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Thread: "SNES has a more powerful CPU and higher resolution in games than the Genesis"

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mega Drive Bowlsey View Post
    Love it. It's funny that we came at this conclusion from polar opposite starting points in life, in terms of gaming, and yet ended at the same place. Whether you go for the Sega Mega Drive or the SNES, the bottom line is the same. The 16-bit era was arguably the greatest in gaming history.
    Well I for one, genuinely dislike the art style & odd colors used in seemingly most SNES games. This is the stylistic theme of its colors more than anything. It seems that they wanted to definitely make use of the SNES color palette, but they didn't really know how, so they just used a lot of odd colors instead of normal colors. Super Mario World is a great example of this, Mario's overalls are a strange light blue, the hills in the background are dark blue (I think?), and some of his enemies are purple dragons to stomp on, etc.

    Also the time period had Mario World competing against both Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, at that same time! Somehow, it worked out that way, as Sonic 1 was still popular when Sonic 2 came out, so they were both up against SMW. People seemed to buy a console with that one pack-in title, in mind, more than anything!

    But yeah Sonic 1 and 2 both look amazingly better than SMW, imo. Sonic 1 and 2 have awesome color usage, while SMW has oddball colors like I said.

    And so it seemed a major theme between both consoles. Genesis' more limited palette often meant a nicer selection of colors overall, compared to the SNES equivalent, imo.

    Also SMW seems to show off the difference of resolution used, between both consoles, but it's also exaggerated by the awful thick black lines that surround a lot of the artwork in SMW!

    Sorry but I'm very passionate about such things, lol. I think the NES also had generally great color usage, in general.

  2. #47
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Incidentally the colors topic was being brought up yesterday on Twitter.

    I was reading this:
    https://byuu.net/video/color-emulation

    Turns out that we had emulators using the wrong color ramp all along this time (not sure when they started using a corrected ramp). The difference is huge:



    Ironically, that makes SNES colors look closer to Mega Drive games.

    No contest on Super Mario World though. It was clearly a transition between NES and SNES and it shows, it looks more like an attempt to make SMB3 with more colors but then they didn't know what to even do with them. F-Zero is from the same time and it makes much better use of colors.

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Thanks for understanding / agreeing about the odd colors used in SMW and many other SNES games. They were forcing the use of the SNES huge color palette, it seems, but the games didn't turn out beautiful... they just turned out to mostly have oddball colors.

    Actually it shows that the SEGA of early 90's was ahead of Nintendo on art style, the 1st two Sonic games are so nice looking, great color usage, and really SMW is kinda ugly IMO.

    Plus SMW is such a less exciting gameplay than the early Sonic games lol. SEGA was really on point, for a couple years there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    Incidentally the colors topic was being brought up yesterday on Twitter.

    I was reading this:
    https://byuu.net/video/color-emulation

    Turns out that we had emulators using the wrong color ramp all along this time (not sure when they started using a corrected ramp). The difference is huge:



    Ironically, that makes SNES colors look closer to Mega Drive games.

    No contest on Super Mario World though. It was clearly a transition between NES and SNES and it shows, it looks more like an attempt to make SMB3 with more colors but then they didn't know what to even do with them. F-Zero is from the same time and it makes much better use of colors.
    Re: emulators: That's interesting, though I still dislike Link's pink hair honestly, lol. It's probably something that makes more sense in Japanese artwork or something? Why in the world would they make his hair pink lol.

    As a great example of what I do like, is the original Zelda 1 on NES. I haven't played for years but I remember that it uses great earthy colors, in general. Browns, greens, blue, etc. Which seemed what NES was good at.

    So SNES lost the earthy color scheme, when SNES is emphasizing odd colors all the time... I could just never quite love the graphics in SMW, for example.

    It's too bad, too, because with a better artistic direction, the SNES could have used all those colors to emphasize more beautiful graphics, somehow, if they had just had a better art direction...

