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Biggest incremental jump between console generations?


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I always judged a new console based on what they do that would not have been possible on your old one.  For me, lastest generation offers improved loading times and better frame rates in 4K resolution but the games themselves are exactly the same. Franchises like grand theft auto and Assassin's Creed have the same gameplay in every new entry in their series.  The gameplay of grand theft auto 3 on the PlayStation 2 is exactly the same as grand theft auto 5. The new consoles may be smoother, or have a bigger map but the gameplay is the same thing.

 

So for me the biggest leap forward has to be be the move to 3D that came with the Saturn and PlayStation 1 era. Big open 3D worlds, objects that were affected by physics, it was revolutionary. You simply couldn't make a racing game with the gameplay of Sega Rally or Ridge Racer with sprites.  

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2 hours ago, JamesC said:

But were those Virtua Racing pics from the MD, 32X or Arcade version of Virtua Racing? 

This is the thing - the lines are so blurred when it comes to the 2D to 3D thing. It doesn't really follow the console generation framework. 

 

Now that you say it, I think the Virtua Racing scans were from the MD version, as that roughly came out when Virtua Fighter was being released in the arcades.

But both MD Virtua Racing and arcade Virtua Fighter blew my mind when I first saw them in action. And then it happened again a few years later when playing Tomb Raider on the Saturn, as that showed me how amazing 3D exploration could be.

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10 hours ago, dumpster said:

Oooh, and the leap from the telly to VR.  I still remember playing Astrobot through for the first time, massive grin on my face, thinking how on earth did we get to this? Extraordinary.

Oh aye, the leap from “pancake” driving sims to actually sitting in the cockpit of a single seater, looking around and seeing the other cars etc. and being able to accurately judge distance / depth... Absolutely magic!

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14 hours ago, dumpster said:

 

So for me the biggest leap forward has to be be the move to 3D that came with the Saturn and PlayStation 1 era. Big open 3D worlds, objects that were affected by physics, it was revolutionary. You simply couldn't make a racing game with the gameplay of Sega Rally or Ridge Racer with sprites.  


The bit in Tomb Raider where you meet the T-Rex. That was an experience you’d never seen before. That moment defined the huge leap in power from 16-32bit. For me, it’s a leap that has never been replicated, even with the move to VR (although that did come close)

 

Edit: Actually, thinking about it, there’s one moment in my early days of VR ownership that comes close to TR’s T-Rex. The beginning of the Vader game on Oculus, when he enters your ship. Yeah, he’s a big lad in the movies etc, but actually standing there having him tower over you, with Stormtroopers on either side. That’s some scary shit!

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It's got to be 16 bit to ps1. When you go from 2D, sprite based games - no matter how amazing they looked - to Gran Turismo where (at the time) it looked real, the leap just felt huge. 

 

Plus, in the 16 bit era, "arcade perfect" was used to mean "as close to the arcade version as this hardware can manage. Which isn't very close, really". There was the occasional title where it was close enough that your average punter wouldn't notice much difference - SNES Street Fighter II springs to mind. But the PS1 genuinely brought the arcade experience into the home. Ridge Racer and Tekken being early examples of games where (at the time) they really seemed to be exactly the same as the game you played for 30p a go in the bowling alley. 

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To go back to Ridge Racer, the other thing was that the 3D world was real, not just the scenery but the other cars, planes that fly past etc.  Before Ridge Racer in 1993, I had an Amiga and I think the best action racers were the three Lotus Turbo Challenge games. They were released between 1990 and 1992, so i think it is fair to compare between these generations. The leap to 3D made things look like the arcade, but you could slide the car, see around corners, turn around and go backwards. It was just so much more solid and real.  But that's only the start.

