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Alternate History: If the N64 had featured a CD-ROM drive...

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I'm still imagining things that don't exist because how the N64 ended up at times. It does make you wonder what would have been lost or gained if the N64 used CDs.

I'm also thinking of a slightly different kind of alternate history. What if the N64 was the DS as a home console (minus the dual screens)?
 

Killua

Member
This was always my understanding of what happened. Square soft was developing FF VII initially for N64 probably on computers. They had huge vision for what to do with FMVs and the CD format. When N64 was announced to be with cartage format, Square was like well damn, now we can't do what we want with that kind of limited data. So they saw what Sony had to offer. Better price, lack of censorship, data space, easy system to develop for, and said they said fuck Nintendo.

Well, Final Fantasy VII was released, it changed everything. When people saw the FMVs and movie like quality it offered, they were blown away. 3rd parties saw what could be done and saw how well the system was selling, they all abandoned Nintendo and jumped on to Sony's ship and never looked back.

Saturn's issue was that it was a bitch to develop for because the hardware was too complex, N64 was very hard to develop for as well, but was also limited with carts. Sony was just the right place to be. Because of Final Fantasy VII, all eyes were on Playstation.

N64 when released had Mario 64, that revolutionized 3D gaming and created the 3D camera system, showed what analog controls could offer, and most of all blew peoples minds. While the system was awesome, Mario 64 was really the only game worth playing for a large part of the first gaming year. 3rd parties had already jumped ship. So the system had big droughts between game releases, with nothing to fill in the gaps. (similar to Wii U)

When Goldeneye released it showed 1st person shooters could be done well on console and the multiplayer 4 player split screen made the N64 a party machine. So the system became known for it's shooters and multiplayer games and exellent Nintendo 1st Party games. While Playstation became an RPG monster machine and with many great single player story games.

I believe if Nintendo 64 would have had gone with the CD format, Final Fantasy VII would have still been on N64. 3rd parties wouldn't have jumped ship. N64 could have had the best of both worlds, incredible party games and incredible single player with deep moving stories, and Playstation might not still be around. Final Fantasy wouldn't have been multiplatform, because until FF13 they were always exclusive to one console.

Dreamcast wouldn't have been killed so early because PS2 hype. Microsoft wouldn't have released Xbox and tried to steal Sony's thunder. The entire industry would be completely different.

Nintendo is always talking about how one game can change everything for a console. They know. Original Super Mario Bros did this for nintendo, Pokemon did this for gameboy. Final Fantasy VII did this for Playstation. Halo 1 single handedly kept Xbox alive and put it on everyone's radar.

One game can change everything.
 
If you aren't willing to understand that the N64 has few 2d games that aren't low-budget puzzle games and such because developers didn't want to make them, and not because its hardware, which is better than the Saturn's in pretty much every way, couldn't do it, that's your problem, not the N64's. :)



you've got your alternate realities where your favorite system had 2D games that somehow showed its capabilities in that regard to be better than the Saturn, a machine still largely designed for 2D. What actually exists, however, is a slew of classic 2D games on said Saturn which age like fine wine, while people in the emulation scene bend over backwards to make even 3D N64 games look less like butt.

Like what you like, but the Saturn's 2D library is pretty much untouchable.
 
http://i.imgur.com/qwpI0pI.png[/IMG]
Yeah, stupid childish images, that sure is the way to make an argument, if you want to look bad that is...

you've got your alternate realities where your favorite system had 2D games that somehow showed its capabilities in that regard to be better than the Saturn, a machine still largely designed for 2D. What actually exists, however, is a slew of classic 2D games on said Saturn which age like fine wine, while people in the emulation scene bend over backwards to make even 3D N64 games look less like butt.

Like what you like, but the Saturn's 2D library is pretty much untouchable.
Once again, look at the actual hardware capabilities. The N64 is a more powerful system than the Saturn. The N64 does 2d the same way that the PS1 does, and the PS1's not as far behind the Saturn in 2d as you suggest... and the N64's quite a bit more powerful than either of them. Of course it's a very capable 2d system!

Anyway, Yoshi's Story's just as impressive as most anything on the Saturn, graphically -- and graphics is the only issue here, not gameplay.

(As for emulation, the problem is that N64 emulation still isn't very good, while Saturn emulation is. Hopefully that situation changes soon. The main problem is simply about focus, though; N64 emulation kind of stalled like a decade ago, and only now seems to finally be moving forward again...)
 
Enix published Mischief Makers and Wonder Project J2 for N64.

Yeah, and they released three Saturn games, not one -- Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari, NinPen Manmaru, and the Saturn port of Riven.

