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redsox2013
03-26-2018, 04:59 PM
I'm trying to come up with a list of all the Saturn games that use these two cutting edge (at least for 1995) special effects. Here's what I can think of off the top of my head. Please fill in others as I'm sure there's a lot of titles that I never knew about.

Transparency:
-Guardian Heroes
-Burning Rangers
-Mega Man X4 (at least in the foreground)

Light Source Shading:
-Fighters Megamix (IMO the best LSS of the generation - including PS1)
-NiGHTS (during level intros, not sure if it's used in game)

Of course, back in the 90's, PS1 was regarded as more powerful, but many people ignored the capabilities of the Saturn (which was capable of equally impressive effects). Unfortunately, Saturn deserved some of the negativity because most developers simply used a pixel mesh instead of accessing the true transparency feature on one of the Saturn's processors. PS1 was easier to program for, and even launch games like Battle Arena Toshinden sport some impressive transparency.

Blades
03-26-2018, 05:14 PM
The Saturn never had a chance against the PSX graphically.

Sonic R is a famous example of transparencies. The Saturn only allowed transparencies in specific situations due to the quirky layering nature of the system's video hardware. It wasn't a matter of coding ability, it either could work or not.

Cafeman
03-26-2018, 07:09 PM
There were many games that used non-mesh transparencies. Burning Rangers actually did transparency FX by copying the VDP1 semi transparent into the VDP2 buffer where it was further blended and processed, although at lower resolution. There was another thread which linked to a cool Chinese YT video where he explained all this in detail. Turn on subtitles if you try to watch it, his English is near unintelligible.

Nights into Dreams had both effects. Powerslave and Fighters Megamix had very dramatic light sourcing effects.

Genesis Knight
03-26-2018, 07:28 PM
The video you're thinking of was probably Low Score Boy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_OchOV_WDg

Team Andromeda
03-26-2018, 07:48 PM
Fighting Vipers was the 1st game to really show off Saturnís light sourcing and also some nice Gouraud shading. Plenty of Saturn games featured Transparent effects, only trouble was they could only be flat as they came off the VDP 2 falt planes. But games like BUG II, Thunder Force IV, Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Street Racer made great use of them and also used the VDP2 to mimic real time reflections on the clouds or the EP 4 boss, Radiant Silvergun most prob made the best use of the planes for transparent effects along with Darius Gaiden off the chart Transparent effects. Also I did like the lighting effects in Saga and Christmas Nights, Stellar Assualt, Loaded, darklight conflict, Exhumed, Duke 3D, Quake, World League Soccer 98 to name but a few.

TrekkiesUnite118
03-26-2018, 11:01 PM
Fighting Vipers was the 1st game to really show off Saturnís light sourcing and also some nice Gouraud shading. Plenty of Saturn games featured Transparent effects, only trouble was they could only be flat as they came off the VDP 2 falt planes.

Once again this isn't true. VDP1 has support for full 3D transparencies using 50/50 blending. It just has limitations due to the following reasons:

1) It's slow
2) Pixel overdraw due to the use of warped quads/distorted sprites results in errors in the transparencies. You can actually see this in games that use it like Sonic R.
3) VDP1+VDP2 layering could result in other errors/oddities.

Also, inb4pixiedust.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 12:02 AM
Once again this isn't true. VDP1 has support for full 3D transparencies using 50/50 blending. It just has limitations due to the following reasons:

1) It's slow
2) Pixel overdraw due to the use of warped quads/distorted sprites results in errors in the transparencies. You can actually see this in games that use it like Sonic R.
3) VDP1+VDP2 layering could result in other errors/oddities.

Also, inb4pixiedust.

Says the One who makes out the Saturn couldn't handle FF 7 due to transparency effect?. It's clear to anyone the Saturn had issues with polygons that needed Alpha effects used on them, not even the Quad based 3DO suffered from such issues. Nearly every 3D Saturn polygon game had to apply the mesh effect, no issues with 2D plane ones, thanks to the VDP 2

Now leave your grude and instead list some games that made use of transparent and lighting effects in Saturn games.

TrekkiesUnite118
03-27-2018, 12:49 AM
Says the One who makes out the Saturn couldn't handle FF 7 due to transparency effect?. It's clear to anyone the Saturn had issues with polygons that needed Alpha effects used on them, not even the Quad based 3DO suffered from such issues. Nearly every 3D Saturn polygon game had to apply the mesh effect, no issues with 2D plane ones, thanks to the VDP 2

Now leave your grude and instead list some games that made use of transparent and lighting effects in Saturn games.

Right off the top of my head I can think of three 3D games that use VDP1 transparencies. Sonic R, Black Dawn, and Panzer Dragoon. Sonic R uses it for the Light Trails when you hit a dash panel, Black Dawn uses it for clouds, and Panzer Dragoon uses it for the lasers. You can see the issues with this in each of those games. Sonic R and Black Dawn have the pixel overdraw bug, and Panzer Dragoon has the issue with objects disappearing behind the transparency due to VDP1/VPD2 blending priorities.

For lighting Quake, Powerslave, Duke Nukem 3D, Shining Force III, Panzer Dragoon Saga, NiGHTS into Dreams, Fighters Megamix, Digital Dance Mix, etc. all make use of additive blending to pull of lighting effects by VDP1. You can even see the issues with this as when they don't do colored lighting the textures tend to over saturate or desaturate to the point of looking washed out or crushed.

As for FF7, yes, the Saturn would struggle with the transparencies. Why? Because of the issues I just mentioned to you and due to the fact the Saturn only supports additive 50/50 blending. The PS1 supports multiplicative blending which FF7 uses a ton of which is why it's transparencies look so unique and different from anything you see on the Saturn or N64 for that matter.

This has been explained to you over and over again in the most simplest and easy to understand terms. You just refuse to listen to it and accept that once again you're wrong and the facts and technical information on the system all disagrees with you.

To put it in the simplest way I can, here is a simple breakdown:


Both the Saturn and PS1 have hardware level support for transparencies in both 2D and 3D situations. Saturn has it in both VDP2 and VDP1. Both are limited in their use. For the rest of this list I'll be referring to VDP1 transparencies only.
The Saturn has support for only 50/50 blending
The PS1 can do 50/50 blending and more
The Saturn only does additive blending
The PS1 can do multiplicative blending
The Saturn can produce artifacts in it's transparencies due to Pixel overdraw due to the use of warped sprites.
The PS1 does not have this issue.
The Saturn can produce errors in trancparencies with objects disappearing in either the VDP1 or VDP2 layer due to layering priorities.
The PS1 does not have this issue.


Does that make it easy enough for you to grasp?

BonusKun
03-27-2018, 07:40 AM
Now leave your grude and instead list some games that made use of transparent and lighting effects in Saturn games.

I'm about to open a can of ass and show you what a grudge is really like if you can't have a legit discussion without talking out of your ass. Again I'm getting multiple complaints and I'm not going to have you shit on this thread just because you don't want to hear other people's opinions. It's like you just can't come into every single thread without looking for a fight & it's getting tiresome.

I'm only going to warn you once to actually discuss things like an actual adult being instead of ignoring people when they bring up 100% valid points.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 09:43 AM
I'm about to open a can of ass and show you what a grudge is really like if you can't have a legit discussion without talking out of your ass. Again I'm getting multiple complaints and I'm not going to have you shit on this thread just because you don't want to hear other people's opinions. It's like you just can't come into every single thread without looking for a fight & it's getting tiresome.

I'm only going to warn you once to actually discuss things like an actual adult being instead of ignoring people when they bring up 100% valid points.

Point taken, and I am sorry.

bultje112
03-27-2018, 09:44 AM
The Saturn never had a chance against the PSX graphically.

Sonic R is a famous example of transparencies. The Saturn only allowed transparencies in specific situations due to the quirky layering nature of the system's video hardware. It wasn't a matter of coding ability, it either could work or not.

the saturn didn't look worse than playstation at all. the only problem was the first impression was really bad because sega of japan fucked up the western launch. had saturn released in late 95 with sega rally, virtua fighter 2 and virtua cop, it would've blown playstation away, since those games looked better than anything on playstation. especially virtua fighter 2.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 09:51 AM
Does that make it easy enough for you to grasp?

Fair points, whats the range of the VDP 1 Alpha channel compared to the PS 32 levels of transparency in its Alpha channel? Just always seemed VDP 1 effects came up short, compared the 3DO never mind the PS. Even the 50/50 effects in Panzer Dragoon and Sonic R didn't seem to look completely opaque, while the VDP II planes could be and seemed to have a range up there with the PS. And I'm just asking politely now, no more silly stuff.

BonusKun
03-27-2018, 10:00 AM
Point taken, and I am sorry.

Thank you, Now please enjoy the forums but remember Trekkies and Gamevet don't want to fight you, they want to discuss things about their favorite systems with you. I admit I don't know all of the ins and outs of a lot of console systems so I find these threads enjoyable when valid points from you and others are brought up. Keep it like that and let everyone enjoy the discussion and maybe learn something new along the way.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 10:00 AM
the saturn didn't look worse than playstation at all. the only problem was the first impression was really bad because sega of japan fucked up the western launch. had saturn released in late 95 with sega rally, virtua fighter 2 and virtua cop, it would've blown playstation away, since those games looked better than anything on playstation. especially virtua fighter 2.

Well said, Had SOA/SOJ waited until June 95, then Could have launched with Clockwork Knight II, BUG, VF Remix, Panzer Dragoon Ect, that would have been better. Also here some great examples of Saturn lighting and Transparent effects


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l1izJsoZ0w


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wlc7800QlMI&t=42s


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBCB7ViGtng


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_JiuEM-CmQ

BonusKun
03-27-2018, 11:39 AM
Here's a legit question for you TA. What do you think of the PSOne portable small screen?

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 11:55 AM
Here's a legit question for you TA. What do you think of the PSOne portable small screen?

Never owned the PSOne, sorry.

