Tag Archives: Namco

Rave Racer

The third arcade instalment of the Ridge Racer series, and the first actual sequel/spin-off, since Ridge Racer 2 was mostly the same as the original except for the revised soundtrack, a revised HUD and multiplayer support.

The music has also been revised with some completely new tracks covering techno/house and electronica genres, and some familiar ones – rare hero returns as a remix. Sadly this gets ruined by the two race announcers who insist on polluting the sound-waves with their rambling takes. The first one is a female sounding voice who is supposed to be the main announcer and has a tendency to repeat the same lies constantly (Go GO GOO This race is yours!!!) She also voices the attract screen. The second announcer is a male voice who seems to be one of the rival cars.

Emulation

Vivanonno

The original emulator for the game that was released in 2002, now has been eclipsed by MAME. Vivanonno could emulate most of the effects but has issues with the car shadows which can dissapear. Like Ridge Racer 2 however, there are a few geometry inaccuracies.

Texture Filtering

Left has filtering disabled and is how it would have appeared on the actual system, right has filtering enabled.

Other

Cars are slightly sunk into the track, but lift up when the race starts

Nintendo 64 Version?

Possible leaked build of the game running on the N64?

Its just the Vivanonno version with the texture reduction set to the highest option, but if it did come to the N64 it may have looked soomething like this.

Mjolnir

This was a fork of MAME and had the goal of emulating the Namco System 22/21 games with hardware acceleration. This had the benefit of better emulation performace since the graphics processing was offloaded onto the GPU.

Sadly Mjolnir was abandoned and the latest build is based off a very old version of MAME, which means System 22 emulation is very primitive and many graphics issues are present with the emulation being incomplete. As a result its difficult to play givern the graphics issues with this build. Also it uses an older ROM set which makes it incompatable with the currernt MAME sets.

More Information

A fork of MAME now allows for link play with selected System 22 games. Unfortunately it is far from perect and only seems to work with only 2 players reliably.

Track selection screen with link play enabled

Meanwhile other linked machines will advertise that they are able to join in, the top two are displayed on the idle machines whilst the bottom is displayed on the machine that initated the link paly.

Left: the test mode configuration. Each machine needs to have a unique car colour and CPU number, which allows each machine to identify each toher. On the right the attract screen when link play is detected

A two player game from both players view. The time is different on both machines because the right has the difficulty settings set to easy mode (H). Seems each machine can have their own independant game configuration. Infact you can have one machine set to complete three laps, whilst the other has to complete five, which does not seem fair. Perhaps Namco would assume the operator had to ensure all systems had the same configurations set?

One has 3 laps, the other has 5. Also both are marked as lap leader

Whilst its possible for two players to play this way, when trying to play with four players there seems to be a few issues. I would assume System 22 networking works on the basis it transmits network packets in a broadcast fashion, like UDP. When playing a ‘four’ player game it seemed that one machine was sending data to one machine, whilst receiving data from another which caused some interesting effects with the map display. Despite setting each machines IP address (emulated through MAME instance, the arcade board has no TCP/IP support) to be unique. It works on some sort of token ring like topology where one machine recieves data and then sends it on a different physical port to another machine, basically every machine has an input and output.

Its also possible that this is due to the early emulation, and may be improved in later releases.

More Information

Boundary Break

Namco always put a lot of detail into the track environments of their Ridge Racer games, and there are many references to their other arcade and console titles via the use of track billboards or building signs. A lot of this detail gets missed do to how fast paced the game is, and the arcade nature of the game. Many players are not going to stop and admire the buildings close up, which is where MAME and the no-collision cheats comes in.

Once nice detail that gets over looked, in the demo attract sequence, you can see the brake discs heat up as they are applied!

Novice Track

This is the same novice track from the first Ridge Racer game, but has updated textures which give it a more detailed look. Some buildings have been altered but the layout of the track remains the same.

The crowd looks different compared to the Ridge Racer version.

The end of the alternative tunnel path, which is normally blocked off and inaccessible. Seems to lead into the abyss…

Outside of the bridge in the first segment of the track

Closer view of the shops,

Getting a closer view of the shops near the beach

Driving in the grass, the peds here are unanimated

Hotel Ghost?

Out of the track and a view of the tower in the background, unfortunately we cannot drive to it since it disappears

Laperopter?

Building that reads Nyanta Nyanta, unsure what that means

On the novice track there is a section that is blocked off, which leads to a track on the Advanced course, driving past here just leads to a empty void, since the world here isn’t populated

Another view from a out of bounds perspective

Namco advertising their TR3 chipset that was Co-developed by Evans&Sutherland. Billboard reads Texture mapping Real-Time Real-Visual rendering system

An advert for that other fighting game Namco is known for

Driving on the sea, a closer look at the boats

City

A new track that was previously exclusive to Rave Racer but has since reappeared in the PSP version of Ridge Racer, This one is set in a more urban environment with a rolling highway.

