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Thread: Saturn games with transparency and/or light source shading

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    Once again this isn't true. VDP1 has support for full 3D transparencies using 50/50 blending. It just has limitations due to the following reasons:

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

    Also, inb4pixiedust.
    The biggest issue imo was that you couldn't have background priorities if you opted for sprite transparency, and without that you couldn't put a background between two sprites - only below all or above all. That and there was no mode where you got transparency both on other sprites and other bgs. These two things killed sprite transparency both for 2d and 3d.

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

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Impossible. Name one. In fact, they usually ran better (Tomb Raider).
    Lunar SSS/SSSC
    Lunar EB
    Silhouette Mirage
    Grandia
    Macross Do You Remember Love
    Thunder Force V
    Fighting Force
    Mass Destruction
    Powerslave

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

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

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

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



    How do you know the opposite isn't true then?
    Opposite of what? Powerslave PSX doesn't exist? Quake PSX has been leaked?
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  3. #33
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    Mr Bones

    fog effect

  4. #34
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    Loaded had some sick lightning effects and transparency, it was also a combination of 2d and 3d (3d walls and landscape, 2d sprite characters, on a flat plane ground).

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tama does sprite transparency on one of the later levels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Radiant Silvergun used it on a lot of backgrounds.

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

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

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

    The main menu in True Pinball had transparent polygons but it was just a background fade.
    Last edited by zyrobs; 03-28-2018 at 01:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    As far as I know, VDP1 supports only the following blending modes for transparency:

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

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

    But it be nice to know the actual number of channels offered by both the VDP 1 and VDP 2
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 03-28-2018 at 05:36 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post

    Nights did lightning, at least at the start when the level loads, dunno if it does it later ingame.
    Christmas NiGHTS did it and also when the snowflakes hit the ground In-Game. Christmas NiGHTS also had some nice retail team hair movement in the opening section on Claris I was quite impressed with that at the time lol

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


    I'm sure I've seen Panzer Dragoon Saga do various VDP2 fades to
    The game makes complete use of the VDP II for effects, loads on disc 2 and even on the very 1st boss for when he crashes into the cliffs

    Street Racer used a transparent skybox and some poly-to-bg transparency on some very close buildings
    At the time ViVid did the best fade in until Sonic R also made full use of the VDP II for not transparent effects, but also to give the impression of reflection too. Good shout on that game.

    Some more from me

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

    Blam! Machinehead - Had the odd nice transparent effects

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

    Deadlus - Some lovely transparent effects used in that game.

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

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

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

    GunGriffon II - Some nice real time lighting effects

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

    Three Dirty Dwarves - Some nice 2D sprite and VDP2 plane transparent effects
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonusKun View Post
    I'm gonna say Grandia on the Saturn was superior to the PlayStation version but mainly because that game was developed for years around the Saturn's hardware limitations and the result is an amazingly beautiful game.
    Or strengths even.

    OG XBox was a much better system than the PS2 for sound and GFX and yet Silent Hill 2 and more so MGS2 (which was a joke on the OG XBox) lost out to the PS2 in their ports, that's what happens when a game is developed and made for the ground up only for and to run on one platform.
    To me, the PS3 was clearly more powerful than the 360, but many games run better on the 360, but in the 1st few years the 360 was the lead development system and so the PS3 suffered from Unreal 3 games or the likes of Bayonetta running like a joke on the systes thanks to the game leading on the 360 and Platinum didn't even handle the PS3 port their selves and we saw, not the best results.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    But how many channels, from Transparent to completely Opaque?. I read the PS has around 32 channels, the N64 in the hundreds and from an interview with the CORE Ninja Team (the game at the start lead on the Saturn) said the VDP II can handle more Transparent channels than even the PS is that true? Sadly Core never gave details on the VDP 1 levels either
    Be nice to know the actual numbers on VDP 1 Transparent channels and VDP 2 channels for a complete picture. Lots of 2D games can use the VDP1 for Transparent effects or even for 2D sprites in a 3D polygon game The trouble seems when making those sprites into full Polygons, which even a game like SOTN night used (it wasn't a completely 2D game).
    TATIO seemed to have no issues when using endless VDP1 and VDP 2 transparency effects in its 2D games yet for its 3D Saturn game big issues and use of Mesh.

