Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

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koopa42
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by koopa42 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:22 pm

gman72 wrote:who the heck is this David guy anyway?
Who cares? I like that there is a new Jag poster who knows his stuff!

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by HEAVYface » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:26 pm

The Laird wrote:I actually think the vast majority of Jaguar (and Lynx) box art is absolutely gorgeous, something people always say when they see my collection too. Never heard anyone express dislike for it before but each to their own.
true, true different strokes and that.

I did a google search on jaguar and lynx box art - it didn't change my mind. some of its not bad, but quite a lot is. However my point got lost a bit - it's not just the box art I find lacking (I can deal with sh!te cover art if the game is great and looks the part) - its the sprite / character designs and the way that the graphics are drawn I find most unappealing in the majority of the games. I'm mainly talking about games on the lynx here - I had one and this is what put me off the jag.

however - I remember seeing trevor mc fur in edge magazine and they were going on about 65000 colours and all I could see was really poorly drawn/pre rendered and cheesily designed graphics with a lot of gradients and total lack of understanding perspective...but hey, 65000 colours ;)

Atari 2600 game boxes are awesome however.

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by crusto » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:07 pm

The Laird wrote:
Liamh1982 wrote:Interesting point regarding emulation - Saturn emulation has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years (almost entirely due to SSF) despite architecture almost as convoluted and complex as the Jag's.

The difference is that a lot of people want a good Saturn emu and want it to run a wide range of games.

It seems with the Jag that there's an attitude of "let's just get the usual suspects playable and balls to the rest".
Not really, Jag chipset is a lot more complicated than the Saturn - it has no CPU for a start.

The second part is also untrue, many of the Jag's best/most well known games don't work in emulation at all. Virtual Jaguar is the most competent of the 4 but still cannot play Doom, Power Drive Rally, Super Burnout, Iron Soldier or Ultra Vortek.
It seems from that then that the jag was doomed back then, and it's still a turd to develop for now.
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Shinobi » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:57 pm

I remember a shop in Cardiff selling the Jaguers off about £30 with Cybermorph.. I got to play Tempest on Jeff Minters Jaguar about 2 years ago in Replay and it seemed quite an easy game as in I lasted a long time! The shop owner who was going sell me a Jaguar now want sell it just because he knows I want it, and he thinks he can get more money from me by messing me around :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Found all my Game Zone magazines in the attic and the Lynx games always looked brilliant from the screenshots, they also reviewed loads of Lynx game sthat all scored highly so I don't see how people can say the Lynx is under-rated.. I think the Battery life was the main reason it failed, better battery life and it would be a must have
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by crusto » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:45 am

Yeah, they should had attached a dynamo to it. Problem solved.

Seriously though, my best friends cousin owned one and loved it, but was sick of the constant need to be close to a plug socket so eventually got rid.
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by killbot » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:05 pm

Is it the most underrated? No, probably not. It is underrated though. When you see what the machine is capable of technically it's impressive for the time - on a par with the 3DO that retailed for about three times the price.

I think among my peer group at school in the mid-90s what sunk the Jag was a. the anticipation of the new machines from Sega, Sony and Nintendo and b. the fact that most of the games seemed to be slightly tarted up conversions of games we already had for our current machines (generally the SNES, MD or Amiga). It needed a game that really smacked you round the face with its technical brilliance and made it clear why the Jag was the machine to have but (though Tempest 2000 came closest) it never really got that. Did Cybermorph look better than StarFox? Not really, and when you saw it moving it seemed a bit slow and repetitive. Why would anyone who had a MD want to play Chequered Flag when Virtua Racing was available on the machine they already owned? Doom and AvP looked alright but at the time FPS games were still mainly the preserve of techy spods hunched over PCs. The popular genres with kids were platformers and (particularly) fighting games and the Jag didn't really have anything to offer in either category. A Bubsy game? Who wanted any more of those? Zool 2? I could buy that for my Amiga for £20, why would I spend £200 on a whole new console to play it again?

One thing I will say - and I've said it before - is that the controller is underrated. It's nowhere near the abomination that some people would have you believe.
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outdated_gamer
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by outdated_gamer » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:18 pm

They also made the "Pro" controller which seems to be an improvement over the original one, with more buttons and better D-pad:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... nd_pro.jpg

And the phone buttons seem like they were usefull in games like Doom, for changing weapons and such.

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by NorthWay » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:29 pm

The Laird wrote: DRAM controller
2 x Stereo DAC
UART
64-bit Data Bus
Really?
I wont underestimate the complexity of writing a Jaguar emulator, but a little more soberness in waving the flag would be appreciated. Thanks.

(Oh, and I like the Jaguar and would like to get one.)