However, at some point in '97 Square convinced Enix to abandon Nintendo (and Sega) in favor of a Sony-exclusive strategy. Enix did release those three Saturn games after the key turning point of Square's FFVII release and Enix's announcement that DQVII would be PS1-exclusive, but their non-Sony releases ended there, handhelds excepted. Enix did release a bunch of GBC games of course, while Square refused to release anything for Nintendo platforms until after Yamauchi retired... and that there should be more evidence that Square leaving Nintendo was NOT just about the discs. If it was just about that, they might have released some GBC games... but they didn't, they supported the WonderSwan instead.
 
Sorry to just jump in here...

Once again, look at the actual hardware capabilities. The N64 is a more powerful system than the Saturn. The N64 does 2d the same way that the PS1 does, and the PS1's not as far behind the Saturn in 2d as you suggest... and the N64's quite a bit more powerful than either of them. Of course it's a very capable 2d system!
Thing is, neither Nintendo nor their devs really did any 3D stuff with the system. So it's a matter of "what ifs" instead of facts. Remember the debates between PS3 and 360? People said PS3 was more powerful on paper, but it wasn't until the games showed up that gamers as a whole began to actually believe it.

Thing is, N64 never came out with any 2D games that could rival the arcade-centric Saturn. So it will forever remain a what-if.

Anyway, Yoshi's Story's just as impressive as most anything on the Saturn, graphically -- and graphics is the only issue here, not gameplay.
It also has a very unconventional graphical style that is not at all congruent with Saturn's 2D games. The above example is like saying "SNES had the best 2D sprites compared to Genesis. I mean, just look at Donkey Kong". Wellllll....

(As for emulation, the problem is that N64 emulation still isn't very good, while Saturn emulation is.
This is straight up false. Saturn emulation is pretty jank for the most part. Yes, certain N64 games struggle to be emulated but it's nothing compared to Saturn emulation.
 
I'm going to have to disagree with the "N64 2D is as good as/better than the Saturn's!", especially the use of Yoshi's Story as a comparison, since from my brief playtime with YS on an actual console, I distinctly recall a lot of weird rendering artifacts showing up in the image. Not entirely sure what it was, but it's like some textures were rendering further to the side than they should be on certain rows, resulting in a weird, inconsistent "fuzzy" look. Not really something I'd want to be doing 2D games on, not when that sort of look lives and dies by having all of its pixels in the right places - having them melt outward a few pixels in any given direction would be rather unappealing.
 

DonMigs85

Member
N64 could throw around sprites much better than the PS1 or Saturn and with more color depth, and it could filter them too, as in Doom and Hexen 64. Remember that the Saturn didn't even support transparencies in hardware.

Even Mario Kart 64's character select screen exemplifies this.



And don't forget Bangai-O - it would likely perform much worse on PS1 or Saturn



There's no doubt in my mind N64 could handle sprite-heavy games like the Mega Man X series or Marvel Vs. Capcom (might need the Expansion Pak for some though). They just didn't choose to bring them to the platform.
 
Sorry to just jump in here...


Thing is, neither Nintendo nor their devs really did any 3D stuff with the system. So it's a matter of "what ifs" instead of facts. Remember the debates between PS3 and 360? People said PS3 was more powerful on paper, but it wasn't until the games showed up that gamers as a whole began to actually believe it.

Thing is, N64 never came out with any 2D games that could rival the arcade-centric Saturn. So it will forever remain a what-if.
I presume you mean 2d, of course. :p

But seriously, considering how much more powerful the N64 is than the Saturn, why should I need to prove that it can match the Saturn? You should have to prove that it can't! And you can't do that, I don't think. It's really unfortunate that SNK and Capcom didn't support the N64 with fighting games, but had they made them they certainly would have been great.

It also has a very unconventional graphical style that is not at all congruent with Saturn's 2D games. The above example is like saying "SNES had the best 2D sprites compared to Genesis. I mean, just look at Donkey Kong". Wellllll....
I'm not sure what you're talking about here, because your example is a good example of how you're wrong! I mean, Donkey Kong Country is a great example of a game that uses the SNES's hardware advantages over the Genesis to do something the Genesis never could match; CG-rendered Genesis games just can't look as good as DKC thanks to the system's 64-color limit. I mean, I love Vectorman and think it looks great, but it doesn't quite match DKC.

Anyway, again, the N64 has much higher processor power than the Saturn, more RAM, etc. Hardware-wise it's not close, of course.

This is straight up false. Saturn emulation is pretty jank for the most part. Yes, certain N64 games struggle to be emulated but it's nothing compared to Saturn emulation.
Have you never used SSF? It's a fantastic emulator, runs most Saturn games near-perfectly. Saturn emulation is extremely good, and has been for years.

I'm going to have to disagree with the "N64 2D is as good as/better than the Saturn's!", especially the use of Yoshi's Story as a comparison, since from my brief playtime with YS on an actual console, I distinctly recall a lot of weird rendering artifacts showing up in the image. Not entirely sure what it was, but it's like some textures were rendering further to the side than they should be on certain rows, resulting in a weird, inconsistent "fuzzy" look. Not really something I'd want to be doing 2D games on, not when that sort of look lives and dies by having all of its pixels in the right places - having them melt outward a few pixels in any given direction would be rather unappealing.
This is because N64 2d still uses the standard microcode, which means that everything has all of the standard N64 filters on it -- triple-buffering, Z-buffering, anti-aliasing, etc. Nintendo could and should have had a 2d-centric microcode available, but they didn't.

