Poll: How much would the non-existance of the Amiga affect computing?

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    What if the Amiga was never built...

    I was thinking to myself the other day (mainly because nobody likes me and won't talk to me) and I though to myself: What impact did the Amiga really have in the world of computers.

    So I though why not do a thread and see how others percieve computer history if our lovely cream (or white or yellowy-stained [Delete as applicable]) toy had never been built.

    So here goes:

    My main prediction is that the Amiga's presence helped the PC become the more dominant system over the Mac... I think that if the Amiga had not come along then Macs would have been the modern PC, primarily due to the fact that the ST would have been dminant in the home market and its interface was very 'Maccy'.

    What do you guys think?
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    One of the major things the Amiga achieved is affordable CGI on TV shows and film.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buleste View Post
    One of the major things the Amiga achieved is affordable CGI on TV shows and film.
    So true. Star Trek, Seaquest DSV and most notably Babylon 5 certainly put the Amiga to use.

    Posted Mar 1, 1993

    Amblin sets sail with AMIGA F/X

    By MATT ROTHMAN

    Amblin Entertainment's new TV show "Sea Quest," about a giant submarine, is proving to be about more than just the discovery of undersea life in the year 2018.

    The $ 1 million-per-episode series featuring Roy Scheider relies on computer-generated images of the ocean that cost a fraction of traditional systems.
    Using an Amiga computer from Commodore Intl. Ltd. and the Video Toaster graphics board from NewTek Inc., Amblin is able to produce images that would normally cost $ 200,000 for a fifth that amount per episode.
    "This show would not be feasible without this cost savings," said Tony Thomopoulos, Amblin TV president.
    NBC has ordered 22 episodes of the series, which will debut in the fall.
    The savings on the effects are so great that Universal is looking to Amblin's experience as a model for other shows.
    "We're learning a lot on this," said Dan Slusser, head of Universal's studio operations. "We're looking at this process for TV production; we're talking internally about projects that this would work on, no question about it."
    The system may prove of high enough quality, say executives, that effects for feature films will be next.
    The studio has made an investment in Amblin's computer production unit, though Thomopoulos declined to specify the amount.
    It shouldn't be too great, considering an Amiga computer and Video Toaster cost around $ 6,000. Amblin has purchased 30 machines. By comparison, a single Silicon Graphics Inc. workstation can run as high as $ 60,000.
    Moreover, the Toaster includes a number of software programs, including Lightwave 3D, which lets designers construct objects, coat them with realistic colors and textures, and then animate them.
    TV viewers in L.A. got a glimpse of the Video Toaster's handiwork last Thursday in KCOP-TV's airing of "Babylon 5," a two-hour science-fiction telepic from Warner TV. It will be seen on another 150 stations nationwide.
    The show's 80 or so effects shots, done by Ron Thornton's Foundation Imaging in Valencia, include the spaceships and atmosphere. The price tag, said Thornton , was less than $ 500,000.
    Though "Sea Quest," has only 1 1/2 minutes of computer animation per hourlong episode, the pilot seg uses those effects to help set the story line for Scheider as captain of the 1,000-foot-long submarine.
    In the pilot, Joe Conti, head of "Sea Quest" computer graphics, "promises breathtaking special effects, just like Industrial Light & Magic did for 'Jurassic Park,' but on a weekly TV show budget, which is nothing."
    Conti did a number of effects for "Unsolved Mysteries" last fall. He landed at Amblin after producer Phil Segal had surveyed a number of visual effects houses for bids on the project. When the company found Conti, it decided to do the effects in-house rather than use an outside company.
    "These companies were quoting millions of dollars over two years," said Segal. "It became a huge cost and wouldn't have flown."
    At this point, Conti is enlisting NewTek to write much of the software that is making "Sea Quest" possible. The Topeka-based company wrote some 100 programs not originally included in the Toaster, including one that designed the squid-shaped submarine, the exterior of which appears on screen only as a computer graphic.
    Conti has also managed to speed up the process of generating computer images by connecting as many as 14 Toasters using a program from Todd Rundgren's NuTopia Co. This way, as many as 14 frames of image can be given color and texture in 20 minutes, 20% slower than an SGI workstation. Conti expects to double the speed, though, in another month.
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    I think the real contribution the Amiga made was it launched computing into the mainstream. Before it computers were predominantly a programming or word processing tool, and games were outshone by consoles. The Amiga, and ST, showed the world that you could use a computer as a complete workstation and games machine without any compromises in terms of quality. Just look at the amount of specialist software that was produced, from midi samplers to 3d rendering engines, the machine had it all. It could also be upgraded like a pc so it remained future proof - something that is a must for any computing product - just look at the PS3! It also got kids like me (at the time) into computing and many an hour was spent trying to master Amos in the vain attempt to create the next Turrican. On a personal note the Amiga introduced me to Deluxe Paint and the world of computer aided design - I used to replicate games characters pixel by pixel and taught myself how to anti alias edges by hand which put me in good stead to understand the workings of programmes like photoshop - I have never looked back since!
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    Dare i say computers would not be the same as we have now without the Amiga.