 

Along with with that, the other cars did the same. You had opponents that you raced, and if you overtook them but crashed they would overtake you. Lotus just had cars on screen that drove on a fixed zig zag path. They all looked the same and were merely obstacles, moving smoothly from left to right and back again. As soon as the car passed you it went off screen and disappeared from the game entirely . In the same way that ps5 is offering improvements over existing game styles, you could argue that Lotus is merely a faster, smoother, more colorful version of WEC Le Mans on the spectrum. And WEC Le Mans did have perpetual traffic!

 

What the PlayStation did with Ridge Racer was transformative. The 2D sprite based racers like Lotus on Amiga, (or Lamborghini on Snes, or Similar on Megadrive etc) were pretty much direct descendants of Street Racer on Atari 2600. They didn't have memorable tracks, cars steered left or right with no real handling physics, many of them didn't require you to brake much and other traffic was random objects to be avoided. Meanwhile in the arcade they had so many incremental steps with Virtual Racing, Driver's Eyes, Ridge Racer, Daytona etc.  so when the home consoles went 3D you suddenly had Ridge on Psx, Sega Rally and Daytona on the Saturn and the comparison to previous home systems was huge.  I am glossing over the interim home systems here but as far as I remember they all failed. Sure, a lot of what I'm saying happened incrementally at home, with some bloody awful Jaguar games, Need for Speed on 3DO (a game I loved at the time but in hindsight, man, that game really does need some speed). But I think for the majority of gamers we went from Amiga or 16 bit consoles to PlayStation or Saturn. Ridge Racer has you driving a real, solid car, with real physics and handling, advanced controls that allow you to drift, feel the wheel traction on the road, opponents that try to block you, a rave cd soundtrack and race commentator, night fall that sets in gradually, and so on.  Daytona, despite the rough conversion had 40 cars on the track, better driver reactions, superb car feel ( you really get that feeling of losing control or regaining traction when changing gears). 

 

It's fair to say that the move to CD was transformative, but it's easy to forget that optical media really only brought storage to the table, but CD storage without extra processing power brought us the Philips CDi, the CDTV and 3DO, and looking back there's a tiny amount of those games you'd want to play now.  Sega Saturn was hastily redesigned to include better 3D capabilities after they saw what Sony was doing. The PlayStation combined proper horsepower with cd storage and was easy to program.  But Sony themselves were transformative, with their unusual advertising outside of the computer magazines, links with nightclubs and mainstream magazines etc. When Tomb Raider came out on the Saturn , Sony did everything they could to convince the world that Lara Croft was a PlayStation icon. For a long time in the 1990s, the marketplace felt like a single format with PlayStation dominating.  

 

So that's my thinking - PlayStation One was the first console to launch that had 3D , had a processing power to back that up, optical media and a company behind it that was determined to take it out of the bedrooms and into the lounge.  Ridge Racer showed the capability of the machine and Sony made that leap in performance really visible to the marketplace in a way so many other brands failed to do. 

 

I think VR is the only similar "Holy Shit, look a this" transformative tech we have had since, and in many ways it's the invention of HD and 4K that has driven the need for more powerful consoles. But I think that the biggest leap between generations is definitely PS1. Certainly if you only consider formats that achieved popularity you're going straight from Megadrive, Snes, Amiga etc to Ridge Racer in one step. The PS One was transformative in its capabilities and Sony was transformative to the industry.

 

I can't see anything that could provide that big of a leap in the future, and I might even argue tha you'd need something equally transformative in another market first. Like, if they invent room scale, holographic displays you'd need a new console for that.

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I would say its a close call between 8bit to 16bit (holy crap look at Pilot Wings in Shakanna tottenham court road!:omg:) and 16bit to 32bit (OMFG sees RR on PS in ACE Consoles! :blink:) Imo I'd give it to the former, it was just such a graphical leap.

 

I'd also mention the introduction of the 3DFX card. Seeing Tombraider on that for the first time was truly jaw dropping.

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The biggest jump was definitely 16 to 32 bit. And the reason? In most 16 bit driving games (like Out Run), you couldn’t turn around and go the other way. And then in Sega Rally, you could.

