PDA

View Full Version : Had Sega built Saturn based around the Genesis, Sega CD and 32X



Pages : [1] 2

gamegenie
09-09-2009, 12:36 PM
SEGA would still be rocking it big today, and they would have crushed SONY back in 1995. :D

I was convinced of this as kid, and I still know it to be true today.

instead
SEGA's bad decisions drove me away from them and into the arms of SONY. :Panda:

Sega Saturn: 2 x Hitachi SH-2 32-bit RISC (28.6 MHz)

Sega CD: MC68000 @ 12.5 MHz


In hindsight they should have equipped Saturn with a single 33MHz version of the Motorolla 68040, which would have easily made the Saturn BC with Genesis, and Sega CD. Perhaps include a 20MHz version of the CPU in the 32X, or not worked on the 32X at all.

Cornugon
09-09-2009, 02:43 PM
Maybe it was Sony (thus indirectly Nintendo) which caused this bad decision in the first place.

But why a the 33MHz version, why not the 50 or 66MHz versions? Ofcourse an 68060 probably would have been too expensive at that time.

Chilly Willy
09-09-2009, 02:47 PM
The 68040 was WAAAAAAAAY too expensive to put into a console in 1994/95. The Saturn has an 11.3 MHz 68000 in it already - they could have perhaps gone with a 28 MHz 68020 for the main CPU. The main issue with the Saturn was the complexity - developers either had to ignore half the hardware, or spend twice as long working on a game. That's why the PSX won that generation - it was the simplest hardware of the competing systems.

Cornugon
09-09-2009, 03:26 PM
68030 then@28MHz? Or maybe two 68EC020's :p

j_factor
09-09-2009, 03:56 PM
The 68x series at that point was no longer offering a very good cost-performance ratio. An 020 would have been weak (see CD32).

Chilly Willy
09-09-2009, 04:26 PM
The 68x series at that point was no longer offering a very good cost-performance ratio. An 020 would have been weak (see CD32).

Which is why consoles had things like SH or MIPS or ARM. I only mentioned it as a possibility if they wanted something to make BC easier. Personally, I think they'd have been better off going with MIPS. They only went with SH because it used slightly less code space, meaning slightly smaller ROM chips or work RAM needed.

gamegenie
09-09-2009, 04:29 PM
Guys I don't think it would have cost that much. Look at this link http://groups.google.com/group/misc.forsale.computers.workstation/browse_thread/thread/81f0d1d9ac9cd457/c06eab60aaefeb0b?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Motorola+68040+price#c06eab60aaefeb0b

The 40MHz 68040 Motorola was $310, the 25Mhz version was $200. Remember the Saturn cost $400 dollars alone. The CPU price would have fit right in.

Saturn would have probably been more powerful than the PlayStation.

kool kitty89
09-09-2009, 04:38 PM
The thing is the SH2's still might have been cheaper, being specifically designed for low-cost embedded/multimedia applications, depending on specific negotiations for bulk orders of course. A lower end 32-bit 68k CPU might have been an option, like the 16.7 MHz rated 68EC020 -only other speed offered being 25 MHz iirc (EC020 also uses 24-bit addressing like the 68000, which avoids some compatibility issues with software using the upper address byte for things it wasn't intended for)

I haven't seen a lot of specifics on the SH2 though, but I'd imagine it was considerably larger (in terms of # of transistors) than an 020 (due to the 4 kB cache if nothing else), though being produced on a .8 micron process rather than the EC020's 1 micron process would mean less silicon for the same transistor count. Of course, physical chip size is only one factor in cost.
The SH2 is also far more powerful, so a lot of the software rendering the 32x could do would no longer be possible.

We were recently talking in the Jaguar forum on Atariage about alternate CPUs, and the 3DO got mixed in there as well. The 68020 family tends to be the most discussed as an alternative to the Jag's 68000, and we'd already gone through discussing how the 16.7 MHz 020 would have been the cheapest option (in any case the cache and 32-bit data bus being the most important).
In any case, it was mentioned that the 3DO was hindered by its CPU lacking a cache (with both GPU and CPU fighting over main RAM), so a inquired why the 020 (or one of the ARM chips with cache) wouldn't have been an alternate choice there as well, and it was speculated that even the lower en EC020 would be significantly more expensive than the ARM60 3DO used. (the ARM being ~35,000 transistors and the 020 being ~190,000 transistors -and any of those ARMs with cache being even larger due to the large cache size -a custom one using the ARM6 core with a small cache like the 020 might have been an interesting possibility though)

So this got me thinking, with the ARM60 being such a small chip (~3/5 the size of a 68000, but still probably more expensive due to the 68k's age and high production volume), perhaps it would have been a good choice for a low-cost Sega design as well, and was a fairly well known architecture -not as much as 68k though, but should be significantly more powerful than a 68020. (as long as lack of cache wasn't a big issue -as it was on 3DO and Jaguar)



But on the main topic, I kind of like the idea, except Sega probably shouldn't have gone with another add-on with the 32x at all, but rather designed a new system (avoiding any limitations resulting from genesis interfacing) that was derived from and compatible with Genesis+CD hardware, but enhanced enough to make it reasonably competitive in the 5th gen market.
Perhaps enhance the Genesis VDP, allowing a much larger master palette (I believe it currently supports up to a 16-bit palette) along with more subpalettes and possibly more scroll layers. increase the VRAM. I'm not sure if increasing the size of the subpalettes would have been practical though, if so that would be great, and perhaps some other features like sprite scaling. (though other hardware could handle that in any case)
Modify the Sega CD video ASIC to work with more than 4-bit/16-color blocks (at least 8-bit/256 colors) and have it working in conjunction with another VDP, either a simple "super VDP" (bitmap display controller) like tomaitheus has suggested, or maybe something a bit more complex with additional hardware features like texture mapping, polygon rendering, and gouraud shading. (though perhaps those could be added features to the ASIC, whcih does have some rudimentary polygon drawing support already -or a kind of approximation)
And the Sega CD's word RAM apears to already be configured in a similar manner as the 32x framebuffers. (2x 128 kB blocks, 16-bit data bus, similar speed I believe as well -and I think the Genesis also communicates to the 32x via the framebuffer)

Probably keep the Genesis CPU the same (maybe use a faster 68k with an optional higher clock speed possible in "nextgen" mode), and either keep the CD's 12.5 MHz 68k, maybe go for a 16.67 MHz one (Sega CD's 50 MHz master clock divided by 3), or maybe a 68EC020, again the 16.67 MHz one being the cheaper option. (though there's the 25 MHz version) Or, keep the 12.5 MHz 68000 for compatibility (and perhaps as a coprocessor) and add another CPU, perhaps an SH2 (which might work out working in cache while the 68k works in main), or the low cost ARM60 I mentioned. (though you probably wouldn't be able to use the 68k much then -no cache and shared bus- maybe just for interrupts) Then expand program RAM to 2 MB (from 512), preferably with a 32-bit bus, but you could make do with 16-bit. (that's all the 32x had, and if it facilitated backwards compatibility in particular it could work)

Then include a DSP coprocessor with similar purpose as the GTE in the PlayStation, 3D calculations, albeit less powerful than the GTE. The SVP chip might be a candidate for this. (and should be able to be clocked at 25 MHz)

Finally, audio: with the Genesis and Sega CD audio hardware, along with the option of redbook CD audio, you might have enough already, perhaps expand the audio RAM for the Sega CD's PCM chip. Maybe also add a pair of DACs kind of like with the 32x, but don't use PWM, software driven like with the 32x (perhaps the DSP could be optionally used for this as well?)


Or ignore all that and go minimalist, take the stock genesis (on a single chip ASIC by 1994 I believe), and the stock Sega CD (maybe soem simple modifications to the ASIC), expand program RAM and add an SH2 or maybe SVP-ish coprocessor along with a simple VDP.


Edit:


The 40MHz 68040 Motorola was $310, the 25Mhz version was $200. Remember the Saturn cost $400 dollars alone. The CPU price would have fit right in.

Saturn would have probably been more powerful than the PlayStation.

GAH! $200 are you insane? Do you think the CPU is the most expensive component and that the Saturn's $400 price tag was selling at production cost? No it was for profit (initially), while Sony was more aggressive and took a big hit on hardware by dumping the price (they could afford to eat the cost -being a big company and planning on profiting through software/royalties) Even if they sold it at cost it would be a lot more expensive by the time it got to retail. (retailers and distributors have to make money too, plus there's the general costs involved in transportation)

That's at least 10x more expensive than you want a CPU to cost! (probably RAM and/or disc drive are the most expensive) preferably you'd get a good deal on a bulk order of the selected CPU, or buy a license and produce it even cheaper than that.

ThugsRook
09-09-2009, 04:48 PM
ive pretty much come to the conclusion that if the Saturn supported SMD SCD & 32X carts/cds (even if by adapter) it would have been a winner.

most ppl had nice MegaDrive collections by the time Saturn came out... better hardware would have been nice (Neptune) but not many were interested in an all new platform.

:|

kool kitty89
09-09-2009, 05:06 PM
ive pretty much come to the conclusion that if the Saturn supported SMD SCD & 32X carts/cds (even if by adapter) it would have been a winner.

most ppl had nice MegaDrive collections by the time Saturn came out... better hardware would have been nice (Neptune) but not many were interested in an all new platform.
:|

The EU/UK market does seem to hold on to old hardware longer (the 8-bit computers being a big example), so compatibility would probably have been particularly important there, less so in the US, but still important given the popularity of the Genesis. Europe seems like the biggest screw up given that was Sega's most established console market, the US had it's own problems as well (it really does appear they were overspending under Kalinske), but SoJ certainly didn't go about addressing those issues and maintaining their stronger markets. (and the Saturn obviously wasn't designed with those markets in mind in particular, granted neither was the Sega CD, but that was in development before the Genesis was big in the US, so a bit more understandable)

The key would have been doing that and keeping low cost, so probably not the Saturn we know. MD compatibility would obviously be most important, they might have gotten away with ditching Sega CD -but building on that hardware could have been a viable option as well -but more limited. (and should have forgone 32x entirely, just released the new system earlier instead, and more affordable, like below $300 at launch in mid '94)

It would have been simpler had there been no Sega CD to worry about, then again maybe even better if the Sega CD had been more capable in the first place. (separate VDP being the key factor, and probably not a significant cost altering one) That along with releasing an all-in one, integrated, affordable unit could have lasted a lot longer than the SCD as it was, and perhaps foregone the Saturn all together, and either ridden things out until the Dreamcast (maybe releasing it a couple months sooner, and focusing more on refinement and any possible flaws -ie piracy protection)
Or they could have released a new system, less powerful than the DC, but ahead of the mainstream 5th gen consoles around 1996/97, maybe based around an SH3 for CPU, with similar emphasis on simplicity and efficiency as the Dreamcast.

Hell, maybe not even released the CD system as an add-on, but work on it a bit longer and released it (MD compatible) ~1993 (maybe late '92 in japan and later in the west, ~1 year later than the actual MCD) as a standalone system.


And I just realized that link to the 68040 prices is a joke. :roll: http://groups.google.com/group/misc.forsale.computers.workstation/browse_thread/thread/81f0d1d9ac9cd457/c06eab60aaefeb0b?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Motorola+68040+price#c06eab60aaefeb0b

gamegenie
09-09-2009, 06:47 PM
And I just realized that link to the 68040 prices is a joke. :roll: http://groups.google.com/group/misc.forsale.computers.workstation/browse_thread/thread/81f0d1d9ac9cd457/c06eab60aaefeb0b?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Motorola+68040+price#c06eab60aaefeb0b

I just realized that too. Even the poster back then in 1994 believes the CPU is over priced junk :D

Chilly Willy
09-09-2009, 08:23 PM
Guys I don't think it would have cost that much. Look at this link http://groups.google.com/group/misc.forsale.computers.workstation/browse_thread/thread/81f0d1d9ac9cd457/c06eab60aaefeb0b?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Motorola+68040+price#c06eab60aaefeb0b

The 40MHz 68040 Motorola was $310, the 25Mhz version was $200. Remember the Saturn cost $400 dollars alone. The CPU price would have fit right in.

Saturn would have probably been more powerful than the PlayStation.

Compare those prices to the SH-2, which was < $20 (in lots). Every dollar more (than twice that for two CPUs) would have been another dollar added to the price of the Saturn with an 040 instead.

You're too used to general computing processor prices. Embedded processors like the SH line and MIPS are/were dirt cheap.

gamegenie
09-09-2009, 08:46 PM
If only we could remake the Saturn today under the 68040 spec, call it the Anniversary Saturn", and boast how it has more features than the Saturn from 1995, it can play Saturn, Sega CD, 32X, and Genesis games. Get SEGA to grant license of it. Price it at $199, that thing will sell like hot cakes.

Da_Shocker
09-09-2009, 10:47 PM
What is everybody's fascination with backwards compatibility? Nintendo saw no need in putting it in any of their cart systems. Sega dabbled with it with Powerbase Converter but it wasn't a success at all. It didn't become a success until Sony put it in with the PS2. But it was a hit and miss with the PS3 and with the 360.

Puffy2k316
09-09-2009, 10:52 PM
It's pretty convenient but I could live without it. Having the whole ps 1,2, and 3 libraries in one system under your tv is mighty nice.

gamegenie
09-09-2009, 10:54 PM
What is everybody's fascination with backwards compatibility? Nintendo saw no need in putting it in any of their cart systems. Sega dabbled with it with Powerbase Converter but it wasn't a success at all. It didn't become a success until Sony put it in with the PS2. But it was a hit and miss with the PS3 and with the 360.


that's a wierd way of judging it. 360's BC with Xbox 1 is as good as PS2's BC with PS1, not every game works, not every PS1 game worked on PS2. But the fact that it has it, makes owning a new system worthwhile since it makes your old games purchases less of a waste since you can still play them on your new system. << This is the mindset that many have when it comes to BC. This the mindset I had when I saw the Saturn's cartridge slot, then being enticed when I read a late 1994 issued Game Informer mag that suggested the slot would be useful for Genesis/32X games, only to find out later that the cartridge only had support for memory saving.

Saturn having BC with Sega's previous 16-bit systems would have imo justified it's $400 price tag.

Da_Shocker
09-09-2009, 11:56 PM
Adding in BC would've driven the Saturn's price to even more money. The Genesis ended up failing miserably in Japan getting ousted by the PCE. There was no motivation for BC. The best thing or most logical thing for Sega would've been to extend the life of the Genesis in the US and Europe.

kool kitty89
09-10-2009, 01:32 AM
What is everybody's fascination with backwards compatibility? Nintendo saw no need in putting it in any of their cart systems. Sega dabbled with it with Powerbase Converter but it wasn't a success at all. It didn't become a success until Sony put it in with the PS2. But it was a hit and miss with the PS3 and with the 360.

Ahem, Gameboy/DS line. ;) (leaving GB/GBC support out of the DS/Micro was lame though, particularly as the hardware was there -onboard the GBA ASIC, just the switch mechanism was absent)

It's a selling point for some people, either those who wanted to buy the predicessor, but haven't yet gotten it (and may have actually picked up some older games for said system already), or those who own the older system but would appreciate the convienence and option to trade in/sell the old system and any games they don't care as much for, and keep their favorites to play on the new system. Also, it means that you can continue to support software for the older system, and have your new userbase as viable customers as well.
In Sega's case, with the Sega CD out, there was that additional factor, CD compatibility in an integrated unit. (and drop the CDX entirely)
And it seems odd with Sega's track record for compatible systems, with the Mk.III/SMS (JP) being compatible with SG-1000, MD/Genesis with SMS, even GG with SMS (though kind of poor), all consoles of limited success, but they stop this with their most successful system? Odd.

If done tactfully, you can also save development costs by building on older hardware, and put parts of the old hardware to good use, like the SMS components in Genesis. (though there's a point when things start to get sloppy and inefficient)

I think this was most import in Europe/UK, just like MD SMS compatibility was there. They tend to hold onto old tech the longest (8-bit computers as I mentioned), and were also Sega's most established console market. I think it would have been appreciated in the US as well, and backwards compatibility almost always seems to get praised in reviews.



that's a wierd way of judging it. 360's BC with Xbox 1 is as good as PS2's BC with PS1, not every game works, not every PS1 game worked on PS2. But the fact that it has it, makes owning a new system worthwhile since it makes your old games purchases less of a waste since you can still play them on your new system. << This is the mindset that many have when it comes to BC. This the mindset I had when I saw the Saturn's cartridge slot, then being enticed when I read a late 1994 issued Game Informer mag that suggested the slot would be useful for Genesis/32X games, only to find out later that the cartridge only had support for memory saving.

Hmm, I think the PS2's compatibility was significantly better, and is also actual hardware compatibility, not emulation through software like the 360.


Saturn having BC with Sega's previous 16-bit systems would have imo justified it's $400 price tag.

Yeah, but conceivably, an efficient evolution of the Genesis+MegaCD hardware could have actually been cheaper than the Saturn, though more limited. (with the advantages of familiar architecture for previous Sega developers and being able to come to market sooner without being rushed)
Still, it could probably have been more advanced for a similar cost had there been no Sega CD, just Genesis compatibility to worry about, and the rest you can do whatever you want with.

But by no means should you have the 68040 anywhere in the design, not a bad chip (probably better than its x86 contemporaries), but not what we want. A 16.7 MHz 68EC020 would probably be in the right price range (maybe a bit cheaper than an SH2 even), but also much less powerful, a MIPS or ARM CPU would have been better and more familiar than the SH2 as well. (not sure about cost, though the ARM60 should be cheaper than any of these, especially licenced, but also less capable than an SH2)
But there are really lots of options for backwards compatibility, albeit not using actual Saturn hardware, but a different design entirely.


edit:

Adding in BC would've driven the Saturn's price to even more money. The Genesis ended up failing miserably in Japan getting ousted by the PCE. There was no motivation for BC. The best thing or most logical thing for Sega would've been to extend the life of the Genesis in the US and Europe.

Not if you design the system arround backwards compatibility, with emphesis on reasonable enhancements, short development time, low development cost, and low production cost. (a very different machine thant he Saturn to be sure)

And there certainly should have been motivation for BC with the Genesis/MD's western successes, and while weak in Japan, still sold better there than its predicessors, and BC had been provided for all of those.


Oh, and don't just mention PCE by itsself, the CD extensions of that line were the most successful aspect, and largely responsible for its longevity.

Cornugon
09-10-2009, 02:12 AM
What if:
Nintendo didn't bail out on Sony in the first place:
-The Playstation would have been released as SNES's Sega CD,
-CD-gaming in general would have become more popular earlier on, so that the Sega CD would also have been more succesful.
-The Philips CDI probably wouldn't have been released, or maybe in a different form (regular VCD player), and those Nintendo licensed titles definately wouldn't have existed.
-Commodore CDTV would have had a little more succes (since the lack of competition from CDI), but would have still been a failure. But maybe it would have more games... Commodore would still have gone bankrupt in '94 though.
-The Saturn wouldn't have been rushed because there was nothing to fear (yet) from a Playstation as console.
-The Sega CD would have been more popular, because thanks to Nintendo people better understand the enhancements possible thanks to CD-media.
-The 32X would have done better, since the 'Saturn' would have been released at a later date.
-Nintendo would still have been arrogant as hell, and in it's arrogancy they dropped partnership with Sony somewhere in '95 and would do the 'Nintendo 64' on their own, which would have been a CD-based system.
-So finally Sony would have entered the market around '98 with the 'Playstation' which would have been called different because Nintendo holds the rights to the Playstation name :p
-This 'Playstation' would have been halfway between 'our' PSX and PS2 in specs, but would have had a similar spec'd 'Saturn' as contender
-The Nintendo 64, even as a CD-based console would still have a large library of kiddie games. But on the other hand, the Final Fantasies might still have been released on it... hmmm

Ehh okay I'll stop now :p

kool kitty89
09-10-2009, 03:13 AM
What if:
Nintendo didn't bail out on Sony in the first place:

Nintendo backed out for good reason, they noticed the fine print and realized that the contract was extremely biased toward Sony. (Sony had exclusive rights over disc games on the system, meaning no licencing/royaltees for Nintendo, not at all attractive)

Now a better "what if" would be if N had joined with Phillips in the first place, it might have gone better, and Sony wouldn't be moving toward the console market. Though it could have ended up rather like the Sega CD, granted the SNES's video capabilities (especially the 256 color modes) would have made it better suited, so perhaps not. (plus Nintendo has a tendency of not releasing questionable/problematic accessories/products outside of Japan, things like the VB bing exceptions)

Or other Nintendo what ifs, like what if after Star Fox, they released the upgraded Super FX2 chip in a lonk-on cart, with more RAM and address space than the historical SFX2, maybe with a built-in game as well. Much more attractive to customers and developers in particular (elliminating expensive carts for a one time purchase). Or forego Super FX entirely and go more advanced, something a bit like the 32x perhaps, a better 32-bit intrim console than the Virtual Boy at least. (in fact some of the VB hardware might have lended nicely to such an add-on)



-Commodore CDTV would have had a little more succes (since the lack of competition from CDI), but would have still been a failure.

Or gone straight for the CD32 earlier and made sure it made it to the US market, and made sure newer games were developed, not just 16-bit Amiga ports. Also, cut the price and shift to the standard game console marketing strategy, sell the hardware cheap and make money from software sales and licencing royaltees.


-The Saturn wouldn't have been rushed because there was nothing to fear (yet) from a Playstation as console.

Other than a couple bugs and rather basic dev kit, and a lack of launch titles (partially due to Sega's divided priorities, but also general complexity of the Saturn). Inless you mean completely revise the design (maybe scrapping entire parts of it or heavily modifing them) for a release in 95/96. Preferably ending up with something more simple and clean like the Dreamcast. With that timeline the 32x+Genesis+CD could ahve worked out better too. (though it's still kind of limited, particularly in terms of RAM, which gets tricky for CD32x games)

But then there's the other end of things, their earlier "Gigidrive" project, which was simpler and meant to be a 2D powerhouse with some limited 3D capabilities and available much sooner. (though in that respect, building on the MD+MCD hardware might have been the best route)



-Nintendo would still have been arrogant as hell, and in it's arrogancy they dropped partnership with Sony somewhere in '95 and would do the 'Nintendo 64' on their own, which would have been a CD-based system.
-So finally Sony would have entered the market around '98 with the 'Playstation' which would have been called different because Nintendo holds the rights to the Playstation name :p
-This 'Playstation' would have been halfway between 'our' PSX and PS2 in specs, but would have had a similar spec'd 'Saturn' as contender
-The Nintendo 64, even as a CD-based console would still have a large library of kiddie games. But on the other hand, the Final Fantasies might still have been released on it... hmmm

Ehh okay I'll stop now :p

Yeah, that's more speculative than even I like to get into, plus there's other stuff, like what if Sega had gone with SGI's chipset (became N64) like Kalinske had suggested?

Or if relations/communications had been better between Japanese and western branches of Sega. Would Michael Katz have done better in the long run in this respect? (he certainly seems more level headed and conservative than Kalinske, not to mention less full of himself ;) -Genesis's popularity might have risen more slowly though -still that's just short term)

Then there's the Game Gear, what if they'd continued supporting it. How about a more compact, cost reduced version lacking the backlit screen, but with much longer batery life. (maybe a simple switchable sidelit screen like old digital watches, cheap, simple, and maintaining the reflextive backing good in bright conditions)
What if the GG had gotten a propper successor rather than the Nomad?

semi off topic ramble:
And with all this talk about other companies:
Wat if 3DO was managed like a normal console, with hardware sold as cheap as possible, and profits made from software sales/licencing fees.
OR
What if Atari Inc. management was more level headed in the early 80's and, with the cancellation of the "3200" design, developed a more practical "quick fix" than the 5200. Based on the A400/800 hardware kind of like the 5200 (maybe a hybrid of 2600+8-bit hardware to facilitate low cost and compatibility with 2600), but add a lockout mechanism to solve the lack of control they had over the 2600 and home computers, also allowing hardware prices to be dumped and profit made from 3rd party licencing/royaltees. Either supply out of th ebox 2600 compatibility, or make an adaptor available at release. That, or just release the 7800 in 1982. :mrgreen:
And don't even get started on Jaguar what ifs. ;)

Edit: Wait, that last bit got me thinking... What if Flare Technologies had attraced intrest from Sega ~1990 instead of partnering with Atari? What if Sega had been impressed enough to forego the Sega CD in favor of supporting their Flare II project. (the "Panther" design was rather wothless, but the Jaguar was really great, and perfect if Sega wanted a 2D monster with lmited 3D capabilities, and with better funding than Atari provided, could have developed much more rapidly, and also remember that the Jaguar design was -at least with Atari- aimed at low cost -hence why they could turn a profit selling it at $250, hell if workied into the design, they probably could have had Genesis compatibility in a reasonably efficient manner)

gamevet
09-10-2009, 04:28 AM
But then there's the other end of things, their earlier "Gigidrive" project, which was simpler and meant to be a 2D powerhouse with some limited 3D capabilities and available much sooner. (though in that respect, building on the MD+MCD hardware might have been the best route)



I said that in the last thread. :(

Sega should of had the Gigadrive out in late 93/early 94, instead of trying to extend the life of the Genesis with expensive add-ons. The Playstation didn't become the runaway seller until late 97 and by then Sega could have been readying it's followup with the DC in 98. Instead of being broke and unable to support the DC, they could have made it the success it was likely going to be, before Sega had to cut and run.

Iron Lizard
09-10-2009, 05:13 AM
Didn't we already have this thread?

gamevet
09-10-2009, 05:21 AM
Yeah!

Iron Lizard
09-10-2009, 05:31 AM
http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6264&highlight=saturn

gamegenie
09-10-2009, 06:23 AM
Didn't we already have this thread?

no. This thread is about 'what if' Saturn was designed better with hardware that recognized Sega's previous most successful console Genesis. Simple BC which could have justified it's $400 price tag.


In all purposes if the above would have happened, Neptune wouldn't need to exist.



I would also add to the 'what if' is that SEGA didn't launch Saturn as a response to PlayStation, but held off and let PlayStation go up against 3DO. The only reason 3DO left was because they saw two big 32-bit contenders battling for supreme, they were at that time working on improving the 3DO with the M2 and that project could have been SONY's competition. 3DO's price in mid 1995 had fallen to the same price the PSX was at so it's possible.


Meanwhile the improved Saturn would have been a launch that would follow the Nintendo 64 release date a year later.

ThugsRook
09-10-2009, 07:17 AM
SEGA could have done better with the add-ons too.

32x could have simply been more power for Mega Drive carts, not a new platform needing new games.

they also had something going with the lock-on cart (which could have easily held an extra processor or 2) but did nothing with it.

:)

Da_Shocker
09-10-2009, 12:26 PM
no. This thread is about 'what if' Saturn was designed better with hardware that recognized Sega's previous most successful console Genesis. Simple BC which could have justified it's $400 price tag.


In all purposes if the above would have happened, Neptune wouldn't need to exist.



I would also add to the 'what if' is that SEGA didn't launch Saturn as a response to PlayStation, but held off and let PlayStation go up against 3DO. The only reason 3DO left was because they saw two big 32-bit contenders battling for supreme, they were at that time working on improving the 3DO with the M2 and that project could have been SONY's competition. 3DO's price in mid 1995 had fallen to the same price the PSX was at so it's possible.


Meanwhile the improved Saturn would have been a launch that would follow the Nintendo 64 release date a year later.


The 3DO and Jaguar were NEVER a threat at all. And yes this topic has been done before a few times. BC has never been a main console seller. Don't get me wrong it's handy to have But other than Nintendo's use in there hand held
it hasn't been implemented successfully on a consistent basis with the regular consoles. The Saturn needed much better 3rd party support and a real Sonic game.

jerry coeurl
09-10-2009, 01:08 PM
Backwards compatibility is nice, but I've never viewed it as a necessity. It's not like your older consoles stop working when you get a new one.

gamegenie
09-10-2009, 03:25 PM
The 3DO and Jaguar were NEVER a threat at all. And yes this topic has been done before a few times. BC has never been a main console seller. Don't get me wrong it's handy to have But other than Nintendo's use in there hand held
it hasn't been implemented successfully on a consistent basis with the regular consoles. The Saturn needed much better 3rd party support and a real Sonic game.

of course 3DO wasn't a threat. But it wasn't much of a contender with Saturn and PlayStation hogging the arena.

3DO probably would have stayed in the game if the 32-bit market in the US in 1995 had only consisted of them and PlayStation, and Sega held off from launching Saturn. But it's just a pipe theory. Anything could have happened as what this thread is about. ;)

Atari, I didn't even mention them. There's too much crap to go through to sort of a what if for them, and I'm not going to waste my time trying. :p

I think the Saturn had decent amount of 3rd party support, there were a lot of games I saw on PlayStation on Saturn up to around late 1998.

Da_Shocker
09-10-2009, 04:48 PM
The 3DO was lacking in great software when it came out and it would be that way for years. Even when the PSx and Saturn came out it should've had great software with it's 2 year head start but it simply didn't. It doesn't have anything that I could'nt get on the Saturn or the PSx. Even the Jaguar had AvP. Plus it could'nt even compete with the 16-Bit systems. Hell it even had the best version of Madden out at time and still flopped.

kool kitty89
09-10-2009, 07:16 PM
The 3DO and Jaguar were NEVER a threat at all.

yeah, but that doesn't mean they didn't have an impact on the industry. (particularly on some defining portions of 3D in that generation)


I said that in the last thread. :(

Sega should of had the Gigadrive out in late 93/early 94, instead of trying to extend the life of the Genesis with expensive add-ons. The Playstation didn't become the runaway seller until late 97 and by then Sega could have been readying it's followup with the DC in 98. Instead of being broke and unable to support the DC, they could have made it the success it was likely going to be, before Sega had to cut and run.

Yes, and you're the one who convinced me that could have been a good idea. Note of course that the Sega CD hadn't been designed to prolong the life of the genesis/MD but for 2 main purposes: to compete with the PC Engine CD and to test the waters of the new format. 32x was another problem in general, and conflicted with the Saturn (even moreso with the rushed Saturn release), and all that hardware 9and advertising thereof) was putting a hurt on their budget.

I still think the Sega CD+Genesis hardware could have been (practically) evolved into a gigadrive quality system. (strong in 2D, capable in 3D)


no. This thread is about 'what if' Saturn was designed better with hardware that recognized Sega's previous most successful console Genesis. Simple BC which could have justified it's $400 price tag.

But to do this efficiently, you'd need to make sure the old hardware was utilized either in a new purpose (like the Z80 in Genesis) or enhanced and used in a similar function as originally (like a video processor with enhanced graphics modes and more colors)




they also had something going with the lock-on cart (which could have easily held an extra processor or 2) but did nothing with it.

:)

Yeah, but there's still the video limitations, unless you added a mixing cable to the lock-on cart. ;) (which would work as long as the add-on didn't require more power than the cart slot could supply)
The SNES was better in this area. (large master palette and 256 color modes)

Still, there's some things you could do with a "simple" lock-on cart, the SVP, or an SH CPU (either with a bit of added RAM), maybe the ASIC from the Sega CD. But these are still lmited.


Overall, they probably shouldn't have gone past the Sega CD in terms of add-ons (the CD did have its utility in testing the format and finding potential pitfalls though) still that in itsself could have been more useful (with the "super VDP especially).

As I see it, there are 2 main options for a new console: either go short term with a "gigadrive" that's backwards compatible (preferably built onto the old hardware to minimize development cost/time, facilitate compatibility, and low production cost)

Or. go long term and skip the Saturn for something more advanced, but sooner than the DC, like 96/97 (by which point BC isn't much of an issue), the peak of 5th gen tech! (simple and clean like the DC)

Da_Shocker
09-10-2009, 08:26 PM
yeah, but that doesn't mean they didn't have an impact on the industry. (particularly on some defining portions of 3D in that generation)



Yes, and you're the one who convinced me that could have been a good idea. Note of course that the Sega CD hadn't been designed to prolong the life of the genesis/MD but for 2 main purposes: to compete with the PC Engine CD and to test the waters of the new format. 32x was another problem in general, and conflicted with the Saturn (even moreso with the rushed Saturn release), and all that hardware 9and advertising thereof) was putting a hurt on their budget.

I still think the Sega CD+Genesis hardware could have been (practically) evolved into a gigadrive quality system. (strong in 2D, capable in 3D)



But to do this efficiently, you'd need to make sure the old hardware was utilized either in a new purpose (like the Z80 in Genesis) or enhanced and used in a similar function as originally (like a video processor with enhanced graphics modes and more colors)




Yeah, but there's still the video limitations, unless you added a mixing cable to the lock-on cart. ;) (which would work as long as the add-on didn't require more power than the cart slot could supply)
The SNES was better in this area. (large master palette and 256 color modes)

Still, there's some things you could do with a "simple" lock-on cart, the SVP, or an SH CPU (either with a bit of added RAM), maybe the ASIC from the Sega CD. But these are still lmited.


Overall, they probably shouldn't have gone past the Sega CD in terms of add-ons (the CD did have its utility in testing the format and finding potential pitfalls though) still that in itsself could have been more useful (with the "super VDP especially).

As I see it, there are 2 main options for a new console: either go short term with a "gigadrive" that's backwards compatible (preferably built onto the old hardware to minimize development cost/time, facilitate compatibility, and low production cost)

Or. go long term and skip the Saturn for something more advanced, but sooner than the DC, like 96/97 (by which point BC isn't much of an issue), the peak of 5th gen tech! (simple and clean like the DC)

SoJ was ready to get rid of the Mega Drive in Japan. When it's said and done the Saturn did ok in Japan it just failed miserably in the rest of the world. Nintendo 64 sold well in the states because of their name alone simply carried them in the states. Had Sega not went and wasted all that time and money of the 32X. They would've had one failure of the Sega CD instead of 2. The 32X ended up having virtually NO good software for it. And the Neptune was gonna end up being that short term system you were talkin about.

gamevet
09-10-2009, 11:16 PM
Yes, and you're the one who convinced me that could have been a good idea. Note of course that the Sega CD hadn't been designed to prolong the life of the genesis/MD but for 2 main purposes: to compete with the PC Engine CD and to test the waters of the new format. 32x was another problem in general, and conflicted with the Saturn (even moreso with the rushed Saturn release), and all that hardware 9and advertising thereof) was putting a hurt on their budget.



No, I don't believe the Sega CD was released to prolong the life of the Genesis, but it came too late to North America. It didn't help that SOA was pushing FMV and then you have much better systems like 3DO showing how FMV is supposed to look, plus arcade FMV titles like Mad Dog McCree. The amount of money SOA spent advertising the Sega CD, was probably far more than what they got in return at retail.

kool kitty89
09-11-2009, 01:10 AM
SoJ was ready to get rid of the Mega Drive in Japan. When it's said and done the Saturn did ok in Japan it just failed miserably in the rest of the world. Nintendo 64 sold well in the states because of their name alone simply carried them in the states. Had Sega not went and wasted all that time and money of the 32X. They would've had one failure of the Sega CD instead of 2. The 32X ended up having virtually NO good software for it. And the Neptune was gonna end up being that short term system you were talkin about.

