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A_Gorilla

Its 1993, you're in charge of the Jag, what do you do?

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I think a fixed GPU/DSP would help more than a 68020, and they would cost less in the long run. ( Maybe another respin of the chip to fix the bug , but that's a one off cost )

My reasons for adding a CD are not related to system power though, but why would it be a detriment - single speed is only 150k/second , that's not going to saturate the bus at all ( 3k per frame at 60Hz :)

 

Read my post and you will see the detriments. It does not help the system put up more polies per second. This would have been very important

in porting games over like Quake.

 

CD would add to the cost - but it would pay for itself by improving the profit on the games. I agree that FMV just for the sake of it is pretty sucky - but in 1993 people were lapping it up.

Also if the GPU/DSP were running from main ( and both 32 bit ) wouldn't that be faster than games running on the 68000 - I know you say that even with your workarounds that GPU from main ram is better than 68000.

 

Yes but The GPU/DSP at 32 bit and another host at the same 32 bits at twice the clock and much more efficient and

staying off the bus most of the time would be worlds better having three very power processors running in TRUE

parallel. The 020 is so much more powerful and efficient than the 68k could ever hope to be. It would have turned

a detriment into a real blessing. I'd be more inclined to fix the blitter anyway....ie add the fractionals and a double buffer

on both register files. Area 51 could have also been a pack in...The Jag would have a hard time pulling it off in its present

form....that would sell the system more than a CD drive could ever hope to. 3DO banked on FMV and lost miserably.

 

Atari sold very poorly as it was - My hope would be that more people would pick up the unit because of the CD. Also Atari never made any profit from the pack in game - so it was basically an additional cost in the $250 , a demo CD would have cost almost nothing.

I expect that eventually the Jaguar price would have had to drop, even with a CD - maybe most of the folks you know would have bought a Jag with CD for $199 :)

 

Your hope is not based on reality. The Jaguar was by far the best bang for the buck....It did not sell because people

remember who Atari was and how they blew their market place to bits previously with lack of support and software.

Everyone took a wait and see and a Cd would have done nothing to change this.

 

Tell Sony that a CD unit for the playstation lessened it status as a true next gen machine. Nintendo were in a completely different situation from Atari. For me the CD unit is a business win in terms of profit, not really a technical win.

 

It was not because of the CD in the Sony but the spending power and the long standing Sony name. Both Sony and Nintendo

were in good standing and medium was not even a second thought to consumers. Support and reliability were and Atari was

not looked upon for either of these. Both Sony and Nintendo had loyal support from many other very sucessful products.

Atari lost their stature after the 2600 because of their ineptness(sic).

 

 

With main memory working, coders would write C for the Jag. This is a completely different situation to the current jaguar, where the bug stopped nearly everyone except you and AtariOwl from using the GPU in main. Instead all of the 'poor/underfunded/timestrapped' teams would write C. ( And at least this C would be Risc C - allowing further optimisation, rather than just 68k ) It's no more silly than the SH-2's in the Saturn really.

 

Main memory does work in the Jag and a little testing would have shown this. It only took me a couple of hours to discover once I set out

to find out if it were possible. The C compiler was unusable and Atari would not have spent anymore in tools just because of a CD unit.

With the 020 this would not have been necessary as the 020 was chock full of available tools already.

 

The GPU/DSP would have needed major reworking and a very costly addition of silicon to accomplish this. Hence a $400 dollar system that sold

poorly at $249 in its present form based on their poor track record of previous products. Sony/Nintendo did not have that stigma following them.

 

The C compiler was mainly garbage because you couldn't write main memory programs with it , and the overheads really added up in local memory.

 

You obviously never looked at the horrendous bugs that compiler generates. In fact it was very optimal, even in local with the right flags but

the generated code was absolute garbage. It could not even handle something simple like "for(k = 0;k < 10; k++)". You had to do "for(k = 0;k != 10; k++)"

 

 

Lousy single speed is the same as all the previous consoles, and I dont think 150kB/s chokes the bus.

Trevor may have been a poor example though , not much could have saved it :)

 

Decompression off the cart was definitely faster than 150k per second. Trevor was nothing more than a show case of color ability.

 

A CD would have made more profits for Atari , and allowed more titles to be published at lower risk. It would be a higher component cost - but I think a single speed, not PC CD-ROM style drive would have cost Atari far less than you expect.

Single speed drives seem ok for watching VideoCD at 30fps , I've not looked at what quicktime would look like though - but it's bound to be better than the Sega MegaCd.

 

The CD would have caused them a swift death as no one was buying the Jag at $249, nevermind $400. It had nothing to do with medium

and everything to do with bad stigma.

 

Separate to the CD issue - what do you think of the idea of GPU and DSP being able to run code from main memory perfectly at the start, and the C compiler not being constrained by the local memory size. Wouldn't that work as well as a 13MHz 68020?

 

Again, I have ran extensive test with the C compiler and it was garbage. It was not because of bloated code. The proper flags( -O's set) made very tight code

but also very bugy code as explained above. Also as explained above it would have costed a lot in silicon to 'fix' the GPU to boot and run out in main.

