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What was the Jaguar truly capable of?


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#26 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:54 AM

The problem wasn't so much 3D itself as much as it was texture mapped 3D, both of which struggled with that (the Jaguar less so than the 32X in that regard). Unfortunately, non-texture mapped 3D was dated pretty quickly, on one hand thanks to the 3DO that was already on the market, but especially once the PS1 and Saturn dropped. The flat (32X) or Gouraud (Jaguar) shaded polygons weren't going to cut it then.

As far as what a Mortal Kombat would have looked like on the Jaguar, all you have to do is take a look at Kasumi Ninja. As poor of a game as it is, it at least features the same kind of large digitized sprites, smooth framerate, high color count and the same scrolling floor effect. Had MKII in particular been commissioned, it's possible it may have been one of the better conversions at the time.

 Most of the textured mapped games on 3DO were pseudo 3D or 2.5D, combining texture mapped polygons with sprites. Crash n Burn had less interaction than both F Zero and Mario Kart on the SNES. It plays very limited. Same with Road Rash, terribly overrated game. Complex 3D with full fledged sim games was in  most cases not fully texture mapped, even on PC. Jaguar was probably better than both 3DO and 32x, I could imagine ports of PC sims on it, but the Playstation really all made them obsolete.



#27 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:57 AM

I'm not really sure why people are impressed by Battlesphere. This isn't a slight against the developers, but when I finally got the chance to spend time with it a few years back, I was amazed at how empty the game was. At least with something like Iron Solder 2, I can actually see how the system is being pushed.

BS is a bit light on Content, Iron Soldier 2 rules supreme, no doubt.



#28 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:07 AM

Emulating the 2600!  http://atariage.com/...-on-virtualvcs/



#29 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:08 AM

Space shooters are great on low-poly-capable machines -- no need to render detailed textured environments. I wouldn't mind a PC version of Battlesphere, as a big battle Royale deathmatch could be more fun with real people. But turn-and-burn space battles are out of style, possibly because they aren't that fun or strategic.

A campaign like with TIE Fighter could have made Battlesphere more interesting.

#30 Gummy Bear OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:10 AM

It plays very limited. Same with Road Rash, terribly overrated game.


I'm with you there.
3DO Road rash is a great example of better graphics not making a better game.
The Megadrive originals wipe the floor with it as actual games.

#31 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:32 AM

@NeoGeo64:

You've basically 2 options when entering into a discussion like this:

Option A:The cold reality of the commercial era of the Jaguar.

Which offers up realms of 1st hand accounts from the likes of I.D, Eclipse, Rebellion, Mike Diskett, Lee Briggs, HVS, ATD, Jeff Minter, Martin Brownlow and countless others....

On how they used the hardware, what further optimisation to code would of achieved in terms of upping frame rates, lighting effects, resolution etc.

It's easily found, you don't need to join a cult, sorry FB group or forum to view it...

It makes for interesting reading.


Or....

Option B:A roller coaster ride into the fume ridden, conspiracy filled world of pure and utter speculation and utter nonsense.

Talk of Quake on Jaguar...

Believed lost code actually being in hands of..but can't say who..because...


3DO/Saturn/PC CD footage passed off as Jaguar footage.

YT footage used as a technical benchmark..


And such and such.

I'd personally recommend option A if this is a credible thread.

Option B if it was done for shits n giggles.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:57 AM.


#32 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:51 AM

Space shooters are great on low-poly-capable machines -- no need to render detailed textured environments. I wouldn't mind a PC version of Battlesphere, as a big battle Royale deathmatch could be more fun with real people. But turn-and-burn space battles are out of style, possibly because they aren't that fun or strategic.
A campaign like with TIE Fighter could have made Battlesphere more interesting.


I took to Colony Wars 1 and 2 (wasn't so keen on Red Sun) far more than WE III and Darklight Conflict on PS1 due to the campaigns and branching story lines.

Blast Radius was too shallow.

Xenocracy just awful.

Star Trek Invasion wasn't half bad either.

#33 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:55 AM

Going purely off memory as it's been years since I had Iron Solider on Jaguar and Metal Head on 32X...


Sega's effort had the eye candy in terms of full texture-mapping, but it seemed to restrict your movement. .weren't you in effect walled-in by the buildings, so in effect you traversed nice looking corridors?

Iron Solider by comparison. .puny building..Mech smash

Jaguar game captured the feel of piloting a walking gun platform far better.

