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Tommywilley84

What could have saved the Jag?

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On 6/16/2020 at 11:47 AM, swapd0 said:

IMO even with a better hardware it would fail but at least the oficial game library could be 10 times bigger.

 

Hm, look at the Lynx, solid hardware but even less games. ;-)

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Posted (edited)
On 6/16/2020 at 9:04 PM, Warmsignal said:

Atari not being as close to bankruptcy as they were for one thing, and the Nintendo PlayStation deal actually happening which would in turn have changed the course of console history going forward, there would be no stand alone Sony machine. The Jag's primary competitors would have been a disc based Nintendo 64, the Sega Saturn of course, and the doomed from the start $700 3DO.


The PlayStation stole the market share away from everyone by a long shot during that gen. If that didn't happen, who knows how things might have turned out? Nintendo 64 would have probably been more successful than it was globally, maybe the Saturn as well, and perhaps even the Jaguar to a lesser extent. It would have been the cheapest hardware on the block compared to a $400 Saturn and a likely $300+ Nintendo 64. Even then, I think it probably wouldn't have sold great, but still a hell of a lot better than it did, had Atari the money they actually needed to produce them and fulfill all of those missed pre-orders.

1. Apart from your questionabe choice of words, the market in 1995 was still dominated by 16 bit consoles and not the Playstation. I guess it was Donkey Kong Country that killed both the Jaguar and 32X. In the end the lack of quality software killed both and not the Playstation which took off a year later. For a "No Playstation" scenario, gamers would have choose the next best option, so probably the N64 and Saturn, but not the Jaguar. But that logic does not work, as overall market sales would have been lower, as the Playstation can be accounted for a big growth of the market. So it did not "steal" anything, it made Videogames more popular and cool to Teens and young men. If  the Jaguar was the only option, most kiddies would still be playing their SNES or Genesis.

 

2. The Jaguar WAS the cheapest option but consumers did not take the bait. Guess why! ;-)

Edited by agradeneu
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Posted (edited)
On 6/15/2020 at 11:50 PM, Tommywilley84 said:

In your opinion? I feel like had Alien vs Predator and Tempest 2000 been two titles available at the time of launch along with having the promised third party support that Atari could have at least been able to put up a better fight

Allowing for the 2 further chipset revisions the hardware needed would of made life easier for the developers, as would decent development libraries, budgets and bigger cartridge sizes. 

 

Having games like Legions Of The Undead, Black Ice /White Noise, Dactyl Joust, Conan etc fully developed.. 

 

Games like Crescent Galaxy, Club Drive, WMCJ etc pulled. 

 

Less 16-bit ports.. 

 

Skyhammer commercially released.. 

 

 

Mortal Kombat III instead of Kasumi Ninja and other clones.. giving the system some credibility. 

 

These might of slowed the decline of the Jaguar, but nothing was going to save it in the hands of the Tramiels. 

 

Development teams like Rebellion, ATD, Imagitec Design, Beyond Games etc were miniscule in terms of numbers and budgets, compared to what Sega and Nintendo had for their existing 16-bit systems. 

 

Games like Raiden, Dino Dudes, Crescent Galaxy and even Cybermorph were poorly recieved by various commercial games press for not being what was expected from 64-bit architecture. 

 

Sega could probably of done a lot more with the hardware, but then they failed to fully realise the sprite handling abilities of the Sega CD system. 

 

Threads like these talk of saving, but Atari was way beyond that point and the press and development communities all knew it. 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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4 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

1. Apart from your questionabe choice of words, the market in 1995 was still dominated by 16 bit consoles and not the Playstation. I guess it was Donkey Kong Country that killed both the Jaguar and 32X. In the end the lack of quality software killed both and not the Playstation which took off a year later. If the Playstatiuon was not there cosmuers would have choose the next best option, so probably the N64 and Saturn, but not the Jaguar. But that logic does not work, as overall market sales would have been lower, as the Playstation can be accounted for a big growht of the market. So it did not "steal" anything, it made Videogames more popular and cool to Teens and young men. If  the Jaguar was the only option, most kiddies would still be playing their SNES or Genesis.