 

Proper next-gen.

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37 minutes ago, deKay said:

The biggest jump was definitely 16 to 32 bit. And the reason? In most 16 bit driving games (like Out Run), you couldn’t turn around and go the other way. And then in Sega Rally, you could.

 

Proper next-gen.

 

 

you could turn around and drive the other way as well as explore in Megadrive Virtua Racing 

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3D racers weren't completely unknown on 16 bit computers and consoles. Like, you got Indy 500, F1GP, No Second Prize, Stunt Car Racer, etc. Obviously, games like Destruction Derby and Wipeout were transformative in comparison, but the idea of having 3D model cars that you could drive through a 3D city, smash up, drive the wrong way round the track, etc, wasn't completely unheard of. It's not quite true to say the jump was from Outrun or Lotus 2 to Ridge Racer.

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42 minutes ago, mash said:

 

 

you could turn around and drive the other way as well as explore in Megadrive Virtua Racing 

Ah yes, that's true, but Virtua Racing on the Megadrive looked absolutely dreadful, cost an obscene amount of money and needed an extra chip in the cartridge.

41 minutes ago, Dudley said:

This is the problem isn't it, as soon as you say "Most" you accept it was possible on the previous generation and thus, not a generation leap benefit.

Yeah - but it's not fair to compare that way.  Like the example above, Megadrive Virtua Racing did indeed have filled vectors and was in real 3D but that was by no means the normal situation, Megadrive games were sprite based 99% of the time. 3D wasn't the norm until Playstation did it really well.  The 3DO and Jaguar both had 3D games, but they were largely awful, PS1 brought with it a new standard.

27 minutes ago, K said:

3D racers weren't completely unknown on 16 bit computers and consoles. Like, you got Indy 500, F1GP, No Second Prize, Stunt Car Racer, etc. Obviously, games like Destruction Derby and Wipeout were transformative in comparison, but the idea of having 3D model cars that you could drive through a 3D city, smash up, drive the wrong way round the track, etc, wasn't completely unheard of. It's not quite true to say the jump was from Outrun or Lotus 2 to Ridge Racer.

That's true, 3D wasn't completely unheard of, but they were the exceptions to the rule.  The vast majority of games used 2d art, and the exceptions were things like No Second Prize, which was surprisingly good, but needed very basic geometry to be that smooth.  You can also argue that there were 3D worlds on the Sinclair Spectrum - Driller used Freescape(tm) to give you a fully 3D world, but it looked dreadful and ran at 1fps.  So it comes down to what you consider to be good, and the PS1 had the 3D resolution, frame rate, texture mapping etc all built into the hardware so all the games were of that standard.  Suddenly all the 3D games were of a full screen high standard by default.

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22 hours ago, dumpster said:

Ah yes, that's true, but Virtua Racing on the Megadrive looked absolutely dreadful, cost an obscene amount of money and needed an extra chip in the cartridge.

 

 

It didn't look dreadful at the time. Cost wise it WAS the most expensive 16bit game at £69.99 but then again, a lot of the big 16 bit games were priced at £59.99 particularly on the SNES (Mortal Kombat 2, Streetfighter 2).

 

When I played it back in the day, I was blown away. And this was from somebody who used to play the arcade machine. The 3d was nice and fast, the framerate whilst a joke nowadays was a pretty consistent 15fps. The 3d capabilities of the SVP far exceeded those of the superFX chip. And it played like the arcade game.

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23 hours ago, dumpster said:

That's true, 3D wasn't completely unheard of, but they were the exceptions to the rule.  The vast majority of games used 2d art, and the exceptions were things like No Second Prize, which was surprisingly good, but needed very basic geometry to be that smooth.  You can also argue that there were 3D worlds on the Sinclair Spectrum - Driller used Freescape(tm) to give you a fully 3D world, but it looked dreadful and ran at 1fps.  So it comes down to what you consider to be good, and the PS1 had the 3D resolution, frame rate, texture mapping etc all built into the hardware so all the games were of that standard.  Suddenly all the 3D games were of a full screen high standard by default.

