This article needs additional citations for verification . (September 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Super FX is a coprocessor on the Graphics Support Unit (GSU) added to select Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) video game cartridges, primarily to facilitate advanced 2D and 3D graphics. The Super FX chip was designed by Argonaut Games, who also co-developed the 3D space rail shooter video game Star Fox with Nintendo to demonstrate the additional polygon rendering capabilities that the chip had introduced to the SNES.
The Super FX chip design team included engineers Ben Cheese, Rob Macaulay, and James Hakewill.While in development, the Super FX chip was codenamed "Super Mario FX" and "MARIO". "MARIO", a backronym for "Mathematical, Argonaut, Rotation, & Input/Output", is printed on the face of the final production chip.
Because of higher manufacturing costs and increased development time, few Super FX based games were made compared to the rest of the SNES library. Due to these increased costs, Super FX games often retailed at a higher MSRP compared to other SNES games.
According to Argonaut Games founder Jez San, Argonaut had initially intended to develop the Super FX chip for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The team programmed a NES version of the first-person combat flight simulator Starglider , which Argonaut had developed for PC systems a few years earlier, and showed it to Nintendo in 1990. The prototype impressed the company, but they suggested that they develop games for the then-unreleased Super Famicom due to the NES's hardware which was becoming outdated in light of newer systems such as the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine. Shortly after the 1990 Consumer Electronics Show held in Chicago, Illinois, Argonaut ported the NES version of Starglider to the Super Famicom, a process which took roughly one week according to San.
The Super FX chip is used to render 3D polygons and to assist the SNES in rendering advanced 2D effects. This custom-made RISC processor is typically programmed to act like a graphics accelerator chip that draws polygons to a frame buffer in the RAM that sits adjacent to it. The data in this frame buffer is periodically transferred to the main video memory inside of the console using DMA in order to show up on the television display.
The first version of the chip, commonly referred to as simply "Super FX", is clocked with a 21.4 MHz signal, but an internal clock speed divider halves it to 10.7 MHz. Later on, the design was revised to become the Super FX GSU (Graphics Support Unit); this, unlike the first Super FX chip revision, is able to reach 21 MHz.
All versions of the Super FX chip are functionally compatible in terms of their instruction set. The differences arise in how they are packaged, their pinout, and their internal clock speed. As a result of changing the package when creating the GSU-2, more external pins were available and assigned for addressing. As a result, a larger amount of external ROM or RAM can be accessed.
Star Fox uses the chip for the rendering of hundreds of simultaneous 3D polygons. It uses scaled 2D bitmaps for lasers, asteroids, and other obstacles, but other objects such as ships are rendered with 3D polygons. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island uses the chip for 2D graphics effects like sprite scaling and stretching.
Game cartridges that contain a Super FX chip have additional contacts at the bottom of the cartridge that connect to the extra slots in the cartridge port that are not otherwise typically used. Therefore, Super FX games cannot be plugged into cartridge adapters which predate the release of Super FX games. This includes cheat devices, such as the Game Genie.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), also known as the Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea, 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America. In Japan, the system is called the Super Famicom (SFC). In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993, by Playtronic. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different cartridges from being compatible with one another.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is a 1995 platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). To reunite baby Mario with his brother Luigi, who has been kidnapped by Kamek, the player controls Yoshi, a friendly dinosaur, through 48 levels while carrying Baby Mario. As a Super Mario series platformer, Yoshi runs and jumps to reach the end of the level while solving puzzles and collecting items. In a style new to the series, the game has a hand-drawn aesthetic and is the first to have Yoshi as its main character. The game introduces his signature abilities to flutter jump and produce eggs from swallowed enemies.
Star Fox, released as Starwing in Europe, is a 1993 rail shooter video game co-developed by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The first game in the Star Fox series, Star Fox follows Fox McCloud and the rest of the Star Fox team defending their homeworld of Corneria against the attacking forces of Andross. It ultimately sold over 4 million copies.
Star Fox 2 is an action game developed by Nintendo and Argonaut Software for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It is the sequel to Star Fox (1993) and, like its predecessor, pushed the graphical capabilities of the SNES with Argonaut's Super FX technology. Star Fox 2 continues the battle against Emperor Andross, who seeks to conquer the Lylat system. It introduces semi-real-time gameplay, new ship types, new Star Fox team members, and a more advanced 3D game engine.