At the start of the track you can turn around 180 degrees and drive through a highway, you can do this without the use of cheats. You can drive until you reach a tunnel, where the game teleports you back out of the tunnel at a higher speed.

A no-clip like view of the world

A look at the city, and a Pac&Pal store

Another system 22 advert, namco were really pround to show their arcade technology off

Another TR3 billboard

Mappy.png

I don’t know if the transparency was intentional or they just forgot

Another noclip like view, except im nearly colliding with a helicopter. Theres no collision data so your car just clips right through the heli

View of the stadium, where LiberoGrande takes place

Mountain

An alternative view of the mountain track, which normally cannot be seen within the game

Carefull…

I later learnt that this is an invisible wall, but when your collides with it at a certain speed the game teleports you to the bottom section, Driving into it at 10mph would just cause the car to bounce back to the track.

Some sort of casino??

Roadside Sign

A gas station for when you need to refill your car, although this inst a game mechanic, cars in Ridge Racer do not have fuel

Who’s that?

Cup Ball, some sort of bowling center?

Buildings have no rendering data at the back of them, so the textures just disappear

Same Laperopter building in the first track

Better view of the spooky hotel ghost, seems Namco recycled building models to conserve ROM space

Going up the ramp, however the car clips through it

These tracks would remain exclusive to the arcade, and would not appear in any console version until the PSP version of Ridge Racer, I wonder what changes were made and if any buildings were kept?

Other Information

Rave Racer Fan Site (Archived)

Namco Rave Racer (Archived)

Ridge Racer 2

Ridge Racer 2 was a slight update to the series, adding linkable multiplayer and a revised soundtrack with several new tracks in addition to remixed versions of the original.

The announcer voice has been altered slightly, and has several new links in response to the players driving ability.

Some graphic effects have changed, whilst the textures are mostly similar to the original, the lighting effects have changed with RR2 using a hue/fog effect to simulate the day to night cycle, rather then the original which dimmed and changed the Sky texture.

Lastly a rear view mirror has been added, which required a redesign to the HUD.

Emulation – MAME Vs Vivanonno

Emulation for the game has improved over the years with the MAME System 22 core benefiting from being years in development, whilst Vivanonno has not been updated since 2003. Between the two emulators there are some diferentces in the rendering, with there being some unique advantages between the two.

Mame is considered to be more accurate to the arcade version, but Vivanonno has some advantages like texture filterning which System 22 is not capable of. This gives the game textures a less blocky appearance.

Comparison

Vivanonno on the left, MAME (238) on the right

Night Time Effects

The MAME version now has a black ‘fog’ effect that covers the track at night, compared to Vivvanonno which misses the effect and leaves the track at full draw distance.

Billboard

This flickers on Vivanonno but works fine on MAME

Cars not aligned correctly on track

The cars on the Vivanonno version are sunk into the track slightly and are missing the shadows. The brightness is also different, also notice the curve of the car, above where it says RIDGE

Score screen error

Not all of the textures appear on the Vivanonno version

Texture Bleeding

Some of the road textures bleed or overlap, causing the effect

Chevrons

On Vivanonno the chevrons will dissapear at a cetain angle, noticable when you are drifiting.

A fork of MAME allows for limited linked play with both instances of MAME, at the moment this is currently running on one machine but should be possible over a local area connection. However latency will be tight since these arcade machines were meant to be linked close together which rules out internet play.

Screen this is displayed when waiting for other players to join, the attract screen on the linked machines changes to indicate players can join.

Starting position for both machines in one game

Boundary break

Thanks to MAME and a few cheats (Drive Anywhere), the car can escape the track, allowing us to get a better view of the scenery.

Another look at the audience at the start of the track, exactly the same as the first Ridge Racer

A look at the buildings outside the track

The fake cars in the other side of the tunnel have changed slightly, they seem to have more detailed textures, but are now lacking wheels. Unless these are floating. anti-gravity cars?

View of the city at night, the game simply swaps the textures rather than apply lighting effects, and the skybox has changed

More information

Ridge Laser – Remix album by Namco

Ridge Racer

One of the first textured 3D racing games, and mostly known of being a launch title on the first PlayStation console. However it appeared a year earlier in the arcades. The arcade version runs on much more powerful 3D hardware, runs in a higher resolution, a higher framerate (60fps vs 30fps on the PS1) thanks to it’s Evans & Sutherland 3D hardware, which was previously used to power their simulations and CAD hardware.

Arcade

Released to the arcades in 1993 and running on the System 22 hardware, which was in direct competition with Sega’s Daytona USA and Midway’s Crusin USA.

