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IGN64 feature article on N2000 (pre-Dolphin/GameCube) from early 1999

Neomoto

Member
May 27, 2006
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pn18 said:
They're swimming in money right now and therefore they won't take any risk till they hitting the dust again in 2-3 generations.
Maybe.. but they where always swimming in money. ;-) Now it's "just" so much that they don't know where to put it. Iwata has said a couple of times that just because they are very succesfull now, doesn't mean that they should stop trying to innovate (something something about people will get bored etc). It remains to be seen what they mean exactly by this (or how much they meant it) but still, I think Nintendo is smart enough to not screw up what they have reached this generation, and that they'll go for a combination of evolution and revolution. They need to keep this new found extended audience into the industry, I think that will be not so easy to do, even this generation. Let's assume the generation will last 8 to 10 years, that's a long time to keep them entertained unless they will buy many similar games like we do (dozens of shooters each year), and the add-ons can't keep coming forever. And next generation, they have to be won over again to have them get their next portable and console.

Btw, I came across this article, but I don't know what to think of it. Nintendo wants to make it possible that games can be controlled by mere thoughts?

From the Hollywood film Firefox to the television show Heroes, science fiction writers have always dreamt of the day when humans could control machines with the power of thought alone.

Now British scientists are turning the vision into reality with a device that allows objects to be manipulated with brain waves.

The prototype, developed at Essex University, can already be used to play simple computer games. By imagining a movement, the wearer of the hat-shaped device can tell the computer to move an object around a screen or a robot around a room.

The researchers hope their technology will eventually allow people to move wheelchairs and drive cars with their thoughts.

The development came as the video games maker Nintendo disclosed that it wanted to build on the success of the motion-sensitive technology used in the best-selling console, the Wii, by developing games that can be controlled by thought.

To pick up the signal from the brain, the scientists use a cap fitted with electrodes that detect changes in the electrical activity produced by the neurons.
Rest of the article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/07/20/eabrain120.xml

zabaioth said:
Slightly OT, but somehow i think it fits:
Is anyone aware of what HAL is/was doing all the time?
They released very few titles in the last years. I believe to remember something like they never were just for games but doing librarys and other stuff for the then current console generation.
So, is HAL producing middle ware? Engines? Other tools? I´m curious about this and can´t find any info.
Didn´t want to make a new thread just on this small piece of information.
HAL makes software and hardware yes. They are working on a Kirby Wii title, Kirby Super Star Ultra and they just released Pokemon Ranger 2 (I think?), but that's all we know for sure.

They also made middleware (devtools/devkit) for both the N64 and Gamecube, perhaps they are working or have worked on Wii devkits too, but that wouldn't explain the low output from them so far on Wii. They are among the first companies to get their hands on early devkits from a next-gen console (so also Wii) and yet they have released nothing for Wii so far and we don't really know what they are doing. Their last GameCube game released over 5 YEARS ago so that leaves a hell of a lot of room between the remaining lifespan of GameCube and the early days of Wii and where we are now.

Here is a great read on the company's profile (really interesting to read). Most of what might interest you starts on page 4, but it is all interesting. Of coures, the article stems from october 2005 so there is next to nothing about DS and Wii.

[Nintex] said:
HAL isn't very big and they are credited for Smash Bros. Brawl and they're currently working on Kirby Super Star Ultra.
They have over 105 games on their name (not including numerous cancelled/unfinished projects) and supposedly have more than 100 employees on their teams. They are not very big but they certainly aren't small (for example, their game-output in quantity is somewhat comparable with Rare). Supposedly they had a few staff working on Brawl, but not in any way the core team of Super Smash Bros. and Melee since the whole reason why there was a new studio opened for Brawl, was because the original team had too many projects on their hands to take it on (they also gave their engine and other assets for use to which they likely have been credited too).
 

camineet

Banned
Mar 30, 2007
8,073
0
0
Lazy8s said:
An inherent advantage of PowerVR's tile based deferred rendering is scalability. Multiple cores can efficiently share a workload because the scene has been pre-sorted and split into tiles.

OpenGL is a common standard and is supported just as well by Imageon's competitors.

AMD's most recent financial problems have caused them to restructure and reportedly now eliminate the handheld business they were supporting, so how this affects their potential for involvement in the next Nintendo portable remains to be seen.

PowerVR hasn't been relevant in the desktop or console or arcade spaces since the late 90s and 2000-2001, for about 7 years. They've not shown any ability or willingness to take on even the midrange of Nvidia or AMD. I don't think Nintendo would ever consider PowerVR unless AMD completely tanks. AMD right now has, or is developing, all the graphics technology Nintendo would ever need for the next-gen handheld and next-gen console.

After years of waiting, after the total cancelation of Series 4 (elements of which ended up in MBX family but that's different) and the non-appearance of a desktop Series 5 GPU, I've given up.
 

Lazy8s

The ghost of Dreamcast past
Jun 7, 2004
1,897
2
0
Benchmarks indicate and have always indicated that PowerVR performs better than the competition for any given consumption of power and/or die area.

Targeting "higher-end" markets is fundamentally a matter of matching more silicon and power consumption to it.
 

camineet

Banned
Mar 30, 2007
8,073
0
0
somewhat off-topic, but in a sense, on-topic--Exellent USENET post on 3DO M2,
Cagent/3DO MX, and a little bit on N64.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.video.3do/msg/e44a0abde83a5f60?hl=en&dmode=source

First of all, never believe anything you read in any videogame magazines
without some kind of confirmation (and other videogame magazines don't
count!). Most of the times, the people who write for these things:
1) Don't know what they are talking about and are just repeating specs they
THINK they heard. For example, multiple game magazines referred to the N64
as having a revolutionary rendering technique called MIT-mapping. It was
supposed to be MIP-mapping and it is a standard technique that has been
around for over a decade but somewhere it was misspelled and then every
magazine misspelled it after that (because the writers had no clue what it
was). They thought it was some new technology (invented by M.I.T.
perhaps?) and ran with it like so many media whores. The myth that was
"SGI graphics" is another one of these.
2) Repeat stuff they heard on the Internet and call it news. It was funny
watching magazines making up stuff about the internals of 3DO and the M2
when working there, because I knew they were wrong and had to wonder how
they came up with such bogus information. It made me wonder how much stuff
they got wrong about other companies.
3) When they don't know the answer to the reader's question, they will
make something up rather than say they don't know. My favorite example of
this was when a reader asked (I think it was in GameFan magazine) how Super
Metroid could be a 24Mbit cart when the SNES was a 16-bit system. The
"answer" the editor gave was "Well 16-bit systems can only address 16Mbit
of memory at a time but you can use bank-switching to address 24 Mbit or
more." If the editor had taken a basic computer course in High School, he
should have known the correct answer.

I'll admit magazines have gotten better over the past few years in terms of
technical info (probably due to getting swamped with email when they make
mistakes), but I still don't think they are quite as "connected" to the
inside of the industry as they claim to be. Experience has shown me
otherwise.

> I found most of an old game club newsletter that also contained the
> specs. However, part of these pages were aparently drowned in coffee a
> while back, and are difficult to read.

Since these didn't come from 3DO or Panasonic, what makes you think they
are accurate?

> CPU speed : 88 Mhz
> 1.4 Million Polygons Per second

Okay. The original 3DO specs were for a 66 Mhz PPC 602, the final M2 specs
were for two 66Mhz 602s. I don't know if Motorola/IBM ever made a faster
602.

> Memory : 16 Megs SDRAM. Plus internal NV RAM & Removable External Cards
> for game data.

The original 3DO specs were for 4MB of RAM, the final Panasonic specs were
for 8MB of SDRAM. The system could take up to 128MB RAM but that was never
going into a consumer unit (they were going up against a $150 N64,
remember?). Developer units had two times the final RAM (so that games can
be developed freely and then scaled back to the RAM footprint more
easily). So a final M2 developer unit would have had 16 MB of RAM but not
a consumer unit.

- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -

> Graphic : 640x480 resolution. Supports
> MPEG-1 & JPEG decompression.