Argonaut Games was a British video game developer, founded in 1982 and liquidated in late 2004, with the company ceasing to exist in early 2007. It was most notable for the development of the Super NES video game Star Fox and its supporting Super FX hardware, as well as for developing the Playstation video game Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.
Jeremy Elliott "Jez" San OBE is an English game programmer and entrepreneur who founded Argonaut Software as a teenager in the 1980s. He is best known for the 1986 Atari ST game Starglider and helping to design the Super FX chip used in Star Fox for the Super NES.
Mode 7 is a graphics mode on the Super NES video game console that allows a background layer to be rotated and scaled on a scanline-by-scanline basis to create many different effects. The most famous of these effects is the application of a perspective effect on a background layer by scaling and rotating the background layer in this manner. This transforms the background layer into a two-dimensional horizontal texture-mapped plane that trades height for depth. Thus, an impression of three-dimensional graphics is achieved.
Stunt Race FX, known in Japan as Wild Trax, is a cartoon-style, 3D-racing video game developed by Nintendo EAD with the assistance of Argonaut Software and published by Nintendo for the Super NES. It was the second game to use the 3D-centric Super FX powered GSU-1.
FX Fighter is a series of video games developed by Argonaut Games and published by GTE Entertainment. The two games in the series are FX Fighter (1995) for MS-DOS CD-ROM with a cancelled version for Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and FX Fighter Turbo (1996) for Windows 95.
Dirt Trax FX is a racing video game developed by Sculptured Software and released by Acclaim Entertainment for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. The 3D graphics of the game were made possible by the Super FX powered GSU-1, which was built into the cartridge.
Vortex is a 3D shooter game developed by Argonaut Software and released by Electro Brain for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in September 1994. Titled Citadel during development, it is one of a few titles designed to use the enhanced graphics of the Super FX powered GSU-1.
X is a 1992 space combat simulator video game developed by Argonaut Games and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy in Japan. The player assumes the role of the VIXIV starship as it must protect the planet Tetamus II from a mysterious race of aliens. Gameplay involves completing missions assigned by the "Training Academy Coach", ranging from protecting bases from enemy fire or delivering cargo to a certain area.
The Retro Duo is a video-game clone console developed by Retro-Bit and distributed by Innex, Inc. It plays game cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It plays North American, European and Japanese games and has the highest compatibility of any other clone system. S-video is compatible when playing SNES games. The console is not licensed by Nintendo and it’s not fully compatible with every game released for the two game systems; however, the majority of games function properly. While it has only been released in Canada and the United States, it can still be used in Europe and Japan with a power plug adapter. The console is compatible with official and third party SNES controllers.
Dirt Racer is a Europe-exclusive video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System developed by British studio MotiveTime and released in 1995. This game uses the Super FX powered GSU-1 to provide enhanced graphics.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Game Pak is the system's default ROM cartridge medium. It is called Game Pak in most Western regions, and Cassette in Japan and parts of Latin America. While the Super NES can address 128 Megabits, only 117.75 Megabits are actually available for cartridge use. A fairly normal mapping can easily address up to 95 Megabit of ROM data with 8 Megabits of battery-backed RAM. However, most available memory access controllers only support mappings of up to 32 Megabits. The largest games released contain 48 Megabits of ROM data, while the smallest games contain 2 Megabits.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, known as Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom in Japan, and also colloquially as the SNES Mini or SNES Classic, is a dedicated home video game console released by Nintendo, which emulates the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The console, a successor to the NES Classic Edition, comes with twenty-one Super NES titles pre-installed, including the first official release of Star Fox 2. It was released in North America and Europe on September 29, 2017.
Giles Goddard is an English video game programmer. He was one of the first Western employees at Nintendo and is known for programming the Mario face in Super Mario 64, as well as his work on titles such as Star Fox, 1080° Snowboarding, and Steel Diver. In 2002, he founded Vitei, a video game developer based in Kyoto, Japan, for which he serves as CEO.
We did most of the technology back in England with a relatively large engineering/tech team, which comprised of Carl Graham and Pete Warnes on the software-based 3D technology and Ben Cheese, Rob Macaulay and James Hakewill working on the hardware side of things
SNES Central: @dylancuthbert I'm researching unreleased SNES games, was a game called "Super Mario FX" ever in development?
Dylan Cuthbert: @snescentral no, that was the internal code name for the FX chip"
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Super NES Programming/Super FX tutorial|