The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

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HerzogZwei1989
undertow
Posts: 31

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#121 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:56 pm

Here are parts of that 3-page Next Generation article:

Amidst the furor surrounding the launch of the Saturn in the Western hemisphere, NEXT Generation has uncovered details of a follow-up machine under development at one of Sega's affiliate companies.

Forida-based defense and NASA contractor Lockheed Martin -- pioneer of the graphics technology used in Sega's Model 1 and Model 2 arcade boards -- has been working on technology for a higher-specification Saturn system since last September. It's believed that this second generation machine will be made available to developers late next year.

It's not unusual for a company in the business of selling videogames hardware to begin work on a successor system before the release of its market-ready hardware. However, in the case of the Saturn, the tide of disappointment that swelled from developers and internal staff over the machine's fundamental shortfalls and architectural untidiness has forced Sega to adopt a strategy that may result in the original machine (which is still under a year old) being prematurely upgraded or perhaps even phased out altogether.




Now Sega has conceded internally that Saturn will face tough competition from the Playstation and will not be able to match the onslaught from the Ultra 64 in 1996. Lockheed Martin has therefore been given the go-ahead to start work on Saturn 2, although it's not yet known exactly what form it will take. The current understanding is that the system will be a standalone console, but it's possible that Sega could save money by using the existing Saturn as an I/O device, CD drive and power supply.


As with Sega's coin-op IG boards, Lockheed Martin will be concentrating on the graphics side of Saturn 2, providing a R3D/100 graphics chip which includes both a geometry processor and a graphics processor. It's quite possible that Hitachi will supply the front end (Possibly PowerPC-based) -- it was rumored that Yu Suzuki and other Sega coin-op honchos had wanted Lockheed Martin to handle the whole project, but this was vetoed internally because of delays with LMC's development of the Model 3 IG board.
The division of Lockheed Martin Corporation responsible for Saturn 2 and other IG (image generation) hardware is the Information Systems group, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. This group was originally part of General Electic Aerospace and was located in Daytona Beach. Fla (across the street from the Daytona International Speedway). After the completion of the Model 1 arcade board, GE Aerospace was bought out by Martin Marietta and was integrated into the Orlando Information Systems group. Martin Marietta merged with aerospace giant Lockheed last April.

LMC's involvement with Sega dates back to General Electric's co-development of the Model1 board first used in Virtua Racing. When Sega's own engineers failed to make significant progress toward an advanced texture-mapping version of their leading IG board (which would become Model 2), the US company was called in to lend assistance, and Model 2 appeared in early 1994. At the time, it was known that Yu Suzuki was eager to give the whole project to Lockheed Martin, not just the IG side.

As well as the development of Saturn 2, LMC has been central to the work on Model 3 -- Sega's hugely delayed successor to the technology behind Daytona USA and Sega Rally. The ultra high-end board was supposed to be ready in time for three Model 3 games due for release this year. As well as Virtua Fighter 3, NEXT Generation has learned that the watered-down Indy 500 (see page 136) was originally targeted for Model 3, but delays in the board's progress meant it was coded up for Model 2 instead. It is also understood that Lockheed Martin is still working on Model 3 prototypes, with testing still some ways off.

Whereas Model 2 was a combination of Sega's Model 1 polygon engine technology and a Martin Marietta-designed texture-mapping board, Model 3 has little in common with its forerunner. It is based on LMC's high-end R3D/Pro-1000 -- a high-specification chip designed for low-cost, high-end visual simulations and capable of delivering 750,000 textured polygons on screen -- which is unrelated to the R3D/100 destined for inclusion in Saturn 2. It also uses a Hitachi-designed PowerPC host board.
There appears to be little doubt that, when it finally appears, Model 3 will be the most powerful low-cost IG board in existence, despite the ground gained by home entertainment systems currently in development. One expert close to the project commented: "Model 3 was created for one thing, and one thing only -- to push lots of textured polygons for as few dollars as possible. Nothing compares to it on those terms."