Well, the 32x had more good games in its library than the Saturn did by the time of the US launch... (or the Japanese launch for that matter)

Even in Japan, the Saturn wasn't as successful as SoJ thought, they were going by sales to retailers, not consumers. (otherwise they'd have realized the PSX was selling better from the start)

Hell, in that logic, maybe the 32x would have even been better in Japan... It could certainly handel the first killer app well. (virtua fighter)

And in any case, the Japanese market should have been the last priorety, maintaining popularity in Europe and regaining the edge in the US should have been their prioreties. Cutting back spending in the US would probably be necessary, but should have been carefully. (the stuff like the multimedia studio seems rather excessive) Probably be more frugal with advertizing, but careful to not weaken it. (or shift it in a manner that would loose Sega fans)

Overall, I think a system in 1993/94 would have been better than the semi-DC one I proposed, better in all markets too, and if designed with compatibility in mind, they probably could have built onto the SC+Genesis hardware as I suggested and still ended up with someting matching the "Gigadrive" concept. Not matching the PSX or N64's 3D capabilities, but being very strong in 2D and capable enought in 3D to get by. (but probably lack a lot of the later games due to limitations of course those could come out on DC instead)
Should be a lot cheaper by the time the PSX was released as well.

Also, I wouldn't cancel the Game Gear. (maybe start a long term, lower priorety development for a successor as well and a cost reduced, more compact version)


No, I don't believe the Sega CD was released to prolong the life of the Genesis, but it came too late to North America. It didn't help that SOA was pushing FMV and then you have much better systems like 3DO showing how FMV is supposed to look, plus arcade FMV titles like Mad Dog McCree. The amount of money SOA spent advertising the Sega CD, was probably far more than what they got in return at retail.

Yeah, the FMV in itsself wasn't the problem (and it did sell), but they could have emphesized other aspects as well like the scaling+rotation -interesting that Western developers like CORE and Malibu Interactive did this most. (or games taking advantage of FMV in a different manner, like Silpheed or Nova Storm) And have Sonic CD as the pack-in... Maybe just be more frugal with advertizing and such. (but that was one of the main issues under Kalinse's leadership in any case)

The later release in the west is kind of usual, it's amost always 6 months to a year after the Japanese release, for Japanese originating systems. (32x being a major exception)

Of course there's the option of not releasing the Sega CD outside Japan at all, but I really don't think that would have ever really been an option though given the circumstances. And I immagine they lost a lot more money over the Saturn than the Sega CD. (I think the CD may have actually outsold the Saturn in the US)


And there's the other "what if" with the Sega CD as well, the "Super VDP" as tomaitheus proposed in his thread about that. Make the ASIC work on 8-bit blocks (256 color palettes) and output to a bitmap display (possibly in addition to the ability to output to the Genesis VDP, or eliminate that function entirely). No other hardware changes, and hardly any cost with shich a simple peice of hardware (they could even eat the cost and not change the price), granted they'd need to have a video mixing cable like the 32x.

But that would really expand things, no longer being tied down by Genesis Video RAM, more colors making it easier to port nice looking VGA games and such, plus much better looking video.


Edit: with the whole "super VDP" thing (simple bitmap display unit, rather like what the 32x has), I didn't mention any specifics, but it wouldn't necessarily be limited to the 256 colors I suggested for the ASIC to be outputting, the master palette would obviously be larger, like the 32x's palette, with the 256 color subpalette(s) being selected from that master palette. You might want it configured like the 32x as well, with the full palette also avalable to be used for the display. (particularly important for video and maybe some static screens and such, though for video youd need a suitable compression codec to both utilize the full palette simultaneously and provide the necessary compression to do so at a 1x speed CD bitrate -otherwise you'd probably be dropping down to 256 color cinepak)

Chilly Willy
09-11-2009, 02:15 PM
My idea for a Saturn built around the Genesis/CD/32X:

Genesis Portion
============
Use two Genesis VDPs with an external RAMDAC. This changes the video from multiple palettes of 16 colors to multiple palettes of 256 colors. Thousands of colors wasn't needed at this time, and by the time it would be needed, you'd be releasing the Dreamcast anyway. This is also the easiest way to maintain backwards compatibility.

Make the VRAM dual-banked so that the system can DMA without waits into one bank while the VDP uses the other bank.

Boost the Work RAM. There's always been room for up to 2 MB of RAM in the Genesis. Boosting this to 2 MB (or even just 1 MB) would have made the Genesis portion more useful.

SEGA CD Portion
==============
The speed of the CD CPU is fine - it's faster than the 68000 in the Saturn! The RAM could stand to be a bit bigger - boost the Program RAM from 512 KB to 1 MB or 2 MB. Boost the Word RAM from 256 KB to 512 KB or maybe 1 MB.

Extend the ASIC just a smidgen to match the fact that we're dealing with two sets of VDPs - make the operations work on odd/even nibbles so that 256 color sources are easily split into two sets of 4 bit destinations for the two VDPs.

The PCM chip was okay for the time, maybe just add more PCM wave memory - 256 KB instead of 64 KB.

A 1X CD would have been fine, but a 2X CD could have been used instead for new games.

32X Portion
=========
The only thing REALLY needed here was to use more memory. 256 KB was really too small. 512 KB minimum, 1 MB would be better, and 2 MB would have been fantastic.

I'm assuming they went with the dual-VDP as stated above instead of the SuperVDP method the actual 32X took. If they did go the SuperVDP way - double the framebuffer size, and extend the drawing capabilities of the SuperVDP so it could at least do affine texture rendering.



All the above wouldn't have been any more complex than the Saturn (arguably less complex), would have maintained backwards compatibility, and would have served fine until the Dreamcast came out.

Da_Shocker
09-11-2009, 04:12 PM
Well, the 32x had more good games in its library than the Saturn did by the time of the US launch... (or the Japanese launch for that matter)

No 32X game can compare to Panzer Dragoon and as buggy as VF was it still looked and sounded much better than the 32X version. Plus Astal and even Daytona destroyed the 32X. And Chilly Willy your system sounds very underpowered. Could it even do respectable ports of Model 2 games?

Chilly Willy
09-11-2009, 05:01 PM
No 32X game can compare to Panzer Dragoon and as buggy as VF was it still looked and sounded much better than the 32X version. Plus Astal and even Daytona destroyed the 32X. And Chilly Willy your system sounds very underpowered. Could it even do respectable ports of Model 2 games?

Only two things on the 32X as it is are lacking: lack of RAM (256K as opposed to 2M on the Saturn), and a VDP that does almost nothing (it fills - that's it). Sure, clocking the SH2s faster would be great (the Saturn runs at 26 or 28 MHz), but boosting the RAM and adding a bit more to the VDP would have closed the gap enough that it wouldn't have mattered. That power could be taken up by making the CD ASIC more powerful. Yes, the Saturn is more powerful than what I proposed above, but not enough that it would have overcome the pluses. The idea was that slight changes to something they already had would have combined to make something nearly as powerful that would have worked until the true next generation was ready.

tomaitheous
09-11-2009, 05:34 PM
This thread is all built on the premise that backwards compatibility would have saved Sega during the 32bit generation? Or at least allowed them to live on longer while pulling themselves together? Sega would have needed the foresight to even think they were in trouble at the current time. I'm sure they thought they were on the right track with the Saturn. If you would ask any sane gamer if a Genesis+SegaCD+32x system instead was going to cut it, you'd get some pretty crazy looks - or out right laughed at. Sega is already known as the company of failed addons because of the 16bit era (despite what some fans think, SegaCD was considered a failure by many along with the 32x), while this isn't an addon - it's right up there. Sega would have the laughing stock of the game industry.

If you really wanted to remove the Saturn, then Nintendo's strategy could have work in Sega's favor. Concentrate soley on the handheld only market. Really compete against the GBC (and not with the GameGear, the music is too shity). Keep the Sega name alive, then come out with a whatever kick ass system you can imagine in 1999.

kool kitty89
09-11-2009, 05:36 PM
No 32X game can compare to Panzer Dragoon and as buggy as VF was it still looked and sounded much better than the 32X version. Plus Astal and even Daytona destroyed the 32X.

I said more good games, not "better" games per se... Shadow Squadron is my personal favorite.

kool kitty89
09-11-2009, 06:17 PM
Use two Genesis VDPs with an external RAMDAC. This changes the video from multiple palettes of 16 colors to multiple palettes of 256 colors. Thousands of colors wasn't needed at this time, and by the time it would be needed, you'd be releasing the Dreamcast anyway. This is also the easiest way to maintain backwards compatibility.

Wow, that sounds a lot better than the enhanced single VDP think I suggested. :) You'd increase the video RAM and want a larger master palette too I assume. (the existing VDP already supported up to a 16-bit palette, so that shouldn't be a problem)

And you might need more colors in a single palette for displaying nice looking polygon stuff (with minimal dithering -particularly for textures and/or gouraud shading), but maybe you would have that spcifically for the 32x portion.



Boost the Work RAM. There's always been room for up to 2 MB of RAM in the Genesis. Boosting this to 2 MB (or even just 1 MB) would have made the Genesis portion more useful.
[snip]
The RAM could stand to be a bit bigger - boost the Program RAM from 512 KB to 1 MB or 2 MB. Boost the Word RAM from 256 KB to 512 KB or maybe 1 MB.
[snip]
A 1X CD would have been fine, but a 2X CD could have been used instead for new games.

Hmm, I think you'd have to temper some of that to optimize for cost, obviously going to the upper end of all of it would probably not be cheap. (and you'd be talking more RAM than the Saturn) I think you could probably get by with a 1x speed drive and save on that, especialy if you wanted to launch in the '93/94 timeframe. (video would be limited an dload times longer, but if optimized not too bad I think -and seeks are the most problematic in any case)

With all the RAM though, would it be better to have a couple 1 MB banks for the CD and Genesis sides, or a single 2 MB block on one side? (and still upgrade the Genesis work RAM somewhat either way) And could you increase the address size to the word RAM so the Genesis CPU didn't have to work on 128 kB banks?


The only thing REALLY needed here was to use more memory. 256 KB was really too small. 512 KB minimum, 1 MB would be better, and 2 MB would have been fantastic.

I'm assuming they went with the dual-VDP as stated above instead of the SuperVDP method the actual 32X took. If they did go the SuperVDP way - double the framebuffer size, and extend the drawing capabilities of the SuperVDP so it could at least do affine texture rendering.

Hmm, so that's more RAM on top of that in the other portions of the system already, or shared with another part of th esystem -either Sega CD or Genesis? (assuming they went straight for this evolutionary system rather than a 32x add on at all)

And would you have the 32x portions also outputting to the dual Genesis VDPs? (maybe using the ASIC's bimap to tilemap conversion ability)

Perhaps you could just add a single SH2 to the CD sinde of things and hav it work in cache most of the time (so the 68k could work while sharing th esame bus) Plus you could have the SH2 clocked at 25 MHz if on the CD side. Then there's the inclusing of the SVP (or something similar) to handel 3D calculations.

If outputting to the dual genesis VDPs you'd still be limited to the 256 color subpalettes, so textures and shading could look rather dithered or just low color. (like 256 color VGA PC games) Still, if you did this via the ASIC, perhaps you could encorporate added features into the ASIC rather than an another VDP. (rasterizing triangles, texture mapping, shading)

But perhaps it would just be better to have another VDP for the "32x side" of things. Preferably a bitmap display with a large palette like the 32x VDP, but definitely add more than just the fill function, like polygon rasteriztion, affine mapping, and gouraud shading. Preferably with higher resolution modes as well. (granted this would take more framebuffer space) Could you have the CD's word RAM also used as framebuffers for this VDP?

So kind of liek the Saturn, with the dual Genesis VDPs a bit like VDP-2 (except they're also handling sprites), but with the CD ASIC as well, and with the "32x" VDP similar to VDP-1 (except it wouldn't have to do the sprites and would probably work with triangles).



Edit: I remembered the CD ASIC can alreay render polygons so you wouldn't even have to add that feature. (if working with just the genesis VDPs)

ThugsRook
09-11-2009, 06:27 PM
again, all we wanted at the time was a more powerful Genesis. we didnt want a new platform, just more power.

kool kitty89
09-11-2009, 06:55 PM
again, all we wanted at the time was a more powerful Genesis. we didnt want a new platform, just more power.

Yes, but that's mainly good for current Genesis owners, so not being as attractive for new customers, granted add-ons wouldn't either, hence why I suggested a new system alltogether (but derived from and compatible with the old, and cost effective). That and there's inherant limitations (with coresponding inefficiency) going the add-on route. (be it Sega CD, 32x, lock-on cart, or enhanced carts)

Going with expensive carts is particularly ineficient, 3 $100 enhanced games compared to a 32x plus 3x ~$50 games or such. (particularly if there was a pack-in)

With lock-on you're quite limited as well, though it pretty much solves the high cost of on-chip carts. You wouldn't be able to upgrade video (either display or VRAM limitations) without a mixing cable still, and would also be lmited to what you coud add to the cart by power consumption. (limits of what the cart slot can supply)
I think it might have been interesting to recycle some of the Sega CD hadware in a lock-on cart (ie the ASIC and sound chip) assuming there was sufficient power. Probably port some (non FMV dependent) Sega CD games over pretty well. Maybe that plus the SVP, but I'm not sure enough power could be supplied for that.
None of this would probably extend the life long enough to effectively avoid the Saturn though. (well, unless you went for the '96/97 hypothetical pre-dreamcast)
Europe would probably have been the only place that would have really been attractive to hang on to the old MegaDrive alone (or with moderate extensions).


Overall, an evolutionary system gives the most freedom to expand the tech though, and in a much more efficient manner. It may not be the most attractive to some of the then current Sega consumers, but probably the best overall. At least it's fully compatible, and would also give Sega CD compatibility for the many Genesis users who didn't own one but wanted it. Continued compatibility would help to maintain Genesis/MD support a bit longer. (probably emphesize this in Europe anyway) Plus, having a closer architecture should mean easier to port enhanced versions of games to the new hardware.

With compatibility for all the older games, it could even be attractive to budget gamers (who didn't yet own a Genesis), though most would still probably go for cheaper, old (used) hardware.


Finally, staying wit carts really wasn't a good option, the advantages of optical media was too great, especially for attracting developers. (large capacity, streaming audio/video, and -most importantly- low cost) The low cost in particular would be attractive to everyone, meaning conpanies could make higher profits selling at lower prices. (N64 was a perfect example of this)

NeoVamp
09-11-2009, 07:54 PM
Europe would probably have been the only place that would have really been attractive to hang on to the old MegaDrive alone (or with moderate extensions).


Why would Europe have been the only place?

tomaitheous
09-11-2009, 08:24 PM
Why would Europe have been the only place?

Because US companies sucked and Japan already gave up on the MD. Europe has a history of clinging to their systems beyond there place.

Chilly Willy
09-11-2009, 08:39 PM
Wow, that sounds a lot better than the enhanced single VDP think I suggested. :) You'd increase the video RAM and want a larger master palette too I assume. (the existing VDP already supported up to a 16-bit palette, so that shouldn't be a problem)

And you might need more colors in a single palette for displaying nice looking polygon stuff (with minimal dithering -particularly for textures and/or gouraud shading), but maybe you would have that spcifically for the 32x portion.

Up until Quake II or round-abouts, all 3D games were 256 color. Doom, Quake, Tomb Raider... a few like Tomb Raider had the option of thousands mode rendering, but it wasn't until good 3D accelerators for the PC were available (3dfx) that you started seeing thousands mode 3D.



Hmm, I think you'd have to temper some of that to optimize for cost, obviously going to the upper end of all of it would probably not be cheap. (and you'd be talking more RAM than the Saturn) I think you could probably get by with a 1x speed drive and save on that, especialy if you wanted to launch in the '93/94 timeframe. (video would be limited an dload times longer, but if optimized not too bad I think -and seeks are the most problematic in any case)

With all the RAM though, would it be better to have a couple 1 MB banks for the CD and Genesis sides, or a single 2 MB block on one side? (and still upgrade the Genesis work RAM somewhat either way) And could you increase the address size to the word RAM so the Genesis CPU didn't have to work on 128 kB banks?



Hmm, so that's more RAM on top of that in the other portions of the system already, or shared with another part of th esystem -either Sega CD or Genesis? (assuming they went straight for this evolutionary system rather than a 32x add on at all)

And would you have the 32x portions also outputting to the dual Genesis VDPs? (maybe using the ASIC's bimap to tilemap conversion ability)

Perhaps you could just add a single SH2 to the CD sinde of things and hav it work in cache most of the time (so the 68k could work while sharing th esame bus) Plus you could have the SH2 clocked at 25 MHz if on the CD side. Then there's the inclusing of the SVP (or something similar) to handel 3D calculations.

If outputting to the dual genesis VDPs you'd still be limited to the 256 color subpalettes, so textures and shading could look rather dithered or just low color. (like 256 color VGA PC games) Still, if you did this via the ASIC, perhaps you could encorporate added features into the ASIC rather than an another VDP. (rasterizing triangles, texture mapping, shading)

But perhaps it would just be better to have another VDP for the "32x side" of things. Preferably a bitmap display with a large palette like the 32x VDP, but definitely add more than just the fill function, like polygon rasteriztion, affine mapping, and gouraud shading. Preferably with higher resolution modes as well. (granted this would take more framebuffer space) Could you have the CD's word RAM also used as framebuffers for this VDP?

So kind of liek the Saturn, with the dual Genesis VDPs a bit like VDP-2 (except they're also handling sprites), but with the CD ASIC as well, and with the "32x" VDP similar to VDP-1 (except it wouldn't have to do the sprites and would probably work with triangles).



Edit: I remembered the CD ASIC can alreay render polygons so you wouldn't even have to add that feature. (if working with just the genesis VDPs)

Yes, you can't go too overboard on the RAM. The Saturn was 2 MB for the SH2, 1.5 MB for video, 512 KB for audio, and 512 KB for CD cache.

Genesis part: 512 KB for the Genesis 68000 and 2x2x64 KB for the dual-bank dual VDPs.

CD part - 256 KB for PCM wave data, 512 KB for the Word RAM (which is what the ASIC renders in), and 512 KB for the Program RAM (left alone to match the Genesis side). Bump up the CD cache to 256 KB (from 64 KB in SEGA CD).

SH2 part - The Saturn splits the 2 MB in half - 1 MB fast SDRAM, and 1 MB slower DRAM. I think use 1 MB of SDRAM here for the SH2s, and then allow it slower access to the 512 KB Genesis and 512 KB CD 68000 RAM banks. I like the idea of clocking the SH2s at twice the CD 68000 rate instead of three times the Genesis 68000 rate (25 MHz instead of 23 MHz).

Remember, folks, what we're doing here is making a mythical console as an evolution of the Genesis/CD/32X. In this scenario, the 32X itself wasn't released, instead SEGA released this mythical console that was backwards compatible with the Genesis and SEGA CD, with an update to 32 bit processing and graphics. This, like the 32X, could have been released in 1994, serving until the DC was ready in late 1998 (in Japan). This would have been cheaper than the Saturn as it would be using parts already in use (with minor changes in some cases, like the CD ASIC, and interface chips between the sections).

Da_Shocker
09-11-2009, 09:08 PM
Isn't that what the original Saturn was gonna be a spruced up Genesis with "modest" 3D support? I think what it boils down to beyond some people wild imagination of BC being the sole saving grace of the Saturn is that woud'nt it been more logical for SoJ to simply continue the Genesis/MD in the states and Europe were the units was still viable. Most users that buy a new system either keep there old hardware or get rid of it to get the newer hardware.


Did the N64 bomb in Japan cause of the lack of BC?
Did the DC bomb because of that?
Same with the PS3 which has spotty BC
Is BC why the Wii is doing so great now?
Is BC the main reason why Nintendo that dominated the handheld scene for years?

kool kitty89
09-11-2009, 09:53 PM
Up until Quake II or round-abouts, all 3D games were 256 color. Doom, Quake, Tomb Raider... a few like Tomb Raider had the option of thousands mode rendering, but it wasn't until good 3D accelerators for the PC were available (3dfx) that you started seeing thousands mode 3D.

Yeah, but didn't consoles start doing it sooner? (Jaguar, 3DO, 32x, Playstation, and of course Saturn) Also, didn't VGA use an 18-bit master palette (262,144), a lot less than the 24-bit palettes of newer systems, but wouldn't it still give a more flexible 256 color adaptive palette than a 15-bit palette like 32x or SNES (or a maximum 16-bit palette for Genesis VDPs)?

Though I suppose 256 colors from 15/16 bit palette would look good enough (certainly many times better than what the Sega CD has to work with). Even with the smaller master palette compared to PC it would probably not look that different, and comparing a lot of contemporary DOS games to PSX or Saturn, they look fine, so yeah. :)
(of course if you went the Super VDP rout, it'd probably be better to shave the increased color, but otherwise it's fine, for simplisity of design if nothing else)



Genesis part: 512 KB for the Genesis 68000 and 2x2x64 KB for the dual-bank dual VDPs.

So that's 2 banks of 64kB for each VDP?


SH2 part - The Saturn splits the 2 MB in half - 1 MB fast SDRAM, and 1 MB slower DRAM. I think use 1 MB of SDRAM here for the SH2s, and then allow it slower access to the 512 KB Genesis and 512 KB CD 68000 RAM banks.

And have the SH2 (or do you want to keep the dual SH2 layout?) connected to a 32-bit data bus as in the Saturn, opposed to the 16-bit one in the 32x?


I like the idea of clocking the SH2s at twice the CD 68000 rate instead of three times the Genesis 68000 rate (25 MHz instead of 23 MHz).

Yeah, but that idea was mainly due to the proposed association with the Sega CD side of the hardware. If you can pick any clock to work from, going with the Genesis's master clock (~53.7 MHz NTSC) would provide ~26.85 MHz. Or if you could use the 3.58 MHz signal connected to the Z80 and multiply that by 8, you'd have 28.64 MHz, which is just about the exact rated speed for those SH2s and the speed they're running in the Saturn.

Oh, and you wouldn't want to add the SVP or equivelent as dedicated 3D math coprocessor? (like the PSX's GTE) -in that case using 25 MHz would be the rated speed as well.

gamegenie
09-11-2009, 11:15 PM
Isn't that what the original Saturn was gonna be a spruced up Genesis with "modest" 3D support? I think what it boils down to beyond some people wild imagination of BC being the sole saving grace of the Saturn is that woud'nt it been more logical for SoJ to simply continue the Genesis/MD in the states and Europe were the units was still viable. Most users that buy a new system either keep there old hardware or get rid of it to get the newer hardware.


Did the N64 bomb in Japan cause of the lack of BC?
Did the DC bomb because of that?
Same with the PS3 which has spotty BC
Is BC why the Wii is doing so great now?
Is BC the main reason why Nintendo that dominated the handheld scene for years?

N64 did bomb in Japan
DC did emplode over a host of many reasons let alone BC
PS3 like PS2 had BC up till the '08 PS3s, but cut due to cost reduction
360 has BC
Wii has BC
and there are many reasons why Nintendo remain dominant in the handheld reason. 1 being lack of real competitor competition.
not to mention legacy systems like the 7800 had BC as well.

Da_Shocker
09-11-2009, 11:41 PM
The 360 and PS3 have spotty BC, only the 60GB unit has 100% BC. The 7800 bombed bigtime. The Wii is simply a GC+.

tomaitheous
09-12-2009, 12:45 AM
N64 did bomb in Japan
DC did emplode over a host of many reasons let alone BC
PS3 like PS2 had BC up till the '08 PS3s, but cut due to cost reduction
360 has BC
Wii has BC
and there are many reasons why Nintendo remain dominant in the handheld reason. 1 being lack of real competitor competition.
not to mention legacy systems like the 7800 had BC as well.

The success of such systems has nothing to do with BC. There are many success story example for system that didn't have BC or could have BC because they were the first.

And for the record, the 360 has no BC. It as recompiled cores (code) for the 360 that run instead/in place of. And they quickly dropped that idea.

It's ridiculous to think the success of a system, is directly related to its BC feature. Only a few systems relied on it and that's because the upgrade wasn't magnitudes greater (GB->GBC).

kool kitty89
09-12-2009, 02:02 AM
The 360 and PS3 have spotty BC, only the 60GB unit has 100% BC. The 7800 bombed bigtime. The Wii is simply a GC+.

7800 didn't bomb... the library was lacking (outside of 2600 games), but sold fairly well (especially considering the lack of advertizing and developer support), the US sales figues show 3.77 million sold (again, US alone, not North America, not Europe or UK). In its case I think BC had a lot to do with it, that and its low cost (and only moderately more expensice than the 2600 Jr.)

I think (in terms of Sales figures) the 7800 might have been Atari's 2nd best selling system. (if you use "Atari" in loose terms to include Atari Inc and Atari Corp) I don't think even the computers sold better. (I don't think the 8-bit sold that well, dispite the long life, and perhaps the ST sold better if you include all models -including Mega ST, STe, etc)


Isn't that what the original Saturn was gonna be a spruced up Genesis with "modest" 3D support? I think what it boils down to beyond some people wild imagination of BC being the sole saving grace of the Saturn is that woud'nt it been more logical for SoJ to simply continue the Genesis/MD in the states and Europe were the units was still viable. Most users that buy a new system either keep there old hardware or get rid of it to get the newer hardware.

I understand that, BC is just part of the change in the design, and only part of the reason for building on old hardware. The other part being cost and time efficiency. Short development time and low development cost, and (hopefully) low production cost allowing it to get a jump on th emarket and get established before the PlayStation (meaning a userbase and library is building and developers have become accustomed to the hardware -mitigating the PSX's ease of development to some extent), and be technically competitive enough to suppor a fair number of multiplatform titles. And building on an older architecture should allow a quicker transition for Genesis/Sega CD developers.

And you're right, old users will either keep the old hardware or sell/trade in to help obtain th enew system. BC will facilitate the latter, allowing the old games to be kept and played w/out the old hardware. (well, maybe not if they want Master System compatibility, but that's getting nit picky)

As to it still being viable, well in Europe, yeah, but that's not unusual, in Japan it was more or less dead, and and in the US it was really starting to show its age as a front line system. 32x and Saturn were both not the answers for the situation, you needed to maintain things in Europe, regain th eedge in the US, and possibly finally make headway in Japan, but to do this would take a lot of tact and compromise. (we're just talong tech here -and some cost, but there's the internal problems making for a precarious relationship with problematic comunication that was messing things up for Sega) They were als getting stretched too thin (hence the decision to drop support for MD, CD, 32x, and GG) and mony was not being managed that well (some extravegencied on Kalinske's part -the Advertizing probably being the most well spent though still costly).

Such a system as being proposed would seem to be the best overall compromize given the situation, they could start to phase out the older hardware, and there's not even be a 32x to confuse things, nt need to drop the GG, and keep techical support for legacy systems as well as some game releases (or at least facilitating 3rd parties still interested in producing games for the MD/Genesis). Phase out the CD first, never mother with the CDX (particularly as it would detract from the new system), and keep the Genesis/MD around as a budget system, particularly in Europe/UK, and to a lesser extent in the US. (not really sure they should go for the Genesis 3 though, mono sound and lack of compatibility with certain thigs is rather problematic, maybe just stick with the VA-4 model 2 board -which is very consolidated, almost as much as the Geneis 3)



Did the N64 bomb in Japan cause of the lack of BC?
Did the DC bomb because of that?
Same with the PS3 which has spotty BC
Is BC why the Wii is doing so great now?
Is BC the main reason why Nintendo that dominated the handheld scene for years?

No, BC is never the key factor (well except maybe for the Atari 5200 -but even that's a gross oversimplification), but that doesn't make it insignificant either. If a system is on the edge of being successful, something like compatibility could make or break it, still, you can't just tack extra hardware on and have an effecient design. (that will add unnecessary cost, a big problem if th esystem is already expensive) hence why such a system needs to be designed from the begining with this in mind. The Atari 7800, Sega Mk.III/SMS (JP), Mega Drive, GBC/GBA, PS2, and Wii all did this fairly well. (well, the Wii is kind of a bad example given how modest and straightforeward upgrade it is hardware wise, a bit like that for the GBC also, but not exactly the same)



The success of such systems has nothing to do with BC. There are many success story example for system that didn't have BC or could have BC because they were the first.

It's ridiculous to think the success of a system, is directly related to its BC feature. Only a few systems relied on it and that's because the upgrade wasn't magnitudes greater (GB->GBC).

Yeah, it's kind of a bonus, or just one factor that could contribute to success. A lot of the time the systems include it because they were evolutionary, derived from the predicessor, and thus it made sense to provide BC as it was simple to do so. (not providing GC compatibility for the Wii for example would have been dumb) There are exceptions to this of course, liek the DS and GB Micro, which use the same ASIC as the GBA and thus shoud be capable of playing GB/GBC games as well, but Nintendo omitted the switching mechanism that provided this. (that really does suck, particularly given how uncommon the SP+ is...)

I think the big point here, is that a Genesis+CD derived/compatible system could also be made in a way that addressed most of the issues with the Saturn. (development time/cost, release time, manufacturing cost/price point, development difficulty -still rather complex/messy but at least built on a familiar architecture, and with compatibility to top it off, and still with roughly comperable capabilities to the Saturn -especially if the hardware was pushed)


Of course, I wouldn't want to alter the DC to provide BC, by that point things are getting pretty complex and long in the tooth, so a fresh start with clean, efficient hardware like the DC is great. (particularly if they put enough focus on development to work out some remaining problems the DC had, particularly the copy protection issues)

Chilly Willy
09-12-2009, 03:07 AM
Yeah, but didn't consoles start doing it sooner? (Jaguar, 3DO, 32x, Playstation, and of course Saturn) Also, didn't VGA use an 18-bit master palette (262,144), a lot less than the 24-bit palettes of newer systems, but wouldn't it still give a more flexible 256 color adaptive palette than a 15-bit palette like 32x or SNES (or a maximum 16-bit palette for Genesis VDPs)?

Though I suppose 256 colors from 15/16 bit palette would look good enough (certainly many times better than what the Sega CD has to work with). Even with the smaller master palette compared to PC it would probably not look that different, and comparing a lot of contemporary DOS games to PSX or Saturn, they look fine, so yeah. :)
(of course if you went the Super VDP rout, it'd probably be better to shave the increased color, but otherwise it's fine, for simplisity of design if nothing else)

If you look at Wolf32X, that's an example of a game meant for the PC now using a 15 bit palette. The original 9 bit palette would have been limiting, but the external RAMDAC fed by the pixel buses from the VDPs would have cured that, giving a full 24 bit palette.


So that's 2 banks of 64kB for each VDP?

Yeah. You could go with 64 KB for each VDP and have DMA contention, or go with two for each and avoid it... I'd rather have the extra chips and avoid the DMA contention. Not to mention, screen flipping would be as easy as just toggling between the banks.



And have the SH2 (or do you want to keep the dual SH2 layout?) connected to a 32-bit data bus as in the Saturn, opposed to the 16-bit one in the 32x?

Yeah, that's another source of the extra performance on the Saturn compared to the 32X. Make the SH2 <-> SDRAM 32 bit, and the rest can be 16 bit for easier interfacing.



Yeah, but that idea was mainly due to the proposed association with the Sega CD side of the hardware. If you can pick any clock to work from, going with the Genesis's master clock (~53.7 MHz NTSC) would provide ~26.85 MHz. Or if you could use the 3.58 MHz signal connected to the Z80 and multiply that by 8, you'd have 28.64 MHz, which is just about the exact rated speed for those SH2s and the speed they're running in the Saturn.

True - there's plenty of options on what to use as the SH2 clock with this type of setup.


Oh, and you wouldn't want to add the SVP or equivelent as dedicated 3D math coprocessor? (like the PSX's GTE) -in that case using 25 MHz would be the rated speed as well.

Add it to the CD ASIC. :)

kool kitty89
09-12-2009, 04:45 AM
Add it to the CD ASIC. :)

Would you add texture mapping and/or gouraud shading support to the ASIC as well? I seem to remember that the polygon rendering of the ASIC isn't really meant polygon rendering, but kind of tweaking its ability to draw vector lines, so would that need to be modified as well?

Edit: I found the post I was thinking of:

Well, the segacd have a framebuffer memory mode... so you render exactly like in a normal BMP framebuffer and it is automatically converted to tiles (at full speed).
Also, while the subcpu render the next 3d frame, the main cpu have all time to DMA the picture and update gameplay things...
So I would say that, to render polygons in software, the tandem mcd+md is probably 3 times faster than a single md (can render while dma, bmp2tiles conversion is automatic, true 4bit framebuffer, rendering cpu is 75% faster).

It is possible to render polygons in hardware with the megacd... or at least, vector lines. It is more a tweaking than a true polygonal feature.
But when you render using hardware, you cannot anymore use some other features so the speed would drop compared to software rendering, i guess.

It's a shame no polygonal games took advantage of this hardware... Yeah, 3 times faster, probably.

Fonz

He mentions there being limitations with rendering with the ASIC that could slow some things down, but doesn't go into specifics.

gamegenie
09-12-2009, 07:16 AM
And for the record, the 360 has no BC. It as recompiled cores (code) for the 360 that run instead/in place of. And they quickly dropped that idea.


what? that is still BC!

rather it's software or hardware it is still backward compatible. :|

All Xbox 360s can play Xbox OG games provided you have the HDD.

gamegenie
09-12-2009, 07:19 AM
The 360 and PS3 have spotty BC, only the 60GB unit has 100% BC. The 7800 bombed bigtime. The Wii is simply a GC+.

PS2 has hardware BC and it's spotty. Play MKT on PS2 and watch it freeze up on you in the game. If implemented properly software BC could be as good as hardware or vice versa. But the underline emphasis is that it's still BC to consoles that provide no BC.

also does anyone know if the 160/80GB PS3's that SONY removed the PS2 BC feature from, do they still have PS1 BC?

gamevet
09-12-2009, 09:45 AM
what? that is still BC!

rather it's software or hardware it is still backward compatible. :|

.

It's crappy BC. Even the 80gig PS3 had better BC than that. I can't even play my Midway, Taito, Capcom, or Tecmo compilations discs on the 360, but if I'd bought those title for the PS2, they'd work on my PS3.

tomaitheous
09-12-2009, 12:17 PM
what? that is still BC!

rather it's software or hardware it is still backward compatible. :|

All Xbox 360s can play Xbox OG games provided you have the HDD.

What don't you understand about recompiled??? That's not BC. That's a game recompiled to run on a different platform. In no way is that emulation. In all definition of the word, that means "port". It's why only a small amount of games are "playable". That's like calling NES "classics" on the GBA BC. Or the few SNES games on the PlayStation BC as well. BC and port are two different things. In contrast, the PSP emulates the PS1 - that's BC.

Da_Shocker
09-12-2009, 12:32 PM
It's crappy BC. Even the 80gig PS3 had better BC than that. I can't even play my Midway, Taito, Capcom, or Tecmo compilations discs on the 360, but if I'd bought those title for the PS2, they'd work on my PS3.

