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Nvidia's History with Sega



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 14th 04, 06:01 AM
Zackman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

R420 wrote:

found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years.


Could you at least keep your spamming confined to current news? And/or
provide a link with excerpts instead of cutting and pasting the whole
****ing article?

-Z-


  #2  
Old June 14th 04, 07:36 AM
R420
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Nvidia's History with Sega

found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years. this early time in
Nvidia's existance is closely tied to Sega.

__________________________________________________ _____________________________

NVIDIA's Console Chip

NV2

NVIDIA's financial savior came in the form of a video game console,
more specifically, a Sega video game console. Through the NV1, NVIDIA
had established a strong working relationship with Sega. The chip
promoted sales of Saturn accessories and Sega programmers were
somewhat familiar with quadratic surfaces after having ported a small
number of games for the NV1. Most importantly, Direct3D was a
non-issue because many of the Japanese console developers were ready
and willing to use the unconventional technology of quadratic surfaces
if it brought additional performance.
Sega funded a significant portion of the research on the NV2 and it is
reasonable to suggest that NVIDIA might not exist it its capacity
today if it were not for Sega's support of the NV2. Unfortunately,
Sega eventually dropped the NV2 to give the Dreamcast a better future
through an easier programming environment. Sega ended up going to 3dfx
and later to PowerVR for the graphics technology in the Dreamcast.
Little else is known about the NV2 story and the timing of events.
Despite limited success of the NV1 and failure of the NV2, NVIDIA was
not ready to quit.



There's something cool about covert intelligence agents and
clandestine ventures. Secret agents have to combine intelligence,
resourcefulness, and style. Who wouldn't want to be Ethan Hunt in
Mission Impossible?
Who knows how Solid Snake came up with his inventive "cardboard box"
trick in Metal Gear Solid? Of course, you certainly cannot forget
James Bond with his cars, his gadgets, and his women. In the recent
weeks, FiringSquad had a chance to play secret agent too! The purpose
of our mission wasn't to ferret out moles within our organization,
save the world, or even order martinis, shaken-not-stirred. We wanted
to know the answer to a gamer's question: What the heck was the NV2?

After a few "little birdies" flew in our window, we were able to piece
together a detailed account of NVIDIA NV2, the chip that predated the
RIVA 128. This is the chip that Sega originally commissioned for its
next-generation console, the Dreamcast. The NV2 is the chip that was
NVIDIA's greatest fiasco.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________

The Beginning

In our History of NVIDIA article we hypothesized that Sega started a
relationship with NVIDIA only after having spent some time porting
games over to the NV1. This was a mistake -the connection traces
further back than that.
To begin our story, we need to go all the way back to the Sega Saturn.
The Saturn used a Sega-developed graphics chip that was considered by
most of the world to be dreadful. The geometric primitive was a
four-vertex polygon (not three). As a result, triangles on the Saturn
had to be represented by a degenerate quad with two vertices existing
at the same location.

Developers hated quads and wanted something better, namely triangles.
With the Sony PlayStation handily killing the Sega Saturn at retail,
Sega decided that it needed to partner with a company with 3D graphics
experience for its next-generation console."

Quad Texture Maps, bad

1995: The launch of the NV1
As we mentioned in our History of NVIDIA article, the NV1 was NVIDIA's
first chip and was considered to be ahead of its time in many regards.
Specifically, the NV1 was novel in that it integrated audio and I/O
processing on a single chip along with video. While integrated
solutions may not have been appealing on the PC, this was perfect for
the console, as a highly integrated part would keep costs low.
Sega hoped that it could get NVIDIA to tweak the NV1's 3D architecture
for its console needs, allowing the company to take advantage of the
chip's low-cost graphics with integrated audio and I/O processing. A
high level deal was made between NVIDIA and Sega of Japan involving
approximately 7 million dollars in investment capital.

Interestingly enough, the upper management at Sega had been so
mesmerized by the possibilities of integration that the deal was
signed before the NV1 was actually released to retail, before Sega
even knew what NVIDIA's idea of 3D was.


More quads!
The NV1 was technologically superior to other chips of that era from
two perspectives: audio and I/O. Unfortunately, the quadratic texture
maps were not so appealing, and outside of NVIDIA, no one believed in
quadratic texture maps -not even Sega.
The NV1 used forward-rendered quads, which was essentially what the
Saturn had done, and was exactly what developers hated most about the
Saturn. Now NVIDIA was trying to convince Sega that it was still a
good approach. The tech demos of round spheres always looked nice, but
in real-world games, working with quadratic texture maps was
horrendous. Even simple things such as collision detection become very
difficult.


