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minuS

My Jaguar experience so far...

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Sticking a PSX alike chipset in a jaguar wasn't where i was coming from, like what AA member Bryan said to me about 'amiga-izing' the A8 chipset you loose something of the orginal hardware and it doesn't become an A8, so sticking a psx alike chipset inside a jaguar means you lose something and it just isn't a jaguar

 

Hmm, from a design standpoint, both the PSX and Jaguar come from different school of thoughts. The Jaguar has a unified memory architecture and everything, being it program execution, data storage or graphics rendering, is using that bus (not taking the caches of the RISC into account). The PSX however, has strictly seperated buses for CPU and graphics rendering, and each side can only gain access to the other via DMA. So a Jaguar/PSX hybrid is something which would never ever make any sense at all.

 

Now I realise that Atari were pushed to get some sort of hardware onto the marketplace to compete with the sony/nintendo/sega hardware of the time, the fact that they had some resources and some money to develop 2 products (Panther and Jaguar) Atari should have stuck with their original plan and not rushed Jaguar development, therefore giving Atari time to iron out any problems with the hardware of the jaguar and not only that, but giving people time to see what the Jaguar looked like (as the Panther had similar hardware) and probably would have gotten a bit more developer/software support as developers and publishers would already be programming software on the Panther

 

I think given the limited resources Atari had in the 90's, the Jaguar is a very impressive architecture. It easily beats anything produced before in video game business. The biggest mistake however is when the development tools are not good, which is especially fatal considering that the instruction set of the Jaguar RISC's are unique, so that no standard compiler could have been used. Perhaps they should have tried to license an already established RISC design (like MIPS), but then again, there is the money issue.

 

What Atari coul;d have done is after the ironed out the hardware issues of the Jaguar is to have launched it like sega did with the megadrive (re: the power base convertor) and offer Panther owners a way of Playing their existing software line up on the jaguar via a cartridge emulator/adapter, that way Atari would have kept some/most of their existing user base as well as anyone interested in buying the Jaguar

 

2 Co-existing platforms would have killed Atari even quicker than the Jaguar. And NEVER EVER consider ANYTHING Sega did right after the Genesis as a role model plan (except the Dreamcast, when it was too late)! Especially the 32X was an immensive flop.

 

Aslo the whole cart/cd format issue is irrelevent, as most european publishers didn't start doing cd games en masse till about 1997 at least so Atari wouldn't have been lagely affected by any support for it's system as, if they marketed both the jaguar and JagCD device properly Atari, along with the likes of sega, nintendo and sony would have been fairly well placed for the CD format market (after all there were still quiet a few publishers willing to stick with Atari, at least in europe anyway in the early to mid 90's)

 

The problem is that Atari realistically could never have won the business back, no matter how hard they tried. Their financial resources were drained, the brand "Atari" had long lost its mass appeal, they had no killer apps to make the mass buy the console because of its software. The last point I think is the most important. If the game is great, you don't care anymore how much bits this system is supposed to have. The Jaguar, I am pretty sure, could have pulled off a decent port of Virtua Fighter for example. The problems is, games like these would have to be released right after the introduction of the Jaguar in 1993 to have a remote chance of surviving the rise of the PSX and Saturn.

 

In my opinion, another mistake was the 64bit campaign. I don't want to start another bitness discussion here, since it is totally irrelevant to what I am trying to say now. What I am trying to say is: the games never reflected what the public associated with 64bit at the time. And I think that resulted in a huge loss of credibility for Atari. In all the talks about whether the Jaguar is 64bit or not, the fact that no game was able to convince people of this totally overshadowed the fact that up to this point, the Jaguar was quite a good design, much more capable than what had been released before.

Edited by Vigo

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the games never reflected what the public associated with 64bit at the time. And I think that resulted in a huge loss of credibility for Atari.
Good point. I remember reading snarky responses to the "Do The Math" campaign that went something like "We did the math, and it didn't add up."

