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Which early 3D "look" stands up better to you?

Forums - Gaming Discussion - Which early 3D "look" stands up better to you?

I prefer...

Sharper but jagged/unstable 14 29.17%
 
Smooth and solid but blurrier 34 70.83%
 
Total:48

Those two weren't cutting edge back in 1996!

See SCUD Race from Sega (an arcade Model 3 game).

Yes, the screenshot is from an emulator, but I assure you that contrarily to N64 screenshots this arcade board rendered very clean graphics, even when transparencies were involved.

The only thing that makes most N64 games bearable these days are emulators, they fix the frame rate drops, they fix the low quality texture filtering, and bump the resolution, sometimes you even have texture packs to make the game look like something, this machine did not have enough RAM to do what it wanted to do properly.

At least the PS1 had the space to accommodate a decent amount of 2D backgrounds, so you could overlay those early 3D models on them (not good for all games, but certainly practical for many others), the PS1 could also push more raw polygons, had more RAM left to store textures (ie. the textures were bigger than what the N64 could handle, but the machine did not filter them).

So the PS1's drawbacks against the N64 were these:

 - No texture filtering (given the quality of the filtering on the N64 I would say it's a plus)

 - No perspective correction on textures (warped image - cured by emulation)

 - No, or limited Z buffer

 - No analog stick on the first version of the controller

 - only two controller ports

 - No RAM upgrade like the N64 and Saturn had

N64's drawbacks

 - Very limited storage offered by cartridges

 - Very expensive storage

 - It could handle less raw polygons per second

 - Texture filtering looked very dirty

 - Small texture cache prevented games from using detailed textures, they had to be blurry

Look at Ocarina of Time without filtering:

That game would have benefited from more memory in all places, but back in 1996 that wasn't necessarily a choice if you wanted to sell your consoles at a decent price.

Also, be careful when some people put pictures of games that used the expansion pack, it added RAM and resolved a lot of problems.

Look at what they managed to do when porting Quake II on the PS1

And an image with texture filtering

Way more detailed and better lit than its N64 equivalents as far as I know.



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alabtrosMyster said:

the PS1 could also push more raw polygons, had more RAM left to store textures (ie. the textures were bigger than what the N64 could handle, but the machine did not filter them).

Er... The PS1 had 3.5MB of total Ram across it's entire platform.
The Nintendo 64 had 4.5MB total which is an increase of 28.5% in favour of the Nintendo 64.
But the Nintendo 64 could also expand that to a total of 9MB. (0.5-1MB was reserved for AA.)

The cart was also another benefit to DRAM utilization... Especially considering that the carts had 2,112,000 KB/s of bandwidth verses the CD of the PS1's 150-300 KB/s.
That meant that unlike the PS1... The Nintendo 64 could stream assets (Like textures!) on-demand where-as the PS1 needed to preload allot of that data.

To put that into perspective... The Nintendo 64's carts have more bandwidth than the mechanical hard drives of the 8th gen consoles which tend to stream textures and meshes on demand to Ram!

But the caveat was the carts storage capacity, which meant that allot of texture data was heavily compressed/low resolution which compounded the blurry-texture look.
...But you can bet it was a big advantage to DRAM utilization... Which meant there was more capacity to technically store more/higher resolution textures into the DRAM.

But then you have that pesky 4kb of texture cache... To get around that though you could take a tiled based approach and Garaud shading where it makes sense... And games that pushed their own microcode took full advantage of that... Which meant relative to the PS1, the Nintendo 64 was a texturing monster.

Many of RARE and Factor 9's titles fully showcased this.

And Polygons... Well. Again, when building Microcode for the Nintendo 64, it's polygon capabilities far outstrip the Playstation 1, but games that used the default Microcode tended to have lower poly counts less than the average PS1 game.

In saying that... The Nintendo 64 wasn't really Poly limited, but fillrate limited, the Playstation 1 tended to spend more polygons on models/objects so as to reduce the amount of warping... Meaning it was all a moot anyway when a flat surface on a PS1 game would have more poly's than the N64 derivative to reduce warping.

alabtrosMyster said:

 - No, or limited Z buffer

The Z-Buffer wasn't always used on the N64 either... For example Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine actually forgoed the Z-Buffer entirely so they could push the games resolution up to 640x480 when most games at the time were 320x240... Otherwise the Z-Buffer would have actually needed to use all of the systems Ram.

curl-6 said:

Yeah pretty much how I feel too.

