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Most impressive 3D-Games for the Sega Saturn

Aug 5, 2009
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Whoops, I hit the wrong button here. What I wanted to say is that most Saturn soccer games use fully polygon players. Sega's Worldwide Soccer series is a great example, as is Konami's J.League Striker, Silicon Dreams' World League Soccer 98, EA's FIFA 97/98 and Tecmo's J.League Go Go Goal--the latter even runs at 60fps, which is one heckuva shocker.

Go Go looks and runs amazing, the ball just looks wrong mind and too big. WLS 98 looks and plays ace and it uses one of the higher Saturn res modes


 

sunnysideup

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Nov 11, 2018
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Small differences, but I prefer the art of the Japanese version.
I agree. But I never played either.

I was an nintendolt at the time and fell for the "not a true 3d platformer" bullshit. All of these 2,5d/pseudo 3d platformers got bullshit reviews 95-97 because they where not full 3d. Not 3d, not mario= crap according to reviewers. Or at least that was how the general sentiment felt.
 

UnNamed

18+ Member, acts like 12 year old console warrior
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No, its a custom engine created by a guy called "XL2".
By the way he created Sonic Z-Treme too.

Haven't played this game, it's undoubtedly impressive, solid gameplay, very good soundtrack, but... I wouldn't say it feels like Sonic. It has some Sonic vibe in it's 2.5D gameplay but when it comes 3D it's different, much less dynamic. Sonic's true nature was hard to replicate in 3D, even Sonic Jam had a 3D exploration very different to any Sonic game. Sonic Adventure have more similarities to the old Sonic games, but it would be impossible to port on Saturn.
But a different Sonic would have been better than no Sonic, so I think this game would have been a big success back in the day.
 
Last edited:

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
1,603
545
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
What soccer game has the best graphics? WLS98 or WWS98?


The best looking soccer game on Saturn? Probably World League 98 for its smooth character animations, stomping crowds in the stands and moving billboards along the side of the pitch. Everything is constantly moving and it's quite a feat to see. Go Go Goal has the 60fps arcade feel and surely has to be seen to be believed (if only the computer wasn't such a brutal bastard). Sega's World Cup France 98 is the most refined of the WWS franchise, adding little touches like rain hitting the ground, and the motion capture animations are always enjoyable.

That said, the real winner might be Sega's J.League Pro Soccer Club Wo Tsukurou 2. It's the second in a successful series of soccer management sims where you create your own team, hire players and have them compete in the J.League. The graphics are simply astonishing for Gen-5 and player models are wonderfully animated. Loads of little details like rain on the ground and excellent color design just pop off the screen. Mind you, this is a management sim and you never get to directly control the players, which might be one reason why it looks so good. As everyone ought to know, adding in player controls does place a burden on the processors and cuts into the "polygon budget," which was extremely limited across the three major consoles in Gen-5 (that's why you see frame rates slashed to the bone as time goes on).


 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
1,603
545
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
Go Go Goal wasn't even released in the West. Another decision by Sega I don't really get tbh.


Go Go Goal was created by Tecmo. You'd have to ask them why they never brought this game to the States, but I would have to assume they did the market research and concluded that it wouldn't sell and would end up losing money. That goes double for Dead or Alive, a videogame they loved so much they actually used screenshots of the Saturn version for the Playstation ads, and even put that version into the DOA Ultimate compilation on Xbox. We need to remember that in 1997, fighting games were a largely niche genre (kids only wanted simple button-mashing which was satisfied by Tekken 3 and wrestling games) and that goes double for soccer.

We cannot emphasize enough how dead Saturn was in North America by the summer of 1997. Absolutely nothing sold and nothing could gain the public's attention. In an industry always obsessed with the newest trend, Sega was yesterday's news, Sony and Nintendo were the future.
 
Aug 5, 2009
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Go Go Goal was created by Tecmo. You'd have to ask them why they never brought this game to the States,
That's a bit of a lame cop out. Many of the games brought over the West from Japan weren't published by the one who made or published them in Japan.
SEGA America and Europe should have been much more proactive in bringing over the better games from Japan. It wasn't helped either by the tools at SEGA America picking a pointless fight with one of SEGA best supporters and that was Working Designs and to top it off we had that dreadful speech and 5-star plan, which meant people like Dave Perry also said BYE to SEGA.