BonusKun
03-27-2018, 12:16 PM
I actually got the system separately years ago but I came across a PSone OEM Screen new in box for 45 bucks not too long ago. I have to admit the picture quality is damn nice for such a small screen.


https://cdn.instructables.com/F81/67R1/FY3KSQC0/F8167R1FY3KSQC0.LARGE.jpg

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 12:30 PM
I actually got the system separately years ago but I came across a PSone OEM Screen new in box for 45 bucks not too long ago. I have to admit the picture quality is damn nice for such a small screen.


https://cdn.instructables.com/F81/67R1/FY3KSQC0/F8167R1FY3KSQC0.LARGE.jpg

I've never owned any PS hardware, my brother was the one with the original PS (but he never got the PSOne) I only got joined the PS camp when SEGA pulled out of the Hardware and I was so gutted and depressed that I picked up a PS2 along with ICO and DMC. Nice pick up btw more so for one in such good cond.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 12:40 PM
Some more Saturn games that showed off some nice Transparent effects would be

AMOK

Batman Forever - Plays like crap but features some 2D effects and multiple transparent effects layered over one and another

Golden Axe The Duel - Lovely huge sprites and some amazing transparent effects on the magic spells

Soukyugurentai - the 3rd level, when you descend through the clouds is a VDP II masterclass and also makes use of fantastic Transparent effects

Layer Section - When played in TATE mode displays some amazing full screen transparent effects

Sonic 3D Blast - Some lovely VDP 2 Misting weather effects

Metal Black - Some great transparent effects

Sexy Parodius - Again some lovely 2D transparent effects

Tower of Power
03-27-2018, 12:53 PM
I actually got the system separately years ago but I came across a PSone OEM Screen new in box for 45 bucks not too long ago. I have to admit the picture quality is damn nice for such a small screen.


https://cdn.instructables.com/F81/67R1/FY3KSQC0/F8167R1FY3KSQC0.LARGE.jpg

Yes, the quality is amazing for the time, still holds up pretty well to this day compared to anything other than OLED screens.

Blades
03-27-2018, 01:43 PM
the saturn didn't look worse than playstation at all. the only problem was the first impression was really bad because sega of japan fucked up the western launch. had saturn released in late 95 with sega rally, virtua fighter 2 and virtua cop, it would've blown playstation away, since those games looked better than anything on playstation. especially virtua fighter 2.

What are you talking about? As time wore on, the Saturn's inadequacies were only magnified. Early on it was indeed neck and neck (IMO I'd say the early Saturn titles looked better than the PSX titles, they were just a little unoptimized). By 1997 it was clear what the superior system was technically. Wipeout chugged and looked worse. VF2, NiGHTS, and Panzer looked nice artistically but were very simple with VPD2 picking up a lot of the slack. VF2 had no polygonal environments to speak of. I won't even talk about the ports from PSX to Saturn which were just embarrassing for the Saturn. There's no way the Saturn could have handled Toy Story 2 (1999) with its huge worlds.

To be fair, a BIG part of this was the lack of effort on the Saturn side. With effort, maybe the Saturn could handle the best the PSX could. But then again, so could've the PSX raised the bar with extensive optimization. We will never know.

The lead programmer from Quake which is cited here often as the Saturn's technical trump card said that a quick and dirty port to PSX from the Saturn version ran ~10 fps faster already. Also Saturn Quake is awful. They shoehorned Quake into a different engine that runs like a Pentium game on a 486 and sold it. It's nigh unplayable (especially second episode on).

Black_Tiger
03-27-2018, 02:26 PM
The Saturn and N64 weren't the most balanced all round for 3D like the Playatation was. Particularly as with the SNES, the Playstation aesthetic wound up being what everything was measured around and doing things that the Playstation rarely or never did or doing something better was viewed as superfluous and the opposite viewed very much in the opposite way.

But taking Playstation to Saturn ports completely out of context only makes you seemed narrowminded. Most Saturn to Playstation ports faired much worse, but that doesn't mean that the Playstation can't match the Saturn.

It's also well known that the lead Quake programmer gave months of interviews whike working on Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, where he went on about how the Saturn is very capable at 3D in the right hands and the real problem is lazy or unskilled developers. The fantasy port of Quake PSX never saw the light of day and Lobotomy's Powerslave port had to be dumbed down to run on Playstation. He only blamed the Saturn after working for Sega led to their company going under. In the end, the only thing consistent throughout, besides the games that actually exist, is that what he says conveniently suits his current situation.

Which is why context is important.

cleeg
03-27-2018, 02:33 PM
The biggest thing that ages the Saturn are those hashed shadows, they often look very ugly. I can't help but think that if that was rectified we'd see the system as pretty equal to the PS1, if not better. Thunderforce IV, which is perhaps the superior version graphically anyhow, would have looked 100% better-er with fully transparent effects everywhere.

Do the flashing lights on the dragon when firing lasers on Panzer Dragoon Zwei count as a true lighting effect?

Blades
03-27-2018, 03:17 PM
Most Saturn to Playstation ports faired much worse, but that doesn't mean that the Playstation can't match the Saturn.

Impossible. Name one. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).


t's also well known that the lead Quake programmer gave months of interviews whike working on Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, where he went on about how the Saturn is very capable at 3D in the right hands and the real problem is lazy or unskilled developers. The fantasy port of Quake PSX never saw the light of day and Lobotomy's Powerslave port had to be dumbed down to run on Playstation. He only blamed the Saturn after working for Sega led to their company going under.

How do you know the opposite isn't true then?

stu
03-27-2018, 03:21 PM
It's also well known that the lead Quake programmer gave months of interviews whike working on Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, where he went on about how the Saturn is very capable at 3D in the right hands and the real problem is lazy or unskilled developers. The fantasy port of Quake PSX never saw the light of day and Lobotomy's Powerslave port had to be dumbed down to run on Playstation. He only blamed the Saturn after working for Sega led to their company going under. In the end, the only thing consistent throughout, besides the games that actually exist, is that what he says conveniently suits his current situation.

Which is why context is important.

And it could also be that in that later interview he was able to speak what he truly felt, instead of having the pressure of trying to sell a game and say things the the Sega PR person next to him would not object to. Yes I read some of those earlier interviews, mostly in the OFFICIAL Sega Saturn Mag in the UK (official being the operative word)

Like you said context is important :)

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 05:42 PM
What are you talking about? As time wore on, the Saturn's inadequacies were only magnified. Early on it was indeed neck and neck (IMO I'd say the early Saturn titles looked better than the PSX titles, they were just a little unoptimized). By 1997 it was clear what the superior system was technically. Wipeout chugged and looked worse. VF2, NiGHTS, and Panzer looked nice artistically but were very simple with VPD2 picking up a lot of the slack. VF2 had no polygonal environments to speak of. I won't even talk about the ports from PSX to Saturn which were just embarrassing for the Saturn. There's no way the Saturn could have handled Toy Story 2 (1999) with its huge worlds.).

Wipeout was developed from the ground up for the PS, so its rather unfair to expect it to run as well on the Saturn. Its not like Grandia, Souky, Thunder Force V, Mass Destruction didn't lose out on the jounry to the PS, also by 1999 SEGA was well into the DC development and support' if the SEGA had to support the Saturn in 1999 then I'm sure we would have seen even better than RSG 1998 effort . Toy Story II worlds were no more open than Tomb Raider in 96, which the Saturn did ok at, for sure the PS could do them better, but the Saturn could still have pulled them off . Also If you want to talk embarrassing play Dradius Gaiden on the PS, it's funny how only Saturn poor ports get highlighted, but not when the PS ports came out worse.

Team Andromeda
03-27-2018, 05:44 PM
Impossible. Name one. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).


Mass Destruction, Souky, Grandia. Will that do ?

TrekkiesUnite118
03-27-2018, 05:49 PM
Fair points, whats the range of the VDP 1 Alpha channel compared to the PS 32 levels of transparency in its Alpha channel? Just always seemed VDP 1 effects came up short, compared the 3DO never mind the PS. Even the 50/50 effects in Panzer Dragoon and Sonic R didn't seem to look completely opaque, while the VDP II planes could be and seemed to have a range up there with the PS. And I'm just asking politely now, no more silly stuff.

As far as I know, VDP1 supports only the following blending modes for transparency:


Opaque
50/50 Blended Alpha Transparency
Mesh Mode (Dithered fake transparency)


So the additional levels the PS1 can do and the multiplicative blending it can do, the Saturn can't do with VDP1. Some of it VDP2 can do, but not all of it. This is why the transparencies in games like FF7 would really become an issue. Even Symphony of the Night would still have this issue if it was the best port possible made from the ground up for the Saturn to take as much advantage of the hardware as possible. Case in point, look at the areas in that game that do use the 50/50 blending in VDP1:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrVepeDyfb8

Those are true 50/50 blended transparencies, but they still don't look as nice as what you see in the PS1 version where it does different levels of transparency and it layers transparent objects on top of each other. You can even see the layer priority bug in that video if you pause at the right time.

I think Kamahl put it best in another thread. The Saturn does Transparencies the same was the SNES does them, the PS1 does them the same way modern hardware does them. One is much more flexible to work with and can give much more varied results.

That said, it's not accurate to say the Saturn flat out can't do any real transparencies at all through VDP1 and that any and all real transparencies are done by VDP2. It can do them. It just has limitations and it can only be 50/50 blending. This is the point I always try to correct you on.


Mass Destruction, Souky, Grandia. Will that do ?

I'd also add Thunder Force V, The Lunar games, Duke Nukem 3D, and Powerslave to that list.

zyrobs
03-27-2018, 08:43 PM
As far as I know, VDP1 supports only the following blending modes for transparency:


Opaque
50/50 Blended Alpha Transparency
Mesh Mode (Dithered fake transparency)



There was also shadow mode: for every opaque pixel, take the pixel underneath, and draw it back at half brightness. The texture is not drawn, only it's opaque pixels are sampled.

Exhumed has a hidden smiley face that they use to draw shadows that way.

BonusKun
03-27-2018, 09:22 PM
Impossible. Name one. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).

I'm gonna say Grandia on the Saturn was superior to the PlayStation version but mainly because that game was developed for years around the Saturn's hardware limitations and the result is an amazingly beautiful game.

zyrobs
03-27-2018, 09:57 PM
Once again this isn't true. VDP1 has support for full 3D transparencies using 50/50 blending. It just has limitations due to the following reasons:

1) It's slow
2) Pixel overdraw due to the use of warped quads/distorted sprites results in errors in the transparencies. You can actually see this in games that use it like Sonic R.
3) VDP1+VDP2 layering could result in other errors/oddities.

Also, inb4pixiedust.

The biggest issue imo was that you couldn't have background priorities if you opted for sprite transparency, and without that you couldn't put a background between two sprites - only below all or above all. That and there was no mode where you got transparency both on other sprites and other bgs. These two things killed sprite transparency both for 2d and 3d.

The vdp1/2 interaction was this byzantine labyrinth that wouldn't have been insulting if you didn't have to rely on it due to the VDP1 being anaemic.

