General Questions and Information Thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Andlabs, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I want to try and make sure Sega Retro has a complete set of PAL Sega Saturn title screens while I'm still in the mood. In theory, this should be an automatically generated list (if you edit the page and preview any changes, you can get it to display other regions/platforms should you want), though the Sonic 3D one isn't showing up properly and PAL Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo doesn't work properly in Mednafen for some reason.

    So... are we missing any? Often PAL and NTSC title screens are identical, but on rare occasions the developer might optimise for the bigger screen resolution. I think I've caught most of the occasions where this happens, I'd be surprised if I hadn't missed a few.



    If this needs explaining because you don't live and breathe this stuff like I do: NTSC and PAL are two different TV standards, and PAL users were usually short-changed. PAL televisions update at 50 frames per second rather than the 60 of the US and Japan, so our games were often slowed down, however, a tangible benefit to the format is having more scan lines to play with, and thus theoretically higher resolution visuals.

    A perfect PAL game should have its game logic sped up to compensate for the refresh rate drop, and it should make use of those extra rows. An imperfect PAL game runs too slow and has noticeable borders at the top and bottom. Guess what we usually got.


    The Mega Drive and 32X are fairly well documented in this regard (look look). Most games before 1992/1993 were not optimised at all, most games after this point had their music sped up, but little else. Sometimes you get a game (usually from 1994 or 1995, or European made) that is fully optimised, but these are rare beasts. The vast majority were not fully optimised and so the experience, while not necessarily "bad", could usually be better.

    By the time the Sega Saturn came out, there was a coordinated attempt to stop god-awful PAL conversions, and the success rate is generally higher. Kinda.

    There are inherent benefits to the hardware. CD audio tends to be played at the same rate. Borders are usually black, and thus less noticeable because palettes are no longer as limited. The Saturn also has more screen modes - that doesn't necessarily mean good PAL conversions, it does force developers to think.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Basically I can name more than a couple of games that made an effort. It's still not enough, but it's not like it was any better on the N64 or PlayStation. You can deal with it.


    The Dreamcast meanwhile has support for PAL60 and so there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for Dreamcast games to not include a full speed 60Hz option. But some still didn't. And the people behind those versions are terrible.
     
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  2. Pirate Dragon

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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Rebuilt a thing:

    Sega Retro:Todo/Magazine check

    We had a "are we using magazines" checker before, but it wasn't very good. This new one still isn't very good, but it's better than before.


    The (very) long-term goal will be that every relevant magazine article ever written will go in one of the tables. I think the only magazine represented cover-to-cover is the first issue of Sega Visions, which I did a few years ago to prove a point to myself - you can see in that Sega Master Force example, only the reviews have been picked out, and that's reflective of most magazines on site.


    Ideally I'd have a massive list of every magazine ever to act as an easy reference, but Mediawiki doesn't like processing too much information at once.
     
  4. cartridgeculture

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    Little question: do the names of advertising campaigns get italicized?
     
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I... don't know - Wikipedia is inconsistent, but I'd guess probably not.


    In other news, I've redone another thing.

    I've invented Template:Employment for people pages, which means the "Company" field is now deprecated. Most people on Sega Retro are going to be working for "Sega", and the various AM or CS divisions aren't companies. I've worked on the basis that people are "employees of companies" and "members of divisions". A wholy owned subsidiary is a company, a team of people working on a game might be a division.

    Divisions are also classed as separate things now. There are still problems - Sega AM2 was a division, then it became a company in its own right, then it folded back into Sega. I haven't a good plan for that yet but the 90% of other cases should be okay.

    We also weren't handling the dates for the start and end of employment. If we start adding that information, in theory we can automate lists of current and former employees.

    Which is the other point - We can automate lists of staff now. And it should display people in the correct order and handle any multi-column stuff automatically.
     
  6. Bobblen

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    I noticed there's been a few additions to credits for games in my giant pile of sega pc cds. Based on ingame, help files or the about dialogue. Are there any that still need doing? Are screenshots of credits desirable or do we prefer the hyperlinked text?
     
