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Newsgroups: rec.games.video.atari Path: wabbit.cc.uow.edu.au!metro!news.cs.su.oz.au!harbinger.cc.monash.edu.au!yeshua.marcam.c om!usc!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!decwrl!netcomsv!netcom.com!rjung From: rjung@netcom.com (Robert A. Jung) Subject: Atari Jaguar Frequently-Asked Questions Message-ID: Organization: Southern California Lynx Enthusiasts Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 02:50:09 GMT Lines: 636 Unlike the Atari Lynx FAQ, this one didn't go through too many changes, other than the usual updates and tidbits. --R.J. B-) //////////////////////////////////////|\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Send whatevers to rjung@netcom.com | If it has pixels, I'm for it. --------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up! "You weren't chosen because you are the best pilot in the Air Force. You were chosen because you are the class clown and frankly, you're expendable." _ _ ____ _ _ _ ____ ||| Atari | | / |/ ___\| | | | / | _ \ Frequently Asked Questions ||| | | / | | __| | | | / | |_| | / | \ /| | |/ / | | |_ | | | |/ / | _ < | |_| / _ | |__| | |_| / _ | | \\\ \___/_/ |_|\____/ \___/_/ |_|_| \\\ \\\ Created by Robert Jung (rjung@netcom.com), because no one else wanted to. Dedicated to ASTEROIDS, for getting me hooked in the first place Last update: 1/30/1994 ============================================================================== This file is not maintained by, overseen by, endorsed, or otherwise associated with Atari Corp. or any of its subsidiaries. It's just a collection of questions and answers, with a few news tidbits thrown in. This file is posted on a monthly basis, usually around the first of the month. It is maintained by Robert Jung at rjung@netcom.com on the Internet. Send corrections, news, updates, comments, questions, or other stuff to that address. All mail is welcome! Updates since the last publically posted FAQ have a vertical bar in the first column. ============================================================================== Q. What is the Atari Jaguar? A. The world's first 64-bit home console video game system. Developed after three years of research, manufactured by IBM, the Jaguar offers high-speed action, spectacular graphic effects, and CD-quality sound for $250. ============================================================================== Q. How does IBM fit into this? A. IBM has a $500 million contract with Atari Corp. to assemble, test, package, and distribute Jaguar units. Manufacturing is done at IBM's Charlotte, NC facility, and the Jaguar is IBM's first attempt at producing a consumer grade product for an outside vendor. IBM has no known participation in the design of the Jaguar. IBM has no plans to create games for the Jaguar. ============================================================================== Q. Okay, who did designed the Jaguar? A. Details are murky. Atari claims that the Jaguar took over three years to develop, and was released because work was progressing faster than expected. Seeing an opportunity to leapfrog the new systems from Nintendo and Sega, they decided to bring the machine to light. The Jaguar chipset is reportedly co-developed by Flare, a British company with ties to Atari, according to Jez San of Argonaut Software. The proprietary chips are manufactured by Toshiba and Motorola. ============================================================================== Q. What are the specifications of the Jaguar? A. Physical dimensions: | Size: 9.5" x 10" x 2.5" Controls: Power on/off Display: Resolution up to 800 x 576 pixels (1300+ with additional hardware) 24-bit "True Color" display with 16,777,216 colors simultaneously Multiple-resolution, multiple-color depth objects (monochrome, 2-bit, 4-bit, 8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit) can be used simultaneously Ports: Cartridge slot/expansion port (32 bits) RF video output Video edge connector (video/audio output) (supports NTSC and PAL; provides S-Video, Composite, RGB outputs, accessible by optional add-on connector) Two controller ports Digital Signal Processor port (includes high-speed synchronous serial input/output) Controllers: Eight-directional joypad Size 6.25" x 5" x 1.6", cord 7 feet Three fire buttons (A, B, C) Pause and Option buttons 