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Thread: Comparison of 6th generation game console hardware

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    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Default Comparison of 6th generation game console hardware

    Just because it's missing. To be fair i'm using a genre that was well represented graphically in every system:

    Dreamcast:


    PS2:


    GC:


    Xbox:


    These videos are just tastes, the PS2 has Shadow of the Colossus which is probably the best looking game of the generation despite having only 3 colors and a downright pathetic framerate.
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    What? Shir is gone? Raging in the Streets StarMist's Avatar
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    Is it just me or does the DC have the best antialiasing ever? (in proportion to polygon count).
    I nominate Okami as the best looking game that gen, though there are some PS2 shooters for consideration as well. Ecco's up there too.
    What are your videos of? I can't see them--thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarMist View Post
    Is it just me or does the DC have the best antialiasing ever? (in proportion to polygon count).
    I nominate Okami as the best looking game that gen, though there are some PS2 shooters for consideration as well. Ecco's up there too.
    What are your videos of? I can't see them--thanks.
    A bunch of racing games, since it's the most "comparable" style of game. Ecco does look brilliant and Okami is definitely the coolest looking game that generation.
    I mentioned Shadow of the Colossus because of how 7th gen it looks.
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    What? Shir is gone? Raging in the Streets StarMist's Avatar
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    Well since it's just us tell me which you think the best racing game each console, for whatever reason. I assume your videos were of the technical best.
    Me, I'd go with: Xbox = Outrun Coast 2 Coast (occasionally drags on PS2 w/ external camera). PS2 = Wipeout Fusion; it's unprepossessing after the first 3 1/2 but still a killer game and the zone mode can get crazy. Dreamcast = sure I'm overlooking something more sophisticated but the first Crazy Taxi was cool despite the retarded soundtrack. GC = whatever.
    All those I think viable system pushers as well, in CT's case just cz there are so many cars on screen. I don't know, are you familiar with Quantum Redshift for Xbox? It has the speed but its graphics are trash.

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    I remain nonsequitur Shining Hero sheath's Avatar
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    Outrun 2 on Xbox looks like an HD game, it is unbelievably fantastic aesthetically.

    Oh, hi everybody, I like this topic. My best looking Dreamcast racer would be F355 Challenge. For PS2 it would probably be a Gran Turismo game, but I don't care for those. For original Xbox I would probably vote for Forza or Project Gotham Racing. For Gamecube I would have to forget about polygon models and say F-Zero GX.

    Third person style games on each platform. I would say Sword of the Berserk and Shenmue on Dreamcast, the PS2 is just ugly but probably Resident Evil 4, can't think of one best on Gamecube but RE4 is at the top, same for Xbox but I would have to point out Legacy of Kain Defiance.
    "... If Sony reduced the price of the Playstation, Sega would have to follow suit in order to stay competitive, but Saturn's high manufacturing cost would then translate into huge losses for the company." p170 Revolutionaries at Sony.

    "We ... put Sega out of the hardware business ..." Peter Dille senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarMist View Post
    Well since it's just us tell me which you think the best racing game each console, for whatever reason. I assume your videos were of the technical best.
    Yup, I posted the technical best in my opinion (they're MSR, GT4, NFSU2 and RSC2 in order of system).
    As far as actually best racer... I dunno, didn't really give any the time they needed. I sure got Sega Rally throwbacks from Rallysport Challenge 2, that's a good thing. Also loved F-Zero GX on the GC (my favorite F-Zero), on the PS2 I didn't play many racers, or at least none that weren't on Xbox. Always found the GT series to be boring. Crazy Taxi isn't really a normal racer but it's probably my favorite car related game on the dreamcast (MSR is my favorite normal racer).
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    ESWAT Veteran Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    The Dreamcast was probably the simplest/cleanest design. Had someone like Sony released it, it would have ruled the group. The XBox was probably the most powerful, but then MS did dump tens of billions of dollar into forcing their way into the console market. The XBox was still losing a couple billion a year by the time MS moved on to the next generation.