SEGA America were utter muppets in the 32-Bit era
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
1,603
545
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com


Another great looking 3D videogame for Saturn, Pro Yakyuu Team mo Tsukurou, or "Let's Make a Pro Baseball Team." Released in 1998, this is a sports management simulation where you build a baseball team and have them compete in the professional leagues. You never directly control the players but watch matches play out on their own, with occasional nudging or coaching advice.

Everything looks terrific with solid polygon visuals and a very strong cutesy style that Sega employed so rarely. They did cute very well, but this is usually the sort of thing you'd expect from Nintendo. It's a great showpiece for the system, even if you don't read any Japanese.

As with the "Let's Make a Soccer Team" franchise, I really wish this was imported to the States, and that the graphics engine was used for a playable sports title. This could have been Sega's answer to Konami's cutesy baseball franchise.
 

stranno

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Wing Arms was pretty cool for September 95, less than one year after the console launch and just three months after the way more simpler Air/Ace Combat.
 
Last edited:

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
1,603
545
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
That's a bit of a lame cop out. Many of the games brought over the West from Japan weren't published by the one who made or published them in Japan.
SEGA America and Europe should have been much more proactive in bringing over the better games from Japan. It wasn't helped either by the tools at SEGA America picking a pointless fight with one of SEGA best supporters and that was Working Designs and to top it off we had that dreadful speech and 5-star plan, which meant people like Dave Perry also said BYE to SEGA.

SEGA America were utter muppets in the 32-Bit era


Well, we don't really know what happened with Working Designs, so it's a bit unfair to speculate. There's no question that Victor Ireland and Bernie Stolar hated each other's guts, but you've only really heard from one side of that story. And you are aware that Ireland was trashing Saturn behind Sega's back during the early Saturn days, speaking off the record to the gaming (groupie) magazines about how awful the Saturn hardware was. The business world is full of large egos clashing with one another, and the videogame industry only doubly so.

Segaphiles really need to get over that 1997 E3 EGM interview. They're never going to forgive Stolar for that one, but the truth is that Saturn wasn't part of anybody's future by that point. I'm sorry, but them's the facts.
 
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RAIDEN1

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Makes you wonder would there ever be a Saturn classic? After the success of the Genesis Mini....Sega has had the best part of 10-15 years to do it but never bothered...
 
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Well, we don't really know what happened with Working Designs, so it's a bit unfair to speculate. There's no question that Victor Ireland and Bernie Stolar hated each other's guts, but you've only really heard from one side of that story. And you are aware that Ireland was trashing Saturn behind Sega's back during the early Saturn days, speaking off the record to the gaming (groupie) magazines about how awful the Saturn hardware was. The business world is full of large egos clashing with one another, and the videogame industry only doubly so.

Segaphiles really need to get over that 1997 E3 EGM interview. They're never going to forgive Stolar for that one, but the truth is that Saturn wasn't part of anybody's future by that point. I'm sorry, but them's the facts.
We do. Bernie didn't think SEGA should pay for Working Designs E3 both, which was what SEGA did for a number of years, so he cut the funding only to be ordered by Sega Japan to reinstate SEGA paying for WD E3 both space, but it was too late and WD said Bye Bye...

And I do tire of people using excuses about how the Saturn was awful or hard to develop on, such excuses went out the window with the PS2 and PS3. If was all about having good launch software for the USA being cheap and also easy to develop on. The Game Cube and Dreamcast would have cleaned up and the PS2 and PS3 sold like crap
 
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Small differences, but I prefer the art of the Japanese version.

Japanese cover art, especially from the '90s, tended to shit all over the American versions.

# of times American cover art was better for Japanese games can probably be counted on one hand. Two hands at most.

Makes you wonder would there ever be a Saturn classic? After the success of the Genesis Mini....Sega has had the best part of 10-15 years to do it but never bothered...

I think it'll eventually happen; whether it's through M2 or Sega Toys, it'll happen. I mean think about it this way: they did one for the MegaDrive AND 32X in Japan, and the 32X was quite literally an afterthought in that country. Yes, it was just a shell toy add-on, but ARM chip performance will keep getting better and Saturn emulation continues to improve greatly with passing of time.

