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Thread: Hideki Sato on the Sega Saturn (incredible new interview)

  1. #16
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    WOW! Thanks for the post!

    I would be open to contributing for a full translation...
    Last edited by Blades; 06-24-2018 at 10:24 PM.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    In various interviews Tom made out how he was meant to have been In talks with Sony over Hardware. Yet t we have from the main Hardware man in the whole of the SEGA group, the confirmation that Sony making a console was a susprise..

    Tom also told Retro gamer that he and his SOA team thought the Saturn was under powered Hardware and he knew that at the time.. Looking over how Tom made out the Saturn was in fact more powerful, back in the day We now also learn SOA was pushing for a Saturn with a less powerful CPU; hardly a major jump and would have been closer to the NEC FX in terms of CPU.. That's before one moves on how SOA or SOJ didn't get on, if we listen to Tom, never backed up the main SOA tech guys.

    One doesn't need or have to try hard, to show Tom for the spin King and lair he is.. Also Sat-San doesn't hit out at SOA, even admits the tools were rubbish and simply says SOA wanted the lesser CPU for very good and sound game development development reasons.

    Yet again, the Japanese show their class and respect
    AFAIK at the time Sato was head of R&D, but any decisions regarding relations with Sony at that time may not have involved him, especially if they were at a preliminary stage. As the former SoA CEO, Kalinske is better placed than Sato to comment on business dealings that were going on behind the scenes at the time. Also, where does Kalinske say it was more powerful? Or are you referring to hype when the Saturn was new, because if so, well duh! A CEO of a company is never, ever, going to say that their new hardware is anything other than the best thing ever. They're certainly not going to publicly say "hey, our competitor's system's more powerful than ours, go buy that instead".

    I don't think Sato says they knew nothing about the Playstation, or that its existence was a surprise, and what he does say jibes with what has been claimed for years: that the Saturn was upgraded in response to Sony revealing details.

    It was also confirmed by Joe Miller that SoA wanted to use the chipset offered by Silicon Graphics, assumedly because they weren't impressed by the Saturn. Calling Kalinske a liar is libellous without proof, and without knowing when this 68020 discussion took place, and in what context, there is no proof.

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    Cool interview. The hypothetical 68020 system sounds like the "Genesis Plus" idea that preceded the 32X, an upgraded console with more colors and sprite capabilities. There's no way a 68020-based system would have been considered next-gen in 93/94, unless it was going to have another chip to handle the graphics like the Jaguar.

    The 68040 could have given them good performance and backwards compatibility, but I think those were still pretty expensive at the time. Hitachi must have been giving Sega a great deal on chips to use them in three consoles and arcade hardware.

    When he says you could "cascade" the processors what does that mean? Take the output of one CPU and feed it to the other? That works great if you can do it but not the easiest thing to program, particularly in ASM, and a huge inconvenience for anyone trying to port a game from another platform.

    I disagree that Sony owning the factory gave them a decisive advantage. If that were the case companies would never outsource anything. It still costs money to make chips whether the factory belongs to you or your supplier. Buying from other companies meant Sega could shop around from vendors who had to compete for their business.

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    It still doesn't answer the question of why the Saturn was as bad at 3D as it was, especially since we know now it was designed for 3D. Surely, Sega had the know-how to build a proper 3D machine. How did Kutaragi, with no experience, manage such a home run design-wise and Sato fail so poorly at it?

    He doesn't really touch on that in the interview, aside from implying that the Saturn was designed before the PSX and was outdated when the PSX was announced and that Sony could build the components cheaper because they had their own factories.

    Seems like he's implying that the parallel architecture and quads were simply a bad call on his part.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Saturn was always going to do 3D, but with Sprite based hardware. Adding the 2nd CPU was SEGA quick fix and it confirms that SEGA didn't have the 1st clue Sony was entering the console market, much less any idea over their spec.

    So Tom is not telling the truth over that, much less over the SOJ relationship. Tom did a lot of good work, but he can't and just will not own up to his and SOA bad calls and planning in the 32bit age.

