Sega Saturn to the limit (III)

First draft translation. Apologies for the mistakes. I will improve the text in future revisions.

NOTE: Long entry. In this post I have used a lot of information, complex and in some aspect not precise. Is possible I have made mistakes in interpretation or understanding. I will try to correct everything that comes up.

In this spreadsheet you have the data that I have collected from 321 games. Of the approx. 1200 titles in total. That they are 20% approx. of the total:

Index:

  1. The impossible to solve: Triangle vs Quadrangle.
    1.1 Triangle vs Quadrangle – EXTRA Ball: UV Mapping
  2. The least complicated: Gouraud shading and dynamic colour lighting.
  3. The complicated I: Softness in 3D games = 500/1.000/1.500/~2.000 quads frame = 25/30/60 stable FPS.
    3.1 The complicated I – EXTRA Ball I: Use of the SCU-DSP
    3.2 The complicated I – EXTRA Ball II: Resolution screen SD/HD
    3.3 The complicated I – EXTRA Ball III: Tessellation/LOD scenario/Mip Mapping
  4. The complicated II: FMV full screen and colour quality.
    4.1
    The Complicated II – EXTRA I Ball: Advanced Color Calculation Function “Gradation / Boken / Blur”
  5. The most complicated: Transparencies and/or semi-transparencies
    5.1 Transparencies and/or semi-transparencies – EXTRA Ball I: Transparencies + Gouraud = “Table FOG” or Depth Cueing
    5.2 Transparencies and/or semi-transparencies – EXTRA Ball II: Reflections in floors
  6. The most complicated II: Render-to-texture
  7. The hard to “see”: Sound effects of Reverberation and/or Echo
    7.1 The hard to”see” – EXTRA Ball I: ADPCM and CD-ROM XA
    Conclusions
    Epilogue
    References

4. The complicated II: FMV full screen and color quality.

What did I expect to see in SS? At least, I expected to watch videos that:

  • That they were full screen or at least with 16: 9 wide image bars. With a resolution of 320×240 for 4: 3 or 320×144 at 16: 9 (black bands).

  • From 15 to 25/30 FPS sustained.

  • 24bit color or with a quality in the correct color gradients and with minimal compression artifacts.

  • With a minimum sound quality of 22Khz and 16bit of sample. Stereo in kinematics and music. Mono for dialogues or similar.

At that time the codec that best achieved this was the MPEG-1 for the image. And MP2 for the sound. SS did not decompress this codec by hardware, it could by means of an add-on (MPEG1 + MP2 video decompression expansion card) of a high price. The 3DO and CD-i also had an MPEG expansion card with an implementation similar to SEGA Saturn and 3DO. The cards came out after the machines launched.

PSX also had an expansion card towards the end of its life. Although by itself it had a video format that was implemented at the hardware level. Again, in this feature the PSX made it easier and cheaper for developers. Giving a quality close to MPEG-1 and simple to be JPEG per frame and processed by PSX. This allowed full screen video, with high color, without penalty to use it and mix it in 2D or 3D. In addition with a license of use and edition for the quality obtained very good. It was called MJPEG, although other developers using the algorithms of the FMV co-processor of the PSX, the MDEC, made codec variations, such as Square Soft itself. It is a codec that has no compression between frames, nor compensation of movement as the MPEG1. Only the Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) algorithm they share with JPEG. The compression ratio can be high, similar to MPEG1, but since it lacks all its features, going from 20:1 degrades the image too much. This being the most used value.

While the SS had to decompress video and FMV audio by software completely. In other words, there was more complication, but similar things could be done. Both in Mr. Bones (full-screen background FMV) with Duck Motion Video or Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (full screen with transparency) with Cinepak, both very well used. Examples at the other extreme as in the case of Time Commando, which in general is a very (very) bad version for the SS, but on the FMV theme it is disastrous and improvable clearly seen the previous examples.

The codecs at the end encode or decode the multimedia information. But other of the essential variables in the quality of these is their compression factor and the final quality after this compression / decompression. These codecs at the time were very complex and expensive technologies, today too. But at that time even more. Getting digitize multimedia information with quality and quantity was and is one of the main objectives. Where I want to get is that the “bitrate” or the amount of information needed per second for video or audio, was another variable that influenced both the quality of the content, the space it would occupy in the media and the process requirements according to the complexity of each compression codec. It is here that the speeds of the CD-ROMs of the time played their part of the problem.

CD-ROM systems, both PSX and SS, of the time shared the following common limitations:

Min 1x CD-ROM = 1.280 kilobit/seg = 160 kilobyte/seg.

Max 2x CD-ROM = 2.560 kilobit/seg = 320 kilobyte/seg.

What I am not sure is if in the case of SS having more CD-ROM cache, CD-ROM DRAM and SH1 helped to have more final transfer capacity:

Cache CD-ROM = 64 KB = 512 kilobit

CD-ROM DRAM = 512 KB = 4.096 kilobit

Another interesting point to consider in this area are the tools and technologies that each support had available. With regard to video editing tools, patents and licenses for the use of video codecs / decoders… Sony was already a very important owner of these, and SEGA was not. SEGA had some patents and knowledge, thanks to SEGA-CD (Mega-CD). But Sony as a company dedicated to General Electronics had (and has) Video and Audio divisions for electronic and film consumption.

Here again SEGA did what it could by allying with Hitachi and JVC for the development of FMV via more hardware betting on the extended Cinepak along with the advanced Duck Video for the software via. Interestingly both solutions via software also in the most direct competition: 3DO.

In addition, he later created, together with his technological subsidiary (today) CRI / CSK, the MPEG SoftDec. An MPEG-1 for full software, although it was very limited in SS via software (it also took advantage of the SS Video expansion card), in addition to being more expensive with respect to Duck Video, not to mention with respect to Cinepak.

What is clear is that SS had computing power. The problem as usual was to take advantage of it. But analyzing the evolution of development I have been able to see how gradually the SS was being used better and obtaining better results. Using the VDP1 unit and a SH2 with mono WAV sound, until you get to use both VDPs, 24bits total color, the two SH2 plus the SCU DSP and ADPCM stereo sound. Even with the possibility of using the DSP of the SCSP to improve the ADPCM or PCM sound. Reaching a quality of FMV very close or equal PSX in many aspects and in many cases.

Finally, it is also important to keep in mind. That when there is an add-on to watch Video-CD. And of course, SEGA and its partners would not like the idea that the same could be obtained via software, without going through them. As we said in SS, everything gets a little more complicated. And this, again, did not help the developer or the end customer to give or have the same or more quality compared to PSX.

In the end it was possible to fix this disadvantage?

YES, but partially. I explain:

A) On the part of the SEGA itself in its SDK we can see the issue according to codec and timeline of SS life. We have to clarify that one thing is when a feature is supported and when it finally comes to a game. So we can have small or large time differences:

1. Since 1993/94 (Pre-release) and 11-1994 (Official release):

  • Cinepak + PCM. SBL 1994-10-31 [Pre-release or Release 1]

    Introduced since the beginning of the SBL as a library apart from them.

    Cinepak is a codec that was born in 1991. Very widespread and used in Mac OS later in PC-Windows. His time license was the most competitive, and his requirements to function as well. In this same sense, direct competition, that is, 3DO and Jaguar also implemented it. Curiously, and it seems to be, using or perhaps licensing part of the implementation to SEGA itself. Because in some 3DO game the .FILM container has been seen, it would be the case of Lemmings de Psynosis.

    SEGA started using it on the Mega-CD and CD-32X, and it was evolving in its own branch. With improvements over the standard over time. In essence “SEGA’s Cinepak” or seen as CPK is basically a type of SEGA FILM container. Where the compression technology used is the same as that of the original Cinepak. With loss, based on VQ (Vector Quantization) plus the difference control between frames. Get an acceptable compression with videos files usable for CD-Roms of the time from 1x, with an acceptable color quality or artifacts. And with bitrates between 2100 and 1800 kbps for video with a good quality for 2x speed on CD-Rom. In the standard technological language we could be talking about a general compression ratio of 20:1 to a possible maximum of 200:1.

    SEGA in both the USA and Japan developed a lot of their codec and knowledge for FMV through Cinepak. Although we can perceive that SEGA Japan is more focused on Cinepak than SEGA USA. It is seen in the catalog that the use of Cinepak is majority on the Japanese side. Getting to evolve with ADPCM and later with ADX.

    Another handicap that Cinepak already had then. It is that a good part of the tools necessary to create video were in the reference OS in a preconfigured way. “Reducing” costs even more for developers and homogenizing even more the learning between systems. So Mac OS and Windows 95 already had Cinepak codecs integrated into their multimedia systems at that time. Apart from some extra tool for editing or basic authoring.

    In today’s released public versions of the SEGA Cinepak SDK for SS, version 1.20 is only in the form of a set of libraries called “Authoring” (1994/12/26) very typical of the time. Where we find the source code for the Cinepak player by software for the SS and also support for MPEG via expansion card. In addition to PC software or compatible for conversion or “authoring” of the videos on in the “Film” container of SEGA.

    We know the existence of SEGACODEC v2.0 by a SEGA DTS that announced it on 10-1994 where it only refers to the SEGA-CD. In the official released SDK, we can see that it is the Cinepak for SEGASATURN Rel. 3 and SATURN Author Rel. 2 dated 10/31/1995. With GNU source code of the player and the library in general.

    In this SDK the version of the Cinepak library is 1.20. We can see a fairly long history that begins at 0.8. And see how it evolved from at least 09-1994 onwards. Improving the use first in VDP1, later that of VDP2, also the handling of sound and data transfer using CPU-DMA, SCU-DMA and SCU-DSP. In another bookstore we can see as initial date 1994-11-10. Although surely this Cinepak library for SS was launched or developed between 9 and 11 of 1994. Months before the final launch of the console in Japan. And it had a strong development throughout that year.

    Although through the research I have done we can see that in a first stage it varies between the use of 1x SH2 and 2x SH2. But it tended more towards the use of 1x SH2. As in general the rest of the games in the 1st wave. The files are entirely 24bit BPP, because Cinepak worked on a fixed 24-bit RGB color space. But in many cases the video is shown in VDP1, limited to 15BPP of color the final result. Although during this first part some used the VDP2 to show the maximum number of colors available. It may also be that one of the reasons for using VDP1 was to be able to easily scale videos that were not at maximum resolution. Although VDP2 also supports scaling, it is not as flexible but it supports it. Only a few used VDP2 scaling for full screen videos. I have also found the use of 2 layers of alternative VDP2 in 16-bit color, although only in 2 games. We can also see the use of SCU-DSP in Cinepak playback. As I was able to read in the SDK Documentation, it was possible to transfer data from BUS-A to BUS-B (VDP2 32bit and SCSP), although this use was limited due to its delicate nature.

    Highlight as a detail that Mplayer and VLC mark 600FPS in many videos. Than as explained in detail in Wikimedia it seems more likely to be 15 or 30FPS.With the new version of VLC we can confirm how some go to 15FPS and others go to 30FPS. Most at 15FPS. Which makes a lot of sense for the time.

    Although you get to watch videos at 24 or 30FPS, in this first era it is rare, but at the cost of lowering the resolution. Or introduce even more artifacts and losses of gradients or colors between frames.

