Upgrade cartridge?

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Martin III
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Upgrade cartridge?

Post by Martin III » Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:42 am

Was digging through an old issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly and found this. Never heard of anything like this before. Is it a totally bogus rumor?

Image

EDIT: Updated image link.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by T2KFreeker » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:31 am

This was what EGM and many other gamers assumed the M2 was going to be originally. There was talk that the M2 would plug into the expansion slot of the 3DO system upgrading it to a 64 bit machine. If my understanding is correct, this was actually originally the plan as the 3DO was supposed to be the last console you would ever want to buy. Like we haven't heard that before or since. Anyway, that thought was obviously scrapped once it was revealed that the M2 was going to be another console. Although, alas, what could have been, you know? In the end, I am going to assume that they may have ditched the idea because of the fact that historically speaking, add ons for consoles have never been very successful. The most successful one being the Sega CD, and that's even still considered a disaster. The 32-X and Jaguar CD probably didn't inspire confidence from the end consumer. Not saying that this is a for sure thing or thought, but it's a good assumption to believe that this is what happened with it anyway.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by Dr.Enceladus » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:11 pm

Yer, i remember there where alot of "future proof" adds around at the time (like the front cover of 3DO gold magazine) but i didn't buy the console because of that. By the time i managed to even get my chubby little hands on one here in Australia, it was already dead.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by 3DO Experience » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:26 pm

Let us say that it did come out in the Summer of '95 and it only cost $100. Do you think it would have saved the system?
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by FrumpleOrz » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:28 pm

I doubt it. It seems like add-ons never really sell well, at least in the USA.

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by T2KFreeker » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:42 pm

3DO Experience wrote:Let us say that it did come out in the Summer of '95 and it only cost $100. Do you think it would have saved the system?
That, indeed, is a great question. The answer is actually a very easy one in the end, it would depend on what games were released to support the add on. Historically speaking, the death of any add on was the games released for it and the cost. Obviously, the Jaguar CD didn't do too well due to it's lack of games. It's not a horrible add on, but no support. The same can be said for the 32-X. Then you look at the Sega CD and wonder what went wrong. The biggest issue I see there is that many of the games released were also available in cart format just with some extra Cinematics and CD soundtracks. Add in the fact that almost half the games released were also horrid FMV games, and that shot the system too. However, "IF" 3DO were to release the upgrade cart with some really good games and some more internal memory, it might have floated. Some of the games at the time that were making big noise at the time. Imagine Resident Evil with actual M-peg quality Video? Blood Omen Legacy of Kain? Hell, you might have had a PC perfect port of games like Descent, Quake, and Quake II on the system. Close to Arcade perfect ports of Mortal Kombat 4 or even, dare I say, the Tekken series? If 3DO had played their cards right, as funny as this sounds, they would have released the upgrade box and announced that they were releasing a console that did the EXACT same thing for people who don't already have a 3DO system. That instills confidence in the 3DO users already that the upgrade cart will still be utilized, but also attracts new fans looking for a new console but are skeptical about buying a stock 3DO. I know, it's funny as that is what killed the 32-X in the end as Sega had two 32bit systems on the market, however, Sega straight up told you that the Saturn was a totally different beast than the 32-X. If 3DO made it quite clear that the new console was for people who don't already have a 3DO and does the exact same thing as the 3DO with the upgrade Cart, I think it would have worked fine. It could have been the 3DO's equivalent to what Sega was trying to do with the ill fated Neptune.

In the end, remember that this was the era of the "Killer App". One great game could sell your system. Or one game that was perceived as Great. What sold the Sega CD initially? The technology at first, then nobody was buying again until Sonic CD released. Even then it only sold 2.7 million units. Far better than any other add on though. I guarantee you that without Sonic CD, that never would have happened.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by parallaxscroll » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:21 am

Yes this is how talk of M2 started. The 64-Bit Mark II / Bulldog upgrade for the original 3DO.

The M2's codename was BullDog, which would become the BDA (BullDog ASIC) the heart of the M2 system with the 10 custom graphics/audio/MPEG1/I/O etc, etc processors on one chip, not counting the single PowerPC 602 CPU, then dual PPC 602 CPUs in the final, standalone hardware.

Now this picture may or may not have been a mock-up of the M2 upgrade unit, at least many people assumed this is how M2 would be handled, as an upgrade cartridge that would fit into that port on the back of the FZ-1. An all in one standalone 3DO M2 console would come out as well.