PlayStation

The game was ported to the original PlayStation in 1994 as a launch title, and was considered to be an acceptable port of the arcade despite the downgrade made in order to run on the PlayStation hardware. The PlayStation port has support for the Namco neGcon controller, that allows the player to replicate analogue steering by twisting the controller as at the time the dual analogue controller wasn’t available.

Ridge Racer Hi-Spec

Runs in a resolution of 320×480 which is higher than the original release but less than the arcade version. The main attraction to this version is the 60fps upgrade and the gouraud shading, which enhances the graphics greatly. However there are only two cars on the track, with only 1 in time attack, and the texture quality has been reduced slightly. I had to disable texture filtering and display then unfiltered since it just looked like an N64 game. The polygon count of the cars and track may also have been educed, since the guide mentions optimised textures and polygons.

This build of the game was bundled on the Ridge Racer Type 4 bonus disc, and was not a standalone version of the game. It was meant to showcase a 60fps game on the original PlayStation hardware, and what sacrifices were needed no be made, as Namco were keen for later Ridge Racer titles to be running in 60fps. Ridge Racer V for the PlayStation 2 would be the first home game to be running at 60fps.

Zeebo

The game was ported to the Zeebo, a home console released in Brazil by TecToy and QUALCOMM, graphics have been slightly altered and the music is rendered entirely in MIDI.

Comparison

PSone on the left, using moderate enhancements in the Duckstation emulator with the Mame emulation of the arcade in the middle and the Hi-Spec version on the right, I wanted to see if I could get the PSone version to match the arcade in terms of image quality by upping the resolution to 640×480 and enabling texture filtering, something with System 22 lacked.

Arcade emulation seems to have issues rendering the flag, which is supposed to flap freely, maybe a physics issue with one of the Texas Instrument DSP?

The game isn’t a straight port and some design changes had to be made, the HUD has been changed around and the track objects have also changed. Some buildings have also been changed to be in line with the PSone limitations. On the right you can see the effects of the shading which affects the art style slightly, giving a more realistic look. The ground textures have also been altered.

It’s worth mentioning that System 22 also supported gouraud shading, but Ridge Racer did not utilise it until Rave Racer in 1995.

Sunset differences between the two ports, The Hi-Spec mode does not have a night time version.

Game over is rendered in 3D for the arcade version, a static image on both PSone versions.

Comparison of the night sky, In the middle of a race the sun will set on the intermediate and time trials courses, to simulate a Le Mans race, the arcade shot is taken from one of the attract demos.

Boundary Break (Arcade)

With the help of some cheats in MAME, we are able to disable the collision detection, allowing us to move outside of the track. This gives some interesting close ups of some in game environment buildings.

Ridge Racer System 22

A look of the city from a different angle

Ridge Racer System 22

In the first tunnel, there is a path that is blocked off and is inaccessible

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the other tunnel, with a view of the cars, normally these aren’t directly accessible. Namco used lower resolution models of the cars, since you typically see these driving in a distance.

Ridge Racer System 22

Another closer view of the cars, the tunnels ends abruptly to the outside, and the cars just disappear, and respawn at the other side after a few seconds.

Ridge Racer System 22

Before the end of the tunnel, theirs an intersection to another tunnel, which leads to a dead end

Ridge Racer System 22

The ground near the bridge, you can see the low detail textures, since System 22 didnt support texture filtering, giving a minecraft appearance

Ridge Racer System 22

Another shot of the beach, sometimes if you break out of a track early on, your car remains on a higher evaluation allowing for a top down view for later sections of the game

A look at the buildings near the beach

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the crowd at the start of the game

Tire Garage Starblade, one of the shops near the overpass. Starblade was a 3D rail shooter

The buildings lack modelling towards the rear, since this view would not be available normally in the game. Also note the gap in the Sky where a bit of the blue sky is visible. Seems Namco displayed an overlay across the sky when it was night time, something the MAME emulator has issues replicating accurately.

Italian tomato, some sort of resturant or obscure namco game?

A closer view of the construction site, the trucks are levitating…

Ridge Racer System 22

View of the city, some of the building’s are quite long

The boats in the beach section

One of the many restaurants near the beech, this building appears multiple times. Also this game predates lightning effects, as the game is supposed to in night time mode but the building appear as if its daytime, however in the starting section, the buildings do change to a night time effect.

A distant island, near the marina

Another restaurant building

Ridge Racer System 22

Alternative view of the dead end tunnel, I’d like to try and do this to the PSOne version.

Todo: Mjlonir emulator was capable of running the system 22 versions of Ridge Racer with graphics acceleration, but as it was based on an older version of MAME it suffered from a lot of emulation and graphics issues, and uses an outdated rom set. Vivanonno was another emulator that was worth a look at.