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Jag CD Stats, Facts & Views - Future Pod Discussion


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#26 Gummy Bear OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:30 AM

Not until someone creates the Super Bankswitch 64 cart.

#27 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:05 AM

Sure, you could stuff 256 banks onto a cart.
 

But the cost would be astronomical...

 

Of course, it wouldn't really replace CD, as you'd be able to access different bank only during reset, not during gameplay, where you'd be limited to same 2-6 MB.

 

So, no - that's not a replacement, as far as capacity goes...



#28 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:31 PM

@VladR:It's not really bitching to moan about Atari releasing the Jaguar CD drive.. it arrived late and delivered little.

Sam Tramiel had been telling people the Jaguar hardware was on par with the Sega Saturn and here in the UK Darryl Still was telling the press the Jaguar was at a disadvantage next to Saturn and PlayStation 1,being cartridge based and they were CD based, but as soon as the Jaguar CD drive arrived, it'd be a level playing field...

Utter nonsense on both counts.

You also had Atari having developers switching formats during game development.. Defender 2000 going from CD to cartridge..what finally became WTR going from cartridge to CD.

Primal Rage i have heard claims Probe were horrified to find it was to be a CD title, though think allegation was that was Time Warner's decision.

It's just another chapter in the Jaguar's commercial history that speaks volumes about the state of Atari at that time.

As others have said..the Sega CD by comparison did at least make an attempt to bring the Mega Drive onto a more level playing field with the SNES by adding an improved sound chip,extra and faster CPU etc.

Games like Thunderhawk, Final Fight Snatcher,Soul Star, Terminator S.E, Batman Returns, Battlecorps,Eternal Champions S.E, Dune,etc made it stand out enough from clever coded cartridge based games.

The FMV based titles were an unwise move given the colour restrictions, but when used wisely,the Mega CD was an impressive enough piece of kit.


Compare Megadrive Terminator and Batman Returns on cartridge and CD...

lot more differences than usual shovelware approach of CD music,intro and extra level..


Could the same really be said to the same degree with the commercial Jaguar CD titles in so many cases?

For the sake of Adriano's discussion i bring up these points,plus from a personal point of view..

Sega convinced me to buy a Sega CD on day 1..yet as a day 1 Jaguar owner, i never had any inkling to buy a Jaguar CD, especially once it became clear Freelancer from Imagitec Design was never going to appear.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:39 PM.


#29 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:43 PM

@Adriano:

Not sure if this comment will be of any use for your podcast either,but another issue i had with Atari and the Jaguar CD was that as a gamer, i never really felt Atari understood the need to build expectations for just what the Jaguar CD could deliver...

They started off well by getting press behind Freelancer:

http://www.atarimani...ract_30936.html

Which in hindsight probably used screens from the PC CD version, but it did at least suggest the type of games we could look forward too...

But after that,when ever the press seemed to report on it, all Atari were actually showing, were demonstrations of the VLM and the hardwares impressive full screen,true colour FMV playback.. i wanted to see Jaguar games you simply couldn't do on cartridge.

It was months before real details on the wider range of titles we could expect to see and even then only a handful of titles stood out.started to appear and by then my eyes had turned towards what Sega and Sony would be offering..

Easiest decision ever to put money towards the PlayStation, rather than invest further in the Jaguar.

#30 Adriano Arcade OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:45 AM

Thanks all. I will recording the podcast this Friday - alongside my good friend Dyl's analysis of the mega CD! I will use some of your great feedback and opinions. Thanks so much for getting involved in this thread. I do really appreciate it. I will, of course, let you all know when the podcast is released!

 

Feel free to subscribe to Arcade Attack's weekly gaming podcast here: http://www.arcadeattack.co.uk/podcast/ ;)



#31 neo_rg OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:28 AM

Have you tried some of the homebrew that's available on CD yet?

#32 Adriano Arcade OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:51 AM

Have you tried some of the homebrew that's available on CD yet?

Not yet tbh! Had the Jag CD for only 3 weeks now. I do have some ST ports burnt to disk which the seller provided such as Rick Dangerous and IK+



#33 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:35 AM

If you some odds n sods for the Mega CD comparisons. ..

Jez San (Argonaut software incorrectly refers to it as Sega's answer to the SNES SFX Chip..no Jez that'd be Sega's AVP chip, but then he also thinks the Mega Drive can't do polygon 3D on it's own...).

As well as titles mentioned earlier, Clive Hanger has sections that make good use of the hardware as does BC Racers..

It was pretty galling to see Cartridge versions of Prince Of Persuasion and Powermonger, be superior to the MCD versions..MCD Powermonger runs slower , despite the faster CPU..

Dracula was reviewed, butchered score wise, reworked and re-reviewed, still dire.

Titles like Wolfchild, SOTB II, Hook, Nightstalkers and Ninja Warriors really didn't do the hardware any favours.

