Interview: Kenji Tosaki talks Saturn/Dreamcast Peripheral Design, Reveals “Virtua Visor” (Shiro)

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Ted618, Jun 9, 2022.

  1. Ted618

    Ted618

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    Shiro have recently posted a great interview with Sega peripheral development manager Kenji Tosaki - I was aware of this last week, but regretfully didn't read until today.

    Lots of great insight on controllers for the Dreamcast + Saturn within (who knew batteries could give the Virtua Gun better balance), however the highlight and biggest revelation by far is the full extent of the "Virtua Visor":
    [​IMG]
    Based on the framework of AM4's Mega Visor Display, this was an augmented/mixed reality head-mounted display designed for home use - the technology would give off the impression of virtual reality. Tosaki spent six years of R&D on the Virtua Visor from 1991 to 1997, and made 30 prototypes (all sadly destroyed when he left). Like SOA's separate Sega VR project, it would ultimately never see release.
    [​IMG]
    It should be noted that, due to both using the same headset, Dave does seem to confuse the AM3/4/5 VR-1 theme park attraction with Virtuality and AM3's Dennou Senki Net Merc arcade game, and Tosaki's patents + the quote from Stephen Northcott have already been referenced on Retro for a while. Still, amazing to see these projects with more context, and even a few exclusive images.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2022
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  2. Azookara

    Azookara

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    Some extremely interesting tidbits of that article:

    - An interview with Stephen Northcott (mentioned in passing at the end) seems to imply that the "Dreamcast" title was floating around Sega's walls since 1994/95, and was either going to be an add-on for Saturn or a new machine that was supposed to have an "always online" internet connection. Interesting! The name must've really resonated with a lot of people for it to stick around that long.

    - Both the lack of a second analog stick and a regression to four face buttons on the Dreamcast controller seemed to be decisions made in favor of the game developers at Sega. Understandable, since there was seemingly no practical use for a second analog stick in 1997, and four face buttons were quickly becoming the standard after SNES and PS1 happened. I personally think he should've fought a little harder for either six buttons or a right stick (I would've bartered a compromise like "we'll do four buttons if we keep the stick" or etc), but I can understand just doing what the software devs wanted at the time when they were the company's only surefire breadwinners.

    Thank you for sharing this! This was an excellent read.
     
  3. Ted618

    Ted618

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    To understand the reasons behind success (and lack thereof) with companies like Sega, it's very important to not just have interviews with Japanese executives and software developers, but hardware designers and engineers - which is why examples like these are so valuable.

    There's a whole wealth of information out there about this side of things that still isn't widely known yet, particularly over here. The parts of the 150 page oral history by Hideki Sato on his time in Sega that have been translated so far are similarly, if not even more fascinating.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2022
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