  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Writing it out like I have means all the automated magic can occur - developers linked with the games they developed, etc.

    There are probably PC games I've missed - I just went through my own pile of dumps looking for help files and the like (I took screenshots and OCR-ed the results because I'm lazy. Or not. I don't even know anymore)
     
  8. RDNexus

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    Not sure if I've asked this before...
    Has there been any talks of SEGA porting all games from the AGES 2500 series to modern consoles, maybe even PC?
    Some of then, being budget remakes/remasters, could even have gotten a HD treatment...
     
  9. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    To put them on PC would require that a vast majority of them be in English.

    Sega put some up on the PS3 back then as downloable titles, but that was it.
     
  10. Overlord

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  11. RDNexus

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    Yeah, but many others were left behind, like...Phantasy Star generation:1&2... ;_;
     
  12. Black Squirrel

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    Today on questionable life choices:

    [​IMG]

    https://segaretro.org/Template:CompanyTimeline
    A new timeline with wonky CSS magic. Unlike the old one, this gets its dates from the articles themselves, so there's more automation and future-proofing. There are gaps in our knowledge prior to 1992 and after 2004 - the timeline is suggesting there's four R&D divisions now (down from 12 circa 1998-2000) but I honestly have no idea.

    By making a distinction between "companies" and "divisions", it was time to split up Sega AM2, which until today had been treated as one singular entity that has existed since 1991. But that's unwise - in 2000 the software division of CSK Research Institute was merged in, then it was spun-off as a separate company for a few years - it may have shared many of the same staff members, but it was officially changing its name and structure and maybe even location every few years (not to mention moving two and from exclusively developing "amusement" (AM) games), which doesn't strike me as very "singular". Plus we weren't treating other divisions in the same way, so screw it:

    Studio 128
    Sega R&D 8
    Sega AM2
    Sega Software R&D Dept. 2
    AM2 of CRI
    Sega-AM2 (company)
    Sega AM2 (2004)

    Sega will tell you these are all "AM2", and maybe they are... but they're also not. I'm not going to lie, it makes things awkward - colloquially these are all "AM2 games", but Sega's corporate structure is the awkward bit, not us.


    [​IMG]

    The other issue (maybe) solved - Sonic Team. Fun fact: Sonic Team hasn't existed as an official entity for 18 years. Today it's a trading name for Sega CS2 - they use this logo and name because it's easier to communicate, but from a corporate point of view, there is no "Sonic Team division". And in fact... there never was - it was always a trading name, save for a brief period between 2000 and 2004 where it became its own company (i.e. not a division of Sega, a subsidiary).

    So we had a page on "Sonic Team", thinking it was a division of Sega, and a page on Sega CS2... which is also Sonic Team. Oops.
     
  13. Ted618

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    Some things that should be investigated further and made clearer with the development divisions, since Sega just had to reorganise every year:
    [​IMG]
    At one point in time, an AM7 existed, and has barely any documentation left. I first clocked a mention of it in a Mega Force report from Japan (and assumed it to be erroneous), but the above piece from a Beep MD feature specifically about the AM departments lends its existence better credence. AM7 itself seems to have been split off from AM4, similar to 5 and 6, but for the purposes of only developing arcade boards.

    Up until now, all sources I'd seen had pointed towards this side of R&D always being embedded within AM4 - and considering the fact that both the Beep MD and Mega Force articles proving its existence are from around the same time, it probably didn't stay for very long as its own entity.

    More clarity would also be decent for CS divisions prior to the reshuffling in 1996, as it's pretty concrete that consumer personnel was divided into multiple teams beforehand. Between one of Yosuke Okunari's articles about Saturn and the reorganisation details in Harmony #128, there is good detail on what was happening in 94 (e.g. Game Gear developers from CS2 splitting off into a shortlived CS5 team), at the very least.
     
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  14. doc eggfan

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    I'm a casual observer of the Hololive vtubing agency, and there are quite a lot of official collaborations with Sega, especially Sonic content

    I don't know whether someone should be documenting all this content or not (sorry, not volunteering).



