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View Full Version : Sonic R "Pixie Dust" Revealed!



Tower of Power
05-22-2018, 09:10 PM
https://youtu.be/FdD0GvVRSMc

Blades
05-22-2018, 09:41 PM
Cool!

Black_Tiger
05-23-2018, 01:32 AM
He's great at communicating complex concepts to laypersons.

I particularly liked the explanation of single "transparent" polygons being drawn line by line. Still seems like it would have been better to use in most cases over dithering.

Silanda
05-23-2018, 07:29 AM
He's great at communicating complex concepts to laypersons.

I particularly liked the explanation of single "transparent" polygons being drawn line by line. Still seems like it would have been better to use in most cases over dithering.

There was also a big performance penalty for using transparencies, so AFAIK they wouldn't be practical in a lot of cases even if the visual artefacts were bearable.

Black_Tiger
05-23-2018, 07:57 PM
There was also a big performance penalty for using transparencies, so AFAIK they wouldn't be practical in a lot of cases even if the visual artefacts were bearable.

Sonic R shows that the balance can still result in a good amount of polygons with shading/lighting for a fully 3D environment.

I wouldn't expect that much to be used in the average 3D game.

bultje112
05-24-2018, 09:24 AM
very interesting. I have to say sonic r still looks so impressive to me. I liked and still do like it's graphics more than mario 64.

zyrobs
05-24-2018, 02:20 PM
Sonic R shows that the balance can still result in a good amount of polygons with shading/lighting for a fully 3D environment.

I wouldn't expect that much to be used in the average 3D game.

Sonic R only used polygon transparency for the shields and the turbo chargers rainbow tail.

The background fading used VDP2 transparency, which has 0 additional cost for drawing, its only tradeoff is that you need to use sprite types with enough colour control bits - so you lose some colour depth depending on how many transparency steps you want to use.

axel
05-25-2018, 03:03 AM
Further proof that going with quadrilaterals was a very crazy idea from the start. All that work just to match what the PSX could do natively!

Blades
05-25-2018, 03:17 AM
I still don't know why Sega chose quads. None of the theories make sense.

axel
05-25-2018, 03:35 AM
I still don't know why Sega chose quads. None of the theories make sense.

It would work if your environment is nothing but textured rectangles and you use VDP1 to draw sprites over that.
Basically a system designed to run Doom.

Mad Moham
05-25-2018, 07:34 AM
I think it would be worth having a thread specifically for the Gamehut material, so that we don't have to start a new thread every time he posts another relevant video.

zyrobs
05-25-2018, 10:35 AM
I still don't know why Sega chose quads. None of the theories make sense.

They already had finished hardware to draw quads, and when the Saturn was designed the grand standard of 3d was Starfox, Doom, and Virtua Fighter. Designing entirely new silicon for triangle rendering would've taken very long, and it would still need to be capable of running the existing Sega library (so they can easily make ports).

Anyway the real issue wasn't the pixel overdraw, it was the lack of speed on the system. And also, transparency was additive, which just didn't look as good in practice.

Silanda
05-25-2018, 12:18 PM
The Saturn wasn't even the only system to use quads. The 3DO did too, and although it was less powerful it didn't have the transparency issues that the Saturn did. PO'ed would have been problematic to port to the Saturn, for example, because of its quite extensive use of transparency. The Nvidia NV1 also used them.

If quads were a development of scaled and rotated sprites, I guess there's some sense in why they were used even though it turned out to be a mistake in the long run.

axel
05-25-2018, 05:50 PM
IMO the best 3D game out at the time of the Saturn's development would have been Daytona USA. It renders in quads (look closely at the cars, even the wheels are made up of rectangles) as do all games on Model 1 and 2 hardware.

So, I could see it making sense for Sega to stick with that for their console, since it had worked for them on the arcade side. Problem was, even in 1993/1994 triangles were already the industry standard.

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 04:46 AM
IMO the best 3D game out at the time of the Saturn's development would have been Daytona USA. It renders in quads (look closely at the cars, even the wheels are made up of rectangles) as do all games on Model 1 and 2 hardware.


And both those systems had no hardware support for 3D transparent effects and had to use the Mesh effect in various parts of their programme. I don't think Quads was the issues as the 3DO showed (some lovely transparent effects in early games like Crash N Burn and Stellar 7)just that SEGA didn't foresee the need for Transparent effects on 3D polygons, when the Saturn could handle 2D ones and then also had the VDP II where 5 of its planes could be made transparent via hardware support. Seems a SEGA thing with the Mega Drive having no hardware support for colour layering and then the Saturn, Model 1 and 2 also lacking for transparent effects.

Sonic R using some nice misting, but games like Street Racer and the 3D sections to Sonic 3D Island also used similar misting as did Blam Machinehead and Tunnel B1. But almost any Saturn 3D game had to use a Mesh effect at some stage :(

axel
05-26-2018, 09:30 AM
And both those systems had no hardware support for 3D transparent effects and had to use the Mesh effect in various parts of their programme. I don't think Quads was the issues as the 3DO showed (some lovely transparent effects in early games like Crash N Burn and Stellar 7)just that SEGA didn't foresee the need for Transparent effects on 3D polygons, when the Saturn could handle 2D ones and then also had the VDP II where 5 of its planes could be made transparent via hardware support. Seems a SEGA thing with the Mega Drive having no hardware support for colour layering and then the Saturn, Model 1 and 2 also lacking for transparent effects.

Sonic R using some nice misting, but games like Street Racer and the 3D sections to Sonic 3D Island also used similar misting as did Blam Machinehead and Tunnel B1. But almost any Saturn 3D game had to use a Mesh effect at some stage :(

Despite what anyone at Sega says, I look at the Saturn and think it had to have been designed for 2D with 3D added as an afterthought. I bet they started with the System 32 as the base, just as the Mega Drive had been based on the System 16. Later on in the process they realized that wasn't going to be enough so they looked at the Model 1 and decided to add that second VDP, then another SH-2, then the CD drive and an SH-1.

That's the only way I can see ending up with such a complicated hardware setup, no way it was initially designed like that.

