The Amiga Scene
Current and future state
Written by Rumrunner/Void
Comments at the end of the article collected by Magic of Nah-Kolor
Damn! It seems like writing a report on the state of the Amiga scene is a little difficult at this point in time. To be honest, I haven't been very active in the last months myself, although I atleast plan a release at the upcoming Jamaica Romparty.
Well, let's say, before anything else, things are still happening on the Amigascene. The easiest way to spot this if you're not too active these days is taking a look at the releasepage of Jpv/Rno, which is found at http://jpv.wmhost.com/releases.
Easily guessed, like all last years, most releases come at parties. Breakpoint, Solskogen and Buenzli as well as other parties have had their share of productions coming out. In addition, other scenish activities seem to be going on, like the new tracker, which I personally haven't had the chance to look at yet, Hivelytracker.
Most releases are still of decent or better quality. There are not the huge amount of demos released during better days (read late eighties and early nineties), but, as said, productions of decent or better quality are possible to come over. My biggest problem is some of the new productions not running very well on my 040/40, or that they demand more memory than I have in the Amiga, 32 megs of fast.
It seems like most of the people involved in the Amigascene today have grown into it and won't leave soon. They must have a unique interest in what they do, almost like you can see in other fields of special interests, be it old cars or guncollecting. There must be (and for my own case, I know there is) something special regarding the Amiga, which keeps its users close or at least in vicinity to the computer, rather than focusing on new damn peecees.
Regarding the future of the Amigascene, I think I have to say the same as I've said a lot of times before. The biggest problem is getting new people involved. Musicians might be possible to get, the biggest problem might be restrictions to fourchannel trackermusic which they might see as a limitation. Sadly, not too many people today seem to think of limitations as a good way to prove their skills.
Graphicians might be nearly impossible to find. Where do you even find a decent paintprogram - and I do mean paintprogram, for handpixeling images - for peecee? I haven't seen much except for Pixel Pushing Paint Program, a not nearly finished rewrite of Deluxe Paint which when I checked last time needed quite alot of patching in the code to compile with the c-compiler I had on hand (a rotten gnu c compiler). Again, limitations such as few colours and low resolution might be a problem for some, but I don't doubt that there are skilled people up for the task, if it's possible to make them see the point in working in such a way.
The biggest problem regarding getting new coders are what they are accustomed to from their new computers. Back in the days, choice of programming language was easy. In our world, it all came down to assembler or basic. Perhaps one could also do some work in c, but for all scenish purposes, this was too slow. Nowadays a lot of coders don't even know the difference between an interpreted language, a compiled language and what I'd like to call a semicompiled language, like java. I know such people, and they're not bad at programming what they do, it's just that they have sadly grown up with other tools than we did. They've also learnt to do things a different way. Usually, when I write something, I write the routines necessary for doing what I want to do. When people who didn't start with assembly on Amiga write something, they start with looking for libraries to help them. They usually speak about reinventing the wheel, which I think is a good idea. People who have other opinions on the matter should try to bolt some old wagonwheels on their car and have a ride on a bumpy road, and they'll see what I mean.
Well, still one shouldn't consider the possibilities of getting new people involved in the scene to be too remote. There are always the chance that somebody who knows someone will be a bit curious about what this Amigascene is all about. There's also the possibility that after a while, people will grow tired of all the new shite and rather look for something else for inspiration and recreational purposes. After all, just look at what's happened in the automobile field. You don't need to go too many years back before people working with and driving old cars were looked upon as weird people. Today, people from 10 years and beyond 90 ninety years old share this interest. There's no reason why the same shouldn't happen to a computer.
To end this article Hugi asked some prominent Amiga sceners about their opinions on today's Amiga scene:
I don't really think about the scene. I just partake and that's great fun. I love it. I think if you think too much about it that just ruins it. All the commentary should really be left to others - that's all I can say really. I could complain about inactivity but that would really miss the point. ;)
Well, the Amigascene is getting smaller all the time and that's not a good thing. There's still some talented people doing quality stuff with/for Amiga, but there's a serious need of more active sceners. It was really nice to see Mawi making 68k demo(s) again and I'm really hoping that there will be more amiga-demos by TBL, Ephidrena and Loonies too.
The amiga scene is like a diskmag: if you're not in it, you don't give a fuck!
AC of Rebels:
Well, the releases are so few that it's almost dead. My guess is that since the AmigaOS was no longer developed for Classic, the users and coders slowly switched to another platform.
Britelite of RNO:
Well, the amigascene is getting slower and slower. Mainly because no new guys are joining it, which is understandable. And also the old guys are getting more and more inactive. It's somehow a bit sad that the only highlight in a year is the amigacompo at Breakpoint, where the number of entries has been steadily declining. People are only waiting for the new TBL-demo, and maybe new stuff from Mawi, Iris and Loonies. And half of the releases during a year being shitty Karate-releases certainly won't help in reviving the amgiascene. Moving to the "new" amiga-platforms, like MorphOS or AOS4, wouldn't offer an solution either, as both systems are plagued with non-existent hardware. And that would also limit the audience even further, as those demos won't run on an emulator. Also the lack of 060-cards needed for running new 68k-demos on real hardware doesn't help.
Ghandy of Moods Plateau & Scarab:
It's like in our wilddemo "Vigil Coma" - the Scene itself is mostly sleeping except the days around Eastern. Don't ask me why the C64 Scene is so active and ours is so inert. Probably because it's more trendy to work with such a retroish oldskool machine like the c64. Probably because people do have a wide variety of different types of Amigas. Ocs, AGA, ppc, Amiga One, pegasos, the emulation fans etc. etc. - that all doesn't make it easier. In case of the C64 you only have ONE machine and in most cases ONE emulator which is used. Speaking of the hardware itself, I see no future there. Speaking of the Amiga Scene - well, that's really hard to say. Maybe in five years it will be as trendy to code for an Amiga as it's currently is speaking of the C64 Scene?