Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
GoatLord

Examples of pushing the limits of hardware/engines

Recommended Posts


Found this gem the other day. For a map made in Q3A, this is really impressive. It's astonishing how slick this game can still look.


Here's a hardware example. This is from 1994, and shows an early version of the N64 pushing graphics that look closer to what the end of the console's lifespan resembled.

Share this post


Link to post

That Q3 school map blew me away. I couldn't believe it was done with the Q3 engine, very impressive.

Share this post


Link to post

This is just my opinion but with the Quake 3 map I don't think it necessarily pushed the limits but simply it was a more complex style of mapping which people wouldn't normally want to do since it takes so much time and work to do, it's probably just simply reaching what the game is capable of. However I doubt hardware around the time QIIIA was released could handle this map.

Share this post


Link to post

What about that whole deal with porting Resident Evil 2 to N64? Compressing all those .avi videos (inb4 'it wasn't .avi') down to a cartridge? Madness.

Share this post


Link to post
Kontra Kommando said:

I remember being very impressed with Star Fox. Especially compared to other SNES games at the time.


Check out Star Fox 2, I think it's even more impressive.

Share this post


Link to post

That 1994 Silicon Graphics demo is just running with an approximization of what they thought the finalized hardware might be capable of. It's no secret by now that companies were usually overreaching with those, and especially back in the 90's.

The most impressive N64 stuff is probably what Factor 5 were doing. They developed techniques to essentially use the regular cartridges as virtual RAM to get more mileage out of the system. Likewise their output on the Gamecube was some of the most impressive stuff of that entire console era.

Star Fox also relies on external enhancement chips integrated into the carts, so I don't really consider those types of games the optimal showcase of really pushing the vanilla hardware. That topic gets a bit muddy sometimes. Especially on the NES where the use of better mappers was quite common. The NES is probably the one system I'll give a pass for those methods.

Share this post


Link to post

That Q3A map doesn't seem more complex or detailed than Jedi Outcast with a HD mod, but props to a nice Czech myschool.wad!

edit: Maybe not exactly "pushing the limits", but I always adored the techdemo that came with Matrox G400. That's the second half of 1999. It looks gorgeous for the time, but the G400 never really matched those graphics ingame, because it had terrible OpenGL support and only excelled in D3D. Still, Matrox was one of the most distinguishable cards ever, especially with its trademark crispy image and bump mapping. Also that music!

Share this post


Link to post

A StarFox demo on Genesis:


With no extra chips at that. There's another video showing that it is indeed being played on real hardware, too. Music is separate, though.

Red Zone on Genesis:

Controls are meh, but otherwise a fun game.

Gunstar Heroes on Genesis:


Garou: Mark of The Wolves on Neo-Geo:


Shantae on Gameboy Color:

Share this post


Link to post

Arbitrary mention of Mario RPG. I don't even know if that really was pushing the limits so to speak, but the music and art direction in that game are phenomenal.

Share this post


Link to post

Omega Boost on the PS1 allegedly maintains 60 FPS in spite of all the graphical effects it used.

Share this post


Link to post

Wow, Art of Fighting 3 has amazingly fluid animation! And how could I forget Star Fox.

Star Fox 2 is indeed more impressive than the first, it looks really, really good for the era.



Spyro the Dragon (1998) made beautiful use of vector-based backgrounds so each level could have a unique sky, and it actually looks better than bitmaps would have. Also very economic use of polygons and amazingly smooth animation.

Share this post


Link to post

MIDI only works on note, controller, and some system control (SysEx) data. There are no sounds stored in MIDI data, just which sound to play when. MOD music, while similar, also contains PCM samples that it uses for playback. So while MIDI files/data is more for connecting and transmitting note/controller messages, and will sound different depending on the synthesizer playing it, MOD files are self-contained pieces of music with their own sounds built-in.

MIDI is NOT the same as "oh, that music from the 90s that played out of my SoundBlaster-16." It's just a protocol. The SB-16 is why they sounded like an SB-16. Play the same MIDI file on a different card or synthesizer, it'll sound different.

Genesis sound hardware was based around the YM2612 (OPN2). As far as output you hear, this had 6 FM synthesis channels. But, the sixth channel could optionally output 8-bit unsigned PCM data with a sampling rate between 8 and 22KHz. The system also had a PSG chip (Texas Instruments SN76496) that had three square wave channels and one noise channel.

So basically, it only had one hardware channel for PCM playback. This means if you want to do 4-channel MOD music, you'd have to do the sound mixing in software before sending the stream of data to the one PCM output.

Share this post


Link to post
GoatLord said:

Could you go into detail as to the limitations of the Genesis sound hardware and the difference between MOD and MIDI?

The MOD playback developed was ONLY for that game- it was programmed to run in software. You can even inject your own 4 channel mods and have the game play them too!

Share this post


Link to post

As my avatar suggests, I grew up in the NES/SMS era. Phantasy Star had my friends coming to my house to see the game because it was so graphically impressive for the time. The SMS was $79.99 at KayBee Toys and Phantasy Star was $89.99. Phantasy Star is in fact the first ever four-meg cartridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Ashstrodamus said:

Phantasy Star is in fact the first ever four-meg cartridge.

Worth noting that that's in bits, not bytes.

Share this post


Link to post
Sodaholic said:

Worth noting that that's in bits, not bytes.

Correct. It was very impressive for the time. My friends were jealous and blown away because almost nobody in the US had a Sega Master System. It was all about NES.

Share this post


Link to post

I say Doom on SNES. Not only does it have the additional chipset, but it pushes the limit of that, too. It's quite sad that even then, it's still better than the port for a 32-bit console (Add-on)

Share this post


Link to post

Man, there's a video out there of a highly impressive wolf3d-like homebrew for NES with an astonishingly smooth frame rate, and a slightly less impressive one with a sad Mario on the statbar, but literally every rearrangement of "wolf3d homebrew nes" brings me the snes or gen homebrew - Any of you happen to know where I can see those NES homebrews? It's as if they disappeared entirely.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×