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Most impressive 3D-Games for the Sega Saturn

Drew1440

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I wonder if this is relevant (the comparison which is really low quality only shows close up results and doesn't move ahead even a little to see if it also affects how things would pop into view from the darkness, at least in this game's scenario, which is one game the Saturn actually shows better draw distance in as demonstrated earlier anyway) and if comparisons as we see them today, from official or unofficial emulation or even as best case/later model scenarios make the console look even better than it would have been for most early consumers back then. Appparently pretty much all early models up to at least 1996 when the console wars were decided had this banding issue, weird...

I'm reading it's due to a different gpu version that also causes more slowdown in cases for early models. Would be cool if we could see such enhancements for Saturn as well like what I discuss in the quote above but I'm guessing if no emulator has done it so far it's not doable without problems. Or perhaps nobody has thought to do it and increase color depth or accuracy or whatever the actual problem is, like other emulators add z buffering or whatever stops the commonly hated PlayStation polygons from warping all over the place (nope, I know I'm not that smart to be first, or do it).

It was because a bug in some batch of GPU (IIRC memory?) causing a 5bit goraud shading instead of 8bit. This issue was present in some 1001 and 1002 models in Japan.
Sony revised the Ps1 Gpu a few times throughout the lifecycle
Rev A GPUs are only used on Japan and in early Namco System 11 games (Tekken), these had a few rendering bugs and were quickly ditched in favor of Rev B

Rev B fixed a few issues and was used in the US/Europe launch systems and in Japan. These GPUs use VRAM like RevA and were also used in later System 11 revisions.

Rev C was introduced around 1996 and changed to SGRAM instead of VRAM due to cost issues. This did change the capabilities of the console to some extent as seen in the Tomb Raider video since the console could now do full 8bit colour like the Saturn.
Since compatibility could be a concern, Sony provided two types of debug units, one that came with the VRAM gpu, and the other with SGRAM, indicated by the case colour (blue/green).

Sega also went thought a similar change with the Saturn, going from VRAM to SGRAM but the changes didn't affect much in the end, the performance was consistent across all models.
Having the graphics RAM split into different pools didn't help either, even if it had more than the PlayStation.
 
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RAIDEN1

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Makes you wonder just how much money did Sega lose on Project Saturn from its initial inception in 1992 to 1998
 

lostinblue

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I would still like to see that running on the Saturn.

Perhaps some day.
I didn’t even know this existed, was that just a prototype befor getting moved to the Dreamcast?
I wouldn't say prototype as they had Shenmue 1 and 2 running on it. And some parts of the video are "Shenmue 3".

But it never released and it was unfinished/WIP, so beta.


EDIT: Aside from all the complexity, one big issue with Saturn development was available documentation and the dev kit software itself (SGL). Sega constantly kept documentation and the newer and better versions of their SGL libraries to themselves. Only towards the end of the generation did they open it up to other people. Too little too late.

NiGHTS into Dreams used SGL 2.x which was a big step forward at the time vertex manipulation and all.

Shenmue and Virtua Fighter 3 (both cancelled because Dreamcast was close to release) used SGL 3.0 and that was to be the final big jump, very close to the limit of what would be possible on the Saturn. To my knowledge there are no games released using these final dev kits though, so we have to believe what has been written, described or leaked with an added grain of salt.

Virtua Fighter 3 port was reportedly finished by AM2, just never released. Which is why the Dreamcast version conversion was done by Genki instead. (not as arcade perfect gameplay-wise than the AM2 saturn version would have been). Old description of that showcase here. (again, perhaps one day what Sega had running will leak out)

This is a good article on all that:

-> http://www.davidgamizjimenez.com/ingames/sega-saturn-to-the-limit-v/

List of SDK parts and revisions:

-> https://www.retroreversing.com/sega-saturn-sdk/
 
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Alexios

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Highlights for the new page, just the compilation, cba to go through the thread and pick and choose etc.

