productivity software

Amiga productivity software

This article is a split of main article Amiga software and refers to any productivity software that run on Amiga line of computers.

See also related articles Amiga Internet and communications software and Amiga support and maintenance software for other information regarding software that run on Amiga.

The Amiga was originally supported by such prestigious software titles as WordPerfect, Electronic Arts' Deluxe Paint, and Lattice C. Newtek's Video Toaster - one of the first all-in-one graphics and video editing packages, began on the Amiga. The Video Toaster was one of the few accessories for the "big box" Amigas (2000, 3000 and 4000) that used the video slot, and enabled users to turn their Amiga into the heart of an entire TV Production suite. The later addition of the Video Flyer by Newtek made possible the first non-linear video editing program for the Amiga. The Amiga made 3D raytracing graphics available for the masses with Sculpt 3D (before the Amiga, raytracing was only available for dedicated graphic workstations). Other raytracing software also included TurboSilver. The Amiga was well known for its 3D rendering capability, with many titles being added to the mix as the years went by. Some titles were later ported to Microsoft Windows and continue to thrive there, such as the rendering software Cinema 4D from Maxon, and LightWave from Newtek, which was originally part of the Video Toaster. The Video Toaster itself has even been ported to the Windows platform. Even Microsoft produced software for use on the Amiga. AmigaBASIC, an advanced BASIC software development environment, complete with an Interactive Development Environment (IDE), was written by Microsoft under contract. Most budget CGI relied on LightWave during the early 1990s, Babylon 5 being a notable TV-series rendered using LightWave.

Graphics, video, design and CAD software

There exists a tremendous amount of graphic manipulation software for the Amiga. Some include; Graphicraft, Deluxe Paint, Photon Paint, Newtek TV Paint, Brilliance! (a program made upon the suggestion by the artist Jim Sachs), Aegis Image, ArtEffects Personal Paint from Cloanto, Photogenics, Express Paint, Digi Paint, Perfect Paint.

There is also a wide range of animation and video authoring software; Aegis Animator, Lights!Camera!Action!, DeLuxe Video, Disney Animation Studio, versions later than 3 of Deluxe Paint, The Director (a BASIC-like language oriented to animation), Scala, Amiga Vision from Commodore itself, VisualFX from ClassX, Adorage Multi Effect program from Pro DAD, Millennium from Nova Design. ImageFX, and Art Department Pro.

3D rendering and animation software includes Sculpt 3D, TurboSilver, Aladdin 4D, Videoscape 3D, Caligari, Maxon Cinema4D, Imagine, LightWave from Newtek, Vista Pro and World Construction Set 3D terrain rendering programs.

There were also various CAD programs available for Amiga, such as X-CAD, IntelliCAD, DynaCaDD, MaxonCAD, IntroCAD, and even programs to design and test electronic circuits, such as ElektroCAD.

There were videoediting programs for desktop video with both linear and non linear editing with 4.2.2 capabilities as the ones from Newtek available with VideoToaster Flyer external module for Video Toaster and just called NLE! (Non Linear Editing), Amiga MainActor, Broadcaster Elite, MovieShop for the expansion Amiga cards PAR, VLab Motion, and VLab Pro.

Comic Setter was an interesting tools to create printed comics by arranging brushes representing comic characters, joining it with background images and superimposing it the right frames and "ballons" with their own text speech and captions. It could then print in color the comics that were created.

Graphic Utilities

There were many graphic utilities with peculiar features created in order to support main graphic programs. There are utilities for matte images, like Cinematte. Cinematte utility allow the user to easily make complex photo-realistic composites of subjects that are photographed against a bluescreen, or green screen background. It uses the same sophisticated techniques used worldwide in motion picture technology for precise bluescreen compositing. CineMorph it is a program to automatically create morphing effects between two given original images, and create a compound third image, or even all the animation movie associated with the morphing effect. Morph Plus performed same effects as Cinemorph. Impact! created Physics Simulation in 3D scenes. Essence was a texture maker to apply textures on 3D surfaces of objects created by 3D tracing programs. Amiga Magic Lantern was a true color animation compressor and player for the Amiga, Pixel 3D Pro utility it was used to create models for 3D objects and save it in various 3D formats, or to transform any model object from a 3D file format to another one.

