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Thread: Saturn Vs. 3DO FMV

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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Do you know of any articles or interviews about the development of 3DO? I've only ever been able to find a short feature in Retro Gamer #122 that mostly focused on Trip Hawkins.

    Trekkies, I sent you a PM if you saw with the decompiled root file directory of Myst for 3DO. I didn't find any Cinepak videos, just a bunch of ".strm" and ".strem" files with names that coincide with video files. Maybe Myst is using something else for video compression.

    I really like Myst, so that's how this question formed in my head.
    Which those could still be Cinepak but in a 3DO specific container, just as Saturn CPK files are standard Cinepak but in a proprietary Sega FILM container.

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    The Future is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingESWAT Veteran Leynos's Avatar
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    Guardian Heroes intro still looks great on a CRT.
    Falcom Classics has a video of the then Falcom store. Looked fine as I recall.

    Life!? ... What console is that on?



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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    Falcom Classics uses Mpeg Sofdec, so it looks good, but the frame rate is quite low with out the MPEG card. Guardian Heroes is Cinepak. It's not bad. I'd say it's average for cinepak quality. Personally I think for retail games Lunar 2, Tengai Makyou, Megaman 8, Resident Evil, etc. are the best examples of good quality Saturn Cinepak.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post

    2) Sega and other devs for some reason were obsessed with doing 24-30fps in their FMVs. If you look at PS1 or 3DO stuff it's almost always 15fps. That makes a huge difference in the bitrate budget. It effectively doubles how much data per frame you can have.

    3) Early Cinepak could only do PCM on Saturn. ADPCM and ADX audio didn't come until later, while both the 3DO and PS1 could do ADPCM audio out of the box. That again eats into the bitrate budget. That said it's not a deal breaker. Some of the best examples on the system like Tengai Makyou use standard Cinepak with PCM audio.
    I think those are more the reasons with the early Saturn stuff, crap or incomplete tools and SEGA looking for higher frame rates in The likes of ClockworkKnight. All the more disappointing for the early stuff when Mega CD games had what you could class as better intro's never mind a system like the FM Towns Marty. I remember how you could watch the import shops display model just endlessly lop Scavenger 4 and be impressed (it looks a little crap now fair play).

    Dedalus was 1st to really impress me on the Saturn for FMV closely followed by Astal along with Pebble Beach Golf and then came along Heisei Tensai Bakabon Susume Bakabons, which despite being an ace puzzle game had a stunning full screen into.
    I agree with you on RE that made brilliant use of Cinepak and was really close to the PS version; I also loved how the footsteps came out of each of the left and right speakers separately too. RSG and Drift King 97 also made nice use of Cinepak.
    EA intro to Fifa 96 was nice, Shockwave Assault was lovely and better than the 3DO version, Madden 98 had some nice FMV and Soviet Striker had some of the best FMV goiing

    I know it was in a window display by I really loved the quality of NBA action 96 intro (and its wicked music)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Do you know of any articles or interviews about the development of 3DO? I've only ever been able to find a short feature in Retro Gamer #122 that mostly focused on Trip Hawkins.
    EDGE Issue 1 is a great place to start, it did a huge special on it . EDGE magazine also did a special supplement about the 3DO and did quite a few interviews with Trip, I'm sure one of the big ones was in Issue 10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    The reason those early games look so poor is for the following reasons:

    1) The games are single disc and use CD Audio, and a lot of it. So a lot of the disc space is taken up for CD Audio, so the videos have to be more compressed than usual to fit on the disc. When comparing Saturn FMV to 3DO or PS1 always take a look to see how many discs are being used.

    2) Sega and other devs for some reason were obsessed with doing 24-30fps in their FMVs. If you look at PS1 or 3DO stuff it's almost always 15fps. That makes a huge difference in the bitrate budget. It effectively doubles how much data per frame you can have.

    3) Early Cinepak could only do PCM on Saturn. ADPCM and ADX audio didn't come until later, while both the 3DO and PS1 could do ADPCM audio out of the box. That again eats into the bitrate budget. That said it's not a deal breaker. Some of the best examples on the system like Tengai Makyou use standard Cinepak with PCM audio.
    This is the best info provided here. Rep given.

    Regarding the choice for 24-30 fps, it may have been an arbitrary decision by someone who didn't really understand how that would impact the final result.
    Someone may have thought that the higher the framerate the better it would capture movement, which is correct in theory but when you factor in the compression algorithm they were using you realize it's a bad decision.