That extra silicon would have been much better spent fixing the blitter and cheaper by far than fixing the GPU/DSP. A simple double buffered blitter register

file and a few extra registers to add fractionals to both channels instead of just the one.

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I think you're really a bit hung up on the 020.

 

No more than your hangup on a CD which would have been more a detrimant in both cost and do nothing to help the machines performance.

 

Add an IDE interface? That's not a good console choice - the reason I want a CD in 93 is to unify the market.

( The CD32 launched in 93 with a double speed CD rom drive for $399 , and I'm expecting Atari to be more aggressive in pricing than that )

Only an idiot would launch a console with an 'add your own CD' - you'd have no idea how many people actually used CD's - so you'd have to keep the cartridge ports. I want CD and no cartridges - something simple for users and profitable for Atari.

 

A CD was not necessary for a console of that time and only an idot would release a console costing $150 or more than the original Jaguar price, especially with all the bad stigma they had from previous products. The last clearly well supported product from Atari was sadly the 2600.

 

Before you start with any 'blah blah 68020 better' arguments again I'm not denying that a 68020 would speed up games written in 68000 code. I just dont think adding a 68020 would have changed the fate of the machine. The only reason I argue about removing the 68k completely is reduce costs so that the CD could be added.

 

Before you continue with your blah blah blah about an impractical Cd unit, that would have done nothing to reduce the cost

as the machine would have costed at least $400. The typical price range for a Cd player was $199 or more and even at $99

dollars, Atari's cost, the machine with the necessary hardware needed to handle the CD would not have saved any money.

 

Use the 020, fix the blitter and you could sell the machine at $299 with an Area 51 pack in.

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I wonder if the guys from Flare ever read this kind of stuff. LOL

Hard to say. Some people get nostalgic about past projects they worked on, but personally I get allergic to them. After all the stress and burn-out and loss they suffered they might not revel in revisiting the past. ;)

 

However, John M of Flare did a pretty good Jaguar post-mortem interview many years ago, where he addressed all the usual talking points:

 

1) They wanted to a CD unit but it was simply too expensive. So instead they designed the console to support a cheap CD add-on and released it as quickly as they could. Remember that the Jaguar was supposed to be $199 -- the $249 price was a last minute change. Sure, the CD32 had a CD at $399 -- twice the target price! Atari did not think they could sell such an expensive console.

 

2) They didn't realize 3D texture mapping was going to be important. It was considered an occasional special effect and not a core feature -- they believed smooth shading would be the main effect for 3D graphics. Other consoles (such as the 3DO, and of course the Playstation) made texture mapping their primary emphasis. John said they could have shifted the resources of Tom around to support texture mapping but thought it was a waste of time for what they saw as a gimmick.

 

3) They didn't realize game programmers would want to use the 68K or the C programming language. They assumed game programs would be written primarily in assembly language (as they had been) and not in higher level languages. They didn't grasp the increasing complexity of game programs, and saw that contemporary (circa 1990) games were short and simple -- without realizing that by 1995 game programs would be far more complex. The 68K was only there to facilitate quick ports, and again John mentioned that he could have shifted resources in the JagRISC to support C if they had only realized it was a requirement.

 

Hindsight is 20/20. I'm sure the Flare guys could do better than any of us if only they knew then what we do now. ;)

 

- KS

 

 

Good stuff...but the most practical, least costly way to 'fix' the Jag is the 020. It would have kept the machine under $300

and offered a much stronger performance. And yes one of the biggest mistakes was not looking forward with all the PC games

doing texturemapping at the time...this was a real bad choice and could have costed little to incorporate in silicon.

Asimple allowing of phrase mode texturing was all that was needed and a double buffered bliter register file.

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The Sh-2 comment was about the instruction set being new to programmers. My feeling is that it's not important if there's a working C compiler.

 

Well I think at worst the SH2s were still a good deal better in that respect than the Jag's RISC processors. The Super H architicture was new, but not brand new when Sega came out with the 32x and Saturn, and they were commercial chips produced by Hitachi, with similarly available commercial programming tools. (not familiar to programmers like MIPS or ARM, let alone 68k architectures of course)

 

I'd say Argonaut Software's custom RISC MARIO or "Super FX" processor developed for Nintendo would be more along those lines, with the exception that programmers working on the SNES would be doning things in assembly anyway, and the most prominant games using the Super FX and Super FX 2 were eaither produced by Nentendo themselves or Argonaut. (Argonaut did go on to create a commercail line of RISC processors as well,and form Argonaut RISC Core International- ARC)

 

The only advantage the SH2's had( a big one granted) were reliable C compilers. They would have costed too much for the Jag and the J-RISC's are much better suited to the OPL and Blitter. SH's are great chips though no doubt.