 

Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm just nit-picking really. It's hard to deny that, say, Formula 1 on the Playstation wasn't an absolute quantum leap over F1GP on the Amiga or PC, impressive as that game was for the time.   

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14 minutes ago, mash said:

 

It didn't look dreadful at the time. Cost wise it WAS the most expensive 16bit game at £69.99 but then again, a lot of the big 16 bit games were priced at £59.99 particularly on the SNES (Mortal Kombat 2, Streetfighter 2).

 

When I played it back in the day, I was blown away. And this was from somebody who used to play the arcade machine. The 3d was nice and fast, the framerate whilst a joke nowadays was a pretty consistent 15fps. The 3d capabilities of the SVP far exceeded those of the superFX chip. And it played like the arcade game.

Yeah, I get your point and you're right.  But the initial point I was disagreeing with was that 3D worlds , solid objects and driving the wrong way predates the PS1 and Saturn because of titles like Virtua Racing.   It's technically true but with the Ps1 decent smooth 3D was the norm, where the Megadrive did it as a one off. 

 

Back in the day people used to argue that the Megadrive could easily run Doom because it did Zero Tolerance a year later.  I also remember the guy who refused to give up on the Amiga saying it was every bit a good as a PC because it ran Gloom (and after he bought a hugely overpriced accelerator card it even ran pretty well!).  

 

I agree with your point, Virtua Racing was amazing at the time, but it was a one off with a high price and extra hardware in the cartridge.  Intervening formats were rather ignored by the mass market and so most people see the leap from 16 bit Megadrive to 32 bit PlayStation as one leap.  I remember seeing early footage of Ridge Racer on an episode of Gamesmaster and being blown away.  I don't think I'll ever see a single leap in tech like that again. 

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I have to add that back in the day I could never get my head around the dithering patterns on Virtua Racing for the Megadrive. The arcade had such amazing bright, vivid colours and sharp lines and the Megadrive had a stippled dotty pattern all over everything. I thought it was surely more work for them to have done that and it really made it look awful. Wonder why they did that?

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That's usually just to make it look textured and give the impression of extra colours on a CRT.

 

I'm guessing back in the day you were lucky enough to be RGB SCART and a good TV, because on a bad one or RF you wouldn't see the dithering.

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32 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I remember seeing early footage of Ridge Racer on an episode of Gamesmaster and being blown away.  I don't think I'll ever see a single leap in tech like that again. 

 

I remember that episode. I started playing Stunt Race FX using the in car camera after that because it kinda looked like I was playing Ridge Racer. Of course there was no comparison. 

 

 

 

And I agree with you about the jump in graphics from 2d to 3d in the fifth generation.

 

I'd also say that the jump from the fifth to the sixth PS1/Saturn/N64 to Dreamcast/Xbox/PS2/GC was pretty momentous. 

 

Let's face it, 3d graphics were pretty crude on those platforms, On the Dreamcast you had games like Soul Calibur which ran at flawless 60fps with beautiful polygons. It bought Sega Model 3 level graphics to the home and on top of that it laid the foundation for the online services we take for granted in today's consoles. Playing Phatasy Star Online or Quake 3 on the Dreamcast. Quake 3 let you play against PC players. 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I have to add that back in the day I could never get my head around the dithering patterns on Virtua Racing for the Megadrive. The arcade had such amazing bright, vivid colours and sharp lines and the Megadrive had a stippled dotty pattern all over everything. I thought it was surely more work for them to have done that and it really made it look awful. Wonder why they did that?

As I understood it, this was for draw speed performance gains. Likely due to the reduced amount of pixels being drawn, especially for translucency type effects. Obviously, it could also have been for blending purposes given limited palettes. The classic trick in an artists arsenal. Translucency stuff though, that's performance.

