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Thread: Was the Sega Saturn developed with 3d in mind from the get go?

  1. #16
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    Both the Model 1 and 2 used quads, so it made sense to keep them for the console. Probably made it much easier to port their own arcade games, but harder for literally everything else. Anyone who took geometry could have told you you can make a quad out of two triangles but to make a triangle from quads wastes one side and results in all kinds of workarounds to get things like transparencies to work right.

    Also I don't think having two CPUs was necessarily as big of a challenge as it was made out to be, there had been multi CPU arcade boards for a decade already and there were servers running four 486 CPUs in 1994. A competent programmer shouldn't have been confused although Sega didn't make it easy with the lack of tools. But adding a second CPU does not automatically double your performance, because not every task is easily split into parallel processing.
    Last edited by axel; 06-19-2018 at 11:05 PM.

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    The problem with the dual CPU was that they had to share the same bus and that there was very little wiggle room to get this right. Something about if one CPU fell behind, the other CPU had to wait too or something. Sure someone will clarify.

    Wiki says;
    both CPUs shared the same bus and were unable to access system memory at the same time. Making full use of the 4 kB of cache memory in each CPU was critical to maintaining performance. For example, Virtua Fighter used one CPU for each character,[18] while Nights used one CPU for 3D environments and the other for 2D objects.[147] The Saturn's Visual Display Processor 2 (VDP2), which can generate and manipulate backgrounds,[148] has also been cited as one of the system's most important features.[20][82]
    Nights using only one CPU for 3D doesn't sound very optimized...

  3. #18
    Raging in the Streets Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thief View Post
    The problem with the dual CPU was that they had to share the same bus and that there was very little wiggle room to get this right. Something about if one CPU fell behind, the other CPU had to wait too or something. Sure someone will clarify.

    That is no doubt from the Lobotomy interview . Who said there was a small delay when the Twin SH-2 accessed the Ram and the Slave processor had wait to catch up. AM#2 said you#ll never get true double performance and they were getting 1.8 which is still quite a jump in performance over a single chip

    Nights using only one CPU for 3D doesn't sound very optimized...
    That's Wiki and that is taken from a review. VDP II acted independently from the SH-2 and I would imagne NiGHTS is making full use of the Twn SH-2 and the VD1 for the polygon graphics and keeping control of the AI.
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Both the Model 1 and 2
    Both also had strong FPUs while Namco System 22 didn't.
    IMO this is a key aspect to all of these discussions which is usually overlooked.
    Ridge Racer arcade and it's PS1 port played pretty much the same assuming you're using analog controls on both.
    With Model 1 and Model 2 games things were a lot more complicated. None of Virtua Racing ports and much less the atrocious Saturn version could preserve its original physics model. The same For Daytona USA.

    In comparison, the Mega Drive could handle the whole physics model of both Super Hang-On and OutRun; Golden Axe's AI and collision, etc.
    The then advanced physics model that some of those racing games were pushing relied heavily on 32-bit values, multiplication and division. All that was supported by MD's hardware.
    Saturn's hardware couldn't really handle Daytona USA gameplay and physics model, and much less its graphics.

    There was a HUGE gap in terms of processing and rendering capabilities between Model 1 and 2 when compared to the Saturn.
    PS1 was much closer Namco System 22 in both aspects. Not only 'cause PS1 had better rendering capabilities but also because the arcade board wasn't so overpowered as Sega Model 1 and 2.



    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Also I don't think having two CPUs was necessarily as big of a challenge as it was made out to be, there had been multi CPU arcade boards for a decade already and there were servers running four 486 CPUs in 1994. A competent programmer shouldn't have been confused although Sega didn't make it easy with the lack of tools. But adding a second CPU does not automatically double your performance, because not every task is easily split into parallel processing.
    No, this is incorrect.
    Arcade boards had multiple CPUs but each one was usually assigned to a very specific task usually attached some specific features of a handful of games.
    To make good use of multiple CPUs for games in general is a whole new ball game and the tools Sega provided were incapable of helping developers with that.

    Early on, Sony had a performance analysis program for developers, so they could go to Sony and they would help developers to analyse the performance of their games. Sega didn't have it and their 3D libraries were mediocre.
    Early on, there was also a library replacement imposed by Sega which wasn't backward compatible; so if you're developing your Saturn game you had to try to adapt your code by yourself.

