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LanDi

Engineering the Jaguar

What change would you like to have made to the Jaguars hardware?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. What change would you like to have made to the Jaguars hardware?

    • Increase the Jaguars GPU RAM to 128kb of Normal Ram
      6
    • Increase the Jaguars DSP RAM to 64kb Nonwaitstatic Ram
      1
    • Add a buffer to the Blitter
      4
    • Replace the 68000 for a 68020 at a cost of $20
      11
    • Remove the 68000 all together ( not recommended)
      0
    • Add at least half a megabyte of video RAM
      5
    • Add a texture mapping chip/processor to the CD Rom Drive?
      3
    • Double the speed of the RISC chips?
      0


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Forget adding more stuff -- I would have just liked to seen Atari fix all the bugs in the hardware in the first place.

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I am not much of a hardware person, but whichever option that allows Jaguar to run smoother 3D games, that's the one I would choose :)

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Hi LanDi!

 

Sorry to say this, but to me it seems pretty much pointless to post such a poll.

First of all, this is entirely "wouldn't it be cool if" talk. It's not actually a possibility.

 

I also don't think this poll would be useful to find out what's the most needed change of the Jaguar (if it was possible), simply because most people here are players who want to enjoy new games, but have little Jaguar development experience if any.

 

I mean when you look at it, you see most people just picked the first option. Not because it would be the best improvement, but simply because it was the standard answer.

 

Of all the changes listed above, the one that might be closest to being possible would be replacing the 68k by a 68020, but the rest, like adding more internal memory or even adding other features to the chipset is entirely impossible.

 

But I agree with "else", a jaguar without all the bugs would have been a great start. And if more improvements were to be made, I would suggest replacing the 68k with a later one that allows a higher clock speed, so the main bus is not crippled by the 68k clock speed anymore. Video Ram, from which the Jaguar could display graphics right away, instead of the linebuffer solutions and more Ram would be nice too. And of course all the other fancy stuff such as better 3d hardware support and texturemapping.

 

But really the best improvement would be a fully bug free Jaguar.

 

Regards, Lars.

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Hmmm... where to begin? (Best thing would be more games... a software problem rather than a hardware problem.) When considering changes to the hardware you just have to ask what the goal is.

 

For the sake of 2D games and competing with the Genesis and SNES the Jaguar already has a great set of features. I think the programmers' task could be simplified though. Give the 68K its own work RAM and let it run code from the cartridge ROM, so it doesn't steal bandwidth from the graphics hardware. (all the video game systems from Japan that I can think of have the gfx memory and system memory on separate buses). And for this purpose the RISC CPU cores may not even be worth it.

 

If you wanted the Jag to compete with the Playstation, etc. then you need:

1) CD-ROM drive, for sure

2) some combination of faster RISC CPU cores, more memory for them, or faster main CPU like 26.8MHz 68EC0x0 or ARM/MIPS/Hitachi/NEC

3) buffer for the blitter (I think that the Playstation's 2KB texture cache is one of the few important advantages it has over the Saturn since it speeds up drawing polygons)

 

But who needs all that 3D stuff, leave that to the PCs ;)

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Has anyone actually do any reverse engineering on the Jaggy?

953705[/snapback]

 

Since there are emulators available, I would think the answer is pretty obvious....

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Starcat,

 

You're right this is entirely wouldn't it be cool talk, but obviously I accept changes are impossible now, the theme is what changes ATARI themselves could have made to the hardware they released. Obviously it would need several changes, but in reality only one would have been possible - due to the cost of the manufactured unit. I don't think a bug free Jaguar was a viable option else it would have been fixed(wouldn't that be cool?!) Look at Model K for example (the one I own) it's actually worse.

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I always thought that it would be awesome to make the CoJag 68030 (Area 51) idea and make steps to make it backwards compatible with the 68k Jag games.

 

A 68030 Jag... hmm!!

 

For me, a 68030 Jag or more internal static ram would be nice.

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Starcat,

 

  You're right this is entirely wouldn't it be cool talk, but obviously I accept changes are impossible now, the theme is what changes ATARI themselves could have made to the hardware they released. Obviously it would need several changes, but in reality only one would have been possible - due to the cost of the manufactured unit. I don't think a bug free Jaguar was a viable option else it would have been fixed(wouldn't that be cool?!) Look at Model K for example (the one I own) it's actually worse.

954092[/snapback]

 

Atari won a tens of millions of dollar lawsuit against Sega during the Jaguar era (I think it was 70 million) and they poured it mostly into a marketing campaign for the Jaguar. They could have fixed the chips and performed a 100% recall against all the existing units with that kind of 'found' money.