Sometime between 2022 - 2024 I would hope a Saturn Mini becomes a real thing. Or, Sega could just design a Mini covering several systems, provide extra game downloads through online, and have different variants with shells over other Sega systems like Saturn, Dreamcast, JVC Wondermega etc. Make it capable of playing some of the legacy arcade games too, at least up to NAOMI 2.

It would be more expensive than the typical Mini but there are already cheap(ish) tablets and refurbished older USFF/SFF computers capable of running Dreamcast and Saturn emus with enhanced resolution support. The bigger issue as a whole (this can be applied to a lot of other emulators) is compatibility in terms of the games. Some weird hacks are still required for early versions of software compatibility on emus depending on the nature of the game.
 
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celsowmbr

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Apr 26, 2013
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Whats the story for it remaining unreleased till today? Are Sierra even around?

"Developed by Coktel Vision and published by Sierra On-Line, it seems this PC port was basically finished and ready to go (minus a few bug fixes here and there), but was pulled at the last minute due to… reasons… (most likely Saturn’s poor market performance and an insufficient projected return on investment…)"

 

cartman414

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We do. Bernie didn't think SEGA should pay for Working Designs E3 both, which was what SEGA did for a number of years, so he cut the funding only to be ordered by Sega Japan to reinstate SEGA paying for WD E3 both space, but it was too late and WD said Bye Bye...

And I do tire of people using excuses about how the Saturn was awful or hard to develop on, such excuses went out the window with the PS2 and PS3. If was all about having good launch software for the USA being cheap and also easy to develop on. The Game Cube and Dreamcast would have cleaned up and the PS2 and PS3 sold like crap

Nearly everything Bernie touched turned to shit. First the "no RPG or 2d game" rule while he was at Sony for the early PSX run, then euthanizing the Saturn when he joined Sega.
 
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Nearly everything Bernie touched turned to shit. First the "no RPG or 2d game" rule while he was at Sony for the early PSX run, then euthanizing the Saturn when he joined Sega.
To be a little fair to Bernie he was dealt a terrible hand and he did bring out RPG's. But his speech and stance of the Saturn was terrible and made what little Saturn support was there just leave SEGA.
To his credit mind, he did a great job with the DC right down to at last have proper jewel cases and Japanese artwork
 
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s_mirage

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This looks cool. How does it hold up gameplay-wise?

YMMV. IIRC it's okay but not great.

I didn't have a Saturn when it was alive but always liked how Wing Arms looked. I finally got a copy years later but after wanting to play it for years I came away rather disappointed. I'm struggling to remember why though, so I'll have to give it another go and see if my opinion has changed.

"Developed by Coktel Vision and published by Sierra On-Line, it seems this PC port was basically finished and ready to go (minus a few bug fixes here and there), but was pulled at the last minute due to… reasons… (most likely Saturn’s poor market performance and an insufficient projected return on investment…)"


This kind of thing always seemed strange to me in the era of disc based consoles. With cartridges I understand cancelling a game that wasn't projected to sell well due to the high upfront productions cost of the carts. Game doesn't sell, that's a significant amount of money wasted. Discs though? IIRC CD production was cheap even back then, so surely it would make sense to at least try to make back some of the development costs. Unless Sega were charging a premium per manufacturered unit for disc production or something. Infamously, this wouldn't be the only time Sierra cancelled a virtually complete game on a Sega console. A little title by the name of Half-Life for the Dreamcast may ring some bells.
 
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UnNamed

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Saturn architecture was the root of all problems of Sega Saturn: distribution, programming, third party support, port, localization.

People usually say Saturn was specifically designed around multiple processors, with 2 CPU in mind because the arcade heritage. In fact this is partially true, but only if we see it from another point of view.