N64 could throw around sprites much better than the PS1 or Saturn and with more color depth, and it could filter them too, as in Doom and Hexen 64. Remember that the Saturn didn't even support transparencies in hardware.
Right. On that note, compare Playstation or Saturn Doom and Hexen to N64 Doom 64 and Hexen. The N64 games have better graphics.

Even Mario Kart 64's character select screen exemplifies this.



And don't forget Bangai-O - it would likely perform much worse on PS1 or Saturn



There's no doubt in my mind N64 could handle sprite-heavy games like the Mega Man X series or Marvel Vs. Capcom (might need the Expansion Pak for some though). They just didn't choose to bring them to the platform.
Good point about Bangaioh! It does a great job of showing off the N64's sprite-manipulation powers, for sure.
 

DonMigs85

Member
Even the PS1 could've come very close or even exceeded the Saturn's 2D prowess if it only had more RAM available. That was mostly what limited Capcom's fighters on there in terms of sprite size and number of animation frames. Not the CPU or anything.
 

iidesuyo

Member
(As for emulation, the problem is that N64 emulation still isn't very good, while Saturn emulation is. Hopefully that situation changes soon. The main problem is simply about focus, though; N64 emulation kind of stalled like a decade ago, and only now seems to finally be moving forward again...)

Really? Wasn't the Saturn known to be very hard to emulate because of its complicate structure? Time to check the latest emulators.


And let's get real. King of Fighters '96 came on a 362 MegaBit cartridge, no way Nintendo would have supported that back in the day. Even their flagship Zelda "only" offered 256MBit in late 1998. The Saturn offered the perfect solution, CD sound and memory combined with a RAM/ROM cart for super fast loading.

Castlevania with reduced animations and downgraded sound? No thanks.
 

Rich!

Member
Castlevania with reduced animations and downgraded sound? No thanks.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but Symphony of the Night is actually a 3D game, viewed from the side and designed as if it was a sprite based game. This is because of the limitations of the PS1 in 2D, but also allowed nifty 3D backgrounds and 3D animation of any object.

That's why the Saturn port runs like shit. Because it's 3D.
 
Nope, FFVII was never in development for the N64. Ever.
You can wrongly deny is all you want, but the only reason Square was ever developing for SGI workstations was because SGI was making the N64's graphics chip. Come on.

Even the PS1 could've come very close or even exceeded the Saturn's 2D prowess if it only had more RAM available. That was mostly what limited Capcom's fighters on there in terms of sprite size and number of animation frames. Not the CPU or anything.
RAM was definitely the big limiter for the PS1, yeah... it didn't have enough, particularly for 2d games.

On that note, with the Expansion Pak N64 2d games could have had 8MB of RAM... quite a lot, then!

Really? Wasn't the Saturn known to be very hard to emulate because of its complicate structure? Time to check the latest emulators.
Um... it was, like, ten years ago... but then SSF happened.

And let's get real. King of Fighters '96 came on a 362 MegaBit cartridge, no way Nintendo would have supported that back in the day. Even their flagship Zelda "only" offered 256MBit in late 1998.
N64 games reached 512Mbit in 1999. By that point you could have certainly done it. And before that, you'd just need compression, and maybe also some cuts like MK Trilogy has. Remember, SNK did pretty much no compression on Neo-Geo games, since getting larger and larger meg counts was something they liked to show off. On the N64, you'd compress data. If that still wasn't enough, well, MKT and KI Gold did both see some cuts -- but those were 8MB (64Mbit) cartridges, so that's no surprise. Even the 16MB carts of late '97 would probably have been able to do either of those games, or most of Capcom's fighting games of '95-'97, without much trouble I would guess...

The Saturn offered the perfect solution, CD sound and memory combined with a RAM/ROM cart for super fast loading.
The Saturn's certainly great for 2d games, yes. But the N64 and PS1 are pretty good as well, and the N64's greater power allows it to do more in some ways.

Castlevania with reduced animations and downgraded sound? No thanks.
The N64 Castlevania games are quite good, so it all worked out fine for that franchise... but as for SotN on N64, who knows. How big is the game, anyway? Not counting audio, I mean.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but Symphony of the Night is actually a 3D game, viewed from the side and designed as if it was a sprite based game. This is because of the limitations of the PS1 in 2D, but also allowed nifty 3D backgrounds and 3D animation of any object.