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Some changes may be nice, but none of the ones listed..

 

GPU with 128K of standard memory ? how about increasing it's local ram and also allowing it to run code from main memory? Or a Cache for the 68K so it doesn't hog the bus?

 

Putting texturemapping in the CD unit seems crazy to me as the bus is slow, and I believe 8-bit to the CD-Unit.

 

the 68K did make for lazy developers but could possibly be useful if it were given it's own memory region to play in, allow other CPU's to use it also, but make it the only region the 68K could access (akin to the standard ram and fast ram of the amiga).

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I always thought that it would be awesome to make the CoJag 68030 (Area 51) idea and make steps to make it backwards compatible with the 68k Jag games.

 

    A 68030 Jag... hmm!!

 

    For me, a 68030 Jag or more internal static ram would be nice.

 

Wasn't the cojag a mips based system? IE jag hardware with MIPS r4K or similar instead of 68K?

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Yes, a faster CPU would have probably been cool, a 52MHz MC68EC060 since it's

the faster 680x0 available. But concerning the CPU, I read many time that the

68000 was only here to boot and control the peripherals and that it was possible

to make game without using the 68000 but programing the chipset only. Is it

really true ?

 

Concernig the CoJag, wasn't it a Mips Rx000 that was used as a CPU instead of a

680x0 ?

 

I was wondering if there was some game on the Jag' that used a soft synth as

audio (ala ACE on the Falcon), instead of MOD, it could be possible using

the Jag' DSP isn't it ?

 

Concerning Jaguar bugs, are they so many or is it a normal amount (I mean

each computer has some bugs, remember the annoying Amiga keyboard bug ?) ?

Here, again I read different things concernings those bugs, some stated that they

aren't so many nor so important, other said that it was a real pain to go through

all those bugs...

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Hi!

 

About the Jaguar bugs... It has more than any other commercial system I know about. Actually from my experience with other systems, most of them don't have any serious bugs to worry about.

I mean in the case of the Jag it's often happening that whole design ideas of the hardware don't work due to limitations or bugs.

 

Of course it could be that atari didn't have the money or time (if they waited longer, the Jag would have had a much harder start than it already had, with saturn and psx even closer to its release), but it's a fact that other companys called back their systems for a lot least important problems.

 

This becomes especially obvious when I talk to some fellow Jag developers these days and hear what odd bugs and problems they are still discovering that were never mentioned in the dev manual. really weird sometimes and often problems that don't seem to have any logical connection from a programmers point of view.

 

So the best improvement would have been a bug free Jaguar. Afterall a lot of performance and time is wasted on avoiding bugs. This still wouldn't make the Jag able to compete with saturn or psx, but I'm sure it could have increased the framerate slightly in some games.

 

Btw, you can not run any jaguar programs without using the 68k as it has to be used to tell all other processors what to do. However you can pretty much turn it off if you think you have to, later in the programs.

 

About cojag I think area 51 had a 68020 and maximum force had a mips cpu.

 

Regards, Lars.

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Seriously, i can´t read all those jaguar is full of bugs things any more. What particular

bugs did you stumble across you had to change your whole design due to limitations or

bugs of the hardware ?

In my opinion most of the hardware bugs people are complaining about today are

not hardware related and just buggy source code. Jaguar is a complex machine, most

the things should be done in assembler which makes it even more difficult.

 

We had no problems with bugs when we developed Native a couple of years ago and

it is using quite a bit of the hardware in the machine.

Of course there are some limitations and the most obvious error seems to be the

famous network bug.

 

There are some bugs in every system, Lynx, Falcon, Dreamcast, all the newer systems,

I don´t see jaguar to be a lot more buggy then those.

 

Johannes / Duranik

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We had no problems with bugs when we developed Native a couple of years ago and

it is using quite a bit of the hardware in the machine.

Of course there are some limitations and the most obvious error seems to be the

famous network bug.

 

Might of been good if you had finished it . . . . . :x

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The most serious bug has to do with the cache RAM where all your performance comes from. That's part of why Battlesphere took forever to code.

 

These are not predictable bugs you can work around. These are randomly unreliable functions that require extra code to check back to make sure they worked in a loop. This adds needless overhead and makes it hard to precisely time your game's critical sections.

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Seriously, i can´t read all those jaguar is full of bugs things any more. What particular

bugs did you stumble across you had to change your whole design due to limitations or

bugs of the hardware ?

