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#101 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:42 PM

Hiya! I searched and found it!

It is indeed a statement by Mr Katz, so it should be relieable.

I have put the little text on the matter together from 2 pages; I did not want to print entire pages of the article here because the magazine is not that old and still available.

Posted Image

The article can be found in issue #27, in an article about the history of the Mega Drive. It is fascinating to see in retrospective what roads were open to Atari but not taken. Maybe, however slim the chance might be, the MD might have helped Atari set a foot back into the video game business, thanks also to the good software support from Japan. Maybe with a 16-Bit console having a stable market share they could have worked longer and had not rushed the Jaguar out.
Personally, with the Mega Drive being the console I am most attached to, I am glad it did not happen. While it did have a very successful life under Sega, who knows how it would have turned out under Atariīs leadership, without the image Sega managed to create for the system. Seeing how they managed to fail even with the Lynx, which I found out only last year is such an excellent handheld, I doubt they would have done much better with the MD.

Maybe it would have been called the Atari 15600 ? :P

Wow, that is interesting.
It makes it even more interesting that Katz ended up at Sega for the ~1st year of the Genesis as well. (also interesting that before Atari he'd worked at both Coleco -with handhelds and Mattel durring Intellivision)
I can kind of understand Tramiel's decision, we don't have specifics like the cost it involved and such, or the particular date either (I'd immagine some time in '88), with the relatively poor market share, it would probably have seemed pretty risky to take on something like that. (then again, th epopularity in Europe was a pretty sure thing, but who knows what the specifics of the contract might have been -but had it involved Europe as well, I think a dual Sega/Atari endorsed product would be quite popular in that market)

On thing I hav ethought about though, is how the Jaguar hardware is rather in line with what Sega of Japan had wanted ~1993/94 for their nextgen system, strong in 2D (capable of system-32 arcade like capabilities), plus modest 3D capabilities (and the Jag could have served well as this with better funding), to handel some cut-down ports of model 1 arcade games. (and further cut-down model-2 games) Plus Sega probably would have had the CoJag for Arcades as well. No ideia what would have happened with the legal dispute in th eearly 90s had atari/sega already been partnered...
Not to mention what might have happened with the Lynx if Sega had partnered with Atari Corp. But that's completely off topic. ;)

Edit: Hmm, if it was ~1988, I'd have thought Sam would have taken over as president of Atari crop, so it would have been his decision, not Jacks's... (maybe they came to Atari when the MD was still in development then, or maybe Jack was still handing thins over in '88, not yet fully handing responsibility over to Sam yet)

I hate it when you start to think about what you could have done yesterday and then it comes to be what you should have done would have changed the world as we know it...."should have never sold my time machine" JK

Were there pics of this Panther somewhere..I have never seen it before do they exist basically?

http://www.homecomputer.de/pages/panther.html
pics of one of the prototypes.

And the concept art:
Posted Image

Edited by kool kitty89, Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:03 PM.


#102 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:48 PM

So, just to make my point clear: I did mean the situation where Nintendo approached Atari for the publishing rights of the Famicom; I believed this had happened after Tramiel took over, but if that was before, than thatīs my mistake.


Yes, it was before. It was with Atari Inc. when Ray Kassar was still in charge and fell apart when he left Atari at the end of that summer of '83.

The Genesis was, according to a Retro Gamer article, also offered to Atari, I donīt know the date, but maybe after Sega had let Tonka take care of the SMS. Sega probably did not feel up to it and wanted Atariīs distribution channels and brand name.


Yes, I had heard of that before when I interviewed Katz, my "what are you talking about" was in reference to Nintendo.