12-key keypad (accepts game-specific overlays) The Jaguar has five processors, which are contained in three chips. Two of the chips are proprietary designs, nicknamed "Tom" and "Jerry". The third chip is a standard Motorola 68000 used as a coprocessor. Tom and Jerry are built using an 0.5 micron silicon process. - "Tom" - 750,000 transistors, 208 pins - Graphics Processing Unit (processor #1) - 32-bit RISC architecture (32/64 processor) - 64 registers of 32 bits wide - Has access to all 64 bits of the system bus - Can read 64 bits of data in one instruction - Rated at 26.6 MIPS (million instructions per second) - Runs at 26.6 MHz - 4K bytes of zero wait-state internal SRAM - Performs a wide range of high-speed graphic effects - Programmable - Object processor (processor #2) - 64-bit RISC architecture - Programmable processor that can act as a variety of different video architectures, such as a sprite engine, a pixel-mapped display, a character-mapped system, and others. - Blitter (processor #3) - 64 bits - Performs high-speed logical operations - Hardware support for Z-buffering and Goudraud shading - DRAM memory controller - 64 bits - Accesses the DRAM directly - "Jerry" - 600,000 transistors, 144 pins - Digital Signal Processor (processor #4) - 32 bits (32-bit registers) - Rated at 26.6 MIPS (million instructions per second) - Runs at 26.6 MHz - Same RISC core as the Graphics Processing Unit - 8K bytes of zero wait-state internal SRAM - CD-quality sound (16-bit stereo) - Number of sound channels limited by software - Full stereo capabilities - Wavetable synthesis, FM synthesis, FM Sample synthesis, and AM synthesis - A clock control block, incorporating timers, and a UART - Joystick control - Motorola 68000 (processor #5) - Rated at 13.3MHz - General purpose control processor Communication is performed with a high speed 64-bit data bus, rated at 106.4 megabytes/second. The 68000 is only able to access 16 bits of this bus at a time. The Jaguar contains two megabytes (16 megabits) of fast page-mode DRAM. Game cartridges can support up to six megabytes (48 megabits) of uncompressed or compressed information. The Jaguar uses 24-bit addressing, and is reportedly capable of accessing data as follows: Six megabytes cartridge ROM Eight megabytes DRAM Two megabytes miscellaneous/expansion Compressed cartridge data can be uncompressed in real-time, and can store the equivalent to almost 50 megabytes (400 megabits). Compression is performed with JagPEG, an enhanced JPEG image decompression mechanism. Other Jaguar features: - Support for ComLynx I/O for communications with the Atari Lynx hand-held game system and networked multiconsole games (on DSP port, accessible by optional add-on connector) - The two controller ports can be expanded to support "dozens" of controllers - Digital and analog interfaces - Keyboards, mice, and light guns are possible - Expansion port allows connection to cable TV and other networks - Digital Signal Processor port allows connection to modems and digital audio peripherals (such as DAT players) - One megabyte per second serial interface - 9600 baud, RS-232 serial port (accessible with optional interface) ============================================================================== Q. Is the Jaguar really a 64-bit system? A. The question is hard to resolve, largely because the definition of what constitutes an "N-bit" system has not been set. Of the five processors in the Jaguar, only the object processor and the blitter are "true" 64-bit components. Because the blitter and the object processor are in the Tom chip, by extension Tom is a 64-bit chip. The Jaguar also uses a 64-bit memory architecture, according to Jez San of Argonaut Software. Some say the Jaguar should be considered a 32-bit system, as that is the maximum register size in the programmable processors (the 68000, the graphics processor, and the DMA sound processor. Others say the Jaguar can be considered a 64-bit system, because 64-bit components are used, and the GPU can access 64 bits of data if required. Again, the lack of an agreed-upon definition serves to complicate the issue. For the record, the opinion of most third party developers and observers is that the Jaguar is indeed a 64-bit system. ============================================================================== Q. How can a graphics processor be