The 12th of October is a significant date in the Amiga Flame calendar as it marks the occasion when this website was first launched. Before I cut the cake or lift my class of wine in celebration I must deliver my now customary birthday speech.
Looking back at past birthday speeches I noticed that every year I was always surprised at the age of Amiga Flame. This year was no exception, for even though I knew that the birthday was nearly upon us, I didn't realise that Amiga Flame had been catering for the needs of gamers and developers for seven years. When I think back I can still remember vividly the years when I competed against Amiga Nutta in the fight to be first to deliver the latest games news, and my daily visits to the Amiga Web Directory. The fact that Amiga Flame is still here while others have fallen by the wayside is largely down to you the readers. Faithfully over the years readers have helped Amiga Flame by pointing out new games in the works or simply with your messages of support. Without you the readers there would no Amiga Flame.
No Transition is a Smooth one
In the last few months Amiga Flame moved forward by changing over to a new Internet service provider and picked up a prominent Domain name. When these changes were planned it seemed relatively simple that nothing could possibly go wrong, but yet it did not go smoothly. For instance, some readers still using the old web address believed that the flame had been extinguished, while my old Internet provider created difficulties. The present Amiga situation is similar in some respects, for this period of transition from the Classic Amiga to the next generation of Amiga machines has not gone smoothly. The task of bringing the AmigaOS to PowerPC and preparing a version of the AmigaOne for consumers has taken much more time than originally planned.
The period of transition that should have been relatively short has instead been prolonged and fraught with difficulties. Developers have found it bewildering deciding whether to cater for the Classic Amiga market or to switch to developing for the new Amiga platform. Users have been caught in the middle of the dilemma, as people have become anxious in their wait for the new platform, and having only few pieces of software to tryout in the meantime. Confidence in the Amiga community has experienced its highs and its lows from the release of the screenshots of the new AmigaOne Lite to the bitter disputes and appalling behaviour of a few. The last few years are ones we might prefer to forget.
However, I believe that when we look back at this period of transition perhaps there is reason to regard it as an important period in the history of the platform. Hyperion Entertainment and the rest of the team behind AmigaOS 4 have in this period not simply converted the AmigaOS to PowerPC they have taken the first steps to modernise the operating system. Eyetech and their partners have surprised users beyond expectations creating new models including the AmigaOne Lite, designed as the successor to the CD32/ A1200. Amiga have overseen the effort working with their partners to ensure that a strategy is in place for the commercial release of the new Amiga platform. They also continued to develop the Amiga Digital Environment, which this year seen DE products reach the retail sector with Amiga Game packs for PocketPC surfacing in stores across the US.
The people that make up these companies have remained dedicated to building a better future for the platform. They have faced great adversity having to cope with financial strain, personal attacks, the odd psycho, and even worse from a few individuals with nothing better to do than to create trouble. In our darkest period the Amiga team and their partners have demonstrated a courage and determination I could never hope to match. It is ultimately due to their efforts that we will eventually have a new Amiga platform.
Preparing for the release of the new Amiga platform is a task facing every user, developer, and company in the Amiga market. Users are either saving their pennies or have already purchased an AmigaOne, while companies like the dealers are gearing up to cater for the renewed interest in the platform. However, it has become noticeable that developers are finding it difficult to prepare for the switchover; for example in some cases they not fully aware which developer tools they should use. For instance, one Amiga World reader recently stated, “I'm a professional C/C++ developer and I might be interested in developing some apps for OS4.... can someone tell me what compiler is (or will be) distributed with OS4 when it is released...?” There is genuine need to address the questions being raised by developers, old and new, so that they can speedily get to work on the new applications and games that are going to give us users so much fun out of the new platform.
Another problem slowing the development of new software is the lack of committed users to work on projects. There are some great games in the works such as Drake, but they need talented people to help with the projects. The solution to this problem is for skilled users to step forward and for increased co-operation between development teams. I highly recommend to users who might be considering a future in the games industry to get involved in a game project as you will acquire a tremendous amount of experience and expertise. Only this week I learned that the lead programmer behind Crossfire II is now employed full-time in the games industry, and still working on Amiga projects in his spur time. I know that there is tremendous talent in the Amiga Community and hope it will shine through in the new software planned for the AmigaOne.
Over this next year Amiga Flame will help ensure that questions regarding developing software for the new platform are answered, and continue to highlight which game developers require assistance. User, developers and companies must ready themselves as the final phases of the work on AmigaOS 4 and the AmigaOne are completed. The next birthday of Amiga Flame will be a special celebration for by that time I will be writing my speech on the new Amiga platform.
Happy Birthday Amiga Flame
If you know of any new games in the works or wish to contact me, then e-mail Philip Cosby of Amiga Flame at:-