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PSX vs Saturn for 2D games? 
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Mmmmm... Model 3 game, huh? I dunno... Model 3 was a bit of a beast for the time.

My gut instinct is they could've made a solid port, but it wouldn't look arcade perfect by any means. By the specs, it looks like Model 3 can sling five times the polys, so sacrifices would have to be made.

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Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:10 am
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Thanks for the response. I have no illusions about an arcade-perfect port of VF3 being even somewhat feasible on the SS. By presentable, I'm talking like 40-50% of the polys that VF3 pushed(MAX), little or maybe even no texture effects/bilinear filtering, and maybe even 2d BGs like Tekken 3 PS1. I was asking if it would've even been possible to port VF3 to the Saturn and have it be recognizable. It's too bad the DC got a shitty port, at least compared to what it could've been. Soul Calibur & DOA2 made up for it though.

It's easy to make fun of the DOA series for its hilariously exaggerated tit physics and skimpy outfits, but DOA2-4 are FUN.(plus I'm not one to hate on big tits & skimpy outfits :lol:) Never played 5 so I can't comment. DOA2LE(Japan only) for the DC is better than DOA Hardcore PS2 because of HC's shitty IQ.

I'm not even a big VF fan, but arcade VF3 blew my mind back in '97. I forgot where I first saw it, but it was displayed on a HUGE monitor, probably to show off its graphics. The Model 3 HW was indeed beastly(so was Model 2 when it debuted), but Shenmue Saturn(IF that footage is legit) has me intrigued about what the SS is truly capable of. What % of the arcade original's polygon count do you think a hypothetical SS port could've pushed, max? I'm talking a port that pushes the Saturn to its absolute breaking point in every way imaginable + a RAM cart expansion of course.

I'm not sure how much of the Model 3 board's power VF3 utilized. If this question is too annoying to research, please don't feel obligated to answer.


Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:46 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Yuber wrote:
Thanks for the response. I have no illusions about an arcade-perfect port of VF3 being even somewhat feasible on the SS. By presentable, I'm talking like 40-50% of the polys that VF3 pushed(MAX), little or maybe even no texture effects/bilinear filtering, and maybe even 2d BGs like Tekken 3 PS1. I was asking if it would've even been possible to port VF3 to the Saturn and have it be recognizable. It's too bad the DC got a shitty port, at least compared to what it could've been. Soul Calibur & DOA2 made up for it though.

Well, recognizable means different things to different people.

I mean, there's a Virtua Fighter 2 port for the Genesis. Not a chinese bootleg, either, an official Sega product.
2D backgrounds would help a lot, from the screenshots I'm seeing. Less dynamic camera, of course, but you take what you can get.

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What % of the arcade original's polygon count do you think a hypothetical SS port could've pushed, max? I'm talking a port that pushes the Saturn to its absolute breaking point in every way imaginable + a RAM cart expansion of course.

I'm not sure how much of the Model 3 board's power VF3 utilized. If this question is too annoying to research, please don't feel obligated to answer.

That gets well past my knowledge level. I wouldn't know where to begin looking.

I'm sure the Saturn could play something that's recognizably Virtua Fighter 3. I'm equally sure sacrifices would have to be made in terms of graphics(fortunately, VS fighter game logic is relatively simple), but I'm not at all sure how deep those sacrifices would cut.


I'm skeptical that the RAM cart would be necessary, though.
You don't need a ton of images like you do for a sprite fighter, since the animation is generated by moving and distorting triangles... err, quads... around, not by changing images out for new images.
The Saturn's video hardware will probably define the upper limit on texture quality before RAM does. RAM does nothing for poly counts, and thus nothing for model detail.
Which is probably why only 2D games appear to use the cart slot.

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Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:50 pm
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
I'm out of my element talking about the technical details of the SS, but couldn't a RAM cart be used to store textures and reduce loading time? Also, do you have any idea if that Shenmue Saturn footage was actually running on SS hardware? If it's legit, I think VF3 could've been ported with surprising levels of detail in the character models. The facial detail blew me away more than anything when I saw VF3 for the first time. That "Shenmue Saturn" footage shows some pretty amazing facial detail as well.

