History: 30 Years of AMOS programming language

AMOS BASIC is a dialect of the BASIC programming language implemented on the Amiga computer. AMOS BASIC was published by Europress Software in 1990 and originally written by François Lionet with Constantin Sotiropoulos. AMOS is considered one of the best-selling non-game Amiga software packages and sold at least over 40,000 copies worldwide. AMOS itself was created using the DevPac II Assembler, DPaint III, Pix Mate, Cross-DOS and Mini Office Pro Communications. In the end, AMOS was a rewrite of the Atari ST BASIC language or STOS.

Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) was one of the first languages most people were introduced to programming on. Versions of BASIC were included with the Commodore 64 and 128, the IBM PC and clones, the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga. AMOS came in three packages. The first is The Creator, which contains AMOS itself, the editors, interpreter, tools and a number of example programs. AMOS: The Compiler is a compiler for AMOS programs and an update to the main program. AMOS-3D is another update to the main program and a 3D modeler and manipulator. The editor has two modes. Direct and edit. In edit, you are in a text editor designed to support AMOS. The concept is similar to LSE with Lattice/SAS C. Direct mode is where you enter a command, hit and it does it.

Most commands are mapped to function keys and work smoothly. AMOS uses the ALT, SHIFT, CTRL, Left-AMIGA and Right-Amiga to delimit functionkeys, good for 60 function keys. AMOS is BASIC all right. Most of the commands are very familiar and those that are not are very similar to what you would expect a BASIC command to look like. AMOS has over 500 commands. More than a few of those are specialized in dealing with graphics, sound, animation and effects. Commands for manipulating sprites, bobs, SMUS files, NT files, screens and windows abound. AMOS also had AMAL, and animation language that is interrupt driven. AMAL updates items at a rate of 60 times a second and it makes it very easy to have two-dozen bobs and half-a-dozen sprites on screen at the same time moving in complex patterns. AMOS comes with a number of tools, including a map editor, a sprite editor, grabbers and much more. The easy and popular map editor will take an IFF screen and cut it up to use the sections as tiles for creating those ever-so-popular smooth scrolling backgrounds.

AMOS enjoyed a lot of support in the Amiga community. There was an AMOS PD disk collection with at least over 300 disks in Europe and a contests paying cash for good AMOS programs. AMOS, along with the compiler, can generate commercial-quality software as long as the author has it in him. Big selling game titels such as Flight of the Amazon Queen and Jetstrike are just a few of them. The programming language is still used by many indie game developers in the Amiga community. The source code of AMOS was released in 2001 under a BSD style license by Clickteam.

news source: Wikipedia / image source: GenerationAmiga / download AMOS PRO

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