The likes of Conker, DK64, Banjo Kazooie, and Starfox 64 were, to me, the best looking 3D games of that era.

On the other hand though, PS1 and Saturn were no slouch as stuff like the original Crash Bandicoot and Spyro trilogies and Panzer Dragoon 1 and Zwei also looked great at the time.

I have a lot of nostalgia for both looks as I owned an N64 growing up, but also spent a lot of time at my best mate's house playing on his PS1. 

Conker is a massive technical showpiece that showed us many things that the Nintendo 64 was capable of.
Games like StarFox 64? Whilst having a ton of artistic charm, not so much.

Banjo/DK64 were marred by pretty average texturing.

Ironically my favorite games of that generation are Final Fantasy 8 (PS1) and Perfect Dark (N64) so owned both devices, so it's always been a difficult prospect deciding which console I liked more... They both have a ton of Pro's and Con's.

Last edited by Pemalite - on 27 June 2019

Pemalite said:
Alby_da_Wolf said:

This looks quite like System Shock 2, with a little less detail, but maybe a little smoother (and surely it was a lot smoother than SS2 on PCs of that period).

Perfect Dark did come out in the year 2000 and pushed the N64 to it's limits in many ways... PC games of the era were certainly a step up again though, no doubt about it.
We had Unreal Tournament, Quake, Half Life, Deus Ex, Soldier of Fortune, Homeworld, Dark Reign 2... List goes on.


It was a very lucky period for PC gaming, during 1999 the first entry level GPU (more expensive than those we can buy now, but costing a half or less than its bigger sister) had become available and in 2000 RAM even on entry level gaming PCs was 8 to 16 times larger than in 1997, while Windows still was relatively frugal in RAM requirements, devs were free to make very ambitious games for their times, with complex stories, rich gameplay and interactivity and free roaming in large levels or even whole undivided worlds. Unfortunately a little time after XBox RAM smaller than initially predicted forced devs of PC/XB multiplats to accept compromises, for example in Morrowind they had to separate indoors parts from the luckily  still undivided outside, while in Thief III Garrett "unlearned" to swim, and even levels smaller than the largest Thief I and II ones had to be split in two parts, breaking the immersion in most cases, only in the Cradle they managed, thanks to both level design and the level narrative, to split it without breaking the immersion.
Even comparing it to such PC golden age, what the older N64 could do when pushed to its limits was impressive.



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fatslob-:O said:

Is this supposed to be secretly a N64 vs PS1 thread ? If so then only multi-plats are valid for hardware 'comparisons'. Not fair at ALL to use exclusives ...

Let's just keep to the likes of RE2, Tony Hawk, and the others. I think the reason why the N64 looked 'blurrier' is down to the possibility that it had a shit memory system and it's low memory cartridge space meant that games often shipped with lower resolution textures in comparison to the other systems ...

And then there's stupid hardware accelerated post-process AA as well that made things worse ... 

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?



Fancy hearing me on an amateur podcast with friends gushing over one of my favourite games? https://youtu.be/1I7JfMMxhf8

Ganoncrotch said:
fatslob-:O said:

Is this supposed to be secretly a N64 vs PS1 thread ? If so then only multi-plats are valid for hardware 'comparisons'. Not fair at ALL to use exclusives ...

Let's just keep to the likes of RE2, Tony Hawk, and the others. I think the reason why the N64 looked 'blurrier' is down to the possibility that it had a shit memory system and it's low memory cartridge space meant that games often shipped with lower resolution textures in comparison to the other systems ...

And then there's stupid hardware accelerated post-process AA as well that made things worse ... 

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?

lol, what a great response.