> Sound: 66 Mhz DsP 32 channel.
> Supports MPEG audio

> Graphic Effects:
> Texture mapping
> MIP mapping at multiple levels.
> 3D Perspective Correction.
> Alpha Special Effects
> Multi level MIP Mapping
> Gourad Shading
> Other data is here, but it's really illegible.

These have never changed.

> DVD Rom Drive
> (editors note says : DVD Rom Drive proposed.
> Probably will not make final unit)

Not in the original consumer unit. Panasonic added this for the business
unit.

- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -

> Thats about all thats legible. Along with a list of about 10 games that
> were coming to the machine.

> 2 titles from Capcom (all I can read of that is (CAPCOM) at the end of
> it.)
> D2
> Madden
> Iron & Blood
> Clayfighter
> Rocket Sled (?? best I can make out)

> Sorry, but thats all I have at the moment. My Next Gens must be in
> storage. I rarely through a game mag away, even a bad one. Or in the
> case of this newsletter, a REALLY messed up one

The M2 did end up in two arcade machines by Konami. Fly Polystars (sort of
like Panzer Dragoon) and Battle Tryst (a fighting game).

> Certainly from what I've read though, the present M2 is watered down
> from what it was (or at least what it was touted to be).

Not at all. If anything the added the DVD-ROM (which wouldn't have been
available for the original M2 game console launch).

> Frankly though, I thought the processor was even faster (100 mhz+).
> Perhaps I need a memory upgrade. ha!

Yep. Maybe you saw 2x 66Mhz and turned that into 132Mhz?

> I'd still rather have seen the original M2 make the scene as a game
> machine.

Me too. BTW, the M2 didn't launch because it was too expensive. It was
very competitive price wise (the thing was made up of three chips plus RAM
plus glue so it wasn't expensive at all) but Panasonic got cold feet. They
believed Nintendo was going to dominate the market and they thought
bringing out a unit that was twice as powerful as the N64 (and a lot easier
to develop for) wasn't good enough. They didn't anticipate that cartridges
were going to really stunt the N64's growth. In hindsight, I can safely
say the M2 would have buried the N64 if Panasonic actually launched it.

The reasons are pretty simple. The dev system was dirt cheap and easy to
use (Sony released the Net Yarouze because it got some early info on the
M2's dev system which was essentially an M2 unit with an extra ROM and a
parallel port cable for the PC). A developer familiar with an API like
Glide would be right at home so ports of 3DFX games would be easy. The OS
made streaming a dream. Today I have trouble getting Windoze with a
PII-450 and a TNT card to do what I could on an M2 four years ago. Every
developer that used the final M2 system preferred it to any other console
for ease of development. Unfortunately, everything in the universe (or so
it seemed) conspired to keep the unit off the shelf. The main causes were:

1. Panasonic was overly worried about Nintendo.
They couldn't see that
cartridges were going to doom that system to being a (relative) niche
market.
2. Trip Hawkins had a mid-life crisis and wanted to get out of the console
hardware business. He wanted to go back to what he believes he knows best-
games. Of course looking at some of the stinkers coming out of Studio (New
World and Cyclone excluded) you have to wonder. He basically told
Panasonic they would have to pay for any help with M2 (in addition to the
$100 million). Trip wouldn't be evangelizing the system anymore and 3DO
could theoretically nickel-and-dime Panasonic to death. After all, the
braintrust for the M2 was still at 3DO (before being amputated into
Cagent). Panasonic would have to put their faith in something they didn't
invent nor knew all that much about. For all they knew, there could have
been a fatal flaw in the system that wouldn't reveal itself until after
they spent a billion dollars on a launch.
3. The guy who was head of the Interactive Media division of Panasonic
(actually MEI) was retiring shortly after the time M2 was originally to
have launched. Only he could authorize the money (500 million to a billion
dollars) needed to launch the unit. He didn't want to commit his company
to such an expensive venture and then leave. So he didn't do it. His
successor inherited M2 and was reluctant to commit to it since it wasn't
"his baby". He was interested in MX but apparently he couldn't work out a
deal with Cagent (the M2 hardware group) for it. This was probably due to
an arrogant individual at Cagent who shall remain nameless who said "I
don't like MEI's table manners, so I don't want to deal with them." I
swear to God that I'm not making the last sentence up!

These are, I feel, the main reasons we never saw the M2. Scary isn't it?
It wasn't technology or costs or the market. It was key individuals that
deprived the world of a great game console. We often hear how an
individual can have a profound impact for good on the rest of the world (or
at least a large chunk of it). If it weren't for John Carmack, game
developers be doomed to using an inferior version of Direct3D for game
development instead of having a choice (Thanks, John!). Unfortunately, an
individual can bring an equally negative effect on the world. An
individual can undo the work of thousands of man-years with the stroke of
pen. Remember that when you work on a project. Don't let a few
individuals (if you can) undo what you and your fellow workers have slaved
months and years for.

Don't even get me started on how the M2/Sega deal fell through.
 

[Nintex]

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Jun 21, 2005
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Panasonic simply lacked the knowledge of how to launch a console. Also SEGA, Nintendo and everyone else in the industry knew about the M2 technology one way or another. I don't think that the M2 would've been very succesfull. Panasonic wanted an easy way into the gaming industry but it's a big investment and it would take quite some time to make a profit. I doubt that the system would've made an impact. More power is one thing, but they had no first party software and not nearly enough third party software. The "M2 is so great to program for!" might've been PR bullshit, we all know that the system couldn't do what they promised with the fancy car demo's etc.
 

camineet

Banned
Mar 30, 2007
8,073
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Yes, everyone found out what M2 was all about. It wasn't a huge leap beyond N64 and 3DFX, no miracle machine, but solid hardware. I don't know what ultimately caused the SEGA/M2 deal to fail, maybe just SEGA being SEGA, but apparently they did turn M2 down for not being a price/performance "breakthrough" that they found in PowerVR.

It's amusing to me that SEGA almost had M2 tech in their hands in 1995/1996
and then Nintendo almost had MX/M3 tech in their hands in 1997/1998.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
May 4, 2007
13,696
272
1,285
camineet said:
I'm a bit confused now, even though I shouldn't be. where Flipper's spec given in verticles , thus 1/3 of a triangle ?
TnL units (incl vertex shader units) handle vertices. depending on the primitive type those compose, that may or may not translate to 1 vertex = 1 tri. i.e. strips & fans are ~1:1 verts-to-tris, lists aren't. vendors often say 'polygons' when they actually mean 'triangles in a strip/fan'.

After years of waiting, after the total cancelation of Series 4 (elements of which ended up in MBX family but that's different) and the non-appearance of a desktop Series 5 GPU, I've given up.
have some failth.
 

Gwanatu T

Junior Member
Jul 8, 2007
2,264
0
0
Orlando, FL
josh_tarrant said:
I have read GAF for years and this is the first time that i have posted and it is due to this thread. It is amazing. The way that I see Nintendo progressing is do to with the quote from Robert rodriguez from a couple of years ago to do with a full stereoscopic 3D games machine (tried to find a link for it, but cant really find anything). The quote went along the lines of - Nintendo, behind closed doors, showed an add on for the cube a few years back that would involved a stereoscopic 3D machine . It was then later discussed in a round table with other directors Peter Jackson, James Cameron and others who said that they all thought that this technology would hit the video games industry quicker than Hollywood.

Oh man I TOTALLY forgot about that! Wasn't that the thing where the guy had a bunch of vehicles, helicopters and that flying around the place and it was fully interactive? I remember seeing that video and just absolutely crapping myself at the possibilities. It would be beyond unbelievable if Nintendo pulled something like that off; it would beyond revolutionize the industry, really, it would be a step in such a different direction it would make the Wii look like child's play.

camineet said:
Yes, everyone found out what M2 was all about. It wasn't a huge leap beyond N64 and 3DFX, no miracle machine, but solid hardware. I don't know what ultimately caused the SEGA/M2 deal to fail, maybe just SEGA being SEGA, but apparently they did turn M2 down for not being a price/performance "breakthrough" that they found in PowerVR.

It's amusing to me that SEGA almost had M2 tech in their hands in 1995/1996
and then Nintendo almost had MX/M3 tech in their hands in 1997/1998.