You know it's funny that a ton of those ended up on XBLA. Would it have really been that difficult to get them to work or was somebody just trying to double dip a bit? I got with option 2

Chilly Willy
09-12-2009, 01:43 PM
Would you add texture mapping and/or gouraud shading support to the ASIC as well? I seem to remember that the polygon rendering of the ASIC isn't really meant polygon rendering, but kind of tweaking its ability to draw vector lines, so would that need to be modified as well?

Right now, you need to handle each line separately with the ASIC for doing texture rendering. That increases the overhead for the 68000. What would be nice is a couple of changes to the ASIC so the trace table handles it all. Add some hardware into the ASIC to have it generate a trace table based on some 3D vertexes and a few other things and it's ready for 3D with little CPU overhead.

With 256 color mode, you don't need shading or things of that sort - no filtering, just point sampling. The texture rendering is as simple as an indexed move. We're talking Quake level 3D here.

Another thing I thought about with the dual-VDP apporach - you could make it where it would combine the layers for 8 bit video, or leave them separate for more 16 color layers. So instead of two layers, a window, and sprites, you'd have four layers, two windows, and sprites. Similarly, the sprites could be combined for 256 color sprites, or twice as many 16 color sprites.

Another thing you could do would be interleave the pixels from the two VDPs for high-res output. Instead of 320x224, you'd have 640x224. At that point, the high-res screen has the same format as the original 320x224 screen. Also, every other pixel would be in the other VDP RAM (unless you interleaved them on a cell basis... I suppose if you put a FIFO before the RAMDAC, you could interleave them a line at a time - the first VDP would do the left half of the screen, and the other the right half). Remember that the VDP can already do interlaced output (320x448), so you would also have a 640x448 mode with this approach.

So there's a lot of flexibility in generating the display with dual-VDPs depending on how the interface chip combines the data before sending it to the RAMDAC. Combine them and you get 256 color. Put one in front of the other and you get twice as many layers of 16 colors. Put one beside the other and you get twice as many pixels per line.

gamegenie
09-12-2009, 04:07 PM
What don't you understand about recompiled??? That's not BC. That's a game recompiled to run on a different platform. In no way is that emulation. In all definition of the word, that means "port". It's why only a small amount of games are "playable". That's like calling NES "classics" on the GBA BC. Or the few SNES games on the PlayStation BC as well. BC and port are two different things. In contrast, the PSP emulates the PS1 - that's BC.

It's backward compatible.

kool kitty89
09-12-2009, 04:33 PM
With 256 color mode, you don't need shading or things of that sort - no filtering, just point sampling. The texture rendering is as simple as an indexed move. We're talking Quake level 3D here.

What's wrong with having Gouraud shading support though, and why would having higher color count make it less useful? (I would think the opposite as G-shading looks terribly rough and dithered at low color, even in 256 color DOS games it's a bit grainy) Simple smooth shading, and used to faily good effect prior to texture mapped 3D becoming popular. (applied to simple polygons models often with "decals" applied to approximate textures) Like in X-Wing or Tie Fighter in '93/94.
Also useful with limited texture capabilities (many N64 games using a lot of untextured g-shaded models to optimize for the limited texture cache), and a lot better than flat shading, but best when used in conjunction with textures.

If it wouldn't make technical sense to add that too the ASIC, you could still do it in software if you had to, but if adding hardware support was practical to do (engineering wise), definitely do it.



Another thing I thought about with the dual-VDP apporach - you could make it where it would combine the layers for 8 bit video, or leave them separate for more 16 color layers. So instead of two layers, a window, and sprites, you'd have four layers, two windows, and sprites. Similarly, the sprites could be combined for 256 color sprites, or twice as many 16 color sprites.

Cool, could you do this on a layer by layer basis as well? (you mentioned having just sprites 256 color, bout could you choose between any of the 4 layers of each VDP to combine or keep as 16-color?)



It's backward compatible.

No, they're ports, that's why you need to run the stuf from HDD, the original game software won't work. The 360 isn't powerful enough to handle full emulation of Xbox hardware via software, only game specific. I think the same is true for the PS3's lacking EE, well before they dropped that as well. (not sure though)


On another note, I think all PS3s have PSX compatibility, the PS3 is powerful enough to handle full software emulation of the old PSX hardware.

Chilly Willy
09-12-2009, 05:59 PM
What's wrong with having Gouraud shading support though, and why would having higher color count make it less useful? (I would think the opposite as G-shading looks terribly rough and dithered at low color, even in 256 color DOS games it's a bit grainy) Simple smooth shading, and used to faily good effect prior to texture mapped 3D becoming popular. (applied to simple polygons models often with "decals" applied to approximate textures) Like in X-Wing or Tie Fighter in '93/94.
Also useful with limited texture capabilities (many N64 games using a lot of untextured g-shaded models to optimize for the limited texture cache), and a lot better than flat shading, but best when used in conjunction with textures.

If it wouldn't make technical sense to add that too the ASIC, you could still do it in software if you had to, but if adding hardware support was practical to do (engineering wise), definitely do it.

Shading in 256 color palette modes is done by taking a shade and a palette index and transforming those into a different palette index. This is usually done via lookup tables. Doom uses 16 lookup tables to translate the 16 light levels it supports into different palette indexes to write when drawing. Lookup tables take space, so the trade-off is space verses levels of shading/lighting.

Hmm... maybe the CRAM could be extended for that purpose. There's space for more CRAM entries than the Genesis uses - you could just make the CRAM the shading tables when doing extended video. That would make the CRAM useful again given you'd be using the RAMDAC instead of the CRAM for the extended video palette. That would also make your fill rates faster (compared to lookup tables in RAM) as you wouldn't need to wait for another memory cycle on the Word RAM while drawing.

That would definitely require the VDPs and CD ASIC be in the same chip as the ASIC would need access to the CRAM while drawing. But SEGA would have been going that way in any case. As we saw, each new version of the SEGA 16 bit system had more and more of the hardware in a single chip, at the end including the 68000 as well.



Cool, could you do this on a layer by layer basis as well? (you mentioned having just sprites 256 color, bout could you choose between any of the 4 layers of each VDP to combine or keep as 16-color?)

If you were combining hardware like SEGA was doing at the time (the CDX is two 68000's in quad flat packages with two ASICs: one for all the Genesis hardware, and one for all CD hardware), it would be pretty easy to identify each layer to the combiner circuit. You could then have a register or two that mapped layers to handle in the different manners. If you made it arbitrary, you could mix different layers if you wanted to for some odd reason - combine scroll layer A from one VDP with scroll layer B of the other VDP... or even with the sprite layer. Leave it to the programmer to match it up - you never know when something like that could be handy.

I could see this "Saturn" as two 68000s, two SH2s, and one big ASIC, with a bunch of different RAM chips. It would be less complex than the VDPs in the Saturn SEGA actually built. Using one of the BIG Cyclone III FPGAs, this could probably be done today as a homebrew hardware project, rather like the MiniMig project. The biggest difference to what SEGA would have done would be the CD - today you'd go with an SD card interface instead of a CD. If you did go with a CD, it would be an IDE drive instead, or maybe SATA these days... PATA is slowly fading away.

gamevet
09-13-2009, 10:56 AM
You know it's funny that a ton of those ended up on XBLA. Would it have really been that difficult to get them to work or was somebody just trying to double dip a bit? I got with option 2

Yeah and with 400 MS points ($5) you can play Joust! Yeah!

I'd rather dust off the old Xbox, or buy the Midway's Arcade Treasures (PS2) for a little more and have Joust 2 as well.

kool kitty89
09-19-2009, 12:03 AM
Hmm I was thinking, how necessary would the dual SH2s be with all the added hardware support included? (particularly the 3D math coprocessor)

You wouldn't be limited to the SH2s either, but I think there was a cost advantage for Sega compated to alternatives (like ARM or MIPS), inless you went for a lower performance chip like the ARM60. (very stripped down and low cost, no cache, ~35,000 transistor) The main advantage of switching though would be ease of programming and general support due to the greater commonality of ARM and MIPS architectures.


Also, would it be preferable to up clock some other components when in "Super" mode (opposed to compatibility mode), like the Genesis CPU (and/or work RAM), VDPs (and VRAM, or have wider bandwidth for the VDPs), the graphics ASIC, maybe even the Z80/RAM. (though that shouldn't matter too much, unless you want to use the YM2612 DAC) Maybe increase the Z80 RAM if you really wanted to use it for sample playback, probably only in a game where CD audio isn't an option and the CD PCM chip is dedicated to music.



And then there's other, kind of seperate details, like the controllers (ie 6-button standard or Saturn style pads), memory cards, save RAM, RAM expansion etc.

Chilly Willy
09-19-2009, 01:04 AM
Considering SEGA put dual SH2s in the 32X, Saturn, and Titan, it was inevitable that an alternative console would have dual SH2s. :D

For Super Mode, I'd overclock the Genesis CPU to the same as the CD CPU (12.5 MHz).

What the Z80 needed was an extra bank control reg that set all the bits at once instead of taking 9 stores. That would make mixing on the Z80 a reality. Mixing two channels would be 1 write, 1 read, 1 write, 1 read. Much better than 9 writes, 1 read, 9 writes, 1 read. Also, upping the clock like you mention would be good. The all at once bank would only be 8 bits, but that would cover the entire lower 8 MB of the Genesis, so it would be fine for most audio tasks. For Z80 access to things in the upper 8 MB, you could either use the old method, or have two registers where the last bit is determined by which register you store the byte to.

kool kitty89
09-19-2009, 02:44 AM
In that case, the dedicated DSP might not be that necessary, inless it was really cheap to add. The Saturn had an added DSP intended for that, but seems to have been hardly ever used, in favor of using an SH2 to handle such calculations instead. (and somtimes, just on SH2 for everything...)


A second YM2612 (or a dual 2612 rahter, built into the asic) might have been nice, in cases where CD tracks weren't practical (ie games with in-game streaming video backgrounds and such), 6 channel stereo FM, and possible to do stereo with the now dual DACs. (plus using those DACs might be more flexible than using the RF5C164, for either streaming compressed audio -for cutscenes and such, or maybe some in-game sound effects) It's probably not that necessary given how often CD_DA could be used, but considering what the Saturn and PSX had (at least in terms of # or sound channels), it might be a good idea, particularly if it wouldn't add much cost.


You could probably use the same set-up as the Sega CD for memort cards/carts, preferably make the CD RAM cart compatible with the new system as well, though smaller memory cards might be cheaper, and having the single cart slot means copying files isn't possible outside of swapping files into the onboard save SRAM, though that's probably not that big a deal.

But if you wanted to include provisions for actual RAM expansion, I'd immagine using the cartridge slot wouldn't be the best idea (16-bit data bus for one). So you'd want to add a dedicated expansion slot that would be connected to the SH2 bus, maybe with connections already set-up for refresh and such. (otherwise, I'd immagine PSRAM would be the simplest/cheapest solution)

gamegenie
01-16-2010, 06:36 AM
No, they're ports, that's why you need to run the stuf from HDD, the original game software won't work. The 360 isn't powerful enough to handle full emulation of Xbox hardware via software, only game specific. I think the same is true for the PS3's lacking EE, well before they dropped that as well. (not sure though)


That doesn't make any sense.

You need a HDD for X360 to play XBOX original games because XBOX had a hard drive, XBOX original games relied on it.

X360 doesn't have the physical hardware to run original XBOX games since it's based on PowerPC hardware as opposed to Intel, so instead it's ability to play original XBOX games are all done through software.


My idea of a port would be a game recompiled to work on another system.

A emulation is the device playing the original game media that was designed for a older/different device but is plays normally on the new device as if it was working off what was originally intended.

In my 19 years of gaming I've never heard anyone refer to software BC as ports. :D

Chilly Willy
01-16-2010, 12:23 PM
That doesn't make any sense.

You need a HDD for X360 to play XBOX original games because XBOX had a hard drive, XBOX original games relied on it.

X360 doesn't have the physical hardware to run original XBOX games since it's based on PowerPC hardware as opposed to Intel, so instead it's ability to play original XBOX games are all done through software.


My idea of a port would be a game recompiled to work on another system.

A emulation is the device playing the original game media that was designed for a older/different device but is plays normally on the new device as if it was working off what was originally intended.

In my 19 years of gaming I've never heard anyone refer to software BC as ports. :D

I put the important part in bold - that is EXACTLY how MS does "backwards" compatibility. It's not any form of emulation - they recompile the original game code for the 360. Since they both use Windows OS (a form of it at least), the port is simple. But that is why many games aren't backwards compatible - the original source isn't available for some reason, or the devs did things they weren't supposed to in the game that made it much harder to port.

That's why BC requires a HDD - when you go to play an old XBox title, it has to fetch the updated executable. The data (and security) is all the old game disc is used for. That also keeps the size of the download smaller as the executables are rarely fairly big.

gamegenie
01-17-2010, 09:12 AM
I put the important part in bold - that is EXACTLY how MS does "backwards" compatibility. It's not any form of emulation - they recompile the original game code for the 360. Since they both use Windows OS (a form of it at least), the port is simple. But that is why many games aren't backwards compatible - the original source isn't available for some reason, or the devs did things they weren't supposed to in the game that made it much harder to port.

That's why BC requires a HDD - when you go to play an old XBox title, it has to fetch the updated executable. The data (and security) is all the old game disc is used for. That also keeps the size of the download smaller as the executables are rarely fairly big.

so basically Xbox 360's emulation of the original XBOX is through recompiling. What are we arguing against. For me to not to use the word emulation , or backward compatibility both can be said interchangeably in the 360's case since we all know it's hardware is vastly different from the original XBOX. Even Microsoft calls it software emulation. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/backwardcompatibilitygameslist.htm

Chilly Willy
01-17-2010, 12:53 PM
They use the term software emulator, and some aspects of the XBox would need to be emulated... but it's not an emulator as a software developer would think of it, but an "emulator" as people think of WINE. Look at the phrase MS puts on that page:


Note: A software emulator is required for each original Xbox game you play on your Xbox 360™ console.

Again look at the bold section - each original game requires its own "emulation". It's their way of trying to explain that they needed to recompile the game without actually coming out and saying that.

kool kitty89
01-18-2010, 02:54 AM
Isn't that what Bleem did, custom emulation for each game (or set of similar games) optimized to have sutiable perfomance on contemporary PCs of the time? (not that I don't agree about the 360's lack of any real backwards compatibility)

Chilly Willy
01-18-2010, 01:10 PM
Isn't that what Bleem did, custom emulation for each game (or set of similar games) optimized to have sutiable perfomance on contemporary PCs of the time? (not that I don't agree about the 360's lack of any real backwards compatibility)

Well, that's what Bleem claimed, but it's not entirely true. There's a scene dedicated to substituting games into the Bleem disks so you can play them. Bleem works fine the way it is on a lot of different games. The main reason for the "optimizations" in Bleem per game were to force people into buying every game separately - in other words, to make more money.

17daysolderthannes
01-18-2010, 03:32 PM
Well, that's what Bleem claimed, but it's not entirely true. There's a scene dedicated to substituting games into the Bleem disks so you can play them. Bleem works fine the way it is on a lot of different games. The main reason for the "optimizations" in Bleem per game were to force people into buying every game separately - in other words, to make more money.

actually, so the story goes, they were working on one big all-in-one Bleem disc or at least 3-4 sets that were made to work with a stock number of games (tweaking the emulator for a set of different games, in other words). Thanks to Sony being a bunch of cunts and cutting it short, instead they rushed to release the GT, Tekken, and Metal Gear Solid discs, possibly to fund their legal battles. The fact that the Bleem beta for DC exists is proof that they were working towards a universal or semi-universal (spread across a few discs) emulator for the DC. However, if you notice, most games are hella bugged without substantial tweaks and modifications, which is why people tend to make these fixes and package the emulator and PSX game on a .cdi file.

kool kitty89
03-28-2010, 03:34 AM
Hey, I realized that in the whole hypothetical "mythical" console discussion with Chilly Willy, hilight/shadow never came up: so would that feature still be useful for the dual VDP approach for the 256 color modes? (for the simple overlay mode, that would seem pretty straightforward as the original color depth is used and pixels aren't accumulated)

Chilly Willy
03-28-2010, 01:35 PM
Hey, I realized that in the whole hypothetical "mythical" console discussion with Chilly Willy, hilight/shadow never came up: so would that feature still be useful for the dual VDP approach for the 256 color modes? (for the simple overlay mode, that would seem pretty straightforward as the original color depth is used and pixels aren't accumulated)

It could have been MORE useful in that you could use the shadow/hilite to select a completely different palette, allowing the programmer to either except a preset default of shadow/hilite, or to set it with completely different colors for different effects triggered by the s/h flag. As long as you went with the external color generation, you could separate the palettes for backgrounds, sprites, and s/h. It adds more to the price, but not that much more.

adamx
03-30-2010, 10:58 AM
well sega should have had b/c but it didnt. And even if it did, it would have finished off nintendo not sony as the n64 was not the best out there. But sony was game 4 a battle from the get go, they may have lost to sega that gen had sega done what you said but they wouldnt have been finished.

kool kitty89
11-17-2010, 09:15 PM
Yes, you can't go too overboard on the RAM. The Saturn was 2 MB for the SH2, 1.5 MB for video, 512 KB for audio, and 512 KB for CD cache.

Genesis part: 512 KB for the Genesis 68000 and 2x2x64 KB for the dual-bank dual VDPs.

CD part - 256 KB for PCM wave data, 512 KB for the Word RAM (which is what the ASIC renders in), and 512 KB for the Program RAM (left alone to match the Genesis side). Bump up the CD cache to 256 KB (from 64 KB in SEGA CD).

SH2 part - The Saturn splits the 2 MB in half - 1 MB fast SDRAM, and 1 MB slower DRAM. I think use 1 MB of SDRAM here for the SH2s, and then allow it slower access to the 512 KB Genesis and 512 KB CD 68000 RAM banks. I like the idea of clocking the SH2s at twice the CD 68000 rate instead of three times the Genesis 68000 rate (25 MHz instead of 23 MHz).
I was thinking on this again:

Could it have been practical to set up the system with not only allowing DMA to the 68k banks for the SH2s to access, but also the ability to combine the 2 banks and have the SH2s access them as a single 32-bit 1 MB bank? (obviously anything written in that fashion would need to be read in the same manner and both 68ks would be halted -unless the CD 68k can work in the CD-ROM buffer)

If that worked it might also be a useful feature for the ASIC to use if it was expanded and buffered to work with 32-bit words/phrases. (doubling bandwidth to read textures with 68k RAM as the source and word RAM as the destination)

Chilly Willy
11-17-2010, 11:24 PM
Accessing two 16 bit banks for different CPUs as one 32 bit bank would have meant you'd have to interleave data. Not a good idea. I'd make the banks 32 bit and have the bus interface handle conversion to 16 bit for the 68000s instead.

TrekkiesUnite118
11-18-2010, 10:37 AM
Not sure if this was mentioned, but here's an idea for how Sega could have kept the Saturn design as it was but still make it backwards compatible. If I remember correctly the way the Saturn is designed the port where the MPEG card goes has the ability to easily expand the system's capabilities. If the Saturn was more successful to warrant it, couldn't Sega have made something like a 16-bit card that went into that slot and was pretty much a 1 chip Genesis or maybe even have just the essential hardware for both the Genesis and Sega CD and came with a Cartridge Adapter that could then allow you to play Genesis games on your Saturn?

That would probably be an easier solution for Sega.

kool kitty89
11-18-2010, 02:54 PM
Accessing two 16 bit banks for different CPUs as one 32 bit bank would have meant you'd have to interleave data. Not a good idea. I'd make the banks 32 bit and have the bus interface handle conversion to 16 bit for the 68000s instead.

Yeah, but you'd need more DRAM chips then... they didn't have 32-bit wide DRAM chips in 1994. (at very least not for common/cheap FPM DRAM, and not the chips sega was already using) Using 4 128 kB chips wouldn't be particularly cost effective. (bumping word RAM to 32-bit using 4 128k chips rather than 2 wouldn't be too bad though, especially as you already wanted to boost to 2x256k banks)
If you wanted to boost 68k RAM to 1 MB per bank, that's another story, but again getting more costly. ;) (maybe if you dropped SDRAM to 512k or made other trade-offs, or only boosted 1 of the banks to 1 MB and left the other 512k 16-bit)

KALuther
11-18-2010, 03:33 PM
I just wish they weren't too broke to support the dreamcast. I'm sure it would have been a success if they had the money to support it, i had more fun with my dreamcast than i had with my gamecube, it just had so many great games for such a short life span. With all the crap sega has gone through as a company, it's rather surprising that they are even still around, albeit only a shadow of it's former self. It would kick so much ass to see sega come back to the console game one day, but it's probably never going to happen :(

Chilly Willy
11-18-2010, 04:20 PM
Yeah, but you'd need more DRAM chips then... they didn't have 32-bit wide DRAM chips in 1994. (at very least not for common/cheap FPM DRAM, and not the chips sega was already using) Using 4 128 kB chips wouldn't be particularly cost effective. (bumping word RAM to 32-bit using 4 128k chips rather than 2 wouldn't be too bad though, especially as you already wanted to boost to 2x256k banks)
If you wanted to boost 68k RAM to 1 MB per bank, that's another story, but again getting more costly. ;) (maybe if you dropped SDRAM to 512k or made other trade-offs, or only boosted 1 of the banks to 1 MB and left the other 512k 16-bit)

Yes, but I'd rather have more chips than interleaved data. Interleaving would have cut costs, but totally trashed performance. They might not have had 32-bit chips, but they did have 32-bit wide modules. They could have put a SIMM in instead of soldering chips to the board. That would have also allowed for updates to the memory later much like the N64 had, but cheaper!

kool kitty89
11-18-2010, 07:18 PM
Yes, but I'd rather have more chips than interleaved data. Interleaving would have cut costs, but totally trashed performance. They might not have had 32-bit chips, but they did have 32-bit wide modules. They could have put a SIMM in instead of soldering chips to the board. That would have also allowed for updates to the memory later much like the N64 had, but cheaper!
Or they could have left it at 16-bit wide and kept the banks separate. (half the bandwidth but not interleaving issue, and not too bad, especially if it's the 68ks using them most of the time, and even less important if the ASIC was still left at 16-bits wide -in which case you'd probably make the word ram use 4 8-bit chips rather than 4 16-bit ones)
If the interleaving prevented use of fast page accesses, that would really make it pointless and plain 16-bit buses would be preferable. (at the full 80 ns 25 MB/s peak bandwidth vs something like 180 ns random accesses due to page breaks)

And still much faster than the 32x's framebuffers. (let alone ROM ;))

And it's not just about the number of chips on the board, but the cost of the chips themselves, and I'm sure using modules would be even more expensive in any case. 512 kB chips at the time were significantly cheaper than 128 kB (per bit): http://phe.rockefeller.edu/LogletLab/DRAM/dram.htm


One other trade-off would be using plain FPM DRAM for the SH2s as well at 1/2 their clock speed. (still better than the 16-bit SDRAM of the 32x and the same 50 MB/s as the 3DO if you had it at 12.5 MHz with the SH2s at 25 MHz -still other options for clock rate given the 53.7 MHz oscillator but if using the same 80 ns DRAM you'd always be capped at 12.5 MHz)

Or again, possible limit SDRAM to 512 kB. (and perhaps provisions for expansion of that, and at full speed 32-bits, not the slow cart bus of the Saturn -especially significant as SDRAM would be one of the most expensive components early on but drop dramatically -even while the lower-end mass market DRAM stagnated in price- and also is easier to interface with and used smaller chips so very attractive as a future add-on -like 1996)




And I think this was already addressed, but 256 kB is still pretty big for the CD-ROM cache and the Saturn's SH1 RAM/cache was huge for the time (and SDRAM... which makes me wonder even more if that was left over from the SH1 being configured as the CPU) and the MCD didn't have 64 kB, but 64 kb (16 kB) while the 3DO and PSX doubled that to 32k but only a fraction of what the Saturn used. So 32-64 kB would have been fine (64k would still have been ahead of the curve even but re-using the same 64 kB PSRAM chips stockpiled for the MD could be efficient -especially over using SRAM).





And on another side of things... if backwards compatibility wasn't a concern (as it didn't seem to be with the Saturn), the MCD hardware still could have been a good starting point to cut down on R&D costs in general, but dropping the MD side entirely and rather than a MD like VDP, beef up the ASIC more and add display hardware more like the 32x and more highcolor rendering support and maybe hardware rasterization, but probably integrating the SSP-1601 (which they had already licensed and the 50 MHz master clock of the CD was perfect for the 25 MHz rated speed of the DSP) and just beef up the ASIC (probably cut out some of the vestigial parts left from MD specific tasks) and integrate the DSP and video hardware, bump PCM RAM to 512 kB (probably the most cost effective option would be a single 512kx8-bit DRAM -and adding to the PCM chip interface in the ASIC to facilitate use of DRAM), and if the ASIC was boosted to 32-bits you could directly double the word RAM for 2 32-bit banks and the 68k RAM as 1 1MB 32-bit bank also used for textures, and then add the 1 or 2 SH2s with their own block of 512-1MB of SDRAM (or EDO DRAM). (1 SH2 should have been fine for most things, especially with the DSP not only useful for point plotting but also able to aid with rasterization -and useful for rendering the ASIC wouldn't support like column based height maps using ray casting -be it Doom or Duke Nukem type or voxels as well -and the ASIC would obviously handle scaled/rotated objects or polygonal portions in such games)
Hell, or even 1 SH1 depending on the case. (but I don't think they had SH1s rated for up to 25 MHz at the time, so that wouldn't be a good option)

Though OTOH, with backwards compatibility not even an issue, they wouldn't necessarily even need the 68k anymore, but keeping it might speed up design. (presumably why the Saturn kept the SH1, and especially if it was used as a general coprocessor as with the MCD... though the ASIC would likely be stealing a lot of its bus time -unless the CD-ROM buffer could be relegated to 2ndary 68k work RAM while the CD was inactive or only playing CD-DA)


That probably could have been even more attractive to SoJ with the possible earlier release and to SoA with the lower cost potentially allowing it to fit into the 32x's timescale. It probably could have saved even more R&D time and cost over one tied to the MD as well, but the main disadvantages would be in 2D performance compared to the Saturn or dual MD VDPs... probably more in line with the 3DO in that respect (unless perhaps you used the SH2 to render as well with the ASIC than blitting it on top of what it rendered before sending it to the display -given the SH2(2) would be on a totally separate and faster bus -so faster software rendering than the ARM60 could ever do and no DMA contention), but for 2D stuff, having good buffering for variable bit depths would be important (especially doing indexed 16 color to 256 color or highcolor output and a phrase buffer to read/write at 32-bits -including reading 8 4-bit pixels, 4 8-bit pixels, or 2 16-bit pixels and same for writing to the buffer with 8 or 16-bit pixels -that would substantially improve performance over the existing ASIC without a change in bus speed -as it is now can it even read and write 4 4-bit pixels at a time?).

OldSchool
11-18-2010, 07:26 PM
Or they could have left it at 16-bit wide and kept the banks separate. (half the bandwidth but not interleaving issue, and not too bad, especially if it's the 68ks using them most of the time, and even less important if the ASIC was still left at 16-bits wide -in which case you'd probably make the word ram use 4 8-bit chips rather than 4 16-bit ones)
If the interleaving prevented use of fast page accesses, that would really make it pointless and plain 16-bit buses would be preferable. (at the full 80 ns 25 MB/s peak bandwidth vs something like 180 ns random accesses due to page breaks)

And still much faster than the 32x's framebuffers. (let alone ROM ;))

And it's not just about the number of chips on the board, but the cost of the chips themselves, and I'm sure using modules would be even more expensive in any case. 512 kB chips at the time were significantly cheaper than 128 kB (per bit): http://phe.rockefeller.edu/LogletLab/DRAM/dram.htm


One other trade-off would be using plain FPM DRAM for the SH2s as well at 1/2 their clock speed. (still better than the 16-bit SDRAM of the 32x and the same 50 MB/s as the 3DO if you had it at 12.5 MHz with the SH2s at 25 MHz -still other options for clock rate given the 53.7 MHz oscillator but if using the same 80 ns DRAM you'd always be capped at 12.5 MHz)

Or again, possible limit SDRAM to 512 kB. (and perhaps provisions for expansion of that, and at full speed 32-bits, not the slow cart bus of the Saturn -especially significant as SDRAM would be one of the most expensive components early on but drop dramatically -even while the lower-end mass market DRAM stagnated in price- and also is easier to interface with and used smaller chips so very attractive as a future add-on -like 1996)




And I think this was already addressed, but 256 kB is still pretty big for the CD-ROM cache and the Saturn's SH1 RAM/cache was huge for the time (and SDRAM... which makes me wonder even more if that was left over from the SH1 being configured as the CPU) and the MCD didn't have 64 kB, but 64 kb (16 kB) while the 3DO and PSX doubled that to 32k but only a fraction of what the Saturn used. So 32-64 kB would have been fine (64k would still have been ahead of the curve even but re-using the same 64 kB PSRAM chips stockpiled for the MD could be efficient -especially over using SRAM).





And on another side of things... if backwards compatibility wasn't a concern (as it didn't seem to be with the Saturn), the MCD hardware still could have been a good starting point to cut down on R&D costs in general, but dropping the MD side entirely and rather than a MD like VDP, beef up the ASIC more and add display hardware more like the 32x and more highcolor rendering support and maybe hardware rasterization, but probably integrating the SSP-1601 (which they had already licensed and the 50 MHz master clock of the CD was perfect for the 25 MHz rated speed of the DSP) and just beef up the ASIC (probably cut out some of the vestigial parts left from MD specific tasks) and integrate the DSP and video hardware, bump PCM RAM to 512 kB (probably the most cost effective option would be a single 512kx8-bit DRAM -and adding to the PCM chip interface in the ASIC to facilitate use of DRAM), and if the ASIC was boosted to 32-bits you could directly double the word RAM for 2 32-bit banks and the 68k RAM as 1 1MB 32-bit bank also used for textures, and then add the 1 or 2 SH2s with their own block of 512-1MB of SDRAM (or EDO DRAM). (1 SH2 should have been fine for most things, especially with the DSP not only useful for point plotting but also able to aid with rasterization -and useful for rendering the ASIC wouldn't support like column based height maps using ray casting -be it Doom or Duke Nukem type or voxels as well -and the ASIC would obviously handle scaled/rotated objects or polygonal portions in such games)
Hell, or even 1 SH1 depending on the case. (but I don't think they had SH1s rated for up to 25 MHz at the time, so that wouldn't be a good option)

Though OTOH, with backwards compatibility not even an issue, they wouldn't necessarily even need the 68k anymore, but keeping it might speed up design. (presumably why the Saturn kept the SH1, and especially if it was used as a general coprocessor as with the MCD... though the ASIC would likely be stealing a lot of its bus time -unless the CD-ROM buffer could be relegated to 2ndary 68k work RAM while the CD was inactive or only playing CD-DA)


That probably could have been even more attractive to SoJ with the possible earlier release and to SoA with the lower cost potentially allowing it to fit into the 32x's timescale. It probably could have saved even more R&D time and cost over one tied to the MD as well, but the main disadvantages would be in 2D performance compared to the Saturn or dual MD VDPs... probably more in line with the 3DO in that respect (unless perhaps you used the SH2 to render as well with the ASIC than blitting it on top of what it rendered before sending it to the display -given the SH2(2) would be on a totally separate and faster bus -so faster software rendering than the ARM60 could ever do and no DMA contention), but for 2D stuff, having good buffering for variable bit depths would be important (especially doing indexed 16 color to 256 color or highcolor output and a phrase buffer to read/write at 32-bits -including reading 8 4-bit pixels, 4 8-bit pixels, or 2 16-bit pixels and same for writing to the buffer with 8 or 16-bit pixels -that would substantially improve performance over the existing ASIC without a change in bus speed -as it is now can it even read and write 4 4-bit pixels at a time?).

How about we just use a PC from today and take a giant dodo on whatever you guys are proposing.

This thread's about as painful as watching you guys talk about porting Doom to a Nintendo. :rofl:

Chilly Willy
11-18-2010, 08:11 PM
How about we just use a PC from today and take a giant dodo on whatever you guys are proposing.

This thread's about as painful as watching you guys talk about porting Doom to a Nintendo. :rofl:

Well, the point of the thread is how could have SEGA made the Saturn more "compatible" with the MD/CD/32X while still being the next step up for SEGA. PCs of the time were not the greatest thing since sliced bread either. The "state of the art" PC at the time had a sorry mishmash of buses, none of which were very fast, needed an add-in audio card for anything more than beeps, and were only just beginning to make use of hardware accelerated graphics which were often slower than CPU drawn graphics! The early S3 cards were infamous for that. :D

And yes, porting Doom to a Nintendo would be VERY painful. :daze:

Anywho, back to the topic. Yes, using 16 bit memory for the 68000s would have probably been best. Just use 32 bit for the SH2 ram block, which might have been better as FPM DRAM as you point out.

The CD ram was probably so large (256KB) because it was meant to be ALL the ram. Remember that the original design (and I firmly believe this true) had the SH1 as the main CPU, with no extra SH2s. When the SH2s and associated ram were added, the SH1 got relegated to just handling the CD, and they might have cut the ram back a little (might have originally been 512K, and got cut back to 256).

OldSchool
11-18-2010, 08:16 PM
Well, the point of the thread is how could have SEGA made the Saturn more "compatible" with the MD/CD/32X while still being the next step up for SEGA. PCs of the time were not the greatest thing since sliced bread either. The "state of the art" PC at the time had a sorry mishmash of buses, none of which were very fast, needed an add-in audio card for anything more than beeps, and were only just beginning to make use of hardware accelerated graphics which were often slower than CPU drawn graphics! The early S3 cards were infamous for that. :D

And yes, porting Doom to a Nintendo would be VERY painful. :daze:

Anywho, back to the topic. Yes, using 16 bit memory for the 68000s would have probably been best. Just use 32 bit for the SH2 ram block, which might have been better as FPM DRAM as you point out.

The CD ram was probably so large (256KB) because it was meant to be ALL the ram. Remember that the original design (and I firmly believe this true) had the SH1 as the main CPU, with no extra SH2s. When the SH2s and associated ram were added, the SH1 got relegated to just handling the CD, and they might have cut the ram back a little (might have originally been 512K, and got cut back to 256).

