Saturday, 27 July 2013

Catweasel MK2 on X1000

Ever since I read about the upcoming availability of X1000 support for the Catweasel Mk2 I was very excited to try it out with the many Amiga floppy disks I have - and today is the day!

For the last week or so I have been very sick with terrible food poisoning and unable to do anything at all. I feel a little bit better today and decided to tackle this project to try to take my mind off it!

So what is a Catweasel mk2? Well, it is a hardware device made by Individual computers and now available through It has the ability to present floppy drives of different formats (PC, Amiga, MAC, etc) to the AmigaOS4 (and Classic Amiga) to enable different formatted disks to be read.

With the X1000 there is no floppy drive or floppy drive port, so it is necessary to have a Catweasel installed in order to use a floppy disk drive under AmigaOS4. Until recently the only way to do this was by getting a Catweasel 4 PCI card, which is very hard to find anywhere nowadays - I certainly couldn't find it!

So recently released a package of CatWeasel Mk2 (still available to buy) with X1000 adaptor kit, which essentially is a special twisted IDE cable, and a CD containing updated drivers (not available elsewhere) to work with the X1000 IDE hardware to enable AmigaOS4 to see the Catweasel Mk2 when attached to the IDE port. I quickly ordered mine and got it this week.

The big positive for me is the ability to easily read my 25 year old plus floppy disks into ADF format using the X1000, and then use them via RunInUAE on the X1000!

So when I opened the package I got the floppy drive, a lot of floppy cables, power converters and a manual/floppy for Classic Amigas, and an unlabelled CD containing the X1000 drivers:

To read up how to wire this all up, you need to turn to the Classic Amiga manual included in the box, and specifically just one page which shows where to connect the various cables in:

For the X1000 just plug in the twisted IDE cable included to the Amiga-IDE port on the Catweasel, and the twisted end of the cable plugs into the X1000 IDE port.

I used a High Density PC floppy drive for this, and so you need to ensure the floppy drive is connected to the twisted floppy drive cable connector which tells it that the drive is drive 0.

Next, before installing in the X1000, I then inserted the CD to install the required drivers:

I read the readme_first file which contains important configuration information to make the Catweasel mk2 work with the X1000 (Click to expand):

Having taken note of what I have to do above, I got started with the installation:

The installation proceeds until the next screen without prompting for any more information:

Once I clicked Proceed above, I get the CatWeasel Prefs screen below, which needs to be modified (click to expand):

I modified it as per the Readme_first file, which ends up looking like this (click to expand):

Now it tells me the installation is completed and ready for reboot:

I powered off the X1000, and install the CatWeasel Mk2 and floppy drive. I will eventually mount it correctly against the hard disk bay wall, but for now it looks like this for testing:

I then powered on the X1000 and when the Workbench has loaded I now have a clicking floppy drive, ready for action! So first I try a Directory Opus 5.5 floppy disk:

And it comes up on the Workbench no problem. I open the Readme directly from the floppy disk no problems as below:

Next I had a look in the Shell to see the disk device, which is set to DF0:

Next I fired up DOpus4 and copied the files from the floppy disk to a temporary hard disk folder as a test and it worked well and fast for a floppy:

Excellent stuff, it works well!

Included with the software on the CD also is a program called SuperDisk - which is installed into the Utilities folder as part of the installation. This software allows you to read Amiga floppy disks to/from ADF format. Keen to try this out, I put in an old floppy disk application called PageSetter, from way back in 1986!

I ran SuperDisk (written by Ian Gledhill), and then typed in the image path name I wanted to be created, in this case "work:adf/PageSetter.adf". I then clicked on Read Disk the floppy drive got to work:

The floppy disk read was quite fast, and finished quickly:

The programs needs a "bing" sound or "Finished" dialog notice box in my opinion, but the visual green shows it is done I guess.

Next, I checked the destination folder, and sure enough the PageSetter.ADF is there:

When I double click on it, it launches via RunInUAE automatically and soon I am looking the PageSetter Workbench 1.2 screen:

I then ran the PageSetter program and it works well (well, as well as a Desktop Publishing Program from 1986 works!):

So now I have my first converted Amiga floppy disk to ADF format on the X1000 thanks to the Catweasel Mk2 and new drivers from

If you want to read more on how to use SuperDisk there is a great guide here.