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by outdated_gamer » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:34 pm

Lost Dragon wrote:
The Laird wrote:I am not talking about the kind of documentation used to create games, I am talking about the documentation needed to recreate the chips - i.e. how they work.

Also, until recently anyway, you had 32-bit chips on a pC trying to emulate 64-bit instructions, which explains a lot of the speed problems.

The main problem with Jag emulation though, as has been noted by the emu coders, is the Jag's bugs. Different coders found their own work arounds for these and that means you have to program the emulator to not just know what the bugs are, but know how all the work arounds work too!
:? Erm, well given that likes of Jeff Minter on his 1st crack at a Jaguar game, coded the chip's backwards in his words to create the wonderous Tempest 2000, let alone his souped up version of Mode 7 and since the Jaguar died at retail, likes of Gorf and Atari Owl have not only discovered the crippling bugs in Jaguar chipset, but way's around them, surely the information on the Jaguar is pretty much out there? i mean sure Jeff used the 68000, GPU and Blitter, but if he's sat there coding chipsbackwards and getting scolded by chip designers for doing so, they don't appear that hard to figure out, compared to say Capcom sat there thinking, ahh fer f*cks sake we've got 2 CPU's here, but we cannot run both without 1 waiting on the other, this VDP1 is a sprite generator, the VDP2 is a background processor, a 32 voice sound processor with 2 CPU interfaces and a FH1 processor and it's a CD based machine, so why so O.T.T?, a bus state controller, CPU interface, not to mention gubbins here Sega never told us about...


Why don't those that found work arounds to the Jags bugs share information?.Jaguar community that inward looking?.
If we go by Carmack's words, the biggest issue on the Jag was the CPU. Having a similar CPU core than the GPU and sound chip would probably be better for the Jag. And Atari did make the "COJAG" Arcade board based on Jaguar hardware but replaced the 68000 chip with a R3000 one (& added more RAM and a HDD).

Maybe the Jaguar was just a bit too rushed? A lot of the info I hear of it makes me think so...

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by The Laird » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:54 pm

The Jaguar doesn't have a CPU, the M68k is a slave chip. Atari Games took the Jaguar design and added a CPU (different ones used on different games), added a hard drive and gave it more RAM. I wouldn't say the Jaguar was rushed, I would say that it wasn't properly debugged and done on too tight a budget. The development kit also completely sucked, meaning people had to make their own tools. And Atari wondered why games were taking so long to develop!

It would have also helped if the GPU had been given its own bus, RAM and cache. But that is another story.

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:55 pm

The Laird wrote:
Lost Dragon wrote::? Really spun out now, so just to recap:

Bug work arounds found by Jaguar homebrew coders, but these solutions not shared into public domain, so emulators suffer?-could they not like, i dunno, ask Gorf or the Owl? or is it like the masonic lodge of Jaguar development?

David is all like Atari Man, most creative dudes on planet, let us do what the hell we want (and clearly never seen the 3DO software selection in terms of original titles..) which totally goes agaig'nst comments made by both Battlemorph and Freelancer 2120 developers who've gone on records saying how Atari was telling them to put in loads of textures etc, so games could compete with 3DO/Saturn and PS1 and...Jeff Minter who said Atari took Defender 2000 away from his vision (Defender Plus was more along lines of what he wanted to do) because they had ideas what a CD based game should be like and it appeared on cart anyway.
At risk of repeating myself, I will say all the same things again in a different way.

Of course homebrew coders share stuff, but the commercial programmers didn't! If the emulator coders don't know what tricks they used then how the hell are they supposed to emulate them? If the chipsets and bugs are not properly documented then how the hell are they supposed to emulate them?

David Wightman only had one game published for the Jaguar, he had loads published for the PC, PlayStation, Amiga and had a game on the Saturn too. So he clearly has plenty of experience with other platforms. But I am not going to speak for him so you can think what you like.
Right on the one hand your saying that Gorf and Atari Owl found these bugs and ways around them, long after the machine died at retail and thus these bugs were not discovered by commercial coders at the time and that there have been several emulators over the years, so by that reasoning, someone making a Jaguar emulator in say last 2 years, would really need to speak to either Gorf or Owl to find out how best to write a working Jaguar emulator and not commercial coders as they struggled with the hardware.



I'm no coder, but if i was going to have a crack at it and knew there were people in the Jaguar community that knew the hardware, warts and all, i'd approach them before i even started coding, that's how they are supposed to emulate them.

Plus, if so many Jaguar games were just coding to the 68000, then the hardware could have have had a spinning Jenny inside it, emulating certain Jaguar games should by all accounts be a doddle.

No-one is asking you to speak for David, we are just raising eyebrows at comments he made and thought you, having interviewed him, might know more of the context in which they were said.Plus if he only had 1 published game on the format, he's hardly well placed to comment on other systems.So he had stuff published on Playstation, yet was happy to rant on the format's software being bland etc? yeah nice work there David, censored it off, but happy to support it....