Back to the storyline
At this time (1995-1996), NVIDIA was still a fledgling startup with
approximately 30 employees and NVIDIA's Chief Technical Officer,
Curtis Priem, was enamored by quadratic texture maps. As CTO, he made
quadratic texture maps the standard at NVIDIA.
Shortly after executives at Sega and NVIDIA had signed the deal, Sega
programming legend Yu Suzuki entered the scene. Although the original
contract had already been signed at high-levels, the arcade
manufacturing groups had a great deal of influence over what chip was
going to be used in the next console, but despite their power, the AM
groups did not see the console as their core market or concern. While
Sega had its ups and downs in the home market competing against the
likes of Nintendo and later Sony, its arcade division traditionally
did very well. Indeed, although Capcom's Street Fighter II was the
most popular arcade game in the world since Pac-Man, Sega's Virtua
Fighter actually had a lead in Japan for a short time.

Suzuki-san, head of Sega's flagship AM2 division, assigned one of his
best graphics people to interface with NVIDIA in the US. Although we
do not have this engineer's name, we know that he had previously
interfaced with Real3D in the past, and, from outside reports, had an
exceptional understanding of 3D graphics techniques and rendering
pipelines. Most importantly, he knew exactly what the AM software
development groups at Sega needed in a graphics chip, namely
triangles.

Meetings were held to discuss the rendering primitive for the NV2.
Sega pushed for real triangle acceleration to be included in the NV2,
but NVIDIA did not comply. NVIDIA insisted that time was better
allocated developing the quadratic texture map portion of the NV2 and
adapting existing triangle-based development tools such as 3D modelers
to QTMs."

The End of the NV2

Just say no to triangles
Despite Sega of America's and the AM2 representative's best efforts,
NVIDIA remained adamant on using quadratic texture maps and refused to
concentrate on triangle primitives. In the end, our sources tell us
that NVIDIA may have eventually agreed to support better acceleration
for triangles, but by then, Sega of Japan had already begun to
distance itself from NVIDIA, and Sega's US team was quietly told "not
to worry about the NVIDIA thing anymore."
As a Japanese company, Sega could never kill a deal, for there was a
need to maintain honor and face. These cultural elements can be seen
today when top Japanese executives choose to demote themselves after
poor earnings reports, or when disappointing employees are
"transferred" to small offices and given no assignments rather than
fired. The expectation is that the shame alone will lead the employee
to quit himself.


Pico?
NVIDIA was relegated to this similar position. Sega told NVIDIA that
they were still contracted to provide a chip for Sega, but that it was
not going to be used in its next generation console. The plan was to
use the chip in a less demanding multimedia consumer product, probably
the next-generation Sega Pico.
The Sega Pico, as some of you may not know, was a kid's educational
toy targeted for children, 2-8 years old. It was a stylus and tablet
that connected to the TV and used cartridges as its media. The Pico
had such great titles as "Magic Crayons", "Richard Scarry's Huckle
Lowly's Busiest Day Ever", and even a few Disney titles. Basically,
NVIDIA was most likely delegated to work on a glorified See 'n Say.

The death of NV2
What was the actual performance of the NV2? The truth will never be
known. When the first silicon came back, it didn't work. NVIDIA respun
the chip a few more times, but it soon became clear that the chip had
more than just minor problems. With such dismal results, the NV2 team
eventually called it quits. To the best of our knowledge, the NV2
never existed as a working product."

Sega Black Belt

Real3D and 3dfx
With the collapse of the NVIDIA deal, Sega started looking for another
partner and eventually hooked up with Real3D, then a subsidiary of
Lockheed Martin. This seemed like a good match as Sega had worked with
Real3D on the development of the Model 2 arcade machine, and would
later work together again on the Model 3. The console chip would
likely have been at the same performance level or just slightly below
Real3D's PC chip, the Intel i740.
The console was codenamed "Black Belt". Sega reasoned that casual
gamers could get a "white belt" gaming system such as a PC, but real
gamers would want something better, a "black belt" system.

Although there were discussions between Real3D and Sega, Real3D never
made any silicon for the Black Belt. 3dfx had beaten Real3D by
offering better performance and a more robust feature set. Officially,
Real3D stated that the business model for the console market did not
create a win-win situation with Sega as it did in the high-end arcade
market.

Sega awarded 3dfx with the chip contract. The console's Black Belt
name remained even after the graphics chip was to be replaced by a
variant of the 3dfx Voodoo2.


