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SEGA's Naomi Technical Overview

 
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SEGA next generation arcade hardware after Model 3 Step 2.1 is Naomi. Naomi is a Japanese female name that means "above all beauty". It seems that the official meaning behind the Naomi name is that it is an acronym that stands for New Arcade Operation Machine Idea.
Naomi and Dreamcast are almost identical in that they both share the same CPU (Hitachi SH-4 200 MHz), same GPU (PowerVR Series2 100 MHz), and the same 64 channel ARM7 based sound system (Yamaha AICA 45 MHz). The main difference will be in the amount of main RAM, the amount of graphics RAM, the amount of sound RAM, and the storage option, with the Naomi board allowing banks of ROM chips for game storage. There is no option for SEGA's special GD-ROM (1.2 GigaByte Disk-ROM) on the Naomi.

SEGA first showed the Naomi board at JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association), which took place from September 17th to the 20th, 1998 in Japan. 

Naomi will allow SEGA to continue their domination of the arcade market, and along with the extensive list of companies producing for Naomi, will give the Dreamcast a steady supply of arcade hits!

Naomi Specifications

CPU: SH-4 64-bit RISC CPU (200 MHz 360 MIPS / 1.4 GFLOPS)
Graphic Engine: PowerVR (PVR2DC)
Sound Engine: Super Intelligent Sound Processor (with internal 32-bit RISC CPU, 64 channel ADPCM)
Main Memory: 32 MByte
Graphic Memory: 16 MByte
Sound Memory: 8 MByte
Media: ROM Board (maximum size of 168 MBytes)
Simultaneous Number of Colors: Approx. 16,770,000
Additional Features: Bump Mapping, Fog, Alpha-Bending (transparency), Mip Mapping (polygon-texture auto switch), Tri-Linear Filtering, Anti-Aliasing, Environment Mapping, and Specular Effect.

Notice that Naomi has twice the amount of main memory and graphics memory that Dreamcast has, so ports from Naomi to Dreamcast may involve making some sacrifice in graphics, etc. Also note that the Naomi board has four times the sound memory of the Dreamcast, and the reason for this is because the Naomi board cannot spool Redbook audio off of a GD-ROM disk.

The Naomi architecture is very flexible in that a cabinet can have anywhere from 1 to 16 boards. A multi board system would operate in parallel increasing the power of the system tremendously! Theoritically a 16 board Naomi system could do (16 x 3.5 mpps) = 56 million polygons per second maximum! Realistically it would most likely be around 20 to 30 mpps. 

The Companies

SEGA has announced that 20 companies have signed on to develop games on the Naomi board. This is an amazing high number of companies for an arcade board, as most companies tend to use their own proprietary hardware. It has been mentioned that Capcom might even replace their own CPS-III 2D hardware, with Naomi. It seems that Capcom's CPS-III hardware has not been very successful in the marketplace, as their CPS-II 2D board has been. Here are some companies that are working on Naomi games besides SEGA for the arcade:

  • Capcom
  • Tecmo
  • Raizing
  • Cave
  • Sammy
  • Psikyo
  • Jaleco
  • SNK
  • Treasure
  • Visco
  • Video System
The Games

The games that have been announced so far:

  • House of the Dead 2 (SEGA), released in Japanese arcades on Nov. 20th, 1998. Released in North American arcades early Jan. 1999. - Shooter
  • Dynamite Baseball 98 (SEGA), released in Japanese arcades Jan. 1999. - Sports
  • Zombie Zone ("Zombie Revenge" in North America) (SEGA, AM1), formerly "Blood Bullet: The House of the Dead side story". Due in Japanese arcades mid Feb. 1999. - Action Fighter
  • Crazy Taxi (SEGA, AM3) - Racer
  • SEGA Buggy (SEGA, AM4) - Racer
  • Virtua Striker Version 99 (SEGA) - Soccer (Football)
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling 2 (SEGA) - Action
  • Virtua Fighter 4 (SEGA, AM2) - Fighter. Rumored to use Naomi.
  • Ferrari 355 Challenger (SEGA, AM2) (4 Naomi boards!) - Racer
  • Airline Pilots (SEGA) (3 Naomi boards, with 3 screens) -  Flight Simulation. Available March, 99.
  • Derby Owners Club (SEGA) - Horse Racing
  • Giant Gram: Zen Nihon Pro Wrestling 2 (SEGA)
  • Kurutto Stone (SEGA) - Puzzle
  • Ring Out 4 X 4 (SEGA, AM1) - Racer
  • Boat Race 2 (SEGA) - Racer. Due summer of '99. 
  • Dead or Alive 2 (Tecmo) - Fighter
  • Power Stone (Capcom) - Fighter
  • Justice Academy 2 ("Rival Schools 2: United by Fate" in North America) (Capcom) - Fighter
  • Spawn vs Street Fighters (Capcom) - Fighter. Rumored to use Naomi.
  • Gun Beat (Treasure) - Racer/Shooter
  • F1 World Grand Prix (Video System) - Racer
  • Drift Out (Visco) - Racing
  • Wild Ambition (SNK) This title has not be confirmed.
23 games so far! 9 games from 3rd party companies! The Naomi is already more successful then the SEGA ST-V arcade board ever was.

House of the Dead 2 is the first game released on Naomi, and it was released on November 20th, 1998 in Japan, and will be released in 1999 everywhere else. SEGA has an initial goal of selling 500,000 Naomi units worldwide, with House of the Dead 2 accounting for 9000 units. SEGA has not indicated the time period that it will take to sell the 500,000 units.

The rumored cost of the Naomi hardware is $1995 US to arcade operators, which is quite inexpensive compared to some Model 3 boards and cabinets going for $20,000 US!

SEGA is going to have standard cabinets (Naomi Universal Cabinet or NUC for short) for Naomi, with single and dual driving cabinets, and the regular standup arcade cabinets. Once an arcade operator has purchased a cabinet with the Naomi arcade board, he can then add the game. So when a new game comes out, the arcade operator only has to purchase the game, and plug this into the Naomi board. This will help keep the cost down for arcade operators, and help give games a wider release.

Naomi Links

VideoLogic's Naomi Press Release

Naomi Images
 
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SEGA first showed the Naomi board at JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association), which took place from September 17th to the 20th, 1998 in Japan.
Outside case that the Naomi board sits in.