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I wonder if the guys from Flare ever read this kind of stuff. LOL

Hard to say. Some people get nostalgic about past projects they worked on, but personally I get allergic to them. After all the stress and burn-out and loss they suffered they might not revel in revisiting the past. ;)

 

However, John M of Flare did a pretty good Jaguar post-mortem interview many years ago, where he addressed all the usual talking points:

 

1) They wanted to a CD unit but it was simply too expensive. So instead they designed the console to support a cheap CD add-on and released it as quickly as they could. Remember that the Jaguar was supposed to be $199 -- the $249 price was a last minute change. Sure, the CD32 had a CD at $399 -- twice the target price! Atari did not think they could sell such an expensive console.

 

2) They didn't realize 3D texture mapping was going to be important. It was considered an occasional special effect and not a core feature -- they believed smooth shading would be the main effect for 3D graphics. Other consoles (such as the 3DO, and of course the Playstation) made texture mapping their primary emphasis. John said they could have shifted the resources of Tom around to support texture mapping but thought it was a waste of time for what they saw as a gimmick.

 

3) They didn't realize game programmers would want to use the 68K or the C programming language. They assumed game programs would be written primarily in assembly language (as they had been) and not in higher level languages. They didn't grasp the increasing complexity of game programs, and saw that contemporary (circa 1990) games were short and simple -- without realizing that by 1995 game programs would be far more complex. The 68K was only there to facilitate quick ports, and again John mentioned that he could have shifted resources in the JagRISC to support C if they had only realized it was a requirement.

 

Hindsight is 20/20. I'm sure the Flare guys could do better than any of us if only they knew then what we do now. ;)

 

- KS

 

I still think the CD was the key, even though it was more expensive, that's why I suggest a single speed dirt cheap drive rather than double speed. You're totally correct though, that the flare guys would do best with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

Where was this post mortem? I remember reading some comment by Leonard Tramiel about cartridges being cheap as well, but they were definitely more expensive than CD's - Sony really had the better business solution in terms of inventory management there.

If it's on the net anywhere is there a link?

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Gorf, I think the main point with the CD is not adding power to the system, but rather the market apeal for multimedia gaming experiences and coresponding apeal to developers. (along with low cost/risk of the media) CD music should lighten the DSP's load as well (and in-game add music to games lacking it like Doom and Cybermorph). And if you weren't trying to stream game data on the fly, would the CD drive be hitting th main bus at all durring gameplay? (ie other than specific loading sequences)

 

And you mention Area 51, but I don't think a proper conversion of the Arccade game would be possible without CD, the background is almost all streaming video (it looks like at least), which I'd assume was spooled from a hard drive. (unless you're suggesting th egame to be reworked with all realtime graphics -maybe with some things replaced with simpler 2D backdrops)

 

If they could have gotten the EC020 and CD drive (of some type) in there and kept the price at or below $400 in late '93early '94 (if they were able to delay for a propper launch), I think that would have been reasonable. Just look at the contemporaries, 3D was way overpriced, CD32 was $400 butwith limited marketing and very limited distribution, CD-i wouldn't even be in the same market generally, FM Towns wasn't much outside of Japan, and Sega CD was pretty expeisive still. (with the model 2 being released at $230, it would still have been $360 including the price of a new Genesis)

 

However, I don't think the CD drive was the absolute factor, and I disagree with crazyace that the EC020 alone (or in combination with some bug fixes and minor modifications) could not have been a deciding factor. But if Atari would also have to shape up in general and work harder at advertizing, being reasonable with contracted developers as well as with interested 3rd party developers, and preferably have at least moderately better software tools. (with fewer bugs and the 020 the existing tools would probably be a lot more useful though)

 

Also, I don't think a CD add-on was a great idea, either bite it and go CD staight off, or stick with carts all the way, and save CDs for the Jag II.

 

 

 

The only advantage the SH2's had( a big one granted) were reliable C compilers. They would have costed too much for the Jag and the J-RISC's are much better suited to the OPL and Blitter. SH's are great chips though no doubt.

 

It seems like ARM chips were a lot more oriented to the low-cost market in particular. The more I read about the history on it, th emore it seems to pint to that as well, I mentioned it before an dit was rather inconclusive, but it looks like the ARM-60 (ad in 3DO) might have been a good bit cheaper than an EC020 (smaller chip than a 68k with only 35,000 transistors), albeit with no cache. (though it should be way better than the 68k, still give Jerry a 32-bit datapath, and maybe more efficient with some things in main than the GPU -if nothing else C freindly and fairly well known) Hell, maybe Atari could have even licenced the ARM-6 core and put it in Jerry (which was still a good bit smaller than Tom).

Just something I was thinking about. Though from the list of CPU types flare made the host compatible for, ARM wasn't one of them for whatever reason. (just x86, MIPS, and 68k iirc)

Edited by kool kitty89

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I think a fixed GPU/DSP would help more than a 68020, and they would cost less in the long run. ( Maybe another respin of the chip to fix the bug , but that's a one off cost )

My reasons for adding a CD are not related to system power though, but why would it be a detriment - single speed is only 150k/second , that's not going to saturate the bus at all ( 3k per frame at 60Hz :)

 

Read my post and you will see the detriments. It does not help the system put up more polies per second. This would have been very important

in porting games over like Quake.