3dfx, NEC, and VideoLogic
While Sega of America was working on the 3dfx-based console, Sega of
Japan was tasked with the development of a parallel console powered by
NEC/VideoLogic's PowerVR chipset, codenamed Katana. The teams were
told that the "winner" wouldn't necessarily be the machine with the
best performance. It would be the one which would have games up and
running more quickly.
The contest would became an exercise in futility as Sega of Japan and
NEC eventually struck a deal to use the PowerVR chip before the two
consoles were actually ready to be compared. Black Belt engineers
insisted that their 3dfx-powered system would have won the race.

After walking through the entire PC 3D graphics industry, Sega finally
found its chip. Fortunately for Sega, the PowerVR Series 2 chip, which
NEC and VideoLogic had been co-developing for some time, turned out to
be a most impressive chip for the console, with exciting features such
as texture compression and deferred rendering. The PowerVR-based
console was presented to the AM groups who gave it the green light:
the Dreamcast was born.

3dfx later sued Sega, NEC and VideoLogic, alleging that Sega
deliberately mislead 3dfx to gain access to confidential technologies
before choosing to go with NEC and VideoLogic. 3dfx, Sega, NEC, and
VideoLogic eventually reached a settlement out of court."

NVIDIA

Changes
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's CEO, was disappointed by everything that had
led to the collapse of the Sega deal. As CEO, he remained an active
participant in meetings and was intimate with the technical decisions
made at NVIDIA. He knew something had to change.
The failure of the NV2 prompted Huang to pick up David Kirk as Chief
Scientist, who had previously been with software developer Crystal
Dynamics. David Kirk essentially became the Gary Tarolli of NVIDIA,
and turned NVIDIA around by combining the company's 3D knowledge with
his game development experience.


Success
NVIDIA was reborn, and after the success of the NV3, or RIVA 128, the
entire company would quickly discard ties to its blemished past. The
rest of course, is history.
In retrospect, considering the magnitude of the failure of the NV2
it's no surprise that NVIDIA has never publicly disclosed the project.
Still, the details of this incident only underline how much of a
transformation NVIDIA has undergone. Five years ago, NVIDIA made
mistakes that could have killed other companies, and today NVIDIA is a
leader in its industry with no signs of slowing down. NVIDIA went from
being a reject for the Sega Pico to the developers of the NV20 and the
Microsoft Xbox.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________

full articles can be found he

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/...ry/default.asp

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/nv2/default.asp
  #3  
Old June 14th 04, 09:51 AM
interconnect
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Zackman,

Valid question on the relationship.

Stop your bad mouth, you the one that no one wants to read.

Wash your mouth out with soap if you can find any, you cheap person.

Stop counting the bytes you receive, you'll get more.

Or Stop reading if you dont like it, try skipping the text?

Just an idea.

No ! Get a life.


  #4  
Old June 14th 04, 01:05 PM
+c0re-
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

interesting read, thanks


"R420" wrote in message
om...
found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years. this early time in
Nvidia's existance is closely tied to Sega.


__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

NVIDIA's Console Chip

NV2

NVIDIA's financial savior came in the form of a video game console,
more specifically, a Sega video game console. Through the NV1, NVIDIA
had established a strong working relationship with Sega. The chip
promoted sales of Saturn accessories and Sega programmers were
somewhat familiar with quadratic surfaces after having ported a small
number of games for the NV1. Most importantly, Direct3D was a
non-issue because many of the Japanese console developers were ready
and willing to use the unconventional technology of quadratic surfaces
if it brought additional performance.
Sega funded a significant portion of the research on the NV2 and it is
reasonable to suggest that NVIDIA might not exist it its capacity
today if it were not for Sega's support of the NV2. Unfortunately,
Sega eventually dropped the NV2 to give the Dreamcast a better future
through an easier programming environment. Sega ended up going to 3dfx
and later to PowerVR for the graphics technology in the Dreamcast.
Little else is known about the NV2 story and the timing of events.
Despite limited success of the NV1 and failure of the NV2, NVIDIA was
not ready to quit.



There's something cool about covert intelligence agents and
clandestine ventures. Secret agents have to combine intelligence,
resourcefulness, and style. Who wouldn't want to be Ethan Hunt in
Mission Impossible?
Who knows how Solid Snake came up with his inventive "cardboard box"
trick in Metal Gear Solid? Of course, you certainly cannot forget
James Bond with his cars, his gadgets, and his women. In the recent
weeks, FiringSquad had a chance to play secret agent too! The purpose
of our mission wasn't to ferret out moles within our organization,
save the world, or even order martinis, shaken-not-stirred. We wanted
to know the answer to a gamer's question: What the heck was the NV2?