The main problem was Sega was unable to engineering their own chip internally, so they needed to rely to other manufacturers for barely custom chips, it's what they already did for their expensive arcade machines. Totally different from what Sony did with Playstation, where components were build internally (CD drive, sound chip, etc) and the GPU was internally engineered with their own architecture, reducing costs and make PSX more versatile.
Every time Sega needed an extra function, they just added a chip. The main CPU wasn't powerful enough (initial Saturn hardware had only one CPU, NEC at first IIRC, then Hitachi) so they added another CPU. First bunch of games used Master SH1 for everything since there was almost no room for using two cpu simultaneously, only later games used MSH1 for game logic and Slave SH1 for thing like building the scene etc. But SSH1 was too general purpose to handle 3D math, so they added a custom DSP (SCU) for that. VDPs are essential to render the final scene since Saturn haven't a custom chip for rendering. They had five chips to do what PSX made with just two, not counting the huge amount of banks of memory here and there for basically every component. No wonder why they released a 399$ machine and their sold it at loss.

When you have a very expensive machine, your only hope is to sell enough software, but in the meanwhile you have a console very hard to master because the five chips, with poor documentation and with unfinished dev kits because the machine had various revisions before the release. And if this wasn't enough, SEGA still supported lots of product lines who sold poorly: MD (1996) MCD (1996), 32X (1996), GG (1197), Nomad (1999), CDX (119?) and they even wanted to release further hardware like Neptune. In just four years, Saturn worldwide revenue was 1/5 of the initial release, console segment was a bloodbath.

You can't blame Bernie Stolar for this mess, no wonder they wanted to move on with the Dreamcast.
 
Last edited:

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
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545
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www.dtm-arts.com


Sega Saturn 3D Showcase, Part Three is now available for reading. As with the previous two parts, everything has been rewritten and expanded from the original NeoGAF post, so it's well worth reading and sharing with everyone you know.

Only one more episode in this series to go! I just have to capture some screenshots and then begin the writing, which always takes far longer than I would like. After that, I'll have to shake things up with some music or movie reviews, I think.
 

cireza

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They had five chips to do what PSX made with just two
You could only use one CPU and the fact that two VDPs were there was because the console was built for both 2D and 3D, which was not the case of the PS1. Developers eventually made 2D engines on PS1 but it was not designed for it and they had to make an extra effort.

You don't see developers complain too much even when they have to make extra efforts on Sony hardware. PS1, and especially PS2 and PS3 were complicated systems as well, but they adapted to it because sales were there. When you don't have the choice, you simply go forward with it, even if it is a pain.

It is true that SEGA was using off the shelf components and it cost them a lot, for Dreamcast as well.

In the end, these complicated designs had a lot of charm, and are the reason why we would see huge improvements over the course of the life of the console. We don't see this anymore really. Looking back at the first games on Xbox One and PS4, we certainly did not make that much progress during their whole lifespan. We still get good games, sure, but the excitement isn't there for me. Sunset Overdirve looks great, the scale was there etc... I don't see any significant upgrade over this in the last games of the console.
 
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Saturn architecture was the root of all problems of Sega Saturn: distribution, programming, third party support, port, localization.

People usually say Saturn was specifically designed around multiple processors, with 2 CPU in mind because the arcade heritage. In fact this is partially true, but only if we see it from another point of view.

The main problem was Sega was unable to engineering their own chip internally, so they needed to rely to other manufacturers for barely custom chips,

SONY also had to use outside manufacturers for the PSX; Its had to go to MIPS for the CPU and a little known fact it that Toshiba helped SONY with the PSX GPU. It's stilly to say this was an issue for SEGA when SEGA and Nintendo always had to rely on outside manufacturers to help them with Hardware. And yeah SEGA using multi GPU and CPU's in their coin ups was nothing new the Y board alone had 3 main 68000 CPU's

And most development kits were changed and revised back in those days and it's wrong to say the documentation was poor, one of the better things about SEGA then, was it would provide developers with full documentation, it was just their own tools was slow. If SEGA had got market share then all excuses like multi CPU's, expensive hardware and hard to develop on, go out the window as we saw with the PS2, PS3 and to a point the N64


The big mistake SEGA made was trying to hold on to the 16 bit market for too long and pushing ahead with the 32X. Which meant SEGA split its development base, its PR base and worse still its own fan base.
A terrible cock-up. Without the 32X SEGA would have had great launch software early and also would have been the 1st 32 bit console to have Doom and Fifa. Nice one.. Tom
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
978
1,603
545
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
SONY also had to use outside manufacturers for the PSX; Its had to go to MIPS for the CPU and a little known fact it that Toshiba helped SONY with the PSX GPU. It's stilly to say this was an issue for SEGA when SEGA and Nintendo always had to rely on outside manufacturers to help them with Hardware. And yeah SEGA using multi GPU and CPU's in their coin ups was nothing new the Y board alone had 3 main 68000 CPU's