    The sound used mainly is without PCM compression. The weight ratio between video and audio makes the compression quality change a lot. It was a handicap to have the sound part without compression. Because there was much left to the video. In these normally the video does not exceed 1800 kbps. Precisely for this reason, in order to maximize the space for video, in many games low sound values ​​were used to reach pampering of 176 kbps to maximum of 706 kbps:

    Normally: 11025 Hz 8bit Mono / 22254 Hz 8bit Stereo / 22254 Hz 16bit Mono

    It is rare to see: 44100 Hz 8bits Mono / 44100 Hz 8bits Stereo / 44100 Hz, 16bits Mono

    Even weirder 44100 Hz 16bit Stereo. Because it is to bring quality to CD-DA, and the amount of kbps to the maximum. But at this stage it is not particularly visible, perhaps also because of the problems of data transfer to which the history of the codec is mentioned.

    As notable uses of the Cinepak codec, we could highlight the fact by Nextech. Using both SH2 and maximum resolution. With good compression in relation to SPF and good and adjusted sound quality. In the two Battle Arena Toshinden, D-Xhird and Resident Evil. In the latter reaching its top quality.

  • Duck TrueMotion S [Pre-release (1994-10)]

Duck TrueMotion 1 It was introduced by SEGA USA into the SS platform and in SEGA Japan it was AM2 that quickly integrated it into its SGL internally. But in the proportion of use, Duck is more used in developments in the USA also from very early, which would be the case of Crystal Dynamics.

Here we find a possible explanation. Since Crystal Dynamics also developed 3DO games at this time using these codecs, I could use the same job for both machines. Although the quality between some games was not equal. For example, in Off World Interceptor Extreme, SS videos are in 24bit and 3DO videos in 16bit. It is possible that the ARM or/and the 3DO DSP could not decompress this level of quality available in the codec.

We can finally conclude that the origin of the use of this codec started from SEGA USA. Since the codec is from a New York company, and it was also used first (with almost total security) on the 3DO platform of US origin as well.

There is GNU source code of the player and the library in general. This codec has several compression profiles. The first games to use it mainly were from the USA, such as Crystal Dynamics. Also in its superior algorithm quality option: 24BPP.

Now I want to go into more detail in the video algorithms available from Duck Truemotion S.

But before you start seeing the pros and cons of the two Duck algorithms. It should be noted that, like Cinepak, it works on an RGB color space of 15 or 24 bits of color. For both of us we have a Variable frame rate (VBR), with no control capability beyond the typical options.

Well, the 16BPP algorithm is already excellent. Both in configuration options, as in final results. The only downside that can be attributed to him is that the lack of color gradients in certain situations is very clear and the loss of detail too. It is true that we have the option of adding the dithering effect, but unfortunately, at least from my point of view, it is still noticeable even on the old CRT monitors or TV. Moreover, the sum of the magnificent compression of keyframe plus the use of interframe (there is also less efficient intraframe option) makes the overall compression ratio and the final frame rate very good. If this we add the stream of compressed audio. The total result is a format that wins in many ways the MPEG of PS1, and that is quite close in final quality. You can easily reach the maximum resolution of the time 320×240 at 25 or FPS. With high compression ratios and low frame rates with very good values. In addition to being useful in the use within VDP1 with all that this entails. Finally, it allows to leave enough bandwidth to have an audio stream at the highest quality of the duck ADPCM: 44100Hz Stereo.

However, with the 24BPP algorithm, we have twice as much data for the color. Giving as result some degraded and quality in the almost perfect details, and practically on par with the results of the IDC algorithm. Not the same, but very close, and perhaps in some ways better. An outstanding example is Congo, where all the real image footage looks masterfully, with magnificent color gradients and artifacts in the minimum 4×4 color. Where I have come to see up to about 45,000 unique colors in a frame. The cost is that it is more complicated to reach maximum resolutions and even less at high SPF. We can get to see a case of 320×196 as a maximum resolution, finding values ​​below 320 in X in most videos. In FPS, most are at 15FPS. Although we can find some isolated case at 20FPS or 24FPS. We also need to use VDP2 in 24-bit color mode, losing the flexibility of VDP1, and increasing the complexity of buffers for the player. In addition, contrary to the 16BPP we lower the compression ratio and raise the frame rate. In turn losing space for the sound stream. In 24BPP videos we find that it is preferred to lower the quality of the ADPCM to gain space for the video stream. Which is the most logical. Lowering to ADPCM 3bits at 22100Hz Stereo is not a big loss. It still sounds wonderfully good. With the Duck ADPCM it is not possible to lower more than 22050Hz in the sampling, in ADX for example we can go down to 8000Hz. Which would have allowed some more margin for the video stream. With a decrease in sound quality also considerable.

The author of the best videos in SEGA’s DUCK was Eric Caplain or Eric Ameres who was one of Duck’s chief engineers at that time. That also developed and maintained, at least, the player and everything related to the video KIT for SS. As he has been able to confirm us in the Discord chat of the SS scene.

Before continuing with the detailed chronology of the evolution of this codec. I will make a summary of the overall evolution of the codec:

Video/audio qualities:

    1. Duck Video 16/24*1 BPP + Audio PCM

    2. Duck Video 16/24*1 BPP + Duck Audio ADPCM 4/bit*2

    3. Duck Video 16/24 BPP + Duck Audio ADPCM 4/3bit*2

    4. *1 Although 24BPP support seems to be from the launch supported on the player. No configuration signals are seen in the Windows codec in version 1c, the only version published right now. The tutorials also only refer to the 16BPP algorithm. It may be that for a while Duck only gave this option as an internal or consulting service at its facilities. I am not sure.

    5. *2 Duck Audio ADPCM 4/3bit

      1. First 4bit. Estándar 44 kbps.

      2. After 3bit Reduce 33 kbps, to a minimum. Available at least from thePreliminary Version TM 200 (Jan)01-1995”

Use of the SS:

    1. Use 1xSH2 or 2xSH2. Using assembly code to maximize decompression.

    2. Use of VDP1 alone.

    3. Use of VDP2 in 16 bit
      • 1 layer
      • 2 alternating layer, kind of double buffer.
    4. Use of VDP2 in 24bit
      • 1 layer with mask / transparency.
      • As textures with mask for VDP1.
      • Use of double buffer, I don’t know how exactly, but support dual buffer tube 24-bit mode. Confirmed by the developer himself.
    5. Finally, the use of SCU-DSP and SCSP-DSP is unknown:
      • In the one of the SCU-DSP I have been able to appreciate that approximately 50% of the Duck FMVs have some signal of use of the SCU-DSP. Very few with clear signals, about 7%. It is possible that in some game some SEGA library was used, for transfer or sound, similar to Cinepak that makes use of the SCU-DSP.
      • In the SCSP-DSP is even more unknown. I have seen some use in FMV but very small. I cannot determine if the use is directly by the Duck player or by any use of the Yamaha eLinker for sound. If I could see some code in “ASM” of the Duck KIT for the sound, but the use exactly I do not know.
      • Finally, according to Eric Caplain / Ameres, he said that he didn’t use either of the two DSPs at all, he did everything with the 2x SH2. Although there is a possibility that other developers who implemented their player made some addition. As I say, possible but unknown its actual use.
  • Duck True Motion 16/24 * 1 + PCM 8bits [Preliminary Version TM102 1994-12]

We can see in some of the first SEGA developments the use of the Duck codec in the video part, but not in the audio part.

In the part of the video we obviously see the use of the 16BPP mode. Although I have no clear evidence of whether 24BPP mode was already ready at this time.

On the other hand, as we were saying in the sound part, I don’t know how to use the ADPCM possibility that the Duck codec gave in the audio stream and a PCM use is seen, however. Because it is clear, in the first versions they did not yet have this feature. As of Preliminary Version TM102 it had the option PCM: Sampled at 22 or 44Khz, 8bit alone and mono or Stereo.

    • Bug! (08-1995)

      • 176 kbps 22050 Hz Mono 8 bits.

      • 1xSH2, SCU-DSP Signals, SCSP-DSP 35% Memory

  • Duck TrueMotion S [Release 1 1995-01 y Release 2 1995-05/09]

We are already facing much more mature versions than the previous pre-release. We can already find a total support for reproduction of 16 and 24bit of DUCK color. The latter I understand that, because the amount of games already with this was considerable. Both in this strip of time, as a time later. Understand already in development and later launched.We do not know if at any time between versions 1 and 2. Duck implemented the option of the 24BPP algorithm in the Windows coding codec. If it is true that we can see more games with videos at 24BPP (16% of the total in 24bits of which I have analyzed) at the moment curiously most of Crystal Dynamics as we explained before:

    • Off World Interceptor Extreme
    • Ghen War
    • Gex
    • Titan Wars (E) / Solar Eclipse (U)

In addition to Duck ADPCM to 4-BIT sound, the Duck ADPCM to 3-BIT option was already available, which was implemented sometime between the preliminary versions and the first release. Falling from 44 kbytes / sec to 33kbytes / sec for the highest quality 44Khz Stereo.

Even in these improved PCM support.

Also note the improvement in the management of buffers for reproduction. They talk about 3 Buffers. I think I understood, reading the code, that the VRAM of VDP1 was used. The Framebuffer of the VDP1. And in VDP2 a 24-bit layer is normally used for videos of this color depth.

But I have found the use of 2 layers of 16-bit color VDP2 alternative for videos of this color depth. I find this last case very curious. Only 7 games of the total, means 2.2% of the total. A really low number. They may be videos with some interframe configuration or high resolution or bit rate, and the player uses this solution to load all the info on time. It is still curious.

Finally comment, not least important. Also the improvement of the implementation of the compression feature between frames and the color resolution in X/Y. It seems that they were also improved between previous and final versions.

Duck TrueMotion 16/24*1 + PCM 8/16bits (1995-02)

We can finally see the support for 16-bit depth sound, CD quality, in Duck libraries. From 02-1995. And use it in some game.

In general we can talk that the use of PCM with Duck is very small. We are talking about 16% of the total analyzed. Which makes perfect sense. Well, using ADPCM had many more advantages than disadvantages. The only reason may be that the costs were somewhat smaller. Because the ADPCM compression codec so that it went apart from the video.

    • Clockwork Knight 2 (1995-07-28)

      • 1411 kbps 44100 Hz Stereo 16 bits = CD-DA

      • 2xSH2, SCU-DSP Signals

  • Duck TrueMotion 16/24* + Duck Audio ADPCM 4/3bit*2

As we have already commented, Duck first implemented the standard 4PC deep ADPCM. Then, shortly after the truth, I implement the 3-bit. But we found very few games that use the truth. Only 6.7% of the total used the ADPCM DK3.

    • Clockwork Knight 2 (1995-07-28)

      • 354 kbps 44100 Hz Stereo 4bits

      • 2xSH2, SCU-DSP Signals

    • Bottom of the 9th (1996-10-18)

      • 267 kbps 44100 Hz Stereo 3bits

      • 2xSH2, SCU-DSP Signals

2. Shortly after from 11-1994 (Official launch) to 04-1995 (1/2 year of the official launch):

  • MPEG-1 – VCD (31-03-1995)

    It was only available through an add-on, which was not exactly affordable. Which was inserted into the back expansion port of the SS. This totally and autonomously decompressed the video in MPEG-1 and the audio under the MPEG-1 Layer II standard. This expansion card had a set of video and audio decompression chips, plus additional memory to do everything inside the same card. Joining the SS taking advantage of the outputs to the VDP2 and the SCSP to bring the image and sound already decompressed.