After a few "little birdies" flew in our window, we were able to piece
together a detailed account of NVIDIA NV2, the chip that predated the
RIVA 128. This is the chip that Sega originally commissioned for its
next-generation console, the Dreamcast. The NV2 is the chip that was
NVIDIA's greatest fiasco.

__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

The Beginning

In our History of NVIDIA article we hypothesized that Sega started a
relationship with NVIDIA only after having spent some time porting
games over to the NV1. This was a mistake -the connection traces
further back than that.
To begin our story, we need to go all the way back to the Sega Saturn.
The Saturn used a Sega-developed graphics chip that was considered by
most of the world to be dreadful. The geometric primitive was a
four-vertex polygon (not three). As a result, triangles on the Saturn
had to be represented by a degenerate quad with two vertices existing
at the same location.

Developers hated quads and wanted something better, namely triangles.
With the Sony PlayStation handily killing the Sega Saturn at retail,
Sega decided that it needed to partner with a company with 3D graphics
experience for its next-generation console."

Quad Texture Maps, bad

1995: The launch of the NV1
As we mentioned in our History of NVIDIA article, the NV1 was NVIDIA's
first chip and was considered to be ahead of its time in many regards.
Specifically, the NV1 was novel in that it integrated audio and I/O
processing on a single chip along with video. While integrated
solutions may not have been appealing on the PC, this was perfect for
the console, as a highly integrated part would keep costs low.
Sega hoped that it could get NVIDIA to tweak the NV1's 3D architecture
for its console needs, allowing the company to take advantage of the
chip's low-cost graphics with integrated audio and I/O processing. A
high level deal was made between NVIDIA and Sega of Japan involving
approximately 7 million dollars in investment capital.

Interestingly enough, the upper management at Sega had been so
mesmerized by the possibilities of integration that the deal was
signed before the NV1 was actually released to retail, before Sega
even knew what NVIDIA's idea of 3D was.


More quads!
The NV1 was technologically superior to other chips of that era from
two perspectives: audio and I/O. Unfortunately, the quadratic texture
maps were not so appealing, and outside of NVIDIA, no one believed in
quadratic texture maps -not even Sega.
The NV1 used forward-rendered quads, which was essentially what the
Saturn had done, and was exactly what developers hated most about the
Saturn. Now NVIDIA was trying to convince Sega that it was still a
good approach. The tech demos of round spheres always looked nice, but
in real-world games, working with quadratic texture maps was
horrendous. Even simple things such as collision detection become very
difficult.


Back to the storyline
At this time (1995-1996), NVIDIA was still a fledgling startup with
approximately 30 employees and NVIDIA's Chief Technical Officer,
Curtis Priem, was enamored by quadratic texture maps. As CTO, he made
quadratic texture maps the standard at NVIDIA.
Shortly after executives at Sega and NVIDIA had signed the deal, Sega
programming legend Yu Suzuki entered the scene. Although the original
contract had already been signed at high-levels, the arcade
manufacturing groups had a great deal of influence over what chip was
going to be used in the next console, but despite their power, the AM
groups did not see the console as their core market or concern. While
Sega had its ups and downs in the home market competing against the
likes of Nintendo and later Sony, its arcade division traditionally
did very well. Indeed, although Capcom's Street Fighter II was the
most popular arcade game in the world since Pac-Man, Sega's Virtua
Fighter actually had a lead in Japan for a short time.

Suzuki-san, head of Sega's flagship AM2 division, assigned one of his
best graphics people to interface with NVIDIA in the US. Although we
do not have this engineer's name, we know that he had previously
interfaced with Real3D in the past, and, from outside reports, had an
exceptional understanding of 3D graphics techniques and rendering
pipelines. Most importantly, he knew exactly what the AM software
development groups at Sega needed in a graphics chip, namely
triangles.

Meetings were held to discuss the rendering primitive for the NV2.
Sega pushed for real triangle acceleration to be included in the NV2,
but NVIDIA did not comply. NVIDIA insisted that time was better
allocated developing the quadratic texture map portion of the NV2 and
adapting existing triangle-based development tools such as 3D modelers
to QTMs."

The End of the NV2

Just say no to triangles
Despite Sega of America's and the AM2 representative's best efforts,
NVIDIA remained adamant on using quadratic texture maps and refused to
concentrate on triangle primitives. In the end, our sources tell us
that NVIDIA may have eventually agreed to support better acceleration
for triangles, but by then, Sega of Japan had already begun to
distance itself from NVIDIA, and Sega's US team was quietly told "not
to worry about the NVIDIA thing anymore."
As a Japanese company, Sega could never kill a deal, for there was a
need to maintain honor and face. These cultural elements can be seen
today when top Japanese executives choose to demote themselves after
poor earnings reports, or when disappointing employees are
"transferred" to small offices and given no assignments rather than
fired. The expectation is that the shame alone will lead the employee
to quit himself.