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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Actually it shows that the SEGA of early 90's was ahead of Nintendo on art style, the 1st two Sonic games are so nice looking, great color usage, and really SMW is kinda ugly IMO.
    ‘On the first day after the Nintendo press conference, a reporter from a major national magazine came over to me and said, “The Super Nintendo has 32,768 colours – you only have 512. What are you going to do about it?” I just got him to follow me to our booth, showed him Sonic and Mario running side by side and said, “Okay, which one has the most colours? It’s not how many colours you have, it’s what you do with them.” The reporter just walked away.’
    Found the quote here but I swear I had read it in a Sega-16 article before. Am I misremembering?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Plus SMW is such a less exciting gameplay than the early Sonic games lol. SEGA was really on point, for a couple years there.
    Another one I'm struggling to find the source @_@ But I recall that after Michael Katz got kicked out because he rejected Sonic at all costs, Tom Kalinske took over the CEO role and he was also skeptical of Sonic, but unlike Katz he actually decided to request some market research first, and the outcome was that Sonic was more popular than Mario with 80% of the kids to whom they showed the game (or something like that), which pretty much settled the matter about whether to continue with Sonic :​P

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    Another one I'm struggling to find the source @_@ But I recall that after Michael Katz got kicked out because he rejected Sonic at all costs, Tom Kalinske took over the CEO role and he was also skeptical of Sonic, but unlike Katz he actually decided to request some market research first, and the outcome was that Sonic was more popular than Mario with 80% of the kids to whom they showed the game (or something like that), which pretty much settled the matter about whether to continue with Sonic :​P
    I don't recall reading that. Kalinske didn't enter the picture until Sonic was well into development, though. As I recall, Al Nilsen was very vocal in his support of Sonic after playing the demo and realizing how great the gameplay was. Kalinske's main thing with Sonic was making it the pack-in title (and claiming to have made a bunch of changes to Sonic's design [such as adding Sonic's red shoes!] which were clearly implemented before he began working at Sega, but let's not go there...).

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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    The problem was that Katz kept insisting that Sonic wouldn't sell in the West so he got the boot in response (while Sonic Team kept working on it anyway). Kalinske wasn't sure about Sonic at first too but at least he seemed to handle it better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    The problem was that Katz kept insisting that Sonic wouldn't sell in the West so he got the boot in response (while Sonic Team kept working on it anyway). Kalinske wasn't sure about Sonic at first too but at least he seemed to handle it better.
    I found the reference you're thinking of - it's on p. 23 of MD Collected Works if you have it.

    Basically, people at SOA such as Al Nilsen were convinced that Sonic was great, but Kalinske wanted to be sure, so Nilsen did some playtesting around the country and said that 80% of the kids preferred Sonic over Mario. It doesn't really make it out that Kalinske was skeptical of Sonic; more that he just wanted some evidence that they weren't going to make fools of themselves by going big with it.

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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    No contest on Super Mario World though. It was clearly a transition between NES and SNES and it shows, it looks more like an attempt to make SMB3 with more colors but then they didn't know what to even do with them. F-Zero is from the same time and it makes much better use of colors.
    I much prefer Super Mario Bros. 3, but you're not giving enough credit to some of the graphics and sound effects that Super Mario World brings. The Ghost houses come to mind.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    Nope. At most it limits how you can use the layers, but that's still entirely on the video hardware side.

    The slow down probably comes from other issues (on top of the game probably already being on the limit), e.g. usually those translucency effects are combined with window clipping to give it a shape, which involves changing the shape of the windows every line. While the hardware can use DMA to automatically write these values every line, the CPU still has to compute what those values should be in the first place. If the computations are not optimized, that can drag down the game as a whole.

    Thanks Sik!


    One last question.

    So does the Genesis CPU, besides having to deal with tasks usually not supported by VDP, like sprite scaling, have practically an additional 25% screen area to perform sprite colisions calculations?

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    8 & 16 bit guy Outrunner Bloodreign's Avatar
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    If you want to see a Genesis game that pops with colors, look no further than the Magical Taruruto-kun game released for the system in Japan. That game seems to use a lot of different colors, and use them well.

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    Raging in the Streets Yharnamresident's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    The problem was that Katz kept insisting that Sonic wouldn't sell in the West so he got the boot in response (while Sonic Team kept working on it anyway). Kalinske wasn't sure about Sonic at first too but at least he seemed to handle it better.
    Thats nothing, Peter Moore said that he literally had to tell Yuji Naka to "fuck off" when wouldn't believe what he was saying. Yuji's translator asked "do you really want me to say that?", and Peter said yes.
    Certified F-Zero GX fanboy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yharnamresident View Post
    Thats nothing, Peter Moore said that he literally had to tell Yuji Naka to "fuck off" when wouldn't believe what he was saying. Yuji's translator asked "do you really want me to say that?", and Peter said yes.
    Oh no, lol. What did Yuji Naka do in response?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Re: emulators: That's interesting, though I still dislike Link's pink hair honestly, lol. It's probably something that makes more sense in Japanese artwork or something? Why in the world would they make his hair pink lol.

