Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Blastaway Preview on X5000

Today I wanted to take a look at an upcoming AmigaOS 4 game from Retream called Blastaway.

It is a throwback to games on Classic Amiga, and is in development now. It is being developed in 2019 for Windows and also AmigaOS 4.1.

I am focused on the AmigaOS 4.1 version on my AmigaOne X5000 today. You can download the work in progress game from the Retream itch.io website here for free.

Retream have delivered a lot of great games for AmigaOS 4, Windows, Mac, C64 and more! I have reviewed Huenison in this very blog.

I have previously bought BOH (AmigaOS 4), Skillgrid (Classic Amiga) and C64 games MAH and QUOD INIT EXIT IIm on C64 cartridge from Retream as well! I enjoy their games!

Please support ongoing development of original games for AmigaOS 4.1 and buy some of the games! We need original games too and not just ports of games from other platforms!

This is not the final game and many Blastaway levels and gameplay details are to be completed before the final game is released.

It is looking promising so far, and you can follow along with the very active game development log on their Twitter, Youtube pages as it takes shape!

Here is the Blastaway drawer on extraction:

The game runs in full screen on my X5000:

In the options you can change the video mode to run in a window and lower resolutions, and modify the keyboard controls for the game:

I quickly get into the game:

The game kinda reminds me of Dynablaster and Chaos Engine blended together, with keys to collect to unlock doors, and needing to kill all the aliens on the level to clear.

There are transporters on the level to get into inaccessible areas too and the levels get harder quickly:

You start with three lives, and those are shown at the bottom entrance to each level. If you die you take over the next life from the start point.

I already find the game is playable and fun, and I can't wait to see the final version:

I hope to see this game completed for AmigaOS 4.1 and hope this helps Retream in their efforts to raise awareness of the development work they are doing for our favourite Amiga platforms, both classic and Next Gen!

Friday, 19 July 2019

ABC iView TV streaming and downloading preview on X5000

Back in 2015 I covered a script written by MickJT to allow AmigaOS 4.1 users to stream local Australian TV channel ABC iView programming.

In May 2015 the ABC changed the method to stream iView dropping PS3 support which broke the script, as I reported back then.

Now, in 2019, thanks again to MickJT, we have a new script and ABC iView streaming works again, now using my AmigaOne X5000!

I have been beta testing the new version of the iview script, which should be released in the not too distant future, and I can report it streams very well.

For this to work well, you do need the latest versions of ffplay and ffmpeg 4.0.2 (as I write this) which you can get from os4depot.net.

Make sure you follow the instructions to use the Shell to unpack the latest versions. There are altivec and non-altivec versions, which means you can use ffplay and ffmpeg on AmigaOne X1000 (Altivec) or X5000 (non-altivec) without a problem. I copied the programs to c: so they are available anywhere I want to launch from.

You step through the menus via a text sequence in an Amiga shell, able to search or browse to find programs you want.

Once a program is chosen, you can choose the resolution to stream the video at:

The script then launches ffplay and shows the content! You can (in theory) modify the script to launch ffplay in full screen, and other options too.

Here is one of my favourite shows at the moment, The Good Place, streaming well on my X5000:

I binge watched The Good Place seasons 1 to 3 on Netflix, bought the DVD's because I really enjoyed it, and now you can watch it on Free to air (ABC) - and no, I don't work for Netflix or the company that made it! Just a fan!

This ABC iView streaming development is maybe not so interesting for people not in Australia (I am not sure you can view it from outside AU without a VPN), but it is very exciting if you are here!

Streaming TV on AmigaOS 4.1 in 2019 - loving it again!

I even watched 'Mad as Hell' featuring the often funny Shaun Micallef (originally from Adelaide):

Next I tried out using the latest ffmpeg to download the streaming programs to hard disk on my AmigaOne X5000! It works!

To do this I need to use the iview script first to get the required header and URL for the video - I then copy the relevant part (as shown below) from the script executed into a text editor:

In the text editor I next need to add ffmpeg to the beginning, -i in front of the URL and add -c copy <outputfile.mp4> to the end, as shown in this example below. I put some line feeds in so you can read it easily, but in reality this should all be on the one line:

I then feed this line into the AmigaShell and the program downloads to my X5000:

With that completed successfully, I then checked the file in the drawer and it is there:

I then opened it in Mplayer, using the MPlayerGUI, both also updated on os4depot recently so grab the latest versions!

With MPlayer for the X1000 use the Altivec version, for the X5000 the non-altivec version.

The resultant downloaded file worked perfectly and played back great!