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The problem is that Atari realistically could never have won the business back, no matter how hard they tried. Their financial resources were drained, the brand "Atari" had long lost its mass appeal, they had no killer apps to make the mass buy the console because of its software.

 

You wrote a good post-mortem for the Jaguar.

 

One thing I don't see mentioned often enough:

 

Atari did have a tarnished brand in the mass market, but I actually think consumers were very forgiving because Atari still had a lot of nostalgia credit banked up. There's still a huge market for Atari T-Shirts for a reason. They had some mass appeal left.

 

The real problem with Atari's image was with businesses. Retailers didn't trust them, serious investors didn't trust them, hardware partners didn't trust them, and most of all, software partners didn't trust them. Nobody expected them to stay around for the long haul, and that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

While I agree that Atari made a huge error in not shipping good development tools, I think even awesome C-friendly/3D-friendly tools would not have helped much. The real reason Atari didn't have killer apps is because experienced, AAA, developers didn't trust the Jaguar to succeed. Bad development tools were just icing on the cake.

 

The PS2 had poor development tools from the start, and that didn't stop every AAA developer on earth sinking millions into overcoming that barrier. That's the difference a trusted corporate brand can make.

 

- KS

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The PS2 had poor development tools from the start, and that didn't stop every AAA developer on earth sinking millions into overcoming that barrier. That's the difference a trusted corporate brand can make.
Unless you go ahead and do something like base your system around a massively parallel CPU that nobody knows how to leverage, like Sony did with the PS3... Then it doesn't matter how trusted your brand is ;)

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Unless you go ahead and do something like base your system around a massively parallel CPU that nobody knows how to leverage, like Sony did with the PS3... Then it doesn't matter how trusted your brand is ;)

 

The PS3 is way easier to use than the PS2. Seriously, ask PS2 developers!

 

That doesn't stop it from being a huge pain in the ass. :D

 

I think too much gets attributed to ease of programming. Every development house has masochists who LOVE the idea of hacking on a brittle, evil, difficult, platform. It's the business guys who look at the market, look at the price ($599...seriously?), and decide whether it's worth the pain.

 

- KS

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The PS3 is way easier to use than the PS2. Seriously, ask PS2 developers!

 

That doesn't stop it from being a huge pain in the ass. :D

 

I think too much gets attributed to ease of programming.

True, but I suspect things'd be different if the PS3 sold as well as the PS2... Or the Wii... Or even the 360. Then again, a real killer app might've done just that. It's all interconnected and bidirectional, the video game market. Obviously development hurdles aren't the only thing holding the PS3 back, but they certainly aren't helping things ;)

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Unless you go ahead and do something like base your system around a massively parallel CPU that nobody knows how to leverage, like Sony did with the PS3... Then it doesn't matter how trusted your brand is ;)

 

The PS3 is way easier to use than the PS2. Seriously, ask PS2 developers!

 

That doesn't stop it from being a huge pain in the ass. :D

 

I think Sony's biggest problem was not necessarily that the PS2 wasn't a well thought out hardware (in fact, it is very efficient), but that it differed A LOT from how PC's were built at that time. The key element to unleash the power of the PS2 is in using the 2 vector units, which I think heavily inspired the concept of vertex shaders found in modern GPU's.

 

This presentation here explains it quite good:

 

http://www.technology.scee.net/files/prese...programmers.pdf

 

The first titles just used the R5900 for everything, including geometrical transformations, bypassing all extra features the PS2 provides.

 

The only real drawback of the PS2 is the tiny amount of VRAM. But then again, since it is embedded INTO the GS, the PS2 had a killer fill-rate for its time, allowing lots of effects achieved through multi-passed rendering.

Edited by Vigo

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I think Sony's biggest problem was not necessarily that the PS2 wasn't a well thought out hardware (in fact, it is very efficient), but that it differed A LOT from how PC's were built at that time.

