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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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    We really should have caught this sooner.

    It's commonly assumed that only Sega made VMUs with screens.

    [​IMG]

    They were wrong.

    [​IMG]

    Visual Memory Card. I had heard about companies planning their own VMUs, but I didn't know any actually made it to market.

    ...this is why I say don't leave things on forums because they get lost. These photos were posted somewhere in 2014 - we could have had coverage nine years ago!
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    A story about Ubisoft, neé "Ubi Soft":


    The internet has a lax approach to history. Ubisoft has existed since 1986, but nobody really knows what they were doing before 1995 and the release of Rayman. If you're really thinking hard you might be able to quote Street Racer on the SNES (from 1994) but there's a big gap where they just "existed". Maybe you know Wii U launch title, ZombiU was a successor to one of Ubisoft's first games, Zombi, but the rest? A ~~~mystery~~~

    Unless you spend a few seconds looking it up. Ubisoft spent their formative years producing computer games for France - the Amstrad CPC and Atari ST being particular favourites.

    [​IMG]

    Look they even published Sega games kinda sorta.

    I figured, to better represent their earlier efforts on Sega Retro, I should find their classic company logo, and because it's painfully 80s, it's the butt of many jokes:

    [​IMG]

    This version is all over the internet, plastered on things, parodied, and mocked for being pleasingly hideous. Magenta, cyan and white, just like CGA graphics, just like everything in the 80s, etc.



    Thing is, the above image is a fan recreation. I thought it might have been nabbed from some official Ubisoft history lookback thing, but no, I think someone made an SVG from scratch, and it got picked up by the masses.

    [​IMG]

    The actual logo, aside from rarely being front and centre... has no cyan. It's grey.

    And it's always been grey. Look for scans, check Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time (a 2010 Wii game that actually uses the logo in the credits) - some sources have a slight blue tint but side-by-side with the 3280592385 other examples, it's obviously an error.

    [​IMG]

    The highest resolution scan I could find highlights more problems. The "f" in "Soft" doesn't have a complete white loop, and the white text is meant to be more off-centre. I'm also not sure if it's meant to have rounded corners - this is a cheap print advertisement, so there are limits with the technology. It's all a bit skewed and wobbly and while I sometimes can be bothered to clean them up, this is not one of those times.

    This is a very "analogue" process - the original logo was probably drawn by hand and covers/advertisements/whatever were produced by layering plastic slides on top of each other. You will never get clean lines, but this is a time where half a gaming magazine wouldn't have even been printed in colour.

    Also the logo just.. kinda sucks.


    As Ubisoft absolutely doesn't say, challenge everything.

    [​IMG]

    The 1980s didn't look like this. It was much more miserable.
     
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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I made a thing:

    Template:Barcode

    Today I learnt about barcodes. Turns out most video games use the "EAN-13" format - the US uses "UPC-A" but you just need to add a 0 to convert between the two. There's proper hardcore guidelines about how to display these - my implementation is... mostly accurate.

    We live in a world where the barcode font is proprietary and needs a license for use. Also why did I spend so much time on this



    Well for one, they're similar to ISBN numbers, in that you can look them up and find information. But the more important reason is that the first few digits represent regions and manufacturers, and that lets us decipher mysteries:

    [​IMG]

    According to the internet, 4901780327879 is not a valid barcode number. And yet here it is on this wacky Global Gladiators bootleg.

    490 is the region code for Japan - did it originate from there? Probably not, but it might be a clue. If we started documenting these en masse maybe some wiki magic could help us find an answer. I need to press reply now - the robo lady is looking at me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2023
  4. Overlord

    Overlord

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    Running my own games collection database and having barcodes entered as a result, you do tend to notice patterns like Sega titles having the first 6 or 7 numbers be the same for example.

    You can also see orders things were done: For Origins (which I have all of), the systems ascend in numberical order (minus probable check digits) in the order PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox. Format prioritisation? To be honest, it's more likely just that it's alphabetical.
     
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  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    [​IMG]
    Hey look another time Ubisoft released Sega games kinda sorta.

    This is an advert for the "Clap Cine" compilation for the Amstrad CPC. 10 games, but only 9 in the... K7 version.

    What's a K7?

    [​IMG]

    what

    It's a French thing - K7: "ka sept" = "cassette". Cute.

    Less acceptable: D7 meaning "diskette"... somehow. If you can afford to release the game on two separate formats, you can use two extra letters for "disk".


    I'm still on the fence about whether Sega Retro needs to have a pages for media like the compact cassette. Wikipedia is better suited to the wider history, but from a Sega (or at least, computer game) perspective there's some nuances. The French calling the format K7 is something we might want to make note of.
     