My two cents: It really just comes down to preference. It's clearly not an N64 vs PS1 thread as the OP stated that the N64 was the more powerful machine having been released later (not to mention it's really not up for debate; I don't think there's an argument for the PS1 being graphically superior to the N64, but I could be wrong). It's a question of preference. I have a lot of nostalgia for FF7's blocky characters and pre-rendered backgrounds. I loved the massive three or four disc games packed with CG. I loved that long PS1 intro sound that played when the system booted up. I loved taping down the disk tray safety mechanism so I could play my games and watch them spin... And then one time it stopped spinning, so I took the game out and was mesmerized at how it was still letting me play the game despite it not being in my system.

Then I had this idea... The next time I had to return a PS1 game to Blockbuster, you already know I loaded that shit up first. When I got back home, I sat down to play only to find that it asked me to put the disk back in after walking around for a few seconds. THWARTED!

I have fond memories playing Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Spyro, and there was even a pretty cool Pong game I enjoyed.

Not sure which I prefer more; depends on the mood and depends on the game. Ocarina of Time was probably my favorite game of that generation; way ahead of it's time, and an experience that I'll never forget. I can't say enough good things how OoT changed my life, and made me become obsessed with videogames.



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Ganoncrotch said:

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?

Considering that nearly everyone in this thread aren't going to point out the hardware faults on one side I think it's best to provide a contrary ...



outlawauron said:
It's similar to PS2 vs Cube comparisons. Most N64 games look better, but the best looking game were on the PS platform. So it's a bit of mixed bag.

Agree, well not all but mostly agree 



RaptorChrist said:
Ganoncrotch said:

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?

lol, what a great response.

My two cents: It really just comes down to preference. It's clearly not an N64 vs PS1 thread as the OP stated that the N64 was the more powerful machine having been released later (not to mention it's really not up for debate; I don't think there's an argument for the PS1 being graphically superior to the N64, but I could be wrong). It's a question of preference. I have a lot of nostalgia for FF7's blocky characters and pre-rendered backgrounds. I loved the massive three or four disc games packed with CG. I loved that long PS1 intro sound that played when the system booted up. I loved taping down the disk tray safety mechanism so I could play my games and watch them spin... And then one time it stopped spinning, so I took the game out and was mesmerized at how it was still letting me play the game despite it not being in my system.

Then I had this idea... The next time I had to return a PS1 game to Blockbuster, you already know I loaded that shit up first. When I got back home, I sat down to play only to find that it asked me to put the disk back in after walking around for a few seconds. THWARTED!

I have fond memories playing Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Spyro, and there was even a pretty cool Pong game I enjoyed.

Not sure which I prefer more; depends on the mood and depends on the game. Ocarina of Time was probably my favorite game of that generation; way ahead of it's time, and an experience that I'll never forget. I can't say enough good things how OoT changed my life, and made me become obsessed with videogames.

Me too! That bootup sequence was so epic, and I still remember being blown away by playing Croc after removing the disc. As a kid with no understanding of how RAM worked it blew my mind. God I loved the PS1, still do in fact.

It wasn't until recently that I learned that Croc was a game that was looked back upon as bad, which surprised me since I remember it being so awesome, for me as a kid it was up there with the likes of Spyro, Banjo, and Crash, though to be fair a lot of that is probably nostalgia talking.

Regarding the looks, I do prefer PS1 and Saturn's crisper textures, even if they are a lot more pixelated as a result of lacking any filtering, but the N64's stable solidity was a strong counterpoint, as opposed to the texture/vertex warping you got on the older systems.



RaptorChrist said:
Ganoncrotch said:

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?

lol, what a great response.

My two cents: It really just comes down to preference. It's clearly not an N64 vs PS1 thread as the OP stated that the N64 was the more powerful machine having been released later (not to mention it's really not up for debate; I don't think there's an argument for the PS1 being graphically superior to the N64, but I could be wrong). It's a question of preference. I have a lot of nostalgia for FF7's blocky characters and pre-rendered backgrounds. I loved the massive three or four disc games packed with CG. I loved that long PS1 intro sound that played when the system booted up. I loved taping down the disk tray safety mechanism so I could play my games and watch them spin... And then one time it stopped spinning, so I took the game out and was mesmerized at how it was still letting me play the game despite it not being in my system.

