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Most impressive 3D-Games for the Sega Saturn

Dec 12, 2018
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I think both of those look decent enough. I don't know if they are worth playing though.

The models of the dinos look pretty good and there are some nice details overall in The Lost World.
Zero Divide has pretty good animations and the effects when you punch the materials from one another do look cool too.
 
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celsowmbr

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I think both of those look decent enough. I don't know if they are worth playing though.

The models of the dinos look pretty good and there are some nice details overall in The Lost World.
Zero Divide has pretty good animations and the effects when you punch the materials from one another do look cool too.

Wow! Some stages are better than Fighting Vipers ones
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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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.

The problem, of course, is that most gamers have never played through the Sega Saturn library. That's why they'd rather argue about why it all went so horribly wrong. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a weirdo on this subject. Who else would play through 400 Saturn games in this day and age? Seriously, what's wrong with me besides everything?
 

nush

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The problem, of course, is that most gamers have never played through the Sega Saturn library. That's why they'd rather argue about why it all went so horribly wrong. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a weirdo on this subject. Who else would play through 400 Saturn games in this day and age? Seriously, what's wrong with me besides everything?

I did that back in the day, good times.
 
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DT MEDIA

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Here is a terrific showpiece for Sega Saturn: Pro Yakyuu Greatest Nine 98: Summer Action. This is the direct sequel to World Series Baseball and is the final installment in the franchise, released in August 1998. With the shift towards the Dreamcast, Sega reshuffled its internal software studios into a collective of semi-independent studios, and the teams behind WSB and Worldwide Soccer were scattered around to the new studios.

What new features are available in Summer Action? Two important additions: widescreen display and fully 3D stadiums. Let me explain that last one. Here's a screenshot of the batter/pitcher screen from WSB 98 to demonstrate.




Notice anything that's unusual? You are not looking at a 3D baseball stadium. The entire background is a flat 2D image. The only polygons on display are the baseball players. When the ball is hit, the screen switches to "stadium view" where you see everything drawn in 3D, but if you notice closely, the player models are drawn with fewer polygons.

Summer Action brings everything into the 3D stadium view. This addition is prominently displayed on the back of the CD case, in fact. Watching the video, you can also see how the player models have been given more polygons and the fielders especially look better.

As with World Cup France 98: Road to Win, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that Sega didn't sit on their butts and churn out a lazy sequel, but put real work into these games, adding features and refining the graphics to perfection. Heck, this was only three months before the launch of Dreamcast in Japan. That's dedication.

You can find copies of Summer Action on eBay for $20, give or take. It's highly recommended, since WSB98 is the greatest baseball videogame ever made, which makes this the second-greatest baseball videogame ever made. Now, if only Major League teams and players were included along with the Japanese leagues...oh, well.
 
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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.
Yeah, it's not very good. It's a shame what happened to Saturn Doom mind as Jim said himself that he had it looking and running better than the PS version at 60 FPS. Sure Castlevania could have been better, but Saturn the version would have issues with some of those effects, everyone thinks Castlevania is 2D, but there are 3D polygon effects and that's when Saturn always had issues with Alpha/Tranaprent effects, even from even Saturn best developers. Sure you can code them in via software, but what I read from the CORE Ninja team; doing 3D transparent effects on the Saturn, could slow down your program by over 40%


Its clear that SEGA thought that have the powerful VDP2 having full support for Alpha effects was more than enough, when it wasn't and along with the lack of hardware sound compression was some of the major design oversights on the harwdare IMO
 

cartman414

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If only they ported the enemy assets in sprite form. (Though that wouldn't have worked for everything.)

Can't help but wonder what the odds are of doing that now via hacking.
 

cireza

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Yeah, it's not very good. It's a shame what happened to Saturn Doom mind as Jim said himself that he had it looking and running better than the PS version at 60 FPS. Sure Castlevania could have been better, but Saturn the version would have issues with some of those effects, everyone thinks Castlevania is 2D, but there are 3D polygon effects and that's when Saturn always had issues with Alpha/Tranaprent effects, even from even Saturn best developers. Sure you can code them in via software, but what I read from the CORE Ninja team; doing 3D transparent effects on the Saturn, could slow down your program by over 40%


Its clear that SEGA thought that have the powerful VDP2 having full support for Alpha effects was more than enough, when it wasn't and along with the lack of hardware sound compression was some of the major design oversights on the harwdare IMO
Castlevania actually was not well optimized for the console. One VDP is overloaded with things to display and that's not how it is supposed to be done. Pretty sure VDP1 handles all the sprites as well as a lot of the background, and that's not how you are supposed to do it.

This is even more frustrating to see as this is the result of developers circumventing PS1 constraints, and then porting their PS1 code to a system that could actually handle all this 2D much better. Saturn ends up running ported PS1 code, and it's the same for Doom. Two ports that were not optimized for the hardware, and that should have run much better. Castlevania is still fine, sure, but it is disappointing to me.
 
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Castlevania actually was not well optimized for the console. One VDP is overloaded with things to display and that's not how it is supposed to be done. Pretty sure VDP1 handles all the sprites as well as a lot of the background, and that's not how you are supposed to do it.

This is even more frustrating to see as this is the result of developers circumventing PS1 constraints, and then porting their PS1 code to a system that could actually handle all this 2D much better. Saturn ends up running ported PS1 code, and it's the same for Doom. Two ports that were not optimized for the hardware, and that should have run much better. Castlevania is still fine, sure, but it is disappointing to me.
I agree and it's amazing Konami didn't look to the VDP2 to at least display the text windows. Still, in the game mind, you had 3D polygon parts and if they were using transparent effects (like the Skull) it was always going to give Saturn issues. Castlevania wasn't just 2D but had 3D polygon effects and backrounds, but yeah it should have been much better.

Doom we all had read the interviews with Jim and the blame really likes of id and Carmack for that. What always disappointed me was how the bias press and PS users would always focus on when the Saturn ports were inferior, never when the Saturn ports were superior; like for Mass Destruction, Duke 3D, Hexxen, Soviet Strike, Souky, Street Racer, Grandia, Skelton Warriors, Dead Or Alive, Zero Divide, World League Soccer 98, Exhumed
 
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Another mention is MANX TT. The only flaw is the very obvious pop-up. The visibility really isn't too hot. On the plus side, it does run very well. Textures and models do look decent. I wouldn't say that it can compete with the very best on the PS1 like Rage Racer, but it is a decent conversion overall. Definitely holds up better than your average 97 racing game I'd say.

For comparison sake here is Moto Racer on the PS1, released the same year.

