Nokia N-Gage/Tapwave Zodiacs it the Sega 32X/3DO/Atari Jaguar of portable gaming?

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ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 120
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: Nokia N-Gage/Tapwave Zodiacs it the Sega 32X/3DO/Atari Jaguar of portable gaming?

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » August 19th, 2017, 12:21 am

Using 640x480 screens as your basic 3d building block, with a cpu that slow?

The 3DO was badly designed.

Can't even manage basic 2d scrolling without stutter?

The 3DO was badly designed.

One joystick port? A five button controller?

The 3DO was badly designed.

A $700 launch with no killer app?

The hardware wasn't the only thing that was badly designed.

This system only succeeds when compared to some of the worst mainstream consoles of all time. It's a cautionary tale of corporate hubris, with a rare second act that almost turns it into an inspiring underdog tale. Much like the N-Gage.

Nobody will deny it's fun to check out...

It's library is at least a far cry, from the failure of the CDi.

But this thing can't even keep pace with the Saturn, much less the PSX and N64. In every measurable way, it was just the best of all the worst options.

goldenband
Posts: 146
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 10:29 pm

Re: Nokia N-Gage/Tapwave Zodiacs it the Sega 32X/3DO/Atari Jaguar of portable gaming?

Postby goldenband » August 19th, 2017, 12:41 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide, there's always room for disagreement about this stuff, but you don't need to repeat "The 3DO was badly designed" over and over again to us as though you're lecturing a roomful of idiots. Please be civil and courteous; it's not like the world needs more of the opposite.

I've already acknowledged that the 3DO had an underpowered CPU, and most of what you describe falls under exactly that category. (BTW the 3DO's internal resolution is 320x240, and it interpolates it to 640x480 -- as far as I'm aware, it's not attempting to work at a "native" 640x480.)

No one's claiming the 3DO was the greatest console ever, and their misguided business plan is irrelevant here. My point is that the platform's architecture -- the way all its bits work together, from the programmer's point of view -- was actually rather elegant. That can't overcome a weak CPU, but programmers who've worked on the system (and gotten past the awful dev tools) have commented that the 3DO had a certain thoughtfulness and flexibility that worked well for them, and allowed them to write portable, high-level code.

(This also points up a real flaw in the 3DO's design: you literally couldn't get at the "bare metal" -- by design, everything had to go through the OS -- so super-optimized, demoscene-style code wasn't happening.)

To take one example, the 3DO allowed you to dynamically allocate color bit depth to different objects, while the PS1 had a much more granular, all-or-nothing approach. When 3DO > PS1 ports started happening, developers found they either wasted a lot of RAM or were forced to reduce the color count. As a result there are several ports that, despite the PS1's superior CPU, look decidedly worse -- because that aspect of the PS1's design was less flexible and developer-friendly than the 3DO.

As for a single controller port, hey, at least I can play multiplayer games without buying a multitap. That's something I can't say of the PC Engine: strange how people love to carry on about the 3DO's one controller port, yet seem to give the PCE a free pass.

jon
Posts: 315
Joined: April 9th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Re: Nokia N-Gage/Tapwave Zodiacs it the Sega 32X/3DO/Atari Jaguar of portable gaming?

Postby jon » August 20th, 2017, 4:41 pm

Not everyone holds the 5th generation in high esteem. In fact, if I had my choice, I'd pick the 3do and Jaguar over the PS1 and N64. Some people act like the PS1 is a must have, that you can't live without it. But I'll take a 3do over a system with garbage, GARBAGE graphics, long load times, and extremely large 3d worlds. I get the feeling some of these RPG maniacs think life isn't worth living if you don't have a PS1. There are people that can live without it.

Sonicx9
Posts: 400
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Re: Nokia N-Gage/Tapwave Zodiacs it the Sega 32X/3DO/Atari Jaguar of portable gaming?

Postby Sonicx9 » September 24th, 2017, 1:13 pm

Update: BTW I ask good old John Linneman from Digital Foundry/DF Retro on twitter about the 3DO 2D games framerate, and he did indeed confirm that the 3DO original version of Gex 1 was 30FPS compared to the smooth 60FPS PS1, Sega Saturn, PC versions.: https://twitter.com/dark1x/status/911833733833134080 He also said that the 3DO version often drops below 30FPS target as well. This does prove how poorly optimized the hardware was for 2D games compared to the SNES/Sega Genesis when it comes to 2D games!


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