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Clone Jaguar console - maybe one day?

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1 hour ago, phoboz said:

I think it has to do with the awareness about the Jaguar. Many retro collectors here are very young, who have only heard tales from their parents about Nintendo, and SEGA. So the prices for the good games for these systems are insane. I think once people discover that the Jaguar can actually offer better 2D pixel graphics than than the 16-bit Nintendo, and SEGA consoles the demand for the Jaguar will become higher. Of course the Jag will also need more games, but there are some new games being developed for the system.

For me as a game developer it lies in my interest that as many people as possible can get access to the console to play the games.

I think it's the saturation of SNES and Mega Drive demand and collectors looking for new exotic toys. But the Jaguar will remain a niche console, the library is still very limited and mostly mediocre, while the 16 bit machines offer great and essential games in spades.  

Potentially the Jag could do better pixel graphics than the SNES or MD yes, but pulling off a SNES quality game is hard work and only a very few homebrews are at that level actually.

 

To make matters even less optimistic, lots of high level indie devs are releasing high quality games for Game Boy, Mega Drive and SNES (e.g. Xeno Crisis). I don't see how the Jag can compete with that outside of the niche Atari hardcore audience. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by agradeneu

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Jaguar is a niche market even within the niche market of after-decommissioned consoles, but there is fresh blood in the system. I know a couple of teenagers who buy into the system, swear blind that it has some of the better versions of games. Good for them, it would be easier to follow the Nintendo crowd but they chose something different. 

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1 hour ago, agradeneu said:

pulling off a SNES quality game is hard work

Yes, and it does not only require good programmers, it also requires good pixels artists.

The limitation for the Jaguar was that few took the opportunity to get the most out of the Jaguar's pixel power. There were a lot 16-bit ports, but Rayman was really the game that showed the difference.

I think a lot of games from the Neo Geo library would be a great match for the Jag (because the arcade systems, even if the main CPU was 16-bit, they had a lot more graphical power than the home consoles)

Edited by phoboz
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11 hours ago, CyranoJ said:

 

Wrong.

 

The thing holding it (CDs) back is only having 2mb of direct access memory.

 

Rebooteroids/Last Strike/Gravitic Mines, quite a few of the ports, and several other homebrew games would not be possible on CD due to using data directly from ROM.

Still, that doesn't stop games like Black Ice White Noise and Robinson's Requiem for the Jag CD to be much more impressive visually than those titles. But creating games like those are not worth the hassle for a theoretical 20,000 units, of which most probably doesn't even work by now.

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1 hour ago, phoboz said:

Yes, and it does not only require good programmers, it also requires good pixels artists.

The limitation for the Jaguar was that few took the opportunity to get the most out of the Jaguar's pixel power. There were a lot 16-bit ports, but Rayman was really the game that showed the difference.

I think a lot of games from the Neo Geo library would be a great match for the Jag (because the arcade systems, even if the main CPU was 16-bit, they had a lot more graphical power than the home consoles)

Graphics should not be a problem these days, lots of great artist on opengamearts.

 

A major problem of the platform is it's lack of accessibility, everything is so insanely pricey. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by agradeneu

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32 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Still, that doesn't stop games like Black Ice White Noise and Robinson's Requiem for the Jag CD to be much more impressive visually than those titles. But creating games like those are not worth the hassle for a theoretical 20,000 units, of which most probably doesn't even work by now.

I disagree with that, Black Ice is a barely playable concept, Robinson Requiems 3D graphics look pixelated and ugly.

 

Edited by agradeneu
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33 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

I disagree with that, Black Ice is a barely playable concept

 

Hardly surprising for a game that was never released or finished. However, I stand by my comment that it was visually impressive (I never said anything about playability) for a machine that was essentially something between the SNES and the Saturn in power.

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2 hours ago, agradeneu said:

Graphics should not be a problem these days, lots of great artist on opengamearts.

 

A major problem of the platform is it's lack of accessibility, everything is so insanely pricey. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes there are a lot of tile-sets on opengameart, but I think that many of the tools that are freely available are based that you develop games in a way you developed games for the Nintendo/SEGA consoles. Because ever since the NES, the norm was to use a character based display e.g. graphical tiles of a fixed resolution to build up a playfield. The Jaguar can be programmed to handled that, however, it is not limited to this. For example, none of the Neo Geo games use a character based display for the scrolling backgrounds.

