Texture cache of the N64 vs. that of Playstation

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Squeak, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Reznor007

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    Yes, you could build a pc that would beat n64, but at a high premium. A 4mb voodoo 1(limited to 640x480) launched at $300 a few months after n64. The 200mhz pentium launched the same month as n64 in Japan for $599. Add in whatever motherboard, ram, and all the other parts and you're looking at 5-6x the cost of the n64.

    This has a bit of detail on something that hurt the performance of the system.

    http://www.nintendolife.com/news/20...s_in_the_n64_that_almost_caused_another_delay

    The later released ique system in China used the n64 hardware but modified to use standard ddr memory IIRC and played the same games at better speeds.

    It's claimed that the n64 chip design files (vhdl or whatever format) were leaked online. No idea if anything has been done with that.
     
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  2. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    N64 seemed delayed because there were so few games ready. There were only a handful of games released even 6 months after launch. Good thing they have incredible internal game development talent that could mostly carry the machine. They also dropped it from $250 to $200 for the US launch IIRC.
     
    #122 swaaye, Aug 9, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  3. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    Thats probably due to the fact that the hardware and SDKs were not proberly ready for production and development? It may be an indication of unrealistic targets for a 1995 or 1996 release
     
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  4. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    For one they needed SGI workstations with custom hardware. Doesn't sound cheap. :) So I'm sure some of these teams were sharing access to that.

    LucasArts apparently spent big to get their guys hardware though. SotE was finished in late 96.
    https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/114010/Classic_Postmortem_Star_Wars_Shadows_Of_The_Empire.php
     
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  5. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    It depends on the games. Some PS1 games were indeed a pain to look at. But depending on the art (and sometimes higher resolution in some games), they looked good. Same with N64 games. Mario 64 looked super crispy and detail unlike other N64 games. The blurry visuals were just as much of a problem for me as the pixelated mess on some PS1 games. For some games, especially FPS when in closed areas, I was losing my orientation because of the super blurry textures on walls. Once the camera was too near a large surface it was impossible to make out what the player was looking at and which angle the camera was facing.

    I prefer GT2, even the original wipeout than any racing game released on the N64 (unless there is an exception I cant remember).
    Games like Wipeout and Ridge Racer on N64 were less appealing than on the PS1.
    I was experiencing many N64 games like someone who was suffering from poor eyesight
     
    #125 Nesh, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
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  6. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    Indeed, based on your link the solutions prior to the final SDKs were expensive and inconvenient. Final kits were available much later. Not many developers would have preferred to go through the expense and huge installations. I think some may have even been put off or "scared" of potential incompatibility of their work done on prototype hardware to the final hardware. LucasArts started working before July 1995 on their game. Others were probably waiting for the cheaper final kits before they begun working on them which may have contributed to the fact that few games were coming to the console for some time after launch
     
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  7. Roly

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    I remember being intrigued by that quote from Hollis on the initial sample of the RCP, and the reaction from the engineers. I think there is an image of the chip itself somewhere (the production RCP), and wonder if there is a relevant area where a minor problem would harm performance (e.g. buffers or such relating to the memory controller area etc.) I know very little as to chip design and manufacture, but respin presumably implies fixes in the metal as opposed to major lithography change. Perhaps it was not so much a flaw as such, but expectations from simulation of the design which did not accord to the actual final chip.
     
  8. Rootax

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    Did you try World Driver Championship ? If my memory serves me right, it was beautifull for the time. But maybe I'm wrong :/
     
  9. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    World Driver is beautiful for an N64 game. Unfortunately the car physics have a very floaty feel. A hovercraft comes to mind. :) It was impressive at the time though.
     
    #129 swaaye, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  10. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    It looks better than other racing games on the console, it looks great overall but I still believe that it lacks behind the PS offerings
     
  11. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    A cool post by the GlideN64 plugin team. Some details of the highly optimized, customized ZSort microcode by Boss Game Studios for World Driver and Stunt Racer.

    https://gliden64.blogspot.com/
     
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  12. Nightz

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    The PC didn’t catch up with the N64 until the 3DFX Voodoo 1 came out. Otherwise there was no consumer hardware which could match the N64’s feature set in 1996. In fact the N64 wasn’t very far from an SGI Indy Workstation just built to a cost, with less memory and lower clocks.
     