 

2. The Jaguar WAS the cheapest option but consumers did not take the bait. Guess why! ;-)

Donkey Kong on the SNES took a lot of folks by surprise and proved there was life in the hardware yet. 

 

I think it helped a good few people to take a wait and see approach... stick with existing systems, see which way the Sega/Sony 32-bit console battle went and what the Ultra 64 turned out like, before making the jump to the Next Generation. 

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1 minute ago, Lost Dragon said:

Donkey Kong on the SNES took a lot of folks by surprise and proved there was life in the hardware yet. 

 

I think it helped a good few people to take a wait and see approach... stick with existing systems, see which way the Sega/Sony 32-bit console battle went and what the Ultra 64 turned out like, before making the jump to the Next Generation. 

Donkey Kong had that CGI nexgen 3D look to it and many tought that it looked better and more next generation than the offerings on the Jaguar and 32X.  

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From the POV of an engineer/programmer, I'd say they should have gone with a more mature, existing RISC processor instead of trying to roll their own. The buggy state of Tom and Jerry combined with the lack of stable programming tools for them killed the Jaguar more than almost anything else. The 68000 was a good choice; a custom RISC was not. They'd have been better off with MIPS, ARM, or SuperH instead. Those processors were cheap, fast, and had stable compilers/assemblers/debuggers.

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Posted (edited)

68000 it's too slow for a 32/64 bit machine. Maybe a Motorola 88000 could be nice instead of the other RISC.

 

A better solution, remove the 68000, DSP & GPU and put three existing RISC (all the same of course), one for the main logic, IO, AI, etc, other for graphics and the last one for the sound system. The time saved could be used to fix some blitter bugs and improve the performance.

Edited by swapd0

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Posted (edited)

Commercial games coders can be a fickle bunch, praising hardware like the Jaguar one moment and then taking a rather different view some months down the line. 

 

I put John Carmack quotes up some time ago, but the Jaguar to a certain degree sometimes reminds me of how the Playstation 2 fared at times. 

 

 Lorne Lanning, whilst hyping up  Oddworld:Munch's Oddysee, said that whilst he would of liked  more VRAM and CPU power, he considered the Playstation 2 hardware truly amazing and the biggest challenge with regards to game development on it would be creative, not technical.

 

 

It wasn't that long before he announced he was taking the game to the Xbox as the PS2 lacked the power needed. 

 

 

Jez San pulled a similar stunt with Malice. 

 

Starting life on PS1, then becoming an Xbox exclusive, before appearing on PS2 and not that great either. 

 

Point being, it doesn't matter if your a company with the sheer resources of someone like Sony  (or M. S) and your previous console had racked up sales of over 56 Million, developers are always going to be enticed by the next big thing. 

 

With Atari, thinking the war was with existing Sega and Nintendo consoles and the 3DO, Sony proved to be a very brutal wake up call, but Sony themselves didn't have it all their own way a mere generation later and find themselves battling more than just M. S and Nintendo. 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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3 hours ago, swapd0 said:

68000 it's too slow for a 32/64 bit machine. Maybe a Motorola 88000 could be nice instead of the other RISC.

 

A better solution, remove the 68000, DSP & GPU and put three existing RISC (all the same of course), one for the main logic, IO, AI, etc, other for graphics and the last one for the sound system. The time saved could be used to fix some blitter bugs and improve the performance.

 

Yeah, three ARM processors would have kicked some serious arse. Three MIPS probably would have been too expensive. Three SuperH would have worked... given when it was developed, that would have been three SH1 processors.

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Great discussion, though really nothing suggested would have helped.  From a software publisher's perspective, even if you ignore the future arrival of Sony, Nintendo and Sega were the only games in town.  Yeah the 3DO had gotten a little bit of publisher involvement with its FMV-heavy system, but the old timers were still going strong.  They had all the retailers in their pocket, and more importantly, the install base, which at that time was easily over 25 million units EACH between North America and Europe.  I left out Japan because they would never have bought an Atari system over there.  No amount of hardware was going to convince say Konami or Acclaim to spent money on selling a game on a console that sold a pittance it's first partial year out. 