 

Games like Rayman, and the game below, (which was never released :(), does not use such an approach at all.

Rather I believe the world is created out of arbitrary sized, quite large sprites that are placed on a big canvas in order to build up the multi-screen playfield. You can do these kind of games with for example Unity, but unfortunately, there is no open tool (that I am aware about) than can be adapted to output configuration data in a way so it can be read by a Jaguar program to render the world. Also I am not sure that many pixels artist are used to create sprites this way, rather than using tiles?

Complete game builders, like Unity, are very frustrating to work with, because every time you want to do something not completely according to what is expected, you have to do very complex workarounds. So I am really looking for a generic purpose tool that can put large sprites on a big canvas, define lines for collision detection, and output that data in a format that is easy to read in on the console side.

 

JAG_Deathwatch.png.2ffa1cad50700dd62a6672bd1434ac6a.png

 

 

Edited by phoboz
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Creating graphics like that shouldn't be too hard for someone who can draw. Getting them in the right format & programming a game to work with them, however, would be. 

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7 hours ago, phoboz said:

I think once people discover that the Jaguar can actually offer better 2D pixel graphics than than the 16-bit Nintendo, and SEGA consoles the demand for the Jaguar will become higher.

This statement is interesting to me. The PC Engine/TG-16, SNES, and Genesis (and ignoring the Neo Geo AES for the purposes of this specific discussion) had some of the best teams in the world working on a notable percentage of their games, so audio-visually they compare very well (and sometimes better) to the best the Jaguar showcased in 2D with its more limited support. In other words, there's arguably not enough of a gap for anyone to be pulled away from those systems, particularly - as has been stated by others in this thread - homebrews have yet to pull off anything truly next level on the Jaguar.

 

As always, the Jaguar is in a weird halfway position. Better technically than the 16-bits that preceded it, but little to show for it in the types of 2D games that were the 16-bits' strengths, and if you want better-than-16-bit 2D, there are a large number of choices on the Saturn and PS1 that are pretty incredible to go along with all the 3D stuff that's also better. 

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4 hours ago, phoboz said:

I think a lot of games from the Neo Geo library would be a great match for the Jag (because the arcade systems, even if the main CPU was 16-bit, they had a lot more graphical power than the home consoles)

It's always been my understanding that RAM limitations might be an issue for most Neo Geo ports to the Jaguar. With a game like Samurai Shodown, for instance, you'd do better than what you got on Genesis and SNES, but might not do as well as the 3DO version in terms of things like animation frames. Still, it would be interesting to have seen at least one Neo Geo port on the Jaguar. 

This has been discussed previously, but it would have been nice for more resources to be put into super 2D stuff than many of the not-quite-there 3D attempts. It's unlikely to have changed the course of its historically low sales, but it certainly couldn't have hurt, and it would have been nice to have more objectively beautiful and uncompromised Rayman-like games earlier on in the system's lifecycle when it could have helped change the narrative a bit. 

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1 hour ago, phoboz said:

Yes there are a lot of tile-sets on opengameart, but I think that many of the tools that are freely available are based that you develop games in a way you developed games for the Nintendo/SEGA consoles. Because ever since the NES, the norm was to use a character based display e.g. graphical tiles of a fixed resolution to build up a playfield. The Jaguar can be programmed to handled that, however, it is not limited to this. For example, none of the Neo Geo games use a character based display for the scrolling backgrounds.

 

Games like Rayman, and the game below, (which was never released :(), does not use such an approach at all.

Rather I believe the world is created out of arbitrary sized, quite large sprites that are placed on a big canvas in order to build up the multi-screen playfield. You can do these kind of games with for example Unity, but unfortunately, there is no open tool (that I am aware about) than can be adapted to output configuration data in a way so it can be read by a Jaguar program to render the world. Also I am not sure that many pixels artist are used to create sprites this way, rather than using tiles?