Image


Also, from rec.games.video.advocacy
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 1994
Subject: Correction about 3DO II 'facts'



[[[ BULLDOG: 3DO MK2 `ON TIGHT LEASH' ]]] BY EDGE MAGAZINE U.K.
TYPED BY: 2TUFF
As Panasonic rev up for their UK 3DO launch, Edge has unearthed highly
confidential details about a revolutionary new system from Trip Hawkins,
first hinted at in Edge 10. As the current 3DO gradually loses
disciples in the face of mounting competition from Sony et al,
information has been leaked about a new 3DO-compatible 64bit machine,
given the menacing codename Bulldog. Scheduled for a Christmas 1995
launch
and boasting some hugely impressive specs, the system is set
to appear in two main guises: a $100 upgrade cartridge, designed to
placate current 3DO owners; and a $250-400 standalone system as the
entry point for those wishing to start afresh on the next level of
of 3DO performance.


As predicted by Trip Hawkins in Edge 10, the new system will be down-
wardly compatible with the existing 3DO platform. That means it will
be possible to run all current software on Bulldog, and the addition
of an upgrade cartridge will also enable Bulldog software to be
played on the original machine. An insider told Edge: `What 3DO's
hardware guys have done is squeeze the entire 3DO circuitry onto
two little chips - the existing 3DO system is just a part of it.
Having been unable to decide between upgrading the original hardware
and starting anew (Edge 10), 3DO now seem to have embarked on a
two-tier stricture for Trip Hawkins' `global platform'. 3DO are
encountering an obstacle historically faced by hardware manufacturers
how to provide increased performance without dumping on those
who've already brought in. The danger is that 3DO could end up
being haunted by the same jerky evolution curve as the PC, in that
users are theoretically able to run all their new software on a
standard machine, but in reality their old boxes are about as
useful as gardening stools.

Judging by the specs that have already been uncovered, 3DO's new vision
extends beyond the games-only arena. With MPEG1 built-in as standard
and MPEG2 as a possible option, it appears that The 3DO Company is
still vigorously defending its multimedia corner.

Based on a 64bit RISC processor Bulldog is being touted to a handful
of developers - all gagged by NDAs - as a `66Mhz single cell SDRAM
system', in contrast to the dual cell 25Mhz DRAM architecture of the
standard 3DO. Boasting a rendering performance of 250,000 texture
mapped polygons per-second and an unbelievable 400Mb per second
bus bandwidth (three times greater than the PlayStation or even a
top of the range Pentium), the 3D abilities of Bulldog are rumoured
to be more than a match for anything else in development. And
unlike Sony's PlayStation, there's full hardware support for
Z-buffering.

Trip Hawkins' recent decision to resign from his position as chairman
of Electronic Arts is one of the most crucial episodes in the Bulldog
story. Since 3DO's US launch last year, the EA connection has been a
lucrative one for 3DO, providing them with some exceptional software.
But the benefits weren't reciprocated - EA's recent decision to extend
its format coverage to Sony exposed a significant conflict of interests
between the two companies. Now, with all his eggs firmly in one
basket, Trip is building a huge inhouse development department - on
the foundations of existing inhouse team Studio 3DO - with a planned
seven or eight seperate teams working on Bulldog games in time for
the launch in late 1995. Thirdparty development systems won't be
shipping until February or March of next year, though.

`They've basically screwed themselves into the ground with the first
machine,' explains Edge's source, `but they're actually making a lot
of money on it, and their philosophy right now is keep selling it
while they can. They're also realising that they're making good money
on the software and it can actually fund the costs of the new
hardware.'

But actually taking such an ambitious slab of new hardware to market
at its proposed price could prove an unsurmountable hurdle. `The
problem Trip has is that he's backed by Japanese guys who aren't Sony,'
adds Edge's informant. `They want to make money from the hardware
because they don't make a penny from the software. I think they'll
have a lot of trouble pricing Bulldog.'

Being first to the market has resulted in mixed fortunes for 3DO,
but if all goes according to plan, Bulldog could be the trump card
Trip has been waiting to play all along. What is certain is that,
although the PlayStation and Ultra 64 are noew regarded as the
benchmarks in 3D performance, 3DO can no longer be consigned to
the also-rans. Maybe Trip's `quantum leap' will happen after all.