Yeah that's pretty impressive, and that article posted above is awesome. It's wonderful to learn about all the things that could have happened in the gaming industry, and it's infinitely interesting to see everything pan out the way it does.
 

DrGAKMAN

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
3,357
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0
43
Dayton, Ohio
www.myspace.com
Lazy8s said:
An inherent advantage of PowerVR's tile based deferred rendering is scalability. Multiple cores can efficiently share a workload because the scene has been pre-sorted and split into tiles.

OpenGL is a common standard and is supported just as well by Imageon's competitors.

AMD's most recent financial problems have caused them to restructure and reportedly now eliminate the handheld business they were supporting, so how this affects their potential for involvement in the next Nintendo portable remains to be seen.

Just as I was writing my last post in this topic I was reading up on the fact that AMD (since they've bought ATi) is discontinuing the Imageon line of products...so yes, this is an issue for my idea and anyways, it's premature to be thinking about Nintendo's plans for the future anyways.

But that won't stop me from speculating...

Iwata speaking in the new Forbes article on the topic of next-gen systems

on the topic of next-gen systems]Nintendo, as you might expect, is approaching things a bit differently. President Satoru Iwata freely admits the company is already working on the Wii's successor (something Microsoft's Shane Kim refuses to concede). However, he adds that he doesn't view the hardware as particularly interesting.

"We are always preparing for the next hardware," Iwata says. "We are under development. … But the hardware is a kind of box that consumers reluctantly buy in order to play our games."

To that end, Nintendo will keep its development well under wraps until Wii sales dry up--in other words, not anytime soon--and developers run out of ways to utilize the system's interface (ditto).

Nintendo, though, is in an unusual position. With the company's huge success with the current-generation console, consumers are going to expect a lot from it whenever the successor to the Wii is unveiled.

"Every hardware needs some revolutionary features," Iwata says. "This time around, it happened to be we had a revolutionary user interface. Will it be the same for the next generation? I really can't tell.

"It's natural for the current customer to expect Nintendo is going to once again do something different," he continues. "If the people are expecting so many different things from Nintendo, it's going to be difficult for us to go beyond that expectation again."


Fortunately for them, they've got plenty of time to figure it out.

Just as I said in this topic, Nintendo is probably contemplating the pros & cons of going for an evolutionary approach or waiting for the next revolution before bringing out new hardware. The reasoning for going for an evolutionary approach is that they could improve the current Wii in much needed areas/features and "play it safe" and release it much sooner "just in case" market conditions (Wii starts tanking, PS3 & X360 start to sell as much as Wii) call for it. But even in the worst case scenerio I still really don't see market conditions changing so much that Nintendo would have to release a "WiiHD" to take redical action...even still, I'm sure Nintendo is preparing for that with comments like these. Longer term and under best conditions they'll have more time to wait for whatever they think is the next revolution and go for it then.

In order to properly assess the above I really have to see what Nintendo is doing against D4 (if they can't win in that case, they will likely advance a successor to NDS (and Wii?) sooner in order to offset that issue and introduce VC to the handheld side), what they're going to do about the Wii's lack of storage (will they open up SD/USB...I don't think so, but if it's a major firmware upgrade then that firmware could give a better look at what they're planning for future systems) and ultimately what's up with WiiDVD (is it coming, will it have more storage, more memory, more features, possibly being an answer to those wanting a WiiHD while co-existing with the current SD Wii?).
 

Gwanatu T

Junior Member
Jul 8, 2007
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That article is interesting, but I can't help think that they messed something up:

because of differences in the timing of platform introductions between portables (every five years) and consoles (every three years)

Shouldn't that be the other way around? There's usually a new portable announcement every 3 years with the introduction of variations on current systems (i.e. GBA SP/DS Lite) or a brand new system altogether every 6 years or so. Consoles are usually every 5-6 years, with the introductions usually a year or so before the actual launch. I think they're right about Nintendo dominance for the next 5 years with the Wii, and that there will be a new DS next year (don't know if this is a refresh or a new system altogether).

It's also interesting to see that interview with Iwata and talking about what I thought Reggie meant at E3. I really think they are going to do something very different again next gen, and it's going to blow us away.
 
Aug 6, 2006
13,029
6
1,580
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Gwanatu T said:
You're mixing up Anti-aliasing with texture filtering. The DS actually does have anti-aliasing, and it's what keeps the screen from becoming a pixilated mess. It's got a custom edge AA filter I believe and it's something the developers cannot disable, just like they can't circumvent the framerate requirements. This was a tradeoff Nintendo had to make with the power of the hardware, and ultimately I think it was a good one. The textures are tolerable but the screen pixilation would have been completely unbearable; just take a look at the GBA's 3D games for instance, you can hardly make out anything on that screen at that resolution.

Yeah, you're right, I meant texture filtering. The lack of filtering is what makes DS 3d look like PSX 3d; the N64 had highly filtered polygons, the PSX and DS unfiltered. The filtering makes things look far better, really... though I do like the DS's solid framerates in 3d, DS 3d to me looks pretty bad compared to N64 3d. N64 3d looks so much better... those effects (filtering, Z-Buffer, etc) make a real difference.

It's funny how that works, because I was the only Sega person out of everyone I knew. I had the Genesis and the Saturn, and it wasn't until the Dreamcast came out that I finally got people to switch over. Everyone I knew as a kid had a SNES, and even though I had owned an NES prior to my Genesis I just loved Sonic and Sega's games so much that I felt compelled to stick with them over Nintendo. I got a Saturn after the Genesis, and then an N64 after that for obvious reasons, and then of course a Dreamcast after that. I traded in every system and game I ever owned unfortunately, simply because my parents weren't exactly rich and I only got a few bucks allowance per month, so when something new came out it was out with the old, in with the new, you know? The Dreamcast was the first system I didn't have to sell, simply because I was finally at working age and bought a new game every single week with that money. Man I miss being able to do that, lol :lol

Well, I never did have many friends, and that got smaller with time. So I'm really only talking about a few people, in addition to a few relatives' families... let's see. This is mainly about the early/mid '90s of course, as was the question, though for people where I know, I listed newer consoles too. But I'm not listing people I didn't know back then.

1: NES (otherwise unknown, some relative we saw a few times -- I remember this because they had Zelda... and Rampage, but Zelda!)
2: NES, SNES, PC (older cousin who quit gaming in the early '90s -- Mario World, Bionic Commando, Super Star Wars, SMB, that's about it I think...)
3: NES, Genesis, Mac (then quit gaming, as far as I know)
4: NES, N64, PC (unknown after about 1997, but used to be a good friend -- played his NES games a lot.)
5: PC (one of my friends never had any consoles...)
6: Genesis, N64, Game Boy Color, PC, Xbox 360 (my best friend,m probably)
7: SNES, Game Boy (otherwise unknown, didn't play his games that much -- on SNES, SFII is the only one I remember really)
8: Game Boy, Genesis (in '97 or '98), N64 ('99), PSX (2000), Dreamcast (they won it as a prize...), Game Boy Advance, Xbox, PC (my younger cousins, seen them frequently over the years)

(Darnit, why do I always turn everything into lists, even when I'm not trying... oh well. :))

... and game demo stations and people I didn't see often enough to remember here. Demo stations around here were mostly SNES, Genesis (6-game changer), Game Boy, Virtual Boy (during its year of life... too bad, I've always thought the VB concept was awesome, and since getting one a few months ago I think the execution was pretty good too, really), PSX (demo discs), N64, etc. I remember playing a Turbografx demo station once, and only once, in Toys R Us sometime... it was a shmup, of course. :)

So yeah, not much SNES. I did read Nintendo Power every month for years, though, and subscribed for two years (1995-1997; the rest of time I read it from the library, because they've subscribed to it since the early '90s), of course.

But mostly, like most people, I mostly played what I had, that is PC and Game Boy games. And as that list shows, most of my friends were into PC and Nintendo games too, unless they'd liked the Genesis... I didn't even know anyone who had a Playstation until my cousins got one in 2000! Look at who I knew and you'd think the N64 had won that generation and that PC gaming was as popular as console gaming. And that, of course, is why they say that personal experience means nothing. :)

The first person I knew well who was a Playstation fan was my first college roommate, who had a PS2. Man, was he annoying... :) Even he also played PC games though.