 

I dont think more polys per second would have had any impact on the jaguar sales - It had very good versions of both Doom and Wolfenstein, Quake came out in 1996, so it's not really relevant in 1993.

I look at the best games on Jaguar and in my opinion they were incredibly impressive at the time. Alien Vs Predator stills compares pretty well with games on Saturn or PSX. Cybermorph was pretty cool for a launch title as well.

 

 

Atari sold very poorly as it was - My hope would be that more people would pick up the unit because of the CD. Also Atari never made any profit from the pack in game - so it was basically an additional cost in the $250 , a demo CD would have cost almost nothing.

I expect that eventually the Jaguar price would have had to drop, even with a CD - maybe most of the folks you know would have bought a Jag with CD for $199 :)

 

Your hope is not based on reality. The Jaguar was by far the best bang for the buck....It did not sell because people

remember who Atari was and how they blew their market place to bits previously with lack of support and software.

Everyone took a wait and see and a Cd would have done nothing to change this.

And how would a 68020 solve that? A Cd would help as it would cost publishers less to produce Jaguar games - Atari could go to someone like EA and say "Release Madden PC for Jaguar and we'll let it go royalty free this year" and it would be far less risk than carts. ( EA's probally a bad example given their connection with 3D0 )

 

 

The GPU/DSP would have needed major reworking and a very costly addition of silicon to accomplish this. Hence a $400 dollar system that sold

poorly at $249 in its present form based on their poor track record of previous products. Sony/Nintendo did not have that stigma following them.

What reworking? At the least, the DSP and GPU were always intended to run code from main memory - it's just a bug that stopped it. The minimal change to self boot would be to clear the PC to zero at reset and let the gpu run. The DSP could be left as is - it would be started from the GPU code.

 

The C compiler was mainly garbage because you couldn't write main memory programs with it , and the overheads really added up in local memory.

 

You obviously never looked at the horrendous bugs that compiler generates. In fact it was very optimal, even in local with the right flags but

the generated code was absolute garbage. It could not even handle something simple like "for(k = 0;k < 10; k++)". You had to do "for(k = 0;k != 10; k++)"

In my opinion no one fixed these bugs because no one used the C compiler for serious GPU work. C was for game work , and the gpu's main use was rendering. It was gcc, which even then was a pretty good compiler - and bugs like that seem to be simple back end mistakes.

 

The CD would have caused them a swift death as no one was buying the Jag at $249, nevermind $400. It had nothing to do with medium

and everything to do with bad stigma.

I disagree - if that were true then nothing would help them , 68020 or CD.

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Add an IDE interface? That's not a good console choice - the reason I want a CD in 93 is to unify the market.

( The CD32 launched in 93 with a double speed CD rom drive for $399 , and I'm expecting Atari to be more aggressive in pricing than that )

Only an idiot would launch a console with an 'add your own CD' - you'd have no idea how many people actually used CD's - so you'd have to keep the cartridge ports. I want CD and no cartridges - something simple for users and profitable for Atari.

 

A CD was not necessary for a console of that time and only an idot would release a console costing $150 or more than the original Jaguar price, especially with all the bad stigma they had from previous products. The last clearly well supported product from Atari was sadly the 2600.

How do you know a CD was not necessary? It seemed necessary to Sega with the Mega CD, 3D0 , even the CD32. Sony were designing the PSX with CD and Sega the Saturn with CD.

 

Before you start with any 'blah blah 68020 better' arguments again I'm not denying that a 68020 would speed up games written in 68000 code. I just dont think adding a 68020 would have changed the fate of the machine. The only reason I argue about removing the 68k completely is reduce costs so that the CD could be added.

 

Before you continue with your blah blah blah about an impractical Cd unit, that would have done nothing to reduce the cost

as the machine would have costed at least $400. The typical price range for a Cd player was $199 or more and even at $99

dollars, Atari's cost, the machine with the necessary hardware needed to handle the CD would not have saved any money.

 

Use the 020, fix the blitter and you could sell the machine at $299 with an Area 51 pack in.

Retail price is not related to the cost Atari would pay for a bare mechanism.

And why Pack Area51 in, it didn't come out till 1995?

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I dont think more polys per second would have had any impact on the jaguar sales - It had very good versions of both Doom and Wolfenstein, Quake came out in 1996, so it's not really relevant in 1993.

I look at the best games on Jaguar and in my opinion they were incredibly impressive at the time. Alien Vs Predator stills compares pretty well with games on Saturn or PSX. Cybermorph was pretty cool for a launch title as well.

 

 

Go back and read the reviews of complaints of slow frame rate. Even with the same amount of polies the 020 would have been able to allow the system to run at 30-60 FPS no matter what game it was. You know, the never ending complaint of how it cant be 64 bits becasue everything ran choppy and slow?

