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Old 13 October 2017, 21:29   #1
MigaTech
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Arrow CD32 & 4th Gen Chipset?

This is where it all begins, I set this thread up for all that want to share their opinions on the Spellbound project.

To most the Amiga CD32 was obsolete when launched and Commodore didn't offer enough to Amiga at that time, to make it all worth while. This is the machine that would of saved Amiga and Commodore, if only for the following;

Firstly, The CD32 we were actually presented with back in the early 90's, wasn't quite what Amiga had in mind.

Apparently they were working on a 4th Gen chipset codename : Triple A or AAA, and they also wanted to offer 68030 as standard CPU.

If all this is true and they had of succeeded with this machine, would this version of the CD32 done any better? Also would games have been beyond anything we had ever seen before?

Finally, what would all of this mean to us Amiga followers today? < Would this of saved both Commodore and Amiga, if Spellbound / Triple A would of happened?

Last edited by MigaTech; 14 October 2017 at 02:05.
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Old 13 October 2017, 21:33   #2
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I think path should be 2D fighting games, not slow 3D games like Fears. CD32 have ok joypad for Street Fighter 2 clones and CD can reduce loading times and disc swapping. It was not obsolete but competed with wrong games.
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Old 14 October 2017, 10:25   #3
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I think path should be 2D fighting games, not slow 3D games like Fears. CD32 have ok joypad for Street Fighter 2 clones and CD can reduce loading times and disc swapping. It was not obsolete but competed with wrong games.
I agree. The AAA chipset had chunky modes so maybe it could have helped. But the management at Commodore was too greedy and anti consumer. They could have replaced the Akiko chip with Fast RAM and gotten better performance overall.

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Old 14 October 2017, 10:31   #4
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They could have replaced the Akiko chip with Fast RAM and gotten better performance overall.

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The whole point of Akiko was to have better c2p performance at next to no cost compared to adding fastram.
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Old 14 October 2017, 10:56   #5
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Cd32 could be more successful as an console if it was made and release two years earlier (A1200 too) plus have more dedicated games, both exclusive ones and standard floppy games that fit console gaming but with more improvements. Also cd32 should be bundled with better games, I have no idea why Commodore pick Dangerous Street.
So we start to dreaming about alternative past, all those "what if" scenarios are very interesting
Cd32 could not win with PSX or Saturn when all those 3D games start to gain more popularity, it was not strong point of its hardware. I have strong feeling that Cd32 as console could be successful only if Commodore rather then making A600, A500+ jump to A1200.
So what is a good time to introduce games on CDs? Could those two years be too early?
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Old 14 October 2017, 11:01   #6
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The CD32 would have been a huge success if it could have been sold in the USA. Unfortunatly they had overseen some patents and they feared to launch the CD32 in the states.

That was/is the most important point.
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Old 14 October 2017, 11:13   #7
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The CD32 would have been a huge success if it could have been sold in the USA. Unfortunatly they had overseen some patents and they feared to launch the CD32 in the states.

That was/is the most important point.
Nope, Europe was the Amiga's biggest market, Commodore had screwed all the vendors before that point anyway even if they got it to market, the 3DO came out the same year in the US, ok double the price but the graphics were stunning.

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Cd32 could be more successful as an console if it was made and release two years earlier (A1200 too) plus have more dedicated games, both exclusive ones and standard floppy games that fit console gaming but with more improvements. Also cd32 should be bundled with better games, I have no idea why Commodore pick Dangerous Street.
So we start to dreaming about alternative past, all those "what if" scenarios are very interesting
Cd32 could not win with PSX or Saturn when all those 3D games start to gain more popularity, it was not strong point of its hardware. I have strong feeling that Cd32 as console could be successful only if Commodore rather then making A600, A500+ jump to A1200.
So what is a good time to introduce games on CDs? Could those two years be too early?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing as they say, but there was no reason why the CD32 couldn't have done well, had it been out a year and the price dropped a £100 (same as A1200 did) to £199 then yeah sales could have been decent for a while.
Games on CDs had been around since 1989 with the PC Engine CD, then Commodores own CDTV in 1991, but that failed because its price of £600 and it was aimed at the hi-fi/all in one market same as the CDi, by 1993 everyone who knew it was right was going CD (Mega-CD, 3DO, PCE, FM Towns, NGCD etc) Nintendo and Atari screwed up by sticking with cartridge, Atari tried to rectify it with its toilet seat Jaguar CD add-on but it was too late for them.
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Old 14 October 2017, 11:25   #8
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Nope, Europe was the Amiga's biggest market, Commodore had screwed all the vendors before that point anyway even if they got it to market, the 3DO came out the same year in the US, ok double the price but the graphics were stunning.
They had some 1000 of unsoldable CD32-NTSC. That broke the second leg. I know for some stores here in Switzerland where the demand was higher than C= could serve.

