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Multijointed Monster Maker

It's 1990, your designing a game system, what would you do?

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Easy: The Super Mattel IntelliTariTendoVisionTrexEsis. Combing the Intellivision, Atari, Nintendo, ColecoVision, Vectrex, and Genesis.

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I'm not sure that specific numbers existed for consoles back then. Everything was worded to sound better than it actually was...especially if terms or figures had to be invented to do it.

 

Are you looking for that? Or some kind of alternate reality involving components that didn't yet exist, or involving existing high-end hardware that still wasn't inexpensive enough to shove into a game system (at least not for new players in the market)?

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I'd combine the processing power of the Sega Genesis with the more advanced graphics capabilities of the Snes to make the GeneSnes.

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The system would be called Sega Genesis +

 

Processor-6800

Processor Speed - around 9.5 MHZ

Memory: 128K Ram, 128K Video Ram

Resolution 320 x224

Color Palette: 512, 128 max on screen

Max Sprites: 100

Sprites Sizes 64x32

Sound 6 channel Stereo

Cartridge size 16MB before bankswitching

Edited by 8th lutz

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I'd put out a machine with an Intel 386 chip that was based on Windows 3.0 with 10 megs or so of storage space and call it the "Personal Console."

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I wouldn't design a system, I would keep making bad-ass games for the NES... ;)

 

Seriously, though.. I don't know.

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I'd combine the processing power of the Sega Genesis with the more advanced graphics capabilities of the Snes to make the GeneSnes.

 

I don't know why, but I don't see the Snes being that much better graphic wise. Sure there are more colors, and hardware effects, but it's resolution is lower, it has 1/4 the memory devoted to sprite animation, and it's scaling and rotation is limited to only 1 background.

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Actually, my idea was close to what Rev was thinking, even though he was jesting about it.

 

I'd design and make a game system that could play both console games AND PC games.

 

In 1990 computers were not that advanced. It was still very possible to incoperate the heart of one into a game console. Cutting edge back then was a 386-33 Mhz system. I don't even think the 486 was out yet. But at the same time, it was possible with reduced prices and increased tehcnology to finally combine the console and PC ideas and make it worth.

 

Also, game consoles were not super advanced at the time either. In 1990 the NES was still top dog in the States. The new 16 bit systems were coming on strong with the Sega Genesis and the NEC Turbo-Graphix 16, but Nintendo was still designing their own 16 bit system.

 

The device would be a large box that had one half it as the 'console' side and the other half as the 'PC' side. There would be a cart slot on each for cartridges. Each side would have it's own CPU but the device would share as much as possible, including memory, graphics, sound, and so on. You could only use one side or the other. The system could handle 16 bit games as well as being compatiable with anything from the PC line.

 

I also would ship a keyboard and mouse with the system, as well as a exteneral 5.25 disk drive and a controller, so that it could be used as a computer out of the box, as well as the needed cables and what not to plug into a TV set or a computer monitor for display output. The computer would have DOS installed on it (not sure what version was out at the time) and would also have a small internal HD installed with it. (I'd also love to find a way that the console part of it could use the HD as well for saves).

 

Included optionaly that you could buy for the system would be things like larger hard drives, more memory, a 3.5 inch disk drive, and so on.

 

I would try to get major companies on board to produce cutting edge 16-bit games for the system, but I would also try to release adapters so that it could play NES and Genesis games. Since the system could play or use any existing PC software, it allready would have a large ammount of programs for it's library out of the box.

 

The price would be more expensive then a normal gaming console (which ran around $150-200 new at the time) but since it combined a PC with a gaming console, I think people would pay the higher prices.

 

I always wanted a true combined system like this to come out. :)

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I would make a console version of the Lynx, but with a 65816 instead of a 65c02. And a normal cartridge architexture instead of the loading (thus waiting) kind the lynx has.

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I'd be tempted to look at a console version of the Acorn Archimedes.. An [email protected] + VIDC would give you a machine with 160/320/640 x 256 x 256 colours from 4096 , with a CPU powerfull enough to match the SNES/Megadrive graphics in software, as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D.

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I'd be tempted to look at a console version of the Acorn Archimedes.. An [email protected] + VIDC would give you a machine with 160/320/640 x 256 x 256 colours from 4096 , with a CPU powerfull enough to match the SNES/Megadrive graphics in software, as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D.

 

Sounds intimidating. Btw what is a VIDC?

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I'd be tempted to look at a console version of the Acorn Archimedes.. An [email protected] + VIDC would give you a machine with 160/320/640 x 256 x 256 colours from 4096 , with a CPU powerfull enough to match the SNES/Megadrive graphics in software, as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D.

 

Sounds intimidating. Btw what is a VIDC?

 

It's the Video chip that Acorn designed to go with the ARM in the Archimedes. Shares main memory, and has 1 / 2 / 4 and 8 bit per pixel chunky modes - making it easier to use than the Amiga/ST bitplanes, and much quicker than the VGA memory on PC's ( at least till VESA local bus cards arrived in 92 )

It also supported 8 channels of DMA sound - each with stereo panning. It only had a single sprite though :(

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How about this: basicly the Sega Mega CD, but designed to be standalone, with a a small number of added hardware to accommodate this and none of the restrictions imposed by being tied to the Genesis hardware. (or rather, the limited interface of the expansion connector used -ironically the PC-Engine was the reverse, having an extensive expansion bus, but a CD unit which totally squandered it)

 

All the Sega CD is really missing to be a standalone console is a bit of I/O hardware for reading controller inputs (not even sure it couldn't accommodate this already) and a bitmap display controller for the video ASIC to work with. (a simple VDC would have been perfect, say a 320x240 fixed resolution -with clipping of course- and a 256 color display with colors paletted from 15-bit RGB). One additional possibility would have been a DSP coprocessor to allow for some decent simple 3D and such. (rather like the embedded DPS core sega used in their SVP chip) Perhaps more realist for 1991 in the US though, but it was out in '90 in Japan.