Where Model 3 will leave new high-tech rivals such as 3DO's M2 for dust is in the amount of RAM available. NEXT Generation's contact points out: "You can build a box that can pump three million polygons only if you have enough RAM to store 300 million polygons' worth of models. It doesn't mean anything for a machine to be able to MIP-map textures if you don't have enough VRAM to store multiple copies of each map at different resolutions."

Since Model 3 is now unlikely to appear until the 1996 JAMMA show in Tokyo (and with Model 4 already being specced up), it seems likely that Sega's arch-rival Namco could get a considerable head star in the entertainment IG arena with its rumored System 23 board.
Last edited by HerzogZwei1989 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

MrSega

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#122 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:07 pm

SEGA was never going to let Namco have the upper hand when it came to High End Arcade Silicon. They gambled on Model 3 for the sole purpose of not being left in dust by Namco,Taito and Konami.

User avatar
#1phoenixsunsfan
Sunday Shootout
Posts: 684

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#123 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:45 pm

Glad my re uploads of pictures came in handy.

HerzogZwei1989
undertow
Posts: 31

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#124 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:52 pm

djvectorman wrote:Glad my re uploads of pictures came in handy.


Indeed, thank you!

MrSega

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#125 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:55 pm

djvectorman wrote:Glad my re uploads of pictures came in handy.


The sad thing is that SEGA/CSK wasted $2 Billion on establishing GameWorks in 1996-1997. Which could have been used to keep Dreamcast going until 2005.

HerzogZwei1989
undertow
Posts: 31

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#126 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:01 pm

Another bit on 3DO Systems/CagEnt MX, successor chipset to the M2.
This comes from Gaming Gossip (Quartermann) EGM.
I don't know how much of this is just made up but still, kinda interesting.


The new hardware picture wouldn't be complete without including 3DO, so we'll now shift gears over to the MX. Like the M2 before it, 3DO claim the MX will be its generation's top gun. Our Q-spies report that the M2's successor is already past the design document state and is actually living breathing hardware. At the moment, the MX chipset is physically huge (it can barely fit on a good-sized table) but once 3DO gets all the bugs out, they'll work on reducing the size (common practice in the hardware biz). By all accounts, the MX is a screamer, with close to 5 million polygons boogying around the screen at once. Not only can the MX produce N64/M2 type graphic effects like Trilinear Mip Mapping and Edge Antialiasing, but it can handle such esoteric realtime graphic functions like Anisotropic filtering, Phong-Lighting and Surface Antialiasing. The secret to the MX's ultra-high performance lies in its radical hardware architecture. Unlike all others before it, the MX's RAM is incorporated into the same chip as the CPU and graphic processor. Set up in this manner, game information can now run at the same clock speed as the CPU (a 110 MHz Power PC 604) or the graphic processor (which is basically a 128-bit ASIC). The MX is less than a year away from completion, but 3DO has already shown the technology to a large Japanese software company who has shown interest in developing for the machine and perhaps even buying the hardware rights outright. The mystery software company is led by a certain Mr. Hironobu Sakaguchi, but you didn't hear it from me.

stu
Feet of Fury
Posts: 578

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#127 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:08 pm

HerzogZwei1989 wrote:Here are parts of that 3-page Next Generation article:

Amidst the furor surrounding the launch of the Saturn in the Western hemisphere, NEXT Generation has uncovered details of a follow-up machine under development at one of Sega's affiliate companies.

Forida-based defense and NASA contractor Lockheed Martin -- pioneer of the graphics technology used in Sega's Model 1 and Model arcade boards -- has been working on technology for a higher-specification Saturn system since last September. It's believed that this second generation machine will be made available to developers late next year.

It's not unusual for a company in the business of selling videogames hardware to begin work on a successor system before the release of its market-ready hardware. However, in the case of the Saturn, the tide of disappointment that swelled from developers and internal staff over the machine's fundamental shortfalls and architectural untidiness has forced Sega to adopt a strategy that may result in the original machine (which is still under a year old) being prematurely upgraded or perhaps even phased out altogether.




