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bultje112
06-17-2018, 08:00 AM
This guy claims so:


bzO2P4WJO8E

I have no knowledge about this, but it would change the saturns outlook in hindsight completely. From a laments persons view I do think the saturns 3d is heavily underrated.

Alianger
06-17-2018, 08:41 AM
Even if it was it wasn't designed that well or we would've seen better results in more games. This guy has a seriously annoying way of narrating btw.

axel
06-17-2018, 01:34 PM
What is his source for claiming VDP2 was added after the second SH-2?

Think about what would be easier to add late in a console's development -- an entirely new video display processor, or a copy of a chip you're already using?

Silanda
06-17-2018, 04:32 PM
I haven't watched the entire video, but he needs to cite sources in order to be taken seriously.


Think about what would be easier to add late in a console's development -- an entirely new video display processor, or a copy of a chip you're already using?

What I find strange about the idea that VDP2 was added as a counter to the Playstation is that it appears to be something from a 2D based design rather than a design based around 3D graphics. It was ostensibly a 2D background plane generator, with the added ability to scale, rotate, and blend those planes, and its most basic and obvious use would have been in 2D scrolling games and for "mode 7" type effects. Without VDP2, and with VDP1's limited power and built in effects, I suspect the Saturn wouldn't have looked anything like a 2D powerhouse. I suppose it could have been intended primarily to take some load off VDP1 in 3D games, but it's not useful in every scenario and does nothing to enhance the Saturn's actual polygon/quad rendering rate (only the way they're allocated in certain scenarios).

I've no idea what the actual reality of development was, but it seems to me that without the second SH2 the Saturn would have suffered from reduced processing power, but that power proved hard to harness anyway. On the other hand, without VDP2 the Saturn would have been a fundamentally broken design, lacking in graphical features and performance expected for new 2D games of the era in addition to having a 3D feature set that was inferior to the competition. In no way do I claim to be an expert, so I could be entirely mistaken, but the Saturn without VDP2 makes no sense to me as a design irrespective of whether the system was designed for 2D or 3D, and that makes me doubt that it was added as a last minute fix.

For years I've even half wondered if an early concept for a 2D Saturn could have been what became VDP2 and an addressable framebuffer; VDP2 would handle scrolling playfields, and sprites and/or a few polygons could have been software rendered on top of or behind those playfields. In that case, VDP1 would have been the chip added to make the Saturn more competitive (though obviously not late in development).

Blades
06-17-2018, 04:47 PM
What I find strange about the idea that VDP2 was added as a counter to the Playstation is that it appears to be something from a 2D based design rather than a design based around 3D graphics. It was ostensibly a 2D background plane generator, with the added ability to scale, rotate, and blend those planes, and its most basic and obvious use would have been in 2D scrolling games and for "mode 7" type effects. Without VDP2, and with VDP1's limited power and built in effects, I suspect the Saturn wouldn't have looked anything like a 2D powerhouse. I suppose it could have been intended primarily to take some load off VDP1 in 3D games, but it's not useful in every scenario and does nothing to enhance the Saturn's actual polygon/quad rendering rate (only the way they're allocated in certain scenarios).

I've no idea what the actual reality of development was, but it seems to me that without the second SH2 the Saturn would have suffered from reduced processing power, but that power proved hard to harness anyway. On the other hand, without VDP2 the Saturn would have been a fundamentally broken design, lacking in graphical features and performance expected for new 2D games of the era in addition to having a 3D feature set that was inferior to the competition. In no way do I claim to be an expert, so I could be entirely mistaken, but the Saturn without VDP2 makes no sense to me as a design irrespective of whether the system was designed for 2D or 3D, and that makes me doubt that it was added as a last minute fix.

