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Thread: So SNES is Pin compatable with NES and the CPU disabled legacy mode for NES?! WTF

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    I don't think Sega was stupid for including backwards compatibility, but they were stupid to have it depend on an optional adapter. At that point, they might as well just put a Z80 in the adapter and call it a day, and have a proper PCM chip instead in the console.

    Why not include an adapter with the console if you're making the console compatible with the previous gen? Was there any other console that needed an adapter for backwards compatibility that was just for the cart shape/pins?
    As I see it the main reason they built the PBC was because the Genesis started selling well in places like North America, where the SMS had not been very popular. So you had people who bought a Genesis first, then the learn about Sega's older games, so Sega figured out they could sell an adapter and increase SMS software sales.

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    Reading the article above you can see how many add-ons they though about it since the beginning.

    https://mdshock.com/2018/07/08/the-s...drive-is-here/

    It's no surprise the backwards compatibility was sold as an add-on. And probably for the best. It would probably cost more to include a way to play Master System at default, and maybe they would try to compensate the cost using lower specs somewhere else.

    I think SNES suffered more from the (cancelled) backwards compatibility than the Mega Drive.

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    The System E is pretty interesting! I love stuff like that. About backwards compatibility, it's been some years but I remember something about the OAM table in the snes being a lot like the NES one, with the extra bits being jammed into another reg byte (the high bits of X, Y IIRC is still 256 which is why 64x64 sprites can wrap vertically on the screen). But yeah that whole $8000-ffff rom map layout on top of the '816 is soo annoying.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    As I see it the main reason they built the PBC was because the Genesis started selling well in places like North America, where the SMS had not been very popular. So you had people who bought a Genesis first, then the learn about Sega's older games, so Sega figured out they could sell an adapter and increase SMS software sales.
    I had a friend who was hardcore into video games, but shunned the SMS while he had an NES.

    As soon as he got a Genesis he went out and bought a PBC and R-Type.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tisurame View Post
    Reading the article above you can see how many add-ons they though about it since the beginning.

    https://mdshock.com/2018/07/08/the-s...drive-is-here/

    It's no surprise the backwards compatibility was sold as an add-on. And probably for the best. It would probably cost more to include a way to play Master System at default, and maybe they would try to compensate the cost using lower specs somewhere else.

    I think SNES suffered more from the (cancelled) backwards compatibility than the Mega Drive.
    Wow I had no idea so many add-ons were planned from the beginning!


    That makes the MD look like it was intended to compete against home computers. I'm surprised to see that because if a CD was planned from the beginning I think there could have been better ways to design the base hardware and the add-on, but hindsight is always 20/20. I always thought a floppy was the original intent because Sega had already released arcade games on floppy disks earlier that year (the System 24) and CD-ROM was a very expensive technology in 1988.

    I never knew the SNES was delayed a year. Could it be the original SNES was going to be an upgraded NES to compete against the PCE, then when Nintendo saw the MD they realized they needed to make some changes? The SNES has always struck me as an odd design because the CPU is so slow for a 1990 console, but it makes up for that in other areas.
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    Nintendo and SEGA had a lot of wild ideas for their 8-16 bit systems that it's insane. SEGA always seemed like they may have planned too much. We have that promotional video of the VMU MP3 player for DC. DreamEye had a video sharing service. Proto YouTube. If I recall you could do banking on a Famicom Modem. As for Game Gear thanks for the info. SMS was a really impressive system. Iguess the only thing there that can be debated is sound.

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    Sega also planned VR for the Genesis and were trying to release a zip-drive for the DC to hold online updates to games.

    https://segaretro.org/Dreamcast_Zip_Drive
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post

    I'm glad that they didn't build that cost into the Mega Drive.
    Agreed.

    If BC was so important to you, you just paid a small sum, while not adding any more to the cost of the Mega Drive. I really liked how the Master System Converter also was compatible with the MS cards, so I could use my 3D glasses with the Mega Drive. It was really epic at the time, as my launch Pal Master system was never switched (and still isn't). It was amazing to be able to play all my Master system games and 3D game in 60 hz. I just wish SEGA would have lnlcuced the FM sound chip inthe Converter, that's all
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    Just to chime in, yeah the Game Gear is def. built from the Master System but the one HUGE improvement is that GG has 4,096 colors! Which is literally thousands more than all of Sega's other consoles: Genesis, SCD, MS.

    Some GG carts can even be glitched into MS mode, if u mess with the cart, just right. Screen zooms out, the Start button doesn't work, lol. But games can still be playable.

    The games which really shine and show off the palette are Columns, Sonic 1, Ecco 1. Most colorful versions of these games.

    Unfortunately that emphasis didn't last as the colors are unimproved, and much blander in the (GG) sequels of those games.

  10. #25
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    Before the Megadrive, they had home computer hardware, it would make sense that they built the Megadrive to be able to do that optionally. I think they prototyped enough accessories to turn the machine into a full computer, but they went for the bigger option and teamed up with IBM to do the Teradrive instead.

