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Sega CD

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Devon, Oct 7, 2022.

  1. Given Naka-san, SEGA was employed by SEGA at the time I would guess if needed he would have been summoned to over Japan to help on the coding side or at least take a call for any team member needed help on Sonic CD. Failing that I don't see why the Sonic Team in Japan couldn't have come up with their own engine and design for the boss stages, much like they did with special stages
    Jon said himself he had nothing at all to do with the Mega CD version of Puggsy; I think that happened with a lot of Mega-CD titles Where the main team were different from those who worked on the Mega Drive originals. I'm sure that was the case for the like of Fifa, Sensible Soccer Ect, not that looked to change much in those mind other than add in PCM soundeffects and more animation in Fifa

    I don't see how a tiny team in the UK could have a better grasp of the Mega CD hardware, than the staff working inside SEGA Japan, where you have the people who designed and made the hardware inside the very same building, never mind Core would have needed to put up with poorly translated doc into English that you had back then.
    It just came across that SEGA Japan consumer teams were overstretched and just put more of their effort into the base system, since that was where you were getting the best sales, but I don't know and its all guess work. So many of SEGA Japan Mega CD tiles felt cheap and quick like their Mega CD baseball and golf games.

    Also, I remmeber the Red Access light being used when you get that time traving screen, so I would guess its loading in some data, maybe just for the PCM music on the past stages. I maybe have to double check on that mind since, its been so long since I played Sonic CD on a model 1 Mega CD . Either way, Sonic Team should have just used the PCM chip for a much better sound effect. I can't belive it was used in the game myself, it was horrible.

    I'm not having a go at you btw or trying to wind you up . I just felt SEGA Japan could and should have done far better with the Mega CD and felt bitterly letdown by SOJ. I love SEGA and love the Mega CD and just was hoping for so much more from them on the system . SEGA Japan on the Mega CD were very much like Sony on the PSVR. In that SEGA didn't have many of their In-House teams making AAA projects for it and left it to 3rd parties for the main and like with VR on the PS4, when the Mega CD was used to its fullest, it was an amazing experience.
  2. Devon


    Tech Member
    Didn't know that about the CD version of Puggsy. That's interesting. Why these other teams produced better results with the Sega CD, I can never say for sure. It does seem ridiculous that SoJ couldn't do the same... but then again, SoJ themselves were pretty ridiculous. With Sonic CD, it just seems a number of things went wrong that made it the way it is.

    Nope, the code shows it doing nothing. It only does any disc access when loading the cutscene, and when it starts loading the stage file after the cutscene fades to white. See this post.

    Oh no no, I'm aware. This conversation has been perfectly civil. Like I said, I could be dead wrong on anything I said about why Sonic CD is the way it is. After all, I am just some 22 year old dipshit on the Internet with 0 actual experience in the game development or software development industry :P

    I can look into the code for the game and explain what's going on with it and maybe infer on what the development cycle was like with it, but that's really about it. I'm not trying take some kind of massive stance with this and it should be taken with a grain of salt; merely just my opinion.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
  3. Puggsy didn't really make that great use of the Mega CD, but it was nice to see some basic use of the ASIC chip on some of the bosses, it's a shame that TT looked to praise and hype the quality of the FMV window the game was using, rather than any ASIC extra at the time

    That's what I wanted from the Mega CD and was ASIC effects, that Mode 7 couldn't offer or handle and sadly we got little use of that. Don't get me wrong, I love Sonic CD and the time travel aspect is amazing and its sad that SEGA looked to never build on that, its just I wanted Sonic CD to be a showcase for the ASIC chip and the PCM chip as user and owner of the Mega CD at the time.

    And its all opinions and a little guess work. Not many of us have ever worked for SEGA Japan or worked on a major console project, more so back in the 1990's. I'm not one of these people who think I could do better or run a studio better, but I just find some of the development choices with the likes of Sonic CD very puzzling as fan and someone who loved and still loves the system.
  4. Lostgame


    producer/turnablist. homebrew dev. cosplayer. Oldbie
    Toronto, ON
    The O.I.C.
    The focus on FMV in general was the SEGA CD's largest downfall. I completely agree, I think SEGA fans were really looking for the CD to make use of that extra scaling hardware, and yeah; it's embarrassing how Batman makes far better use of the hardware's special features than the first-party Sonic CD.
  5. REPO Man

    REPO Man

    I think it's embarrassing that aside from the FMV quality being piss-poor at best, none of the games featured decent acting. Thank God that nowadays there are folks that (hopefully) can make an FMV game with higher quality FMVs, both technologically and cinematically.