This. It doesn't make any sense otherwise. Even Hideki Sato said he tried to 'split the baby' with the Saturn, implying it was intended to do both 2D and 3D and wound up not doing either great. Also, it's worth mentioning that the Saturn was in development for a long time, and was hindered by this the most IMO. It was essentially a hot-rodded 1993 design inspired by the powerful parallel-based Model 1/2 arcade boards of the time.

axel
06-17-2018, 04:55 PM
This. It doesn't make any sense otherwise. Even Hideki Sato said he tried to 'split the baby' with the Saturn, implying it was intended to do both 2D and 3D and wound up not doing either great. Also, it's worth mentioning that the Saturn was in development for a long time, and was hindered by this the most IMO. It was essentially a hot-rodded 1993 design inspired by the powerful parallel-based Model 1/2 arcade boards of the time.

I thought the 2D games looked great! It wasn't *that* bad at 3D either, just too much work to get all the hardware to play nicely together. I think the video got that part right, 3rd parties had very little help and very little incentive to learn the Saturn when the PSX was a much easier system to program.

Thief
06-17-2018, 05:36 PM
The VDP2 helps with creating bigger 3D worlds with it's infinite scale-able 2D planes used for floor/water in Panzer Dragoon and floor in Sonic Jam (play with background layer toggle in SSF emulator). In these situations they save on a lot of 3D processing power by doing some things in 2D instead of 3D.

For me the combination of 2D and 3D make it a more unique console and some very unique visuals style provided by these combination. Just check out Radiant Silvergun, Tera Driver (which looks worse, more slowdown and lower resolution on PS1), Thunder Force V (again, worse on PS1). Not to mention combination of 2D and 3D age better then just 3D of the PS1.

Not having infinite scaling planes also results in some floating lands in PS1 games (Dragon Quest VII and Final Fantasy Tactics come to mind).

Blades
06-17-2018, 05:37 PM
I thought the 2D games looked great! It wasn't *that* bad at 3D either, just too much work to get all the hardware to play nicely together. I think the video got that part right, 3rd parties had very little help and very little incentive to learn the Saturn when the PSX was a much easier system to program.

I'm not saying it wasn't a great system, but it became a great system because of the goodwill and tenacity from the developers, the Saturn fought them every step of the way. By 1997 it just couldn't keep up without massive effort.

To put things in perspective, it started life (according to Eidolon's Inn) as a consolized System 32, then augmented by requirements to display graphics similar to Model 1/2 which Sega R&D decided might be important in the long run. This is where I suspect the warped sprites 3D design came from rather than designing independent 3D and 2D processing systems. It still came out complicated and expensive. The PSX on the other hand focused almost exclusively on 3D (ironically inspired by the success of Sega 3D in the arcades) with a streamlined design and was not limited by 2D baggage from the last generation.

It does make sense in perspective. I remember Sato saying in the same interview that at the time of the Saturn's development Sega had loads of 2D teams and only one 3D team (referred to as CG, probably AM2). With those numbers, even implementing half-assed 3D was probably a gamble. You don't have to look farther than the Playstation and Saturn's launch lineup in Japan. Full 3D games were rare, and Sega had more of them. When the industry shifted towards Model 2-like 3D, it was over for the Saturn and great for the PSX.

Most of the games that came out for the Saturn were too arcade-like, which was a step in the wrong direction at the time. Even the launch Saturn boxes touted it as "the best arcade machine in the world!" Sega was trying to bring the arcade home, instead of continuing the Genesis' (best-selling) formula of long adventure games. Things changed by 1997 (Panzer Dragoon Saga), but by then it was too little too late. Had they capitalized on this, the Saturn could have avoided disaster with extremely strong 1st-party titles.

I completely think that at the time of the Saturn's launch, Sega had the best artistic talent in the industry working for them. Which makes the design and death of Saturn even more sad considering. Bottom line, the Saturn was a bad design at a bad time from the very beginning. Consolizing a System 32 only made sense in 1992.

Barone
06-17-2018, 08:25 PM
Like Silanda said and unlike the video intro promised, it just seems to be one more video with a lot of wild claims and no sources provided.






I'm not saying it wasn't a great system, but it became a great system because of the goodwill and tenacity from the developers, the Saturn fought them every step of the way. By 1997 it just couldn't keep up without massive effort.