If you need to do this kind of conversion of old floppy disks to ADF, or just want to be able to copy Amiga files from your floppy disks to/from your X1000 this is perfect and works very well.

I will of course play around with it some more yet (I haven't tested writing ADF to disk or other formatted disks like PC disks), but hopefully this gives you a feeling for how the CatWeasel Mk2 works on the X1000.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Huenison on X1000

Today I am taking a look at the newly released game Huenison for AmigaOS4 on the X1000.

BTW I should explain that work has been busy for the last few weeks including weekends, making it hard for me to spend much time playing with the X1000! Apologies for not updating the blog more often...but, enough of that, let's take a look at Huenison!

It was developed by Simone Bevilacqua for AmigaOS4 (and also available on Windows), released under the name "Retream". Simone also previously released the game BOH on AmigaOS4.

Their website is here if you want to learn more about the game! You can download the demo from there for free, and the full version is available for purchase for around $6 AUD.

Essentially the game is a shoot-em-up in the classic 8/16 bit era style, complete with Commodore 64 style SID music, spot speech effects, dot matrix display (similar to the scoreboard on Pinball Fantasies on the Classic Amiga.

There is a lot of variety in this game, with your Cannon able to rotate colours to fire that colour bullets. Kind of reminds me of switching colours on a BIC 4 colour pen! When you fire a bullet of a certain colour, it allows you to destroy blocks coming down that are of the same colour.

This is an interesting dynamic in the game which makes it differ a lot from most shoot em ups I have played on the Classic Amiga and other platforms in the past!

A Windows version is included in the AmigaOS4 version of the game too, which is a bonus if you want to try it on there too, but of course our focus is on the AmigaOS4 version! When you install the game you get the following folder:

The manual is in PDF format and explains the game much better than I can so here is some excerpts from the manual to explain the game (click to expand):

Once you launch the game, you get a similar audio sample from Impossible Mission on the Commodore 64 (which for those who don't recall it said "Another visitor, stay a while, stay forever") and a retro Commodore 64 style intro tune, setting the tone for the intentionally retro feel of this game as you navigate the Main Menu with the keyboard:

From the Main Menu you have the options, put in a password to start from a later level, and New Game to get started. The options allows you to alter whether the game runs in a window or full screen, and the dot level which is relevant on slower AmigaOne systems, but not needed to be adjusted on the X1000.

The first time you start the New Game, it gives you the option to put in an email address for submitting your high scores to a global high score table available for viewing on the ReTream website (you can also choose to just have local scores):

An activation is sent to your email address after this is done - you need to click on the activation link provided in the Email for your scores to be counted. When you close the game your high scores are sent to the ReTream website and displayed for the world to see how good you are!

You can use the keyboard to play the game too but definitely for me the usb Amiga Joystick was the way to go, allowing me to switch colours and fire easily.

Lets take a look at some screenshots from the game itself. The music is all retro and Commodore 64 style in feel, which suits the game perfectly:

Level 1 starts off simple enough but very quickly gets harder and faster. As the bricks come down and reach the bottom of the screen, they create an increase of the land that your ship moves left to right on, making it more difficult to shoot and quicker for enemies to increase the height even further:

The different brick types are important to getting rid of bricks quickly and efficiently. The manual explains all these types well, their characteristics and how they are deployed depending on the type of level being played in the game:

Didn't take long to be killed:

Ok, let's try again!

I felt more confident the next time through but it gets hard very quickly and a lot of action happens on the screen at the same time!

After a few more goes I managed to get a bit further into the game, and things continue getting harder:

It is hard to remember all the different blocks - I expect there is a strategy to dispatch these quickly but I admit I haven't worked it out yet - I just change colours and shoot like mad!

Some enemies require multiple shots to kill and others just a single shot. Some constantly change colour and can't be destroyed, and their are many other varieties as well as the game goes on.

I will be the first to admit I am not very good at this game but I will keep trying to get further into it!

The game costs around $6 AUD which is a bargain and the game has excellent sound, graphics and interesting gameplay that will ensure you don't get bored quickly and keep coming back for a higher score! I tried the demo first, and was very happy to buy the full version of the game.

Well done Simone, this game is original in concept, pays homage to the retro era of Classic Amiga and Commodore 64 gaming, and is a lot of fun to play too! I recommend it for X1000 owners!