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JagCD, what's added to the Jags capabilities?


bender3455
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I almost titled this JagCD vs Jag, but thought that horse has been kicked enough, even though it's kinda relevant when thinking of games that have come out on both, notably Iron Soldier 2.

 

So my question is pretty straightforward; what does the JagCD add to the Jag in terms of enhancements? Is it simply more space for code? Granted, that would allow games to be more detailed because there would be less of a programming restriction, but I figured I'd ask here. I have a cart version of Iron Soldier 2, but don't have the CD version to compare it to.

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I've been meaning to start a thread recently about the Jags FMV capabilities...maybe i'll just ask in here.

 

Why does that Jag CD have such low quality FMV video compared to contemporaries like the 3DO and CDi? (I'll grant that it looks better than the Sega CD)

 

I realize that the Jag CD was $150, and the 3DO and CDi were both in the hundreds of dollars and needed video packs or attachments to do VCDs. The VCD format is MPEG-1, but the jaguar displays in Cinepak? Is it simple more ram and expensive components that lead to this?

 

I'm guessing Atari released the Jaguar CD with lower video quality hoping to focus on games and not FMV games or VCD capability? Sort of like nintendo focusing on games with the gamecube with ps2 went the dvd capable route?

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I'm guessing Atari released the Jaguar CD with lower video quality hoping to focus on games and not FMV games or VCD capability?

 

All the JaguarCD can do is spin the disk, and sometimes even send the data correctly to the console. Nothing more, and often less. The BIOS calls don't even all work.

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Max video resolution is 320x240, 24fps, and a lousy 352.8kbps data rate max with little squares that make up the Cinepak codec so not too clear and detailed videos. But Atari planned an Mpeg-1 cart (for videos on cd) which would have been better. Wish I had that.

Thanks, this explains a lot. I didn't know about the MPEG 1 cart, very interesting....anyone ever seen a proto?

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There were claims in UK Press at least (Edge for one), that Atari had been rumoured to be asking 'developers' (suitably vague there) what they'd like to see added to the Jag CD Drive, talk of it possibily having extra chip/s to bring it's texture-mapping in line with systems like 3DO/Saturn etc.

All utter speculation of course.
I've never bothered asking any Ex-Atari UK staff if these rumours are true, as hardware config.not decided by them.
I've also never bothered asking any of the UK/USA/European developers i've spoken to, if they were asked for any feedback from Atari as i simply went with the idea that Atari wanted to keep the CD Add-ON price as low as possible, so it was simply viewed as a dumb drive from the very early stages.
Can't even say i'm that surprised these days to find Jag CD screens of things like Tomb Raider, Blue Lightning (and now possibly Freelancer 2120 ) were 'fakes' either, just created for PR purposes.
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Yes, There was a dev proto cart made and some pics and documentation for it. I think it ended up out back in Atari's dumpster. Have a zip file somewhere on cd, but it may still be available on the net....

http://www.atarimuseum.com/ahs_archives/archives/files/videogames/consoles/jag/mpeg-decoder.zip

http://www.jagware.org/jag_uploads/dev/glenn_bruner_atarishowroom/zip/mpeg.rar

 

There were claims in UK Press at least (Edge for one), that Atari had been rumoured to be asking 'developers' (suitably vague there) what they'd like to see added to the Jag CD Drive, talk of it possibily having extra chip/s to bring it's texture-mapping in line with systems like 3DO/Saturn etc.

Unlikely. The cartridge port is ill-suited for this: it's slow and you can't access the internal RAM or hardware registers from it (no support for bus mastering). There are some workarounds for the later, but they lower performance and raise the price. And given that Atari told some developers that had written some file system support for the JagCD (it has none out-of-the-box, unlike competing consoles) that it was a "waste of time", it's pretty obvious that they didn't want to spend more than the bare minimum of time and money on the JagCD.
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@Zerosquare:Yeah, when i look at Edge's track record regarding reporting on the Jag CD, it's awful !.