Then I had this idea... The next time I had to return a PS1 game to Blockbuster, you already know I loaded that shit up first. When I got back home, I sat down to play only to find that it asked me to put the disk back in after walking around for a few seconds. THWARTED!

I have fond memories playing Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Spyro, and there was even a pretty cool Pong game I enjoyed.

Not sure which I prefer more; depends on the mood and depends on the game. Ocarina of Time was probably my favorite game of that generation; way ahead of it's time, and an experience that I'll never forget. I can't say enough good things how OoT changed my life, and made me become obsessed with videogames.

There's an awesome thing you could do with the original GTA, if you load up the first city/stage then pop the lid and replace the GTA Game disc with any music album CD you'll get the game to play audio from the Music Album when you get into the different cars, it had the ability to have custom audio long before the Xbox would bring a hard drive into the console market.

Only slight issue is that it would play the exact area of the disc where the GTA music files should exist, so if you got into say.... an old Jeep (which should have the "men there find their women scary, because they were so big and hairy" song) you would get a track from the same place on the album, which in the Jeep case would be the very last track of the CD, but it wasn't just tracks that it jumped to, the game sent the laser to where the song should start, so it would very rarely line up with the exact audio breaks of an album, you would normally get the middle of one song and the first half of another in any given vehicle, the Jeep would often be outro or just blank audio if the album didn't take up the full CD.

I've got some great memorys of both systems, but my issue is that I find if I go back to the majority of PSone games I enjoyed them because at the time they offered tech marvels in the form of 3D polygons, CD audio and CGI movies, the problem is, in terms of what that brings to a game world... it's just high tech for the 90s now it pales in comparison to what modern systems offer, whereas titles like Mario 64 didn't have more than 4MB of storage to fill with flashy videos and mp3s so instead what you got was stages, system hardware based music tracks, gameplay and boss's based on streaming game assets from a game cart on the fly, not 30second loading screens for terrible looking cgi but instead just... games based on gameplay, I'm fairly tired and not sure I'm getting the point across but I just mean at the time it was amazing that the ps1 had videos and cd audio... every system since then has had that, whereas the N64 was actually the last console to have cartridges (I'm not 100% sure if the Switches could be seen as modern carts as they don't have the same bus to memory on the cart as things like the SNES and N64 did where they can run code in the cart side of things) it was also the last home console to be silent (with the exception of the PSTV) so there are parts of the N64 which are unique to it as an end of era type design which I'll miss... but all games now are capable of having a library of hundreds of mp3s or hours of movie footage in them.



Fancy hearing me on an amateur podcast with friends gushing over one of my favourite games? https://youtu.be/1I7JfMMxhf8

fatslob-:O said:
Ganoncrotch said:

It's a good thing to get an unbiased view on this subject, so... lets discuss the N64's Shit memory system and stupid hardware accelerated AA... taking it right down the middle yeah?

Considering that nearly everyone in this thread aren't going to point out the hardware faults on one side I think it's best to provide a contrary ...

Even the first post calls the N64 Blurry by comparison, the 3rd or 4th post mentions the poor texture cache of the system and Vaseline smearing AA is also called out.

N64 had some major "flaws" but a lot of them did have some upsides to games, the use of cartridges for example, while it did mean that titles like Mario 64 live on a 4MB Rom in comparison to 700MB games on the PSone, that did mean that pretty much the entire game can live on system memory while you're playing it, as well as the carts solid state access time for things like textures rather than the slower CD system system in the PSone.

And as I mentioned up above, the N64 for me at least was the last time a console was truly silent, no spinning disc, no fans, just a cartridge in a chuck of plastic with a red light to let you know that it was game time, playing some games on the PSTV or a PSPGo connected to a TV really made me miss the days when there wasn't something making a low hum near your TV for the sake of games, it really is something we've gotten used to and don't complain about too much (apart from maybe launch model X1's or the PS4pro at launch) but still I would love to see more systems like that... heck even the Switch with it's tiny fan unit can get noisy at times (in the dock) in some of the heavy 3d 60fps games like Paladins.



Fancy hearing me on an amateur podcast with friends gushing over one of my favourite games? https://youtu.be/1I7JfMMxhf8