I was just being silly. ;)


Interesting...

cj iwakura
11-19-2010, 12:07 AM
I love the Saturn the way it is.

kool kitty89
11-19-2010, 05:19 AM
were only just beginning to make use of hardware accelerated graphics which were often slower than CPU drawn graphics! The early S3 cards were infamous for that. :D
Or rather slower than CPU drawn graphics if you tried to use the advanced features, but faster at low detail settings but higher color. (ie PSX level 3D, no filtering, Z-buffering, etc, just highcolor rendering with gouraud shading and texture mapping -maybe perspective correction- and nearest neighbor interpolation)

But that was very early... 1995 release (the ViRGE chipset at least) though it got common as a low-end/cost option with good 2D acceleration. (we've got an old Diamond Stealth 3D card sitting around, but we had a Rage pro by the late 90s)

I think the original (1995) ATI Rage was better at 3D than the ViRGE chipset, still bare bones, but those 2 (and the quad based NV-1) were all you got until the high-end VooDoo in '96. (which was generally an add-on card, not an all-in one video card) The MPEG-1 acceleration was nice for the RAGE as well. (something they kept up with being one of the early affordable MPEG 2 accelerators in later RAGE cards... we actually only had the PCI RAGE PRO which didn't have official DVD video drivers but my dad managed to hack together a set-up using some of the beta drivers for the PCI card iirc and it worked fine for all but the highest bitrate DVDs)


And yes, porting Doom to a Nintendo would be VERY painful. :daze:
Probably go easy and just do 4-shade grayscale... then an ASIC/DSP/fast CPU and some RAM to render into and copy to a buffer mapped to the VRAM expansion, basically using the NES as just a crude video output device. ;) No audio in on the NES (famicom has it though), but you could do some decen tchip renditions of the music and you've got the DPCM channel for sample playback. (DPCM or bare 7-bit DAC... and given the CPU wouldn't be doing much in the way of the game, software PCM might be a good option, especially doing interleaving for 2 or more channels).
Hmm, yeah, so 256x240 2-bit grayscale. ;)

But how about Doom in MDA? ... or Quake II:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etkuCGEBNUA
etkuCGEBNUA

;) (granted a lot more characters than MDA )


The CD ram was probably so large (256KB) because it was meant to be ALL the ram. Remember that the original design (and I firmly believe this true) had the SH1 as the main CPU, with no extra SH2s. When the SH2s and associated ram were added, the SH1 got relegated to just handling the CD, and they might have cut the ram back a little (might have originally been 512K, and got cut back to 256).
No, it IS 512 kB, 256 kB (I believe 2 of the DRAM chips of the 32x) is what you suggested to cut it back to earlier. ;) (though yes, it would have made sense to cut it to a single 16-bit SDRAM chip like the 32x used if not a single 128 kB DRAM chip -but that probably would have taken more time to change even with the SH1 having the built-in DRAM control/interface circuitry -actually looking at the description of the SH1 it has DRAM but not SDRAM interface circuitry built-in with the SH2 adding SDRAM support, but Tiido mentioned it was 2 256 kB SDRAM chips used when he checked)

Chilly Willy
11-19-2010, 03:25 PM
Iffen I were ta convurt Doom ta da NES (old country programmer talk), I'd start with the version for the calculator, not the official Doom. :D

kool kitty89
11-20-2010, 12:20 AM
Iffen I were ta convurt Doom ta da NES (old country programmer talk), I'd start with the version for the calculator, not the official Doom. :D
Or the ZX Spectrum:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW_XDSFdn-4
kW_XDSFdn-4

And the NES would even be better off in some respects though less in others. (you'd need more on-cart hardware for the NES to manage a framebuffer but the NES allowed 4 colors per 16x16 cell rather than 2 colors per 8x8 though one being a common BG color and using subplaettes rather than attribute indexes, but with many more colors to work with... then there's the CPU difference and other things -hardware sprites and scrolling and if you ignore attributes and go monochome the speccy has a 1bpp linear framebuffer in hardware)

But I was thinking more in terms of "cheating" with a bunch of on-cart hardware. ;)

And honestly I find the homebrew Wolf3D conversion more impressive:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHxBpmh-PF0
WHxBpmh-PF0

Hmm, Doom on a 68k Mac? ...

Chilly Willy
11-20-2010, 03:47 PM
Hmm, Doom on a 68k Mac? ...

Doom for the Mac WAS a 68K release. They actually had code in it to check if you had a 68020 and prevented the game from running if you did. I was one of the people who released ResEdit hacks for Doom to allow it to run on 020 based Macs. You could see why they did it - on an 020, you had to run Doom at its smallest size, and it still wasn't very fast. :D

kool kitty89
11-20-2010, 11:50 PM
Doom for the Mac WAS a 68K release. They actually had code in it to check if you had a 68020 and prevented the game from running if you did. I was one of the people who released ResEdit hacks for Doom to allow it to run on 020 based Macs. You could see why they did it - on an 020, you had to run Doom at its smallest size, and it still wasn't very fast. :D

No, I meant the monochome 68000 Macs, bot 68k arch macs in general. ;)

Chilly Willy
11-21-2010, 12:20 AM
No, I meant the monochome 68000 Macs, not 68k arch macs in general. ;)

Ah, you should have said so. :D

Yes, making Doom run on the old Mac Plus type hardware would have been a real trick... a 7MHz 68000, 64 or 128 KB of ram, a 512x384 monochrome display with no hardware assist for any kind of drawing, and a single DMA audio channel (the only GOOD part of the whole thing). :daze:

akator
11-21-2010, 12:45 AM
The Mac Plus shipped with 1MB of RAM, expandable to 4MB.

Even the first Mac from 1984 had 128K. That was quickly followed by the Mac XL and Mac 512 with (you guessed it) 512K. "Upgraded" Lisas to become "Mac compatible" were basically given a Mac 512K board.

Chilly Willy
11-21-2010, 01:30 AM
Right... but the first Macs only had 64K, upgradeable to 128K. I'm sure probably most people bought it with the upgraded memory, but they still were originally 64K. I used "Mac Plus type hardware" because all those systems you mentioned are basically the same except for the amount of ram and the external device hookups, like a SCSI port.

akator
11-21-2010, 10:54 AM
Right... but the first Macs only had 64K, upgradeable to 128K.

I would love to learn more about a 64K Mac. I've never seen or heard of one.

Chilly Willy
11-21-2010, 02:24 PM
I would love to learn more about a 64K Mac. I've never seen or heard of one.

You've been reading wikipedia. :D I was there - the Mac was one of the computers I considered when I wanted to update from my Atari 8-bit computer. Considered and rejected.

akator
11-21-2010, 04:39 PM
You've been reading wikipedia. :D I was there - the Mac was one of the computers I considered when I wanted to update from my Atari 8-bit computer. Considered and rejected.

I owned and used computers in the early 80s as well :)

I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything -- but I have never seen, used, owned, repaired, or read about a Mac with 64K of RAM. While I no longer have an original Mac, I still have the docs and manuals which clearly state it had 128K of RAM with a 64K ROM.

Additionally, the tech specs state that the Mac's 68000 was running at 8Mhz and not 7. IIRC, it was the Amiga that ran at 7Mhz to sync correctly with video signals.

Chilly Willy
11-22-2010, 12:45 AM
The Atari ST was 8 MHz. The Amiga was twice the color subcarrier (2 x 3.579545 MHz for NTSC). The Mac was a smidgen over 7.8 MHz, which I agree is closer to 8 than 7... should have put 8 or 7.8.

It's been a while since I worked on a Mac that old... actually, the video wasn't 384 lines - that's what they changed to on the "new" machines for the backwards compatible mode. The original system was 512x342. The sound ran off the horizontal retrace, which was 22,250 Hz, which was the main clock divided by 352, so you could multiply backwards to get the exact 68000 clock.

kool kitty89
11-22-2010, 12:50 AM
Ah, you should have said so. :D

Yes, making Doom run on the old Mac Plus type hardware would have been a real trick... a 7MHz 68000, 64 or 128 KB of ram, a 512x384 monochrome display with no hardware assist for any kind of drawing, and a single DMA audio channel (the only GOOD part of the whole thing). :daze:
I kind of thought it was implied with the context of what I posted (with the ZX Spectrum stuff -and especially the monochome Wolf3D conversion on the speccy)... Hmm, but that wolf3D speccy thing WAS done with the 128k and higher in mind (most of the videos on YT have it runing on one of the faster -6 MHz iirc- Russian clones with 256 or 512k though).
So in that context at least the versions with more memory should count. (if not faster 68000s)

And it was 7.86 MHz, wasn't it, not 7 MHz? (ie closer to the ST than the Amiga)

Too bad it was just 1-bit monochome though... 2 or 4-bit grayscale would have been nice. (like a 256x342 4 shade mode or 128x342/256x171 16 shade mode)

Chilly Willy
11-22-2010, 01:00 AM
And it was 7.86 MHz, wasn't it, not 7 MHz? (ie closer to the ST than the Amiga)


~ 7.84 MHz, so yeah, I rounded the wrong way. :?

TrekkiesUnite118
11-22-2010, 01:06 AM
I love how my post was completely ignored.

Guntz
11-22-2010, 01:55 AM
Not sure if this was mentioned, but here's an idea for how Sega could have kept the Saturn design as it was but still make it backwards compatible. If I remember correctly the way the Saturn is designed the port where the MPEG card goes has the ability to easily expand the system's capabilities. If the Saturn was more successful to warrant it, couldn't Sega have made something like a 16-bit card that went into that slot and was pretty much a 1 chip Genesis or maybe even have just the essential hardware for both the Genesis and Sega CD and came with a Cartridge Adapter that could then allow you to play Genesis games on your Saturn?

That would probably be an easier solution for Sega.

You forgot to do this trekkie.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-03-2011, 06:04 PM
In response to the opening statement, i don't believe had Sega built and based Saturn around the Genesis, Sega CD and 32X that they would still be rocking it big today, and would have crushed SONY back in 1995. Sega's problems started way earlier when they decided to make and release a Sega CD & later a 32x. Lets pretend we could go back in time and try to change the future and make Sega a success. Firstly i would decide to go back in time and start development of the Megadrive (Genesis) a year later using a slightly superior sound chip and perhaps slightly better or higher clocked CPU. Being released a year later it would of been able to compete even more with the SNES on all levels and would of lasted through to 1996. I also would of planned on releasing the 32 bit system which i would rename Megadream. The reason why i would call it the Megadream is it would create a connection between the names MEGAdrive & DREAMcast and also the name Saturn was not a huge success. I would have the system released mid 1995 in Japan with a quick US & Europe release at the end of that year with the machine being much simpler in design yet either equally as powerful as or slightly more powerful than the Playstation (3d wise) in which it would be utilised best using the C programming language instead of Assembler. I would also remove the cartridge slot at the back and instead have memory slots down the bottom like the Playstation to save games via memory cards. Also if i could afford it i would have a Megadrive Cartridge slot at the top to play Megadrive games. If this put the cost of the machine up too much then i would have it removed.

I believe this system would of been supported much stronger due to it being a simpler, easier to program for, yet still powerful 3d machine and we would of probably seen games appear on the machine that were released and sold well on the Playstation either at the same time as, before or even exclusively on Megadream like Tomb Raider 1,2,3,4,Resident Evil 1,2,3,Wipeout,2097,Wip3out,Final Fantasy VII,VIII,IX and probably quite a few more.

The games mentioned above are the ones which shifted Playstations and although Tomb Raider, Wipeout & Resident Evil appeared on Saturn it was either a while after they were on Playstation or in Tomb Raiders case a slightly inferior version.

I imagine if we had seen all these games i mentioned above on Megadream either exclusively (which could have been possible as without the Sega CD & 32x ever being invented Sega's reputation would of been much better, coupled with a more powerful 3d wise and easier to program for 32 bit system. ) or at the same time as the PS the Megadream (Saturn) could of sold at least 50m units across its lifespan which would of lasted longer than before probably up to around into 2001 and would of put Sega in a great position going into the 128 bit generation.

Around 1998 i would of started development of Sega's first handheld which i would call the Dreampad. It would be set to go up against the Gameboy advance only it would be released a year earlier than the GBA in 2000 worldwide and have 4 front buttons A,B,X,Y as well as L & R on top and feature a backlight screen as well as a built-in rechargeable battery. Its 2d capabilities would be better than the GBA and on par with Saturns but still offer some 3d capabilities like the GBA. Im guessing a price of around $199.99 & 199.99. I would drop the price to match the GBA 12 months later when it was released.

The Dreamcast would of come not in 1998 & 99 but in 2001 in a worldwide release (give or take a few months) and would of been a more powerful version than it originally was but still easy to work on as well as being backward compatible with the Megadream. The games would also come on DVD'S thus making the Dreamcast a DVD player like Sony's PS2. Lets say very similar in architecture and in the colourful look of the games to the Gamecube but with the CPU & GPU offering more graphical effects and being closer in power to the XBOX. It would still have the modem but would feature a space to upgrade to broadband later on. I believe alot of the 3rd party games we saw appear on the PS2 (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest e.t.c) would of been on this Dreamcast as a result of Sega's better reputation and due to the success of the Megadream. I also think Microsoft may have not even entered the game industry at all and we could see alot of what appeared on Xbox like Halo appear on Dreamcast.

The DC control pad also would of been better designed in that it would of featured A,B,C,X,Y,Z on the front and L1,L2,R1,R2 on the top coupled with a superior D-Pad and not 1 analogue but 2 positioned horizontally down the bottom like Sony's DS pad. The 6 front buttons would be slightly smaller and closer together as a result of there being 6 instead of 4 and i would make sure the pad wasn't to bulky of fat. Also due to technology being more advanced as it would be 3yrs later on than when the Dreamcast was originally released the VMS/VMU would also have been slightly superior to the one released originally in 98 and obviously would feature rechargable batteries that would recharge the unit when plugged into the control pad.

Because of the success of the Megadream Sega's reputation would be at an all time high and when Sony released there PS2 (2000) i would tell the gaming public to wait a year for our new Sega console called the Dreamcast that would be more powerful than PS2 and would also be able to play DVD'S Due to our machine also using the format for games. I probably would of launched it around $299.99 & 299.99 and believe it would of sold well on it being backward compatible with Megadream, being able to play DVD's just like PS2 & also because of Sega fantastic reputation it would of been supported strongly by all the 3rd parties including Squaresoft/Enix and E.A.

Team Andromeda
08-04-2011, 05:07 AM
The 68040 was WAAAAAAAAY too expensive to put into a console in 1994/95. The Saturn has an 11.3 MHz 68000 in it already - they could have perhaps gone with a 28 MHz 68020 for the main CPU. The main issue with the Saturn was the complexity - developers either had to ignore half the hardware, or spend twice as long working on a game. That's why the PSX won that generation - it was the simplest hardware of the competing systems.

I think the complexity was just used as an excuse tbh, otherwrise complex machines to programme for like the PS2 (most prob the complex console around) , PS3, N64 would have never sold as well as they did . SEGA just blew it with trying to back two 32 bit systems in the same generation, for the same Market at the same time and forgetting about Sonic, while they were at it.


Also back on topic @gamegenie . The Mega CD/SEGA CD didn't sell that great , and the 32X was a flop, so getting BC modes for them would have been pointless, and as the PS3 and X-Box 360 shows us , BC isn't that important in sales.

TVC 15
08-04-2011, 01:41 PM
Though I like it when Chilly and Kool_Kitty have a tech sparring match, I find this topic generally at odds with reality or any other reality that could have actually existed had things been a little bit different.

Instead of some mutant MD/MCD/32X beer goggles love child, Sega should have just had a cohesive next gen strategy and they would have been fine. Had the 32x never existed and Sega possibly successfully consolidated the MD/MCD into one console for the budget end along with perhaps an enhanced VDP and SVP for some 'Gigadrive' enhanced games, the Saturn might have been fine. I honestly doubt it would have been a Playstation beater but moderately successful replacing the N64 in 2nd place allowing Sega to have a really good swing for the next generation. People insist on dumping on the Saturn, yet the N64 was just as infuriating to develop for, (no doubt I will be disproved by a long winded technical post) and to add insult to injury had exceedingly high developer costs associated with Cartridges and draconian developer issues and a borked design just as hamstrung as the Saturn.

The Saturn was a failure because it never had a chance from the onset, completely marred by a botched western launch. Sega where also facing a perilous situation due to the oncoming storm of failing Arcade revenues. I find it fascinating that Nintendo's previously cash rich handheld revenues are similarly under enormous pressure at the moment much like the decline of Arcade profits for Sega, and may lead to Nintendo's own Sega-esque do or die turning point in the near future.

The Saturn was what it was and I honestly don't think it could have turned out any better because of how the relations with East and West had changed, Japan where adamant it would be done there way this time, however wrong it may have been.

Besides Master System compatibility ended up becoming the Megadrives only fatal flaw, too much space taken up in the VDP for unnecessary backward compatibility modes that could have been used to increase the amount of pallets and colour memory. The Saturn (as much as I love it) was merely a massive compromise between two different worlds, the past of 2D and emerging 3D tech, (perhaps why it still so fascinating to talk over?) when all Sega really needed was a cheap, properly launched and clean 3D design.

Sega's biggest missed opportunity was not backwards compatibility but its waste of a partnership with Lockheed Martin in the early to mid 90's, from the outset after Model 1 was finalised they should have partnered and worked hard together to create a flexible cost reduced 3D chipset for a forthcoming console. A fast single SH-2 to handle game logic, a slower secondary SH-1 chip to handle CD-ROM and Sound DSP control and the secondary ability for sound decompression would have been great. With either a decent fixed math co-processor or cheap FPU's with the associated (and cost reduced) texture mapping chipset from lockheed martin they would have a brilliant design. The reduce in cost compared to the Saturn we ended up with could have provided the overall setup with a much more balanced and efficient ram setup. 2MB of fast CPU work ram, 1-2 MB for the Video setup, and the same 512k for sound (space saved by better cpu compression by the ancillary SH-1 chip) and a single 128k chip for CD-ROM cache.

Now that would have been killer.

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 03:37 PM
Shit they could've just really pushed the CDX more instead of making it that 399.99 expensive ass machine. It was a nice looking system and Sega could've sold it for 150 back in late 94 and really pushed the machine.

sheath
08-04-2011, 04:12 PM
Here I am again about to defend the 32X. Seriously I do not get how its existence as a Genesis add-on intrinsically challenged the Saturn's success. I do see how the 32X historically challenged the Saturn because SoA marketed it as an interim console that would last at least two years. If that had remained true and the Saturn still launched in 1995 the Saturn and 32X could have coexisted in totally different markets. That is assuming that the 32X launched at less than half of the Saturn's later launch price, less than one third at the Saturn's Western launch. Since we like to talk DUO consoles, the Neptune would have solved a lot of budget consumer needs for those that didn't already own a Genesis.

The problem with the 32X and Saturn was miscommunication between SoA and SoJ about their priorities in the short term.

As for the Saturn, backward compatibility has always been detrimental to next generation cost/performance ratio. What the Saturn needed was more money poured into high level development kits than new games, but that was unprecedented at the time.

Genesis Knight
08-04-2011, 04:16 PM
Shit they could've just really pushed the CDX more instead of making it that 399.99 expensive ass machine. It was a nice looking system and Sega could've sold it for 150 back in late 94 and really pushed the machine.

There wouldn't have been any point. By 1994 it was clear that the SegaCD was never going to be any sort of huge hit on its own, and to the general public the Genesis/SegaCD tech was obsolete anyway compared to polygonal graphics. Selling the CDX cheap wouldn't have done anything - the market wanted 32-bit technology, not old 16-bit hardware bundled together.

TVC 15
08-04-2011, 04:32 PM
Here I am again about to defend the 32X. Seriously I do not get how its existence as a Genesis add-on intrinsically challenged the Saturn's success. I do see how the 32X historically challenged the Saturn because SoA marketed it as an interim console that would last at least two years. If that had remained true and the Saturn still launched in 1995 the Saturn and 32X could have coexisted in totally different markets. That is assuming that the 32X launched at less than half of the Saturn's later launch price, less than one third at the Saturn's Western launch. Since we like to talk DUO consoles, the Neptune would have solved a lot of budget consumer needs for those that didn't already own a Genesis.

The problem with the 32X and Saturn was miscommunication between SoA and SoJ about their priorities in the short term.

As for the Saturn, backward compatibility has always been detrimental to next generation cost/performance ratio. What the Saturn needed was more money poured into high level development kits than new games, but that was unprecedented at the time.

I generally agree with nearly everything you post but the problem with this idea is one big factor...

Money.

Wasted on tooling up, developing, manufacturing, packaging, advertising and selling the 32X, all the while wasting more shelf space better used for other Sega products. Then there is the time wasted that could have been put to use on getting a coherent strategy down on the Saturn, building consumer interest, perhaps making some better tools than Sega of japan to ease the transition (one of the benefits of the 32X apparently was some tools could be used with the Saturn,) also promoting a clear upgrade path to developers and consumers that the Saturn was the next big thing.
Money that could be spent against the obviously bigger threat of Sony, sure theres profit to be made in a mature market with the Genesis/Megadrive, but effectively dividing the haves and the have nots of late gen releases for the megadrive based on which people were willing to shell out roughly $150 dollars doesn't work in my eyes when the real prize is ahead.

The 32X is an interesting curio, with some nice titles and might have worked as a much more stripped down idea in the SVP lock-on cart form, allowing up-take due to cheaper cost and hurting less in the long run financially. But I just don't think there was any real clear place for the 32X, I won't pore scorn on the machine itself but the entire idea it would have worked without splitting a companies priorities is confusing to me.

But I think the problem with a lot of these alternative History threads is that, you could maybe fix one thing, I.e Sega's botched release of the Saturn in the US or the release of the 32X but there was always some other problem compounded by one thing, that runs like a thread through out all of Segas problems at the time and the single biggest factor hindering the companies success and health.

Management

Eee bye gum

sheath
08-04-2011, 04:50 PM
Yeah, I don't think Sega was going to solve their money problems. Looking at the Video Game Industry as a whole, companies that focus on making new gameplay styles lose big, every time. Sega's culture was based around new games because that worked with their Arcade business. The Console industry developed around different lines, franchises took hold almost immediately and never lost their sales dominance.

With the 32X, I would only suggest that Sega stuck to the original plan and allowed for a later Saturn release in the West. I can only assume that the May 1995 Saturn launch was in reaction to bad press in the West (particularly from Edge) and the early lead Sega took in Japan.

I am less interested in determining that particular "why" than I am in establishing each platform's place within Video game history.

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 05:41 PM
There wouldn't have been any point. By 1994 it was clear that the SegaCD was never going to be any sort of huge hit on its own, and to the general public the Genesis/SegaCD tech was obsolete anyway compared to polygonal graphics. Selling the CDX cheap wouldn't have done anything - the market wanted 32-bit technology, not old 16-bit hardware bundled together.

Shit it was better than the craptastic Genesis 3.

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 05:57 PM
Here I am again about to defend the 32X. Seriously I do not get how its existence as a Genesis add-on intrinsically challenged the Saturn's success. I do see how the 32X historically challenged the Saturn because SoA marketed it as an interim console that would last at least two years. If that had remained true and the Saturn still launched in 1995 the Saturn and 32X could have coexisted in totally different markets. That is assuming that the 32X launched at less than half of the Saturn's later launch price, less than one third at the Saturn's Western launch. Since we like to talk DUO consoles, the Neptune would have solved a lot of budget consumer needs for those that didn't already own a Genesis.

The problem with the 32X and Saturn was miscommunication between SoA and SoJ about their priorities in the short term.

As for the Saturn, backward compatibility has always been detrimental to next generation cost/performance ratio. What the Saturn needed was more money poured into high level development kits than new games, but that was unprecedented at the time.

1. It stretched Sega resources even more than it needed to be. (Genesis, SCD, 32X,Game Gear,32XCD,Pico,Saturn that is 7 systems that sega was trying to support at one time.)
2. Despite being a cheaper product, it used an even more expensive software medium for carts. Look at how that turned out on the N64.
3. 3rd parties didn't seem to be interested in "budget" systems.
4. Star Wars Arcade and Doom along with a few other games would've made a bigger impact on the Saturn than they would've on the 32X (which was overshadowed by DKC anyways)

Sheath as much as I like you, you do seem to take the Sega homer to an extreme. I to once thought that the 32X could've been a great system but when I finally took for my Sega shades I could see what it for what it really was, a pointless system that never would've helped Sega in the long run.

TVC 15
08-04-2011, 06:15 PM
I often find it interesting reading about different peoples opinions on the boards, the interviews and some of the facts the American side of Sega's operations, particularly the DC and Saturn era, its why I enjoy the site along with all the Megadrive goodness. Its taught me a great deal of the realities of what happened with Sega but also the key questions that can't be answered and some of the ill-founded myths pulled together over the years. Had I not stumbled on here I would have taken someone like Sam Pettius articles as gospel even though they where written a decade ago now and lack what we now know.

I can't say for europe as a whole, but Sega Saturn support over here in the UK was decent at the start, in fact if I recall Sega Rally was the fastest selling game ever on release here in the UK. I think when Sega finally made the uphill battle of gaining credibility after the Saturn's terrible to luke warm releases in the west, they had a fleeting year of reasonably good performance and where competitive with the PSX in 96'. Thats not often mentioned in the history of the Saturn, I'm sure in some other localities and countries other than Japan the Saturn may have been a modest success.

I think it would be fascinating to see what Europe's Sega divisions were like at this interesting time, there minor successes and also the beginning of the end for the Saturn here.

The problem with Sega at the end of the day though all came down to cash flow which Sega was haemorrhaging and managerial deficiencies. I often wonder what a financially fit and healthy Sega (say with a still strong Arcade division) might have done with the Sega Saturn, even with the complicated design we ended up with.

sheath
08-04-2011, 06:40 PM
I really don't think the 32X could have been a great system from an overall Industry perspective. I do think the 32X could have been a great Genesis add-on, and really almost was. The 32X being overshadowed by DKC is a Sam Pettus argument and has not been supported. Financial reports from 1994 indicate that the 32X propelled Sega's revenue above Nintendo's in the States for that year. DKC might have outsold the 32X, but at 1/3rd the price, that didn't make it better business for that fiscal year.

Nobi
08-04-2011, 07:08 PM
The 3DO and Jaguar were NEVER a threat at all. And yes this topic has been done before a few times. BC has never been a main console seller. Don't get me wrong it's handy to have But other than Nintendo's use in there hand held
it hasn't been implemented successfully on a consistent basis with the regular consoles. The Saturn needed much better 3rd party support, a few good football games, and a real Sonic game.

Fixed!

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 08:14 PM
I really don't think the 32X could have been a great system from an overall Industry perspective. I do think the 32X could have been a great Genesis add-on, and really almost was. The 32X being overshadowed by DKC is a Sam Pettus argument and has not been supported. Financial reports from 1994 indicate that the 32X propelled Sega's revenue above Nintendo's in the States for that year. DKC might have outsold the 32X, but at 1/3rd the price, that didn't make it better business for that fiscal year.

I never mentioned Pettus but I remember by my own accounts being blown away by the graphics of DKC. I thought with the 32X in tow that it would only be a matter of time before Sega released a Sonic game with graphics that blew DKC out of the water instead we got Knuckles Chaotix. :| Even the launch games of the 32X didn't look all that much better than what was on the Genesis or SNES. When the Saturn and PSx came out they pretty much blew everything on the Genesis and SNES away. Look at SWA then look at Star Fox SWA looks a little better but then you put Panzer Dragoon or Warhawk and there is no comparison. Look at Chaotix to Astal. Both 1sg gen games and the Saturn makes Chaotix look well really bad. Then you have boneheaded decisions of releasing After Burner and Space Harrier. Now don't get me wrong I love those games but I don't want to be playing 1988 games when there are newer 32-Bit System 32 games that are available.

sheath
08-04-2011, 08:34 PM
I remember playing DKC and immediately recognizing the pre-rendered characters, the Sonic like level designs, and the playfield objects that blended with the background objects. While I was looking at that I did not have any problems playing Virtua Racing and Doom on 32X. I realize that is all just my experience though, and I typically do not get "wowed" by entertainment mediums regardless.

Early PS1 and Saturn games seemed rather slow and glitchy to me, and the Playstation in particular carried on attempting and generally failing to bring popular 2D genres into "3D" for several years. Going back I do enjoy playing 1995 Saturn and PS1 games, but more as oddities and launch titles than anything else. Even if the 32X was completely maxed out by its launch software I would have enjoyed playing similar remakes on it for the couple of years it took third party developers to introduce something completely new.

TrekkiesUnite118
08-04-2011, 09:02 PM
While I do think it would be interesting to see what the 32X could have done if it was supported longer, I still think it would have been best to not release it. All the games that were being made for 32X could have been moved over as Saturn launch titles.

32X Doom could have been moved over to the Saturn and depending on when Saturn was released it could have had about 6-9 more months to be polished for launch. If I remember correctly Sega actually had members from id software come work on the 32X port, I'd imagine they could have given us a better port than GT Interactive gave us. Probe's efforts on 32X MK2 could have instead gone into MK2 on the Saturn making it a more finished product. Sega's own efforts on Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars Arcade, etc. could have all gone into Saturn versions making them ready for launch. Tempo and Knuckles Chaotix could have been nice launch platformers for the Saturn.

Pretty much everything that went into the 32X could have been better spent going into preparing the Saturn for launch in the US or late Genesis and Sega CD titles.

sheath
08-04-2011, 09:25 PM
I think 32X games on the Saturn would have only perpetuated the "2D with cruddy 3D" idea that the media jumped on so quickly. Even an Arcade perfect port of Star Wars Arcade would have looked rudimentary on the Saturn. Doom wasn't on the Saturn because it was a PS1 launch game, let's not fool ourselves about that one. Virtua Racing from Time Warner is really far from being a bad game at all, and Sega's efforts were better spent on Daytona and Sega Rally that year. Mortal Kombat 2 on the 32X is treated as an after thought, and gamers to this day are absolutely convinced that the SNES game was still better.

Really, I could go down the limited 1st gen 32X library and see all kinds of problems with making them Saturn games instead. Of course, I could also see them getting upgraded adaptations to the Saturn like Stellar Assault did. These kinds of adaptations should not cost all that much money especially considering the shared CPU logic and the way the Game Industry has become.

As for the Sega CD, I think the only thing that could have saved it as a viable product is the 32X or something in line with what Chilly Willy has suggested in a late generation SVP quality polygonal 3D game or two. Honestly, if this was all that possible it was a huge screwup for Sega not to crank out dev kits allowing all Sega CD developers access to it.

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 09:37 PM
While I do think it would be interesting to see what the 32X could have done if it was supported longer, I still think it would have been best to not release it. All the games that were being made for 32X could have been moved over as Saturn launch titles.

32X Doom could have been moved over to the Saturn and depending on when Saturn was released it could have had about 6-9 more months to be polished for launch. If I remember correctly Sega actually had members from id software come work on the 32X port, I'd imagine they could have given us a better port than GT Interactive gave us. Probe's efforts on 32X MK2 could have instead gone into MK2 on the Saturn making it a more finished product. Sega's own efforts on Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars Arcade, etc. could have all gone into Saturn versions making them ready for launch. Tempo and Knuckles Chaotix could have been nice launch platformers for the Saturn.



Pretty much everything that went into the 32X could have been better spent going into preparing the Saturn for launch in the US or late Genesis and Sega CD titles.

Probe botched every single port of MK2 on Sega Systems. They had close to 2 years to perfect the Saturn and they still fucked up. And the Saturn got Super Tempo in 98 and they already had Bug on the system so you'd be getting redundant with that release. Chaotix could've been the original Sonic Chaotic game minus the crappy ring tag system. And what of VF i'm not getting what you are trying to say about that as Sega had VF Remix which trounced every other version of VF.

Chilly Willy
08-04-2011, 09:47 PM
As for the Sega CD, I think the only thing that could have saved it as a viable product is the 32X or something in line with what Chilly Willy has suggested in a late generation SVP quality polygonal 3D game or two. Honestly, if this was all that possible it was a huge screwup for Sega not to crank out dev kits allowing all Sega CD developers access to it.

We have the SEGA CD stuff now (been on the net for years actually), and there's not even a demo for using the ASIC. The explanation in the hardware manual and software manual each leave out needed info, and it's only by combining the two that you can even figure out how you are supposed to use the ASIC. It's not a wonder to me that there was so little for the SCD using the ASIC.

TrekkiesUnite118
08-04-2011, 10:25 PM
Probe botched every single port of MK2 on Sega Systems. They had close to 2 years to perfect the Saturn and they still fucked up. And the Saturn got Super Tempo in 98 and they already had Bug on the system so you'd be getting redundant with that release. Chaotix could've been the original Sonic Chaotic game minus the crappy ring tag system. And what of VF i'm not getting what you are trying to say about that as Sega had VF Remix which trounced every other version of VF.

They may have had Super Tempo on Saturn but that still doesn't mean the Original Tempo wouldn't have been a nice launch title. The effort Sega put into VF on the 32X could have been better spent on titles they were working on for Saturn such as the original buggy port of VF and Daytona USA. Remember Remix was done by AM1, not AM2. If AM2 wasn't wasting time on 32X Virtua Fighter we might have gotten a better port of Daytona or possibly gotten VF2 sooner.

Da_Shocker
08-04-2011, 11:05 PM
We have the SEGA CD stuff now (been on the net for years actually), and there's not even a demo for using the ASIC. The explanation in the hardware manual and software manual each leave out needed info, and it's only by combining the two that you can even figure out how you are supposed to use the ASIC. It's not a wonder to me that there was so little for the SCD using the ASIC.

It's widely common knowledge that Sega was terrible with dev kits with the SCD, 32X and Saturn. And it amazes me that they were so inept in that department.

Team Andromeda
08-05-2011, 11:36 AM
We have the SEGA CD stuff now (been on the net for years actually), and there's not even a demo for using the ASIC. The explanation in the hardware manual and software manual each leave out needed info, and it's only by combining the two that you can even figure out how you are supposed to use the ASIC. It's not a wonder to me that there was so little for the SCD using the ASIC.

I read interviews with some developer that said the Mega CD was harder to developer for than the 32X or Saturn. Mind you Core said the system was pretty easy one you got over the limitations and resisted the temptation to just use MD code also Core said SEGA provided fully and open access to all the Mega CD Hardware and documentation and were surprised more developers weren't using the ASIC chip.

Chilly Willy
08-05-2011, 02:53 PM
I read interviews with some developer that said the Mega CD was harder to developer for than the 32X or Saturn. Mind you Core said the system was pretty easy one you got over the limitations and resisted the temptation to just use MD code also Core said SEGA provided fully and open access to all the Mega CD Hardware and documentation and were surprised more developers weren't using the ASIC chip.

They DID give you a full hardware and software manual... but like all SEGA manuals, it had quite a bit of Engrish, was wrong in places, and missing info. There were a few bulletins released with corrections, but I can easily see where many devs had no idea what to do given the manuals. If people had so much trouble using the Z80 well in the Genesis, SEGA should have known there would be problems using the ASIC as well.

The Jackal
08-05-2011, 05:39 PM
In response to the opening statement, i don't believe had Sega built and based Saturn around the Genesis, Sega CD and 32X that they would still be rocking it big today, and would have crushed SONY back in 1995. Sega's problems started way earlier when they decided to make and release a Sega CD & later a 32x. Lets pretend we could go back in time and try to change the future and make Sega a success. Firstly i would decide to go back in time and start development of the Megadrive (Genesis) a year later using a slightly superior sound chip and perhaps slightly better or higher clocked CPU. Being released a year later it would of been able to compete even more with the SNES on all levels and would of lasted through to 1996. I also would of planned on releasing the 32 bit system which i would rename Megadream. The reason why i would call it the Megadream is it would create a connection between the names MEGAdrive & DREAMcast and also the name Saturn was not a huge success. I would have the system released mid 1995 in Japan with a quick US & Europe release at the end of that year with the machine being much simpler in design yet either equally as powerful as or slightly more powerful than the Playstation (3d wise) in which it would be utilised best using the C programming language instead of Assembler. I would also remove the cartridge slot at the back and instead have memory slots down the bottom like the Playstation to save games via memory cards. Also if i could afford it i would have a Megadrive Cartridge slot at the top to play Megadrive games. If this put the cost of the machine up too much then i would have it removed.