    As a great example of what I do like, is the original Zelda 1 on NES. I haven't played for years but I remember that it uses great earthy colors, in general. Browns, greens, blue, etc. Which seemed what NES was good at.

    So SNES lost the earthy color scheme, when SNES is emphasizing odd colors all the time... I could just never quite love the graphics in SMW, for example.

    It's too bad, too, because with a better artistic direction, the SNES could have used all those colors to emphasize more beautiful graphics, somehow, if they had just had a better art direction...
    I liked that Nintendo was exploring a much larger color range, because we’d been seeing the same damned basic colors going back to the early 8-Bit era. And as much as I liked the Genesis, when I got it, I was still rather disappointed with its color range, after owning the Amiga 500 before it. Shadow of the Beast on Genesis was such a horrible port, with the main character going from being gray, with a slight purple tint, to a solid blob of dark purple. The sequel used a better choice of colors.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    The SNES cpu is just simply hindered by its clock rate. Even in 3.57mhz, it's effectively running at ~3.05mhz. It's because its still based on 65x design, which has a heavy usages of direct ram and ZP for address modes. It's what makes up for the limited registers on the processor. Because the SNES ram is always clocked at 2.68mhz. There are some other odd characteristics that can give a little more cpu over head (like the layout of the sprite table). I'm honestly not a fan of how the 65816 handles 16bit mode (Acc, and index regs being set accordingly), so it has its own quirks for optimization above the normal 65x stuff. Honestly, the whole 8bit data bus thing isn't really a big deal if the clock was higher. Generally, a 5mhz version would take on the Genesis 68k, and a 7mhz would crush it. But that assumes optimized code on the '816 and 65x in general. The 68000 just gives you really good performance right out of the game without optimization. 65x optimization takes not only cycle counting and clever work arounds, but higher level optimizations to pair with it (data structures that are friendly to the processor/memory layout).

    Color math in general take up no cpu resource on the snes, but raster effects pair with color maps do. Like the bomb explosion in Contra (window regs to draw circle shape per scanline, and changing the base color per scanline). It's no means a huge amount, because the HMDA reduces interrupt overhead. But it honestly doesn't matter if the effect required 5% cpu resource or 0.5% cpu resource; games from that generation are sync to do updates in vblank and are timed to wait for that change. If miss the window mark be 5 cycles, or 5000 cycles - you're getting slowdown because now the game waits a whole frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yohko16 View Post
    I know that you're the resident PC Engine fanboy
    From reading this post, apparently you're the resident Sega-16 Sega Fanboi?

    What is this crap that 256x224 is a flawed resolution? Hahaha. Because it's not a square pixel resolution? Neither is Genesis 320px mode (it's skinny than square). A 6mhz dot clock gives you square pixels (aka the Neo Geo). Guess what? Genesis 320px mode and the others 256px mode, are pretty much equal distance to the 6mhz dot clock. Also, people throwing around AR like 4:3 and 8:7. Just list the dot clock or PAR (pixel aspect ratio). A square pixel has a 1:1 PAR.

    You all seem to forget, or maybe you didn't grow up in the 8bit/16bit generation, but TVs AND monitors had v-size and h-size knobs for adjustment (later had service menu for digital interface). I saw MANY TVs that had different display aspect ratios because of these settings. Usually v-size was set higher than h-size, giving the picture a slightly slimmer look. But honestly, the point is that you could not guarantee a TV, or even monitor, was exactly calibrated to 4:3 screen ratio (meaning the PAR was off).

    Hell, because of this we don't exactly know what arcade games PAR is supposed to be at. We just assume a generic 4:3. But a dedicated arcade setup could have different v/h size adjustments to the picture. One can assume the grid pattern for servicing said arcade board was 'square', but you don't know that for a fact. What matters is the overlay you placed on top to set it appropriately. It could vary from game to game.

    Secondly, 256 res we're talking about is a 5.37mhz dot clock (nes, sms, pce low res, snes, md low res). Genesis high res is 6.7mhz dot clock. PCE's mid res is 7.159mhz dot click (and high res is 10.74mhz). You can't just say pixels, because pixels of what? None of these systems, outside the PCE, output their lines of pixels from edge to edge on the scanline. They put a border in the "overscan" area. There's a difference between clipped resolution and full resolution. For instance, the CPS1 systems 384 horizontal res probably is edge to edge on the scanline. Why? Because why would an arcade monitor need overscan? Overscan was there for ANCIENT TVs that needed that additional time to correct the scanning beam. They were too slow to show ALL the horizontal picture (and vertical picture). That's probably why the Saturn's 352px res is so close the CPS1 game.