    With a maximum of 352×240 at 30FPS at YUV / 24bit color and a sound quality equivalent to that of the CD-ROM: MPEG Layer II at 44100Hz Stereo. With maximum stable total peaks of 2550 / 1150kbps. And very low data rates for both video: 2326/926 kbps and audio: 224 kbps.

    In addition this had a series of effects and exclusive utilities to improve the final image quality or to be used in interactive videos.

    Theoretical compression ratio of 26: 1 to 160: 1 for video and 4: 1 to 6: 1 for audio. The combination of Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) plus motion correction. Get this great amount of compression in the video.

    Its use in games was not seen until well into 1996, and only in Japan.

    The visual quality, file size and bitrate was the best of the time.

    The use of the card for MPEG-1 in games in the system is anecdotal and limited to Japan, where the SEGA add-on was sold more closely with Korea. Where the offer of Video-CD was bigger and expanded than in USA or EU.

  • Cinepak [Releases 1 o 2]

    • Cinepak+PCM. SGL 07-06-1995

      At this time with the availability of SGL, the Cinepak library for SGLs was also introduced. Without major changes and with practically the same options as for SBL.

3. From 04-1995 (1/2 year of the official launch) to 11-1995 (1 year of the official launch approx.:

  • Duck TrueMotion S [Release 3]

    The last release known dates from October 11, 1995. It is release 3.0. We do not have the release notes. We do not know exactly what is improved or added to the already magnificent state of the codec. Surely corrections and minor maintenance improvements. But also sure some new feature. Since a change in numbering always means something of this kind.

4. From 11-1995 (1 year of the official launch approx.) Until the end of the life of SS (1998-2000):

  • Cinepak [Releases 2 o 3]
    • Cinepak + ADPCM (CPK + ADP)

We do not have data that can mark us a support in Cinepak libraries. We may be facing an implementation via SBL libraries of the ADPCM together with the Cinepak. The first game we see makes use of this is NiGHTS into Dream. We can also appreciate two more facts. The use of CD-XA and a non-standard type of CPK. It is clear that the Sonic Team, I look for the highest possible quality for the FMV, and did all this new work.

Although we can find in more games this combination of factors are not many. Meaning a tiny 2.3% of the total games that are using Cinepak.

      • NiGHTS into Dream (1996-07-05)
      • I could not determine the video or Audio stream data by non-standard .cpk, Film 1.08.
        • 24-bits RGB 320×184, 15FPS Posible. VDP2 24-bit color
        • .adp ADPCM Stereo CD-XA Mode-2
        • 2x SH2
    • Cinepak + MIDI

It is possible that there are some more. I have only been able to detect a game that combines Cinepak with MIDI. This is The Story of Thor 2. Maximizing the kbps for the video, around 2200kbps. The truth is that without having a remarkable resolution and final quality. And to top it off using VDP1 to show the video.

      • The Story of Thor 2 (1996-04-26)
        • 24-bit color RGB, 256 x 176, 30FPS, 2200 kbps max
        • 1x SH2, señales SCU-DSP
    • Mask and transparency effects

      Both Duck and Cinepak implemented the possibility of using graphic video data, as if they were Sprites for VDP1 or to use VDP2 transparency for more special effects. In the case of Duck, I have not been able to identify any games, but Cinepak has. The Devil Summoner saga:

      • Devil Summoner: Shin Megami Tensei (1995-12)
      • Magias:

        • 24-bit 256×180 15/45/120FPS

        • 44100Hz Mono 705 kbps

        • 2x SH2

    • Cinepak + ADX (ADPCM like)

The first games that are seen using this combination are in 1998. Although ADX copyright puts 1996-97. They are only 5.5% of the total games with Cinepak. What we can clearly see in these FMVs is a use of SCU-DSP. That I have concluded is by the ADX codec for decompression with total security. In addition I have also seen the use of the SCSP-DSP during the videos, maybe for some low-pass filter.

Thanks to the use of ADX, we are talking about maximum sound quality. ADX leaves for Cinepak 1056kbps extra. That can mean twice as much data per second as using PCM.

The results in practice are fantastic. These “last” Cinepak look superbly. Burning Ranger not especially but others like: Baroque, Lunar 2 – Eternal Blue and Wachenröder. In Wachenröder I have seen about 3000 unique colors, a very high color density per pixel for this codec.They look absolutely beautiful. Color quality, gradients and compression artifacts reach the highest quality for this codec.

.CAK→In the background a type of SEGA container .FILM

      • Burning Rangers (1998-02-26)
        • 24-bit RGB 296×216 24FPS 2000 kbps
          • 2xSH2
          • VDP2 Full Screen NBG0 24-bit Bitmap(512×256)
        • ADX at 44100hz Stereo 4-bits 352 kbps
          • Use of SCU-DSP and SCPS-DSP
  • Sofdec (1995-96)

The Sofdec SS codec is very undocumented. According to its copyright it is from 1995-96. Although it seems that it is still an MPEG1. In some places they say that it has frames I and P. But not the B. That makes it essentially something similar to Cinepak or Duck, both with a “kind” of frame I and frame P or interframe. But with a much more powerful base algorithm and working on the YUV color space. That gives an excellent color and gradient result. Also a better compression ratio. The IDC in this case. Father of the JPEG. IDC is clearly superior to Duck and in turn to Cinepak’s VQ. But in other places it is nevertheless a complete MPEG1.In this capture of the HRAM made by fellow @TrekkiesUnite118 we can clearly appreciate the IDC nature of the codec, very close to the MPEG1 standard: What we can see in the capture of the HRAM in a simple way, is a typical YUV 4: 2: 0 configuration. But the Y channel seems to be at ½ resolution in the horizontal, and total in the vertical. Also the U and V channels are just the opposite. What probably at the end of decompression is resolved by scaling by 2 in both directions. What we can also see is what appears to be a double decompression buffer on the Y channel and even more for the U and V channels. With the gray scale aspect of each channel, and the color inversion in the UV channels at a quarter of resolution of the Y. It is not possible to know if there are, with certainty, the P and B frames. They could be the frames of more than there are in the U and V channels. But at least with this information we can confirm that the SS I was unpacking a codec as complex as this.Reaching maximum resolutions of 240×160. What we see is really 120×160. We would be at a maximum of 75 macroblocks of 16×16. At 12FPS probably a total per second of 900 macroblocks. Which could be telling us, that Sofdec did indeed decompress complete MPEG1, which is much more demanding than the MJPEG.On the audio stream part, there are also two versions. One that the audio stream is a CRI ADX, which would explain the use of the SCU-DSP of the SS. And it is the most widespread and accepted. And the other version is that it is an MPEG audio layer II.

As I say there are no official tools released from this codec for SS. There is some utility. But there is no clear workflow to reproduce or analyze its content.

On the other hand the .SFD was in theory the standard CRI container type for Sofdec. That brought the video and audio streams into a single file. I say in theory because in the case of SS we find other files in the first games. Where we don’t know exactly if the two streams are or what types of streams.

Finally, one of the advantages that this codec had for SS was that it could be reproduced either only with the base console by software or by taking advantage of the VCD complement to reproduce it completely by hardware. Of course, the difference in the final result was obvious. Halving resolution and SPF, if not less.

Nor do we know if the codec itself degraded the flight quality, or if there were twice as many files or video streams in the same container, for both available qualities and versions.

Of course, for software reproduction this is able to use both 2xSH2 and SCU-DSP in parallel. It is very possible, as we have said, that the use of SCU-DSP is for ADX audio. And all this on a layer of 24-bit color VDP2 to be able to show the maximum color in the system.

  • Sofdec (MPEG1 like) + ADX (ADPCM like) Pre .SFD

The first games to use it are from the same year 1996. The standard .SFD container is not yet being used.

    • Vatlva (1996-12-06)
      • .DSX
        • They seem to stream video at maximum resolution. I don’t know if it’s the versions for hardware playback.
        • MPEG1 Custom Matrix/BVOP YUV 4:2:0 352x240 30FPS CBR 1500/1705 kb/s
        • Unknown audio Stereo. CD-XA Mode-2
      • .ESX
        • They look like video streams at half resolution. I don’t know if they are the versions for software playback.
        • MPEG1 Custom Matrix/BVOP YUV 4:2:0 240x144 30FPS CBR 1000/1203 kb/s
        • Unknown audio Stereo. CD-XA Mode-2
      • 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP y en VDP2 24-bits color
  • 2º Sofdec (MPEG1 like) + ADX (ADPCM like) .SFD

This is the first game where we see the final tandem of Video+Audio by CRI/CSK via software for SS. But already as streams within an .SFD file.We can also find data in the container head:

      • MPEG Sofdec data converted at 97-09-03 14:56:40 by CRI
      • ADXENCD2 Ver 2.00
      • SOFDEC Ver 1.25
      • MPVEDIT Ver 0.50
      • SFDBLD Ver.0.53
    • CHISATO MORITAKA
      • .SFD
        • MPEG1 Custom Matrix/BVOP YUV 4:2:0 320×244 / 240 x 160 29.970FPS 1300 kbps
        • ADX Unknown quality. Stereo. CD-XA Mode-2
      • 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP y en VDP2 24-bits color
  • Raw / Cinepak / Duck + CD-DA

Finally, I have seen a game that combines its video stream with a CD-DA track. I have not been able to identify the type of codec, so it can be any or none, so the title is so varied.There may be some more, but I have not found it at this time. Yet it is a strange combination. It is true that the sound process is free because it does the CD-Rom block of SS. But the transfer rate you need is high, leaving half or less for the video.

      • Sexy Parodius (1996-11-01)
        • Logo Konami – VDP2 16BPP Alternate NBG0/1 Full Screen

B) On the part of the Seconds / Thirds parties we would have two clear groups. Electronic Arts, with their own video libraries and the rest of Third parties that used their own formats or other graduates, such as: Radical Entertainment, NEON / Ocean, Game Arts for Grandia …

1. The case of EA:

It is curious, because several of its formats are based in part, on the MPEG-1 algorithms, for compression DCT.Generating videos with a quality very similar to MPEG-1 without being. Also in some I used EA ADPCM compression for the Audio channel in addition to PCM. The codecs, they own EA, did not license them to others.

The overall quality is very good. The color of 8/16 / 24bits. Good resolution, 15FPS and full screen / almost full window. Taking advantage of both the SH2 and the SCU-DSP.

The possible author of such a feat might be Erick Kornblum, EA compression technician in all his games of the time.

File types and formats:

TGV:

    • Resolution: 320×240 to 320×200

    • 15FPS

    • Color 8BPP Palette.

    • Total 1750-2015 kbps

    • Video stream 1661 kbps

    • Audio stream 89 kbps for EA ADPCM, for PCM 354 kbps. Always Stereo.

    • Lossless compression for intra-frame.

    • Movement based on blocks and VQ for inter-frames.

    • Sound: PCM or EACS EA ADPCM = 22Khz 8bit Stereo

    • SS use: 1x SH2 + M68 + SCSP-DSP + VDP1 or VDP2

      • VDP1 = Generally → Scaled or Normal Sprite 8BPP

      • VDP2 exceptions:

        • Road Rash and Soviet Strike → NBG0, 16-bit, Bitmap (512×256)

TGQ/UV:

    • Resolution: 304×192 to 272×176

    • 15FPS

    • 24bit VDP2 color (Probably in YUV 4: 2: 0)

    • I have seen up to about 10,000 unique colors in a FIFA 98 frame.

