Saturday, 25 May 2013

Frogatto on X1000

Today I wanted to take a look at the recently released AmigaOS4 game Frogatto on the AmigaOne X1000.

This game is Open Source and is available for free download on . It is another game port from HunoPPC, who has done many game ports to is available for most other major platforms too and the original game website is here.

Like many of his game ports, Frogatto requires hardware acceleration which means you need to have a dual graphics card display setup on the X1000 using a Radeon 9250 card in order to run it. I have explained how to do this in a previous post here.

Assuming you have this setup on the X1000 you can try this game out! On extracted the archive, you get a folder containing launchers for different languages and Readme to explain more about the game. Since I was keen to get into it I launched the game!

From the main menu I chose the New Game option, which walks you through a very handy tutorial on how to play the game.

Essentially Frogatto is a platform game, moving from level to level exploring for particular items, collecting money and talking to various people to unlock the next part of the game

Below is some screenshots from the game itself. Initially you start off in your home:


Exploring the house turns up some money!

Chilling out next to the water cooler:

Next you have a discussion and told to go and do something useful!

From there you exit the house and begin the tutorial level:

The tutorial as mentioned before is very useful if you haven't played this game, and explains well how to do things in the game:

Fortunately you have the option to save reasonably frequently throughout the game, avoiding the need to replay a lot of the game each time. There is only one save file though:

So next I moved into the game proper, and the graphics are very well done and the game draws you into the story quite well.  There is a fair degree of Mario Bros style gameplay in this game, which is familiar and makes the game easy to get into:

Health needs to be watched carefully, as it is quickly eroded by encounters with enemies - not all can be killed:

Exploring another house:

An invitation for some cake - how can I refuse that? :-)

Next, I needed to find a key to open the door shown below. I collected the key with Frogatto's tongue and can use it to unlock the door to the next level:

A bit deeper into the game, and treasures abound....

The outside scenes in the game are fantastic - very colourful and interesting to explore:

Reached another Save game point!

Below I have reached the secluded Hut level, with plenty more still to explore:

Having spent a bit of time playing this game, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable it was to play. The game runs well, no slowdowns noticed, and the music changes frequently and is nice enough to leave running in the background while playing.

I recommend giving Frogatto a go!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

NetSpeedometer and NetDock on X1000

Today I thought I would take a look at two programs for looking at the realtime network card performance on the X1000 - NetSpeedometer and NetDock.

Looking first at NetSpeedometer, it is available on and is written by Massimiliano Scarano.

After downloading the program, it is a simple matter to extract the contents of the archive to sys:utilities. The program is ready to run, no further configuration needed to get it going:

I read the NetSpeedometer.doc - no tooltypes or anything are needed to configure it. It does mention that if the network card device driver doesn't support the SANA-IIR4 extensions: the DNS address information can't be displayed, you will just see 'Unknown'. It also mention an AmiDock plugin could be done if enough people support the development by donating:

So let's move onto the program itself. The GUI shows three tabs - Status, Misc and Bandwidth:

As mentioned in the readme, the DNS addresses used are not shown in the Status tab display, presumably because the standard X1000 network card RTL8139 doesn't support the extensions mentioned.
Moving on to the Misc tab now, you can view the Hardware type, MAC Address, transmission speed and current state of the network interface:

Last, but not least, the bandwidth tab, which is where most of the relevant information you want to look at is located - Bytes Received/Sent, Download/Upload Speed, Max Download/Upload Speed and Connection Rank:

 In the example above, the only internet traffic coming down was streaming some internet music via TuneNet. So, to spice it up let's download something! I fired up AmiFTP and downloaded some files from AmiNet to see the results in real time via the NetSpeedometer GUI (Click to expand):

Next, I tried downloading files from OWB at the same time as the FTP session:

I noticed that the connection rank updates itself since the download bandwidth has increased - it still says 512KB at the best, which is a little depressing since I know the network card is a little slower than I would expect it to be...but that is not the fault of this program.