 

I agree! Honestly, I find these "oddball" architectures very fun to study and work with. If you are interested in systems architecture, then the Jaguar, Nuon, and PS2 are all very interesting counter-examples to how things are traditionally done. If you're a developer under deadline pressure, it is hard to properly appreciate these "special" systems. ;)

 

Both the PS2 and Jaguar demand that the (hapless) developer really understand the hardware, especially how data flows through the system, the exact timing of different mechanisms, and how to interleave all the processing and memory access for peak efficiency. Even memory layout is a big deal on both systems, with high speed local scratchpads and enormous page change penalties.

 

Needless to say, there is no way to get even a fraction of the available performance using anything but assembly language on either system.

 

You can see that the Jaguar team learned to dial things back with the Nuon. It still has scratchpads and parallel processing, but issues like caching and DMA are better supported and understood.

 

In fact, it's a lot more reasonable to use pure C on a Nuon... or PS3. What's fun to me is the parallels between the PS2 and Jaguar, and matching parallels between the PS3 and Nuon. It's as if the designers were learning the same lessons.

 

Of course it should be obvious that the PS2/3 designs are better executed because they had the benefit of much larger teams and much more advanced technology.

 

- KS

Edited by kskunk

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I think Sony's biggest problem was not necessarily that the PS2 wasn't a well thought out hardware (in fact, it is very efficient), but that it differed A LOT from how PC's were built at that time.

 

I agree! Honestly, I find these "oddball" architectures very fun to study and work with. If you are interested in systems architecture, then the Jaguar, Nuon, and PS2 are all very interesting counter-examples to how things are traditionally done. If you're a developer under deadline pressure, it is hard to properly appreciate these "special" systems. ;)

 

Both the PS2 and Jaguar demand that the (hapless) developer really understand the hardware, especially how data flows through the system, the exact timing of different mechanisms, and how to interleave all the processing and memory access for peak efficiency. Even memory layout is a big deal on both systems, with high speed local scratchpads and enormous page change penalties.

 

Needless to say, there is no way to get even a fraction of the available performance using anything but assembly language on either system.

 

You can see that the Jaguar team learned to dial things back with the Nuon. It still has scratchpads and parallel processing, but issues like caching and DMA are better supported and understood.

 

In fact, it's a lot more reasonable to use pure C on a Nuon... or PS3. What's fun to me is the parallels between the PS2 and Jaguar, and matching parallels between the PS3 and Nuon. It's as if the designers were learning the same lessons.

 

Of course it should be obvious that the PS2/3 designs are better executed because they had the benefit of much larger teams and much more advanced technology.

 

- KS

The Cell (PS3) is very much like that... Overlooking seemingly simple things can cause your code to be slower by orders of magnitude.

 

IF the PS3 can hang around a little longer, you may see a come from behind for it. The IBM cell SDKs have gotten much better, and people are getting a handle on programming the little beastie. The Cell is pretty amazing once you understand what you are doing and how it fits together. It's quite a departure from 'normal' programming.

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On another note and more in line with your topic if you're after a fun game I'd recommend Flip Out. :)
Well, I picked up a sealed copy of Flip Out! from the game shop down the street from work today, so I'll let you know what I think once I get to spend some quality time with it :) I've also recently picked up boxed copies of Hover Strike, Raiden (and sold my loose copy), and Zoop (I love that game). I opted not to grab loose copies of Checkered Flag, Evolution: Dino Dudes, and Val d'Isere Skiing & Snowboarding as well as boxed copies of Brutal Sports Football, Club Drive, Flashback, Supercross 3D, Syndicate, and Troy Aikman Football though ;)

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Both the PS2 and Jaguar demand that the (hapless) developer really understand the hardware, especially how data flows through the system, the exact timing of different mechanisms, and how to interleave all the processing and memory access for peak efficiency. Even memory layout is a big deal on both systems, with high speed local scratchpads and enormous page change penalties.