    Sony lost their way a little - instead of a nice simple and clean design like the PS1, they complicated things with the PS2, which led to a very uneven range of titles... some barely seemed more than PS1 titles while others did a decent job of showing off what power the PS2 had.

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    The 6th generation was still very interesting, you would have thought consoles would have employed much more standardised tech and api's after the graphics accelerator wars in the 90's, yet Sony came out trumps sales wise with some pretty exotic hardware that gen.

    It was also a role reversal, and quite intersting for all us 'what if' armchair thinkers, if the consoles where assesed purely on technichal merits alone, the PS2 was almost a complete role-reversal with Sega previous gen, a powerful yet somewhat boxed in design. Not neccesairly anallogus to the Saturn in design methodolgy, but certainly in how much effort it took to coax out good or better performance from the system.

    Its also an important case study of how hype and pr can cover all sorts of glaring technichal flaws in your hardware. Though in fairness the PS2 was'nt totally atrocious, had it been a given a better dev enviroment initially, (which was later rectified later on) and a decent gpu other than that reality synthesiser Toshiba twaddle it got, it would have been a decent design, the emotion engine seemed reasonably well thought out, though somebody did mention on beyond3d one of the VU's was chucked on in a rather last minute way hampering it a bit, don't know if thats bullshit though.

    I think GC hardware actually produced some of the worst graphics in my subjective opinion, a lot of titles had a lot of horrible colour banding due to the limited colour precison on the GC hardware. The IQ was always really washed out, in fact I would go record to say I don'y mind a bit of aliasing ala PS2 provided the colours are crisp. I'm also under the impression the GC hardware whilst fast was very fixed function with a hardcoded set number of light sources which meant quite a lot of titles looked similar across the board. The PS2 EE allowed a lot of custom effects whereas the flipper was quite unflexible, and required a lot of cpu assistance for certain operations, for example flipper's limited to one bone per vertex for hardware skinning. Still it was pretty solid overall for whats it worth and that edram offered tasty bandwidth.

    Either way to my inner fanboy it took Sega to make F-Zero GX which looks f@*king awesome, and outclass most other efforts on the system.

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    Yeah the GC hardware is as fixed as it gets. The Dreamcast is too but that's 3 years younger, and you can still do some neat things (like bloom and bump mapping) which were ultra rarely seen in games. Heck even the lighting was usually crap since the DC (like the PS2) doesn't have hardware T&L, so the CPU has to do it, but then you look at games like MSR and you can see just how awesome the lighting can be.

    The PS2 only had "good looking" games later in it's lifespan.
    Last edited by Kamahl; 09-18-2012 at 06:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Yeah the GC hardware is as fixed as it gets. The Dreamcast is too but that's 3 years younger, and you can still do some neat things (like bloom and bump mapping) which were ultra rarely seen in games. Heck even the lighting was usually crap since the DC (like the PS2) doesn't have hardware T&L, so the CPU has to do it, but then you look at games like MSR and you can see just how awesome the lighting can be.

    The PS2 only had "good looking" games later in it's lifespan.
    Agreed, play Sega GT on DC, decent-ish looking cars moving around enviroments that would'nt have looked out of place on the Saturn, due to nearly zero lighting and baked in shadows. Got the PC version cheap the other week out of curiosity to see if it was improved in anyway, looks crap (maybe worse) and has no option to go above 640x480res

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    Quote Originally Posted by TVC 15 View Post
    Agreed, play Sega GT on DC, decent-ish looking cars moving around enviroments that would'nt have looked out of place on the Saturn, due to nearly zero lighting and baked in shadows. Got the PC version cheap the other week out of curiosity to see if it was improved in anyway, looks crap (maybe worse) and has no option to go above 640x480res
    Ugh don't even talk about that abomination, no wonder the DC got a bad rap in graphics compared to the PS2.
    Really wish there was some 3D focus when it comes to homebrew, just so people can shut up about how superior de PS2 is.
    The only thing I wish MSR had would be that neat "fake environment mapping" used in GT 4, I don't even know if the DC can do it(it can) but the graphics would be perfect with that. It already has a nice poly count and very good lighting, the night stages with car lights look amazing.