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 09:45 AM
Despite what anyone at Sega says, I look at the Saturn and think it had to have been designed for 2D with 3D added as an afterthought. I bet they started with the System 32 as the base, just as the Mega Drive had been based on the System 16.

No doubt, I think you are right to say early Saturn spec was based around the System 32, the Saturn ever used same CPU at one stage. but I think the Saturn then yet more based on Model 1 way of doing things: In having a multi GPU and GPU set up just all together in a mess lol to get great power.
I think both systems used what Yu Suzuki called 'Sequential' processing. No doubt nice talk for a lot of off the shelf CPUs, DSPs all jumbled together to get power. The main programmer of Virtual Racing coin up, said Model 1 was terribly hard to programmer for, how the debugger was a mess prone to crashing and how it was hard to get results until the moment of the Pitcrew was able to be animated convincingly; Like the Saturn, Model 1 not only used quads had issues with Transparent effects, but also used a total of like 6 processors to handle the manths.. Model 2 again used a number of processors had issues with Transparent effects and used Quads

It was just the SEGA way, just like the Mega CD with 3 CPU's 2 GPU's and 2 Sound chips lol

TrekkiesUnite118
05-26-2018, 10:40 AM
And both those systems had no hardware support for 3D transparent effects and had to use the Mesh effect in various parts of their programme. I don't think Quads was the issues as the 3DO showed (some lovely transparent effects in early games like Crash N Burn and Stellar 7)just that SEGA didn't foresee the need for Transparent effects on 3D polygons, when the Saturn could handle 2D ones and then also had the VDP II where 5 of its planes could be made transparent via hardware support. Seems a SEGA thing with the Mega Drive having no hardware support for colour layering and then the Saturn, Model 1 and 2 also lacking for transparent effects.

Sonic R using some nice misting, but games like Street Racer and the 3D sections to Sonic 3D Island also used similar misting as did Blam Machinehead and Tunnel B1. But almost any Saturn 3D game had to use a Mesh effect at some stage :(

Oh my fucking god...

The video literally explained the exact same thing I've been trying to tell you for years. The exact same VDP1 Transparency bug I've told you time and time again was described in excellent detail by the developer himself, and you're still going to sit there and say the Saturn had no hardware support for transparencies...

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 11:10 AM
Oh my fucking god...

The video literally explained the exact same thing I've been trying to tell you for years. The exact same VDP1 Transparency bug I've told you time and time again was described in excellent detail by the developer himself, and you're still going to sit there and say the Saturn had no hardware support for transparencies...

I said the shield was nothing more than a 2D effect (hence why it didn't cover the characters completely at certain angles), which you rubbish. I said the Saturn Hardware didn't support 3D transparent effects again which you rubbish (even after posting an interview with the Burning Rangers team) and I ve said about changing the colour value, again which you rubbish. Now Jon just confirms exactly what I said (Saturn didn have hardware support and the shield was 2D) or how SF III transparent effects were coming off the VDP II again which you rubbished and you bring GOD into it, Hell Jon even backs up what I said over the Amiga having a better sound chip for samples Whats the point, in another thread you say the Saturn couldn't do FF 7 because of transparent effects
I've said all along the Saturn didn't have hardware support for 3D transparent effects and that the shied in Sonic R and the lights shades in Burning Rangers were simply 2D Transparent effects and now you talk of BUGs No Saturn 3D game handles a 3D transparent effect to that of the 3DO, never mind PS or N64 and even Sonic R had to use the Mesh effect.

Nothing changed, The Saturn didn't have Hardware support for 3D transparent effects, just like Model 1 and 2. Saturn just had hardware support for 2D effects and Transparent planes and no amount of clever programming can fully make up for that shortfall in SEGA's Hardware design

TrekkiesUnite118
05-26-2018, 11:43 AM
I said the shield was nothing more than a 2D effect (hence why it didn't cover the characters completely at certain angles), which you rubbish. I said the Saturn Hardware didn't support 3D transparent effects again which you rubbish (even after posting an interview with the Burning Rangers team) and I ve said about changing the colour value, again which you rubbish. Now Jon just confirms exactly what I said (Saturn didn have hardware support and the shield was 2D) or how SF III transparent effects were coming off the VDP II again which you rubbished and you bring GOD into it, Hell Jon even backs up what I said over the Amiga having a better sound chip for samples Whats the point, in another thread you say the Saturn couldn't do FF 7 because of transparent effects
I've said all along the Saturn didn't have hardware support for 3D transparent effects and that the shied in Sonic R and the lights shades in Burning Rangers were simply 2D Transparent effects and now you talk of BUGs No Saturn 3D game handles a 3D transparent effect to that of the 3DO, never mind PS or N64 and even Sonic R had to use the Mesh effect.

Nothing changed, The Saturn didn't have Hardware support for 3D transparent effects, just like Model 1 and 2. Saturn just had hardware support for 2D effects and Transparent planes and no amount of clever programming can fully make up for that shortfall in SEGA's Hardware design

He flat out says in the video that the Saturn supports transparency, but due to the fact it just distorts 2D Sprites instead of drawing real polygons you get pixel over draw which creates errors in the transparency effect...

Did you even watch the video?

And for proof I'm not changing my words here, I've had this conversation with you before and explained these exact same things to you before. You seemed to actually acknowledge it and accept it last time. But it seems you've forgotten:


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?

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 12:35 PM
Despite what anyone at Sega says, I look at the Saturn and think it had to have been designed for 2D with 3D added as an afterthought. I bet they started with the System 32 as the base, just as the Mega Drive had been based on the System 16. Later on in the process they realized that wasn't going to be enough so they looked at the Model 1 and decided to add that second VDP, then another SH-2, then the CD drive and an SH-1.

That's the only way I can see ending up with such a complicated hardware setup, no way it was initially designed like that.

It pretty much was a consolized system 32, but it used a NEC V60 as the main cpu. When they heard the Playstation specs, they changed the system to use dual SH2s. They also wanted a cartridge and a cd version (Jupiter and Saturn), and scrapped the cartridge only version (probably why the earliest versions of the console have the CD Block on a separate board).

