DiskMAG Volume 1 Number 3 (Dec 1988) : ARTICLES / Amy_Today5.1

                         Amy Today     
         A text-file magazine for all Amiga lovers

            Volume #5, Issue #1, November 10th                  
Editor :  John Rydell
Writers:  Mark Greffen and Bob Riemersma  

Address all correspondence to:         "Amy Today"
                                       C/O John Rydell
GEnie address:  J.Rydell1              640 Willowglen Rd.
                 (#54790)              Santa Barbara, CA
Plink address:  J*Rydell

           GEnie discussion in category #2, topic #29
                Plink discussion in Section #2

1.  A Message From the Editor              John Rydell
2.  Distributing "Amy Today"               John Rydell
3.  Amiga Happenings                       John Rydell
4.  Sheldon Leemon Speaks                  Bob Riemersma
5.  Obliterator                            Mark Greffen
6.  Vampire's Empire                       Mark Greffen
7.  Trading Galore!!                       John Rydell
8.  Newsletter Trading                     John Rydell
9.  Advertising                            John Rydell
10. In the Future                          John Rydell


A Message From The Editor:

Once again I greet you with, "Hello."  This issue of Amy Today
contains two short reviews of some hot new arcade games.  Mark
Greffen has now added three articles to Amy Today and I commend
him for his contributions!

I have also included an article on Sheldon Leemon who has been in
the Amiga community since the beginning.  I read this article
with great interest.  I hope you enjoy this look at the history
of the Amiga.  It points out how lucky we are that the Amiga
computer survived its initial stages.  

Gotta Go!  Like always, I am looking for reader-support in the
way of articles or short programs you would like to share with
the Amiga community.  If you would like to contribute please
contact me at one of the locations printed in the magazine's
cover/title section.  All good PD/shareware software will also be
mentioned or reviewed if it is sent to Amy Today.

           John Rydell

Distributing "Amy Today":

Amy Today is file-based magazine which has been copyrighted by
John Rydell.  I am allowing everyone to freely distribute it as
long as they give credit to Amy Today for anything taken from the
magazine.  I also request that the magazine, itself, remains "AS
IS" when being distributed.  Please do not modify it in any way
if you are going to distribute it.  

About Distributing:  Please upload Amy Today EVERYWHERE!  This
magazine simply will not flourish if it is not uploaded whenever
possible.  Every issue is kept near 15,000 bytes ARCed so that
upload/download time should never be a problem.  So, please, if
you have the chance spread the magazine around the country!  Give
a copy to your friend!  Keep Amy Today alive and going strong!


Amiga Happenings:
(John Rydell)

Joe Larson has released the second disk in his new series of
picture/animation/raytrace/music disks.  He is very interested in
gaining more support for his series.  If you are interested in
obtaining a disk either send him an SASE and a disk with some
good material on it or $5.00 for the disk and shipping.

    Joseph P. Larson
    6121 Saint Croix Avenue North
    Golden Valley, Minnesota  55422

Roger Rabbit-
The computer game based on the hit movie has been released.  I
will try to find a review of the game very soon.

Digi-View Gold has just been released as an improvement of Digi-
View digitizer.  Digi-View Gold can get up to 100,000 colors on
the screen simultaneously and supports full 768x480 graphics
mode.  Contact your local dealer or call 1-800-843-8934 for more

Amiga Happenings is a column dedicated to giving you information
on what is happening in the Amiga community.  Some of the
information could possibly be wrong due to the fact that I am
trying to get early information.  I do not in any way guarantee
that the information will be accurate although I will try my
hardest to protect the innocent.

>>If you have some new information you would like to share please
submit it to Amy Today.

# Amy Today Trading Galore!  Trade public domain or shareware #
# software with Amy Today.  Look for more information later   #
# in this issue.  --The trade is going strong...participate   #
# today!                                                      #

Sheldon Leemon Speaks:
(Bob Riemersma)
<Reprinted from AIM newsletter - October 1988>

At our September AMIG meeting we had the honor of being addressed
by Sheldon Leemon, author of many books and columns on Commodore
computer products, recently emphasizing the Amiga family of
products.  This article consists largely of my own paraphrasing
of Sheldon's words, with few direct quotations.  That includes
"his" responses to the questions he was asked at the end of his
talk.  I have made an effort to be accurate, but it is possible
that some things may have been distorted during summarization.

Sheldon is associated with Slipped Disk, but kept his plug for
them very low-key.  His talk covered his own background with the
Amiga, a historical overview of the Amiga - where it came from
and where it's going.  The whole thing lasted about two hours.

Sheldon got involved in personal computers in about 1979, and
after reading the computer magazines in print at the time,
decided to try his own hand at writing.  He related some strange
stories about his early writing career, like the one about the
publisher who based his business decisions upon astrology.

