DC-vs-PS2 page updated with comparisons and info



Well, neither forum nor Usenet has come up with any counter evidence to the RE4 comments and the current generation being safely within the Dreamcast's technical grasp. So, I've added the comments quoted below to the Dreamcast and PS2 comparison page, along with comparison screenshots, and relative comments for MDK2 and Armageddon, Ecco the Dolphin DOF, and Resident Evil Code: Veronica for both the PS2 and Dreamcast. Comments and suggestions are welcome, and I am always happy to recieve more correct information on technical statements.

http://www.gamepilgrimage.com/DCPScompare.htm
http://www.gamepilgrimage.com/DCPScompare.htm -> Dreamcast and PS2 comparison screenshots

" Very few informed people ever doubted the Dreamcast's graphical capabilities as a next generation system. Although plenty of media hype still exists labeling it as inferior to the PS2, no substantial proof exists to demonstrate the point. Knowing the Dreamcast and PS2's graphical and software advantages is an important thing, since the hype, media, and Sony fans exclusively favor the PS2. These are highlights of this comparison, quoted directly from a Usenet discussion on that very subject:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.games.video.sega-dreamcast/msg/538573c34e6eb110

'The PS2 handles everything needed to render 3D graphics, and that's about it. The EE sends polygon data (three or four 2D coordinates, and pointers to texture, bump, light and dark data), and the GS pumps the data to the screen. It offers little in effects, and places the burden of rendering on the CPU. (...) Since the bottle-neck is with the processor, I'll take a moment here to discuss this further. The EE can render 36 million polygons with some effects on (though it still doesn't do many things the PowerVR can). This is full bore, which means the CPU is doing nothing but dumping polygons. With game physics and AI bundled into the mix, expect polygon counts to drop. More complex games will hurt more in the graphics department. Of course, the polygon count, even in the potential worst case (all bezier surfaces, 50% CPU spent on AI and physics) is still faster than the PowerVR. In fact, about twice as fast. What does this mean. Well, look at the current DC game models. For every straight edge you can see, subdivide it once (so that each edge is broken into two), and that's the detail improvement you'll see. Pretty substantial? Of course, as game developers make better use of the CPU(s), I'd expect polygon performance to increase.

On the DC or PowerVR's side, the 3.5 million polygon count allows for scenes of up to 58,000 polygons (about 4x's the detail in Quake 3). At 640x480 the pixel fill rate can redraw the entire screen at 650 fps. Unlike the EE/GS, the PowerVR only draws a pixel once per frame. This is called overdraw, and in Quake 2, costs performance of about 1/3 (that is, each pixel is typically redrawn about three times). The PowerVR also handles subsampling and has the video ram to do so. Games could be rendered internally at 1280x960, and down sampled to 640x480 for television output. (...) As noted earlier in this text, the fpu that is on the PowerVR eliminates several steps from the CPU's burden. And most importantly, while currently no game is known to fully support this, the DC can use modifier volumes. Effects such as light beams, shadows, lasers, and glowing suns are all possible with this, which would otherwise require significant CPU effort, and visual tricks to accomplish (such as using a flat polygon for fake shadows). Also, the polygon per second count is for drawn polygon's only. Polygon's that are buried under other ones are not drawn at all, nor are polygons that are to far left/right/up/down to be seen on screen, nor are polygons which are facing the other way (about half). (35)'

It should be needless to say that no game ever used the advanced features of the PowerVR chip to the extent listed here. The point of quoting this is to show as clearly as possible that the DC's resources were not maxed out in its short 2 year lifespan, and that had it continued to be developed for many more sophisticated games could have been created for the platform. It might seem silly to some to make this point, but the theory that the Dreamcast was running at full throttle when it was discontinued is so prolific it is likely that many will scoff even at the detailed comparison just quoted.

The PS2, on the other hand enjoyed a full lifecycle as the lowest common denominator for the 128-bit generation of consoles. As late as 2005, Capcom was forced to drop the polygon counts of the PS2 port of Resident Evil 4 from the Gamecube to between 900k to 1.5 million polygons per second, at 30 frames per second, while the Gamecube original ran at nearly twice this polygon count. This means that the entire generation of game consoles was relatively close to the Dreamcast's specs. So, it was basically only blind brand name following which caused the mass market to reject three consoles in favor of the PS2 exclusively. This is evidenced by the choice for the PS2 being clearly made prior to the Xbox and Gamecube even launching."

--
Scott

http://www.gamepilgrimage.com
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