I would have played the shit out of Saturn Shenmue even if it ran at single digit fps if it was like the vid :messenger_fire:

VF3 Saturn sounds like fanfic, there were promos with CG and footage of the arcade game, that's it. Maybe people trashed VF3 as a DC port but to be honest it's not far behind the '96 arcade game which looked garish compared to modern modeling techniques, superior polycounts be damned.

Much like the VF port on Saturn got flack for being flawed as a port but even if the 1993 game had been ported perfectly people would have slammed Saturn's graphics just the same because, polycounts aside, the modeling technique was outdated, people expected textures by then and so on.
Vandal Hearts - Ushinawareta Kodai Bunmei is pretty damn nice. Not only is the original release a better version compared to the PS release - additional content and better graphics, but the english patch itself went far and beyond to improve the game as much as possible:
  • Expanded the palette of treasure chests, crates, icons and menu frames.
  • Increased the internal resolution of the game to 352×240 (original 320×224).
  • Support for widescreen (you can switch on the fly from the game menu).
  • Increased video resolution up to 320×196 (original 320×144).
  • Supports 4 MB expansion card to speed up loading of level maps (almost double boost).
  • Support for Gouraud shading for static lighting (glare from the light of torches, altars and pictograms).
  • The size of the background images of the loading screens has been increased to 352×240 (original size 320×224).
  • Restored the size of the rest of the background images (size 320×240 - as in the version for PS1).
  • The PS1 script has been mostly ported over to this translation. But the script has been reviewed for accuracy and edited accordingly.
This a love project if i've ever seen one, they poured a lot of work and effort into this release making it far better than the PS version. It's also a really great game, would highly recommend. A no-brainer to have in your collection. I played around with Valhollian as well. Ain't feeling it. The translation is great and i respect the work ethic but i don't like the game. Feels like a low budget version of Shinning Force III, and the story isn't good.. at all. Wouldn't recommend it.

I really like how many projects saw completion in 2020 and 2021, the fanbase is mad dedicated to allow people access to the SEGA Saturn's japanese library of games.

But there are so many more still stuck because of the language barrier. For example, i'm contemplating putting effort into learning japanese just to experience Wachenroder, Terra Phantastica, Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari and Princess Crown. Any view on them would say they're fantastic games, and even by checking Youtube videos you can see that they do look amazing, but i can't fucking play them because i can't comprehend the language.
Wow, that's hugely extensive, those russian (?) Saturn guys rock. At least two of the games you wanna see translated (Wachenroder and Princess Crown) seem very likely to release some time (even if one of them has gotten delayed for ages it seems to be close to the finish line) so yay for you.
 
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xpresstuning

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Wow, that's hugely extensive, those russian (?) Saturn guys rock. At least two of the games you wanna see translated (Wachenroder and Princess Crown) seem very likely to release some time (even if one of them has gotten delayed for ages it seems to be close to the finish line) so yay for you.

Yeah, i just googled them both and i can't believe it. I'm gonna keep a close damn eye on them, thanks for the info.
 
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UnNamed

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I highly doubt there is a final version of VF3 somewhere.

I've read any type of rumor and speculation on this subject, and everytime something is missing. In other terms, they lack of the classic "smoking gun". In the last years I can summarize the main rumor about VF3:

-a port for 64X: a platform nobody seems to properly identify, probably because it doesn't exist since it was just a joke from Famitsu. The problem is no one have an idea on how this machine could work. Just "help calculations" was a bad idea since Saturn was already full of bottleneck and other shit without any other extra hardware. Port expansion or cartridge slot? I highly doubt it's the cardslot since the low bandwith and how ram expansions worked (from what I know). There is a reason why MegaCD and 32X do basically all the stuffs despite being "just" add-on. A 64X should have been probably more powerful than SS to work properly, too expensive. There is no way a VF3 port was made for a similar add-on, even if it was real.