I wonder what the N64's 2d capabilities are? I'm mostly curious because it has a RAM expansion as well. Capcom never even tried to port any of their awesome 2d fighters to the N64, unfortunately. Mortal Kombat Trilogy 64 was complete fucking gutter trash, but I assume the N64 can do much, much better than that awful port. Sticking to carts was a bad idea despite their lack of loading time. Too expensive.


Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:47 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Yuber wrote:
I'm out of my element talking about the technical details of the SS, but couldn't a RAM cart be used to store textures and reduce loading time?

Yes, but if you can't load ALL the textures, it's contingent upon knowing what the next stage and fighter will be.

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Also, do you have any idea if that Shenmue Saturn footage was actually running on SS hardware?

Not a clue. But keep in mind, a constrained or non-interactive demo can be custom-tuned in ways freely-controlled gameplay can't. You can do things that just aren't viable IRL because no one can do anything to break it.

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I wonder what the N64's 2d capabilities are? I'm mostly curious because it has a RAM expansion as well. Capcom never even tried to port any of their awesome 2d fighters to the N64, unfortunately. Mortal Kombat Trilogy 64 was complete fucking gutter trash, but I assume the N64 can do much, much better than that awful port. Sticking to carts was a bad idea despite their lack of loading time. Too expensive.

Internet suggests the 64 kinda sucked at 2D. Very small amounts of texture RAM, which is where you need to keep sprites and tiles while you're using them.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:04 am
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Gil_Hamilton wrote:
Internet suggests the 64 kinda sucked at 2D. Very small amounts of texture RAM, which is where you need to keep sprites and tiles while you're using them.


Unlike either 32 bit system, it did smooth scaling/stretching though, which made something like Yoshi's Story possible.

Actually the N64 had no real texture RAM, just 4kb of (I forget what it's called exactly) "scratch pad" texture ram. So basically, as I understand, how many textures you could get into a scene depended on how often you could manage to swap out that 4kb every frame in your engine. Dunno if you knew this, though your post seemed to imply you didn't, so. x;

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Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:22 pm
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
I totally did not. I did a quick search for "nintendo 64 2d capabilities" and rummaged through links until I found one that was actually ABOUT the Ultra64's 2d capabilities.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:31 pm
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
I've never played YI64, but I've seen some footage of it. Capcom's 2d fighters would've looked a bit weird with the 64's forced bilinear filtering. I really have no clue what the 64 could've potentially done as far as sprite-based games. I doubt it could've matched the beastly SS ports of SFA3 & the VS games, but I wonder if it could've potentially surpassed the PS1 in terms of 2d capabilities. Capcom definitely pushed the PS1 to its limits with their later games like Jojo's BA & SFA3. While plenty of animation was cut from SFA3, at least the chars animated smoothly for the most part. I dig the super story mode in Jojo, but the DC version should've gotten that and I hate how the blood was censored in both versions. I just play the CPS3 Japanese arcade JJBA with English text; no censorship.

Gil: I know the "Shenmue Saturn" footage is a non-interactive tech demo and that a real game would've had to scale back some compared to a tightly controlled tech demo. Still though, I imagine VF3 could've been pulled off with maybe 40% or so of its original polygon count(wild guess), but various texture effects supported by the M3 hardware would've been cut unless they could've been done via software. For example, that metallic texture effect in many N64 & PC games at the time(dunno the technical term) was used in Chrono Cross for the PS1(FATE) although, afaik, the PS1 didn't support that effect via HW. In a hypothetical VF3 SS port though, I image all the bells & whistles would've been removed for said port to look anything like VF3. The Saturn couldn't pull off perfect model 2 ports, much less Model 3.

I'm kinda curious if VF2 could've been ported with its 3d BGs intact, though. The SS VF2 port is really good for 1995, but IF the Shenmue video is a legit SS tech demo, I bet VF2 could've been a more faithful port. I know Wikipedia isn't a good source, but I've seen the model 2 listed as being able to push ~300,000 texture-mapped polys per second, while the Saturn is at around 200,000. It's Wikipedia and those numbers depend a LOT on rendering methods, resolution, texture quality etc etc. "Shenmue" looks like it's pushing way more than 200,000 polys per second(most notably the faces) though, so who knows how much better VF2 could've been?


Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:40 pm
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
The texture filtering doesn't apply if you're not scaling them. I imagine it could've done OK as far as textures in memory with the expansion pak but with swapping in to the texture cache constantly during play might have been a bottleneck for getting 60 fps which is pretty much a requirement.

