The 3DFX - SEGA "Black Belt" dreamcast thread.

Discussion in 'Sega Dreamcast Development and Research' started by ASSEMbler, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. ASSEMbler

    ASSEMbler Administrator Staff Member

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    Because there is no good source of info besides the press releases, I have created this sticky thread so that people can post information regarding the 3DFX - SEGA joint project "Black Belt".

    (do not move this thread)

    The lawsuit was initially filed by 3Dfx, approximately one year ago against Sega America, Sega Enterprises and NEC seeking damages valued of roughly $155 million (EN, Sept. 8, 1997). The complaint originated when Sega terminated a contract with 3Dfx for the graphics company to build Sega's next generation gaming console (EN, July 28, 1997). NEC later said it was supplying Sega with the graphics engine, the PowerVR chip, for Sega's gaming console due out sometime next year.

    In the lawsuit, 3Dfx said it believes that Sega has consciously attempted to deprive 3Dfx of its intellectual property and inhibit fair competition in the market for 3-D graphics chipsets. In addition, the company accused NEC and VideoLogic of "consciously and deliberately setting out to usurp the contract with Sega and force a breech of contract." 3Dfx alleges NEC officials were well aware of 3Dfx's contract with Sega and influenced Sega in some way to terminate the contract.

    the court ordered Sega to return to 3Dfx all intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential information. The orders come as part of a lawsuit filed by 3Dfx after Sega terminated their development agreement without cause, according to 3Dfx, in July of last year (EN, July 28, 1997).


    The doors of 3DFX close.


    Questions are:

    1.) As part of the settlement, all joint projects equipment to be destroyed. (9 out of 10)

    2.) All material worked on by Sega with 3DFX returned to 3DFX.
    (1 of 10)

    3.) Sega has blackbelt material as part of settlement.
    (1 of 10)

    4.) Possibility "black belt" sits somewhere archived or
    unnoticed. (1 of 10)

    A. Technical documents must exist and should be sought out.
    B. Seek out the remote possiblility of a pilfered unit. However, as a tech demo, it is sure to be large.
    C. Demonstration to SOJ by SOA, die samples and proof of concept
    must be validated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2012
  2. PrOfUnD Darkness

    PrOfUnD Darkness Familiar Face

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    Now the easy part: find the answers :smt043



    PD
     
  3. Johnny

    Johnny Gran Turismo Freak and Site Supporter 2013,2015

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    Hey i remember reading on a brazilian magazine, back in that time about Black Belt, then Katana, then DC :prayer:

    I'll look for some info on my game magazine collection this weekend. :smt023
     
  4. VitAmen

    VitAmen Guest

    Hey Assembler.I have a photo of a poster displaying BlackBelt.It was posted on this board a long time ago by a guy named DreamcastMaster who used to work for Sega of Europe.

    As for the answers you are seeking,i think the person with the most contacts here is you.There are 1 or 2 developers as well but i doubt anyone has as strong contacts as you havePossibilities are:
    1)Sega has SURELY still the technical docs.
    2)Most of the equipment was surely returned to 3Dfx.Maybe some third party developers have some early BlackBelt devkits as well.
    3)If any Black Belts exist to this day,they should be in the hands of top executives/engineers or the company that bought 3DFX.
    Do you think anyone here has contacts with any of these people?

    Also i remmember that you were telling you had found just a board with the graphics chip of black belt.What happened with that?

    I think we all agree here that if a working prototype of BlackBelt is found,it will probably be the biggest discovery.
     
  5. Blur2040

    Blur2040 Game Genie

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    Well...

    Well...show us the poster...if it is indeed blackbelt...we'll know exactly what to look for.

    Oh...and I also talked to ASSEMbler...about those 3dfx chips...interesting stuff...

    I doubt any devkits made it to developers...considering that black belt was never an official type system. It was probably axed in favor of Dural as soon as they were both completed...why develop anything for something that may not make it to market?

    Working black belt? If anything ever does come up...I don't expect to be a cohesive console...w/ a plastic box...controllers...etc...but more a pile of circuit boards thats somewhat organized...I believe assembler suggested something the size of a server...The only thing i can imagine working is some sort of tech demo...probably one which didn't impress sega enough to pick black belt over dural...
     
  6. Atax

    Atax Guest

    That would be nVidia, iir.
     
  7. antime

    antime Guest

    Some sources say the 3Dfx contract was terminated because Sega had a fit over 3Dfx's too detailed SEC filing (search for "TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND LICENSE AGREEMENT"). The filing says the contract was made on February 28th 1997 and talks about how 3Dfx "will design" hardware for Sega, and I'd say it's more than likely whatever they had when the contract was terminated five months later never actually made it into silicon form. Prototype software could have been built on PCs using GLIDE and Voodoo cards, and while Sega probably had their own set of requirements for the hardware one could speculate that the end result would have been something similar to the Voodoo 2 (announced in November 1997).
     
