Atari Amiga

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Peter Murphy - The Sweetest Drop

*Skip to the RetroPie customization stuff*

Like every other moderately Vintage / Retro Computing person,
not to mention my whole job being what it is, I immediately bought one of those
12" IPS 16:9 Eyoyo monitors when I started seeing them pop up on some YouTube channels. Thing works great as a bench monitor, but it's kind of a weird size for use with 1980s OSes that expect 4:3. I found that Eyoyo also makes a 4:3 12" 800x600 monitor with all the same inputs so I grabbed one. Since the Atari branded monitors for the ST were 12", and I never saw any of these machines on anything much bigger than a 13" TV back in the day, this looks pretty much exactly as I remember and the correct aspect ratio makes everything feel "bigger" in the right way.

The Pi 3 seems to be completely sufficient for emulating a stock 8Mhz 68000, it just needs enough power, swapping a 750ma power supply for 2.5A made a huge speed difference in emulation. I'm not trying to make this a "modern" experience like PiMiga or anything that requires any more horespower. For software, I started with RetroPie for their package management and the fact that they've already done the work of building all their packages to run from the command line with SDL/framebuffer, plus the ease of tweaking things like the boot splash screen, etc.

Aside from that, it's really just Hatari and Amiberry. I found a 1GB ACSI disk image for the ST which is split into thirds and had a bunch of preloaded software. I've not added anything to it yet, but apparently the hero at 8bitchip has also archived over 1500 ST games and has patched them to run from a hard disk so I won't need to sort through a bunch of disk images which is great. I already spotted Oxyd in the list.

That all makes me want to get NeoDesk running, which I gather is possible though it didn't immediately work in the 5 minutes I had to spend on it. Like I said, for this machine I'm not interested in running a "modern" take like PiMiga. But "nostalgia", well, while I'd certainly love to have original ST or Amiga hardware, I really am more nostalgic for the content and getting in front of Vroom or Nebulus for 10 minutes every 2 months, and it's awesome that it's using the same desktop I spent so much time in front of.

The little boot menu I wrote just replaces the RetroPie file at /opt/retropie/configs/all/ with one that shows the user a menu to select the boot OS or shutdown. Windows 3.11 is a menu option, that's kind of TBD. DosBox is installed but I haven't done the full Windows install yet but it'll be fun to play Solitaire on this thing.

Little tweaks I made to RetroPie

I used RetroPie as my base rather than regular Raspbian because of their great packaging and basic customization tools. I just installed Hatari and Amiberry from the retropie_setup installer and they worked immediately at the command line. The retropie_setup tool also lets you swap out the default boot splash screen. I was expecting to just find the location of the file and swap in an Atari Fuji logo and be done with it. But they've built the tool into their setup utility, and even let you assign an MP4 so I was able to use an animated rainbow Fuji logo so it just looks awesome.

I made one edit to /boot/cmdline.txt to suppress the bootup log output, so cmdline.txt looks like this now:

console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=8ee2ea28-02 rootfstype=ext4 rootwait loglevel=3 quiet consoleblank=0 plymouth.enable=0

I copied /opt/retropie/configs/all/ out of the way and replaced it with:



That's pointing to the boot menu screen. It's really simple but really what am I trying to do here? I did add a countdown timer so it will automatically boot to an ST desktop after 20 seconds:

# /opt/retropie/configs/all/

echo "POMPEY PIRATES" | sed -e :a -e "s/^.\{1,$(tput cols)\}$/ & /;ta" | tr -d '\n' | head -c $(tput cols)
echo ""
echo ""
echo "Press '1' For Atari ST"
echo "Press '2' For Amiga"
echo "Press '3' For Windows 3.11"
echo "Press '9' For Bash Shell"
echo "Press '0' For Shutdown"
echo "Press 'T' For Trainer"
echo ""
echo ""

msg="Booting Atari ST in"
tput cup 12 0
echo -n "$msg"


l=$(( l+1 ))

for i in {15..01}
tput cup 12 $l
echo -n "$i Seconds"

read -t 1 -n 1 system 2>/dev/null

if [ "$system" = "1" ]
/opt/retropie/emulators/hatari/bin/hatari --timer-d 0 && reset; /home/pi/bin/menu
elif [ "$system" = "2" ]
/opt/retropie/emulators/amiberry/ && reset; /home/pi/bin/menu
elif [ "$system" = "9" ]
exit 0
elif [ "$system" = "0" ]
sudo shutdown -h now


/opt/retropie/emulators/hatari/bin/hatari --timer-d 0 && reset; /home/pi/bin/menu


  • I'll probably install Windows and Mini vMac just to do it
  • Add ST High Res mode
  • May add a timer to the menu to boot to the ST after some number of seconds just to make it more immersive.
  • Add a "POMPEY PIRATES" at the top and "PRESS 'T' FOR TRAINER" at the bottom for authenticity

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