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Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:12 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Yuber wrote:
I've never played YI64, but I've seen some footage of it. Capcom's 2d fighters would've looked a bit weird with the 64's forced bilinear filtering. I really have no clue what the 64 could've potentially done as far as sprite-based games. I doubt it could've matched the beastly SS ports of SFA3 & the VS games, but I wonder if it could've potentially surpassed the PS1 in terms of 2d capabilities. Capcom definitely pushed the PS1 to its limits with their later games like Jojo's BA & SFA3.

My gut instinct is that it would look nicer in static shots since it avoids dithering hell, but wouldn't be as fluidly animated.

It also seems the microcode commonly used for the graphics chip was... not really suited to 2D work. While you could hypothetically code your own and reconfigure the GPU to something more sprite/tile friendly, in practice very few games used custom microcode.


Quote:
Gil: I know the "Shenmue Saturn" footage is a non-interactive tech demo and that a real game would've had to scale back some compared to a tightly controlled tech demo. Still though, I imagine VF3 could've been pulled off with maybe 40% or so of its original polygon count(wild guess), but various texture effects supported by the M3 hardware would've been cut unless they could've been done via software.

Just saying, it's a poor illustration of what you can do with the Saturn in a real game.
40% is pretty bold, given that by Sega's specs for both platforms, the Saturn can only do 20%. And while the Saturn DID use quadrilaterals instead of triangles... so did the Model 3. So unlike many comparisons with the Saturn, this one IS apples to apples.

Yes, you can probably dodge around those numbers to some degree with fancy coding, but... it's easier to do fancy coding on the Model 3, and even if it wasn't, you aren't going to literally double your throughput.

Quote:
I'm kinda curious if VF2 could've been ported with its 3d BGs intact, though. The SS VF2 port is really good for 1995, but IF the Shenmue video is a legit SS tech demo, I bet VF2 could've been a more faithful port. I know Wikipedia isn't a good source, but I've seen the model 2 listed as being able to push ~300,000 texture-mapped polys per second, while the Saturn is at around 200,000. It's Wikipedia and those numbers depend a LOT on rendering methods, resolution, texture quality etc etc. "Shenmue" looks like it's pushing way more than 200,000 polys per second(most notably the faces) though, so who knows how much better VF2 could've been?

Sega was always pretty good about providing "honest" performance metrics. While Sony bragged about flat-shaded unlit untextured triangles per second to sound more impressive, Sega liked to take normal usage patterns into consideration when writing the numbers in their specs. Their claim is probably pretty accurate for real-world usage of textured quadrilaterals.

Not-Shenmue is cheating. Yes, it looks way better than it should. That's because it's doing things you can't do in a real game. They can dedicate all their processor time to changing textures and manipulating geometry, they don't have to worry about clipping, or even allocate polygons for the back side of objects.
Tech demos are not meaningful illustrations of a system's capabilities.

That said, Virtua Fighter 2 WAS a pretty early Saturn game, and the platform isn't exactly known for being easy to code on. A later port would PROBABLY come out cleaner due to a better grasp of the hardware.
But if I were porting the game? I'd totally use 2D backdrops instead of constructing my playfield out of polys. Using them on the background will cost detail in the player characters, which are the most important part.

Also worth noting that according to MobyGames, VF2 ran the Saturn in high-resolution mode, so that estimated 200k quads is NOT realistic for Saturn VF2. This could have easily forced the backdrop decision all on it's own.
It is probably NOT a tradeoff I would've made.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:57 am
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Thanks for the all the responses & info. Good point about VF2 SS's resolution; I forgot about that. The character models were/are damn good for a 1995 Saturn game, and from my VERY limited experience playing it, the framerate never drops below 60fps. Anything below 60fps in a fighter would make it essentially unplayable because 60+fps is required for all the precise inputs/timing in fighting games. I wish 60fps(or higher) was the standard for ALL games.

I'm glad Sega waited until the DC came out to make Shenmue, but I wonder what a real SS version would've looked like. Probably pretty terrible. I've heard the SS was originally designed primarily for sprite-based games, and its 3d capabilities were kinda "slapped on". That's all anecdotal, though. One game that should've been ported to the Saturn early in its lifetime is Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder. The Saturn could've handled an arcade-perfect port of that awesome beat-em-up without even breaking a sweat. The fact that it's STILL arcade exclsuive baffles the shit outta me because GA was still very popular in the mid 90s. RODA was a fun, quality game that probably would've sold quite well if it had been ported.