Pico?
NVIDIA was relegated to this similar position. Sega told NVIDIA that
they were still contracted to provide a chip for Sega, but that it was
not going to be used in its next generation console. The plan was to
use the chip in a less demanding multimedia consumer product, probably
the next-generation Sega Pico.
The Sega Pico, as some of you may not know, was a kid's educational
toy targeted for children, 2-8 years old. It was a stylus and tablet
that connected to the TV and used cartridges as its media. The Pico
had such great titles as "Magic Crayons", "Richard Scarry's Huckle
Lowly's Busiest Day Ever", and even a few Disney titles. Basically,
NVIDIA was most likely delegated to work on a glorified See 'n Say.

The death of NV2
What was the actual performance of the NV2? The truth will never be
known. When the first silicon came back, it didn't work. NVIDIA respun
the chip a few more times, but it soon became clear that the chip had
more than just minor problems. With such dismal results, the NV2 team
eventually called it quits. To the best of our knowledge, the NV2
never existed as a working product."

Sega Black Belt

Real3D and 3dfx
With the collapse of the NVIDIA deal, Sega started looking for another
partner and eventually hooked up with Real3D, then a subsidiary of
Lockheed Martin. This seemed like a good match as Sega had worked with
Real3D on the development of the Model 2 arcade machine, and would
later work together again on the Model 3. The console chip would
likely have been at the same performance level or just slightly below
Real3D's PC chip, the Intel i740.
The console was codenamed "Black Belt". Sega reasoned that casual
gamers could get a "white belt" gaming system such as a PC, but real
gamers would want something better, a "black belt" system.

Although there were discussions between Real3D and Sega, Real3D never
made any silicon for the Black Belt. 3dfx had beaten Real3D by
offering better performance and a more robust feature set. Officially,
Real3D stated that the business model for the console market did not
create a win-win situation with Sega as it did in the high-end arcade
market.

Sega awarded 3dfx with the chip contract. The console's Black Belt
name remained even after the graphics chip was to be replaced by a
variant of the 3dfx Voodoo2.


3dfx, NEC, and VideoLogic
While Sega of America was working on the 3dfx-based console, Sega of
Japan was tasked with the development of a parallel console powered by
NEC/VideoLogic's PowerVR chipset, codenamed Katana. The teams were
told that the "winner" wouldn't necessarily be the machine with the
best performance. It would be the one which would have games up and
running more quickly.
The contest would became an exercise in futility as Sega of Japan and
NEC eventually struck a deal to use the PowerVR chip before the two
consoles were actually ready to be compared. Black Belt engineers
insisted that their 3dfx-powered system would have won the race.

After walking through the entire PC 3D graphics industry, Sega finally
found its chip. Fortunately for Sega, the PowerVR Series 2 chip, which
NEC and VideoLogic had been co-developing for some time, turned out to
be a most impressive chip for the console, with exciting features such
as texture compression and deferred rendering. The PowerVR-based
console was presented to the AM groups who gave it the green light:
the Dreamcast was born.

3dfx later sued Sega, NEC and VideoLogic, alleging that Sega
deliberately mislead 3dfx to gain access to confidential technologies
before choosing to go with NEC and VideoLogic. 3dfx, Sega, NEC, and
VideoLogic eventually reached a settlement out of court."

NVIDIA

Changes
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's CEO, was disappointed by everything that had
led to the collapse of the Sega deal. As CEO, he remained an active
participant in meetings and was intimate with the technical decisions
made at NVIDIA. He knew something had to change.
The failure of the NV2 prompted Huang to pick up David Kirk as Chief
Scientist, who had previously been with software developer Crystal
Dynamics. David Kirk essentially became the Gary Tarolli of NVIDIA,
and turned NVIDIA around by combining the company's 3D knowledge with
his game development experience.


Success
NVIDIA was reborn, and after the success of the NV3, or RIVA 128, the
entire company would quickly discard ties to its blemished past. The
rest of course, is history.
In retrospect, considering the magnitude of the failure of the NV2
it's no surprise that NVIDIA has never publicly disclosed the project.
Still, the details of this incident only underline how much of a
transformation NVIDIA has undergone. Five years ago, NVIDIA made
mistakes that could have killed other companies, and today NVIDIA is a
leader in its industry with no signs of slowing down. NVIDIA went from
being a reject for the Sega Pico to the developers of the NV20 and the
Microsoft Xbox.