    Also, the Saturn had a HDD expansion planned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    EDIT: also, we think they may have been able to squeeze the second set of palettes they wanted if they had enough time to tidy it up a bit more :​P (but no guarantees, this is just speculation). So you can blame deadlines too.
    If you mean for the Megadrive, they planned on doing 8 palettes and include native sprite scaling. But the scaling made the chip too big and they had to axe it. The extra palette was turned into something that could be hooked up externally, but they never did that except for one arcade hardware I think. System C2? Not sure if any game actually took advantage of it.

    I keep thinking that when they made the Megadrive 2, they should've put some of the new features in there, in a backwards compatible way. It would've made it an incremental upgrade, but give the console so much more power.

  11. #26
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    I actually think the 4 palettes (usable for both backgrounds and sprites) was an ok cost cutting measure, but the audio side of things is a complete and utter mess, that's the real problem. Having a Z80 as a separate audio chip was somewhat logical because that is what arcade machines did and also made the backwards compatibility easier, but they just botched the design completely. I'm guessing they just ran out of space on the board and time and couldn't figure out a better way to wire things up.

    The Z80 is meant to drive the YM2612 but the interrupts are not connected. Without a dedicated PCM chip and without interrupts the Z80 had to do all the PCM work but then they gave it this horrifically shitty serial bank register. It's a mess, could not have been worse. Had they not focused on BC the Z80 would have been the first thing to go for cost cutting, and then they'd have to put a proper PCM chip in there.
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  12. #27
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    The Z80 would have still stayed there precisely because many arcades had a 68000+Z80 setup, and the engineers were looking at System 16 to get ideas (which, surprise, uses 68000+Z80). I don't get why are you so obsessed with axing the Z80 "in favor of PCM" when if anything you'd end up with the Z80 driving the PCM chip. Not to mention that PCM would have been quite expensive (because it's not just the PCM chip itself, they also want extra RAM which is a significant extra expense, and on top of that the console launched right during a RAM shortage that would only be solved for good about a couple of years later… oh, also they ran out of pins in one of the I/O chips, hence the whole bank switching over serial register mess).

    On that note, I wonder if that's part of the reason why SNES was delayed. The original SNES specs were 8KB RAM (just like PC Engine), and most of the hardware seemed to be ready judging by the tech demos (especially mode 7), yet they had to delay it and quickly pointed out that they were going to be bumping up the RAM. I wonder if seeing the Mega Drive with way more RAM made Nintendo panic at last minute, and they were forced to wait it out because RAM had gotten too expensive due to the shortage (indeed, the Super Famicom came out the same year RAM prices were plummeting).

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    Well, axing the Z80 is just an example of a tradeoff. You prioritize the important part, driving PCM, over the less important part, looking like a System 16. They didn't really have room to pack anything else into the console, so they'd have had to remove something.

    I don't see why it would need any extra RAM though, just give the chip high priority in accessing ROM and have it read straight from ROM. Little more than a DMA chip and a timer pushing bytes straight to the 6th YM2612 channel. What the Amiga does but even simpler, 1 channel would have been enough.

    This would technically have been much weaker than what the Z80 can actually do, but considering how garbage nearly all the released sound drivers were compared to what modern homebrew drivers can do (including Sega's own), it would have been worth it.
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  14. #29
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    …if not the System 16 then what did you expect them to recreate? Superscaler? (I'm not even sure how they expected the scaling feature to work even if they had the die space available because the VRAM they used would have gotten in the way, and they did squeeze it good — and by the way, the superscaler arcades were horribly expensive) Also practically every PCM chip of the time works off its own address space, hence why they need dedicated RAM (or dedicated ROM).

    And while PCM playback was often garbage (though I think SMPS was the worst offender, nearly everything else doing PCM sounds much better), the biggest offender was actually FM (people couldn't get their head around FM, even today it's a pain in the ass, sorry). If anything, Sega would have been better served ditching FM in favor of something else. Though FM is pretty good at saving bytes… if you can tame it.

  15. #30
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    Most arcade systems didn't even need a dedicated audio processor. So it's a little bit overkill, but then again arcade designs didn't really care.

    The cost of a z80 + ram has got to be more expensive than a 6-ish channel 8bit PCM chip with DMA from rom. The frequencies per channel don't have to be sample-based synth res, but a simple down counter (32khz, 16khz, 10.6, 8, 6.4, 5.3, etc). Yeah, in the beginning rom space was more of a premium but they knew prices would come down over time - PCM samples would have gradually become more of the norm. Not just voices, but some of those FM sound FX are horrible (can't stand FM generated explosion sounds, and some others).

    But all this is kinda moot, because Genesis cart slot had audio in lines and at any point Sega could have added audio chips to their games. Especially in '91 and onwards, where tech was getting cheaper. Apparently Sega didn't give a crap about PCM or its dated sound hardware.

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