Idea: let's collect questions for Jon Burton here

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by nineko, Oct 15, 2017.

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  1. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    From another topic:
    This is just the most recent example, and I've been instrumental in that, too (sorry about that), but the situation isn't better on Retro, where there are at least 3 or 4 topics between Sonic R, Sonic 3D, and Puggsy, not to mention the sparse comments on Jon's dozens of videos, so it might get hard to keep track of what interesting questions have been posted, and where.

    So, I have an idea: what if we collect and review all the questions in a single place, in the chance someone experienced (not me, maybe Spanner or IceKnight) can forward them to Jon in a proper way, maybe during the contest week or whatever? Or, since a man can dream, someone might even get him to register here (and/or on Retro), so he can answer himself.

    Rules: don't ask for source codes, betas, or anything which might be covered by NDAs. Jon's been extremely generous and open minded on his Youtube channel, and I can't even imagine how many inappropriate requests he's getting everyday. Trivial questions should be avoided as well, chances are that if you ask something trivial in this topic, someone else is going to reply, and a moderator might move your question to the Basic Q&A topic.

    Also, please note that if you already got an interesting information on Youtube or something, feel free to crosspost it here to keep everything organised and avoid potential duplicated questions, possibly with a verifiable link to the relevant Youtube comment(s).

    I'll try to edit this post on a regular basis to include everyone's questions. I'll start with the SMPS question which originated the quote above.

    1. What is the official name (if any) of the sound driver used in Sonic 3D Blast? Some of our sources speculate that it might be either "SMPS" or "Easy Sound", but it might be something else entirely (nineko)
    2. Besides things like sound driver, ICD_MARS program or Saturn's dev-kits (for instance), did SEGA provide any other additional Assembly-based drivers/libraries for other things, such as sprite renderers, scroll engines, etc? (FireRat)
    3. The only thing I'm interested in, is the original name of the software and resources. Such as, the compression routine names, Kosinski, Nemesis, Enigma. Or any other compressions that have been used in the games Travellers' Tails have been involved in. (MarkeyJester)
    4. Many Genesis games developed by TT have put a large emphasis pushing the hardware limits, but seemingly not games for systems afterward. Is there a reason for this? Are the games actually pushing the hardware limits and it's just less noticable? (ProjectFM)
    5. what led TT to develop on the Genesis over the Super Nintendo (besides Bram Stoker's Dracula)? And how was TT given enough trust to develop Sonic and Crash Bandicoot games? (ProjectFM)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  2. FireRat

    FireRat "The grand imitator..." Member

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    On YouTube I left some questions about tech and hardware, on professional development, and other really deep ones, such as general "personality traits" within the workgroup(s), and he kindly replied every one of them, as long as he was allowed to it (because contracts, you know). As expected, it takes a while though (a week approximately), I don't know if he uses to get filled of so many messages that it gets hard and "ignorable", so, glad this thread exists I guess.

    I don't have much anymore to ask, but:
    - Besides things like sound driver, ICD_MARS program or Saturn's dev-kits (for instance), did SEGA provide any other additional Assembly-based drivers/libraries for other things, such as sprite renderers, scroll engines, etc?
     
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  3. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester ! % # @ Member

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    The only thing I'm interested in, is the original name of the software and resources. Such as, the compression routine names, Kosinski, Nemesis, Enigma. Or any other compressions that have been used in the games Travellers' Tails have been involved in.

    Might I suggest an additional rule be put in place to prevent people asking questions about software techniques, or obvious hardware specifications? These forms of information either already exist, or can at least be worked out in some form. I strongly think our questions are best stuck to stuff that is beyond our ability to find out. A lot of software related questions posted on his videos could've easily have been answered on the board if someone had only asked in the Basic Q&A thread... ...in fact, the FMV intro was already explained back in 2013, yet people still went ape shit requesting an explanation on something we already knew. We could've found out stuff we didn't and couldn't have known by now...
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
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  4. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

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    By all means, provide questions, and if somehow something comes of talks with Jon, we may sift through and pick a few grains to build on.

    Also, Markey has a solid point. The techniques haven't been so much a mystery as they have been that no one's ever bothered to ask. And though I do find his explanations of how they came up with some of the techniques and some of the things they ended up never using, if questions were to be put to Jon, they would have to be well-curtailed for best educational purpose about the trade at the time. Processes, tools, and other things that are near impossible to know now, but would be something that he would have known about.

    There is also some need to address those that have fussed on IRC and whatnot about him not releasing a lot of the materials he has. Put simply, it all goes back to intellectual property and copyright. There's so much crap entangled in that, that releases are unfeasible in his position. While I have utmost hope that many of these materials will see the light of day for archival and historical preservation purposes, for now, let's enjoy that we have someone who's willing to at least show off some of these old materials and how things progressed in development. Enjoy what we can give, and hope for more in the future.

    Now, with all that said, knock yourselves out. And while on the off-chance something does work out we'll sift and construct based in part with what's here, do try to be sensible. Aim for what would be difficult to learn, rather than the low-hanging fruit.
     
  5. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

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    Many Genesis games developed by TT have put a large emphasis pushing the hardware limits, but seemingly not games for systems afterward. Is there a reason for this? Are the games actually pushing the hardware limits and it's just less noticable?

    Another question is what led TT to develop on the Genesis over the Super Nintendo (besides Bram Stoker's Dracula)? And how was TT given enough trust to develop Sonic and Crash Bandicoot games?
     
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  6. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    Markey indeed has a point, thanks for the suggestion :)

    My first post now states that if you ask a trivial questions you're likely to get an answer from someone else. The list in my first post will be up for peer review before someone submits it to Jon, so it's all good :)

    I also removed the "feel free to trash if inappropriate" part since it appears the staff is ok with this. Thanks for that, guys :)

    edit: also, so I don't double post:
    Feel free to crosspost any interesting information here or in a separate topic, so we can know what not to ask since it's been already answered without going through thousands of comments on dozens of videos. The same applies to everyone who got an interesting answer on Youtube (or Twitter, or whatever), please share them in an organised place along with verifiable links. I added this suggestion in the first post as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  7. FireRat

    FireRat "The grand imitator..." Member

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    I hope you excuse me for the useless reply, but a great part of that, is exactly what's NOT to be asked here, not to mention that it's some awkward and perhaps like fuel for anyone paranoid enough towards my person.

    I sent most of my Q&A to your PM inbox if you want to see, but there's not too much worth to note, I THINK.
     
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  8. Nat The Porcupine

    Nat The Porcupine Active Member Member

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    I might as well post a question:

    Do you believe that modern game developers are less inclined to push the limits of the hardware platforms that they develop for than veterans of the industry, such as yourself, did back in the early to late 90s? If so, do you see this as a negative trend in gaming culture? What kind of outlooks and qualities do you believe both current and aspiring game developers should posses to help mitigate this trend (if one exists)?
     
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  9. Natsumi

    Natsumi Phoenix egg Member

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    I believe the reason is that there is almost no benefit for seeing a lot more work than back in the days. Processors nowadays are far more complex, with threading, with Operating Systems and higher level languages than pure ASM. It is really hard to get down to the metal and make hacky, precisely timed code to do novel effects like Mega Drive, that you could not already do with more simple code thats more portable and less likely to break. TLDR its not worth the effort today as opposed to earlier. You aren't going to replicate Wolfenstein 3D today.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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