    My point in all of this: back then we didn't have fixed pixel displays. There was no guarantee any TV had the right PAR or AR. So how much developers put into correct aspect ratios, vs close enough like sik had mentioned (sometimes it's not worth the effort: these systems are tile based, not simple bitmaps. Stuff doesn't always cleanly 'fit' without wasting vram. You know, the whole tile is a compression scheme.. thing???). Get close enough, and screw the rest. Maybe some developers OCD'd on this. It's obvious some didn't haha. PCE/SGX mid res mode is close enough that you could get away with just copying CPS1 and other arcade assets as is. Less so on the Genesis 320px mode, but it's not as bad as trying to do it for 256px modes. Also, some Konami arcade systems ran in 288px resolution. Did it offend your eyes when you played TMNT games in the arcade???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    Incidentally the colors topic was being brought up yesterday on Twitter.

    I was reading this:
    https://byuu.net/video/color-emulation

    Turns out that we had emulators using the wrong color ramp all along this time (not sure when they started using a corrected ramp). The difference is huge:



    Ironically, that makes SNES colors look closer to Mega Drive games.

    No contest on Super Mario World though. It was clearly a transition between NES and SNES and it shows, it looks more like an attempt to make SMB3 with more colors but then they didn't know what to even do with them. F-Zero is from the same time and it makes much better use of colors.
    Zelda does not look like that on the real console. Part of his post complains about the simple shifting the bits into upper part, then complains about LCDs having a different gamma ramp, and then goes onto talk about how systems with LCDs need compensation for the levels. While they have to do with color, these are three separate different issues. For the snes one, he's saying the correction ramp to get colors on an LCD to match a CRT need to be applied... but hello?! Not all LCDs have the same gamma as other LCDs. And he's taking a correction ramp from a 2004 emulator! LCDs were trash in 2004 haha. I totally understand his post, but the screen shot is not accurate and it's misleading (a layman is going to think that's what the SNES should look like). I mean, I totally relate to what he's saying though (NES colors were off for a very long time. PCE colors come from a digital RGB to YUV 5bit conversion table inside the VCE and straight RGB is accurate).

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    @EPSYLON EAGLE
    The TG-16 and SNES are using more colors, which will require more video memory. The trade-off is using a slightly lower resolution, to save some VRAM space.
    That's just it: it doesn't. I mean yeah, the SNES mode 7 used 8bit pixels, but Genesis, SNES, PCE all use 4bit pixels. It's just the SNES has 16 palettes (8 for BG, 8 for SPR), and the PCE has 32 palettes (16 for BG, 16 for SPR). That didn't affect vram space.

    PCE often got treated as a roided-out NES (graphically, sound wise especially, and game complexity wise too). It is sooo easy to do raster effects on the PCE, so you would think hey.. games directly developed for the PCE would do that right? "Nah bruh". A lot of hucard PCE games suffered from crappy compression schemes- almost never using anything LZ based, but instead opted to just reduce pixels to 3bit (7 colors) and 2bit (3 colors). And on top of that, never pushed the palette usage. Non AAA CD games for the system have the same problem (no compression, minimal effort). It's actually MUCH harder to get more colors and color usage on the Genesis. So if a game looked incredible on the Genesis colorwise, it mean the devs put a lot of care into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Well I for one, genuinely dislike the art style & odd colors used in seemingly most SNES games. This is the stylistic theme of its colors more than anything. It seems that they wanted to definitely make use of the SNES color palette, but they didn't really know how, so they just used a lot of odd colors instead of normal colors. Super Mario World is a great example of this, Mario's overalls are a strange light blue, the hills in the background are dark blue (I think?), and some of his enemies are purple dragons to stomp on, etc.
    Are you serious?? Hahah. So you're telling me that you think because they used a different color blue on a sprite than the background, or set of purple for a sprite, that amounts to push color limits to show off? Wow are you so accustomed Genesis graphics, that you think an artists ability to arbitrarily choose colors is somehow an artificial inflation of color usage? Wow, talk about conditioning. Does everything beyond the Genesis era annoy you with their unnecessary colors? SMW is most definitely NOT a showcase for colors. I've seen some fanboy stuff, but that takes the cake haha.

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