To put things in perspective, it started life (according to Eidolon's Inn) as a consolized System 32, then augmented by requirements to display graphics similar to Model 1/2 which Sega R&D decided might be important in the long run. This is where I suspect the warped sprites 3D design came from rather than designing independent 3D and 2D processing systems. It still came out complicated and expensive. The PSX on the other hand focused almost exclusively on 3D (ironically inspired by the success of Sega 3D in the arcades) with a streamlined design and was not limited by 2D baggage from the last generation.

It does make sense in perspective. I remember Sato saying in the same interview that at the time of the Saturn's development Sega had loads of 2D teams and only one 3D team (referred to as CG, probably AM2). With those numbers, even implementing half-assed 3D was probably a gamble. You don't have to look farther than the Playstation and Saturn's launch lineup in Japan. Full 3D games were rare, and Sega had more of them. When the industry shifted towards Model 2-like 3D, it was over for the Saturn and great for the PSX.

Most of the games that came out for the Saturn were too arcade-like, which was a step in the wrong direction at the time. Even the launch Saturn boxes touted it as "the best arcade machine in the world!" Sega was trying to bring the arcade home, instead of continuing the Genesis' (best-selling) formula of long adventure games. Things changed by 1997 (Panzer Dragoon Saga), but by then it was too little too late. Had they capitalized on this, the Saturn could have avoided disaster with extremely strong 1st-party titles.

I completely think that at the time of the Saturn's launch, Sega had the best artistic talent in the industry working for them. Which makes the design and death of Saturn even more sad considering. Bottom line, the Saturn was a bad design at a bad time from the very beginning. Consolizing a System 32 only made sense in 1992.
In a lot of ways, the Saturn is just another iteration of old Sega business' practices which this time faced tougher competition/different context.
And it's also a result of some gambles which simply didn't pay off.

Ex:
With the Mega Drive it did pay off to release the console ahead of Nintendo. With the Saturn it didn't work.
And there are many reasons for that but one that maybe they downplayed and people nowadays seem to completely ignore is that the SNES doesn't delivered a major performance improvement and, actually, in many cases it represented a downgrade (you can go there look several reviews of the early releases complaining about the slowdown in its games).
The SNES also didn't have a price advantage over the MD AFAIK.

With the Saturn it was totally different. It was both the under-performing hardware and the most expensive one when compared to the PS1.
Sony was a new player but huge one and which went with a very strong worldwide launch strategy, unlike the PC Engine had.
The N64 did look both in specs and in games (Super Mario 64) way more powerful than the Saturn.


Ex #2:
Mega Drive went with packed pixel while both PCE and SNES used planar graphics.
In the long run, it gave the MD some palatable advantages with animation-heavy games, which end up getting more and more important during that gen (especially in the western marked). It was easier to cram more animation frames and it was also easier and faster to decompress them.
This can be considered a gamble to some extent and it did bring some unexpected yet positive outcomes.

Saturn's use of quads didn't pay off. Aside from the technical complications it brings to the rendering of certain effects and efficiency, the industry simply ended up taking a different direction.
All the modeling tools and APIs were geared towards triangle-based rendering after some time.

FORS YARD
06-18-2018, 01:02 AM
"At this point the ... [Saturn] system is about 40% developed and Sega hasn't decided between one 32-Bit CPU or two."
- Kei Kuboki, GameFan December 1993

If GameFan is to be believed, a single CPU was at least under consideration early in the Saturn's development. The second CPU probably wasn't "thrown in at the last minute", but it also doesn't appear to have been an intrinsic part of the system's design from the beginning.


"Sega has spent the last nine months or so playing catch-up with Sony after a publisher-friend tipped Sega off about the power of PlayStation. New specs and development tools only recently arrived with third parties, superseding Sega's original description of the project. The main difference between them is apparently the addition of more dedicated processors taking work away from the two CPUs."
- Next Generation Premiere Issue (January 1995)

To add some fuel to the fire, Next Generation implied that multiple processors could have been added late in development. VDP 2? SCU? Whatever that chip is that handles the CD-ROM drive? It would be interesting to know for certain.

bultje112
06-18-2018, 04:57 AM
The VDP2 helps with creating bigger 3D worlds with it's infinite scale-able 2D planes used for floor/water in Panzer Dragoon and floor in Sonic Jam (play with background layer toggle in SSF emulator). In these situations they save on a lot of 3D processing power by doing some things in 2D instead of 3D.