    Also, i got a message saying to come back, so i put this site back into my favorites of sites to view daily on my laptop.
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    I'm sure current-day Operating Systems borrowed a lot of elements from Amiga Workbench. Minus the 1001 security flaws ... har har.

    Welcome back, Vangar.

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    Vangar is back in town!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vangar View Post
    Also, i got a message saying to come back, so i put this site back into my favorites of sites to view daily on my laptop.
    Welcome Back Looks like my new automated inactive member email reminder system is working.

    As for what part the Amiga played in the world of computing, I personally think it would be very different had it not existed. As mentioned thousands of times, it was at least 10 years ahead of the PC in 1985, and even ahead of the Mac in most areas.

    The first system with multitasking that wasn't seen on a rival platform for a very long time.

    One of the big impact it had was definitely as the first affordable computer system that could be used for animation and graphics worldwide, and in the US especially with the help of Newtek's Video Toaster, allowing smaller TV companies to produce affordable graphic overlays and as already mentioned the ability to create some of the first realistic looking 3D graphics at an affordable price.

    Another area is affordable computing. The Atari ST might have been in the same price bracket, but it was a much less capable machine with a very inferior desktop OS. The Amiga was the first affordable computer to showcase what was really possible.

    But all of those things would have eventually have been possible on the Mac, PC, or dare I say it, on the ST had it not had the Amiga to compete against. But there is one area that the Amiga made the biggest impact on and that has to be in the games industry. If you look at the developers and publishers creating games on today's systems, most of them began developing on the Amiga. Or today's coders, graphic artists and computer musicians were first introduced to it by becoming a part of the demo scene. So without the Amiga they may not have existed, or the games industry would today be very different.

    So most of all, had the Amiga not existed the games industry would today be a very different place, if it still existed at all.

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    In a negative way with the Amiga being around 100.00 more expensive than the ST, games companies (mainly Ocean) used to charge more for Ami games as they thought if people could pay more for a computer they could pay more for games. What we do forget though is whilst the Paula chip was far superior to early PC's the ST was far better with sound and had some brilliant music software and in some cases is still being used today.
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    What we do forget though is whilst the Paula chip was far superior to early PC's the ST was far better with sound and had some brilliant music software and in some cases is still being used today.
    Blasphemy! That isn't true at all! The Atari ST used an off the shelf Yamaha sound chip that produced 3 channel mono sound! This was later upgraded towards the end of the ST's life with the STE which then had 4 channel stereo similar to the Amiga, but most game's developers continued to just code for the original 3 channel mono because the game's wouldn't be compatible with the older STFM otherwise.

    The only reason the ST saw great music software developed, such as Cubase, and appeared in many sound studios was because of it's built in midi ports. With these the ST's own sound wasn't even used, and the ST was instead used as a Midi controller for midi based musical instruments and equipment. And often a monochrome monitor was used too!

    The sad thing is that with the addition of just a 20 parallel port midi unit the Amiga had identical abilities! And in fact due to the Amiga's much more advanced OS and custom chips, Amiga midi programs could control more channels than ST equivalents! Have a look at applications such as Bars and Pipes for a good example of Amiga midi software.

    Just think. If the Amiga had come with built in midi ports too then the ST might not have even been popular at all! Oh what a dream!

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