Amiga, Atari ST, and "Another World"

In a series of 3 blog posts (so far) Fabien Sanglard explores the graphics capabilities of the Amiga and the ST through the lens of the built-to-be-portable ground-breaking game “Another World” by 21 year old Eric Chahi…

The polygons of Another World
The polygons of Another World: Amiga 500
The polygons of Another World: Atari ST

Here’s the intro scene - lots of polygons! It’s all polygons!

The origin story of the Amiga and ST is great too, and Fabien’s articles have plenty of links in the footnotes. (Jack Tramiel, having been kicked out of Commodore, bought the dying remnants of Atari with the intent of taking over the independent Amiga and bringing it to market, but was out-manoeuvred by Commodore and had to instigate a crash program to bring a fresh 68k machine to market instead - which managed to pip the Amiga to market.)

The Amiga Story: Conceived at Atari, Born at Commodore
Dadhacker, The Atari ST, Part 1
Dadhacker, The Atari ST, Part 2

via the discussion at HN
… where there’s an interesting comment:

btw C128, considered a failure by many, sold 4.5 million units, right in the ballpark for total Amiga, all models combined, worldwide sales.

Edit: see also this presentation by Eric at GDC:

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Huh. Interesting that the C128 sold about as well as the Amiga. Sigh … the Amiga and Atari ST were products of spite. What if Tramiel had successfully gotten his hands on Amiga?

I wonder how Commodore might have fared if they were forced by desperation to buy outside WDC cpus since they had no development team suitable for 68000. After the humiliating failure of Plus 4, the C128 would be backwards compatible with the C64, of course. But with a 14Mhz WDC 65816 instead of a pathetic 2MHz 8502, it could have been a true competitor to the Mac and Atari Amiga.

The series continues, covering more platforms…

Some nice notes in the SNES episode - running code from a few spare registers which run at full speed, unlike cartridge memory:

How the hell am I going to get this thing to run as fast as I want? Then it dawned on me the DMA registers in the SNES that I’m not using are sitting there. After reading the technical specs very carefully in Japanese I came to come to find out that those memory registers actually runs the full CPU 3.6Mhz speed.

The hardware registers are essentially values you could just write into and read into. There was about 32 bytes of memory that are used as registers but as long as you don’t actually use them, you just put values in and read them back.

I put a 32 byte function that would draw a scanline of polygon data in there. I had a 10% speed improvement and I got my frames per second.

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