Graphics applications

Amiga in the past had a stronger attitude for graphics than other PCs due to its peculiar hardware, and its multimedia chipset. The graphical chip Agnus could access directly RAM and pilot it with DMA (Direct Memory Access) privileges, and featured Bit Blitter and Copper circuits capable to move ranges of pixels on the screen and deal directly with the electronic beam of the TV set. Even if new Amigas have no embedded multimedia chipset, these computers could gain more power and perform graphics at high speed (More than original chipset of Amiga) because these new machine could use AGP graphic cards, have embedded audio AC'97 soundsystem anc could mount PCI audio cards, even some professional models. AmigaONE and Pegasos II motherboards had inherited the same capabilities of AmigaOS in their new operating systems. The AmigaOS main features are small footprint, no resource consuming and no CPU stress. Also the subset of libraries dealing with graphics inherited from Amiga it is small in dimension, lightweight and performs graphics at high speed. These benefits allows the attitude of classic Amiga in graphics continuing on new machines. A new generation of graphic software was born for new Amiga machines. Hollywood is a multimedia and presentation program available for all Amigas (AmigaOS classic, AmigaOS4.0, MorphOS, AROS). It is able to load ancient Scala projects and Microsoft Powerpoint ".PPT" files. Its module Hollywood Designer is a modern multimedia authoring software which creates complete Amiga programs through a Visual approach at programming design, and saves executables in various formats for AmigaOS classic up to version 3.9 for 68000 and 68xxx machines, WarpUP for AmigaOS classic equipped with PPC expansion cards, AmigaOS4.0 and MorphOS ELF for PPC processors, and also Intel X86 code for AROS. TV Paint is still a valid program and continues being used despite of its age. Programs like Candy Factory for AOS 4.0 are designed to create special effects on images, brushes and fonts to create gorgeous internet objects and buttons used in designing web pages. Pixel image editor, formerly Pixel32 is available for MorphOS. Blender 3D is one of the best Open Source cross platform software. It is available also for MorphOS, and a first pre-release is running on AmigaOS 4.0 (available for AOS 4.0 developers only). Also a first pre-release of GIMP is available on AmigaOS 4.0 through the Cygnix X11 graphic engine.

Vector graphics

Common widely used format for vector graphics in Amiga are EPS and IFF DR2D. It originated from the fact that Amiga was the first platform on which ran GhostScript natively, and also IFF DR2D was the original standard for vector graphics generated by Amiga Professional Draw.

Foremost used Amiga drawing and vector graphics utilities are Aegis Draw, ProDraw (Professional Draw) from Gold Disk Inc., DrawStudio, Art Expression, Pro Vector, and for some basic vector graphics, also the tools of Professional Page and PageStream are useful. The most modern vector graphics program on Amiga is actually MindSpace 1.1, which is aimed mainly at design flowcharts, mindtables, UML and diagrams.

SWFTools is a collection of command line programs to convert and save various raster(bitmap) image formats from and to Flash SWF vector animation format.

On AmigaOS are available the widely used free distributable vector to graphics conversion facilities Autotrace, Potrace, XTrace which can run also in AROS Amiga Open Source clone OS and MorphOS Amiga-Like system.

The Desktop Publishing software PageStream has a tracing utility as bundled software.

Various programs can read DXF (almost all Amiga CAD programs), EMF, SVG, CGM, GEM, WMF, an example of converting tool that reads many formats and output DR2D is the Amiga program MetaView. It exists also a SVG Datatype to support directly in the OS, on any program, the feature of loading and saving files in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format.

Word Processing

While desktop video proved to be a major market for the Amiga, a surge of word processing, page layout and graphic software filled out the professional needs starting from the first Amiga text program Textcraft which was a mix between a real word processor and an advanced text editor, but capable to change page layouts, fonts, enlarge or reduce their width, change their colors and add even color images to the text.

Notable word processing programs for Amiga included the then-standard WordPerfect up to version 4.1, Shakespeare, Excellence, Final Writer, Amiga Writer, Scribble!, ProWrite, Wordworth and the little Personal Write by Cloanto.

The page layout software included Page Setter and Professional Page from Gold Disk, and PageStream by Soft-Logik, known today as Grasshopper LLC). Only PageStream was ported to other platforms and continues to be developed and supported by the developers. Graphic software included vector drawing applications like Art Expression from Soft-Logik, ProVector by Taliesin, Draw Studio, and Professional Draw from Gold Disk.

Amiga lacked of an office suite as the term is meant now, but integrated software was available. Pen Pal was a word processor integrated with a database and a form editor. Scribble!, Analyze! and Organize! were bundled together as the Works! suite combining a word processor, spreadsheet and database. Despite the similarity in name, it had no connection to Microsoft Works.

The page layout language LaTex was available in two ports: AmigaTeX, that is no longer available (the first LaTeX which can be edited with a front end program), and PasTEX, available on Aminet repository.

Modern software AbiWord is available today on AmigaOS4.0 through the X11 graphical engine, and Papyrus Office pre-release is available for MorphOS.

Text Editors

Most advanced Text editors available on Amiga are Vim, Emacs and MicroEMACS, Cygnus Editor also known as CED, and GoldED, which then evolved into Cubic IDE.

Database and Spreadsheets

In the first age of Amiga (1986-1989) there were cross-platform spreadsheet available for it, like MaxiPlan, which was available also for MS-DOS and Macintosh. Logistix (real name LoGisTiX) was one of the first spreadsheets for Amiga, Microfiche Filer Plus was a database which gave the user the experience of exploring data as using microfilms. SuperBase was one of the finest programs available for C64. It was then ported on Atari, Amiga, and later on PC. But it was on Amiga that become a standard reference. Available in two versions Superbase Personal and SuperBase Professional It could handle SQL databases and had a query internal language like BASIC. It was capable to create forms and masks on records and was capable of handling multimedia files into its records years before than Microsoft Access. Superbase also featured VCR control style buttons to browse into records of any database. Softwood File II was another simple multimedia database which then evolved into Final Data good database available for Amiga from Softwood Inc. From the same firm there was Final Calc spreadsheet which evolved from TurboCalc that Softwood bought from another software manufacturer. ProChart was a tool to draw flow charts and diagrams. Analyze! was a fairly full featured (for the time) spreadsheet developed for the Amiga. Organize! was a flat file database package. Gnumeric spreadsheet has also been ported on Amiga through an X11 engine called Cygnix.