#103 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:26 PM

wgungfu, do you know anything about what the_laird said in post #97? http://www.atariage....5
I don't think the Falcon had any relation to the Panther, but maybe you know for sure. The only similarity I know of with the Panther is the enhanced joystick ports also used in the STe and Jaguar. (DE-15, like a vga connector)

#104 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:45 AM

wgungfu, do you know anything about what the_laird said in post #97? http://www.atariage....5
I don't think the Falcon had any relation to the Panther, but maybe you know for sure. The only similarity I know of with the Panther is the enhanced joystick ports also used in the STe and Jaguar. (DE-15, like a vga connector)


Sounds a little off, including the games he listed. Games like Raiden and others were Falcon games ported over to the Jaguar. There were only 3 games done on the Panther -
Pather-Pong, Cybermorph, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. The latter two were ported over to the Jaguar.

BTW, that's not an actual concept drawing, that was simply drawn by an atariage user.

#105 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:52 AM

Thanks for the answer and correction on the art.

Cybermorph always seemed a bit odd as a port from the Panther... The Panther shouldn't have particularly good 3D capabilities, just the 68000 to handel it in software, not great, particularly with the limits imposed by the shared bus. (plus, 3D normally includes a bitmapped display, and there's barely room for a 4-bit 320x200 single-buffered display, and then using nearly all the system's RAM -or go for lower resolution, or lower res and a clipped display window, but still probably limited to roughly ST/Amiga level 3D, like Star Glider 2, EPIC, Frontier, etc) Assuming they didn't radically alter the game concept and it hadn't been planned originally to use scaled sprites for pseudo 3D. (which the object processor is good for I beleive)

The Falcon would have been a much more realistic platform for Cybermorph similar to its current (polygonal) form.

Edited by kool kitty89, Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:55 AM.


#106 The_Laird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:28 AM

wgungfu, do you know anything about what the_laird said in post #97? http://www.atariage....5
I don't think the Falcon had any relation to the Panther, but maybe you know for sure. The only similarity I know of with the Panther is the enhanced joystick ports also used in the STe and Jaguar. (DE-15, like a vga connector)


Sounds a little off, including the games he listed. Games like Raiden and others were Falcon games ported over to the Jaguar. There were only 3 games done on the Panther -
Pather-Pong, Cybermorph, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. The latter two were ported over to the Jaguar.

BTW, that's not an actual concept drawing, that was simply drawn by an atariage user.


Sorry you are wrong because Games X magazine over here carried an exclusive preview of the Panther console (shown in a grey box looking like a VCR) and the only game they had running on it was Llamazap! A friend of mine who had dealings with Imagitec Design here in the UK was told that they were asked to port Dino Dudes and Raiden to the Panther (can't remember if they were doing Road Riot or Steel Talons, I think NuFx were handling those) and then when the Panther was dropped they were asked to port those existing versions over to the Falcon and do enhanced versions for the Jaguar.

Edited by The_Laird, Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:29 AM.


#107 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:20 AM

Sorry you are wrong because Games X magazine over here carried an exclusive preview of the Panther console (shown in a grey box looking like a VCR) and the only game they had running on it was Llamazap! A friend of mine who had dealings with Imagitec Design here in the UK was told that they were asked to port Dino Dudes and Raiden to the Panther (can't remember if they were doing Road Riot or Steel Talons, I think NuFx were handling those) and then when the Panther was dropped they were asked to port those existing versions over to the Falcon and do enhanced versions for the Jaguar.


Sorry but Curt has all the original documents, code, specs, etc. (and of course an actual panther). I'll go by those rather than the memory of what a magazine was reporting or the possibly faulty memory of what someone might have told a friend (the usual friend of a friend story).

Edited by wgungfu, Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:57 AM.


#108 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:44 AM

Sorry you are wrong because Games X magazine over here carried an exclusive preview of the Panther console (shown in a grey box looking like a VCR) and the only game they had running on it was Llamazap! A friend of mine who had dealings with Imagitec Design here in the UK was told that they were asked to port Dino Dudes and Raiden to the Panther (can't remember if they were doing Road Riot or Steel Talons, I think NuFx were handling those) and then when the Panther was dropped they were asked to port those existing versions over to the Falcon and do enhanced versions for the Jaguar.


Sorry but Curt has all the original documents, code, specs, etc. (and of course an actual panther). I'll go by those rather than the memory of what a magazine was reporting or the possibly faulty memory of what someone might have told a friend (the usual friend of a friend story).