Gun Griffin on Saturn the Sega platform Mech game for myself.

#34 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:07 AM

@NeoGeo64:

You've basically 2 options when entering into a discussion like this:

Option A:The cold reality of the commercial era of the Jaguar.

Which offers up realms of 1st hand accounts from the likes of I.D, Eclipse, Rebellion, Mike Diskett, Lee Briggs, HVS, ATD, Jeff Minter, Martin Brownlow and countless others....

On how they used the hardware, what further optimisation to code would of achieved in terms of upping frame rates, lighting effects, resolution etc.

Or....

Option B:A roller coaster ride into the fume ridden, conspiracy filled world of pure and utter speculation and utter nonsense.

Talk of Quake on Jaguar...

Believed lost code actually being in hands of..but can't say who..because...


3DO/Saturn/PC CD footage passed off as Jaguar footage.

YT footage used as a technical benchmark..

And such and such.

I'd personally recommend option A if this is a credible thread.

Option B if it was done for shits n giggles.

Regarding 3D on the Jaguar, only Eclipse matters. Cold reality indeed.


Edited by agradeneu, Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:08 AM.


#35 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:43 AM

Going purely off memory as it's been years since I had Iron Solider on Jaguar and Metal Head on 32X...


Sega's effort had the eye candy in terms of full texture-mapping, but it seemed to restrict your movement. .weren't you in effect walled-in by the buildings, so in effect you traversed nice looking corridors?

Iron Solider by comparison. .puny building..Mech smash

Jaguar game captured the feel of piloting a walking gun platform far better.

Gun Griffin on Saturn the Sega platform Mech game for myself.

Yep, Metal Head is a clunky, glitchy corridor shooter at 12 FPS.



#36 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:54 AM

If a highly talented and skilled team of programmers (such as the top coders at SEGA back in the mid 90s) who were intimately familiar with the Jaguar's hardware did some hardcore assembly programming with great resource utilization developed a game on the Jaguar using Tom and Jerry, instead of the M68K, what kind of 3D graphics would have been seen?

Something like Iron Soldier 2. And regarding 2D bitmaps: Native by Duranik. Did not see anything better yet and I doubt we'll ever see


Edited by agradeneu, Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:00 AM.


#37 Punisher5.0 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:09 AM

I'm not really sure why people are impressed by Battlesphere. This isn't a slight against the developers, but when I finally got the chance to spend time with it a few years back, I was amazed at how empty the game was. At least with something like Iron Solder 2, I can actually see how the system is being pushed.


You dont like looking a black screen 95% of the time?

For the Jaguar it's pretty solid but honestly I'm more impressed by Star Fox 2 both graphically and gameplay wise.

#38 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:13 AM

I think the site is going to have to increase the limits on the amount of likes you can dish out on 1 day, at this rate.



#39 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:21 AM

You dont like looking a black screen 95% of the time?

For the Jaguar it's pretty solid but honestly I'm more impressed by Star Fox 2 both graphically and gameplay wise.

Play Free for All with 15 enemy ships and you will see that Battlesphere actually has some technical prowess. Surprisingly, Alone against the Empire was the game mode I was looking forward to - turned out to be the dullest part of the game. Star Fox 2 is a mess and I can see why Nintendo did not release it.


Edited by agradeneu, Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:23 AM.


#40 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:35 AM

Absolute horsecrap. Fact.
The only two that come close in that list is IS and Battle sphere.
And the latter authors claimed they could get more out of it.

Well...it is horsefly season...

According to the coders ..Battlesphere as it was written used between 70-80% of the Jaguar's horsepower and a total rewrite using knowledge gained on the 1st write would only result in:

Increased polygon counts on the ship models and a rock steady 30 fps frame rate.

Source:https://www.atarimax...article.php?412


It wouldn't be the jump between say the 1st Colony Wars on the Playstation and Colony Wars Red Sun...

More a refinement than leap into the realms of OMG..i never knew the Jaguar was capable of...


If you compare the original Colony Wars to Red Sun..by the time of Red Sun the engine had been optimised to include improved lighting effects, new space phenomena and now had planetry based battles...

Bit of a step up from increased details on ship models and a steady frame rate..


I still found the actual game a step back from Vengeance though, but on technical terms, you had to admire the ambition and how far they'd taken the engine and PS1 hardware.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:45 AM.