In the recent times MUIBase was born and mainly cross-platform MySQL database language becomes a reference on Amiga also.

Science, entertainment and special use programs

Maple V is one of the best general purpose mathematic software (a.k.a. Mathematic-CAD) that were ever made. It was available for Amiga also, and appreciated by many scientists using Amiga at its age. Distant Suns, Galileo, Digital Almanac and Amiga Digital Universe (from Bill Eaves for the OS4) were stellar sky exploring program and astronomic calculators. During the age of CDTV were available historic, science, and art CDs like Timetable of Science, Innovation, Timetable of Business, Politics, Grolier's Encyclopedia, Guinness Disk of Records, Video Creator, American Heritage Dictionary, Illustrated Holy Bible, Illustrated Works of Shakespeare, etc.


For Amiga there were literally hundreds of entertainment software. Amongst those available for kids and learning, it is possible to mention: Adventures in Math series of floppy disks, from Free Spirit Software, Animal Kingdom series of disks from Unicorn Software, Art School all the series of Barney Bear software, the Discovery series, including Discovery trivia, Donald's Alphabet Chase, Mickey's 123's and Mickey's ABC's by Disney Software, the Electric Crayon and Ferngully series of educational coloring book software (Ferngully was taken from the animation movie), Fun School series of disks, Kid Pix set of disks from the well known Broderbund Software house, which was famous in the nineties, Miracle Piano Teaching System to teach music to kids, various tales of Mother Goose, and World Atlas by Centaur Software.

Fractals, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence

One of the best fractal experience programs ever made on any platform is the incredible ZoneXplorer from Elena Novaretti. In 1989 were created the X-Specs 3D Glasses from Haitex Resources, one of the first interactive 3D solutions for home computers. On Amiga were created the multimedia interactive TV non immersive Virtual reality exploring software Mandala from Vivid Group Inc., and the Virtuality System Virtuality 1000 CS 3D VRML all-immersive simulator from W-Industries (then Virtuality Inc.), for game entertainment in big arcade installations and theme parks, that was based on A3000.

Magellan v.1.1 (Artificial Intelligence Software), not to be confused with Directory Opus Magellan, was a program to emulate Artificial intelligence responses on Amiga, by creating heuristic programmed rules based on machine learning in its form of supervised learning. The user will choose into decision trees and decision tables system of AI featured by the Magellan program, in which to input objects, and desired outputs and describe all associate conditions and rules which the machine should follow in order to output pseudo-intelligent solutions to given problems.

Route Planning

AmiATLAS v.6, it is a complete Route planner tool for Amiga computers. It provides worldwide interactive maps and find optimal routes for traveling from one place to another. It features also multiple map loading, and integrated CityGuide-System with information to interesting towns, places or regions, some even with pictures, and information about many parks and points of interest.

Personal Organizer, Notebook, Diary software

Digita Organizer v.1.1 from Digita International it the best Amiga program to let the user to note about dates, meetings, remember expiry dates, etcetera. PolyOrg for MorphOS by Frédéric Rignault.

Personal Budget, Home Banking, Accounts

Easy Banker, Home Accounts, Small Business Accounts, Small Business Manager, Account Master, Accountant, AmigaMoney, Banca Base III, HomeBank, CashMaster, etc.

Software for special purposes

AVT (Amiga Video Transceiver), was a software and hardware Slow-scan television system originally developed by "Black Belt Systems" (USA) around 1990 for the Amiga home computer popular all over the world before the IBM PC family gained sufficient audio quality with the help of special sound cards. Richmond Sound Design (RSD) created both show control (a.k.a. MSC or "MIDI Show Control") and theatre sound design software which was used extensively in the theatre, theme park, display, exhibit, stage managing, show and themed entertainment industries in the 1980s and 1990s and at one point in the mid 90s, there were many high profile shows at major theme parks around the world being controlled by Amigas through software simply called Stage Manager which then evolved into its Microsoft Windows version called ShowMan. There were dozens at Walt Disney World alone and more at all other Disney, Universal Studios, Six Flags and Madame Tussauds properties as well as in many venues in Las Vegas including The Mirage hotel Volcano and Siegfried and Roy show, the MGM Grand EFX show, Broadway theatre, London's West End, the Royal Shakespeare Company's many venues, most of Branson, Missouri's theatres, and scores of theatres on cruise ships, amongst hundreds of others. RSD purchased used Amigas on the web and reconditioned them to provide enough systems for all the shows that specified them and only stopped providing new Amiga installations in 2000. There are still an unknown number of shows on cruise ships and in themed venues being run by Amigas.

  1. Info on Virtuality at Amiga Hardware site
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