    Game developers weren't familiar with code design optimization for multiple processors, by any means, and much less with rudimentary tools at assembly level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    No, this is incorrect.
    Arcade boards had multiple CPUs but each one was usually assigned to a very specific task usually attached some specific features of a handful of games.
    To make good use of multiple CPUs for games in general is a whole new ball game and the tools Sega provided were incapable of helping developers with that.

    Early on, Sony had a performance analysis program for developers, so they could go to Sony and they would help developers to analyse the performance of their games. Sega didn't have it and their 3D libraries were mediocre.
    Early on, there was also a library replacement imposed by Sega which wasn't backward compatible; so if you're developing your Saturn game you had to try to adapt your code by yourself.

    Game developers weren't familiar with code design optimization for multiple processors, by any means, and much less with rudimentary tools at assembly level.
    There are tons of games from the 80s that used multiple 68Ks, e.g. Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Assault, Legend of the Valkyrie, Cyberball, etc. Would it really be that complicated to have your main loop running on one processor and assign a few threads to run on the second one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    There are tons of games from the 80s that used multiple 68Ks, e.g. Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Assault, Legend of the Valkyrie, Cyberball, etc. Would it really be that complicated to have your main loop running on one processor and assign a few threads to run on the second one?

    Most of SEGA Arcade games used the multi CPU's and even the Mega CD hooked up with the Mega CD too, so any Mega CD developers would be used to using 2 main CPU's 2 Graphics processors and 2 audio chips
    Also SEGA Rally not only nailed the Arcade physics it better them and VF, VF II, Last Brox, Virtual Cop 1 and II, Manx TT, Virtual On Ect all nailed the Arcade physics and collision detection. Outrun was rubbish on the MD and played or sounded nothing like the Arcade, GF II was way beyond the MD and I really don't know what Barone is on about with Daytona USA;That game played very much like the Arcade right down the handling and AI. Would agree with the tools though, but there listen to developers the tools for the PS2 were poor and SONY tried to blame developers for the lack of AA and PS2 games looking rubbish. I can't think of any developer that said the PS2 tools were better than those of the DC, much less the Cube.
    Still is was all about coding to the metal with the PS2 and just use SONY tools as a guide.

    And for all this talk of tools, its funny to see the tiny corp that was Treasure show the world how its done with RSG . A game the work of just6 people and using tools downloaded for free off the internet.
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 06-20-2018 at 02:53 PM.
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    Can't agree with Daytona USA, TA. Played a lot of the Saturn version and when I got to it in Arcade, basically had to relearn how to play it. But will say I prefer the more weighty feel of Saturn Sega Rally (and dat CD soundtrack blows away whatever the Arcade had).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thief View Post
    Can't agree with Daytona USA, TA. But will say I prefer the more weighty feel of Saturn Sega Rally (and dat CD soundtrack blows away whatever the Arcade had).
    It was the frame rate that let the Daytona USA game down, the handling and AI was there. Also the pyshcis model in SEGA Rally is better and deeper than the Arcade With the main Player's cars main suspension and tyres reacting to the surface that was being driven over more
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    It was the frame rate that let the Daytona USA game down, the handling and AI was there. Also the pyshcis model in SEGA Rally is better and deeper than the Arcade With the main Player's cars main suspension and tyres reacting to the surface that was being driven over more
    Thing is, when you play Daytona in the arcade, you have the feeling like you're really moving along with the car (or at least I do). On the Saturn version... that feeling of speed just isn't there. It becomes just another racing game. I consider it a good port though, probably the best AM2 could do with the technology.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    There are tons of games from the 80s that used multiple 68Ks, e.g. Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Assault, Legend of the Valkyrie, Cyberball, etc. Would it really be that complicated to have your main loop running on one processor and assign a few threads to run on the second one?
    Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
    Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.


    Mega CD games are also awful examples. The vast majority of those games are running on a single CPU and the few ones which do use both CPUs do it in a very decoupled manner, with the slower MD 68000 handling minor graphical tasks while the bulk of the game's code runs on the Sega CD's 68000.


    For the Saturn to be competitive you had to make efficient use of both SH2 and this was very difficult and not common at all at the time. Sega didn't provide high level libraries for that either, which means that C code and good performance in 3D games was pretty much a no go for the Saturn.


    See this:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
    Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.


    Mega CD games are also awful examples. The vast majority of those games are running on a single CPU and the few ones which do use both CPUs do it in a very decoupled manner, with the slower MD 68000 handling minor graphical tasks while the bulk of the game's code runs on the Sega CD's 68000.