Moto Racer also suffers from pop-up. Graphics are more stylized so they hold up better. On a technical level, they pretty toe to toe, although MANX TT is definitely more detailed and the shadows do look better IMO:
I'd give a slight edge to Moto Racer overall because I enjoy the more stylized visuals, but it's not like it sweeps MANX TT off the stage. MANX TT can hold its own pretty good.






What do you think?
 
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SpiceRacz

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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.

It's to be expected. The Saturn is technically and historically more interesting than the PS1.
 
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s_mirage

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Castlevania actually was not well optimized for the console. One VDP is overloaded with things to display and that's not how it is supposed to be done. Pretty sure VDP1 handles all the sprites as well as a lot of the background, and that's not how you are supposed to do it.

I looked at this some time ago and I'm not sure that's the case. VDP 2 does seem to used to handle most of the 2D backgrounds, so VDP 1 shouldn't really be overloaded in most scenes. While slowdown does occur in some areas where lots of sprites are used in the background, it also happens in areas where the Mega Drive/Genesis would easily have been able to handle the sprite numbers. Thing is, there appear to be too many layers in some areas for VDP 2 to handle anyway, so it would never have been possible to completely remove VDP 1 from the background equation even ignoring 3D elements. This wasn't the only PS1 to Saturn port that had to wrestle with that problem.

Whatever causes the slowdown is something that isn't emulated either, which makes it a bit of a pain to examine. I've been saying it for years, but I really wish someone with Saturn hardware and development experience would try to figure out what's going on because I suspect it's not always as obvious as it might seem.

I agree and it's amazing Konami didn't look to the VDP2 to at least display the text windows.

The VDP 2 layers are used to display most of the background graphics already. If all the layers are potentially used for backgrounds in some cases, they couldn't have relied on a VDP 2 layer always being available to draw the text boxes. Using VDP1 was probably a better general purpose solution rather than using different, inconsistent looking, methods depending on the scene.
 

cartman414

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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.

It was Japan's fault just as much if not moreso for the screwups in that period. They encouraged 32X whilst leaving SoA in the dark about Saturn, and were IIRC responsible for cutting short the Genesis' life. Also, Tom was very much not on board with the Saturn E3 surprise.
 
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It was Japan's fault just as much if not moreso for the screwups in that period. They encouraged 32X whilst leaving SoA in the dark about Saturn, and were IIRC responsible for cutting short the Genesis' life. Also, Tom was very much not on board with the Saturn E3 surprise.
You do know SEGA America were the 1st to show off the Saturn at the Jan CES show 94? That in 1993 SEGA America set up the Away team to start Saturn development with their 1st game being Bug. The Genesis life was hardly cut short. This was a system that came out in 89 and SEGA was still selling them and making software in 1996. People like you forget that the SNES came out 2 years later than the Mega Drive in all major markets and also the N64 was delayed for a year from 1995 to 1996 meaning Nintendo had no choice but to support the Snes for longer.

Also never in the History of SEGA Japan have ordered the Western divisions to launch their Hardware early.
 
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The VDP 2 layers are used to display most of the background graphics already. If all the layers are potentially used for backgrounds in some cases, they couldn't have relied on a VDP 2 layer always being available to draw the text boxes. Using VDP1 was probably a better general purpose solution rather than using different, inconsistent looking, methods depending on the scene.

All the layers aren't being used. It's not the best use of the system. It's just a lazy port
 

s_mirage

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All the layers aren't being used. It's not the best use of the system. It's just a lazy port

Oh really? You've played through the entire game and tested that in every scene have you?

EDIT: I'm going to correct myself. VDP 2 is used when rendering the text windows. In fact, the game might be reserving a layer just for that. However, it's used to render the text, not the window itself. Not 100% certain why they went for that approach, but I'm going to assume that there was a reason, and the fact that they used VDP 2 at all there suggests it was a conscious decision. In some cases all layers are being used except for the rotation layer.
 
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Oh really? You've played through the entire game and tested that in every scene have you?

I played through the game but on a real Saturn, not on an emu switching off the NGB layers... No. It's clear Dracula isn't using the layer when could have, never mind having the VDP1 drawing the swirling background when you 1st met death.
That was an effect the VDP2 could have done very easy like I said just lazy...
 

s_mirage

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I played through the game but on a real Saturn, not on an emu switching off the NGB layers... No. It's clear Dracula isn't using the layer when could have, never mind having the VDP1 drawing the swirling background when you 1st met death.
That was an effect the VDP2 could have done very easy like I said just lazy...

Yeah, I was surprised that that the rotating sky didn't use VDP2, but AFAIK it's a single rotating quad. Pretty sure the Saturn can handle that. BTW, calling developers lazy just makes you look ignorant, you do know that? They probably knew the system better than you or I ever will, and you have no idea what kind of time or manpower pressure they were under.
 
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Yeah, I was surprised that that the rotating sky didn't use VDP2, but AFAIK it's a single rotating quad. Pretty sure the Saturn can handle that. BTW, calling developers lazy just makes you look ignorant, you do know that? They probably knew the system better than you or I ever will, and you have no idea what kind of time or manpower pressure they were under.
Of course, it's lazy; You had a very similar effect was used in Swag Man (it even looked much the same) on the Saturn. Any person who's programmed and developed a game knows more than most on here Doesn't stop people talking developers to task when you think they could do better. I mean how many on here have ripped apart 343 Industries or CD Projekt?

So spare me on that one
 

cartman414

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You do know SEGA America were the 1st to show off the Saturn at the Jan CES show 94? That in 1993 SEGA America set up the Away team to start Saturn development with their 1st game being Bug. The Genesis life was hardly cut short. This was a system that came out in 89 and SEGA was still selling them and making software in 1996. People like you forget that the SNES came out 2 years later than the Mega Drive in all major markets and also the N64 was delayed for a year from 1995 to 1996 meaning Nintendo had no choice but to support the Snes for longer.

Also never in the History of SEGA Japan have ordered the Western divisions to launch their Hardware early.


The order came straight from Nakayama. Kalinske's hand was forced.

And so what if Genesis/MD was over 5 years on the market? Games were still coming out, but were either becoming delayed (PS IV) or cancelled (MW IV). SoJ had mostly begun to shift everything away from 16-bit early. An overlap would have only helped, especially given Nintendo supported the NES and SNES after their successors were out, and that the Genesis/MD was their biggest hit. But I guess it was too much to take for SoJ's pride.
 

Jaxcellent

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I owned a Saturn back in the day, but it always felt a lot of cool games were only released on PS1..

