Racing Games

Jaded God

Member
I was just wondering what are the essential games every saturn owner needs to have as far as racing games go for it. I am looking to play some good racing games and I was just looking for some suggestions.
 

sizone

New Member
saturn's not really the greatest platform for racing games 'cause of it's comparatively poor 3d capabilities.
 

Daniel Eriksson

New Member
saturn's not really the greatest platform for racing games 'cause of it's comparatively poor 3d capabilities.

How many times do we have to state that this is not the case. Compare it to the 3DO, A32 or PSX. Now the Saturns got much better gfx than those systems.

I would suggest :

Sega Rally, Daytona Usa CCE, Sega Touring Car, Street Racer, Manx TT, King The Spirits 2, Code R, Need For Speed, Wipeout 2097 and some more. As mentioned, check the previous thread about racinggames.
 

sizone

New Member


Daniel Eriksson Posted on Mar 16, 2003 @ 08:41 PM

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QUOTE

saturn's not really the greatest platform for racing games 'cause of it's comparatively poor 3d capabilities.

How many times do we have to state that this is not the case. Compare it to the 3DO, A32 or PSX. Now the Saturns got much better gfx than those systems.

no it doesn't

the psx blows it out of the water in this department

compare wipeout on the saturn to wipeout on the playstation

or better yet, play burning rangers and realize that that's probably the absolute best that could be done on the saturn w/polygons
 
Nope that would be Shenmue.

And WpEout is a simple adaptation, no effort was mae in the conversion.

But yes the Playstation has a way better 3D engine than the Saturn.
 

Daniel Eriksson

New Member
Yes, the PSX has more raw power, but the Saturn has other things that makes stuff look better. The fade-in effect of Sonic R would drop the framerate to about 10 if it was done on a PS. And the reflective water would be virtually impossible to do on a PS. This is what Travelers Tales said in an interview. However, the PS has better gfx, but that doesnt make the Saturn's gfx bad.

Still, weren't we discussing racing games?
 

Taelon

Member
Originally posted by sizone@Mar 16, 2003 @ 06:57 PM

compare wipeout on the saturn to wipeout on the playstation

or better yet, play burning rangers and realize that that's probably the absolute best that could be done on the saturn w/polygons
And what's wrong with that? Burning Rangers looks fantastic IMHO, and the framerate is forgivable - not THAT bad.

As for Wipeout, give Wipeout XL (or 2097) a whirl. It's a great improvement over the first Wipeout.

Need For Speed (if not Sega Rally) is absolute and irrefutable proof of how good a Saturn racer can really be.
 

Daniel Eriksson

New Member
Burning Rangers looks fantastic IMHO, and the framerate is forgivable - not THAT bad
Indeed! There are few games that has such fantastic architecture and light effects. Its innovative to, not only another FPS game.
 

Mr. Moustache

New Member
I think it's common knowledge that the Saturn was poorly planned system, built on arrogant business decisions, and bad design. But towards the end of the Saturns short life they uncovered quite a bit of hidden power inside that bulky black box. From what I've read, though I know not all of it is 100% they managed to increase the number of polys by huge amounts using AVS processing(Using the sound chip to process polys). It's really all speculation though, but I heard somewhere to the tune of 700,000@30fps. I believe it would of taken a lot of work, and mucho amounts of talent to pull off anything resembling that, but it's nice to think about.

But if I remember the spec sheets correctly, the Saturn was capable of 500,000 flat shaded polys/sec, and only 200,000 texture mapped polys/sec. So I would imagine it's in the realm of possability that some of these unreleased games used both in conjunction to be able to push the amount of polys up and possibly allow the saturn to utilize some 3d gaming engines.

Anyways, that's all speculation and should be taken with a grain of salt. I could barely even be called a beginner in the world of programming, so I might not even know what the hell I'm talking about.

Anyways, to keep this post on topic I'll agree with a lot of you and say that Sega Rally kicks mucho ass.
 

Taelon

Member
Actually... the Saturn was initially a 2D-only killer machine. When Sega heard about Sony's upcoming 3D system, heads rolled at the top management levels, and engineers were called upon to quickly come up with a completely new design - the Saturn as we know it. The problem, as I understand it, was that they opted for a parallel-processing architecture, something which Sega already had a lot of experience with but which was difficult to get to grips to for 3rd-party developers. Add to that the fact that a DECENT dev kit for the Saturn wasn't released until much later, and you have the main reason for the many poor games it had initially.

As for "only" 200,000 polygons ... I dunno but that seems like a decent number to me. Suppose you have a scene of 5,000 polygons, say 3,500 for backgrounds/environment, maybe ten characters at 150 polys each - and you could draw such a scene 200,000 / 5,000 = 40 times a second, or 30fps if you consider NTSC V-sync.

But then, that's just assuming the maximum polygonal output that the Saturn hardware can achieve, and disregarding all the computations that have to be done first, as well as general game logic, input processing, sound, etc. - but then, that's where the highly parallelized architecture plays out its strengths.
 

Mr. Moustache

New Member
Yah.. I think we all the know the story well. When I said "only" I didn't mean it as though it was a low number, but compared to 500,000 it is, and Sega's own model 2 board was capable of 300,000 texture mapped polys, so on a comparison only basis it is a much smaller number.
 

M3d10n

New Member
Raw theorical polygon calculation rates for the PSX were 300,000, whereas the Saturn were 200,000, as mentioned previously. So, in theory, the PSX could calculate 50% more polygons than the Saturn in the same time frame.