the CPU? A. The 64-bit custom graphics chip is a good general purpose RISC unit, but it has been optimized for graphics work. As Rob Nicholson of Handmade Software says, "There is no primary processor in the Jaguar. It's up to _me_ which I decide to use depending on the task." ============================================================================== Q. What kind of special effects can the Jaguar do? A. The Jaguar is capable of doing the following visual effects: - High-speed scrolling (Object Processor). - Texture mapping on two- and three-dimensional objects (Tom/Blitter). - Morphing one object into another object (Tom). - Scaling, rotation, distortion, and skewing of sprites and images (Object Processor). - Lighting and shading from single and multiple light sources (Tom and Blitter). - Transparency (Object Processor). - "Rendering" up to 850 million one-bit pixels/second (35 million 24-bit pixels/second, 26 million 32-bit pixels/second), or 50 million Goroud shaded pixels/second. "Rendering" is believed to mean transferring a pixel from a frame buffer to the screen. - Sprites of "unlimited" size and quantity. Realistically, sprites can be over 1,000 pixels wide/tall, and the number of sprites allowed is limited by processor cycles instead of a fixed value in hardware (Object processor). - Programmable screen resolutions, from 160 to 800 pixels per line. The resolution can be increased even further with additional hardware up to a reported 1350 pixels per line. ============================================================================== Q. How come the Jaguar claims to have "32-bit" graphics, when 16 million colors only need 24 bits for rendering? A. The additional 8-bits is for programmers to implement whatever visual effects may be desired. Examples cited include Z-buffering (for polygon graphics) and an alpha channel (for transparency). ============================================================================== Q. Okay, get to the meat -- which is better, the Jaguar or the 3DO? A. Ye Gods, the eternal question. The popular consensus is that the biggest strength of the Jaguar is that it deliveres performance comparable to the 3DO for a lower price ($250 Jaguar vs. $500-$700 3DO units). The same consensus say the biggest strength of the 3DO is the corporate strength behind it: over 300 developers, a consortium of multibillion dollar companies, more reliable advertising and promotion, etc. Whether or not this makes the games or the machines any better is (hotly) debatable. Best bet, as always, is to try the two machines, see what games you like, which system offers them, then decide. ============================================================================== Q. What's the information on the CD-ROM drive? A. A double-speed CD-ROM drive has been announced for release in mid-1994, with an estimated price of $200. It is reported that the CD-ROM drive is capable of transferring data continuously at 350K per second, or run at | normal audio rates of 175K per second. Access time is reportedly 300-350 milliseconds. Storage on a disc is expected to be around 700 megabytes (5,600 megabits). The CD-ROM drive plugs into the Jaguar's cartridge slot on top of the machine, and offers a cartridge slot to permit playing cartridge or CD games; the cartridge port is accessible while using the CD-ROM drive. The Jaguar CD-ROM drive allows delivery of full-screen, full-motion video. The CinePak video decompression system has been licensed from SuperMac Technologies, and permits over sixty minutes of video to be stored on a single compact disc at 30 frames a second. Movie quality pictures can then be overlaid on the screen with computer generated graphics if the game demands it. Time-Warner has licensed a library of film clips from its movies to Atari for use in Jaguar games. The Jaguar CD-ROM is also designed to interface with audio CD, Karaoke CD, CD+Graphics and optional Kodak Photo CD. The system will not be 3DO compatible or CD-I compatible. An optional MPEG2 (Motion Picture Experts | Group) compression cartridge will also be available, to allow users to play full length motion pictures from CD. The latest release date for the CD-ROM drive is middle of 1994. It has been rumored, though, that the unit may be delayed until September 1994, to allow more CD games to be ready for its