For me the combination of 2D and 3D make it a more unique console and some very unique visuals style provided by these combination. Just check out Radiant Silvergun, Tera Driver (which looks worse, more slowdown and lower resolution on PS1), Thunder Force V (again, worse on PS1). Not to mention combination of 2D and 3D age better then just 3D of the PS1.

Not having infinite scaling planes also results in some floating lands in PS1 games (Dragon Quest VII and Final Fantasy Tactics come to mind).

also ps1 is full of texture warping, which has aged even worse, saturn I see almost no texture warping.

Team Andromeda
06-18-2018, 04:58 AM
What is his source for claiming VDP2 was added after the second SH-2?

Think about what would be easier to add late in a console's development -- an entirely new video display processor, or a copy of a chip you're already using?


I don't know, because of the 1st set of concrete specs of the Saturn was of the Saturn 32 channels of sound, the 27Hz Hitachi CPU. I doubt anyone knows for certain, but my guess was on hearing the PSX spec's. SEGA reworked the VDP 1 and the added a 2nd SH-2.
SEGA Lord is right in that the Saturn was always designed to handle 3D and that was confirmed by SOJ then AM#2 R&D chief Tadahiro Kawamura and why SEGA changed the Saturn planned NEC CPU to the Hitachi one After tests showed the NEC CPU to be too slow for 3D calculations

Team Andromeda
06-18-2018, 05:03 AM
The VDP2 helps with creating bigger 3D worlds with it's infinite scale-able 2D planes used for floor/water in Panzer Dragoon and floor in Sonic Jam (play with background layer toggle in SSF emulator). In these situations they save on a lot of 3D processing power by doing some things in 2D instead of 3D.

For me the combination of 2D and 3D make it a more unique console and some very unique visuals style provided by these combination. Just check out Radiant Silvergun, Tera Driver (which looks worse, more slowdown and lower resolution on PS1), Thunder Force V (again, worse on PS1). Not to mention combination of 2D and 3D age better then just 3D of the PS1.

Not having infinite scaling planes also results in some floating lands in PS1 games (Dragon Quest VII and Final Fantasy Tactics come to mind).

Agreed. With the Saturn, you had monster 2D and really good 3D GFX (sort of libe a perverse reverse of the PS 2D and 3D to that of the Saturn) and the Saturn shone when games used that combination, but sadly it also made the Saturn rather crap at handling ports of PC/PS games.

Team Andromeda
06-18-2018, 05:18 AM
Just to give some people a time line of the Saturn spec's leaks

Here's EDGE Issue 1 October 1993 (bare in mind Mags are published a month in advance and this was before the internet and so news from Japan took weeks to get back) and to give people an idea of the time like. 3DO was on the cover and the likes of Gunstar Heroes on the MD was being reviewed.


https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4102/4815339477_e69dd73fc8_b.jpg[/url]IMG (https://flic.kr/p/8kvSEr)


Edge Issue 5 Feb 1994 In the review section for that month was the likes of Cannon Fodder on the Amiga and ActRasier II on the SNES

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1735/42871751891_0f85b03c61_k.jpg


Edge Issue 7 April 1994 and where you got concrete specs direct from SEGA and with got the USA version of Lunar and Doom on the PC in the review section

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/876/42823777852_bd8108d0ec_k.jpg

Gryson
06-18-2018, 01:17 PM
Video is good despite lack of sources. The burden of proof is not on this guy to show that the Saturn was designed with 3D in mind (that's obvious).

The burden of proof is on anybody that says Sega designed the Saturn as a 2D system. Is there any evidence at all to support this? Or is it just more of the "incompetent Sega" myth?

As mentioned in the video, the earliest Saturn games (e.g. Panzer Dragoon) which were already in development by the end of 1993 (before the hardware was even finalized) were all 3D games. And Sega's whole outlook was innovation and bringing the arcade home (Model 1 and subsequently Model 2 games were HUGE at the time of the Saturn's development).