Still we had so many great games on Saturn with awesome graphics. I still love to play Guardian Heroes and Panzer Dragoon now and again, I also played alot of Xmen COTA, this was almost arcade perfect, so amazing for the time...

If a game was build from the ground up for the Sega Saturn, utilizing both VDP processors, the results were incredible.
I don't blame 3rd party devs for not putting in the extra effort, this requires alot of skill and extra time = money.
 
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Pachi72

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Most Impressive game on it for me was Shenmue. I was blown away how good it look. 3d models had independent eyes moving.
Not sure if anyone saw the video on 4 times the 32x beat the Saturn, but also through that I found this, which basically goes into how Virtua Racing on the Saturn ended up not being the definitive port, highly recommended!:

Cause it was made by Time Warner and not Sega AM division.
 

Pachi72

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Here is a really good article from 2020

Hideki Sato Discussing the Sega Saturn​

https://mdshock.com/2020/06/16/hideki-sato-discussing-the-sega-saturn/

Gryson June 16, 2020
(This is a re-post of a post on Sega-16.)
Recently, an interview was conducted with Hideki Sato on his life and his time at Sega as part of an oral history research project documenting the game industry in Japan. The interview transcription is over 150 pages long. If you don’t know, Sato was in charge of Sega’s consumer R&D department for many years and took part in the development of many/all of Sega’s consoles. He later served as Sega’s president.

I’ve translated a few interesting snippets of the final part of the interview that relate to the Sega Saturn.

The full transcripts can be found here: Interview Transcripts

Highlights
• More information on Sega of America’s desire to use the 68020 in the Saturn
• Changes made in the Saturn design in response to the PlayStation
• Difficulties that third party developers had with the Saturn, and the lack of early support from Sega
• Sony’s strong support for third party developers
• Sega intentionally limiting Saturn production due to being unwilling/unable to bear the losses they were taking on sold units
• The strong advantages Sony had in manufacturing cost and flexibility
• Ken Kutaragi telling Sato that Sega should become a third party to Sony

On the MC68020 and why the SH was chosen:

“Motorola had the MC68020, the successor to the MC68000. It was a strong-selling 32-bit CISC microprocessor. Sega of America, who were developing their own 16-bit Genesis games, wanted to use the MC68020 in the Saturn. That would have allowed for essentially updated versions of the current types of game software, and the development libraries could easily be done. They wanted to go for forward compatibility.
“However, from my viewpoint, this lacked the necessary “jump” in technology. I thought that it might be okay to move forward with such a continuation of the current technology, but all the same, I felt we needed to move in a new direction, to change things up. Compared with the 16-bit generation, we needed to move away from mask ROMs, from solid-state memory, which was too expensive. CD-ROMs had become cheap, but the technology was no longer new. The PC Engine had already been using it for years. We needed something more.
“At the time, Hitachi happened to be developing the SH processor. After seeing the specs, I was impressed by its high performance. I decided to go with it, even though it was still in development (this was a very rash move for me). The SH is a RISC (Reduced Instruction) CPU, and at that time, NEC was also developing one, the V Series. I felt that Hitachi’s SH was good, so I went with that.”

On how the Saturn design changed in response to the PlayStation:
“The Saturn actually had just one CPU at the beginning. Then Sony appeared with its polygon-based PlayStation. When I was first designing the Saturn architecture, I was focused on sprite graphics, which had been the primary graphics up to that point.
“So I decided to go with polygons (due to the PlayStation). However, there weren’t any people at Sega who knew how to develop such software. Of course, we had Yu Suzuki in the arcade department, but I couldn’t just drag him off to the console department. He was developing titles like Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing. The expertise of all of the developers we had was in sprite graphics, so there seemed no choice but to go with sprites. Nevertheless, I knew we needed polygons. Using various tricks, adding a geometry engine and so on, I changed everything. In the end, just like the PlayStation, we had pseudo-polygons built on a sprite base. I felt no choice but to design a sprite-based architecture. Having said that, after some significant progress, pseudo-polygons did represent a “jump” in graphics in a certain way. There was a distinction of sorts. The processor was very powerful and could support 4,000, even 5,000 sprites, and I thought we could make the graphics work using a sprite engine after adding the Yamaha and such.
“It seemed like we were finally nearing completion. Then, the final PlayStation was revealed. It supported 300,000 polygons. Well, that was ultimately a bunch of lies, but… When you compared the Saturn with the PlayStation, we were completely missing something. The response that I chose was to add another SH processor, so we ended up with two SH-2s. By chance, the SH supported two-way cascaded data transfer. You could add a second processor and connect them in a cascade and get multi-CPU performance. When you get to about the PlayStation 3, multi-processors had become common, but the Saturn was the first home console to use multi-processors. So I added a second SH-2, but I felt that the ‘impact’ was still weak. Well, the SH-2 is a 32-bit processor, and we had two of them, so we could call the Saturn a 64-bit machine. It’s a dirty way of getting to 64-bits. But we revealed the CD-ROM-based Saturn using 64-bits as our sales point.”

On the difficulties of developing for the Saturn:
“At the beginning, there was no compiler. You had to program the SH in assembly. The people at Sega were good at assembly. That’s all they had been using on the MC68000. C, C++ were too slow to use.
“However, third parties struggled with programming the SH in assembly, and there were two of the CPUs along with a CD-ROM. We asked third parties to make games, but without development libraries, they couldn’t do anything. They’d take a week and barely even be able to get something to display on the screen, let alone be able to start making a game. Our third party support was awful. The hardware was incredibly difficult to use. However, if you worked with it a bit, you could get a ton of sprites, with scaling and rotation and so on.”

On Sony’s support for third party developers:
“Sony was good at supporting PlayStation third party developers. Why? Sony didn’t have a development department. They didn’t have a software department. What do you do if you don’t have a software department? You ask somebody else. Sony went to Namco, to Taito, to Konami. They said that they were putting together a game console called the PlayStation, and they invited these companies to develop games for it. Sony exerted all its efforts on supporting third parties and enhancing their collective powers. Sony CEO Norio Ohga himself went to talk to the third parties. From their perspective, it was a big deal for Ohga to come and ask this. From Namco’s viewpoint, if they put out Tekken, they could compete evenly with Sega’s Virtua Fighter.
“The number one game in the PlayStation world was Ridge Racer. And Konami being Konami, they had their typical games. It’s obvious that the PlayStation had the better games. No matter how much effort Sega put in on its own, it wasn’t going to be enough.
“So Sony went to Namco, Taito, Konami, and others, and they said here are the specs, and don’t worry, there aren’t two CPUs or anything difficult like that. They said the PlayStation will be easy to develop for, and here are all the development libraries we’ll put out. Sony had a very easy-to-use SDK (Software Development Kit). And Ohga himself was making these offers, and the third parties were told they could port all of their own titles, and so on. With all of that, it certainly seemed like the PlayStation was better.”

