What is needed to run an Amiga emulator?
To emulate an Amiga on any platform you will require the following set of files and programs:
- An Amiga Emulator
- Amiga Kickstart Rom Images
- Amiga Software Floppy Disks as ADF image files
Where to get these items
1. An Amiga Emulator
Amiga emulators for most platforms are normally free to download and use. You can download the latest WinUAE Amiga emulator for the PC from http://www.winuae.net. The emulator is available for download as either an installer or a zip-archive. Both work the same, but the installer will install the emulator and give you an uninstall option, whereas you can extract the zip archive version wherever you like.
Emulators are also available for many other systems and platforms. Take a look at our List of Amiga emulators
2. Kickstart Rom Images
The Amiga required some special rom chips to work called the Kickstart roms. These contain the core of the Amiga's operating system and without them the Amiga will not work. Amiga emulators require a rom file containing the data from these kickstart roms to work, and you require the correct version of each kickstart rom to emulate each of the different Amiga models. So for the A500 you will require an A500 kickstart 1.3 rom, and for the A1200 you would require an A1200 kickstart 3.1 rom file. If you wish to emulate more than one model of Amiga you will need the kickstart roms for each. Read more about kickstart roms on the Kickstart Roms Explained page.
The kickstart rom files are the hardest files to find when trying to emulate an Amiga. This is because the Kickstart roms are the only part of the Amiga still under copyright so it is illegal to distribute them or legally provide them for download.
If you have a real Amiga you can make your own kickstart rom file. An Amiga DOS utility is included with WinUAE for doing this and it will be covered in more detail in its own article.
If you don't have a real Amiga you can legally obtain a copy of all of the different versions of the kickstart roms from the commercial package Amiga Forever from Cloanto. The Amiga Forever package is based on the WinUAE emulator and includes a set of fully licensed Amiga kickstart rom files. You can find out more about Amiga Forever by visiting their website http://www.amigaforever.com
Please also visit the Classicamiga Forums if you want to discuss Amiga Kickstart roms in more detail.
3. Amiga software in ADF file format
Once you have the emulator and the kickstart files you can emulate an Amiga, but without any software to run you will just be able to see the Amiga's boot screen asking for a disk.
But you cannot use original Amiga floppy disks with an emulator because only Amiga floppy drives can read Amiga formatted disks. To get software you will need to get a copy of the software in the file format ADF. This stands for Amiga Disk Format and these files contain an exact image of the original Amiga disk it was made from. These are loaded by the emulator just like a real disk would be in a real Amiga.
There are many places you can get Amiga ADF files from. Remember though that many commercial games and software is still under copyright so you can only legally download and use games and software you own the original Amiga versions of.
If you are looking for ADF files, doing a Google search will normally give you many sites to use. If you are stuck looking for a specific ADF then please visit the classicamiga forums. We can normally help you find most adfs.