    • Total 1700kbps.

    • Video stream 1600-1350 kbps.

    • Audio Stream over 89 kbps for EA ADPCM and 354kps for PCM. Always Stereo.

    • It was the first in a series of MPEG-like codecs used by EA optimized for the target platform. Perhaps more similar to the MDEC, MJPEG.

    • Reaching a maximum number of 228 macroblocks of 16×16. A total per second at 15FPS gives 3420 macroblocks per second. Against the 9,000 theoretical totals of MDEC, which is not bad at all.
    • Each frame is divided into 16×16 pixel macroblocks, and each macroblock is further divided with four 8×8 luma and two medium resolution 8×8 chroma blocks. The standard MPEG 4: 2: 0 block order is used.

    • An algorithm based on Inverse DCT (iDCT) is applied to each block.

    • Sound: Possible PCM Mu-Law or EA ADPCM = 22Khz 8bit Stereo

    • SS use: 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP + M68 + SCSP-DSP + VDP2

      • NBG0 mode, 24-bit, Tile (2H x 2V), Plane Size = 1H x 1V

RES: Possible container with several TGV streams.

STR: Possible container with several streams in TGV or TGQ / UV.

      • Special use case NHL 97:

        • 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP + M68 + SCSP-DSP + VDP2 (NBG0 + NBG1)

          • Alternate layers in 16-bit Bitmap mode 512×256

DAT: Possible container with several streams in TGV or TGQ / UV.

      • Special use case Madden NFL 97:

        • 2x SH2 + M68 + SCSP-DSP + VDP1

      • Special use case Madden NFL 98:

        • 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP + M68 + SCSP-DSP + VDP2

          • NBG0 mode, 24-bit, Tile (2H x 2V), Plane Size = 1H x 1V

Other third partys codecs:

  • Game Arts MPEG for Grandia:
    It looks like it’s based on MPEG-1, but it’s not yet known, what codec it is exactly. It is a codec of Game Arts for the SS version. Image quality, color quantity and SPF is one of the best in the system. And also full screen, giving an outstanding result in SS.Final Resolution:

    • 352×192 480i (352×179 or 176 448i)
    • 352×144 480i (352×112 or 104 448i) In case the bars are not in the image itself. In the PSX version they are in the image.

In this HRAM capture made by fellow @TrekkiesUnite118 we can clearly appreciate the IDC nature of the codec, closer to how the PS1 MDEC works:

EIn this case we can appreciate the real resolution of the FMV in Grandia. In this case 176×176 for channel Y, in this FMV that is almost full screen, and halfway upright on channels U and V: 176×88. You can also see a full double buffer for channels Y, U and V. Possibly in this case it is a YUV 4: 4: 0 color space. To subsequently, in the final decompression result, duplicate the pixels in the horizontal and in the case of the vertical by approximately 2.5 to fill the total output resolution of 352x448i.

Reaching a maximum number of 121 macroblocks of 16×16. A total per second at 12FPS gives 1452 macroblocks per second. Against the 9,000 theoretical totals of MDEC it is quite far.

However, @TrekkiesUnite118 made another capture later with this aspect:
In this case we can appreciate the real resolution of the FMV in Grandia. In this case 352×176 for channel Y, in this FMV that is almost full screen, and halfway up the vertical on channels U and V: 352×88. You can also see a full double buffer for channels Y, U and V. Possibly in this case it is a YUV 4: 4: 0 color space. For later in the final result of the vertical scalar decompression by approximately 2.5 to fill the total output resolution of 352x448i.

Reaching a maximum figure of 242 macroblocks of 16×16. A total per second at 12FPS gives 2904 macroblocks per second. Against the 9,000 theoretical totals of MDEC in this hypothesis being much better. About a third of total MDEC.

Between 7 and 15FPS. Almost sure 12FPS. In PSX they are from 12 / 15FPS to 320×240.

I have estimated that the total frame rate is 1400kbps.

For the 1200kbps video stream.

And for Audio stream 176kbps.

I have seen up to about 34,000 unique colors in a frame.

Full screen interlaced doubling a line every 2 reais.

Compression artifacts typical of iDCT are seen in intermediate frames.

Usage SS: 2x SH2 + SCU-DSP + SCSP-DSP + VDP2

    • 24-bit layer VDP2 layer Bitmap, maybe for MPEG color quality.

Possibly ADX ADPCM version 3. 4 = 16bits. 22050Hz Stereo sound.

As anecdotal comment that Grandia had a pre-release demo disc. In this the FMV were in Cinepak. At an excellent quality:

    • 24-bit 320×244 30FPS, 2150kbps
    • PCM 8bit, 22050Hz, Stereo 353 kbps,
    • Total frame rate of 2500kbps

Lucid Motion:
Only three titles and could not be licensed. Research of a user on the network:C’s Ware’s Lucid Motion “neo animation engine”It’s capable of 640×360 8-bit color video at 15 FPS, has a .vid extensions and a tVid header. It seems that some of Desire’s cutscenes are actually 640×480 pixels big, but everything else is still the same as what I said above.”
Up to 2x SH2. Mono sound. 16Bit VDP2 layer, maybe 8BPP color for video. About 15FPS. Full screen. No compression artifacts can be seen in any frame, nor in intermediate key-frames.

KVMC (Karl Morton’s Video Codec):
It is a codec that uses RGB color palette. With a quality key frame and amazing inter-frame. 15FPS and a good resolution 320×200. PCM mono sound, in this case.Using only 1x SH2. Possibly 15 bit RGB of color, very good gradients and fused images too.

Westwood Studios VQA / AIWS
It seems that Westwood, at least for SS, ported its version 2 codec for the port of Command Conquer. It is a codec with a very good quality for the color depth it has. In this case

  • VQA 8BPP RGB Palleted 320×156 15FPS VDP1 1400 kbps
  • IMA ADPCM like 22050 Hz Mono 88 kbps

The use of hardware is minimal, but at the same time very optimized. We only see that it uses 1x SH2 for the decompression of video and ADPCM like audio.

Interplay/Xatrix codec C93 and/or M95

It is not certain if the codec used in Cyberia de SS is the codec C93 of Interplay or Xatrix itself. Because the players do not recognize it as such. Another extension is also found in this version the Z94. Both the C93 and Z94 show the same values in mplayer. Similar to the most modern codec also of Interplay / Xatrix: M95.

The quality of the FMV is very good. At 320×192 at 12.5FPS, 8BPP with a high color gradient quality, taking into account the low color depth. Using VDP2 to represent the video. And without clear compression artifacts. The sound has an acceptable quality. PCM is used. With a fairly high bit rate of 1100kbps.

In addition, the use of 2x SH2 and SCU-DSP signals is appreciated.

Interplay Video codec / Audio ADPCM like

Interplay seems to have several codecs of its own, similar to EA. The one that I know use for Casper has a great quality, it seems that I also know how to use Baldur’s Gate.In this case with a high quality resolution and color compression. No visible artifacts. In addition to great sound quality. And a modest system use, but it is understood that optimized for the great quality of both video and audio.

  • RGB Palette of 16BPP 320×224 15FPS VDP2 16BPP 2000 kbps
  • ADPCM Like 22050 Hz Stereo 176.5 kbps
  • 1x SH2

PDQ2 .AVS:

We are facing a codec that is quite undocumented. But strangely it is supported by both mplayer and VLC, recognizing both. But without operational reproduction. We can always see it in British studies, it seems that the codec has its origin in the UK, by the hand of Argonaut. And then there is shared or sublicense.

Use VDP1 directly, without primitives, in most cases. Using a 16BPP color space, possibly palettes, which is why I checked with GIMP. Although the online documentation talks about 8BPP. Use a simple algorithm based vector quantizer implementation. Although you can say that the overall quality is very good, both color and compression artifacts. With a good resolution (about 320×240), full screen in most cases and 15FPS. The audio is PCM in all cases with medium quality. Bit-rates usually range between 1200 and 1500 kbps. 176 for the sound and 1000 to 1300 for the video.

Finally the use of the machine is acceptable, using the 2x SH2 for it. As we said use VDP1 to FrameBuffer directly in most cases. Executing in Hulk using VDP1 with two Distorted sprites for each half of the total frame. And in Creature shock VDP2 in 8bit mode.

Amazing Studios for Heart of Darkness SS/PC – PAF Packed Animation File:
8BPP palette with fixed resolution at 256×192 at 10FPS. Stereo sound at good quality similar to PCM (PAFA) at 22050Hz. The compression quality is good. Use of an SH2 and signs of use of the DSP of the sound.

SGA Digital Pictures:

This company has already developed its codec for the Sega-CD or Mega-CD and the CD-32X. In SS we can see a shy evolution of the latter. With more resolution, sound quality and general bit-rate by having up to 2x speed in the SS standard, against 1x Mega-CD. Thanks to this, increasing the quality of the FMV, of course. But not noticeably.

With a fixed 8bit color space using Palette. With a maximum resolution of 304 × 208 at 12FPS over the 8-bit VDP2. With a bitrate of 1448kbps.

For the audio stream an 8-bit deep PCM wave is used at 22050Hz of mono sampling at a bit rate of 176 kbps.

With a total for a second of 1624.3 kbps. Enough for between 1x and 2x of CD-Rom of the SS.

With respect to the use of the hardware, it uses the 2x SH2 with (signals from the SCU-DSP and SCSP-DSP) next to the VDP2 in 8-bit mode.

Unknown used by Radical Entertainment .egg :

We are facing a really very interesting codec by Radical. Everything seems to point to its own development. In the credits we can find Aaron Arndt and Jason Dorie as co-creators of both the Player and the Algorithm respectively. And has Aaron Holtzman as the original creator of the player. They got a truly remarkable compression, with a depth of 16BPP, probably with paddles. It has approximately 15FPS with a maximum resolution of 320×200 over the VDP2 at 16bits. With an extension of .egg.

With an acceptable sound quality. We do not know the codec, surely PCM crude. Both mono and stereo.

Getting quite a bitrates content between 1200 / 1500kbits / sg total per frames per second.

Obtaining a splendid color and gradient quality even on the scene with a lot of movement, barely noticing the artifacts.

On the use of hardware use 2xSH2 and VDP2.

Unknown used by Gremlin .rvd:

Could not find any documented trace of this extension. The only codec that exists documented by Gremlin is the GDV.

In the SS games we can see in all FMV and all with the same format. The codec seems to use a kind of VQ, giving a remarkable quality in general. The color depth is 16BPP, with possibly palettes. Using VDP1 with primitives at 15BPP. I have estimated about 15FPS per second in FMV. The sound codec is totally unknown. Possibly PCM, at an average quality. Some streams are in mono. The use of the hardware in these FMVs is correct. They use 2x SH2 normally.

Unknown used by Lobotomy Software .mov

It does not use primitives of VDP1. Therefore it is doing CPU Render to VDP1 FB directly.

The color depth is 16-bits, possibly with palette. It seems 320×240 or approximate, because it occupies the entire screen without scaling pixelation. They look like 15FPS minimum, it goes pretty smooth. The sound is stereo. I don’t know the format.