__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

full articles can be found he

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/...ry/default.asp

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/nv2/default.asp



  #5  
Old June 14th 04, 06:13 PM
Pio
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

R420,
I find your posts very interesting and relevant to this newsgroup (xbox),
keep on doing it. And keep on pasting the text, it is easier that way.



"R420" wrote in message
om...
found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years. this early time in
Nvidia's existance is closely tied to Sega.


__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

NVIDIA's Console Chip

NV2

NVIDIA's financial savior came in the form of a video game console,
more specifically, a Sega video game console. Through the NV1, NVIDIA
had established a strong working relationship with Sega. The chip
promoted sales of Saturn accessories and Sega programmers were
somewhat familiar with quadratic surfaces after having ported a small
number of games for the NV1. Most importantly, Direct3D was a
non-issue because many of the Japanese console developers were ready
and willing to use the unconventional technology of quadratic surfaces
if it brought additional performance.
Sega funded a significant portion of the research on the NV2 and it is
reasonable to suggest that NVIDIA might not exist it its capacity
today if it were not for Sega's support of the NV2. Unfortunately,
Sega eventually dropped the NV2 to give the Dreamcast a better future
through an easier programming environment. Sega ended up going to 3dfx
and later to PowerVR for the graphics technology in the Dreamcast.
Little else is known about the NV2 story and the timing of events.
Despite limited success of the NV1 and failure of the NV2, NVIDIA was
not ready to quit.



There's something cool about covert intelligence agents and
clandestine ventures. Secret agents have to combine intelligence,
resourcefulness, and style. Who wouldn't want to be Ethan Hunt in
Mission Impossible?
Who knows how Solid Snake came up with his inventive "cardboard box"
trick in Metal Gear Solid? Of course, you certainly cannot forget
James Bond with his cars, his gadgets, and his women. In the recent
weeks, FiringSquad had a chance to play secret agent too! The purpose
of our mission wasn't to ferret out moles within our organization,
save the world, or even order martinis, shaken-not-stirred. We wanted
to know the answer to a gamer's question: What the heck was the NV2?

After a few "little birdies" flew in our window, we were able to piece
together a detailed account of NVIDIA NV2, the chip that predated the
RIVA 128. This is the chip that Sega originally commissioned for its
next-generation console, the Dreamcast. The NV2 is the chip that was
NVIDIA's greatest fiasco.

__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

The Beginning

In our History of NVIDIA article we hypothesized that Sega started a
relationship with NVIDIA only after having spent some time porting
games over to the NV1. This was a mistake -the connection traces
further back than that.
To begin our story, we need to go all the way back to the Sega Saturn.
The Saturn used a Sega-developed graphics chip that was considered by
most of the world to be dreadful. The geometric primitive was a
four-vertex polygon (not three). As a result, triangles on the Saturn
had to be represented by a degenerate quad with two vertices existing
at the same location.

Developers hated quads and wanted something better, namely triangles.
With the Sony PlayStation handily killing the Sega Saturn at retail,
Sega decided that it needed to partner with a company with 3D graphics
experience for its next-generation console."

Quad Texture Maps, bad

1995: The launch of the NV1
As we mentioned in our History of NVIDIA article, the NV1 was NVIDIA's
first chip and was considered to be ahead of its time in many regards.
Specifically, the NV1 was novel in that it integrated audio and I/O
processing on a single chip along with video. While integrated
solutions may not have been appealing on the PC, this was perfect for
the console, as a highly integrated part would keep costs low.
Sega hoped that it could get NVIDIA to tweak the NV1's 3D architecture
for its console needs, allowing the company to take advantage of the
chip's low-cost graphics with integrated audio and I/O processing. A
high level deal was made between NVIDIA and Sega of Japan involving
approximately 7 million dollars in investment capital.

Interestingly enough, the upper management at Sega had been so
mesmerized by the possibilities of integration that the deal was
signed before the NV1 was actually released to retail, before Sega
even knew what NVIDIA's idea of 3D was.


More quads!
The NV1 was technologically superior to other chips of that era from
two perspectives: audio and I/O. Unfortunately, the quadratic texture
maps were not so appealing, and outside of NVIDIA, no one believed in
quadratic texture maps -not even Sega.
The NV1 used forward-rendered quads, which was essentially what the
Saturn had done, and was exactly what developers hated most about the
Saturn. Now NVIDIA was trying to convince Sega that it was still a
good approach. The tech demos of round spheres always looked nice, but
in real-world games, working with quadratic texture maps was
horrendous. Even simple things such as collision detection become very
difficult.