#41 Clint Thompson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:09 AM

...or the jump between Cybermorph to Battlemorph...



#42 Punisher5.0 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:12 AM

Play Free for All with 15 enemy ships and you will see that Battlesphere actually has some technical prowess. Surprisingly, Alone against the Empire was the game mode I was looking forward to - turned out to be the dullest part of the game. Star Fox 2 is a mess and I can see why Nintendo did not release it.


No doubt multiplayer is where BS shines. I think it's the coolest thing about the game. The only issue is finding a second person to play let alone multiple people.

#43 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:14 AM

...or the jump between Cybermorph to Battlemorph...

Good example.

And let's not forget Lance Lewis talking about improvements made when putting Hoverstrike out on Jaguar CD:

MT> You were the lead designer for both Atari Jaguar Hoverstrike games. Do you have a particular preference towards one version or another?
LL> Not really, but technically speaking, the CD version had a few extra perks. For instance the engineering crew managed to boost up the frame rate by a stunning 2-3 fps... And some of the terrain textures we were able to load as high res. Oh and the soundtrack was CD-quality instead of MIDI. Seriously though, I always felt the game was unnecessarily trashed in the magazines and flamed in newsgroups. It may not have been a GREAT game, but a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into making that game ship.

Source:http://gooddealgames...ance_Lewis.html

So people did get more from second and third generation Jaguar games.

The technical advances and the sheer amount of bloody hard work needed by teams of people to do the commercial 3D games we did see,have been extremely well documented by multiple sources and coders.

Yet the fumes are still so strong with some.

I'm blaming the recent Blood Eclipse for the surge in fume based activity.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:28 AM.


#44 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:21 AM

No doubt multiplayer is where BS shines. I think it's the coolest thing about the game. The only issue is finding a second person to play let alone multiple people.

I mean Free for all vs AI controlled ships. Quite impressive.



#45 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:28 AM

Well...it is horsefly season...

According to the coders ..Battlesphere as it was written used between 70-80% of the Jaguar's horsepower and a total rewrite using knowledge gained on the 1st write would only result in:

Increased polygon counts on the ship models and a rock steady 30 fps frame rate.

Source:https://www.atarimax...article.php?412


It wouldn't be the jump between say the 1st Colony Wars on the Playstation and Colony Wars Red Sun...

More a refinement than leap into the realms of OMG..i never knew the Jaguar was capable of...


If you compare the original Colony Wars to Red Sun..by the time of Red Sun the engine had been optimised to include improved lighting effects, new space phenomena and now had planetry based battles...

Bit of a step up from increased details on ship models and a steady frame rate..


I still found the actual game a step back from Vengeance though, but on technical terms, you had to admire the ambition and how far they'd taken the engine and PS1 hardware.

Lets say there is not much left in terms of technical prowess certain games have achieved. But those were only a few Highlights. Lots of potential is left what could have been regarding actual GAMES, content. Really, I could imagine a dozen 3D games based on Iron Soldier 2 engine alone, even a moderatly texture mapped racing game at 25 - 30 FPS. :-D


Edited by agradeneu, Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:32 AM.


#46 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:36 AM

I'd of liked to of seen the Racer Lee Briggs was working on using an optimised WTR engine myself, but then i would much rather Atari had let him release the original,plain polygon version of what became WTR after being moved to the Jaguar CD,on cartridge as the Jaguar's answer to 32X Virtual Racing.

Instead we had Rebellion serve up Chequered Flag II.

Now that was some cold reality.

They were never the team to do a polygon 3D racing game.

Thalion had done far better on the ST with No Second Prize.

You didn't need teams on a scale of those Sega often had the luxury of having, everytime.

Often Atari simply needed to stop interfering and getting developers to switch formats at a whim..

Lee's game moved to CD..

Minter's D2K moved from CD to Cartridge.

#47 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:45 AM

Spoiling you now NeoGeo64 and last example of what evidence you can find easily enough online as to why Jaguar 3D games turned out the way they did:


Jaguar Explorer Online chatting with Missile Command 3D coder,Martin Brownlow :


[JEO] Does MC3D use much 68000 code?

[MB] The spinny logos are on the 68K, the vertical blank interrupt and the
in-game decompression, but mainly the 68K is pointing at a STOP instruction.

[JEO] Is the Jaguar a pain to program?