On Sega’s losses associated with the Saturn and their response:
“So we released the Saturn in 1994, and as I said before, there were two SH-2s. In addition, memory was expensive at this time, and we were using a large amount, so costs were very high. For each Saturn sold, we lost about 10,000 yen ($100). That’s how the hardware business works. But the goal was to recoup the losses from software royalties. If there are lots of third parties, lots of games sold, and we get 2,000 yen for each, it’s possible. However, if software sales are weak, and for each console sold, we’re ultimately losing 5,000 – 6,000 yen, what’s going to happen from the business perspective? We’re going to stop selling consoles. This later became a huge problem.
“Every month, or even every week in Sega’s case, we had meetings to examine the current situation. Each department would report on where it stood in relation to its goals. So, imagine if the sales goal for the end-of-year sales war is, say, 3 billion yen, and the profit goal is 300 million yen—but wait, the profit is in the red. That profit is a very important factor, so what does the business side do? They decide that it’s not necessary to have sales of 3 billion yen. Instead, 2 billion yen will do. In other words, they stop selling 1 billion yen’s worth of hardware. That way, if each unit sold is losing 5,000 yen, and we extend that to 20,000 units, that’s 100 million yen lost. By stopping the sales of 20,000 units, in a way that becomes 100 million yen in profit. So they slammed on the brakes in terms of unit distribution. Even though there were people that wanted to buy the console, Sega didn’t want to sell it, because the more they sold the more they went into the red.
“From the perspective of the third parties, they saw that Sega was curbing the sales of the Saturn. The more consoles there were, the more games would be sold. But if console sales were being limited, then this created a serious problem. As they say, poverty dulls the wit. This led to a negative feedback loop.”

On Sony’s manufacturing advantages and Kutaragi’s invitation to become a third party:
“To launch a new console, you really need 50-60 billion yen at the least. You have to sell those first million units. If your costs are 30,000 yen per unit, then that comes to 30 billion yen for 1 million units. And you have to design the hardware and create the electronics, make the molds and do the tooling, and this will soon use about 10 billion yen. And then you have to create the games and do advertising. You need about 500-600 people. Without all this, you can’t launch a home console. You can’t do it little by little. You really have to go all in.
“Sony had annual sales of 3 trillion yen. They made their own CD-ROM drives. They had their own semiconductor factories. Once when I was talking with Ken Kutaragi [the creator of the PlayStation], he said “Hideki-chan”—he refers to me using the “chan” diminutive—“Hideki-chan, there’s no way you can beat me. Where are you buying your processors? From Hitachi. From Yamaha. What about your CD-ROM drives? You’re buying everything. By buying from Hitachi, Hitachi is profiting. You can’t make anything yourselves. We can make everything ourselves, including custom parts. We have our own factories.” Near Nakashinden, they had a huge factory where they made audio equipment that they were using for the PlayStation. Their cost structure was completely different.
“‘That’s the way it is, Hideki-chan,’ Kutaragi told me. ‘So quit the hardware business. Why not just do software? We’ll give you favorable treatment.’ He wanted us to go third party. We had been going for so long in the hardware business, for better or worse, and to go third party now? We had been half-heartedly successful in America once, and this made it impossible to quit the hardware business. Maybe if the Mega Drive, the Genesis, had been a failure, things would have been different. But we had a strange taste of success.
“At that time, Sega’s brand image was incredible. When you powered on a Sega console, ‘SEGA’ would always appear first. Even if it was a third party game from Namco (or anybody else), Sega’s name always appeared first, followed by Namco’s. So anybody that had a Sega console, it didn’t matter what game they played, they would see Sega’s name. This helped plant the Sega brand in peoples’ minds. This was incredibly effective. To go from that to a Sony third party… Well, we had already started so it was too late.
“I would have a polite dinner with Kutaragi about once every three months. He’d tell me that because we released a console last time, they would be the ones to do so this time. We are the same age, although he’s two or three months older. I would call him the polite ‘Kutaragi-san,’ although sometimes I’d call him ‘Ken-chan.’ Because I was two or three months younger, he’d say ‘Hideki-chan, please give up!’
“So we released the Saturn, and in the end, it came down to software. It’s obvious, but what do consumers look forward to? They want fun games. And that’s where we failed.”
 
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The order came straight from Nakayama. Kalinske's hand was forced.

And so what if Genesis/MD was over 5 years on the market? Games were still coming out, but were either becoming delayed (PS IV) or cancelled (MW IV). SoJ had mostly begun to shift everything away from 16-bit early. An overlap would have only helped, especially given Nintendo supported the NES and SNES after their successors were out, and that the Genesis/MD was their biggest hit. But I guess it was too much to take for SoJ's pride.
You just believe anything Tom tells you. Sorry it wasn't just five years on market the MD launched in 88 and even in 95 SEGA Japan was still making In- House software for it, Sega America was still producing games in 96 which's some 7 to 8 years of support. How many SNES games were Nintendo releasing in America 7 years after the SNES 1st launched there?. How many Cube games were Nintendo making 7 years after it launched?
 

cireza

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Here is a really good article from 2020

Hideki Sato Discussing the Sega Saturn​

https://mdshock.com/2020/06/16/hideki-sato-discussing-the-sega-saturn/

Gryson June 16, 2020
(This is a re-post of a post on Sega-16.)
Recently, an interview was conducted with Hideki Sato on his life and his time at Sega as part of an oral history research project documenting the game industry in Japan. The interview transcription is over 150 pages long. If you don’t know, Sato was in charge of Sega’s consumer R&D department for many years and took part in the development of many/all of Sega’s consoles. He later served as Sega’s president.

I’ve translated a few interesting snippets of the final part of the interview that relate to the Sega Saturn.

