> It really amazes me how so many people are still clinging to the belief/hope
that the Sega Saturn is not capable
of running great 3D games. I get at least a few email messages a month
with regards to this subject, and it's high time the masses were properly
informed on the matter. I really don't know if they'll ever be convinced
otherwise, but here are the hard, cold, accurate, true facts of the matter.
> It is true that the Sega Saturn does not have as many
built in hardware features
for 3D as, for instance, the Nintendo 64 (N64). It
is also true that the Saturn has two main processors.
> The Sega Saturn can do many of the same 3D effects
regardless of that. How? Simple... It's known as good old fashioned programming
code (or software). Thanks
to Sega's dedicated development teams, there's no shortage
of fine software available for the Saturn.
> However, the Sega Saturn does have two processors
to handle whatever graphics features the programmers wish to create. That
includes light source shading and transparencies, which are two of the
effects most often referred to as being "impossible" on the Saturn
(even though they are used consistently on the Saturn).
Both the Sony Playstation (PSX) and Sega Saturn
suffer from texture warping. But since the Saturn uses quadrilaterals
(bilinear approximation) instead of the PSX's use of triangles
(linear approximation) to correct it, the Saturn's problem
with texture warping is less noticeable.
> A problem unique to the PSX is the visible seams
between polygons. It is caused by errors in rounding numbers due to minimal
accuracy in the PSX's hardware polygon generator . It can
be hidden, to varying degrees, but is essentially unavoidable. Both
the Sega Saturn and N64 do not suffer from
this "built in" problem that the PSX has.
> Contrary to popular thought, the Sega Saturn does
have hardware support for Gouraud lighting effects. The Saturn
uses additive lighting whereas the PSX uses multiplicative
lighting. Multiplicative lighting is generally easier to work with, but
very dramatic lighting effects (as in Quake for Saturn)
are easier to create with the Saturn's use of additive lighting.
> Since the Sega Saturn has two processors, it can
use one for backgrounds and one for main graphics. The VPD2
is normally used for backgrounds (which can even be drawn transparent)
while other polygons are rendered by the VPD1. In fact, the
draws perspective correct floors for fighting games (or whatever), while
the PSX suffers noticeably from texture warping.
> There seems to be quite a misconception that there are hardly any 3D
games on Sega Saturn. Well, here's a list of Saturn
games which make great use of 3D graphics:
Legacy of War
Suit Gundam SS II
Suit Gundam SS III
Force III ~Part 1~
Force III ~Part 2~
Series BB II
Series BB 98
> Add to the above list a whole series of great 2D titles, and you have
yourself one great library of games to choose from. As of August 1998,
the Sega Saturn still has over 100 games in development for
it, so I'm sure the list of great 3D titles will grow within the next year.
As a matter of fact, I've added some more games to the list that weren't
in the original article:
in the Dark
of the Dead
Star Hockey 98
Force III ~Part 3~
Force III ~Premium~
the Holy Ark
> If after reading this article you still cling to the ignorant notion/belief/hope
that the Sega Saturn "can't do 3D", then that's your choice.
All I'm doing here is providing you with the opportunity to inform
yourself. Over the last three plus years it's been excessively easy
to learn what the Saturn can't do (both factually
and fictionally). However, Sega/Shin Force endeavors to provide
its readers with the option to learn what it can do as well. Take
it for what it's worth.