There's no indication that they changed any of the VDPs however.

Remember, at the time they started development, their main opponent was the SNES, and the most advanced 3d game was Virtua Racing. With the V60 and the DSP chip, the system could handle that fine.

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 12:58 PM
I've said all along the Saturn didn't have hardware support for 3D transparent effects and that the shied in Sonic R and the lights shades in Burning Rangers were simply 2D Transparent effects and now you talk of BUGs No Saturn 3D game handles a 3D transparent effect to that of the 3DO, never mind PS or N64 and even Sonic R had to use the Mesh effect.

Nothing changed, The Saturn didn't have Hardware support for 3D transparent effects, just like Model 1 and 2. Saturn just had hardware support for 2D effects and Transparent planes and no amount of clever programming can fully make up for that shortfall in SEGA's Hardware design

The video already explained that the Saturn does have hardware support for transparent polygons, they just look ugly if the two sides of your quad do not have equal length. But you can draw an equal side quad with no overwrite issues - you can draw a rhombus, a parallelogram, a rectangle, a trapezoid, etc. Just not an irregular quadrilateral.

Just pause Sonic R when you step on those turbo charger things, you get a shiny "3d" transparent rainbow trail.

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 01:23 PM
It pretty much was a consolized system 32, but it used a NEC V60 as the main cpu.

The change to the SH2 happened way before the PSX news came out. A Hitachi CPU running at 27 Mhz was the 1st bit of info about the Saturn leaked out way back in 93. The switch to a dual CPU was SEGA answer to the PSX when it was caught off guard

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 01:33 PM
He flat out says in the video that the Saturn supports transparency

Not for 3D and that's when you get the issues. So Jon has to use clever coding to counter that, thanks to Saturn issues over 3D polygon transparent effects., even Sonic R has to use the Mesh effect too and Jon even confirmed the Shield was a 2D effect, something which you rubbished and ridiculed me for back in the day.
And I really don't know why you wish to highlight Black Dawn, play both the Saturn and PS versions and see stark differences in the transparent effects and tons of use of Mesh effects on the smoke trails on the Saturn version. Nice clear VDP II transparent effects on the Hud though. Mind you the Saturn vesrion plays the best

When it came to 3D polygon transparent effects the Saturn was utter rubbish, thanks to no Hardware support for the feature, even the 3DO did better

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 01:37 PM
The change to the SH2 happened way before the PSX news came out. A Hitachi CPU running at 27 Mhz was the 1st bit of info about the Saturn leaked out way back in 93. The switch to a dual CPU was SEGA answer to the PSX when it was caught off guard

The 1993 September issue of Mean Machines Sega says the machine uses a 27MHz NEC V60. It also makes sense considering it is the same that the System 32 used.

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 01:43 PM
Not for 3D and that's when you get the issues. So Jon has to use clever coding to counter that, thanks to Saturn issues over 3D polygon transparent effects., even Sonic R has to use the Mesh effect too and Jon even confirmed the Shield was a 2D effect, something which you rubbished and ridiculed me for back in the day.

Hey, look

http://evilboris.sonic-cult.net/SSF/Sonic_R_(E)/00000369.png

Transparent 3d.
In Sonic R.
Without any clever coding, just by using the native "draw a transparent polygon" command.

Barone
05-26-2018, 01:49 PM
Did you even watch the video?
Man, I can't believe TA can't comprehend a well-explained video like that. :?

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 02:18 PM
Man, I can't believe TA can't comprehend a well-explained video like that. :?

I can.

Sik
05-26-2018, 03:15 PM
Despite what anyone at Sega says, I look at the Saturn and think it had to have been designed for 2D with 3D added as an afterthought. I bet they started with the System 32 as the base, just as the Mega Drive had been based on the System 16. Later on in the process they realized that wasn't going to be enough so they looked at the Model 1 and decided to add that second VDP, then another SH-2, then the CD drive and an SH-1.

That's the only way I can see ending up with such a complicated hardware setup, no way it was initially designed like that.
VDP1 is limited to sprites and VDP2 is limited to tilemaps so I doubt they were never split like that. Especially since their scaler arcades used a framebuffer for the sprites that was essentially its own isolated thing from the backgrounds.

The CD drive wasn't an afterthought, the Jupiter and Saturn were developed in parallel and the difference is that the latter had the CD drive while the former didn't. Eventually they settled that a CD drive was a must and ditched the Jupiter, but essentially it was always designed taking the CD drive into account. The SH-1 is basically acting as a glorified CDC for the drive, probably they grabbed the cheapest they could find that could also cope with the DRM.

So that leaves the second SH-2. Though I think the biggest screwup may have been on the software side: early on there was the SBL as the software devkit used to make the games, then it got scrapped and replaced by the completely incompatible SGL. If you were making a game during the transition between these two, you were probably regularly swearing at every people at Sega for months.


They also wanted a cartridge and a cd version (Jupiter and Saturn), and scrapped the cartridge only version (probably why the earliest versions of the console have the CD Block on a separate board).
Sorta wrong: the real reason why they were making both systems was because they weren't sure whether to include the CD drive or not (remember mainstream consoles still used cartridges). The plan was always to scrap one of them.

Silanda
05-26-2018, 03:50 PM
Not for 3D and that's when you get the issues. So Jon has to use clever coding to counter that, thanks to Saturn issues over 3D polygon transparent effects., even Sonic R has to use the Mesh effect too and Jon even confirmed the Shield was a 2D effect, something which you rubbished and ridiculed me for back in the day.

You're sort of right in that technically it doesn't support 3D transparencies, but only because VDP1 doesn't technically support 3D anything. In the Saturn's case, thinking in terms of 2D or 3D support is worthless since both 2D sprites and what appear to be 3D polygons are the same thing drawn in the same way: they're all flat, regular or distorted quads/sprites. VDP1 is not aware of any notion of depth or 3D coordinates, and that all has to be handled by the game engine and/or graphics libraries. As far as VDP1 is concerned it's just drawing flat sprites from the data provided, with the corners of the sprites drawn at the 2D coordinates provided. It's purely the Saturn's way of drawing distorted sprites that produces the defects, not the dimensionality of what those sprites are intended to represent.