release. ============================================================================== Q. What's this "Panther" I hear about? A. Quick history lesson: Sometime in the late 1980s, Atari Corp. was doing research and development on "next generation" video game consoles. There were two systems, a 32-bit machine called the Panther, and a 64-bit machine called the Jaguar. It is reported that work on the Jaguar was progressing better/faster than expected, so Atari abandoned the Panther to focus their energies on the Jaguar instead. Reports of development work on the Panther have been whispered since 1988; some people have erroneously mistaken those rumors to be about the Jaguar. The Panther reportedly was considered a "32-bit" machine by Atari, though for reasons unknown. It featured three chips, consisting of a Motorola 68000 running at 16Mhz, an object processor called the Panther, and an Ensoniq sound processor called Otis, featuring 32 sound channels. The Panther could supposedly display 8,384 colors from a palette of 262,144 colors, and could display 83,840 sprites of any size simultaneously. ============================================================================== Q. What do I get when I buy a Jaguar? A. The Jaguar package has a suggested retail price of $250, and contains the Jaguar itself, one controller, an AC adaptor, and the game CYBERMORPH. There are rumors that a lower-priced package will be made available, without the free game, but that information has not yet been confirmed. ============================================================================== | Q. Hey! My Jaguar makes a quiet hissing sound! What's going on? Is it | dangerous? | A. Atari has cited several reasons for the hissing noise, but analysis of | disassembled Jaguars reveals that the sound is from the RF generator. The | RF shield has holes in it (ostensibly to help air flow and keep the unit | cool), and it is believed that the holes produce the noise. It is not | dangerous in any event. | ============================================================================== Q. I want something better than RF output from my Jaguar. What do I do? A. Atari has an adaptor available that gives the Jaguar composite audio/video | output. The price is $24.95. The S-Video cables are currently unavailable. If you are willing to build your own, the schematics for the expansion port | are as follows: Top | 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ | 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 Bottom 4 - Composite Color 16- Horizontal Sync (RGB) 6 - Ground 17- Ground 8 - Ground 18- Red (RGB) 9 - Chroma (SVHS) 20- Ground 10- Luminance (SVHS) 21- Ground 11- Green (RGB) 22- Ground 12- Ground 23- Audio (Right) 13- Vertical Sync (RGB) 24- Audio (Left) 15- Blue (RGB) ============================================================================== Q. How does the ComLynx port on the Jaguar work? Can I connect my Lynx to it? A. The Jaguar does not have a ComLynx port per se, but has a ComLynx signal on the system bus. In theory, an expansion port add-on would make the port accessible. In theory, it would be possible to daisy-chain multiple units of Jaguars and Lynxes for multiplayer games. At the current time, however, no such plans are in the works. Instead, it is seen as allowing Lynxes to be used as peripherals: software can be developed to allow Lynxes to be part of a Jaguar game as "smart" controllers. ============================================================================== Q. Who are the third-party developers for the Jaguar? A. The following companies have been announced as official developers for Jaguar software: Anco Software Ltd. Maxis Software Telegames Beyond Games Inc. Microids Tiertex Ltd. Dimension Technologies Midnite Software Inc. Titus Eurosoft Ocean Software Ltd. Tradewest High Voltage Software Rebellion Software Trimark Interactive Krisalis Software Ltd. | Virtual Experience U.S. Gold Ltd. Loriciel U.S.A. Silmarils Millenium Park Place Productions Ubi Soft Gremlin Software Microprose/S. Holobyte Accolade Virgin Interplay 21st Century Software Activision Id Software Phalanx Software Brainstorm 3D Games | All Systems Go Argonaut Software Euro-Soft | ICD Incorporated Photosurrealism DTMC | Epic Megagames V-Real Productions Cross Products(?) | Sunsoft Domark(?) Lucasarts(?) | Elite Infogrames(?) Br0derbund | Origin(?) Midway/Williams(?) Also, Atari Games/Tengen has licensed the Jaguar architecture for use in future arcade games. ============================================================================== Q. What are all of the current Jaguar games available in the United States? A. Current Jaguar Games List: Title Players Publisher Type ----------------- ------- ------------ --------------------------- | Crescent Galaxy 1 Atari Shooter Cybermorph 1 Atari Action/Strategy | Evolution:Dino Dudes 1 Atari Puzzle/Strategy | Raiden 1-2 Atari Arcade ============================================================================== Q. What are the upcoming Jaguar games? A: Note: These lists are hardly definitive. It's based on many sources, and in some cases, it just might be dead wrong. Games also often change from pre-release to production. Upcoming Jaguar cartridge games (? = Uncertain entry): Title Players Publisher Type ----------------- ------- ------------ --------------------------- | Aero the Acro-Bat 1-2 Sunsoft Action/Platform Alien vs. Predator 1 Atari Action Al Michaels 1-2 Accolade/Atari Sports Announces Hardball | Alone in the Dark 1? Infogrames Adventure | American Football 1-2 Park Place Sports | Another World 1 Interplay Action/Strategy | Arena Football 1-2 V-Real Prod. Sports Batman: The 1? Atari? Action? Animated Series Battlemorph: 1 Atari Action/Strategy Cybermorph 2 Battlewheels 1-2? Beyond Games Action Battlezone 2000 1 Atari Action/Arcade Blue Lightning 1 Atari Action Boogers and Snotnose 1-2? All Systems Go Platform? Brett Hull Hockey 1-2? Accolade/Atari Sports | Brutal Sports 1-2 Telegames Sports | Football Bubsy in Claws 1 Accolade/Atari Platform Encounters of the Furred Kind | Car Wars 1-2? Midnite Sw Action | Casino Royale 1-2? Telegames Strategy Charles Barkley 1-2 Accolade/Atari Sports Basketball Checkered Flag II 1 Atari Sports Cisco Heat 1 Atari? Driving/Arcade Club Drive 1? Atari Action/Strategy | Commando 1 Microids Action/Strategy Cyberpunk City 1 Atari Adventure | Double Dragon 4 1-2 Telegames Arcade/Action/Fighting Doom: Evil Unleashed 1 id Software Action | Dungeon 1? Atari Adventure | Dungeon Depths 1 Midnite Sw Adventure European Soccer 1-2 Telegames Sports Challenge Falcon(?) 1 S. Holobyte Simulator Flashback 1 U.S. Gold Action/Adventure Grand Prix 1? Microprose Sports Gunship 2000 1 Microprose Action/Strategy | Hosenose and Booger 1-2? All Systems Go Platform | Indiana Jags 1 Virtual Exp. Action? Jack Nichlaus' Power 1-2? Accolade/Atari Sports Challenge Golf James Pond 3 1 Millenium Platform Jimmy Connors' 1-2 Atari Sports Tennis | Kasume Ninja 1-2 Atari Action/Fighting Kick Off 2 1-2 Anco Software Sports | Mortal Kombat 1-2 Atari Arcade/Fighting | Pinball Fantasies 1-2? 21st Century Action | Phong 2000 1-2? Phalanx ? | Powerslide 1? Elite Action? | Robinson's Requiem 1? Silmarils Strategy Soccer Kid 1? Krisalis Ltd. Platform? | Star Raiders 2000 1? Atari Action | Steel Talons 1 Atari Arcade Tempest 2000 1-2 Atari Action/Arcade Tiny Toon 1-2? Atari Platform Adventures Ultimate Brain Games 1-2? Telegames Puzzle | Ultra Vortex 1-2 Beyond Games Action/Fighting World Cup 1-2? Anco Software Sports | Zozziorx 1? Virtual Exp. ? Zool 2 1-2? Gremlin Platform Upcoming Jaguar CD-ROM games: Title Players Publisher Type ----------------- ------- ------------ --------------------------- Battlechess 1-2 Interplay Strategy | Evidence 1 Microids Action/Adventure | Dracula the Undead 1 Atari Adventure | Horrorscope 1? V-Real Prod. Adventure? | Jukebox 1? All Systems Go ? Return to Zork 1 Activision Adventure Space Pirates 1? Atari Action/Adventure Star Trek: The Next 1 Microprose Adventure Generation ============================================================================== Q. How can I reach Atari Corp.? A. Customer Service: (800) GO-ATARI Mailing Address: Atari Corp. 1196 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302 | Company spokesman Bob Brodie can be reached by electronic mail on GEnie, | via the address "BOB-BRODIE". E-mail can be sent over the Internet with | "bob-brodie@genie.geis.com". Interested developers should contact Bill Rehbock at (408) 745-2088. Include: Company name, mailing address, phone number, fax number, and brief company/personal background relating to software development. Due to the high volume of inquires, information kits are prioritized according