  6. Asagoth

    Asagoth

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    wiki stuff... and a beer... or two... or more...
    It's also commonly used in Portugal (and Portuguese speaking countries) ... in Portuguese a "Cassette" it's a "Cassete" (only one "t" ) ... and "7" it's "sete" in full... "K" it's "Kapa" in Portuguese... but you are right ... it's a French thing (as the word "cassette" of French origin)....
     
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  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    the fun never stops

    [​IMG]

    "Raving Mad", a delightfully weird Amiga compilation from 1993-ish. Rodland, RoboCod, Mega Twins (Chiki Chiki Boys - the box art doesn't match the game) and a "free Kixx game". Kixx being a budget label.


    This is relatively late in the Amiga's lifespan, and it looks like U.S. Gold were trying to clear stock. You wouldn't know from the box alone which Kixx game was being included.

    [​IMG]
    ("not for resale" says the game that was clearly resold)

    You might get Action Fighter. But you might not.

    [​IMG]
    You might get LED Storm. Yes they did cover things up with stickers.

    [​IMG]
    Or you might really hit the jackpot (or 180??) with John Lowe's Ultimate Darts. Whatever's in the warehouse.

    Hundreds of games had re-releases on the Kixx label, so there's a wealth of possibilities, some Sega related.
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Remedy are refusing to release Alan Wake 2 on physical media because waaaah costs too much or waaaah everyone uses interent or waaaah boxes and discs are dumb lol.

    [​IMG]
    How about this then, from 1991(?), BIG BOX with 30 games for your Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum.

    This pre-dates CD shovelware packs with 4329084023984302 things downloaded from the internet, all originally being full price computer games from the late 1980s, which were subsequently re-released on budget labels, then re-released again across compilations. I don't have a price for this yet, but you can bet it'll be about the same as one or two full price games at the time.

    It's equivalent to buying a box in 2023 with 30 PlayStation 4 games in it, all of which were released around the 2018-2020 timeframe. And paying like, £50 or something.

    Better yet, you could get this compilation on the C64 spread across six cassette tapes or six floppy disks. So you're negotiating with all these publishers and rights holders, producing brand new physical media, and still making a worthwhile profit, because it was followed by a "Big Box 2".


    But waaahh can't press a batch of discs in 2023.
     
  9. LockOnRommy11

    LockOnRommy11

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    I’m hoping someone here will kindly be able to help, because I’m electrically inept.

    I have a UK tower of power (MD, CD and 32X). I also own a NES, a CRT, and some mini speakers and x2 USB ports. I’m trying to figure out what the load would be on a single electrical plug with an extension lead so I know not to overload it. Obviously the NES wouldn’t be on at the same time, but the rest (bar the speakers) are likely to be.

    I seem to find that unless you have some degree in this shit, it’s ridiculously hard to calculate. There’s amps, volts, watts, watts per hour (I guess you take that and divide to get the calculation but what am I dividing by? What timescale are watts calculated by normally? Seconds?) and then some old products like the speakers just say “6V” on the input socket and sod all else (no amperage?).

    UK standard sockets are rated for a maximum power output of 13 AMPS but with all the variables I can’t figure it out.

    Here’s the plug ratings (which I assume I’ve gotten correct):

    • NES: Input 240V 0.6A / Output AC9V 1.3A
    • MD: Input 240V / Output 10V 1.2A
    • MEGA CD: Input 240V / Output 10V 1.2A
    • 32X: Input 240V / Output 10V 850mA
    • TV: 240V 47Wh
    • Speakers: DC6V

    I would really appreciate any help on this, so I can avoid setting fire to my plug sockets! :)
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Your kettle draws more power than all of these things combined. You'll be fine.
     
  11. LockOnRommy11

    LockOnRommy11

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    I bet mine does, it’s got a bloody light in it :oldbie:

    If that’s really the case, I shouldn’t have to worry then! I guess seeing all these big brick power supplies and these old high volt TV’s with warnings all over them lead me to overthink this.

    Thanks, Black Squirrel.
     
  12. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    I scanned a Burning Rangers flyer. Anyone know if the art on it is rare?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Link to pdfs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2023
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    For you wacky collectors out there:

    [​IMG]

    Company of Heroes 2: Two Fronts Edition is a redundant compilation containing CoH2 and its first expansion pack, The Western Front Armies. You can buy new versions with more stuff in them for less.

    However, this holds the distinction of being a Polish (and probably Hungarian)-exclusive package. You don't get many of those (if any) in Sega circles.
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    We know of 39 unique physical versions of Sonic 3D on the PC (not including compilations). It's quite a lot - it's the most re-released Sonic game to date.