In early 1984 Sheldon found out about a company called Amiga that
was designing a computer called the Lorraine.  They didn't have
any hardware, but they were presenting a very impressive
slideshow to people in the computing press.  They had some
ambitious goals, such as the ability to present 80 column text on
a standard TV screen.

In mid-1984 at the Consumer Electronics Show, Amiga had a small
booth where they showed the Amiga Power Stick joystick product as
well as another product called the Joy Board.  The Joy Board was
designed to be stood upon and operated by shifting your weight. 
This product was demonstrated by Susie Chaffee, the Olympic
skier, playing a skiing video game.  In the "back room" of their
exhibit they were trying to attract the money need to bring their
computer into the light of day.  Up to this point, during two
years of development, they had gone through about $20 million of
venture capital.  In mid-1984 Amiga had no money, and only a
"breadboard" Amiga computer to show, with large circuit boards in
place of the custom chips used today.  The software was all
downloaded form a large computer, since there was no Amiga to do
development on.

Sheldon obtained early developer's manuals, showing things like
the "chimney port" on top, where an MS-DOS card would go.  128K
of memory - perhaps expandable to 256K, 5.25" disk drives, and a
cartridge slot for game cartridges were planned for this early
incarnation of the Amiga.  The company was finally sold to
Commodore in December of 1984.  The Amiga enthusiasts of the time
(who had never seen a real Amiga) wondered whether this was a
good or a bad sign.  They liked the Amiga, but felt Commodore
would "screw it up" somehow.  At the time Commodore was not in a
very good financial position itself.  This was just after Jack
Tramiel had left the company and sort of sabotaged everything.

In January of 1985 there was still no real operating system. 
Some developers had the first wooden "black box" Amigas, with the
keyboards mounted on slabs of wood.  Some people in this area had
them.  A fellow named Bill Williams who eventually did Sinbad for
Cinemaware, and Commodore's own first game which was MindWalker,
lived outside of Flint.  He had one of the wooden Amigas with the
5.25" drives.  He had a piece of software that would let him
download software developed on another computer so that the Amiga
could load and run it.

Commodore was designing its own operating system, but to hedge
its bets it gave a chance to a British company named MataComCo. 
The had developed an operating system earlier called TriPOS for
use on a minicomputer and were able to use much of what they had
done on that project with the Amiga.  By March they were able to
show Commodore that they could sit down at an Amiga and load and
run a program.  Since the work was done in a language called
BPCL, it didn't mesh well with the rest of the system software
which was mostly written in C, but Commodore had little choice
since the lack of an operating system was the major stumbling
block in bringing the Amiga to market at that time.

They had their first Developers' Conference in May of 1985, and
began showing things that had been accomplished to date.  This
got a lot of people excited for the first time, even though many
of them (Borland, Aston-Tate) still haven't released a single
Amiga product.  Finally, later in 1985, Commodore came out with
the Amiga.

As late as August of 1985 was still done from CLI, there was no
Workbench yet.  Things were tossed together very quickly, which
is the source of many of the shortcomings that the Amiga still
has today.  When you look at the result, it is amazing that they
were able to come up with a computer meeting the Amiga's design
goals in as little time.  IBM has devoted huge resources toward a
multitasking, windowing operating system - which looks very much
like the Amiga system - and OS/2 is still not fully operational. 
Apple has been rumored to be working toward a real multitasking
version of their operating system as well.

Sheldon feels that Amiga users shouldn't be so anxious about
products such as the 1.3 software release, since there are very
few people working on these things.  Many of the early Amiga
programmers had left the company, and are now being retained on a
part-time basis to work on it, since there are so very few people
who really understand it at the internal level - the "heart" of
the Amiga.

Sheldon got hold of an Amiga himself about September of 1985, and
so has about three years of actual experience with it.  He wrote
an article for the second issue of AmigaWorld - around July of
1985 - based on his visit to Lattice where they had one of the
first "plastic" Amigas (which looked like the A1000) and various
developer materials.  By November of 1985 he had written an
introductory book on AmigaDOS, in response to the Bantam book
that was oriented toward professional programmers.

The Amiga has had fairly good success to date, considering that
Commodore didn't really understand what it had.  At the time it
came out it was a real technology leader, but since 1985 a lot of
things have happened.  IBM has "invented" analog RGB video, 3.5"
disks, and will soon have "invented" microcomputer multitasking. 
Most people didn't understand these things, since IBM hadn't
"invented" them yet.