I think a low depth rgb mode in the VDP1 with priority bits would've worked better. Say, 12-bit rgb colour plus 3 bits for priority or color calculation. Then you have the VDP2 significantly more easier to use: you get sprite transparencies, you get bg transparencies, you can do sprite+bg transparencies, and you get gouraud shading without requiring pre-calculated palettes (and more depth than just 5-bit). The lower colour depth wouldn't be an issue since most games use 8-bit sprites to save on texture memory anyway.

Black_Tiger
03-27-2018, 10:06 PM
Impossible. Name one. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).

Lunar SSS/SSSC
Lunar EB
Silhouette Mirage
Grandia
Macross Do You Remember Love
Thunder Force V
Fighting Force
Mass Destruction
Powerslave

At least one magazine (Gamefan?) said that Crimewave had a Playstation version that wasn't running nearly so well.

When Soul Hackers came out for Playstation, people said that it didn't turn out as good. I remember there was a comparison video online at one point.

Tomb Raider for Saturn was pretty much abandoned by Core at the state it shipped at, when they left it to focus on the Playstation version instead. The incomplete Fighting Force already running better than the final Playstation version is a better indication of what Core could have done on Saturn.

In general, games tailored for the Saturn's strengths aren't going to run as well on Playstation. Something like Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru likely would have seen a similar downgrade.




How do you know the opposite isn't true then?

Opposite of what? Powerslave PSX doesn't exist? Quake PSX has been leaked?

EPSYLON EAGLE
03-27-2018, 10:38 PM
Mr Bones

fog effect

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gHGRFJX7kg

zyrobs
03-27-2018, 11:57 PM
Loaded had some sick lightning effects and transparency, it was also a combination of 2d and 3d (3d walls and landscape, 2d sprite characters, on a flat plane ground).

Wipeout 2097 had lightning but I'm not sure if it was per vertex shading or if they just switched the entire hovercar to a blue or other colour shade whenever necessary. Hard to say because the game is FAST. What is more impressive is that it had a plasma effect on the trophies, like a sort of environmental mapping effect, except that the Saturn can't do environmental mapping.

One of the soccer games, I think SWWS98, has transparent rain and shadows and hud.

Nights did lightning, at least at the start when the level loads, dunno if it does it later ingame. The last boss has a phase where it just acts as a giant window to a vdp2 background.

Fighting Vipers and Fighters Megamix both had lightning. It was "real time" on one level, in the sense that they switch through 4 different light directions dynamically... however, that level runs notably slower than the rest of the game. The other levels sometimes have lightning too, however, and they run better. The wall-less levels are silky smooth and have directional lightning (for ex. a sundown in the background).

Scorcher did transparency, most notably the giant red lights on the last two stages. The smoke trails are also transparent. The game also uses both rotating backgrounds, I don't know of any other games that do this.
You can see the biggest transparency bug on those red lights, the background behind them turns opaque (when you do sprite to background transparency, any sprites inbetween disappear. When you do sprite to sprite transparency, the backgrounds are not made transparent).

Pandemonium also does polygon transparency, and you can see BOTH bugs on them (no background transparency and pixel overwrite).

Tama does sprite transparency on one of the later levels.

Mystaria 2 aka Riglord Saga 2 uses them somewhere in the ending, at least I've seen videos of it doing so. It draws a very large model with transparent sprites, and it looks like a mess, runs at 5fps too.
The first Mystaria also abused the sprite transparency and it's probably why the game runs like ass.

Shining Force 3 does lightning and very clever vdp2 fading on some special attacks to make them look brilliant.

Sonic R uses sprite to background (the fogging), sprite to sprite (the shields and the rainbow trail of the accelerator), and on the last level it lacks the fogging but instead covers the entire crystal landscape in an overlay. The title screen and loading screens have reflective surfaces (environmental mapping), and the coder of the game recently explained that those were all-software rendered on the SH2s, which is probably why they were only used there. An alpha build had a chrome plated Metal Sonic model in-game using the same effect, but the game was missing too much logic in that build - it may not have been suitable in the final game.

Panzer Dragoon Zwei has the infamous water trick on the fish boss.

I'm sure I've seen Panzer Dragoon Saga do various VDP2 fades too.

Tons of 2d games used transparency to some effect. Cotton 2, Cotton Boomerang, Keio Flying Squadron 2, Soukyugurentai, Steam Hearts, Darius Gaiden, Albert Odyssey, Layer Section (aka Galactic Attack), Golden Axe The Duel, Bug Too, Guardian Heroes, Astal, Mr. Bones, Silhouette Mirage, etc. Castlevania SOTN used it every time it had nothing inbetween a sprite and a background, like the candles on the wall, the blue doors, the entire fight with Shaft. Super Tempo had a fog overlay at one point I think. Waku Waku Puyo Puyo Dungeon and Arcana Strikes have transparent mini fmv effects, plus transparent backgrounds. Madou Monogatari has a few transparent sprites here and there. Casper has, er, Casper transparent. The Parodius games have transparent backgrounds.

Thunder Force V did some light shading but it wasn't really dynamic, and I think only one boss had it (guardian's knight).

Burning Rangers is the most complex, it renders opaque sprites with the VDP1 at half resolution, copies them over to VDP2, and renders them all as 1 backgrounds. This way it doesn't have the pixel overwrite bug, but it looks chunkier and the framerate is uneven. Still, probably twice as fast as if it did doing VDP1 native transparency. The game also does lots of lightning.

The three Lobotomy games were probably mentioned, but in case they weren't: Quake, Exhumed (aka Powerslave) and Duke 3d all used extensive lightning, and I'm sure they did the shadowing trick once or twice (at least Exhumed did).

Blast Chamber did vdp1 transparency I think but I might be confusing it with something else.

Street Racer used a transparent skybox and some poly-to-bg transparency on some very close buildings.

Radiant Silvergun used it on a lot of backgrounds.

Advanced World War used it in the turn screens where you moved your units.

Die Hard Trilogy definitely has some transparent polygons on the third game.

It's hard to list all games because some games only use them for some nearly trivial way. Blam Machinehead and Tunnel B1 had a transparent HUD, and Resident Evil has some transparent fogging in the Options menu only, Die Hard Arcade is transparent in the press start screen and the large success/fail texts in the QTEs, Daytona CCE uses some fading in the main menu...

The main menu in True Pinball had transparent polygons but it was just a background fade.

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 03:37 AM
As far as I know, VDP1 supports only the following blending modes for transparency:


Opaque
50/50 Blended Alpha Transparency
Mesh Mode (Dithered fake transparency)




But how many channels, from Transparent to completely Opaque?. I read the PS has around 32 channels, the N64 in the hundreds and from an interview with the CORE Ninja Team (the game at the start lead on the Saturn) said the VDP II can handle more Transparent channels than even the PS is that true? Sadly Core never gave details on the VDP 1 levels either
Be nice to know the actual numbers on VDP 1 Transparent channels and VDP 2 channels for a complete picture. Lots of 2D games can use the VDP1 for Transparent effects or even for 2D sprites in a 3D polygon game The trouble seems when making those sprites into full Polygons, which even a game like SOTN night used (it wasn't a completely 2D game).
TATIO seemed to have no issues when using endless VDP1 and VDP 2 transparency effects in its 2D games yet for its 3D Saturn game big issues and use of Mesh.

But it be nice to know the actual number of channels offered by both the VDP 1 and VDP 2

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 04:11 AM
Nights did lightning, at least at the start when the level loads, dunno if it does it later ingame.

Christmas NiGHTS did it and also when the snowflakes hit the ground In-Game. Christmas NiGHTS also had some nice retail team hair movement in the opening section on Claris I was quite impressed with that at the time lol


Loaded had some sick lightning effects and transparency,

I can't remember any good Transparent effects (only a mesh) Just that the lighting effects were every bit as good and also the game had some better sound effects on the loading screen.



I'm sure I've seen Panzer Dragoon Saga do various VDP2 fades to

The game makes complete use of the VDP II for effects, loads on disc 2 and even on the very 1st boss for when he crashes into the cliffs


Street Racer used a transparent skybox and some poly-to-bg transparency on some very close buildings

At the time ViVid did the best fade in until Sonic R also made full use of the VDP II for not transparent effects, but also to give the impression of reflection too. Good shout on that game.

Some more from me

Die Hard Arcade - Features some nice Transparent effects all through the game

Blam! Machinehead - Had the odd nice transparent effects

Swagman - Seem to remember the game having some nice lighting effects back inthe day

Deadlus - Some lovely transparent effects used in that game.

D-Xhird - Some amazing use of the VDP 2 for various effects, not least trasparent ones also the game features some ok lighting effects too

Shinn-Shinobiden - At least the game shows off some nice transparent effects

Shinrei Jusatsushi Taroumaru - Endless use of the VDP 2 for transparent effects

GunGriffon II - Some nice real time lighting effects

Clockwork Knight 2 - Some lovely use of the VDP 2 for misting effects

Three Dirty Dwarves - Some nice 2D sprite and VDP2 plane transparent effects

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 04:24 AM
I'm gonna say Grandia on the Saturn was superior to the PlayStation version but mainly because that game was developed for years around the Saturn's hardware limitations and the result is an amazingly beautiful game.

Or strengths even.

OG XBox was a much better system than the PS2 for sound and GFX and yet Silent Hill 2 and more so MGS2 (which was a joke on the OG XBox) lost out to the PS2 in their ports, that's what happens when a game is developed and made for the ground up only for and to run on one platform.
To me, the PS3 was clearly more powerful than the 360, but many games run better on the 360, but in the 1st few years the 360 was the lead development system and so the PS3 suffered from Unreal 3 games or the likes of Bayonetta running like a joke on the systes thanks to the game leading on the 360 and Platinum didn't even handle the PS3 port their selves and we saw, not the best results.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 06:57 AM
But how many channels, from Transparent to completely Opaque?. I read the PS has around 32 channels, the N64 in the hundreds and from an interview with the CORE Ninja Team (the game at the start lead on the Saturn) said the VDP II can handle more Transparent channels than even the PS is that true? Sadly Core never gave details on the VDP 1 levels either
Be nice to know the actual numbers on VDP 1 Transparent channels and VDP 2 channels for a complete picture. Lots of 2D games can use the VDP1 for Transparent effects or even for 2D sprites in a 3D polygon game The trouble seems when making those sprites into full Polygons, which even a game like SOTN night used (it wasn't a completely 2D game).
TATIO seemed to have no issues when using endless VDP1 and VDP 2 transparency effects in its 2D games yet for its 3D Saturn game big issues and use of Mesh.