And most development kits were changed and revised back in those days and it's wrong to say the documentation was poor, one of the better things about SEGA then, was it would provide developers with full documentation, it was just their own tools was slow. If SEGA had got market share then all excuses like multi CPU's, expensive hardware and hard to develop on, go out the window as we saw with the PS2, PS3 and to a point the N64


The big mistake SEGA made was trying to hold on to the 16 bit market for too long and pushing ahead with the 32X. Which meant SEGA split its development base, its PR base and worse still its own fan base.
A terrible cock-up. Without the 32X SEGA would have had great launch software early and also would have been the 1st 32 bit console to have Doom and Fifa. Nice one.. Tom


Most of the criticisms laid against the Saturn hardware date to 1994 and 1995. By 1996, software developers had access to the Sega Graphics Library, which made things much easier for C language coders, and everyone had learned how to use the processors properly and employing the proper tricks like VDP2 planes for the ground.

I've been going through the multi-platform games and it's quite remarkable how quickly third party developers snapped into place. Most Saturn-PSX software titles in '96 and '97 are more or less identical, aside from the unique quirks of each platform. The impression at the time was that "everything's better on Playstation." That might have been the case in '95 with Toshinden, Hi-Octane, Destruction Derby, Lemmings 3D and Wipeout (although I do love Wipeout), but things had changed considerably the following two years. Unfortunately, the Saturn's collapse in the US marketplace stopped that progress cold, and so Playstation pulled decisively ahead in '98 and beyond.

It must be said that programmers love to complain. EVERY computer is a pain to work with, every console a struggle to master. They complained just as loudly about the N64, PS2 and PS3, but since those were established and stable platforms, the company bosses would demand that software be made there and coders simply put in the work. Heck, does anybody remember the enormous temper tantrums everyone had over the Nintendo Wii? Software devs were screaming like babies for five solid years and had to be dragged along, kicking and screaming.

The truth is that Sega, and Sega of America specifically, burned most of their bridges with their Napoleon attitude towards third-party publishers during the Genesis era. The software community was looking for an alternative to the draconian Nintendo, and when Sega became the kings of the playground, they ended up behaving just as badly. Suddenly, along comes Sony who promises the moon and stars, and more importantly, develops beneficial relationships with software publishers to aid and assist them as much as possible (hello, developers' conferences). It's no wonder why everybody was eager to jump ship to the new guys. Hey, it's Sony! These guys invented everything. We can work with them. Sega? Nintendo? Not so much.

The 32X was definitely a disaster, but I do understand SoA's need (and it was their baby, despite the denials years later) to keep the 16-bit market alive. Gen-5 really didn't take off sales-wise until 1997. The top selling console in '95 was the Super Nintendo. And Donkey Kong Country really raised the bar for Gen-4, leaving the aging Genesis far behind. The console just couldn't compete on that level. And so a solution was needed to keep up, and unfortunately, that's where the problems began. The SVP used in Virtua Racing was powerful but far too expensive ($100, ouch) to be of any use, and the 32X was a $150 monstrosity that only confused and angered consumers and retailers alike.

If Sega had a way to boost the Genesis hardware without jacking up software prices, that could have helped greatly. Once again, we see how Sega's sloppy finances and SoA's accumulating debt was becoming a serious long-term problem. Nintendo could add the FX chip to SNES cartridges and sell at normal prices, and Sony could just eat their PSX losses without breaking a sweat (heck, Microsoft lost billions on Xbox and it doesn't even count as a rounding error). Sega could not afford to do that. That left them with the prospect of 1) wildly expensive $100 carts that would tank at retail, and 2) a wildly confusing $150 add-on that would tank at retail and devastate their reputation for years to come. The only other option was, what? More Sonic sequels? More sports games? Hold off on releasing Saturn until '96? That's just not doable due to the situation with Sega in Japan. They can't afford to give Sony the Gen-5 market all to themselves for 18 months.