The program is interesting to see what is happening on the network interface - I think it really does need to have the AmiDock plugin mentioned as a future feature, to make monitoring easier. The author does claim it can be used as a benchmarking tool too. In my opinion NetSpeedometer really needs a graphical representation of the data in real time and the ability to verbose log the data being collected from the interface into multiple flat files for later analysis for benchmarking functionality.

Slightly off-topic, is there a decent Excel equivalent on AmigaOS4 to do this kind of benchmark analysis I wonder? Perhaps this program could be expanded to provide reports based on the data collected to save us the trouble!

Ok, so next up is another program called NetDock, written by Guillaume Boesel (zzd10h). This is also available from

After downloading, I extracted it to SYS:utilities, and it also doesn't need any initial configuration to get it going, although there are a number of tooltype attributes you can modify to beautify it:

The readme touches on some of the tooltypes available to the NetDock program:

Helpfully, some screendumps of some of the customisations possible with NetDock are shown so it is easy to see how modifying the tooltypes produces different views of the program:

As NetDock is a docky, the progrsm can be dragged into the AmiDock at the bottom of the Workbench screen to start it, as per the warning message below when trying to run the program:

Once dragged onto the dock, the NetDock program looks like this:

It shows the Uptime, Maximum speed In/Out, IP Address, and current realtime transfer speed both with numbers and graphically. In my opinion it is great, as it shows the relevant information in a small docky, allowing it fit nicely on the Workbench screen as you use the X1000 (click to expand):

Below is a closer view of the AmiDock only, including NetDock along X1KTempdocky, TuneNet docky and the other usual icons in the dock (click to expand):

As with NetSpeedometer, I did some larger file transfers to see how it changed the stats shown, and NetDock does indeed reflect real time activity:

Both programs are great, although I admit I prefer Netdock as it suits my needs for real time network monitoring a little closer with the graphical presentation of the data, and having the AmiDock plugin is the icing on the cake for me.
I think NetSpeedometer also has potential, as it has a friendly GUI interface to work with, and if the benchmarking functionality is expanded on further, I think it definitely has more uses on the X1000!
I have to say thanks to both of the authors for continuing to support AmigaOS4 with interesting utilities!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Little trick for UADE custom module subsongs playback in TuneNet

While testing HDAudio support in TuneNet, I stumbled across how to playing subsongs on custom Amiga modules when playing in TuneNet.

There have been a few updates to the UADE plugin for TuneNet since I originally looked at it (downloadable from I have now found how to navigate through the subsongs in custom modules via the GUI - it just wasn't obvious!

For those who don't know what I am referring to with custom modules - in the beginning Amiga games were released with music written in a variety of different custom formats, before settling mainly on SoundTracker/Protracker (.MOD) and Octamed (.MED) for most games.

These original custom formats (DW, DL, TW, etc) contained not only the games music, but in some cases also the sound effects used in the games. As such, each individual game tune (eg. title screen, level 1 music, level 2 music, sound effects) had it's own subsong within the one custom module.

A similar technique was earlier used on the Commodore 64 .SID music files, which is why I suspect the early Amiga song formats followed something similar to the format used on the C64, expanded to use the Amiga's unique audio capabilities.

So, to demonstrate this, below is the standard TuneNet GUI, showing a number of custom modules from my extensive module collection built up over 25+ years of owning an Amiga!

While playing back the module, if I select the Tune tab, I can see the subsong Tracks selection option, as below:

I can simply click right or left arrow icons next to Tracks to scroll through the subsongs, which will automatically start playing as I select through the songs. This works very similarly to the Delitracker program on the classic Amiga originally.

If the custom module doesn't have any subsongs, then the track section shows it is a single song, as below:

I am pleased to report that TuneNet uses this same section to display subsongs for Commodore 64 SID music files, as below with a personal favourite - Wizball:

Not sure if many people will use this functionality in TuneNet unless they have custom modules or C64 tunes to playback, but I am EXTREMELY grateful to have it, use it often and sincerely thank the UADE plugin authors for making this happen.

I hope this information is useful for other people who have custom modules they play back on their X1000 or other AmigaOS4.1 based system.

