Monday, 7 August 2017

WinUAE Installation Instructions

WinUAE Installation Instructions

This post contains installation instructions for the Amiga emulator known as WinUAE.

Ishar AGA: Advanced Graphics Architecture

In the tradition of 16 bit gaming the Amiga was most famous for its shoot 'em ups and platformers that pushed its custom chipset to the limit and allowed it to contend with the Genesis and SNES consoles - even towards the end of its lifetime. It was its copper and its blitter, its hardware scrolling and its sampled sounds that enabled it to stand the test of time in the highly competitive arena of 16 bit gaming.



But the Amiga also hosted its fair share of great RPGs that a lot of people haven't played or even heard of. Some of these were exclusive to it, whereas others offered an extended color palette and superior sound and music over their PC counterparts.


The purpose of this post is to help people set up their very own virtual Amiga 1200 in order to gain access to 100s of great Amiga games, not just RPGs. The info here can be considered a launch-pad; it only points the way. I don't want to write an in-depth guide because great guides have already been written by long-term and respected members of the English Amiga Board (EAB), and I would only be repeating what they have said there. That said, I will be referring you to these guides and adding in some tips of my own.


In setting things up there are two main barriers to entry. The first barrier is that, for the uninitiated, this is a rather involved process. I found it to be enjoyable and nostalgic, but you are talking here about setting up an emulator, not a simple emulator for a console like the Genesis or SNES, but an emulator for a line of complex computers that flaunt custom chipsets that were so advanced for their time, people joked that the Amiga was designed by aliens (blitter, copper, extended palette, hardware scrolling, sampled sound etc.). That means it's pretty esoteric and there are lots of configurations and settings to deal with. You are going to be setting up a virtual hard disk drive, installing an elegant operating system onto it that is foreign to Windoze users, and then installing a few applications that are needed to run the games. Also, you will be typing into a command line interface at certain points, known as Shell. So yeah, this is going to be daunting for some people but believe me when I say: you can do it! 

Up for some oldskool dragonslaying?

Wait, where did you go? Oh, there you are! I'm glad you're still with me . Ok, what's the second barrier then? Well, this one's a lil' more serious because even if you're willing and able to put in the time and effort, you may still hit a road block, which is that in order to emulate you first require the A1200 Kickstart rom (to boot the Amiga) and Workbench 3.1 ADFs (to install the OS). Unfortunately, these are not freely available to people who do not already own the original A1200 hardware; so, if you don't have an A1200 enshrined in your living room - like me - then you will have to purchase them both from Cloanto or Amigakit (rom and ADFs) [1]. You could also simply purchase Amiga Forever from Cloanto (USD $9.99) and just be done with it, since it's the complete emulator already set up with the necessary files. I really hate to link to these guys but what can I do? There is no other legal way to acquire these files.

[1] Special thanks to Daedalus of EAB for promptly giving me those links. 😊

Ok, so assuming you've got the rom and ADFs, how do you go about setting things up?

Well, first of all, you will need the WinUAE Amiga emulator developed by Toni Wilen (UAE itself was originally coded by Bernd Schmidt). This is the most amazing emulator I've ever had the pleasure of using, and I've played around with a lot of emus over the years. Anyway, download WinUAE for x86 or x64 Windows and install it to a non-Program Files folder. You can now download games and play them, though at this point you can only do so from diskette images, which are called ADFs. This means they load slowly even when using WinUAE's built-in 800% floppy disk speed increase. Plus, you will have to swap disks during game-play in some cases, just like the old days. Moreover, many of the ADF download sites have lots of ads and the files may be glitched and contain cracktros and the like, when what we want is instant loading from the hard disk, no disk-swapping, extra functionality and no glitches, right? This is the magic of WHDLoad.