Gil, I think you're absolutely right that the SS couldn't handle a hypothetical 3rd Strike port, but I'm guessing it could've run a near perfect port of Jojo's BA. The PSX port, while butchered, retained a surprising amount of the CPS3 version's animation with little slowdown even during supers. If the PSX can do that, the SS with the 4 MB RAM cart probably could've run Jojo very competently if not flawlessly. Jojo's BA is such a fun, underrated game.

Off-topic, but I think Last Blade 1 and 2(namely 2) for the NeoGeo are THE most underrated fighters out there. The graphics still look amazing today(amazing art direction), and they both have smooth, precise gameplay that rivals the best 2d fighters. 2 is better than 1 imo, but they're both amazing games that rival CPS3 games graphically. A 14 year lifespan is unheard of for arcade HW OR consoles.


Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:37 am
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Buzzkill Gil

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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
Yuber wrote:
I'm glad Sega waited until the DC came out to make Shenmue, but I wonder what a real SS version would've looked like. Probably pretty terrible. I've heard the SS was originally designed primarily for sprite-based games, and its 3d capabilities were kinda "slapped on". That's all anecdotal, though.

It's more than just slapped on, but the Saturn DID place a strong focus on sprite work, and heavy polygon capabilities weren't part of the original design spec.

Quote:
Off-topic, but I think Last Blade 1 and 2(namely 2) for the NeoGeo are THE most underrated fighters out there. The graphics still look amazing today(amazing art direction), and they both have smooth, precise gameplay that rivals the best 2d fighters. 2 is better than 1 imo, but they're both amazing games that rival CPS3 games graphically. A 14 year lifespan is unheard of for arcade HW OR consoles.

The NeoGeo should've been put out to pasture years before it was. There was simply no excuse to still be selling hardware that didn't even support transparency in the twenty-first century.
I'm impressed how much they actually got out of the hardware, but it was embarrassingly dated by the end.

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You have your 2s, 4s, 8s, 16s, 32s, 64s, and 128s(crash course in binary counting!). But no 1s.
DirectInput represents all bits, not just powers of 2 in an axis.


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Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:46 am
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Post Re: PSX vs Saturn for 2D games?
The lack of transparency effects did suck, but I disagree and think many NG games, namely LB1-2, the Metal Slug games & Garou: MOTW rivaled CPS3 games graphically. Sure it didn't support transparency effects(neither did CPS2 HW) and it had a limited color palette compared to CPS3, but even SNK's later MVS games often looked more than presentable for their time. The MS games STILL look stunning today; art direction trumps sheer power. The Hyper NG 64 was a failure, and SNK probably didn't wanna spend more money designing arcade HW. Should SNK have created or at least used more powerful (2d)HW sooner? Probably. However, I respect and admire how much they were able to get out of the NG. They were literally able to rival CPS3 games using 1989 hardware; that's incredible.

Not saying Last Blade, the MS series, MOTW etc MATCHED CPS3 games like 3rd Strike, but they were definitely in the same league.(especially LB2 and the MS series) It's immediately obvious that the CPS3 HW can display more colors simultaneously, but animation-wise the NG was capable of standing toe-to-toe with any CPS3 game that wasn't named SF3. While you have a good point that SNK shouldn't have used the MVS for so long, it gave them this underdog vibe that I really loved at the time. Maybe SNK would've been more successful if they had stuck to sprites in 1997 with their new arcade HW instead of creating the Hyper NG 64?

More OT stuff: I still think well designed/animated, hi-res sprite-based fighters usually look better than even good polygonal models in cartoony games(namely 2d fighters). IMO, KoFXIII looks leagues better than SF4 or any of Capcom's more recent fighters. I also think 3rd Strike looks better than SF4 as well, even despite its low resolution. KoF 13 looks like it was REALLY expensive to make(beautiful, hi-res 2d animation), which is likely why 2d fighters usually use polygons. Even so, I wish more modern games were sprite-based because when 2d is done well, it's absolutely stunning. Guilty Gear X for the DC and PS2 has aged beautifully, for example. Plenty of NG games have aged remarkably well too.


Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:23 am
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