Now Sega has conceded internally that Saturn will face tough competition from the Playstation and will not be able to match the onslaught from the Ultra 64 in 1996. Lockheed Martin has therefore been given the go-ahead to start work on Saturn 2, although it's not yet known exactly what form it will take. The current understanding is that the system will be a standalone console, but it's possible that Sega could save money by using the existing Saturn as an I/O device, CD drive and power supply.


As with Sega's coin-op IG boards, Lockheed Martin will be concentrating on the graphics side of Saturn 2, providing a R3D/100 graphics chip which includes both a geometry processor and a graphics processor. It's quite possible that Hitachi will supply the front end (Possibly PowerPC-based) -- it was rumored that Yu Suzuki and other Sega coin-op honchos had wanted Lockheed Martin to handle the whole project, but this was vetoed internally because of delays with LMC's development of the Model 3 IG board.
The division of Lockheed Martin Corporation responsible for Saturn 2 and other IG (image generation) hardware is the Information Systems group, headquartered in Orlando, Fla. This group was originally part of General Electic Aerospace and was located in Daytona Beach. Fla (across the street from the Daytona International Speedway). After the completion of the Model 1 arcade board, GE Aerospace was bought out by Martin Marietta and was integrated into the Orlando Information Systems group. Martin Marietta merged with aerospace giant Lockheed last April.

LMC's involvement with Sega dates back to General Electric's co-development of the Model1 board first used in Virtua Racing. When Sega's own engineers failed to make significant progress toward an advanced texture-mapping version of their leading IG board (which would become Model 2), the US company was called in to lend assistance, and Model 2 appeared in early 1994. At the time, it was known that Yu Suzuki was eager to give the whole project to Lockheed Martin, not just the IG side.

As well as the development of Saturn 2, LMC has been central to the work on Model 3 -- Sega's hugely delayed successor to the technology behind Daytona USA and Sega Rally. The ultra high-end board was supposed to be ready in time for three Model 3 games due for release this year. As well as Virtua Fighter 3, NEXT Generation has learned that the watered-down Indy 500 (see page 136) was originally targeted for Model 3, but delays in the board's progress meant it was coded up for Model 2 instead. It is also understood that Lockheed Martin is still working on Model 3 prototypes, with testing still some ways off.

Whereas Model 2 was a combination of Sega's Model 1 polygon engine technology and a Martin Marietta-designed texture-mapping board, Model 3 has little in common with its forerunner. It is based on LMC's high-end R3D/Pro-1000 -- a high-specification chip designed for low-cost, high-end visual simulations and capable of delivering 750,000 textured polygons on screen -- which is unrelated to the R3D/100 destined for inclusion in Saturn 2. It also uses a Hitachi-designed PowerPC host board.
There appears to be little doubt that, when it finally appears, Model 3 will be the most powerful low-cost IG board in existence, despite the ground gained by home entertainment systems currently in development. One expert close to the project commented: "Model 3 was created for one thing, and one thing only -- to push lots of textured polygons for as few dollars as possible. Nothing compares to it on those terms."

Where Model 3 will leave new high-tech rivals such as 3DO's M2 for dust is in the amount of RAM available. NEXT Generation's contact points out: "You can build a box that can pump three million polygons only if you have enough RAM to store 300 million polygons' worth of models. It doesn't mean anything for a machine to be able to MIP-map textures if you don't have enough VRAM to store multiple copies of each map at different resolutions."

Since Model 3 is now unlikely to appear until the 1996 JAMMA show in Tokyo (and with Model 4 already being specced up), it seems likely that Sega's arch-rival Namco could get a considerable head star in the entertainment IG arena with its rumored System 23 board.



I see where they talk about the Hitachi designed PowerPC front end, so I wasn't too far off. I find it interesting that Yu Suzuki wanted LMC to handle the whole project, obviously Sega's upper management didn't agree. I've gone ahead and attached those other M2 articles that I mentioned to this post as well.
Attachments
M2 Sega deal 1.jpg
M2 Article 1.jpg

HerzogZwei1989
undertow
Posts: 31

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#128 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:22 pm

stu wrote:

I see where they talk about the Hitachi designed PowerPC front end, so I wasn't too far off. I find it interesting that Yu Suzuki wanted LMC to handle the whole project, obviously Sega's upper management didn't agree. I've gone ahead and attached those other M2 articles that I mentioned to this post as well.