But, of course, it doesn't only comes down to polygon processing. There are lotsa other factors that affect performance and visual quality. The PSX had the big advantage that gouraud shading was less stressing for it's CPU than on Saturn. It also looked better, since the Saturn uses the weirdest gouraud shading rendering I ever seen. The dithering also improved the quality a bit, smoothing color gradients, and it supported 24-bit textures.

The Saturn, on the other side, could have the VDP2 render it's layers using rotation/scaling, per scanline (good old MODE 7 effect), at little CPU cost (looking a bit prettier than polygons, and allowing deformations, like fake reflective water) and, even lacking true pixel-level transparency, like the PSX, the Saturn had some transparency modes that wouldn't cause any slowdown (overly used in SonicR).

The main problem with most cross plataform games was that they were first made on the PSX, then quickly ported over the Saturn, and were not optimized to use the Saturn's exclusive features. The 24-bit textures were not properly converted to benefit the Saturn's color palette and different texture rendering (this is a key problem), people didn't care to find ways to make transparencies look good, using mesh transparencies instead, and the whole rendering code didn't receive much effort for increased framerate.

But if you look at Grandia, you see that the PSX tasted of it's own poision. It took ages to port it over the PSX, and the port did suffer graphical losses. The textures don't look as good in the PSX (they seems less "stable", and aren't as sharp as the Saturn ones), all mode7 planes were replaced with polygons, making them more pixelated, some areas suffer of lack of perspective correction (but they amazingly minimezed such problem in most of the game), sime minor details were gone (like the characters' sprites getting darker when they are under shadows, or in dark areas, the gorgeous water effects), and the battle 2D backgrounds got their resolution halved (they added a fake filtering that blurs it a lot). Slow downs ins ome areas decreased, yes, but slowdown was still present. The things that got better were the magic spells, that got flashier on the PSX version (but, surprisingly, the Saturn version spells uses a darn good transparency already).
 

Taelon

Member
Excellent post, M3d1on, very informative and enlightening.


One thing though - I thought of this after writing my last post - the Saturn actually doesn't draw POLYGONS, it draws QUADS!!!! While that's another argument counting toward poor PSX->Saturn conversions, it does throw a wrench (IMHO) into the comparison of the Saturn's 200,000 "polygons" vs. the PSX's 300,000. How close are the two rendering techniques really, and how does each of them affect performance? That is a question I hadn't thought of.

Now that I think of it, I suspect that some games did use true polygons, simply by placing two of the four endpoints of a quad in the same spot. This might have resulted in unnecessary performance loss, but on the other hand redoing every polygonal scene and character in quads for a mere port of a game would've been a lot of work too.

What are your thoughts on this guys?
 

mal

Member
Originally posted by Taelon@Mar 20, 2003 @ 08:45 AM

One thing though - I thought of this after writing my last post - the Saturn actually doesn't draw POLYGONS, it draws QUADS!!!!
Don't you mean triangles rather than polygons?

A polygon is any shape with 3 or more sides and that would include quads, wouldn't it?
 

antime

Extra Hard Mid Boss
Originally posted by Taelon@Mar 19, 2003 @ 11:45 PM

One thing though - I thought of this after writing my last post - the Saturn actually doesn't draw POLYGONS, it draws QUADS!!!!
A quadrangle is also a polygon.

How close are the two rendering techniques really, and how does each of them affect performance? That is a question I hadn't thought of.
Using quads will at least reduce overhead as there's less commands to send to the graphics hardware. Note that the PSX also supports quads, though it processes them as two triangles internally.

What are your thoughts on this guys?
Comparisons based on loosely-defined figures such as "polygons/second" are meaningless. Even PC graphics-card manufacturers are no longer using those figures in their marketing.
 

Taelon

Member
Polygons, triangles, quads... Oops
You're right mal... I didn't know the PSX could do quads btw ... Wow, I love how we keep filling each other's gaps in our knowledge...

And yeah, with modern gfx cards, polys/sec. are indeed meaningless, but then we've gone so far beyond just polygons... pixel shaders, vertex shaders, texturing and lighting, bezier curves, a million other things.. the PSX and Saturn didn't even have many of the things PCs nowadays have. Even so, antime, you have a point there.

I guess what matters is that the Saturn COULD be very powerful and fast if you just fed it the right code...
 

M3d10n

New Member
During a good deal of time, the PSX games ONLY used quads. I remember Eidos boasting Tomb Raider 3 because it used "true triangled polygons".

The thing on the PSX is that, when rendering, it interally would render each half of the quad as a separated surface. The quads, then, were always split into triangles at two vertices. That produced undesirable results when using a quad with vertices that aren't in the same plane. As example, if you have a quad lying in the ground, and one of it's vertices has a higher height than the others. Depending on which vertex is the higher one, the face's slope will be different. It'll either start from the opposite vertex, or be split in the middle of the quad.

The Saturn had no such problems. Since the 3D coordinates are totally ignored when rendering (it only cares about the quad coordinates on the screen), it merely distorts the texture to fit the specified quad, even if the quad vertices aren't co-planar in 3D. It even applies a limited curve effect if the 2D quad coordinates form a concave polygon. This effect is truly visible in Shining Force 3. Look at the small peaks and mountains in the outdoors scenery. They are made with 4 quads only, and their surface slopes are the same in all sides of the peak. The peaks sometimes even have a small curved look to them.

Too bad very, very few games took advantege on that feature, that allows you to make an arbitrary quad with non-co-planar vertices be rendered properly. It allows to save polygons, depending on the surface being drawn, and would add a smoother look to some surfaces (like the SF3 peaks).

Also, a few Saturn games used faked triangles (quads with two adjacent vertices in the same position), because the object being draw required them. You can't draw a pyramid using quads :p
 
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