    But it be nice to know the actual number of channels offered by both the VDP 1 and VDP 2
    PS1 doesn't have "channels" of transparency, it just reads the already drawn RGB values of a pixel, and combines them with the new RGB values using one of 4 formulas (of which one is inversion!). Since the system works in 15bit RGB, you could say that it has 32767 "channels", or rather levels of transparency. Saturn VDP1 does the same but only has 2 formulas, of which one is shadowing.

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

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    PS1 doesn't have "channels" of transparency, it just reads the already drawn RGB values of a pixel, and combines them with the new RGB values using one of 4 formulas (of which one is inversion!). Since the system works in 15bit RGB, you could say that it has 32767 "channels", or rather levels of transparency. Saturn VDP1 does the same but only has 2 formulas, of which one is shadowing.

    VDP2 can mix two backgrounds together at up to 1:31 ratio (per background), max in sprites with the same ratio (with max. 8 selectable values, so different sprites can have different levels of transparency), and apply two different colours to "offset" the final colour of each background. And do shadowing. And I think you are also limited in how each one of those mixings affect other backgrounds - you can only blend up to 3 backgrounds to the same colour at most, plus the line screen.
    Of course all of these have other restrictions based on sprite mode, colour mode, resolution... It is no wonder that few games used the VDP2.
    Yeah, but what are the values. The N64 and DC are said to have a range of 256 channels, the PS and 3DO around 30, what are the correct channels for the VDP 1 and VDP 2. I saw in a Ninja special on the Saturn, where the team said they could make the water VDP 2 plane go from 1 to over a 100 depending on the intestacy transparent effect they were looking for. Anyone really knows the true number of channels offered by the VDP 1 or VDP2? or even if that is correct and where the number could have been wrong from the Press . Its when one used the VDP 2 layers that you got the best result and transparent effects right up there with anything the PS offered, more somtimes, if you look at SOUKY and the PS not being able to handle the VDP2 transparent layers for the clouds or the Floor to Stage 3 in ThunderForce V or even the VDP2 water layer to the 1st stage in TF V.
    Mind you Alpha effects give systems a hard time teams days, as Sea Of Thiefs shows on the One X, when its 6 Teraflop GPU is asked to output a number of Transparent effects

    Also back on topic

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

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

    Albert Oddesy - Endless Transparent effects

    Elevator Action Returns - Some nice Transparent effects

    The Games Paradise - Nice transparent effects

    Skelton Warrios - a mix of nice 2D VDP 1 Transparent effects and VDP2 style misting effects
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 03-28-2018 at 09:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Shining of the holy ark - Some nice VDP2 style transparent effects
    Here's a serious question. How come it's damn near impossible to find the soundtrack for Shining the Holy Ark? I mean the real game soundtrack not these arranged things I've only run across from time to time?
    05/05/15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Its when one used the VDP 2 layers that you got the best result and transparent effects right up there with anything the PS offered, more somtimes,
    Hmm, no, just no.
    VDP2 stuff is mostly for 2D games and even in that case you're talking layers instead of sprites (polygons, actually).


    Quote Originally Posted by redsox2013 View Post
    -Fighters Megamix (IMO the best LSS of the generation - including PS1)
    There are several games in that gen with better light sourcing effects; let me name a few of the fighting genre:
    Deadly Arts (N64)
    Critical Blow (PS1)
    Fighters' Impact (PS1)

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

    Alien Resurrection (PS1)
    Top Gear Overdrive (N64)
    Motorhead (PS1)
    Quake II (PS1)
    Last edited by Barone; 03-28-2018 at 12:27 PM.

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

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

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

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

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

    N64 and DC had RGBA8888 texture support iirc, but most games used 16bit formats because it was slow.
    Man I'm enjoying your posts but why the hell have you been here since 2012 and still hadn't created an avatar for your profile yet? Mind you I could go in and give you one but I like to see people come up with their own unique ideas for an avatar.
    05/05/15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonusKun View Post
    Here's a serious question. How come it's damn near impossible to find the soundtrack for Shining the Holy Ark? I mean the real game soundtrack not these arranged things I've only run across from time to time?
    https://ftp.modland.com/pub/modules/...%20Holy%20Ark/

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    See what I mean? You're damn awesome!
    05/05/15

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