Using Amiga Floppy Disk Image Files
Q: How are RP9, ADF, ADZ, FDI, DMS, SCP and IPF files used in the emulation?
RP9, ADF and other similar files, such as the ones available for download via the Amiga Forever Games page, contain an image of the contents of an Amiga floppy disk. Disk image files are both a necessity and a convenience, because Amiga floppy disks cannot be read on PC floppy hardware, and because files are easier to use and organize than physical disks.
Different types of disk image files are used in the Amiga emulation community:
- ADF is the open source Amiga floppy disk image format introduced with the first emulation applications. It is not compressed by itself, and supports very few copy protection schemes. Games in ADF format are usually "cracked" variants which had their copy protection removed. ADF is a simple and robust format that is widely supported, and can be compressed well by the file system.
- ADZ is a compressed version of the ADF format. ADZ files occupy less space than ADF files, but are not as widely supported as ADF files.
- DMS (the Disk Masher System) is a proprietary Amiga disk archiving format that was widely used to store and distribute disk images before emulation became widespread. It supports built-in compression, and a few copy protection schemes. DMS is supported well on original Amiga systems, but remains less popular than ADF in the emulation community.
- SCP is an open media archiving format, originally designed to store SuperCard Pro flux data. It offers excellent support for copy-protected disk images.
- IPF (Interchangeable Preservation Format) is a proprietary media archiving format maintained by the Software Preservation Society (SPS). It offers excellent support for copy-protected disk images.
- HDF and HDZ are the hard disk equivalents of ADF and ADZ.
- RP9 is a packaging format which supports all of the above.
Amiga Forever Player
All floppy disk image formats are supported directly by the Amiga Forever player for Open (menu) and double-click purposes. The player also supports these formats in its handprinting and configuration heuristics algorithms, which are used to preselect a suitable configuration for a game. This means that after Amiga Forever is installed, a double-click on an .adf file, for example, opens a dialog where further configuration adjustments may be made, and the disk content can then be launched.
The Amiga Forever player provides different levels of support for each format:
- ADF and ADZ are processed directly by the Amiga Forever player, with support for Open, drag-and-drop, autoconfiguration, write and final commit/undo
- DMS, SCP and IPF are recognized by the player for Open, drag-and-drop and autoconfiguration purposes, but all read/write operations are performed directly by the emulation engine (read only or immediate writes only, no undo)
- FDI disk images are not processed by the player, and all read/write operations are performed directly by the emulation engine (read only or immediate writes only, no undo)
- HDF and HDZ are supported internally by the player for preinstalled games (no Open or drag-and-drop), with support for write and final commit/undo
- RP9 packages are processed directly by the Amiga Forever player (version 2008.0.12.0 or higher), with support for all the features that are supported by the individual images in the RP9 package
ZIP files are not supported. ADF, ADZ, DMS, SCP, IPF and other disk image files found inside a ZIP archive must be extracted first. RP9 packages are already compressed and may contain multiple images, so that they feature several benefits of the ZIP format, plus embedded XML-based description and configuration data.
When a title is running and there are more disks than drives, use the menus associated with each drive (in the playback window) to eject and insert media images as necessary.
Storage of Disk Image Files
Amiga Forever stores preinstalled and otherwise recognized games and demoscene production disks inside "Games" and "Demoscene", inside "Amiga Files".
When manually downloading disk image files from the internet, you may save them anywhere you wish. You can always open them from the player, or with a double-click.
There is no need to store the image files on a "real" floppy disk, which would only slow down access. It is however possible to transfer images in ADF format from a PC to a "real" Amiga computer, if so desired, by using Amiga Explorer.
Using Disk Image Files in WinUAE and WinFellow
While the Amiga Forever player was designed to shield from the diverse and more complex configuration options of the underlying emulation engines, it also supports manual WinUAE and WinFellow operations via the Tools/Launch Plugin menu option of the player.
In general, Amiga disk image files are best used from the Amiga Forever player, either via a double-click on them, or via the File/Open menu. However, you can also use WinUAE or WinFellow manually:
- Open the Amiga Forever player. On an English language system you can do this by clicking the Start menu and selecting Programs/Amiga Forever/Amiga Forever.
- Select WinUAE or WinFellow from the Tools/Launch Plugin menu.
- Select a configuration, using either the Amiga Forever configuration files, or the WinUAE options.
- While the emulation is running, press F12, which will give you access to the Floppies tab of the emulation settings dialog, and, under the entry for drive DF0, select the appropriate ADF file from the location you saved it to. If the game consists of multiple disks, insert the first disk image in drive DF0, the second in drive DF1, etc. If you only wish to eject a disk, rather than inserting one, click the desired Eject button.
Games on Multiple Disks
Some games come on multiple disks, but only support one drive (DF0). If you configured the game in the Amiga Forever player, use the drive controls in the playback window to change disks as necessary.
Games that Require Booting from Disk
Some Amiga programs (usually games and demos) require a boot or reboot from their floppy disk in order to run properly. If you manually insert a game (or demo) disk and its icon appears on the Amiga Workbench screen with a title like "DF0:NDOS" and/or when opening the disk content window there appears to be nothing useful inside to launch the game, this is normally a sign that the game was meant to be booted from, rather than started from the Workbench. In this case, after the insertion of the disk as described above, the Amiga can be "rebooted" by pressing Ctrl+Amiga+Amiga (Ctrl+Windows+Windows).
Some disks use a custom data structure and work fine if booted from, but if you try to open them from the Workbench, they look like bad disks. If you cannot access anything useful from a disk after you inserted it while the emulation was running, simply reboot from it (press Ctrl+Amiga+Amiga or Ctrl+Windows+Windows).
Even in manual playback mode, the Amiga Forever player automatically detects whether a disk is bootable or not, and proposes an optimal initial arrangement of disks and drives, including an additional bootable disk, if required.
IPF Files and SPS Plugin
The Amiga Forever player will prompt you with instructions if you try to open an IPF disk image and the required SPS DLL (not included with Amiga Forever) is not found. You will need to:
- Download the SPS User Plugin for Windows from the SPS (formerly CAPS) site
- Extract the content of the archive, including the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the CAPSImg.dll files, to the relevant "Common Files/Software Preservation Society" directories. On a 32-bit system, the 32-bit version of the file would normally be copied to "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Software Preservation Society". On a 64-bit system, the 64-bit and the 32-bit versions of the file would be copied to "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Software Preservation Society" and "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Software Preservation Society", respectively.
- When using IPF disk image files, enabling the turbo floppy feature may disrupt certain copy-protection mechanisms, so use the standard floppy speed if in doubt
For additional information please refer to the WinUAE ReadMe from the Emulation page in the Amiga Forever documentation.
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