    Second half (after 1:35) has environment mapping, bump mapping and the best flame effect I've ever seen.
    Last edited by Kamahl; 09-18-2012 at 09:35 AM.
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    I was always under the impression that the Dreamcast had hardware Transparencies and Lighting, which is why early DC to PS2 ports were usually missing the lighting effects that the DC versions had.

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    It seems like this belong here.

    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    Dreamcast graphics were usually pretty ugly. Apart from resolution and some visual effects, DC games rarely look much better than 5th gen ones... it's a struggle to find many that I don't think would have been fine on the N64, with a slight resolution and texture quality downgrade, Rush 2049-style. I love the DC, but its graphics are not that impressive compared to the GC or Xbox particularly. Of course given its much earlier release that's expected, but it is true. Anyway, I think you've got some substantial rose-tinted glasses there... and also, you're talking about gameplay here as much as you are graphics. What you're saying about the Xbox and PS2 and story just isn't really true. For the PS2 the PS1 started that, not the PS2, and for the Xbox, I don't think it's true at all. Well, "mood" perhaps, but having a better atmosphere can help make a game better, so yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    The Dreamcast's fillrate, aided by the GPUs tile based rendering, would have made this battle nearly infinite. As far as I am concerned, Resident Evil 4 being brought down to 900k polygons per second for the PS2 version means that the Dreamcast would have been competitive for the entire generation. Dreamcast texture mapping and shadow casting was never replicated on the newer consoles of that generation as it stands.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Originally Posted by A Black Falcon

    As for Quake III (for the PC, particularly), it's often regarded as the most technically accomplished game released in the '90s, and it really is. I've never liked the game very much, but it IS amazing looking for '99.
    Its engine was very scalable. Here is a technical discussion that uses that very engine to discuss how the Dreamcast added up. I recommend you read all of it, but here is a relevant quote:

    "On the DC or PowerVR's side, the 3.5 million polygon count allows for
    scenes of up to 58,000 polygons (about 4x's the detail in Quake 3). At
    640x480 the pixel fill rate can redraw the entire screen at 650 fps."

    The Dreamcast's hardware capabilities outperformed Quake III's upper limits handily.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Originally Posted by Soulis

    Also, Quake 3 on DC was not nearly as good as on PCs. I could run Quake3 on my P3 PC at 60+ FPS with max quality at 1024x768 (that's like 720p). DC runs Quake3 at 30 fps and a lower (SD) resolution and the levels have reduced geometry detail as well.

    The Dreamcast had comparable power to a PS2 (being a little bit inferior) but the gap between it and the original XBOX was to large. The original XBOX struggled to run Doom3 (try to play the PC version on a PC with similar specs as the XBOX). There is no way the DC could handle a Doom3 port. Also, have you ever seen Riddick on XBOX? This game looks like an early 360 game on lower resolution. And do you really believe the DC could handle Splinter Cell Chaos Theory? These games make it look like there's a full generation gap between XBOX and DC.
    Riddick on Xbox uses bump mapping on relatively low polygon character models. I haven't seen a developer quote the polygon counts, but I would bet it was well within the Dreamcast's reach polygon wise. I am not aware of any Xbox, PS2 or Gamecube game that surpasses the Dreamcast's maximum polygon count of 5-6million per second (as seen in Test Drive Le Mans). The Dreamcast, like the PS2, didn't have bump mapping support so it probably would have looked like the Xbox game actually is if they ported it.

    As for Quake 3 on Dreamcast, did you see the rest of my quote? Even 3.5 million polygons per second is four times the polygon count of Quake 3? I think the Dreamcast port was more focused on seamless online play than porting the high detail setting at 60FPS. This is indicated in the multiplayer level geometry being brought down to N64 levels. Soldier of Fortune and Hidden and Dangerous look like they're running on a 4MB S3 Virge Pentium 1 machine, but that is because they are poorly optimized ports. Outtrigger is much more indicative of what the system can do in an FPS.