Complete game builders, like Unity, are very frustrating to work with, because every time you want to do something not completely according to what is expected, you have to do very complex workarounds. So I am really looking for a generic purpose tool that can put large sprites on a big canvas, define lines for collision detection, and output that data in a format that is easy to read in on the console side.

 

JAG_Deathwatch.png.2ffa1cad50700dd62a6672bd1434ac6a.png

 

 

Actually we do that with Gravitic Mines, displaying huge bitmaps that are done like paintings. ;-)

 

Yes indeed, the Jaguar is good with that and Im sure that this would be hard to pull off on a SNES or MD.

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1 hour ago, pacman000 said:

Creating graphics like that shouldn't be too hard for someone who can draw. Getting them in the right format & programming a game to work with them, however, would be. 

Lol, it's not that easy, otherwise a lot more people would draw graphics for the Jag? 

 

 . 

Depending on the type of game (e.g. RPG) , creating the game content would represent the biggest part of work, e.g. game mechanics, level design, characters and story.

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Hardly surprising for a game that was never released or finished. However, I stand by my comment that it was visually impressive (I never said anything about playability) for a machine that was essentially something between the SNES and the Saturn in power.

 

It's looks a bit crude in parts, a lot like e.g. Virtuoso.

 

JagDoom is a much better, solid engine.

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1 hour ago, Bill Loguidice said:

It's always been my understanding that RAM limitations might be an issue for most Neo Geo ports to the Jaguar.

A quick check on the Neo Geo specs indicate that 2 Megabytes of RAM should be sufficient:

RAM: 214 KB SRAM[27]

  • Main 68000 RAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
  • Video RAM: 84 KB SRAM
    • Main VRAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Palette memory: 16 KB (8 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Fast video sprite RAM: 4 KB (2 KB SRAM ×2)
  • Z80 sound RAM: 2 KB SRAM

However, if the 3DO version has less animation frames than the Neo Geo version, it might have to do with that you actually need to run everything from RAM on a CD based console. You don't have to do that on the Jaguar, its only the graphics that are in use at a particular time that need to be in the RAM. You can run code, and have lookup tables etc. in ROM.

However, it might be that the 4 Megabyte limitation of the cartridge is a limiting factor. On the JagCd, you would have the same limitation as on the 3DO version, e.g. that everything has to be in RAM.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, phoboz said:

A quick check on the Neo Geo specs indicate that 2 Megabytes of RAM should be sufficient:

RAM: 214 KB SRAM[27]

  • Main 68000 RAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
  • Video RAM: 84 KB SRAM
    • Main VRAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Palette memory: 16 KB (8 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Fast video sprite RAM: 4 KB (2 KB SRAM ×2)
  • Z80 sound RAM: 2 KB SRAM

However, if the 3DO version has less animation frames than the Neo Geo version, it might have to do with that you actually need to run everything from RAM on a CD based console. You don't have to do that on the Jaguar, its only the graphics that are in use at a particular time that need to be in the RAM. You can run code, and have lookup tables etc. in ROM.

However, it might be that the 4 Megabyte limitation of the cartridge is a limiting factor. On the JagCd, you would have the same limitation as on the 3DO version, e.g. that everything has to be in RAM.

 

 

With packing all the graphics and sound data, most 100 Mbit NeoGeo games would fit on a 6MB Jaguar cart. Now imagine 16 MB ROMS or Jaguar GD with SD carts of 1Gbytes + ;-)

Edited by agradeneu

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49 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

With packing all the graphics and sound data, most 100 Mbit NeoGeo games would fit on a 6MB Jaguar cart. Now imagine 16 MB ROMS or Jaguar GD with SD carts of 1Gbytes + ;-)

Yes I would definitely pack all the graphics in such case. Primal Rage might have been even better on cartridge with packed graphics, because of the more amount of RAM available to use for active animation frames.

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35 minutes ago, pacman000 said:

I thought Neo-Geo games usually had extra RAM in the cart. Is that not true?

Yes.

As phoboz explained, basically ROM works like "extra RAM".

 

 

Edited by agradeneu

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6 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Hardly surprising for a game that was never released or finished. However, I stand by my comment that it was visually impressive (I never said anything about playability) for a machine that was essentially something between the SNES and the Saturn in power.