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:58 pm

The Laird wrote:The Jaguar doesn't have a CPU, the M68k is a slave chip. Atari Games took the Jaguar design and added a CPU (different ones used on different games), added a hard drive and gave it more RAM. I wouldn't say the Jaguar was rushed, I would say that it wasn't properly debugged and done on too tight a budget. The development kit also completely sucked, meaning people had to make their own tools. And Atari wondered why games were taking so long to develop!

It would have also helped if the GPU had been given its own bus, RAM and cache. But that is another story.
But Jaguar games were coded to the 68000, no matter what Atari intended it to be used for, reality was coders were familar with it and used it.

The debugging issue is a good subject to debate, in 1st interview with EDGE, ATD quick to big up work they'd done debugging hardware and features they'd asked for, later interview with Edge..ohh Jaguar jhardware is great, but suffers from several bugs.
Well was'nt it their job to find said bugs?

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:07 pm

ATD talking to EDGE in interview from Feb'95

Fred Gill:'It was Flare Technology.They rang us, it must have been 3 years ago, saying they'd developed this new chip that they wanted somebody to test.They'd done the silicon, and they needed to test the functionailty.Then it became apparent that it was the Atari Jaguar.

Chris Gibbs 'At that stage nobody had heard of the Jaguar, it was'nt even a rumour.

Fred 'so we gave them some help debugging the chipset, and somew suggestions for instructions that could go into it.Then, since we had that experience, it seemed silly not to be doing a product.

So, ATD were contacted about debugging/testing the chipset in 1992 at a time no-one knew anything of the Jaguar.

In follow up interview, as i quoted from in Jaguar/3DO thread they complain off Atari wanting them to make Battlemorph look like Shockwave on 3DO, lots of texture-mapping etc, how contract to finish Battlemorph made them miss 1st round of PS1 releases etc.

Just to repeat myself again, ATD talking about Cybermorph, let alone Battlemorph, had already discovered they could'nt use the Sound DSP to do 3D Rotation, it had no spare capacity, they knew you could'nt use PC coding tricks, that the Blitter had a side-effect that made it good for texture-mapping, not as good as dedicated texture-mapping, but it worked and they knew Jaguar was 10X slower doing texture-mapping than Gouraud Shading so i'd wager there were commercial developers who knew their way around the hardware well enough, did'nt discover everything, sure, but very happy to discuss what they had found, side effects of hardware and all.

So, ATD, John Carmack , Rebellion, Jeff Minter etc etc have all been happy to discuss how they found and used the hardware in numerous interviews at the time and since and yet still it's classed as undocumented?.

I personally just do not see Jaguar hardware being that much different to Saturns in terms of being a censored to emulate, other than Saturn had the much vaster software libary, thus more coders keen to emulate it, happy to be proved wrong, as technology/chipsets not my area.

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by The Laird » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:26 pm

Lost Dragon wrote: Right on the one hand your saying that Gorf and Atari Owl found these bugs and ways around them, long after the machine died at retail and thus these bugs were not discovered by commercial coders at the time and that there have been several emulators over the years, so by that reasoning, someone making a Jaguar emulator in say last 2 years, would really need to speak to either Gorf or Owl to find out how best to write a working Jaguar emulator and not commercial coders as they struggled with the hardware.
No that is not what I am saying and not sure how I can put this any simpler so you will understand and get what I am saying.

The commercial programmers knew of the bugs - found their own ways around them.
Gorf knew of the bugs - found his way around them.
Atari Owl knew of the bugs - found his way around them.
Other homebrew coders knew of the bugs - found their way around them.

Everyone was using DIFFERENT workarounds for these bugs. The homebrewers ones are well known. The ones commercial programmers used are not, so how are the emulator coders supposed to know how they did it?

Until the emulator coders know every single one of these workarounds then they will not be able to get the emulator working 100% compatible. The only way they can discover what workarounds the commercial programmers used is by trial and error or finding documentation for them.

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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:37 pm

koopa42 wrote:
gman72 wrote:who the heck is this David guy anyway?
Who cares? I like that there is a new Jag poster who knows his stuff!
Put it this way, if, like myself you were a day 1 Jaguar owner, who'd saved up his overtime money (i was on crap wages back then) on a Jaguar+games and continued to do so for a long period after, and you were struggling to get your head around why the software quality went from one extreme to another, from AVP, Doom, Tempest 2000 etc to yet another 256 colour SNES port or Fight For Life and the one CD game that just blew your mind from the earliest preview (Freelancer) had been canned, you'd start gathering as much info as you could as to just why things turned out the way they did.

:lol:

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