    Reminds me a lot of Robbie Beach and MS he did so much good for MS with the 360, but called it all wrong for the XBox One.
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  6. #21
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    A 68020 based system could be sufficient, assuming they have a video chipset fast enough and a very strong t&l co-processor for the 3d calculations. The Model 1/2 wasn't an industry leader because it had a strong main cpu, but because it had extreme video fillrate and a lot of co-processors to do the 3d math. Same for the Playstation too, for that matter.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    A 68020 based system could be sufficient, assuming they have a video chipset fast enough and a very strong t&l co-processor for the 3d calculations. The Model 1/2 wasn't an industry leader because it had a strong main cpu, but because it had extreme video fillrate and a lot of co-processors to do the 3d math. Same for the Playstation too, for that matter.
    The 6820 wouldn't have been good at all, it was clear that Motorola had lost the 32 bit CPU battle and SOA looked a CPU that was lesser than that in the Falcom. Model 1 didn't have a great CPU, but it was backed up by even more Co-Processors than the Saturn and was even harder to programme, used quads and cost a fortune. SEGA did the best they could with the tech they could use and afford.
    The tech was good enough and even a single SH2 CPU for the Saturn would have marked a huge jump, given the gfx saw in Alien Trilogy. The main issue was how badly SOA called it and how badly they handled the 32bit transition and getting their pipelines up to 32bit levels a focus on an underpowered Add-On with an outdated media format, and then SOJ making rubbish launch tools, no 3D Sonic and no main Sonic game, not trying hard to get Square on the Saturn and a lack of main sequels to fan fav Arcade and Mega Drive games
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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  8. #23
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    I would be open to contributing for a full translation...
    Time-wise, it's much too much for me to do. But I will eventually do the Mega Drive related stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    When he says you could "cascade" the processors what does that mean? Take the output of one CPU and feed it to the other? That works great if you can do it but not the easiest thing to program, particularly in ASM, and a huge inconvenience for anyone trying to port a game from another platform.
    Not sure - the literal word he used was the English "cascade." Somebody who knows more about the SH-2 than me could answer (I know next to nothing).

    I disagree that Sony owning the factory gave them a decisive advantage. If that were the case companies would never outsource anything. It still costs money to make chips whether the factory belongs to you or your supplier. Buying from other companies meant Sega could shop around from vendors who had to compete for their business.
    I'm not sure I follow. Sony could save big time on manufacturing because they could buy from themselves at cost. Sega had to pay profit margins to all of its suppliers. Sega couldn't just open up factories to manufacture everything - that was way beyond their means. Sony already had the established infrastructure for manufacturing CD-ROM drives, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    It still doesn't answer the question of why the Saturn was as bad at 3D as it was, especially since we know now it was designed for 3D. Surely, Sega had the know-how to build a proper 3D machine. How did Kutaragi, with no experience, manage such a home run design-wise and Sato fail so poorly at it?

    He doesn't really touch on that in the interview, aside from implying that the Saturn was designed before the PSX and was outdated when the PSX was announced and that Sony could build the components cheaper because they had their own factories.

    Seems like he's implying that the parallel architecture and quads were simply a bad call on his part.
    He does say the Saturn was initially designed for 2D and that the 3D evolved from that, but there was always a consideration for the 2D aspect; he didn't want to alienate their current programmers, who only knew how to work with sprites.

    Sony was able to design its own 3D processors while Sega was working with mostly off the shelf parts. Kutaragi had a very clear focus on 3D.

    By the way, here's an interesting article about how Virtua Fighter inspired Sony to pursue 3D:

    Akagawa said that it was challenging to properly budget and push for games that used 3-D graphics.

    "What if we make the PlayStation using 2-D hardware? Such an idea was seriously considered," Akugawa said.

    Former Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Shigeo Maruyama explained that Sony employees visited other game companies to see how 3-D graphics could be presented, as no one inside Sony besides "father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi really understood it.

    "Personally, I had no idea of the specifics concerning what PlayStation games could do," Maruyama said. "I was giving presentations on it without knowing much about it."

    Around that time, Sega's revolutionary arcade game Virtua Fighter became a huge hit in Japan, wowing arcade crowds with its early use of polygonal graphics to produce a game in the popular one-on-one fighting genre.

    "Once Virtua Fighter was out, the direction of the PlayStation became instantly clear," said Maruyama.
    https://www.wired.com/2012/09/how-vi...tations-bacon/

  9. #24
    counter of beans Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Cafeman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the translation!

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    Wildside Expert bpguimaraes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    So the mighty geniuses at SOA were willing to choose a puny 68020? Lol.

    Thanks a lot for the translation.
    Would that be a big deal? There are arcade boards more powerful than the Saturn that use the same CPU. Assuming the graphics hardware was good enough, I mean.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    A 68020 based system could be sufficient, assuming they have a video chipset fast enough and a very strong t&l co-processor for the 3d calculations. The Model 1/2 wasn't an industry leader because it had a strong main cpu, but because it had extreme video fillrate and a lot of co-processors to do the 3d math. Same for the Playstation too, for that matter.
    Both Model 1 and 2 were extremely expensive.


    Quote Originally Posted by bpguimaraes23 View Post
    Would that be a big deal? There are arcade boards more powerful than the Saturn that use the same CPU. Assuming the graphics hardware was good enough, I mean.
    At which cost?