The full transcripts can be found here: Interview Transcripts

Highlights
• More information on Sega of America’s desire to use the 68020 in the Saturn
• Changes made in the Saturn design in response to the PlayStation
• Difficulties that third party developers had with the Saturn, and the lack of early support from Sega
• Sony’s strong support for third party developers
• Sega intentionally limiting Saturn production due to being unwilling/unable to bear the losses they were taking on sold units
• The strong advantages Sony had in manufacturing cost and flexibility
• Ken Kutaragi telling Sato that Sega should become a third party to Sony


On the MC68020 and why the SH was chosen:

“Motorola had the MC68020, the successor to the MC68000. It was a strong-selling 32-bit CISC microprocessor. Sega of America, who were developing their own 16-bit Genesis games, wanted to use the MC68020 in the Saturn. That would have allowed for essentially updated versions of the current types of game software, and the development libraries could easily be done. They wanted to go for forward compatibility.
“However, from my viewpoint, this lacked the necessary “jump” in technology. I thought that it might be okay to move forward with such a continuation of the current technology, but all the same, I felt we needed to move in a new direction, to change things up. Compared with the 16-bit generation, we needed to move away from mask ROMs, from solid-state memory, which was too expensive. CD-ROMs had become cheap, but the technology was no longer new. The PC Engine had already been using it for years. We needed something more.
“At the time, Hitachi happened to be developing the SH processor. After seeing the specs, I was impressed by its high performance. I decided to go with it, even though it was still in development (this was a very rash move for me). The SH is a RISC (Reduced Instruction) CPU, and at that time, NEC was also developing one, the V Series. I felt that Hitachi’s SH was good, so I went with that.”

On how the Saturn design changed in response to the PlayStation:
“The Saturn actually had just one CPU at the beginning. Then Sony appeared with its polygon-based PlayStation. When I was first designing the Saturn architecture, I was focused on sprite graphics, which had been the primary graphics up to that point.
“So I decided to go with polygons (due to the PlayStation). However, there weren’t any people at Sega who knew how to develop such software. Of course, we had Yu Suzuki in the arcade department, but I couldn’t just drag him off to the console department. He was developing titles like Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing. The expertise of all of the developers we had was in sprite graphics, so there seemed no choice but to go with sprites. Nevertheless, I knew we needed polygons. Using various tricks, adding a geometry engine and so on, I changed everything. In the end, just like the PlayStation, we had pseudo-polygons built on a sprite base. I felt no choice but to design a sprite-based architecture. Having said that, after some significant progress, pseudo-polygons did represent a “jump” in graphics in a certain way. There was a distinction of sorts. The processor was very powerful and could support 4,000, even 5,000 sprites, and I thought we could make the graphics work using a sprite engine after adding the Yamaha and such.
“It seemed like we were finally nearing completion. Then, the final PlayStation was revealed. It supported 300,000 polygons. Well, that was ultimately a bunch of lies, but… When you compared the Saturn with the PlayStation, we were completely missing something. The response that I chose was to add another SH processor, so we ended up with two SH-2s. By chance, the SH supported two-way cascaded data transfer. You could add a second processor and connect them in a cascade and get multi-CPU performance. When you get to about the PlayStation 3, multi-processors had become common, but the Saturn was the first home console to use multi-processors. So I added a second SH-2, but I felt that the ‘impact’ was still weak. Well, the SH-2 is a 32-bit processor, and we had two of them, so we could call the Saturn a 64-bit machine. It’s a dirty way of getting to 64-bits. But we revealed the CD-ROM-based Saturn using 64-bits as our sales point.”

On the difficulties of developing for the Saturn:
“At the beginning, there was no compiler. You had to program the SH in assembly. The people at Sega were good at assembly. That’s all they had been using on the MC68000. C, C++ were too slow to use.
“However, third parties struggled with programming the SH in assembly, and there were two of the CPUs along with a CD-ROM. We asked third parties to make games, but without development libraries, they couldn’t do anything. They’d take a week and barely even be able to get something to display on the screen, let alone be able to start making a game. Our third party support was awful. The hardware was incredibly difficult to use. However, if you worked with it a bit, you could get a ton of sprites, with scaling and rotation and so on.”

On Sony’s support for third party developers:
“Sony was good at supporting PlayStation third party developers. Why? Sony didn’t have a development department. They didn’t have a software department. What do you do if you don’t have a software department? You ask somebody else. Sony went to Namco, to Taito, to Konami. They said that they were putting together a game console called the PlayStation, and they invited these companies to develop games for it. Sony exerted all its efforts on supporting third parties and enhancing their collective powers. Sony CEO Norio Ohga himself went to talk to the third parties. From their perspective, it was a big deal for Ohga to come and ask this. From Namco’s viewpoint, if they put out Tekken, they could compete evenly with Sega’s Virtua Fighter.
“The number one game in the PlayStation world was Ridge Racer. And Konami being Konami, they had their typical games. It’s obvious that the PlayStation had the better games. No matter how much effort Sega put in on its own, it wasn’t going to be enough.
“So Sony went to Namco, Taito, Konami, and others, and they said here are the specs, and don’t worry, there aren’t two CPUs or anything difficult like that. They said the PlayStation will be easy to develop for, and here are all the development libraries we’ll put out. Sony had a very easy-to-use SDK (Software Development Kit). And Ohga himself was making these offers, and the third parties were told they could port all of their own titles, and so on. With all of that, it certainly seemed like the PlayStation was better.”

On Sega’s losses associated with the Saturn and their response:
“So we released the Saturn in 1994, and as I said before, there were two SH-2s. In addition, memory was expensive at this time, and we were using a large amount, so costs were very high. For each Saturn sold, we lost about 10,000 yen ($100). That’s how the hardware business works. But the goal was to recoup the losses from software royalties. If there are lots of third parties, lots of games sold, and we get 2,000 yen for each, it’s possible. However, if software sales are weak, and for each console sold, we’re ultimately losing 5,000 – 6,000 yen, what’s going to happen from the business perspective? We’re going to stop selling consoles. This later became a huge problem.
“Every month, or even every week in Sega’s case, we had meetings to examine the current situation. Each department would report on where it stood in relation to its goals. So, imagine if the sales goal for the end-of-year sales war is, say, 3 billion yen, and the profit goal is 300 million yen—but wait, the profit is in the red. That profit is a very important factor, so what does the business side do? They decide that it’s not necessary to have sales of 3 billion yen. Instead, 2 billion yen will do. In other words, they stop selling 1 billion yen’s worth of hardware. That way, if each unit sold is losing 5,000 yen, and we extend that to 20,000 units, that’s 100 million yen lost. By stopping the sales of 20,000 units, in a way that becomes 100 million yen in profit. So they slammed on the brakes in terms of unit distribution. Even though there were people that wanted to buy the console, Sega didn’t want to sell it, because the more they sold the more they went into the red.
“From the perspective of the third parties, they saw that Sega was curbing the sales of the Saturn. The more consoles there were, the more games would be sold. But if console sales were being limited, then this created a serious problem. As they say, poverty dulls the wit. This led to a negative feedback loop.”