    Also, two Batman games and the only one that isn't shovelware with added racing sequences is a game that's ALL racing sequences. Yeah, remember how Batman fought crime without leaving the Batmobile even once? :rolleyes:
  6. E-122-Psi


    Truth be told I think SEGA were to quick on the draw with the Mega CD, and would have been better holding it a little while and doubling it as the Megadrive's 32 bit power supply over the eleventh hour 32X. The fact the Mega CD itself was a blatantly short lived one hit gimmick likely only further doomed the latter.

    Hey 32 bit processing might have at least helped those pitiful FMVs. :P
  7. It did to some extent in the end, as the Sega CD 32X games did feature significantly better colors than the standard Sega CD version (as well as a slightly higher resolution). But yeah, perhaps combining the Sega CD with the 32X from the start probably would have made it better.

    (example with Night Trap; left = Sega CD, right = 32X)
  8. Devon


    Tech Member
    Only if the 32X part was well designed. IMO the 32X is a dogshit piece of hardware and should have been aborted. It's haphazardly put together and just dreadful to program for.

    Also, perhaps this can get split into its own thread (cough), because this thread is about Sonic CD lol
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022
  9. The Mega CD was far from a gimmick and also far from short lived. That's being very unfair to the unit given it came out in 1991 and was supported beyond 1995 way better supported than the likes of the N64 DD and up there with the Famico Disc drive. SEGA took its time and looked to learn and improve over what NEC had did with the PC Eng CD-Rom but for many reasons it wasn't that well supported (that was its main issue)

    The 32X design and system was simply too late in the day and by late 1994/5 SEGA users had already had a guts full of 16-bit gaming and we looking to move on, and we ready to make a clean break and pay the top bucks, to buy a brand new system too That is what SEGA America/Europe didn't see coming.

    Exactly. If we had more games using the ASIC chip as well and like Batman Returns did, the Mega CD would have been looked upon as far better system IMO.
    Some FMV games were good, but SEGA America simply spent way too much money and too much time on it. It was always a letdown to me how much better the likes of Core Design or John O'Brien were able to use the Mega CD hardware compared to SEGA Japan. To be honest more of the Japanese development on the Mega CD wasn't that great, other than the masters that were GameArts. Who really looked to use and push the Mega CD to its fullest not just with the Lunar's but also amazing ports of the likes of Wing Commander; That game is simply amazing on the Mega CD.
  10. Billy


    RIP Oderus Urungus Member
    Colorado, USA
    Indie games
    Hit the nail on the head. GameArts definitely deserves a shoutout, and even proved that FMV could be good if used to enhance a more 'traditional' style game. Case and point: Silpheed.

    Given the time and hardware constraints they were under (e.g. I'm sure they were forced to used two SH2s), I'm not sure it could've turned out better. But yes, in hindsight they absolutely should've ditched it and just focused on the Saturn. But as has been discussed elsewhere, they were just reacting to the Jaguar of all things. Sega was all about reacting, not innovating of their own volition.

    As for Sonic CD itself, it doesn't make the best use of the Sega CD, other than showing off a showing off a few tricks, but I think it kinda aged better for it? I'm guessing it made it slightly easier to port, in the case of the PC/Gems version. I'm really glad it didn't go all-in on FMV. Instead of being "that weird Sega CD Sonic game", it's instead "that weird time travel Sonic game", haha.
  11. I think GameArts were also the very 1st corp to have a Mega CD game running FMV in their Tenka Fubu game. I quite agree with you on the 32X it really should have been dropped when the it was clear the Jaguar was a flop and the Sega Saturn would hit its planned 1994 Fall date in Japan.