I believe this system would of been supported much stronger due to it being a simpler, easier to program for, yet still powerful 3d machine and we would of probably seen games appear on the machine that were released and sold well on the Playstation either at the same time as, before or even exclusively on Megadream like Tomb Raider 1,2,3,4,Resident Evil 1,2,3,Wipeout,2097,Wip3out,Final Fantasy VII,VIII,IX and probably quite a few more.

The games mentioned above are the ones which shifted Playstations and although Tomb Raider, Wipeout & Resident Evil appeared on Saturn it was either a while after they were on Playstation or in Tomb Raiders case a slightly inferior version.

I imagine if we had seen all these games i mentioned above on Megadream either exclusively (which could have been possible as without the Sega CD & 32x ever being invented Sega's reputation would of been much better, coupled with a more powerful 3d wise and easier to program for 32 bit system. ) or at the same time as the PS the Megadream (Saturn) could of sold at least 50m units across its lifespan which would of lasted longer than before probably up to around into 2001 and would of put Sega in a great position going into the 128 bit generation.

Around 1998 i would of started development of Sega's first handheld which i would call the Dreampad. It would be set to go up against the Gameboy advance only it would be released a year earlier than the GBA in 2000 worldwide and have 4 front buttons A,B,X,Y as well as L & R on top and feature a backlight screen as well as a built-in rechargeable battery. Its 2d capabilities would be better than the GBA and on par with Saturns but still offer some 3d capabilities like the GBA. Im guessing a price of around $199.99 & 199.99. I would drop the price to match the GBA 12 months later when it was released.

The Dreamcast would of come not in 1998 & 99 but in 2001 in a worldwide release (give or take a few months) and would of been a more powerful version than it originally was but still easy to work on as well as being backward compatible with the Megadream. The games would also come on DVD'S thus making the Dreamcast a DVD player like Sony's PS2. Lets say very similar in architecture and in the colourful look of the games to the Gamecube but with the CPU & GPU offering more graphical effects and being closer in power to the XBOX. It would still have the modem but would feature a space to upgrade to broadband later on. I believe alot of the 3rd party games we saw appear on the PS2 (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest e.t.c) would of been on this Dreamcast as a result of Sega's better reputation and due to the success of the Megadream. I also think Microsoft may have not even entered the game industry at all and we could see alot of what appeared on Xbox like Halo appear on Dreamcast.

The DC control pad also would of been better designed in that it would of featured A,B,C,X,Y,Z on the front and L1,L2,R1,R2 on the top coupled with a superior D-Pad and not 1 analogue but 2 positioned horizontally down the bottom like Sony's DS pad. The 6 front buttons would be slightly smaller and closer together as a result of there being 6 instead of 4 and i would make sure the pad wasn't to bulky of fat. Also due to technology being more advanced as it would be 3yrs later on than when the Dreamcast was originally released the VMS/VMU would also have been slightly superior to the one released originally in 98 and obviously would feature rechargable batteries that would recharge the unit when plugged into the control pad.

Because of the success of the Megadream Sega's reputation would be at an all time high and when Sony released there PS2 (2000) i would tell the gaming public to wait a year for our new Sega console called the Dreamcast that would be more powerful than PS2 and would also be able to play DVD'S Due to our machine also using the format for games. I probably would of launched it around $299.99 & 299.99 and believe it would of sold well on it being backward compatible with Megadream, being able to play DVD's just like PS2 & also because of Sega fantastic reputation it would of been supported strongly by all the 3rd parties including Squaresoft/Enix and E.A.

Megadream? Dreampad?? LOL WUT

SonicTheHedgehog
08-06-2011, 12:36 AM
Megadream? Dreampad?? LOL WUT

Lol yeah i just feel and think those would of been better names and more popular as the name Saturn in particular wasn't a popular name. The planet itself is hostile, inhospitable and ugly. MegaDream being the connection between Megadrive & Dreamcast and Dreampad would be the name of the handheld as that would be a similar sounding name to Dreamcast.

Remember that comment i made was if i could go back in time and re write history knowing then what i know now and being able to tell Sega to make it happen. Just a bit of fun really with a bit of sadness mixed in as i believe in that alternate reality Sega would be huge today.

TVC 15
08-06-2011, 07:30 AM
Lol yeah i just feel and think those would of been better names and more popular as the name Saturn in particular wasn't a popular name. The planet itself is hostile, inhospitable and ugly. MegaDream being the connection between Megadrive & Dreamcast and Dreampad would be the name of the handheld as that would be a similar sounding name to Dreamcast.

Remember that comment i made was if i could go back in time and re write history knowing then what i know now and being able to tell Sega to make it happen. Just a bit of fun really with a bit of sadness mixed in as i believe in that alternate reality Sega would be huge today.

Yeah but the problem with all these mental quantum leap alternate realities is that if you change one thing, you change the whole outcome of events for a companies history. The Dreamcast probably wouldn't have been called as such had the Sega Saturn been a success purely because the entire History would have been changed, what would have been the Dreamcast would have been pushed back to a later date with different tech inside, and Sega's PR and marketing department would have come out with a completely different name. I very much doubt Sega thought in 1994 "The Successor to the Sega Saturn, will be named the Dreamcast" there and then. I also think the name had something to do with Sega's attempt at rebranding the companies persona with a positive sounding name.

The precedent for calling the Sega Saturn the 'Sega Saturn' goes back to Sega's internal code names for systems dating back to the Sega Game Gear, and they decided on just sticking with the internal code name for launch. I honestly like the name Sega Saturn, its far less bland than the 'Sony Playstation' yet that name has become synonymous with video gaming because of the strength of the brand and the success of the console.

I also very much doubt Sega would still be huge today had they made the right moves in the 90's, the Video game market is now full of corporate juggernauts with there gaming divisions just another arrow in their quivers, only Nintendo which has rebranded itself some faux-Apple 'innovation' company has managed to survive through consistent nostalgia whoring of there franchises, gimmickry and trying to aim for mass populism and of late there fortunes are very precarious.

sheath
08-06-2011, 09:09 AM
TVC 15 speaks the truth! Since the dominance of the Playstations new games have become more and more scarce, and Sega's entire company history was based around new games. The fact that Sega has become a corporate franchise farm to stay afloat as Sega Sammy is one of the reasons I think they have become irrelevant to gamers today.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-06-2011, 10:30 AM
Yeah but the problem with all these mental quantum leap alternate realities is that if you change one thing, you change the whole outcome of events for a companies history. The Dreamcast probably wouldn't have been called as such had the Sega Saturn been a success purely because the entire History would have been changed, what would have been the Dreamcast would have been pushed back to a later date with different tech inside, and Sega's PR and marketing department would have come out with a completely different name. I very much doubt Sega thought in 1994 "The Successor to the Sega Saturn, will be named the Dreamcast" there and then. I also think the name had something to do with Sega's attempt at rebranding the companies persona with a positive sounding name.

The precedent for calling the Sega Saturn the 'Sega Saturn' goes back to Sega's internal code names for systems dating back to the Sega Game Gear, and they decided on just sticking with the internal code name for launch.

I know that i was explaining that if i could go back in time and i was the yes no man. Pretend its a holodeck program and to win you have to make Sega a success or last longer. You can do anything in the program including deciding the names of the consoles and when they are released and the Sega team do the rest but they have to come to you for approval of anything to be released hardware or software wise. Obviously not cheat and just give the company hundreds of millions but trying to get them stronger in a legit way and without trying to destroy Sony or Nintendo with the one major thing in your favour being you know the future or how it has turned out in real life but obviously you don't tell the Sega execs that.

Team Andromeda
08-06-2011, 11:06 AM
They DID give you a full hardware and software manual... but like all SEGA manuals, it had quite a bit of Engrish, was wrong in places, and missing info. There were a few bulletins released with corrections, but I can easily see where many devs had no idea what to do given the manuals. If people had so much trouble using the Z80 well in the Genesis, SEGA should have known there would be problems using the ASIC as well.

You could say just the same with the Mega Drive and I think it's thanks to the poor engrish, that Dave Perry developed Aladdin advanced animation routines, I think many had trouble with PS2 manuals ect.
If tiny 3rd parties like GameArts, Core, Malibu Interactive could use the ASIC, there is little excuse why the other major teams (not least SOJ own) didn't use the system. With the Snes and Mode 7 NCL set the ball rolling straight away and Pioltwings, F-Zero and put-down a marker that other developers had to follow With the Mega CD not only didn't SOJ not even bother to get a In-House game ready for lauch, the launch games used little of the Mega CD and to add insult - Not even the Mega CD PCM soundchip was used at all at any stage.

I think it never helped that the Mega CD was a MD add on, and so many developers took the easy route of just using MD code, rather than Mega CD code, much like CD32 games (Yes I know it wasn't an add on) , where most of the time it was just Amgia code rather than coders really making use of all the CD32 more advanced features

Chilly Willy
08-06-2011, 03:35 PM
You could say just the same with the Mega Drive and I think it's thanks to the poor engrish, that Dave Perry developed Aladdin advanced animation routines, I think many had trouble with PS2 manuals ect.
If tiny 3rd parties like GameArts, Core, Malibu Interactive could use the ASIC, there is little excuse why the other major teams (not least SOJ own) didn't use the system. With the Snes and Mode 7 NCL set the ball rolling straight away and Pioltwings, F-Zero and put-down a marker that other developers had to follow With the Mega CD not only didn't SOJ not even bother to get a In-House game ready for lauch, the launch games used little of the Mega CD and to add insult - Not even the Mega CD PCM soundchip was used at all at any stage.

I think it never helped that the Mega CD was a MD add on, and so many developers took the easy route of just using MD code, rather than Mega CD code, much like CD32 games (Yes I know it wasn't an add on) , where most of the time it was just Amgia code rather than coders really making use of all the CD32 more advanced features

Well, some folks are better at this than others. I agree that they SHOULD have been able to handle it if they were any good at programming the MD, so maybe it was laziness, or perhaps (more likely) scheduling pressure from management that didn't allow them the time needed to figure out the new hardware.

Da_Shocker
08-06-2011, 11:22 PM
You could say just the same with the Mega Drive and I think it's thanks to the poor engrish, that Dave Perry developed Aladdin advanced animation routines, I think many had trouble with PS2 manuals ect.
If tiny 3rd parties like GameArts, Core, Malibu Interactive could use the ASIC, there is little excuse why the other major teams (not least SOJ own) didn't use the system. With the Snes and Mode 7 NCL set the ball rolling straight away and Pioltwings, F-Zero and put-down a marker that other developers had to follow With the Mega CD not only didn't SOJ not even bother to get a In-House game ready for lauch, the launch games used little of the Mega CD and to add insult - Not even the Mega CD PCM soundchip was used at all at any stage.

I think it never helped that the Mega CD was a MD add on, and so many developers took the easy route of just using MD code, rather than Mega CD code, much like CD32 games (Yes I know it wasn't an add on) , where most of the time it was just Amgia code rather than coders really making use of all the CD32 more advanced features

You can replace the MCD with the 32X.

Team Andromeda
08-08-2011, 07:47 AM
Well, some folks are better at this than others. I agree that they SHOULD have been able to handle it if they were any good at programming the MD, so maybe it was laziness, or perhaps (more likely) scheduling pressure from management that didn't allow them the time needed to figure out the new hardware.

Look its a fair point about launch games using little of the host hardware due to time pressures and incomplete development kits and bits and bobs being added to the console in question at the last minute, but to not even use the extra sound chip was a bit lame . I don't get SOJ either they did one of the best tech demo's ever seen and we all saw and heard it as soon as you powered up the Mega CD where you were greeted to amazing Sprite scaling and rotation effects and top quality music all for the bios screen . Why couldn't SOJ get the team that made the MEGA CD bios screen to make a Mega CD that used all the effects in the bios screen but in an actual game ?

We'll never know, but a Mega CD with decent ports of Super Hang-On, Space Harrier , AfterBurner II, Out Run, Power Drift, Enduro Racer, Galaxy Force II (all of which would have been possible as Batman Returns/Soul Star shows) would have sold a hell of a lot better and had a far better image/PR with the press and the gamers alike imo

j_factor
08-08-2011, 03:51 PM
We'll never know, but a Mega CD with decent ports of Super Hang-On, Space Harrier , AfterBurner II, Out Run, Power Drift, Enduro Racer, Galaxy Force II (all of which would have been possible as Batman Returns/Soul Star shows) would have sold a hell of a lot better and had a far better image/PR with the press and the gamers alike imo

I doubt it. These games were getting pretty long in the tooth by the time Sega CD came around. The press would have painted it as Sega desperately recycling their old games, and sales would not have been good. In 1992-95 nobody was going to buy a system/add-on for a port of Space Harrier. And if Night Striker is any indication, the ports wouldn't even have been arcade perfect, although they would've been quite good. So even in retrospect it doesn't add much to the Sega CD, because they wouldn't be as good as the Saturn versions. Although, granted, Enduro Racer never got a Saturn port.

Da_Shocker
08-08-2011, 04:08 PM
I doubt it. These games were getting pretty long in the tooth by the time Sega CD came around. The press would have painted it as Sega desperately recycling their old games, and sales would not have been good. In 1992-95 nobody was going to buy a system/add-on for a port of Space Harrier. And if Night Striker is any indication, the ports wouldn't even have been arcade perfect, although they would've been quite good. So even in retrospect it doesn't add much to the Sega CD, because they wouldn't be as good as the Saturn versions. Although, granted, Enduro Racer never got a Saturn port.

IDK but that didn't stop Sega from porting Space Harrier and After Burner II to the 32X, which IMO was pretty pointless.

j_factor
08-08-2011, 04:16 PM
IDK but that didn't stop Sega from porting Space Harrier and After Burner II to the 32X, which IMO was pretty pointless.

Yeah, and look how many 32x units flew off the shelves when those two were released! Even compared to other 32x games, they didn't do well.

sheath
08-08-2011, 04:24 PM
Yeah, I don't think there was much of a home market for scaler games ever really. But they did have an ineffable way of making a system seem more powerful. It is possible if six or more of Sega's more popular scaler games were adapted to the Sega CD in its first year that it might have altered the "FMV Flood" perception in the media and subsequently the masses.

j_factor
08-08-2011, 04:30 PM
There would have been interest in more contemporary ones like Rad Mobile, but I'm not sure how good of a port Sega CD could muster.

sheath
08-08-2011, 05:04 PM
If Sega CD could have done Power Drift, then a competant Rad Mobile was possible as well. The Saturn translation is obviously poor considering the system's demonstrable capabilities. Sega CD games seemed to start to lose frames when they had constant object scaling though, so I wouldn't be surprised if say the floor animation was done in the style the PC-Engine's Power Drift and only cars scaled.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-08-2011, 10:05 PM
Why didn't Sega just use the Motorola 68030 for its main CPU underclocked to around 35mhz? Or the lower cost version 68EC030?

Chilly Willy
08-08-2011, 10:12 PM
Why didn't Sega just use the Motorola 68030 for its main CPU underclocked to around 35mhz? Or the lower cost version 68EC030?

The 68030 isn't as good as the SH2, which was also cheaper. Cheaper, faster, and not in any home computer (meaning less piracy) made the SH2 much more attractive.

TVC 15
08-09-2011, 05:10 AM
The SH-2 was actually a nice little chip for its time with a fairly robut DSP like archtecture, for example it's faster than the PS1's Mips R3000A at matrix math transformations but overall thats moot because the PS1 has the GTE Geomotry engine which was reasonably more faster than the SH-2 at pumping out 3D math. That was just thrown out there as an example.

It's a real shame they did'nt get those SH-2's on seperate buses, but from what technichal discussions I've read it seems that the real limiting factor of the Saturns architecture is synchronising and using all the hardware well, and also the VDP1 which has its unusual rendering quirks and methods and generally has a lower fillrate than the PSX's GTE + GPU (loosly used term there) setup and often suffers from overdraw.

By 1994 the 68030 was old hat and long in the tooth, hitting half the rated mips performance of (roughly 11 million instructions) at 33 Mhz, to the 25Mips of a single SH-2 at 28mhz. Of course I'm well aware theres archtectural differences and MiPS ratings are never the best measure but I think we can generally conclude the lower performance of the 68030. The only benefit SEGA would have got is if they'd have used a 68040 which I think even with bulk buying contracts would have been too expensive to use as its a more general purpose desktop orientated chip. Though there would have been the associated benefit of a similarities between the 68000 used in the megadrive and the 68040.

Excuse my dodgy spelling, I have a browser spellchecker at home, this is my works computer.

Team Andromeda
08-09-2011, 10:54 AM
I doubt it. These games were getting pretty long in the tooth by the time Sega CD came around. The press would have painted it as Sega desperately recycling their old games, and sales would not have been good. In 1992-95 nobody was going to buy a system/add-on for a port of Space Harrier. And if Night Striker is any indication, the ports wouldn't even have been arcade perfect, although they would've been quite good. So even in retrospect it doesn't add much to the Sega CD, because they wouldn't be as good as the Saturn versions. Although, granted, Enduro Racer never got a Saturn port.


A couple of points ....

The sprite Scaling Thunder Hawk/Thunder Strike is one of the most talked about and best selling Mega CD games there was . This was 1991/2 when Sprite's were still king inthe Arcades and the Home and we had let to see any Home consoles versions of the likes of OutRun that offered scaling, much less audio close to that of the Arcade games. The Mega CD could have nailed the Audio and produced a decent job of the Arcade scaling . Brining up NighStriker is a bad example, better if we Bring up John O' Biren Batman and Cliffhanger 3D engine where it shows the Mega CD could have indeed handled OutRun, Super Hang On, Space Harrier , and one look at Soul Star shows the Mega CD could have done a decent version of Power Drift and Galaxy Force II.

Sure they wouldn't have been close to perfect, but they would have been closer to any Home console version (bar the Marty) and would have had Arcade perfect sound . To Mega CD owners, SEGA Arcade fan's and Mega Drive fans desperate for Mode 7 better effects it would have been a Big deal and would have really helped the Mega CD image with the SEGA press


Why didn't Sega just use the Motorola 68030 for its main CPU underclocked to around 35mhz

because Motorola had completely lost the 32 bit market , to the likes of Intel Ect, With underpowered chips, just ask Atari and their range of Computers that used the 32bit Motorola CPU's.




There would have been interest in more contemporary ones like Rad Mobile, but I'm not sure how good of a port Sega CD could muster

No chance really that was running on a monster Arcade board for it's time , plus the game was incredibly dull to play anyway.

Da_Shocker
08-09-2011, 12:31 PM
But when you look at both America and Japan dropped the ball on this one. SoJ wanted all of those RPG's out and SoA wanted the FMV games out.

Team Andromeda you mentioned something about small companies using the asic. The thing with them is that small companies have more to prove compared to a larger company that will churn out crap. This is the same case with the Saturn as it's best 3rd party 3D games were from smaller companies.

Team Andromeda
08-09-2011, 01:56 PM
. The thing with them is that small companies have more to prove compared to a larger company that will churn out crap. This is the same case with the Saturn as it's best 3rd party 3D games were from smaller companies.

That's a fair point, but there were plenty of small 3rd parties that didn't use the Mega CD well either, even Wolf Team hardly ever used the ASIC chip and there next to no excuse for SEGA Japan not using the ASIC chip for more in their games. It is up to the Platformer holder to give a lead and show what its own system can do... SEGA Japan did that for the Mega Drive, the Saturn, the DC, they sadly didn't do it for the Mega CD.
It's so sad as when the Mega CD hardware was used to full effect in games like Wing Commander, Batman Returns, Cliffhanger (snowboard) Soul Star, Battlecorps , Lunar II it just showed what was possible on the system . Such a massively wasted opportunity by SOJ

SonicTheHedgehog
08-09-2011, 06:17 PM
The only benefit SEGA would have got is if they'd have used a 68040 which I think even with bulk buying contracts would have been too expensive to use as its a more general purpose desktop orientated chip. Though there would have been the associated benefit of a similarities between the 68000 used in the megadrive and the 68040.

Then perhaps going with the 68040 and launching the system a year later in November 95 in Japan and in late 96 in the US and Europe. If the hardware was right and easy to code for they probably would of got Res 2,3, Tomb Raider 2,3,4 and mabee even some of or all the 32 bit Final Fantasy titles as well as many others which helped shift the PS.

sheath
08-09-2011, 07:38 PM
Then perhaps going with the 68040 and launching the system a year later in November 95 in Japan and in late 96 in the US and Europe. If the hardware was right and easy to code for they probably would of got Res 2,3, Tomb Raider 2,3,4 and mabee even some of or all the 32 bit Final Fantasy titles as well as many others which helped shift the PS.

Those games were all a result of exclusivity payoffs, and the resulting sales dominance, not development complexity.

KnightWarrior
08-09-2011, 07:46 PM
Would it change anything in the Saturn's life if Bernie Stolar wasn't in charge??

j_factor
08-09-2011, 08:17 PM
Would it change anything in the Saturn's life if Bernie Stolar wasn't in charge??

Of course it would. Tons.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-09-2011, 08:26 PM
Those games were all a result of exclusivity payoffs, and the resulting sales dominance, not development complexity.

Do you have any proof that they were a result of exclusivity payoffs?

Chilly Willy
08-09-2011, 09:40 PM
Then perhaps going with the 68040 and launching the system a year later in November 95 in Japan and in late 96 in the US and Europe. If the hardware was right and easy to code for they probably would of got Res 2,3, Tomb Raider 2,3,4 and mabee even some of or all the 32 bit Final Fantasy titles as well as many others which helped shift the PS.

A 68040 would have been more competitive with the SH2 in terms of performance (especially if you used the version with an FPU), but was even worse in terms of price, ESPECIALLY in the early to mid 90's. The SH2 is STILL more powerful if you go by raw performance; what it lacked were features that would have made it better for a home/business computer - mainly separate kernel and user modes, and built in MMU and FPU coprocessors. Those are not features a console needed, so it would have been silly to pay extra when for less than the same price, you could have TWO SH2 processors. Unless SEGA got a special deal from Motorola for the equivalent of a 68EC040, there was no reason to pick it for the Saturn. Now I could see picking something like the ColdFire for a console at the appropriate period, or the 68EC020, but not the 68020, 68030, 68040, or 68060; none of them would have been cost effective for a console. It would have been like asking MS to put a 2 GHz P4 in the original XBox.

The CPU has almost nothing to do with problems with the Saturn. It's everything else that was the problem, particularly the emphasis on 2D hardware over a "proper" 3D GPU. The only other reasonable choice at the time for a processor was to go with a MIPS like Sony and Nintendo both did. Releasing the Saturn with a single R3000 would have been fine, but still wouldn't have dealt with the problem with the rest of the hardware.

sheath
08-09-2011, 10:00 PM
Do you have any proof that they were a result of exclusivity payoffs?

Please define "proof" before I bother producing readily available information instead of finishing my new game console/mame cabinet. While I am working on your task, please produce the figures that prove the first or second games in the Resident Evil, Tomb Raider or Final Fantasy series significantly impacted the system sales in any way. This should be an easy task, I just want to see it done.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-09-2011, 10:29 PM
Please define "proof" before I bother producing readily available information instead of finishing my new game console/mame cabinet.

As in articles stating that Sony paid these particular companies for exclusive rights to the games i mentioned.


While I am working on your task, please produce the figures that prove the first or second games in the Resident Evil, Tomb Raider or Final Fantasy series significantly impacted the system sales in any way. This should be an easy task, I just want to see it done.

Final Fantasy VII shipped 9.8m copies on the Playstation (more than the total amount of Sega Saturns shifted worldwide)
Final Fantasy VIII shipped 8.15m copies
Final Fantasy IX shipped 5.3m
Tomb Raider 2 shipped 8m
Tomb Raider 3 - 6.5m
Tomb Raider 4 - 5m
Resident Evil 2 - 4.9m

The best selling Saturn title was VF2 which shifted around 2.2m copies. To put that amount in to perspective, the Playstations WWF Warzone shifted the same amount in the US alone
Sega Rally was the next best shifting around 1.2m

I'm sure if Sega's 32bit console had these they could of shifted at least 50m consoles.

sheath
08-09-2011, 10:33 PM
{sales numbers with no sources}

Right, that is where I thought you were coming from. How did any of these games affect the Playstation's system sales month to month or yearly?

SonicTheHedgehog
08-09-2011, 10:49 PM
Thats a bit of a silly question. People bought Playstations for these games i mentioned. I was one of them and so were many of my friends. And i'm sure millions and millions were the same. You buy hardware based on the software available and how good that software is and all the software i mentioned were the most popular and high quality (but that's opinion) of the 32 bit generation. Don't get me wrong i loved my Saturn and still do for games like Nights, Guardian Heroes, Saturn Bomberman, Panzer, Burning Rangers, Steep Slope Sliders and many others but those games didn't shift Saturns like the ones i mentioned on PS.

I loved Tomb Raider 1 and was massively anticipating its sequel and the minute i heard it was PS only i bought a Playstation for it. The story was the same for tens of millions of other gamers only for other games that only the PS had.

TrekkiesUnite118
08-10-2011, 02:48 AM
The CPU has almost nothing to do with problems with the Saturn. It's everything else that was the problem, particularly the emphasis on 2D hardware over a "proper" 3D GPU. The only other reasonable choice at the time for a processor was to go with a MIPS like Sony and Nintendo both did. Releasing the Saturn with a single R3000 would have been fine, but still wouldn't have dealt with the problem with the rest of the hardware.

I wonder if even the rest of the hardware would have been a problem if Sega would have just released better development kits for the Saturn early on. Don't get me wrong, the Saturn's hardware set up is far from ideal, but good dev kits may have helped significantly with that.

Team Andromeda
08-10-2011, 03:11 AM
Do you have any proof that they were a result of exclusivity payoffs?

Tomb Raider II was the only one that was payoff's , Core's Jerry Smith even boasted how much he earned from the Sony payoff's .


You buy hardware based on the software available and how good that software is and all the software i mentioned were the most popular and high quality

Unless It was the PS2.


The underlying problem with the Saturn was SEGA trying to back the 32X at the same time

Chilly Willy
08-10-2011, 03:28 AM
I wonder if even the rest of the hardware would have been a problem if Sega would have just released better development kits for the Saturn early on. Don't get me wrong, the Saturn's hardware set up is far from ideal, but good dev kits may have helped significantly with that.

Yeah, that's been an issue on EVERY console that had an SDK - early SDKs don't make enough use of the hardware, and/or are not as optimized as they could be. You have several versions that come out over the life of the console, and leads to a noticeable jump in the quality of the games. For example, the first SDK for the N64 used Nintendo's slow but better looking renderer, so games all tended to have fewer polygons that were heavily filtered. The first PSX SDKs had trouble with texture seams and excessive fish-eye from the affine renderer. Both mostly overcame the problems as they matured.

The Saturn had issues with certain aspects of the hardware not being part of the SDK at all. For example, they had a function to send a DSP program to the DSP, but that was pretty much it for DSP support beyond a low-level assembler. This was part of the reason the DSP tended not to get used. The Slave SH2 was not part of the SDK, and only later did SEGA put out a bulletin on how to start code on it, with the focus of the bulletin being more on using the free-run timers to send signals from one SH2 to the other than more important issues like cache coherency and bus contention.

TVC 15
08-10-2011, 07:01 AM
SH-2 + GPU + Stripped Down SPU = Perfectly fine design. The entire point of the secondary SH-2 was to try and give it a bit of an edge, stuff like light sourcing and z-buffering weren't coded in hardware, also geometry calculations can be off handed to the secondary chip, a single SH-2 would be overburdened compared to the PSX setup performing game logic, collision detection and geometry calculations at once, though it didn't stop some sloppy coding jobs for trying (see Alien Trilogy). I'm still not totally convinced about the whole Saturn redesign argument since theres no concrete sources other than Edge magazine rumour mongering and Sam Pettius, but the design does point to a system with reused parts and inefficiencies either pointing to some initial retooling or some engineers who couldn't come to an agreement to what direction the Saturn should take.

Essentially one of the SH-2's can be performing the role of a GPU where the VDP1 is lacking in an extended feature set, had the Saturn just had a decent dedicated geometry processor with its own bus and a faster blitter than the VDP1 it would have been fine. Because the dual CPUs took the burden of game logic, geometry and hand written code for GPU 'like' affects like lighting it probably made it harder to effectively write documents for because the code was literally in the programmers hands to decide upon rather than an easy to use API or documentation for a more special purpose processor like the GTE. If you changed nothing but the CPU swapping the SH-2's for a 68040 your still missing the point and problems with the Saturn's whole setup. Whilst also increasing the price, its other problem!
The VDP1 was generally borked. All the examples people have ever gave for the SCU DSP usage also seem particularly useless as well, it seems like it was put there like an afterburner to give it a little computational boost, but was completely lacking in documentation, and clock speed to have been any real use, since either of the two cpu's would probably be faster at most tasks or having a more throughly better crafted system in the first place would have been better.

The Saturns real advantages where its twin Cpu's and the mighty VDP2, but they where subject to very specific uses and there are plenty of examples where a different system would have been better.

Note: I still love the Saturn though, because its as mad as a bag of spiders.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-10-2011, 11:34 AM
Unless It was the PS2.

Yeah for me that machine is the most overrated in history. A few quality titles but nothing compared to the PS1. Dreamcast, Saturn, Megadrive and quite a few others.

j_factor
08-10-2011, 01:15 PM
Resident Evil 2 was slated for Saturn. The only reason it didn't come out was because the system died. Everybody knows Tomb Raider II was a payoff. It's a bit silly to be talking about games like Tomb Raider 4, which came out for Dreamcast. FF7 may or may not have been a payoff but I think Square just went with the dominant system, which by then was clearly PSX.

Da_Shocker
08-10-2011, 01:25 PM
I'm pretty sure alot of games were payoffs. Cause early on during the 32-Bit wars Sony wasn't that dominating till way later on.

I also don't know why Bernie Stolar takes so much blame for the demise of the Saturn. Once he got there there wasnt much he could do to save the Saturn. He did an outstanding job on the DC though. The only thing I hated about Stolar was him lying and saying the Saturn would eventually get big name 3rd party games before Sony did, which never happened well at least not in the US.

Thenewguy
08-10-2011, 02:28 PM
Then perhaps going with the 68040 and launching the system a year later in November 95 in Japan and in late 96 in the US and Europe. If the hardware was right and easy to code for they probably would of got Res 2,3, Tomb Raider 2,3,4 and mabee even some of or all the 32 bit Final Fantasy titles as well as many others which helped shift the PS.
The launch for the Saturn in Japan actually went extremely well, their only problem there was they couldn't get Square or Enix to support them (and even some of the bigger companies decently known for RPGs, such as Capcom and Konami made them low priority in this area, with Capcom's Breath of Fire games also appearing on PS1, and Konami Suikoden and Vandal Hearts not receiving Saturn ports until much later). Nothing really went wrong with the Japanese market so no changes were required there.

I don't think delaying till 1996 would've been a great idea at all for the US either, simply releasing late 1995 with proper hype build-up and advertising without the surprise release would've been a huge help there.

Tomb Raider 2 (as has been mentioned) was exclusively bought by Sony, this is mentioned in developer interviews with members of Core in magazines such as Retrogamer.

I would imagine that Sony and Square had some kind of agreement, being that Sony published the Final Fantasy games in the west, and Square would've been stupid to jeopardise any such agreement by supporting Sega. Sony must've spent absolutely staggering amounts of money on marketing Final Fantasy 7 in the west, they gave Square the kind of mass market exposure they could previously only have dreamed of.


Those games were all a result of exclusivity payoffs, and the resulting sales dominance, not development complexity.
No, I think the 1st Resident Evil came out 1st on PS1 as a direct result of the development complexity actually, in many interviews multiple Capcom staff indicate that they feel that the Saturn is weak as a 3D machine, and that the feel they should focus on 2D for it, before the Saturn port was announced Capcom actually mentioned that they weren't sure if the Saturn could even do a good port of Resident Evil.

Its also probably worth taking into account (from what I've heard) that Capcom were never really very efficient, or talented with their coding, they designed classic games, but apparently were never really that known for their programming skills.

TrekkiesUnite118
08-10-2011, 04:15 PM
If you ask me if Sega had any chances of getting Square and Enix on board with their systems they should have started sucking up to those two companies with the Sega CD. If they were successful we might have seen some good RPGs on the system, possibly even SNES ones that Nintendo of America didn't bring over (Final Fantasy V, Star Ocean, etc.). And then that would have gotten the foot in the door for the Saturn when the time came.

Da_Shocker
08-10-2011, 04:16 PM
Look at those half azz ports they gave the Genesis then you take a look at the Capcom games that Sega reprogrammed. Capcom never really stood out as great programmers that could really work a system.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-10-2011, 04:55 PM
If you ask me if Sega had any chances of getting Square and Enix on board with their systems they should have started sucking up to those two companies with the Sega CD. If they were successful we might have seen some good RPGs on the system, possibly even SNES ones that Nintendo of America didn't bring over (Final Fantasy V, Star Ocean, etc.)

This is one of the reasons why if i could go back in time and try to make Sega a success i would of made them start Megadrive development 1yr later and made it a bit more powerful with more graphical effects and a better sound chip. They would of still released it a year before the SNES and it perhaps would of been more tempting to the likes of Square, Enix and other teams to make top RPG's for the system although it still would of been limited by the cartridge. I also would of supported it for longer up until around 1996 (the SNES and its games sold well that year). Im guessing to launch a 16 bit CD based games system around 1990 would of been to expensive.

What this would of done for them is allowed them to start development of a 32bit machine 1yr later when they could analyse the market, take a look at Sony & Nintendo and them come up with a powerful 3d based home machine that was at the same time cost effective and easy to program for using the C programming language and not assembler. Releasing later wouldn't of lost them to many sales as they had America and Europe and Sony's reputation in the games industry amongst consumers wasn't established yet.

One thing iv always wondered is if after seeing the Playstations specs and after Nakayama told them to scrap the design of the Saturn completely and start again from scratch creating a better 3d machine and just to release it 1yr later, what sort of a machine would the Sega engineers have come up with although i understand that option was not financially viable.

TrekkiesUnite118
08-10-2011, 05:24 PM
There was nothing really wrong with the Genesis Hardware for it's time though. The only thing I could see needing changed would be giving at least 8 colors palettes. As for Sound Hardware there's nothing really wrong with it either. Yeah it might not do orchestral stuff very well but it handles most other genres just fine.

Really I'd say for the Genesis Hardware the only changes I would make would be to either give the Genesis itself more color palettes or have the Sega CD expand the Genesis color capabilities. Other than that there's not really much that really would make that big of a difference in History. If you were to turn it into the SNES then you would undo all those great arcade and action titles that made the Genesis great.

