Amiga History Guide?
What is an Amiga?
How can I contribute?
Where can I download a copy of the
What are the origins of the Amiga History
Free services used on the site
As the name suggests, Amiga History Guide is a website dedicated
to preserving the history of the Amiga platform. At the time of
writing it is the largest and most popular site of its kind,
attracting over one thousand visitors per week.
The site differs considerably from other Amiga web sites. My
goal when creating the site was to preserve the fragile cultural
element of the Amiga market, providing a coherent snapshot of the
events and opinions at a specific time. It does not provide
specific game or application reviews, instead focusing upon the
people that form the market and user community. As a result, the
majority of content will relate to the various owners of the Amiga,
user reaction to specific announcements, or particular products
that were gaining attention at the time. This enables AHG to
provide a diverse range of content (such as early plans to port
Windows NT to the Amiga) that would be
ignored by traditional Amiga news.
Amiga History Guide also presents years of research on
little-known Amiga products. The prototypes section demonstrate numerous examples
of Amiga products that were never seen by the general public, yet
provide interesting glimpses of the possible direction of the
platform. The Arcade section also offers
a fascinating glimpse of the Amigas role outside the home computer
market. There are many other stories that await anyone who wishes
to learn more about the Amiga platform.
What is Amiga?
The Amiga brand has been defined in many ways, covering both
software and hardware. The Amiga computer, launched by Commodore in 1984, gained international success
throughout the US and European markets as a game machine and 3D
development platform. The first Amiga - the Commodore Amiga 1000 - offered unparalleled
graphics and sound that exceeded contemporary Macintosh & IBM
PCs. The key to its power was a custom-designed set of chips that
would each perform a specific task, such as graphic output or
sound. The concept was years ahead of its time. It was only in the
mid-1990s that the PC would develop to a stage where it could
compete with the Amiga graphics capabilities.
Over the years numerous Amiga computers were launched, appealing
to the low & high-end of the market. Low-end systems, such as
the Amiga 500 and 600, provided a computer for the masses. Younger
audiences were drawn to the wide range of games, while the older
market were served by award-winning graphical and word processing
packages. High-end workstations, such as the Amiga 3000 & 4000,
were aimed towards businesses and professionals. Many of the
graphical effects seen in movies and TV shows of the late
1980s/early 1990s were produced on the
Amiga. As a result, the Amiga gained a following for its
ability to produce professional results.
In 1995 Commodore International - the Amiga's owner - entered
liquidation, ending the Amigas domination of the home computer
market. Since that time the brand has been purchased numerous
businesses (Escom, Gateway and Amino
Development Corporation), who wished to utilise the brand
recognition for their own needs.
At present the Amiga brand is owned by Amiga Inc (formerly Amino Development) - an
American-based startup company. The company are currently
developing a range of platform
independent products for mobile phones and PDAs. Among their
client base is a little known firm called Microsoft.
The original AmigaOS has been licensed to a third party developer,
who have ported the operating system to the PowerPC platform (also
used by the Apple Macintosh). The resulting product, AmigaOS 4.0 is a PPC-native operating system
that supports modern hardware, while providing a sandbox emulation
for older applications and games.
I am always on the lookout for new information about the Amiga.
Do you know of a hitherto unknown Amiga prototype? Do you have an
Amiga story to tell? If so, contact Gareth Knight
As a result of various attempts to steal the site and host the
work as their own a few years ago I no longer offer a download.
Besides, the compressed site archive would take up 170Mb of web
space that could be better used for unique content. If you wish to
utilise a local copy the AiG/AHG website is distributed on the
Archives from Thomas Unger. If any Amiga magazine wishes to
provide a copy of the site on their CoverCD you are required to
contact me to request permission. I can be e-mailed by clicking
Having written numerous magazine origin stories, you would think
I would be able to write my own. It was easy to describe how others
work has influenced the market, yet it feels like vanity to suggest
your own work has such an influence. Web sites are transitory and
rarely have the influence that a mainstream title would carry. Most
of the decisions made during development will also be extremely
boring or irrelevant to a reader, yet will be moments of revelation
for the author.
In this state of mind I would like to describe my own small
contribution to the Amiga market.
Amiga Interactive Guide - 1997
The site has a long and winding development that began over 5
years ago. Amiga Interactive Guide (the original title) began in
early 1997 as an AmigaGuide file intended to replace the online
help documentation provided in Workbench 3.0. A simple installer
was provided that would copy the file to the Help: directory,
allowing it to be loaded whenever the user pressed the HELP key.
Throughout 1997 it was gradually expanded to cover other topics,
such as Commodore Amiga models, emulation & magazines. The
first officially released version was v1.6, that was finished on
25th June 1997. Earlier versions were intended for my own use only,
while I created the guide structure and work on various aspects
during my spare time.