In my opinion most of the hardware bugs people are complaining about today are

not hardware related and just buggy source code. Jaguar is a complex machine, most

the things should be done in assembler which makes it even more difficult.

 

We had no problems with bugs when we developed Native a couple of years ago and

it is using quite a bit of the hardware in the machine.

Of course there are some limitations and the most obvious error seems to be the

famous network bug.

 

There are some bugs in every system, Lynx, Falcon, Dreamcast, all the newer systems,

I don´t see jaguar to be a lot more buggy then those.

 

Johannes / Duranik

954513[/snapback]

 

 

If that's the case, I see no reason why there shouldn't be a flood of releases for the Jaggy. :) I hope to make arcade style games for the system. The thing I have problems with is getting hooked up via BJL especially in WinXP... :| I know there's some way it can be done using the "DOS Box" emulator and some other Window plug-in, but I just can't seem to get a connection. This is why I'm so glad that Matthias is making that cartridge hardware for the Jaggy, that is if it actually get released. It's much needed and it's certainly long over due. ;)

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You know what would be really neat? If Matthias used his Ethernet technology to build a better Jaguar CD Unit at a cheaper price. :D I'd buy it.

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You know what would be really neat?  If Matthias used his Ethernet technology to build a better Jaguar CD Unit at a cheaper price. :D I'd buy it.

954923[/snapback]

 

How exactly do you think that his flash card device would suit for a better jag cd?

Now you could connect the jag to a pc but that would still not let you use its cd rom drive. What do you meant? Your post made me curious

Peter

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Man I sure was clueless back in those days... I'd barely read all the way through the Jaguar manual back in 05, but was familiar with the unofficial "Jaguar Dox"... This topic hasn't been touched since 2005 until today... Time sure flies.

 

How exactly do you think that his flash card device would suit for a better jag cd?
Now you could connect the jag to a pc but that would still not let you use its cd rom drive. What do you meant? Your post made me curious
Peter

 

For the record, here's my super late response... Back then I had "Protector SE" game cartridge which had a copy of good old "BJL" limited when you press a certain button number on the control pad for a few seconds. I had trouble getting it going using the then newer version of Windows XP 64 and didn't really understand the mechanics of how it all worked. You needed a "printer2jag" connector for connecting a PC to a Jaguar via the printer port. Otherwise the old BJL (Behind Jaguar Lines) required replacing the Jaguar bios chip with one that contained the BJL firmware in order to bypass the cartridge encryption, which plagued the Jaguar community to no end before the official Atari encryption key was found making it possible for flash cartridge like the Skunkboard and the up coming SD cartridge possible. This is an old topic and very late in response which seem to have been the ending point to this relevant topic, but it's a bit fun to run down the history to all of that stuff as I currently understand it. Why let the knowledge go to waste???

 

I guess the idea of reverse engineering the Atari Jaguar chip sets was a bit of a none issue even back then, but than again... Has anyone ever considered reverse engineering the Jaguar? I'm not talking about unscrewing the motherboard from the case and having a look-see at the circuit board; well yes that too... I'm talking about cracking open the processors and chips itself to see what their made of... Chances are if you're still tinkering around programming the Jaguar after all of these years, you may as well go all the way with it %100 or just plain move on in life. lol Below is a video of the infamous Capcom "CPS1" arcade board that's being pretty much dissected revealing the graphic inner workings and so-on. I'd like to see something like this for the Jag system. I know topic is a bit of a throw back, but I think it's still a relevant topic... Wouldn't it be cool to have a public scrutiny of the Jaguar's inner workings like you see in the video below reverse engineering?

 

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If that's the case, I see no reason why there shouldn't be a flood of releases for the Jaggy. icon_smile.gif

Because the Jag itself can't code, you need Floods of competent progammers for that with Floods of freetime. And we are not even talking about gfx and game design, which probably Need Floods of Talent and commitment too. Then poor game design and code cant be blamed with Hardware Bugs, and unrealistic, lofty projects married with unadequate abilities in programming and art skills most likely won't be finished.

Edited by agradeneu

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Because the Jag itself can't code, you need Floods of competent progammers for that with Floods of freetime. And we are not even talking about gfx and game design, which probably Need Floods of Talent and commitment too. Then poor game design and code cant be blamed with Hardware Bugs, and unrealistic, lofty projects married with unadequate abilities in programming and art skills most likely won't be finished.

 

True enough... That's always been the issue with the Jaguar back then and even more so today. Maybe one day that'll change.

 

Back from the dead after 13 years!

 

Lol...! :D Time flies.

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