But it is way too late to discuss this.

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Old 18 October 2017, 23:16   #9
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Commodore scrapped the AAA chipset as it was an aging design by the time they could actually make it, and it would have been too expensive for the CD32 price point.

The hombre Chipset the AAA successor, had a low cost version which would have been the best in terms of performance. However being a RISC chipset, it meant existing Amiga software could not run on it without a new port.

There was the AA+ chipset which was an improvement on AGA. Commodore were thinking of adding a DSP which would have been great like in the Falcon. If that was the case then this would have been the safest option.

With the way the CD32 is. The 68020, no fast ram, and the AGA chipset was too slow for the 32-bit era. In some ways it even struggled with 2D compared to the Genesis/SNES. Akiko could not make up for the slow system in chunky modes.
 
Old 18 October 2017, 23:45   #10
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@MigaTech, as you can imagine this topic has been discussed uncountable times so use the search option in the forums and I'm sure you'll find almost every possible angle on this "oh so dear" topic ;-)
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Old 19 October 2017, 22:44   #11
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Dave Haynie added a DSP to the A3000+ but Commodore scrapped it due to cost, they needed new hardware quick and so the A600 , 1200 and cd32 with the crippled A4000. (not a patch on the A3000+) Apple then picked up the DSP for the mac.

An upgraded cd32 (cd64) was on the drawing board but Commodore were broke and on borrowed time, hence why the CD32 was brought forward by six months and in doing so killed demand for the A1200.

Dave had the Hombre chipset up and working ( poorly) in 1994 and needed all the chipset revising which could not be done as R&D was now on life support with no new projects green lit except 3.1 workbench and rom production. the cd32 managed to get the FMV (just) before irving few off in the PET jet and then into the sunset...

Don't forget that Hombre was not Amiga compatible and nothing would run on it...

In retrospect ...

Should Commodore have gone PPC in 1992 as Apple did and ditch 68k , as motorola did. everyone knew it was coming.

now, where is that time machine i ordered...
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Old 20 October 2017, 01:36   #12
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AAA was running late, Hombre was still far off, DSP would have required big-ish engineering effort to add to the Spellbound design...
But what Commodore *could* have done very easily with very little engineering/redesign or severe RnD would have been to simply give the CD32 a bit more breathing room by slapping on a ~28MHz 020 and 1MB Fast RAM. (Or 030, they were already buying the aging 030s in quantity for the A3000/A4000 and various other boards, so how expensive could it have been by then..)
In the long run I dont think it would have mattered much but it might have made it look less dated at launch and a more appealing upgrade for ppl already owning a low end Amiga... Oh well.. speculation never get old... or maybe it does ;-)
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Old 20 October 2017, 09:09   #13
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They couldn’t add to the CD32 without pissing off the A1200 owners, they had already laid out the specs for the AA generation machines, plus they weren’t in a financial position to do so even if they were to take that risk.
I’ll say it again it wasn’t just the specs that killed the CD32, it was Commodore demise 6 months after launch, the CD32 software sales were outselling , MegaCD, CDi and PCCD combined in the UK and on the up as reported a month before Commodore announced bankruptcy.

In hindsight the AA 1992 chipset would have to be changed if we had a time machine to then alter the CD32s, anyway I keep telling myself not chip in to these repeated debates!
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Old 20 October 2017, 15:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXeler0 View Post
@MigaTech, as you can imagine this topic has been discussed uncountable times so use the search option in the forums and I'm sure you'll find almost every possible angle on this "oh so dear" topic ;-)
Yes you are correct but I wanted to offer a fresh debate and ask these questions myself.

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I keep telling myself not chip in to these repeated debates!
It is always good to get involved in a good debate, regardless of how many times it is discussed.

TBH, it is amazing they even got it launched, as Commodore was all but over by that time. I must admit that commercial was F***ING amazing!!

"OUR WORLD WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN !"

Let us also not forget the "TO BE THIS GOOD WILL TAKE SEGA AGES!" Positioned right next to SEGA HQ!
Great moments and fun times, that shall never come again. Those were the days.
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Old 22 October 2017, 23:36   #15
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They couldn’t add to the CD32 without pissing off the A1200 owners, they had already laid out the specs for the AA generation machines, plus they weren’t in a financial position to do so even if they were to take that risk.
I’ll say it again it wasn’t just the specs that killed the CD32, it was Commodore demise 6 months after launch, the CD32 software sales were outselling , MegaCD, CDi and PCCD combined in the UK and on the up as reported a month before Commodore announced bankruptcy.
When you enter the console market, your biggest problem is the competition not some potentially pissed off A1200 owners.. (and really, I already had a Blizzard 1200 with 4MB Fastram, the first time I saw a CD32). If that whats held Commodore back at the drawing board, then its pretty sad ;-)
But ye, as I also said, in the end, better specs probably wouldn't have mattered, but with just a bit of luck (and a time machine) it would have a better chance to stay competitive juuust long enough to allow C< to survive and finish the CD64 and / or AAA. After that, who knows..

