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#1 kamakazi20012

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 06:37 AM

Long story short, I was watching this video on the Jaguar and Jag CD by someone named Adam Koralik.  I posted a comment at least a year ago.  Through out the night there has been someone going by the name Gorilla Jones that has been replying to my comments.  I asked to share those posts on the forums here and even sent him an invite to the site.  But...wow...I don't even know what category to put this under.  Adjust accordingly.

 

We'll start with my original post that got the ball rolling:

 

Michael Allard1 year agoHighlighted comment
The Jaguar had the capabilities a Falcon was suppose to do.  Jag's only downfall is that Jack was a penny pincher.  With that said, sadly, the Jaguar only got 2 MB of RAM instead of 4.  That is the true bottleneck of the system...lack of RAM.  If it had more memory to play with then more might have been done with it.  What it got was impressive.  I've been a Jag owner since 1993 and consider it one of Atari's better ideas done wrong.  It's good but should have been better.
Michael Allard ding ding ding. I visited Atari many times back in the day. We posed this question and Jack said it was still undecided. This was before Jaguars release. With a competent toolset, documentation, and 4MB of RAM it would have been a different story, truly.
 

Me: It does make one wonder "what if" if the Jaguar would have had that extra bit of RAM for developers to play around with. I have read the documentation that developers got for the system and it really isn't any wonder that they had trouble understanding it. To me it seems to bounce all over the place and it isn't really clear on how they system works from a programmer's point of view. It's still an awesome console and testament of what made Atari what it was.

 

 

 

+Michael Allard​​ what a lot of people don't realize is that Atari wasn't really corporate or professional about a lot of things. If you ever got to visit Sunnyvale you'd notice how messy things were. In reality, most of the Atari staff were just 70s nerds who were doing something cool. They were a cool bunch. And yes, Jack was a massive penny pincher. I always thought Leonard was afraid of Jack LOL. I remember during the official Jag reveal conference how laid back it was. Just some fold out tables covered with table cloths from a wedding caterer. They all had Jag T shirts, and pretty much addlib the conference. At the end they handed out Jaguar duffle bags filled with Jag goodies, like the chocolate CD, super soakers, hats. The **** people at the airport confiscated the super soakers lol. Still have the bag and other stuff though. The chocolate CD turned to dust. Jack was cheap, but when it came to media he spared no expense. He would pick us up in stretch limos and put us up in nice hotels, take us to amusement parks, dinners. Wish he would have put that money into the console. 
 
Wow! It sounds like Jack had his good points, too. I agree that the money would have been beneficial if it were spent on the hardware he was trying to market. Would it be OK if I copy-pasted your comment with my friends at Atari.IO?

 

+Michael Allard Sure. I'll try and remember more. It's been a long time and I'm an old man lol. I met Minter a couple of times. Such a cool laid back guy. I interviewed him for an article, but have spent years looking for the **** audio cassette. A funny story about one of our visits. We were on a stop over flight with the EGM guys. They were really obnoxious. When we landed since me and my partner only had carry on we went straight to the limo. When the driver asked us if there was anyone else we said no. We arrived at the hotel and registered as the EGM guys since they had a suite. The next day they were furious. Yeah, kind of childish but they deserved it. They were ****. Trying to remember the Atari employee who showed us around that day, he had false vampire teeth implanted surgically, so weird. I think he was involved with black ice white noise but can't remember. He was super nice. 

 

For family-friendly reasons I did edit some of the posts.  If you want to view the postings in full I will link to the video.  Mine should be the top-most post.

 

 

Sounds like an interesting guy.  If you guys know Gorilla and don't want him here for one reason or another then my apologies.  It just sounds like he has a lot of information pertaining to Atari that might be of interest. 


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#2 Lost Dragon

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 04:34 PM

Personally no idea who Gorilla is, but i loved what was brought up in the conversation.

