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Sega Saturn interesting finds

#16 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

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View PostBlack Squirrel, on 20 January 2013 - 03:12 PM, said:

and of course all the PAL versions run at full speed IIRC, so differences between variants of Sonic Jam no doubt
It's only the timing of the music that the PAL version of Jam has optimised to run at full speed regardless of region (which is only a new feature for the first game, as the PAL MD versions of the sequels did the same thing already); the games are still bordered and slower when played on PAL systems.

Sonic World and menus are fully PAL-optimised, however. So, playing a PAL copy of Jam on a 60 Hz Saturn is fine for the ported games, but too fast and clipped vertically for the other parts.
This post has been edited by dsrb: 20 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

#17 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

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View PostMaster Emerald, on 20 January 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

Yeah, ripping the entire model of Sonic World would be nice, since there's an unused part near the waterfall!


On the note of this, I think I've got a reasonable explanation as to why there's that sidewalk near the waterfall. First off, the way the game textures the terrain in game is really weird. It seems to either use a heightmap to generate the terrain and then overlay one big texture on top of it, or it uses a general model and then places one big texture on top of it. This is so that they don't have to render shadows underneath every stationary object. (Like the bridges and buildings and such.)
The textures of the walls and other objects would go on top of this big texture so that it would look like it was supposed to.

I say this because I found pieces that contain a path and sidewalks in the VDP2 background viewer of Satourne. They were stored two at a time in 512X512 pieces that are placed in vertical rows, though I'm only able to get part of the second piece on each set at this time. (My monitor isn't just big enough to display the whole thing, even with the task bar hidden.) If anything, I would say that the Sidewalk tile located near the waterfall is either a misplaced tile or a misplaced texture, because the tops of the outer walls sometimes use textures to simulate grass hanging down.

Here's what I've found, though it's incomplete due to me being unable to see the entire 512X1024 section:





(Disregard the Sonic X-Treme texture, I wanted to test the plugin on another game and I forgot to delete that part.)
Posted Image

#18 User is offline Meat Miracle 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

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That panel behind the waterfall is simple. The Saturn has a dedicated engine to displaying backgrounds (VDP2), which includes two scrolling backgrounds, two overlays, a rotating background (this is a fully 3d part), some other basic background screens, transluency between them and the normal sprites, etc. This is ontop of the sprite engine (VDP1) which is the one loading polygons that compose everything but the HUD and the ground (and maybe the extra menus and hints and crap you can bring up, haven't checked those).

The ground in Sonic World uses that thing, and displays a rotating background. It reads the graphics from it's own memory, and it could rotate either bitmaps or compose one out of tiles (patterns) and so on. Sonic World uses patterns.

That extra hidden ground part is just a junk tile used elsewhere that got generated there out of accident.

#19 User is offline Tiddles 

Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:51 AM

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On Easy/Normal/Original: you might or might not recall that Sonic 3 Complete has the data for these modes too, and you can select them in the options menu. I've never even glanced at porting the code, but I've recreated all the features I know about in those modes (particularly bosses having a lower hitcount and act skipping in Easy mode, and special stages never speeding up in Easy and Normal modes) and I'd certainly implement any anyone else can point me to. From this perspective, it certainly would help to have a thorough analysis of the Saturn code.

However, based on what I've seen in Jam S3&K, porting the code back from that really wouldn't be worthwhile - I know it's often been said that the Jam versions fix some bugs, but it seems to me that they cause more problems than they solve. Among the ones I remember off the top of my head:

  • All the rings disappear in the glowing spheres bonus stage. (This one could be an emulation issue - I don't have any hardware to check it.)
  • You can get stuck at the end of the game in easy mode by beating the final emerald-holding Robotnik too soon. (This could have happened with the end of FBZ too, and if you've ever wondered why FBZ Robotnik behaves differently when killed in Jam, this is almost certainly the reason.)
  • You usually get a dud object sticking around after the MTZ-style SSZ boss in Easy mode.
  • Debug super monitors create a glitched Super Sonic.

OK, admittedly half of those relate specifically to the reduction of boss hit counts in easy mode, but that was clearly done in such a hamfisted and poorly tested manner that I struggle to believe there are many more worthwhile improvements hanging around, beyond what people here have fixed for themselves - but I'd be happy to be proved wrong!

Even porting the object layouts doesn't always work all that well, because the Jam versions don't seem to implement the same VDP sprite limits (why would they?) so some of the layouts spam objects all over the place that cause flickering on the MD. The worst case of this I know of is at the bottom of Icecap 2, towards the end, on Easy/Normal, where the floor is filled in with a load of sprite-based floor pieces.