As for selling stuff, I'm a "never wants to get rid of anything" person, so the list of games I owned but don't have anymore is quite short... five or six PC games I lost, two GBC carts that I lost or broke, two GB games I sold because I hated them (I don't miss those two, unlike the others)... that's about it. :) ... oh right, I think I lost a DS game too... :( (But still, the one I most miss is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (CD version)!) I just couldn't sell games just for the purpose of getting money. What if I wanted to play that game again, after all? If I've sold it, I'm sure that I'd eventually regret it, so I don't. :)

To drag this section on topic: How about the Virtual Boy? Such unique hardware... so powerful for its time, for a handheld... it's impossible to take screenshots of or emulate, though. Oh, you can do it, but it completely loses the whole point of the system, which are the 3d effects; playing a VB emulator or looking at screenshots really doesn't give you a picture of what the system looks like. And you can't watch someone while playing. And it came with a manual that was FULL of red-box warnings. So yeah, I can see why it failed... but still. Before the GBA, I think there's no question that the VB was the most powerful "handheld" ever... I do wish it had done better.

And as I think I said in this thread, I'd REALLY love to see playable copies of Zero Racers, Bound High, and Dragon Hopper. We all know that they were very close to completion and should be in pretty playable shape... they looked so great in Nintendo Power, it would be awesome to see them. Zero Racers was essentially F-Zero done with textureless wireframe graphics, Red Alarm style. Bound High and Dragon Hopper both were top-down platformers which used the 3d effects to make jumping look cooler. All three were in development in 1996, but when Nintendo decided to discontinue the Virtual Boy instead of relaunching it in fall 1996, the three games being worked on as the keys for that relaunch were cancelled... at least, that's the story I've heard. It sounds reasonable, though. Other cancelled VB games were canned much earlier on, but those three were far into development.

I only own a PSP right now, so don't feel too bad. I'll get a PS3 one day, but that's not any time soon. It's too expensive and I just don't care enough honestly.

I know, I should just think "I like the games, who cares what console they're on", but... I can't help but somewhat dislike Sony. I don't really dislike any of the other hardware manufacturers, past or present, but Sony... them I still do. But yeah, I certainly will play the games I'm interested in on the platforms, if I have them (and I have PSone and PS2)... in some cases maybe not as much as if the same game was on another platform (because of how I dislike the PSX/PS2 (dualshock) controller, dislike the PS2 system design (aesthetics), etc), but I'll play it for sure. I mostly got a PS2 this year because of how I'd noticed so many PS2 games had gotten so cheap... haven't spent more than $10 on any games for the system yet, and I got the system for $40. :) And I have some good stuff... Ico, FFX-2 and FFXII, Maximo, Wipeout Fusion, etc...

Oh, and I'm certainly not a blind Nintendo fan. I've been very, very disappointed with their online strategy for a long time now, to say the least, for example... but as a PC gamer, how could I think anything different about an online strategy so backwards?

Oh, I know, Nintendo has a long history of trying online networks. That history would fit this thread too -- from the Famicom network to the Satellaview to Randnet (64DD network), Nintendo had networks... they just didn't do that well, or Nintendo didn't stick with them. It kind of makes me think that after the failure of the 64DD, Nintendo simply gave up on online, and they haven't looked back yet. The Wii certainly has the worst online features of any console in the last two generations except, well, Nintendo's own Gamecube and GBA. Yet in the previous generations, in Japan, Nintendo had actually been pushing online technology. It's almost like just as people started to care, they abandoned it... though part of the problem has to have been that the networks never left Japan, while Japan has, for a long time, been a much less receptive audience to online gaming than other places like the US, Europe, South Korea, China now, etc. I'm sure that was part of the problem, and it's the core of the reason why Nintendo doesn't care to improve the Wii or DS online networks. There's just not much demand for it in Japan, and Nintendo makes decisions based on what Japan wants, not what the US or Europe want.

If Nintendo was American, "Friend Codes" would never have existed. But anyway.

SW Episode 1 Racer looked terrible on the Dreamcast, and ran just as bad as it looked. IIRC it was a direct port of the N64 version, framerate and all. The only difference was that it had to run in 640x480 like all DC games did, otherwise I'm sure they would have kept the 320x240 original N64 resolution the same :lol

Everybody says this, but given how barely upgraded so many other PSX and N64 games were on DC, and how as I said Episode I Racer had very, very good graphics for the N64, it makes me wonder... why criticize that one while other that aren't that much better, I think, get praised? Strange... but I should play the DC version, just to see.

As for add-ons, it really helps when an add-on is not only bundled with a popular game, but when it's cheap. The fact that I can't buy a balance board on it's own and for less than $50 really is a difficult thing. I'm not sure when I'll end up with the balance board, because I'll get one eventually with all the titles that are coming out supporting it, but having an add-on for $80 and having one for, let's say $20, makes a huge difference, and it would probably show in sales if there's enough incentive in games.

Yeah, that's a good point. A cheap addon bundled with a popular game that has broad, easy-to-understand applications will do well; an expensive one, or one that has limited use beyond specific game types, will not. The record bears this out. Wii Motion Plus looks like a likely first category type; the Wii Balance Board, second category, I'd say.

Yeah, I can't tell the difference at all in those videos, but I distinctly remember being blown away by the DC version's framerate, but I remember that the arcade version had a "softer" look for whatever reason, don't know what that was. I'd have to see it in person again to see, but you may be right. The DC version was absolutely unbelievable though, and remains my favorite arcade racer next to Crazy Taxi. It's feature set was unmatched and it's gameplay remains unchallenged to this day, unbelievably.

And I got the GC version coming from 100-something hours played in the N64 version and wasn't particularly impressed in the paucity of the changes in comparison... I now have it on DC too, but it's pretty much the GC (MAT3) version but without the broken save system and controls and ruined 3/4 player race/stunt mode framerate of that version. Graphically they're the same.

I will say that the difference between DC and arcade was probably larger with Hydro Thunder than Rush 2049, but I'd say I noticed it with both... though yeah, it was more with Hydro Thunder. They obviously rushed that for the DC launch, it didn't even have a four player mode (I say this because the N64 port, released several months later, added one in -- and because MAT3 was a straight DC port (minus control customization and other issues as usual for the collection), the N64 version is still the only home version of the game with a 3 or 4 player mode... the DC did have better graphics and framerate than N64 of course, though. Like with Rush 2049, there is a definite, and noticeable, graphical difference between N64 and DC... but it's not ten times or something, it's two or three times probably, depending on how much stock you put on better textures and framerate. But neither one of them looks arcade-perfect, that's for sure. I've put a lot more time into Hydro Thunder arcade than Rush 2049 arcade (which I have only played a couple of times, as I said), so in that case I could definitely notice the difference.

Well the Dreamcast effectively ushered in the new generation of games; multi-platform everything. Last-gen really started this trend, and I'm not sure if it's just the sheer complexity of games nowadays that's brought this, or that companies feel more compelled to go multi-platform because they can make so much more money. It's frustrating but it's yet another reason that I own a 360 and a Wii and not a PS3. The PS2's domination of last generation coupled with the fact that many large companies preferred to work on the PS2 resulted in a lot of PS2 ports that simply just did not take advantage of the Xbox or the GC, and especially the GC since it took more work to port things over (I'm sure mostly because of the discs and the drive speed).

I don't know which was really better though, the days of exclusives or of multi-platform releases. Really, I lean towards the exclusives, particularly for the PC, where the multi-platform thing has done a great job of ruining a great many classic PC games and franchises. They all get consolized, and in the process simplified and made less interesting. And in the past, even consoles benefitted -- the SNES got a slower, traditional Aladdin platformer, the Genesis a faster one with swordfighting instead of jumping on heads. They were both great games, but completely different... Of course other games back then were multiplatform, like some other licensed games (The Lion King was essentially the same on every platform it was on, for instance, and it was on a lot), but this was not always true. Games which are good on every platform should of course be ported, so a larger audience can play them; but exclusives are good too, even if it's very frustrating when one you want isn't on your console. If every console has the same exact games aside from first-party titles, though, what's the point of having separate boxes...