Commodore knew that the Amiga wasn't like the '64 of the PET, but
really didn't know what it was.  People who knew computers
started taking a look at the Amiga though and got really excited
about it.  Commodore had a lot of internal reorganization to do
and some financial problems to resolve, and it took them awhile
to get back on track as to what they were trying to do with the
Amiga.  One of these steps was to split the Amiga into the low-
end home version - the Amiga 500 - and the business oriented
A2000.  These changes did nothing to advance the product
technologically, but things were not standing still.  A lot of
development had been going on behind the scenes.  The original
Amiga work was done with an eye toward 68020 compatibility. 
There are several places in the developer documentation where
developers are cautioned against using certain features or quirks
of the 68000 CPU in order to let their programs be run on future
68020-based Amigas.

Commodore has designed a 68020 co-processor board for the A2000,
but is unsure how to market it.  This board contains memory
management hardware which makes it possible to run the UNIX
operating system, which has been rumored for years on the Amiga. 
While selling the Amiga is different from selling the C64,
selling UNIX systems is different from selling Amigas.  It
requires very sophisticated dealers, a large support commitment,
and so they are not sure how to handle it.

There are generic 680x0 "accelerator" products for the Amiga from
people like CSA, who were quite impressed to be able to unplug
the A1000's 68000 CPU, plug in their own board, and have the
thing still run.  Now they are into both 68020 and 68030
products, including A2000 bus expanders which can use standard
A2000 memory boards in 32-bit data bus configurations, which
drastically improves the speed of the Amiga.  They can move the
"Kickstart" kernal code into 32-bit memory too, which removes the
last bottleneck in the A2000.

The Fast File System is coming with 1.3 to get real hard disk
performance, as well as much better (and faster!) printer support
for bit-mapped graphics dumps.  Autobooting from the hard drive
should also be in 1.3 as "a matter of pride" rather than from any
real need.

Sheldon said he had just completed an exhaustive survey of
existing hard-disk products for the Amiga.  Under the old file
system you didn't need a very fast drive, since the limiting
factor was the software.  Under the new file system, a fast drive
makes the Amiga comparable in I/O performance to the average "AT
class" computer.

He responded to questions regarding the Janus device (supporting
the bridge board) on 1.3 in particular and the Mountlist in
general, by saying that Janus is in transition and that the
Mountlist syntax seems to be growing larger and larger as 1.3
refinement progresses.  One example is the Mountlist "BootPri"
entry, which defines the priority of various devices for
selection as the boot device during system initialization.

1.3 has the "shell" (a new console device like ConMan), FixFonts,
and many other utilities and variations on the original CLI
commands.  Much of this effort was stimulated by work done by
users and third party Amiga developers.

Aside from these things, AmigaDOS 1.3 is intended to be fully
compatible with 1.2 - to avoid obsoleting any 1.2 compatible
application software.  The 1.3 Kickstart ROM is identical to the
1.2 ROM except that it allows booting from an "arbitrary device"
(hard disk, local are network, etc).  There is a software patch
called SetPatch that fixes known Kickstart bugs, but this is
optional to avoid introducing the compatibility problems already

"1.4, on the other hand, is the one that's going to break
everything."  They've been working on a number of goodies for


Obliterator-A short review:
(Mark Greffen)
<Reprinted form AmUser News - September 1988>

Drak ran down the halls of the alien ship, his heart pounding. 
"Which way next?" he thought feverishly as he came to an airlift
and a doorway.  There was no time to stop and think, however, as
a small blue alien had just appeared.  Seeking desperately to
draw a bead on it with his rifle he failed to see the robot
converging on him from behind.

This is an example of a few minutes of game play in Obliterator,
the latest from our friends in the U.K., Psygnosis.  In
Obliterator you must maneuver Drak, the last of the genetically
enhanced Obliterators through an alien spacecraft.  The object of
the game is to find and remove five components from the alien
ship, disabling it.

After you have removed the components your score begins to count
down.  When your score reaches zero the Federation will attack
and destroy the alien ship.  Thus, it is important that you find
and escape in the shuttle after finding all of the components but
before your score reaches zero.

As you fight your way through the various passageways you will
find ammunition and new weapons.  The four weapons you may have
are the pistol, rifle, blaster, and bazooka.  You can fire these
weapons (one at a time) either straight forward or you may aim
them at objects above or below you.

In regards to your defense, Drak is equipped with a personal
shield.  As well, there are several Shield Regenerators located
throughout the ship.  When you regenerate your shield the game
will ask you whether or not you wish to save the game.  You are
also asked if you want to save the game when you find one of the
five components.  Without this extremely useful feature I doubt
that the game would be solvable.

Game control is acquired through the use of the mouse, the
joystick or the keyboard or any combination thereof.  When using
the mouse you simply click on the action you wish to perform in
the control box at the bottom of the screen.  The control box is
very easy to use and quite a pleasant way to play the game.

I found Obliterator's graphics to be extremely well drawn and the
music (optional) to be an extremely welcome addition.  For me,
Obliterator was addicting.  I just couldn't quit until I had
found all of the components.