But it be nice to know the actual number of channels offered by both the VDP 1 and VDP 2

PS1 doesn't have "channels" of transparency, it just reads the already drawn RGB values of a pixel, and combines them with the new RGB values using one of 4 formulas (of which one is inversion!). Since the system works in 15bit RGB, you could say that it has 32767 "channels", or rather levels of transparency. Saturn VDP1 does the same but only has 2 formulas, of which one is shadowing.

VDP2 can mix two backgrounds together at up to 1:31 ratio (per background), max in sprites with the same ratio (with max. 8 selectable values, so different sprites can have different levels of transparency), and apply two different colours to "offset" the final colour of each background. And do shadowing. And I think you are also limited in how each one of those mixings affect other backgrounds - you can only blend up to 3 backgrounds to the same colour at most, plus the line screen.
Of course all of these have other restrictions based on sprite mode, colour mode, resolution... It is no wonder that few games used the VDP2.

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 08:22 AM
PS1 doesn't have "channels" of transparency, it just reads the already drawn RGB values of a pixel, and combines them with the new RGB values using one of 4 formulas (of which one is inversion!). Since the system works in 15bit RGB, you could say that it has 32767 "channels", or rather levels of transparency. Saturn VDP1 does the same but only has 2 formulas, of which one is shadowing.

VDP2 can mix two backgrounds together at up to 1:31 ratio (per background), max in sprites with the same ratio (with max. 8 selectable values, so different sprites can have different levels of transparency), and apply two different colours to "offset" the final colour of each background. And do shadowing. And I think you are also limited in how each one of those mixings affect other backgrounds - you can only blend up to 3 backgrounds to the same colour at most, plus the line screen.
Of course all of these have other restrictions based on sprite mode, colour mode, resolution... It is no wonder that few games used the VDP2.

Yeah, but what are the values. The N64 and DC are said to have a range of 256 channels, the PS and 3DO around 30, what are the correct channels for the VDP 1 and VDP 2. I saw in a Ninja special on the Saturn, where the team said they could make the water VDP 2 plane go from 1 to over a 100 depending on the intestacy transparent effect they were looking for. Anyone really knows the true number of channels offered by the VDP 1 or VDP2? or even if that is correct and where the number could have been wrong from the Press . Its when one used the VDP 2 layers that you got the best result and transparent effects right up there with anything the PS offered, more somtimes, if you look at SOUKY and the PS not being able to handle the VDP2 transparent layers for the clouds or the Floor to Stage 3 in ThunderForce V or even the VDP2 water layer to the 1st stage in TF V.
Mind you Alpha effects give systems a hard time teams days, as Sea Of Thiefs shows on the One X, when its 6 Teraflop GPU is asked to output a number of Transparent effects

Also back on topic

Tempest 2000 - Lovely transparent effect on the cloud bonus section.

Shining of the holy ark - Some nice VDP2 style transparent effects

Albert Oddesy - Endless Transparent effects

Elevator Action Returns - Some nice Transparent effects

The Games Paradise - Nice transparent effects

Skelton Warrios - a mix of nice 2D VDP 1 Transparent effects and VDP2 style misting effects

BonusKun
03-28-2018, 10:09 AM
Shining of the holy ark - Some nice VDP2 style transparent effects

Here's a serious question. How come it's damn near impossible to find the soundtrack for Shining the Holy Ark? I mean the real game soundtrack not these arranged things I've only run across from time to time?

Barone
03-28-2018, 11:14 AM
Its when one used the VDP 2 layers that you got the best result and transparent effects right up there with anything the PS offered, more somtimes,
Hmm, no, just no.
VDP2 stuff is mostly for 2D games and even in that case you're talking layers instead of sprites (polygons, actually).



-Fighters Megamix (IMO the best LSS of the generation - including PS1)
There are several games in that gen with better light sourcing effects; let me name a few of the fighting genre:
Deadly Arts (N64)
Critical Blow (PS1)
Fighters' Impact (PS1)

From other genres:
Akuji the Heartless (PS1) - Many PS1 games featuring similar effects.

Alien Resurrection (PS1)
Top Gear Overdrive (N64)
Motorhead (PS1)
Quake II (PS1)

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 11:37 AM
Yeah, but what are the values.

0x00000 to 0xFFFFE? There are no alpha channels, the system did not have alpha channel support. The draw commands had 3 bits to toggle between normal drawing, half luma, shadow, semitransparency, gouraud shading, and combinations of those.
VDP2 had 0:32 to 31:1 ratios between any two items, be it two backgrounds or a background and a sprite. Each background can have its own ratio, sprites can have maximum 8 different ratios that can be defined depending on sprite type.

Keep in mind that the system also used indexed colour extensively. Since the blending is just colour addition, you can change the blend "ratios" by ramping the palettes lower. A completely black sprite would not blend since it adds 0 to the previous colour values.

N64 and DC had RGBA8888 texture support iirc, but most games used 16bit formats because it was slow.

BonusKun
03-28-2018, 11:39 AM
0x00000 to 0xFFFFE? There are no alpha channels, the system did not have alpha channel support. The draw commands had 3 bits to toggle between normal drawing, half luma, shadow, semitransparency, gouraud shading, and combinations of those.
VDP2 had 0:32 to 31:1 ratios between any two items, be it two backgrounds or a background and a sprite. Each background can have its own ratio, sprites can have maximum 8 different ratios that can be defined depending on sprite type.

Keep in mind that the system also used indexed colour extensively. Since the blending is just colour addition, you can change the blend "ratios" by ramping the palettes lower. A completely black sprite would not blend since it adds 0 to the previous colour values.

N64 and DC had RGBA8888 texture support iirc, but most games used 16bit formats because it was slow.

Man I'm enjoying your posts but why the hell have you been here since 2012 and still hadn't created an avatar for your profile yet? Mind you I could go in and give you one but I like to see people come up with their own unique ideas for an avatar.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 11:39 AM
Here's a serious question. How come it's damn near impossible to find the soundtrack for Shining the Holy Ark? I mean the real game soundtrack not these arranged things I've only run across from time to time?

https://ftp.modland.com/pub/modules/Saturn%20Sound%20Format/Motoi%20Sakuraba/Shining%20The%20Holy%20Ark/

BonusKun
03-28-2018, 11:41 AM
https://ftp.modland.com/pub/modules/Saturn%20Sound%20Format/Motoi%20Sakuraba/Shining%20The%20Holy%20Ark/


See what I mean? You're damn awesome!

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 11:59 AM
VDP2 stuff is mostly for 2D games and even in that case you're talking layers instead of sprites (polygons, actually).

VDP2 can work beautiful in 3d games, as long as you use a design that allows for its features. The infinite plane is the best example, it can make for a great looking arena, or a simple but effective skybox. However it also adds stupid limitations on transparency and other things, which makes it a pain in the arse to use.

I believe that the VDP2 was severally underused and could have done absolutely sick effects in 3d games, as long as the VDP1 fillrate allows. Remember how Megadrive games used extensive raster effects to simulate rippling graphics (like the water in Ecco)? Combine it with what Burning Rangers did, drawing a scene with VDP1, copying it to VDP2, and rendering it as a background. You could then apply that rippling to 3d parts.

Barone
03-28-2018, 01:40 PM
VDP2 can work beautiful in 3d games, as long as you use a design that allows for its features. The infinite plane is the best example, it can make for a great looking arena, or a simple but effective skybox. However it also adds stupid limitations on transparency and other things, which makes it a pain in the arse to use.
Yes, I agree.
For fully 3D racing games, for an example, they could have pushed some landscape effects like Sonic R did with reflections, but they didn't. Most 3D racers, for an example, were bare bones in terms of effects and usage of VDP2 (if any).

Burning Rangers has some pretty sick stuff going on but the frame rate isn't exactly stellar (not like similar N64 games weren't dropping frames as if there was no tomorrow, but just to keep things in perspective).

Sik
03-28-2018, 01:46 PM
For all the slack VDP1 gets, at least it basically boils down to "here's a list of polygons, draw it". VDP2 is... I should go through the docs some day and make a whole list of everything awful it does. Let's start with the fact that it's so goddamn complex you need to explicitly tell it how to spend its memory accesses. Seriously.

As for transparencies, VDP1+VDP2 is actually awfully limited. It only works with paletted colors (which can't be combined with gouraud shading), and despite the alpha resolution being 5-bit, because of the way it handles palette indices from VDP1 you only get to pick up to eight different alpha levels (as the same upper bits also get used for priority and other stuff, and you need to decide how many bits to reserve to each role - if you allow priority then you get even less alpha bits). At least palette color 0 can be always transparent regardless of anything else.

Admittedly eight levels of alpha is not as bad as it sounds (often you'll run into other limits first, and merging with the colors below it also helps cover up any banding), but if you also include priority bits or other stuff it starts getting bad.


Note: another thing VDP1+VDP2 can do is "shadow", where pixels from VDP1 can become half intensity. Forgot the exact details but I believe it can be made to work with RGB pixels (could be wrong).

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 03:33 PM
Hmm, no, just no.
VDP2 stuff is mostly for 2D games and even in that case you're talking layers instead of sprites (polygons, actually).

I'm on about when you use a the VPD 2 infront or behind the polygons and when can be made completely transparent, like how the mist effect is handed in BUG too, or when use and play In Car view in Wipeout and where the shield can be completely transparent and just overlayed the polygons graphics like a transparent hud or the lovely fade in one gets in the Attract mode in Daytona USA CE when it's transitions to the main title screen,;Decathlete does a similar trick too, or of course EP 4 transparent layer in the boss battle

Team Andromeda
03-28-2018, 03:39 PM
Yes, I agree.
For fully 3D racing games, for an example, they could have pushed some landscape effects like Sonic R did with reflections, but they didn't. Most 3D racers, for an example, were bare bones in terms of effects and usage of VDP2 (if any).


F1 live information does it well, but the trouble is looks weird with a infinite sky plane , but loads of drawn in on the scenery. Street Racer made lovley use for the floor and sky and it had more transparent effects than the PS version, but it looked rather flat.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 03:40 PM
Burning Rangers has some pretty sick stuff going on but the frame rate isn't exactly stellar (not like similar N64 games weren't dropping frames as if there was no tomorrow, but just to keep things in perspective).

Burning Rangers drops the frame rate AND the landscape is all wiggly, plus the draw rate is short. You take away the light sourcing and the "omg transparencies!" shock factor, and it actually looks rather bad.


