The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

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

The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby Sonicx9 » June 1st, 2019, 7:40 pm

I ask because the GBA combines the strengths of the two without some of their bottlenecks/limitations such as SNES slowdowns, SNES lack proper sprite scaling outside of enhancement chips, 32X lacking half transparency, does not need to worry about the old outdated Mega Drive/Genesis, etc. Also the one thing GBA and 32X have in common is PWM audio features except the GBA PWM channels are used more often for in game music/sound/voices, etc. Where 32X used it more for precaution audio outside of rare exceptions due to cart size limits.

Is this a real acourate comparison or no, is the GBA really SNES with a Sega 32x style add-on that never came. And even though the 32X is way more powerful then GBA, why was the GBA hardware better utilized was it dev kits, short life span, hardware design, etc? Because the 32X was GBA before GBA in most things but name.

ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 240
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » June 7th, 2019, 8:02 am

It's always fun to compare these two, because they represent two very different approaches to budget hardware. Sure, the 32x clearly wins in raw color count and screen resolution, but overall?

One way way to describe it, is that the GBA is a better designed 32x that requires just half the cpu power to achieve similar performance, or even better. Seriously, who knows what Sega was thinking with the 32x, beyond "Now this is podracing!"? Sure, it's exciting to see what two 32 bit cpus can do for a 68000 16-bit cpu, but not in the good way, not when they spend most of the program's execution getting in each other's way. And especially when there's no built in support for even the basics like smooth hardware scrolling.

The Megadrive isn't their handicap. In many cases, it's the only thing keeping this idea from being a complete disaster. I've never seen anything else like it.

By contrast, the GBA is much easier to understand. Think of it as what would happen if Sony never partnered with Nintendo on the SNES soundchip, because that petty grudge isn't going away anytime soon. Then imagine a Nintendo fan from 1991 writing a wish list of things of features that would improve the SNES, like twice as many layers of mode 7, and way more than enough speed to lap Sonic twice. And that's just the start -

In many ways, it's the Super Super Nintendo. (Especially if you just let the original Gameboy hardware handle the soundtrack. I'm looking at you, Koji Igarashi.)

In terms of what's actually happening under the hood, rest assured that it technically has everything you need to make certain your original 2d games play well enough, which is a step above the 32x hardware, but.

And that "but" is where the fine print would warn you that here's a huge minefield to work around, if you go for anything more ambitious. It's already obvious in the varying results of 3d games, but this isn't a machine designed for easy ports or software emulation either. Even though it's theoretically very easy, and apparently, very tempting to do, the GBA also has ways of making your performance suffer if you even think about trying it. Mostly because many of its features are already software emulated.

Welcome to the exciting world of budget hardware design, 21st century edition. (Sure, it was technically made in the 20th century, but so was Wrestlemania 2000.)

Although, keep in mind, I'm still dumbing this all down to the laziest possible answer that will still let me sleep at night. Giving you the actual answer you deserve would require me to completely understand how to make my ARM and my Thumb play nicely together.

Like that's ever going to happen?

There's only so much you should expect from an arts and humanities major. We'll both be lucky if this introduction to the hardware gets a passing grade from someone who really knows what they're talking about.

pacman000
Posts: 899
Joined: December 30th, 2015, 9:04 am

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby pacman000 » June 7th, 2019, 9:52 am

One way way to describe it, is that the GBA is a better designed 32x that requires just half the cpu power to achieve similar performance, or even better. Seriously, who knows what Sega was thinking with the 32x, beyond "Now this is podracing!"? Sure, it's exciting to see what two 32 bit cpus can do for a 68000 16-bit cpu, but not in the good way, not when they spend most of the program's execution getting in each other's way. And especially when there's no built in support for even the basics like smooth hardware scrolling.

The Megadrive isn't their handicap. In many cases, it's the only thing keeping this idea from being a complete disaster. I've never seen anything else like it.

That sounds like the same complaints the Atari Jaguar's hardware got, tho it did have (buggy) support for scrolling, shading, etc.

MSR1701
Posts: 27
Joined: April 29th, 2019, 7:53 am

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby MSR1701 » June 7th, 2019, 1:50 pm

Given how the 32X was never pushed to its limits, it's hard to say. However, look at Darxide and Virtua Fighter as examples of what the 32X could do, then look at Stuntman for the GBA (which I found to be more enjoyable than the PS2 version).

Sonicx9
Posts: 1319
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby Sonicx9 » June 7th, 2019, 4:34 pm

Response time.

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:It's always fun to compare these two, because they represent two very different approaches to budget hardware. Sure, the 32x clearly wins in raw color count and screen resolution, but overall?