That's the question now in the gaming industry, I think, between PS3 and 360. It's definitely pushing the whole "one console future" thing. And that would not necesarially be bad -- look at the PC for example, having one standard OS has done nothing but help PC gaming. Of course there many other factors vary wildly, but at least there is one major OS. But PCs are not consoles, so what's best for one isn't necesarially best for the other. One platform also means no competition, which means lazier, less adventurous releases. Windows would likely be even better if it had more serious competition... so yeah, on this, I'm not sure.

Really, the key is if there are actually differences between the platforms. Are they or, more importantly, their audiences interchangeable, or are they truly different? If their audiences are different, then why not have different platforms, and at least some different games? But if their audiences are similar, why not have your games on all such platforms? It makes sense. It's like politics, it works not just because there are several parties, but because the parties are truly different, which they most certainly are.

If you look at Dreamcast exclusive games you'll find that the games definitely looked significantly better than the N64/PSX exclusive games. Games like Headhunter, Phantasy Star Online, Ooga-Booga, any 2K sports title, Sonic Adventure 2, Outtrigger, House of the Dead 2, Crazy Taxi 1/2, Metropolis Street Racer, Shenmue 1/2, Jet Grind Radio, Skies of Arcadia, Quake 3, Test Drive LeMans, Ferrari F355, UFC, MDK2 and Soul Calibur to name a handful. I'm sure there are more, but I will agree with you that most games looked like high-res PSX/N64 titles, simply because they were. Many developers were probably afraid to develop specifically for the DC, and with good reason given Sega's history.

PSO... looks good by itself I guess, but I find it very hard not to compare the game to the superior GC/Xbox and PC (Blue Burst) versions later on, which have much, MUCH better graphics than the game had on DC... but yeah, it looks of that generation anyway, even if the later versions look better. As for those other games, I haven't played all of them, but I would agree that many of those look pretty good, and clearly are of their generation and aren't just upgraded last-gen titles -- Jet Set Radio, Skies of Arcadia, MDK2, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, those are all good ones to mention for that. But a lot of developers were pretty lazy...

It's also worse because of how short the system lived. If the system had lived longer it would have become less of a problem over time, of course, but as it died so fast, in a lot of cases we only see first or early second generation games, and then that's it... eventually most games would have looked like the best games, not the worst ones. But the system died too fast for that to happen.

Of course its true that the DC could never scale up to match the GC and Xbox, and because of how easy it was to develop for some of the early titles look about as good as anything on the platform, but even so, things would have improved. Just look at the GC, Factor 5 made one of its best looking titles at launch in Rogue Leader, but overall game graphics improved quite noticeably over the system's life. Even Factor 5 found plenty of room for improvement, when they made Rebel Strike and showed just how much power the system truly had...

DrGAKMAN said:
Just as I said in this topic, Nintendo is probably contemplating the pros & cons of going for an evolutionary approach or waiting for the next revolution before bringing out new hardware. The reasoning for going for an evolutionary approach is that they could improve the current Wii in much needed areas/features and "play it safe" and release it much sooner "just in case" market conditions (Wii starts tanking, PS3 & X360 start to sell as much as Wii) call for it. But even in the worst case scenerio I still really don't see market conditions changing so much that Nintendo would have to release a "WiiHD" to take redical action...even still, I'm sure Nintendo is preparing for that with comments like these. Longer term and under best conditions they'll have more time to wait for whatever they think is the next revolution and go for it then.

In order to properly assess the above I really have to see what Nintendo is doing against D4 (if they can't win in that case, they will likely advance a successor to NDS (and Wii?) sooner in order to offset that issue and introduce VC to the handheld side), what they're going to do about the Wii's lack of storage (will they open up SD/USB...I don't think so, but if it's a major firmware upgrade then that firmware could give a better look at what they're planning for future systems) and ultimately what's up with WiiDVD (is it coming, will it have more storage, more memory, more features, possibly being an answer to those wanting a WiiHD while co-existing with the current SD Wii?).

I'm sure Nintendo is, as always, working on new hardware, but it seems pretty likely that they think they have plenty of time to decide... this generation isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and Nintendo shows absolutely no signs of listening to the critics and making new, HD-capable systems. Why should they, raking in the billions like they are? Doing something like that would, I'd think, as likely threaten their business as help it. They want to keep this going as long as they can...

Evolutionary upgrades like a storage solution are probable, and that is something they should have done a long time ago of course, but radical change... doubtful, particularly on the Wii side. They won't be replacing the Wii for years. And even for the DS, I highly doubt their next handheld will be in the next year or two... maybe, but it seems doubtful. But we'll see. It is true that Nintendo has a lot of teams doing things that we don't know about, both for games and hardware.

As for HD, they can ignore it. The mass market can't even figure out how to properly plug in the HD into their television, much less care about the picture... and the core already have 360s or PS3s too.

camineet said:
somewhat off-topic, but in a sense, on-topic--Exellent USENET post on 3DO M2,
Cagent/3DO MX, and a little bit on N64.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.video.3do/msg/e44a0abde83a5f60?hl=en&dmode=source

That is really interesting. You made an M2 thread now, though, so that discussion might be better there... but that post was interesting. Obviously I disagree about how successful the M2 may have been (I believe that there's absolutely no way it could have beaten the N64, 1996 or 1997 release dates... and saying that the N64 had a "niche market" when it sold 32 million consoles worldwide and was the most successful second-place console ever? Um... yeah... no.), but it was interesting regardless.
 

agrajag

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DS probably has some kind of texture filtering, because there is no texture warping like in PSX games. Remember when you'd play a PSX game and the textures would be all jumpy like?
 

Gwanatu T

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A Black Falcon said:
If Nintendo was American, "Friend Codes" would never have existed. But anyway.

True, and this is honestly the worst part of their online system. It's getting significantly better for sure, there's absolutely no doubt about that, but it's taking a long time.

A Black Falcon said:
Everybody says this, but given how barely upgraded so many other PSX and N64 games were on DC, and how as I said Episode I Racer had very, very good graphics for the N64, it makes me wonder... why criticize that one while other that aren't that much better, I think, get praised? Strange... but I should play the DC version, just to see.

Yes there were plenty of crappy PSX/N64 ports that looked no different except for resolution, anti-aliasing and better texture filtering, but it's at least praised when effects are added and the framerate is bumped to 60fps (which is, essentially, "MAX FPS", haha). Dreamcast ports had the ability to not only look considerably better but run at twice the framerate, sometimes triple many N64 games' framerates. Having this happen was a completely different story, but it was entirely possible.


A Black Falcon said:
And in the past, even consoles benefitted -- the SNES got a slower, traditional Aladdin platformer, the Genesis a faster one with swordfighting instead of jumping on heads. They were both great games, but completely different...

Hah, I had no idea the games were different! I loved the one that I had on the Genesis and wasn't aware that the SNES version was a completely different game. I'm going to have to play that.

I personally liked the days of exclusives though. This multi-platform thing is just stupid, and it completely destroys the point of having different consoles. When console makers have different visions of how they want the industry to go it makes for very different and interesting exclusives. Right now we've essentially got a pair of HD consoles and the Wii; two different styles wrapped up in to 3 different systems. It's a shame to see the 360 and PS3 as such similar systems, especially when they both are D3D9c systems and can push the same graphics effects, albeit in different quantities/qualities depending on the effect. Last gen we had systems that could do very different things; PS2 could push polygons and particles, Xbox could do tons of shaders and textures, and the Gamecube could do more effects with textures, just mentioning the graphical differences that is.

A Black Falcon said:
It's also worse because of how short the system lived. If the system had lived longer it would have become less of a problem over time, of course, but as it died so fast, in a lot of cases we only see first or early second generation games, and then that's it... eventually most games would have looked like the best games, not the worst ones. But the system died too fast for that to happen.