Even though I did not actually complete Obliterator (ie escape),
the game lost most of its appeal after the components were found.

Obliterator is an excellent game that has been very well put
together but it lacks the staying power that every game should
have.  AFter some experience with the game, I found that play was
predictable and hence, somewhat boring.  I would recommend it to
only those who don't mind doing the same mission over and over in
order to get their money's worth.


Vampire's Empire-A short review:
(Mark Greffen)
<Reprinted from AmUser News - October 1988>

As soon as the title screen pops up, sporting excellent graphics
and eerie music, you know you are in for a treat.  Vampire's
Empire features some of the best and fastest moving graphics I
have seen to date.  The screen scrolls so smoothly that most of
the time you are not even aware of it happening.  The sound
effects are extremely appropriate and involving.

In Vampire's Empire you take on the role of Dr. Van Helsing as he
fights his way through the depths of Count Dracula's underground
lair.  Armed only with some garlic, mirrors, a magic ball and
your magic light, you must learn the secrets of controlling the
light to destroy dracula.  You accomplish your awesome task by
maneuvering a small bead of light into the depths of Dracula's
lair.  You can maneuver the light through the use of mirrors and
your magic ball.  You must place the mirrors in such a way as to
guide the light down into the bottom of Dracula's lair.

As simple as this may sound, the task is nearly impossible to
complete.  A much appreciated feature of this game is the
inclusion of a small arrow at the top of the screen that always
points toward the light.  Thus, if you become hopelessly lost you
can always work your way towards the light to continue on your

Most of the enemies you encounter along your journey can be
destroyed by throwing garlic at them.  For rats, a simple kicking
method suffices.

I have only one complaint about this game and that is the total
lack of a pause feature.  This means that if you want to complete
the task of destroying Dracula, you had better be prepared to
spend a long time at your computer.

For anyone out there looking for a fast paced arcade game that is
slightly addictive, I recommend Vampire's Empire whole heartedly.

**Note:  The above two games were made available for review
courtesy of Conti Computers in Victoria, B. C.


Trading Galore:

First we had a picture trade.  Users were urged to send in a disk
full of pictures and, in return, were given a disk full of the
best pictures that had been collected so far.  The picture trade
was, and will hopefully continue to be, a GREAT success!

Because of this, I have decided to open up a new trade which
allows everyone to participate--not just those of us with
pictures.  Send me a disk full of anything you want.  (Music,
Art, Animations, Sound files, and Public Domain/Shareware
software...anything!)  Include a SASE (please remember the
stamps!), and I will send your disk back to you filled with
whatever you want.  Just tell me whether you want music, art,
software (you can even specify a specific pd/shareware program
but I can't guarantee that I have it), and I'll send it back.  On
request, I'll even send disk copies of all issues of Amy Today.

The disks currently copied and ready to be traded are:
1 - Amy Today Picture Disk #1
2 - Amy Today Picture Disk #2
3 - Amy Today Animation Disk #1
4 - Amy Today Back Issues #1
5 - Amy Today Music Disk #1**
6 - Amy Today Picture Disk #3**

**Both of these coming soon.

Send your disk and a SASE to:
Amy Today's Trading Galore
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105

<<Any requests or submissions of illegally copied software will
be burned!>>


Newsletter Trading:
(From Issue 1-1)

I am looking for Amiga user groups who would like to trade
newsletters with me.  Every month I will send you three issues of
Amy Today and, in return, I would like a copy of your
newsletter.  I know a lot of this trading takes place and would
love to get involved.  The more articles and information that I
have about the Amiga, the better I can make Amy Today.  If you
are interested please drop me a line on GEnie, Plink, or by mail. 
I would really appreciate a sample newsletter and will mail you
Amy Today in return.



Amy Today is open to advertising at VERY affordable prices. 
Large and small companies both have a great opportunity for
quality advertising while supporting a public domain Amiga
magazine.  If you are interested please write to:
Amy Today
ATTN Advertising
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105


In the Future:

A review of Bard's Tale II
A review of Professional Page 1.1
A review of Modula-2
A review of a CLtd 33 meg hard drive
A review of a Supra 2400 baud modem
An interview with a shareware programmer
Maybe even more interviews, also
And hopefully numerous articles from you--the readers.

"Amy Today" is copyright 1988 by John Rydell.  Portions of
the magazine may be reprinted but the content of this magazine
may NOT be changed without the expressed consent of John Rydell. 
Yet everyone is encouraged to distribute it AS IS.  Please give
credit to "Amy Today" as well as to the individual author when
reprinting material.  "Amy Today" as well as any of its authors
are not responsible for any damages that occur because of errors
or omissions.  Articles reprinted from other newsletters, as
noted, are not property of Amy Today but are under the control of
their original authors.