    Doom 3 on Xbox is also using bump mapping and a completely different and optimized graphics engine than the PC version. Again the Dreamcast would have had to rely on texture mapping without bump mapping. But with its GPU shadow casting and light sourcing and tile based rendering those corridors would have fallen right into the Dreamcast's strengths. Like the Xbox version it would have needed a really specific graphics engine to run at 30FPS.

    The Pentium III in the Xbox wasn't really a large step above the SH4 in the Dreamcast. The GPU is what made the Xbox easier for developers with its hardware transform and lighting. GPU T&L had, but the time of the Xbox, beaten the idea of tile based rendering and taken over on PCs entirely. So more PC games were optimized for hardware transform and lighting than tile based rendering. I would still put the two up against each other any day of the week, but the engines have to be optimized for their specific type of rendering.
    Quote Originally Posted by TVC 15 View Post
    Can we put that old Test Drive Le Mans rumour to rest? If that game really did push 4-5 million polys a second there would be little room for even compressed textures, let alone the Dreamcasts (compressed) 640x480 screen buffer, don't forget polygons eat VRAM memory in the DC. The more you display, the less VRAM you can toy with, its not that the SH-4 can't calculate that much data, its just it would be pointless, you would end up games looking more akin to Virtua Racing, and thats fruitless, the Dreamcasts advantage was in texturing. I'd would have rather seen Dev's start using more effects like bump mapping, had the DC had a longer life.

    That rumour needs taking round back and shooting, people when pushed for a reference struggle to find where it originally came from too. I think its an urban myth.




    On another note, I can't stand most GC/Wii graphics, most games use the Flipper/Hollywood's horrible dithered 16/18-Bit colour output to save buffer space, there is this horrible sheen to most GC hardware games as well due to low quality colour and dev's going lala with hardware EMBM effects. The PS2 might have been crap with its palletted 8-Bit texture work, but at least most of the time its final output was into a 32-Bit buffer meaning you'd get sharper Image quality.
    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    That doesn't take up that much space though. 5 Million polygons per second at 30fps comes to about 166,667 polygons per frame. If I remember correctly 1 polygon = ~20 Bytes, but I could be wrong on that. If that number is correct that would be around 3 MB in VRAM. According to this older page, if it's inaccurate feel free to correct me on it, the Framebuffer for the Dreamcast usually takes up around 1.2 MB in VRAM. So that uses about 4.2 MB of VRAM leaving around 3.8MB for textures. With Texture compression you could probably squeeze about 20 MB of textures into that space, again going off that site I posted above. So it's not that farfetched of a claim. Though I would like to see some sources that back it up.
    Quote Originally Posted by TVC 15 View Post
    0
    Its 40bytes. Using a number of 166,666 per frame (what you've suggested) your left with 6.6MB. So you've eaten up around 6.6MB + 1.2MB framebuffer. 200Kb left for textures.

    Thats even worse than your figures. The DC simply does'nt have enough VRAM to store that amount of polygon data along with much textures.

    I'll edit this later when I can work out how much texture compression can use of 200kb, either way its a pathetic amount.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    Yeah, in that case I think we can say Test Drive LeMans does not push that many polygons. If it was running at 60fps it might have a chance as then it would be around 83k Polygons per frame resulting in about 3 MB of Geometry Data, leaving roughly 3.5 MB for Texture data.

    Though I'd say Resident Evil 4 would definitely be doable on the Dreamcast looking at Polygon power alone. RE4 pushed around 3 Million Polygons/Second at 60fps. So that's about 50k per Frame. that would be about 1.9MB of Geometry Data coming to 3.1 MB with the Frame Buffer. That's about 4.9MB for Textures which is a decent amount of Space when you throw in compression. I'd say a Dreamcast version of RE4 would probably be pretty close to the Gamecube version in quality, possibly losing out on a few special effects here and there. If they lowered it to PS2 quality models and frame rate you'd have close to 6 MB for Texture data. Which using Compression would give you more than the PS2 could probably do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    The Dreamcast has bump mapping support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    Originally Posted by sheath

    I could have sworn I had a Melbourne House interview confirming that 5 million number, but it is eluding me.
    They told someone the engine supported 5 million polygons, or something like that, it doesn't do 5 million pps though, its been checked with NullDC.