    But it's pittance compared to Medieval II: Total War. At the time of writing, that game has 47 known variants (and that's just the base game - there's another 30+ versions of the Gold Edition).


    Sorry, 48:

    [​IMG]

    "VideoGames: La Grande Storia dei Videogiochi" came bundled with the full game, because unquestionable commercial decisions. This is from 2009, and while sure, when the magazine is priced at €9.99, you're hardly getting the game for free, Medieval II was only a three year old game at that point, and you're getting a second disc loaded with freeware too. See again: printing discs is cheap, stop pretending you can't do it in 2023.


    Even better, the magazine has actually been scanned. Not sure how much helpful a 14-year-old Italian take on PC strategy games is, but documenting video game history isn't always about being useful.

    It's not the only Total War game to be distributed like this - full versions of Rome: Total War turned up in things too. There's not quite as many known variants of Rome, but the Gold Edition still tops 40.
     
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  15. Not sure how useful it would be, but I've noticed in that Japanese magazines from the Sega Saturn era especially, editors would often ask developers for a percentage estimate of how far along a game's development was.
    I had seen long ago in interviews on Virtua Cop's Saturn port that there was talk of how much percent of the game was finished by then, but somehow only now am seeing that that was getting covered this way too.
    upload_2023-7-14_11-42-24.png
    This comes from the special report in the issue dated 1995-05-08
    and these are the numbers from the other issues on Virtua Cop/Magazine articles
    1995-06-08 gives 30%
    1995-07-07 gives 40%
    1995-10-07 gives 80%
    1995-11-08 gives 100%

    They weren't necessarily all that consistent with it across the years, though, like with Burning Rangers.
    The first special report on Burning Rangers, from 1997-09-05
    upload_2023-7-14_10-14-2.png
    The fourth special report, from 1997-12-12, gave 60%
    The fifth special report, from 1997-12-26, gave 65%
    The sixth special report, from 1998-02-13, gave 100%

    SATURN FAN also included these percentages, not so boldly, but since they weren't using such big graphics they also had the space to detail when these percentages were taken.
    upload_2023-7-14_12-13-24.png

    These from 1997 are all the ones for the Saturn version of Sega Touring Car Championship
    April 3 ?% (corresponding interview with Motoshi Takabe confirms somewhere between 5 and 10%)
    August 1 50%
    September 3 80%
    September 18 80%
    October 8 80%
    100% (from the issue dated 1998-02-13, so almost 3 months after the game released)
    Also I guess that means the game was still stuck at 80% complete about 7 weeks before release.

    (also I wrote down the few SATURN FAN did for Virtua Fighter on 32X but there can't be more images uploaded)
    August 23 80%
    100% (from the issue 1995-10-07)

    The series that inspired me to start compiling these was Aero Dancing, which is interesting because there's a gradual changed in terms CPTK (completion percentage track-keeping).
    We see here across DREAMCAST MAGAZINE, first one dated 1998-11-27
    upload_2023-7-14_10-26-41.png
    That's a way more specific number than we've seen before! The few others I have seen around this time don't seem to generally get that specific, but it's possible it was the trend.
    1998-12-04 gives 40%
    1998-12-11 gives 42%
    1999-01-08 gives 55%
    1999-02-05 gives 90%
    1999-02-12 gives 99%
    1999-02-26 gives 100%

    AeroWings 2: Airstrike starts at 40% in 1999-10-22
    upload_2023-7-14_10-41-36.png

    1999-10-29 gives 40%
    1999-11-19 gives 70%
    1999-12-10 give 80%
    1999-12-24 gives 85%
    2000-02-11 gives 100%

    And for Aero Dancing i we start at 40% again via 2000-10-27
    upload_2023-7-14_10-55-28.png
    2000-12-08 gives 60%
    2001-01-19 gives 80%
    2001-02-02 gives 100%
    several issues this time didn't mention the DCP (Development Completion Percentage)

    There's no coverage of these percentages on Retro, is there? I think they could be added to the Timelines on Development pages. Developments are a bit sparse at the moment anyways and the timelines can look pretty empty when it's just covering expo showcases and release dates (prototypes fill it out a bit), so this could fill them out (and unlike what I imagine is plaguing a lot of development pages for Japanese games, don't need any translation work)
    Category:Development - Sega Retro
     

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  16. Black Squirrel

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    Every time a game turns up in a magazine it ought to be added to the magazine articles subpages (and as a summary you could write "Saturn Fan claims the game is "20% complete"). Most articles currently don't have summaries because it takes effort to type them. The Sonic 1/2/3/whatever pages are the best examples of what the plan is.