Those complaints? Oh go back and look at the two biggest mags at the time and how they blanket partied AvP for it's slowness.

 

And how would a 68020 solve that? A Cd would help as it would cost publishers less to produce Jaguar games - Atari could go to someone like EA and say "Release Madden PC for Jaguar and we'll let it go royalty free this year" and it would be far less risk than carts. ( EA's probally a bad example given their connection with 3D0 )

 

No one would benefit from a CD as the cost would be too high. WAY to high and the 020 would have allowed for faster frame rates...again the common

complaints of how the 64 bits was not 64 bits becasue the frame rates are just too slow and it much be four 16 bit processors.

 

 

What reworking? At the least, the DSP and GPU were always intended to run code from main memory - it's just a bug that stopped it. The minimal change to self boot would be to clear the PC to zero at reset and let the gpu run. The DSP could be left as is - it would be started from the GPU code.

 

The reworking necesary to allow the system to boot without a host and to allow C coding. There was a lot of ncessary silicon needed for that

such as a TRUE cache instead of a local. If the only thing they fixed was the simple power line to the MMU that would only be a very small cost

and would have gone a long way in helping the systems performance. Then with the 020 staying off the bus and actually being able to perform work

would have opened up that bus for much more amazing ability the 68k essentially destroyed. Even the inexperienced coder, then could have used 020

C compilers and had achived much better results much faster allowing much more time to fine tune a local renderer with much better performance.

 

 

In my opinion no one fixed these bugs because no one used the C compiler for serious GPU work. C was for game work , and the gpu's main use was rendering. It was gcc, which even then was a pretty good compiler - and bugs like that seem to be simple back end mistakes.

 

Like I said you never obviously used the RISC compilers for the Jaguar. Both Sony and Nintendo made a big splash with their systems using

portable C code. GCC is only as good as the port...this port was pure garbage.

 

I disagree - if that were true then nothing would help them , 68020 or CD.

 

the 020 would have helped greatly increase the frame rates and the tools available for the 020

were by far superior to anything the J-RISC's had at the time. And as far as Atari's stigma I once

again point you to the major mags that trashed the system based on its poor frame rate performance.

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How do you know a CD was not necessary? It seemed necessary to Sega with the Mega CD, 3D0 , even the CD32. Sony were designing the PSX with CD and Sega the Saturn with CD.

 

the Cd was added on to make Nintendo look bad. and it was an add on and not part of the original system.

 

Retail price is not related to the cost Atari would pay for a bare mechanism.

And why Pack Area51 in, it didn't come out till 1995?

 

At $199 and higher the best atari could have hoped for is $99(in large quantity.) Something Atari could not afford.

Games with the caliper of Area 51 would have been realized in months not years.

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Gorf, I think the main point with the CD is not adding power to the system, but rather the market apeal for multimedia gaming experiences and coresponding apeal to developers. (along with low cost/risk of the media) CD music should lighten the DSP's load as well (and in-game add music to games lacking it like Doom and Cybermorph). And if you weren't trying to stream game data on the fly, would the CD drive be hitting th main bus at all durring gameplay? (ie other than specific loading sequences)

 

The DSP is hitting the bus at 6 cycles per access, thats why. As far as developers, over 300 signed with Atari before it was even manufactured.

 

GAmes like Area 51 would have been and then you could always release that after the fact on CD, as sega did and Sega did not end up splitting

their market as a result.

 

 

It seems like ARM chips were a lot more oriented to the low-cost market in particular. The more I read about the history on it, th emore it seems to pint to that as well, I mentioned it before an dit was rather inconclusive, but it looks like the ARM-60 (ad in 3DO) might have been a good bit cheaper than an EC020 (smaller chip than a 68k with only 35,000 transistors), albeit with no cache. (though it should be way better than the 68k, still give Jerry a 32-bit datapath, and maybe more efficient with some things in main than the GPU -if nothing else C freindly and fairly well known) Hell, maybe Atari could have even licenced the ARM-6 core and put it in Jerry (which was still a good bit smaller than Tom).

Just something I was thinking about. Though from the list of CPU types flare made the host compatible for, ARM wasn't one of them for whatever reason. (just x86, MIPS, and 68k iirc)

 

The cache is the key to the performance since the Jaguar is a unified bus. There for the 020 would have stayed off the bus most of the time while still handling all the game logic and AI. The only thing the GPU would be doing is render, render, render. The only the the DSP would be doing is

sound, networking and input. The cheapest ARM did not run very fast and those that did would be much more expensive than an 020.

 

The 68k was used as Atari was able to load up on them as they were very cheap as they were also at that point on their way to obsolesence.

Motorola was moer than happy to dump them off cheaply to Atari who was one of their bigger customer bases.

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I dont think more polys per second would have had any impact on the jaguar sales - It had very good versions of both Doom and Wolfenstein, Quake came out in 1996, so it's not really relevant in 1993.

I look at the best games on Jaguar and in my opinion they were incredibly impressive at the time. Alien Vs Predator stills compares pretty well with games on Saturn or PSX. Cybermorph was pretty cool for a launch title as well.