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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    crap or incomplete tools
    This may be the case for some things, but it's not the case for Cinepak FMVs. The Tools used for Cinepak Encoding were Apple Quicktime and Adobe Premiere. Those tools aren't crap or incomplete by any means. They're industry standard. The only thing from Sega is the MovieToSaturn application which just takes the QuickTime/Adobe MOV file and puts a SEGA FILM wrapper around it. The issue with Cinepak quality is really just the 3 things I pointed out.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    This may be the case for some things, but it's not the case for Cinepak FMVs..
    I'm not on about Cinepak, because when actually SEGA started to use it; like in Astal, you got wonderful results. I'm on about the Saturn games that came prior to the likes of Astal and Deadlus from SEGA, which had terrible FMV quality and small windows.
    Sure, you could say that Panzer Dragoon, Victory Goal used up a lot of space for their music, but Clockwork Knight and Gale Racer?. Even without Cinepack, the quality should have been much better IMO, more so, if you look at games like Adv Of Batman & Robin, Cadillac & Dinosaurs, Fifa got off the Mega CD never mind some of the FMV on the Marty.

    I can't help but feel it was a SEGA Japan thing as before they either got the licences for Cinepak for Saturn or made it part of their Saturn development toolchain, their FMV quality was poor, even on the Mega CD SEGA Japan FMV was way behind that of Sega America, never mind almost all the 3rd parties on the Mega CD . Quite embarrassing really
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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    Panzer Dragoon, Victory Goal, and Clockwork Knight all use Cinepak. Just because it's not on the back of the CD case doesn't mean it's not used. Panzer Dragoon uses a ton of CD audio which limits disc space, I'm not sure about the other two. However I do know that Panzer Dragoon and Clockwork Knight have 30fps FMVs last I checked, and being early Cinepak they're using uncompressed PCM for the audio. That's going to kill the bit rate budget.

    It's not the tools, the tools doing the actual encoding were industry standard utilities.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Anyway here's some of the EDGE stuff for Blades





















    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 04-08-2021 at 12:00 PM.
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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  10. #25
    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    Thank you TA.

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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the entire run of Edge can be found on archive.org in high quality PDF format.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekkiesUnite118 View Post
    Panzer Dragoon, Victory Goal, and Clockwork Knight all use Cinepak. Just because it's not on the back of the CD case doesn't mean it's not used. Panzer Dragoon uses a ton of CD audio which limits disc space, I'm not sure about the other two. However I do know that Panzer Dragoon and Clockwork Knight have 30fps FMVs last I checked, and being early Cinepak they're using uncompressed PCM for the audio. That's going to kill the bit rate budget.

    It's not the tools, the tools doing the actual encoding were industry standard utilities.
    I don't recall seeing anything to do with Cinepak even at the end credits and that's when you usually see SEGA at least then acknowledge whatever licenced it used.
    Clockwork Knight music was all done off the chip, Gale Racer had like 16 tracks talking up 25 mins worth of CD space, much the same for Victory Goal. So I don't think space was an issue with them

    Also, I don't mean it from a technical level, but what SEGA would recommend to developers, which is what I think SEGA did do with the SG-L showing in March
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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    They all use Cinepak. You can literally put the disc in your computer and look at the Cinepak files. They can be played in things like VLC Player which will tell you they're Cinepak. You can open them with a hex editor and see the Sega FILM Headers and everything. They're using Cinepak.

    So to reiterate it's a combination of the following:

    1) Limited Disc space. Sega told devs not to go beyond 650MBs or about 60ish Minutes on a CD. So if over half that is used for CD audio, you only have the remaining half for everything else. One high quality Cinepak file the length of Panzer Dragoon's intro could easily hit 100 or more MBs in size. The Hatsune Miku video I posted is about 50MB and is about 3-4 Minutes long. Panzer Dragoon's intro is double that, at a higher frame rate.

    2) Insisting on using higher frame rates. The Saturn disc drive can only do 300 KB/s. At 30fps that's about 10KB/Frame for both Audio and Video data. At 15fps you'd have double that amount per frame. When your amount of space per frame is that low something's gotta give, so the compression goes up and the quality goes down.

    3) Early stuff could only do uncompressed PCM for audio. So that's going to eat into the amount of data per frame even more. So again compression has to go up to maintain that high frame rate.

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    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Do you know of any articles or interviews about the development of 3DO? I've only ever been able to find a short feature in Retro Gamer #122 that mostly focused on Trip Hawkins.

    Trekkies, I sent you a PM if you saw with the decompiled root file directory of Myst for 3DO. I didn't find any Cinepak videos, just a bunch of ".strm" and ".strem" files with names that coincide with video files. Maybe Myst is using something else for video compression.

    I really like Myst, so that's how this question formed in my head.
    Here is an article I found in 'CD-Rom Today' that provides a nice overview of the inception and early days of the console. It is in issue 4 (Spring 1994). Please excuse the formatting, I'm trying to do this by screenshotting on a tablet while juggling my kids. Hahaha





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    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    Also, I must spread more rep around, Team Andromeda. Great article, thanks for posting.

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