One way way to describe it, is that the GBA is a better designed 32x that requires just half the cpu power to achieve similar performance, or even better. Seriously, who knows what Sega was thinking with the 32x, beyond "Now this is podracing!"? Sure, it's exciting to see what two 32 bit cpus can do for a 68000 16-bit cpu, but not in the good way, not when they spend most of the program's execution getting in each other's way. And especially when there's no built in support for even the basics like smooth hardware scrolling.

The Megadrive isn't their handicap. In many cases, it's the only thing keeping this idea from being a complete disaster. I've never seen anything else like it.

By contrast, the GBA is much easier to understand. Think of it as what would happen if Sony never partnered with Nintendo on the SNES soundchip, because that petty grudge isn't going away anytime soon. Then imagine a Nintendo fan from 1991 writing a wish list of things of features that would improve the SNES, like twice as many layers of mode 7, and way more than enough speed to lap Sonic twice. And that's just the start -

In many ways, it's the Super Super Nintendo. (Especially if you just let the original Gameboy hardware handle the soundtrack. I'm looking at you, Koji Igarashi.)

In terms of what's actually happening under the hood, rest assured that it technically has everything you need to make certain your original 2d games play well enough, which is a step above the 32x hardware, but.

And that "but" is where the fine print would warn you that here's a huge minefield to work around, if you go for anything more ambitious. It's already obvious in the varying results of 3d games, but this isn't a machine designed for easy ports or software emulation either. Even though it's theoretically very easy, and apparently, very tempting to do, the GBA also has ways of making your performance suffer if you even think about trying it. Mostly because many of its features are already software emulated.

Welcome to the exciting world of budget hardware design, 21st century edition. (Sure, it was technically made in the 20th century, but so was Wrestlemania 2000.)

Although, keep in mind, I'm still dumbing this all down to the laziest possible answer that will still let me sleep at night. Giving you the actual answer you deserve would require me to completely understand how to make my ARM and my Thumb play nicely together.

Like that's ever going to happen?

There's only so much you should expect from an arts and humanities major. We'll both be lucky if this introduction to the hardware gets a passing grade from someone who really knows what they're talking about.


It does look like GBA ARM 7 CPU where way easier to develop for then the 32X SH2 CPUs. Not helped that it need to co-work with the outdated Mega Drive/Genesis 68000 did no favorites either. Also the GBA ARM 7 is more powerful then the 3DO ARM 6 even though 3DO had better GPU and CD storage advantages, but was held back by the ARM 6 CPU. Also according to someone on Neogaf they say ARM is the modern equivalent of the Motorola 68000 which they are kind of right on.

pacman000 wrote:That sounds like the same complaints the Atari Jaguar's hardware got, tho it did have (buggy) support for scrolling, shading, etc.


Ironic considering both the 32X and Atari Jaguar both where hard to develop for to get optimal results. And what other buggy support it had besides scrolling, shading, etc?

MSR1701 wrote:Given how the 32X was never pushed to its limits, it's hard to say. However, look at Darxide and Virtua Fighter as examples of what the 32X could do, then look at Stuntman for the GBA (which I found to be more enjoyable than the PS2 version).


32X when utilized can outperform the GBA as Doom 32X runs better and looks better then GBA Doom, and the 3D on 32X can put the GBA to a shame. It just the 32X short life span/rushed development/funky set up/small cart size/and bad dev kits really held back the potential of the console.

MSR1701
Posts: 27
Joined: April 29th, 2019, 7:53 am

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby MSR1701 » June 7th, 2019, 4:38 pm

Sonicx9 wrote:Response time.

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:It's always fun to compare these two, because they represent two very different approaches to budget hardware. Sure, the 32x clearly wins in raw color count and screen resolution, but overall?

One way way to describe it, is that the GBA is a better designed 32x that requires just half the cpu power to achieve similar performance, or even better. Seriously, who knows what Sega was thinking with the 32x, beyond "Now this is podracing!"? Sure, it's exciting to see what two 32 bit cpus can do for a 68000 16-bit cpu, but not in the good way, not when they spend most of the program's execution getting in each other's way. And especially when there's no built in support for even the basics like smooth hardware scrolling.

The Megadrive isn't their handicap. In many cases, it's the only thing keeping this idea from being a complete disaster. I've never seen anything else like it.

By contrast, the GBA is much easier to understand. Think of it as what would happen if Sony never partnered with Nintendo on the SNES soundchip, because that petty grudge isn't going away anytime soon. Then imagine a Nintendo fan from 1991 writing a wish list of things of features that would improve the SNES, like twice as many layers of mode 7, and way more than enough speed to lap Sonic twice. And that's just the start -

In many ways, it's the Super Super Nintendo. (Especially if you just let the original Gameboy hardware handle the soundtrack. I'm looking at you, Koji Igarashi.)