The hardware use is really low. Only use a SH2 for FMV. Possibly we are facing a raw format in both the graphic and the audio part. At the level of VDPs, he does not use them. It directly loads everything into the Framebuffer of the VRAM of the VDP1.

Unknown used by Perfect/Tantalus in Psygnosis ports (Looks like Cinepak):

This codec is a mystery. I have always found a modified Cinepak. For the appearance of compression artifacts and color gradients especially in the scenes of more movement or with more realistic colors. Krazy Ivan for example. On PS1, thanks to the IDC, the skin color of the protagonists is perfect. In static images the truth is that it looks pretty good. We could be talking about a codec that uses a 16bit or even 24-bit color space, if it were finally a Cinepak it would be 24-bit with almost certainty. And it also uses some type of VQ compression between frames. For all this is the resemblance to Cinepak. The amount of FPS is unknown, but it does not appear to be more than 15FPS anyway. Similarly, bitrate cannot be determined either.

But even more striking is that in none of the 8 titles of Tantulus / Perfect the FMV pass from 288×200 approx. Except Wipeout 2097 at 320×176. Never full screen.

It is complicated to know more because, except for Lemmings 3D, all data from the ports of the Psygnosis games for SS were encoded in a packaged file. One format seems to be from Tantalus itself. There is information about the version of Lemmings for 3DO that Cinepak de Sega used for videos.

Another plausible hypothesis is that Psygnosis for these orders gave its own codec to Tantalus / Perfect. And that this was theirs. Since in other ports of Tantulus or Perfect they used codecs from the main distributors or contractors, as in FIFA 97 for EA or Manx TT for SEGA. Using MDEC EA Like and Duck Truemotion S respectively.

Finally at the sound level, note that most are in mono. Except Wipeout 2097, if it is in Stereo. The codec is impossible to know, possibly it is raw PCM.

The use of hardware in these FMVs is irregular. Half use an SH2 and the other half 2xSH2. Everyone uses the VDP2 in 16bits, NBG0 or 1 mode. Some seem to use the sound DSP, but without certainty of it. Although there is presence of activity in the SCU-DSP unit, we cannot assure that it will be used for FMVs, or also in this case for PCM transfer as in Cinepak.

Unknown used by Perfect/Psygnosis at Discworld.

We found a different Perfect variant for Psygnosis ports in these games. In this case with a good resolution 320×200 approximately. But with a color depth of 8BPP. But achieving exceptional quality the truth. We also do not know in this case both FPS, possibly 15, and bitrate.

The sound in this case is Stereo always. We do not know the format. Possibly a compressed format, for the amount of audio in this game.

Finally the use of hardware is modest. We only see the use of an SH2 for decompression, the sound DSP in the first part, but we can ensure that it is used specifically for this. And finally VDP2 is always used in 8bit mode.

Desconocido usado por NMS .? .PAT

It looks like a fairly basic codec, but it is not. If you look we can see compression artifacts 16×16 in pure colors. But overall the gradients and artifacts are good. The color depth used is always 8BPP with palette. The maximum resolution 320×240. Quite smooth in sections, I estimate minimum 15FPS and maximum 25FPS or more.

On the part of the sound is curious. It seems that it does not play a continuous stream. If not short sounds, as if it were a “MIDI”.

The use of the hardware is correct. Since using a SH2 in Tilt! / Hyper 3D Pinball, until the use of the two SH2 in Mass Destruction. We can also see a use of the broad sound DSP. Possibly for the reproduction part of these sounds “MIDIS”.

JVC Victor Entertainment Codec (Cabecera dmpwe)

It is simply fascinating. Just when I was finishing this section on FMV. Which has taken me much more than I would have imagined. In the last codecs I had identified as unknown, I detected a pattern that was repeated. I have looked at the file heads. And I have been able to discover another codec.

A codec with total security owned by JVC. Which gives a very respectable quality, taking into account its low amount of color. No video compression artifacts with movement or pure colors. That if with a very pronounced Dithered. That if giving a stable and fluid frame rate. All videos are almost full screen. And it has 15FPS. With a transparency rate really low 1200kbps approximately.

The audio format is unknown, surely PCM raw. In this case always in mono.

The use of the hardware is correct. Using up to 2x SH2 along with VDP1 primitives in 8BPP color bank mode. Change the use of SCSP-DSP during FMV.

Unknown:

  • Quantum Factory .qvc

A codec with remarkable quality. With a color depth of 8bits with palette possibly. With a variation of SPF between 15 and 24FPS. And a maximum resolution of 320×224.

It is one of the many FMVs that are rendered via CPU in the FrameBuffer of VDP1 directly.

The audio format is unknown, possibly PCM. Although it sounds very clear. In this case monkey.

The total bitrate per frames per second is quite good. About 1500Kbits / sg approximately.

In the credits we find Patrik Patel and Phillip Trelford as “Cut-Scene Coders”, possible creators of the codec and the port to SS.

The use of the hardware is correct. Using both SH2 and with signals of use of the sound DSP.

  • NovaLogic .kdv

This is also rendered via CPU in the FrameBuffer of the VDP1 directly. With a color depth of 8BPP. At a resolution of 320×224 full screen and 15FPS approx. It looks like 8BPP RAW color without compression.

It is one of the few FMVs I’ve seen that accompanies MIDI music generated by the SCSP, in this case in Stereo.

The hardware use is notable, in this case using 2xSH2 with signs of use in both the SCU-DSP and the SCSP-DSP

As I would like to point out, I have found it very curious that in only a very small number of cases (2.3%) of the FMVs drawn in the VDP2 the Reduction/Expansion function has been used to be able to scale to full screen FMVs or videos that did not natively reach the maximum resolution.

Even more so in cases of EA MPEG-Like or Duck at 24bit color. Something that in principle was entirely possible by VDP2.

Thanks to the SegaExtreme forum partner, we have been able to verify that it was totally possible. @paul_met has prepared a hack so that the videos are scaled to the maximum. And the result is remarkable to see, now yes, full screen. In this case it is also added that it is playing at 352×256, when the most optimal resolution was 320×256. In the following image you can see the result. Without hack (Left) and with hack (Right):

Chronological list of games by Codec and use of the SS:

Details in curious or notable cases (more data in the table).

Cinepak:

  • Cinepak / PCM

    • VDP1

      • Cyber Speedway

      • Slam Dunk – I love Basketball

        • 288×216 30fps

        • 16bits 22254 Hz Stereo 712 kbps

      • Magic Knight Rayearth ← High quality compression and color

        • 304×176 30FPS

        • 16bits 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

      • Rayman

        • Intro: 256×160 / Presents=320×200 15FPS

        • 16bits 44100 Hz Mono 705 kbps

      • Thunder Storm & Road Blaster

        • 320 x 240 30FPS

        • 16bits 22254Hz Stereo 712 kbps

      • Virtual Open Tennis

      • Tadaima Wakusei Kaitakuchuu!

      • Firestorm: Thunderhawk 2

        • 320×200 30FPS

        • 8bits 22254 Hz Mono 178 kbps

      • Touge King – The Spirits / High Velocity: Mountain Racing Challenge

      • Primal Rage

      • Dragon Ball Z: Shin Butōden

      • X-Men: Children of the Atom

      • Strahl – Himerareshi Nanatsu no Hikari ← High quality compression and color

        • 288 x 216 30FPS

        • 22050 Hz Mono 176 kbps

      • Battle Arena Toshinden Remix (11-1995)

        • 352×224 30FPS 1800kbps VDP1. Medium / high quality

        • Good PCM sound quality at 22.254KHz, 356kbps, 8bit and Stereo.

        • 2xSH2 + SCU-DSP signals.

      • Time Warner Interactive’s V.R. Virtua Racing

      • Guardian Heroes

      • Robo-Pit

      • Sea Bass Fishing

      • J.League Pro Soccer Club o Tsukurou!

        • 320 x 192 15FPS 1800 kbps

        • 16bits 32000 Hz Mono 512 kbps

      • Criticom

      • Kuusou Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy

        • 320 x 160 30FPS 1300 kbps aprox

        • 16 bits 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Defcon 5

        • 320 x 240 30FPS

        • 16bits 22050 Hz Mono 352 kbps

      • Dragon Force ←High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 240 30FPS 1400 kbps

        • 8bits 22254 Hz Mono 178 kbps

      • Skeleton Warriors

        • 320 x 200 15FPS

        • 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Shellshock

        • 304 x 200 24FPS

        • 22254 Hz Mono 178 kbps

      • Story of thor 2

      • Return Fire ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 240 30FPS 1500 kbps

        • 16bits 22254 Hz Stereo 712 kbps

      • Virtual Golf

        • 320×200 30FPS

        • 22254 Hz Mono 356 kbps

      • Striker ’96

      • Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu

      • Alien Trilogy

        • Intro: 320×160 30fps

        • 8bit 22200Hz Stereo

      • Lemmings 3D

      • Shockwave Assault ←High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 (320×240 PSX) 15FPS 1700 kbps

        • 16-bits 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Blam Machinehead

        • 320 x 200 24FPS

        • 16-bits 22254 Hz Mono 356 kbps

      • Olympic Soccer

      • Battle Arena Toshinden URA

      • Actua Soccer Club Edition

      • Iron Man X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal

      • Tomb Raider

        • 320×120 30fps

        • 16-bits 22254hz Stereo 712 kbps

        • 1517 kbps aprox.

      • PriCla (Princess Clara) Daisakusen←High quality compression and color

        • 296×200 15FPS 2150 kbps

        • 8bits 44100 Hz Mono 353 kbps

      • Shining the Holy Ark ←High quality compression and color

        • 336×208 30FPS 2250 kbps

        • 8bits 22050 Hz Stereo 353 kbps

      • Whizz

      • Drift King Syutokoh Battle 97 / Shutokou Battle ’97: Tsuchiya Keiichi & Bandou Masaaki

        • 320×224 15FPS

        • 22050 Hz Stereo 352 kbps

      • Gundam Side Story 3 Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden III: Sabakareshi Mono

      • HEXEN

        • 320 x 200 30FPS

        • 22254 Hz Mono 178 kbps

      • Touge King the Spirits 2

      • Welcome House

      • Swagman

      • Zero4 Champ Doozy J Type-R

      • Moon Cradle

      • Bulk Slash

      • Lifescape 2 – Body Bionics – Kyoui no Shouuchuu Jintai

      • Silhouette Mirage

      • DoDonPachi ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 2300 kbps 15FPS

        • 16bits 44100 Hz Mono 706 kbps

      • Asuka 120 Burning Fest

      • Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers

      • J.League Pro Soccer Club o Tsukurou! 2

      • Arcana Strikes ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 30FPS 1700 kbps

        • 8bits 22050 Hz Stereo 353 kbps

      • Yuukyuu no Kobako Official Collection

      • J.League Jikkyou Honoo no Striker

      • Time Commando

      • Radiant Silvergun

      • Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter

      • Slayers Royal ← High quality compression and color

        • 304 x 208 24FPS

        • 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

    • VDP2

      • Clockwork Knight 1: Pepperouchau’s Adventure

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

      • Robotica: Cybernation Revolt

      • Astal

        • VDP2 Alternative NBG0 y NBG1

          • 16-bit(32,768 colors) Bitmap(512×256)

        • 320 x 224 15FPS

        • 44100 Hz Mono 706 kbps

      • Digital Pinball – Last Gladiators Ver.9.7

      • Blazing Heroes (U) / Mystaria: The Realms (E)

      • D

      • Wing Arms

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

      • Virtua Cop

      • Highway 2000 (U)(E) / Wangan Dead Heat (J)

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

      • Devil Summoner: Shin Megami Tensei

        • NBG0 24-bit + Transparency VDP1 ← Not checked. Seen in videos.