That's why the Saturn port runs like shit. Because it's 3D.
Aren't all N64 and PS1 "2d" games actually side-view 3d, though?
 

iidesuyo

Member
I'm not sure if you are aware, but Symphony of the Night is actually a 3D game, viewed from the side and designed as if it was a sprite based game. This is because of the limitations of the PS1 in 2D, but also allowed nifty 3D backgrounds and 3D animation of any object.

That's why the Saturn port runs like shit. Because it's 3D.

Isn't every 2D game on PS1 more or less a 3D game, as the PS1 had no dedicated 2D hardware? It still has all the animated "textures" that eat up RAM.

The Saturn version runs like shit because Konami didn't care much for it.
 
Isn't every 2D game on PS1 more or less a 3D game, as the PS1 had no dedicated 2D hardware? It still has all the animated "textures" that eat up RAM.

The Saturn version runs like shit because Konami didn't care much for it.

The PS1 has less memory which means less frames of animations or stripped features (i.e. tag team in XMvSF). The Saturn 3D hardware is actually based on sprite warping technology hurriedly adapted into a 3D engine. This is incidentally why 3D on the Saturn is based on quads. Your "polygons" are literally arbitrarily sized sprites warped by the VDP.
 
I wouldn't be so sure about that. I think a lot of third party devs would've gone multiplatform at the very least just due to Nintendo's well known shitty treatment of third party developers. If you listen/read about Sony back then, they were actively looking to be the opposite of Nintendo in terms of third party relations. So they would've won some of them over with that.

The OP kinda covers this by saying Nintendo would "counter" Sony's low license fees....but the reason Sony offered low license fees was because they knew Nintendo had been bullying publishers for years and most were desperate to break free.
 

iidesuyo

Member
SNK did pretty much no compression on Neo-Geo games,

...and that is what made the games so awesome! Crystal clear sound and voice acting, it's impressive even today.

On the N64, you'd compress data.

Bad enough. The major flaw of cartridges.

The N64 Castlevania games are quite good, so it all worked out fine for that franchise... but as for SotN on N64, who knows. How big is the game, anyway? Not counting audio, I mean.

Must be several 100 MBytes. And the great audio is an important part of the game btw. On the N64 we would have had either MIDI or compressed mono music I fear, not to mention the voice acting. Even a game with mono sound and few, constantly looping tracks in decent quality like F-Zero X needed a 128 MBit cartridge.
 

Krejlooc

Banned
You can wrongly deny is all you want, but the only reason Square was ever developing for SGI workstations was because SGI was making the N64's graphics chip. Come on.

Comparing the $10,000 SGI workstation that the demo was made on to the N64 because they come from the same manufacturer is absolutely laughable and shows a stunning lack of technical insight.

FFVII was never, ever, ever in development for the N64.

Perhaps, just perhaps the reason they were working with the SGI workstation is because they had already used it in development of Mario RPG. Or maybe it was because, you know, SGI were the leader in graphics technologies. Or maybe it was because the SGI workstation they used was also used to make the backgrounds for FFVII on the PSX.
 
The OP kinda covers this by saying Nintendo would "counter" Sony's low license fees....but the reason Sony offered low license fees was because they knew Nintendo had been bullying publishers for years and most were desperate to break free.

Yup.

Nintendo stayed with cartridges because they ran the manufacturing plants and would profit regardless if the games sold well or not.

CDs would mean they would lose control and have a smaller margin on game sales.

They avoided CDs purely out of greed.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
This was always my understanding of what happened. Square soft was developing FF VII initially for N64 probably on computers. They had huge vision for what to do with FMVs and the CD format. When N64 was announced to be with cartage format, Square was like well damn, now we can't do what we want with that kind of limited data. So they saw what Sony had to offer. Better price, lack of censorship, data space, easy system to develop for, and said they said fuck Nintendo.

Well, Final Fantasy VII was released, it changed everything. When people saw the FMVs and movie like quality it offered, they were blown away. 3rd parties saw what could be done and saw how well the system was selling, they all abandoned Nintendo and jumped on to Sony's ship and never looked back.

Saturn's issue was that it was a bitch to develop for because the hardware was too complex, N64 was very hard to develop for as well, but was also limited with carts. Sony was just the right place to be. Because of Final Fantasy VII, all eyes were on Playstation.

N64 when released had Mario 64, that revolutionized 3D gaming and created the 3D camera system, showed what analog controls could offer, and most of all blew peoples minds. While the system was awesome, Mario 64 was really the only game worth playing for a large part of the first gaming year. 3rd parties had already jumped ship. So the system had big droughts between game releases, with nothing to fill in the gaps. (similar to Wii U)

When Goldeneye released it showed 1st person shooters could be done well on console and the multiplayer 4 player split screen made the N64 a party machine. So the system became known for it's shooters and multiplayer games and exellent Nintendo 1st Party games. While Playstation became an RPG monster machine and with many great single player story games.