The video demonstrated a very 2D triangle suffering from drawing artefacts, and why. Every shape VDP1 draws is a 2D shape like that - they're just stitched together in a way that appears 3D.

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 04:40 PM
The 1993 September issue of Mean Machines Sega says the machine uses a 27MHz NEC V60. It also makes sense considering it is the same that the System 32 used.

Yes and Edge mag put that straight in October 1993

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 04:44 PM
Hey, look

http://evilboris.sonic-cult.net/SSF/Sonic_R_(E)/00000369.png

Transparent 3d.
In Sonic R.
Without any clever coding, just by using the native "draw a transparent polygon" command.

it'd look like crap and show me real Saturn footage. Compared to3D0 and PS effects it was poor, thats my Point

Team Andromeda
05-26-2018, 04:50 PM
You're sort of right in that technically it doesn't support 3D transparencies, but only because VDP1 doesn't technically support 3D anything. In the Saturn's case, thinking in terms of 2D or 3D support is worthless since both 2D sprites and what appear to be 3D polygons are the same thing drawn in the same way: they're all flat, regular or distorted quads/sprites. VDP1 is not aware of any notion of depth or 3D coordinates, and that all has to be handled by the game engine and/or graphics libraries. As far as VDP1 is concerned it's just drawing flat sprites from the data provided, with the corners of the sprites drawn at the 2D coordinates provided. It's purely the Saturn's way of drawing distorted sprites that produces the defects, not the dimensionality of what those sprites are intended to represent.
The Saturn had issues that the 3D0 did not. The best teams when it came to using the Saturn be that Treasure, GameArts, AM2, Sonic, Team Andromeda all had to use the Mesh effect due to Saturn hardware issues with 3D polygon transparent effects. So there was a clear issue, at a Hardware level

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 04:59 PM
Yes and Edge mag put that straight in October 1993

Which was AFTER Sega themselves changed the specs.




it'd look like crap and show me real Saturn footage. Compared to3D0 and PS effects it was poor, thats my Point

So first you said it can't do it at all, now you say that it could do it but it was poor at it? Which one is it then?

Blades
05-26-2018, 05:06 PM
I think what TA is TRYING to say is that the Saturn doesn't support transparencies in a meaningful way, and he's right. Sure, it supports technical transparencies but between the bizarre way it's drawing polygons and all the associated intricacies developers used meshes for some things, including Sonic R, where other platforms wouldn't.

Barone
05-26-2018, 05:23 PM
So first you said it can't do it at all, now you say that it could do it but it was poor at it? Which one is it then?
Classic TA:
- Says stupid shit.
- Gets corrected.
- Backpedals and changes target.
- Triple-posts.

Next steps:
- "I offended".
- Posts walls of videos arguing with himself in other dimensions.
- Thread completely ruined. Job done. Onto the next thread.

Silanda
05-26-2018, 07:45 PM
The Saturn had issues that the 3D0 did not. The best teams when it came to using the Saturn be that Treasure, GameArts, AM2, Sonic, Team Andromeda all had to use the Mesh effect due to Saturn hardware issues with 3D polygon transparent effects. So there was a clear issue, at a Hardware level

No-one is denying that it's a hardware issue; the cause was explained in the video. Hell, the low speed and glitches are mentioned in the VDP1 manual. What I'm saying is that graphics being 2D or 3D makes no difference as there's no difference between them to the Saturn's hardware. All that matters is how the sprites/quads/polys/whatever are distorted.

Gonna have to be pedantic too: it's 3DO not 3D0.

axel
05-26-2018, 09:27 PM
VDP1 is limited to sprites and VDP2 is limited to tilemaps so I doubt they were never split like that. Especially since their scaler arcades used a framebuffer for the sprites that was essentially its own isolated thing from the backgrounds.

The CD drive wasn't an afterthought, the Jupiter and Saturn were developed in parallel and the difference is that the latter had the CD drive while the former didn't. Eventually they settled that a CD drive was a must and ditched the Jupiter, but essentially it was always designed taking the CD drive into account. The SH-1 is basically acting as a glorified CDC for the drive, probably they grabbed the cheapest they could find that could also cope with the DRM.

So that leaves the second SH-2. Though I think the biggest screwup may have been on the software side: early on there was the SBL as the software devkit used to make the games, then it got scrapped and replaced by the completely incompatible SGL. If you were making a game during the transition between these two, you were probably regularly swearing at every people at Sega for months.

That makes sense, thanks.

zyrobs
05-26-2018, 09:53 PM
It's not even the distortions that make that transparency mode a problem. It's the fact that the VDP1 is very slow and had little VRAM for textures, so developers had to use 8bit polygons to speed things up, and so they could use the VDP2 for anything other than a backdrop and a static HUD.

And in 8bit mode, polygon transparency is actually not allowed, other than mesh mode.

Sik
05-26-2018, 11:44 PM
*headtilt*

Pretty sure most games used 16-bit mode since it's pretty much a must if you want gouraud shading. And the memory situation is not that bad when compared to the PS1 either (which actually was just as restricted when it came to how many textures could be there). Also most textures were actually 4-bit (which the Saturn could convert to either RGB colors or VDP2 palette indices at will - even mixed if you wanted).

Oh, and VDP1 and VDP2 don't share memory (they have their own VRAMs).

zyrobs
05-27-2018, 12:16 AM
*headtilt*

Pretty sure most games used 16-bit mode since it's pretty much a must if you want gouraud shading. And the memory situation is not that bad when compared to the PS1 either (which actually was just as restricted when it came to how many textures could be there). Also most textures were actually 4-bit (which the Saturn could convert to either RGB colors or VDP2 palette indices at will - even mixed if you wanted).

Oh, and VDP1 and VDP2 don't share memory (they have their own VRAMs).

You can do gouraud shading in 8-bit mode, but it's a "trick", you set up red colour only shading, which affects the last 5 bits of the written pixel, which is coincidentally your palette entry. What you can't do is gouraud shading in hi-res framebuffers.

