How did dreamcast compare to psx/n64?

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by schmuck, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. schmuck

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    Was dreamcast a generational leap compared to psone and n64?

    Back then it looked like it. Dreamcast games held up very well to ps2 while it was alive. But was the hardware truly next gen.

    how many times more powerful was it compared to psone, n64?

    Could it had seen good multiplatform ports if it was not discontinued?
     
  2. onQ

    onQ
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    My Mom bought me the Dreamcast the day it came out in the USA & I remember it blowing my mind when I 1st played Ready to Rumble & seeing the players eyes & face moving & seeing the clothes & hair move in Soul Calibur.
     
  3. Rangers

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    I think so.

    I distinctly remember at the time some professing that the PS2 was more powerful, yet none of the multiplatform games of the time actually proved it. Then Dreamcast was canned.

    It had only 24 MB of RAM vs PS2's 32 MB, though.

    As to whether it was a next gen leap over N64/PSX, definitely. This was no 3D0 or Jaguar.
     
  4. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    How did it compare? ...It didn't.

    The Dreamcast was such a giant leap above N64 and the early 90s consoles that it literally could not compare to them at all. It was totally in a class of its own.

    Not sure what there is to discuss in this thread, really.
     
  5. antwan

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    dreamcast could have emulated both of them
     
  6. Jedi2016

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    The way I remember it, DC was more or less on par with the PS2, rather than PSX/N64. It was game support that killed it, not any particular fault of the hardware. People won't buy it if there's nothing to play on it. I had one, but I didn't know anyone else that did.
     
  7. Rootax

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    It was pretty powerfull, and had some awesome games. The SH-4 was a little weak but the PowerVR chip was damned good for the time. But the way I remember it, it was not "pushed" enough (commercialy ? I don't know the right word), and there was a loooot of PS2 hype so people waited for it instead of buying the DC. Plus Sega had no enough money to backed it up in front of Sony...

    But I'm maybe wrong.
     
  8. onQ

    onQ
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    It actually did Emulate both of them.



     
  9. antwan

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    Like the 360 vs PS3; it fared a lot better in early multi platform games or sloppy ports. But later generation PS2 titles blew the dreamcast out of the water.
     
  10. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    Game support killed it but its performance shortcomings were becoming more and more apparent in time. It would have aged pretty fast. Feats that were becoming stantard on PS2 were pretty much non existent on the DC. The console was very easy to develop for AFAIR and its ceiling was being reached pretty fast. 2 or 3 years after its release and its games havent evolved as much as PS2 games have evolved in the same timespan. After some time visuals looked similar across the board. Its as if devs have squeezed all they could do and couldnt come up with new ideas to use the hardware.

    It was becoming apparent when even games such us Metropolis Street Racer, one of its latest and probably best looking racer was outmatched in many areas even by the PS2's launch RR5. Most of DC games suffered from low poly models and flat lighting.

    Headhunter was a good title for the DC, mediocre by PS2 standards.
    Fighting games on the DC grew outdated too, when PS2 started pumbing out high poly models and effects the DC couldnt even dream of. Soul Calibur 2 on the DC (or even TTT2) would have been impossible unless majorly downgraded

    There are titles though on the DC that I am pretty sure the PS2 would have had a hard time reproducing such as Sonic Adventure 1&2. That title was certainly designed with the DC's strengths. 60 fps with high res textures (for the time) was an outstanding feat to behold.
     
  11. function

    function None functional
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    Wrong thread
    Dreamcast discussion inevitably involves three things:
    - first gen DC games getting compared to the entire catalogue of PS2 games
    - people in the West not realising that the DC had 12 months of games before it came out in the west
    - people not realising that content creation and resource management contribute massively to games looking better of the lifetime of a platform

    The DC was undoubtedly less powerful than the PS2 (and much cheaper to make) but the above factors lead to some unfair estimations of the DC's capability.

    Leave the PS3 vs 360 stuff out of here, the DF comparisons say everything that needs to be said about that. There were no later generation Dreamcast titles.

    The biggest part of the improvements that come over a system's lifetime come from the content creation pipeline and resource management - in terms of SH4 throughput the DC probably didn't have masses of room to grow but much of the really important stuff was still really, really immature when the DC was canned.

    Three years after release the DC had been officially cancelled for about 9 months, and US and European customers didn't see the huge and rapid evolution in DC visuals that took place over the first year. Try looking at Pen Pen Tricelon or Godzilla Generations then look at Soul Calibur or Shenmue (and remember than Shenmue had assets developed in 1997/1998 at a time of mostly pre-final hardware and "last gen" tools).

    Games in the first 12 months improved in quality at least as much as they did on the PS2 (probably more), but probably for a different balance of reasons. 15 months after release in the West the DC was canned and development was almost completely turned off. Even Sega scaled back big time on their remaining releases.

    Visuals were as different as artists could make them: Shenmue, Jet Set Radio and Rez all looked very different. Every console pre-shaders did have a characteristic "look" though, and that includes the PS1, N64, and to a lesser extent the DC and PS2.

