A re-occurring topic has begun to blemish so called 'demo scene' magazines for sometime now. Even more tedious than the swapping vs modem debate we are constantly being subjected to, an ongoing curse which is slowly beggining to take over scene magazines as we ever knew them. The subject in fact relates not to the demo scene, yet in many cases it fills upto 50% and more of our 'scene' magazines. It's the optimistic debate regarding the future of the Amiga.
Not too long ago the scene saw a special edition of Artwork's Generation dedicated to this subject, quoting speeches from some newly elected fat cat plus a small index of other such non scene nonsense. Rumour also has it that Generation will dedicate even more of their bytes to cover this futile topic. If this proves fact we may see Generation descend into the realms of the general Amiga user; those unlearned people who talk about the aminet, new CD roms and new processors as if they were the oxygen flow keeping the Amiga alive.
As magazines open their doors to the 'general Amiga public' we can expect to see our beloved scene changed into a commercial farce dedicated to paper magazines and PD libraries.
Despite the rumour factor and blatant lack of truth to these extracts of information, why should we as sceners care what happens anyway?
It really is time to deal with the Amiga situation realistically. There is no future for the Amiga! As it stands we (the users) own the Amiga, we control its releases and trends of development. Why would we want a big company that has spent its financial life with PCs, telling us what we must and must not do, restricting our progress? Our life has been made tough enough already by system friendliness impositions and further PC influence.
Commodore have already proved their attempt at dominance with the release of the A1200, a potentially superior machine with the advantages of 24bit blitter, yet due to their impatience this feature remained unusable (some scene coders have since been able to debug this) with plans to release a bugfixed machine (the A1500) at a later date. When the new A1200 models finally reached the shelves, Escom attempted a forcefull promotion of system legal coding with new diskdrives that refused to load trackloaders. Yet another attempt to control the scene's creativity. Whoever releases the new Amigas will try to command our society, do we want this?
We must learn to accept the Amiga for the computer it is instead of wanting it to be something else. We have a lot to learn from the Commodore 64 scene, a cult that is still thriving many years following a complete commercial death, they have come to terms with this, yet continue with contentment in their own little world undisturbed by outside interferance. However, it appears that Amiga sceners refuse to do the same?
"Hail the Power PC Chip!" and "Oh A-Box, our saviour!" are just two of the ridiculous comments coming from the Amiga community. Are these people so inane that they can`t see the obvious? Neither the PPC or the Abox will save the Amiga as they are completely different machines. We are just as well claiming that the new Playstation model will save the Amiga.
The point is quite beyond me as to why anyone would wish to purchase these new Amiga brand machines. For approximately the same price one could have a PC and the endless amounts of software and hardware that is being produced for it. A new computer just cannot survive without dedicated support regardless of its power or abilities. Take for example the Atari Falcon, a superior machine to the A1200 in most aspects, but due to Atari's lack of success and past failures, people refused to support it and it died immediately. The success of a computer is about the continuous clever marketing and sales that fund future developments and help to lower prices.
What do we hope to get out of these new PPC processors that the PC cannot offer? Initially there is a requirement for dedicated programmers before anything is produced for it and if this isn't difficult enough the programmers then need to pay out more money for the hardware documentation. This alone highlights the inept marketing concept behind these machines. As for commercial development, I find it very doubtful that a billion dollar PC or Console company would even look at these new machines. So it seems the only software developers considering this new format are the existing, yet incompetant publishers for the Amiga. Companies such as Vulcan, a team made famous for having the audacity to release a commercial game written in Amos, various PD libraries turned publishers who continue to make profits from other people's hard work and then the most promising of all, Click Boom with the problem being that they are situated in Canada and have great difficulty with overseas sales. Now why would freelance teams wish to release years of hard work into the hands of these people?
Besides this there are many other disadvantages to the success of Gateway 2000, Amiga international, Phase 5 or whoever is unfortunate enough to be lumbered with the Amiga company. Just think how it will affect our scene. Parties will require extra competition categories therefore lowering the overall prize money and deterring entries. The obvious matter would of course be the constant power failures, both the Saturne party and The Party 7 witnessed such catastrophes simply due to the power both the PCs and high spec Amigas require these days. If party organisers have to find yet more money to cover the growing expense of electricity this will again have an effect on the prize money or alternatively the ammount of attendants allowed. Of course the problem of expense doesn't just play a role at parties, we must consider our home electricity bills and also the continuing costs of upgrading. It's reaching a stage where we may even need a mortgage to fund our hobby. These new Amiga machines will be designed to go head to head with their PC counterparts and would therefore require more hardware, faster processors and more memory just to keep the pace. Is this really the Amiga spirit? Over the past years Amiga coders, graphics artists and musicians have achieved the impossible, proving that boundaries exist only to be exceeded. With such high specifications there are no set boundaries, with each upgrade the boundaries are extended thus eliminating all challenge and competition between sceners.
At present the Amiga is already taking this direction, there is very little challenge. Time after time we see the same 3d routines after another, increasing speed as the specification requirements grow. Coders haven't even attempted to find new and more efficient ways of doing or at least emulating these things because they know that the hardware of the future will do the work for them.
The state of the Amiga scene will not be improved by new machines or any commercial take over. Try to remember how the Amiga scene developed. Due to the lack of commercial support throughout Europe coders began making their own software to suit their needs. Programs such as Seka by Promax/Kefrens and Soundtracker by Mahoney and Kaktus; the basis for all great compilers and trackers of today. We do not need outside interferance from some Bill Gates wannabes and we do not wish to see scene mags affected by such monotonous tales of an Amiga comeback. The Amiga is commercially dead, learn to accept it!