Golden age of Amiga lasted for 10 years, from 1985 to 1995. During these times two major generations of the platform were released: the 'classic' one (A1000, A500, A2000, A3000, A600) and the 'AGA' one (A1200, A4000, with variants). Each model had a certain quantity of RAM and some of them different processors. Games and demos from the coder scene basically targeted two models, the A500 expanded to 1 MB of RAM, and the bare A1200, depending on the year and the chosen chipset. Games and demos, by the way, seldom needed anything more than a memory expansion: they ran on the metal, so no operating system was involved.
Workbench applications (and later, post Commodore era games), otherwise, might be written for several different releases of the Amiga OS: 1.3, 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, 3.5 or 3.9 (we'll just limit to the releases written for classic and AGA machines, and their Motorola M68000 CPU variants). Moreover, since bundled processors were quite slow for commercial software, users often updated them with several accelerators.
This basically means that when we have to 'emulate the Amiga', we have to deal with a lot of different situations, giving different answers to the very simple question: what we are emulating Amiga for? Games and demos will need a couple of basic configurations, depending on the classic or AGA chipset, while workbench programs will need the best acceleration and loading the OS first. Icaros Desktop gives a single ecosystem to the Amiga M68K world and calls it AmiBridge.
HOW IT WORKS
Simply put: just think about boxes. Every box includes all you need to run either a program, a demo or a game: a launch script, a configuration file for UAE and few other items. Every time you ask Icaros to run something for Amiga, AmiBridge searches for the right box and opens it, otherwise it creates a new one which will be available for the next times. Once you have "imported" a item, AmiBridge will remember how to run it.
Workbench applications need some more words: they need a 68K operating system being loaded before, otherwise they wouldn't work. AmiBridge handles this case very well, allowing you to use either the original AmigaOS from Commodore (now available with Cloanto's Amiga Forever), or a session of AROS itself, compiled for the Amiga computers. Both solutions have their advantages: AmigaOS retains the maximum compatibility, but AROS allows to share preference files with the x86 counterpart (host Icaros system), making all the applications look and act exactly the same.
You can decide AmiBridge's behavior, making applications run as you like: in a separate screen, in a common window, each one integrated into AROS workbench. It's up to you. Icaros Desktop provides a very detailed user manual that explains everything you should know about AmiBridge, so you can make the most of your glorious Amiga software!
These are just examples of what AmiBridge offers to Icaros Desktop users. Please notice that coherency mode is exclusively available on Janus-UAE, AROS port of UAE by Oliver Brunner.
|TVPaint running on its own screen, under the AROS main desktop|
|The game Putty Squad running in a window|
|Some AmigaOS applications running in coherency mode, after integrating Cloanto Amiga Forever|
|AmiBlitz3 running under AROS M68K in coherency mode|