To achieve this, follow the instructions in this excellent guide to get a spartan Amiga setup going. This guide, written by The Green Amiga Alien (R.I.P.), will show you how to install and configure WinUAE in such clear and concise terms that even a monkey could do it. This is the only guide you will need. It was written for an older version of WinUAE but it's still 100% relevant. How do I know? Because I referenced it when installing the latest version of WinUAE (3.4) for the purposes of this post. Best of all, you will come to appreciate the elegance and power of the Amiga by following this guide to the letter.

For a fancier, more feature-packed setup you could download and install ClassicWB by Bloodwych, who has also written instructions for it; however, it might be better to go with TGAA guide if you are new because I managed to glitch mine out a bit, and I'm not new to the Amiga. No doubt it was user error on my part but nevertheless the sheer number of options may overwhelm newbies. Note that Classic WB slows down your boot-time, too.

Here are pics showing a few of my setups: spartan original interface, Classic WB interface with most of the bells and whistles installed, and the spartan interface again but this time showing the WHDLoad game-launch icons. 


Wait, games! That's the whole point of this post, right? Where do you get them? Normally you would have to download their WHDLoad installers separately and fiddle about but killergorilla from EAB has done all the work for you already. So, go to KGWHD to get the games. Ok, how the hell do I get these running in my WinUAE setup? Hah, that's child's play compared to what we've just gone through. All you need to do is download the archives, extract their contents using something like 7z (free download), and then simply place the folders for the games you want to play inside your /WinUAE/Programs folder. Then, in Workbench, you simply double-click on the game icon to play. WHDLoad used to require registration but now it's totally free, and that is just awesome.

What's the support like for WHDLoad - like, if I find a bug or glitch? Well, I reported an issue I had with Pool of Radiance here and it was promptly addressed by Psygore. So yeah, great support for such a vintage game and platform, don't you think?


Note that with some games you might get the message:


How to fix this? Get the skick346.lha archive from aminet and extract it with lha in Workbench (if you extract it with 7z in Windows then WHDLoad will not recognize the files as the correct ones - even if Workbench displays them). Once that's done navigate to /System/System, open Shell, type lha x programs:skick346.lha programs:, and hit enter. The archive extracts...

Now, create a Kickstart folder in /System/Devs and place the now-extracted Kick34005.A500.RTB into it. In addition, you will need to copy your rom file in there and rename it to Kick34005.A500. That should fix the error for those games but for Ishar AGA you will need to repeat the process for Kick40068.A1200.


Well, that concludes the write-up. If all went well you now have a setup that will bring you great joy. And the best part is? You did it yourself, step by step, so you at least have an inkling as to what's going on, not like those lame-os who downloaded pre-packaged pirated setups bloated with all sorts of bullshit that no one needs (which probably won't work properly, anyway). So yeah, hope you got something out this post! I know I did.


To conclude, here are some RPGs for the Amiga that you might like to check out:

• Pool of Radiance (HoL) (AMR) • Ambermoon [1] (HoL) (AMR) • Amberstar (HoL) (AMR) • Black Crypt (HoL) (AMR) • Bloodnet (HoL) (AMR) • Bloodwych (HoL) (AMR) • Captive (HoL) (AMR) • Chaos Strikes Back (HoL) (AMR) • Drakkhen (HoL) (AMR) • Dungeon Master (HoL) (AMR) • Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (HoL) (AMR) • Elvira 2: The Jaws of Cerberus (HoL) (AMR) • Eye of the Beholder (HoL) (AMR) • Dragonlance (HoL) (AMR) • Hired Guns (HoL) (AMR) • Ishar (HoL) (AMR) • Legend of Faerghail (HoL) (AMR) • Liberation (HoL) (AMR) • Perihelion (HoL) (AMR) • Ultima (HoL) (AMR) • Wizardry VI (HoL) (AMR).

[1] Ambermoon already installs to the hard disk (get it here), but there is a WHDLoad patch available too (get it here). See also: Thalion Webshrine.

Know of any more to add? This was a quick and dirty list so fire away. If you'd like to see me treat one of these in a retrospective, let me know? And cheers!


EoP

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