For all the slack VDP1 gets, at least it basically boils down to "here's a list of polygons, draw it". VDP2 is... I should go through the docs some day and make a whole list of everything awful it does. Let's start with the fact that it's so goddamn complex you need to explicitly tell it how to spend its memory accesses. Seriously.
VDP1 gets slack because it can't do much, it is bad at the few things it can do, and it does all of that SLOWLY. The only single good thing it has is quads allowing for less distortion. That's it. Maybe the palette gouraud shading trick, but that's more cute than a good feature.


As for transparencies, VDP1+VDP2 is actually awfully limited. It only works with paletted colors (which can't be combined with gouraud shading), and despite the alpha resolution being 5-bit, because of the way it handles palette indices from VDP1 you only get to pick up to eight different alpha levels (as the same upper bits also get used for priority and other stuff, and you need to decide how many bits to reserve to each role - if you allow priority then you get even less alpha bits). At least palette color 0 can be always transparent regardless of anything else.
Well yeah but in-game, you can manipulate those eight ratios on the fly, like manipulate the first to blend an object in and out, while leaving the rest as is - all by modifying 1 register. This alone is more than what you get with VDP1 semitransparency, which is always a simple addition (unless you manipulate the texture colour by loading different CLUTs each frame, if that's even possible).
In practice your real problem with VDP1+2 blending will always be the fact that any sprites under the transparent sprites will just disappear.

Gouraud shading "works" in palette sprites. The trick is that you need to use a shading table that only affects the colours of your palette indexes and not your priority/cc/shadow/etc bits (so you are limited as to how many shades you can use), and that it doesn't shade fuck all, it just changes your palette index dynamically. However if you set up a palette range accordingly, you can get any colour lightning on your palette sprites. The Lobotomy Slavedriver games all did this, and I'm sure that Burning Rangers does it too.
So did the VU meter cubes in the CD player for that matter, so the trick was known from the beginning.


Note: another thing VDP1+VDP2 can do is "shadow", where pixels from VDP1 can become half intensity. Forgot the exact details but I believe it can be made to work with RGB pixels (could be wrong).
Oh that thing is stupidly complex.
In 16-bit framebuffer, you can tell the VDP2 to handle the most significant bit (MSB) of the framebuffer pixel in 3 ways:
- selection between RGB and Palette pixels
- use as a Shadow Enable bit
- use as a Sprite Window bit

Now when you use RGB pixels, you can use the VDP1 to calculate shadows as a form of semitransparency. I don't know if it is affected by all the other VDP1 transparency bugs, but it probably is, making it slow and have pixel overwrite bugs. I think Scorcher has black dust particles sometimes, meaning that it would be using this feature.

However if you set the VDP2 to treat the MSB as a Shadow Enable bit, then you can tell the VDP1 to just set the MSB to 1 in the desired area, without modifying any colour data. It has a specific command for that I believe. Then the presence of the MSB tells the VDP2 to draw the pixel at half luminance. If the sprite colour is 0, ie. fully transparent, then it just draws the background at half luminance, otherwise it draws the sprite at half luminance. Making it probably the most useful mode as you can cast shadows on everything. You can also select which backgrounds to cast the shadow to! I imagine Sega made this to mimic the shadow modes in their old hardware, so they can do perfect ports of games that used tilemaps and hardware sprites.
The downside is that you are now limited to palette pixels only, to a 16-bit framebuffer (and therefore, to low-resolution mode), and you cannot use sprite windows.

There's a third mode, the Normal Shadow, which works on 8-bit sprites only, and works by setting all pixel values to 1 except the LSB. This tells the VDP2 to not write colour data, but just render the background at half luminance. Downside is that any sprite colour data is ignored, so sprites "disappear" under the shadow, and that your total colour depth gets reduced by one.

And this is just how to draw shadows on the VDP2... I think, you don't want to write a list on all the VDP2 functions anymore.

cleeg
03-28-2018, 04:43 PM
So, after rewatching the excellent video from Lowscoreboy and watching the mesh searchlights in the Megaman example I wonder why the 'fast flicker' method wasn't used (like the 'blazing beams' in Musha on the MD, or many other MD examples) more? It would have looked better for this effect I feel.

Was it used on the Saturn ever? I can't help but think it would have been way nicer than all those nasty meshes.

Sometimes they looked okay mind, mainly for smoke puffs or dust clouds, but for shafts of light or water trickles they always looked bad.

Sik
03-28-2018, 05:01 PM
VDP1 gets slack because it can't do much, it is bad at the few things it can do, and it does all of that SLOWLY. The only single good thing it has is quads allowing for less distortion. That's it. Maybe the palette gouraud shading trick, but that's more cute than a good feature.
That was more in reaction to how people act like VDP2 is sane while VDP1 made developers lives impossible. It's the other way.

Yeah, VDP1 lacks a lot of stuff (compared to PS1 it definitely does), but it's easy to come up with ways to work around lack of features (even if it means dropping some stuff). You can't work around needing some horribly complex procedure just to setup some basic environment and that's what VDP2 does. Oh, and even what VDP2 can do isn't that great. It's like it can't even decide what it wants to be able to do, and the end result is all the weird restrictions as to how every combination of features can be used. It's possibly one of the worst parts of the Saturn, simply because it's a pain to deal with.

VDP2 is a horrible overengineered mess that tries to do everything at the same time but can't and probably caused everybody to waste loads of time that could have gone in trying to make games better.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 05:48 PM
So, after rewatching the excellent video from Lowscoreboy and watching the mesh searchlights in the Megaman example I wonder why the 'fast flicker' method wasn't used (like the 'blazing beams' in Musha on the MD, or many other MD examples) more? It would have looked better for this effect I feel.

Was it used on the Saturn ever? I can't help but think it would have been way nicer than all those nasty meshes.

Sometimes they looked okay mind, mainly for smoke puffs or dust clouds, but for shafts of light or water trickles they always looked bad.

It was ugly and only worked if you kept a steady 60fps. Due to the nature of framebuffer based hardware, you can't always keep a steady 60fps.
A few games did use it, but they were mostly ports of arcade games or ports from Megadrive or older titles.

Cotton Boomerang did use it intentionally, and Vampire Savior had an option to change between S-Video and RGB display: picking RGB changed the dither patterns to alternating ones that flickered at 60fps.




That was more in reaction to how people act like VDP2 is sane while VDP1 made developers lives impossible. It's the other way.

Yeah, VDP1 lacks a lot of stuff (compared to PS1 it definitely does), but it's easy to come up with ways to work around lack of features (even if it means dropping some stuff). You can't work around needing some horribly complex procedure just to setup some basic environment and that's what VDP2 does. Oh, and even what VDP2 can do isn't that great. It's like it can't even decide what it wants to be able to do, and the end result is all the weird restrictions as to how every combination of features can be used. It's possibly one of the worst parts of the Saturn, simply because it's a pain to deal with.

No one is saying that the VDP2 isn't a Frankensteins monster. Even the Sega tech bulletins make references to it having "innumerable status registers". The guy who coded PowerSlave/Duke3d/Quake called the VDP2 an insult to developers.

The difference is that you could still do games without even touching the VDP2 beyond enabling the display. And most converted titles of the time expected to work like that. But the VDP1 couldn't do that. It was slow. It lacked colour depth. It lacked UV mapping. It lacked triangles. It had too little memory for textures (unless you used palettes, and then gouraud shading and transparency breaks). If you went the palette route, which you had to due to lack of speed and memory, then you had to use the VDP2. Going further and further down the rabbit hole. Did I mention it was slow? Because it was slow. Really slow.

The VDP2 didn't make developers lives hell because it wasn't required to use heavily in most games (except for 2d titles). But the VDP1 was necessary to use either way, and you just can't get around it being too slow to be of any use. Also, with the VDP1 you are struggling to do something to work a third as good as it does on every other hardware on the market, with the VDP2 you can potentially do something that looks better than on everything else - or at least take off half the pressure from the VDP1.


VDP2 is a horrible overengineered mess that tries to do everything at the same time but can't and probably caused everybody to waste loads of time that could have gone in trying to make games better.

The exact same could be said of the VDP1.

Sik
03-28-2018, 09:40 PM
No, VDP1 is underengineered if anything =/ (lack of UV mapping and such sucks) And the fact that you could get away without VDP2 (as you said) only makes the whole situation worse, because it shows how skewed were their priorities. For contrast, PS1 had a GPU that did exclusively triangles (and lines?) on a framebuffer and nothing else, and got away with it with absolutely no problem (while getting room for more features adapted to that).

Sega decided to ask their developers what they wanted for the Saturn, but from what I recall outside AM2 they were interested on sticking to 2D sprites, and it shows (ノ_<)

cleeg
03-28-2018, 09:56 PM
Zyrobs, thank you for the answer; the example of the game with different display options is interesting.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 10:17 PM
PSX got away with it because it had a gpu significantly more powerful than the amount of triangles it could possibly transform, so it had enough headroom for more advanced effects that required multiple passes.

TrekkiesUnite118
03-28-2018, 11:01 PM
PS1 also "got away with it" because it had a GPU that actually drew real polygons with proper texture mapping support. With the Saturn it's not drawing polygons, not really at least. And I don't mean it's using quads, as it's really not even doing that. The Saturn is drawing sprites that it warps into the shape it needs and draws that to a frame buffer. So essentially the texture is the polygon per say. So if you need to do anything like say map a texture across multiple polygons, you can't really do that on the Saturn. You have to break that texture up into smaller textures and have each piece be it's own polygon. That really makes things challenging. If you've ever tried converting say a PS1 model to the Saturn using the old official tools, you'll find it's quite frustrating and difficult.

All that said, even though VDP1 is slow for 3D when compared to the PS1, it's still kind of impressive that it does that crazy sprite warping rendering as fast as it does to make some games that stand toe to toe with some of the best on the PS1 at the time.

zyrobs
03-28-2018, 11:22 PM
PS1 also "got away with it" because it had a GPU that actually drew real polygons with proper texture mapping support.

Nah, it was the speed. If the VDP1 had 6x the speed then it would not have mattered that transparency is broken or uv mapping is impossible. People would've just done software workarounds, because as long as the chip is fast enough to do it, you can get away with doing it. See the Playstation 2.


it's still kind of impressive that it does that crazy sprite warping rendering as fast as it does to make some games that stand toe to toe with some of the best on the PS1 at the time.

It stood toe to toe with the first 2-3 years of PSX games, and all the multiplatform 3d games looked significantly worse or had a much worse framerate. The games that looked better on Saturn all relied on the VDP2 heavily.

