Saturday, June 22, 2013

1st Anniversary of X1000

It has been just over one year since I received my X1000 as part of the First Contact release. It has been a lot of fun trying out and blogging about lots of different hardware and software on it during that time!

I had hoped to do something a bit more substantial on this blog for the 1st anniversary but unfortunately I have been up to my neck in work recently and had no free time to do it - sorry!

My X1000 is currently awaiting a suitable compatible wifi card to try out the new Atheros 5000 driver recently released! I am keen to try it out once I have time to source a card.

I have a CatWeasel 2 card (brand new, never used for the last few years) for reading floppies as well, and I was keen to try it out on the X1000, but it looks like it needs a special cable to connect it to the IDE connector on the X1000 and some newer drivers from AmigaKit to use it too. Unfortunately AmigaKit appears to only sell them as a bundle with the Catweasel, and I only need the drivers and the cable...I may ask them if I can get just those bits separately, as the CatWeasel is expensive and I already have one!

I was reflecting the other day that these days I only use my X1000 for any Amiga related stuff! Even though in Amigaland I have MorphOS 3.2 Powerbook G4, Icaros Netbook, Minimig, Amiga 2000/4000D/4000T and CD32, I haven't fired them up at all this year, other than the Powerbook briefly to upgrade to MorphOS 3.2.

I am impressed that thanks to the X1000, I have finally made the transition from Classic Amiga to NextGen Amiga user, something I didn't think possible 1-2 years ago when my Amiga 4000T was still getting quite a workout, and the SAM440 was not being touched due to it's speed issues, just before it failed completely.

I am keenly looking forward to AmigaOS4.2 on the X1000 and the further developments during 2013.

So I raise a glass - Here's to you X1000, one year on. It's been interesting ride and a lot of fun! :-)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Giga Lo Mania on X1000

Today I also wanted to take a look at a recently released game called Giga Lo Mania, based on the classic Mega Lo Mania. It is ported to AmigaOS4 by Kas1e.

For those who remember, Mega Lo Mania was a popular game for the Classic Amiga, released way back in the early 1990's. I loved playing the game, and still play it often under emulation on the X1000, as below:

The wonderful UK voice samples "The design is ready", "We've advanced a tech level", "Tower critical", "It's all over" and many others would be all too familiar for those who have played Mega Lo Mania! :-)

Giga Lo Mania, like the original, is a classic strategy game in the style of Populous, but more combat focused, based on improving your tech level and resources to advance your population to later eras, inventing tools and weapons that allow you to form stronger armies and castles to beat your enemies.

It is free to download the game from There is some more information about the game from the original author's home page here - this site includes lots of information on the gameplay instructions also.

There is a lot of strategy to the game, but it is a lot of fun to play too! Let's take a look at the game.

It runs on standard Radeon HD graphics card, so you do not need to have the dual display setup with the Radeon 9250 to play the game, which is great news for X1000 owners who don't have that configuration.

Once launching the game, it launches in a window. I apologise but I forgot to screen grab these game shots without the window - but I didn't have time to do them again! The game heads straight for a Menu to select the game type you want to play - A Single Island or All Islands. There is no intro like in Mega Lo Mania. Since All Islands is the full game, beginning from the first age, it makes sense to start there:

Being a bit of wimp, I chose the Easy level to start with:

Next up you get to choose which race of people you want to play, the same as in Mega Lo Mania. I do miss the characters not being shown here though....Since I always played the Blue people in Mega Lo Mania, I picked the same here.

Following this, you get to see the first island you will be playing. It is the First Age, and each age consists of 3 or more islands to win. You can choose to play the islands within the same age in any order, but you must win them all to progress to the next age.

Under the options menu here (shown below), you have the option to turn the sound off, although considering there is no music in this game and very little spot effects this seems a little pointless - but nonetheless the option is there! You can also save and load games from here, with multiple slots to save to. This is an improvement on Mega Lo Mania which would just give you a code you needed to write down to restore the game to the same point:

Once you click on Play Island, you then need to choose the number of people you want to start with on the island. This is the first part of the strategy since you are only given 150 people to use across all islands within the age you are playing. So for the easy islands using less people is better, but if you don't use enough, it takes too long to develop your people and you can be easily beaten by your opponent!

For those who played Mega Lo Mania on the Amiga a lot, you would know there was a bug in the original game which allowed you to decrease the number of people after selecting your location in the Island but before the game started! This is not present in Giga Lo Mania, so no cheating! You do need to select your location on the island - in this case there is only two locations, so your opponent takes the other one, but as the game progresses you get much larger islands.

This location decision is important because different locations in each island have different resources, which means that the optimum position for each island is not likely to be found the first time you play through it! Ok, location picked, we get the initial island view:

As per Mega Lo Mania, the controls for the game are on the left, and show the current era and tech level by the castle type and the man displayed. The globe icon, when clicked as below, allows you to use your people to invent new technologies to defend the castle and form armies. The technologies are split into Castle repair levels, Castle army defending technologies and Army technologies for fighting other people:

So first up I design a stick (the lowest tech), and assign the number of people I want to research it. As long as you have 2 or more people left over, they will continue to multiple the population slowly over time, allowing you to build an army.