In fact, according to an interview with Jeff he was only on the Panther for a few months before switching over to the Jaguar and doing Tempest 2000.

#109 The_Laird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:08 PM

Jeff also stated he coded Llamazapp in a couple of weeks ;)

Also as my friend bought the rights for Dino Dudes off Imagitec design I would say he is a pretty good source of information.

#110 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:13 PM

The "VCR" box is the developer box, its a gray metal box that was delivered out to Developers. Perhaps with Jeff Minter being a UK resident at the time, sure he may have tinkered with doing one of his animal-theme'd games perhaps.

However, the actual source code to several games, directly from Atari along with all of the Panther developer tools, panther programming examples, schematics, mechanical drawings and product case design show that game was not one of the games in Atari's official files for the Panther system. I have everything for that game console, including some documents that I am currently reviewing with Marty Goldberg which may very well be an actual evolution of the Panther which came from the Tramiels wanting to do a "Super XE" game system. Hopefully if I can find more concrete evidence, it will be released, but right now its still in a speculative stage of review, plus we - it turns out - have found that the story leading up to the Amiga lawsuit, has a much broader scope of research, and probably will take another month to review and sort out.


Curt

wgungfu, do you know anything about what the_laird said in post #97? http://www.atariage....5
I don't think the Falcon had any relation to the Panther, but maybe you know for sure. The only similarity I know of with the Panther is the enhanced joystick ports also used in the STe and Jaguar. (DE-15, like a vga connector)


Sounds a little off, including the games he listed. Games like Raiden and others were Falcon games ported over to the Jaguar. There were only 3 games done on the Panther -
Pather-Pong, Cybermorph, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. The latter two were ported over to the Jaguar.

BTW, that's not an actual concept drawing, that was simply drawn by an atariage user.


Sorry you are wrong because Games X magazine over here carried an exclusive preview of the Panther console (shown in a grey box looking like a VCR) and the only game they had running on it was Llamazap! A friend of mine who had dealings with Imagitec Design here in the UK was told that they were asked to port Dino Dudes and Raiden to the Panther (can't remember if they were doing Road Riot or Steel Talons, I think NuFx were handling those) and then when the Panther was dropped they were asked to port those existing versions over to the Falcon and do enhanced versions for the Jaguar.



#111 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:54 AM

2) Atari Interactive wasn't until 1996, and it was only around for a month and they only managed to get 4 titles out the door (Tempest 2000 being one of them).


What others got out? I only remembered Tempest 2000 at the time.

I always found it weird that Atari announced their big plans for Atari Interactive and then canceled it almost immediately.

#112 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:14 PM


2) Atari Interactive wasn't until 1996, and it was only around for a month and they only managed to get 4 titles out the door (Tempest 2000 being one of them).


What others got out? I only remembered Tempest 2000 at the time.

I always found it weird that Atari announced their big plans for Atari Interactive and then canceled it almost immediately.



http://www.gamezero....96/wces_03.html

#113 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:16 PM

Wow, I never even heard of those other games, and I'm just as much a PC gamer as a console gamer....back in those days, even more so! :)

Star Control 3, though....that brings back memories. Such high hopes, as I loved the first two -- SC2 is, IMHO, one of the top 5 games ever made. But the third one was just so meh.

#114 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:04 AM

Maybe this should go in the Jaguar forum? haha.. When I read what forum this was in, I was thinking there was going to be some prototype information on the Panther. I never really thought about it, honestly. Does one exist?

Edited by Austin, Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:05 AM.


#115 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:29 PM

Maybe this should go in the Jaguar forum? haha.. When I read what forum this was in, I was thinking there was going to be some prototype information on the Panther. I never really thought about it, honestly. Does one exist?



http://www.homecompu...es/panther.html

#116 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 5, 2010 9:03 PM

Sorry to dig this up again, and I know a lot was already explained here (and here: http://www.atariage....88#entry1751088 )

I started thinking on this again, and found some things that don't seem to be fully addressed... The Panther chip requiring fast RAM and being very bus hungry are the major pitfalls, in trying to keep the system cheap they opted for 32 kB of SRAM on a unified bus which would have left it crippled for realistic competition against the MD and SNES.