      • Panzer Dragoon II Zwei

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

      • Rockman X3 ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 30FPS

        • 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Lifescape – Seimei 40 Okunen Haruka na Tabi ← Very bad compression and color

        • 288 x 192 15 FPS

        • Tasa: 22050 Hz Mono 176 kbps

      • Tokusou Kidoutai J SWAT

        • 320×172 15FPS

        • 22254 Hz Mono 178 kbps

      • Dark Savior

      • Tenchi wo Kurau II: Sekiheki no Tatakai

      • Mahjong Taikai II Special ← High quality compression and color

        • 320×224 15FPS 1700 kbps

        • Tasa:16bit 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Mighty Hits

      • Lunar – Silver Star Story

      • Sexy Parodius

      • NBA Jam Extreme

      • Tengai Makyou – Daiyon no Mokushiroku – The Apocalypse IV ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 30FPS 2150 kbps aprox

        • 8bits 22050 Hz Stereo 353 kbps

      • Rockman 8 ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 30FPS

        • 22254 Hz Stereo 356 kbps

      • Assault Suit Leynos 2 ← High quality compression and color

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

        • 320 x 224 30FPS 1600 kbps

        • 8bits 22050 Hz Stereo 353 kbps

      • The Unsolved: Hyper Science Adventure

      • Kidou Senkan Nadesico – Yappari Saigo wa Ai ga Katsu ← High quality compression and color

        • 288 x 192 24FPS 2250 kbps

        • 16bits 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

      • D-Xhird

        • 24 bit RGB 352×208 15FPS

        • PCM 22050Hz 16bit Stereo

        • VDP2 NBG0 24-bit

      • Thunder Force V ← High quality compression and color

        • 320×174 30FPS 1800 kbps

        • 16bits 44100 Hz Mono 706 kbps

      • Resident Evil← High quality compression and color

        • 320×224 30FPS

        • 8bits 44100 Hz Stereo 705 kbps

      • Rockman X4 (Mega Man X4) ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 176 30FPS 1600 kbps

        • 8 bits 22050 Hz Stereo 353 kbps

      • Söldnerschild

        • 320×192 15FPS 1800 kbps

        • Tasa:16bit 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

      • Layer Section II ← Media-High quality compression and color

        • 288 x 160 30FPS 1950 kbps

        • Tasa:16bit 22254 Hz Mono 356 kbps

      • Shining Force III ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 15FPS

        • Tasa: 22050 Hz Stereo 352 kbps

      • Jung Rhythm

      • Solo Crisis

      • Panzer Dragoon Saga

        • Using the VDP2 Reduction / Expansion function

        • 320 x 176 15FPS1800 kbps

        • Tasa:16bits 32000 Hz Mono 512 kbps

      • Stellar Assault SS

      • My Fair Lady Virtual Maajan ← High quality compression and color

        • 320 x 224 15FPS 1800 kbps

        • 16bit 22254 Hz Mono 356 kbps

      • Sega Worldwide Soccer 98 / World Cup 98 France

        • 320 x 224 15FPS

        • 22050 Hz Stereo 705 kbps

      • Eve The Lost One

        • VDP2 Alternative NBG0 y NBG1

          • 16-bit(32,768 colors) Bitmap(512×256)

        • 320 x 224 15FPS 2100 kbps

        • 16bit 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

      • MeltyLancer Re-inforce

      • Capcom Generations 1 / 4

        • Logo:

        • 320 x 224 30FPS 1800/1600kbps

        • 8-bits 44100 Hz Stereo 706kbps

      • Sorvice

      • Street Fighter Zero 3

        • Logo:

        • 320 x 224 30FPS 1800/1600kbps

        • 8-bits 44100 Hz Stereo 706kbps

  • Cinepak / ADPCM (CPK + ADP)

    • VDP2

      • NiGHTS into Dreams

      • Neon Genesis Evangelion 2nd Impression

      • Slayers Royal 2 ← High quality compression and color

        • 320×224 24FPS

        • ADPCM Stereo

  • Cinepak / ADX

    • VDP1

      • Devicereign (1999-01) ← High quality compression and color

        • 320×224 15FPS

        • ADX 22050 Hz Stereo

        • 2300 kbps total

    • VDP2

      • Burning Rangers (1998-02)

      • Dragon Force II (1998-04)

        • 288 x 192 15FPS 1700 kbps

        • Tasa: 22050 Hz Stereo 200 kbps

      • Baroque (1998-05)

        • 352 x 224 15FPS 2300 kbps

        • Tasa: 44100 Hz Stereo 352 kbps

        • 2600/3000 kbps max

      • Code R (1998-07)

      • Lunar 2 – Eternal Blue (1998-07)

        • 320 x 224 24FPS 1800 kbps

        • ADX 14700Hz Stereo 176 kbps

        • 2000 kbps

      • Wachenröder (1998-08)

Duck Truemotion S:

16bit:

VDP1

  • Duck + No sound

    • Titan Wars (E) / Solar Eclipse (U)

      • Video background menu:

        • 320×244 30FPS 3202 kbps

  • Duck + PCM:

    • Clockwork Knight 2

    • Bug!

    • Alone in the Dark 2

    • Street Racer (Extra)

    • Sky Target

    • Courier Crisis

      • 208×240 15FPS 1734 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Mono 176 kbps

  • Duck + ADPCM 4bit:

    • Clockwork Knight 2

    • Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers

  • Duck + ADPCM 3bit:

    • Bottom of the 9th (1996-10)

      • Konami Logo:

        • 304×228 15FPS 2305 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 267 kbps

      • Intro demo:

        • 280×208 15FPS 1825 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 267 kbps

    • Bug too! (1996-12)

    • Sound Novel Machi (1998-01) ← High quality compression and color

      • 320 x 224 15FPS 1641 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 267 kbps

      • 2600 kbps max

VDP2

  • Duck + PCM:

    • Death Mask

      • VDP2 Alternative NBG0 y NBG1

        • 16-bit(32,768 colors) Bitmap(512×256)

    • Playboy Karaoke Volume 1

  • Duck + ADPCM 4bit:

    • Virtua Fighter 2

      • 320×168 20FPS

      • 44100Hz Mono 77 kbps

    • Virtua Fighter Kids

    • Fighting Vipers

      • 320×152 20FPS 2130 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Mono 88 kbps

    • Policenauts

      • 288 x 144 24FPS

      • 44100 Hz Mono 177 kbps

    • Three Dirty Dwarves

      • VDP2 Alternative NBG0 y NBG1

        • 16-bit(32,768 colors) Bitmap(512×256)

      • 304 x 208 15FPS 1108 kbps

      • Tasa: 22050 Hz Stereo 178 kbps

    • Cyber Troopers Virtual-On

    • Scud The Disposable Assassin

    • Last Bronx

      • 288 x 200 30FPS 1829 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Mono 177 kbps

    • The Lost World Jurassic Park

      • 320 x 240 15FPS 1579 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 177 kbps

    • Dead or Alive

      • 304×176 Dithering 20FPS

      • 22050hz Stereo

    • NHL All-Star Hockey ’98

      • Ditering 312×192 / 30FPS 1883 kbps

      • 22050hz Stereo 177 kbps

    • Nanatsu Kaze – No Shima Monogatari ← High quality compression and color

      • 320 x 192 15FPS 1202 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Total 2600 kbps max

    • Ninpen Manmaru

    • THE STAR BOWLING Vol.2 ← High quality compression and color

      • VDP2 Alternative NBG0 y NBG1

        • 16-bit(32,768 colors) Bitmap(512×256)

      • 288 x 176 15FPS 1528 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Mono 89 kbps

    • Lupin the 3rd Pyramid no Kenja ← High quality compression and color

      • Dithering 320 x 240 15FPS 1358 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 177 kbps

    • Segata Sanshirou Shinkenyugi

      • 304 x 208 15FPS 1605 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

24bit:

VDP2

  • Duck + PCM:

    • Contra – Legacy of War ← High quality compression and color

      • 304 x 208 15FPS 1125 kbps

      • Araw 16-bits 22050 Hz Mono 352 kbps

    • All-Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua

      • 288×176 15FPS

      • 22020hz Mono

    • Super Adventure Rockman

      • 272 x 204 15FPS 860 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 706 kbps

    • Vandal Hearts ← High quality compression and color

      • Logo:

        • 320 x 196 15FPS 573 kbps

        • 16bits 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

    • Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku (aka: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)

      • Logo

        • 320 x 196 15FPS 573 kbps

        • 16 bits 22050 Hz Mono 353 kbps

  • Duck + ADPCM 4bit:

    • 3D Baseball ← High quality compression and color

      • Logo + preview:

        • 296×184 15FPS 1251 kbps

        • ADPCMDK4 44100Hz Stereo 354 kbps

        • Total 3000/2500 kbps

    • Off World Interceptor Extreme ← High quality compression and color

      • Intro:

        • 296×184 15FPS 1357 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Logo:

        • 304 x 176 15FPS 1493 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • Ghen War ← High quality compression and color

      • 304 x 160 15FPS 1002 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 177 kbps

    • Gex ← High quality compression and color

      • Intro:

        • 288 x 200 15FPS 1552 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Previews:

        • 296 x 200 15FPS 1530 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • Titan Wars (E) / Solar Eclipse (U) ← High quality compression and color

      • Intro y FMV:

        • 312×168 15FPS 1193kbps

        • 44100hz Stereo 354kbps

      • Spot

        • 296×200 15FPS

        • 44100Khz Stereo

    • Congo: The Movie – The Lost City of Zinj

    • The Horde ← High quality compression and color

      • 288 x 200 15FPS 1657 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • GunGriffon ← High quality compression and color

      • 320 x 176 15FPS 1377 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 177 kbps

      • 1550/2550 kbps VBR

    • Slam ‘N Jam ’96 featuring Magic & Kareem ← High quality compression and color

      • 288 x 208 15FPS 1896 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • NBA Action 96

      • 288 x 192 15FPS 1858 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Mono 177 kbps

    • 3D Baseball ← High quality compression and color

      • Logo + preview:

        • 280×184 15FPS 1550 kbps

        • ADPCMDK3 44100Hz Stereo 266 kbps

        • Total 3000/2500 kbps

    • The Crow – City of Angels

      • 288 x 192 15FPS 1761 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • Pandemonium! ← High quality compression and color

      • Logo:

        • 304×200 15FPS457 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Intro:

        • Marco window VDP1

        • 256 x160 15FPS 624 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • All-Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua ← High quality compression and color

      • 288×192 15FPS

      • Stereo 22050Hz

    • Enemy Zero ← High quality compression and color

      • 288 x 144 15FPS 1811 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Mono 89 kbps

    • Vandal Hearts ← High quality compression and color

      • Title:

        • 320 x 144 11FPS 796 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Intro:

        • 256 x 180 12FPS 1410 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

    • Riven: The Sequel to Myst ← High quality compression and color

      • 312 x 184 15FPS 1198 kbps

      • 22050 Hz Stereo 178 kbps

    • Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku (aka: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)

