (Why, Commodore, why?)

Because of the two types of output, graphics cards (yes I've finally got round to them) come in two flavours.

Video Cards such as Opalvision don't offer any higher resolutions because they are designed to work with video equipment - like TVs. However, they do give high wuality 'true colour' (24-bit) output.

Graphics cards such as the Picasso ignore all this TV stuff and go off to play with the big boys from the PC world (and use their chips, by the way). Most can show 24-bit images up to 800x600 if they have enough memory, but the important part is the high resolution modes. If you get a graphics card, you HAVE to get a PC type monitor. To get one that will show all the new modes (and what's the point if you don't) will cost quite a bit (mine was #380).

So what do you get? Well basically, you can now run Workbench and any system-aware program in as high a resolution as you want. For example, I'm writing this in Final Writer, which is running at 1152x900. This means that I can show a whole page of text in a nice font and still read it clearly.

Workbench is massively improved. No more cluttered screens and everything written in nice clear 20+ point fonts.

There are several disks of software supplied with the board. This is installed with Commodore's standard installer. Most important are the new screen modes for the Preferences list. There is also a useful screen mode selection utility which runs in the background and pops up whenever an unrecognised program tries to open a new screen. It then gives you the option to change the screen mode temporarily or every time the program runs.

There is a picture viewer for IFF, GIF & JPEG formats, modules for Image FX, ADpro & Real3D plus a screen blanker.

All Picasso board come with a registered version of the animation editor MainActor which is shareware but of commercial quality. It is possible to buy the board with TVPaint 2 for and extra #150. I got the cut-down version TV Paint junior which works very well but would probably be too slow with a 6800 CPU.

DOCUMENTATION

Two manuals: one for TV Paint, if you get it, and one for the board. The board manual is well written and quite big. It includes a lot of technical detail, some computer graphics background theory and several example programs in C.

LIKES

The manual is very good as is the supplied software. The best point is the way that other programs such as Imagine2 & Dpaint can be redirected to work on much higher resolutions. (Imagine is amazing at 1280x1024.)

DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

The worst problem I've had is finding a suitable monitor. The Picasso has a very useful pass-through socket that detects when you are using an Amiga or Picasso screen mode and switches between them automatically. This makes linking up one monitor very simple, but if you ever play 15KHz games on your machine and you don't have a flicker fixer or display enhancer, that monitor will have to be able to receive the standard, unpromoted signal as well as the higher frequency Picasso modes. At the moment, I use a TV for games and a PC multisync monitor for Workbench and applications.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

I'm told that the main differences between the few cards at around this price are speed and compatibility with Workbench. Apparently the Picasso is one of the best at both, and is the cheapest!

CONCLUSIONS

If you spend a lot of time using Workbench or graphics type applications (e.g.,DTP), you would be much happier using a graphics card.

If you want a graphics card, the Picasso II is hard to beat.

Copyright 1994 Arthur Laughton. All rights reserved.

Make Civilization AGA Run at a Civilized Speed

by Nick Ridley & David Andrew Clayton

There has been much talk on comp.sys.amiga.games over the past few months on the subject of finding ways of improving the speed of CivilizationAGA. This file contains information posted by David Andrew Clayton (dac@prolix.apana.org.au) which I found to work perfectly with my hard disk installed version of the game.

In order to perform the changes to the file you will need: Either Powerpacker Professional or DLD (found in the VirusZ archive on Aminet) in order to decrunch the executable Civilization file, and a hex file editor such as AZap, FileX etc.

Before we start, a quick disclaimer - I take no responsibility for any damage you may cause to your hard disc and the files there on it nor do I guarantee that the following will work. It just worked for me (and Mr. Clayton presumably).

1. Unpack the CivilizationAGA file, perhaps taking a backup copy of it first just in case anything should go wrong. Use either of the above decrunchers.

2. Load up your file editor and load the uncrunched CivilizationAGA file.

3. Change the following entries: To remove the screen fades (thank you God):

At offset &2CCF2 change &6728 to &66B0

At offset &2CE60 change &59466002 to &4E714E71

To stop the pointer annoying you with its constant blinking:

At offset &2D17C change &4EAEFEF2 to &4E714E71

To make the game run mostly from FAST RAM:

At offset &14 change &40 to &00

At offset &1C change &40 to &00

At offset $20 change &40 to &00

4. Save the file back, and recrunch it if you wish (and own Powerpacker Pro).

5. Run this file as normal by double-clicking the icon. With luck everything is OK, the music is still fine and the game runs at a less terrifyingly slow speed (on faster machines especially). Now a game of Civ no longer takes a week! Good luck!

Nick Ridley (nick@mentaur.demon.co.uk)

MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP MEMBERS September 1994

If your name is underlined check your renewal date.

