I realise there is already a thread for the Commodore Amiga in the Android section. I should know, as of late I've essentially taken it over! It's one of the most viewed threads in the Android section, so clearly many of you adore the Amiga as much as I do.
That thread has become quite long and it's quite confusing with people choosing to emulate the Amiga in different ways. I decided it would be best to start my own thread, streamlining it to show the best way to get this done. As I do have a "proof of concept" setup working!
This project I've taken on is a mammoth undertaking, as the Amiga is quite a complicated system to do. I'll try to explain why and how I've decided to proceed, keeping you guys up to speed with my progress here.
The first real issue is the naming that Hyperspin has been using for some time now. It's based from the Whdload zip file names, which was a logical choice BUT the problem is these zip names keep changing over time as they get updated. This throws the database entries and all media assets out of whack. It's my belief that this naming is what is really holding us back doing the Amiga justice.
Second problem for us Android users anyway, is that we can't use the zip files directly with an emulator. They needed to be extracted out and we used a bootloader to patch the files for the emulator and launch the games. All seemed well and good until I started testing games and found many wouldn't work. Very confusing as the same game files worked fine from a workbench environment I'd set up, with it's own bootloader I added in. I suspected it was the "ultimate amiga" bootloader for the Hyperspin wheel at fault, which proved to be correct.
So the best way to launch these Amiga games from the Hyperspin wheel, is to actually use HDF versions of the games. This removes the need for the bootloader. I decided to keep the game folders extracted from the whdload zip files. Continuing to use these with the workbench (Amiga's OS) hdf I created. Having this is a nice nostalgic nod, I'm sure genuine Amiga fans will appreciate.
Unfortunately we can't just point the emulator to these hdf files, it's not that simple. Each game requires a config file that points to where the particular hdf game file is, what kick-start (i.e Bios) to use, video settings, control bindings etc. These files are known as uae files, as that is the extension we tell Hyperspin to look for. We trick it into thinking these uae's are the actual "game Roms".
Sadly uae files aren't universal between emulators. So choosing the right emulator to begin with is important. Many people had chosen to use RetroArch. Which can't do the CD32, so I'll strike it off for that reason alone (although there are other reasons). I spent a long time waiting on Amiberry to be ported to Android but the devs haven't delivered. I'm not waiting any longer, so I'm continuing to proceed with Uae4arm.
As I write this, the latest version of Uae4arm crashes on Android TV (i.e Shield TV) but does run fine on Android phones. The devs are aware and trying to resolve this. There is an older apk version we can install for now, which does work. Another slight annoyance is that Uae4arm is quite fussy about how the uae files are named. They can NOT have special characters in them (e.g a space) or the emulator won't launch them!
My next complaint was that Hyperspin has "rules" about what games should be included in the xml database file. I do NOT agree with these "guidelines". I want a definitive collection of Amiga games.
I've decided to branch the Amiga out into different wheels, ECS, AGA and CD32. As an analogy think of Sega's Megadrive and it's hardware addons. Megadrive=ECS, Sega32X=AGA (better graphics chipset on later Amigas) and finally the MegaCD=CD32 (better audio track and FMV).
There is a "HDF game set" floating around. However... I got to know the creator, from doing videos on my proof of concept setup. I've persuaded him to rename the files to something more sensible, that should help other frontends scrape for metadata and artwork. These names will not change over time as he updates the collection. He does release notes, so this info can be used to keep the xml database file up to date. Currently he's overhauling the hdf files so they take up less storage and even adding cheat and trainer options to the loading splash screen....very cool stuff!
I'm working on creating missing artwork (wheel, 3D box, diskette and video snaps), keeping busy until this new hdf collection is complete. Then I can start creating the uae files needed. This will be laborious, as Uae4arm doesn't do cycle exact emulation. I need to make sure each game is configured correctly to run at the proper speed, I'll also bind commonly needed keyboard keys to the gamepad on a per game basis.
If you're confused, that's OK! It should all make sense, once I get around to uploading some more videos. Yes I will make my assets available to you all (minus the games obviously due to Hyperspin rules), once I'm happy with the collection.
Can anyone help me and point me in the right direction where I might be able to download myself an up to date
Commodore Amiga XML that is populated with the year, genre etc, of each game? I have tried Hyperlist and many other sites but I can't seem
to find anything. Many thanks in advance!
Ha not going anywhere but wanted to put in the plug that I’m going to create some tutorials on random things hyperspin and maybe pinball. The channel I’ve created is below, please let me know if you have a specific topic to get covered. Just made one around randomized intro videos
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