In terms of what's actually happening under the hood, rest assured that it technically has everything you need to make certain your original 2d games play well enough, which is a step above the 32x hardware, but.

And that "but" is where the fine print would warn you that here's a huge minefield to work around, if you go for anything more ambitious. It's already obvious in the varying results of 3d games, but this isn't a machine designed for easy ports or software emulation either. Even though it's theoretically very easy, and apparently, very tempting to do, the GBA also has ways of making your performance suffer if you even think about trying it. Mostly because many of its features are already software emulated.

Welcome to the exciting world of budget hardware design, 21st century edition. (Sure, it was technically made in the 20th century, but so was Wrestlemania 2000.)

Although, keep in mind, I'm still dumbing this all down to the laziest possible answer that will still let me sleep at night. Giving you the actual answer you deserve would require me to completely understand how to make my ARM and my Thumb play nicely together.

Like that's ever going to happen?

There's only so much you should expect from an arts and humanities major. We'll both be lucky if this introduction to the hardware gets a passing grade from someone who really knows what they're talking about.


It does look like GBA ARM 7 CPU where way easier to develop for then the 32X SH2 CPUs. Not helped that it need to co-work with the outdated Mega Drive/Genesis 68000 did no favorites either. Also the GBA ARM 7 is more powerful then the 3DO ARM 6 even though 3DO had better GPU and CD storage advantages, but was held back by the ARM 6 CPU. Also according to someone on Neogaf they say ARM is the modern equivalent of the Motorola 68000 which they are kind of right on.

pacman000 wrote:That sounds like the same complaints the Atari Jaguar's hardware got, tho it did have (buggy) support for scrolling, shading, etc.


Ironic considering both the 32X and Atari Jaguar both where hard to develop for to get optimal results. And what other buggy support it had besides scrolling, shading, etc?

MSR1701 wrote:Given how the 32X was never pushed to its limits, it's hard to say. However, look at Darxide and Virtua Fighter as examples of what the 32X could do, then look at Stuntman for the GBA (which I found to be more enjoyable than the PS2 version).


32X when utilized can outperform the GBA as Doom 32X runs better and looks better then GBA Doom, and the 3D on 32X can put the GBA to a shame. It just the 32X short life span/rushed development/funky set up/small cart size/and bad dev kits really held back the potential of the console.



I agree. Honestly, I always liked the 32X and still defend Virtua Racing Delux and Virtua Fighter 33X as their difinitive versions.

Sadly, Sega itself sabotaged...

Sonicx9
Posts: 1319
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby Sonicx9 » June 7th, 2019, 4:44 pm

MSR1701 wrote:

I agree. Honestly, I always liked the 32X and still defend Virtua Racing Delux and Virtua Fighter 33X as their difinitive versions.

Sadly, Sega itself sabotaged...


It was sabotaged due to the Sega Saturn as that was a higher priority then the 32X, and it does show.

MSR1701
Posts: 27
Joined: April 29th, 2019, 7:53 am

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby MSR1701 » June 7th, 2019, 5:01 pm

Yarp.

Sega of America were onboard with extending the life of the Genesis, and fought tooth and nail to stop the early Saturn rollouts. Unfortunately, Sega's internal strife caused the fall of more than the 32X.

I always liked the Neptune idea, and wondered what could have happened with the SEGACD added on. From what I've read the 32X was harder to optimize than the Saturn, but then look at Darxide, which is arguably equal to early PS1.

Sonicx9
Posts: 1319
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby Sonicx9 » June 7th, 2019, 8:56 pm

MSR1701 wrote:Yarp.

Sega of America were onboard with extending the life of the Genesis, and fought tooth and nail to stop the early Saturn rollouts. Unfortunately, Sega's internal strife caused the fall of more than the 32X.

I always liked the Neptune idea, and wondered what could have happened with the SEGACD added on. From what I've read the 32X was harder to optimize than the Saturn, but then look at Darxide, which is arguably equal to early PS1.


It a shame it was so short lived as, the true potential never was realized.

pacman000
Posts: 899
Joined: December 30th, 2015, 9:04 am

Re: The GBA is basically the love child of SNES and the Sega 32X hardware?

Postby pacman000 » June 7th, 2019, 11:07 pm

Ironic considering both the 32X and Atari Jaguar both where hard to develop for to get optimal results. And what other buggy support it had besides scrolling, shading, etc?

I think it could do sprite-scaling. It did not have build-in support for texture maps; those had to be done with software. Atari planned to add texture map support to their next console, but that was not to be...

I'm no expert on the subject. If you want to know the Jag's technical details I might suggest browsing AtariAge's Jaguar forum. Cavet: read up on the console's technical issues before asking questions. If you ask the wrong question you will start an argument, or get cut down.


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