Commodore Amiga

The Commodore Amiga emulator
This is P-UAE. I’ve configured Advanced Launcher to switch the SHIELD to 50Hz refresh rate if your TV supports it. This matches the PAL refresh rate of most Commodore Amiga games and leads to perfect smooth scrolling.

A:          Fire
Y:          Enter P-UAE GUI
Select:     Toggle mouse mode
Start:      Toggle on screen keyboard
L trigger:  Toggle mouse and joystick status
L shoulder: Select joystick number
R shoulder: Select mouse speed
NVIDIA:     Toggle RetroArch menu

You need the system roms from the Commodore Amiga. I prefer kickstart version 3.1 because it boots with a black background color. I will use this kickstart in the guides below for setting up the emulator

When you have the kickstart roms they need to be placed in the RetroArch system folder on the SHIELD:

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P-UAE is compatible with disk images and hardfiles in the following formats:

  • .adf
  • .adz (gzipped .adf files)
  • .hdf
  • .hdz (gzipped .hdf files)

Hardfiles can be used for creating WHDLoad versions of games and demos which are preferable to the adf versions. They do, however, require some effort to create. In the bottom of this section I will go through how to create gzipped WHDLoad hardfiles.

Regardless of which type of game file you want to use, you first need to create the folder structure for amiga games on the SHIELD. In the amiga rom directory create three folders:

  • adf  – for games in .adf format
  • config – for configuration files for each game
  • hdf – for games in .hdf format

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Setting up adf disk images
In this section I will show how to set up the emulator to run adf disk images. As an example I will show how to play R-Type which has been released as freeware.

First download R-Type in .adf format:

Unzip the game and upload it to the adf folder in the amiga roms folder on the SHIELD:

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Next download this configuration file:

The configuration file is for R-Type but you can use it as a template for creating configuration files for other games. Open the configuration file in a text editor and you will see the following structure:


The first two lines are GUI options and you should leave those as they are. Setting show_leds to false can lead to compatibility problems. Setting use_gui to yes will start the P-UAE user interface instead of launching the game.


Memory settings are defined in the next three lines chipmem, bogomem, and fastmem. The settings I’ve given in this configuration file is okay for most games, but if you are having problems with a game you might want to experiment with the memory settings:


The next two lines configure how the graphics will be centered on the screen. The Commodore Amiga had a number of different screen resolutions and sometimes games would be slightly off center depending on how they were developed. Setting the screen centering to simple mode seems to work well.


You can set the emulated resolution with the gfx_width and gfx_height settings. Most Amiga games will look best in 640×400 resolution, but R-Type uses a slightly higher vertical resolution, so in this configuration I’ve set gfx_height to 420:


Sound settings can be configured with the sound_channels setting. It can be set to mono, stereo or mixed. I prefer mixed setting:


The kickstart rom is specified in by the kickstart_rom_file setting. You need to point this to the name of the kickstart rom you want to use. In the configuration I’m assuming your kickstart rom is called kick31.rom:


Finally the .adf disk images are configured. The .adf filename is in the floppy0 line. If you are going to play a game that has more than one disk then you can add the second .adf file as a floppy1 line and then increase the nr_floppies setting:


When you’ve finished editing the configuration file then give it the name you want the game to have in Advanced Launcher and upload it to the config folder under the amiga rom folder on the SHIELD:

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Now you can do a scan for Amiga games in Advanced Launcher and launch the game:

You are now ready to play adf versions of Amiga games!

Compressing disk images
If you want to compress the .adf files you will have to use gzip:

After compressing the files you need to rename them to .adz extension:Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 16.46.24

Then upload the .adz file to the adf folder under the amiga roms folder on the SHIELD and update the configuration file to point to the .adz file:


Turning on drive leds
If you want to see when the game is loading from the disk you can turn on drive leds in RetroArch core settings. In this case I recommend the simplified setting:

Setting up WHDLoad games
A WHDLoad version of an Amiga game is a game that has been modified so that it can be installed on a hard disk drive. The benefits of doing this are:

  • Games will load much faster
  • You don’t need to swap floppy disks in games that use more than one disk
  • Copy protection and intros are removed

Hard disk drives are emulated using .hdf files also known as hardfiles. In this guide I will show how to create two hardfiles:

WHDLoad.hdf This will contain the WHDLoad application and will be used to launch all WHDLoad games. It is also used for save games and game settings and must not be compressed.
R-Type.hdz This will contain the WHDLoad version of R-Type and will be compressed with gzip.

To work with .hdf files I use the Windows application “ADF Opus”. I am not aware of a similar application for OS X or Linux, so this guide is for Windows only.

Download and install ADF Opus here:

Create WHDLoad.hdf
In this section I will show how to create the WHDLoad.hdf file which will be used for launching the games. To set it up you will need these kickstart roms:

Filename Comment
kick34005.A500 Amiga 500 kickstart 1.3
kick40068.A1200 Amiga 1200 kickstart 3.1 (required for AGA games)

They must be named exactly as listed above.

Next download WHDLoad.hdf:

Then use ADF Opus to place the kickstart in in the Kickstarts folder in the WHDLoad.hdf hardfile:

The WHDLoad.hdf file is now ready.

Create R-Type.hdz
Now we will create the R-Type.hdz hardfile.

Download the WHDLoad version of R-Type and unzip it:

This is the typical structure of a WHDLoad game:

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The root folder usually contains an .info file and a subfolder with the game data. Inside the subfolder there will be a .slave file:

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This .slave file needs to be renamed to game.slave. Then make a note of how much space the game folder takes up:

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Now use ADF Opus to create an .hdf hardfile. You will need to set the size of the hardfile large enough to fit the game. For compatibility reasons you have to use one of the Preset Sizes and select least 2MB. Smaller hardfiles will not work. Then copy the game files from the subfolder of the WHDLoad game to the hardfile:

If you want to compress the hard file you will need gzip:

After compressing it you need to rename it to .hdz extension:

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 01.43.22

Remember not to compress the WHDLoad.hdf file!

Now you need to create a configuration file similar to the one we did earlier for the .adf version of R-Type, but this time there will be more options.

Download the configuration file:

There are three differences when compared to the one for .adf files.

First, the chipset of the emulated amiga is set to a more modern version to allow for the features used by WHDLoad:


Second, the memory settings of the emulated amiga are set higher, because WHDLoad loads the entire game into memory to allow for faster loading:


Third, instead of mounting .adf files we mount hardfiles:


When the configuration file is launched, this will happen:

  1. The Amiga will boot the WHDLoad.hdf hardfile
  2. This will autostart a script that tells the WHDLoad application to open the game.slave file on the game hardfile
  3. The game installed on the game hardfile will then run

So if you want to make a configuration file for another game, you just need to change the game hardfile and keep everything else. The WHDLoad.hdf hardfile will be reused.

Now you just need to upload the configuration file to the config folder of the amiga roms folder on the SHIELD:

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And the hardfiles must be uploaded to the hdf folder on the SHIELD:

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Now you can scan for Amiga games in Advanced Launcher and start the game. Notice the faster loading time compared to the video of the .adf version:

You are now ready to play WHDLoad versions of Amiga games!