  8. VitAmen

    VitAmen Guest

    I'll post the black belt poster shortly.At least that is what the guy that posted the photo claims it is.It might be a mock-up,but if i remmeber right he said it worked.Also i have read from other sources that the development on blackbelt was pretty advanced and after the contract fell out everyone left sega.
     
  9. AntiPasta

    AntiPasta Guest

    I do remember reading somewhere that Daytona USA was ported to both DC prototype systems in the course of development... it seems a bit far-fetched though,.
     
  10. Blur2040

    Blur2040 Game Genie

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    Hmm...that doesn't seem too unbelievable, AntiPasta...Sega certainly would have the means to do it...they have the code for Daytona somewhere...
     
  11. ASSEMbler

    ASSEMbler Administrator Staff Member

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    From what I heard, the tech demo was incoming (3dfx easy port)
    and that the people at NEC were getting inside help from
    their friends inside sega, and 3dFX had a shit fit.

    The Japanese really wanted a home town solutions, so they were passing the general idea for the chipset to NEC and 3dfx didn't like that.

    At that time NEC was trying to make a nice in the PC graphics card
    biz, and it was seen as industrial espionage.

    Now I know there's a blackbelt demo machine, it's just if they chipped the damn thing or not.

    Nvidia may own the patents for 3dfx, but I doubt they would care about the hardware. It's like atari and jds. Took the name and patants and the rest went into the trash.
     
  12. VitAmen

    VitAmen Guest

    Here is what BlackBelt looked like.If the guy did not talk bullshit,then this must be it.Photo courtesy of DreamcastMaster.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. ASSEMbler

    ASSEMbler Administrator Staff Member

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    That design seems alltogether plausible.
     
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    another question:
    in terms of rendering speed, and pps, what would it have been able to do?
     
  15. Blur2040

    Blur2040 Game Genie

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    That doesn't seem all too unbelievable as a design for the system...even though its a bit bland...though I doubt they ever got it to a point where they could fit it all in there.
     
  16. MindChild

    MindChild Guest

    From a developers standpoint

    3dfx hardware was great.... not only in performance and stability in its time, the GLIDE library, while a nightmare to end users, was FANTASTIC. By far the most simplistic, yet powerful graphics library I have ever had the priviledge of working with. In many ways, it was similar to OpenGL, but... I dont know how to explain it... just better.

    Anyway, what I was getting to with this, is the GLIDE API translates very well to the hardware level API, without much driver work at all. The chips were designed with GLIDE in mind, so the software and hardware of it all worked fabulously together.

    Especially in contrast to PowerVR, 3dfx hardware would have been wonderful... maybe even made a lot more difference in the life of this console.
     
  17. PC-FX Maniac

    PC-FX Maniac Guest

    The Black Belt looks pretty cool, where did you find that picture?
     
  18. VitAmen

    VitAmen Guest

    ...

    This is the most exciting thread.

    Anyone with any info?

    Keep in mind the following.Katana Devkits were shipped pretty early in the form of PC graphics cards so that the developers would begin to get accustomed with the PowerVR2 chipset.No SH4,no GD Rom system no nothing,just a Power VR card (inferior to the final dreamcast hardware) with the Kamui API.
    That was the Set2.1 board.

    So it is pretty possible something like this was shipped to developers for blackbelt.I'll dig out my KatanaR2 SDK and if it was shipped/built way before the lawsuit,then some devers might have blackbelt prototypes...If it shipped after the lawsuit,it probably being the first Katana devkit available to developers,then i think it is really dificult for Blackbelt to have left the doors of Sega and 3dfx.

    Assembler,you once said you had found someone with a prototype board with the graphics chipset.What happened with that?
     
  19. GaijinPunch

    GaijinPunch Lemon Party Organizer and Promoter

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    In this stupidly high stack of a Saturn Magazines I've got in my house, there was a very, very small "What is Project Blackbelt?" blurb. Yeah, it wouldn't have had much details, but it would've been something.... wish I marked that page.
     
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  20. madhatter256

    madhatter256 Illustrious Member

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    I remember reading some PC World Magazine or was it Computer Shopper :smt017 . Anyway, it had an article about 3dFX and its upcoming video cards and other projects. Other than showing off the Voodoo2 cards and Voodoo 3, it had a picture of a circuit board that showed a chip with the name 3dFX and some VRAM chips next to it. It was pretty big with some areas that looked like there were supposed to be other chips, like CPU, RAM, etc. It wasn't your typical ATX board, this was something that was being made for a console, hopefully the blackbelt :), but it also had a VGA port. I'll try to look for it, hopefully I haven't thrown out that magazine along with tons of other ones.

    This could be a "beta" mainboard for the black belt system for what 3dfx was shooting for.

    BTW, 3DFX did make some Arcade boards. I think there was a fighting game that used a custom 3dfx chip and Gauntlet Legends, which my local college used to have in the cafeteria. Could those be linked possibly to the blackbelt system? I could track down where the Gauntlet Legends Arcade is because I know the manager of the cafeteria, of course this will have to wait until summer is over and I'm back in schoo.l
     

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