Random Idea I Had This Morning...

slinga

Established Member
I was searching on the net this morning for some more saturn programming information (specifically the GFS library). As I got further and further down the results I started getting fewer and fewer actually information sites and pretty much just resumes. So I said what the hell, and I emailed about 20 people who said they had Saturn programming experience. I got a few responses back already:

#1

"Heh. You're really setting yourself up for some pain on the Saturn. I _may_ have a CD with docs around somewhere. Though to do any development you'll need a dev system like a PsyQ. That should provide you with docs as well."

#2

"I have no docs I can post. They are under NDA. You should be able to dig some stuff up on the net.

Perhaps you should choose some platform besides the Saturn if you can, since it was not very popular. That way it might be easier to find info. The gameboy advance has many sites with good information, devkits, etc.

I think www.gbadev.org or something like it is good."

#3

"The Saturn is one highly complex beast, and really not recommended for a first system to learn game programming on. Like most consoles, it requires a dedicated development kit connected to a PC before you can do anything. Those kits should have come with documentation/samples, which you should be able to run and examine to see how they work. TPA was written in 100% C code, with the Sega Game (or was that Graphics?) Libs version 3.0 or 3.1. Getting out and writing to the metal wasn't needed on TPA, but a more advanced game would have required it."

#4

"Wow, it's been about 7 or 8 years since I even touched a Saturn, so I don't think I can do much for you. I don't have any docs or other reference materials any longer.

The one thing I do remember is that Sega of Japan provided to developers a graphics library called SGL, which ran entirely on one of the two SH2 CPUs; the expectation was that the all the rest of the game would be run on the other CPU. This wouldn't necessarily be the optimum load-balancing arrangement, but it was a simple way to take some advantage of the dual-CPU configuration.

Oh, yeah, and the graphics hardware only knew how to draw quadrilaterals (4-gons), which was a poor fit to all the 3d tools in the world that deal with triangles. My boss's summary of the architecture was that the Saturn was the best

2D console ever
smile.gif


Good luck!"

That was interesting.

#5

"I have a few things sitting around, but not too much that isn't readily accessible elsewhere.

Most of the documentation and getting started type stuff that I ran into can be found on Anders Montonen's page, which is located at:

http://www.helsinki.fi/~ammonton/sega/docs.html

As far as game programming and such goes, I'm relatively clueless in those matters. Most of the work I did (and continue to do, in occasional spare time) was simply related to the SH7604 itself, and more precisely getting linux running on it in an MP sense. Although preemptive multitasking tends to have its drawbacks in an MP environment without an MMU.

I'd consider posting on a developer forum, but as I've noted already, my time is relatively limited, and my experience with the Saturn as a whole is likely sub-par to other developers, particularly those with gaming interests. I'm fully capable of answering questions relating to

the SH-2/3/4/5 though, both in a UP and MP setting."


biggrin.gif
He told me to check Antime's site.

#6

"The problem as I remember would be getting the development tools. You don't have to have the emulator for the processor which we used for the serious debugging, but you do need the plug in card that lets you download code to the Saturn for testing. The gcc compiler for the Hitachi processor, an SH2 if I remember, shouldn't be a problem but you need the Saturn libraries.

If you don't have the download card to test an executable, you have to burn

a CD for every test and use a key CD which lets the Saturn load a CD which

doesn't have the production key info that Saturns require. I still have a version

of Indycar for Saturn which won't run for lack of the key disc.


I'm completely unaware of any Saturn dev forums, are there any? I've

programmed on a lot of platforms, computers, embedded systems, cameras, etc., and the Saturn was the worst I ever dealt with. We didn't have enough technical information from Sega to do things correctly and with high performance.


Sony was selling low cost development kits for Playstation, something like

$1000, which would be a better way to go.

I went to a Saturn Dev Con in CA shortly before Papyrus gave up on the

Saturn project and all of us developers were beating up on the Sega folks to give us the information we needed. After one session a few of us actually prevented the Sega guy from leaving the room until he answered some key questions about graphics timing. We let him leave after he promised to get us the answers, which he never did.

If I can be of more help let me know."

I was actually hoping to get some people who might still have a few of their own personal notes.
 

racketboy

Established Member
I'm curious as to why you guys like Saturn programming so much, but not Dreamcast?

