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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    Richard Leadbetter lied to us. Maybe.

    https://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File:SSM_UK_36.pdf&page=77

    The UK's Sega Saturn Magazine printed a load of special dates for Christmas NiGHTS. Let's debunk some:

    "25th December - Father Christmas!" - Nope. Not sure what this means but I didn't see anything.

    "1st January - Happy New Year!" - This is a correct - you get a different title screen and the kids have new outfits.

    "14th February - Valentine's Hearts" - Nope. Hearts do drop if it's midnight but the day doesn't matter (as long as you're playing the Winter/Christmas version)

    "1st April - April Fool" - This does happen - NiGHTS is replaced with Reala, and if you win, this becomes a permanent option.

    "31st October - Halloween" - Nope. Sadly.

    "31st December 2099 - Fluorescent snow!" - Nope. Someone's having a laugh... unless there are different rules for the PAL version (this is NTSC-U)


    As for the time of day affecting what falls. SSM's list is slightly wrong and incomplete, while ours is also wrong... except it's complicated because the background changes too, and that seems to be independent from the "snow setting". So expects required there.

    Here's what (I assume) is the full list of falling objects. Most of the time you get snow, but at certain times of day, you don't:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    00:00: Hearts
    09:00: Moons
    12:00: Purple gems
    15:00: Sweeties
    18:00: Sparkles
    21:00: Stars

    Yes it is very satisfying that I managed to line up the screenshots perfectly.


    p.s. I'm sure one of these games was meant to change for St. Patrick's Day. I can't remember which one though.
     
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  2. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    The Sega Ages PS2 version DOES do Halloween with costumes in Mystic Fotest though! :V

    This obviously extends to the HD versions as well. Same goes for summer swimsuits.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    My life is freaking weird man
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Did you know that Saturn Doom actually runs at the highest resolution of all of them? I mean it's horrific for other reasons but I have first hand experience of all of them now.

    Modern versions not included because there's not much point for Sega Retro's purposes.
     
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  4. Pengi

    Pengi

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    I remember this one actually working, unlike Valentine's Day and Halloween. IIRC it may also work on the 24th?

    It's different from the other effects though. While you're flying around as NiGHTS you sometimes see a sprite of Santa with his reindeer and sleigh fly by.
     
  5. biggestsonicfan

    biggestsonicfan

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    Was a specific year required for this one?

    Also via the NiGHTS fandom wiki:
     
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  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Turns out it's a date and time thing:

    [​IMG]

    This was about 00:00 on Christmas Day. Later on in the day he'll not be seen.

    And he's barely "seen" here - he speeds past a few seconds into the game and is easily missed. This was the third attempt at getting a decent screenshot.
     
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  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Fighters Megamix sure is obsessed with dead things:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Fighters Megamix/Hidden content

    The Japanese version has an LZH file of all things that contains 13 bonus images. Except unlike Sonic Team whose images were clearly designed with PC desktop wallpapers in mind, these ones are... just weird tbh.

    Some of the above images are used in either Fighting Vipers or Fighters Megamix as wall textures for Honey/Candy's stage, albeit in much reduced quality.


    "Dominique" is an interesting one because this was Jane's old name:
    [​IMG]

    More at 11. Maybe.
     
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  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It doesn't take long to find out these days.

    Fighting Vipers apparently had its location test in August 1995, before showing up at the AM Show later in the year (we don't have a date for this for some reason). Those screenshots were released by Sega around that time - loads of magazines have the same ones. They were deliberately holding back Tokio and Honey because... reasons I guess.

    I tried to forget the Honey obssession. She was originally written as a 16-year old schoolgirl who loves dressing in leather, and in the Japanese Saturn version, in addition to having extra unlockable outfits, if you kick her enough times in the legs her skirt falls off. They aged her a couple of years overseas, but it's still a bit icky.


    Why did they hold back Tokio? Because... erm... I think they wanted him to be the "protagonist". Not that there's much of a story to Fighting Vipers - it's just "lets make the yoof fight each other", but Bahn (who became a more recognisable face) is an angry man out for revenge - Tokio's the normal one.

    [​IMG]

    The problem? Nobody gives two damns about Tokio. His stage has a more interesting backstory, because Saturn Fighting Vipers took out the plane and Fighters Megamix put it back in. Shocking.



    In other news

    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SSM_JP_19951101_1995-11.pdf&page=188
    https://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:SSM_JP_19951201_1995-12.pdf&page=180

    I have been forgetting to do this for years. Virtua Fighter (1)'s development is relatively well documented, in that check it out, here's some old models and lots of talking about it.
     
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  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    My go-to OCR solution is failing me so I'm having trouble deciphering what's being said, but from the jist of things:

    - Development starts December 1992
    - First location test in early August
    - AM Show 1993 in late August
    - ???
    - Profit.

    Although judging from what's being said about its AM Show appearance, it seems a bit curious to have a location with what must have been a very incomplete game. I'm not sure what it would prove in that state.