Black_Tiger
08-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Look at those half azz ports they gave the Genesis then you take a look at the Capcom games that Sega reprogrammed. Capcom never really stood out as great programmers that could really work a system.

The SFII games may not have been more than SNES ports, but they were still two of the most impressive console games of the generation. Before SFII, no one ever attempted such a graphically intensive game/port for consoles. SSFII in particular is pretty unbelievable, given the Genesis' color limitations.




As for Sound Hardware there's nothing really wrong with it either. Yeah it might not do orchestral stuff very well but it handles most other genres just fine.

The Genesis can do orchestral stuff just fine. It just isn't as good at SNES sound as the SNES is. :)

j_factor
08-11-2011, 01:25 AM
If you ask me if Sega had any chances of getting Square and Enix on board with their systems they should have started sucking up to those two companies with the Sega CD. If they were successful we might have seen some good RPGs on the system, possibly even SNES ones that Nintendo of America didn't bring over (Final Fantasy V, Star Ocean, etc.). And then that would have gotten the foot in the door for the Saturn when the time came.

Actually Enix was on board with the Saturn for a time. The problem with Enix was that they stuck with Super Famicom until 1996, and 1996-97 was a lull in the company's history, and then the Saturn died young. But they did publish a few Saturn games, they published a Saturn game before they published a Playstation game, and Dragon Quest VII was originally announced as a Saturn game. Enix never announced any Dreamcast support, though.

Team Andromeda
08-11-2011, 03:27 AM
I'm pretty sure alot of games were payoffs. Cause early on during the 32-Bit wars Sony wasn't that dominating till way later on.

I also don't know why Bernie Stolar takes so much blame for the demise of the Saturn. Once he got there there wasnt much he could do to save the Saturn. He did an outstanding job on the DC though. The only thing I hated about Stolar was him lying and saying the Saturn would eventually get big name 3rd party games before Sony did, which never happened well at least not in the US.

Lets be Honest SEGA did it's fair share of payoff games too, it's not just SONY that played that game. You're spot on about Bernie, I have no time for the man, but was dealt a terrible card by SOA and Tom.


No, I think the 1st Resident Evil came out 1st on PS1 as a direct result of the development complexity actually, in many interviews multiple Capcom staff indicate that they feel that the Saturn is weak as a 3D machine, and that the feel they should focus on 2D for it,

It's little known but confirmed by Shinji in Retrogamer that Resident Evil started life as Saturn title, and I don't remember any interview with Capcom saying the Saturn was weak in 3D. I do remember a interview with Capcom research saying that the older gamer was going for the PS (hence why this became the lead platform for RE) and they did say that the Saturn would have trouble handling the total number of RE characters found in RE 2


If you ask me if Sega had any chances of getting Square and Enix on board with their systems they should have started sucking up to those two companies with the Sega CD


SEGA had Enix onboard but by the time they were ready to make DQ , it was clear there was only one machine that was winning in Japan . Sadly one can not blame Square for not supporting SEGA. Square made millions from NCL, and NCL had shares in the company. SONY was desperate for 3rd party support and had the good scene to buy NCL stake in the company.


Capcom never really stood out as great programmers that could really work a system

Not really . Capcom made some great looking games on the NES and SNES and their work on the PS2 was some of the best and most impressive use of the system. That's looking over this gen their Framework engine is the best Multi Platform, Multi Purpose engine around imo.

Da_Shocker
08-11-2011, 06:10 AM
@Team Andromeda SoA payed off on Duke Nukem 3D and Quake and we all seen how that ended up. SoJ probably could've gotten Enix to bring over DQ to the Saturn instead of the PSx had they actually pushed for it. But for some odd reason I don't think SoJ really even gave a rats ass about them.

From what I have heard the limitations on the Genesis palette was the result of Sega trying to keep BC with the Master System. Had the Genesis had 128 colors and built in scaling it would've made the 16-Bit wars more interesting to say the least.

SonicTheHedgehog
08-11-2011, 06:22 PM
Just out of curiosity does anyone know how much money Sega lost in total on research & development and marketing of the Game Gear, Mega CD & 32X. I heard they overall worldwide lost money but i want to know how much?

SonicTheHedgehog
08-16-2011, 02:07 PM
Anyone?

gamegenie
08-17-2011, 05:58 AM
my guess is not much, they gained a market majority with the Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear. Then lost it fast during the 32-bit gen, to Sony.

Da_Shocker
08-17-2011, 12:24 PM
Anyone?

There are no exact numbers out there in terms of R&D but Sega gains and losses are widely available online.

Team Andromeda
08-17-2011, 12:33 PM
I seriously doubt SEGA lost any real cash with when to the Game Gear and Mega CD. They were sold at near enough cost price and sold well enough in their own right . I doubt Saturn and 32X lost money in actual Hardware terms (it was lack of Market share that gripped them). The big losses came with the DC, but even then if one factors in NA@MI then I wonder how much SEGA really lost on R&D (given NA@MI did so well).

Marketing SEGA must have lost a bomb with the Saturn at the end of its life (they was no market) and selling and pushing the DC and its Online servers/SEGA Net at huge losses

SonicTheHedgehog
08-18-2011, 02:12 AM
I just found this and thought some people may wanna see it

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh181/SAMTHEMANTHATCAN/SegaFinances.jpg

Iv also just heard that the Saturn had cost Sega a whopping $267.9 million dollar profit loss as well as the loss of 30% of its workforce

Team Andromeda
08-19-2011, 12:08 PM
^

Well those figures do go with the losses CSK reported to the stock market and SEGA began slashing it's work force and ever out sourcing it's Arcade Manufacture due to massive losses in the run up to the DC :Simply because it had no market to sell too (for the Saturn software) and Model 3 was too much for most Arcades - Not as a result as selling Saturn hardware at a loss

Thenewguy
08-21-2011, 07:53 PM
It's little known but confirmed by Shinji in Retrogamer that Resident Evil started life as Saturn title
Which article? I have the "Making of" article in Retro Gamer and in that Shinji Mikami states


Initially we were moving ahead with simultaneous development on both (PS1 & Saturn) formats, we carried on like that for about a year but then that development program had to be suspended

Team Andromeda
08-22-2011, 04:46 AM
Which article? I have the "Making of" article in Retro Gamer and in that Shinji Mikami states

Yes that very article, but I meant to put in 'also' started life as a Saturn title . I simple and 'very' genuine mistake.

kool kitty89
09-22-2011, 08:54 PM
Chilly Willy, I was thinking on this again:
When the discussion shifted to your dual MD VDP design, that was in the context of both using existing components and having efficient backwards compatibility (ie little to none tacked-on and wasted), but given the later shifts in the discussion addressing the fact that the external pixel bus on later model MDs was gone (though present on the much lower volume production of the System C-2) and the suggestion that a new VDP be implemented in a single ASIC, it seems like going with dual VDPs isn't very necessary anymore.

If you're going to do an all-new ASIC anyway (but with logic built around enhancing older hardware while remaining compatible), you could go a number of other routes than doubling the MD VDPs and coupling them with an external RAMDAC (a la supergrafx).
You could instead build onto the old VDP in more flexible ways in combination with other hardware.

One area could be aiming at a single video bus rather than the dual VDP buses you suggested (with 2 banks each on top of that), allowing better cost streamlining and more flexible use of VRAM (though the idea of having 2 banks to avoid contention -a la 32x/Saturn- is still possible and simpler than an efficient bus-sharing mechanism using a single VRAM/framebuffer bank a la PSX -or Jag or N64). Added bandwidth within a single bank would definitely be possible (use of a wider bus and/or faster clock for VRAM accesses by the VDP), and actually, if you made that memory fast enough, you could stick to vblank DMA updates and still get by just fine. (at 28.6 MHz on a 32-bit bus, you could block transfer ~126 kB in 36 scanlines . . . be it using fast DMA or just copying using an SH2 or blitter)

You could add additional tilemap layers, enhance the existing ones (higher res mater palette, large CLUT, added higher res modes, added 8bpp modes, etc), added sprite logic, added alpha blending effects, and support for a linear bitmap (of variable color depth) layer as well. (allowing the blitter to render to tiles and sprites as well could be useful for some effects, but optimizing it for top speed in linear bitmap rendering would probably be best; hell, you could even dedicate the VRAM block to tile/sprite graphics and have a cheaper DRAM bank for the framebuffer, perhaps with 2 banks a la 32x/Saturn with the blitter rendering directly into the back buffer -that's assuming the VDP even needed to keep using VRAM for the tile/sprite modes and couldn't just use plain DRAM for everything)

Aside from supporting common 5-5-5 RGB, maybe 5-6-5 for the framebuffer (and 8-bit indexed from 24-bits), maybe RGBA could be supported (or even something a bit simpler like 4-4-4-4 RGBI to facilitate smooth shading), or perhaps even go further like the Jaguar did with a Y/C based colorspace . . . except instead of a (somewhat odd) proprietary system like CRY, a standard colorspace like YCbCr could have been used. (ie 8-4-4 YCbCr -in all cases mapped to 24-bit RGB output) Which not only would be good for smooth shading, but also could facilitate some image/video compression schemes (and possibly allow subsampled texture formatting for that matter -rather than just 4/8-bit indexed or direct 16-bit textures).
Using a color space that works on convenient 4 and 8-bit boundaries also simplified logic design for hardware features. (that would also apply for the 4-4-4-4 RGBI/A case, and is a major part of why the Jag used CRY, it didn't just make for smooth lighting effects but allows considerable simplification of the gouraud shader -and the PSX's alternative for smoother shading was dithering, taking even more logic and looking worse)

Or you could drop RGB modes altogether (aside from backwards compatibility) and have all everything work internally on 8-4-4 and 8-8-8 YCbCr (including the tilemaps and sprites and 8bpp indexed framebuffer). The PCFX actually did opt to do that, albeit using digital YUV rather than YCbCr. (which is virtually the same anyway)
Doing that would have required reformatting of textures/graphics to fit the system, but it was a standard colorspace at least, not some oddball proprietary one like the Jaguar. ;)
Since they'd be catering to existing arcade monitors, home TVs, and common video encoders, using RGB as the analog output would still make sense, so you'd want to interpret everything as 24-bit RGB for output.
Having basic support for RGB modes (perhaps without alpha blending and gouraud shading) might be useful for compatibility purposes, perhaps even a hybrid mode like the jaguar offered. (there's a mode that drops 1 lumiance bit from CRY to allow 128 shade CRY and 15-bit RGB to be selected on a per-pixel basis)


Many of these ideas would be rather interesting regardless of backwards compatibility too. ;)






Also, I somehow missed this a while back:

Not sure if this was mentioned, but here's an idea for how Sega could have kept the Saturn design as it was but still make it backwards compatible. If I remember correctly the way the Saturn is designed the port where the MPEG card goes has the ability to easily expand the system's capabilities. If the Saturn was more successful to warrant it, couldn't Sega have made something like a 16-bit card that went into that slot and was pretty much a 1 chip Genesis or maybe even have just the essential hardware for both the Genesis and Sega CD and came with a Cartridge Adapter that could then allow you to play Genesis games on your Saturn?

That would probably be an easier solution for Sega.
That would pretty much defeat the purpose (the PBC for the Genesis almost did that as it was). Backwards compatibility should be there from day 1, the longer you wait, the less relevant any such compatibility is at all. Either you design it into the architecture as efficiently as possible and make it compatible out of the box, or you release an adapter that's designed as efficiently as possible.

Other than that, just don't offer compatibility at all, there's really no point. (and there's a major argument for BC not being a very significant factor at all -ie PS2 probably wouldn't have done much different without BC)

The thing is, with the way Sega designed the Saturn historically, a fully backwards compatible system should have been possible to make at lower cost, better cost/performance ratio, and easier to program/port to architecture than the historical Saturn. (albeit the last bit still depends on good development tools -but the cleaner the architecture, the more likely such tools would materialize)
Of course, Sega also could have done that (probably better) without backwards compatibility. (ie just a better R&D plan for the Saturn's design concept and goals)



In hindsight, it probably would have been best for Sega not to jump into the 5th gen so soon (especially in the US), and take a more unified, better-planned long-term approach instead. (and primarily supporting the 4th gen hardware in the interim -maybe with some modest add-ons well short of the cost -and performance- of the 32x, perhaps cheap enough to even embed in late model MDs without increasing the SRP)

However, in the context of Sega pushing hard to get a leg in the 5th gen market (in all regions) by late 1994, they'd need a very well thought-out, cost-tempered, efficient design that fit the markets of the time. Designing it with expansion in mind (to keep it competitive later gen with cost-effective, marketable add-on modules that could be embedded in later models of the main system) would have been best. They could either push for something along the lines of the Jupiter (ie a cart based system) with a parallel release of a high-end system (ie Saturn -or more efficient alternative) which the Jupiter fully forwards compatible with Saturn (all games could be played on Saturn, and Jupiter could be upgraded to Saturn via add-on).
Or, better, would be to design a fairly low-cost CD-ROM based system that would be competitive in the 1994-1996 period, and have the higher-end/expansion limited to RAM and possibly coprocessor (preferably in one definitive add-on to avoid confusion), a much more realistic option IMO since it provides CD from day 1 and making for a much cheaper add-on later on. (something probably in the $50 range, and less as time went on)

In either case, they could either launch both formats from the start (to get into both the mainstream and high-end niche) and later transition fully to higher end model, or start with the low-end model alone and then transition to the upgraded format when it becomes cheap enough to enter mass market. (but still make it a standard feature from that point on -like if Nintendo had made the N64 with 8MB built-in for models produced from 1999 onward)
In the case of releasing the high-end model from day 1, the add-on for the low-end model obviously wouldn't yet be in the $50 price range. (and would obviously be more expensive to buy the low-end system+addon than the high-end system alone -as it was for the PCE Duo and should have been for Sega CD+MD combo systems . . . )

IMO add-ons/upgrades can work in the mainstream console market (in most/all regions), but they have to be designed, marketed, and managed in specific ways. (and basically none of the historical add-ons did those things) For example, if modern consoles have been designed with simple/easy to install low-cost RAM upgrades in mind (and marketed accordingly), I'd bet that a huge number of users and game developers would support the new format. (with some games supporting enhancements with the added RAM, but still working with unexpanded systems) The 360 in particular would be a good example since it uses a unified bus architecture (so any RAM expansion will benefit all subsystems) and also used DDR3, something expensive when the system was new, but has since become a common industry standard and very reasonably priced. (same for the original Xbox -unified memory architecture using DDR, which became common and cheap later that generation)




And yes, I realize there's also a whole chunk of new responses in this thread from the last couple months that I missed, but I'm not going to read through those right now. (maybe later) ;)

kool kitty89
09-23-2011, 05:52 AM
We have the SEGA CD stuff now (been on the net for years actually), and there's not even a demo for using the ASIC. The explanation in the hardware manual and software manual each leave out needed info, and it's only by combining the two that you can even figure out how you are supposed to use the ASIC. It's not a wonder to me that there was so little for the SCD using the ASIC.

It's widely common knowledge that Sega was terrible with dev kits with the SCD, 32X and Saturn. And it amazes me that they were so inept in that department.

They DID give you a full hardware and software manual... but like all SEGA manuals, it had quite a bit of Engrish, was wrong in places, and missing info. There were a few bulletins released with corrections, but I can easily see where many devs had no idea what to do given the manuals. If people had so much trouble using the Z80 well in the Genesis, SEGA should have known there would be problems using the ASIC as well.

I wonder if even the rest of the hardware would have been a problem if Sega would have just released better development kits for the Saturn early on. Don't get me wrong, the Saturn's hardware set up is far from ideal, but good dev kits may have helped significantly with that.

Yeah, that's been an issue on EVERY console that had an SDK - early SDKs don't make enough use of the hardware, and/or are not as optimized as they could be. You have several versions that come out over the life of the console, and leads to a noticeable jump in the quality of the games. For example, the first SDK for the N64 used Nintendo's slow but better looking renderer, so games all tended to have fewer polygons that were heavily filtered. The first PSX SDKs had trouble with texture seams and excessive fish-eye from the affine renderer. Both mostly overcame the problems as they matured.

The Saturn had issues with certain aspects of the hardware not being part of the SDK at all. For example, they had a function to send a DSP program to the DSP, but that was pretty much it for DSP support beyond a low-level assembler. This was part of the reason the DSP tended not to get used. The Slave SH2 was not part of the SDK, and only later did SEGA put out a bulletin on how to start code on it, with the focus of the bulletin being more on using the free-run timers to send signals from one SH2 to the other than more important issues like cache coherency and bus contention.
Yes, and the issues is 2 fold: 1. designing hardware that's generally more foolproof and straightforward to document and program (both high and low level tools)
and 2. being sure to develop and release those tools in a timely manner (and release improved tools to address problems with early versions ASAP)

Sometimes there's real limits on getting good tools out, but in many cases it seems like the parent companies simply decided not to put SDKs on high priority and left programmers out in the cold.

Obviously, simpler systems with fewer custom components are more foolproof to poor documentation (much of the documentation is of off the shelf parts and what's left isn't a huge deal). And older/simpler hardware has less to document in general. (and a narrower area for adventurous programmers to poke around in to find tricks/exploits -Atari 2600 is a great/extreme example)
The 32x fits that too: simple framebuffer system and off the shelf CPUs plus some added logic to interface with the MD (already well documented/experienced -and relatively simple hardware too).
Worst case there on the documentation end was the DMA audio, the rest was pretty much fine. (though there were non-documentation issues like learning to work with dual CPUs on a shared bus, working with tight memory constraints, etc)


Well, some folks are better at this than others. I agree that they SHOULD have been able to handle it if they were any good at programming the MD, so maybe it was laziness, or perhaps (more likely) scheduling pressure from management that didn't allow them the time needed to figure out the new hardware.
There's a difference from expecting competent programmers and expecting exceptional programmers (or competent programmers working under flexible circumstances with the luxury to tinker around with the hardware and available documentation to get good results).

Exceptional programmers are just that, exceptions to the majority . . . and average/competent programmers may also do OK, but only under the right circumstances.

Obviously a more popular/higher-profile platform will tend to get better support regardless of ease of development, and for such platforms, many developers will push to build their own tools. That's doing well in spite of disadvantages though . . . like the PS2 (with sony's relatively weak SDKs early on -especially compared to the DC or PSX). There's also odd cases like the Jaguar, extremely low sales, but some developers willing to push to work on it (albeit many commissioned by Atari -but still considerable efforts), but those are mainly examples of really exceptional programmers -many of whom went on to do great things. (and Carmak is a given ;))















Instead of some mutant MD/MCD/32X beer goggles love child, Sega should have just had a cohesive next gen strategy and they would have been fine. Had the 32x never existed and Sega possibly successfully consolidated the MD/MCD into one console for the budget end along with perhaps an enhanced VDP and SVP for some 'Gigadrive' enhanced games, the Saturn might have been fine. I honestly doubt it would have been a Playstation beater but moderately successful replacing the N64 in 2nd place allowing Sega to have a really good swing for the next generation. People insist on dumping on the Saturn, yet the N64 was just as infuriating to develop for, (no doubt I will be disproved by a long winded technical post) and to add insult to injury had exceedingly high developer costs associated with Cartridges and draconian developer issues and a borked design just as hamstrung as the Saturn.
Yes, that's very much what was discussed earlier to a large extent.

We pretty much said: drop the 32x and instead build an efficient evolutionary derivative of the MD+CD hardware that's backwards compatible but competitive in the 5th gen market (cost, performance, and programability wise).
The MCD itself has to suffer with significant disadvantages from the add-on relationship of the hardware, the 32x was a lot worse (especially 32xCD). Removing that handicap and allowing a new system to be configured without the add-on limits makes it far more attractive.

Now, the question would still be whether it's worthwhile to make the system backwards compatible or just go for an all new design.
If we go by the existing Saturn, you could obviously do better (at least in terms of fitting the market at the time) with an efficiently designed MD+CD evolution, but you could do just as well (or better) with a similarly efficient all new design. (dropping compatibility always opens up some new possibilities, though backwards compatibility also makes some design areas more foolproof -though with other added engineering problems as well, and may make for an easier transition for programmers familiar with the older systems -not to mention easier cross-platform development for the transitional period where both old and new systems are quite active)


The Saturn was a failure because it never had a chance from the onset, completely marred by a botched western launch. Sega where also facing a perilous situation due to the oncoming storm of failing Arcade revenues. I find it fascinating that Nintendo's previously cash rich handheld revenues are similarly under enormous pressure at the moment much like the decline of Arcade profits for Sega, and may lead to Nintendo's own Sega-esque do or die turning point in the near future.
Yes, they did almost everything wrong for the Saturn as far as suitability for the western (especially US) market is concerned. (whether the most problematic decisions were made by JP or US branch management is still a topic of argument though)

Having the 32x in the mix certainly exacerbated problems, but I think it's myopic to think that it alone was the major cause for their problems.



The Saturn was what it was and I honestly don't think it could have turned out any better because of how the relations with East and West had changed, Japan where adamant it would be done there way this time, however wrong it may have been.
This is one issue that's really not clear.
There are existing editorials, that push for and against this argument, but no really definitive sources. More research and interviews are needed to get a realistic picture. (even if we take Kalinske at his word -which some refuse- there's some important areas that are lacking in recent interviews -like details on how and why the Saturn was launched the way it was, or Sega's monetary issues)


Besides Master System compatibility ended up becoming the Megadrives only fatal flaw, too much space taken up in the VDP for unnecessary backward compatibility modes that could have been used to increase the amount of pallets and colour memory. The Saturn (as much as I love it) was merely a massive compromise between two different worlds, the past of 2D and emerging 3D tech, (perhaps why it still so fascinating to talk over?) when all Sega really needed was a cheap, properly launched and clean 3D design.
Actually, the SMS compatibility isn't as bad as I'd thought . . . it was pointed out (by Sik I think) that just because the SMS and MD VDPs work with fairly different formats doesn't mean that the design couldn't be engineered to avoid redundant circuitry to a large degree.
It probably made for some compromises, but probably not as bad as some have suggested. (granted the PSG is obviously in the VDP -as it was in the SMS, and there's other areas that were largely wasted like hilight and shadow -ripping that out might have helped make 12-bit RGB and/or a second 4 palettes possible)

There's other areas of inefficiency that have little to do with the SMS compatibility too: true the Z80 could have been dropped to save cost and traded for an embedded DMA/PCM chip of some sort (Amiga-level PCM should have been relatively simple, let alone more limited Mac/STe/Soundblaster style DMA sound), but the Z80 itself could have been used far more effectively with a decent banking mechanism (rather than the slow serial shift register used), and a boosted clock speed in MD mode. (6 MHz Z80s were cheap and common by that time and 8 MHz should have been unreasonable either -so 5.97 or 7.67 MHz) Allowing the Z80 to access 68k work RAM would have made it more useful too.
Then there's the really simple omission of the YM2612 IRQ line, connecting that to the Z80 would have allowed timer interrupts useful for tempo and PCM timing. (the timers don't loop, so they're not ideal for PCM, but better than nothing for programmers who can't manage good cycle counted code -the most efficient option for using the Z80)

Of course, making the MD incompatible with the SMS cart slot made compatibility rather pointless . . . they could have put most (or all) the SMS hardware inside the PBC instead. (it probably wouldn't have been impractical to use a directly compatible slot that had pins remapped for MD games and added outboard pins a la 7800/SNES . . . another neat thing would be making the GG directly compatible with the SMS -the 12-bit RGB is little use on the LCD screens of the time anyway- and thus allow a passive adapter to play GG games on the MD and perhaps SMS -though you lack a start button on the latter)



Sega's biggest missed opportunity was not backwards compatibility but its waste of a partnership with Lockheed Martin in the early to mid 90's, from the outset after Model 1 was finalised they should have partnered and worked hard together to create a flexible cost reduced 3D chipset for a forthcoming console. A fast single SH-2 to handle game logic, a slower secondary SH-1 chip to handle CD-ROM and Sound DSP control and the secondary ability for sound decompression would have been great. With either a decent fixed math co-processor or cheap FPU's with the associated (and cost reduced) texture mapping chipset from lockheed martin they would have a brilliant design. The reduce in cost compared to the Saturn we ended up with could have provided the overall setup with a much more balanced and efficient ram setup. 2MB of fast CPU work ram, 1-2 MB for the Video setup, and the same 512k for sound (space saved by better cpu compression by the ancillary SH-1 chip) and a single 128k chip for CD-ROM cache.
Yes, if Sega's in-house R&D teams weren't good enough, they could outsource. But, honestly, they could have been fine in-house if they'd jut had a better/more streamlined/consistent design concept and goal for the Saturn. (especially if they took feedback on what SoA and 3rd parties wanted in a system . . . which Kalinske claims SoA did do in a short-lived proposal when collaborating with Imagesoft)

I mean look at what Flare managed at Atari with the Jaguar (hardware/cost/performance wise) in spite of a very limited staff with very limited funding (and the limits of foresight from the 1989-1991 PoV -when the core logic documentation was being laid down). Granted, they were some of the most talented engineers in the industry, but I'm sure Sega could have done better with their much larger staff of engineers and far greater funding. (albeit not as much bang for buck as far as R&D costs are concerned)










The 68030 isn't as good as the SH2, which was also cheaper. Cheaper, faster, and not in any home computer (meaning less piracy) made the SH2 much more attractive.
Not to mention an efficient architecture for programming in C (like most RISCs), albeit limited by the quality of the compilers available. (I'd imagine Hitachi had fairly mature C compilers by the time the Saturn was released though -after all, they'd been manufacturing SH CPUs for several years by that point and developing them longer still)


The SH-2 was actually a nice little chip for its time with a fairly robut DSP like archtecture, for example it's faster than the PS1's Mips R3000A at matrix math transformations but overall thats moot because the PS1 has the GTE Geomotry engine which was reasonably more faster than the SH-2 at pumping out 3D math. That was just thrown out there as an example.
The Saturn had a dedicated DSP intended for 3D math, and it was faster than an SH2 (at least for some operations -slow division was one of the disadvantages). Albeit the SH2s were much better for doing floating point work, something more important when working with quads. (triangles are a lot easier to get by with fixed point math alone)


It's a real shame they did'nt get those SH-2's on seperate buses, but from what technichal discussions I've read it seems that the real limiting factor of the Saturns architecture is synchronising and using all the hardware well, and also the VDP1 which has its unusual rendering quirks and methods and generally has a lower fillrate than the PSX's GTE + GPU (loosly used term there) setup and often suffers from overdraw.
One interesting possibility for a more cost-effective Saturn that also had separate buses for master/slave SH2s might be this:
drop the 68EC000 and SH1, instead have the slave SH2 handle the SH1's CD-ROM management duties as well as act as audio controller and general purpose coprocessor. (much like the way the sub-CPU in the MCD is used)
Cut out the 1 MB low-RAM and upgrade the slave CPU to 1 MB of 32-bit SDRAM rather than 512k 16-bit of the SH1 (keep the same cheap DRAM for audio).

You could probably ditch the geometry DSP and Audio FX DSP as well (probably cut out the FM modes of the SCSP as well -just have DMA channels with interpolation, looping, etc) and use the slave SH2 for DSP effects when desired. (not to mention decompressing samples, something the Saturn's DSP couldn't do and 68k was limited with in software, but an SH2 could handle quite well -potentially handling MP3 class compression in extreme cases)
For that matter, they might have been better off using an off the shelf sound chip (or slightly custom variant thereof) like Yamaha's OPL4 (24 channels of 8, 12, or 16-bit PCM and the 18 channels of an OPL3 FM chip), they just needed a bit of added logic for DRAM interfacing and it would be fine. (OPL4 only natively supports SRAM/PSRAM and ROM)


They also could have switched to EDO DRAM rather than SDRAM, it was available at similar speeds and only meant a modest performance drop over SDRAM of the same speed (theoretically no loss in performance, but in practice SDRAM is inherently faster). Then again, SDRAM is easier to interface than FMP/EDO DRAM and Sega may have gotten a good deal on SDRAM for the time. (making EDO DRAM not as attractive)






SH-2 + GPU + Stripped Down SPU = Perfectly fine design. The entire point of the secondary SH-2 was to try and give it a bit of an edge, stuff like light sourcing and z-buffering weren't coded in hardware, also geometry calculations can be off handed to the secondary chip, a single SH-2 would be overburdened compared to the PSX setup performing game logic, collision detection and geometry calculations at once, though it didn't stop some sloppy coding jobs for trying (see Alien Trilogy). I'm still not totally convinced about the whole Saturn redesign argument since theres no concrete sources other than Edge magazine rumour mongering and Sam Pettius, but the design does point to a system with reused parts and inefficiencies either pointing to some initial retooling or some engineers who couldn't come to an agreement to what direction the Saturn should take.
Ditching VDP2 in favor of a simple bitmap VDC (possibly embedded in VDP1) and beefing up VDP1 would have been much better. Boost VDP1 closer to PSX GPU levels with enough bandwidth to handle impressive 2D as well as 3D (but not split up that bandwidth and logic into dedicated hardware like VDP2, but do everything with a flexible GPU/blitter).

Lots of ways to get the added bandwidth: faster clock and/or buffering to make use of a wider bus (VDP1 is only 16-bit), caching, etc. (you could also fake a wider external bus to some extent with faster memory -even if the GPU clock rate is still limited- by using a 32-bit latch on a 16-bit bus at 2x speed -and I believe all the SDRAM Sega used was rated for at least 66 MHz, or you could do that AND use a wider bus -like 32-bit SDRAM at 2x speed connecting to a 64-bit latch for the VDP -the advantage of that over using a full width bus is saving on pins/traces and they already used fast enough memory -though using slower/cheaper RAM on a wider bus could be another option, assuming Sega didn't have an exceptional deal on purchasing SDRAM at the time)
Using separate texture and framebuffer banks on top of PSX-like bandwidth could put it ahead of the PSX. (the unified video memory of the PSX also has costad vantages though, albeit they did use SGRAM, so plain SDRAM would be another cost advantage there)

Z-buffering wasn't really necessary for the time (software z-sorting was good enough for the most part) and perspective correct rendering was probably too much to ask (maybe modes supporting partial perspective correction with subdivided texture mapping handled in hardware rather than wasting more polygons to do that -Quake uses that sort of texture mapping with very few warping issues). Support for triangles would be great . . . allowing triangles AND quads would be really interesing though. ;)
Maybe allow special color modes for smoother shading like the Jaguar's CRY (though a more standard colorspace like YCbCr would be better, as mentioned in my previous post). A better looking and technically simpler option than hardware dithering like the PSX (or PC video cards) . . . or going to 24-bit video. (which obviously takes more RAM and bandwidth)

Emphasis on maximizing bandwidth (and efficient use of that bandwidth) would be the point, important both for 2D and 3D blitter/GPU operations. Probably put an emphasis on 16bpp rendering, though 8bpp (256 colors) might be useful to optimize for too. (even if you optimized all 3D operations for 16bpp -so 8bpp was no slower but not faster either, you could at least allow some 2D operations to benefit from 8bpp rendering -especially simple copy and fill operations, maybe at least allow fast flat shaded polygon filling in 256 color mode -8bpp also uses less memory, so more useful for high-res modes . . . where higher rendering speed also pays off more)

Have the VDP optimized for efficient 2D/3D rendering (especially textures) and handle the rest with CPU assistance. (much like the Saturn did already, but with a much beefier VDP1)

It wouldn't be as good at some types of 2D as the Saturn, but potentially still better than the PSX and better at other types of 2D and much better at 3D than the real Saturn was. (on the 2D end, not using hardware BG planes means you don't need to build things with solid planes, but can use a composite of smaller objects for the entire scene . . . like the Neo Geo's all-sprite system . . . or any blitter based system -or a fully CPU rendered system, like unaccelerated PCs)
Hell, even if it didn't have a bandwidth advantage over the PSX, combining VDP1+VDP2 RAM would allow a full MB for textures plus framebuffer space (and aux storage in main RAM -not to mention RAM carts), so better for animation and detail than the PSX. (something generally more obvious to gamers than raw 2D rendering power . . . or 3D for that matter -higher res textures, more texture animations, less need to use 16 color textures, etc)

Think of it: main SH2 with 1 MB SDRAM, slave SH2 with 1 MB SDRAM, 512k cheap DRAM for audio (or maybe omit that and share slave SH2 memory for audio -perhaps also use a small dedicated CD-ROM cache like the MCD/PSX/3DO), single powerful VDP with 1 MB of texture RAM and 2 256k framebuffers. (or maybe configure it as a single 512k buffer with fast/efficiently buffered framebuffer scanning avoiding the need for hardware front/back buffer banks)

SonicTheHedgehog
11-29-2011, 09:04 PM
Think of it: main SH2 with 1 MB SDRAM, slave SH2 with 1 MB SDRAM, 512k cheap DRAM for audio (or maybe omit that and share slave SH2 memory for audio -perhaps also use a small dedicated CD-ROM cache like the MCD/PSX/3DO), single powerful VDP with 1 MB of texture RAM and 2 256k framebuffers. (or maybe configure it as a single 512k buffer with fast/efficiently buffered framebuffer scanning avoiding the need for hardware front/back buffer banks)

This would of been a good setup but how about dropping the VDP and going with SGI's design that they turned down instead offering them more time to work on what they felt wasn't good enough and releasing the Saturn a bit later. Also would it have been possible for them to get the main SH2 clocked at 40mhz for around the first half of 95 as i'm sure it went up to that. As for MD/Gen backward compatibility i think that would of been a major selling point in the US and Europe and providing they could keep costs down it would of helped sales tremendously.

I still think if the design of the hardware and price had been right and if Sega had foreseen where the market was heading games wise as in if they had gotten all of the major franchises on board, they could of beaten Sony and won that generation and i don't buy the ''Sony won because they had more money and Sega didn't have enough'' statement that someone made. Look at Microsoft who not only have more money than Nintendo but also released their machine earlier and yet still lag over 30m units behind the Wii. Now i know we are living in different times so thats not exactly the same but it just goes to show that if you have good hardware and you market it right you can be successful. The exclusivity pay offs that Sony made to some of the big 3rd parties i believe Sega could have matched and overall made a profit but aside from the fact that the hardware wasn't desirable compared to the PS and their reputation had been damaged with the Mega CD and 32X they just didn't seem to realize where the games market overall was headed. Going into the 128 bit gen their reputation and fan base would of been a whole lot healthier and that would of allowed them to release the Dreamcast at a later date with DVD playback and more power and 3rd party support (and a better designed pad with dual analogues) which would in turn have given them a very realistic chance of competing with Sony's PS2 and winning the 128 bit generation which i have mentioned in another thread. Microsoft may have not even entered the video game market at all if that had been the case as it was only due to Sega's failings and how worried they were with Sony's huge Success with the PS brand. Perhaps in this alternate universe we would be playing Halo on the more powerful and later released Dreamcast ;)

retrospiel
11-30-2011, 06:42 AM
I dunno why everyone and their mum thinks that going with what undoubtedly was an earlier version of what eventually became the N64 would have been the better Saturn. Saturn was at the very least sufficient no matter how you look at it. Sega itself was the problem.

