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Thread: What the Saturn can exactly do that the Playstation cannot?

  1. #76
    Master of Shinobi
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    The summon spells in SF3 are indeed very impressive.

  2. #77
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    I would argue Panzer Dragoon Saga is the most technically impressive Saturn game. A little bit of chugging, but full 3D environments, great effects, great score, and huge environments.

    Sonic R is good but has pretty huge pop in and is kind of plain-looking. Not to take away from it, but Saga is better IMO.

    I doubt Saga would've been possible on a PS1, mostly because of VDP2 helping out with the planes and effects.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Its silly to say the PS couldn't handle a Saturn game or that a Saturn couldn't handle a PS game, it's more, what would be lost in the porting.

    Without getting all silly and flambaiting. I would say the few Saturn games that the PS would really have a hard time with would be Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Astra Superstars given heavy use of VDP2
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  4. #79
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    What makes Sonic R so great is that they could do the background fading, light sourcing, and doing sporadic polygon transparency all at the same time. This requires using two separate render paths at the same time. Very complex stuff.

    Saga is great, but note that some of the indoor areas, which are notably more complex, have a fixed camera. This can cut down on processing a lot since they can pre-calculate things like polygon sorting in advance. Crash Bandicoot could do so good graphics for its time because the entire game ran on a fixed path, and they were streaming from disc the pre-calculated polygon sorting for each camera instance.

    And Saga is one game that would've benefited immensely from Sonic R style fading, since so many levels had polygon areas that were directly flowing into the background (the desert area comes to mind). If it had that fading, I'd say it is by far the best looking Saturn game. Without that, it's just one of the best.

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    I maybe would add a little more ...

    I sure I read in a Japanese mag interview that Battle Garegga port was tried on the PS but the team gave up. Even while the game was entirely possible I guess those infinte VDP2 planes on some of Zwei levels would lose out on the PS, as would EP2 VDP2 water effects (If Grandia is anything to go on). I woudn't like to see Last Bronx amazing VDP2 backround and underground VDP2 layers emulated on the PS, nor would I like to see Cotton 2 emu on the PS, in just the same way, I wouldn't like to see the Saturn try and emu MGS
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  6. #81
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    if you like the graphics of shining force 3 then check scenario 3. they improved the graphics slightly with each scenario,

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    What makes Sonic R so great is that they could do the background fading, light sourcing, and doing sporadic polygon transparency all at the same time. This requires using two separate render paths at the same time. Very complex stuff.
    You're right. I forgot how clever Sonic R was. GameHut's videos on the special effects of Sonic R are very interesting, I particularly found the use of the DSP for 3D math very interesting.

    What impressed me about Saga was the animation. The dragon can morph shape and warp, while many objects have fluid and very unique movements and distortions. It was very rare to see back then. There was no RPG like it on PSX. The closest title was Ocarina of Time, which ran on much newer hardware.



    Here at 1:32 is a good example. I also like how the infinite planes were done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    What impressed me about Saga was the animation. The dragon can morph shape and warp, while many objects have fluid and very unique movements and distortions. It was very rare to see back then. There was no RPG like it on PSX. The closest title was Ocarina of Time, which ran on much newer hardware.



    Here at 1:32 is a good example. I also like how the infinite planes were done.
    Yep, Saga really was one of the 1st true 3D RPGs . Incredible given the hardware and time it was made . Also Saga was no doubt handling a lot more under the hood, with NPCs Ect.

    The music was stunning too, even more so as most of it was coming off the chip .
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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    Presented for your pleasure

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    You're right. I forgot how clever Sonic R was. GameHut's videos on the special effects of Sonic R are very interesting, I particularly found the use of the DSP for 3D math very interesting.

    What impressed me about Saga was the animation. The dragon can morph shape and warp, while many objects have fluid and very unique movements and distortions. It was very rare to see back then. There was no RPG like it on PSX. The closest title was Ocarina of Time, which ran on much newer hardware.



    Here at 1:32 is a good example. I also like how the infinite planes were done.
    There's a funny anecdote about that morphing dragon shape. Something like that (arbitrary user-set morphing of a 3d mode) was seldom done before in a 3d game, and the programmer said "no way, we can't do this" when asked about the effect. Then the next day he came in saying that he implemented it. It was in one of the interviews about the team.