    The games with the best polygon counts were stuff like Floigan Bros, Triggerheart Excelica, Dead or Alive 2, they do 2-3 million IIRC
    Shenmue II uses bump mapping on the coins

    It just gives vertices, but there's a way to get the polygon counts too.

    I just re-found the thread that had a lot of this info in, its here -

    http://www.dreamcast-talk.com/forum/...=1923&start=20
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Well that is an awesome bit of info, thanks! I was just reading that the 5 million count for Le Mans is for all effects on and all cars on screen. That's 24 cars, sparks, rain drops, and whatever else needed polygons. That sounds a lot more likely. Did they come to a conclusion of any sort of peak and average polygon per second count, or at least a per frame count with Null DC? I suppose I ought to figure out how to use that silly thing myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    That thread is interesting to say the least. Thanks for posting it. The perpetuation of Soul Calibur as the best looking Dreamcast game is hilarious, since it is one of the lowest polycount Dreamcast fighters.

    -edit-

    Interesting quote:
    Let see, if the Dreamcast can render more polygons then it can store, and I will use 6 mpps as an example:

    6,000,000 (polygons) / 60 (frames per second) = 100,000 polygons per scene
    100,000 x 40 Bytes (size of polygon) = ~4 MB

    Since the Dreamcast only has 8 MB of video memory, that is a lot of memory!

    8 MB - 1.2 MB (640x480x16-bits double buffered frame buffer) - 4 MB (polygon data) = 2.8 MB

    Only 2.8 MB left for textures, and even with VQ compression that is not very much. At 3 mpps per second, there is 5.8 MB available for textures, and that is much better. Just shows you, that there is not much point in creating a game engine on the DC that does more than 3 million polygons per second. Anyway 90 percent of the developers out there cannot even get over a million polygons per second on the Dreamcast.

    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Originally Posted by j_factor

    I don't think DC supported anisotropic filtering.

    It's always been said to have supported bi, tri and anisotropic filtering. Even the tech forums discuss it. I just think it was ever used, or didn't notice the difference if it was.

    On a similar note, here is an oldie but goodie. Videologic's PVR 2 based Neon 250 Running on Pentium II and III systems produces some interesting comparisons. Note, that the way tile based rendering works, only visible 32x16 tiles are drawn, textured or lit. So the PVR's 125Mpix/s applies equally to sparse and complex 3D scenes.



    Quake III performance is also interesting. The Dreamcast's SH4 should be roughly on par with the P3 450:



    They explained that the High Quality test dipped so much because of Trilinear filtering. Here are some more tests with high quality settings but bilinear filtering instead:


    Back on the Topic of the N64 being competitive though, I'm looking for some Pentium 1 3DFX Voodoo 1 tests with Quake 3. Surely somebody tried to get that to run at some point. I know I would have.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    Test Drive: Le Mans supposedly uses anisotropic filtering, I haven't seen that disproved.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    It's one of the few games that gets really close to the ground in low camera shots and the textures still look right. So it's possible. Would there still be a visible texture detail line with anisotropic filtering like their is with bi and trilinear filtering?

    -edit-

    I'm watching it upscaled to 1080i on my 40" LCD right now. Not only does the ground textures get very close to the camera at sharp angles but the logos on the cars stay sharp while scaling away from the camera and turning at sharp angles. Also, it is very difficult to say that I can see a visible line where the textures lower in quality as the objects reach the horizon.

    -edit-edit-

    That was during the attract mode / replay screens. In game there are two visible steps down in texture quality that are really close to each other almost all the way toward the horizon. Oddly it doesn't seem to affect trees or trackside signs, just the guardrail and road line textures. I am not able to notice any car model downgrades at these lines either.
    Quote Originally Posted by sheath View Post
    Originally Posted by A Black Falcon

    Yeah, that's a pretty interesting quote for sure. The other systems certainly could do well over 3 million..