Why could they go no higher than 32 kB of SRAM though, it was a 1990/91 product and the SNES has 128 kB of SRAM (64 kB video 64k audio) and 128 kB of DRAM for main memory in addition to the rather costly Sony SPC unit (with dedicated SPC700 sound CPU and 24 MHz DSP driving the 8 16-bit ADPCM channels) albeit a low-cost licensed CPU and 8-bit architecture (8-bit bus with fewer traces, I think the video and sound buses were 16-bit) and Nintendo still managed a $200 launch price in 1991. The MD was released back in 1988 so it probably had more constraints and they seem to have made compromises to speed up development (like PSRAM for main memory rather than setting up a DRAM bus for the CPU), but it still had 64 kB of dual ported 8-bit VRAM for video, 68 kB of PSRAM for 68k memory and 8 kB of SRAM for the Z80. The 1987 PC Engine used 64 kB of SRAM for video memory and 8 kB of SRAM for main memory I believe. (video was on a 16-bit bus, CPU 8-bit)

Would it not have been possible to even use 64 kB of SRAM in the panther at reasonable cost, if not 128 kB? Was the Panther's SRAM more expensive? (it was on a 16 MHz bus, while I'm not sure on all the contemporaries) Using a 32-bit bus meant more traces, but that wouldn't change with using 64 kB rather than 32. (and it could allow the use of only 2 chips rather than 4, so less board space and fewer pins total)

In as far as 68k bus time, couldn't it have been set up to be interleaved with the Panther in SRAM with the panther using the bus every 3 of 4 cycles and 68k using the 4th (rather like the Amiga, but with much faster RAM). Was there simply no DMA controller facilitating this?

Why was SRAM so necessary, was 60 ns FPM DRAM not yet available? (even if it was new/expensive it should have been considerably cheaper than SRAM) At very least 80 ns FPMDRAM would have been available. (though that would mean only 75% the peak bandwidth compared to a 16 MHz bus, or perhaps they could have used slower DRAM and kept SRAM as an external scratchpad for the object processor -or even used a smaller scratchpad than the 32kB)


It was mentioned that there were provisions for a separate audio bus and that the Panther wouldn't be able to access that, but could the 68k (could that have been used to add separate work RAM for the CPU)?


As it is right now, can the 68k run code from ROM while the panther works in SRAM or are those treated as a single bus too?

Edited by kool kitty89, Wed May 5, 2010 9:05 PM.


#117 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 6, 2010 2:33 AM

Correction: SNES may use PSRAM for video, but SRAM for audio: 2x 100 or 120 ns 32x8 kb SRAM chips. (so indeed slower than what the Panther would have used)

#118 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:18 AM

:-( Digging up an old thread (but did'nt think it was worth starting another) but recently saw an interview with Mev Dinc in Retro Gamer Magazine, but it missed a key bit of detail from a much earlier inter (The One Magazine Dec.1991) where Mev (then with Vivid Image) had told The One that he'd had an opportunity to develop for the Panther console, but shied away from the idea, as Atari had'nt a proven record on new consoles.

 
I wonder how many other UK based developers of that era felt the same and had the Panther of launched, just how much of an uphill battle Atari would of had to gain support for it?.


#119 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:31 AM

I wonder how many other UK based developers of that era felt the same and had the Panther of launched, just how much of an uphill battle Atari would of had to gain support for it?.

 

 

It couldn't have been any worse than the support the Jaguar ultimately received. I'd argue that it could have been better simply because Nintendo's third party restrictions were lifted by that time and I think it would have been a time for experimentation on different platforms. Of course, it could have also helped Atari to ultimately fail sooner and we might have never seen the Jaguar. In any case, I think having UK developer support wouldn't have made much of a dent either way, since they were never a significant presence on consoles in comparison to their American and Japanese counterparts, who would have made much more of a difference.






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