Also, keep in mind that the Saturn probably had many design proposals and prototypes dating back to 1992. That some of those were based on System 32 is not surprising, but that doesn't make the Saturn's ultimate design a hodgepodge of last minute changes.

By the way, the whole "Saturn can't do 3D" thing goes way back to when the Saturn was alive, and people have been trying to dispel it since then: http://www.shinforce.com/saturn/information/3D-Capabilities.htm

Overall, I don't find much controversial about what he said.

axel
06-19-2018, 02:45 AM
Both the Model 1 and 2 used quads, so it made sense to keep them for the console. Probably made it much easier to port their own arcade games, but harder for literally everything else. Anyone who took geometry could have told you you can make a quad out of two triangles but to make a triangle from quads wastes one side and results in all kinds of workarounds to get things like transparencies to work right.

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

Thief
06-19-2018, 06:34 AM
The problem with the dual CPU was that they had to share the same bus and that there was very little wiggle room to get this right. Something about if one CPU fell behind, the other CPU had to wait too or something. Sure someone will clarify.

Wiki says;

both CPUs shared the same bus and were unable to access system memory at the same time. Making full use of the 4 kB of cache memory in each CPU was critical to maintaining performance. For example, Virtua Fighter used one CPU for each character,[18] while Nights used one CPU for 3D environments and the other for 2D objects.[147] The Saturn's Visual Display Processor 2 (VDP2), which can generate and manipulate backgrounds,[148] has also been cited as one of the system's most important features.[20][82]

Nights using only one CPU for 3D doesn't sound very optimized...

Team Andromeda
06-19-2018, 09:52 AM
The problem with the dual CPU was that they had to share the same bus and that there was very little wiggle room to get this right. Something about if one CPU fell behind, the other CPU had to wait too or something. Sure someone will clarify.



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


Nights using only one CPU for 3D doesn't sound very optimized...
That's Wiki and that is taken from a review. VDP II acted independently from the SH-2 and I would imagne NiGHTS is making full use of the Twn SH-2 and the VD1 for the polygon graphics and keeping control of the AI.

Barone
06-20-2018, 12:47 PM
Both the Model 1 and 2
Both also had strong FPUs while Namco System 22 didn't.
IMO this is a key aspect to all of these discussions which is usually overlooked.
Ridge Racer arcade and it's PS1 port played pretty much the same assuming you're using analog controls on both.
With Model 1 and Model 2 games things were a lot more complicated. None of Virtua Racing ports and much less the atrocious Saturn version could preserve its original physics model. The same For Daytona USA.

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

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




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

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

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

axel
06-20-2018, 02:28 PM
No, this is incorrect.
Arcade boards had multiple CPUs but each one was usually assigned to a very specific task usually attached some specific features of a handful of games.
To make good use of multiple CPUs for games in general is a whole new ball game and the tools Sega provided were incapable of helping developers with that.

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

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

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

Team Andromeda
06-20-2018, 03:40 PM
There are tons of games from the 80s that used multiple 68Ks, e.g. Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Assault, Legend of the Valkyrie, Cyberball, etc. Would it really be that complicated to have your main loop running on one processor and assign a few threads to run on the second one?


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

And for all this talk of tools, its funny to see the tiny corp that was Treasure show the world how its done with RSG . A game the work of just6 people and using tools downloaded for free off the internet.

Thief
06-20-2018, 03:46 PM
Can't agree with Daytona USA, TA. Played a lot of the Saturn version and when I got to it in Arcade, basically had to relearn how to play it. But will say I prefer the more weighty feel of Saturn Sega Rally (and dat CD soundtrack blows away whatever the Arcade had).

Team Andromeda
06-20-2018, 03:49 PM
Can't agree with Daytona USA, TA. But will say I prefer the more weighty feel of Saturn Sega Rally (and dat CD soundtrack blows away whatever the Arcade had).