TrekkiesUnite118
03-28-2018, 11:40 PM
Nah, it was the speed. If the VDP1 had 6x the speed then it would not have mattered that transparency is broken or uv mapping is impossible. People would've just done software workarounds, because as long as the chip is fast enough to do it, you can get away with doing it. See the Playstation 2.

Would 6x as fast be realistically possible for the chip or the system in 1994 though? I think at that point going with a slightly faster, but real 3D capable GPU would have probably been the better solution to the problems.



It stood toe to toe with the first 2-3 years of PSX games, and all the multiplatform 3d games looked significantly worse or had a much worse framerate. The games that looked better on Saturn all relied on the VDP2 heavily.

Well of course I meant the first 2-3 years of PS1 games, that's pretty much the Saturn's lifespan before Sega killed it. And I wouldn't say all Multiplatform 3D games looked or ran worse or that they all relied on VDP2 heavily. The Lobotomy Software games tend to look and run better than their PS1 counterparts and they don't really use VDP2 that much to my knowledge. The point I was getting at though is even if VDP1 is really slow compared to the PS1, it's kind of impressive it was even able to pull of what it did with the low speed and crazy rendering it did.

bultje112
03-29-2018, 05:55 AM
]Impossible. Name one[/B]. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).



How do you know the opposite isn't true then?

hexen
command & qonquer
Grandia


and how can you possibly say that the gap between playstation and saturn was widening? wipeout to wipeout 2097 on saturn was a much bigger leap on saturn than on playstation, just to give one example. also panzer dragoon zwei in 1996 was a release in which the playstation had nothing that came close to it. I doubt they could've pulled that game off on the playstation 1 at the time.

Mega Drive Bowlsey
03-29-2018, 06:25 AM
hexen
command & qonquer
Grandia


and how can you possibly say that the gap between playstation and saturn was widening? wipeout to wipeout 2097 on saturn was a much bigger leap on saturn than on playstation, just to give one example. also panzer dragoon zwei in 1996 was a release in which the playstation had nothing that came close to it. I doubt they could've pulled that game off on the playstation 1 at the time.

Don't know about Hexen and Grandia but being a big Command & Conquer fan back in the day I can both confirm and agree that the Saturn port was superior to the PS1 port. The FMV cut scenes weren't quite as sharp but the actual game itself played smoother, looked sharper and had much less slow-down when compared to the PS1 port. Oh and the same applies to Warcraft 2 for the exact same reasons, another game that was better on the Saturn.

Team Andromeda
03-29-2018, 07:44 AM
It stood toe to toe with the first 2-3 years of PSX games, and all the multiplatform 3d games looked significantly worse or had a much worse framerate. The games that looked better on Saturn all relied on the VDP2 heavily.

No really, the Saturn only went toe to toe with the PS in Japan for some 3 years. In the West you had SEGA splitting its focus and development chain support for developers between 2 completely different 32Bit projects and that never helped, but even after that they were plenty of 3rd party games than run and looked almost as good as their PS counterparts be that for the odd spot effect.. Fifa 96, 97, John Madden 97.98, Sovert Strike, Magic Carpet, Tunnel B1, Firestrike (Thunder Hawk II), Blam Machine Head, Hexxen, 3D Lemmings,3D Baseball, Contra, Loaded, Actual Golf, Powerplay Hockey, Andretti Racing, Sovert Strike, Layered Section II, Black Dawn, Need For Speed, Blast Chamber, Hi Octane Ect... that all pretty much run the same (bar some transparcy issues ), and where those games, didn'tmake much use of the VDP II.


Nah, it was the speed. If the VDP1 had 6x

What was the speed of the VDP II, how was it measured in MIPS, who actually developed it along with SEGA? and what were the range of Alpha channels compared to the PS. Sony had help with Toshiba for its PS GPU and also its manufacture, the PS GPU is said to be over 66 MIPS and offer a range of 32 Alpha channels. Since you know so much, it be fastening to compare the 2 systems GPUs

Sik
03-29-2018, 08:24 AM
VDP2 renders on the fly as its scans, it's more akin to the graphics hardware in 2D consoles, so there isn't really a speed to speak of per-se. The only real catch is that shrinking or rotating a background plane reduces its ability to draw other background planes, but this is nothing new (SNES and GBA suffer from the same). Oh, and the higher resolution modes too =P

Team Andromeda
03-29-2018, 09:51 AM
VDP2 renders on the fly as its scans, it's more akin to the graphics hardware in 2D consoles, so there isn't really a speed to speak of per-se. The only real catch is that shrinking or rotating a background plane reduces its ability to draw other background planes, but this is nothing new (SNES and GBA suffer from the same). Oh, and the higher resolution modes too =P

But still the VDP 1 and II must have some sort of rating in MIPS, also who helped SEGA manufacture them (Toshiba helped SONY with its PS GPU) and what were its Alpha channel range compared to the PS 32 channels or the N64 233. Be nice so some real data that could be compared, that's all

zyrobs
03-29-2018, 11:03 AM
The Playstation had no alpha channel range. It did not support alpha channel. Neither did the Saturn.


Would 6x as fast be realistically possible for the chip or the system in 1994 though?

PSX gpu was 6-8x faster in 2d mode (framebuffer copy) and 3-4x faster in 3d mode (full processing).

Team Andromeda
03-29-2018, 12:22 PM
The Playstation had no alpha channel range. It did not support alpha channel. Neither did the Saturn.
.

Well if we're going to nick pick over wording fair enough, but many different levels of transparencies did the VDP2 offer, the N64 had 255 the PS said to have 32, Dreamcast 256. How many for the VDP2 or even VDP 1?.


PSX gpu was 6-8x faster in 2d mode (framebuffer copy) and 3-4x faster in 3d mode

Six to 8 times faster? so how fast did the VDP1 and VDP2 run and what was their combined MIPS rating? It be nice to have some actual benchmark data on the speed of the chips their combined MIPS output and also very nice on who actually developed and manufactured them for SEGA.

stu
03-29-2018, 01:20 PM
and also very nice on who actually developed and manufactured them for SEGA.

Everything I have read seems to indicate that VDP1 and VDP2 were internally developed by Sega's hardware group, I have not seen any mention of anyone else. As for the manufacturer I have no idea, maybe Hitachi since they were also supplying the SH2s?

Edit: Having googled it one site claims that VDP1 was done by Sega/Hitachi and the VDP2 was by Sega/Yamaha, not sure how accurate that it though.

zyrobs
03-29-2018, 02:09 PM
Well if we're going to nick pick over wording fair enough, but many different levels of transparencies did the VDP2 offer, the N64 had 255 the PS said to have 32, Dreamcast 256. How many for the VDP2 or even VDP 1?.

Blending is not alpha channel.

VDP1 can do additive blending and two different ways of luminance reduction ("shadow" mode) of which one is significantly faster because it just modifies the MSB instead of reading -> processing -> writing the framebuffer.
VDP2 could do half luminance and 5-bit blending.


Six to 8 times faster? so how fast did the VDP1 and VDP2 run and what was their combined MIPS rating? It be nice to have some actual benchmark data on the speed of the chips their combined MIPS output and also very nice on who actually developed and manufactured them for SEGA.

Their MIPS output would be zero because they don't output any computed instructions. You really have a problem of mixing up your terms, which may be why no one takes your arguments seriously.

VDP2 is a scanline renderer that checks a bajillion registers to pick how each pixel will look as it traverses each scanline of the display once per frame.
VDP1 is a framebuffer plotter, it's job is to write crap into framebuffer memory as fast as possible. It has a performance of megapixels per second: how many pixels it can draw.

A Sega presentation gave a formula to approximate how many cycles it takes for the VDP1 to draw a textured sprite. With that formula punched in to the 28.6MHz the system runs at, I came out at somewhere between 4-9 MPixel/s, depending on the size of textures drawn. This is an effective fillrate that also takes into account rough approximations for things like lost cycles in accessing the SDRAM, as well as pixel overwrite when drawing distorted sprites. It does not take into account translucency (the docs say translucency on vdp1 is 6x slower to draw...).

By comparison, filling a 320x224 area at 60 frames per sec comes out to 4300800 pixels drawn. The VDP1 can just about do that, if that formula given by SEGA is accurate.

Of course it would be appreciated if someone could verify these numbers. I'm only going by a formula and the VDP1 clock speed, there could be any number of things I'm missing, like whether using 16-bit mode affects this or not.

zyrobs
03-29-2018, 02:14 PM
Edit: Having googled it one site claims that VDP1 was done by Sega/Hitachi and the VDP2 was by Sega/Yamaha, not sure how accurate that it though.

The chips were definitely manufactured by Hitachi (VDP1) and Yamaha (VDP2), but I have no idea whether this means that they helped developing them too. Beyond making the silicon, anyway.

Like you said, they were most likely developed internally at SEGA, a direct successor of the sprite scaler tech they used in the arcades that peaked with the System 32. Like how the Megadrive was a cut-down consolized System 16, the Saturn was the same for the System 32.

Hitachi definitely did make the entire CD subsystem though.

Team Andromeda
03-30-2018, 12:04 AM
Everything I have read seems to indicate that VDP1 and VDP2 were internally developed by Sega's hardware group, I have not seen any mention of anyone else. As for the manufacturer I have no idea, maybe Hitachi since they were also supplying the SH2s?.

No idea, very much doubt it be SEGA as they never really had an internal Hardware manufacturing capacity, more an internal R&D and Assembling capability. In almost all cases SEGA looked to hardware partners to power its home and Arcade hardware.

Team Andromeda
03-30-2018, 12:10 AM
The chips were definitely manufactured by Hitachi (VDP1) and Yamaha (VDP2), but I have no idea whether this means that they helped developing them too. Beyond making the silicon, anyway.

Like you said, they were most likely developed internally at SEGA, a direct successor of the sprite scaler tech they used in the arcades that peaked with the System 32. Like how the Megadrive was a cut-down consolized System 16, the Saturn was the same for the System 32.

Iíve seen SEGA retro say it was Yamaha, but thatís the only place, nothing for certain. At with the MD SEGA had to look to Texas Instruments to develope and power itís GPU, be nice to know who actually did it for the Saturn and even the Mega CD ASIC chip too. Also like to know what frequency the VDP 1 and VDP 1 run at, what was the total MIPS of the chips and what what was the range of the Transparency of the VDP 2 to that of the PS 32 Ect..

zyrobs
03-30-2018, 01:45 AM
Iíve seen SEGA retro say it was Yamaha, but thatís the only place, nothing for certain. At with the MD SEGA had to look to Texas Instruments to develope and power itís GPU, be nice to know who actually did it for the Saturn and even the Mega CD ASIC chip too. Also like to know what frequency the VDP 1 and VDP 1 run at, what was the total MIPS of the chips and what what was the range of the Transparency of the VDP 2 to that of the PS 32 Ect..