    Metropolis Street Racer was substantially delayed - it was originally supposed to arrive around the Euro launch and was still very rough around the edges when it actually launched a year later. It had many kinds of issues, like broken lighting, texture aliasing making railings invisible, and a broken points system. It stored massively larger environments in memory than a typical racing game and had many of them. It was far more ambitious than any racing game before Gran Tourismo on the PS2.

    Test Drive le Mans looked much better than MSR (smoother frame rate, night and day lighting, aniso filtering, incredible draw distance, many more cars) but came later and was less ambitious in scale.

    The last big fighting release on the DC was Dead or Alive 2, which came out before the PS2 even came out in the West. And even that showed a huge bump in visuals from Soul Calibur 1 which had come out about a year before. And Soul Calibur showed a huge bump in visuals from Virtua Fighter 3, which was an extremely rushed 3rd party port of the model 3 arcade game.

    If your games date back to before everyone else's then it's inevitable that they will be dated, but that doesn't mean they represent the best that could be achieved in later years with better tools and masses more experience. No doubt SC2 would have to have been downgraded for the DC, but on the other hand the textures would have been rather better and in PAL land it'd have had 60hz PAL and VGA modes, which has to count for something.
     
    #11 function, Jul 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2012
  12. menmau

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    Dreamcast was a huge leap above N64/PS1.

    When DC launched in US (9/9/99) I was still playing PS1, and I have to say that DC was the console which impressed me the most at launch until now.
    Obviously it was no match for the previous generations.

    I would say it is in PS2 league, I had the chance to compare several games between the two, and I remember clearly that I always prefered DC graphics, PS2 suffered from aliasing, inferior screen resolution, lower textures quality, washed colours... overall DC seemed a much balanced machine.

    Certainly PS2 was able to outperform it in other situations, it was newer, but like Nesh said it would depend on the ways that devs would choose to maximize the hardware.
    As an example, I cannot imagine (lets say) Gran Turismo 3 on DC, as well Shenmue on PS2.
     
    #12 menmau, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2012
  13. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    To me one of the most noticeable differences between N64 and DC is fluidity. N64 had problems and a lot of even the best games are below 30fps. The only 60 fps N64 game that I know is Fzero X and the visuals had to be extremely simplified for it to happen. DC has a lot of really smooth games and they are also 640x480.

    PS1 doesn't even match up to Matrox Mystique in my book because of its perspective problems. ;) Bleh.
     
  14. TheWretched

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    Mortal Kombat 4 was 60Hz on N64 too... but that also wasn't the nicest game, either.
     
  15. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    DC was certainly a well balanced machine, where all the parts were designed in concert with eachother with quite a bit of finesse. The PS2 in comparison was a brute of a machine designed around very high throughput, with developers being depended on to get around the inefficiencies to grasp it fully.

    I think the DC could've survived or at least puttered on quite a bit longer had the system been released either at the same time as in Japan (Nov. '98) or early spring '99. That would've required quicker communication with developers but it would've given the system a larger sales and development buffer zone in order to be prepared for the onslaught of the PS2. The DC never had a 'killer app' so to speak either (at least I don't think so). Soul Calibur was probably the closest thing to a 'killer app'.

    It is fun to speculate how specific PS2 games could've been ported to the DC, both in terms of graphics, and if the SH4 would've been able to handle some of the more complex game features introduced with the PS2 like ragdoll physics. As it's been discussed to bit here, it has been speculated that the SH4 could've been pushed harder in clock speed, perhaps another 50% without too much cooling modification. DCs have been overclocked by users so it's certainly in the realm of possibility.
     
  16. ToTTenTranz

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    Shenmue 1 and 2 were definitely games that defined a console generation.
     
  17. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    I hear about the "greatness" of Shenmue, but I never heard anything about people buying a DC for Shenmue like people bought an Xbox for Halo.
     
  18. Fafalada

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    PS2 had a lot of "moving parts", but the connection points among them were perfectly balanced.
    Max throughput from memory->VU, was exactly matched with VUs fastest transform which would exactly fit max-available throughput to GS, which in turn would exactly match maximum GS rendering speed. And that's just one example.
    The obvious problem with such balance is that if you introduce a bubble in one part, everything else depending on it will stall, and the fact all of it was under manual-control meant you can break in a whole lot of different ways.

    But that's what made it fun compared to most other hw too.
     
  19. RudeCurve

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    DC was between generations. Much more powerful than PS1/N64 but less powerful than PS2/GC/Xbox. If SEGA wanted to compete with the PS2/GC/Xbox on an even playing field they would've released a home version of NAOMI 2 given that DC was the home version of NAOMI.
     
  20. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    What I mean by inefficiencies I more or less mean in terms of no hardware texture compression, no dedicated TMUs, arguably not enough RAM. You know, "little things" that could've made the system much more of an ass kicker, especially as time dragged on. Though I thought there were complaints related to the DRAM main memory bandwidth?

    Though I do wonder, how exactly was the eDRAM utilized in regards to video data (though I know the framebuffer was stored there)? Did assets have to pass through it for rendering regardless, or could data come directly from the main memory?
     
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