It was the frame rate that let the Daytona USA game down, the handling and AI was there. Also the pyshcis model in SEGA Rally is better and deeper than the Arcade With the main Player's cars main suspension and tyres reacting to the surface that was being driven over more

axel
06-20-2018, 09:37 PM
It was the frame rate that let the Daytona USA game down, the handling and AI was there. Also the pyshcis model in SEGA Rally is better and deeper than the Arcade With the main Player's cars main suspension and tyres reacting to the surface that was being driven over more

Thing is, when you play Daytona in the arcade, you have the feeling like you're really moving along with the car (or at least I do). On the Saturn version... that feeling of speed just isn't there. It becomes just another racing game. I consider it a good port though, probably the best AM2 could do with the technology.

Barone
06-20-2018, 10:15 PM
There are tons of games from the 80s that used multiple 68Ks, e.g. Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Assault, Legend of the Valkyrie, Cyberball, etc. Would it really be that complicated to have your main loop running on one processor and assign a few threads to run on the second one?
Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.


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


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


See this:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1782/29057636608_7a5f5d43e9_o.png

axel
06-21-2018, 01:07 AM
Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.


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


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


See this:


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

Blades
06-21-2018, 03:15 AM
^In that same magazine (Edge January '95), they mention that VDP2 (referred to as a 'new video processor' to enhance 2D graphics) was added later, like in the video. Strange.

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

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

Also this...

https://1ugf6g.by.files.1drv.com/y4mbN5C-dmU2kvzoOsVXtepRTvJzBW6ERhiI2CD8HD3bhYNBhBe0fqjoXo 2va5ZOwHP6IWV8AlaKUXwdEUBqnjkgykBrEuRuZR2I3ieG00cT 1XH0cD4aW3QcNQgyVoTAHm77UYLnsBQY-Yp2IGx2K6AwFXL5Z-hI4kTZ3Zp08jVIBl3FkgL59DFCyXVBhbMArV-jeWEv8fUSPfIwHKVcCyQsg?width=272&height=147&cropmode=none

I highly recommend this article, it answers a lot of questions in this thread. It's basically a nuts to bolts overview of the Saturn's development and comparison to the PSX.

Team Andromeda
06-21-2018, 05:22 AM
Most of those games if not ALL OF THEM, don't make efficient use of the dual/multi CPU setup.
Games like Super Hang-On are still running most of the game logic in a single CPU and using the extra ones for resources management, effects and/or a few specific calc-heavy routines.


Manx TT, Fighting Vipers, Last Bronx, Sega Rally, Virtual On, Virtua Cop, Virtua Cop II, Virtual Fighter Remix, Virtual Fighter II, Dead Or Alive all handled Model 1 or 2 physics Ect, not bad when you make out none did and all the more quite impressive, given some of the games are ports form the even more Powerful Model 2B bord. Even the PS didn't always do Arcade ports that well, Cyber Sled is hardly the PS or Namco finest hour and that was just a port of a system 21 game (far less power than Model 1, never mind Model 2) but it would be silly to try and use one or 2 poor ports to suite one's needs.

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

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

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


https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1773/42885060222_ae3ed38cca_k.jpg

Team Andromeda
06-21-2018, 05:36 AM
^In that same magazine (Edge January '95), they mention that VDP2 (referred to as a 'new video processor' to enhance 2D graphics) was added later, like in the video. Strange.

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

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

Also this...

https://1ugf6g.by.files.1drv.com/y4mbN5C-dmU2kvzoOsVXtepRTvJzBW6ERhiI2CD8HD3bhYNBhBe0fqjoXo 2va5ZOwHP6IWV8AlaKUXwdEUBqnjkgykBrEuRuZR2I3ieG00cT 1XH0cD4aW3QcNQgyVoTAHm77UYLnsBQY-Yp2IGx2K6AwFXL5Z-hI4kTZ3Zp08jVIBl3FkgL59DFCyXVBhbMArV-jeWEv8fUSPfIwHKVcCyQsg?width=272&height=147&cropmode=none

I highly recommend this article, it answers a lot of questions in this thread. It's basically a nuts to bolts overview of the Saturn's development and comparison to the PSX.

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


That said there's not many better sounding games than SOUKY, NIGHTS, Panzer Dragon Saga, RSG.

Blades
06-21-2018, 06:00 AM
The article claims that the second CPU was added early and simply because one wasn’t powerful enough (which itself was more powerful than the Model 1’s CPU). VDP2 was added after the PSX announcement.