[BullDog Tech Specs]
CPU .. 66Mhz RISC processor (possible R series)
MEMORY .. 4Mb SDRAM; 4K instruction cache; 4K data cache;
32K or 64K non-volatile RAM; 400Mb/sec bandwidth
GRAPHICS .. 100,000,000 pixels per sec; 250,000 mesh (texture)
polygons per sec; triangle engine (150,000 triangles
per sec); hardware texture mapping (bi-linear
interpolation); point sampled and MIP mapping;
Gouraud shading on Alpha and RGB channels; true 3D
perspective in all modes; full Z-buffer support.
COLOURS .. 24-bit colour; 8/16bit CLUTS
VIDEO .. MPEG1 built in, with flexible rates and multiple
stream rates; MPEG2 to follow as an option.
RESOLUTION .. 640x480-320x240
STORAGE .. Double-speed CD-ROM drive; 2:1 hardware decompression
(matching PK.Zip)
MISCELLANEOUS .. NTSC/PAL/HDTV/Wide NTSC and support for SVGA; 32K
RAM carts for saving data; DVD CD stabdard (8x speed)
by 1996.
AVAILABLE .. Christmas 1995.
27TH JULY 1994 -2TUFF

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by Dr.Enceladus » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:21 am

...hmmm...false advertising, who'd of thought in this day n age...

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ea-3do ... 0-6306234/

In my country (AUS) it's actually a crime...dunno about the USA or UK or the rest of the globe though. Meh, sorry guys if this post come across as a bit negative +, but im very depressed atm. :cry:
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by parallaxscroll » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:07 pm

^Damn.

Then the $100 million that 3DO was payed in October 1995 by Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. Ltd, for the licensing of the M2 technology. Not counting any royalty fees 3DO received and would have later received had MEI launched the M2 game console and sold games for it.

That is not a knock against the final M2 technology itself. According to EDGE / Next Generation magazine, third party developers indicated M2 had two to three times the polygon performance of Nintendo 64.

It was found that Nintendo 64 could (in real games) display about 160,000 z-buffered, texture mapped, gouraud shaded, alpha blended, filtered, AA'd and lit, etc (all features on) polygons per second. The original PlayStation, which lacked most of the graphic features N64 had, could display 180,000 textured, g-shaded and lit polys/sec, the max PS1's GPU could render & display. Or, 360,000 polys that were only flat-shaded. Nevermind the number of polys PS1's Geometry Transform Engine could transform. What the GPU could display for games is what counted.

So M2, with dual PowerPC 602s plus the BullDog chip would've been able to display, roughly, anywhere between 320,000 and 480,000 textured, g-shaded, lit fully-featured polys/sec, in games, if indeed third party devs were right and M2 was 2 to 3 times more powerful than Nintendo 64.

That is better than the real-world, in-game figures for the best PC 3D accelerators of the time (1996, early '97) meaning Rendition's Vérité V1000, 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics and NEC & VideoLogic's PowerVR PCX1 / PCX2. The cards that used those chips. The original Voodoo Graphics cards, even with a fast CPU supporting it, maxed out at well under 300,000 textured, full-featured poly/sec, in real games. So paper-spec hype & even baked benchmark figures be damned.


Now I'm really depressed.

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by Hound » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:11 am

Image






To clarify, the unit being held in that photo, while it may look like an add on, and may have originally been designed as an add on, was actually an empty shell of the complete system M2 prototype. It was used at invitation only preview sessions at CES where a 5 minute video showing off the potential of the M2 was shown. At the point of that CES, the M2 was already slated to be a complete system only, and that was used as the show model. That shell was a prop designed and used to satisfy curiousity. This information came straight from the person holding the shell in the photo.

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by T2KFreeker » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:13 am

All this M2 talk still makes me sad. I remember how excited I was when they were touting the system for the E3. Everything was looking so good and then people at Matsushita lost their nerve, thus sending the M2 into the dreamland of consoles that never technically were. I know they were technically used as kiosk machines and the like, but just seems like such a waste to a gamer that was ready to throw money at the system. It's still depressing and would have been so cool to play one of these units. I hated the fact that Matsushita even sited that the Playstation just had too much of a foothold on the gaming market as being the reason they bowed out of releasing the console. Was just a really sad day for me.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by Dr.Enceladus » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:24 am

When i finally got my first FZ10 3DO in late 1996, i used to stir up my mates who owned Saturns and Playstations telling em my 3DO was upgradeable and sh!t...boy, did i end up with egg on my face. :oops: . The only thing i could brag about after that was i had the best ports of some games and a few 3DO "only" titles. Then i found a Jap FZ10 and my sister brought me back a new FZ1 from the states when she came back to OZ for $120.00US.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by parallaxscroll » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:57 am

Hound wrote:Image






To clarify, the unit being held in that photo, while it may look like an add on, and may have originally been designed as an add on, was actually an empty shell of the complete system M2 prototype. It was used at invitation only preview sessions at CES where a 5 minute video showing off the potential of the M2 was shown. At the point of that CES, the M2 was already slated to be a complete system only, and that was used as the show model. That shell was a prop designed and used to satisfy curiousity. This information came straight from the person holding the shell in the photo.
Kinda thought so -- Thanks for the confirmation on that being an empty shell, no actual M2 chipset in there.