 

 

Go back and read the reviews of complaints of slow frame rate. Even with the same amount of polies the 020 would have been able to allow the system to run at 30-60 FPS no matter what game it was. You know, the never ending complaint of how it cant be 64 bits becasue everything ran choppy and slow?

Those complaints? Oh go back and look at the two biggest mags at the time and how they blanket partied AvP for it's slowness.

 

 

I dont remember the complaints being frame rate, more comments about the game being slow - and it still had very good reviews. But that was in the UK - I can't remember what the american magazines said - I used to read EGM and GamePro? but I never kept any ( even my Edge magazines went away when I ran low on room )

 

There weren't any complaints about the frame rate in Doom or Wolfenstein though, were there?

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What reworking? At the least, the DSP and GPU were always intended to run code from main memory - it's just a bug that stopped it. The minimal change to self boot would be to clear the PC to zero at reset and let the gpu run. The DSP could be left as is - it would be started from the GPU code.

 

The reworking necesary to allow the system to boot without a host and to allow C coding. There was a lot of ncessary silicon needed for that

such as a TRUE cache instead of a local. If the only thing they fixed was the simple power line to the MMU that would only be a very small cost

and would have gone a long way in helping the systems performance. Then with the 020 staying off the bus and actually being able to perform work

would have opened up that bus for much more amazing ability the 68k essentially destroyed. Even the inexperienced coder, then could have used 020

C compilers and had achived much better results much faster allowing much more time to fine tune a local renderer with much better performance.

 

Ah - ok , you think a cache would be necessary to boot without a host. I disagree - only execution from main memory would be needed, which would be trivial.

A cache would improve the performance a lot - speeding things up, but I wasn't planning on it.

Just fix the powerline, or whatever the bug was , and have the GPU start running at 0 after reset. Nothing more complex than that

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The more i think about this the more i think there's a lot of bias when talking about about frame rates - i see them as a stick with which to beat games people object to.

 

I finally got to see some Panzer Dragoon Saga in the flesh not too long ago and the frame rate, on occasions, horrified me - it was so low that the game almost seemed to come to a halt.

 

Now i'm sure that there are plenty of reasons why PDS is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time, but its frame rate is not one of them - and yet how many times is this held against it? None?

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Now I'm going to have to dig out the Saturn again.. You're probally right, PDS was much more of an 'atmosphere' so I never worried too much about the frame rates - ( though I do remember some of the village bits on foot being pretty poor )

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The more i think about this the more i think there's a lot of bias when talking about about frame rates - i see them as a stick with which to beat games people object to.

 

I finally got to see some Panzer Dragoon Saga in the flesh not too long ago and the frame rate, on occasions, horrified me - it was so low that the game almost seemed to come to a halt.

 

Now i'm sure that there are plenty of reasons why PDS is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time, but its frame rate is not one of them - and yet how many times is this held against it? None?

 

The frame rate in Panzer Dragoon Saga when flying your dragon is not bad, but when exploring towns it is really low, so low that i stopped playing the game when i got to the first town in disgust.

I had wanted to play that game for years and when i finally had it, the frame rate killed it for me. But then i did what i always do when a great game is held back by low frame reates. I just fire up 3DO Doom, play it for 3 or 4 levels, and then i got back to PD Saga, and it felt silky smooth!, er, not quiet but it felt much better ;) . That trick works 90% of the time :cool: .

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The DSP is hitting the bus at 6 cycles per access, thats why. As far as developers, over 300 signed with Atari before it was even manufactured.

 

Why would playing Redbook audio have anything to do with the DSP, the CD player should have its own DACs for handeling that, being then mixed jag's audio output, at least thats how all other (redbook compatible) disc based consoles did it AFIK.

 

GAmes like Area 51 would have been and then you could always release that after the fact on CD, as sega did and Sega did not end up splitting

their market as a result.

 

Ok, for 1 Sega did more or less split the market with the CD (part of the reason for thelimited success), and a big reason it did do as well as it did was the Genesis's massive success. The main purpose of the CD had been to test the waters with th enew media anyway, following NEC. NEC did manage to fully shift over from PCE hu cards to CD, with the CD eventually becoming far more popular in Japan, but then again, the japanese market is somewhat different.

 

With a limited userbase at best, it would be too small to practically push the Jag CD properly. (with things going a lot better, perhaps the jaguar could have outsold the Saturn in US and Europe -the latter in which Atari did still have a pretty good reputation with the popularity of their computers) If the Jag II was ready by late 1996, that would have been the better choice anyway, maybe even go with a 4x speed drive at that point. Plenty of games would still be relatively new at that time (including cojag titles, and Myst would probably still have interest -and could have higher quality video as well). So that's probably the best option.

