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Thread: How do the Sega 32X and Atari Jaguar compare on a technical level?

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    Wildside Expert Milkymagic's Avatar
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    Default How do the Sega 32X and Atari Jaguar compare on a technical level?

    I notice that their games seem to have a fairly comparable output, but thanks to Doom 32X Resurrection I think the question is definitely a worthy topic of discussion. I am no tech head, so my ability to speak about this subject will be limited, but maybe you guys here can shed some light on the subject.

    I mentioned in another thread about comparing Metal Head and Iron Soldier to one another, not on gameplay quality, but on technical achievements. Iron Soldier is defintely is less detailed, but Metal Head does have a lower frame rate and draw distance even so.

    Virtua Racing Deluxe is definitely more impressive than Checkered Flag, and maybe even Jaguar CD's World Tour Racing for that matter (in terms of performance at least).

    Virtua Fighter even feels like it's smoother than Jaguar's Fight For Life.

    Then there's comparing something like Super Burnout's graphics to the 32X versions of something like After Burner or Space Harrier

    For the base Doom 32X experience, Jaguar's Doom was better, until just recently...

    So what do you guys say?

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    WCPO Agent Greg2600's Avatar
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    They both utilized 32-bit processors, but the Jaguar had significantly more RAM, and the system as a whole was more powerful. As for comparing games, well, the 32X games were developed by major software devs including SEGA. The Jaguar, in most cases, were not. Could the Jag run a polygonal racing title better than the miserable Checkered Flag? World Tour Racing was better. Regardless Atari has terrible dev kits and no money.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    The Jaguar must have been better for 2 graphics, it's just a shame its chipset was never used really
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    There's no way the 32X could have pull off something like Rayman on the Jaguar at 60fps with matching visual fidelity.

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    I think the similarities are with the 3D capabilities, 2D wise I would imagine the Jaguar is superior especially in side scrollers which the 32x seems to rely on the Mega Drive for ?

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    Sports Talker dark's Avatar
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    I think they each have some slight differences and idiosyncratic constraints for what they can and can't do, but altogether, with comparably skilled teams and resources, I think a good version of each Jaguar cartridge game could have been done on the 32x and vice versa. Here's a couple thoughts I have on the subject:

    Both systems seem more than capable at doing untextured 3D graphics and doing extensive real-time sprite scaling. Both systems can do some rudimentary texture-mapped 3d graphics but both systems don't really excel at this and these games run at low framerates.

    Jaguar has some strengths over 32x. Jaguar can display video at a higher resolution than the 32x, isn't constrained by the megadrive limited color palette for things that a 32x would use the megadrive to display, and can produce graphics at 60fps whereas I believe the 32x cannot for those graphics that the 32x is responsible for.

    Jaguar is hampered by Atari's poor financial condition and game development mindset. Atari would try to do whatever it could to do games on the cheap - that meant everything from hiring inexperienced programmers who would be cheaper, providing late payments (or no payments) to contracted developers while still trying to get the latest builds of their software, and having small in house development teams that were given shoe string budgets but presented with lofty demands like making the next Mortal Kombat. There is no question that many jaguar games were made with limited resources compared to what a company like Sega would provide, so that reflects a bit on the quality of some of the games. On the other hand, Sega had a very compressed timeframe to develop the hardware, get it produced, and get games made for it, so even with greater resources, 32x game developers could be pressurred to release something "good enough" and less than the original goal.

    Here's a few Jag games that I think would take some noticeable hits if reprogrammed for 32x:
    -Rayman and Atari Karts - these are both colorful high resolution 2d sprite games. On 32x they would take a hit to resolution, color palette (for megadrive rendered graphics) and probably run at 30 fps instead of the 60fps they have on jaguar

    -Tempest 2000 - The 32X can probably do the 3d geometry in this game no problem, and it can also do the sprite scaling. But can it do them both together at the same time? I'm not sure. And how about the techno music? The MS Dos version used a synthesized Adlib soundtrack that is similar to what the yamaha soundchip in the megadrive could do, but imo this is a downgrade to what the Jaguar's tracker music sounds like, and the music is a big part of the game. Not sure of the 32X's capabilities to replicate the tracker music.

    -Skyhammer - this game is fully texture mapped, has large 3d city levels, and seems to push many more polygons than the 32X's comparable game, Darxside. The viewing area is artifically limited and the fps are kinda low, but I don't think anything came out for 32x that was comparable. Imo, this is the most graphically impressive game in the Jaguar's library.

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