INTERACTIVE RETAIL DEMO
FOR THE COMMODORE AMIGA (1987)
Surprised that the Amiga was not being given an opportunity to show its full potential, we approached Commodore in 1987 with an offer to design and develop software for dealers to use to demonstrate the machine’s remarkable capabilities. Commodore accepted and AmigaMagic was born.
The AMIGAMAGIC main menu
Starting with a blank background, the oversized diamond shaped icons fall like raindrops onto the screen. Clicking an icon activates the appropriate demo or feature. The lower left icon allowed the Amiga dealer to input the name and address of his or her store, along with a slogan. This was then automatically displayed as an advertisement on the oBLITTERator interactive newspaper. The ? icon leads to the Information Retrieval System that in this case acts as a searchable User Guide and was one of several experimental precursors to our PiCosm ecosystem developed in the 1980s.
The oBLITTERator interactive newspaper functioned in a similar manner to today’s dynamic web pages
The heart of AMIGAMAGIC, the oBLITTERator was named after the BLiTTER chip inside the Amiga and demonstrated the smooth graphics and multi-tasking capabilities of this incredible machine. The whole page scrolls up and down very smoothly. The keyboard arrow keys may be used to manually scroll the newspaper too. In addition, the pictures in the windows are actually animated. The cube spins in 3D, and the spreadsheet works too! Clicking on the spinning cube runs the 3D demo, while clicking on the musical keyboard runs the 4 channel DIGITAL SOUNDJAMMER.
The dealer’s advertisement appears in the middle left after the information is entered from the AMIGAMAGIC main menu. To show off the Amiga’s multi-tasking ability, the Amiga mouse can be used to literally drag the oBLITTERator down the screen, exposing the actual 3D and sound demos running in the background! Has to be seen to be believed! (For a 1980s app, this was ground breaking and only made possible with the BLiTTER.)
The AMIGAMAGIC 3D animation demonstrator
This fun to use utility allowed the user to independently move and transform the cube and the tile. The TIMECODE based sequencer at the lower left made it possible for short animations to be created, saved to disk and played back in real-time (with all calculations done on the fly) or as a sequence of pre-calculated views. At NO time were scenes individually saved as frames. Only the mathematical vector calculations where performed in advance when in PRE-CALCULATE mode. This technique was quite unique. It saved a considerable amount of disk and memory space when using computers that have the power to render simple graphics on the fly – such as the amazing Amiga.
The AMIGAMAGIC Digital SOUNDJAMMER
Further showing off the Amiga’s unique capabilities, the DIGITAL SOUNDJAMMER was a fun to use 4 channel recording studio, complete with a selection of sampled sounds (“voices”), a drum machine and a mixing desk! Notes were entered using the mouse by clicking on the piano style keyboard. And to make it impossible to play the wrong notes, pre-calculated chords can be played too.
The Information Retrieval System (Used as the AMIGAMAGIC User Guide in this case)
The SOUNDJAMMER attracted the attention of the CEO of Datel Electronics, the world renowned speciality video game cartridge manufacturer. They were keen to turn the AMIGAMAGIC SOUNDJAMMER into a fully fledged digital sampling and playback studio. The Datel SAMPLE STUDIO was born.
Datel Sample Studio (1987)
The Datel SAMPLE STUDIO was based on the AMIGAMAGIC SOUNDJAMMER with added sampling hardware plus a revolutionary sound sampling and editing interface designed by ourselves. We conceived for Datel the world’s first ‘cut and paste’ digital audio editing interface. The left of the two screenshots shows the unique zoom windows where the sound waves are displayed graphically and could be manipulated to digitally “splice” sound samples. For example, you could take: “I, John Smith, hereby promise to pay Peter Jones ten thousand dollars.” and alter it to read “I, Peter Jones, hereby promise to pay John Smith ten thousand dollars.”
SAMPLE STUDIO was designed by us and co-engineered by ourselves and Datel. Datel designed the hardware.
“The display is very pretty to look at, making good use of the Amiga’s graphics capabilities”
– Your Amiga, June 1988
“The screen displays of the Datel software are beautifully designed”
– Amiga Computing, February 1989
Interactive retail demo for the Commodore Amiga
1987, England (PRODUCT NOT FOR RESALE)
Commodore Business Machines (UK) Ltd
UX Design & Project Management
Professor Stephen Belcher
(Now director of the UK Met Office)
AMIGAMAGIC once again proved our ability to conceive ideas and designs that were ahead of their time and set trends that were subsequently followed by others world-wide. The concepts behind the “bas-relief” 3D interface and oBLITTERator interactive newspaper were introduced to the mass market nearly ten years after AMIGAMAGIC.