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The intro to Soul Calibur on Dreamcast absolutely blew me away and since the game had a 15 BBFC certificate we were not allowed to put it on in the shop.  Then Code Veronica came out and we had the same problem.  It was weird having a big screen TV in store and showing off the Dreamcast with games that were not as good as the stuff we couldn't show.

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19 hours ago, K said:

 

Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm just nit-picking really. It's hard to deny that, say, Formula 1 on the Playstation wasn't an absolute quantum leap over F1GP on the Amiga or PC, impressive as that game was for the time.   

I did a load of the QA on that. The woman who gave me my first job in the games industry was the business manager at Bizarre Creations (and the other half of the guy who started the company), so I did it pretty much for free - they'd buy me dinner and occasionally take me out on the lash. First time I "played" it, it was a marlboro fag packet on a straight length of track. 

 

Weirdly, while I could see it was an amazing technical achievement and the physics involved was unprecedented, I've never really rated it as a game. It just never had that x factor that made it enjoyable to play. It's hard to say why, but it just never felt right to me, it was just missing something. 

 

I actually bought my first car off one of the coders while doing some late night testing. 

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2 hours ago, ScouserInExile said:

I did a load of the QA on that. The woman who gave me my first job in the games industry was the business manager at Bizarre Creations (and the other half of the guy who started the company), so I did it pretty much for free - they'd buy me dinner and occasionally take me out on the lash. First time I "played" it, it was a marlboro fag packet on a straight length of track. 

 

Weirdly, while I could see it was an amazing technical achievement and the physics involved was unprecedented, I've never really rated it as a game. It just never had that x factor that made it enjoyable to play. It's hard to say why, but it just never felt right to me, it was just missing something. 

 

I actually bought my first car off one of the coders while doing some late night testing. 

 

Much as I played the hell out of F1 and thought it was great - the commentary! the visuals! the insanely lavish and over-elaborate menus! - in retrospect, I think you're right. There was no real sense of being a skilful driver and progressing through the ranks, you were just buzzing around like a slot car. F1 97 had a bit more nuance to it, but the original was a bit hollow.

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coincidentally i've been playing the original playstation F1 game a bit this last few days.

absolutely loving it, but i think a lot of it is actually down to murray walker's commentary. it totally makes the game.

the actual driving is a little weird, like it has some assistance on all the time? maybe its because i'm just doing single races in the arcade part, but i'm sure its steering you a bit.

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40 minutes ago, Fuddle said:

coincidentally i've been playing the original playstation F1 game a bit this last few days.

absolutely loving it, but i think a lot of it is actually down to murray walker's commentary. it totally makes the game.

the actual driving is a little weird, like it has some assistance on all the time? maybe its because i'm just doing single races in the arcade part, but i'm sure its steering you a bit.

If you go back to the original Ridge Racers on PS1 after playing Ridge Racer 6 on X360, or Ridge Racers 2 on PSP you realise how much the later game correct the steering and slides automatically for you. PS1 Ridge Racer is so hard to play when you go back to it.

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30 minutes ago, dumpster said:

If you go back to the original Ridge Racers on PS1 after playing Ridge Racer 6 on X360, or Ridge Racers 2 on PSP you realise how much the later game correct the steering and slides automatically for you. PS1 Ridge Racer is so hard to play when you go back to it.

yeah, i've done ridge 1 and 2 arcade versions in mame earlier this year.

quite a work out with the steering wheel! and definitely not on rails as some people describe them.

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22 hours ago, Fuddle said:

coincidentally i've been playing the original playstation F1 game a bit this last few days.

absolutely loving it, but i think a lot of it is actually down to murray walker's commentary. it totally makes the game.

the actual driving is a little weird, like it has some assistance on all the time? maybe its because i'm just doing single races in the arcade part, but i'm sure its steering you a bit.

 

It's interesting commentary went out of favour in racing games when it's become a staple in football ones isn't it?

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