    These percentages are certainly worth mentioning, but the numbers are too vague to trust. An interview might have taken place weeks before the magazine was published (so you won't know a precise date), and some I know are very rough guesses, because not all games had fixed release dates. EGM in the US went through a period of printing "percentage complete" numbers on some of its previews too - I'm pretty sure those were made up by the magazine.


    There's also situations like Shenmue, where bits of (what would become) Shenmue II were finished and previewed before Shenmue II technically even existed, as it pre-dated the product being split up.
     
  17. It was good to finally see those Sonic pages to know how much freedom there is to cover the articles in Magazine articles. As I was writing many Magazine articles pages for developers, I felt I was breaching etiquette just by including the games the interviews were focused on! I've seen hundreds of those pages across games from many generations, and I think all the ones I've encountered have been so universally sparse that I would never assume it was too much effort blocking them having a purpose, but that that's what how they supposed to be used for (which seems stupid in hindsight, comments aren't very useful if the most we were meant to use them for is to say how many pages cover the particular game). If even Shenmue doesn't have any summaries of even just a single article, there's just nothing to spark more.

    I've written a couple on the Virtua Cop/Magazine articles page now (also wrote down those DCPs from before on all their respective pages), but I do have to focus my time on the ones that are also going to help my Individual podcast, so I'm hoping to write summaries for Manx TT Super Bike, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Confidential Mission and more, and if I can keep it up over the coming weeks over more diverse games I'm hoping there'll be enough of a blueprint that can make people think "that cool thing I took away from checking out this article might be worth writing down". Having in-depth comments confided to Sonic 1/2/3 is too specific a bubble to get a ball rolling (unless it's a balled-up hedgehog)
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I should probably post this at some point:

    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=Special:UnusedFiles

    According to Sega Retro, there are 3,659 unused files, which is quite a lot. I usually make a point of cleaning this up every few months, but I'm not on top of absolutely everything that happens on this wiki anymore.


    There are loads of false positives. The check is whether files are being used on pages - if you're just storing images in categories or something, that's totally fine, but the software technically sees this as "unused". PDF credits also show up here sometimes, because reasons.

    I've dumped loads of stuff on the wiki over the years with the view that "one day they might be useful", so this isn't an exercise in taking the number to 0. But there'll also be files that we don't need (mark them with {{delete}}) and files that people have forgotten about (or in some cases, have broken links on the pages they're meant for).

    You might also find mysteries to solve. Like this thing I added just today:

    [​IMG]

    What's a "fun committee" and why are TDK and Sega working together? No idea! But at least we have a clue~

    If you could find homes for some of this stuff that would be great. If not, don't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2023
  19. Xilla

    Xilla

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    Somewhat silly question but one I'm somewhat curious about:

    [​IMG]

    Is the Hurricanes game on Mega Drive the only one on the system to feature the branding of a British broadcaster? :V (In this case, Scottish Television)
     
  20. I've only just discovered that sources and original filenames can be included in images, when I spent a bit of extra time looking at File:WBML Art USEUCover.png
    I've been going about in the wrong way when I upload photos of people, including the sources just in descriptive text rather than as tags. Gonna go and through everything I've described like that and move those over to a source, maybe include originalname (or originalfile? I don't know which to use) if I can remember where I got it, starting with File:AMAnnex STCCSuzuka Sega Magazine JP issue03.jpg

    Unfortunately, source and originalname don't work for photos of people. Or Hardware,

    These are the only templates I found that have these tags.
    Template:Accessory
    Template:Art
    Template:Card
    Template:Hardware
    Template:Mag (has source but not originalname and originalfile, that mostly makes to me, but what if a mag PDF on a sourced site was already a single PDF file?)
    Template:Model
    Template:Promo
    Template:Sticker
    Template:Toy

    But, wait, Hardware was one of the ones that didn't work? And almost none of the others do either as far as I can tell, just replacing "art" with "model" or "toy" or "sticker".
    Promo
    and Mag, but that's got it's own way of displaying it.
    But I definitely don't know what the difference is that causes that. All I could see that was unique to Art and Promo is that they have <br>Source: {{{source}}}{{{ref|}}} | }}{{ #if: {{{source|}}}, whereas all the others missing that {{{ref|}}}, so maybe that's the issue? I don't know how to test it further without maybe stepping over boundaries.
    I don't think there's like a Photos of hardware or sticker equivalent of Category:Unsourced artwork. I don't even know if that exists for promos, everything I thought might be a promo is not a promo so I can't find a promo. Promo.
    Can all that be sorted, and maybe most in Category:Image templates get those tags added as well?