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Amiga99 - Exclusive Show Coverage From the Amiga Web Directory

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Legacy Maker, Inc.

Here I found one fun bunch of Amiga enthusiasts! Bohus Blahut, Anne Willmore, Katherine Nelson and Jason Compton were at Amiga99 showing off their latest Amiga-oriented videos. Their Legacy Magazine video series is the world's only periodical Amiga video featuring Amiga industry news, product reviews, instructional tutorials and technology information. Even though the Internet has made getting new product information easier than ever, Legacy provides a view that you'll never get from the 'Net or even from your favorite printed media sources. Another of their tape series is called Catalyzer. This set of tapes focuses on Nova Design's Image FX paint program and teaches you how to create professional-looking effects with one of the Amiga's most powerful imaging tools. The latest release, Catalyzer III will focus on scanning and printing, working with layers and will also include some ImageFX v3.x-specific material. Legacy Maker's Mr. Compton is the editor of the popular Amiga-oriented Amiga Report Online Magazine.

Mushroom Software

Andy Kellett showed me the latest release from his company including Outfall, an addictive puzzle game, Prototype, an Operation Wolf-style horizontal shoot-em-up and G.R.A.C. an application that allows you to create your own role-playing games on the Amiga. All of the software shown by Mushroom was very low-priced "License Ware".

National Capital Amiga Users Group (NCAUG)

Here is one user group who takes an active role in promoting small developers' products. We found a wide variety of software items in their booth from Finale Development including the latest version of New York (called New York II, naturally) an advanced Amiga Usenet news reader, VooDoo, a premiere e-mail package and Web Manager Pro, a revolutionary web site management package. We also found a set of audio CDs from Sidewinder, the accomplished Amiga musician. One program they were really pumped up about was WebLord, a powerful new object-orient web site construction and maintenance tool. It is designed to dramatically improve your ability to create and maintain web sites. WebLord excels at reducing the obscure clutter, repetitive references and common typographical errors that are the lot of the designer who is stuck with less capable tools. It's not an HTML editor, author Udo Schuermann (famous for the KingFisher database tool) is quick to point out, but a sophisticated data handling system that allows you to construct professional results.

NewTek, Inc.

Newtek's presentation was impressive. This year, they not only had Amiga systems decked out with Toasters and Flyers on display (two years ago they brought only a DEC Alpha to show off their wares, an astonishing blooper as far as the gathered Amiga fans were concerned) but they sent a number of people to man the booth. The resident Amiga guy, Greg Roadruck was telling the gathered group of fans about all the cool things video jockeys can do with not only their flagship Video Toaster and Flyer products, but he was also giving some valuable hints and tips about using Frame Factory (a must-have product for the Flyer user according to Greg, since it allows you get the utmost in uncompressed quality) and its included elements Aura (a one-of-a kind palette of paint tools, compositing, cel animation, special effects, video elements, 2D animation and character generation) and Lightwave 3D, the company's superb 3D animation package.

The big news at the Newtek booth was that they have decided to give Amiga fans a little present and are releasing TVPaint v3.59 as a FREE download on their website within the next few days. TVPaint is the "grandfather" of NewTek's Aura and is a great, 3-layer paint and compositing program for the Amiga. It features pen, airbrush, chalk, pencil, crayon and cutout brushes, an easy-to-use scripting language for multiple tasking operations, over 2,400 drawing and image processing combinations, bump map, noise, perspective, smear, blur, chroma key and more! The manual may also be downloadable although it will probably be in PDF format. Watch the What's New page of the Amiga Web Directory for the announcement of the download link.

Nordic Global

Most people know this company by its founder's name: Holger Kruse. Holger's status within the Amiga community is at a near-saintly level. He is the programmer responsible for Miami, the TCP/IP Internet protocol program which has connected thousands of Amiga users to the Internet.

Holger made a stunning, new product announcement at Amiga99: free Java for the Amiga! Daytona is a complete Java 2 runtime system for AmigaOS, based on the "Java 2 Platform" by Sun Microsystems, Inc. Both the runtime package, named Daytona and the developer's package, DaytonaDEV will be free. Only the deluxe developer package, dubbed DaytonaPLUS will be shareware and require registration. Be sure to see the Daytona Fact Sheet for more information. Projected release date of first public beta versions: Summer 1999.

Nova Design, Inc.

Kermit Woodall was very excited about the company's latest release, Image FX v3.2. This program has become one of the most popular Amiga image manipulation packages and with its latest release, promises to grow even more in fame and user acceptance. Some of the new profesional-level effects in v3.2 include clouds, scatter, splash, pagecurler and FXForge. FXForge uses simple mathematical expressions that, when applied against each pixel in the image, can create hundreds upon hundreds of new effects. This program has to be seen to be believed and users were treated to some very breathtaking demos of its capabilities. Animation fans were also pleased to see some of the advanced capabilities of Aladdin 4D, now at version 5.0. This is a very advanced animation and modeling package which pushes the limits of the Amiga in new and wonderful ways. If you want a highly capable and actively developed animation program for your Amiga, look no further than Aladdin 4D 5.0. Aladdin fans will appreciate the fact that the official Aladdin newsletter Aladdin's Lamp will be making its revival in an online form. Check out the archive of older issues.

