|Fast facts on Sega Model 2|
|Variants: Model 2A-CRX, Model 2B-CRX, Model 2C-CRX|
|Add-ons: DSB1/DSB2 (Model 2C-CRX)|
The Sega Model 2 is an arcade system board originally debuted by Sega in 1993 as a successor to the Sega Model 1 board. It is an extension of the Model 1 hardware, most notably introducing the concept of texture-mapped polygons, allowing for more realistic 3D graphics for its time. The Model 2 board was an important milestone for the arcade industry, and helped launch several key arcade franchises of the 1990s, including Daytona USA, Virtua Cop, Sega Rally Championship, Dead or Alive, Virtua Striker, Cyber Troopers Virtual-On and The House of the Dead.
The Model 2's development was led by famed Sega AM2 game designer Yu Suzuki. Sega engineered the Model 2 with help from Fujitsu and GE Aerospace (acquired by Martin Marietta in 1993, now part of Lockheed Martin). Sega developed the polygon geometry engine in-house, using Fujitsu coprocessors, combined with GE Aerospace's expensive texture-mapping technology, which Suzuki's team condensed into a more affordable chipset. The arcade board debuted along with Daytona USA, a game which was finished and copyrighted in 1993, and debuted at the JAMMA arcade show in August 1993.
There are four versions of the system: the original Model 2, and the Model 2A-CRX, Model 2B-CRX and Model 2C-CRX variants. Model 2 and 2A-CRX used a custom DSP with internal code for the geometrizer, while 2B-CRX and 2C-CRX used well documented DSPs and uploaded the geometrizer code at startup to the DSP. The Model 2 was succeeded in 1996 by the Sega Model 3, which in turn was succeeded by the Sega NAOMI, Sega Hikaru and Sega NAOMI 2.
It was a further advancement of the earlier Model 1 system. The most noticeable improvement was texture mapping, which enabled polygons to be painted with bitmap images, as opposed to the limited monotone flat shading that Model 1 supported. The Model 2 also introduced the use of texture filtering and texture anti-aliasing, as well as trilinear filtering. It was the most powerful game system in its time, equivalent to the power of a PC graphics card in 1998, five years after the Model 2's release.
The hardware was designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki and engineered by his Sega AM2 team. The polygon geometry engine was developed in-house at Sega, using Fujitsu DSP coprocessors that were modified with Sega's custom microcode for hardware T&L capabilities; it would be years before hardware T&L would appear on consumer home systems.
Suzuki stated that the Model 2's texture mapping chip originated "from military equipment from Lockheed Martin, which was formerly General Electric Aerial & Space's textural mapping technology. It cost $2 million dollars to use the chip. It was part of flight-simulation equipment that cost $32 million. I asked how much it would cost to buy just the chip and they came back with $2 million. And I had to take that chip and convert it for video game use, and make the technology available for the consumer at 5,000 yen ($50)" ($84 in 2014) per machine. He said "it was tough but we were able to make it for 5,000 yen. Nobody at Sega believed me when I said I wanted to purchase this technology for our games." Suzuki stated that, in "the end," it "was a hit and the industry gained mass-produced texture-mapping as a result." For Virtua Fighter 2, he also utilized motion capture technology, introducing it to the game industry.
There were also issues working on the new CPU, the Intel i960-KB, which had just released in 1993. Suzuki stated that when working "on a brand new CPU, the debugger doesn't exist yet. The latest hardware doesn't work because it's full of bugs. And even if a debugger exists, the debugger itself is full of bugs. So, I had to debug the debugger. And of course with new hardware there's no library or system, so I had to create all of that, as well. It was a brutal cycle."
In a late 1998 interview, Read3D's Jon Lenyo, a former employee of GE Aerospace (later Lockheed Martin), stated that Sega's development for the Model 2 can be traced back as early as November 1990, when he and other GE Aerospace employees visited Sega and demonstrated the trilinear texture filtering and shading capabilities of their technology. As Sega was already working on the Sega Model 1 internally, they eventually incorporated GE Aerospace's technology into the Model 2.
Despite its high price tag of around $15,000 (equivalent to $24,489 in 2014), the Model 2 platform was very successful. It featured some of the highest grossing arcade games of all time: Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter 2, Cyber Troopers Virtual-On, The House of the Dead, and Dead or Alive, to name a few. Sega sold 65,000 units of the Model 2 annually, and eventually sold over 130,000 units by 1996, amounting to over $1.95 billion revenue from hardware cabinet sales (130,000 units at $15,000 each), equivalent to over $3.18 billion in 2014, making it one of the best-selling arcade systems of all time.
Model 2A-CRX, released in 1994, featured upgraded sound capabilities and increased ROM capacity:
Model 2A-CRX, released in 1996, featured an upgraded GPU chipset and optional MPEG sound boards:
|Sega Arcade Boards|
|Originating in Arcades|
|Fonz||Galaxian||Zaxxon||Appoooh||X Board||Model 2||Hikaru||Aurora|
|Blockade||G80||Hang-On / Space Harrier||Model 1||H1||Model 3||NAOMI 2|
|VIC Dual||System 1||System 24||NAOMI|
|System 2||System 18|
|Based on Consumer Hardware|
|SG-1000||System E||System C||Triforce||Europa-R||RingEdge 2|
|Mega-Tech System||Sega Titan Video||Atomiswave||RingEdge|
|Hardware Series / Generations|
|Electro-mechanical systems||Sega System series||Sega NAOMI series|
|Discrete logic systems||Super Scaler series||Post-NAOMI systems|
|Pre-System boards||Sega Model series|