So...yeah. Sega was in a very bad situation, and there were no easy solutions. The only hope, as always, was that one or two software titles would break wide and become blockbuster hits. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the kids just weren't interested and nothing could get their attention. Even the mighty VF2, Virtua Cop, Sega Rally and Panzer Dragoon couldn't crack 200,000 copies.

Ah, well. Isn't this the real reason why everybody loves the Beatles' White Album? Everybody loves the chaos and melodrama.
 
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The 32X was definitely a disaster, but I do understand SoA's need (and it was their baby, despite the denials years later) to keep the 16-bit market alive. Gen-5 really didn't take off sales-wise until 1997. The top selling console in '95 was the Super Nintendo. And Donkey Kong Country really raised the bar for Gen-4, leaving the aging Genesis far behind. The console just couldn't compete on that level. And so a solution was needed to keep up, and unfortunately, that's where the problems began. The SVP used in Virtua Racing was powerful but far too expensive ($100, ouch) to be of any use, and the 32X was a $150 monstrosity that only confused and angered consumers and retailers alike.
I still think the 32X was a poor idea from the getgo and smelled like one from a million miles away.
The SVP chip was expensive, but for a handful of games, it would've been a better solution than an entirely new system. They could've also released a stand-alone cartridge with the tech of the SVP chip inside. That way they could've sold the games separately at a normal price.

Either way, I don't think Genesis really needed all of that. It was still doing decent and got supported by third-party devs. Vectorman wasn't as good-looking as Donkey Kong Country, but still very good regardless, and with the Saturn soon to be released the energy should've gone to that.

Many also forget about the Sega Nomad. A handheld that ate batteries and was very clunky. Instead of fixing the issues with the Gamegear, they made a system with an even shorter battery life and an even worse form factor. The Nomad isn't all bad, but it needed a few more years in my opinion. A new Gamegear model would've been a better solution in 1995.
 
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Aug 5, 2009
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Most of the criticisms laid against the Saturn hardware date to 1994 and 1995. By 1996, software developers had access to the Sega Graphics Library, which made things much easier for C language coders, and everyone had learned how to use the processors properly and employing the proper tricks like VDP2 planes for the ground.

I've been going through the multi-platform games and it's quite remarkable how quickly third party developers snapped into place. Most Saturn-PSX software titles in '96 and '97 are more or less identical, aside from the unique quirks of each platform. The impression at the time was that "everything's better on Playstation." That might have been the case in '95 with Toshinden, Hi-Octane, Destruction Derby, Lemmings 3D and Wipeout (although I do love Wipeout), but things had changed considerably the following two years. Unfortunately, the Saturn's collapse in the US marketplace stopped that progress cold, and so Playstation pulled decisively ahead in '98 and beyond.

It must be said that programmers love to complain. EVERY computer is a pain to work with, every console a struggle to master. They complained just as loudly about the N64, PS2 and PS3, but since those were established and stable platforms, the company bosses would demand that software be made there and coders simply put in the work. Heck, does anybody remember the enormous temper tantrums everyone had over the Nintendo Wii? Software devs were screaming like babies for five solid years and had to be dragged along, kicking and screaming.

The truth is that Sega, and Sega of America specifically, burned most of their bridges with their Napoleon attitude towards third-party publishers during the Genesis era. The software community was looking for an alternative to the draconian Nintendo, and when Sega became the kings of the playground, they ended up behaving just as badly. Suddenly, along comes Sony who promises the moon and stars, and more importantly, develops beneficial relationships with software publishers to aid and assist them as much as possible (hello, developers' conferences). It's no wonder why everybody was eager to jump ship to the new guys. Hey, it's Sony! These guys invented everything. We can work with them. Sega? Nintendo? Not so much.

The 32X was definitely a disaster, but I do understand SoA's need (and it was their baby, despite the denials years later) to keep the 16-bit market alive. Gen-5 really didn't take off sales-wise until 1997. The top selling console in '95 was the Super Nintendo. And Donkey Kong Country really raised the bar for Gen-4, leaving the aging Genesis far behind. The console just couldn't compete on that level. And so a solution was needed to keep up, and unfortunately, that's where the problems began. The SVP used in Virtua Racing was powerful but far too expensive ($100, ouch) to be of any use, and the 32X was a $150 monstrosity that only confused and angered consumers and retailers alike.