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  13. Nammo

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    In the US, the N64 and Voodoo were widely available two days apart. (9/29 vs 10/1) I was there!
    N64 had been hyped for months, but so was Voodoo. I'd been seeing video and screenshots from both all summer long.
    To PC nerds in the US like me, N64 looked a lot like 20% of the power of a gaming PC at 20% of the price. A good deal, but nothing special.

    In my dorm, we already had "PC vs console" wars. In 96, one guy got his N64 about the time I had the patch for Tomb Raider running on my Voodoo.
    Of course we compared: Tomb Raider was sharp and silky-smooth next to Mario's quarter-res blur chugging along at half the framerate.

    That didn't stop me (hell, everyone) from playing the crap out of GoldenEye on his N64 the next year. :-D
     
  14. msxyz

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    The N64 architecture was brilliant in many ways and custom tailored to manipulate 3D graphics. Even if the rendering engine of the N64 was severely hindered by having to do texturing from a small (4KB) on chip cache and its CPU was a low cost processor used also laser printers, the design of the RCP made the difference. The RAMBUS DRAM allowed the RCP to communicate to the main memory with only a handful of data lines (even less than a traditional 8 bit memory bus). This allowed Nintendo to use a simple two layers PCB, to the benefit of cost and complexity. And the RCP included a full MIPS processor and a 128 bit vector coprocessor that could manipulate eight 16 bit integer values at time.

    The PC architecture at the time was too general purpose to be efficient at doing 3D graphics. The x86 FPUs could compute floating points with 32/64/80 bit precision but only one at the time (and pipelining was limited on the FPU back then). So many games resorted to do 3D calculations with the integer ALU, although the chronic lack of registers of the x86 architecture was another weakness that didn't make things easier for programmers. Quake was hand-coded and optimized to squeeze every last bit of performance from the Pentium CPU. The Voodoo chipset was superior in most respects to the RCP but at what complexity cost? Two chips and seven (yes, seven) memory buses (one 64 bit between the TREX and the FBI, 2 x 32 bit to the framebuffer and 4 x 16 bit to the texture memory each with its own address path to allow concurrent access to different portions of the memory)

    It's impossible not to appreciate what Nintendo could achieve with a machine that costed 249$ new. Hard to believe the vertex calculations were done only with 16 bit integers by the Reality Coprocessor (although the multiply-accumulate engine could work with pairs of 16 bit registers at time and was 48 bit wide, allowing easy manipulation of 16.16 fixed point numbers). Incidentally, I always wondered why nobody went for a FP16 vertex format in early days of 3D. Half the space of 32 bit floats, less complex ALUs, and better at preserving precision where it's needed.
     
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  15. dogen

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    Just wish N64 games weren't so blurred out. Would be really interesting to see what the output would look like without all the anti-aliasing and filters (maybe keep the edge AA). Would probably help em run a bit smoother too ;)
     
  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    #136 swaaye, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  17. dogen

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    only some of it. the part you can't disable (the internal AA, not sure if that's the right name) is the one i'd really want to.
     
  18. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Yeah it seems like what 3dfx did. A filter on the final output to hide various artifacts. Hard to find all the details though.

    It seems like the edge AA has multiple stages too. Maybe it's all interwoven.
     
    #138 swaaye, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  19. see colon

    see colon All Ham & No Potatos
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    Tomb Raider on PC is capped at 30 fps. So is Mario 64. I'm not saying Mario never slowed down, but it certainly wasn't 15 fps most of the time. Resolution, though... I remember when I got my Voodoo 3 and went back to play some older glide games (vent from a Voodoo 1 to a TnT, then to a Voodoo 3 so there were a bunch of glide games I wanted to play again) and remember thinking how much better Tomb Raider was at super high resolutions (1024*768 at the time? Can't remember the max). There's definitely something special about high res Tomb Raider.

    Also, Goldeneye was something special. The single player mission objectives weren't a thing that most games were doing back then. And the animation was top notch for the time. It beat Quake 2 to market and outside of resolution, I think Goldeneye was the better looking game. The frame rate could have been better, of course.
     
  20. dogen

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    ok yeah


    https://assemblergames.com/threads/...via-gameshark-cheats.59916/page-2#post-860544

    it's internal edge antialiasing you can't disable. though i guess maybe that's a good thing...

    [​IMG]


    this is pretty impressive. v
    https://assemblergames.com/threads/...via-gameshark-cheats.59916/page-3#post-860964

    maybe just disabling the edge AA and VI filter is enough
     
    #140 dogen, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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