As mentioned, the new version of the script should be available on os4depot in the not too distant future. Thanks to MickJT for his work in making this happen!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

FooBilliard Plus and Neverball using Warp3D Nova on AmigaOne X5000

This weekend I decided to take a look at the recently released upgraded games called FooBilliard Plus and Neverball for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition with the Enhancer Software 1.5 update. These games were ported to AmigaOS 4.1 by Kas1e and are both free to download from os4depot.net

These games uses the latest enhancements to the OpenGL ES2 functionality and Warp3D Nova in the Enhancer Software 1.5 package for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, released by A-Eon Technology recently and available for purchase on Amistore or the AmigaKit website.

As mentioned these games require Enhancer Software v1.5 installed, released by A-Eon Technology. I have previously looked at version 1.4 and many earlier versions of Enhancer previously on this blog. (if you want to see more of what is included with it).

I updated Enhancer via the Updater application, which is included as part of Enhancer 1.5 (and previous versions).

The latest version has a few changes but the main area to focus on is the Warp3D Nova and OpenGL ES2 library enhancements in this release, in which the OpenGL ES2 support is improved!

With these ongoing improvements, it means we are starting to see new games using these new developments for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition that really push the AmigaOne platform forward, which is great for us all in 2019!

I quickly worked through the installation of Enhancer Software 1.5. As mentioned I have covered this process extensively in previous blog posts and the installation process is identical in this release.

With that installed, I downloaded the games from os4depot.net.

Here is the Foo Billiard Plus drawer after extracting the archive:

Definitely read the AmigaOS4 readme included as it explains how to customise the screen modes, level of detail, etc:

On launch the game runs in a 1024x768 window on the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Workbench screen:

As the game name suggests, this is a 3D Billiards game, which is a lot of fun actually!

As the game starts you can rotate around the table to position yourself for the shot, and adjust the percentage power of the shot at the bottom of the screen:

If you click on the the rounded rectangles on the left and right side of the screen, you can access the Function key menus and also the zoom in/out functions.

Right off the bat I have to say it looks sensational, running smoothly in 1080p full screen (which you can set in the options in the game).

It is amazing to see AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition able to run games that look as great as this in 2019:

As I get into the game proper I quickly find out the computer is rather good at the game, and I really suck at it:

After you play your shot you see the computer plays it's turn too:

I kept making the mistake of hitting the ball too hard:

There is some nice background music to the game which suits the mood well.

But after a while you get the hang of it:

Sometimes the computer gets it wrong too and I won my first game:

I quickly settled into a number of games as this game is a lot of fun to play and easy to learn:

Time to break:

The computer is whipping me this time, with me rarely getting a shot in:

Important not to set the shot up too easy for the computer on their turn:

If you make it too easy for the computer, it takes full advantage and wipes the floor with you!

I have to say I really enjoyed playing Foo Billiard Plus on my X5000.

After playing the game a number of times, I also took the opportunity to take a quick breather and play with the latest MickJT-Mplayer (non altivec version) on my X5000, which works well - here is a video playing through the X5000 very nicely:

I then moved on to trying out the latest version of Neverball, v1.6 which uses the OpenGL ES2 functionality in the latest Warp3D Nova release in Enhancer Software v1.5.

Initially on launch it runs in 1024x768 windowed, but we can fix that in the Graphics settings in the Options menu to run 1920x1080 full screen on the AmigaOne X5000:

An option inside the game explains the rules too - you control the tilt of the floor which causes the ball to move around the game area. You need to collect the minimum required coins on the level and reach the goal in the time limit:

The controls are outlined but really there is not much to it - just tilt the floor with the keyboard arrow keys or mouse:

 There is a normal mode and challenge mode. The challenge mode gives you only three balls to start with to complete the game!

There are a lot of levels in this game - I decided to try the Easy level set first:

But you can of course go for the hardest Nevermania level set too:

Level 1 - let's get into it:

It look impressive to say I got a new record, but really - I just finished the level!

Here is level 2:

The music is nice too and works well with the game.

As you go through the levels it gets harder and trickier, with all manner of obstacles to make it harder. The level preview helps, and also explains the minimum coins to be collected, with some bonus coins worth more too:

Sometimes you need to tilt on a consistent angle to get through the level, like in Level 4:

Other times you need to avoid going too fast and flying off the level itself! Trust me, it is easier to do than you think!

The hill slope levels are interesting too:

There are levels with moving floors to make it even harder, and even moving pinball machine components to bounce off:

The game is a lot of fun, but can be disorienting if you roll too fast. The trick of course is the manage the tilt to avoid this and get through the level as fast as possible, while collecting all the coins!

I think Neverball is a lot of fun and little bit reminds me of playing balance board exercise games on the Nintendo Wii Fit balance board, which worked in a similar way!

 Also classic Amiga games like Marble Madness and Rock N Roll are also inspirations to this game I think.

It is great to see OpenGL ES2 being used in AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition games and I look forward to seeing even more in the future!

It is well worth giving these games a go!