Here in the UK, people like Peter Molyneux (Bullfrog) were sounding the warning bells when tech specs for Jaguar were released, saying a mere 2 MB of Ram was going to make life very, very difficult, espically for people attempting to convert PC titles to Jaguar, but like all things, Atari simply didn't have the 'wriggle room' to beef up the hardware, be it adding extra Ram to console (look what that did to 3DO Price when they realised it needed more Ram as O.S footprint was so huge..) or add any extra hardware to Jaguar CD to assist with texture-mapping (Jaguar's key weakness when up agains't 3DO, Saturn+PS1).


I sometimes think people tend to forget just what was added to the Co-Jaguar harware for coin-op use, yes, BASED ON Jaguar chipset, but with a HDD, more Ram and faster CPU, it points to what the home Jaguar could of been, but at a 3DO type price.


Remember Jaguar was originally aimed at the SNES and MegaDrive market, only rival in terms of hardware Atari thought they'd face was 3DO, so wanted the power without the price to work for them again, other wise it would of been a CD based machine from the start.

#3 Lost Dragon

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 04:46 PM

If you think Jaguar had it bad, 4MB cut to 2MB try Playstation: 8MB development kits with 8MB supposedly planned for home console (though i've heard exact opposite from Psygnosis UK staff i'm sure....that version had PS-Y lacking anything like enough Ram, they asked for it to be increased)..cut to 2 MB...here's a quote: ..." At some point, Sony decided that the Playstation would not have 8mb of memory – too expensive. So they made it two. So in some cases, various developers were caught flatfooted when the system they were developing on had its total available memory cut to 25%. On that development station, I was able to play a few games before they got squashed, so some games had more parallax backgrounds (Adventures of Lomax, which did not have a lemming for the main character at this time), or additional characters (Dark Stalkers), etc." Source:http://ascii.textfil...m/archives/3068


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#4 Lost Dragon

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 05:28 PM

I very much enjoy dipping into the what if's....when looking at Atari espically, as i'm a firm beliver the STE for example should of launched far far earlier, but it 'pays' to be careful not to get too carried away.

 

 

From looking into The Panther and talking to those who worked with it, including those not wishing to be named or quoted, i personally feel Atari made the right choice to cancel it and thus have never been in the camp that it was THE machine to save Atari/buy Jaguar enough time to be propery debugged etc, hardware in reality sounded like a bloody nightmare, ironically Ram starved being 1 of the biggest issues.

 

Atari starved the Falcon of the Ram it needed to showcase what it could do, so are we really surprised Jaguar turned out any different?.

 

 

Side Note:Sony did the same with PS2 and then again with PS3, but i suspect the massive PS2 user base coming off back of the huge impact of PS1, might of had something to do with that, Dreamcast had more Ram than PS1+PS2 combined, but that didn't do much for it's long term future did it? .

 

 

What i'm basically saying is yes, a lot more could of been done to improve Jaguar from hardware point of view, John Carmack has made clear his thoughts on what could of been done to give it a fighting chance agains't Playstation, but if your going to go the fantasy hardware route, you cannot just draw a line at Jaguar...

 

 

What IF Sony had seen Jaguar in this improved fantasy form and thought, right, time to beef up Playstation, they have 4 MB Ram? we will have 6 MB, plus Z-buffering.... who's fantasy hardware has technical edge now? your still needing Jaguar to have dedicated hardware for texture-mapping etc.

 

 

Then there's Sega, who's original design spec for saturn was crushed as was, in reality they went for quickest solution, 2X SH-2 chips, big mistake, but were offered a single chip solution by Silicon Graphics, which was claimed could of made hardware on level pegging with PS1.

 

 

At the end of the day, each simply played the hand they had and we the consumer were the ones who lost out as chances were, that wonderful Next Gen system you'd just splashed out on, be it Jaguar, CD32, 3DO was technically old hat already, Saturn support dissapeared like snow before the sun, Jaguar MK II, 3DO M2/Bulldog never appeared etc.

 

 

 

 

And i'll happily say it again, i'm just bloody glad Jaguar never saw Quake, Magic Carpet, Return Fire, Need For Speed, Daytona USA etc as the comprimises would of been horrendous and i say that as a day 1 Jaguar owner.