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In hindsight the AA 1992 chipset would have to be changed if we had a time machine to then alter the CD32s, anyway I keep telling myself not chip in to these repeated debates!
We have that in common But its... haard... to ... resist...
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Old 25 October 2017, 18:52   #16
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But yes, as I also said, in the end, better specs probably wouldn't have mattered, but with just a bit of luck (and a time machine) it would have a better chance to stay competitive juuust long enough to allow C< to survive and finish the CD64 and / or AAA. After that, who knows..
I'm not so sure I agree with this. Much like the A1200, I feel that C= gave us the barest of minimums they could get away with and still call it an upgrade over the old machine.

If we had something more capable, with faster 020 or 030 along with the Fast RAM to make best use of it, all of a sudden, a lot more things are on the table with regards to what a game can do. The price difference for the faster CPU might have only been a dollar or two, plus change. The memory would have cost a bit more but even a stingy 512kb would have helped immensely. 2mb would have been fantastic.

Of course, it would have required games companies putting a bit of effort in to make something that really put it to use. With games that were, very obviously, a leap over competing SNES or Mega CD titles. As opposed to the mostly lazy CD versions of existing games we actually did get.

I can imagine an AGA Mortal Kombat, with CD music and loads of animation frames doing fairly well. Along with some kind of Starwing style shooter. Possibly a slightly less sparse version of Guardian would have been nice. Add to that, maybe an updated version of F1GP too, as well as Stunt Car Racer... oh, well...



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Old 25 October 2017, 21:57   #17
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Just a bit of Fastram would have sufficed I think over the 030, It wouldnt have put too much of a dent in the profit for the machine.
Seeing the benchies that Terriblefires Fastram card it pretty much doubles the processing power.
Even 256-512k would have been enough for gamelogic leaving all the rest to Graphics and Sound.

BUT if you look at Terriblefires video`s, it takes a bit of time and hard work to route all those traces on the motherboard!
They may have been too far along when someone may have thought about it. too late to do anything about it

With it costing so much for developers to tap into the console market, everyone who didnt have the money would have somewhere to make thier mark and give us some great games.
They could have been a new level that we never saw, it would been quite a jump as a base machine to develop for, 020/14mhz 2mbchip 512kfast over the A500`s 68k/7mhz 512kchip 512kfast
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Old 29 October 2017, 17:15   #18
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If C= had built the CD32 like the CDTV and added faster CPU/RAM then it would have been a much greater success.

But corners were cut with all AGA machines - lots of could haves and should haves. Sigh.
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Old 29 October 2017, 19:43   #19
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If C= had built the CD32 like the CDTV and added faster CPU/RAM then it would have been a much greater success.

But corners were cut with all AGA machines - lots of could haves and should haves. Sigh.
Doubt it, the CDTV was £600 at launch, it failed because of the price, if the CD32 had a more expensive case and more ram the price would have been at least £100 more, let alone a faster CPU, the AA chipset was the downfall of Commodore at the end of the day not a particular machine as such ( as well as them killing OCS/ECS the way they did)
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Old 06 November 2017, 00:54   #20
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This is where it all begins, I set this thread up for all that want to share their opinions on the Spellbound project.

To most the Amiga CD32 was obsolete when launched and Commodore didn't offer enough to Amiga at that time, to make it all worth while. This is the machine that would of saved Amiga and Commodore, if only for the following;

Firstly, The CD32 we were actually presented with back in the early 90's, wasn't quite what Amiga had in mind.

Apparently they were working on a 4th Gen chipset codename : Triple A or AAA, and they also wanted to offer 68030 as standard CPU.

If all this is true and they had of succeeded with this machine, would this version of the CD32 done any better? Also would games have been beyond anything we had ever seen before?

Finally, what would all of this mean to us Amiga followers today? < Would this of saved both Commodore and Amiga, if Spellbound / Triple A would of happened?
If your asking "if they bring out the 4th gen chipset of CD32", if Commodore did that would it save them today? I wouldn't have a bloody clue..

Actually, i don't think it would have really made any difference at all...

Commodore was too late R&D and using CD32 to make everything right again, so even with better specs why would it sell better, if that is not the problem? The problem was Commodore itself and they got into this state,
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