Really interesting, indeed. If only Yu Suzuki had his way, we would be playing on LMC-powered Saturns and Dreamcasts :!:

The M2 articles are excellent, thanks stu. Notice in the second M2 article they mention that 3DO retained the rights to develop M3 and M4, well it seems they did. MX was basically M2.5 or M3, and M4 was the paper-design S42 mentioned in the Intelligent Gamer/Fusion article I posted.

HerzogZwei1989
undertow
Posts: 31

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#129 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:02 pm

Man, it's fun to go through the Q&A Archives of Next Generation Online.

i.e.

Q:
With Sega's new machine running on a PowerVR chipset, and possibly using a Microsoft OS, do you think that many of the forthcoming PC translations of PowerVR and even 3Dfx arcade games (using the MS arcade OS) will hit this machine also, and with comparable quality?

A:
It is highly possible given the scope of the hardware. The details of the CPU have yet to be revealed so it is still difficult to tell. Also, the number of ISPs to be used in the Black Belt is still unknown. The PowerVR Arcade chipset, which uses four ISPs is capable of pushing more than 1 million polygons/second where as the PC set, which uses one ISP can only push about 300,000. Both figures are assuming an adequate CPU and polygons of 100 pixels or more in size.


Q:
If you had to guess the graphical abilities of this new Sega system, what would they be?

A:
Start with the assumption that it will approach the capabilities of the Model 3 board.


Q:
Let's say the specs given for Sega's Black Belt system are true, do you feel Sega is going in the right direction? Also, is Sega making the right decision not to let Lockheed Martin design Sega's new system?

A:
Based upon conversations Next Generation Online has had with developers, it would seem that the current design is very much on the right track. The major shortcoming of the Saturn was the lack of tools, and the slow evolution of development libraries. Sega's currently proposed system is far superior in terms of ease of development than the Saturn and possibly even easier than the PlayStation which has enjoyed excellent tools from system's launch. As for the Lockheed Martin offering, the world may never know. The hardware designed by Lockheed Martin was shrouded in secrecy thereby making any comparison with the current hardware impossible.


Here, you guys should try it yourselves :mrgreen:

http://web.archive.org/web/199704180648 ... ation.com/

stu
Feet of Fury
Posts: 578

Re: The unreleased SEGA 'Saturn 2' and The Dreamcast Story

Post#130 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:39 pm

HerzogZwei1989 wrote:
Really interesting, indeed. If only Yu Suzuki had his way, we would be playing on LMC-powered Saturns and Dreamcasts :!:

The M2 articles are excellent, thanks stu. Notice in the second M2 article they mention that 3DO retained the rights to develop M3 and M4, well it seems they did. MX was basically M2.5 or M3, and M4 was the paper-design S42 mentioned in the Intelligent Gamer/Fusion article I posted.



I think it would of certainly changed the gaming landscape had Sega and LMC been able to shrink the R3D tech down enough for it to be included in a game console, it would seem that it was mainly the delays with the Model 3 and LMC's reluctance to get involved in the mainstream consumer market that killed the possibility off.

Glad you enjoyed the M2 scans btw, yeah I noticed that the 3DO company kept the rights to future generations of the technology, it would seem to me that they wanted to transform the company from trying to create a standard system to just providing the hardware for game console, a contract gaming hardware design company if you like.

However 3DO had already lost a lot of money and sold off the hardware systems side of the company to Samsung, I think Samsung had plans to make a PC card version of the MX chipset, but got cold feet and then decided to sell off the company.


I checked out those Q&As from NG btw, the answers they provided were actually pretty accurate as far as the development system and the hardware performance from the Katana/Dreamcast system. I've been scanning over a few of the other archived versions of NG too now, thanks for the links.

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