    They could in the same way the Dreamcast could. 2.8 MB for Textures left over at 6 million polygons per second is more than the PS2 had available for example. The PS2's VRAM would be full at that polygon count actually. The only textures you could possibly see would have to be streamed in 1/60th of a second and every 1/60th of a second from main RAM.

    The bottom line is the Dreamcast was more capable of surpassing 3 million polygons per second than the PS2 and the entire generation floated around 1 million with a few exceptions on each platform.
    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    PS2 can use it's Main RAM however it wants though. So it's really 32MB + that 4 MB cache. Though you have to share that 32MB with sound and program data as well.

    Taking GT4 for example. If it does run at 4 million polygons per second at 60fps that's about 66,666 polygons per frame. That's about 2.5MB of Polygon Data. With The frame buffer that leaves around 4.3 MB for Textures. That's over half of VRAM and I'd say it sounds acceptable. With 8x Texture compression that would allow around 35MB of Textures, which would be beyond the PS2's abilities at that point. I've heard 6x compression is the more realistic middle ground for DC texture compression so with that in mind it's closer to around 25 MB of textures.

    So with that in mind I'd say graphically the DC should have been able to handle GT4, one of the PS2's best looking games. Though I don't know if the SH4 could handle the physics.
    Quote Originally Posted by TVC 15 View Post
    Yes but It wouldnt look like Gran Turismo 4 anymore, you'd have to write an engine that would suit the DC's strengths. The PS2 has an insane amount of bandwidth and fill-rate, it helps the system do a lot of tricks in software.

    Floating-point performance is also the PS2 EE's strong point, important for physics calculations, the DC would struggle.

    The DC's PVR I'm pretty sure also can't multi-texture according to most dev doc's I've read (happy to be proved wrong though), and Gran Turismo relies on the PS2's bandwidth to do some nice multi-texture work.

    The DC would also need the massive hype surrounding a title like Gran Turismo. Look at Sega GT, its a long forgotten footnote, Gran Turismo minus the graphics, and its as dull as dish water. Gran Turismo series was part of they hype of PS2 along with MGS2. Its part of Polyphony Digital and the PS2's 'adult' orientated style, we love Sega when its being Sega not aping trends, Outrun 2 was brilliant because it screamed Sega.
    "... If Sony reduced the price of the Playstation, Sega would have to follow suit in order to stay competitive, but Saturn's high manufacturing cost would then translate into huge losses for the company." p170 Revolutionaries at Sony.

    "We ... put Sega out of the hardware business ..." Peter Dille senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    I was always under the impression that the Dreamcast had hardware Transparencies and Lighting, which is why early DC to PS2 ports were usually missing the lighting effects that the DC versions had.
    Probably just crap coding, similar to how a couple of PS1 titles were ported warts an all including warping polygons, despite the DC having perspective correct hardware. Most likely they just moved the basic fixed point TnL code from the PSX version to the DC's SH-4.

    Likewise the DC code probably just was'nt optomised to use the VU's properly for those DC ports, the PS2's EE has more than enough vertex grunt for decent lighting.

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    I remain nonsequitur Shining Hero sheath's Avatar
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    The Dreamcast had hardware transparency and lighting and shadow casting. The later two were GPU effects that didn't hit the performance at all. Transparency on the Dreamcast tended to cause framerate dips because it screwed up the tile based renderer, or so I was told. Too much transparency messed with the filrate because the PVR had to render what was visible behind the transparency whereas it would normally only have to render the front most polygons in 32x16 tiles.
    "... If Sony reduced the price of the Playstation, Sega would have to follow suit in order to stay competitive, but Saturn's high manufacturing cost would then translate into huge losses for the company." p170 Revolutionaries at Sony.

    "We ... put Sega out of the hardware business ..." Peter Dille senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment

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