 

Games could be far cheaper than $100 due to CDs, but the unit might push past $300.

Edited by kool kitty89

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I'd be tempted to look at a console version of the Acorn Archimedes.. An [email protected] + VIDC would give you a machine with 160/320/640 x 256 x 256 colours from 4096 , with a CPU powerfull enough to match the SNES/Megadrive graphics in software, as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D.

It's the Video chip that Acorn designed to go with the ARM in the Archimedes. Shares main memory, and has 1 / 2 / 4 and 8 bit per pixel chunky modes - making it easier to use than the Amiga/ST bitplanes, and much quicker than the VGA memory on PC's ( at least till VESA local bus cards arrived in 92 )

It also supported 8 channels of DMA sound - each with stereo panning. It only had a single sprite though :(

 

Hmm, interesting, the ARM250 would seem to have been the ideal choice for such a design (cost wise), but I don't think that was available until 1992. (a 12 MHz, cacheless ARM3 would have been a good alternative prior to that, but I don't know of ARM offering such -something equivelent to the ARM60, but earlier -just th ebare core in a package)

Of course, if you need the added performance of the cache, none of this matters anyway, you'd go for the full ARM3. (which should be a good bit more expensive)

 

Would a 12 MHz ARM3 really be able to render SNES/MD (or Amiga) level 2D with software rendering alone? Even Sega's 32x was fairly limited for 2D capabilities, barely able to match the SNES in some respects for straight 2D games. (and even then it often relied on Genesis hardware for some things) I could see it being roughly comperable to early VGA games on mid-range 386 PCs (like 20-25 MHz -not talking SX of course).

The Archimedes video hardware didn't offer any graphics acceleration did it? (no blitter or such, but possibly some simple things like scrolling or line fill -iirc VGA offered soem minimal assistance -and the 32x's VDC offered line fill if nothing else)

I doubt it would be able to handel a mode-7 style layer at 60 Hz as the SNES can in hardware. Of course, speed of various things would depend on the resolution and color depth used too. A 320 wide display at 8-bit color depth would be needed to approximate th edetail in a lot of MD and, especially SNES games, 4-bit depth could probably look fairly close to soem MD games too, but in either case, the game is likely going to suffer slowdown with software rendering.

 

However, goign CPU alone has the advantages of flexibility, and with a bitmapped display driven by a fairly powerful CPU it would be much better at 3D than either of the contemporaries, with stock hardware at least. Same for software driven scaling effects and such. (though it would be at a disadvantage in cases playing to the strengths of mode 7 -granted sprites won't scale on the SNES -other than an object generated as the mode 7 tile)

I'm not sure how competitive it would be agains the custom coprocessors on the cartridge of the others though, but probably fairly competitive in those cases too. And, of course, assumign there's a decent amount of RAM (say 512 kB of shared memory), that would be a big advantage as well, especially for ports from computers. (wolf3D must have taken a ton of work to work on 128 kB in the SNES)

 

Also, the 256 line tall resolution, would be for 50 Hz only right? For 60 Hz, it would make more sense to clip to 240 or 224 lines, with no more than 224 lines usually visible in 60 Hz on most TVs. (in 50 Hz, even with a fair bit of overscan, you could afford a fair bit more than 256 lines too as far as TVs go, iirc usually around 272 lines or slightly fewer are visible)

Of course, you could clip the screen further in specific cases, namely for added performance in graphically intensive games -and/or drop to lower resolution. (with usual overscan, you can clip a 320x240 screen to 288x216 before it really starts getting noticable on many TVs)

 

 

So, would such a system be cartridge based, CD, or perhaps magnetic disk based? (probably not the latter due to piracy issues)

 

A 1x CD drive could easily add $100 to the price ~1990, money that could easily contribute to using an ARM3 with a Cache, possibly a faster model (like 24 MHz core with 12 MHz bus), and more RAM. (1 MB would be nice) Of course, with sufficient RAM, a lot of data could be stored at fairly high compression on ROM carts, reducing cost there. (decompressing and loading games into RAM instead of running much of the program from ROM)

 

Same would apply to the Sega CD hardware I mentioned, trade the CD drive for more RAM and a good coprocessor to help with some 3D calculations (enough to allow a game like Silpheed to be rendered in realtime) and probably a bit more sound RAM (128 to 256 kB), maybe even dual Ricoh PCM chips or add a YM2612 to the Ricoh chip. (which would then give a similar configuration to the FM Towns, Genesis+CD sans the PSG, or Sega System 18/32 sans the 2nd YM2612) Or just go for a full YM2151, but that requires an external DAC and uses a larger package than a 2612. (plus the 2612 allows direct access to an 8-bit linear DAC with channel 6 disabled -still possibly useful on top of the Ricoh chip -for one it would allow direct PCM streams, not requiring the Ricoh's specific sample format -and that DAC would be much more useful with the CPU's interupt lien connected to the YM2612 -something very odd that was omitted from the Genesis on both the Z80 and 68k)

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"as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D"

 

What was the earliest PC that could run something like "Doom"? Were any PC's in 1990 as powerful as that?

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"as well as matching any 1990 PC at 3D"

 

What was the earliest PC that could run something like "Doom"? Were any PC's in 1990 as powerful as that?

 

Doom didn't come out till 1993 - but I was able to run it on a 386 in a stupidly tiny window :)

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