    There's a few unused characters in the arcade game which these articles seem to reference - you can cheat in MAME to see them, and they're a mixture of planned "bad guys" and AM2 struggling to come up with a "main" character to front the game. It used to be "Jackie", but they were playing around with designs for Akira right until the end. Of course the interesting one is our good friend Majido, a.k.a. Shiiba later known as Siba:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Majido was one of apparently two playable characters at AM Show 1993, the other being Lee (Lau) who seems to have been one of the first (if not the first) to have his design finalised. From the sounds of things, neither character had special moves, which lines up with Majido's leftovers. It's weird that they removed one of the first characters you could actually play as, but from what I can see, they were adamant on having eight fighters, so when Akira became a viable frontrunner, someone had to go. And that person was Majido.

    That said, Virtua Fighter didn't make a super massive impact at the show, because Sega were being tight on photographs and Namco unveiled Ridge Racer. It became more important in the coming months, becoming one of Sega's biggest arcade hits in Japan.
     
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  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    We really need to get more people playing Sega Saturn games. I'm writing hidden content pages for Sega Retro, using GameFAQs as a base, and as much as 50% of the so-called "cheat codes" either don't work or are poorly described. The Mega Drive ones are (mostly) fine but every Saturn listing is wrong in some way.

    Anyway because of this facts are forgotten, such as this code in Duke Nukem 3D:

    [​IMG]
    "Turok control scheme" says GameFAQs... when it clearly says JEVONS CONTROL.

    This is Duke 3D's secret support for the 3D control pad, which maps the buttons in such a way that it plays more like a PC FPS (or "Dreamcast style" since in the days before twin analogue sticks, using face buttons for movement was the favoured approach).

    Who is "Jevons"? Games journalist-turned-designer Dan Jevons who lobbied for these styles of controls. Apparently he used to write for GameFan, and before that various EMAP publications like SSM and Maximum. The Saturn port of Quake has this mode too, apparently (I'll check at some point).


    This is one of the untold stories about the Sega Saturn - many of the decisions made in games were shaped by journalists, because by the time it gets to 1997/1998, you're aiming for fans of gaming rather than the mass market. Richard Leadbetter (now of Digital Foundry fame) is credited in all sorts of stuff - we like to think this style of feedback is a post-internet thing, but nope - it was alive and well more than 20 years ago.


    Incidentally the PlayStation version of Duke 3D (which isn't called Duke 3D for some reason) is kinda sucky. I mean it's playable sure, but frame rates are all over the place and it deviates quite a bit from the source material. The Saturn meanwhile, is very much on point - moreso than I remember, even (other than the weird camera tilting Lobotomy Software had in their engine for some reason).
     
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  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    This might be an internet first:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Death Tank Zwei, in its native resolution of 640x240.

    It's one of the best features of Duke Nukem 3D on the Saturn... but it requires a Powerslave or Quake save file to activate (or you can destroy every toilet in the game... which I've never seen done). A Sega Saturn console can (provided the battery isn't dead) save data internally, but because of the way Mednafen is set up, each game is essentially given a whole Sega Saturn to save in - there is no concept of "sharing". The cartridges? just more space you won't need, and by default not all games boot with one, and again, no concept of sharing.

    So to get this working you have to take a Powerslave or Quake save file and physically rename it so the emulator thinks it's a Duke Nukem 3D one. None of this is particularly difficult, but if you weren't familiar with how the console worked or what Duke 3D is looking for, this isn't something you're likely to see.


    What is Death Tank? Real time Worms. An Xbox 360 version was released in 2009, but the Saturn's where it's at.
     
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  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Pub quiz: Which secret character has appeared in more Sega games than any other?

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    ... might be Akuma. One day I might even care enough to fact check it.


    Akuma originally turned up in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, where his role is to murder M.Bison and then beat you. Since then it's been one of Capcom's running jokes; Akuma turns up, everyone dies.

    What about Street Fighter Alpha 2 where he's playable from the start? SHIN AKUMA. Turns up, everyone dies.
     
  14. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    I remember having to do this for some games. They always leaned to "safe" requirements like this and the 640x480 resolution, but, not sure if it was a matter fo difficulty or laziness, they forced you to choose those options instead of marking them as the bare minimum. I suffered them on Windows 98 too, but I suppose that was with games older than my PC (Sonic CD, maybe? I can't remember).
     
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    So no-one is left behind - I would also like to group IGN's efforts into this, although I can at least believe these pages have been edited at some point in the last 20 years. A good chunk of IGN's set are wrong, but it's a better showing... although they also have fewer codes overall.

    There's one code that's worth debunking since it comes up regularly: A+B+C+Start (or A+B+X+Y+Start on Dreamcast) - this is the Saturn's software reset.

    The what?

    Even before the Xbox 360 introduced a menu, you could reset consoles through the controller. Press this button combination and you'll be sent back to the title screen. Press it on the title screen, and you're back to the BIOS. Sony and Nintendo have similar systems but I guess(?) they're harder to trigger(??) - I found the Dreamcast one by accident back in 2000, hilariously because of another regulation mandated by Sega, that you cannot under any circumstances skip credits sequences. Get bored of waiting, mash buttons, software reset. Seems sensible. Unless you miss something at the end. And I thought I'd broke it at the time.