    Sonic CD is for me the best 2D Sonic game ever made, but It should have been a better showcase for the hardware IMO but its still an amazing game
  12. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    I've thought this very thing myself, but then I realized: there's no way such a unit could have been justified when, at the time of its would-be release, the Saturn was on its way.
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  13. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    A pretty good sum-up of the 32X, to be honest. =P
  14. Hivebrain


    53.4N, 1.5W
    I think it might've worked as a cheap alternative to the Saturn, as long as it was a standalone console.
  15. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    So the Sega Neptune?
  16. President Zippy

    President Zippy

    Zombies rule Belgium! Member
    There were a lot of Sega CD games that were ports of Gen/MD games that offered significant improvements, but all in all it was just so damned expensive. At $299 USD in 1992 ($650 in today's money), the only way you could justify investing that much in the hardware is if there were some serious effort to make the Sega CD capable of functioning as a practical, low-cost CD-ROM capable PC. Considering the X-band modem was so much cheaper and had a built-in email client, IMHO there was little to nothing that a CD-ROM drive could add to its usefulness as a PC. Other than having more reasonably-good quality ports of DOS games like Secret of Monkey Island, there was nothing that could be done to salvage the Sega CD.

    If the H.264 codec existed in 1992, this would be a much different story- one that involves eating VHS and Laserdiscs' lunches and selling over 200 million units to people who just wanted it for the video- but at this point I'm just making useless speculation.

    This might be an unpopular opinion, but I just don't think full-blown add-on hardware upgrades to video game consoles are a good idea. They fragment the user base and shoulder game devs with additional burden to make their software run on multiple hardware configurations. The Famicom Disk System was really the only time this idea worked at scale, and it was only because the hardware was cheap (less than 1/3 the inflation-adjusted cost of the Sega CD), and it made the games even cheaper for both the consumer and producer. The additional sound chips were a nice bonus, but the FDS was largely a cost-cutting measure further motivated by concerns about microchip shortages, and it solved a practical problem.

    The FDS saved people who buy a lot of games money, but the SCD/Mega CD nearly tripled the total cost of ownership just to play 1 Sonic game, 10-20 marginally-better Gen/MD ports, and dozens of really crappy FMV and point-and-click games.

    With that said, the CD version of Ecco the Dolphin would be well worth the cost of entry for a deep-pocketed enthusiast if the Gen/MD soundtrack wasn't already so dang good!
  17. I've never understood why people look to compare a PC to a console, back then or even now. Sure, the Mega CD cost a lot, but it wasn't PC's were cheap in the early 90's and their CD-ROM add-on drive cost a lot too, you we looking at a grand worths of kit to have a decent 486 PC with a good sounblaster card and CD-Rom.

    The main issue for the Mega CD was there wasn't enough of reason each month to buy Mega CD games over a Cart game. The base Mega Drive unit handly plenty of support and good games coming out on a montly bais, something which the Mega CD lacked and for me, I really wanted the Mega CD to outdo Mode 7 and the Snes soundchip and only a hanfull of games ever did

    When used mind it showed what could be possible, but sadly not enough was made of it
  18. President Zippy

    President Zippy

    Zombies rule Belgium! Member
    The comparison stems from the fact that most Sega CD games were watered-down PC games; point-and-click games and FMV CD-ROM games. I'm not trying to rankle anybody, but I would rather stick a fork in my eye than play point-and-click PC games, and the overwhelming majority of consumers would also rather play a game like Donkey Kong Country or Sonic, just like me. The problem lies in the fact that using CD media didn't offer anything besides better music and video cutscenes.
  19. Devon


    Tech Member
    I was taking a look at the technical documentation again, when I noticed this tidbit regarding the graphics operation:


    ...oh lordy. Way to sell your feature to developers. And yet, some developers pushed its limits anyways lololol

    Also, here's some other fun manual oddities. Such as all the various things the graphics operation has been called:


    or weird terms that make things look more complicated than things really are:


    ..."stamp generator"???


    This is supposed to explain how a transformed object is drawn onto a canvas using the graphics operation. Why is the image buffer a cylinder?
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2022
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  20. rata


    Trying to be useful somehow.
    It's meant to mimic a cannon. You know what are cannons used for? BLAST things! Guess what console has BLAST processing. :ruby:
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