     
  15. Black Squirrel

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    There are definitely R&D departments that are undocumented (I mean for example, there's an AM11 and AM12, but I've never seen an AM10).

    Phantasy Star Online - "System R&D Dept." - no idea. It feel like there might have been a few "technical" R&D teams over the years which worked with hardware in some form. The impression I get is that AM4's main role was to design and physically build cabinets, which is a different set of skills than designing chips and PCBs.
     
  16. Ted618

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    I had thought as such too, but one of the later features profiling various divisions by Sega Saturn Magazine does appear to briefly mention AM7 splitting off from 4 at some point, alongside 5 and 6. However, unlike those three, it unhelpfully doesn't have an entire page to itself - or any coverage at all for that matter, even though it was dealing with the Model boards at the time.

    Its lack of mentions compared to the other AM teams, despite the few above, does seem to suggest the AM7 name didn't last very long either. I'd hardly expect it to have been a fully-fledged division after arcade hardware started to be based more around pre-existing PCs and consoles, but whether it was merged back into 4/Mechatronics (like 6) or not (like 5) is still not entirely clear.
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    In terms of Sega-related newsletter things, nothing is more obscure than Harmony...


    ...right?

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    this last one curtosy of
    https://twitter.com/dccomp
    who has all sorts of curious things that need sifting through and mirroring.


    Hey remember when Sega owned a marketing firm? "Sega Muse" (セガミューズ) was a subsidiary that existed in 1998/1999/2000 that did... something. It seems to have been a mixture of event management, distribution and general marketing that (I assume) was absorbed into Sega proper at some point in 2000s Information is scarce, almost as if it fell into a supermassive black hole. The name comes up in a few game credits, hence why I went looking... though I'm not sure what "MUSE" stands for in this context. I originally thought "amuse" as in "amusement", or "music", but this seems very much tied to Dreamcast marketing. Apparently it's a successor to "Sega United"... which we also don't know much about.

    Claims to fame include the event that showcased D2 (i.e. the first Dreamcast game to be seen by the general public) and publishing "Partnershop Press", which appears to have given clues to retailers as to what products were coming down the pipeline. Important if you want to see if products were delayed (or were cancelled at the last minute).

    Oh and it was investigated by the Japanese authorities for fixing prices. Sega Muse was very keen that Dreamcast hardware and software were always sold at full price, so no discounts on stock retailers can't shift, and the concept of second-hand sales was equally bad in their eyes. Don't play by Sega Muse's rules and they'll withhold products. Ironically they were copying Sony Computer Entertainment's methods... who also got fined for similar behaviour back in 1998.


    https://note.com/syosin_kai/n/n22ddabbfd43f
    This article also talks about things. I've no idea how reliable it is - there's barely anything else out there.


    Sega created an internal marketing department after Sega Muse and seems to have kept one ever since.
     
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  18. Ted618

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  19. Black Squirrel

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    I've introduced the concept of "support companies", because I'm a masochist that doesn't know what he's doing.

    I'm aware that a "company" can just be "one guy", but this is for uh... sizeable companies that had a significant hand in development... but not to the point where you'd say "they developed the game". e.g. 81 Produce is a voice talent agency that Sega turned to quite a few times. AAC Stunts specialises in stunt work.


    Now obviously this is a mess - there are cases where Sega AM2 "supported" Sega AM3, and I've no idea how best to handle those kinds of cases, but the plan right now is to erradicate manual lists. I'm sure someone else can step up with a better solution.
     
  20. Black Squirrel

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    When Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Arcade came out... nobody really cared. And I mean why would you - anyone who wanted to play the game would have bought it on disc a year prior - going to a special venue to play stripped down version of it (where you can't mute the commentator) seems a bit backwards.

    There is one slight detail that I think was missed though:


    It's missing Samba de Janeiro.



    You know, the iconic carnival tune that's in every Samba de Amigo game? Looks like they lost the rights and had to make something up. They might as well have just axed the stage.

    Incidentally the arcade version drops characters, which means you can play as Amy and Shadow... but not Knuckles. Okay.