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Recovered Source

Introduction

Back in the mid-nineties my computer of choice was an Amiga. I had many models over the time period up to and including a wonderful Amiga 4000. It was this machine that I wrote my PD games on using AMOS Professional and its compiler.

I started many games but only finished a few, those being Baldy, released in 1993, and Talisman, released in 1995. I did release a commercial video titling package called Video Ease in 1992 as well.

As many programmers tend to do, I had masses of un-finished ideas scattered around my hard drive, and in-frequently backed-up to whatever was available, usually floppy disks. The Amiga 4000 had a high density drive that could hold 1.7mb of data using its own proprietary format.

When I sold my A4000, I kept a few disks with source code I thought worth saving, but had no idea why. I was moving to a PC which could not read Amiga formatted disks, but never the less, I kept about ten disks. These disks followed me through house moves, job changes and impending old age, sat in a small box mixed in with other items from my past.

With Amiga emulation now possible, and a curiosity about the actual contents, I recently wondered if I could get the data off the disks somehow. I do have an A600, but it does not power up, so that was a non-starter. After some searching, I found a method of transferring Amiga disks to emulator compatible ADF files using an old PC with two floppy drives. Luckily I had just bought one cheap from eBay and with the additional of a second drive, I was ready to start the experiment.

The first few disks were extracted and even though I did not know the contents, I had some idea of what I hoped I would find when I eventually completed the task and loaded the disks into an emulator.

Hopes

I wanted the source code for Baldy, Talisman and Video Ease. I have printed out versions, but wanted the actual code. I was hoping for Video Ease version 1.1 – the updated and never released version, and also the updated Talisman. This was also never released but was created when Games Workshop threatened me with legal action.

I also had vague memories of a tank game and the spiritual successor to Baldy that had a working title of Baby. This game I remember had a few levels complete and I really wanted to see it again.

HD Problem

As I worked my way through the disks I came across a High Density one. This would, I hoped, hold a lot of source code. The problem was, it could not be read by the conversion utility, as that could only handle Double Density disks. Now I had a problem.

Luckily, during the Replay Blackpool even in 2017, I had a chat with Dan Woods from The Retro Hour, who owns an Amiga 4000, and he agreed to rip the contents for me. With its speedy return, I set about exploring the disks....

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