 

To this day I never understood why the Tramiel's didn't simply move into PC clones, like Dell or Compaq, maybe Atari would have survived?  They rightly gave up on the horribly out of date and overpriced ST line, 2600, XEGS and 7800 to sell the Jaguar.  Just sell an IBM-compatible 486 and go from there.  Atari was still a worthwhile label in home computers, and plenty of people were still gaming the heck out of them at that point.  Then again, Commodore did the same dumb thing as well.  Neither saw the clear writing on the wall.  PC-compatible with DOS/Windows was the only way to go.  Apple nearly went under then too.  Atari could have sold laptops as well.  I guess the only stinker was that a number of "advanced" 7800 games were canceled in order to foster the Jaguar. 

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7 hours ago, Chilly Willy said:

From the POV of an engineer/programmer, I'd say they should have gone with a more mature, existing RISC processor instead of trying to roll their own. The buggy state of Tom and Jerry combined with the lack of stable programming tools for them killed the Jaguar more than almost anything else. The 68000 was a good choice; a custom RISC was not. They'd have been better off with MIPS, ARM, or SuperH instead. Those processors were cheap, fast, and had stable compilers/assemblers/debuggers.

I bet the issue was cost. More specifically, the Jag's custom chips must've been pretty damn cheap to manufacture in comparison to the 32-bit RISC processors at the time, or even the later 680x0 chips from Motorola. The 68000 was undoubtedly used because it was dirt cheap by that time, but there was still a rather large price discrepency between the 68000 and even the 68020, which itself was probably not as powerful as what they wanted, and still left out the custom graphics hardware that was needed. And that's not to mention the prices of the current (at that time) MIPS, Hitachi, ARM, etc. I'm willing to bet if anyone digs deep enough, it'll turn up that Atari at least believed that the price/performance ratio of their custom chips beat out what they would get from off the shelf components.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Lost Dragon said:

Commercial games coders can be a fickle bunch, praising hardware like the Jaguar one moment and then taking a rather different view some months down the line. 

 

I put John Carmack quotes up some time ago, but the Jaguar to a certain degree sometimes reminds me of how the Playstation 2 fared at times. 

 

 Lorne Lanning, whilst hyping up  Oddworld:Munch's Oddysee, said that whilst he would of liked  more VRAM and CPU power, he considered the Playstation 2 hardware truly amazing and the biggest challenge with regards to game development on it would be creative, not technical.

 

 

It wasn't that long before he announced he was taking the game to the Xbox as the PS2 lacked the power needed. 

 

 

Jez San pulled a similar stunt with Malice. 

 

Starting life on PS1, then becoming an Xbox exclusive, before appearing on PS2 and not that great either. 

 

Point being, it doesn't matter if your a company with the sheer resources of someone like Sony  (or M. S) and your previous console had racked up sales of over 56 Million, developers are always going to be enticed by the next big thing. 

 

With Atari, thinking the war was with existing Sega and Nintendo consoles and the 3DO, Sony proved to be a very brutal wake up call, but Sony themselves didn't have it all their own way a mere generation later and find themselves battling more than just M. S and Nintendo. 

N64,PS2 and PS3 were all criticized for their hw and not perfect but the second one turned out to be the most popular console of all time and the latter got the best exclusive games of it's generation. ;-)

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, swapd0 said:

68000 it's too slow for a 32/64 bit machine. Maybe a Motorola 88000 could be nice instead of the other RISC.

 

A better solution, remove the 68000, DSP & GPU and put three existing RISC (all the same of course), one for the main logic, IO, AI, etc, other for graphics and the last one for the sound system. The time saved could be used to fix some blitter bugs and improve the performance.