Team Andromeda
06-21-2018, 06:07 AM
The article claims that the second CPU was added early and simply because one wasn’t powerful enough (which itself was more powerful than the Model 1’s CPU). VDP2 was added after the PSX announcement.

Its not a claim it was latter backed up by SOJ in EDGE issue 23. EDGE mag used to have unrivalled access to the likes of SEGA and a lot of the best Teams in Japan

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/900/42033083915_615556c293_k.jpg

Team Andromeda
06-21-2018, 10:03 AM
Come to think of it SEGA Lord is spot on. The dual SH-2 wasn't an answer to SONY's PSX spec's the decision to go with a dual SH-2 set up was taken in 1993 and confirmed by Scott Bayless and Marty Franzs as they lifted the dual SH-2 from the Saturn when they took the phone call for SOJ to develop the 32X in Jan 1994.

Blades
06-21-2018, 08:16 PM
Come to think of it SEGA Lord is spot on. The dual SH-2 was an answer to SONY's PSX spec's the decision to go with a dual SH-2 set up was taken in 1993 and confirmed by Scott Bayless and Marty Franzs as they lifted the dual SH-2 from the Saturn when they took the phone call for SOJ to develop the 32X in Jan 1994.

I think you meant dual VDP was an answer to Sony, and the dual SH2 decision was taken in 1993.

gamevet
06-21-2018, 09:38 PM
Thing is, when you play Daytona in the arcade, you have the feeling like you're really moving along with the car (or at least I do). On the Saturn version... that feeling of speed just isn't there. It becomes just another racing game. I consider it a good port though, probably the best AM2 could do with the technology.

Which version were you playing, CE, or the launch version?

Championship Edition has better graphics, but the sensation of speed and the car physics are horrible. The launch game has decent car physics and an alright sensation of speed, but the choppy frame-rate and major pop-up backgrounds kind of ruined the experience.

axel
06-21-2018, 11:19 PM
Which version were you playing, CE, or the launch version?

Championship Edition has better graphics, but the sensation of speed and the car physics are horrible. The launch game has decent car physics and an alright sensation of speed, but the choppy frame-rate and major pop-up backgrounds kind of ruined the experience.

I don't remember at this point. The frame rate looked OK, there was a lot of pop up though. It just wasn't anything like the arcade or later ports.

gamevet
06-21-2018, 11:42 PM
I don't remember at this point. The frame rate looked OK, there was a lot of pop up though. It just wasn't anything like the arcade or later ports.

That would be the second version. It doesn't have the sensation of speed that the 1st game has. The arcade game has pop up too, btw.

Blades
06-22-2018, 12:26 AM
Which version were you playing, CE, or the launch version?

Championship Edition has better graphics, but the sensation of speed and the car physics are horrible. The launch game has decent car physics and an alright sensation of speed, but the choppy frame-rate and major pop-up backgrounds kind of ruined the experience.

Absolutely.

axel
06-22-2018, 12:45 AM
That would be the second version. It doesn't have the sensation of speed that the 1st game has. The arcade game has pop up too, btw.

Indeed it does, but nowhere near as much. Arcade game still looks like a masterpiece today.

Which is why I cannot believe the Saturn was ever intended to be a 2D system or consolized System 32. There is no way the Sega engineers could look at the success of the Model 1 and 2 and not realize this was the future.

Gryson
06-22-2018, 08:28 AM
Relevant Hideki Sato quotes:


When the Saturn was being designed, the video game industry was right in the middle of the transition from sprites to CG. In the arcade world, you could see this contrast between the System 32 boards, capable of displaying 300,000 sprites, and the Model 1 boards which ran Virtua Fighter and showed the future of polygons. In order to not lose all the assets and know-how we’d accumulated in previous years, we first thought about basing the Saturn on the System 32 boards, but we inevitably realized that it would be best to have polygon and CG capabilities too, so we included both in our design. It was done in the spirit of having the best of both worlds, but it also kind of felt like we were splitting the baby, and not doing justice to either. (laughs)

There were two candidates for the CPU. The first, which Sega of America was pushing for, was the 68020. It had good compatibility with the 68000 processor and would be easy to use, but its limitations were also clear. The other option was the RISC CPU: it seemed much more powerful, but for several reasons, the risk was also much higher (just as the name “RISC” implies!). As it had always been with Sega, we needed a home console that would be powerful enough to handle our arcade ports. That being the case, we took the risky-but-idealistic path and selected the RISC processor, the Hitachi SH2.