#20 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

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I personally wouldn't mind about that kind of stuff, as long as proper, clean, direct ports could be made, with no extra menus or anything that wasn't present in those versions, besides the code conversions needed for the Saturn-specific functions (spindash in Sonic 1).

Being able to check them out and seeing all the Mega Drive limitations that weren't taken into account would be kind of interesting, actually.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 25 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

#21 User is offline Tiddles 

Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:04 PM

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Been playing with a real Saturn today, and confirmed that the glowing spheres ring issue occurs there too. You can see a couple of rings above you at the start, but by the time you get back up there, they're gone. At the top, some rings mysteriously appear, and if you then fall down again, the others are back.

Also, the NTSC-J version seems to have a much more serious bug: the snow never stops falling after either boss in Icecap. This causes serious object loading issues of the kind in ORKAL's video, and it's fairly easy to get into a situation where you can't complete act 2 or have a seriously difficult time doing so - so I guess this proves that while the VDP sprite limits aren't an issue any more in Jam, the object RAM limits are still very much in play. This is fixed in the NTSC-U/C version, and I assume the PAL-E version too, though I haven't tested it.

This is all from a fairly quick test too! I wonder what other nastiness lurks within. Seems strange to think this is sometimes regarded as the "best" version...
This post has been edited by Tiddles: 12 March 2013 - 07:05 PM

#22 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:48 PM

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I really don't know if uploading certain files on the disc (Minus the file that loads all the files together.) would be breaking the rules or not. I do realize there is a rule on piracy/warez, and I really do not want to break that rule.

However, because not everyone that would possibly be interested has access to a working Sega Saturn (and Sonic Jam to boot), I think uploading specific files would be useful for a more in depth look. (Because I certainly don't know how to dissect the files with anything other than a Hex editor or TLP.
This post has been edited by Sonicstudium: 13 March 2013 - 07:49 PM

#23 User is offline Andrew75 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:46 AM

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View PostMaster Emerald, on 20 January 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

Yeah, ripping the entire model of Sonic World would be nice, since there's an unused part near the waterfall!

I have the sonic Jam moldels, Just found them on my hard drive.
However there are no UV unwraps , and everything is a real mess.
maybe I will clean them up and make a release.

however first we would need all the textures lol.
Edit: I started ripping some textures for buildings and such from VDP1
This post has been edited by Andrew75: 14 March 2013 - 09:52 AM

#24 User is offline Andrew75 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:41 AM

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Don't remember seeing this bird in Jam.
Posted Image
Anyone care to check? My Jam CD is packed away and I'm to lazy to find it right now.

#25 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:04 PM

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View PostAndrew75, on 14 March 2013 - 08:41 AM, said:

Don't remember seeing this bird in Jam.
Posted Image
Anyone care to check? My Jam CD is packed away and I'm to lazy to find it right now.


Strange. The only birds I recall being in Sonic World are the Flickies, and I don't think they use that particular model. (I mean, all they really consist of are some billboarded flat panels and rotating flat panels.)

#26 User is offline Andrew75 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:09 PM

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Here are some other strange objects I just cleaned up.
I don't think we will be able to rip the textures for unused models using an emulator.
must be another way to extract the files from the game disk.
Posted Image

Also Uv mapped and re-textured these by hand.
Posted Image
This post has been edited by Andrew75: 14 March 2013 - 05:13 PM

#27 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:00 PM

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Now, on the note of those models, how did you rip them in the first place? I don't even know what files they're located in, and I'd like to rip them. (Especially the Sonic Model.)

#28 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:29 PM

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View PostAndrew75, on 14 March 2013 - 05:09 PM, said:

Posted Image
...Pig Picky and Flicky heads?
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 14 March 2013 - 06:31 PM

#29 User is offline Andrew75 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:32 PM

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View PostSonicstudium, on 14 March 2013 - 06:00 PM, said:

Now, on the note of those models, how did you rip them in the first place? I don't even know what files they're located in, and I'd like to rip them. (Especially the Sonic Model.)

Sorry, I got them from SANik some years back.
You may want to contact him.
I also have the sonic model. Its in pieces though.

Edit:
When I'm done with the tedious clean up, and re-texturing than I can post it up here for you guys.
This post has been edited by Andrew75: 14 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

#30 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

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Right. I'll contact Sanik as soon as I can about those model rips. I'm not going to stop this research until we know just as much about the Sega Saturn Sonic games as we do about the others.

Looking in on it, that Flicky head IS used in-game for the Flicky models.
This post has been edited by Sonicstudium: 14 March 2013 - 08:34 PM

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