-a Core Design port. Yes, I've read this somewhere, and frankly, it's an incredible rumor. VF3 outsourced is simply not credible. If we believe there was a port of VF3 at CD, at some point, someone should have seen something. But no, nothing. No rumor, no leak, no material after all these years. Also, I don't know how CD could do in developed better than Sega in that period.

-another port from any other external hardware or revision (saturn 1.5) from Real3d/3DFX/PowerVR: the same as 64X, no information at all, since Sega was already working on a proper next gen machine.

-An almost finished VF3 port on Saturn: slightly more credible, but with flaws. Since most of the appeal from VF3 is the complex interactive background, SS wasn't enough powerful to draw a scene similar to VF3. One or the other: a decent 3D background with poor 3D characters; 3D characters from VF1/2 but with 2D background.
3D background + physics/interaction + fully modeled characters + new movesets was just too much for a poor SS.

-Namie Amuro Dance Mix Vol1 as the proof VF3 existed on SS in some way: if this is a proof, its a very bad proof. Namie Amuro demo it's not complex in any way, it's a common 3d demo with digitalized images as texture. There is nothing incredible on that demo. Sonic R, Burning Rangers and Fighter Megamix with goraud shading, light sources, transparencies, are way more impressive, and they are full games.

In the end, I think there probably was some proof of concept on VF3 on Saturn, maybe using the ram card to help to store the geometry. But SS can't do miracles, and probably all they have was something with too many compromises to be a good port of VF3 on Saturn, and so they canned it for a next gen release.
Personally, I think all the work for a supposed VF3 on Saturn was put on Fighter's Megamix since VF characters have the VF3 moveset. F'sM is a good demo to show what Saturn was capable of considering the tech behind it, a very impressive and more credible game.
 

S0ULZB0URNE

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Rushed what? The launch?

The specs are overall better than the PS1 but it was to hard to develop for which resulted is PS1 having better versions of 3rd party games.
 

Alexios

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Since most of the appeal from VF3 is the complex interactive background
Well, there are a few VF3 arenas that are basically flat. Getting the full game on Saturn would be sweet even if it lacked the multi layered/sloped/whatever stuff. It's not like anyone would expect Saturn to pull off Model 3, when it couldn't even do Model 2, and pan it for not doing that 1:1.

And maybe without the extra animations/calculations/whatever for the uneven arenas it'd be easier to replicate. Not that I think any of the rumours have credibility and the few screenshots look more like glitched emulation and/or fakes than anything else, but yeah, it may have worked...

Would have been a nice send off among other great games it got near the end of its life and maybe that would also have them give VF3 Dreamcast a bit more time to polish it up and make it a better port that would likely be unaffected by the game being also on the dead system anyway.

Just having the VF3 flat ground movesets with VF2 graphics or I guess Megamix graphics in higher resolution if possible would have been plenty for most I'm sure. As long as the 2D backgrounds were also made with care in aesthetics like only a few in Megamix and some in Last Bronx.
 
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UnNamed

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Well, there are a few VF3 arenas that are basically flat. Getting the full game on Saturn would be sweet even if it lacked the multi layered/sloped/whatever stuff. It's not like anyone would expect Saturn to pull off Model 3, when it couldn't even do Model 2, and pan it for not doing that 1:1.
The problem imho is, once you strip the 3D arena from VF3, you have Fighter's Megamix without the Megamix part. That's why I believe if there were tests on VF3 on SS, FM benefitted a lot from them.

For example, the metro stage in Last Bronx on SS, with its clever use of the infinite planes, have some similarities with the Sara's stage on VF3. But the feeling is different, it's not the same thing.
 
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Alexios

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Yeah, but without all the other Megamix fluff, maybe it'd have been a nicer just-VF3 package with all the effort on making the most for less content. Fewer but nicer 2D backgrounds, character textures/models, all VF3 characters, other modes of play without having FV style.

On the other hand it might have been just as barebones as the DC port, I dunno. I guess that was often a problem with SEGA, not adding enough extra content for the home release of the arcade games thinking their ace basics are enough to carry them. DC VF3tb is barren...
 
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