  10. #85
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    There's a funny anecdote about that morphing dragon shape. Something like that (arbitrary user-set morphing of a 3d mode) was seldom done before in a 3d game, and the programmer said "no way, we can't do this" when asked about the effect. Then the next day he came in saying that he implemented it. It was in one of the interviews about the team.
    Yes, it was this one and this one.

    It is very interesting how effective PSX's GTE was at transforms compared to the Saturn DSP. Sega's internal design documents suggested using the slave SH2 and DSP in parallel to do polygon transformations and then feed it to VDP1.

    According to Sega's documentation, it's possible to use the SCU DSP for matrix transformation and Sega suggested back in 1995 to use the SCU DSP for the matrix and the SH2 for the polygon processing in parallel.
    When SGL was released, transforms moved completely off the DSP onto the SH2s. One of the few games to use the DSP for polygon transforms was Sonic R, which is why it runs as well as it does.

    Games using the SCU DSP that I know of : Sonic R, Quake and Burning Rangers. They all have in common that they are late games and look amazing.
    At least that is my understanding.

  11. #86
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    The very first Virtua Fighter as well as Remix used the DSP for doing math, so did Dead or Alive.

    The yabause wiki had a list of games that used it but I can't find that anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post



    When SGL was released, transforms moved completely off the DSP onto the SH2s. One of the few games to use the DSP for polygon transforms was Sonic R, which is why it runs as well as it does.
    I read that Sega Rally used the DSP and that quite a few developers weren't happy that SEGA wouldn't share the micro code .

    I wonder if Radiant Silvergun or Dark Saviour use the DSP as well ?
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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    Presented for your pleasure

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    When SGL was released, transforms moved completely off the DSP onto the SH2s.
    Regarding this, I think SGL was a completely new SDK, so the function wasn't "moved", it was written using the SH2s for the first time.
    Before that they had the SBL which wasn't even an SDK so to speak, just a lot of basic helper functions. One of which was transform, which optionally could use the DSP.
    They later released code for doing DSP transforms. I don't know if that was completely new or if it re-used the SBL code... one of the tech bulletins has it, full with explanations, and it is said to be a third faster than the same thing running on SH2 (but it doesn't mention if using this code frees up SH2 cycles or not.).

    I could be wrong about this, though...

  14. #89
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    I owned both the Saturn and PS1.. here are my thoughts

    I grew up a Nintendo fan boy, and was a very anti-sega kid for some time.
    That was until I started collecting game magazines, and saw all these ads for Phantasy Star.
    until then, all nintendo RPGS were set in medieval ages, with squatty SD characters. but Phantasy star had taller characters, animated enemies, and anime style cut scenes. that left me jealous and curious about the Genesis.
    Then Sonic came out, and everyone at that time was amazed at its speed. It was really revolutionary. I had never seen a game that fast and that smooth before.
    Back then a lot of games were really kid like, and by the time the Genesis came out, a lot of us kids started to become young teens. so we wanted something edgy and cool, and Sonic was it.
    So that made me finally buy the Genesis and Sega-CD. It was interesting as I went to a mexican swap meet on a tourist trip, and saw the whole set for sale for $50 USD.

    Fast forward to the mid 90s. Nintendo didnt really have a 32 bit system in sight, and I wasn't sure about Sony. so as a now, Sega fanboy, I bought the Saturn on launch day. it was expensive!!

    then the PS1 came out not too long after.. and there was a part of me that had some regrets.
    a lot of early Saturn polygon games looked a lot worse than the PS1 version.
    Also a lot of my friends had PS1s. only 3 others had the Saturn. but fortunately my best friend had the saturn so we traded games often

    we were both big into fighting games, and were well known locally in our arcades. Street fighter, KoF, whatever Capcom and SNK made, we played.
    and it was then we appreciate our Saturn because their ports were 90% of the time, far better.
    we also realized the US library was lacking, but the Japanese library was extensive. So we both modded ours. We went in different directions.
    I did mines first, and I had a store modify mines by adding a Japanese chip inside, which could be activated by a switch. this would allow the cartridge slot to be free, and allowed for the RAM cartridges used by fighting games.
    My friend did his later, and he just bought some new cartridge at that time that did everything. more RAM, save memory and play Japanese games.