On Sony’s manufacturing advantages and Kutaragi’s invitation to become a third party:
“To launch a new console, you really need 50-60 billion yen at the least. You have to sell those first million units. If your costs are 30,000 yen per unit, then that comes to 30 billion yen for 1 million units. And you have to design the hardware and create the electronics, make the molds and do the tooling, and this will soon use about 10 billion yen. And then you have to create the games and do advertising. You need about 500-600 people. Without all this, you can’t launch a home console. You can’t do it little by little. You really have to go all in.
“Sony had annual sales of 3 trillion yen. They made their own CD-ROM drives. They had their own semiconductor factories. Once when I was talking with Ken Kutaragi [the creator of the PlayStation], he said “Hideki-chan”—he refers to me using the “chan” diminutive—“Hideki-chan, there’s no way you can beat me. Where are you buying your processors? From Hitachi. From Yamaha. What about your CD-ROM drives? You’re buying everything. By buying from Hitachi, Hitachi is profiting. You can’t make anything yourselves. We can make everything ourselves, including custom parts. We have our own factories.” Near Nakashinden, they had a huge factory where they made audio equipment that they were using for the PlayStation. Their cost structure was completely different.
“‘That’s the way it is, Hideki-chan,’ Kutaragi told me. ‘So quit the hardware business. Why not just do software? We’ll give you favorable treatment.’ He wanted us to go third party. We had been going for so long in the hardware business, for better or worse, and to go third party now? We had been half-heartedly successful in America once, and this made it impossible to quit the hardware business. Maybe if the Mega Drive, the Genesis, had been a failure, things would have been different. But we had a strange taste of success.
“At that time, Sega’s brand image was incredible. When you powered on a Sega console, ‘SEGA’ would always appear first. Even if it was a third party game from Namco (or anybody else), Sega’s name always appeared first, followed by Namco’s. So anybody that had a Sega console, it didn’t matter what game they played, they would see Sega’s name. This helped plant the Sega brand in peoples’ minds. This was incredibly effective. To go from that to a Sony third party… Well, we had already started so it was too late.
“I would have a polite dinner with Kutaragi about once every three months. He’d tell me that because we released a console last time, they would be the ones to do so this time. We are the same age, although he’s two or three months older. I would call him the polite ‘Kutaragi-san,’ although sometimes I’d call him ‘Ken-chan.’ Because I was two or three months younger, he’d say ‘Hideki-chan, please give up!’
“So we released the Saturn, and in the end, it came down to software. It’s obvious, but what do consumers look forward to? They want fun games. And that’s where we failed.”
Good read, thanks.
 
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modiz

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I still think that Tomb Raider was *the* game. A full 3d world, massive in scale, it is clear this game is pushing the hardware like nothing else and I feel that there was more power to reveal to even make Tomb Raider 2 work on the Saturn.
 

Panajev2001a

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Good read, thanks.
Very good read indeed. The tweaks they made (then again about the second CPU it makes me think about the history behind the 32X… did they sell a very very early Saturn prototype essentially 😂?) are very interesting including the matrix DSP in the DMAC.
 

UnNamed

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You just believe anything Tom tells you.
I would listen a guy who is basically the main and the only reason of the success of SEGA in the USA.

Before him, SEGA launched the Master System in 1986 and basically halted the sales one year later. MS is almost unknown in US from what I know.
After him, 16/18M consoles sold in US, strong brand recognition over casual gamers, Sonic famous as Mickey Mouse, big market push for the GG, otherwise would have been a complete disaster.

He's the reason why Saturn had a strong start in US in the early years. Yeah, I would listen him.
 
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I would listen a guy who is basically the main and the only reason of the success of SEGA in the USA.
That owes far more to Sonic and everyone knows it. And Saturn had a strong start in the USA? I doubt it.
Nick Alexander did far better than Tom in Europe with both the Master System and Mega Drive but gets little credit for it sadly
 

RetroAV

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That owes far more to Sonic and everyone knows it. And Saturn had a strong start in the USA? I doubt it.
Nick Alexander did far better than Tom in Europe with both the Master System and Mega Drive but gets little credit for it sadly
FINALLY! The truth comes out! So this is what all the Tom hate is about?! Jealousy? Look, I'm sure Nick did a fantastic job, but that doesn't discredit the accomplishments of Tom. Who knows...there might not even have been a Saturn without Tom's success with the Genesis in America!
 
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FINALLY! The truth comes out! So this is what all the Tom hate is about?! Jealousy? Look, I'm sure Nick did a fantastic job, but that doesn't discredit the accomplishments of Tom. Who knows...there might not even have been a Saturn without Tom's success with the Genesis in America!
No, you silly person. It's about the facts. Sega Europe was the only part of the world where Nintendo couldn't match SEGA market share, much less better it, the Sega cool attitude started with SEGA Europe Cyber Razor Cut and also them looking to sponsor high profile sporting events and long before SONY took Wipeout to clubs, SEGA Europe did years before. Looking over that, what were the Sega Hardware numbers from when Tom took over, to when Sonic launched in America?.

If I were to credit Tom for a few things: it would be for making Sonic a Pack in title, but there again, SEGA Japan force SOA to do their bidding, so that must have been an SOJ idea *rollseyes*.
I also like how Tom looked get Sega America to have its own In House studios, how he and his team made a much better job of selling the Mega/Sega CD and getting some rather nice software for it and for showing off what the Hardware could really do. Along with breaking down Nintendo hold on retail just supplying their systems.
 
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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
While I will not argue that programmers aren't huge complainers when anything changes... Your list of consoles that people complained about is quite telling, sure the PS2/3 got a lot of games, but the N64 definitely would have gotten way more if it had a CD drive and was easier to develop for, that machine had few and far between releases, it's lifetime was a constant software drought.

On the other hand if you look at a machine like the Dreamcast that had a short lifetime yet a very nice library.

Here are the numbers:
Dreamcast
Consoles sold: less than 10 million units
Games published: 624 (2 years)

N64
Consoles sold: 33million
Games published: 364 (6 years)

It's not like Sega was a force to be reckoned with when they released the Dreamcast.

So they may have had a point when saying that the Saturn was hard to develop for and it offered little to no benefit for it, I would have loved to see the good Doom port on it and I still think that Panzer Dragoon saga is one of the best looking game of its generation.
 