Saturn had 512k for textures and draw commands. PS1 had 1m for framebuffer, textures, and draw commands, but unless you used hi-res modes, the framebuffer was small enough that you had significantly more space for textures than on the Saturn. Assuming 368x240 res, double buffered framebuffer is 350k, so you have 650k left for textures and draw commands - more than the Saturn.

Sik
05-27-2018, 01:21 AM
Ugh, for some reason I remembered 1MB of VRAM for VDP1 but it's aggregate. I should have known better since I had seen 4Mbit from the manual earlier :v

But the framebuffers have their own dedicated memory, so yes it's indeed really 512KB exclusively for textures and using a 8-bit or 16-bit framebuffer is utterly pointless if you want to fit more textures (because you can't use the freed up space for them). Also the framebuffer bus seems to be 16-bit (looking at other sections in the manual) so it doesn't seem to affect access speed either.

https://i.imgur.com/iHa9e7e.png

Although this now leaves me wondering how the heck the high resolutions modes work, because I just did some quick maths and there's no way to fit a full framebuffer into 256KB even in 8-bit mode. I guess those games would clip the framebuffer window? (640◊400 seems to fit in 8-bit mode, but can't really go much larger than that)

zyrobs
05-27-2018, 02:26 AM
Ugh, for some reason I remembered 1MB of VRAM for VDP1 but it's aggregate. I should have known better since I had seen 4Mbit from the manual earlier :v

But the framebuffers have their own dedicated memory, so yes it's indeed really 512KB exclusively for textures and using a 8-bit or 16-bit framebuffer is utterly pointless if you want to fit more textures (because you can't use the freed up space for them). Also the framebuffer bus seems to be 16-bit (looking at other sections in the manual) so it doesn't seem to affect access speed either.

I recall some allusions in some demo files mentioning that 8bit is faster, but maybe it is only faster for uploading textures per frame. Since they are smaller, you can upload a new texture to VRAM faster. I'm not sure if writing them to framebuffer is faster? Maybe it can write 2 pixels in one go?

edit: or maybe it just said that paletted pixels in general have advantages, in that vdp2 shading and priorities are allowed. Note that there's also a 16bit paletted format, not just an 8-bit one.


Although this now leaves me wondering how the heck the high resolutions modes work, because I just did some quick maths and there's no way to fit a full framebuffer into 256KB even in 8-bit mode. I guess those games would clip the framebuffer window? (640◊400 seems to fit in 8-bit mode, but can't really go much larger than that)

When the VDP1 is in hi-res mode, it should be using 1024x256x8 framebuffer, and there's a flag somewhere that tells the VDP1 to render only even/odd lines when plotting, since it is only drawing even/odd scanlines to begin with. That is one scenario where the VDP1 is more intelligent than the PSX GPU, and probably why hi-res games were more common on the Saturn - using hi-res mode does not hit your texture space at all.

Sik
05-27-2018, 05:21 AM
I recall some allusions in some demo files mentioning that 8bit is faster, but maybe it is only faster for uploading textures per frame. Since they are smaller, you can upload a new texture to VRAM faster. I'm not sure if writing them to framebuffer is faster? Maybe it can write 2 pixels in one go?

edit: or maybe it just said that paletted pixels in general have advantages, in that vdp2 shading and priorities are allowed. Note that there's also a 16bit paletted format, not just an 8-bit one.
I need to look more carefully at the docs later, but the VDP1 manual says that 8-bit access to the framebuffer RAM (which is mapped in memory, just to make clear) is only possible when the framebuffer is in 8-bit mode (implying that you need to use 16-bit accesses in 16-bit mode). There's something weird going on with the bus here.


When the VDP1 is in hi-res mode, it should be using 1024x256x8 framebuffer, and there's a flag somewhere that tells the VDP1 to render only even/odd lines when plotting, since it is only drawing even/odd scanlines to begin with. That is one scenario where the VDP1 is more intelligent than the PSX GPU, and probably why hi-res games were more common on the Saturn - using hi-res mode does not hit your texture space at all.
The problem with this is that it only really works if you can guarantee it'll render at 60/50 FPS, since you need to rerender the whole image every frame in order to ensure the correct lines are in place (or you'll get an ugly mess). Well, I suppose you can do 30/25 FPS by rendering the same polygon list in two consecutive frames - but you still need to ensure the whole list gets rendered before the next frame is displayed. This is easy to pull off for 2D, but can be a pain for 3D.

It also has a feature where it clears the framebuffer being displayed as it's being scanned, which is obviously intended to work together with the above requirement (i.e. everything getting rendered every frame). If you use this then the clearing comes for free since when you get the buffer back it'll be already cleared.

zyrobs
05-27-2018, 06:21 AM
I don't think you need to keep the framerate up, you just have to make sure that a framebuffer containing odd lines only will be displayed in the frame when the odd lines are displayed. Of course this has its own consequences, if you miss a frame, you end up with the last frame flickering in an ugly way.

Team Andromeda
05-27-2018, 12:31 PM
Classic TA:
- Says stupid shit.
- Gets corrected.
- Backpedals and changes target.
- Triple-posts.

Next steps:
- "I offended".
- Posts walls of videos arguing with himself in other dimensions.
- Thread completely ruined. Job done. Onto the next thread.

I haven't backtracked at all and you are more than quick enough to point out( as well as make fun )of the Saturn lack of transparent effects. Just because a system can do an effect, does not mean it has hardware support for such a feature. Any time a ST game handles Parallax scrolling is evidence to that, or a ZX spectrum game with sampled speech.

Team Andromeda
05-27-2018, 12:49 PM
No-one is denying that it's a hardware issue; the cause was explained in the video. Hell, the low speed and glitches are mentioned in the VDP1 manual. What I'm saying is that graphics being 2D or 3D makes no difference as there's no difference between them to the Saturn's hardware. All that matters is how the sprites/quads/polys/whatever are distorted.

Gonna have to be pedantic too: it's 3DO not 3D0.