Of course its true that the DC could never scale up to match the GC and Xbox, and because of how easy it was to develop for some of the early titles look about as good as anything on the platform, but even so, things would have improved. Just look at the GC, Factor 5 made one of its best looking titles at launch in Rogue Leader, but overall game graphics improved quite noticeably over the system's life. Even Factor 5 found plenty of room for improvement, when they made Rebel Strike and showed just how much power the system truly had...

This is definitely the biggest problem the DC had; time. It could never have matched the best of the best on the GC and Xbox for sure, but it would have come very close to the best on the PS2 if you ask me (Shadow of Colossus, MGS3, etc.) I'm not sure how much weaker it was than the PS2 overall simply because it didn't have enough time to mature. It took the PS2 far, FAR longer to look as good as Dreamcast titles even if the games in the beginning of the PS2's lifetime pushed more polygons than the Dreamcast ever could have, but with all the tricks that developers learn to use it's always impressive to see how much power can be squeezed out of a system over the time frame of a couple years.

agrajag said:
DS probably has some kind of texture filtering, because there is no texture warping like in PSX games. Remember when you'd play a PSX game and the textures would be all jumpy like?

Taken from Wikipedia, but this should be accurate:

The system's 3D hardware performs transform and lighting, texture-coordinate transformation, texture mapping, alpha blending, anti-aliasing, cel shading, and z-buffering; however, it uses point (nearest neighbor) texture filtering

Perspective correction (and I think z-buffering) is what generally eliminates the "warping" effect that can be seen on many Saturn and PSX games. I specifically remember racing games, like Wipeout and Daytona USA, having this problem specifically because it was heightened by the first-person driving cameras and the road going "too close" to the camera. Everything has to have some kind of texture filtering in order to display textures, and the DS, like the PSX and Saturn, has point (or nearest neighbor) filtering. Other forms of filtering are bilinear (N64's), trilinear and anisotropic.

CoilShot said:
If anyone is interested there is some tech demos of dolphin games on youtube like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCy5Zou0eAw Saffire Shooter/Rainbow Six

Also the music at the end of this trailer is great :D

Much like the original Killzone 2 video, there are plenty of things that match those videos in games for the system, but it's never quite the animation quality found in many things. That Saffire shooter is definitely able to be done on the Cube, and I'd argue that plenty of games could have looked better if developers had taken the time to learn the fixed function shader unit in the Gamecube, but alas it never happened. The Waverace trailer was nice too, but I think the water in Blue Storm actually looked better than the tech demo there. The riders and animation, however, are significantly reduced in quality. I think the biggest problem with CG videos like this, and the reason I hate them so much, is that such "movie-like" animations were impossible with previous generations. Now that we've got technology like Euphoria and I'm sure whatever technology comes out of examples like that, we're much closer to having real-time animations at that quality, but up until now it was literally impossible.
 
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Gwanatu T said:
True, and this is honestly the worst part of their online system. It's getting significantly better for sure, there's absolutely no doubt about that, but it's taking a long time.

It's getting significantly better? How so? I don't really see it... there are still friend codes, you still can't talk to anyone except in a very few games where you only can to friend-coded people, there are still no ingame lobbies, there is still no way to form an ingame community to keep the multiplayer going, SSBB even went as far as not allowing USERNAMES in non-friends coded battles (worst online setup ever?)! I don't see improvement at all, aside from that one comment by Iwata that 'friends codes aren't ideal". Which means nothing when it comes to policy.

Yes there were plenty of crappy PSX/N64 ports that looked no different except for resolution, anti-aliasing and better texture filtering, but it's at least praised when effects are added and the framerate is bumped to 60fps (which is, essentially, "MAX FPS", haha). Dreamcast ports had the ability to not only look considerably better but run at twice the framerate, sometimes triple many N64 games' framerates. Having this happen was a completely different story, but it was entirely possible.

Ah, so Ep.1 Racer's biggest problem was that they didn't even improve the framerate? That would make sense. The first thing that got improved on, most of the time, certainly was the framerate, with added effects following. That game obviously didn't even do those things. Oh well... anything that cruelly hard isn't worth playing again anyway. :)

Hah, I had no idea the games were different! I loved the one that I had on the Genesis and wasn't aware that the SNES version was a completely different game. I'm going to have to play that.

Well, they're by different developers and publishers. Genesis Aladdin was developed by Shiny and published by Virgin, while SNES Aladdin was developed and published by Capcom. As I said, the SNES one is a traditional jump-on-heads platformer (with password save), while the Genesis one has more action in its platforming (and has no saving). I'd never played the SNES one before getting the cart a year or so ago, but the Genesis one is my favorite games on the system... I knew several people who had it, and always really loved the game. The SNES one can't compare to that... and besides, after being used to swordfighting Aladdin, jumping on heads is kind of weird. :)

I personally liked the days of exclusives though. This multi-platform thing is just stupid, and it completely destroys the point of having different consoles. When console makers have different visions of how they want the industry to go it makes for very different and interesting exclusives. Right now we've essentially got a pair of HD consoles and the Wii; two different styles wrapped up in to 3 different systems. It's a shame to see the 360 and PS3 as such similar systems, especially when they both are D3D9c systems and can push the same graphics effects, albeit in different quantities/qualities depending on the effect. Last gen we had systems that could do very different things; PS2 could push polygons and particles, Xbox could do tons of shaders and textures, and the Gamecube could do more effects with textures, just mentioning the graphical differences that is.

That's true, PS3 and 360 really are very, very similar... and like the Xbox, aren't much different from the PC either except for where you are playing and what controller you're using (sure, all consoles are computers, but it's more directly similar here than in the past, I think). Were things better when the consoles were more different? Perhaps, yeah... TG16, SNES and Genesis, or Saturn, PSX, and N64, or PS2, Xbox, and GC even, all had at least somewhat unique aspects to them in some way... but with the PS3 and 360, it's hard to see that, beyond simply the first-party development and minor points like specific online service features or technical details (that PS3 has no region locking, etc). It's understandable that virtually everything third party is on both systems now. But really, what else could have happened? Both Sony and MS wanted to push technology, so they made expensive, high-end consoles. This instantly put both of them in the same market, pretty much. In what ways could you see one or the other of them differentiating their console somehow? In order to try to make money on these expensive systems both companies needed to aim at the whole market interested in systems that cost that much, so they aimed similarly... makes sense, really, I think.

But as a PC gamer, where there is one standard OS, as I said, having one standard platform most certainly isn't bad. PC games weren't better off back in the '80s when there were four or five or more major hardware platforms to consider supporting (PC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amiga, several more in Europe like the Amstrad or Spectrum, etc). They were better off once PC became the standard, and everything simply aimed at one or another part of the market. It would not necessarily be bad if consoles did something similar... not that I think that that's likely, considering that despite how similar some consoles are, the companies making them aren't exactly going to go out there and agree on one standard anytime soon. :)

This is definitely the biggest problem the DC had; time. It could never have matched the best of the best on the GC and Xbox for sure, but it would have come very close to the best on the PS2 if you ask me (Shadow of Colossus, MGS3, etc.) I'm not sure how much weaker it was than the PS2 overall simply because it didn't have enough time to mature. It took the PS2 far, FAR longer to look as good as Dreamcast titles even if the games in the beginning of the PS2's lifetime pushed more polygons than the Dreamcast ever could have, but with all the tricks that developers learn to use it's always impressive to see how much power can be squeezed out of a system over the time frame of a couple years.

I know, but on the other hand, I do remember some developer(s?) saying that they actually had pushed the DC with some games before it died. That's why I was focusing on the average game -- the top end DC games probably did push the system, but the average game was not. It's those that would have had more room to improve. With such simple hardware, it shouldn't be hard to believe that some games would push it even in a short period of time... DC could never have matched top-end PS2 titles, graphically. The PS2 was just more powerful. But of course, those same top-end PS2 games (graphically) can't match similar efforts on the Xbox or GC. But yes, there definitely was a lot of room for average DC games to get better...

Such as Windows CE, a bunch of developers were using it but it had a pretty substantial impact on performance. Stop using that and some developers would find more power.