[MB] Yes. You only have 4K of memory in the GPU, so you need to page code in
and out of this, and there's a horrible Blitter bug that caught me out - when
you start a blit off, it takes 3 cycles for the busy flag to be set, so you
have to wait for 3 cycles before you can test to see if the blit has done.
This is not documented anywhere, and Atari wouldn't even recognize it as a
bug or agree to put it in future documentation. It caused me so many
problems - jumping into code that hadn't been blitted yet is not a good idea!

[JEO] Do you have any idea why MC3D crashes on some Jags?

[MB] No, it's never crashed on our development machines, and it got right
past Atari's testers... so I can only presume that Atari's testers didn't
test it on every model of Jag.

[JEO] Did Virtuality have any other Jag games started or in mind?

[MB] They were doing Exorex - a mech game, and Zone Hunter - originally an
explore 'em up, but got changed into a Doom style game (and it's a real
travesty that you never got to see my Jag Doom engine - it FLEW!) but they
stopped all that ages ago.

[JEO] Do you own a Jag? And if so, what's you favorite game?

[MB] Yeah, I own two (one of which is sitting back in England). I really
liked AvP and sort of liked T2K, so I think I'd have to say AvP (apart from
MC3D, of course!).

[JEO] The frame rate is good, but a bit on the slow side. What happened?

[MB] Blame Atari... "Oh, and texture this, texture that, texture the other."
"But textures are at least 8x slower than flat shaded" says I. "Actually,"
says Atari, "they're at least 22x slower, but we want them anyway". You saw
how the motorcycle game (Supercross 3D --Ed.) game came out - really slow -
that's because they gave in to Atari and textured everything, which the Jag
just can't handle.

[JEO] Why are the lasers only solid white triangles?

[MB] That's the frame rate issue.

It really is that straightforward.

Read up on the views from those who coded on it under very real commercial conditions and decide for yourself if Jaguar had so much more power to tap into...

Or..welcome to the fantasy zone...Enjoy the trip...and it is a trip..

:-)

#48 NeoGeo64 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:49 AM

Its 3D was capable of

AVP
DOOM
Hoverstrike CD
Skyhammer
Battlesphere
IS2

All pushing the hardware. Fact. Low framrate while pushing. Fact.

You forgot about Zero 5 and Tempest 2000 (not 3D but still looks amazing).



#49 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:52 AM

Spoiling you now NeoGeo64 and last example of what evidence you can find easily enough online as to why Jaguar 3D games turned out the way they did:

 

 

Spoiling you now NeoGeo64 and last example of what evidence you can find easily enough online as to why Jaguar 3D games turned out the way they did:

 

Reason was Atari had only Eclipse and not much else. Really, dont blame Hardware for crappy games, very simple. While MC3D is technically impressive in some parts its also a quite boring game with player mostly shooting at triangles. Ist not Missile Command its more like "Plain Triangle Shooting Gallery". You can get that Kind of game on Atari ST any day.


Edited by agradeneu, Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:20 AM.


#50 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:23 AM

Everybody started doing arbitrary polygon texturing, which indeed, is very slow on jaguar, if it's just generic (e.g. camera can roam freely).

 

There are so many games that can fix a camera angle and use generic texturing only on a small subset of the scene, resulting in huge framerate boost. Something like my HERO engine, that was written entirely in C (which compiles to an ungodly horribly slow ASM), yet I managed to get stable 60 fps.

 

I'm pretty sure that if I wrote it today, using GPU, DSP and 68000 asm, I could bump the resolution to 768x200, double the bandwidth cost by using 65,536 colors and get around 20 fps, which is more than enough for this type of game.

Especially using the parallel GPU texturing tricks I learnt on the RoadRash prototype.

 

This is how X360 Prince Of Persia looks in 768x240 (sorry for the aspect ratio, it was quick conversion where I needed to see the sharpness of of pixels, yet retain the resolution)

939484_20070525_screen002.jpg

 

We can use CD-ROM - let the artists prerender all lighting into textures, and just load the textures for each room upon entering. Hardly a technological issue. It would take me about 6-8 weeks to rewrite the 3D engine, so hardly unsurmountable even at production environment.

 

I'm sure that everybody can see on that screenshot, that those walls are just few polygons.

 

 

But, this would be a totally next-gen looking game on Jaguar. Same engine could be reused for dozen other platformers. Characters could be kept as classic sprites.

 






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