Any 3D Saturn game using Polygons is making use of a distorted sprite isn't it? So the moment you do that you are going to get issues . I think Grandia makes use of both and so you see transparent effects even coming off VDP 1 and being drawn over Polygons not much of a issues, like with the transparent Chimney smoke in Grandia, and none at all with VDP 2 transparent planes, one gets issues however when 3D effect is needed like on the save points.
Be it by design or a screw up with the Saturn hardware drawing to the screen. The Saturn had issues with 3D transparent effects

Barone
05-27-2018, 01:16 PM
I haven't backtracked at all
I'll pretend I agree and skip this nonsense for today.
I've already lost count of the number of times I've seen you not get how transparency on the Saturn works and why it was avoided in so many games. It's been too many years.

Have a nice Sunday arguing about it.

TrekkiesUnite118
05-27-2018, 01:52 PM
Any 3D Saturn game using Polygons is making use of a distorted sprite isn't it? So the moment you do that you are going to get issues . I think Grandia makes use of both and so you see transparent effects even coming off VDP 1 and being drawn over Polygons not much of a issues, like with the transparent Chimney smoke in Grandia, and none at all with VDP 2 transparent planes, one gets issues however when 3D effect is needed like on the save points.
Be it by design or a screw up with the Saturn hardware drawing to the screen. The Saturn had issues with 3D transparent effects

It doesn't matter if it's 2D or 3D on the Saturn. Everything is seen as a sprite. It has no concept of polygons, 2D, or 3D. It's just drawing a sprite into a frame buffer. When you distort them, it can cause problems for Transparencies if it's not done in a way to avoid pixel overdraw. This is explained in the GameHut Video and has been explained to you numerous times over the past few years by myself and others. Some games use it anyways as they figure it's not an issue or because it goes by so fast you don't notice it. Sonic R is one of these games. It uses it for the light trails from the dash panels. If you pause the game on real hardware using S-Video or higher you can actually see the pixel overdraw errors as weird looking lines in the transparent effect. It's even visible in the picture zyrobs posted earlier.

You can see it here in this real hardware S-Video capture:

https://i.imgur.com/o8RYhMR.png

And yes, you have backpedaled in this very thread. Your first post in this thread you flat out said again that the Saturn has no hardware support for 3D Transparencies. You're now saying it has issues with it. We've had this conversation with you before and you actually did finally understand it then and stopped being an idiot about it. Now you seem to have forgotten are are being an idiot about it again. So either you have severe memory problems or you just want to argue for the sake of arguing. If it's the latter, I'd suggest the mods ban you for good as it's proof you do nothing but stir shit up.

Team Andromeda
05-27-2018, 06:52 PM
I'll pretend I agree and skip this nonsense for today.
I've already lost count of the number of times I've seen you not get how transparency on the Saturn works and why it was avoided in so many games. It's been too many years.

Have a nice Sunday arguing about it.


I'll have a far better Sunday than you, this week I can assure you. Also t have to remember the Saturn can do transparent effect up there with the PS and 3DO when you slate and make fun of the Saturn.

TrekkiesUnite118
05-27-2018, 11:08 PM
I'll have a far better Sunday than you, this week I can assure yo.Also t have to remember the Saturn can do transparent effect up there work PS and 3DO when you slate and make fun of the Saturn.

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/001/332/roflbot-ZfY6_2_.jpg

Barone
05-27-2018, 11:52 PM
Compare this:

When it came to 3D polygon transparent effects the Saturn was utter rubbish, thanks to no Hardware support for the feature, even the 3DO did better


it'd look like crap and show me real Saturn footage. Compared to3D0 and PS effects it was poor, thats my Point


I haven't backtracked at all and you are more than quick enough to point out( as well as make fun )of the Saturn lack of transparent effects. Just because a system can do an effect, does not mean it has hardware support for such a feature. Any time a ST game handles Parallax scrolling is evidence to that, or a ZX spectrum game with sampled speech.


I'll have a far better Sunday than you, this week I can assure yo.Also t have to remember the Saturn can do transparent effect up there work PS and 3DO when you slate and make fun of the Saturn.


To this:
https://i.imgur.com/cJbGlFT.png


Draw your own conclusion.

Team Andromeda
05-28-2018, 07:50 AM
LOL, Whatever Barone. I remember all that next you post interviews with Capcom and making fun over Saturn lack of Transparent effects.

TrekkiesUnite118
05-28-2018, 10:20 AM
LOL, Whatever Barone. I remember all that next you post interviews with Capcom and making fun over Saturn lack of Transparent effects.

http://canestailgating.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Projecting.jpg

Team Andromeda
05-29-2018, 09:08 AM
And yes, you have backpedaled in this very thread. Your first post in this thread you flat out said again that the Saturn has no hardware support for 3D Transparencies.

No I haven't and its just a little rich,when you ridiculed my comment over the shield being a 2D effect, nevermind Jon confirming the Saturn issues over Transparent effects at a Hardware level and his banner headline was 'doing the impossible'. If the Saturn had hardware support for 3D transparent effects, one would hardly produce a Tricks of the trade video, much less talking of doing about going impossible. It did make a difference if a game was using Polygons or 2D when it came to use of Transparecies, even Sonic R had to use Mesh effects due to Hardware issues, so did Sonic 3D Island too.

One couldn't get around the Saturn drawbacks over 3D transparencies. So we'll just have to disagree, sorry

zyrobs
05-29-2018, 09:22 AM
It DOES have 3d transparent effects, they are just ugly and slow and don't combine with the VDP2. You get better speed if you use the VDP2, so they don't bother with transparency.

First fucking panzer dragoon had transparent 3d laser beams in 1995.
http://evilboris.sonic-cult.net/SSF/Panzer_Dragoon_(U)/00000158.png

But you can see that the beams are not transparent to the VDP2 background, only the 3d character models. Which makes it a giant waste of time, so they turned it off for the second game.

Team Andromeda
05-29-2018, 09:43 AM
, rathe
It DOES have 3d transparent effects, they are just ugly and slow and don't combine with the VDP2. You get better speed if you use the VDP2, so they don't bother with transparency.