Back to the storyline
At this time (1995-1996), NVIDIA was still a fledgling startup with
approximately 30 employees and NVIDIA's Chief Technical Officer,
Curtis Priem, was enamored by quadratic texture maps. As CTO, he made
quadratic texture maps the standard at NVIDIA.
Shortly after executives at Sega and NVIDIA had signed the deal, Sega
programming legend Yu Suzuki entered the scene. Although the original
contract had already been signed at high-levels, the arcade
manufacturing groups had a great deal of influence over what chip was
going to be used in the next console, but despite their power, the AM
groups did not see the console as their core market or concern. While
Sega had its ups and downs in the home market competing against the
likes of Nintendo and later Sony, its arcade division traditionally
did very well. Indeed, although Capcom's Street Fighter II was the
most popular arcade game in the world since Pac-Man, Sega's Virtua
Fighter actually had a lead in Japan for a short time.

Suzuki-san, head of Sega's flagship AM2 division, assigned one of his
best graphics people to interface with NVIDIA in the US. Although we
do not have this engineer's name, we know that he had previously
interfaced with Real3D in the past, and, from outside reports, had an
exceptional understanding of 3D graphics techniques and rendering
pipelines. Most importantly, he knew exactly what the AM software
development groups at Sega needed in a graphics chip, namely
triangles.

Meetings were held to discuss the rendering primitive for the NV2.
Sega pushed for real triangle acceleration to be included in the NV2,
but NVIDIA did not comply. NVIDIA insisted that time was better
allocated developing the quadratic texture map portion of the NV2 and
adapting existing triangle-based development tools such as 3D modelers
to QTMs."

The End of the NV2

Just say no to triangles
Despite Sega of America's and the AM2 representative's best efforts,
NVIDIA remained adamant on using quadratic texture maps and refused to
concentrate on triangle primitives. In the end, our sources tell us
that NVIDIA may have eventually agreed to support better acceleration
for triangles, but by then, Sega of Japan had already begun to
distance itself from NVIDIA, and Sega's US team was quietly told "not
to worry about the NVIDIA thing anymore."
As a Japanese company, Sega could never kill a deal, for there was a
need to maintain honor and face. These cultural elements can be seen
today when top Japanese executives choose to demote themselves after
poor earnings reports, or when disappointing employees are
"transferred" to small offices and given no assignments rather than
fired. The expectation is that the shame alone will lead the employee
to quit himself.


Pico?
NVIDIA was relegated to this similar position. Sega told NVIDIA that
they were still contracted to provide a chip for Sega, but that it was
not going to be used in its next generation console. The plan was to
use the chip in a less demanding multimedia consumer product, probably
the next-generation Sega Pico.
The Sega Pico, as some of you may not know, was a kid's educational
toy targeted for children, 2-8 years old. It was a stylus and tablet
that connected to the TV and used cartridges as its media. The Pico
had such great titles as "Magic Crayons", "Richard Scarry's Huckle
Lowly's Busiest Day Ever", and even a few Disney titles. Basically,
NVIDIA was most likely delegated to work on a glorified See 'n Say.

The death of NV2
What was the actual performance of the NV2? The truth will never be
known. When the first silicon came back, it didn't work. NVIDIA respun
the chip a few more times, but it soon became clear that the chip had
more than just minor problems. With such dismal results, the NV2 team
eventually called it quits. To the best of our knowledge, the NV2
never existed as a working product."

Sega Black Belt

Real3D and 3dfx
With the collapse of the NVIDIA deal, Sega started looking for another
partner and eventually hooked up with Real3D, then a subsidiary of
Lockheed Martin. This seemed like a good match as Sega had worked with
Real3D on the development of the Model 2 arcade machine, and would
later work together again on the Model 3. The console chip would
likely have been at the same performance level or just slightly below
Real3D's PC chip, the Intel i740.
The console was codenamed "Black Belt". Sega reasoned that casual
gamers could get a "white belt" gaming system such as a PC, but real
gamers would want something better, a "black belt" system.

Although there were discussions between Real3D and Sega, Real3D never
made any silicon for the Black Belt. 3dfx had beaten Real3D by
offering better performance and a more robust feature set. Officially,
Real3D stated that the business model for the console market did not
create a win-win situation with Sega as it did in the high-end arcade
market.

Sega awarded 3dfx with the chip contract. The console's Black Belt
name remained even after the graphics chip was to be replaced by a
variant of the 3dfx Voodoo2.