There must be a good reason chipsets of consoles were custom designs, especially concerning graphics processors vs CPU ;-) . 

Edited by agradeneu

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I love the way that everyone's lamenting the failure of one system here instead of celebrating the incredible biota of the early- to mid- '90s gaming world and the fact that the Jag was a part of it. Multiple systems were available, many of them very strange, and yet it was still conceivable that any one of them could be something of a hit. Today's console environment is a greige open-office space of boringness, and I still can't believe that I'm stuck with Nintendo for the next gen handheld. That is, if they ever to make anything to replace the 3DS.

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1 minute ago, davidcalgary29 said:

I love the way that everyone's lamenting the failure of one system here instead of celebrating the incredible biota of the early- to mid- '90s gaming world and the fact that the Jag was a part of it. Multiple systems were available, many of them very strange, and yet it was still conceivable that any one of them could be something of a hit. Today's console environment is a greige open-office space of boringness, and I still can't believe that I'm stuck with Nintendo for the next gen handheld. That is, if they ever to make anything to replace the 3DS.

Complain about lamenting lol

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4 hours ago, Chilly Willy said:

 

Yeah, three ARM processors would have kicked some serious arse. Three MIPS probably would have been too expensive. Three SuperH would have worked... given when it was developed, that would have been three SH1 processors.

You are an hardware designer?

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Posted (edited)

Well it was all lament for me back then as I couldn't afford ANY of the 32-bit systems!  Stuck with SNES/Genesis until '97 when I bought N64.  Sorry but those CD-based systems were all too expensive.

Edited by Greg2600

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6 hours ago, Sauron said:

I bet the issue was cost. More specifically, the Jag's custom chips must've been pretty damn cheap to manufacture in comparison to the 32-bit RISC processors at the time, or even the later 680x0 chips from Motorola. The 68000 was undoubtedly used because it was dirt cheap by that time, but there was still a rather large price discrepency between the 68000 and even the 68020, which itself was probably not as powerful as what they wanted, and still left out the custom graphics hardware that was needed. And that's not to mention the prices of the current (at that time) MIPS, Hitachi, ARM, etc. I'm willing to bet if anyone digs deep enough, it'll turn up that Atari at least believed that the price/performance ratio of their custom chips beat out what they would get from off the shelf components.

 

 

TOM is a graphics chip, you could use Hitachi or ARM for CPU but still would need a capable custom graphics chip. For most consoles it was like: General purpose CPU from the shelf, custom chip for the graphics with powerful features special to game development, aka scaling sprites like "Suzy" of the Lynx.

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5 hours ago, davidcalgary29 said:

I love the way that everyone's lamenting the failure of one system here instead of celebrating the incredible biota of the early- to mid- '90s gaming world and the fact that the Jag was a part of it. Multiple systems were available, many of them very strange, and yet it was still conceivable that any one of them could be something of a hit. Today's console environment is a greige open-office space of boringness, and I still can't believe that I'm stuck with Nintendo for the next gen handheld. That is, if they ever to make anything to replace the 3DS.

From a personal perspective, the Jaguar was simply the second, day one hardware purchase i had made (the first being the Sega Mega CD) who's potential was sadly ignored by a lot of publishers, who simply moved existing titles to it, with minimal enhancements. 

 

 

When you think your buying something with a very promising future, only to see your hopes dashed and games canned, left, right and Chelsea, it's not hard to feel cheated. 

 

😩

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Chilly Willy said:

 

Yeah, three ARM processors would have kicked some serious arse. Three MIPS probably would have been too expensive. Three SuperH would have worked... given when it was developed, that would have been three SH1 processors.

No.

Correct me if I'm wrong but ARM and SH1 are NOT graphics chips, you could slap 2 or 3 into the Jaguar, end up with a super pricey hw but still need a capable 

dedicated graphics chips to get anything done effectively. The more CPUs the better? I don't think so.

 

The 32X has 2x SH-2  but is still outperformed by the Jaguar in most scenarios.