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The problem, of course, is that most gamers have never played through the Sega Saturn library. That's why they'd rather argue about why it all went so horribly wrong. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a weirdo on this subject. Who else would play through 400 Saturn games in this day and age? Seriously, what's wrong with me besides everything?
Off topic again, but I recall playing through the whole MAME library in the mid 2000s (excluding the 300 000 mahjong titles, gambling, etc.)... Mind you back then there was a lot less pollution like adult and gambling titles, etc. It was pretty much all actual arcade games 3500 of them! I did the same for the major 8/16-bit machines as well.
I had so much time on my hands 😅.
 
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Here are the numbers:
Dreamcast
Consoles sold: less than 10 million units
Games published: 624 (2 years)

N64
Consoles sold: 33million
Games published: 364 (6 years)

It's not like Sega was a force to be reckoned with when they released the Dreamcast.

So they may have had a point when saying that the Saturn was hard to develop for and it offered little to no benefit for it, I would have loved to see the good Doom port on it and I still think that Panzer Dragoon saga is one of the best looking game of its generation.
Certainly a good point, but with the Saturn especially it is really impressive how it ended up with over 1000 games. Sure, most of those never made it over to the West, but it is still an impressive feat nonetheless. That is more than Gamecube and N64 combined!!

Anyway back 2 topic:


This one interesting, because despite being the same game they are very different. I think both are good for their respective systems, but I haven't played either so I am gonna reference the description from the guy who did the video.

Oh god where do I start with this one, there's so much to talk about. I love the MechWarrior games, they're a forgotten treasure. I am of course referring mainly to the PC games because the console offerings have always been a bit lacking. It says it right there in the name "Arcade Combat Edition". Translated that means "Uhh we couldn't quite fit everything from the PC original into this one because well dude... consoles". As a MW game it's a bit simple, but as a game overall it's still good. Both ports do a good job of replicating at least the feel of driving a Battle Mech also the excellent soundtrack & sound FX add to the experience. Visually both versions look ok though the PS1 clearly has the edge in terms of texture & model detail. Though the Saturn port does put up a fight with it's use of both lighting effects & transparencies. Impressive since very few developers were able to achieve these basic effects on the Saturn without crippling the performance. The PS1 game only supports the regular pad but the Saturn port supports analogue control with the 3D Pad or the Mission Stick. The games Manual doesn't mention this & even with an Analogue controller plugged in the game seems to see it as just a regular pad, but trust me it works! You have far more precise control over your aiming even going as far as making use of the 3D pad's progressive triggers for precise speed control. It's by far the best way to play this game so why make it a secret?
 
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Japanese cover art, especially from the '90s, tended to shit all over the American versions.

Actually this isn't really fair, since most artistic covers were better or around even with the Japanese ones. The big issues during these years is that many western developers who were pushing the 3D hype had polygonal or CG graphics on the covers to push the 3D narrative, and these generally didn't look good, or at best looked good for a time and then aged badly. Sure, some Japanese devs did that too, but not as much. Some of those ploy/CG covers were just plane trash that you wonder who green lit them.

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.

It's like Atari, Sega, and Commodore all were bastard kids with the same father named "Mr.Fumble the ball" since you can apply this same logic to all 3.

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.

Should have took 3DO deal, then delayed the Saturn until 96/97. 3DO dropped the ball without having pre-release stuff ready at those meetings, the lack of certainty and the stuff the Atari put out early for the Jaguar caused Sega to scrap that deal real fast (and also At&t) but Sega also didn't really give time to wait and see either, so it's kind of both their faults.

One of the reasons why this problem was such an issue is because despite the years of aggressive marketing and "cool dude' mindshare, Sega never had a large stable of blockbuster hits on the Genesis and the height of the Genesis popularity was quickly met by a rapid decline and shrinking profits and Sega didn't really have any other product in the same or different industry that could hedge the eventual outcome. SoA causing Sega to have unprecedented popularity was not backed by anything, no safety nets were implemented, no plan B's or C's, no real medium or long-term guidance, they were kind of just shooting randomly in the dark.

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.

I think people throw a lot of shade at the 32X while ignoring the Saturns short comings even if the 32X wasn't there, as if they though the launch and first year line up and marketing would appeal to the same people who were salivating and running out to by Genesis machines for Sonics and Mortal Kombats in 92-93.

In addition the 32X idea if it was supported fully and backed by the company at large as a legitimate hedge, could have worked, especially given that the reason why it was made, that companies machine ended up being overrun, and they burned just as many bridges as Sega with developers and distributors.


You do know SEGA America were the 1st to show off the Saturn at the Jan CES show 94? That in 1993 SEGA America set up the Away team to start Saturn development with their 1st game being Bug. The Genesis life was hardly cut short. This was a system that came out in 89 and SEGA was still selling them and making software in 1996. People like you forget that the SNES came out 2 years later than the Mega Drive in all major markets and also the N64 was delayed for a year from 1995 to 1996 meaning Nintendo had no choice but to support the Snes for longer.

Also never in the History of SEGA Japan have ordered the Western divisions to launch their Hardware early.

Actually, Nintendo ULTRA 64 SUPERSYSTEM OMG, was delayed two years not one, with cheaper more powerful parts, and still couldn't run Crusin' USA, that just baffled me back in the day, Yet like in the arcade it still sold more on the N64 than RR sold on PSX and Daytona on Saturn. Thirst was real for that 3D.

That owes far more to Sonic and everyone knows it. And Saturn had a strong start in the USA? I doubt it.
Nick Alexander did far better than Tom in Europe with both the Master System and Mega Drive but gets little credit for it sadly

Meh, Genesis was around 3 million before Sonic 1 with Ms.Pac-man being the best selling loose software with close to 2 million copies with Altered Beast pack-in with over 1 million itself, by the time the Midway games came in like MK and NBA Jam the Genesis probably still could have sold 8-10 million in the US, the platter NES left on the table was just to big. Tom could have done decent even without Sonic, he managed to fix Sega' previous image and gave them a better marketing and appeal arm.

I would listen a guy who is basically the main and the only reason of the success of SEGA in the USA.

He's literally the reason why this thread is here and why we are even having this dicussion.
 
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I think people throw a lot of shade at the 32X while ignoring the Saturns short comings even if the 32X wasn't there, as if they though the launch and first year line up and marketing would appeal to the same people who were salivating and running out to by Genesis machines for Sonics and Mortal Kombats in 92-93.
I like the 32x, it hasa small library, but a couple of really good games... however, for 2d it's completely broken, a lot of games run at 30fps, with low colors backgrounds that are pulled from the Genesis.

