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Thursday, April 30th, 1998
Bernie Does the Rounds
How can anyone not sit-up and take notice when the president of a corporation comes visiting and wants to show you their new 'super console'. Yes, Bernie Stolar is doing the rounds. Here is a quote from Next Generation Online article:
    All this week, Sega of America President and COO has been on tour on the East Coast, demo-ing the Katana for videogame companies. Among the places he visited were major industry players such as GT Interactive and Acclaim. The parties who saw the hardware were highly impressed and have expressed interest in developing for the platform, NGO learned today.
Kudos to Bernie Stolar for showing incredible initiative by someone in his position.

SEGA's Katana Graphics Chip is Amazing!
Well I have seen the PowerVR Second Generation (PVRSG, PC version) chip in action. I am almost 100 percent convinced that the PVRSG will be able to provide graphics that exceed SEGA's arcade Model 3 board. This is no exaggeration. I am referring to texture quality, graphical effects and performance! Check out my preview of the PVRSG over at my other site PowerVR Global.
 
Monday, April 27th, 1998
SEGA Katana's Demos
Here is an article at Game-Online that gives us a taster of what the Katana will be able to do. Here is a quote from the article:

    "The second part of the demo was two GT cars with a nice wax job on the straight road bridge over water. The two cars was waiving left and right. Again, first shown in daylight, then at night with the light from the street lights on the bridge. The last part was with only the headlight of the cars. Seeing the lights from the car behind hit the one in front as it waived back and forth was incredible."

    "That kind of lighting effects, used to take huge amounts of time to render, that the Katana is doing in real time. The demos were basically showing of the 3D power of the Katana. No 2D demo was shown. From the demos, the Katana can do Model 3 games and will have no problems with Model 2 games."

Katana will not break into a sweat when doing lighting or transparency effects! These two effects will add a lot atmosphere and neat visual touches to games.
 
Friday, April 24th, 1998
Katana's Official Introduction
SEGA of Japan has officially announced that they will be showing their next generation console system on May 21st, 1998. At that time SEGA will show the final hardware, some demos of games running on the system and  reveal the final name of the system. This introduction takes place a few days before Warp's D2 show, where D2 will be shown running on the new hardware. It has been a long time in coming but finally we will get to see the Katana in all it's glory! Prepare to be to be amazed. The Katana will take the gaming world by storm. (source: Game-Online)
 
Tuesday, April 21st, 1998
Katana Final Development Kits With Coders Now?
Now here is some exciting news from Game-Online. Some people have reported to Game-Online about development kits being done and demos running on SEGA's Katana console. Here is a quote from a very interesting and lengthy article:
    Sega has just sent out the first wave of finalized development kits to selected developers across the globe, including several key UK companies. Our spy, who has recently parted company with one of these developers has nothing but praise for the power of the new system. "Remember the first time you saw Daytona USA or Scud Race in the arcades? You couldn't quite believe the quality of what you were seeing - it's the same with Katana [the codename for the new system], only this new quantum leap in power is going to be sitting in your living room as opposed to an arcade". 

    Strong words indeed, but our informant has seen the machine's power at close quarters. Sega have commissioned a series of demos to show off the power of the Katana, including a short rendition of Scud Race running on the new hardware. The demo shows the Ferrari F50 from the game speeding around the small oval track introduced in the coin-op pseudo-sequel Scud Race Plus. Multiple camera angles are employed to show the car's progress around the track and the flexibility of the 3D engine. Minus a few effects (this demo was originally written for the incomplete development kit), the demo runs at the same frame rate and resolution as the arcade game. It's conclusive proof that Katana "does" Model 3. And that's pre-first generation software knocked up in a couple of weeks! Says our spy, "Katana's the first system that will match or even out-perform contemporary arcade hardware. Think out it: Megadrive conversions were some way off their arcade counterparts (Super Monaco GP) and we all remember the graphical compromises of Daytona USA on Saturn. This new system actually leap-frogs ahead of Model 3 in many important areas of the specification and as far I know, that's a first"

Be sure to check out the whole article at Game-Online.
 
Thursday, April 16th, 1998
Katana Gets 3D Game Engine: LithTech!
This is the type of news that the SEGA community likes to hear about. The DirectEngine developed by Monolith Productions, Inc has now been renamed the LithTech 3D Engine. The LithTech 3D Engine runs on top of Microsoft's DirectX. Since Windows CE 2.1 is running on the SH-4 and a version of Direct X will be running on this operating system, we can expect easy ports from the PC to the Katana for games that use the LithTech 3D Engine on the PC. Another big plus is that the LithTech 3D Engine provides any prospective developer to create 3D games on the Katana very easily. Game developers can concentrate on game design and not on having to create a game engine. An advantage the Saturn never had this early before it launch! Be sure to check out Monolith's website which has got to be one of the nicest looking sites on the web! Here is a direct link to the LithTech 3D Engine website.
 
Thursday, April 9th, 1998
UK Game Developer for Katana?
Climax, a game company based in the UK has indicated on their website that they are developing a boxing game called Title Defense. Here is the quote from their website:
    Title Defense will utilize the sport of Boxing coupled with the power of a 128 bit console to create a new genre of fighting game.
You can be creative all you want, when adding up all the bits inside the Katana, and say the machine is 128 bits.  The reality is, that the Katana is a 64 bit machine and that in no way diminishes it awesome gaming power. Be sure to check out Climax webpage since they have a very attractive site. Here is a direct link to the Title Defense boxing game page.
 
Tuesday, April 7th, 1998
Windows CE and the SH-4
Microsoft's Windows CE Developers Conference in San Jose, California is taking place right now between April 6, 1998 and April 8, 1998. It has been reported that 2000 people are attending this conference. This is strong indication that Windows CE is becoming a force in the computer industry. How this all relates to the Katana is that Microsoft has announced a new version of Windows CE due this summer called Windows CE 2.1. Announced also at the conference, is that this version of Windows CE, will be the first version to support Hitachi's incredible SH-4 processor. On a side note: to attend this conference, the cost is $1195. Microsoft is being very generous at this conference in the sense all attendees get a free Windows CE-based Casio Cassiopeia E-10 Palm PC worth $399! Now you think that some people would have liked to pay $795 for the conference and forgo the 'free' gift. If you were wondering what the CE stands for, Microsoft claims nothing at all.
 
Wednesday, April 1st, 1998
SEGA's Ultra-Powerful New Arcade Hardware
SEGA is going to replace their Model 3 hardware with PowerVR based hardware. Quite a change here since SEGA has used Lockheed Martin's graphics technology in Model 1, Model 2 and Model 3 hardware over the many years that these two companies started working together. SEGA has always been at the forefront of arcade hardware ever since the company decided to use Lockheed Martin's excellent graphics technology. For SEGA to switch to another graphics technology speaks volumes for the quality of that technology. We are not just talking performance but visual quality!

SEGA's Naomi (Model 4?) Arcade Hardware

  • 10 million polygons per second
  • four PowerVR second generation chips (arcade version) running in parallel with the option of adding more
  • multiple CPU's (allegedly MIPS-based)
  • fraction of the cost ofthe Model 3 hardware
  • announcement of the hardware is expected at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) this May
Games running on this hardware will lend themselves for much easier conversions to SEGA's upcoming Katana home console then if the games were running on Model 3.
(source: Next Generation Online article)

Naomi
The meaning behind Naomi: NAOMI (f) "pleasantness" (Hebrew). In the Old Testament, the mother-in-law of Ruth. Also "above all, beauty" (Japanese).
(source: The Etymology of First Names)