VDP1 was manufactured by Yamaha, you can tell from the labelling and part numbers, which all use the exact same format that all other Yamaha built ASICs had.
It was most likely developed internally at Sega by a team led by Hideki Sato.
Megadrive VDP had nothing to do with Texas Instruments, it was done internally by a team lead by Masami Ishikawa.
Mega CD ASIC was manufactured by Fujitsu. No idea who designed it - probably Sega.

VDP1 and 2 run at the system clock speed. You really can't measure their performance by MIPS because they are not general compute chips.
Playstation has four different transparency modes, each one with a range of on or off. It cannot do "transparency at a range of 16%" or whatever. The only way you can ramp up transparency is by darkening the texture itself, so lesser values are added to the underneath ones. Luckily the system had very easy to use shading which helped with that.
VDP2 has a 5 bit range and it can apply ONE value for each background, and a maximum of 8 for sprites (if you use a sprite mode that supports that).

Blades
03-30-2018, 09:48 AM
It stood toe to toe with the first 2-3 years of PSX games, and all the multiplatform 3d games looked significantly worse or had a much worse framerate. The games that looked better on Saturn all relied on the VDP2 heavily.

That's exactly it. The PSX is like a very fast gasoline-powered sports car. The Saturn is like a box of random engine parts that might be faster if you could somehow mate the Wankel engine turning the wheels to the steam-powered fan. Yes it could be fast, but is it even worth it.

It's worth mentioning that the Saturn is a product of its time. It's not like everyone jumped the gun and Sega was left behind. The Saturn was the strongest system in 1994 next to the PSX. It was the visionary streamlined hardware design and ethos of the PSX brand that ensured its success. Sega's years of experience actually worked against them in the Saturn's case.

Kamahl
03-30-2018, 01:02 PM
The Saturn was pretty much an arcade machine design, just as convoluted and wasteful as most arcade machines. Like most arcade machines it feels designed for a very specific kind of game, in this case 3D 1 on 1 fighters like Virtua Fighter, which also tended to be the style of game it was strongest at.
The Neo Geo is actually an exception to the norm with a very simple design, which makes sense when you consider it was meant to be a general purpose "standard" for arcade machines.

Sik
03-30-2018, 02:12 PM
Iíve seen SEGA retro say it was Yamaha, but thatís the only place, nothing for certain. At with the MD SEGA had to look to Texas Instruments to develope and power itís GPU, be nice to know who actually did it for the Saturn and even the Mega CD ASIC chip too. Also like to know what frequency the VDP 1 and VDP 1 run at, what was the total MIPS of the chips and what what was the range of the Transparency of the VDP 2 to that of the PS 32 Ect..
Mega Drive VDP had Yamaha involved at the very least, it actually has a Yamaha number (YM7101), albeit of course not as well known as its Sega number (315-5313). I'm not surprised, since it's a TMS9918 derivative and Yamaha was also doing the MSX VDPs (which are also TMS9918 derivatives).

Yamaha seems to have been involved with most(?) of the custom chips for Sega in fact.

zyrobs
03-30-2018, 03:51 PM
Mega Drive VDP had Yamaha involved at the very least, it actually has a Yamaha number (YM7101), albeit of course not as well known as its Sega number (315-5313). I'm not surprised, since it's a TMS9918 derivative and Yamaha was also doing the MSX VDPs (which are also TMS9918 derivatives).

Yamaha seems to have been involved with most(?) of the custom chips for Sega in fact.

All the Yamaha ASICs have Yamaha numbers on them, next to the Sega ones.
And yeah, they've been involved, the earliest part I've seen from them was the SG-1000 II VDP from 1984. But I never checked the arcades so they might have something earlier.

Team Andromeda
03-31-2018, 04:56 AM
Mega Drive VDP had Yamaha involved at the very least, it actually has a Yamaha number (YM7101), albeit of course not as well known as its Sega number (315-5313).

Thanks for clearing that up, I just remember reading in the book of making the Mega Drive, that a outside corp helped to develop the GPU of the MD and that it was Texas Instruments how also did the Master system GPU and how the MD GPU was just an evolution of the MS GPU

Team Andromeda
03-31-2018, 05:09 AM
VDP1 was manufactured by Yamaha, you can tell from the labelling and part numbers, which all use the exact same format that all other Yamaha built ASICs had.


Thats some nice info,.Find it a bit strange that Yamaha makes the VDP2, while Hitachi make the SH2's the SH1 and the Controller chips, why didn't SEGA just have Hitachi to make the lot.


Mega CD ASIC was manufactured by Fujitsu.
I've seen that, but also read in Adv Mega Drive gaming that it was Toshiba chip


VDP1 and 2 run at the system clock speed. You really can't measure their performance by MIPS because they are not general compute chips

Its be nice to get some frequency or some MIPS rating to have a change, more so when people say the PS is 4x or 6X fasters, I meant to what ?. During the development of Dark Saviour there were various interviews with Climax and I remember one detailed the speed of the VDP1 and how they maxed out the chip, and how it was slower than the PS Gemeorty engine , but for the life of my can't find it; In the same interview though while they knocked the speed of the VDP1 they said the VDP 2 effects would make the game crawl on the PS.


Playstation has four different transparency modes, each one with a range of on or off. It cannot do "transparency at a range of 16%" or whatever.

How many does the VDP 2 have? . I seen various interviews where people say the PS had 32 different levels or channels of transprancy, while the N64 had 255. Just be nice to know the actual number on the VDP 2. When I play Lunar II on the Saturn I can see some Clouds that are nearly Opaque and other ones that are just transparent. It be nice to have the definitive range and nuber of channels of VDP2 Transparency. Because to me VDP2 trasnapreny levels looked every bit as good as the PS, but it was just sadly limited to a flat plane, rather than a Sprite, polygon level on the PS Ect.

TrekkiesUnite118
03-31-2018, 12:02 PM
MIPS and Clockrate as stated really aren't applicable here as zyrobs as said. Probably the best metric you could use for comparison to other systems would be the fillrate.

Sik
03-31-2018, 02:16 PM
I've seen that, but also read in Adv Mega Drive gaming that it was Toshiba chip
These chips were manufactured by several companies so that may make sense. The question is who designed them, assuming it wasn't Sega themselves.


How many does the VDP 2 have? . I seen various interviews where people say the PS had 32 different levels or channels of transprancy, while the N64 had 255. Just be nice to know the actual number on the VDP 2. When I play Lunar II on the Saturn I can see some Clouds that are nearly Opaque and other ones that are just transparent. It be nice to have the definitive range and nuber of channels of VDP2 Transparency. Because to me VDP2 trasnapreny levels looked every bit as good as the PS, but it was just sadly limited to a flat plane, rather than a Sprite, polygon level on the PS Ect.
32 alpha levels.

Some catches though:

VDP2 can output 24-bit color (it's not limited to 15-bit like VDP1)
PS1's GPU can also do it (under specific circumstances? it's mainly used for FMV)
PS1's GPU can do dithering, which helps when it comes to subtle shade changes

zyrobs
03-31-2018, 04:03 PM
Its be nice to get some frequency or some MIPS rating to have a change, more so when people say the PS is 4x or 6X fasters, I meant to what ?. During the development of Dark Saviour there were various interviews with Climax and I remember one detailed the speed of the VDP1 and how they maxed out the chip, and how it was slower than the PS Gemeorty engine , but for the life of my can't find it; In the same interview though while they knocked the speed of the VDP1 they said the VDP 2 effects would make the game crawl on the PS.

You are messing up your terms again. The geometry engine on the Playstation does vector math for 3d -> 2d transformations, it isn't drawing any graphics.

PSX GPU has 33 MPixel/s in full processing mode (rendering), 66 MPixel/s in memory transfer mode (where it just copies data with no processing). On paper. I don't know what is the effective, in-game number, but I heard there was an SDK demo at launch that already did 24MPixel/s rendering with transparent textures.


How many does the VDP 2 have? . I seen various interviews where people say the PS had 32 different levels or channels of transprancy, while the N64 had 255. Just be nice to know the actual number on the VDP 2. When I play Lunar II on the Saturn I can see some Clouds that are nearly Opaque and other ones that are just transparent. It be nice to have the definitive range and nuber of channels of VDP2 Transparency. Because to me VDP2 trasnapreny levels looked every bit as good as the PS, but it was just sadly limited to a flat plane, rather than a Sprite, polygon level on the PS Ect.

Reapating what I said:
VDP2 has a 5 bit range and it can apply ONE value for each background, and a maximum of 8 for sprites (if you use a sprite mode that supports that).

Do note that since this is colour addition, you can just ramp up your palette entries indefinitely to get as many levels as you have colour depth. But this is true for the PSX as well, giving you 32767 levels of transparency. And it is the same number you get even if you had alpha channels too (in a 15-bit colour space, I mean - in 24bit you have 16777215).


Some catches though:

PS1's GPU can also do it (under specific circumstances? it's mainly used for FMV)


PSX GPU can only do vram transfer in 24-bit mode, so no transparency or any processing (dithering, shading) for that matter. I heard that Heart of Darkness runs in that mode?

Team Andromeda
04-01-2018, 04:02 AM
MIPS and Clockrate as stated really aren't applicable here as zyrobs as said. Probably the best metric you could use for comparison to other systems would be the fillrate.

So how are people able to say the PS is 4x or 6x times faster?. Does anyone here actually know the speed of the VDP1. I saw an interview with CORE and they said the PS draws polygons twice as fast as the VDP1 Saturn hardware. Is that true?

Team Andromeda
04-01-2018, 04:09 AM
These chips were manufactured by several companies so that may make sense. The question is who designed them, assuming it wasn't Sega themselves.


That could explain it, there's not much documentation on the Mega CD ASIC chip to go on . Sadly another nice bit of tech underused.


32 alpha levels

Finally, so not far off the PS in some circumstances and when I seen a VDP2 transparent effect, it looked every bit as good as those found in a PS game. Sadly it was was a flat layer, but the missing effects in both BUG II and ClockworkKnight II were some of the best transparent mist effects I ever saw in that gen, and ClockWork Knight II also made some great use of the VDP II transparent layer to simulate being underwater and some of the explosions when you beat the likes of the last Boss;It's a shame the team were never able to make a 3rd, as with each game they were just getting better and better and really using both the VDP 1 and VDP 2 to great effect.