If you don't have a DC, I could understand
smile.gif
 
because the DC is just like a PC perhaps? Because it's architecture is just *boring*
tongue.gif


Or because it offers no real challenge?
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by AntiPasta@Apr 17, 2003 @ 05:55 PM

because the DC is just like a PC perhaps? Because it's architecture is just *boring*
tongue.gif


Or because it offers no real challenge?

oh sorry
tongue.gif
 

slinga

Established Member
I don't have a dc....and I don't want one :Þ One year my friends pooled some money together and bought me a DC for my birthday. I made them take it back.

It's hard to explain Racketboy.

Coding for the Saturn gives the illusion that we're doing something groundbreaking. Who knows we might find something interesting that Sega didn't even know about.
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by slinga@Apr 17, 2003 @ 06:02 PM

I don't have a dc....and I don't want one :Þ One year my friends pooled some money together and bought me a DC for my birthday. I made them take it back.

It's hard to explain Racketboy.

um ok

thats a shame since the DC is a nifty little box

I can't live without it
smile.gif
 
yeah don't get me wrong - I actually like the DC but the coding on it seems rather boring - moreover I don't get why the DC scene is so fricken big whereas the N64, PSX and Saturn programming communities are very small :-(
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by AntiPasta@Apr 17, 2003 @ 06:37 PM

yeah don't get me wrong - I actually like the DC but the coding on it seems rather boring - moreover I don't get why the DC scene is so fricken big whereas the N64, PSX and Saturn programming communities are very small :-(

becasue you can burn your work on a CDR and play it on a stock system

plus the systems' capabilities are better (obviously)
 
Originally posted by racketboy@Apr 17, 2003 @ 05:48 PM

I'm curious as to why you guys like Saturn programming so much, but not Dreamcast?


becaues people want to play games like Nights and Radiant Silvergun in 1600x1200 resolution with all kinds of kool stuff to go with it!
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by Gaz_2_k+Apr 17, 2003 @ 07:42 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Gaz_2_k @ Apr 17, 2003 @ 07:42 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'> <!--QuoteBegin-racketboy@Apr 17, 2003 @ 05:48 PM

I'm curious as to why you guys like Saturn programming so much, but not Dreamcast?


becaues people want to play games like Nights and Radiant Silvergun in 1600x1200 resolution with all kinds of kool stuff to go with it! [/b][/quote]

what's that have to do with progamming for the Saturn?
 

slinga

Established Member
A quick summary of the responses:

1) Programming for the Saturn was a pain.

2) Sega didn't help.

3) These guys have no idea about the way we program for the Saturn. They all used extra hardware.

And I highlighted some of the more interesting quotes. I wonder if I should ask that guy (response #6) for Indycar. I doubt he'll give it to me, but from what I gather it shouldn't be that hard to get booting on a modded saturn. All he's doing is booting it with the Developer's CD.
 

mal

Established Member
Originally posted by slinga@Apr 19, 2003 @ 12:10 PM

I wonder if I should ask that guy (response #6) for Indycar.

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.

Ahem, I mean yes.
biggrin.gif
 

antime

Extra Hard Mid Boss
Slinga, if you want it I managed to find the email address of the guy who did the SCU DSP simulator for SN Systems. You could also try contacting SN Systems, they seem to not be completely against releasing old tools (though they probably wouldn't release anything that's under NDA, which would be most of the fun stuff).
 
Originally posted by racketboy@Apr 17, 2003 @ 12:48 PM

I'm curious as to why you guys like Saturn programming so much, but not Dreamcast?

If you don't have a DC, I could understand
smile.gif

hi,
ph34r.gif


i have an dreamcast and saturn. and i am going to develop games for the sega saturn.

mainly because the sega saturn is my pride and joy, and i cant live without it anymore.

so. thats the story behind my story :cheers

best regards,

Dragonforce
 

Alexvrb

Established Member
Originally posted by ExCyber@Apr 18, 2003 @ 09:06 AM

becasue you can burn your work on a CDR and play it on a stock system

plus the systems' capabilities are better (obviously)

Two reasons that are arguably even more important than those:

One

Two

I do believe you've nailed it. If only there was a Saturn Dan Potter, eh?
 
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