I do think the Jag could have done fine with carts alone, with the biggest hardware difficulties resolved, and much better management. (beter negotiations with contracted and 3r party developers, freely releasing what development tools Atari had, and getting the Tramiels to put enough of a personal investment in to at least allow for a proper launch and better oganized advertizing -still on a limited budget, but make the most with it)

 

With a few exceptions, th emajority of games using CD video around 1993/94 could either still work without it (like Soul Star), or were the "FMV" games of a short lived fad, which would sell well for a while but die quickly ~1995 with 3D really coming into its own. (there would be exceptions like some cool shooters relying on streaming backgrounds, and games like Myst and Wing Commander III/IV, but those are the exceptions, not the rule) Then came the "eye candy" video cutscenes and intro that were prominant on PS1, but the Jag II should be able to catch a lot of that. (and with better video quality than the Jag CD could)

 

I kind of like some of those "FMV" games nonetheless, they tend to have kind of a campy charm, but public interest was rather short lived (just liek with laserdisc games in the 80s, with a small reamergance around this time in the early 90s as well).

 

Ah - ok , you think a cache would be necessary to boot without a host. I disagree - only execution from main memory would be needed, which would be trivial.

A cache would improve the performance a lot - speeding things up, but I wasn't planning on it.

Just fix the powerline, or whatever the bug was , and have the GPU start running at 0 after reset. Nothing more complex than that

 

Yeah, a bug free Tom and Jerry alone shoud still have been a lot better than the current jag, way better to use RISC in main -along with scratchpads, than the 68k. (maybe double buffer the blitter too) That's what Gorf keeps saying for programming the actual jag, isn't it? keep the 68k off the bus and have the GPU handel it instead. (except here they'd be bug free and both GPU and DSP should be equally effective in main)

Edited by kool kitty89

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Why would playing Redbook audio have anything to do with the DSP, the CD player should have its own DACs for handeling that, being then mixed jag's audio output, at least thats how all other (redbook compatible) disc based consoles did it AFIK.

 

You still need the DSP to mix it with itself...that does not happen automatically.

 

Ok, for 1 Sega did more or less split the market with the CD (part of the reason for thelimited success), and a big reason it did do as well as it did was the Genesis's massive success. The main purpose of the CD had been to test the waters with th enew media anyway, following NEC. NEC did manage to fully shift over from PCE hu cards to CD, with the CD eventually becoming far more popular in Japan, but then again, the japanese market is

With a limited userbase at best, it would be too small to practically push the Jag CD properly. (with things going a lot better, perhaps the jaguar could have outsold the Saturn in US and Europe -the latter in which Atari did still have a pretty good reputation with the popularity of their computers) If the Jag II was ready by late 1996, that would have been the better choice anyway, maybe even go with a 4x speed drive at that point. Plenty of games would still be relatively new at that time (including cojag titles, and Myst would probably still have interest -and could have higher quality video as well). So that's probably the best option.

I do think the Jag could have done fine with carts alone, with the biggest hardware difficulties resolved, and much better management. (beter negotiations with contracted and 3r party developers, freely releasing what development tools Atari had, and getting the Tramiels to put enough of a personal investment in to at least allow for a proper launch and better oganized advertizing -still on a limited budget, but make the most with it)

 

Right the CD was still an over all success and if the Jaguar had a more powerfull porccessing chain( ie the 020) the tools would have been better from day one, running AI an game logic on that intead of the 68k or splitting up the rendering with the GPU. Either way the 020 is win win.

 

With a few exceptions, th emajority of games using CD video around 1993/94 could either still work without it (like Soul Star), or were the "FMV" games of a short lived fad, which would sell well for a while but die quickly ~1995 with 3D really coming into its own. (there would be exceptions like some cool shooters relying on streaming backgrounds, and games like Myst and Wing Commander III/IV, but those are the exceptions, not the rule) Then came the "eye candy" video cutscenes and intro that were prominant on PS1, but the Jag II should be able to catch a lot of that. (and with better video quality than the Jag CD could)

 

The JAg CD did better video than most of the other systesm off CD....the Jag II was a pipe dream after the first few years of disaster

with the Jag. and games could ahev been developed to use CD and cart and just the cart work alone(with lesser content) if you did not

have the CD. This would have given users a reason to upgrade to an addon later.

 

I kind of like some of those "FMV" games nonetheless, they tend to have kind of a campy charm, but public interest was rather short lived (just liek with laserdisc games in the 80s, with a small reamergance around this time in the early 90s as well).

 

Yes some of the FMVstuff was interesting but never game sellers. You'd not have made a lot of money on FMV only with no game.

 

Ah - ok , you think a cache would be necessary to boot without a host. I disagree - only execution from main memory would be needed, which would be trivial.

A cache would improve the performance a lot - speeding things up, but I wasn't planning on it.

Just fix the powerline, or whatever the bug was , and have the GPU start running at 0 after reset. Nothing more complex than that

 

Yeah, a bug free Tom and Jerry alone shoud still have been a lot better than the current jag, way better to use RISC in main -along with scratchpads, than the 68k. (maybe double buffer the blitter too) That's what Gorf keeps saying for programming the actual jag, isn't it? keep the 68k off the bus and have the GPU handel it instead. (except here they'd be bug free and both GPU and DSP should be equally effective in main)

 

No it wouls have had the same bottlenecks without a true dual port unity cache between them, which would require more silicon to allow for.