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#5 Lost Dragon

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 07:13 PM

The 8MB PlayStation Claim goes against the claims made by Ian Hetherington,that when he 1st encountered the PlayStation hardware, Sony were treating the CD medium like a cartridge and he had the CD drive and Ram upgraded so it could stream properly, but I have never heard the 8 MB claim prior, it sounds a tad overkill as PC at time had what? 4 MB as an mid level standard?.

I needed to know more to confirm this claim.

Development kits often have far more Ram than retail hardware.

Edited by Lost Dragon, 19 January 2017 - 07:15 PM.


#6 kamakazi20012

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 07:30 AM

From my understanding, the Jaguar development systems were the same as production units.  The only difference was a switch on the underside of the system to set it for development or a common system.  

 

And I blame most lack of software development on the documentation they made.  It's all over the place and lacks any real information to help a developer whether new to programming or veterans.  

 

As far as the Jag CD goes it would have made sense for the add on to also increase the RAM in the entire system.  Sega's CD for the Genesis/Mega Drive enhanced the abilities of the main console when CDs were used.  A slight increase in RAM and graphic abilities were ever present.  The downfall was that no one knew what to do with the new CD technology in a gaming environment.


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#7 Lost Dragon

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 09:59 AM

The lack of documentation was indeed a massive issue to Jaguar development, had it been far better and indeed work arounds discovered and shared far earlier on, it would of benifited a lot of Jaguar software. However, it's still only 1 aspect of a history riddled with critical failings.

 

 Atari cutting cart sizes back had massive impact on certain games.... Atari marketing deciding 2D was no longer needed, everything now had to be 3D so games canned as a result. Atari deciding Jaguar had to be seen to able to compete with texture-mapped games running on 3DO and above, even though coders and they themselves knew Jaguar simply couldn't handle it and thus we saw games like Supercross 3D... ATD, Imagitec, Missile Command 3D coder, Lee Briggs of WTR etc all gone on record to explain pressure atari put on them to have texture mapping and frame rate etc wasn't seen as an issue....utter madness.You play to your hardware strength, not try and pull wool over consumers eyes.

 

Still shots only work till you get a product home and Atari must of known how press would react to games like Supercross 3D, this simply didn't care. As Fred Gill said Leonard Tramiel wanted ATD to texture map EVERYTHING in Battlemorph, it was Leonard that insisted EVERYTHING was texture mapped in Hover Strike and thus frame rate dropped from 15-20 FPS to 5 FPS and it was Eclipse that discovered the texture 'hack' allowing for 2X speed of small textures.

 

 I was a Mega CD owner, day 1 purchase £270 (more than the Jaguar cost me, £229) for a bloody add-on. It was a mixed bag, it was utterly bizzare to find that despite having a second, faster CPU, Powermonger ran slower on MCD than the cart version. But then games like Terminator S.E (massive sprites, far more levels, far better game than cart version ), Final Fight (shamed SNES version), Batman Returns (3D sections simply stunning), Battlecorps, Thunderhawk etc showcased what hardware was possible of creating, only you had Sega putting out FMV crap on a system with only 512 colours and in early days 64 colours on screen, though i know clever coding increased that to 128+ in certain games. 

 

The Jaguar CD drive, even if it had extra Ram, plus a Maths co-processor chip to assist with texture-mapping, would of simply of been an even more expensive option for those few of us who'd bought a Jaguar.... Plus extra chips etc on it would of been wasted on titles like Baldies, Dragons Lair, Space Ace, etc. We might of seen bigger sprites in Primal rage, plus shorter loading times, ATD have admitted they had under estimated just how much work Blue Lightning was going to be, the Jag CD controller software ran in 1 of the DSP's used for audio, ATD themselves expanding at the time..everything an utter mess. Atari really needed to push the Jag CD with titles like Hover Strike:U.C, I.S II, Battlemorph, put serious resources into Black Ice, White Noiseetc.