    I could also read Japanese too, so I bought some rpgs and shooters, such as Dragon Force II.

    i did end up buying the PS1 mostly for JRPGs as I was a square-enix fanboy. but ultimately I only used the Playstation for Square games.
    beyond that I played my Saturn far more. Beyond fighting games. I loved Iron Storm (military strategy game), Dragon Force, Legend of Oasis, Sega Rally, Fighters Megamix, etc. A lot of the late saturn games looked better than PS1 games too.

    now years later.. the polygon games on either hte PS1 or the Saturn aged poorly.. but at least the Saturn still has their awesome 2D games that have aged very well.
    After the Saturn.. I also bought the Dreamcast on launch day... but unlike most here.. I never really liked it. I liked the form of the dreamcast, but the software of games never appealed to me. I preferred my Saturn over the DC... even the Sega CD over the DC. I also bought the PS2 eventually as well, but didnt play it much other than 3 or 4 games. by this time I just switched to portable consoles and PC gaming.

    all in all in terms of my experiences... I would say I enjoyed the Genesis the most, then Saturn, then the DC.

    later i started getting into romhacking and could never figure out how to edit the graphics of Genesis games
    but I did translate a few Gamegear games!

  15. #90
    ESWAT Veteran Da_Shocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zyrobs View Post
    What the Saturn has over the PSX:
    - dedicated tilemapper graphics chip with two 256k memory banks, think of it as something over 2x as strong as the SNES with 8x the memory for backgrounds... probably the strongest dedicated tilemapper ever put in consumer hardware. It can also take the polygon output and treat it as a background, doing some effects with it, but how much it can do depends on the polygon modes used. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a mode that makes both polygons and backgrounds work to maximum effect, which is part of the reason why the mesh effects were so common.
    - dedicated 2x 256k framebuffers. Unfortunately this meant the machine had much less space available for textures than the PSX.
    - the VDP1 has a feature that can be sort of used for hardware mipmapping, it's called High Speed Shrink and it makes the give polygon texture sampled at half the resolution. I don't know if any games ever used it for that though, they probably all just turned it on as a general speed increase.
    - Saturn could run in higher resolution (320/352/640/704 x 224/240/256/448/480/512), while PSX could run in lower resolution (256/320/368/512/640 x 240/480). The difference here is that Saturn could run low-res polygons but still keep hi-res backgrounds, while the PSX shared framebuffer size with texture memory and so using a lower resolution meant saving up extra space for textures. It's what Castlevania used to get as much animation in as possible.
    - Saturn could run 24-bit backgrounds while still being able to draw polygons. PSX could not do that.
    - Saturn could abuse a hardware snafu to shade textures in a way that every pixels colour was definable, thereby being theoretically capable of more advanced shading effects. However it had many limitations and only a single tech demo did it.
    - It had more CD buffer (128k vs 512k)
    - more robust CD hardware in general - dedicated processor for controlling the drive, plus the drives are better quality
    - sound channels can be used as FM operators and you can link any number of them (this is very advanced stuff similar to high-end FM synth keyboards), and the sound DSP is programmable instead of fixed. Unfortunately the lack of hardware sample compression made PCM samples sound much worse in the end, and nobody really programmed FM channels by then so the more advanced hardware was left unused. Four years later they took the same chip, removed the FM stuff, doubled the PCM channels, added hardware ADPCM compression, and put it in the Dreamcast.
    - SCU DSP can be used for other calculations than just doing T&L, although even then it just isn't as useful as the PSX GTE.
    - expansion ports are theoretically capable of doing much more in hardware



    Technically the Saturn could use its larger CD buffer memory as a generic memory bank, so it had a slight advantage in memory size, even without counting the VDP2 or the RAM expansions.... 1mb + 1mb + 512k vs 2mb + 128k. But it was overall slower as only 1 meg was 32bit, everything else was 16bit. Even the RAM expansions.
    rep'd

    Reading this it seems like the Saturn had so many flaws that could've been fixed maybe. The issue with the fast and slow ram seems a bit mind boggling but I assume they did this to cut costs. How much are these flaws related strictly to costs and how many are related to just bad r&d is what I would like to know.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoltor View Post
    Japan on the other hand is in real danger, if Japanese men don't start liking to play with their woman, more then them selves, experts calculated the Japanese will be extinct within 300 years.

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