If Sega had a way to boost the Genesis hardware without jacking up software prices, that could have helped greatly. Once again, we see how Sega's sloppy finances and SoA's accumulating debt was becoming a serious long-term problem. Nintendo could add the FX chip to SNES cartridges and sell at normal prices, and Sony could just eat their PSX losses without breaking a sweat (heck, Microsoft lost billions on Xbox and it doesn't even count as a rounding error). Sega could not afford to do that. That left them with the prospect of 1) wildly expensive $100 carts that would tank at retail, and 2) a wildly confusing $150 add-on that would tank at retail and devastate their reputation for years to come. The only other option was, what? More Sonic sequels? More sports games? Hold off on releasing Saturn until '96? That's just not doable due to the situation with Sega in Japan. They can't afford to give Sony the Gen-5 market all to themselves for 18 months.

So...yeah. Sega was in a very bad situation, and there were no easy solutions. The only hope, as always, was that one or two software titles would break wide and become blockbuster hits. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the kids just weren't interested and nothing could get their attention. Even the mighty VF2, Virtua Cop, Sega Rally and Panzer Dragoon couldn't crack 200,000 copies.

Ah, well. Isn't this the real reason why everybody loves the Beatles' White Album? Everybody loves the chaos and melodrama.

The SG-L was developed and released by March 1995, but even with the new tools, some of the better Saturn developers said it was too slow and looked to use their own toolchain. The Saturn just didn't get the market share where developers took the time to use the system and really push it. There are no doubt some systems are harder to make games on it, but if you get market share, that all goes out the window and developers use it and look to push the system, even if they don't like the system. Just look at Capcom very vocal on the PS2 hardware issues and in the end was one of its best developers. You talk of the Saturn GPU's changes and the PSX doing with 2 chips with what took 5 on the Satun, yet the PS3 which took 7 to do with the what the 360 did with 3 and the PS3 itself had hardware changes made late on with the RSX being added the last min, many developers had issues with the Cell and the memory of the PS3. Yet the PS3 sells the most and in the end, many developers look to use the PS3 to lead so their games would run better; sure it's simplified and not 100% accurate, but if you get market share you get development support and issues over hardware or tools go out the window

The 32X is really what cost and hurt SEGA and the Saturn. It had SEGA's own fan base and also its developers wondering so I buy/support the Saturn or the 32X? It was a confusing message and also split SEGA's development and marketing budgets.
It's a shame, there was no way SEGA would beat or top SONY. But a SEGA100% focused on just Saturn development and games imo really would have given the N64 a run for its money and the Saturn could have been a strong number 2 system around the world.
 

RAIDEN1

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Aug 2, 2013
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Great video brings up my point earlier here on the Saturn's transparency issues, (though yeah now I understand on TVs back then it wasn't as noticeable) it was a car-crash of a console, and the 32 bit era represented the biggest hardware mis-step Sega ever took....and ended up paying the price long-term....even the Dreamcast was on shaky ground from the start.....
 

cireza

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Jun 1, 2014
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What a shit video. This looks like a summary of all the most stupid and unproven things you can find about the console. This kind of video is perfect to fuel the ignorance of people about the console.

The guy said SEGA added a second CPU and GPU in their console on response to the PS1, which is obviously wrong. Both VDPs were necessarily there from the beginning, otherwise we would have had a console that would either do : foreground, or backgrounds. Let's be real for a sec.
Doom does not run at a lower resolution on Saturn, it actually runs at a higher resolution. Another wrong info.
Talks about Castlevania, but does not talk about the shortcomings of this version that was not well handled by the port team.
Transparency is perfectly doable on the Saturn, most devs took the lazy way out that's all.
 
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celsowmbr

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Apr 26, 2013
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What a shit video. This looks like a summary of all the most stupid and unproven things you can find about the console. This kind of video is perfect to fuel the ignorance of people about the console.