I believe if Nintendo 64 would have had gone with the CD format, Final Fantasy VII would have still been on N64. 3rd parties wouldn't have jumped ship. N64 could have had the best of both worlds, incredible party games and incredible single player with deep moving stories, and Playstation might not still be around. Final Fantasy wouldn't have been multiplatform, because until FF13 they were always exclusive to one console.

Dreamcast wouldn't have been killed so early because PS2 hype. Microsoft wouldn't have released Xbox and tried to steal Sony's thunder. The entire industry would be completely different.

Nintendo is always talking about how one game can change everything for a console. They know. Original Super Mario Bros did this for nintendo, Pokemon did this for gameboy. Final Fantasy VII did this for Playstation. Halo 1 single handedly kept Xbox alive and put it on everyone's radar.

One game can change everything.

While FFVII was a strong signal that it was okay to move over to Playstation, it was really riding the wave of abandoning Nintendo, not creating it.

Think about the fact that Nintendo console franchises like Castlevania and Mega Man were already on their way to Playstation before VII hit.

It's more like the Japanese industry all moved over to Sony because of better publisher relationships and cheaper fees.... FFVII was just one of the most high profile examples of this existing trend.
 
Thing is, N64 never came out with any 2D games that could rival the arcade-centric Saturn. So it will forever remain a what-if.

this, and its obvious to anyone spending time with both libraries - Mischief Makers & a few others are nice, but the more you dive into JP saturn games, the wider the gap gets.
 

MauMau

Banned
yeah i'm also not too sure games like mario or zelda could've been done on CD, or at least with technical knowledge of the time. but maybe somebody more knowledgeable can shit all over that theory

anyway, nintendo would probably be wherever sony is right now (in the games market, not sony as a whole of course), for better or worse

Not quite. Nintendo still has the mobile devices. Sega's downfall would have happened regardless. I'd think most 3rd parties would stick to Nintendo. Sony I don't think would have released a successor console, so Microsoft would have no need to enter the market.

My lazy armchair prediction is a monopoly of both console and handhelds.
 

Chitown B

Member
carts were super fast with zero load times. I'm glad they went with carts. They were still the raw graphics leader and still holds up. Try to play a PS1 launch game these days, and then play Mario 64.
 
While FFVII was a strong signal that it was okay to move over to Playstation, it was really riding the wave of abandoning Nintendo, not creating it.

Think about the fact that Nintendo console franchises like Castlevania and Mega Man were already on their way to Playstation before VII hit.

It's more like the Japanese industry all moved over to Sony because of better publisher relationships and cheaper fees.... FFVII was just one of the most high profile examples of this existing trend.

Yeah I think it is a bit of a misconception to say Final Fantasy VII changed everything. Especially here in the states and anywhere outside of Japan really. What it really signaled was a shift in the development community and it showed that even the biggest software developers were working on the console. It signaled Sony as being a serious player in the console business. FFVII fit in perfectly with Sony's more mature themed console and the whole idea of marketing to what gamers were at the time. They had grown out of their grade school ages and were now 15-21 years old and Sony was marketing to that group. I think FFVII sold so well during that era because it did not have that classic early Cartoonish / Anime color palette and graphic style. It was dark, it was mature, and it hit on a lot of issues in peoples minds during that era. Corporate corruption, destruction of nature and the ecosystem, sucking the planet dry of its natural resources, etc.

Was the perfect JRPG marketed toward the right audience at just the right time on just the right system.

Now if the N64 had a CD-ROM? I think SquareSoft still goes over to Sony because I remember reading how there was a big falling out between the 2 companies during this stage, partly to do with format decisions but there were other underlying currents that caused the split beyond just the format.

Nintendo has never really gotten along with third parties though. Throughout its lifetime. The Wii is evidence of that as it was by far the most popular console yet you were still hard pressed to find third party software of any quantity on the system. You had backdoor deals being made for things like the Monster Hunter and Dragon Quest series, but beyond stuff like that it was pretty barren. Which was just plain odd for a 100 million selling console.

So I really dont think things would have changed all that much to be honest.
 

Mxrz

Member
Their treatment of third parties would've still drove development to the psx. Nintendo and Sega were pretty horrible in the early/mid 90s.
 
Really? Wasn't the Saturn known to be very hard to emulate because of its complicate structure? Time to check the latest emulators.

Saturn emulation has come a long way, and it is becoming very good, but the system requirements to emulate Saturn titles are much higher than PlayStation or N64 emulators. Saturn emulation is also heavily CPU bound and there are a lot of co-processors that need to be emulated and kept in sync with each other. SS emulation also doesn't really have the luxury of hardware acceleration like PlayStation or N64 emulators because the Saturn relies on quads a rasterization. Which makes 3D acceleration a problem, from what I understand. I don't think there is a Saturn emulator out there that supports 3D acceleration.

Right. On that note, compare Playstation or Saturn Doom and Hexen to N64 Doom 64 and Hexen. The N64 games have better graphics.