 

The Saturn has 2 SH2s as well, but is drastically more capable than the 32X. So why is that? ;-)

 

Programming the 2 SH-2 effectively was said to be very hard, guess if it was a good idea then to put in 3x?! ;-) 

 

 

Edited by agradeneu
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, agradeneu said:

N64,PS2 and PS3 were all criticized for their hw and not perfect but the second one turned out to be the most popular console of all time and the latter got the best exclusive games of it's generation. ;-)

Very true. 

 

People though often talk of what might of been had Atari secured some crack coding teams for the platform. 

 

Securing them is one thing, keeping them is something completely different. 

 

ATD gave 2 interviews with Edge, first they praise Jaguar promote their work with Atari on it. 

 

By time of the second, Battlemorph only done due to contractual obligations, sticking with it meant they were late getting into Playstation development. 

 

 

Jeremy Heath-Smith of Core Design was another, initially praised the Sega 32X saying it had great potential.. 

 

Skip forward a few years and he's saying Core found themselves lumbered with it, it was a complete disaster. 

 

 

In interviews at the time, the Jaguar Soul Star coding team praised the Jaguar. 

 

These days Sarah Jane Avory described developing on it as a nightmare and it meant Saturn Thunderhawk had to be coded in a mere 3 months. 

 

Once the writing is on the wall, developers want to move onto something commercially viable. 

Edited by Lost Dragon
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9 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

No.

Correct me if I'm wrong but ARM and SH1 are NOT graphics chips, you could slap 2 or 3 into the Jaguar, end up with a super pricey hw but still need a capable 

dedicated graphics chips to get anything done effectively. The more CPUs the better? I don't think so.

 

The 32X has 2x SH-2  but is still outperformed by the Jaguar in most scenarios.

 

The Saturn has 2 SH2s as well, but is drastically more capable than the 32X. So why is that? ;-)

 

Programming the 2 SH-2 effectively was said to be very hard, guess if it was a good idea then to put in 3x?! ;-) 

 

 

Wasn't it Yu Suzuki when talking about the difficulty in programming Virtua Fighter for the Saturn who  went on to say that only 1 in 100 programmers would be able to utilize the dual SH-2's to gain 1.5 times the speed only a single SH-2 would provide? 

 

 

How many coders outside of the arcade or Sega Mega CD development were familiar with parallel processing techniques at that time? 

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10 hours ago, Greg2600 said:

Great discussion, though really nothing suggested would have helped.  From a software publisher's perspective, even if you ignore the future arrival of Sony, Nintendo and Sega were the only games in town.  Yeah the 3DO had gotten a little bit of publisher involvement with its FMV-heavy system, but the old timers were still going strong.  They had all the retailers in their pocket, and more importantly, the install base, which at that time was easily over 25 million units EACH between North America and Europe.  I left out Japan because they would never have bought an Atari system over there.  No amount of hardware was going to convince say Konami or Acclaim to spent money on selling a game on a console that sold a pittance it's first partial year out. 

 

To this day I never understood why the Tramiel's didn't simply move into PC clones, like Dell or Compaq, maybe Atari would have survived?  They rightly gave up on the horribly out of date and overpriced ST line, 2600, XEGS and 7800 to sell the Jaguar.  Just sell an IBM-compatible 486 and go from there.  Atari was still a worthwhile label in home computers, and plenty of people were still gaming the heck out of them at that point.  Then again, Commodore did the same dumb thing as well.  Neither saw the clear writing on the wall.  PC-compatible with DOS/Windows was the only way to go.  Apple nearly went under then too.  Atari could have sold laptops as well.  I guess the only stinker was that a number of "advanced" 7800 games were canceled in order to foster the Jaguar. 

Don't forget the poor sods who owned Falcon computers, only to see all resources pushed into games for the Jaguar. 

 

Few Lynx titles also canned to focus on Jaguar. 

 

By Atari's own admission, they never had the resources to support multiple flagship platforms. 

 

Panther originally intended to launch alongside the Lynx. 

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