The guy said SEGA added a second CPU and GPU in their console on response to the PS1, which is obviously wrong. Both VDPs were necessarily there from the beginning, otherwise we would have had a console that would either do : foreground, or backgrounds. Let's be real for a sec.
Doom does not run at a lower resolution on Saturn, it actually runs at a higher resolution. Another wrong info.
Talks about Castlevania, but does not talk about the shortcomings of this version that was not well handled by the port team.
Transparency is perfectly doable on the Saturn, most devs took the lazy way out that's all.
This video is more accurate:
 

RetroAV

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Dec 25, 2019
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I don't believe the 32X hurt Saturn much at all. Where are all these 32X games that should have been on Saturn? What? Space Harrier? After Burner? Star Wars? Knuckles Chaotix? Yeah, if those were released on Saturn instead that really would have turned things around...:messenger_smirking:

The truth is, it is the SATURN that hurt the 32X! Of course, no one is going to buy the 32X if there are no games on it! And there were no games on 32X because they were all being developed for the Saturn! The 32X could have bought the Saturn more time, but the support just wasn't there.

P.S. I love Saturn. :messenger_beaming:
 

cartman414

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May 3, 2006
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I still think the 32X was a poor idea from the getgo and smelled like one from a million miles away.
The SVP chip was expensive, but for a handful of games, it would've been a better solution than an entirely new system. They could've also released a stand-alone cartridge with the tech of the SVP chip inside. That way they could've sold the games separately at a normal price.

Either way, I don't think Genesis really needed all of that. It was still doing decent and got supported by third-party devs. Vectorman wasn't as good-looking as Donkey Kong Country, but still very good regardless, and with the Saturn soon to be released the energy should've gone to that.

Many also forget about the Sega Nomad. A handheld that ate batteries and was very clunky. Instead of fixing the issues with the Gamegear, they made a system with an even shorter battery life and an even worse form factor. The Nomad isn't all bad, but it needed a few more years in my opinion. A new Gamegear model would've been a better solution in 1995.

A SVP add on would have only cost like $50.

One other thing is that SoA prematurely ended the Genesis' life cycle. Titles like Monster World IV were never localized.
 

polybius80

Member
Jan 10, 2019
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What a shit video. This looks like a summary of all the most stupid and unproven things you can find about the console. This kind of video is perfect to fuel the ignorance of people about the console.

The guy said SEGA added a second CPU and GPU in their console on response to the PS1, which is obviously wrong. Both VDPs were necessarily there from the beginning, otherwise we would have had a console that would either do : foreground, or backgrounds. Let's be real for a sec.

I dont know if someone on an interview admitted that or not but it surely "looks like" a response to PSX specs, unlike PSX, saturn do the geometry calculations on CPU so in order to do 3d like PSX/N64 with distorted sprites as polygons you surely may require extra cpu power and also some extra processors

"Transparency is perfectly doable on the Saturn, most devs took the lazy way out that's all."

the distorted sprites have to use extra pixels to fill possible gaps "in 3d", using transparency will show all kinds of artifacts due to the distorted sprites if you only tell it to use a % of transparency due to the overdraw, you can use transparencies mostly in 2d games(because you dont need to distort the pixels as much and even less calculations required) on certain cases(see mega man x games) but in most cases in a very limited way like only doing transparency with the background and not other sprites(see keio and guardian heroes)

here is an explanation of the fading effect in sonic R and it explains how they did it, not being able to do that is not because devs were lazy, you required talent, experience or time or a bit of all of them, even sega had a lot of problems using alpha effects, "perfectly doable" is not true there is always a drawback unlike PSX or N64



there are transparency effects in 3d games like burning rangers but it required a very complex render path to achieve its alpha effects

 
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Dec 12, 2018
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A SVP add on would have only cost like $50.

One other thing is that SoA prematurely ended the Genesis' life cycle. Titles like Monster World IV were never localized.
Which would the normal price for a game. People who weren't ready yet to move over to the Saturn would've seen that as a far more attractive solution than the 32X. And it's not like they needed an entire console library of games here. The SNES had less than 10 games with the Super FX chip and Vectorman showed that they could still squeeze a lot out of the Genesis. That would've been enough to compete with Donkey Kong County and the Super FX chip.
 

celsowmbr

Member
Apr 26, 2013
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Curse of any Saturn topic, Self-appointed Sega historians come in and and vomit walls of text in every topic like this.

Make a best of Playstation 3D and you don't get the history of the Playstation and Sony of the time by diehard "Fans", just great game recommendations.
Such a pity, because I am discovering a lot of new impressive games here. Please guys, lets continue! 🙏🙏🙏
 
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