Comparing the PlayStation version of Doom to the N64 game is fine, but the Saturn port of Doom was just terrible all around. I know there is a Japanese port that is said to be better (never tried it), but the US port was just bad. Like right up there with Panasonic 3DO bad. Yes even the 32X had a better port.

Quake on the Saturn had a great port, really interesting to compare it to the N64 version. Unfortunately there was not a port of Quake 1 on the Playstation though. But the PS1 does have a killer version of Quake II.
 

iidesuyo

Member
Quake on the Saturn had a great port, really interesting to compare it to the N64 version. Unfortunately there was not a port of Quake 1 on the Playstation though. But the PS1 does have a killer version of Quake II.

I think the console ports of Quake replaced the 3D models with 2D graphics. They weren't "true" Quake ports.
 

Krejlooc

Banned
I think the console ports of Quake replaced the 3D models with 2D graphics. They weren't "true" Quake ports.

The saturn version of quake uses polygon enemies, but it's not really a port of quake. It's quake, remade using the Powerslave engine. It's not running the actual quake engine. As such, it behaves and feels very different.

What's cool, however, is that it has lighting missing in other versions because of this.
 

Biker19

Banned
Had Nintendo went with CD's, they would've still been dominant. Their arrogance, however, started their downfall in home gaming consoles altogether & they didn't get back on top until the Wii came.

While I like CD's, DVD's, & Blu-Ray for games, I also long for the days of cartridges on home gaming consoles.

And I seriously doubt that they'll ever be returning to home gaming consoles again, even though cartridges nowadays can hold as much data as DVD/Blu-Ray discs (though the production costs for those are incredibly expensive than a DVD or Blu-Ray disc).
 
I always wondered why Square or Enix never supported Sega. Enix only made one game for the Saturn.

I remember reading that Square was considering putting DQ7 on the Saturn for a hot minute before choosing PSone after news hit that it was not going to be on N64, but that could have been Quartermann/Gamefan speculation from the time. Lord knows some of the BS that used to be printed in those rumor sections (particularly Gamefan)
 

iidesuyo

Member
The saturn version of quake uses polygon enemies, but it's not really a port of quake. It's quake, remade using the Powerslave engine. It's not running the actual quake engine. As such, it behaves and feels very different.

What's cool, however, is that it has lighting missing in other versions because of this.

Just looked it up on Youtube. Yup, impressive.

And I seriously doubt that they'll ever be returning to home gaming consoles again, even though cartridges nowadays can hold as much data as DVD/Blu-Ray discs (though the production costs for those are incredibly expensive than a DVD or Blu-Ray disc).

I know you are talking about home consoles, but Vita went from the PSP optical media to a solid state media, for the better or worse.
 

Jaeger

Member
Nintendo 64 with CD-ROM drive would've been really interesting, but only if it had cartridge as well for speed. Cart-only games, CD-ROM games and even cart-CD games.

That said, I think the cancellation of the Matsushita / Panasonic M2 was the most heartbreaking loss of that generation.



The final M2 had:

* 4x speed CD-ROM drive
* 8 MB RAM
* 4x the texture cache of Nintendo 64 (16K vs 4K)
* About three times the polygon performance of Nintendo 64
* All the effects Nintendo 64 could and then some.
* Twin PowerPC 602 CPUs, but unlike Saturn, M2 was designed for multi cpu and relative ease of development
* Reportedly 80 games in development by 1997

...after my own heart. This one hurt me so much. I really wanted this to come out. Even now, I've been hunting for a prototype for my personal collection.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but Symphony of the Night is actually a 3D game, viewed from the side and designed as if it was a sprite based game. This is because of the limitations of the PS1 in 2D, but also allowed nifty 3D backgrounds and 3D animation of any object.

That's why the Saturn port runs like shit. Because it's 3D.

That's literally the first time I have ever heard that, and it's not true. Care to show me some credible sources, and/or imagery to back this up? This doesn't make a lick of sense to me. My apologies. Not trying to be rude or anything.

The game uses polygons for some spells, enemies, and stage elements throughout the game. But the game is still mostly 2D elements, with tons of beautiful parallax scrolling. Most everything is sprites. Stages, backgrounds, most enemies and your main character. 2D sprites.

And the Saturn versions worse because Konami, not because of some special 3D rendering on the PSX.
 

Krejlooc

Banned
...after my own heart. This one hurt me so much. I really wanted this to come out. Even now, I've been hunting for a prototype for my personal collection.

I'm pretty sure there is only one of the models you see above, with the controller and everything, and some dude on assembler has it. But finding M2 hardware isn't thaaaat difficult. You can find people selling various states of completion M2 hardware on assembler, and software is traded as well. Or, you can do like I did, and buy a game like Konami's Polystar, which is an arcade game that runs on m2 hardware. You can even modify an arcade M2 to play normal M2 software.