If you have a change of address or phone, please notify; Terry Campbell (601) 393-4864

LAST NAME FIRST NAME CITY ST ZIP EXPIRES
1. Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38107 OCT 94
2. Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 95
3. Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115 JAN 95
4. Bonk Bruce West Hemp AR 72301 FEB 95
5. Bowers William Memphis TN 38118 MAY 95
6. Brockway Dennis M. Memphis TN 38107 SEP 95
7. Brownlow John G. Germantown TN 28138 AUG 95
8. Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018 NOV 94
9. Campbel1 Terry A. Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 94
10. Chiego John & Sara Memphis TN 38119 DEC 94
11. Cobbins Gerald Memphis TN 38109 JAN 95
12. Cumby Rick D. Memphis TN 38120 AUG 95
13. Condo Casey L. Memphis TN 38134 OCT 94
14. Crockett Robert Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 94
15. Dobbins Chris Memphis TN 38152 NOV 94
16. Echols Steve Memphis TN 38125 DEC 94
17. Ferguson David K. Pontotoc MS 38863 MAR 95
18. Franklin Shelley Memphis TN 38120 MAR 95
19. Gates Terrence Memphis TN 38109 MAY 95
20. Ginn Raymond Memphis TN 38127 APR 95
21. Hodorowski Vince Memphis TN 38128 APR 95
22. Hooker William B. Barlett TN 38134 NOV 94
23. Ingerson Steve Memphis TN 38118 SEP 95
24. Knight Bill L. Memphis TN 38118 NOV 94
25. Man Samuel Germantown TN 38138 FEB 95
26. McCalls Ron & Audrey Jackson TN 38305 DEC 99
27. Montgomery Ronald Memphis TN 38108 JUL 95
28. Morgan Andrew Memphis TN 38168 SEP 94
29. Norman Joe R. Dyersburg TN 38024 JAN 95
30. Nunn Bob & Cheryn Memphis TN 38125 AUG 95
31. O'Brien Thomas T. Millington TN 38053 SEP 94
32. Photo Grafix (Jim) Memphis TN 38112 MAY 95
33. Pitts Scott Colliervilie TN 38017 NOV 94
34. Robertson Eric S. Memphis TN 38111 MAY 95
35. Sanders Joe Memphis TN 38134 JAN 95
36. Seidl Steve & Linda Memphis TN 38128 JUN 95
37. Spence David E. Memphis TN 38104 JUL 94
38. Stokes Paul Eads TN 38028 DEC 94
39. Swope Sara Beth Braden TN 38010 APR 95
40, Torrence Samuel Tupelo MS 38801 AUG 94
41. Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 95
42. Wallace Michael S. Marion AR 72364 AUG 93
43. Walker Jim Memphis TN 38128 JAN 95
44. Walp Len Memphis TN 38128 DEC 94
45. Waters Robert Memphis TN 38116 OCT 94
46. Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111 JAN 95
47. Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 DEC 95
48. Winfield Kenneth Barlett TN 38135 OCT 94
49. Wirth Charles Memphis TN 38128 FEB 95
50. Wulff John Memphis TN 38115 AUG 94

Financial Report

DISK SALES $ 52.00
Mag ADD $
Dues $ 40.00
Rentals $
Nov Members $ 25.00
Cash ON Hand $ 43.54
Months Receipts $ 92.00
     
Bank Charge $ 10.00
Postage $ 29.00
Mag Printing $ 34.64
Mis. Expenses $
Nov Disks $
Fish Disk $
On-Line Charges $
Months Debits $ 73.64
     
Bank Balance
Ballance $ 999.65*
Deposits $ 100.00
Checks Out $ 34.64
Nov Ballance $ 1065.01*
Total Assets $ 1108.55*

* - Sep. Bank Statement not received before printing, and balance is approximate.

The Second Gateway Computer Show

SOMETHING EXCITING IS HAPPENING IN ST. LOUIS
SATURDAY, OCT 29th.
11 - 6 p.m.

FEATURING:

USING AMIGA COMPUTERS

SPONSORED BY: THE GATEWAY AMIGA CLUB, INC.
P.O. BOX 811, Bridgeton, MO 63044

Cost: Admission is only $5.00 at the door
Classes are only $25.00 each.
Time: 11:00 - 6 p.m.
Date: Saturday - October 29th
Location: Machinist Hall in Bridgeton MO
Next to Target, near the intersection of St. Charles Rock Road and Natural Bridge., just northeast of the intersection of 1-70 & I-270.

We have got discounts on airfares & rooms. For special aerfare and hotel rates, contact Best Way Travel at (800) 325-4942 & say "I'm with the Gateway Comprter Show."

Yes! Sign me up for the following classes & admission.

Classes offered include: class notes, disk of material, certificate & last approx 2 hours:

Classes are $25.00 each. Space is limited. Receive a free admission to the show for each course paid by October 1st. Please make check to Gateway Amiga Club, Inc. & mail to address above