While this tech research is happening the game continues in real time. You can only research one tech element at a time.

I can speed this process up by clicking the 1x icon to speed up 2x or 3x but beware of this since attacks can happen suddenly - simply change the speed back to 1x if this occurs:

Once the timer is counted down completely, the tech is researched and available for use. However, the number of the items you can allocate to the army you create is limited by the elements available in the island location you are in.

So next I select the building weapon icon so I can assign some people to use sticks to defend the castle from attack:

I can then place my defenders in the 4 vacant spots on the Castle. As the game progresses to later levels you have multiple buildings and must defend them all, requiring more people to do so:

Defenders all in place, ready for action. The red bar indicates the castle strength, which reduces when attacked by enemies. I also show my current element stocks on the left. These elements can not be increased - once they run out, that's it. You need to plan your army and attack strategies around the elements available. In larger islands you can move your people to another location, build another castle (which is automatic) as needed:

I continued to research more technologies, and advanced a tech level. It changes the castle type and colour, although I really wish we could have the original Mega Lo Mania samples for this bit. A hole appears in the island location to indicate additional elements have been found that can be mined:

Accordingly, I allocate some people to mine this element. As we extract quantities of this element, additional technology can be researched:

Ok, now it's time to create my army to beat the enemy:

Once I have chosen the number of people to use each weapon type (which is limited to the elements available to make the weapons), I can then deploy them, initially to my own location in the island:

I then can move the army to an adjacent location, as below. Please note that you can only move to the next location, so if the island is large, it is necessary to move multiple times to get where you want the army to go:

Let battle commence!

Here I have already destroyed the opponents castle and finishing off the remaining army:

I won, great! I still can play this game!

I will include some screenshots from the next island in sequence also, which has 4 locations:

I choose only 50 people this time, to make sure I have 60 remaining for the final island in the age:

The game commences again:

I am doing well here, time to take on the enemy:

I win again!

The last island in the era, and this game doesn't go so well for me! There are two enemies in this one:

When there are two or more enemies, it is important to make an alliance with one of them early in the game, to avoid them attacking you while you are building up your army and technologies:

You can see below I have made an alliance with the Green people:

Oh dear, the green people formed an alliance with Red instead....

And now they are attacking me and I am really not ready. I hastily relocate my people to build a new castle nearby:

I lost my castles in both sectors following the battle, but most of my army survived, so I moved on to attack one of the enemies to regain ground:

It didn't end well:

There is a lot more to the game and many more islands and era to explore, and lots of different technologies to research, getting onto planes and other high end weapons.
Giga Lo Mania is a lot of fun and reminds me fondly of playing Mega Lo Mania on the Classic Amiga. I just wish it had the voice samples from the original and some background music...the graphics are much better than the original, although they still need some work too as admitted by the author! It is free, so I guess I can't complain too much!
It is worth giving Giga Lo Mania a go!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ranger on X1000

Today I decided to take a look at an utility which I have overlooked since getting my X1000, because I had no idea what it is was - the utility is called Ranger.

Ranger is included with AmigaOS4.1 and is written by Steven Solie. It provides a very detailed informational view of the internals of the AmigaOne X1000 hardware and also the AmigaOS4.1.6 running system information. (reminds me of System Information program under Windows XP/7)

Ranger itself as included in AmigaOS4 is a few years old now (2010), so I guess it was written for the previous AmigaOne hardware like the SAM440/460 series of AmigaOne system hardware, but it is still relevant for the X1000 too.

UPDATE: There is an updated version of Ranger available on (I was told after this blog entry was published!) and it is being actively updated!
Looking first at the hardware information, Above in the first screenshot you can see the Hardware information tab which shows the cpu, machine type, bus speed and memory size, amongst lots of other information..

Next I looked the graphics boards installed (since I have two) - you can see below how detailed the information from the Radeon 9250. Interestingly doesn't show the vendor as ATI...

Next we can take a look at the X1000 PCI bus and BIOS, the newer version of Ranger on OS4Depot removes some of the unidentified hardware messages shown below with the actual hardware (click to expand):

Under the Exec tab we can move onto the AmigaOS side of the Ranger information, below showing the current devices mounted:

Under the DOS tab we can see the running processes. It would be great to be able to kill running processes rather than just pause them (if they are not responding), but I guess you need memory protection for that:

Next up is the current volumes. Only useful thing for me here is the file system type and the creation date of the volumes...

Through Ranger I can also view all current assigns running under AmigaOS4. I think this is useful to see where the assigns are currently pointing to on the hard disk:

Under the GUI tab you see the current available screenmodes, showing the dual display arrangement on my X1000:

As a final part, under the Network tab you can view the network interface information too:

Under the sockets area it even shows my previously set up VNC listener port...

There is of course a lot more technical information available in various tabs and sections I have not included here, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what Ranger can do, and encourage you to try it out if you haven't already!