Taken from Wikipedia, but this should be accurate:

The system's 3D hardware performs transform and lighting, texture-coordinate transformation, texture mapping, alpha blending, anti-aliasing, cel shading, and z-buffering; however, it uses point (nearest neighbor) texture filtering

Perspective correction (and I think z-buffering) is what generally eliminates the "warping" effect that can be seen on many Saturn and PSX games. I specifically remember racing games, like Wipeout and Daytona USA, having this problem specifically because it was heightened by the first-person driving cameras and the road going "too close" to the camera. Everything has to have some kind of texture filtering in order to display textures, and the DS, like the PSX and Saturn, has point (or nearest neighbor) filtering. Other forms of filtering are bilinear (N64's), trilinear and anisotropic.

Yeah... probably should have looked it up to be more precise, but I didn't. That's right, bilinear/trilinear filtering versus point filtering, that's the key difference. At least the DS does have that Z buffering and perspective correction, that's a good point... DS 3d doesn't look quite as bad as PSX or (even worse) Saturn 3d. But it certainly looks worse than N64 3d, there's no question about that...

Sure, sometimes things look nice, but stretch those to fullscreen size and it'd be more obvious how poor it often looks. Yes, the DS can push more polygons than N64, and some of its 3d games look pretty nice... but because of that lack of good filtering it just never looks quite as clean and nice as N64 3d.

Much like the original Killzone 2 video, there are plenty of things that match those videos in games for the system, but it's never quite the animation quality found in many things. That Saffire shooter is definitely able to be done on the Cube, and I'd argue that plenty of games could have looked better if developers had taken the time to learn the fixed function shader unit in the Gamecube, but alas it never happened. The Waverace trailer was nice too, but I think the water in Blue Storm actually looked better than the tech demo there. The riders and animation, however, are significantly reduced in quality. I think the biggest problem with CG videos like this, and the reason I hate them so much, is that such "movie-like" animations were impossible with previous generations. Now that we've got technology like Euphoria and I'm sure whatever technology comes out of examples like that, we're much closer to having real-time animations at that quality, but up until now it was literally impossible.

Yeah, GC graphics held up very well against the early test-demo videos. A far cry from the N64, M2, or PS2... not sure about Xbox, could the system have done that robot? I forget how good it actually looked...

But yeah, CG "target" videos really aren't helpful. They do nothing but raise expectations too high. I know that you want to show off how supposedly powerful your system is, but if the actual thing isn't going to get even close to that, wouldn't it make more sense to set expectations at an actually reasonable level?
 

Squeak

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N64 should have shipped with the 64DD drive as default storage and a better texture cache. Then it would have won the gen.

GC should have shipped in black as only default colour and a DVD drive (and be able to play movies) as default storage medium.
Then it would have won the gen.

Trouble is, I, or anyone else with a bit of common sense and basic technical knowledge could have told them that before launch.
But something or someone inside Nintendo has an urge to be different for the sake of it, or are protecting shortsighted ingrown interests.

I was worried for a time about Wii not being able to play DVDs, but it doesn't seem to have done too much damage.
I still think they would have sold more units and have more satisfied and loyal customers if the had shipped with DVD playing ability though.
 

Squeak

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A Black Falcon said:
Yeah... probably should have looked it up to be more precise, but I didn't. That's right, bilinear/trilinear filtering versus point filtering, that's the key difference. At least the DS does have that Z buffering and perspective correction, that's a good point... DS 3d doesn't look quite as bad as PSX or (even worse) Saturn 3d. But it certainly looks worse than N64 3d, there's no question about that...

Sure, sometimes things look nice, but stretch those to fullscreen size and it'd be more obvious how poor it often looks. Yes, the DS can push more polygons than N64, and some of its 3d games look pretty nice... but because of that lack of good filtering it just never looks quite as clean and nice as N64 3d.
The greatest weakness of the N64 was the poor texture cache.
That is what really held the system back, and what sometimes could make PSone games look better, even if they lacked perspective correction and bilinear filtering.

High texture resolution is very very important for the overall technical impressiveness of the graphics, equal to high polycounts, if not more important.
DS fixed this. I think DS might even be able to realistically use higher res textures than PSP.
Perspective correction is also a very important feature. Screw bilinear if I have to look at warping textures!

Actually DS can push less polys than N64, it's just not held back by fillrate. The N64 was fillrate limited because of the z-buffer and the bilinear.
If you rendered with the z-buffer turned off and point filtered textures you could draw around 1 million polygons per second.
And by the by, N64 and DS renders at almost the same resolution, so DS games wouldn't look worse on a TV screen, probably the quite the opposite, due the higher res textures and better AA.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
May 4, 2007
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Squeak said:
And by the by, N64 and DS renders at almost the same resolution, so DS games wouldn't look worse on a TV screen, probably the quite the opposite, due the higher res textures and better AA.
one of the features i like best about the ds is the streamlined AA - it sits right next to the formidable battery life and rom cartridges in my book of handhelds done right.
 

Gwanatu T

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Jul 8, 2007
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A Black Falcon said:
It's getting significantly better? How so? I don't really see it... there are still friend codes, you still can't talk to anyone except in a very few games where you only can to friend-coded people, there are still no ingame lobbies, there is still no way to form an ingame community to keep the multiplayer going, SSBB even went as far as not allowing USERNAMES in non-friends coded battles (worst online setup ever?)! I don't see improvement at all, aside from that one comment by Iwata that 'friends codes aren't ideal". Which means nothing when it comes to policy.

I was talking specifically about the transition from Gamecube/GBA to Wii/DS. There was nothing before the DS or Wii, and now we at least have an online service with some kind of functionality. There's definitely the need for a lot of improvement, but knowing Nintendo this won't happen until the next round of systems.

A Black Falcon said:
That's true, PS3 and 360 really are very, very similar... and like the Xbox, aren't much different from the PC either except for where you are playing and what controller you're using (sure, all consoles are computers, but it's more directly similar here than in the past, I think).

Well the Xbox was the closest a console has ever come to just being a standard PC in a console box. It had a Pentium 3 derivative for a processor, an nVidia nForce chipset, an nVidia Geforce 3 derivative GPU and standard PC ram (I don't know what kind), not to mention a standard 3.5" 5400 RPM HDD in every box with a Windows-based Kernel. The 360 and PS3 at least have some sort of Power-PC based processor; something no PC has or can even operate on. Other than that though, yeah, they are PCs in smaller boxes.

A Black Falcon said:
I know, but on the other hand, I do remember some developer(s?) saying that they actually had pushed the DC with some games before it died. That's why I was focusing on the average game -- the top end DC games probably did push the system, but the average game was not. It's those that would have had more room to improve. With such simple hardware, it shouldn't be hard to believe that some games would push it even in a short period of time... DC could never have matched top-end PS2 titles, graphically. The PS2 was just more powerful. But of course, those same top-end PS2 games (graphically) can't match similar efforts on the Xbox or GC. But yes, there definitely was a lot of room for average DC games to get better...

I think it was Yu Suzuki himself that said in Shenmue 2 they had pushed the DC well beyond what they ever thought it could do, and after playing the game and seeing how much better it looked than every other game on the system (generational leaps above many games even) I'm not surprised. Like I said the games that pushed the system the hardest I think were Shenmue 1/2, Test Drive LeMans and Ferrari F355 Challenge. There could be more, but those 4 stand out in my head particularly. It could have never matched the PS2's best looking games, and no doubt it would have been a much farther gap between DC vs. PS2's best looking games in favor of PS2 than it would have been in GC/Xbox vs. PS2 in favor of GC/Xbox of course. Games like MGS3 really showcased the power of the PS2, and honestly I think it was one of the best looking titles last generation.

A Black Falcon said:
Sure, sometimes things look nice, but stretch those to fullscreen size and it'd be more obvious how poor it often looks. Yes, the DS can push more polygons than N64, and some of its 3d games look pretty nice... but because of that lack of good filtering it just never looks quite as clean and nice as N64 3d.

Oh for sure, the N64 had incredible graphics for it's time. I remember being so wowed by the N64 and all the effects it could push, and there were only a handful of times that a PSX game wowed me, and it was usually the polygon count that got me in those games if anything.

blu said:
one of the features i like best about the ds is the streamlined AA - it sits right next to the formidable battery life and rom cartridges in my book of handhelds done right.