      • 280×144 12FPS 937 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

      • Picos 2300kbps

    • Genso Suikoden

      • 320 x 160 15FPS 1198 kbps

      • Tasa: 44100 Hz Stereo 354 kbps

  • Duck + ADPCM 3bit:

    • Mr. Bones (1996-10) ← High quality compression and color

      • 304 x 208 15FPS 1644 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 267 kbps

    • 3D Baseball (1996-11) ← High quality compression and color

      • Intro:

        • 280×184 15FPS 1550 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 266 kbps

        • 3000/2500 kbps

    • Fighting Illusion K1 Grand Prix ← High quality compression and color

      • Intro:

        • 304 x 192 20FPS 1494 kbps

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 266 kbps

      • Outro:

        • 312 x 196 15FPS

        • 44100 Hz Stereo 266 kbps

    • Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island ← High quality compression and color

      • 288 x 160 15FPS 1883 kbps

      • 44100 Hz Stereo 266 kbps

    • Salamander Deluxe Plus Pack

Sofdec – Software MPEG-1:

  • Vatlva (1996-12)

  • Sakura Taisen Hanagumi Tsuushin (1997-02)

  • CHISATO MORITAKA (1997-09)

  • Falcom Classics (Special CD) (1997-11)

    • 240×160 29,970FPS MPEG Video Version1 CustomMatrix, Stereo

    • 352×240 29,970FPS MPEG Video Version1 CustomMatrix / BVOP, Stereo

    • ADXENCD2 Ver 2.00 SOFDEC Ver 1.25

  • Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Illustrations (1997-11)

    • 128×96 29,970FPS? MPEG Video Version1 CustomMatrix, Stereo

    • ADXENCD2 Ver 2.00 SOFDEC Ver 1.25

  • Yuukyuu no Kobako Official Collection (1997-12)

    • 240×160 29,970FPS? MPEG Video Version1 CustomMatrix, Stereo

    • 320×224 / 29,970FPS MPEG Video Version1 CustomMatrix / BVOP, Stereo

    • ADXENCD2 Ver 2.00 SOFDEC Ver 1.25

  • Mogitate SegaSaturn Vol.4 (1998-07)

    • 240×160 29.970FPS 1300kbps, Stereo

    • ADXENCD2 Ver 2.00 SOFDEC Ver 1.25

Hardware MPEG-1:

  • GunGriffon (1996-03)

    • 352×240 2300kbps 30FPS YUV/24-bits

    • MP2 224kbps 44100Hz Stereo

    • 2550 kbps

  • Wangan Dead Heat + Real Arrange (1996-08)

    • 352×240 1150kbps 30FPS YUV/24-bits

    • MP2 224kbps 44100Hz Stereo

  • Lunar – Silver Star Story MPEG-ban o Complete (1996-10)

    • 320×240 1100kbps 30FPS YUV/24-bits

    • MP2 192kbps 44100Hz Stereo

  • Moon Cradle (1997-06)

    • 352×240 1150kbps 30FPS YUV/24-bits

    • MP2 224kbps 44100Hz Stereo

EA codecs:

  • TGV:

    • Need for speed → 320×240, Stereo
    • Madden NFL 97 → 320×240, Stereo
    • Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels → 320×240, Stereo
    • PGA TOUR 97 → 320×240, Stereo
  • TGQ – MPEG-1 based software:
    • Andretti Racing 304×192, Stereo
    • Crusader: No Remorse 272x176, Stereo
    • NBA Live 97 304×192, Stereo
    • Battle Stations304×192, Stereo
    • Darklight Conflict304×176, Stereo
    • Warcraft II: The Dark Saga 304×144, Stereo
    • Nascar 98 304×192, Stereo
  • UV(TGQ)MPEG-1 based software:
    • FIFA 97 304×192, Stereo
    • NBA Live 98 304×144, Stereo
    • FIFA 98 304×144, Stereo
    • NHL 98304×144, Stereo
  • Possible container formats of several videos:
    • Possible TGQ:
      • NHL 97.STR
      • Madden NFL 98 → .DAT
    • Possible TGV:

      • Soviet Strike.RES

Game Arts MPEG-1 based software::

  • Grandia .MOV:

    • PRE-INTRO Full screen:

      • 24BPP 352×192 480i (352×179 o 176 448i) 12FPS?
      • ADX ADPCM 22050Hz Stereo

    • INTRO Black bars:

      • 24BPP 352×144 480i (352×112 o 104 448i) 12FPS?
      • ADX ADPCM 22050Hz Stereo.

    • Common Features:

      • Yabause VDP2 Framebuffer interlaced 352×352, half line = 176 total

      • 448/2=224 → 224/2=112 // 480/2=240 → 240/2=120

Lucid Motion:

  • Desire (1997)

  • Eve Burst Error (1997)

  • Eve The Lost One (1998)

Ocean/Team17 KMVC:

  • Tunnel-B1 (1996)

Westwood Studios VQA / AIWS:

  • Command & Conquer

Interplay/Xatrix codec C93 y/o M95

  • Cyberia

Interplay video / Audio ADPCM Like

  • Casper

PDQ2 Several English studies – .AVS:

  • 8bits

    • Creature Shock (Argonaut Software / Interactive Studios)

  • 16bits

    • The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga (Attention To Detail / Silicon Dreams)

    • Blast Chamber (Attention To Detail)

    • Jonah Lomu Rugby (Rage Software)

    • Trash it (Rage Software)

    • Chill (Silicon Dreams)

PAF Amazing Studio:

  • Heart of Darkness

Unknown used by Radical Entertainment .egg:

  • Grid Runners

  • Independence day

Unknown used by Gremlin .rvd:

  • Loaded
  • Actua Golf
  • Hardcore 4×4

Desconocido usado por Lobotomy Software . mov

  • Exhumed
  • Duke Nukem 3D

Unknown used by Perfect/Tantalus in Psygnosis ports (Look like Cinepak):

  • Wipeout

  • Lemmings 3D

  • Krazy Ivan

  • Assault Rigs

  • Wipeout 2097

Unknown used by Perfect/Psygnosis in Discworld.

  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
  • Discworld II – Missing, presumed…

Unknown used by Digital Pictures

  • Double Switch

    • Video: 38×26 tiles (304×208 pixels) 253 palette entries 8bits Pallete

    • Audio: 8-bit sign/magnitude PCM mono 22050 samples/sec 0,083401 secs (11,990206 frames/sec) aprox 12FPS

Unknown used by NMS .PAT

  • Tilt! / Hyper 3D Pinball (1996)

    • NMS .? .PAT 8BPP VDP1 Mono

  • Mass Destruction (1997)

    • VDP1 8-bit color 320×240, 8 BPP Video full screen Normal sprite 8bpp replace, very soft, possible 25FPS

JVC Victor Entertainment Codec (Header: dmpwe)

Victory Boxing (1995-10) ←Victor Entertainment .mov

  • Header: Dmpwe
  • 8BPP Palleted Dithered 320x200 15FPS
  • Audio MonoVDP1 Distorted Sprite 8BPP 2xSH2 SCSP-DSP

Keio Flying Squadron 2 (1996-05) ←Victor Entertainment .MVS

  • Header: Dmpwe
  • 8BPP Dithered Full Screen 320×211 15FPS
  • Audio Mono
  • 1xSH2 y SCSP-DSP VDP1

Impact Racing (1996-07) Funcom Dublin .mov

  • Header: Dmpwe
  • 8BPP(256 color bank) 320x200 15FPS
  • Audio Mono
  • 2xSH2 VDP1 Scaled Sprite Zoom point. SCU-DSP señales. SCSP-DSP

Unknown:

  • MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat ← Quantum Factory .qvc
    • VDP1 Render CPU to VDP1 FB directly
    • 8BPP 320×224 15-24FPS
    • Mono Audio
    • Total bitrate 1500Kbits / sg
  • Black Fire ← NovaLogic .kdv
    • VDP1 Render CPU to VDP1 FB directly
    • 8BPP 320×224 15-24FPS
    • Mono Audio
    • Total bitrate 1500Kbits / sg

Finally, now yes, we are left with three great titles to illustrate this point of the analysis:

Congo

Game of the second wave of developments Second Parties of SEGA, released on 1996-03-07. And perhaps for many this is a mediocre title in the SS catalog. And don’t lack reason. However, I think that there are arguments for this, I honestly believe that the developers created an interesting game for the original and innovative catalog. But that the final result was unfinished or in the absence of polishing as a whole. With an art design and generally irregular and very heterogeneous. Giving the feeling of not knowing where they were going with it.

It is also true that the path of the Jumpin ‘Jack Software study was quite irregular. They made a game per year from 1995 to 1997. This was their second development, in which we already see a remarkable evolution with respect to their first title. In my view, they evolved their 3D engine (which is basically the same as the previous one) and their knowledge. Which seems to have a terrain generation system by height map and tile. But in this they added weapons in 3D and illuminated with fountain, really spectacular. In addition to 3D objects on stage and lighting in them with source. It is true that in this the enemies became 2D against the 3D of the previous one. Although they still had large and open maps in some areas but now with more detail and variety than in the previous one. With a general use of both VDP1 and notable VDP2, using VDP2 extensively. Using the transparencies of VDP1 and VDP2 intelligently. Already from their previous game they make good use of Gouraud and repeat the use here for the stage and for the Depth cueing. But against and even with a final performance in low SPF. 20FPS for the amount of geometry on the screen, about 700 quads seen and about 1000 calculated, seems little to the real possibilities of the SS.

It is really surprising that with a fairly fixed team and with a sufficient size (3 programmers sometimes 5 and 2 designers). Where it seems that the prominent person was Robert Leyland. It is surprising that they were not able to improve performance or get more polished products. Even everything indicates that they received enough SOA support. I don’t know, I also don’t want to take away from his work and the problems that he had.

With regard to FMV, I would first like to point out that it has been very complicated for me to decide on the best Duck in the entire catalog. I was doubting until the end between this and Titan Wars, Gungriffon or his previous game Ghen War. All of them with magnificent FMV, with incredible colors and detail. But the one that concerns us is the top. Maximum resolution with great sound. And exceptional color quality and detail. In the credits both the well-known Eric Caplain / Ameres appear as architects, probably by the authorship of the player, and Katy Weathers. Possibly the latter is the architect of the video, because Eric in the Discord channel of Segaxtreme told us “do not remember that he did this”. However, thanks to the sum of both we have this great technical achievement in the machine:

  • 24-bit color 320×196 15FPS 1498 kbps

    • VDP2 NBG0 Tile (1H x 1V) Plane Size = 1H x 1V

      • ADPCM-DK4 22050Hz Stereo 177 kbps

      • With minimum total transfer peaks of 1000-1500 and maximums between 2000-2600. Really impressive.

We finish with the general review of the use of the hardware that makes this game. Use a 320×240 SD mode in 16BPP. Using the pair of SH2 for both 3D and FMV. And showing signs of use of the SCU-DSP of an average of 20% in both registers and memory. Possibly for the transfer of data between buses. There are also signs of use of the sound DSP both in FMV and in the game up to 35% of the memory. Possibly in the case of game for audio CD-ROM. We do not know exactly what in FMV. Finally we can see a 70% use of the main RAM, 65% of the VRAM of VDP1 and 72% of VDP2.