    Now apparently every single game is supposed to support the software reset as outlined in Sega's documents, but I can almost guarantee there'll be one or two that don't. Certainly during my testing I spotted one case where the reset took you to the company logos - it's not meant to do that, it should go to the title screen, but because it's software (and thus up to the programmer how to implement it) it will vary on a game-by-game basis. All 1000+ of them. Might be entertaining to see which games fail, especially if they have Sega's own name on the box.

    I've copy edited some of the other regulations for Saturn games and Dreamcast games, though we've had the documents for years (and I'm not sure what the situation is for earlier systems). You'll also be able to boast to your friends how on these Sega consoles, you cannot start a game with anything other than the start button, which is not the case today, even in Sega's published titles (in fact I regularly make a point of not using start when told to, just because I can). If a game is paused, it should say "PAUSED" on-screen, and in the Dreamcast's case, you might need screensavers if the visuals are too bright for too long. This is, incidentally, why so many games ended up having a "clear pause" code - it wasn't game desginers trying to be clever and screw over the gaming press, it was Sega themselves demanding this feature to help distingush between actual bugs.

    Also for some reason the stereo/mono audio setting is sacred. All stereo supporting games should have one, but it must line up with the the BIOS at all times otherwise people will die.



    Other weird Saturn and Dreamcast things - the clock. We know NiGHTS changes depending on date, but I found (non-US) Digital Pinball and Puyo Puyo Sun do things too (interesting point: NiGHTS aside there might not be any Western Saturn games that use the clock for gameplay). There's probably more. In fact I think there's probably more Saturn cheats as a whole - it's a bit barren compared to the Mega Drive.
     
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  16. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    A regulation I didn't mention: all Saturn and Dreamcast games must have title screens. I can't quite tell if they demanded rolling demos but you needed a screen that says "press start", which is why the software reset can always work in the same way.

    By sheer coincidence I came across an example of why this might be an issue this evening: Tomb Raider, or "I don't understand PlayStation screen resolutions", has no title screen on the PlayStation. There's a loading screen (just like the Saturn, but with a progress bar), and then it plops you into the menu.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I suspect a title screen wasn't factored into the original design... because the loading screen already relays the information that "this is a video game called Tomb Raider". It's a fair call - probably not one Sega thought of when drafting this noise.
     
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  17. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    Woohoo! I've finally found an actual archive of a segaoa.com homepage, this is a bit of a holy grail for me. I thought the probability of any ever turning up from pre-Internet Archive was pretty slim. Unfortunately it's just the homepage, but it will be a massive help in reconstructing other homepages I have screenshots of from magazines. They used this design from September 1995 - May 1996.

    [​IMG]

    We have some of the content from this page either archived from sega.com / slagoon.com, albeit with updated formatting, or from press releases;

    Sega PC Comix Zone
    Architext search engine
    Sega captures dollar share of videogame market - again!
    $299 (Sega announces $299 Sega Saturn core pack)

    And here's a screenshot of what the Sega Sports section was like around about the same time;

    [​IMG]

    Schedules (from a bit later, but should be pretty similar)
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    ... in North America at least
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Grid Run(ner) - the NTSC-U version has a title screen, the PAL and NTSC-J versions do not. Developers Radical Entertainment look as if they wanted to have the title screen and main menu be the same thing - Japan and Europe were fine with this, but Sega of America had them make a dedicated title screen. This means, because there's an introduction movie too, the "Grid Runner" name is introduced no less than four times in the NTSC-U release before you get a chance to play.
     
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  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Maybe I should shut my big mouth.

    Even though Sega devoted many pages to how title screens should be set up (complete with flow diagrams and timing requirements)... there are in fact plenty of games that don't bother to have dedicated title screens. More than 95% of games do, and all of them have a "screen" with a "title" on it, but menus are meant to be treated as separate things, which isn't always the case.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    NBA Action and Three Dirty Dwarves were even published by Sega themselves. Others include the works of Bullfrog, Digital Pictures and Crystal Dynamics - Western developers seem to deviate more often.

    I've yet to come across anything that doesn't respect the software rese, but I won't be testing 34289092349832094820394 games for outliers.


    One tedious piece of trivia though: it's looking like Croc and Sonic R were the only games on the Saturn to render their in-game logos with 3D geometry. Not sure what I was expecting, but I'm not sure it was that.
     
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  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Daytona USA/Hidden content
    (bottom)

    Many moons ago there was an effort to decipher the 70+(!!) name entry jingles in Daytona USA. Now that I can cheat my way to a perfect race and use savestates, I was able to test each set of initials. Problem is a lot of those YouTube links are now dead, and I only have so much patience (I also can't rule out differences between versions - I was testing on NTSC-U).

    The arcade (and Windows!) versions will need to be checked again. And CCE. And CE. And Deluxe. And 2001. And that dumb new one.