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by johnnycash » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:14 pm

Even in autumn 1996, the M2 was being promoted as a 3do upgrade add-on. Whether this was legitimate or not is not clear, sicne the programming of games for M2 was well-advanced at that point and would they have been able to ditch the programming for a 3DO/m2 hybrid to a standalone unit. Wouldf it not have been easier just to program for the standalone unit from the start.

M2 was, imo, doomed to failure as an add-on. Because you are limited to the exisiting 3do market - 700K units. It was a forlorn hope probably to get people to continue buying 3do past its sell by date. Trip and Bob were big on sales talk but didn't back it up with much. IMSA racing doesn't look 7x more advanced than anything on PSX although the D game does look good.

Those days were great for wild ideas, thought up by entrepreneurs not accounts departments. Jag Cd, CD-I, 3do, 32X, NG, they were all at it. Now XB1 and PS4 look basically the same, with only nintendo still a bit crazy.

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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by a31chris » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:55 pm

johnnycash wrote:Those days were great for wild ideas, thought up by entrepreneurs not accounts departments. Jag Cd, CD-I, 3do, 32X, NG, they were all at it. Now XB1 and PS4 look basically the same, with only nintendo still a bit crazy.
This is exactly why I thought the 90s were great for gaming compared to now. New CD format. New consoles with more power and memory. No one knew what was going to stick so they were trying new and different things on CD and cartridge.

Now they caught a glimpse of what does make money so all the rest of us are kinda locked into the Military FPS shooter cycle. How many space shooters come out anymore that are good?
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by T2KFreeker » Sat Aug 23, 2014 3:17 am

a31chris wrote:
johnnycash wrote:Those days were great for wild ideas, thought up by entrepreneurs not accounts departments. Jag Cd, CD-I, 3do, 32X, NG, they were all at it. Now XB1 and PS4 look basically the same, with only nintendo still a bit crazy.
This is exactly why I thought the 90s were great for gaming compared to now. New CD format. New consoles with more power and memory. No one knew what was going to stick so they were trying new and different things on CD and cartridge.

Now they caught a glimpse of what does make money so all the rest of us are kinda locked into the Military FPS shooter cycle. How many space shooters come out anymore that are good?
When's the last time you saw an honest to God Space shooter on a modern console? Not to say there hasn't been any, but not that many. There was a time when it seemed like ti was all the rage on the PC and console though. The problem with most modern games these days is that everything is looking like an FPS. Puzzle games, platformers, shooters, it's kind of sad. I hear the vote for realism, but I don't play Video Games for reality. If I want that, I'll go outside and breathe fresh air. Still, I do remember being so excited for the M2 because it was, for just a moment, where it seemed like the 3DO had told the naysayers off and actually made it. I was a sad panda on the announcement from Matsushita that they were scrapping the game console. Sad indeed.
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by FZ-10 » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:36 pm

There's one for free right now on the Xbox One (also on PS4), but it honestly sucks horribly. The controls make your hands scream (seriously, look it up), and the gameplay just.. sucks. Unless you lock on, you can't hit ANYTHING in your ship, and locking on is one of those "hold the button down and it automatically selects everything on screen" mechanics... where's the fun in that?

Space shooters have definitely sucked major butt recently. I hope that turns around. Until then, we have Wing Commander on our 3DOs....
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Re: Upgrade cartridge?

Post by T2KFreeker » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:49 pm

FZ-10 wrote:There's one for free right now on the Xbox One (also on PS4), but it honestly sucks horribly. The controls make your hands scream (seriously, look it up), and the gameplay just.. sucks. Unless you lock on, you can't hit ANYTHING in your ship, and locking on is one of those "hold the button down and it automatically selects everything on screen" mechanics... where's the fun in that?

Space shooters have definitely sucked major butt recently. I hope that turns around. Until then, we have Wing Commander on our 3DOs....
As awesome as Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander III are, there are actually still so many awesome space shooters in the 32-Bit era, it seems sad to limit yourself to just those games. Hell, even on the 3DO you have Star Fighter which is downright amazing on that system. Too bad the ports to Saturn and Playstation were so horrid. The Shock Wave games are real Gems too. Not quite on the same level as they are kind of different, but still kind of in the same genre. On the Saturn/Playstation, you have Darklight Conflict, which is a solid as Hell shooter. Playstation also has the amazing Colony Wars games as well. I know I'm missing quite a few though. N64 has the awesome Star Wars games and also Starfox 64 if you want your spaceships in the multiplayer flavor.
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