Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

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Crusty Starfish
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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:31 pm

If the Jaguar was the only competition CBM saw, then i guess these guys have an agenda also?

"When the CD32 hit the market, the only real competition the machine faced was Sega’s Mega CD. A machine with which the CD32 actually drew a lot of comparisons, with similar intro screens, a similar technical specification (the Mega CD being based on 2 16-bit 68000 processors as opposed to the 1 68020 processor in the 32) and similar marketing tactics. Both machines were aimed at the same area of the market, although Amiga were keen to point out the additional 16 bits afforded to the CD32, as well as the fact that it didn’t need an ageing donor 16 bit console to get it running. Like a patient being fitted with a pacemaker."


The infamous CD32 advert put outside Sega HQ:

https://crashedfiesta.blogspot.com/2017 ... er-20.html

After Sega's new baby..Commodore bring you the mother :
http://www.bambi-amiga.co.uk/amigahisto ... cd32ad.jpg

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Crusty Starfish
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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:49 am

Looking at your statement here Laird (and you can choose to ignore this post as well..):

"I don't think you understand the difference between computers and consoles.

Commodore had already failed with a console once, while Atari had mostly been very successful.

You cannot compare it to the home computer market, that's just ridiculous."

I honestly don't think you understand how ridiculous you yourself sound.

Atari themselves put their existing 8 bit hardware into console form twice via the 5200 and XEGS, both grand failures especially next to the 2600.

There was talk in The Games Machine of them having plans to put the ST hardware out as a console also.

Commodore repackaged both the C64 and A500 as consoles when it suited,again both utter failures.

The CD32 was an A1200 with a CD drive and the Akiko chip which converted 'chunky' PC graphics (eg DOOM and Wolfenstein) to Amiga bitplanes...as Commodore realised only too well the huge inroads the PC market was making...and without the Akio chip you wouldn't of seen Wing Commander on the CD32

Do we honestly need to waste time reminding you just how much of the games library on Atari's dedicated Consoles the 7800 and Jaguar were either conversions from home micros or remakes of games from home micros.. a little odd then if we supposedly cannot compare home console and computer markets from a gaming perspective you find conversions from both each and every generation as well as the same hardware used for what you see as 2 very different markets.

You say Commodore felt threatened by the Jaguar, well that again is most odd considering at the time the real super consoles hit, Commodore were saying this:

"Our intention is to have a 64bit RISC game console with quad speed CDROM, a (RISC) home computer and a high end workstation"

"Our console will have a performance ratio 20 times more powerful than
the Ultra-64"

Please feel free not to further engage in this thread as is your choice, but please refrain from accusations of myself having any agenda other than the desire to engage in adult discussion, share credible and researched information and give an accurate account of events as they happened.

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:05 am

Quote from David Pleasance interview:

"Upon the launch of the CD32, I decided to hit Sega (who were our biggest competitor for that product genre) where it would really hurt the most. This is a good example of my style of marketing, be different, be aggressive, look outside the circle."

But you told us Laird,that David told you the CD32 had no competition...

And why would they fear the Jaguar if the following quote is true?

" I am not a very technical person, however what I was shown being developed (during our "Due Diligence" process) I found to be mind blowing (though it was in very early prototype form at that time). The engineers had taken a basic (but very powerful RISC chip) and were combining it with the addition of full 3D rendering, multi channel audio, graphics generation and much more (over my head!). All I know is that this was the most significant technical advance in Commodore's history. Interesting that NO ONE subsequently involved in Amiga or Commodore even bothered to try to resurrect it or proceed. What a complete waste!"

So at the time they had their own 64 bit hardware in R+D...

Source for both quotes:

http://obligement.free.fr/articles_trad ... nce_en.php

It's really a struggle to know what to believe with your posts..

You say people told you A to Z but cannot provide any proof to back up pre-order claims..you put a view point from Bill Rehbock,which simply doesn't hold water, didn't Atari's stock price rise after they annouced the IBM deal? and now your painting a picture where David Pleasance had clear blue waters to launch CD32, when all the ample evidence clearly shows they targeted Sega and the Mega CD and suddenly he saw Jaguar as a threat, despite dismissing it publicly at the time and CBM had it's own,more powerful (true?) 64 bit hardware in R+D.

It just doesn't tie in with any recorded evidence, i am sorry but it just doesn't.

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by outdated_gamer » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:09 pm

The Jag is only partially "64-bit", it's still technically 32-bit chips. Then again, even the N64 is gimped in that it's CPU, while 64-bit, is on a reduced 32-bit bus to save up costs. The "bits race" was mostly "smoke and mirrors" anyway and a poor way of advertising a system's capabilities.