Wachenröder

I have doubted a lot to select the best “Cinepak”. Mainly between this Wachenröder and Lunar 2 or Baroque. Lunar 2 has more SPF with lower audio quality and the type of image is less demanding to be mainly anime. Baroque is more like Wachenröder, and has even more resolution, equal FPS and better audio quality. But the image is mostly monochrome or less demanding than in Wachenröder. As I say any of these three would be another good choice.

It is also true that in Cinepak more PCM (even with ADPCM) there are also great examples. But thanks to ADX allowing that extra bandwidth for the video stream make this set superior to the rest.

But let’s go to the game at hand. Wachenröder was an exclusive launch of the 4th wave of developments in Japan on 1998-08-06. As is logical with this whole tour and also in this particular Wachenröder is an outstanding game, but especially in the art part. In my view, art is in the League of Final Fantasy or Panzer Dragoon. Even, from my point of view above, slightly above Grandia or Shining Force. Seriously the level of detail, the mixture between medieval and baroque. Dark and cyberpunk is tremendously seductive. It is sad that the team did not have a budget at the Squaresoft level, because this JRPG could have touched a much higher level. Even more sad that he didn’t leave Japan. I am convinced that with a budget like FF, the graphics, performance and final content would have reached that level, if not exceeded.

Being a SEGA commission, which was made with three teams. Collecting the technical part about TNS Co. Ltd, and being honest this was a fairly modest team, if we compared it with that of an FF or even Panzer Dragoon Saga or Grandia as equivalent: 2 (+1 support) programmers and 3 Artists Not counting all the experience and tradition that both teams had, compared to a team that practically made its first game. Anyway, as they say: “They did the best they knew and could.” Where we notice this lack of resources is precisely the simplicity of the 3D fighting or even on the 2D / 3D map. With great ideas and designs, but they stay halfway. For example, the 3D fighting is really spectacular. The models have a high and very detailed number of polygons. The animations are also very good, motion capture in this case. All with a dynamic lighting very successful with source. Using VDP2 also quite successfully. Now the bad news, the performance is quite poor, we are talking about 20FPS at best but often lowering to 14 or less FPS when attacks or magic are executed. The adjustment of the VDP2 backgrounds with the 3D or 3D floor of the VDP2 leaves much to be desired. Most modeling is very good, others the truth is that they are quite ugly, same with some animations that are not motion capture but traditional. In the fighting I have seen a maximum of 800 quads seen and illuminated, maybe about 1200 calculated in total. High figures, but that they could see resulted in greater stability or being close to 25FPS as the system has shown in other similar games. The use of transparency is very low. Something similar to that of the VDP1 is used for the 3D maps for the 3D diamond-shaped cursor, this being useless against the rest of the map’s elements when it is in bank color, only transparency being effective with redrawn errors on the 3D diamond itself . In the rest and especially in the 3D battle mode the mesh mode is used. The transparency of VDP2 is used in the pause menus on the 3D map and it seems that for “something” in the infinitely rotated plane for the ground in 3D battle mode, but I have not seen what. Maybe for fade-in to battle mode 3D.

Let’s talk about your FMV now. As we said this uses the variant of Cinepak .cak. Known in the last stage of the life of SS, especially in Japan. The intro in particular is incredibly beautiful and the quality of compression and color is excellent. A full screen pixel perfect ratio. It is really difficult to see the compression problems typical of Cinepak in much of his footage. The FPS are just 15FPS, but it barely shows. And the sound quality is just at the limit and it sounds great.

  • 24-bits RGB 320×244 / 15FPS / 2420 kbps

    • VDP2 Bitmap(512×256)

  • ADX ADPCM / Stereo / 22050hz / 176 kbps

  • With total transfer peaks maximum of 2600 kbps.

Now let’s talk about how you use the machine. As we have said at this point, the use of SS base was already very high. We can see the use of 2xSH2 for both 3D and FMV. We can also use important signals in the SCU-DSP in both 3D and FMV reaching 70% of memory and 18% of registers. We see the use of driver 2.2.0 of the SCSP. In addition to a use of ADX in multistream form for both speech and music, in addition to FMV. The use of the sound DSP reaches 80% of memory usage for it, perhaps for reverberation or other effects, but I have not been able to identify it. To finish the use of the machine is remarkable. Approximately 75% of the main RAM is used. 75% of the VRAM of VDP1. 75% of the VRAM of the VDP2 and 95% of the CRAM. We can see the latter because most VDP1 textures are in bank color mode. I guess to match the color palette between 3D and 2D elements easily. And as a gift in this game I have calculated approximately the memory usage of the M68x in this case of 45%.

Grandia
Being a game of the end of the 3rd wave at the beginning of the 4th, from a Japanese third party. We are facing a product with overwhelming quality. Also coming from Game Arts that is possibly one of the developers who obtained more knowledge and results with the SS. And all this is reflected in this Grandia launched on 1997-12-18.

It is simply a savage. What each of the programmers achieved in each of the differentiated spaces in the game is incredible. So we can differentiate: 3D map, 2D and menus. Battle and UI menus. And finally the FMVs.

The 3D map is a perfect combination of the use of VDP2, for floors and backgrounds, plus the use of VDP1. There is flat illumination by palettes but extremely soft in the changes of tonality. The color palette is rich and the correspondence between the two perfect VDPs. Somehow using the LUT color of VDP1, the programmer has used the same colors as for VDP2 graphics.

Besides having color LUT has allowed him to be able to use the Semi-transparency of the VDP1 without problem, intelligently in billboard elements. Only in a few using the mesh mode, strangely in some, in my view could I see semi-transparency used. Especially in elements inside houses such as lighting or smoke elements. Of course, they are using VDP2 transparency through VDP1 elements. It is not so for the shadows of the characters, since these pass over elements VDP1 and 2 interchangeably, and finding a valid solution is even more complicated. It is a fairly common problem in the machine, for example in Sonic R I choose to use the mesh mode. It is true that ideally it would be to use the appropriate transparency as it is above VDP1 or 2, but this would complicate on a way just for this. Or use both transparencies activated at the same time, without being ideal because the VDP2 background data would always be seen, but it would always be transparent against something.

The 3D map runs most of the time at 30 / 25FPS with point drops to 20FPS when it shows wide planes of the locations. Could not quantify the amount of quads on screen. Battles at 30FPS totally stable.

Loads are fast and transparent, thanks in part to the great use of the soundtrack. Thanks to the use of ADX technology, you can upload content and continue playing music without cuts. Game Arts in Grandia make splendid use of ADX, both for the game in its Stereo soundtrack and a lot of dialogues in mono. Of course in the FMV. As a curiosity to comment that Game Arts is one of the few developers that has its own driver for the SCSP, which in this Grandia is also using.

The Battles, in 2D. They are incredibly fluid and spectacular. The transition to them is instantaneous with full-screen transparency using VDP2. In these we can see the degree of mastery and madness with which the programmer of the Game Arts team executed them. To be able to have a good amount and transparency to full screen and with overlap between all the elements. And that will not penalize performance. In this mode only VDP2 transparencies are used in all possible ways. At all times you are transferring the sprites of the characters or the UI of VDP1 to the NBG1 layer of VDP2. In addition, in VDP1 it leaves the elements of the UI in a flat color so that they act as a mask with a higher priority so that the elements transferred to the NBG1 of a lower priority cover what they owe, in this case the graphics of the UI. On the other hand, when a particle effect occurs, it is drawn in VDP1 and the transparency of VDP2 is used by means of the color key and priority function to mix against the rest of the elements, in this case the NBG1 layer and the RBG0 layer. background. The background is an image of 512×512 at 8 bits of color. Both layers are panned and zoomed to show the action that occurs. While the transparent elements actually drawn on the VDP1 to be used by the VDP2 move (zoom or synchronized panels) in the same VDP1. In turn, the graphics of both VDP1 and VDP2 are simulating the mesh effect on themselves. To be able to mix in its “more transparent” parts against the elements below. This mesh is even more permissive to work between elements since it is not fixed on the screen grill, but these gaps are in the texture itself. For other 3D elements the VDP1 mesh is used as in the action selection ring. Finally for the menus of magic, items … the NBG3 layer is used with the transparency by traditional ratio of the VDP2, giving that dynamic melting point between menus and during the action. It is also used for the fade of statistics at the end of the fight.

At the resolution level most of the game runs at 352×224. Except for 2D maps and FMV. The first are in HD at 704×448, with an extraordinary definition. The seconds are at 352×448, VDP1 in SD in X and in “Y” in Interlaced of VDP2.

With regard to FMV and its codec, I cannot assure you that we are facing the best video codec in the system, because I have not been able to corroborate its capabilities. But everything points to it. Or it will be very close to EA MPEG codec. Both codecs are authentic technical feats for the system and for its time as such. As I have described before the FMVs run in interlaced mode and thanks to the work of @ TrekkiesUnite118 and others we see how far it goes. In theory 352×192 at 12FPS with YUV color space IDC algorithm, plus the audio channel in ADX ADPCM format in Stereo. All this on the VDP2 in a 24bit color layer.

Again thanks to @TrekkiesUnite118 and its translation. A titanic and indescribable work. Seriously, what he has done is something insane. That highlights the incredible fan community and the quality of it. I can only qualify them as geniuses. Thanks to this and the improvement of the emulators with Yabause base (YabaShansiro and Kronos) I have been able to analyze this piece of engineering and art for our beloved machine.

Finally the use of hardware, as is logical is absolute. All processors are used, I even guess that the SH1 in this game is working beautifully. Well, it’s constantly loading information from the CD. But the contrasted data are. Use of 2xSH2 throughout the game: 3D, 2D and FMV. Patent use of the SCU-DSP during the game and the FMV. Presumably for decoding the ADX or transferring audio data to the SCSP. The use here is 97% of memory and 60% of registers, the highest I’ve seen. SCSP-DSP use of up to 90% is seen, possibly for reverberation and echo effects. Almost 70% of the main RAM is used. Almost 90% of the VRAM of VDP1. And 65% of the VDP2. In this case, the M68x also has 45% of its memory usage.

4.1 The Complicated II – EXTRA I Ball: Advanced Color Calculation Function “Gradation / Boken / Blur”

Also as a bonus, in this transit of deepening in the SS, I have been able to discover a special function that would have helped smooth out the scaling in these videos in full screen. That in the documentation we can find it named in up to three different ways: Advanced Color Calculation Function of “Gradation / Boken / Blur”.

This effect is very subtle, and it is difficult to perceive. Since what it does is smooth only horizontally 3 pixels to the left of the original. In the background it is as if it were superimposing with a transparency level three times the same information shifted to the left +1 and +2 pixels plus the original. That is why it is an effect that is limited to a normal resolution and a specific color mode so that everything can enter the VRAM and the color functions of the VDP2.

@vbt from SEGAextreme made a demo years ago with this feature almost unknown in its use in the SS catalog.

There is some game that uses it, we are talking about a tiny 0.93% of the total games:

Kuusou Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy

  • In FMV. If it works, in principle. Hard to see.

Sokko Seitokai Sonic Council

  • In the backgrounds. Yes it works, but strange.

Blam Machine Head

  • In menus and 3D game in the transparent and pause HUD. But it doesn’t work because the Mode Color is at 1, it should be 0.

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