Publically scolded/corrected by Darrl Still over a claim a Jaguar CD unit 'blew up' at at a press event-it simply developed an error.
Passing off Tomb Raider mock-up screens as actual Jag CD screens, even though Core Design's PR guy Richard Barc. had made it clear to them they were simply concept/mock-up shots.
Creating claims about Rebellion's planned Jag CD games from seemingly thin-air (Rebellion saying they did'nt get the info printed from them) etc etc.
I take the vague claim of 'approaching developers to see what extras they wanted added...' with some very hefty doses of salt.
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Man alive, just how bad was speculation of what the Jaguar CD might be adding to the existing capabilities of the Jaguar, back in mid'94?.

 

As well as speculating Atari would be adding a texture-mapping chip, people were claiming it'd also boast an extra megabyte of memory and another 64 Bit processor.

 

 

Not to be feeling left out, there was speculation Sega would only be using the Hitachi SH2 chips for the 32X and Saturn would be using 2X SH3 chips instead.

 

Both lots of speculation borne it seems from speculation on how both Sega and Atari were looking to combat the power of the Sony Playstation.

 

 

Good job we don't see speculation like that these days and talk of Sony paying to delay a nice looking 2D game....

 

 

:-)

Edited by Lost Dragon
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ahhh, so it seems was'nt just EDGE speculating/talking utter cobblers that Atari were considering adding a texture-mapping chip to Jag CD then? seems Die Hard Gamefan might of done the same at some point.

Atari meant to have quashed such claims by saying there was no need as the Jaguar's Blitter texture maps were just fine?
Or is that yet more Press speculation i wonder?.
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Man alive, just how bad was speculation of what the Jaguar CD might be adding to the existing capabilities of the Jaguar, back in mid'94?.

 

As well as speculating Atari would be adding a texture-mapping chip, people were claiming it'd also boast an extra megabyte of memory and another 64 Bit processor.

 

 

Not to be feeling left out, there was speculation Sega would only be using the Hitachi SH2 chips for the 32X and Saturn would be using 2X SH3 chips instead.

 

Both lots of speculation borne it seems from speculation on how both Sega and Atari were looking to combat the power of the Sony Playstation.

 

 

Good job we don't see speculation like that these days and talk of Sony paying to delay a nice looking 2D game....

 

 

:-)

 

This really should have been the case. By the time the JagCD had been released, it should have definitely included extra system RAM but as I understand it, wasn't ideal since the access to it from the cartridge port would have been slow anyways so maybe that's why. I also think the Memory Track or save game features should have been built-in and internalized. To think that no one would want to save their high-scores or save game points seems very backward thinking to me. Saturn got it right. Either way, built-in MPEG1 and memory save features wouldn't have done the system much favor. What Atari needed to do was commit to developers in getting as many titles on the Jag CD as possible, as quickly as possible, with the many hoped for future releases. They tanked almost a million dollars into Black Ice/White Noise development and got nothing out of it - shit like that just blows my mind.

 

I admit to spending countless hours with Pink FLoyd albums and the VLM. Somewhere in some lost storage, I still have a VHS tape of a VLM choreographed recording for Dark SIde of the Moon that I spent a lot of time on deciding what pattterns to trigger at what points in the album.

 

Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys... with a lot of other alternative music around that time. Also did the same thing as well, recorded music running through the VLM to VHS. Good times :)

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To think that no one would want to save their high-scores or save game points seems very backward thinking to me.

You do realize you're talking about Atari, the company that launched a console in 1993 with only 3 action buttons when the SNES pretty much made 6-button a standard 2 years earlier and Sega was just releasing their own 6-button controller at the same time the Jag came out. There wasn't a whole lot of forward thinking coming from Atari in those days :)

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You do realize you're talking about Atari, the company that launched a console in 1993 with only 3 action buttons when the SNES pretty much made 6-button a standard 2 years earlier and Sega was just releasing their own 6-button controller at the same time the Jag came out. There wasn't a whole lot of forward thinking coming from Atari in those days :)

 

 

Well, the controller button layout sort of says it all really, doesn't it...

 

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atarijaguar_controller.jpg

 

-

Can't Be Arsed

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Haha - didn't do anything except add storage and VLM. Though back at that time, storage was "the thing" leading to far more detailed games. Lots of FMV in the era though, packed onto games that could have been done as easily on cartridge.

 

Immersive games are common now, though they were trying to find their place then.

 

Atari started on this, but it was never finished

 

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