HD Audio driver released for X1000

It was with a lot of excitement that I keenly fired up my X1000 today to download the recently released HD Audio driver for the X1000.

So why the interest in the new X1000 audio driver? Well, the X1000 comes delivered with an internal Audio card on the motherboard supporting 7.1 channel audio, but until today it didn't work with the AmigaOS4.1 audio drivers. The reason for this is because the older AmigaOS4.1 drivers is for audio cards based on the old AC97 Audio card standard.

The Audio card built into the X1000 uses the newer HDAudio standard, which requires it's own driver, and this wasn't available at the time of the X1000's release.

Since A-Eon was obviously keen to get the X1000 out there asap, the decision was made to release it without HDAudio support and include a PCI audio card based on the AC97 standard that the AmigaOS4.1 audio drivers could use. The intention was to release the HDAudio driver "at a later time".

Well, that time is today! :-)

I haven't used the X1000 for a bit due to a problem with the network card which meant it no longer worked on boot up meaning no internet access - I lost motivation while trying unsuccessfully to troubleshoot it and left it for a while.

I fixed it today - obviously I needed to fix it to be able to download the new HD Audio drivers via AmiUpdate!

Essentially the problem I had boiled down to the PCI network card included with the X1000 had failed. The included PCI network card is a RTL8139 PCI card. By a total piece of luck, while strolling through a swap meet recently, I found a box of "miscellaneous computer stuff" for 5 dollars. There was a lot of older PCI network cards, PCMCIA cards, graphics cards and more besides! Great get!

In that box I found a RTL8139 PCI network card! I removed the non-working RTL8139 card in the X1000 and slotted this new one into the X1000 and presto - all fixed! I suppose I could go back to AmigaKit and get a new PCI card - maybe I will in due course. But for now, I can move on!

So next I ran AmiUpdate to update the HDAudio driver. Turned out there was a few other things to update as well since I last fired up the X1000:

I clicked on update and it churned away and installed everything. After this I powered down the X1000 and removed the PCI sound card and plugged my speakers into the onboard audio connectors on the X1000 for the first time ever!

On bootup I got the AmigaOS4.1 welcome sound through the onboard audio card!


Next I took a look at AHI to see the new driver in operation, as below (Click to expand):

Playing a test sound through here doesn't seem to work, which is odd as audio works fine. If I select Music Unit instead, the test sound works....not sure why that is but it does work.

The other thing I noticed is that the Mixer application cannot see the onboard audio card, and comes up with an error saying "No cards found". This is a third party application, so I guess it just needs to be updated to see the new audio driver. I have confirmed from Hyperion that Mixer doesn't work with the new Audio driver at all. If you have it running in your startup-sequence or user-startup, make sure you remove it before you reboot your X1000.

The developer of the HD Audio driver mentioned that the audio input jack, and SPDIF (Digital) out ports are not functional as yet in this release, but the driver is a work in progress with these to be added later on.

I then fired up TuneNet and audio plays back perfectly. I also tried playing some OS4 games - AmiBoing's TapJewels and also 1941 Extreme 2.0, and the audio was flawless.

I ran AmiCygnix and played back some audio via Audacious and again, the new audio drivers works well here too.

Next I checked the Emulated Amiga games and Amiga 2000 system and audio worked, but I noted a lot of audio break up. The audio breakup it is very bad in emulated games and demos in my testing. Since I know the X1000 can run AC97 audio card with no breakup in games and demos, I am not sure if I need to tweak audio settings in RunInUAE to get this working. Will take a look at this soon as I can, as I need this to work well. Anyone else seen this issue?

For me, despite some issues, I am very happy that the onboard audio works on the X1000 finally. I have now removed the PCI-e to PCI bridgeboard card I installed from the X1000 as I no longer need it with the removal of the PCI audio card from the computer.

Thanks to A-Eon for releasing the HDAudio driver for X1000 owners. I look forward to future fixing up some of the other non-working functionality, but for now I am happy to have onboard audio out working on the X1000!