This is the cahce that would allow the units to talk to each other without hitting the man bus, requiring a small private bus to communicate.

The blitter would fill the cahce from either side.. a simple 2k or 4k would be plenty for this.

 

Even in main you still have bus contentions. You'd have had much less with an 020 or a unity cache without a host. The powerline would not have

affored this alone. Oh and btw even without the private bus for the dual port ram, TRUE dual port ram was not cheap in 92 by anymeans.

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The key would be having the gpu C compiler, as the reliance on the familiar 68000 would be less important if you were writing C code from day one. Of course for real performance optimised loops would have to be hand tuned assembly , but that's always been the case - even for modern consoles.

 

So Atari's GPU C compiler was broken, but apparently High Voltage Software's wasn't. It did not run in main and used some kind of crazy linker setup for memory flip in 'n out management, but it was targeted to the GPU. Also they got to where they were using C++ on the Jag seamlessly according to the story and everything HVS did on the Jag after White Men Cant Jump used this setup. (not sure about NBA Jam TE) Even Dactyl Joust:

 

 

Why Atari did not buy the rights to use these tools from HVS is just another testament to galactic stupidity.

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Yes some of the FMVstuff was interesting but never game sellers. You'd not have made a lot of money on FMV only with no game.

 

Some FMV games I've loved: Jurassic Park (Sega CD) Ground Zero Texas (Sega CD) The 7th Guest(PC) Vid Grid(Jaguar) Myst, I loved/hated this game(Jaguar).

Edited by JagChris

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You still need the DSP to mix it with itself...that does not happen automatically.

 

Umm, OK, I would have just thought the sound signals would be mixed after being converted to analog audio.

 

Right the CD was still an over all success and if the Jaguar had a more powerfull porccessing chain( ie the 020) the tools would have been better from day one, running AI an game logic on that intead of the 68k or splitting up the rendering with the GPU. Either way the 020 is win win.

 

I guess that could have worked OK, hell maybe they could even release expansion/enhancement CDs after the fact for some initial cart games. (as simple as adding CD music or as much as additional levels and game content)

I supose if they really did manage to get a substancial transition with the CD (preferably close to 1/2 of jag owners) they could really start supporting the CD seriously, shifting to that as the main format with more limited support continued for carts. (kind of like what NEC did with the PC Engine) Getting they Duo out in a timely manner could be a deciding factor as well, and at a competitive price point (to competitors and a good bit cheaper than the CD+Jag cost together). That is one thing Sega screwed up with the CDX, should have been a simple, no frills, cost optimized, integration of the consoles, maybe down to $200 instead of $350-$400. (compared to $250 for a new Genesis+CD in mid 1994)

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You still need the DSP to mix it with itself...that does not happen automatically.

 

Umm, OK, I would have just thought the sound signals would be mixed after being converted to analog audio.

 

YEs butyou still nedd the DSP to take those sound channels, mix them and then send them out to the I2S

channels.

 

I guess that could have worked OK, hell maybe they could even release expansion/enhancement CDs after the fact for some initial cart games. (as simple as adding CD music or as much as additional levels and game content)

 

Yes like Doom or Wolf 3D for instance, adding new levels and even entire new missions.

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Yes like Doom or Wolf 3D for instance, adding new levels and even entire new missions.

 

And maybe add the 3DO soundtrack to Doom. ;) (hopefully not the ambient junk PSX/Saturn got... although that intro theme was pretty cool)

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The bottom line is you must put out the best games with some exclusive IP. If Atari was ready to do that then they would have been fine regardless of technical issues.

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The bottom line is you must put out the best games with some exclusive IP. If Atari was ready to do that then they would have been fine regardless of technical issues.

 

 

Well they had over 80 titles from their own vault. They did not use them.

They had a deal with Time-Warner/Atari for some. They did not take advantage of it.

 

So I like you agree that Atari was their own worst enemy in this.

 

No developer support.

Not letting the technichians designing the system to do a few simple things to make the machine MUCH better.

Too busy wasting money on lawyers suing the other VG companies.

Speaking of bottom line, let's face it...their heart was not really in this. It was in their bottom line.

 

If they spent a little more money on either an 020 or instead, keep the 68k but make it impossible for it

to run in the game loop after boot and add the necessary registers needed in the blitter for some double

buffering of the blit regs, true dual port write backs to eliminate stalls, and dont tie the DSP to the host,

allowing it to be a true 32 bit processor externally, Doom would have ran at twice the resolution and never drop

below 60 FPS....either way. These hardware changes (which this topic is about anyway) were a giant leap over the

68k as a host....also you would have had in game music in DOOM and suffered no slowdown. After all , the music

fit on cart and it actually plays with a recompile and the right flag set to allow it.

 

Ah hindsight is a beautiful thing, aint it?

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