The bigger issue was the slow CPU which, while better than the SNES and MD ones, was still a bit insufficient for some demanding tasks, the slow texture mapping of the "Blitter" and the various oversights. Here's a good vid for a casual understanding of why the Jag's hardware setup was not the best:


With a more "thought out" hardware setup, the Jag could have been much more competitive to it's rivals. Although I must say that the idea of a third, "super charged" cartridge-based system to go up and against the popular 16-bit systems still intrigues me, because there was quite a huge chasm between the 300 bucks SNES and MD and the 3000 bucks DOS PC. Let's say Atari could provide a 300 bucks system that could play "PC quality" games with good publisher/developer support - they'd be a big player on the gaming market of the time for sure.

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:07 am

The reason i struggle to put much substance behind the claims of Ex-Atari P. R folks is largely based on the amount of spin they put on realities back then, let alone now.
When the Falcon came out Atari was claiming that they "were selling Falcons as fast as
they could can make them."
Not long after, reports stated that only 110,000 Falcons had been
sold world wide, the majority of those in Germany. So while Atari's statement may have been true, the actual results were not very good. Nobody with an ounce of sense manufacturers more units than they expect to sell, so Atari may well have been doing small production runs of Falcons and being caught out by unexpected demand from retailers, but that doesn't mean the public were beating down the doors to get their hands on the Falcon. ..
In terms of global distribution for the Jaguar - I looked at bit further and found that Beamscope were the official distributor for Canada it seems, but they were seemingly unable to distribute nation-wide.
A lot of Jaguar owners experienced
trouble finding the new stuff, other than around southern Ontario - possibly because Beamscope was located there?
But the point here is..yet again there simply is plenty of credible, proven evidence our there, that distribution was a huge problem for Atari and the Jaguar.
If it's presented as anything else in the article, it's going to be such a shame.
Anyway. ..more info on manufacturering issues and the Jaguar of a sort...
Don Thomas confirmed that the Jaguar VR headset was up in the air until a number of issues have been resolved, claiming Atari rejected Virtuality's optics, although Mr. Thomas wasn't sure as to whether the problem was a lack of quality
or an unfeasible production cost.
He also stated that for the
project to continue, the optics problem would have to be resolved, but he also stated that some other factors would have to come together, with an emphasis on the need for convincing research that the market is ready for a Jag VR headset. He pointed out Virtual Boy's poor sales and suggested that Atari wouldn't want to have the same thing
The last part was rather ironic as poor sales went hand in hand with the Jaguar and Jaguar CD 😂
I found a report from an E3 source which answered a lot of the then Q's about the Jaguar VR system (Not to be confused with the Virtuality Unit Atari had running Zone Hunter on their stand ):
-Here are the stats available from the E3 show.
Head Mounted Display(HMD) - Less than 1 pound. Two degrees of freedom (DOF)
tracking, stereo sound, and 52 degree horizontal by 40 degree verticle field
of view. Uses a single 0.7" TFT active matrix color LCD containing 104,000
Optical System - Custom-designied pupil projection with aspheric acrylic
lenses, beam splitters, mirrors and thin film coatings. Large exit pupil sized of 5mm x 14mm. Can be used by anyone with an interpupiliary distance between
45mm and 70mm.
Focus Adjustment - There is no need for focus adjustment beause the optical system is highly tolerant, projecting a binocular image, aligned to infinity to both eyes.
Tracking System - "V-Trak" is the fastest tracker ever developed for the
consumer market, with a sample rate of 250 Hz and a lagtime of only 4
Optional Joystick - Offers two of six degrees of freedom, allowing greater
control over movements in the virtual world. Jaguar VR games can also be
played with the standard Jaguar game controller.
Docking Station - Houses "V-Trak" position sensing system, a joystick
interface and high-speed communications link to the Jaguar for transferring audio and visual tracking data.
Ok... Now, with that out of the way... on to the specific questions:
1) Is it true that the helmet is NOT sterioscopic, but is a monoscopic
view which has motion tracking?
Yes, the helmet is only monoscopic with no real 3-D effect to be seen, BUT, the motion tracking, WOW, it was nearly instantanious in Missle Command 2000.
We were also told that games would be a snap to convert to the headset since it is only a mono picture (essentially a TV on your face).
2) What would you guestimate was the maximum resolution/color deph?
The resolution is a good bit smaller than a normal TV, but I'm not
exactly sure by how much. It looks to be able to handle a standard
Jag color palette.
3) Does the helmet detect anything besides pitch/roll/yaw? I.E. if you
duck while wearing it does your view go down? If you jerk backwards does the view jerk back? (Yeah, I suspect not...)
Pitch/roll/yaw only... In fact with the initial unit, you can only look
ahead, there is no turning around. But there are plans to sell an upgrade
later that will give you full 360 degree movement.
4) How many buttons on the hand held controler? (Only 2??)
They didn't give us a number, but for the show, they were using a standard
Jag controller for play.
5) How long is the helmet's cord (and how easy is it to get all tangled
up from spinning around to see what's behind you?)
The cord looked to be about 6'-8' in length. The cable runs from the unit
and goes into the back of the headset.
6) This specificaly to Jeff Minter who had the privalage of playing
Missile command 2000: Doesn't your neck get sore??
Several people got a private showing of Missile Command 2000. No, there
was no problem with sore necks, the unit is very light. Head tracking
was the most impressive feature of the unit, but the lack of steroscopic
vision was a real bummer.
7) Is the visual output of the helmet mirrored on the RF so I can watch
along while somebody else uses the helmet?