Plus, the 32x strategy sent mixed signals to the fans about the "next generation", and these things were beyond unreliable, it probably burnt qui a few bridge... It took development teams away from the Saturn (to make or tweak launch games by example, focus marketing too).

It was a waste of time and resources, that was its biggest flaw of all.

The Saturn on the other hand was the real deal, in 3d it could compete with the PSX (minus real Alpha, colored lights and gouraut) for 2d the extra memory allowed it to stand out in a lot of titles. None of this would have made it keep up with the monster success of the PSX, but I'm sure that the machine could have done at least as well as the N64 (similarly to what happened in Japan I assume).

Obviously, we need US management that lines up with the company instead of going around shopping for other options and undermining everything that comes out of Japan.
 
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I think people throw a lot of shade at the 32X while ignoring the Saturns short comings even if the 32X wasn't there, as if they though the launch and first year line up and marketing would appeal to the same people who were salivating and running out to by Genesis machines for Sonics and Mortal Kombats in 92-93.

In addition the 32X idea if it was supported fully and backed by the company at large as a legitimate hedge, could have worked, especially given that the reason why it was made, that companies machine ended up being overrun, and they burned just as many bridges as Sega with developers and distributors.

Meh, Genesis was around 3 million before Sonic 1 with Ms.Pac-man being the best selling loose software with close to 2 million copies with Altered Beast pack-in with over 1 million itself, by the time the Midway games came in like MK and NBA Jam the Genesis probably still could have sold 8-10 million in the US, the platter NES left on the table was just to big. Tom could have done decent even without Sonic, he managed to fix Sega' previous image and gave them a better marketing and appeal arm.

All systems have shortcomings but having two 32 bit systems to develop on, to market and sell to the world was an issue, never mind SEGA also was making Arcade Games and also still trying to support the 16-bit market.
Without the 32X and even with a Saturn still going early in May you would have had Panzer Dragoon, Daytona USA, VF and then improved versions of VR Delux, Star Wars, Doom. That's of a sudden it's a bad launch line up and better yet you a single messages and PR to roll out.

I read that before Tom took over SEGA had already sold a million Mega Drive in the USA, so before Sonic all he did was double the userbase? . I think it's fair to say that Sonic was the major driving force for the massive increase in SEGA hardware and software sales. I give Tom and Sega America a lot of credit for breaking down the Nintendo supply chain in the USA, how he saw how he could use and push Sonic and how they did a much better job of selling the Mega CD and getting some nice software on it. Just a shame SOA got caught up in the FMV fad.

Sega Japan needs to share some of the blame too. Poor tools rushed software and not having SEGA Japan make a 3D Sonic game early in were huge mistakes as was not doing more to get Square on the Saturn after they left Nintendo and Saturn having a user base lead of over a million in Japan.
 
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Kazza

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Again, guys, lets return to the thread topic:

Most impressive 3D-Games for the Sega Saturn​

Guys please, lets go back to the topic

I think there is a kind of Goodwin's Law in play for the Saturn:

In any thread about any aspect of the Sega Saturn, someone will inevitably turn the discussion to the topic of why it failed commercially outside of Japan.
 
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nkarafo

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Every single good looking game has been posted already, along with plenty of others that aren't particularly impressive. It's now just a list of random Saturn games.
 
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UnNamed

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It's very easy to cover the most impressive Saturn games since the console lifespan was short. This is the reason why SS threads always ends with the what if and Saturn Vs the world.
 
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RAIDEN1

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I was watching some videos from Pandemonium (The guy who did the Virtua Racing feature on Saturn which I posted on here a few pages ago...) my god does Virtual Hydlide look awful....how the hell was that game even given a green light...shocking...also was watching a bit of the video on Cyber Speedway? The Wipeout wannabe but nowhere near as good....
 
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All systems have shortcomings but having two 32 bit systems to develop on, to market and sell to the world was an issue, never mind SEGA also was making Arcade Games and also still trying to support the 16-bit market.
Without the 32X and even with a Saturn still going early in May you would have had Panzer Dragoon, Daytona USA, VF and then improved versions of VR Delux, Star Wars, Doom. That's of a sudden it's a bad launch line up and better yet you a single messages and PR to roll out.

I read that before Tom took over SEGA had already sold a million Mega Drive in the USA, so before Sonic all he did was double the userbase? . I think it's fair to say that Sonic was the major driving force for the massive increase in SEGA hardware and software sales. I give Tom and Sega America a lot of credit for breaking down the Nintendo supply chain in the USA, how he saw how he could use and push Sonic and how they did a much better job of selling the Mega CD and getting some nice software on it. Just a shame SOA got caught up in the FMV fad.

Sega Japan needs to share some of the blame too. Poor tools rushed software and not having SEGA Japan make a 3D Sonic game early in were huge mistakes as was not doing more to get Square on the Saturn after they left Nintendo and Saturn having a user base lead of over a million in Japan.

He more than doubled the user base from declining sales, the Genesis hype was dead for a minute and sales were low and flat and it was expected by some analysts to have an LTD of 3-5 million once more games and price cuts came out.

He basically set the momentum that allowed Sonic to work, and then was not able to replicate that anywhere else. The FMV fad also was not so much a fad, there were parts of it that were, but by the time Sega started dropping a lot of support quickly for the Sega CD, FMV was getting better, was starting to be used in more complicated genre's like Adventure games, and was still relevant.

The issue with Sega CD was that it was attached to a weak cheap 80's consoles and had poor video capabilities. Also Square didn't leave Nintendo until later so that wouldn't really change. Square never had much interest in Sega, and to be honest neither did the country of Japan at the time. Sega would do modest there with the Saturn, eventually.

The Saturn on the other hand was the real deal, in 3d it could compete with the PSX

Not when Sega panic reacted to release the 32X, it didn't. That was the whole point of the 32X, from Segas perspective based on early Jaguar stuff they saw they were being "left behind" how accurate that was wasn't known at the time, just like not knowing the 3DO was actually stronger but Sega didn't wait to see if it was.
 
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He more than doubled the user base from declining sales
Yeah, he doubled sales, that wasn't going to happen with the MD having a two year head start?. Sorry to break to this you, but SOJ commissioned Sonic. The time to kill the 32X was in April 1994 when the Jaguar and 3DO were flops and SEGA Japan showed off the Saturn to the world
 

cireza

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Saturn games since the console lifespan was short.
Saturn had games from 1995 to 1999 so it was a pretty decent lifespan. We could have enjoyed a few more late hits like Virtua Fighter 3, but overall, the console demonstrated pretty well what it could do and there were many very impressive games on it.
 
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