I was playing the game last night after work and it still looks amazing

Team Andromeda
04-01-2018, 04:21 AM
You are messing up your terms again. The geometry engine on the Playstation does vector math for 3d -> 2d transformations, it isn't drawing any graphics.

I'm justing trying to get some clear information. I looked at a another old interview and CORE said the PS draws polygons twice as fast as the Saturns VDP1 but is then limited by the draw speed of the PS.


VDP2 has a 5 bit range and it can apply ONE value for each background, and a maximum of 8 for sprites

I just wanted to know the actual number of channels that could be used, but Sik as cleared it up. Because like I said I hardly saw any difference between a VDP 2 transparency to a PS one, in terms of how Opaque the effect could become, depending on the requirement of the game. The major stand out as it was clearly a flat plane though and if its one area the PS totally killed the Saturn it was in the use of transparent effects on polygons

zyrobs
04-01-2018, 06:52 AM
So how are people able to say the PS is 4x or 6x times faster?. Does anyone here actually know the speed of the VDP1. I saw an interview with CORE and they said the PS draws polygons twice as fast as the VDP1 Saturn hardware. Is that true?

As mentioned previously, you are thinking of the fillrate, which is a measure of how many pixels the gpu can "fill". I've already mentioned the numbers we know.


I just wanted to know the actual number of channels that could be used, but Sik as cleared it up. Because like I said I hardly saw any difference between a VDP 2 transparency to a PS one, in terms of how Opaque the effect could become, depending on the requirement of the game.

It is largely irrelevant how many levels of transparency each console can do, because through shading you can get as many levels as the system can output colours. Just increase/decrease the luminance and you have now increased/decreased the transparency level. And when you can't do shading (it is generally easier to do shading on the Playstation), you can use pre-computed palettes. This way you can get ~32766 levels of transparency on both the Playstation and Saturn.

For the Saturn you also have the hardware ratios of 32 on the VDP2 per background, but even there you can change the palette in software to get more levels. Only in 24-bit RGB mode, would you be limited to the hardware 32 ratios.

The amount of transparent levels each system can do is equal to the amount your engine is coded to be able to do, ultimately.

Team Andromeda
04-01-2018, 09:34 AM
As mentioned previously, you are thinking of the fillrate, which is a measure of how many pixels the gpu can "fill". I've already mentioned the numbers we know..

No I just like to get some cold hard factual data, that's all. It be nice to know what was the speed, frequency, Mips... whatever of the chips, just to get some gage on the different systems GPU for that gen .


It is largely irrelevant how many levels of transparency each console can do, because through shading you can get as many levels as the system can output colours.

Wasn't just what TA did with Zwei and simply used different colour values for the polygons on Ep4 boss under the transparent Water VDP II plane, I think the Ninja Team (core) were doing the same. It was just nice to know, how in value/channels, how Opaque the VDP2 could become to that of its rivals.

Barone
04-01-2018, 12:29 PM
https://i.imgflip.com/27jnvk.jpg

Eep386
04-01-2018, 08:46 PM
No I just like to get some cold hard factual data, that's all. It be nice to know what was the speed, frequency, Mips... whatever of the chips, just to get some gage on the different systems GPU for that gen .
Well, the old Saturn owner's manual quoted some 250,000 texturemapped and Gouraud shaded polygons/second IIRC. But then, that was obviously marketese - I'd have serious doubts about any first/second-gen 32-bit console's claims to move even 50,000 fully textured and lit polygons without massive slowdown. (Thank goodness the actual polycounts in most 32-bit 3D games were generally much lower than their quoted limits.)
I do recall the Saturn's 28.6 MHz SH2s being rated at 25 MIPS apiece, 50 MIPS theoretical aggregate if you can somehow figure out how to symmetrically (or otherwise) multi-thread both chips.

IIRC, the MIPS processor in the Playstation was rated at 30 MIPS. But then the architectures are so different, I don't think a linear MIPS to MIPS comparison is really adequate.

Team Andromeda
04-02-2018, 03:43 AM
Well, the old Saturn owner's manual quoted some 250,000 texturemapped and Gouraud shaded polygons/second IIRC. But then, that was obviously marketese - I'd have serious doubts about any first/second-gen 32-bit console's claims to move even 50,000 fully textured and lit polygons without massive slowdown. (Thank goodness the actual polycounts in most 32-bit 3D games were generally much lower than their quoted limits.)
I do recall the Saturn's 28.6 MHz SH2s being rated at 25 MIPS apiece, 50 MIPS theoretical aggregate if you can somehow figure out how to symmetrically (or otherwise) multi-thread both chips.

IIRC, the MIPS processor in the Playstation was rated at 30 MIPS. But then the architectures are so different, I don't think a linear MIPS to MIPS comparison is really adequate.

Yeah, but that's cock and bull Sega PR, like Sony's claim of 500 MIPS for the PS. Be nice to get some actual figs.

Eep386
04-02-2018, 04:37 AM
As I said, I doubt any 1st/2nd gen 32-bit console's claim that they can push anything above 50K polygons without huge slowdown, let alone 250K. The most complex scenes I've seen from the Playstation and Saturn were maybe a few thousand polygons at most, and pre-rendered sprites were frequently used to 'cheat' higher framerates.
TBH I don't believe anyone ever bothered to actually do an in-depth benchmark of the Saturn and Playstation CPUs.

Team Andromeda
04-02-2018, 10:45 AM
As I said, I doubt any 1st/2nd gen 32-bit console's claim that they can push anything above 50K polygons without huge slowdown, let alone 250K. The most complex scenes I've seen from the Playstation and Saturn were maybe a few thousand polygons at most, and pre-rendered sprites were frequently used to 'cheat' higher framerates.
TBH I don't believe anyone ever bothered to actually do an in-depth benchmark of the Saturn and Playstation CPUs.

Well I did read that Dark Saviour was using 140,000 polygons and that had maxed out the VDP 1 chip. That game really did look amazing back in 1996.

zyrobs
04-02-2018, 02:32 PM
PSX was said to be able to average at 100k polygons per sec with 130k peaks according to old dev newsletters. But it could do that with lots of effects since the GPU was stronger than the amount of tris the CPU could move.

On the Saturn it was the opposite, the VDP1 bottlenecked the CPUs.

Sik
04-03-2018, 03:09 AM
Putting aside the fact that "polygons per second" was usually a cheated metric when it comes to GPUs (single-pixel polygons, anyone?)... don't forget the per second part. Games don't run at 1 FPS. 100,000 polygons per second at 30 FPS is around 3,333 polygons per frame (and hence the actual ceiling for any scene).

It actually gets worse. In the case of the PS1 they also add up really quickly, in part because a quadrilateral is two polygons (and those are the most common shape), and in part because games often subdivided polygons to make up for the lack of perspective projection for textures. Saturn games didn't suffer from it as badly, but the inability to specify UV coordinates per vertex meant that polygons had to be clipped as a whole and hence stages had to be made out of small polygons to keep clipping in check. And all this is not even getting into how textured polygons are slower (in both consoles) due to the extra memory accesses.

In other words, in either case the actual detail was lower than what the amount of polygons would suggest. Large numbers are useless.

Team Andromeda
04-03-2018, 04:38 AM
PSX was said to be able to average at 100k polygons per sec with 130k peaks according to old dev newsletters. But it could do that with lots of effects since the GPU was stronger than the amount of tris the CPU could move.

On the Saturn it was the opposite, the VDP1 bottlenecked the CPUs.

I read that Tobal 2 pushed the PS the most when SONY put it through its then new performance analyzer and I read an interview with AM#2 who said that the original VF game on the Saturn was pushing over 100,000 polygons and had hit that goal by June 94 and were hoping to go up to 110,000 polygons the month latter in the build up to the Saturn release in Japan

Eep386
04-03-2018, 11:26 AM
I still wouldn't be surprised if the most fully-featured polygons a Saturn or Playstation actually moved onscreen in any given scenario was a mere 20K or less, not counting offscreen/clipped polygons (or, indeed as Sik pointed out, cheap tricks like 'single-pixel' polygons to artificially bloat the count).

Fortunately that was all you really needed in those older 3D games anyway. You can fake things that don't need to be fully 3D rendered (onscreen indicators, minor details like bottles on a shelf, trees in the distance, etc.) using pre-rendered sprites. You could even use pre-rendered sprites for the main characters to free up resources for the actual 3D game world (Shining Force III, Shining the Holy Ark, Mystaria, among many others), so long as you're careful not to let them zoom in too much to the point they get very blocky. (Speaking of Mystaria, it had some pretty blocky sprites when things got up close.)

zyrobs
04-03-2018, 07:22 PM
At least one Sega DTS demo specifically targets and exceeds 30k textured polys per sec at 30fps (it was in fact its design goal, to drive 1000 poly per frame average with 1200 peaks at 30fps). It has been ages since I last checked but Sonic R (inarguably one of the most fully featured Saturn games) did at least as much maybe more.

But yeah like it was said before, poly count doesn't mean much and can be easily cheated. Fillrate matters more.

Team Andromeda
04-04-2018, 08:36 AM
You can fake things that don't need to be fully 3D rendered (onscreen indicators, minor details like bottles on a shelf, trees in the distance, etc.) using pre-rendered sprites.

No doubt, that happens even now with games like GT Sports and Forza 7 using 2D effects and 2D sprites on the spectators and even games like Sea Of Thieves have issues when a number of Alpha effects are needed and the framerate takes a hit.

Team Andromeda
04-04-2018, 08:54 AM
At least one Sega DTS demo specifically targets and exceeds 30k textured polys per sec at 30fps (it was in fact its design goal, to drive 1000 poly per frame average with 1200 peaks at 30fps). It has been ages since I last checked but Sonic R (inarguably one of the most fully featured Saturn games) did at least as much maybe more.


I wonder how many Polygons games like Sega Rally, Daytona USA CE, Virtua Cop II, Layered section 2 are using given the game are displaying so many polygons with very little use of the VDP2 to help out.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIrDgGX9nes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmR51pbFXW4

Lync
05-09-2020, 06:00 PM
These have to be linked somewhere on the forum and maybe I missed it... Traveler's Tales really were just masterful with Saturn hardware.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvRG_v8XpC0


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdD0GvVRSMc


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDJgeuoaSvQ

StuOhQ
05-23-2020, 11:41 AM
The video you're thinking of was probably Low Score Boy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_OchOV_WDg

He makes some excellent content. Recommending a sub for anyone who likes a look at how games were built.