 

 

God forbid coders should know the machine they code on! :roll:

 

 

The Jaguar bitness was not a problem....it was backing it up with software.

You cant get 64 bit looking games when you treat the 68k as the main processor.

Edited by Gorf

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Don't tempt me! I'm trying to keep my old console purchases limited to either exclusives (e.g. Alien Vs Predator) or definitive (Tempest 2000) and/or unique (Wolfenstein 3d) versions of games. I hear Flashback has some nicer backgrounds on the Jaguar, but then I have played it on various other platforms...

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When I first acquired AvP, I tried it out for an hour or two and couldn't see the appeal. After seeing so many positive comments I decided to give it another try a couple of years ago, downloaded the maps and read a few hints on how to get started as the Marine in the game. Once I gave it another try I found it to be a very good game, although I had to use cheats to ultimately finish the Marine version.

 

Someday I should go back and give the Alien and Predator versions of the game a serious try.

 

I think it's different now to play vs how it was in 1994. I think a lot of games that are considered "innovative" at the time have a habit of looking really dated, really quickly. We used to have parties in my dorm room where people would play AvP, drink beer and scream like idiots when an alien appeared out of nowhere.

 

Tried it again recently and noted how much more dated it seemed. Found the same thing with DOOM to be honest.

 

In fairness, 2D games didn't really get much better after Jaguar but 3D games have improved a lot.

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i guess the reason why they didn't is because they heard that the system was a bit buggy and crppled in places and if consumers aren't buying then you get no software supprt

 

Most consumers don't think like developers. :-) They didn't buy it because they heard the games were crap and because they heard that the graphic didn't live up to the claim of being 64-bit relative to what was already defined as being "16-bit".

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First off, welcome.

 

As for your post...I seriously don't know what to say. Everyone has their opinions, don't get me wrong...and maybe I'm just reading this the wrong way...but are you coming to a Jaguar board, bashing the system in your first post? That's what it seems like to me, but again, I could be wrong.

 

And Cybermorph, less-than-stellar? I have Cybermorph and Star Fox (SNES). I LOVE my SNES, don't get me wrong...but Cybermorph just CRUSHES Star Fox in so many ways. As a pack-in, it's a fun game and again, just out-does Star Fox in so many terms.

 

 

Hah, there are people like that on all forums. Especially with cars. When the Pontiac Solstice was coming out, there was a message board for people who had special ordered them, and then Mazda Miata owners would frequently register and post on there telling us how bad the Solstice was going to suck and that the Miata was better.

 

To each their own... but I do have to wonder why someone would come on to a message board to post negative things about a product that the message board caters to, with no other reason at all?

 

I mean, I can understand if you own a Toyota Corolla for example, and it's breaking down (just saying) and you log on to a board and bitch about it because you want to know how to fix it...

 

I like all game systems... some are better than others, but the Jaguar is unique. I feel something different when I play it that I don't feel when I play the other games.

 

I feel like I'm playing something special, something that has more substance.

 

It's kind of the same feel I get when I play the SNES, but like on the otherhand, something I definitely don't feel when I play the N64, or the Sega DreamCast. I get that feeling somewhat on the Sega Saturn...

 

I dunno, it's hard to explain...

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but I do have to wonder why someone would come on to a message board to post negative things about a product that the message board caters to, with no other reason at all?
Hey now, I hope you're just speaking in general terms and not about me specifically! If you are talking about me, and you haven't read the whole thread, go read my original post and subsequent elaborations :) I love my Jaguar; I just made a point of talking about both the good and the bad. Edited by minuS

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but I do have to wonder why someone would come on to a message board to post negative things about a product that the message board caters to, with no other reason at all?
Hey now, I hope you're just speaking in general terms and not about me specifically! If you are talking about me, and you haven't read the whole thread, go read my original post and subsequent elaborations :) I love my Jaguar; I just made a point of talking about both the good and the bad.

 

 

It was more general, hah... sorry if I wasn't clear.

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