Yes, but my point has always been it total crap compared to 3DO and PS and even Panzer Dragoon had to use the Mesh effect. You never got those issues on a 3DO or PS game and not usually in a completely 2D Sega Saturn game (yes one can bring up GH) The lack of Hardware support for the feature was telling. PD use of 50/50 is so lame, one needs to pause the game and almost zoom into the screen to even notice it and the rest of the game needs to use a Mesh effect. When you saw similar effects on a PS it was clear as day and you can clearly see it when playing the game.

I can't think of one Saturn 3D polygon game that doesn't use a Mesh effect at some point in the game for some Transparency unless one wants to be clever and say Last Bronx. Also, I use to dislike how the Sky Box in Saturns games was just a VDP II being tilted from left to right, rather than a 3D effect one got in PS and 3DO games. Only Exhumed use a nice 3D effect for the sky background.

Like the Mesh effect, that used to stick out like a sore thumb too.

Barone
05-29-2018, 10:07 AM
my point has always been it total crap compared to 3DO and PS and even Panzer Dragoon had to use the Mesh effect
Sir, please, quit making fun of the Saturn's capabilities; you are offending me.

Just a gentle reminder: you have always said the Saturn didn't have hardware support for 3D transparencies and it does have it. I'm afraid to say that your backpedalling is a cold hard fact at this point.

zyrobs
05-29-2018, 11:46 AM
Yes, but my point has always been it total crap compared to 3DO and PS and even Panzer Dragoon had to use the Mesh effect.

No, your point was that the Saturn has no hardware support for 3d transparencies. I quote:


I said the shield was nothing more than a 2D effect (hence why it didn't cover the characters completely at certain angles), which you rubbish. I said the Saturn Hardware didn't support 3D transparent effects again which you rubbish (even after posting an interview with the Burning Rangers team) and I ve said about changing the colour value, again which you rubbish. Now Jon just confirms exactly what I said (Saturn didn have hardware support and the shield was 2D) or how SF III transparent effects were coming off the VDP II again which you rubbished and you bring GOD into it, Hell Jon even backs up what I said over the Amiga having a better sound chip for samples Whats the point, in another thread you say the Saturn couldn't do FF 7 because of transparent effects
I've said all along the Saturn didn't have hardware support for 3D transparent effects and that the shied in Sonic R and the lights shades in Burning Rangers were simply 2D Transparent effects and now you talk of BUGs No Saturn 3D game handles a 3D transparent effect to that of the 3DO, never mind PS or N64 and even Sonic R had to use the Mesh effect.

Nothing changed, The Saturn didn't have Hardware support for 3D transparent effects, just like Model 1 and 2. Saturn just had hardware support for 2D effects and Transparent planes and no amount of clever programming can fully make up for that shortfall in SEGA's Hardware design


I haven't backtracked at all and you are more than quick enough to point out( as well as make fun )of the Saturn lack of transparent effects. Just because a system can do an effect, does not mean it has hardware support for such a feature. Any time a ST game handles Parallax scrolling is evidence to that, or a ZX spectrum game with sampled speech.

You are just... digging yourself into the ground, man.

Black_Tiger
05-29-2018, 12:38 PM
, rathe

Yes, but my point has always been it total crap compared to 3DO and PS and even Panzer Dragoon had to use the Mesh effect. You never got those issues on a 3DO or PS game and not usually in a completely 2D Sega Saturn game (yes one can bring up GH) The lack of Hardware support for the feature was telling. PD use of 50/50 is so lame, one needs to pause the game and almost zoom into the screen to even notice it and the rest of the game needs to use a Mesh effect. When you saw similar effects on a PS it was clear as day and you can clearly see it when playing the game.

I can't think of one Saturn 3D polygon game that doesn't use a Mesh effect at some point in the game for some Transparency unless one wants to be clever and say Last Bronx. Also, I use to dislike how the Sky Box in Saturns games was just a VDP II being tilted from left to right, rather than a 3D effect one got in PS and 3DO games. Only Exhumed use a nice 3D effect for the sky background.

Like the Mesh effect, that used to stick out like a sore thumb too.

I can't think of a single SNES game which doesn't use flickering for transparency/translucency effects, in fact it's much more common than "real" transparencies, but it does still have hardware support for "transparencies". Even if you think it's terrible.

Team Andromeda
05-29-2018, 06:15 PM
I can't think of a single SNES game which doesn't use flickering for transparency/translucency effects, in fact it's much more common than "real" transparencies, but it does still have hardware support for "transparencies". Even if you think it's terrible.
Can't remember those in Yoshi Island the nice lens flair in Earthworm Jim on the Snes, even if the MD game is more impressive or the lovely colour laying found in Pugsley's Adv or the nice search light transparent effects found in the likes of Axelay or Super Metroid.

Team Andromeda
05-29-2018, 06:20 PM
No, your point was that the Saturn has no hardware support for 3d transparencies. I quote:





You are just... digging yourself into the ground, man.

Trouble is one can see it in every Saturn 3D game, even Sonic R needs to use the mesh effect. The Saturn hardware by desgin is 2D and sprite based. The Mega Drive only has one sample channel for Digital playback, some games make use of more doesn't change the fact, that the MD only had hardware support for one sample channel. The 32X seems to handle scaling and rotation fine, even though Iím sure it doesnít have hardware support for it and itís all done via software

zyrobs
05-29-2018, 07:27 PM
https://s15.postimg.cc/7w00t2j2j/conker_parents.jpg

Barone
05-29-2018, 07:31 PM
:rofl:

Blades
05-30-2018, 01:29 AM
Iíve never seen people that AGREE argue so much. Youíre all saying the same thing.

TrekkiesUnite118
05-30-2018, 01:32 AM
Iíve never seen people that AGREE argue so much. Youíre all saying the same thing.

It's mostly TA.

Kamahl
05-30-2018, 02:53 AM
It's mostly TA.
It's unfortunate that this had to happen to this thread since the trick shown on the video is extremely clever and worth discussing.
Also unfortunate that after all these years TA still doesn't understand the problem people have with him, which is stating factually wrong things even though what he means is entirely different.