#34 CyranoJ ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:42 AM

Not yet tbh! Had the Jag CD for only 3 weeks now. I do have some ST ports burnt to disk which the seller provided such as Rick Dangerous and IK+

 

Most of the CD versions are early builds / incomplete / have no audio - just so you are aware.



#35 UHATEIT OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:16 AM

Not yet tbh! Had the Jag CD for only 3 weeks now. I do have some ST ports burnt to disk which the seller provided such as Rick Dangerous and IK+

If you have a skunkboard you can flash all the ST ports and try them without having to burn a CD of them. From what I've found the quality of the picture is no better on the CD burns of them than they are on the skunkboard flash.



#36 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:18 AM

From my experience of opening them up and trying to breath life into them, I found the build quality varies wildly.  Have had one "Dead" unit simply had severed it's own CD spindle motor power cables in an effort to end it's own suffering, alas I restored it and it lives on.

 

Also it looks like there may have only been a small number of runs of the units.  I have ones from Europe and US and there have been only 3 manufacture dates on them.  9509, 9511 and 9512.  The 9509 units have socketted BIOS ROMs too, later models have no sockets.

 

There may be other dates too, but these are the only ones I have seen, have recorded stats for 10 units.



#37 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:25 AM

Another pointless fact I just remembered.  The JagCD actually has 2 cartridge ports!  The exposed one that you insert game carts into, and another underneath that is used to connect it to the actual console itself!  There is a straight-through cart held in place on the underside port, and this is the edge connector you can see poking out that plugs into the jag itself.  Completely pointless info I know :)

 

Oh, and the Jag CD units will stack, you can plug a CD into a CD :D  I haven't bothered powering a pair up yet though, I'd suspect the middle one would simply pass through to the next one in the chain and not be accessible.



#38 Gummy Bear OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:28 PM

Or maybe you get TWICE THE POWAH!

#39 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:30 PM

Or maybe you get TWICE THE POWAH!

 

128 BIT POWA!!!!!11111 8) 8)



#40 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:32 PM

Although I guess as it's JagCD that would be 16bit, as the JagCD also only communicates as 8bit when reading data from disc IIRC, but the ROM is accessed as a full 32bit wide address.. I *think* has been a while since I played with it :D



#41 Zerosquare OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:38 PM

It think it uses the I²S bus to transfer data, which is only a single bit wide. Make your own jokes with that :P

#42 Gummy Bear OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:30 PM

That's what SHE said!

#43 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:09 PM

It was pretty galling to see Cartridge versions of Prince Of Persuasion and Powermonger, be superior to the MCD versions..MCD Powermonger runs slower , despite the faster CPU..

 

Sorry, the CD version of Prince of Persia is the superior game. The combat in the cartridge version is busted, not to mention movement and platforming quirks from the original aren't replicated properly either, making the game feel almost unplayable. Shame, because it is a really nice looking game and I like the style they were going for in that release.

 

For the CD version, it's by a different developer and is based on the PC-98 flavor of conversions (FM Towns, PC Engine CD, Mega CD, etc). It plays as Prince of Persia is supposed to and is a lot more enjoyable as a result. It also has configurable speed settings for movement and combat (something people don't usually realize), it saves level times and progress, and has a pretty solid CD soundtrack.



#44 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:30 PM

Sure, you could stuff 256 banks onto a cart.
 

But the cost would be astronomical...

 

Of course, it wouldn't really replace CD, as you'd be able to access different bank only during reset, not during gameplay, where you'd be limited to same 2-6 MB.

 

So, no - that's not a replacement, as far as capacity goes...

Why is that?

Is there any technical limitations that completely forbids swapping in the memory at will?



#45 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:55 PM

Why is that?

Is there any technical limitations that completely forbids swapping in the memory at will?

I'm not a HW guy, never used an EPROM burner, so I wouldn't really know 100%, but each time someone makes a multicart (with, say, 128 banks, 4 MB each -> 512 MB total), you can only choose one of those 128 banks at start-up (via menu, or button (cycling)) - it really only maps the selected bank into the cart space in ROM/RAM. There was even a thread last month (or so) about a guy who made some new multicart.

 

I should, however, know in detail how it works this year anyway, as I will be producing my carts by myself, so I'm going to have to get the equipment and figure out the process of burning the EPROMs.

 

 

Hypothetically, I just came up with an idea - you could make a custom cart that upon a button press would cycle to the next bank. The game, once it finishes current level, would display a message "Push The BUTTON", and next bank would be mapped to the ROM space. Granted, it would be quite wasteful, as all the shared resources (menus, audio, hud, base code) would be repeated, but it should be doable (assuming a reset isn't actually required) and could greatly increase the total ROM space (at great price, of course).