 

 In hindsight, Atari should of had Rebellion CANCEL Cheq.Flag, they clearly had no idea how to implement a decent control scheme...time and resources could of been better spent getting Skyhammer to commercial retail, finishing Legions Of The Undead etc. I know it's easy to play armchair expert :) and for me to say ohhh Atari should of done X,Y and indeed Z, but i talk from the perspective of a consumer and someone who's put some time in chatting to those who worked with Atari (and indeed those who wanted to work with Atari, but Atari snubbed)....and you get a fair balance of views. Time and valuable resources were wasted from the very early days of Atari deciding to yet again try and get back in the console race, from the ST based console, to The Panther.... By the time Atari decided what it wanted, the market had long since moved on. Developers abandoned the ST in favour of the Amiga, which itself was under very real threat from the PC and SNES, MD etc. Plus Atari had burnt so many bridges with retailers, distrubution arms, software developers etc.

 

It was always going to be an uphill struggle for Jaguar from Day 1, but Atari seemed to set out for a hike and decided to have a crack at climbing a mountain, whilst equiped with little more than a set of hiking boots.


Edited by Lost Dragon, 20 January 2017 - 10:02 AM.

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#8 Lost Dragon

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:02 AM

Looking back through some interviews an online exchanges, i found Jaguar designer, John Mathieson describing the Panther hardware as a "Me Too" response to the Genesis and SNES, which i totally agree with and i'm glad Atari never ran with it.

 

When asked about the small caches found on Jaguar RISC Chips, John got a little defensive saying: "well in chip area they are not small at all, but huge".

 

 

I doubt many coders would agree with him there mind you, espically those coming from PC coding background...

 

 

John later admits coders have been complaining, Jaguar not easiest platform to get best performance from.

 

 

John also goes onto suggest Leonard Tramiel had been telling Jaguar developers to start using the GPU for a joystick controller device and not the 68000 which John had intended it for....

 

 

 

I nearly spat my tea out though when i read a quote from Lance Lewis, who'd been giving his inital thoughts on the Sony Playstation hardware and it's conversion of Ridge Racer (he was impressed), but he then went onto say he thought the Jaguar using the Jag CD could pull off just an impressive conversion of Ridge racer as the PS1....

 

 

Then i found Tom Gillen, Sports Producer at Atari saying:

 

"I don't realistically expect the Jaguar to do Daytona USA as you see it in the arcades, but it could come fairly close."

 

 

 

It took the Sega Saturn (which was more powerful than Jaguar) 2 attempts, C.E edition graphically being the best, to get anything reasonable and it wasn't until the Dreamcast we had a decent home conversion.

 

 

 

These john Bill Rehbocks bold claims that Fight for Life had more flexibility than Sega's Virtua Fighter could ever dream of and that Jaguar Checkered Flag, was much better than Sega's Virtua Racing, in his opinion...

 

 

 

But wow, some unrealistic thinking from Atari at times it seems.


Edited by Lost Dragon, 21 January 2017 - 08:51 AM.


#9 Lost Dragon

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:29 AM

John Math.Talking about Jaguar Ram limits:

 

 " The amount of RAM on the CD is not what defines its performance. PCs can fetch full motion video off CDs with very little RAM in the CD. Access delays are best reduced by spinning the disk faster, as a large part of the delay is the time the data takes to load. The 2 Mbytes of 64 bit RAM in Jaguar provide plenty of space for loading CD games into, loads of RAM in the CD would not help,it would be slower..."

 

 

 

 "Jaguar has 2 megabytes of RAM, and when this is combined with 2 megabytes of ROM (16 megabit cartridge) has more memory than most PCs."

 

Bill Rehbock also chipped in with:

 

 

"There's no developer that won't ask for more memory or performance, on any system."

 

 

So there stands some Atari  reasoning, i guess... 

 

*John is often quoted as saying he thought Doom pushed the Jaguar hardware as far as it would go, but to be fair, he also commented that when he 1st saw AVP on Jaguar, he never thought Jaguar would of been capable of producing something like that, so i guess that's why he feels Skyhammer was a system killer in terms of performance.