Sure it doesn't look pretty like the above, but it's still an M2:



That's literally the first time I have ever heard that, and it's not true. Care to show me some credible sources, and/or imagery to back this up? This doesn't make a lick of sense to me. My apologies. Not trying to be rude or anything.

The game uses polygons for some spells, enemies, and stage elements throughout the game. But the game is still mostly 2D elements, with tons of beautiful parallax scrolling. Most everything is sprites. Stages, backgrounds, most enemies and your main character. 2D sprites.

And the Saturn versions worse because Konami, not because of some special 3D rendering on the PSX.

It's a simplification of what is going on, but it's essentially true. The sprites in the PSX version of SotN are actually flat forward facing polygons with textures that act as sprites, because the playstation could handle 3D objects like this better than it could handle actual hardware sprites.

It's still 2D, but it's using 3D hardware.

The saturn itself has two VDPs which act in concert - one handles all the 3D math to scale and transform sprites into quad polygons, and it feeds into the other VDP as a layer which handles all the 2D operations. Each VDP has restrictions on what they can and cannot do. Running the game on the 2D VDP would have given the Saturn the ability to do a worthy port, but instead the port came over exactly as it was on the playstation - using 3D objects. Hence the game ran on the other VDP, which meant worse performance along with the absence of transparency effects the saturn was perfectly capable of doing in 2D.

In short, there is no reason the Saturn couldn't handle SotN, save for the shoddiness of the port.
 
If the N64 had CDs, it would have resulted in the PS1 having AT LEAST a large negative difference in sales, if not a completely catastrophic difference and Sony's lack of momentum would have resulted in us losing the goddamn sales juggernaut that was the PS2. I'll pass on this alternate reality.
 
if N64 had CD :

Sony didn't enter the market ---> Saturn would have been the top seller in Japan ---> Shenmue would have been on Saturn ---> Dreamcast would have been launched around 2000, Shenmue 2 released before 1 year ---> next SEGA hardware ---> Shenmue 3, JSRF, PDOrta, VF5, Yakuza, Valkyrie Chrinicles all on new system


it might have happened....
 

Jaeger

Member
I'm pretty sure there is only one of the models you see above, with the controller and everything, and some dude on assembler has it. But finding M2 hardware isn't thaaaat difficult. You can find people selling various states of completion M2 hardware on assembler, and software is traded as well. Or, you can do like I did, and buy a game like Konami's Polystar, which is an arcade game that runs on m2 hardware. You can even modify an arcade M2 to play normal M2 software.

Sure it doesn't look pretty like the above, but it's still an M2:

Ok, I need one. Even if it doesn't run anything, I just want the console to look pretty on the shelf. The ultimate unobtainable, if you will.

It's a simplification of what is going on, but it's essentially true. The sprites in the PSX version of SotN are actually flat forward facing polygons with textures that act as sprites, because the playstation could handle 3D objects like this better than it could handle actual hardware sprites.

It's still 2D, but it's using 3D hardware.

The saturn itself has two VDPs which act in concert - one handles all the 3D math to scale and transform sprites into quad polygons, and it feeds into the other VDP as a layer which handles all the 2D operations. Each VDP has restrictions on what they can and cannot do. Running the game on the 2D VDP would have given the Saturn the ability to do a worthy port, but instead the port came over exactly as it was on the playstation - using 3D objects. Hence the game ran on the other VDP, which meant worse performance along with the absence of transparency effects the saturn was perfectly capable of doing in 2D.

In short, there is no reason the Saturn couldn't handle SotN, save for the shoddiness of the port.

That makes much more sense. Thank you.
 

Easy_D

never left the stone age
Banjo and Zelda utilize streaming tech that would not have been possible with the low read speeds and buffer size console cd drives had in that era, afaik.

Soul Reaver on the PS1 would like a word with you. AFAIK, there's only the one initial loading screen. Did I mention it can also morph the entire landscape in realtime? I'm sure Nintendo could have found a way to achieve similar results.
 
The saturn itself has two VDPs which act in concert - one handles all the 3D math to scale and transform sprites into quad polygons, and it feeds into the other VDP as a layer which handles all the 2D operations. Each VDP has restrictions on what they can and cannot do. Running the game on the 2D VDP would have given the Saturn the ability to do a worthy port, but instead the port came over exactly as it was on the playstation - using 3D objects. Hence the game ran on the other VDP, which meant worse performance along with the absence of transparency effects the saturn was perfectly capable of doing in 2D.

Uh not really.

VDP1 handles just about everything to do with sprite/draw operations. You give it either 1 point, two points or four points depending on whether you're feeding it a sprite, a scaled sprite or a distorted sprite/quad. There is no 2D or 3D mode. Sprite or quad, it's all VDP1.

VDP2 handles backgrounds, handles priority and can screw with the palette. It doesn't have any 2D specific circuitry besides being really good at handling background layers including being the only thing that can handle transparency.

Like Sonic R.