TVC 15
11-30-2011, 07:25 AM
(Pauses for long winded technical post about the state and superiority of the SGI's N64 tech over the Saturn....)

Recap...

Have we all come to a conclusion about any of the discussions in these threads?

Team Andromeda
11-30-2011, 09:21 AM
I dunno why everyone and their mum thinks that going with what undoubtedly was an earlier version of what eventually became the N64 would have been the better Saturn. Saturn was at the very least sufficient no matter how you look at it. Sega itself was the problem.

Yep totally agreed . SEGA it's self was to blame not the Hardware- No proper Sonic title, thinking 2 different 32 bit platforms were the way to go messed the dream up. And I've always thought that while the games were great , The N64 was a let-down on a technical level in many ways: No sound chip , poor textures in a lot of games , lacked the pin sharp display for the Saturn and PS and 98% of the games had a blurry washed out look to them


''Sony won because they had more money and Sega didn't have enough'' statement that someone made.

If it was down to money alone. Nintendo would have wiped SEGA out in the 16 bit days and MS X-Box would be the best selling console ever made and so would the 360


As for MD/Gen backward compatibility i think that would of been a major selling point in the US and Europe and providing they could keep costs down it would of helped sales tremendously.

That really should have been looked in to more , I bet it was to a point, but I still feel it hurt SEGA. I would have loved the Saturn to have been able to handle Mega CD and Mega Drive games

sheath
11-30-2011, 09:36 AM
It comes down to money alone when both companies are into overmarketing their product, publishing as much as 50% of the annual library as first or second party titles, or when one company is a practicing anti-competitive megacorp. I'm not sure Nintendo had more revenue than Sega in the early to mid 90s, I'd have to check into that. Nintendo was always more profitable sure, but total revenue was probably not that much greater than Sega if at all. Sony coming in and using the same marketing strategy as Sega with relatively inexhaustible funds pretty much negated what Sega had established.

After 1997 the only thing Sega could have done is massively revamp its business strategy and focus on profits within whatever realistic sales projections they could come up with. Back in 1995 they obviously had to lower their expenses and chose to drop all but their flagship home product, while launching more amusement parks in Japan, as a result.

Team Andromeda
11-30-2011, 10:10 AM
when one company is a practicing anti-competitive megacorp. I'm not sure Nintendo had more revenue than Sega in the early to mid 90s

NCL had more cash the bank in the 90's than SEGA was actually worth outright

sheath
11-30-2011, 10:19 AM
NCL had more cash the bank in the 90's than SEGA was actually worth outright

Really, Nintendo was sitting on over 3 billion dollars of liquid assets? That seems a bit wasteful.

Team Andromeda
11-30-2011, 11:19 AM
Really, Nintendo was sitting on over 3 billion dollars of liquid assets? That seems a bit wasteful.

SEGA was not worth $3 billion at all . In 1994 SEGA was valued at 2 and half billion dollars with a total of 22,163 shareholders . While NCL was meant to have more than $3 billion dollars in cash reserves alone

Chilly Willy
11-30-2011, 11:50 AM
The N64 was a let-down on a technical level in many ways: No sound chip , poor textures in a lot of games , lacked the pin sharp display for the Saturn and PS and 98% of the games had a blurry washed out look to them


The RSP did at least as much for sound as any other "sound chip" on other consoles, not that many devs used the sound chips on ANY platform. It's like on PCs - no one has a sound chip anymore; it's all left to the CPU. Poor, blurry textures on the N64 were the exact same issue with fish-eye on the PSX - devs taking the easy way out and not bothering to find some way to work around the limits of the console.

The N64 was by far the most powerful console of its generation, vastly outstripping the PSX and Saturn. Just because devs didn't make the most of it doesn't mean it wasn't powerful. Given what some of the SEGA devs did with the Saturn, I'd have loved to see what they did with the N64. :)

Team Andromeda
11-30-2011, 12:31 PM
The RSP did at least as much for sound as any other "sound chip" on other consoles

Please . There were a lot of Snes games that sounded better than the N64 and when it comes sound in games the Saturn and PS was for the most part way better than the N64


it's all left to the CPU. Poor, blurry textures on the N64 were the exact same issue with fish-eye on the PSX

It was a problem with the Hardware has even NCL owned games suffered from this issue.


The N64 was by far the most powerful console of its generation, vastly outstripping the PSX and Saturn

In a lot of area's it was in other area's it came up short against the PS and Saturn. When it came to display, texture mapping and indeed sound the N64 came up short .


no one has a sound chip anymore; it's all left to the CPU

That's today mate , we're talking about the 90's here and having no sound chip hurt the N64 .

Da_Shocker
11-30-2011, 12:37 PM
Having a shit ton of money will not win the war for you alone but it sure as hell does help out a bunch if you know how to spend it. NEC completely blew it but Sony and MS took advantage of their deep pockets to take massive losses on hardware units that Sega tried and coud'nt do. Despite the relatively strong sales figures, Microsoft's gaming division was losing money. Through 2005, the Xbox gaming division had lost over $4 billion,[180]

That more than what Sega was worth at there best lol.

Team Andromeda
11-30-2011, 01:21 PM
Having a shit ton of money will not win the war for you alone but it sure as hell does help out a bunch if you know how to spend it

Doesn't always help ask MS with the Zune or SONY with the Betamax . All the money in the world and some of the best and smartest people around and both flops in the end .

Chilly Willy
11-30-2011, 02:33 PM
Please . There were a lot of Snes games that sounded better than the N64

Cough - bullshit - cough. Now you're wandering around in fairy-tale land. :D



and when it comes sound in games the Saturn and PS was for the most part way better than the N64

Sound "in games" has nothing to do with how powerful the sound system is. You just got through claiming that some SNES games had better sound, but the SNES only has a 6502, 64KB of ram, and an ADPCM chip. The N64 outstrips that a thousand to one... and I doubt you could show a game on the SNES that REALLY has better sound than the N64. I will allow that some (perhaps many) Saturn or PSX games have better sound, but that comes down to a matter of development, not hardware. The PSX has NO SOUND PROCESSOR AT ALL!! It has an SPU which is merely a DMA controller, ADPCM handler, and mixer in a chip. There is no processor for the sound - all music/sfx processing is handled by the main processor. This is one area the PSX lagged behind all the others.

Also, the 68EC000 in the Saturn isn't nearly as powerful as the RSP for handling sound. Now whether devs could USE that power is another thing altogether. Nintendo actually released a "microcode" binary that allowed the RSP to accelerate decoding MP3 so that games could use MP3 for background music if they wished.



It was a problem with the Hardware has even NCL owned games suffered from this issue.

I'd hardly call it a "problem" - it was simply the size of the texture cache. Given the size, using 16 or 32 bit textures limited the size of the texture. They could have used 8 or 4 bit indexed textures (yes, the N64 supports that), or subdivided the polygons to limit the size of the texture needed (which is what the better games did). It was merely laziness on the part of developers... why bother when even blurry textures were getting rave reviews in the magazines? AT THE TIME, blurry textures were acceptable.


In a lot of area's it was in other area's it came up short against the PS and Saturn. When it came to display, texture mapping and indeed sound the N64 came up short .

Nope! Developer usage of the hardware came up short. The hardware itself was more than capable.



That's today mate , we're talking about the 90's here and having no sound chip hurt the N64 .

It had a sound chip! The RSP was specifically designed to do both graphics and sound processing. Nintendo specifically included RSP accelerated sound functions in the SDK for developers to use. If they didn't use them, that's hardly the fault of the N64. The Saturn DID have slightly more powerful hardware in the form of the SCSP, but it was also rarely used by anything. The PSX had the least powerful sound of the generation, but Sony made sure devs used it to its fullest.

sheath
11-30-2011, 02:46 PM
I do have to say that I think Actraiser, Super Mario Kart and Star Fox sound better in every way to anything I have heard the N64 do, but that doesn't mean they are technically superior. It is probably just a matter of composition, and that quality was rare on the SNES especially.

I always wondered why the PS1 generally resorted to CDA, or equivalent, music, it just didn't seem to have anything on the level of the Panzer Dragoon games.

Chilly Willy
11-30-2011, 06:20 PM
I do have to say that I think Actraiser, Super Mario Kart and Star Fox sound better in every way to anything I have heard the N64 do, but that doesn't mean they are technically superior. It is probably just a matter of composition, and that quality was rare on the SNES especially.

Well, yes, I suppose you could say that the music as a whole, as a matter of composition, was better. I haven't listened to all SNES and all N64 music, and in any case that would be a matter subject to opinion. A cheap N64 game can sound bad, just like a cheap game on any platform can sound bad. On the opposite side, some musicians went out of their way to give their best for some games, and they sound great regardless of the platform they were on. Many folks still listen to C64 music via SID player plugins - many listen to Genesis VGMs.



I always wondered why the PS1 generally resorted to CDA, or equivalent, music, it just didn't seem to have anything on the level of the Panzer Dragoon games.

CDDA was good for the PSX because you could have great music playing for no effort at all. Then the sound was simple - load the sound effects into sound ram and trigger the SPU when you needed a sound while the CD player handled the music independent of the rest of the system. That was actually very useful in some games - I liked to swap the Ridge Racer disc with my Van Halen Balance album after the game loaded so I could listen to Van Halen while racing. :)

That was perhaps the main thing missing on the N64 compared to the PSX and Saturn - no CDDA audio. You had to stream compressed music from the rom. I guess that's why Nintendo DID make that microcode for decoding MP3 I talked about - to help make up for the lack of CDDA audio. In that respect, the other two were indeed superior to the N64, but that was one pro of the CD media compared to carts.

Da_Shocker
11-30-2011, 07:07 PM
Doesn't always help ask MS with the Zune or SONY with the Betamax . All the money in the world and some of the best and smartest people around and both flops in the end .

I was a child when betamax had came out so I can't really comment on that. The first Zune was released in 2006 and compare that to the first Ipod that was released in 2001. Apple had a solid 5 year head start. Then look how MS was overtakin in the smart phone arena by IOS and Android. All because there product was TERRIBLE. Then you have the BR/HDDVD war in which Sony backed it up while MS ho hum around and BR won that war.

kool kitty89
11-30-2011, 09:19 PM
Really, Nintendo was sitting on over 3 billion dollars of liquid assets? That seems a bit wasteful.
I'm a bit dubious too, but given Nintendo's massive sales/marketshare and monopoly in Japan for 2 full generations (and 1 full generation in the US, followed by the still extremely successful SNES), it's not that hard to believe either. (especially with Nintendo's odd -if not- paranoid management behavior -in respect to stockpiling liquid assets rather than making more investments)








The RSP did at least as much for sound as any other "sound chip" on other consoles, not that many devs used the sound chips on ANY platform. It's like on PCs - no one has a sound chip anymore; it's all left to the CPU. Poor, blurry textures on the N64 were the exact same issue with fish-eye on the PSX - devs taking the easy way out and not bothering to find some way to work around the limits of the console.

The N64 was by far the most powerful console of its generation, vastly outstripping the PSX and Saturn. Just because devs didn't make the most of it doesn't mean it wasn't powerful. Given what some of the SEGA devs did with the Saturn, I'd have loved to see what they did with the N64. :)
The way Nintendo (and SGI to some extent) supported development on the N64, there's more excuse than with the PSX too . . . limited access to low-level documentation (let alone efficient tools for working at low-level), limited options for standard library support, and then the use of cart media on top of that. (making the low-res texture issue in particular less attractive to work around -since low-res textures would be more common regardless)



Sound "in games" has nothing to do with how powerful the sound system is. You just got through claiming that some SNES games had better sound, but the SNES only has a 6502, 64KB of ram, and an ADPCM chip. The N64 outstrips that a thousand to one... and I doubt you could show a game on the SNES that REALLY has better sound than the N64. I will allow that some (perhaps many) Saturn or PSX games have better sound, but that comes down to a matter of development, not hardware. The PSX has NO SOUND PROCESSOR AT ALL!! It has an SPU which is merely a DMA controller, ADPCM handler, and mixer in a chip. There is no processor for the sound - all music/sfx processing is handled by the main processor. This is one area the PSX lagged behind all the others.
IIRC the PSX actually used the same DSP as the SNES's SSMP, but actually stripped down/cost reduced in some areas. (and obviously with much more sample RAM and more ADPCM channels -BRR, not "normal" 4-bit ADPCM; I think it also has DMA to main RAM for updating sample RAM -vs the horribly limiting situation in the SNES)


Also, the 68EC000 in the Saturn isn't nearly as powerful as the RSP for handling sound. Now whether devs could USE that power is another thing altogether. Nintendo actually released a "microcode" binary that allowed the RSP to accelerate decoding MP3 so that games could use MP3 for background music if they wished.
The RSP is a hell of a lot better than the ARM in the Dreamcast for that matter (or to lesser extent, MIPS in the PS2), and you can opt to use the CPU for sound rather than the RSP too. (depending on the type of game)

And on the DC (as mentioned in the SH5 thread -I think), it probably would have been much better off with simple DMA sound and a fast CPU/MCU driving sound. (allowing much greater flexibility for sound as well as potential general-purpose coprocessing . . . something like a 66 MHz SH2 would have been really nice at the time) If not dumping the sound bus and going CPU-alone. (either saving cost, or putting that into more main RAM and/or a faster CPU)


I'd hardly call it a "problem" - it was simply the size of the texture cache. Given the size, using 16 or 32 bit textures limited the size of the texture. They could have used 8 or 4 bit indexed textures (yes, the N64 supports that), or subdivided the polygons to limit the size of the texture needed (which is what the better games did). It was merely laziness on the part of developers... why bother when even blurry textures were getting rave reviews in the magazines? AT THE TIME, blurry textures were acceptable.
The PSX's texture cache was 1/2 the size too (and Saturn and 3DO have no caches at all), but the PSX is more foolproof by using a hardware managed cache (not requiring good programming), though I'm not sure if the N64 has issues with uncached texture mapping. (PSX is pretty good at that, and Saturn obviously has to be, but I'm not sure what the N64 does -it would need a decent sized destination buffer to make decent use of the RDRAM bandwidth)


It had a sound chip! The RSP was specifically designed to do both graphics and sound processing. Nintendo specifically included RSP accelerated sound functions in the SDK for developers to use. If they didn't use them, that's hardly the fault of the N64. The Saturn DID have slightly more powerful hardware in the form of the SCSP, but it was also rarely used by anything. The PSX had the least powerful sound of the generation, but Sony made sure devs used it to its fullest.
The SCSP is also far more limiting in what it can do (ie very specific synthesis techniques and DSP effects, and all on the output end, not input -lack of compressed sample support was especially limiting).

And games that didn't need complex sound engines could devote that much more resource to graphics. ;)




That was perhaps the main thing missing on the N64 compared to the PSX and Saturn - no CDDA audio. You had to stream compressed music from the rom. I guess that's why Nintendo DID make that microcode for decoding MP3 I talked about - to help make up for the lack of CDDA audio. In that respect, the other two were indeed superior to the N64, but that was one pro of the CD media compared to carts.
If the N64 had used CDs, it would also have had the potential to stream MP3 tracks from those discs (for far more storage capacity -and better results than the limited streaming ADPCM/BRR used in some Saturn/PSX games -or lower bitrate PCM for that matter, on the Saturn or MCD -and some PC games)







I was a child when betamax had came out so I can't really comment on that. The first Zune was released in 2006 and compare that to the first Ipod that was released in 2001. Apple had a solid 5 year head start. Then look how MS was overtakin in the smart phone arena by IOS and Android. All because there product was TERRIBLE. Then you have the BR/HDDVD war in which Sony backed it up while MS ho hum around and BR won that war.
VHS won that format war for a very simple reason: MUCH longer duration/capacity. (Beta didn't have the capacity to fit an average length film -or only a couple 1/2 hour TV shows- on 1 casette -Laserdisc also had that problem to some extent, as did VCD; while VHS supported 4 hours at the highest quality and even more at lower quality modes -the quality wasn't as good as beta, but the utility was miles ahead)

Plus, both sides of the format war were extremely well funded, so it's not like VHS won by its technical merits alone. ;)






This would of been a good setup but how about dropping the VDP and going with SGI's design that they turned down instead offering them more time to work on what they felt wasn't good enough and releasing the Saturn a bit later. Also would it have been possible for them to get the main SH2 clocked at 40mhz for around the first half of 95 as i'm sure it went up to that. As for MD/Gen backward compatibility i think that would of been a major selling point in the US and Europe and providing they could keep costs down it would of helped sales tremendously.
Given the N64's development timeline (not to mention some possible restrictions of the SGI partnership -like the excessively expensive development systems), Sega would have either had to make compromises for an earlier release (less cost effective and/or lower performing) or end up with a similar release date as Nintendo. (which, in hindsight, still should have been fine -at least outside Japan, and assuming Sega had managed other things better too -there were far more problems than those with the Saturn alone, and nearly all fed into other problems and made the whole thing a bigger mess).

In the technical end alone (outstanding management problems aside), the Saturn is problematic in that it's both cost ineffective (especially in respect to provisions to consolidation/scalability) and the poorly distributed (inflexible, 2D-centric) feature set on top of that (and then the actual documentation and programming tools).
They could have made a very high performance 2D system that also catered far more flexibly to 3D performance (and some pseudo 3D for that matter) while being generally lower cost . . . to to mention the overbuilt CD-ROM and sound subsystems of the Saturn (with many wasteful features on top of that, but still lacking in some key areas -like lack of compressed sample support in the sound system, with the 68k pretty limited in software decoding, the sound DSP limited to after effects only -on the output end, and the only other option being to use CPU resource -perhaps assisted by the other DSP in the SCU).

VDP1 itself was rather cost-ineffective due to the multi-bus design . . . which almost certainly made chip design simpler (and perhaps used less silicon), but required more pins on the ASIC, more traces on the board, and more RAM chips for all those buses (plus VDP2's bus on top of that, the dedicated audio bus, CPU bus, and CD-ROM/SH1 bus). Silicon gets consistently cheaper with time (and chips can have dies shrunk for newer processes), but pins/traces/PCBs have relatively fixed costs, and using certain memory configurations also restricts the use of fewer RAM chips (since you'd necessarily need several chips of certain widths to fill all the buses).
A multi-chip design on a shared bus (or few buses) could have many of those chips merged with considerable reduction in pins/traces and board space (and larger density RAM chips could often be used too), so it's not just about using few chips but a design that facilitates long-term cost reduction.
You could technically still merge VDP1+VDP2 (among other components) to reduce chip count, but the trace/pin count reduction would be relatively limited since you'd still have pins for the external buses and non-redundant signals.
(having larger numbers of custom and/or easily licensed chips also helps -as totally off the shelf parts with no option for customization will be hard to consolidate and at the whim of those 3rd party suppliers -though, in Sega's case, their relationship with Hitachi should have helped a good deal, possibly allowing a custom dual-CPU SH2 derivative to save cost/board space -had the Saturn sold well enough to merit that)

There's a range of this too: from things like the Saturn down to fully unified (single-bus) designs (especially ones with an emphasis on extreme cost efficiency) like the N64 and Jaguar. (or Xbox, 360, 7800, 2600, and many home computer chipsets -including the A8, C64, VIC-20, CoCo, ST, Amiga -without fastRAM, etc)
Middleground would be cases with multiple buses, but still more reasonable moderation. (like the NES, Colecovision, MSX, SMS, Genesis, SNES, PC Engine, 3DO, PSX, Game Cube, Dreamcast, etc) The 3DO in particular is a good example, since it used relatively conservative (old/large process) ASICs but with tons of room for consolidation, and rather slow/cheap DRAM was used -albeit VRAM adds some cost too. (only 2 buses, and massive potential for consoldiation of ASICs for newer processes -and a tiny CPU core too . . . the whole system should have been able to be put on a reasonably sized .5 micron ASIC by 1995 -the chips used were common/old 1 micron parts, compared to .8 micron already being common as in the SH1 and SH2 among other ASICs and CPUs, and .75 and .6 micron used on some new/cutting edge parts with a handful of bleeding edge .5 micron parts appearing, like the Jaguar used ;) -most .5 micron stuff didn't appear until 1994 with things like the PowerPC 603) The 3DO was, of course expensive at the consumer level (due mainly to the market model used), though the conservative engineering approach also added some cost, but was still much more cost-conservative than the PSX (let alone Saturn) and, again, had tons of potential for consolidation and cost reduction.


But in respect to overall performance relative to practical release date, a 1994 system would obviously have different limits than a '95 or '96 one, but could still incorporate a highly cost-efficient and flexible architecture.
And Sega should have been very capable of designing a highly cost effective, flexible 2D/3D blitter based console with few buses (ideally 1 shared, high-bandwidth bus -especially if a CPU of full bus width/speed could be used), good scalability, and generally cost-tempered design.
Something like the 3DO with a faster the bus speed (at least 2x), less VRAM (512k would be fine for a famebuffer at the time), more main RAM (like 3 MB -shared for textures, sound, and CPU) and a faster CPU with cache could have been great (the quad polygons weren't ideal, but that would still be acceptable at least).
Cutting back the sound system (like simple DMA sound with software mixing by the CPU) would have made good sense too. (software mixing offers tons of flexibility and the option to divert resource to other tasks when acceptable . . . and a faster CPU could be employed too -or use another general purpose coprocessor/CPU/MCU/DSP rather than the CPU, still allowing flexible coprocessing resource -like the N64 and Jaguar did)
The Saturn probably would have been a lot better off with simple DMA sound managed by a SH1 or SH2 (fast enough to do a lot of mixing, effects, and realtime decompression -including MPEG-type audio- as well as more general purpose tasks). This is also something that could be argued for the Dreamcast, or pretty much any sound system from the SNES onward. (overbuild, feature-rich sound systems that are totally underutilized and could have been replaced by much simpler/cheaper hardware with average users not telling the difference -or, putting that cost into other areas and making the system nominally better, or even better sound-wise -like for a faster CPU or more general purpose DSP that could enhance sound as well as graphics/gamplay, or using more RAM for larger samples and/or more spaceto decompress graphics into)

A 1994 (direct Saturn replacement) probably would have been limited to similar effects/quality as the PSX/Saturn 3D of the time (perhaps with other possibilities if a different GPU set-up was used, like some perspective correction possibilities), a '95 design could afford some added features and a faster CPU (some really nice high-performance low-cost CPUs became available in quantity that year, like the R4300i, SH3, and PPC602), and more so still in '96. (and more variables depending how intensive engineering was and what cost threshold was put on the system)

They could have had something very N64-like too, though they certainly wouldn't have used RDRAM (way too expensive -unless you can get it really cheaply via a special partnership ;)). Slower EDO DRAM or SDRAM on wider buses (like 33-66 MHz 64-bit -rather than 500 MHz 9-bit) would have been the practical options for the time (or FPM DRAM as the low-end option), and it seems Sega had a good deal on Hitachi SDRAM chips at the time, so that could make even more sense. (SDRAM and EDO DRAM have lower latency for random accesses than RDRAM too, so potential real-world performance advantages too -or lesser disadvantages if a nominally lower bandwidth bus were used, like 33 MHz 64-bit at 266 MB/s)

Plus, aside from in-house R&D, they could have collaborated with or licensed from some 3rd parties. (both S3 and ATi had 2D/3D chipsets that would have been interesting to see in consoles, and both released to the consumer market in 1995 . . . not great 3D compared to the Voodoo or such, but still pretty nice performance relative to consoles of the time -and excellent 2D acceleration performance especially from S3, and with MPEG-1 acceleration support too . . . and support for perspective correction and texture filtering -at the expense of slower rendering)
Both were single-chip (208 pin QFP) 64-bit bus EDO DRAM based chips (in their 1995 flavors -later versions added SDRAM/SGRAM support, but EDO was much cheaper at the time, cheaper than VRAM too for that matter).
The RAGE had support for standard (directX and -later- OpenGL) APIs, so ports would be easier there, plus (in hindsight) it evolved into a far broader and more successful series than the ViRGE. (and it seems that the Rage 1 had somewhat better 3D performance than the ViRGE -perhaps mainly with added effects enabled, but I haven't seen more details on how the compared overall -the Rage II and later models had much more performance than either of those though)


But Sega's management problems were much bigger than any hardware issues (cost, performance, or otherwise), so if you had to choose between good/consistent management and good hardware, the former would definitely be far more important. (the Saturn, with all its flaws, could have still been OK had Sega not screwed up in so many other areas -both prior to the Saturn's launch, and afterward)


I still think if the design of the hardware and price had been right and if Sega had foreseen where the market was heading games wise as in if they had gotten all of the major franchises on board, they could of beaten Sony and won that generation and i don't buy the ''Sony won because they had more money and Sega didn't have enough'' statement that someone made. Look at Microsoft who not only have more money than Nintendo but also released their machine earlier and yet still lag over 30m units behind the Wii. Now i know we are living in different times so thats not exactly the same but it just goes to show that if you have good hardware and you market it right you can be successful. The exclusivity pay offs that Sony made to some of the big 3rd parties i believe Sega could have matched and overall made a profit but aside from the fact that the hardware wasn't desirable compared to the PS and their reputation had been damaged with the Mega CD and 32X they just didn't seem to realize where the games market overall was headed. Going into the 128 bit gen their reputation and fan base would of been a whole lot healthier and that would of allowed them to release the Dreamcast at a later date with DVD playback and more power and 3rd party support (and a better designed pad with dual analogues) which would in turn have given them a very realistic chance of competing with Sony's PS2 and winning the 128 bit generation which i have mentioned in another thread. Microsoft may have not even entered the video game market at all if that had been the case as it was only due to Sega's failings and how worried they were with Sony's huge Success with the PS brand. Perhaps in this alternate universe we would be playing Halo on the more powerful and later released Dreamcast ;)
In that respect, you could certainly argue that Sega would have been better off dropping out of the console business back in '94 and going 3rd party (if not specifically partnering with Sony -like Namco did, if not more favorable than that . . . and apparently a very real proposition for Sega).

You could certainly argue that the best case would have been Sega having good/stable in-house management (and software, marketing, SDKs, etc) along with good hardware for the market at the time, but short of that, they could have been far better off dropping consoles beyond the MD altogether (maybe still pushing handhelds -sine the GG was the only real competition the GB ever saw), and there's even some argument that going 3rd party would been better than even the best case of an in-house Sega console.

Look at it this way: Sega's greatest strengths were in software development (home an arcade -including collaboration with 2nd/3rd parties), and much of the investment spending SoA (and SoJ to some extent) had been doing was oriented towards software/multimedia production (as well as marketing -which is still quite important for software alone).
So, imagine if Sega cut out all the cost and hassle (and risk) of designing/supporting/manufacturing/distributing/marketing a home console and put all their resources into software (and arcade hardware+software) as well as a greater emphasis on stability/profitability.
Be it going full 3rd party (publishing for PSX, PC, and perhaps N64 -or others), or partnering with Sony (or partnering, but with retained flexibility to publish to other platforms -especially PC) could have been amazing for Sega at the time, and we very well may have seen more and better games than we did historically. (since more resources would be devoted to software and management/financial issues tied to newer consoles would be nonexistent -also meaning not making massive cuts to personnel/resources in 1997, flushing SoA's early 90s investments down the drain among other things)

And also consider this: Sony (unlike Microsoft -or Nintendo in some respects) has a fairly good track record for working with partners for software (and even for managing the firms they bought up), so that prospect of partnership makes even more sense. (and Sega already had a reasonably good working relationship with Imagesoft in the early 90s too) Not to mention working very well with most 3rd parties in general. (rather like Sega in the early 90s -in stark contrast to Nintendo)

And, on top of all that, Sony ended up directly following most of Sega's market/niche (and marketing style) used with the Genesis in the early 90s, so it would have been even more fitting.

It seems like SoA was actively interested in pushing more towards software alone by the time of the Saturn (the PC-emphasis and confusion of Sonic Xtreme's development mirrors this), and it certainly made a massive amount of sense from a business perspective.

Prior to Sony, Sega had no good options for 3rd party platforms to publish on (computers were inconsistent/niche, Nintendo was horribly limiting/unattractive, and NEC wasn't particularly attractive either), but with Sony's marketing/management style, there was far less need for Sega to produce their own console at all.

Team Andromeda
12-01-2011, 04:02 AM
Cough - bullshit - cough. Now you're wandering around in fairy-tale land.

F- Zero On the Snes sounded way better, so did Star Fox, so Pioltwings and I don't think I ever played a N64 game with a music score or sound quality to rival that of Super Metroid. The only N64 game which sounded really impressive was Goldeneye , but when up against some of the Chip tunes the Saturn and PS pumped out it didn't compare. The music in Grandia , Souky, RSG, Nights blow it away , never mind Saga's

So don't come it on the Sound with the N64 . Like the Turok developers team said every time you used one of the N64 channels you eat into a cycle clock rate of the CPU an issue that was fixed with the Cube


I'd hardly call it a "problem" - it was simply the size of the texture cache


The first Zune was released in 2006 and compare that to the first Ipod that was released in 2001. Apple had a solid 5 year head start. Then look how MS was overtakin in the smart phone arena by IOS and Android. All because there product was TERRIBLE. Then you have the BR/HDDVD war in which Sony backed it up while MS ho hum around and BR won that war.

Still shows you money isn't everything. You go on about phones, look how Apple were able to eat in to the likes Nokia market share , never mind that corps like Apple or Nokia were able to do so well in the Mobile Handset sector when you also had the likes of SONY and much bigger corps like NEC in the sector . And the BluRay is a poor example I'm sure if MS put a HD DVD drive inside each and every 360 it would have been a different outcome. Look at ARM a tiny British corp that goes on to become one of the biggest supply of chips while the likes of Motorola lose the plot and we all know about Google which went on to become the biggest search engine there is, MS billions or indeed Yahoo millions didn't help much there .


I'm a bit dubious too, but given Nintendo's massive sales/marketshare and monopoly in Japan for 2 full generations

Well it's true and some said it went up to 6 billion at the time of N64. What ever the case, NCL have always have been a bigger company and had billions in the bank, compared to SEGA million's .


And games that didn't need complex sound engines could devote that much more resource to graphics

Spoken like a Jaguar fan


The RSP is a hell of a lot better than the ARM in the Dreamcast for that matter

Lets cut the bullcrap right now . The DC killed the N64 for sound by massive margin so much it's not really up for debate not just in music score but in sample quality and don't go on about space on the Cart either. Not when F-Zero and Pioltwings on the Snes sound way better than their N64 counter parts , not just in terms of music but sound effects too , the sound when you hit the edges on the track in the Snes version sounds better.



Of coruse it was a problem and an issue as it dogged 98 % odd of N64 games.


Nope! Developer usage of the hardware came up short.

Rubbish. I could take that for 3rd parties , but not the likes of RARE or NCL - All of whom games (bar Mario64 and mario 64) suffered from the N64 trademark blurring and washed out colours.


It had a sound chip! The RSP was specifically designed to do both graphics and sound processing

It didn't have a sound chip as you well know and if you go back to 90's you had to buy a sound card to get decent audio on one's PC.

retrospiel
12-01-2011, 04:50 AM
Well, Sega had all of that and more: bad management, bad marketing, bad reputation and they could not invest as much money into their new flagship as Sony and Nintendo did - because they decided to split their resources and user base onto two platforms instead.

Team Andromeda
12-01-2011, 05:12 AM
In that respect, you could certainly argue that Sega would have been better off dropping out of the console business back in '94 and going 3rd party (if not specifically partnering with Sony -like Namco did, if not more favorable than that . . . and apparently a very real proposition for Sega)

Not really because 1) SEGA had already spent millions developing the Saturn and 2) SEGA were still in a pretty good shape in 94. With out the balls up of no Sonic and SEGA fighting SEGA with the Saturn and 32X , SEGA would have been in pretty good shape to get a decent marketshare and maybe outsell the N64 in the USA, but to have done that It would have taken a united SEGA focused on 1 machine .

It wasn't the cost of the Saturn or the Hardware that let it down, but lack of marketshare due to SEGA fighting SEGA with 2 platforms each with different spec's , different delivery medium and totally different directions. SEGA dropped the ball when all of its focus should have been behind the Saturn with a single development and PR strategy it would have been a much better outcome .


It seems like SoA was actively interested in pushing more towards software alone by the time of the Saturn (the PC-emphasis and confusion of Sonic Xtreme's development mirrors this), and it certainly made a massive amount of sense from a business perspective

SOA only had 1 Studio and the Sonic Xtreme PC development is nothing at all to do with going software only and more a total lack of direction from SOA due the 32X mess up . With out the 32X , It would have been Saturn only with maybe a PC port afterwards.


So, imagine if Sega cut out all the cost and hassle (and risk) of designing/supporting/manufacturing/distributing/marketing a home console and put all their resources into software (and arcade hardware+software) as well as a greater emphasis on stability/profitability

SEGA did that on 2001 and it ended up with the Sales of SEGA and the end of the old and true SEGA as we know it . The SEGA of today is a shadow of the old SEGA


And, on top of all that, Sony ended up directly following most of Sega's market/niche (and marketing style) used with the Genesis in the early 90s

Thats a spot on point to be fair.

Da_Shocker
12-01-2011, 11:23 AM
These are the only games that I know of that have songs with actual voices in them for the N64 and SNES now clearly the N64 sounds well much clearer than the SNES which sounds muffled and garbled.

W3SA9LuqQgA

5:25 in
B_Ikz4Wds74

TheSonicRetard
12-01-2011, 11:53 AM
I was a child when betamax had came out so I can't really comment on that. The first Zune was released in 2006 and compare that to the first Ipod that was released in 2001. Apple had a solid 5 year head start. Then look how MS was overtakin in the smart phone arena by IOS and Android. All because there product was TERRIBLE. Then you have the BR/HDDVD war in which Sony backed it up while MS ho hum around and BR won that war.

The gist of your post is that "the better product wins" but with regard to Betamax, this isn't true. Betamax was far superior to VHS, but it lost, with a major reason being that the pornography industry didn't back the format.

TheSonicRetard
12-01-2011, 12:02 PM
VHS won that format war for a very simple reason: MUCH longer duration/capacity. (Beta didn't have the capacity to fit an average length film -or only a couple 1/2 hour TV shows- on 1 casette -Laserdisc also had that problem to some extent, as did VCD; while VHS supported 4 hours at the highest quality and even more at lower quality modes -the quality wasn't as good as beta, but the utility was miles ahead)

This is only true of the beginning of the format war. Sony very quickly revised the Beta specs (so-called BII at this point) which allowed a 5-hour maximum duration which was still miles ahead of SP VHS. VHS countered this with LP and EP to achieve 10+ hours of recording time, but that was overkill. The most important length, in the eyes of consumers at the time, was the 4 hour mark, as that was the average length of a football game (analysts have speculated that the ability to record football was actually one of the biggest factors in extremely early format adoption).

For the brunt of the format war, during the period that actually mattered, the duration of a tape was a non-factor. Porn was the deciding trait, not video length.

Da_Shocker
12-01-2011, 12:42 PM
The gist of your post is that "the better product wins" but with regard to Betamax, this isn't true. Betamax was far superior to VHS, but it lost, with a major reason being that the pornography industry didn't back the format.