 

 

 

 

And he pointed out that whilst he had initally only JOKED about the Jaguar 68000 being there to read the joysticks, that had spread a little thin and he needed to make a few points crystal clear:

 

 

1At 1 stage it was seriousily considered the Jaguar have NO CPU at all, in order to reduce costs, but John fought agains't this idea, as he felt the GPU and DSP would be unfamilar to coders, a multi-chip system like Jaguar needed something to be a 'manager chip' and the 68000 did that job very well and was well known to coders.

 

 

So again, you can see the reasoning behind it.


Edited by Lost Dragon, 21 January 2017 - 02:05 PM.

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#10 kamakazi20012

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 12:13 AM

The Jaguar, in my opinion, was a true testament as to where video games were headed.  It was the first 64-bit console even out doing modern PC's at that time.  It is also the first stand-alone console to offer hardware that could perform 3D gaming.  I never noticed Hover Strike's frame rate issue mainly because I was use to seeing game play similar on the 386 without a math co-processor struggling to play some later 3D games including Doom.  It did get some incredible games to play or sure.  It is a sexy machine, too, that I believe lived up to what it was designed for.


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#11 Lost Dragon

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 04:04 PM

Well said Sir.

 

Jaguar had it's flaws, but without it? i'd of had to wait a good while longer to play decent version of Doom...

 

A lot bloody longer to play THE Aliens game i'd always dreamed of playing (PS1 Alien Trilogy was very, very dissapointing, took until Alien Res for PS1 to get a killer Aliens game and even then extra outlay for PS1 Mouse).

 

Would probably not of bothered with Syndicate wars, had i not discovered Syndicate on Jaguar, Tempest X3, if not for Tempest 2000...

 

 

And i very much doubt i'd ever of gotten into Lost games research either :)

 

 

I think of all the Jaguar games i purchased, the 1 most unfairly treated at review was Hover Strike, it's always been my Jaguar guilty pleasure.


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#12 kamakazi20012

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 07:39 AM

I had both cart and CD versions of Hover Strike.  While the CD port does offer a bit more "flare" the cart version is spot-on good time fun.  If others are dogging it then they are either not giving it a fair chance, comparing it to games on consoles that came after the Jaguar, or are simply keeping up the "hype" from others without even playing it.  Give it a chance before dogging it.  Cybermorph, too.  They are technical achievements in gaming that should not be overlooked.  Cybermorph was polygon-based lacking texture mapping while Hover Strike introduced the texture-mapping of the hardware.  In my opinion both are unique and fun games that are original, have remained original, and not another company or individual has ever tried to recreate those games on any platform.  They remain one of a kind.  I*War too for that matter.  

 

Seriously...the Jaguar, Cybermorph, and Hover Strike are not that bad.  Just like how dedicated NEO*GEO gamers will defend that console Jaguar gamers that honestly find the system enjoyable will defend the Jaguar with their last breath.  It was headed in the right direction from a technical stand point and they style of games coming out.  Not all were good but those that were accomplished technical feats that were not done before.  


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#13 Lost Dragon

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 09:25 AM

How much of a noticable improvement is there on the CD version? I've heard claims by the biggest Jaguar fanboy's going and at opposite end of the spectrum, playtesters etc involved at production level of the game, so looking for sensible, gamer level comment on just how much was improved by coding to the GPU rather than 68000.

 

 I think by the time the cart version was released, UK Press at least, was engaged in full on..compare Jaguar (and 3DO) games to launch PS1/Saturn titles and then lay into them when they couldn't hope to match them in terms of texture-mapped 3D, polygon counts and frame rates.

 

 It was clear Atari felt under huge amounts of pressure to be seen to be able to compete, even though everyone knew Jaguar was never designed to offer similar level performance in this area and thus in effect they played into the critics hands. Crazy period, looking back at it.

 

 These days, when i stray from the sensible, unbiased (either way) coverage of Atari on here, you seem to stumble into extremes, Jaguar was eiether the greatest hardware ever, with a megre fraction of it's power tapped into or the most wretched, under powered machine of it's generation, niether approach being realistic. Hopefully the views, information etc collected on this forum and continued to be collected, should go someway to prove otherwise and give a far more realistic look at why things were what they were.


Edited by Lost Dragon, 25 January 2017 - 09:26 AM.





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