We were also stuck on whether to focus game development on sprite-based games, or new 3D CG games. Sprite-based games were what Sega had done up till then, so we had a lot of built-up experience there, both in a personnel and technology sense; it seemed like a waste to just throw it all away. And Sega only had a few internal teams dabbling in CG design. We therefore decided to give the Saturn the ability to handle both kinds of games, with a robust sprite and CG engine. However, although we’d separated the two engines well enough in a hardware sense, creating games for the Saturn turned out to be a little difficult. The software development libraries were also insufficient, so third parties saw the Saturn as a difficult system to develop for. We sold 5 million systems in Japan, but we struggled in the overseas market.

http://shmuplations.com/segahistory/

Team Andromeda
06-22-2018, 09:00 AM
Indeed it does, but nowhere near as much. Arcade game still looks like a masterpiece today.

Which is why I cannot believe the Saturn was ever intended to be a 2D system or consolized System 32. There is no way the Sega engineers could look at the success of the Model 1 and 2 and not realize this was the future.

The 2D talk, comes from that the Saturn used 2D tech to get to make its 3D but just because you have a system based around sprite hardware doesn't mean you can't do 3D as even the Mega Drive showed, In much the same way a 3D system can also do 2D even if it has next to now 2D based Sprite hardware. Also its important for people to know that Daytona USA came out in 1994:when most of the Saturn hardware was all but finished and not even SEGA knew how big Daytona USA was going to be.


SEGA did look to the likes of Model 1 and its users the same thing of multi CPU and DSP's to produced the polygons.

Team Andromeda
06-22-2018, 09:05 AM
Which version were you playing, CE, or the launch version?

Championship Edition has better graphics, but the sensation of speed and the car physics are horrible. The launch game has decent car physics and an alright sensation of speed, but the choppy frame-rate and major pop-up backgrounds kind of ruined the experience.


Well said. Daytona USA CE is a nice game in its own right and also a great showcase for Saturn 3D, but it doesn't feel or play like Daytona USA at all. The texures are wrong, the AI is wrong and the handling model is wrong, the music is wrong (in the pal version)and thats not all to do with a lack of power, Daytona USA 2001 on the DC doesn't feel or play like the Model 2 or AM#2 Saturn version.
AM#2 Saturn version is brilliant, its nails the Arcade version textures and it nails the Arcade handing, AI and CPU crashes (something really missing in the CE Daytona) I think too much is made of the Frame rate its not that bad and I've played far worse at the time (even on the PC) it was the pop in that was horrible and I also disliked it run in a window display even on a NTSC JP system

I would have stuck with the early version of just 16 cars on track for better gfx, frame rate and less pop in myself

Barone
06-22-2018, 12:25 PM
nails the Arcade handing, AI and CPU crashes
It mimicks well but the arcade gameplay is still quite different and much better.
The CPU crashes are not the same, the handling of the car is simplified (especially if driving on the outside), etc.

What gamevet said about CE's speed sensation is spot on though. They adjusted the game engine in a way that it will reduce the track scrolling speed instead of reduce the draw distance to keep frame rate consistent. And I really don't think that was a good idea.

Team Andromeda
06-22-2018, 01:41 PM
It mimicks well but the arcade gameplay is still quite different and much better.
The CPU crashes are not the same, the handling of the car is simplified (especially if driving on the outside), etc.
.

For me the AM#2 Saturn port was the closest to the Arcade in terms of handling, looks, music, AI and physics (until the 360 and PS versions). Both Daytona USA CE and Daytona USA 2001 didn't feel or look right and lacked the Model 2 AI, Handling and crashes. But all games in their own right were good racers