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by General Opulence » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:45 am

Crusty Starfish wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:07 am

Not long after, reports stated that only 110,000 Falcons had been
sold world wide, the majority of those in Germany.
Do you evidence for these numbers please? They seem pretty high considering the Falcon was deemed a massive failure and Atari discontinued it after a year, even the Amiga 1200 only sold around 250k units and that had much bigger software support, esp as the Falcons are rare as hens teeth on eBay, that number seems rather high?

Edit: after a quick search myself,i found this thread and further down it seems around only 12k units were made which sounds more realistic


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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:50 pm

Hi General Opulence.
Your part quoting me there, but i did state 'Reports' were coming in..so really we are talking 'it's been claimed 110,000 Falcons had been sold' rather than these are independently verified , this claim in particular was from a journalist for a German Atari Jaguar Magazine but sadly like a lot of UK magazine writers at the time, he chose not to name his sources.
I used them just to illustrate to Laird you really can't go on anything Atari said from the Tramiels down as it was all slight of hand and again i am more than happy to explain why i feel so strongly about this.
Atari's talk of producing Falcons as fast as Atari could make them, was of course a deliberate ploy by Atari to suggest demand was greatly outstripping supply.
The annoying thing when anyone tries to nail down actual sales figures for any Atari system, is the raw data simply doesn't appear to exist and when ever Atari themselves asked..they deflected the question.
A prime example here, take mid-1989 STart magazine which had an interview with Sam Tramiel..
Sam was asked how many STs were sold up to that time...a straightforward enough question one would think..yet he resorts to guessing the number and suggests that maybe worldwide it was approaching 1.5 million.
That's a very vague reply and yet we are seeing such suggested replies sadly now being used by the mainstream press and taken as credible..
A few questions later, Sam was asked about projected American sales for
the ST, again a straightforward question..
Sam replies with "... if we don't sell 100,000 machines here this year, then
there'll be big trouble."
That's more credible..but still poorly worded.Sam should of said something along lines of the market research Atari had carried out had indicated Atari could expect to sell anything upto the region of 100,000 machines in the USA alone this year.
The interview also touched upon foreign sales, and Sam Tramiel said that Atari NEVER provides figures on per-country basis...
That alone makes it a nightmare to know which claims to go on.
I really do not wish to single Laird out but to be fair he does have a tendancy to go on what a single source tells him and present it as fact and then get very defensive when it's questioned.
When i (briefly) looked at how the Falcon sales actually matched Atari's suggested demand, it was really a case of pick a number that took your fancy.Everyone commenting seemed to have different ideas.
I saw claims of only 6,000 Falcons made for North America. .
Only 50,000 Falcons made in total..
Falcons selling fantastically well in Germany..
Falcons selling so poorly in Germany they were on sale in local supermarkets 😂
The frustrating thing is..Atari must have had the exact numbers as they made the hardware and supplied the dealerships...yet whenever Tramiel was asked specifics. .deflection.

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:53 pm

I tried to do a bit more research into those pesky manufacturering issues that blighted the Jaguar.
It's only a rumour, but at least 1 Ex-IBM line worker has claimed at least 13% of all Jaguar machines coming off the line were found to be faulty once they underwent the strict Q.A tests.
If true, imagine if they had reached retail.
Is Bill Rehbock really sure it'd been better to have the Jaguar made in China? :-)
I was also unaware until i read High Voltage Software chatting about it,that the original design of the Jaguar only had 14 bit audio,but Atari was convinced by some unknown source, this wasn't good enough, so it was redesigned to have 16 bit CD quality sound..
Mind you,that was of little help when so many Jaguar games lacked in game music :-)

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:23 am

With the new issue of RG due any day now, time for a final few thoughts on the Jaguar situation ahead of the 'official' RG article.