3dfx, NEC, and VideoLogic
While Sega of America was working on the 3dfx-based console, Sega of
Japan was tasked with the development of a parallel console powered by
NEC/VideoLogic's PowerVR chipset, codenamed Katana. The teams were
told that the "winner" wouldn't necessarily be the machine with the
best performance. It would be the one which would have games up and
running more quickly.
The contest would became an exercise in futility as Sega of Japan and
NEC eventually struck a deal to use the PowerVR chip before the two
consoles were actually ready to be compared. Black Belt engineers
insisted that their 3dfx-powered system would have won the race.

After walking through the entire PC 3D graphics industry, Sega finally
found its chip. Fortunately for Sega, the PowerVR Series 2 chip, which
NEC and VideoLogic had been co-developing for some time, turned out to
be a most impressive chip for the console, with exciting features such
as texture compression and deferred rendering. The PowerVR-based
console was presented to the AM groups who gave it the green light:
the Dreamcast was born.

3dfx later sued Sega, NEC and VideoLogic, alleging that Sega
deliberately mislead 3dfx to gain access to confidential technologies
before choosing to go with NEC and VideoLogic. 3dfx, Sega, NEC, and
VideoLogic eventually reached a settlement out of court."

NVIDIA

Changes
Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's CEO, was disappointed by everything that had
led to the collapse of the Sega deal. As CEO, he remained an active
participant in meetings and was intimate with the technical decisions
made at NVIDIA. He knew something had to change.
The failure of the NV2 prompted Huang to pick up David Kirk as Chief
Scientist, who had previously been with software developer Crystal
Dynamics. David Kirk essentially became the Gary Tarolli of NVIDIA,
and turned NVIDIA around by combining the company's 3D knowledge with
his game development experience.


Success
NVIDIA was reborn, and after the success of the NV3, or RIVA 128, the
entire company would quickly discard ties to its blemished past. The
rest of course, is history.
In retrospect, considering the magnitude of the failure of the NV2
it's no surprise that NVIDIA has never publicly disclosed the project.
Still, the details of this incident only underline how much of a
transformation NVIDIA has undergone. Five years ago, NVIDIA made
mistakes that could have killed other companies, and today NVIDIA is a
leader in its industry with no signs of slowing down. NVIDIA went from
being a reject for the Sega Pico to the developers of the NV20 and the
Microsoft Xbox.

__________________________________________________ __________________________
___

full articles can be found he

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/...ry/default.asp

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/nv2/default.asp



  #6  
Old June 15th 04, 02:27 AM
bariole
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On 13 Jun 2004 23:36:51 -0700, (R420) wrote:

Nice story R420..
  #7  
Old June 15th 04, 03:05 AM
Zackman
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Posts: n/a
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Darthy wrote:

Eat poo

Nothing wrong with the post.


Yeah, ****head, there is. It's a waste of bandwidth that could be just as
easily served by a link, posted by a guy who spends his entire day --
literally -- cutting and pasting to Usenet. And what the hell is it doing in
the Xbox group?

Somtimes Cygnu$ the Cro$$po$ting ****tard will post an interesting bit of
news that hasn't fully made the rounds yet. But this kind of crap is just
nonsense. But hey, it's a free country and a free Usenet. And I'm free to
call a spammer a spammer.

-Z-


  #8  
Old June 15th 04, 03:23 AM
Revolting Cocks
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Zackman wrote:
R420 wrote:

found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years.


Could you at least keep your spamming confined to current news? And/or
provide a link with excerpts instead of cutting and pasting the whole
****ing article?


How nice, Cygnus is the new ANGRY. I wonder how long it will be until he
starts copy/paste forum messages.

  #9  
Old June 15th 04, 04:02 AM
Darthy
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Posts: n/a
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On Mon, 14 Jun 2004 01:01:28 -0400, "Zackman"
wrote:

R420 wrote:

found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years.


Could you at least keep your spamming confined to current news? And/or
provide a link with excerpts instead of cutting and pasting the whole
****ing article?



Eat poo

Nothing wrong with the post.


- - - - -
Remember: In the USA - it is dangeroud to draw or write about Heir Bush in a negative way. The police or SS are called, people threaten to kill you. (What country is this again?)

- 15yr old boy in Washington was disciplined for drawing such images.
- White House blows cover of an undercover agent because her husband said there were no WMD (before the USA started the war) - her job was finding terrorist. (This makes sense?)
God bless the land of the free. Where you can burn the Constitution... Ashcroft does it every day.
  #10  
Old June 15th 04, 04:39 AM
R420
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Zackman" wrote in message ...
R420 wrote:

found a few old articles on Nvidia's early years.


Could you at least keep your spamming confined to current news? And/or
provide a link with excerpts instead of cutting and pasting the whole
****ing article?

-Z-




no.
 




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