#46 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:08 PM

I'm not a HW guy, never used an EPROM burner, so I wouldn't really know 100%, but each time someone makes a multicart (with, say, 128 banks, 4 MB each -> 512 MB total), you can only choose one of those 128 banks at start-up (via menu, or button (cycling)) - it really only maps the selected bank into the cart space in ROM/RAM. There was even a thread last month (or so) about a guy who made some new multicart.
 
I should, however, know in detail how it works this year anyway, as I will be producing my carts by myself, so I'm going to have to get the equipment and figure out the process of burning the EPROMs.
 
 
Hypothetically, I just came up with an idea - you could make a custom cart that upon a button press would cycle to the next bank. The game, once it finishes current level, would display a message "Push The BUTTON", and next bank would be mapped to the ROM space. Granted, it would be quite wasteful, as all the shared resources (menus, audio, hud, base code) would be repeated, but it should be doable (assuming a reset isn't actually required) and could greatly increase the total ROM space (at great price, of course).


Not sure what to make of this but I don't think it will fly too well, aside from debouncing issues on the button, I will not lift my phat ass from the sofa to push a button 'cause the developer could not figure out how to make a programmable one byte latch out of a 373 and a hot spot location ..... 

you can get some inspiration on how the 7800 banked carts work, here's one http://www.atarihq.c...t/C300703.shtml



#47 Zerosquare OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:22 PM

Bank-switching will be supported on the next version of the Jagtopus. And no, it won't involve twiddling switches manually. I know we can get away with many ridiculous things on the Jag, but come on!

#48 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:14 AM

Not sure what to make of this but I don't think it will fly too well, aside from debouncing issues on the button, I will not lift my phat ass from the sofa to push a button 'cause the developer could not figure out how to make a programmable one byte latch out of a 373 and a hot spot location ..... 

you can get some inspiration on how the 7800 banked carts work, here's one http://www.atarihq.c...t/C300703.shtml

Surely, if you could switch banks at runtime for jag carts (without any special chip or reserved address at RAM checked by that chip) there would be at least dozen games doing that already ? Then again, 4-6 MB is more then enough for the 8/16 bit style games, so no real need for more ROM...

 

Perhaps you can do that - like I said - I'm not familiar with the EPROM programming (plus related processes) yet.

 

I know I could use more than 6 MB for my game, though ROM scarcity makes me choose more appropriate memory-saving algorithms...



#49 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:30 AM

Surely, if you could switch banks at runtime for jag carts (without any special chip or reserved address at RAM checked by that chip) there would be at least dozen games doing that already ? Then again, 4-6 MB is more then enough for the 8/16 bit style games, so no real need for more ROM...
 
Perhaps you can do that - like I said - I'm not familiar with the EPROM programming (plus related processes) yet.
 
I know I could use more than 6 MB for my game, though ROM scarcity makes me choose more appropriate memory-saving algorithms...

You do need a "special chip" (it's really simple latching logic + a decoder) to perform the switch as without there's nothing in Jag that can switch anything on the cart (well maybe the GPIO pins but ...) and do not worry the special location can be in ROM space, given you can't write to ROM you can safely assume that when writing to the hotspot location you meant to switch ;-) like the 7800 banked carts do.

There are none done so far as nobody really cared, and 4 to 6 MB of linear ROM space is plenty for many of the games we've seen, Atari back in the days was so cheap that made cuts to Cybermorph from 2MB to 1MB so I'm sure they would not have been interested to develop the "mapper" chip.

 

Zerosquare said Jagtopus++ will be bankswitched so he could share it's "special chip" design with the community or make available some boards with it so anyone can take advantage of the bankswitching scheme he devised.

 

Wrt avoiding repeating assets in every bank given we are brainstorming the trick is to have smaller banking regions than the whole 2/4MB, say use a 32bit latch to specify 16 separate banking region each with 2 bits on the latch (so 4 pages) of say 128K ROMs would go a long way to avoid repeating assets (that would total 8MB of ROM swappable at 128KB boundaries in a 2MB linear space, with each page that can be chosen among 4 possible) .... then again it is a little more complex and unsure if warranted (the single latch allows to change all the pages at once with one single 32bit write).



#50 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:18 AM

@Austin:From a pure personal point of view here, having bought Prince Of Persia on the ST and then being blown away by the Sega Game Gear version, i expected great things from the Mega CD version.

Instead i found myself with a CD intro, improved sound and visuals that wouldn't be anything special on cartridge.

The Domark team managed to produce more detailed graphics and fit an extra 4 levels onto the cartridge version, which in my eyes made far better use of the more limited hardware and storage medium.

The CD version should of been so much more.

It just felt like a standard conversion to CD from that era and with the custom hardware and vast storage avaiable, i expected a lot, lot more..

I actually rate the Game Gear version as the most impressive of the Sega versions.




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