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Starting classic Amiga applications from Wanderer

Introduction

E-UAE emulates classic Amiga hardware and allows running of old applications under modern hardware and operating systems. It is even possible to start E-UAE from a Wanderer icon in such a way that it loads an application. The trick is to use a script which starts E-UAE with certain parameters. This script gets an icon with "iconx" as default tool.

Preparing E-UAE

E-UAE for AROS is available in the contrib archive of the nightly builds and has the path System:Extras/Emu/E-UAE.

For E-UAE you need ROM image files. Legal ways to get them is buying the Cloanto Amiga Forever or Amiga Classix CD-Roms. Or you can extract them from a real Amiga with the tool "TransRom". Copy the image files somewhere to your AROS hard drives. The following example assumes that you have created a drawer "uae" on the drive "work:". (Hint: the images from the Cloanto CD are encripted. You need additionally the file rom.key.)

Modify the default configuration file System:Extras/Emu/E-UAE/.uaerc with an editor. You should at least specify the paths to the ROM images. Example:

amiga.rom_path     = work:uae
amiga.use_dither   = false
cpu_type           = 68020
chipset            = ecs
chipmem_size       = 4
cachesize          = 4096
fastmem_size       = 8
gfx_linemode       = double
kickstart_rom_file = $(FILE_PATH)/kick13.rom
#kickstart_key_file = $(FILE_PATH)/rom.key
sound_output       = none

Now its time for a test. Open a shell for the path System:Extras/Emu/E-UAE and type i386-aros-uae. If after some time the request for the Workbench disk appears (e.g. the hand for Kickstart 1.3) then you have managed the first hurdle. Even when it works you should look at the error messages and try to fix them.

Configuration

E-UAE has a lot of options which can be specified in configuration files and command line options. See the documentation for E-UAE. When you start E-UAE like this: i386-aros-uae -f config1 -option1 -option2 it first loads the file .uaerc. Then it loads the file specified with -f and overwrites previous settings. Then it uses the given command line options, again overwriting the options defined so far.

It's recommended that you create configuration files which emulate real machines:

  • a500-13.uaerc: 68000 processor, ecs, kick1.3, no acceleration
  • a1200-31.uaerc: 68020, aga, kick 3.1, additional memory
  • a4000-31.uaerc: no limits

Here is an example for a a500-13.uaerc:

cpu_type=68000
cpu_speed=real
kickstart_rom_file=$(FILE_PATH)/kick13.rom

Writing configuration files is the most difficult part of this guide. If you have the Amiga Classix CDRom you can look in the available configuration files for hints. Or you can type i386-aros-uae -h >uaecommands to get a starting point with all available options.

Installing a Game

You need disk image files for the applications you want to run. This images have the extension .adf. You can store them in an arbitrary place. For our example we are using work:uae.

Creating a start script with an icon

The next step is to create a script file with a text editor which starts E-UAE. Here is an example for the game Zarathrusta which comes with 2 disks:

cd system:emu/e-uae
i386-aros-uae -f work:uae/a500-13.uaerc -0 work:uae/Zarathrusta1.adf -1 work:uae/Zarathrusta2.adf

The first line makes the E-UAE directory the actual directory. Then we start E-UAE with the configuration file a500-13.uaerc and put the disk images in the drives 0 and 1.

Save the file with the name Zarathrusta in work:uae.

Finally we add an icon to the script. After you have opened the drawer work:uae in Wanderer, select the icon of the script and choose Icon/Information from the menu. Enter c:iconx as default tool. (The IconX tool executes text files as DOS scripts). On the Tooltypes page of icon information enter WINDOW=con:0/20//600/Zarathrusta/AUTO. This makes the output window bigger so that we can read probable error messages.

Double-clicking on the icon should now start E-UAE with your application.

Hard Drives

E-UAE allows to use directories of the host system and hardfiles as hard drives. You can find detailed information about this in the file Extras/Emu/E-UAE/docs/configuration.txt. The following example shows how you can use the directories work:uae/workbench and work:uae/programs as hard drive:

filesystem2=rw,:Workbench:work:uae/workbench,0
filesystem2=rw,:Programs:work:uae/programs,-1

You can even install AmigaOS on such a drive and boot from it. The drive from which it should boot must have the highest boot priority (the last parameter of the filesystem2 option).

Graphics

Unfortunately, AROS E-UAE doesn't have Picasso emulation, i.e. you are limited to 256 colour screens.

Some hints to get better resolution and performance:

  • Use configuration option chipmem_size = 16. It enables 16*512 = 8 MB of Chip Ram.
  • Use configuration option z3mem_size=x where x must be something in the order 1,2,4,6,8,16,32.
  • Select High Res Laced in the screenmode preferences editor.
  • Use the possible maximum in the overscan preferences editor.
  • Install the tool FBlit. It enables some patches which uses Fast RAM instead of Chip RAM.

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