We recently caught up with our friends at the Armiga Project who are attempting to bring back the glory days of the 80's with a small form factor Armiga, which is based on the hugely popular Commodore Amiga. They have two prototype variants available, one with a floppy drive whilst the other without. The casing is produced on a 3D printer and resembles the classic Amiga.
Q1. How did you come up with the idea of making the Armiga? IGOR:
We were working together in the same company in 2013 and did some brainstorming around possible spare-time projects. This one came from another idea and was challenging enough for us to consider it. Reading old Amiga FDDs sounded like something hard... and fun. We started investigating and found some information here and there and some people telling us we wouldn't be able to make it, so we tried harder :D LUIS: The idea born from some beers ;)
Q2. Why make two different models? IGOR:
We had just one version in mind, the Full one, as the key difference from other products is the ability to read disks. However, some people told us they would love to have a plug'n'play legal way yo play Amiga games on their TVs, with zero-effort-configuration. Now around 1/4 of the sales and pre-sales are from the small version.
Q3. What kind of feedback have you had from people that have purchased the Armiga and prospective buyers? IGOR:
Feedback is very good and people are very helpful. No big issue has been reported so far and software keeps improving. From the general public, however, we have all kind of opinions, as it's normal. However, we are afraid something is missing in our message as some people tend to describe it as an overpriced Amiga emulator for Android on top of RPi, when we are neither using Pi, nor Android :D. On the other hand, most of the people get it right: zero-config fluid Amiga 500 emulation, 100% legal and the ability to dump your own disks. Android 4.2 is a plus for when you are not playing. LUIS: Some people says that it's easy to make this project with a pi. We have learnt to accept every opinion, but this is not a DIY project, we have spent a lot of hours and money to make the Armiga. It has not been easy neither funny. It´s really hard to listen or read some things after being soldering, programming and printing the whole night , but we respect every comment.
Q4. How accurate is the compatibility of the original games? IGOR:
As per our tests, we are around 90% compatibility. However, it depends on the cracker of the game. For example, working copies of Lotus 2 or CrazyCars 2 are "hard to find".
Q5. Have you had any contact with the original Amiga developers? IGOR:
We tried contacting Amiga Inc. several times and by different media before releasing the product, but had no answer. LUIS: We tried everything to contact someone related to Amiga Inc. György Dragon (RIP) helped us a lot in this matter. A great loss for the Amiga Community.
Q6. How many people are working on this project? IGOR:
For now is just the 2 of us, Luis and me, with Chui, developer of UAE4All as a core collaborator. LUIS: I would like to mention to our family, they have been an important part of this project too.
Q7. Are you Amiga fans and if so what was your favourite game? IGOR:
Yes, we both had the Amiga 500. It's hard to decide for just one game. In my case many car games, like Crazy Cars, Stunt Car Racer, Lotus 2 or Jaguar XJ220, but maybe the one I identify the most with the Amiga is Speedball 2. LUIS: My favourite game is Sensible Soccer. I also love Moonstone, Flashback, Alien Breed and Operation Stealth.
Q8. Do you have a rough idea of when it will be officially released? IGOR:
We are looking into all the legal stuff right now, which is way harder than people think. This is not just making the product, but paying lots of licenses, fees and taxes for making, selling, shipping and disposing. It's really hard for a small volume. At this point, with more than 150 pre-orders (and hopefully more to come), we are in a point where it's not easy to choose what way to go, if keep it as a hand made 3d-printed product or jump to a more automated model. So, it's not even close to clear :