Look at these two sentences:

- The Saturn has no hardware support for 3D transparency (factually wrong, what TA says)

- The Saturn's support for 3D transparency was so poor it might as well not be there (correct, what TA actually means)

TA insists on using the first sentence, even though he means the second, in every freaking thread (not just Saturn related)
Often it is even worse, specially in Mega Drive or TurboGrafx related threads, something more like:

- The System cannot do <Insert Special Effect>.

Here we don't even have the word hardware in the mix, which implies that software solutions are also not applicable (like what is used in Burning Rangers). Obviously factually wrong, so he gets corrected, but again the sad part is that it's not even what he means, he just insists on saying it like that for some unexplainable reason.

TA by this point I'm just going to assume you do it on purpose to troll. Either that or you have such a fragile ego that you take a simple correction as a personal insult. These days people do pretty much just call you an idiot (myself included) but it sure as hell didn't start that way.

Team Andromeda
05-30-2018, 09:52 AM
TA by this point I'm just going to assume you do it on purpose to troll. .

I can assure you, it's not to troll. Jon would hardly be wasting his time doing a video of how he did Transparent effects in a PS game, people would laugh. The system does it, the hardware supports the features and not an issue.
On the Saturn Jon even does the banner headline of Sonic R's "Impossible Fading "and its not even for the effect many highlights with Sonic R on here, that was for the Radiant stage. But even Sonic R needs to use the Mesh effect for all this talk of Saturn support for 3D transparency, be that for the dust/smoke trails, shadows and also the weapon effects, evem when messing around with the Sonic R text front on the title screen will need to use the Mesh effect. Panzer Dragoon brought up again, but like I said the 50/50 is poor compare the what one saw on the PS or 3DO and you can hardly see it, but playing the game ever on the 1st level you'll see massive amounts of Mesh effects needed, be that for the beams of lights breaking through the scenery or on the shadow for the very 1st Boss. Some bring up Black Dawn, just shooting off a missile will show off a Mess effect that one didn't get in the PS version or in a PS game like Warhawk and where its laser/missile lock effect is a night and day difference to Panzer Dragon similar type of effect. Burning Rangers is brought up, that game needs to use mesh effects on the smoke after the fire been put out, on the shadows, when transporting and in various boss battles

That's not too wide people up, it's there and the Mesh effect is there is any Saturn game that needed to use 3D polygons and 3D style Transparent effects, even in games that play on a 2D plane like Clockwork Knight II, It was a clear issue for Saturn and really wasn't any way of getting around it. Wouldn't call that trolling, more stating the obvious and if Ditial Foundery were around in the 32Bit days, Saturn lack of Transparent effects compared to the PS version of the same game, would be highlighted and pointed out time and time again in any Head to Head.

I love the Saturn, I own the Hardware and over 370 games for the system and just got used to the Mesh and the Saturn being lame poor for 3D Transparent effects. I don't hate on the Saturn issues to get a response or to wind people up and not one of those that never played the game or console or say stuff like ' don't need too, its crap and all its games are crap' ... That's trolling of the worst kind.

I'm not doing that at all.

zyrobs
05-30-2018, 10:05 AM
For the last time, the mesh is used because it is
- faster
- works on both VDP1 and VDP2 equally.

If you made a game that used nothing but the VDP1, then you could use its transparency and have it work in 3d just fine, if with the pixel overdraw, assuming you can keep the speed up. But the VDP1 is too slow to do that, so you have to use the VDP2 to balance things out as much as possible, and for that you need to pick whether you use VDP1 transparency (if applicable), VDP2 transparency (if applicable), or mesh which kinda sorta works on both.

The problem isn't that the Saturn cannot do 3d transparency. It's that, like with everything the system does, it only works in some specific scenarios. The same way gouraud shading only works in some specific scenarios, the same way VDP2 is only useful in specific circumstances, the same way hi-res mode comes with its special drawbacks, the same way the system can do 24-bit colour (but backgrounds only), the same way FM sound is possible on the system, and so on.

Sonic R is great not because it does something "impossible", but because it navigates the complex hardware in an ingenious way to make use of effects that, while possible on their own, very difficult to do in unison with each other.

Black_Tiger
05-30-2018, 12:26 PM
Can't remember those in Yoshi Island the nice lens flair in Earthworm Jim on the Snes, even if the MD game is more impressive or the lovely colour laying found in Pugsley's Adv or the nice search light transparent effects found in the likes of Axelay or Super Metroid.

Yoshi's Island flicker effect at 8:00

http://youtu.be/MKf3sX9mGq0


Super Metroid flicker effect at 1:08

http://youtu.be/PkDfFmDNoZs


Check out Yoga Flame in SFII games.

Team Andromeda
05-31-2018, 08:45 AM
Yoshi's Island flicker effect at 8:00

To which I would just say.

I like the Transparent effects at 7:20, 114:00,128:46, 128:58 to name but a few


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB317FOcU0Y

For Yoshi, I like the amazing Transparent effects at 28:59


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X4Isy2WKRk

56:32


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr04m6jzcNs

52:39


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6rv8VQoPdQ

And for Pugsley's Scavenger

39:03


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


Check out Yoga Flame in SFII games.

And check out the Saturn style mesh effect in Streets Of Rage II when waking through the bar lighting, never mind the not so nice misting effects, very Saturn Mesh like ;).

TrekkiesUnite118
05-31-2018, 10:22 AM
And check out the Saturn style mesh effect in Streets Of Rage II when waking through the bar lighting, never mind the not so nice misting effects, very Saturn Mesh like ;).

If we're going to refer to any dithered transparency as "Saturn-Style Mesh Effects", then can we call those Transparencies you like on the SNES "Saturn-Style 50/50 Blending" since it's the same effect?

Team Andromeda
05-31-2018, 10:35 AM
If we're going to refer to any dithered transparency as "Saturn-Style Mesh Effects", then can we call those Transparencies you like on the SNES "Saturn-Style 50/50 Blending" since it's the same effect?

I was being sarcastic, hence the wink. But since you bring up the dithered transparency the misting effect in Street of Rage II doesn't look great. Its seem a SEGA thing back then, the Snes outclassing the Mega Drive for transparent effects and the PS out doing SEGA Saturn for transparent effect and the less said about the 32X Vs the 3DO when it came to transparent effects the better :P