to background (SNES/Genesis/Computer) of previous titles developed. ============================================================================== | Q. Where can I get other information about the Jaguar? | A. Publications: | | - Die Hard Game Fan General video-gaming magazine with some | 18612 Ventura Blvd. Jaguar coverage. | Tarzana, CA 91356 | | - Electronic Gaming Monthly General video-gaming magazine with | 1920 Highland Avenue some Jaguar coverage. | Suite 222 | Lombard, IL 60148 | | - Gamepro General video-gaming magazine with | P.O. Box 3329 some Jaguar coverage. | Redwood City, CA 94064 | | - Video Games General video-gaming magazine with | 9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300 some Jaguar coverage. | Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | | | Internet/USENET newsgroups and services: | | - rec.games.video.atari Contains news of all Atari video-game systems. | | - Jaguar electronic mailing list: | | To subscribe, send e-mail to "listserv@ctrc.idde.saci.org". In the | text of the letter, have a line that reads "subscribe jaguar-l | ", where and are your | first name and last name, respectively. Once you are on the list, | send messages to "jaguar-l@ctrc.idde.saci.org"; everyone on the list | will receive a copy of your message. | | | Internet TELNET site: | | - Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG | | freenet-in-{a,b,c}.cwru.edu or or nextsun.INS.CWRU.edu | Access via modem at (216) 368-3888. | | You can log on as visitor to explore the system and apply for a | Free-Net account online. At the opening menu, enter "2" to log in as a | visitor. At the next menu, enter "2" again to explore the system. You | will then read an opening disclaimer and a login bulletin, then be sent | to the main menu. Once inside, type "go atari". Follow the menus to | read discussions, reviews, news, and information. In order to post | messages and send e-mail, you need a Free-Net account. Apply for a | Free-Net account by entering "1" at the second menu instead of "2". | | | BBS: | | - Video Game Information Service. | | (201) 509-7324, 300/1200/2400/9600/14400 bps. Multiple lines | | Located in West Orange, New Jersy (USA). The BBS is completely | dedicated to video gaming, and maintains files of cheats and reviews | for all game systems. Carries video-game-related conferences from | other computer networks, including Fidonet, Worldnet, and Globalnet. | | | On-line services: | | - GEnie | | Registered developers can join the Independent Association of Jaguar | Developers (IAJD) on the GEnie computer network. Membership in the | IAJD is limited to Jaguar developers registered with Atari Corp. To | apply for membership, send e-mail to ENTRY$ on GEnie. | ============================================================================== Q. How is development for the Jaguar done? A. Jaguar game development environments exists for the Atari TT030 computer or an IBM PC/compatable. Art development can be performed on any machine, whether a low-end Apple Macintosh or commercial rendering software such as SoftImage. Estimated price for a developer's package is $9,000 for the TT030 setup, and $7,500 for the PC/compatable platform. The package includes a Jaguar | development unit, documentation, and development/debugging software. Software routines packaged with the system include a multi-channel polyphonic FM/Wavetable synth; JPEG decompression; video set-up; drawing primitives; 3D rendering with gourad shading, texture mapping, and camera manipulation. The centerpiece of the TT030 deveopment platform is DB, an assembly- language level debugging tool. The Jaguar and the TT030 are connected with a parallel cable, and software can be debugged interactively without interfering with the Jaguar's screen display. DB supports the use of scripts and aliases, which simplifies the use of complex or common functions. Atari grants final code approval, but does not see the need to "censor" games. Every game is given one man-month of compatability and quality testing before it is approved. Atari offers technical support via FAX, mail, electronic mail and voice. Atari allows developers to source their own cartridges, documentation and shells if desired. ==============================================================================


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