Always good to have quotes from those who worked for Atari, no matter how minor a role, this one made for curious reading :

" I worked for Atari at ECTS the 2nd year Sony attended. The ATARI stand was. next to it. I stood there surrounded by Attack of the Mutant Penguins and that crappy Dinosaur fighting game on JagCD (Primal Rage) and looked over at Wipeout on the Sony stand and realised there and then Aari were going down. I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did after that."

Next up, Tal Funke-Bilu (Atari Corporation, Assistant Editor of AEO and Executive Designer, Beyond Games ) who told people at the time, that Atari had set aside the in-house cash to manufacture and supply to retail, 300,000 Jaguar units.

And yet another US Atari Corp P.R statement to NewsBytes:

"Atari chief Sam Tramiel has told reporters he expects the company to
sell 40,000 to 50,000 Jaguars before Christmas and at least 500,000 in
1994........there will only be four games this year, and perhaps two
dozen the year after...."

Which brings us back again to the Elephant in the room, or this case an earlier topic of discussion in the thread....

Are Darryl Still/Laird really attempting to say European Pre-orders far exceeded Atari's ability to manufacture and supply actual machines ( and were far higher than Sam Tramiel expected to sell in North America in over a year) and if Atari even had been able to supply these 300,000 machines, 300,000 Jaguar owners would of been sat twiddling their thumbs waiting months for the killer apps like AVP to arrive?.

That's just a ludicrous claim to make.
Sure lots of people speculated some big sales numbers for the Jaguar ( ID software stated they hoped Atari could at least ship , if not actually sell, over 500,000 Jaguar consoles for example) but Darryl ' s numbers are simply ludicrous.

And there's no escaping the fact if Atari had bought some time by meeting demands in the UK etc and avoided the angry parent situation, it'd only been a matter of weeks before people started demanding the very games Atari had promised via those 2 page Let The Games Begin adverts.. (Hardball III, Return To Zork, Battlewheels etc never arrived) and in case of Red Line Racing, aka Chequered Flag II, why the hell it didn't look anything like the fake screenshot in the advert.

https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discuss ... t-for-life

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:51 am

I realise there are walls of text here - but it really does make for some good reading. It’s nice to have some real research done for a change where many sources of information are used rather than the minimal used in the past.
I’ve not got my new issue of RG yet, and I really am hopeful that NEW content has been found for the Jag article and the same old few people haven’t been the only resource of info.
What I hope to gain from the info I have shared here is, in addition to what RG and its main JAG contributors have provided, is another deeper look at the system with views from a much wider selection of people that were, in reality, quite easy to track down - and find articles and info without too much trouble.
Let’s look at this thread as an iditional accomliment to whatever appears in the mag. There isn’t much more to add to this thread, so as I await the postman with his big juicy sack.... please, have a read through as there has been some good time and effort put into this 🙂

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:37 pm

Rather than flood the mag feedback thread with my thoughts on the Jag article, I'll post them in this thread. will link it to the feedback thread though.

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Re: Happy Birthday ATARI JAGUAR!

Post by Crusty Starfish » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:37 pm

I have no desire for any of my feedback or general comments regarding any article or work of the magazines writers to be misinterpreted by them or causal readers.
I am quite opiniated (or so the wife would have me believe :-))) and it was my honest hope that with an Anniversary article on the Jaguar, the magazines writer could reach some fresh voices on it's flagship games.
Taking Rayman as an example, might i humbly suggest the games designer, Serge Hascoet as a potential candidate?
Whilst Atari did employ small teams compared to those working on rival platforms, I am of the mindset not every story has yet been told.
I'd also like to return to the aspect laird mentioned in the article itself and discussion on here, the inability to fulfill backorders.
As i'm sure Laird is aware, this was far from being soley an Atari issue (indeed there were times in Atari's history they had the exact opposite problem, machines sitting in warehouses with the consumer market stagnating until Atari secured the next big thing.A prime example being the 2600 prior to Space Invaders arriving on it..).
Mattel found themselves unable to fulfill back orders for the intellivision (perhaps the Jaguar of it's day with it's hybrid hardware which sacrificed superior graphics for speed making it ideal for certain genres, poorly suited to others).
Indeed had they been able to meet initial demand in the 1st year or so, Atari itself back then might of found itself in a very different position.
I personally think it's unwise to suggest as the articles did, that Atari found itself in a unique position with the Jaguar, when as is often the case with the games industry, it was merely history repeating itself...

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