WHDLoad Support in Amiga Forever
Q: Does Amiga Forever come with WHDLoad support?
WHDLoad (www.whdload.de) is a software package that eases the installation and use of floppy-disk based games and demoscene productions on hard disk-based Amiga computers, including Amiga Forever. WHDLoad also supports the dynamic loading of the most appropriate Amiga system ROM as part of the startup.
Amiga Forever includes:
- Ability to extract and run LhA archives
- Preset WHDLoad system setup
- Preinstalled (unregistered) WHDLoad user package
- Preconfigured ROM and RTB files
On installation, a set of WHDLoad-compatible set of ROM and RTB files is created in the "DEVS:kickstarts" directory of the Workbench 3.X configuration. From the Windows side, it is accessible under "Shared/dir/System/Devs/kickstarts" inside Amiga Files.
The default approach when loading LhA archives is that if any WHDLoad content is found in them, this is extracted and added to the special "Installed" folder. The location of this special directory can be viewed and changed under Tools/Options/Content. By default this is under Amiga Files, in "Shared/dir/Installed". The folder can be mounted as an Amiga volume by selecting the built-in "Installed" volume option in the Media tab (right-click the title and select Edit).
The "Installed" folder also contains autogenerated "C", "Devs" and "S" directories that provide special functionality when mounting the folder as "AF-Application" to trigger additional startup actions. This includes ROM and RTB files, as well as the WHDLoad software. This content is refreshed whenever a title that references the volume is run. The WHDLoad application files are updated from the file set in the Workbench 3.X environment, if a newer version is found there.
In order to locate the ROM and RTB files, WHDLoad searches for a "WHDCOMMON:" path. Amiga Forever supports this in two different ways:
- When setting up a title as a WHDLoad system (in the Configuration tab of the editor), if you use your own bootable disks (e.g. a disk image with a game), and unless you select the "Installed" folder option, then a "WHDCommon" volume is automatically added. This is to provide the minimum required ROM and RTB files.
- If a WHDLoad system uses one of the built-in boot images (e.g. Workbench 3.11 hard disk image or Workbench 3.X shared directory) then the special "Installed" folder is mounted as the "AF-Application" volume by default. This includes the extracted and installed applications (e.g. games), a "WHDCommon" Assign reference, the WHDLoad software, and additional options that can be set via the Automation tab of the editor.
The special folders are designed to let you access your favorite content equally well under a dedicated WHDLoad system, or under a generic Amiga setup (e.g. Workbench 3.X), as long as you enable the "Installed" folder option in the Media tab.
All titles that use one of the preconfigured Amiga Forever bootable systems support the automatic startup feature that is exposed in the Automation tab of the editor. This includes WHDLoad systems that mount the "AF-Application" volume.
The Automation features makes it possible to create a single environment with multiple installed games, launching the desired instance via a script command.
Opening and Converting LhA Archives
When directly opening an LhA file, Amiga Forever scans the archive, and if it finds WHDLoad content, it creates an RP9 title with a WHDLoad system setup and a reference to the extracted directory ("Installed" directory as shown in the Media tab of the editor) and matching launch script (appearing in the Automation tab of the editor).
If instead generic content is found (e.g. an Aminet archive), then additional extraction target options are displayed.
WHDLoad System and Software
The (unregistered) WHDLoad user package is preinstalled in the Workbench 3.X environment, and comes preconfigured with the required ROM and RTB files. This means that within the Workbench 3.X environment, WHDLoad titles can be run in the same way as on a normal Amiga computer. The same WHDLoad software and ROM file set is also autogenerated inside "AF-Application" volumes mounted by WHDLoad configurations.
The authoring features of Amiga Forever make it possible to create a WHDLoad-based RP9 package that does not specifically depend on the Workbench 3.X environment. When you select "WHDLoad" as the system model in the Configuration tab of the editor, a bootable system image and an additional "AF-Application" volume are automatically mounted, containing the required ROM and RTB files with a "WHDCommon" Assign reference to enable automatic detection by WHDLoad. These ROM and RTB files, as well as the WHDLoad software, are automatically synchronized from the file set in the Workbench 3.X environment.
The special "AF-Application" volume can also be mounted in non-WHDLoad configurations, by selecting the Installed built-in folder in the Media tab of the title editor. When using this folder for WHDLoad configurations, be sure to leave the preset "AF-Application" volume name to automatically execute important Amiga Path and Assign commands.
As a fallback for older WHDLoad systems and for environments that do not support the "AF-Application" feature, a "WHDCommon" volume is mounted.
The WHDLoad configuration is also used when a LhA archive (a common format for WHDLoad-enabled titles) is opened with Amiga Forever and WHDLoad content is detected.
For RP9 packages that were automatically generated from an LhA archive, the WHDLoad startup command(s) can be viewed and changed in the Automation tab of the editor.
WHDLoad includes an automatic update feature. To use that, networking should be enabled (set the Network option to Synthetic in the Configuration tab).
ROM and RTB Files
ROM and RTB files installed by Amiga Forever include:
- kick33180.A500, kick33180.A500.RTB (Amiga 500/2000 1.2 ROM, from amiga-os-120.rom)
- kick34005.A500, kick34005.A500.RTB (Amiga 500/2000 1.3 ROM, from amiga-os-130.rom)
- kick37175.A500, kick37175.A500.RTB (Amiga 500/600/2000 2.04 ROM, from amiga-os-204.rom)
- kick39106.A1200, kick39106.A1200.RTB (Amiga 1200 3.0 ROM, from amiga-os-300-a1200.rom)
- kick40063.A600, kick40063.A600.RTB (Amiga 500/600/2000 3.1 ROM, from amiga-os-310-a600.rom)
- kick40068.A1200, kick40068.A1200.RTB (Amiga 1200 3.1 ROM, from amiga-os-310-a1200.rom)
- kick40068.A4000, kick40068.A4000.RTB (Amiga 4000 3.1 ROM, from amiga-os-310-a4000.rom)
Some online resources also reference a "kick33192.A500" file, which however was confirmed to be a typo (it should read "kick33180.A500" - as of 2014, no 33.192 Amiga ROM is known to have ever been released).
The ROMs provided in Amiga Forever have been tested over time to be sufficient to run all Amiga games, demoscene productions, and other applications. Whenever this was verified to not be the case, ROMs were added.
Important features were added in these versions:
- Amiga Forever 9.1 (2021): the ability to extract and run LhA archives was added, and the "AF-Application" volume (with a "WHDCommon" Assign) replaced the "WHDCommon" volume on supported new WHDLoad systems
- Amiga Forever 6.6 (2011): the (unregistered) WHDLoad user package started being preinstalled in the Workbench 3.X environment
|Additional Keywords:||skick, kickemu|
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