Tone Byte

Two popular Amiga applications rising like the Phoenix (or, to be more modern, like the Amiga) from the dead.

Bit One: Amos and Opal

Almost no one with an Amiga does not know what Amos is. For those that don't, Amos is a programmimg language for the Amiga that is specifically tailored to the creation of games. It was designed to bring the creativity of writing your own game to the computer for the creative mind, much as the Video Toaster and many genlocks brought video production. People with Amigas seem to always want to do more. Not just run software but create, and Amos brought that to those who did not want to get bogged down in learning Assembly language and the specifics of the Amiga hardware and OS. The presence to this day of Amos-created games on Aminet is testament to the success of this package.

Of course, even with decent products, a lack of development sees them starting to lack capabilities. Well, a message culled from the Newsgroups on the Net promises the possibility of new generations of Amos games for all. A person claims to hold the rights to develop the programming package and has solicited suggestions for new features.

The second resurrection is for the inarguable king of Amiga vaporware, the OpalVision Video Processor. OpalVision, the first popular Amiga video card, was distributed by an Australian company named Centaur. The board's appeal was its use of 24 bits for a display of 16 million colors, its use of standard Amiga monitors, one of the best paint programs, and the expectation of future add-ons. The board includes a socket and groups of headers to allow for the addition of a framegrabber, RGB encoder, and "Roaster" chip. These together were termed the Video Processor (VP) and would give the OpalVision Video-Toaster-like powers allowing you to use this board to make video transitions. Indeed OpalVision display boards were sold like hot cakes to Amiga owners hungry for the extra colors and the upgrades. Finally, after long delays, the ads appeared for the VP and Centaur started taking orders. Many OpalVision owners gave in their pre-orders and waited, for a product that never came.

Now Centaur is long gone. The only remembrance of what could have been was the release to Aminet of an updated version of the OpalVision software released by the programmer, until I happened upon a web site promising the Holy Grail: a company that is trying to engineer at least some of the VP add-ons for OpalVision. This company is working on making the RGB-to-video encoder, Framegrabber (with far more RAM than on the original VP), and Genlock/TBC. They are conducting a survey to determine the tastes of the market, so hop on over to the OpalVision Users' Web Site at and put in your two cents. At the site you can also see images of the VP and pictures and animations of the VP doing video transitions. A great site to visit for all OpalVision owners.

With a slowing of Amiga development, even an attempt to simply improve some of the products that were such a big part of Amiga history is nice to see.

Bit Two: Promises for the March issue:

For the next issue of AM I will be reviewing The Strangers and Uropa2, two games from Vulcan, and giving a tutorial on using MakeCD and a SCSI CDR to create your own CD-ROM's on your Amiga. Not to mention my picks for best Amiga product of all time.

-Edited by Anthony Becker-
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