By September 1997 the AmigaGuide had grown to 500k and was in
danger of losing focus upon its original aim. To enable the
continued development of Amiga Interactive Guide, a spin-off "lite"
version called BenchPress was released. BenchPress covered areas
relevant to Workbench 3.x, but avoided detailed descriptions of the
various Amiga systems and other superfluous information. This
enabled Amiga Interactive Guide to expand its coverage of other
aspects without being limited to the document structure of a help
guide. I later defined this stage as the third phase of AiG.
At this stage I received the first reactions to my work. 1997
was a very good year for homebrew developments, and magazine
journalists were positive about its purpose. However, it was the
inclusion on Amiga Forever - the official Amiga emulation CD that
encouraged me to continue development. If it were not for Cloanto's
CEO Michael Battilana, the guide may have ended at this point (for
which he has my eternal gratitude). This allowed me to gain a wider
audience, appealing to current & former Amiga users alike. It
was also reviewed in Amiga Format,
where Simon Goodwin managed to confuse my surname (Gareth Hunt? The
guy from the New Avengers?). For the first time AiG was converted
to HTML providing a more comfortable environment for Windows &
Mac users to read the documentation. This would eventually result
in the AmigaGuide version of the subsequent update (2.2) being
abandoned and converted to HTML.
The HTML conversion heralded the third generation of Amiga
Interactive Guide. The square buttons of previous releases
(actually used because AmigaGuide is so damn ugly) were replaced
with the Amiga boing ball - the original Amiga symbol that had not
been claimed as the official post-Commodore corporation design at
this point. This became a permanent feature of the site, which can
be seen today on almost every page. Several new sections were
added, including the shocking news that the Atari-Amiga had gone
further than anyone had expected, resulting in several internal
documents that referred to an Atari
1850XLD, based upon Amiga technology. I also provided more
information on Gateway's plans for AmigaOS5 (Yes! 1998 and people were referring to
AmigaOS5!) and filled in the backstory of the original Amiga Incorporated.
This period was a time of expansion for the site, resulting in
an unprecedented explosion of material to analyse. The site
expanded from 3.2Mb in version 3.0 (uploaded on 19/08/1998) to a
massive 125Mb in the v3.9 site update (26/06/2002). The majority of
content was rewritten to take into account events of the time,
certain areas were expanded, and areas that were no longer relevant
(such as the majority of Jim Brain's Commodore guide and my
subsequent Gateway guide) were expunged. The site design also went
through several iterations, going from a horrible yellow background
to a red & white look. The site also changed locations, moving
from its original home at Geocities to Freeserve, and finally to
During 2001 and 2002 I continued to develop specific aspects of
the website. The magazine section was
expanded with an issue-by-issue description of Amiga Format
magazine. This has become a major feature of the site, although due
to the time required it remains unfinished. I soon followed this
with an issue-by-issue breakdown of Amiga Active and Digital
magazine. The latest products from Amiga Inc. were documented,
providing all-new content for review. Just a few months later AiG
followed this achievement by providing web space for the AmiWest
2002 and World of Amiga 2002 speeches and, thanks to Bill Buck of Genesi, I was able to exclusively
reveal several concept designs for the Amiga Walker.
... And so we reach the present day. AiG reaches its fourth
phase with a new name and professional appearance. As I stated in
March 2002, it is difficult to believe that the site has existed
for so long and been allowed to develop into a unique source of
information. The site has gone from merely recording history to
making history. The all-new Amiga History Guide will continue to
document the Amiga platform ,
covering the intertwined roles of AmigaOS and MorphOS. I wonder what the future will hold?
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services used on this site
The Amiga History Guide uses a number of free services. If you
are a web site author and want to include any of these sites click
on the link to their web page and sign up.
The web counter is provided by The Counter.com. They provide a
basic no-thrills report on the number of people that have visited
your site broken down into a weekly basis and the counter is fairly
small and unobtrusive. Once you have signed up they will provide
the code that needs to be copied into your web page.
The guestbook is provided by TheGuestBook.com and allows your
visitors to leave messages such as commenting on the site.
TheGuestBook.com is one of the best ones that I have tried although
it does not give you as many options as something like Gate9th. It
is very easy to use and only takes a few minutes to set up. The
service is paid for using advertisements at the top of the
Forums are similar in many ways to the guestbook but are used by
individuals to chat rather than write a one-off message. They can
be used to discuss many topics from different posters. Amiga
History Guide uses a discussion forum provided by Network 54. This has several
advantages; it organises the messages hierarchically, and gives the
option to customise the background to give the same look as the
rest of your site. Like TheGuestBook.com the service is providing
by including advertisements at the top of the screen.
The AHG Update mailing list is provided by Yahoo groups. Yes, I know they
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Last Update: 11/03/2003