I too am extremely pleased with Nintendo's choice to include AA on the DS, because at that resolution it REALLY helps the overall texture quality. Sure it would have been nice to have texture filtering as well, but with games as good looking as any of the Final Fantasy titles on the system (especially Crystal Chronicles) I hardly miss it on that tiny screen.
 
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Gwanatu T said:
I was talking specifically about the transition from Gamecube/GBA to Wii/DS. There was nothing before the DS or Wii, and now we at least have an online service with some kind of functionality. There's definitely the need for a lot of improvement, but knowing Nintendo this won't happen until the next round of systems.

I would certainly hope Nintendo's next system would have an improve network with more options, but considering that the Wii came out several years after the DS but made absolutely no improvements to its online network in comparison, I'm not getting my hopes up.

Well the Xbox was the closest a console has ever come to just being a standard PC in a console box. It had a Pentium 3 derivative for a processor, an nVidia nForce chipset, an nVidia Geforce 3 derivative GPU and standard PC ram (I don't know what kind), not to mention a standard 3.5" 5400 RPM HDD in every box with a Windows-based Kernel. The 360 and PS3 at least have some sort of Power-PC based processor; something no PC has or can even operate on. Other than that though, yeah, they are PCs in smaller boxes.

Windows doesn't run on PowerPC, but other computer OSes do -- MacOS, for example... but yeah, obviously compared to the Xbox other consoles aren't as directly comparable hardware wise. But all consoles are computers, of course -- not identical to PCs, but they are computers. They are just computers designed and being used for games.

I think it was Yu Suzuki himself that said in Shenmue 2 they had pushed the DC well beyond what they ever thought it could do, and after playing the game and seeing how much better it looked than every other game on the system (generational leaps above many games even) I'm not surprised. Like I said the games that pushed the system the hardest I think were Shenmue 1/2, Test Drive LeMans and Ferrari F355 Challenge. There could be more, but those 4 stand out in my head particularly. It could have never matched the PS2's best looking games, and no doubt it would have been a much farther gap between DC vs. PS2's best looking games in favor of PS2 than it would have been in GC/Xbox vs. PS2 in favor of GC/Xbox of course. Games like MGS3 really showcased the power of the PS2, and honestly I think it was one of the best looking titles last generation.

But could the DC have been pushed much past where it was by late 2001? I just don't quite have your opinion of how close the DC would have been had it lived... the hardware numbers are just so low in comparison that I can't see it. That is, if you objectively look at the hardware numbers instead of saying "I think this one looks better than that one" the DC-PS2 gap is quite huge compared to the PS2-GC/Xbox one, and the DC-GC/Xbox one is even bigger. It's like Sonic Team's games after they left the DC, they still looked like DC games for years and everyone knew it, because the difference was obvious...

That's not to say some DC games didn't look good, some certainly did. And as I said many look better (sharper, especially) than many PS2 games, because of how hard it is to program for PS2 when compared to DC. But I mostly think the system was great because of games, not graphics. It's hard for me to think of "DC=great graphics"... sure it had them in late 1999 when it came out, but by 2001, when the GC and Xbox came out and several generations of PC hardware later, it was already looking dated... it would have helped it to get past the N64/PSX ports era, for sure, and into the main part of the generation (the 2001-2006 PS2/Xbox/GC era), because the DC would unquestionably have been pushed by many more titles (just look at Under Defeat, for instance! Looks amazing), but even so, its deficiencies when compared to the competition would have gotten more and more obvious with time.

Of course, as we know, hardware power and success have nothing in common, so that point has nothing to do with why the system failed. It just is.

Oh for sure, the N64 had incredible graphics for it's time. I remember being so wowed by the N64 and all the effects it could push, and there were only a handful of times that a PSX game wowed me, and it was usually the polygon count that got me in those games if anything.

I still love the N64, sure its framerates are often bad and textures are low resolution, but for great games (and nostalgia value) consolewise little come close, for me... and I think its graphics often still look good, too. it has limitations, but the best developers did amazing work in getting around them... But of course, as a longtime Nintendo fan, I'm much more critical of PSX graphics. :D

I too am extremely pleased with Nintendo's choice to include AA on the DS, because at that resolution it REALLY helps the overall texture quality. Sure it would have been nice to have texture filtering as well, but with games as good looking as any of the Final Fantasy titles on the system (especially Crystal Chronicles) I hardly miss it on that tiny screen.

Sure, some DS 3d games do look pretty good. Metroid Prime: Hunters, for instance, looks great. It's a pretty good system graphically. But still, filtering would have been fantastic.

Squeak said:
N64 should have shipped with the 64DD drive as default storage and a better texture cache. Then it would have won the gen.

Neither of those things would have saved it. A larger texture cache would have made graphics better, but that wouldn't have affectected sales much I'm sure, given that it already was quite a bit more powerful than Playstation. 64DD wouldn't have done it either, the problem was that Nintendo lost Japan, and they lost Japan because of not having a CD drive and high costs (and broken bridges) with key developers. Those 64MB 64DD disks would not have solved the storage space problem for Square and others.

It certainly would have been cool if the 64DD had mattered more, though... the concept was a good one. Kind of a road not taken for Nintendo, really, with the good online network and extensive customization/PClike stuff... sure, there are Miis, but beyond that?

GC should have shipped in black as only default colour and a DVD drive (and be able to play movies) as default storage medium.
Then it would have won the gen.

Xbox had DVD and it didn't win the gen, why would that have won it for GC? It would have helped a bit, for sure, but a lot of people already had DVD players, thanks to the PS2... the PS2's having a DVD drive certainly was key, but mostly early on, I think -- it was central to the quick defeat of the Dreamcast (particularly in Japan where the PS2-as-DVD player thing was huge for a while), but less influential in the PS2/GC/Xbox thing, overall, really... though yes, with a DVD drive GC would have done a bit better.
 

Lazy8s

The ghost of Dreamcast past
Jun 7, 2004
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Late 1998 was when Dreamcast launched, not '99.

It debuted in Japan.
 

agrajag

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A Black Falcon said:
Sure, sometimes things look nice, but stretch those to fullscreen size and it'd be more obvious how poor it often looks. Yes, the DS can push more polygons than N64, and some of its 3d games look pretty nice... but because of that lack of good filtering it just never looks quite as clean and nice as N64 3d.

That's funny because I remember during the PSX vs. N64 console wars, all the Sony fans were saying how they prefer PS games' pixelated look to N64's blurry texture filtering.:lol I think in retrospect, we can all agree that the bluriness is much easier on the eyes.
 
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Lazy8s said:
Late 1998 was when Dreamcast launched, not '99.

It debuted in Japan.

Yes, of course, but it came out in the US in '99...

agrajag said:
That's funny because I remember during the PSX vs. N64 console wars, all the Sony fans were saying how they prefer PS games' pixelated look to N64's blurry texture filtering.:lol I think in retrospect, we can all agree that the bluriness is much easier on the eyes.

Heh... the real winner was, as usual, the PC though, of course. Neither N64 or PSX could match up to it.

I mean, as I said, I loved my N64 and like its graphics, but the Voodoo2 card I put in my computer in '98 made quite superior graphics to anything the N64 could ever do. N64 initially impressed me for its graphics -- and by this I mean the various demos, and Mario 64 -- but afterwards, it mostly impressed in gameplay, as well as graphics of later N64 games when compared to earlier N64 games (or PSX games).

I'd played the system before of course, but didn't actually own an N64 until fall '99... my first thought was that the graphics (Mario 64, OoT, etc) were quite definitely worse than the PC games I was playing. I quickly got used to it, though... but I think that's part of why the N64 has aged well for me, I got over the "wow the N64 has the most amazing graphics ever" phase several years before I owned the system. :)

Oh yeah, and that Playstation/Saturn texture warping is HORRIBLE. Worse than the pixelization, really. PC and N64 games didn't do that, it makes PSX 3d look so, so bad for me... like R4 on PSX vs. RR64 on N64, or Wipeout XL vs. Wipeout 64... even the better looking PSX games can't completely make up for those warping textures. The N64 versions look better.