    For the Saturn to be competitive you had to make efficient use of both SH2 and this was very difficult and not common at all at the time. Sega didn't provide high level libraries for that either, which means that C code and good performance in 3D games was pretty much a no go for the Saturn.


    See this:
    Oh, wow. Well if Yu Sazuki says only 1 in 100 programmers can make good use of that second SH-2 that really is bad. How do you see the CPU usage in those other games -- is there an option in the MAME debugger?

  12. #27
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    ^In that same magazine (Edge January '95), they mention that VDP2 (referred to as a 'new video processor' to enhance 2D graphics) was added later, like in the video. Strange.

    Looks like the system was indeed rushed in response to the PSX, which all but confirms the Saturn as a hot-rodded 1993 design. They probably started with a System 32, made the band-aid warped sprites 3D VDP to be able to do both (probably very impressive in 1993), then threw in the 2D VDP2 in 1994 because why not.

    The article also confirms the inclusion of the 2nd processor because one SH2 was too slow and how good the sound hardware is on Saturn compared to PSX (for some reason ignoring lack of compression that would plaque most Saturn ports in the future).

    Also this...



    I highly recommend this article, it answers a lot of questions in this thread. It's basically a nuts to bolts overview of the Saturn's development and comparison to the PSX.
    Last edited by Blades; 06-21-2018 at 02:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
    Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.
    Manx TT, Fighting Vipers, Last Bronx, Sega Rally, Virtual On, Virtua Cop, Virtua Cop II, Virtual Fighter Remix, Virtual Fighter II, Dead Or Alive all handled Model 1 or 2 physics Ect, not bad when you make out none did and all the more quite impressive, given some of the games are ports form the even more Powerful Model 2B bord. Even the PS didn't always do Arcade ports that well, Cyber Sled is hardly the PS or Namco finest hour and that was just a port of a system 21 game (far less power than Model 1, never mind Model 2) but it would be silly to try and use one or 2 poor ports to suite one's needs.

    Thr Mega CD is a great example of SEGA using multi chip sets up to get power and where it was so complex ,most developers didn't bother to use it and just made MD with a CD-DA music score. Muchsame for the 32X, which used not only its own dual CPU's and soundchip, but also would be using the MD CPU, GPU and sound CPU even more complex than the Saturn set up, but don't see you having issues over the 32X complex set up, much less it tools

    Still little corps like CORE showed how it could be done on the Mega CD, when you took to time to learn and use the system and like CORE said in the MD days SEGA didn't provide you with any development tools or libraries.

    BTW Barone forget no more than 1 in 100. How about no more than 5 developers in the world could use the PS2. My those vector units were even more complex to work with, than the Saturn...


    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 06-21-2018 at 03:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    ^In that same magazine (Edge January '95), they mention that VDP2 (referred to as a 'new video processor' to enhance 2D graphics) was added later, like in the video. Strange.

    Looks like the system was indeed rushed in response to the PSX, which all but confirms the Saturn as a hot-rodded 1993 design. They probably started with a System 32, made the band-aid warped sprites 3D VDP to be able to do both (probably very impressive in 1993), then threw in the 2D VDP2 in 1994 because why not.

    The article also confirms the inclusion of the 2nd processor because one SH2 was too slow and how good the sound hardware is on Saturn compared to PSX (for some reason ignoring lack of compression that would plaque most Saturn ports in the future).

    Also this...



    I highly recommend this article, it answers a lot of questions in this thread. It's basically a nuts to bolts overview of the Saturn's development and comparison to the PSX.
    Yeah it's a great, but it was the VDP1 that was meant to have been 'boasted' to give more power and handle better texture maps. it also shows that unlike the crap one gets from TOM K. SEGA were caught with their pants down and didn't have a clue that SONY was going to enter the console race and so no doubt the move to a dual CPU was made then The move to go with Hitachi was made every early in mind, with both SEGA and Hitachi going into to a joint partnership at the start of 1993. Yeah, Saturn sound hardware is awesome, shame SOJ messed up with a lack of Ram or compression software. ADX fixed all that and SEGA did improve its In-Vision sound libiaries, but it came late it and should have been addressed before the launch.


    That said there's not many better sounding games than SOUKY, NIGHTS, Panzer Dragon Saga, RSG.
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  15. #30
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    The article claims that the second CPU was added early and simply because one wasnít powerful enough (which itself was more powerful than the Model 1ís CPU). VDP2 was added after the PSX announcement.

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