Northwest Amiga Group (NAG)

We stopped and chatted with NAG's Todd Gustafson who made the trip all the way from Portland, OR. Todd's group is well known for having one of the best user group newsletters, The Northwest Amiga Journal.


The long-awaited "next generation" version of this advanced Amiga paint program made its debut at Amiga99. Dubbed Photogenics 4.0, this package appeared to have some very powerful features. Unfortunately, author Paul Nolan was swamped with people ordering and asking for demos and I was unable to spend any real time with him to find out the full scoop. I could also not find any printed information to refer to. I guess we should all just watch his web site for an update soon.

Randomize, Inc.

One of the busiest booths at the show belonged to this Canadian company. Many lines of Amiga merchandise were being offered. It appeared to me that the AmigaWares was the most frequently purchased. AmigaWares is a custom-designed and officially licensed line of clothing and other accessories. We especially liked the really nice sweatshirts, perfect for the 30-degree St. Louis weather. Head Randomize honcho Thom Mills took time out to show me his line of Amiga 1200-based Amiga tower computers they call Genesis.

These units look very well built and include the Genesis Odyssey value system, Towerhawk Zorro-compatible unit, Genesis Flyer special version well suited for installation of your Toaster and Flyer, but my favorite was the Genesis Alpha. This general purpose Amiga tower system comes with your choice of PowerPC, '060 or '030, includes a high-density floppy, 40X CD-ROM, 6.4G or 3.2G hard drive, CyberGraphX compatible 24-bit retargetable 2MB graphics board, 15-pin RGB video output compatible with standard PC monitors (run it at 1024 x 768!), 32+M RAM, AGA, and much more. One of the coolest things about this machine is that it is already set up with all the necessary software including Internet capability right out of the box. The thing even comes with Opus Magellan installed for easy file handling. The Genesis Alpha is a great way to get all you need for modern Amiga computing all in one box.

Scharp Designs

I was very happy to once again meet with the extremely accommodating Diana Scharp, wife of show organizer Bob Scharp. Diana showed me all of the cool Amiga toys they were offering. My personal favorite is the "magic" hot mug which reveals the colorful Amiga check-mark logo and the phrase "Amiga--It's Magical!" when you pour your hot beverage of choice into it.

Tsunami Graphics

The one thing that really caught my eye at this vendor's booth was the two giant stacks of A2000 machines piled up in their booth. Apparently Tsunami does professional 3D animation for a number of clients and recently upgraded their render farm which once was a room full of 53 Amiga 2000, Toaster-equipped computers! They only had 23 left to bring to this show, but it was still a most impressive site. Tsunami was selling the machines at a show-special price of only $75 each without keyboard and Toaster. (You didn't think you'd get a Toaster for under a hundred bucks, did you?)

User Group Network

The UGN was busy greeting users and operating a number of online services. First was their very popular web cam secondly they were working hard to operate various IRC conferences from the show floor. Pictured here are Paul Sadlik and Chris Wallace. Chris was the hard-working "cwall_SHO" mentioned in the article about Jim Collas' speech on Friday night. Chris diligently transcribed the salient points about Jim's speech so that those unlucky enough not to attend could get the details.


Walter Bowie was demonstrating an interesting program called AnimMouth, a real-time talking character animation tool. AnimMouth generates lip synchronization using the Amiga's narrator device, and your own IFF images, animbrushes and sounds. The multi-tasking capabilities of the Amiga are well suited to realtime synchronization of voice and mouth movement, which allows realistic character speech. The Amiga's narrator.device, while outputting synthesized speech, also outputs messages which an application can interpret as mouth width and height. AnimMouth exploits these advantages while improving on the design by inserting exceptions for consonants that gives a more realistic look.

Other Highlights

Here's a photo of Daniel Schultz, composer of the three songs performed at the show by Annex, the German singing/dancing group. Those songs were Back for the Future, Keep the Momentum Going and the new Spirit of the Amiga.

And here was the "singing" and dancing group, Annex performing their Amiga-oriented tunes. Was I the only one with suspicions that they were actually lip-synching?

Here is the famous Petro Tyschtschenko of Amiga International. Petro was very excited about the new direction Gateway seems to be taking by putting a "fast track" on Amiga development.

One of the busiest guys at the show was Amiga Inc.'s Head of Marketing, Bill McEwen. Bill was feverishly arranging lots of meetings and communications between developers and new president, Jim Collas. We unfortunately only ran into Jim at the restaurant and did not feel it would be appropriate to ask for a picture there.

Here's a view of one of the show aisles.

The sprawling Randomize booth.

Nova's booth.

All in all, this was a fabulous Amiga show. There was far more here to see and do than last year and a very positive tone was felt all throughout. The vendors were upbeat, the attendees seemed more excited about what the future might hold and everyone was quite pleased with what they saw at the show.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this show a good one for the Amiga!

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Copyright, 1999, CUCUG - No Reposting. All photography Copyright, 1999 Kevin Hisel