    Rating processor is always a bs exercise but for what I've read:
    Highest clocked 68020 was 33 MHz (and probably expensive at that but let's not even talk about it) and it's rated at 5.36 MIPS.
    PS1's CPU was rated at 30 MIPS; Saturn's SH2 figures varies from 25 MIPS to 37 MIPS for each.

    Good luck going forward with a 68020 and relying on other co-processors and chips which would have to be far better than the PS1's.
    I can see a Genesis 1.5/Plus using a 68020. I can't see a serious 5th gen contender using one.

    Also, for context, the Amiga CD32 used a 68020 clocked at 14.32 MHz back in 1993.


    IMO the SH2 was the saving grace of Saturn design, not the issue.
    The VDP1 is pretty underpowered when compared to the competition though.

  12. #27
    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Cool interview. The hypothetical 68020 system sounds like the "Genesis Plus" idea that preceded the 32X, an upgraded console with more colors and sprite capabilities. There's no way a 68020-based system would have been considered next-gen in 93/94, unless it was going to have another chip to handle the graphics like the Jaguar.

    The 68040 could have given them good performance and backwards compatibility, but I think those were still pretty expensive at the time. Hitachi must have been giving Sega a great deal on chips to use them in three consoles and arcade hardware.

    When he says you could "cascade" the processors what does that mean? Take the output of one CPU and feed it to the other? That works great if you can do it but not the easiest thing to program, particularly in ASM, and a huge inconvenience for anyone trying to port a game from another platform.

    I disagree that Sony owning the factory gave them a decisive advantage. If that were the case companies would never outsource anything. It still costs money to make chips whether the factory belongs to you or your supplier. Buying from other companies meant Sega could shop around from vendors who had to compete for their business.
    What about the 68LC040? It was a lower cost version.



    Life!? ... What console is that on?

  13. #28
    Wildside Expert bpguimaraes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Both Model 1 and 2 were extremely expensive.



    At which cost?

    Rating processor is always a bs exercise but for what I've read:
    Highest clocked 68020 was 33 MHz (and probably expensive at that but let's not even talk about it) and it's rated at 5.36 MIPS.
    PS1's CPU was rated at 30 MIPS; Saturn's SH2 figures varies from 25 MIPS to 37 MIPS for each.

    Good luck going forward with a 68020 and relying on other co-processors and chips which would have to be far better than the PS1's.
    I can see a Genesis 1.5/Plus using a 68020. I can't see a serious 5th gen contender using one.

    Also, for context, the Amiga CD32 used a 68020 clocked at 14.32 MHz back in 1993.


    IMO the SH2 was the saving grace of Saturn design, not the issue.
    The VDP1 is pretty underpowered when compared to the competition though.
    I don't know. That Is why I asked. Many people suggest that the Saturn would be better of with a single cpu and a dedicated T&L processor instead of the dual CPUs. So I wonder if it a Saturn with a 68020 and it's own "GTE" couldn't be possible. Maybe better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Time-wise, it's much too much for me to do. But I will eventually do the Mega Drive related stuff.



    Not sure - the literal word he used was the English "cascade." Somebody who knows more about the SH-2 than me could answer (I know next to nothing).



    I'm not sure I follow. Sony could save big time on manufacturing because they could buy from themselves at cost. Sega had to pay profit margins to all of its suppliers. Sega couldn't just open up factories to manufacture everything - that was way beyond their means. Sony already had the established infrastructure for manufacturing CD-ROM drives, for example.



    He does say the Saturn was initially designed for 2D and that the 3D evolved from that, but there was always a consideration for the 2D aspect; he didn't want to alienate their current programmers, who only knew how to work with sprites.

    Sony was able to design its own 3D processors while Sega was working with mostly off the shelf parts. Kutaragi had a very clear focus on 3D.

    By the way, here's an interesting article about how Virtua Fighter inspired Sony to pursue 3D:



    https://www.wired.com/2012/09/how-vi...tations-bacon/
    Your not wrong with the factory. Something similar happened more recently. Apple was taking up the parts Nintendo needed for the Switch screen and helped cause the shortages they had last year. The factory was making the component for Apple Iphone and Switch. I believe they later moved to a different supplier for their screens and the shortages stopped.



    Life!? ... What console is that on?

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpguimaraes23 View Post
    I don't know. That Is why I asked. Many people suggest that the Saturn would be better of with a single cpu and a dedicated T&L processor instead of the dual CPUs. So I wonder if it a Saturn with a 68020 and it's own "GTE" couldn't be possible. Maybe better.
    It could be possible and very feasible, but only if the video hardware was strong enough. That's what really held back the Saturn - programming difficulties would get resolved over time, but the VDP1 was SLOW so they could only do so much with it.

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