By Topic

The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2012
Author(s): Maher, J.
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: General Topics for Engineers (Math, Science & Engineering)
  • Print

Abstract

Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing.

  •   Click to expandTable of Contents

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Front Matter

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): i - xii
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Platform Studies, Title, Copyright, Dedications, Contents, Series Foreword, Acknowledgments View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      “The Future Is Here”

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 1 - 9
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Boing

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 11 - 42
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Lorraine, Paula, Denise, and Agnus, Enter Boing, Thinking Binary, The Amiga's Display System, Deconstructing Boing, Stage One: Ball, Stage Two: Rotation, Stage Three: Bounce, Stage Four: Background, Introducing Sound, Step 5: Boom, Lessons from the Boing Demo, A Computing Icon View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Deluxe Paint

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 43 - 81
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Electronic Arts, Deluxe Paint I and II, Deluxe Paint III, A Deluxe Paint III Project, Deluxe Paint IV, Deluxe Paint IV AGA and Deluxe Paint V, The Legacy of DPaint View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      SSG and Sculpt-Animate

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 83 - 110
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: From 2D Painting to 3D Modeling, SSG, Videoscape 3D and Sculpt-Animate, A Sculpt-Animate Project, Sculpt-Animate's Successors View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      NewTek

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 111 - 142
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Interlace, Digi-View, Desktop Video, The Video Toaster, Whither Desktop Video? View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      AmigaOS and ARexx

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 143 - 170
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: AmigaOS in Context, The Exec, AmigaOS's Libraries, The Guru Meditation Error, A Hybrid OS, Implications of AmigaOS's Design, The Hardware/OS Divide, A Hacker's OS, ARexx: The Ultimate Hacker's Tool View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      The Scene

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 171 - 205
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: An Examination of the SCA Virus, A Split Personality, The “Scene” in Europe, Red Sector's Megademo, State of the Art, Trackers, ProTracker, Post-Commodore Europe, The Scene in Context View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Cinemaware and Psygnosis

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 207 - 248
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Defender of the Crown, Later Cinemaware Games, Psygnosis, Menace, Stage 1: The Scrolling Background, Stage 2: The Scrolling Foreground, Stage 3: The Status Panel, Stage 4: The Player's Ship, Stage 5: Enemies, Stage 6: Collision Detection, Stage 7: Weapons, Menace: A Summing Up, The Legacy of Psygnosis View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      The Way the Future Was

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 249 - 269
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Myst and Doom, The Blame Game, Limitations of the Amiga's Design, The Beloved Underdog View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Glossary

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 271 - 285
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Notes

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 287 - 301
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Bibliography

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 303 - 314
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Index

      Maher, J.
      The Future Was Here:The Commodore Amiga

      Page(s): 315 - 328
      Copyright Year: 2012

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture o f computing. View full abstract»