Shin Force | Sega Saturn 3D Capabilities

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Shin Force ~ Saturn ~
3D Capabilities
Sega Force Vault | 08.10.1998
     > 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 Saturn draws perspective correct floors for fighting games (or whatever), while the PSX suffers noticeably from texture warping.

Fighters MEGAMiX

     > 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:

  • Alien Trilogy
  • Black Dawn 
  • Bug!
  • Bug Too!
  • Bulk Slash
  • Burning Rangers
  • Christmas Nights
  • Clockwork Knight
  • Clockwork Knight 2
  • Contra: Legacy of War
  • Croc
  • Dark Savior
  • Darklight Conflict
  • Daytona USA
  • Daytona USA CCE
  • Dead or Alive
  • Deep Fear
  • Decathlete
  • Die Hard Arcade
  • Die Hard Trilogy
  • Duke Nukem 3D
  • F1 Challenge
  • Fighters Megamix
  • Fighting Vipers
  • Ghen War
  • Grandia
  • GT 24
  • GunGriffon 
  • GunGriffon II
  • Hang-On GP
  • High Velocity
  • King the Spirits 2
  • Last Bronx
  • Layer Section II
  • Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Machine Head
  • Manx TT
  • Mass Destruction
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SS II
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SS III
  • NBA Action 98
  • Nights
  • Pandemonium
  • Panzer Dragoon
  • Panzer Dragoon Zwei
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • Powerslave
  • Psychic Killer Tomaru
  • Quake
  • Radiant Silvergun
  • Resident Evil
  • Scorcher
  • Sega Rally
  • Sega Touring Car
  • Shining Force III ~Part 1~
  • Shining Force III ~Part 2~
  • Sky Target
  • Sonic R
  • Soukyugurentai
  • Steep Slope Sliders
  • Stellar Assault
  • Street Racer Extra
  • Thunder Force V
  • Thunder Strike 2
  • Tomb Raider
  • Virtua Cop
  • Virtua Cop 2
  • Virtua Fighter
  • Virtua Fighter Remix
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Virtua Fighter Kids
  • Virtual On
  • Wing Arms
  • Winter Heat
  • Wipeout XL
  • World Series BB
  • World Series BB II
  • World 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:

  • All Japan Featuring Virtua
  • Alone in the Dark
  • AMOK
  • Andretti Racing
  • Battle Stations
  • Black Fire
  • Choro Q Park
  • Courier Crisis
  • Cyber Speedway
  • D
  • Destruction Derby
  • Elan Doree
  • Enemy Zero
  • Final Fight Revenge
  • Hexen
  • House of the Dead
  • Independence Day
  • Mechwarrior 2
  • Mystaria
  • Need For Speed
  • NHL All Star Hockey 98
  • Off-World Interceptor Extreme
  • PGA Tour 97
  • Road Rash
  • Shellshock
  • Shining Force III ~Part 3~
  • Shining Force III ~Premium~
  • Shining the Holy Ark
  • Syutokoh Battle 97
  • Terra Cresta 3D
  • Valhollian
  • Virtua Racing
  • World Cup Golf
  •      > 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.


    Contributing source: Gamers Republic Magazine
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