Both Last Strike and Gravitic are much more visually pleasing than the games you think are impressive. (Don't put them in the same category as ST games ;-))

 

The thing is, in most cases 3D on the Jaguar looks horribly outdated, while 2D bitmap graphics look very nice, even by today standards. 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, agradeneu said:

Both Last Strike and Gravitic are much more visually pleasing than the games you think are impressive. (Don't put them in the same category as ST games ;-))

 

The thing is, in most cases 3D on the Jaguar looks horribly outdated, while 2D bitmap graphics look very nice, even by today standards.

Okay. We need to differentiate between "visually impressive" and "visually pleasing". Neither of the games I mentioned are visually pleasing, like most 3D games from that era. Squeezing a 3D game into a 2D machine can be impressive, but rarely pretty. Starfox is impressive, but I'd rather look at (and play) ALttP.

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4 hours ago, pacman000 said:

I thought Neo-Geo games usually had extra RAM in the cart. Is that not true?

They don't, Neo Geo games just have a ton of ROM. The Neo Geo graphics and sound hardware is fast enough to pretty much just stream data direct from the cartridge, constantly paging in new data on the fly. The other big advantage in the Neo Geo is every processor has its own data bus on the cartridge slot. One for the 68000, one for the Z80, one for the YM2610 and three for the graphics chipset (16+16+8 bit). Consoles like the SNES, Genesis and Jaguar all have one data bus that everything in the system has to share in one way or another, that makes things slower at the cart slot.

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Well... I was young when I got into collecting Jaguar stuff... When I sold my Jag collection on ebay I thought I was finish with the Jaguar, but I started kind of missing it a little so the first thing I did was I got a Jag from ebay along with a couple of skunkboards and decided I'm in for the long haul; would be a shame to put all my Jag knowledge to waist... But it would be even nicer to have some new fresh perspective from some a newer generation of Jaguar enthusiast... Someone out of the wood-works would probably want to see the system push to the limit at some point in time like I did once they find out how powerful the Jaguar really is... And how flawed and buggy the system is as well unfortunately. Anyone crazy enough to program the Jaguar find that they have to take the good with the bad just like the programmers before them.

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10 hours ago, Koopa64 said:

They don't, Neo Geo games just have a ton of ROM. The Neo Geo graphics and sound hardware is fast enough to pretty much just stream data direct from the cartridge, constantly paging in new data on the fly. The other big advantage in the Neo Geo is every processor has its own data bus on the cartridge slot. One for the 68000, one for the Z80, one for the YM2610 and three for the graphics chipset (16+16+8 bit). Consoles like the SNES, Genesis and Jaguar all have one data bus that everything in the system has to share in one way or another, that makes things slower at the cart slot.

I think you are comparing apples and oranges: The Jaguar has much bigger system RAM (2MB), and that should be faster memory than ROM. 

Still, you can pull packed data from ROM and unpack in RAM on the fly. Needless to say, the Jaguar is much more faster with processing and shifting data, so much that you can juggle 8 bit and 16 bit graphics data. (compared to 4 bit sprites on NEOGEO)

Ask a programmer for details. 

 

To be a little bit more specific about graphics data, 16 bit graphics are roughly 4x bigger in memory than 4 bit, and 2x than 8 bit. The system is fast enough to shift big chunks of graphics data, e.g. like a bitmap that is 900 kbytes and 1580x600 while doing other graphics, like 16 bit sprites or scrolling a background bitmap in 16 bit color.

 

Graphics of NEO GEO games are not only lower color depht, but also tile based.....to save memory bandwidht. And in no realistic scenario the NEOGEO would be capable to handle big 16 bit bitmap graphics like the Jag does.

 

The reason NEO games look so great are the top notch production values and huge ROM space to minimize processing demands on the hardware (!).

The downside was expensive hardware  and insane prizes for games, and a very specific library of games, mostly 1vs1 fighting games.

 

Edited by agradeneu

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If you want to compare the Jaguar to the NeoGeo, you should compare it to the NeoGeo CD. The latter has 4 MB of RAM just for the graphics and several separate busses (while the Jaguar's total amount of RAM is only 2 MB, with a single bus). And even with that, it can't pull off all of the cartridge-based NeoGeo games.

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