I highly doubt allowing porn was a significant deciding factor. The 3DO and CD-I had porn titles and that didn't get them anywhere.

j_factor
12-01-2011, 01:20 PM
I highly doubt allowing porn was a significant deciding factor. The 3DO and CD-I had porn titles and that didn't get them anywhere.

That's only because nobody made good porn for them. :p

jerry coeurl
12-01-2011, 01:43 PM
I highly doubt allowing porn was a significant deciding factor.

Well, it was. Seriously, look up "VHS vs. Betamax and porn" or something on Google. Porn had a huge impact on people adopting the VHS format. It wasn't just a deciding factor; it was arguably the deciding factor.

CD-I and 3DO had "adult" titles (I don't know how much of it could definitely be called porn), but those were expensive game consoles with their own specific formats, not dedicated tape players.

sheath
12-01-2011, 01:44 PM
I consider the porn argument nothing but narrative history. I seriously doubt anybody ever polled the public to see why they chose one format over the other and got "porn" as a response.

Team Andromeda
12-01-2011, 01:46 PM
These are the only games that I know of that have songs with actual voices in them for the N64 and SNES now clearly the N64 sounds well much clearer than the SNES which sounds muffled and garbled.
I really doubt its sounds better than the PS versions

But we going to go on music lets compare


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkGMyVkELPY


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZpQ4i9c82A

Oh dear and it can't even manage stereo

Lets Compare


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMvkkqxs8m0


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKZ6-8uJbKo





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9OQOxxa-Uo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLsgLtTd4Go


Lets all laugh at the N64 soundtrack to Castlevania way behind the Snes version, never mind the Sat/PS


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NMDHtkxbBk


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NADy4Zrrmz0


Oh Dear I haven't even began to list tidy the aural gems on the Saturn and PS

jerry coeurl
12-01-2011, 01:53 PM
I consider the porn argument nothing but narrative history. I seriously doubt anybody ever polled the public to see why they chose one format over the other and got "porn" as a response.

Read this link over, and then try to tell me porn had nothing to do with VHS emergence as the format of choice.


There's some evidence that the ability to rent X-Rated tapes also pushed VHS. This has some foundation.. before videotape, the Pornography Industry was tiny. Rentals, and later cable/satellite, made it the multi-billion-dollar business it is today.

http://www.law.indiana.edu/fclj/pubs/v49/no1/johnson.html

sheath
12-01-2011, 02:01 PM
Read this link over, and then try to tell me porn had nothing to do with VHS emergence as the format of choice.

Hey wow, that article looks interesting, I'll have to take more time to read it. I concede the assertion that porn had absolutely nothing to do with the success of VHS. I really just suspect that teh pron was only one pebble in a land slide.

@ Team Andromeda, great comparisons. Right off the bat though, that F-Zero Snes tune is enhanced, it sounds nowhere near that sharp on real hardware.

Chilly Willy
12-01-2011, 03:22 PM
But we going to go on music lets compare


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkGMyVkELPY


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZpQ4i9c82A

Oh dear and it can't even manage stereo


The SNES version has virtually no stereo either, having just the tiniest bit at the start of the song, and none from then on. It's pretty bad.

Actually, the N64 version DOES have stereo, it's just none of the youtube versions have stereo. Try this instead - it's from the actual game. Only the lead guitar is centered, with much of the rest of the instruments being nice wide stereo. It puts the SNES to shame.

http://downloads.khinsider.com/game-soundtracks/album/f-zero-x-original-soundtrack/21-win-the-staff-ghost-1-mute-city.mp3

Click "Download to Computer" on the page, then listen to how awesome the N64 version REALLY is. :cool:



Lets Compare


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMvkkqxs8m0


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKZ6-8uJbKo


The style of the music is completely different, but the SNES version (while perhaps a better composition) is muted and noisy with little to no stereo. The N64 music has much clearer sound and far more stereo. I also think it suits the game better.

I'm not going to bother going through them all - it's clear you just have something against the N64 and cannot look beyond your bias.

kool kitty89
12-01-2011, 03:27 PM
I highly doubt allowing porn was a significant deciding factor. The 3DO and CD-I had porn titles and that didn't get them anywhere.
Actually, I'm pretty sure it did actually get the 3DO somewhere in the Asian markets. (the main argument for why it lasted longer over there iirc)



This is only true of the beginning of the format war. Sony very quickly revised the Beta specs (so-called BII at this point) which allowed a 5-hour maximum duration which was still miles ahead of SP VHS. VHS countered this with LP and EP to achieve 10+ hours of recording time, but that was overkill. The most important length, in the eyes of consumers at the time, was the 4 hour mark, as that was the average length of a football game (analysts have speculated that the ability to record football was actually one of the biggest factors in extremely early format adoption).

For the brunt of the format war, during the period that actually mattered, the duration of a tape was a non-factor. Porn was the deciding trait, not video length.
How did pricing compare, and how about even longer extended recording times (with lower quality options on VHS decks)?

With most early adopters going through RF (and even a huge portion of later adopters through the 1980s at least -and obviously a fair amount in the 90s too), the audio and video quality limitations of VHS would have been less noticeable . . . plus, for recording purposes, unless you had super clean broadcast TV reception (or a clean cable line), the quality of the material being recorded would also not


Marketing/market perception obviously had most to do with it, as is always the deciding factor, of course. (having lots of money helps, as does good management/marketing, and having technical advantages as well -and good management would be inclusive of getting overall industry acceptance and support for said format)
Money alone won't cut it (which I've already been arguing quite a bit -including with the SMS and, especially, NEC), but it's a big factor nevertheless. (and one that contributes heavily on how you can drive market perception -and, of course, market perception is all that really matters in the end . . . actual quality really doesn't matter as long as the perception of superiority is there -that's a big part of why the PC became dominant in the US, albeit there were some genuine technical advantages over alternate formats too, but that's another topic ;))

kool kitty89
12-01-2011, 04:02 PM
Team Andromedia, you can't use quality of musical compositions to make an argument of technical sound quality . . . all those examples DO sound better on the N64 in terms of actual instrument quality and arrangements, though the music itself is arguably weaker (that's up to personal preference though -as already addressed several posts back).

There are NES and C64 compositions that sound better than some N64 compositions for that matter, but that says nothing about technical capabilities.

Also, if you compare the realtime synth/sample sound engines on the PSX/Saturn you also need to keep in mind that they're using CD storage, so the hardware performance isn't all that's showing. (ie more/larger/higher quality samples could be used, and even more specific sample sets for different levels/etc compared to the constraints of using ROM carts)

From a practical technical standpoint, neither the Saturn nor PSX have better sound capabilities than the N64. (the Saturn has some things the N64 can't practically do, but those features were barely used -if at all- and not particularly useful for the types of sound generation popular by that point -ie sample based synth engines, with moderate use of filter/reverb/envelope effects if that, meaning the Saturn's features were mostly wasteful overkill, though the PSX's feature set was just about right, though the N64's set-up was even more efficient -in that it used more general purpose resource and didn't add the cost of a dedicated sound bus . . . and that's the route that probed by far the most practical all around -going with vanilla DMA sound would have made tons of sense back in the early 90s, and consoles probably would have been better off for it too -it was becoming the defacto standard on computers by that point, and while dedicated feature-rich sound/midi cards retained interest for some time, those were of limited practical use even back then -especially by the mid 90s with default software midi drivers as standard in windows, only requiring basic DMA sound for output . . . and, of course, nearly all games using software mixed sound for SFX already and either using streaming audio, general MIDI, or MOD formats -like Epic games did, including in Unreal)

Even the SNES's sound system was quite wasteful and overkill (actually the first case to really do that -unless you count the Genesis's use of the Z80) . . . a faster CPU software mixing to DMA stereo output probably would have worked great on the SNES (if not considerably better than the costly SSMP module), or, alternately, a somewhat more complex DMA sound engine more like the Amiga (but with more channels) or Ricoh's PCM chip. (much cheaper and simpler than the Sony system, and even advantageous in some areas -no forced interpolation/filtering, support for uncompressed samples allowing software mixing and decompression of various other formats -you could have 1/2/4-bit CVSD/ADPCM/DPCM/ulaw samples in ROM, decompressed ahead of time -or in realtime- by the CPU for much greater flexibility than being stuck with BRR of the SSMP -actually a disadvantage of the PSX's sound system too)

Chilly Willy
12-01-2011, 06:11 PM
My post on TA's post somehow got lost, but in addition to seath's remark on the SNES version of Mute City, the N64 version is only mono on the youtube. If you find a rip from the game, you'll see it's in really awesome stereo. Use the "Download to Computer" link from this page (http://downloads.khinsider.com/game-soundtracks/album/f-zero-x-original-soundtrack/21-win-the-staff-ghost-1-mute-city.mp3) to hear what it REALLY sounds like.

Team Andromeda
12-02-2011, 12:49 AM
Team Andromeda, great comparisons. Right off the bat though, that F-Zero Snes tune is enhanced, it sounds nowhere near that sharp on real hardware.

Just admit it, the Snes version had the better music and in Stereo.


Also, if you compare the realtime synth/sample sound engines on the PSX/Saturn you also need to keep in mind that they're using CD storage, so the hardware performance isn't all that's showing.

True to a point and yet another mistake onthe N64 , but RSG, Souky are ST-V games not using CD Rom and where some N64 carts a lot bigger than even the ST-V versions , yet sound much weaker.

C'mon just admit it , the N64 just couldn't compete with the likes of these When it came to sound the Saturn didn't kill the N64, it annihilated it


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyhaZ3TgVlk


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT2SnR-IZdo&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogalX6oL20E

Its such a non contest

sheath
12-02-2011, 12:57 AM
Just admit it, the Snes version had the better music and in Stereo.


Well yeah, the I like the SNES version better, but these videos are not showing what the SNES really sounded like, which was muddier.

CD Audio always trumped the N64's approach, or any cartridge system for that matter. Turbo CD and Sega CD games have better audio clarity in their music alone than any Jaguar, 32X or N64 game I have ever played. I thought we were arguing over the quality of the system's sound processors though. In that case the N64 is really not bad at all, considering its processors have to do all of the work and we can still get roughly CD quality songs with lyrics and real instruments. The SNES never managed that.

TrekkiesUnite118
12-02-2011, 01:05 AM
Burning Rangers uses ADX encoding, it doesn't use any chiptunes or synthesis of any kind. So that's about as fair to use as CD audio in this case.

While I do admit the Saturn generally had better results than the N64, I don't think it's fair to say SNES sounded better. For F-Zero I think the N64 version has much better instruments. The SNES version just has punchier drums. Though StarFox 64 does suffer quite a bit from poor instruments and lack of depth.

Ocarina of time and Majora's Mask had some pretty nice sounding music. Again, it may not have as much bass or be as filtered, the instruments are usually much nicer than those used on the SNES.

EDIT:

Here are some tunes I think sound better than anything I've heard on the SNES:
c-cSBqFnoro

By far the best version of this song:
I0lEY6ArdpE

hSO4QP5OKao

Wtsqi9_RHIc

CdBIGZkdbvA

Chilly Willy
12-02-2011, 01:56 AM
Just admit it, the Snes version had the better music and in Stereo.

Sorry, but you're wrong. The SNES version is BARELY stereo and rather muted and noisy. That mono video you found on youtube is also NOT how the N64 sounds. If you google for the N64 version, you can find rips straight from the game that show it IS in stereo, and sound much better than the youtube link you posted. I'd post that here, but for some reason I can't post the link in this thread... problem posting in this thread today. :daze:

Team Andromeda
12-02-2011, 02:20 AM
Sorry, but you're wrong. The SNES version is BARELY stereo and rather muted and noisy. That mono video you found on youtube is also NOT how the N64 sounds. If you google for the N64 version, you can find rips straight from the game that show it IS in stereo, and sound much better than the youtube link you posted. I'd post that here, but for some reason I can't post the link in this thread... problem posting in this thread today. :daze:

I have the N64 version (no emu or Rom) and its sounds crap and is played in mono (the music) Do I really have to post my own video up The Snes version sounded way better as was the case for the Star Fox, Pilotwings and Castlevania and even games like Axelay and Super R-Type blow away most N64 games for sound . Goldeneye sounded awesome granted but it was an exception to the rule and when brings the Saturn sound it to, its just an complete non starter

TrekkiesUnite118
12-02-2011, 09:36 AM
I think you are just being silly now. The F-Zero X uses much more realistic instruments. They also have a much cleaner sound to them. The depth and sense of stereo you are hearing on your SNES is most likely just a side effect from the heavy filtering used on the system.

Da_Shocker
12-02-2011, 10:22 AM
Yeah I didn't know the SNES sound chip performed better than the N64's RSP. I never knew the SNES was capable of CD quality sound.

Chilly Willy
12-02-2011, 01:33 PM
Yeah I didn't know the SNES sound chip performed better than the N64's RSP. I never knew the SNES was capable of CD quality sound.

It's not - he's comparing emulator generated SNES music (maybe even played back on a PC Music App using a SID player plugin with enhancement on the generation) against N64 through a mono cable and bad sound system. His claim that F-Zero X is mono destroys any credibility his posts have. He found a youtube video that used a bad mono capture and is now claiming it's the same everywhere.

llj
12-02-2011, 02:08 PM
Read this link over, and then try to tell me porn had nothing to do with VHS emergence as the format of choice.

A fitting sig image for your post, too!;)

kool kitty89
12-02-2011, 04:03 PM
Well yeah, the I like the SNES version better, but these videos are not showing what the SNES really sounded like, which was muddier.

CD Audio always trumped the N64's approach, or any cartridge system for that matter. Turbo CD and Sega CD games have better audio clarity in their music alone than any Jaguar, 32X or N64 game I have ever played. I thought we were arguing over the quality of the system's sound processors though. In that case the N64 is really not bad at all, considering its processors have to do all of the work and we can still get roughly CD quality songs with lyrics and real instruments. The SNES never managed that.
It obviously depends on what's being recorded . . . if you're recording arrangements done on (relatively) limited synth/sampler hardware, then realtime synth may indeed outshine it technically.

Several PC games in the late 90s (and early 2000s) used realtime sound engines, as did a few console games. (some going beyond what the N64 could do, others not, and many going beyond what some CD-DA soundtracks to)
For that matter, the MT32 itself (or very similar Roland keyboard) was used for some old CD soundtracks and thus could have been done basically the same in realtime on a PC with an MT32 or LAPC-I. (the CD version of Monkey Island sounds nearly identical to the MT32 rendition of the floppy disk game)

A lot of Epic games' stuff was done with MOD/tracker files (ie software mixed sample based synth), including the entire Unreal (1998) soundtrack. (as was brought up here: http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?19353&p=423223#post423223 )
And some good examples in general:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbt0BspmxtI (that guy has the whole soundtrack uploaded it looks like ;))
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26I-Pw-yPJ4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utHahu-8NFQ
(and once again, I must say it's a damn shame this game didn't get any console ports . . . perfect timing for the Dreamcast -and they already did port the game engine a la Tournament)


Several Lucasarts games of the time did that too. (including Rogue Squadron and Battle for Naboo -which sound nearly identical to their N64 counterparts -Episode 1 Racer uses streaming audio, also like the N64, but of higher quality)
Several other games in the mid/late 90s continued to use general midi (and a few online/downloadable games do to this day), but more customized sample synth methods eventually became the preferred standard across the board for games not using streaming audio. (had general midi -and related fixed-sample based formats- not caught on in the early 90s -on both professional and consumer levels- the transition to more flexible MOD-type formats probably would have happened far more consistently earlier on -be it via software mixing on Soundblaster/PAS cards or hadware sample mixing on things like the gravis ultrasound -or other RAM based sample synth modules)

One disadvantage of CD-DA (or any streaming audio off a CD/DVD -especially on older systems) is limitations for dynamic sound engines. In particular, pauses to seek tracks (a problem for looping tracks too, but even more of an issue for dynamic sound engines). Later drives had better seek times too, but the problem was more often solved by buffering the necessary tracks into onboard memory or (especially) using hard drives to load all of the music. (on systems without enough RAM space or HDD to load into, the only option for fast/fluid dynamic soundtracks remained realtime synth methods)

Team Andromeda
12-02-2011, 04:15 PM
It's not - he's comparing emulator generated SNES music (maybe even played back on a PC Music App using a SID player plugin with enhancement on the generation) against N64 through a mono cable and bad sound system. His claim that F-Zero X is mono destroys any credibility his posts have. He found a youtube video that used a bad mono capture and is now claiming it's the same everywhere.

I thin you find you're talking utter crap , because just like Wipeout 64 the music tracks in F-Zero were mono, only the sound effects were in true stereo. It's even in the IGN N64 review and the CVG feature of the game

http://uk.ign64.ign.com/articles/150/150418p1.html

Oh and btw I do have my F-Zero and RGM modded N64 and I'll happily post videos on Youtube if I must .

kool kitty89
12-02-2011, 04:55 PM
It's not - he's comparing emulator generated SNES music (maybe even played back on a PC Music App using a SID player plugin with enhancement on the generation) against N64 through a mono cable and bad sound system. His claim that F-Zero X is mono destroys any credibility his posts have. He found a youtube video that used a bad mono capture and is now claiming it's the same everywhere.
And even then it won't really do much to make the music better than the N64 . . . and in some cases it will actually sound worse than the SNES originals. (some instruments specifically rely on the sample rate, interpolation, and filtering used by the SNES -changing the sample rate and interpolation in particular can screw things up, though filtering not so much -at least in the context of external analog filtering, since changing/removing that is one of the only consistent areas that does improve sound over the real SNES -too bad Nintendo didn't use a set-up like the Amiga where the super-aggressive lowpass filter could be disabled)

Even with enhancement though, there's still going to be the fundamental limitations of the 64k RAM and 8 sound channels (and developers being stuck with Nintendo's sound driver alone).


Hell, there are remixes of SNES tracks that sound significantly better on the Genesis (not to mention various other technically superior sound systems having aesthetically superior remixes/arrangements done on technically weaker hardware -some stuff on the NES or C64 sound better than similar stuff on the MD, etc).
Hell, look at Vapor Trail's Arcade music vs the Genesis version. (definitely technically superior arcade hardware, but generally better arrangements on the Genesis)

Actually, there's music on modern consoles that sounds better if tactfully rearranged for old hardware, like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQXktcBcXh8
vQXktcBcXh8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCtXDkMX9Ss
MCtXDkMX9Ss

Going by aesthetic quality shows absolutely nothing about technical quality without more context. (ie, you'd need to have perfectly even ground fora valid comparison, with the same composers/programmers putting the same amount of effort in with the same level of software tools/documentation to work with and a similar level of experience/familiarity with both systems -and even then you still have variables like different development times, so different styles of music may be popular leading to different remixes/arrangements and thus making aesthetic aspects tougher to compare)







Sorry, but you're wrong. The SNES version is BARELY stereo and rather muted and noisy. That mono video you found on youtube is also NOT how the N64 sounds. If you google for the N64 version, you can find rips straight from the game that show it IS in stereo, and sound much better than the youtube link you posted. I'd post that here, but for some reason I can't post the link in this thread... problem posting in this thread today. :daze:
Yes, and even if it was mono, it's still WAY more awesome sounding than the SNES version. :p (gotta love that power metal style . . . hell, in terms of aesthetics, if someone did a remix of the N64 arrangement on the Genesis -with the quality of metal-synth instruments some better MD chiptunes have- I'd probably prefer that to the SNES track too :p )
Edit: actually Sonic Boom (the hack) already did an awesome arrangement of F-Zero X's Big Blue, and there's a Mute City mix too, but it's so heavily modified that it's not really comparable anymore. (and, for Big Blue in general, the difference is even greater than Mute City since SNES Big Blue is quite a bit weaker in instrumentation while both X tracks are pretty even in that respect -the Sonic Boom arrangement totally creams the SNES track though, almost as much as the N64 one does -both in technical instrumentation quality and the overall arrangement's aesthetics)

But aside from aesthetics, the N64 version's sound quality is obviously superior on a technical level.



Edit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO4qW0r55Cg
KO4qW0r55Cg

I like the N64 version better than that, but I think that arrangement is technically better in quality/instrumentation. (and aesthetically closer to the SNES original)



Oh, and yes, definitely stereo on the N64:
http://www.mediafire.com/?wznc8ogxk8sz33c

Chilly Willy
12-02-2011, 06:51 PM
Yes, and even if it was mono, it's still WAY more awesome sounding than the SNES version. :p (gotta love that power metal style

Yeah, it certainly makes the game more exciting. :)



Oh, and yes, definitely stereo on the N64:
http://www.mediafire.com/?wznc8ogxk8sz33c

That's a LOW bitrate recording done at 22.05 kHz, and MP3 tosses stereo info at low bitrates, so that's not NEARLY as good as it really is. Try this instead... a HIGH bitrate recording at 44.1 kHz.

I tried to link this earlier, but the board wouldn't allow it, so now it's on MediaFire like your link.

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?cbivty1hjqcjkxt

kool kitty89
12-03-2011, 12:13 AM
Yeah, it certainly makes the game more exciting. :)
Metal remixes work great for Star Fox tracks too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEPazZx_tdA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHdrYBfUgi8
(and some dozen plus other remixes of that track)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp6k_9DtkXE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNuRyM4Jo1E (from the unreleased Sta Fox 2, but too awesome to exclude :p )

TrekkiesUnite118
12-03-2011, 12:15 AM
Yeah, after hearing Chilly's recording it's definitely in Stereo.

Team Andromeda
12-03-2011, 12:23 AM
And even then it won't really do much to make the music better than the N64 . . . and in some cases it will actually sound worse than the SNES originals.

Are you really for real , coming from the one that loves to link Mega Drive Home brew tunes that themselves push up the sample rate ect is hard to take, but stilll

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T5u9nD_I0I

There's the game running on hardware and the music sounds better than the N64 version, looking over there's a 5 year cap in the hardware and yet be it for Star Fox, Pilotwings and especially Castlevania the Snes versions sound better.

But forget the Snes, when comparing the N64 to the Saturn chip generated tunes its a complete non contest


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAl60mzcWXg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUWiBGZz9c

That's the real games running on the real hardware all off chip and where in many games the actual game game/music code are small than a lot of N64 carts. So just accept it, when it game to sound the Saturn and indeed the PS were far far better

TrekkiesUnite118
12-03-2011, 01:38 AM
I don't think any of us actually said the N64 was better than the PS1 and Saturn in sound. We were just replying to the utter bullshit you said implying that the SNES with it's heavy filtering, small RAM, and crappy samples could produce better chiptunes than the N64.

And as much as I love the Saturn and Panzer Dragoon 2, you really give me no choice but to bring up some of the tracks that use some of the worst instruments I have ever heard on the Saturn:

tPecH-gXxfY

T7MExM4H_ts

But yeah, the N64 version of F-Zero sounds leagues better than the SNES. The instruments sound much more realistic, and it's not muffled to death. I think the only difference is in game its not as loud as it is on the SNES. But I would assume that could be adjusted in options. The N64 rendition sounds almost the same as what was used in Smash Bros Melee on the Gamecube.

QF6ErfwH8os

7Z0lX-MtguQ

The guitars sound almost identical to those in the N64 version. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it is the N64 version with just some additional instruments added over top.

Team Andromeda
12-03-2011, 02:21 AM
And as much as I love the Saturn and Panzer Dragoon 2, you really give me no choice but to bring up some of the tracks that use some of the worst instruments I have ever heard on the Saturn

I'm Sorry but the tracks you listed there are of top quality and better than most of the tracks on most N64 games and if we want to talk Zwei then these tracka are mighty and pissed on most N64 games


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDL9AgKe6Dk

So is this , Just sensational @ 2:22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NANXrQ0l4Ig




The instruments sound much more realistic, and it's not muffled to death

I'm being muffled to death is one of the 1st things that hit you when you played the N64 version and why its ok for you to link videos to soundtracks that sound better than in the actual game and not me F-Zero X doesn't even come close to the Smash Bro version



We were just replying to the utter bullshit you said implying that the SNES with it's heavy filtering, small RAM, and crappy samples could produce better chiptunes than the N64.

Sorry it did. I find the Snes music of games like F-Zero, Star Fox, pioltwings and especially Castlevania to be better than their N64 counterparts

Da_Shocker
12-03-2011, 02:49 AM
Good grief TA is biased as hell. What does it say when NOBODY on here has the same viewpoint as you?

TVC 15
12-03-2011, 08:00 AM
This last page of youtube posting is absolute lies, lies and damn lies.

Its not just TA thats wrong, your ALL wrong.

1. Putting up crappy compressed youtube videos and arguing PD Zwei soundtrack is shite is moot since I played the game only a few weeks ago through my stereo amp, and non of the tracks sound that muffled and compressed. Maybe down to personal taste you don't like the samples or instruments used to generate the Chiptunes for Zwei but non of them sound that awful.

2. Comparing the SNES's crappy filtered excuse for Big blue next to the N64 is fail. I like the original SNES tunes, and I like the N64 renditions, but to suggest the aurally Farty SPC is outdoing the N64, is a bit of a joke. I do agree however one thing in my next point...

3. To then suggest that the tunes on F-Zero X are in stereo, 3rd Fail. Whether the original streamed track is in Stereo or not, MP3 or whatever format its stored on the N64 cart, it is played back in Mono. I have heard however that the N64DD tracks are remixed in stereo due to the additional sound hardware along with mono originals, is this the source of the Stereo track Chilly?
I remember purchasing a Stereo AV cable for my N64 back in 2000 and listening to various games with my Gran's high-end Headphones she'd got for christmas because her hearing was going. I remember being confused because F-Zero wasn't in stereo, and faffing around for a while with the TV's sound settings. This isn't my misty memory playing tricks, I was genuinely baffled as a 11 year old and remember it well because I spent a few nights playing around with and enjoying the N64 with big-ass headphones before my Nan wanted them back to watch Inspector Morse on iTV (or was it Cracker re-runs? Can't remember!). F-Zero X was NOT in stereo.

Your all fails! :cool:

Chilly Willy
12-03-2011, 08:43 AM
The site I got the recording from doesn't say, but in the comments people remark that the DD songs were NOT covered. The site only claimed they were the plain F-Zero X soundtrack.

Anywho, the SNES F-Zero music isn't stereo itself, and the instruments are clearly compressed badly. And in the end, it doesn't matter. My original statement was the N64 HARDWARE was more POWERFUL, not that the music or sound effects for any particular game were any good. That was all TA's fault trying to side-track the thread with youtube postings of supposedly "better" music. We all know from old consoles that how powerful the hardware is has little to do with how good a game is, whether it be game play or music composition. You can do crappy games on a PS3, and excellent games on the A2600.

sheath
12-03-2011, 09:10 AM
TVC, I thought the same thing about the Panzer Dragoon Zwei tracks. Those are two of my favorite tunes of all time.

Also, your experience of trying to get stereo out of the N64 sounds similar to me trying to get sharpness out of it with S-Video. I was completely baffled that I couldn't see any difference in the textures between Composite and S-Video. It's the only console I haven't noticed a dramatic difference when moving up from Composite.

TVC 15
12-03-2011, 12:46 PM
TVC, I thought the same thing about the Panzer Dragoon Zwei tracks. Those are two of my favorite tunes of all time.

Also, your experience of trying to get stereo out of the N64 sounds similar to me trying to get sharpness out of it with S-Video. I was completely baffled that I couldn't see any difference in the textures between Composite and S-Video. It's the only console I haven't noticed a dramatic difference when moving up from Composite.

Amen brother!

Arguing that PD Zwei's music score is poor is one thing (sorry just no!), but then using some of the worst Youtube examples is another. In fact when anybody posts a vid and it says 240p in the corner I usually skip it and try and search for a newer less compressed version, 240p indicates it was probably uploaded pre-2008. BLEURGH.

Yeah when I got my AV cable I'd thought I'd be reaching new heights of aural visual greatness with my N64, and I'd overnight be a video game conssieur. My Saturn came boxed with an rgb scart cable (supposedly a controversial move in the UK since not all sets had scart) and I could noticeably tell how much better it looked than my SNES and MD over RF so I assumed scart would make it awesome! Of course I was incredibly naive and didn't realize the difference between a composite av lead with a scart box converter on the end and a proper rgb scart, I just thought, hey its got scart on the end its the best there is!.

It Made sod all difference. The N64 has to have possibly the worst IQ of any console I've used, the PS2 second. It wouldn't be half as bad if it wasn't for the shit smeared on a window pane effect of Bilinear filtering applied to low res textures.

I'm mildly interested to pick up an early model NTSC N64 and have it rgb modded and it see if it makes a massive difference. But I'm not sure if there really any games I want to go back to on the N64. I have enough trouble finishing 3 short courses on Sega Rally with so little free time, nevermind wasting hours boring myself to tears on collect-a-thons like DK64 collecting Golden Bananas.

Da_Shocker
12-03-2011, 12:59 PM
And as much as I love the Saturn and Panzer Dragoon 2, you really give me no choice but to bring up some of the tracks that use some of the worst instruments I have ever heard on the Saturn:

You guys need to READ what TrekkiesUnite118 actually said rather than saying something completely different.

TrekkiesUnite118
12-03-2011, 01:37 PM
Did I say the compositions were bad? No. Did I say the soundtrack was awful? No. Did I say I hate those tracks? No. Did I say Panzer Dragoon 2 doesn't have some of the best chiptunes I've heard from a console? No.

I simply said that while it has an amazing soundtrack, some tracks do have their fair share of bad sounding instruments every now and then, the ones I posted being the ones that stick out in particular. What ever instrument that is supposed to be doing the main melody in those tracks sounds highly compressed to the point of almost sounding like a kazoo.

And before anyone accuses me of not knowing what it sounds like on real hardware, I am playing it right now in my living room.

@TA

Did I say those tracks had bad instruments? No I didn't, because those tracks use some excellent sounding instruments. Please read and understand what you are reading before flipping out and posting more youtube videos.

Team Andromeda
12-03-2011, 04:46 PM
The site I got the recording from doesn't say, but in the comments people remark that the DD songs were NOT covered. The site only claimed they were the plain F-Zero X soundtrack.

Anywho, the SNES F-Zero music isn't stereo itself, and the instruments are clearly compressed badly. And in the end, it doesn't matter. My original statement was the N64 HARDWARE was more POWERFUL, not that the music or sound effects for any particular game were any good. .

You came a bit of cropper . I have and still have the cart and my N64 and it's mono .



Did I say those tracks had bad instruments? No I didn't, because those tracks use some excellent sounding instruments

I think you did
some of the tracks that use some of the worst instruments I have ever heard on the Saturn

To which I just didn't agree that's . Panzer Dragoon Zwei had some of the best chip music on the Saturn

TVC 15
12-03-2011, 05:48 PM
You guys need to READ what TrekkiesUnite118 actually said rather than saying something completely different.

I read it perfectly, as have most others, I have no beef with TrekkiesUnite118 (any saturn advocates get my votes). Whether he has a problem with the samples used for Zwei soundtrack used on those tracks, or the content of the composition thats his opinion which I respect, but posting terrible quality videos does nothing to backup your opinion.

Anyway where were we?

Arguing over the Saturn via the competition again? Lets continue...

TrekkiesUnite118
12-04-2011, 12:47 AM
It has nothing to do with the quality of the recording. The instruments sound just as bad on real hardware coming through my sound system. To prove this I will record it off my Saturn onto my computer if you would like. Panzer Dragoon 2 is one of the best soundtracks ever and is a great example of good chiptunes. However that doesn't change the fact that a handful of tracks use flat out awful instruments. Hell the Dragon Scream at the title scream is freaking ear bleeding bad. I remember when I was playing it when friends were over they all covered their ears when I pressed start at the title screen.

In fact the one instrument that carries the main theme in Episode 6 sounds like my one friend in high school orchestra mocking our snobby oboe player. It's just a bad quality instrument. Most the other instruments are fine, but that one sticks out and sounds awful.

@TA, go back and look, I never said The Unexpected Enemy or the Episode 5 track had bad instruments. I said the Episode 1 track and the Episode 6 track have some bad sounding instruments in them. I didn't say the compositions were bad, I didn't say the game isn't a stunning example of excellent chiptunes. I simply pointed out that it is not immune to having it's fair share of bad sounding samples. Oh, and you're really one to talk about bad videos being inaccurate. Most of your videos are full of PAL/NTSC issues because you are running NTSC games on a PAL Saturn without a 50/60 Hz switch. Your Radiant Silvergun video proves it since the music pitch is off. Some of your videos even have bad frame rate issues that don't exist when I play those same games on my Saturn.

Sheesh people. You see the words "Panzer Dragoon 2" and "Bad" and you start freaking out without even comprehending what you actually read.

j_factor
12-04-2011, 01:49 AM
I comprehend, but I still don't think those instruments are "awful". Sorry, I just don't.

Team Andromeda
12-04-2011, 02:29 AM
Oh, and you're really one to talk about bad videos being inaccurate. Most of your videos are full of PAL/NTSC issues because you are running NTSC games on a PAL Saturn without a 50/60 Hz switch. Your Radiant Silvergun video proves it since the music pitch is off. Some of your videos even have bad frame rate issues that don't exist when I play those same games on my Saturn.

I never said anything about bad videos and all my videos are running on double NTSC Japanese Saturn.

The problems you list are down to virtual dub mate not any 50hz or 60 hz issue. So lets not try and be smart ass on that score I've had a 60 Hz Saturn since 1994 and if you don't believe me here is my baby Grey launch Saturn


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OVsyHuHnEc



The instruments sound just as bad on real hardware coming through my sound system.

So you're again saying the instruments are bad, Yes or No ?. To which I simply don't agree even on the tracks you listed - Those tracks to me have an very Egyptian Arabian feel to the and go perfectly to what's happening on screen imo


And back to the main point, when it came to sound and chip music the Saturn was simply leagues ahead for the N64 which some of the best chip music ever produced .

Da_Shocker
12-04-2011, 03:01 AM
Who on earth was comparing the Saturn's soundchip to the N64? I thought we were comparing the N64 to the SNES? Everybody on here knows that the Saturn had a better sound setup than the N64 and PSx.

sheath
12-04-2011, 09:20 AM
@ trekkies,

I suspect those YT vids were lower bitrate, the audio depth isn't quite what it should be, but it is close. As to the instruments, I love everything about those two songs. The only complaint I could come up with would have to be based on expecting the instruments to sound like real world ones. I don't think that was the target of these compositions though, everything about Panzer Dragoon is supposed to be alien and different, like a cave man describing modern technology.

@DA Shocker,

I have seen the Saturn's sound capabilities repeatedly talked down on these boards. Supposedly the PS1 is better, though I've never heard it. Also, it has been repeatedly asserted that the Saturn's sound system was wasteful, had one or two too many chips for not enough return or something like that. Again, I always thought the Saturn blew the PS1 away in audio depth, number of instruments, everything, but apparently that just ain't so.

The last time I looked at any spec sheets the Saturn sound system had the Motorola 68EC000, 32 PCM Channels, 8 FM Channels and 512KB Audio RAM to the PS1's 24 PCM channels and 512KB Audio RAM. I haven't looked at any technical documents for these systems yet, in fact I haven't seen any discussion of which tech docs are preferred by folks around here.