Radiant Emerald. All VDP2 layer blending to get the transparent emerald effect. And since they draw the UI sprites on the same layer as the polygons you can see the UI being transparent as part of the effect.
 
Saturn emulation has come a long way, and it is becoming very good, but the system requirements to emulate Saturn titles are much higher than PlayStation or N64 emulators. Saturn emulation is also heavily CPU bound and there are a lot of co-processors that need to be emulated and kept in sync with each other. SS emulation also doesn't really have the luxury of hardware acceleration like PlayStation or N64 emulators because the Saturn relies on quads a rasterization. Which makes 3D acceleration a problem, from what I understand. I don't think there is a Saturn emulator out there that supports 3D acceleration.
I would think that any vaguely modern computer could do Saturn games just fine... my circa-'07 Core 2 Duo can do Saturn emulation pretty well, after all.

Comparing the PlayStation version of Doom to the N64 game is fine, but the Saturn port of Doom was just terrible all around. I know there is a Japanese port that is said to be better (never tried it), but the US port was just bad. Like right up there with Panasonic 3DO bad. Yes even the 32X had a better port.
Sure, the Saturn version's pretty bad by all accounts. But comparing the PS1 and N64 Doom games, the N64 one clearly has better graphics. Doom 64 was made by the same team that made the PS1 port of Doom, and they improved over that game graphically on the N64.

this, and its obvious to anyone spending time with both libraries - Mischief Makers & a few others are nice, but the more you dive into JP saturn games, the wider the gap gets.
Play Bangaioh sometime. It's more than just "nice".

Also, of course, you continue to focus more on number of games than on what the hardware can do... of course that's going to give you a result biased against the N64. But to repeat this point yet again, that's because of developers not wanting to make many 2d games for N64, not because of any hardware issues!

Comparing the $10,000 SGI workstation that the demo was made on to the N64 because they come from the same manufacturer is absolutely laughable and shows a stunning lack of technical insight.

FFVII was never, ever, ever in development for the N64.
It's pretty funny that you're so certain about this, when in reality the story about the Square/Nintendo break has never been told, because neither side has talked about exactly what happened... so the fact is, we don't know if they ever did anything directly towards and N64 FF7, early on in development, before moving over to PS1. And I don't know if we ever will, with how quiet they've been about it so far.

Perhaps, just perhaps the reason they were working with the SGI workstation is because they had already used it in development of Mario RPG.
Umm... this doesn't help your case as much as you seem to think. I mean, SGI and Nintendo started working together on what became "Project Reality" (the N64) in late 1993. Then Nintendo and Square collaborated on Mario RPG in '95-'96. Yes, I know that back then SGI was the leading company in high-end computers, but Square decided to use SGI computers on a project they were working on in collaboration with Nintendo at a time when Nintendo was working with SGI on what became the N64... and you're calling that all a coincidence? Come on, that's absurd!

Or maybe it was because, you know, SGI were the leader in graphics technologies.
Sure, they were. But they weren't the only option, and Square chose to use SGI hardware while working with Nintendo.

Or maybe it was because the SGI workstation they used was also used to make the backgrounds for FFVII on the PSX.
Once you already have the hardware, why not continue to use it for something?

Ok, I need one. Even if it doesn't run anything, I just want the console to look pretty on the shelf. The ultimate unobtainable, if you will.
There are actually a couple of things you can play on an M2. Not many, but there are a few.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
many years later: what if nintendo had built in hard drives and understood the internet?

Nintendo was experimenting with various modem projects on the NES, Famicom, Super Famicom and beyond.. so if Nintendo understood they internet, they could be AOL in the 90s... they could even be Google today.
 
Based on what? This seems entirely like sticking a finger in the air.

Soul Reaver has a number of huge environments too, and does some other very impressive things with real time geometry transform.

Soul Reaver's streaming load times was what I was going to bring up too. You never see a loading screen after starting. The ingenuity got there, even if it wasn't there in '96.
 
Play Bangaioh sometime. It's more than just "nice".

Also, of course, you continue to focus more on number of games than on what the hardware can do... of course that's going to give you a result biased against the N64. But to repeat this point yet again, that's because of developers not wanting to make many 2d games for N64, not because of any hardware issues!

Bangai-O is a great game, i just play the superior DC port is all

as usual, your argument really has no ground to stand on though - yes, ABF, i'm using games which exist as proof of my argument, where you have your intimate knowledge of the N64 library & still can't draw from much to substantiate your point.

tech comparisons aren't a simple binary; different things to play to different strengths. you believe your N64 was capable of creating better 2D games, i point to a library on the saturn's end vs this belief. I'm not going to convince you of this truth, and given your praise of the N64's library vs even the PSX (which is categorically insane), really, i should know better.

but to refute your point: devs did make a handful of 2D games for said system, and they don't look as good/hold up as well, which to me would be a logical point to concede vs lol lazy devs didn't want to make that style of games i guess. kinda done here man, do your thing.
 
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