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Flake
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by Flake Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:56 pm

Familiarity with the platform over time? To the best of my knowledge, the Playstation had next to no RAM for 2D assets compared to the Saturn.
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by marurun Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:39 am

Which shooters are you thinking of? There were only a couple that I recall being better on PS1
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by racketboy Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:22 pm

marurun wrote:Which shooters are you thinking of? There were only a couple that I recall being better on PS1


Check the first page of the thread :D
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by marurun Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:13 pm

I think it really just comes down to developer effort. It turns out that neither the PS1 nor the Saturn have discreet or distinct 2D and 3D modes. The PS1 can do a single bitmapped background (flat, not warped, iirc) and display polygons in the traditional 3D method. The Saturn can display several bitmapped or tiled background planes (fully transformable) and quads, which are basically a weird display object halfway between traditional sprites and traditional 3D polygons. The quads are fully warp-able, but not truly a classic 3D polygon (they are blitted, not rasterized). The PS1 simply doesn't do "traditional" 2D in terms of sprites and tiles. The Saturn doesn't entirely fit the classic 2D sprite and tile model, but it is fairly similar.

The Playstation does 2D by basically texturing a bunch of polygons and treating them like sprites. I don't think the PS1 has sprite collision built-in, so that must be handled separately (please correct me if I'm wrong). Doing warped backgrounds or multi-plane scrolling requires making flat planes of textured polygons and using them to do the lifting. I don't think the PS1 can do traditional hsync interrupt stuff for line scrolling and parallax, though I'm not 100% certain on that. The PS1 does have a high-speed 2D polygon creation function to help accelerate 2D engines. And if you wanted to mix 3D and 2D you just have to issue a slower, standard 3D call for your 3D polygons and you can use them normally. PS1 RAM is relatively slow, and the texture buffer is tiny, so there are potentially issues related to memory access when throwing up too many different textures on-screen. Also, textures were not compressed, though they could be filtered, allowing lower quality textures to be used and still look OK. The problem, however, is that 2D games suffer more from lower-quality images and filtering than 3D does, since 3D textures are constantly being displayed from varied angles and in motion. For this reason, the PS1 was more likely to encounter issues related to available memory in 2D titles. All this said, due to the native 3D hardware design, certain 3D effects (like 3D transparency) were easier to mesh with classic 2D engine mechanics (Castlevania SoTN is a great example of this) than on the Saturn.

The Saturn does 2D by displaying a bunch of quads with textures on them, similar to the PS1's textured polygon approach. The difference is that the quads are handled in a fashion that is midway between 2D and 3D. Instead of rasterizing the objects (the traditional 3D model), the objects are blitted, similarly to sprites. The Saturn also has built-in hardware collision detection. The multiple background planes made it easier to do line scrolling and parallax than on the PS1. This meant that a 2D engine was even more trivial to construct on the Saturn than the PS1. And adding 3D was just a matter of using the built-in 3D transformation capabilities to warp your quads using 3D math (essentially how the Saturn does 3D anyway). The Saturn had a little bit more RAM than the PS1 and it was all fast-access, roughly equivalent in speed to the PS1's texture cache, so the Saturn could throw textures around at high speed. Additionally, the Saturn featured hardware compression support for tiled textures, so in certain cases the Saturn could pack in more graphical data, though this usually didn't apply unless backgrounds were tiled instead of bitmapped. The Saturn also supported some weird tricks the PS1 could not. For example, the VDP1 and VDP2 could operate at different resolutions or color bit depths and then be overlayed in the frame buffer prior to display, also potentially saving on memory and additionally creating some bizarre and unique effects.

So the only barriers to strict 2D work were the programmers' experience with the platform. 2D was trivial on the Saturn, but easy for an experienced programmer on the PS1 as well. The Saturn had more innate accommodations for high-speed 2D work, but the Playstation was certainly capable of solid 2D. It just took a little more programming to get there.

2D and mixed 2D/3D games that originated on the Saturn or PS1 were typically difficult to port either direction due to the wildly disparate development models. Arcade ports to the PS1 and Saturn tended to only suck on one platform or the other if the dev studio just didn't have a handle on the respective hardware. Arcade 2D ports were likely to be a little easier to the Saturn due to the closeness of the hardware design to more traditional 2D arcade hardware, but that's not a given in every case. Arcade to PS1 ports tended to have issues with managing memory, resulting in fewer animation frames or slow memory access issues (Capcom fighters often suffered from this). I'm not sure what the hangups were for Saturn ports from the arcade. There seems to be little good reason for a bad port save novice programmers on a really tight schedule, but I suppose that could affect anyone. The Saturn's smaller market share did often consign later Saturn ports to low-budget, low-priority status. Castlevania: SotN is a great example of a game which should have been spectacular on the Saturn, but for optimal performance would have needed to have been redesigned largely from the bottom-up. Instead, it appears to have been a fairly direct engine port with little accommodation for the target hardware by developers who were not as knowledgeable about the hardware.
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by racketboy Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:23 pm

Awesome. Mind if I quote you in an article?
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Re: Any titles better on PS1 than Saturn?

by marurun Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:28 pm

Let me revise that post here a little, first. And maybe get some forum 2nd opinions.
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