Rare Witch Roundtable Podcast
Go Back   The Rare Witch Project Forums > Gaming > Rare & Playtonic > The Banjo Kazooie Series

The Banjo Kazooie Series General Discussion about the Banjo Kazooie series from the N64 classics to the handheld sequels & new Xbox games.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 15th July 2004, 08:54 PM
slaphappy's Avatar
slaphappy slaphappy is offline
Dingpot
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: incognito
Total Awards: 1
RWP Note Medal 
Don't Blame Rare, Blame Rambus

Sad Walk Down Memory Lane
-- NapMaster (aka slaphappy)

This is my theory showing what happened with the Project Dream development effort and what went wrong. Based on the available facts, this is what I believe to be true, but I am always open to contradictory opinions and information pointing out any flaws in my analysis.

Let's Begin. In 1993, Nintendo began development of Ultra 64.

In establishing the hardware specifications, the decision was made by Nintendo to incorporate the Rambus Unified Memory Architecture into the Ultra 64, later renamed to the Nintendo 64. When the N64 was released in 1996, it used 36Mbits of RAMBUS 9bit DRAM, equating to 4 megabytes (expandable to 8 via the expansion slot). This was a huge win for Rambus in gaining mainstream acceptance for RDRAM and RIMM. Unfortunately, the first generation RDRAM, now referred to as Base RDRAM, had a severe initial latency flaw. Not so problematic for Nintendo, but it had quite a negative impact on Rambus's battle with SDRAM for leadership in the PC market.

The Rambus memory incorporated in the N64 architecture was state of the art and by it's very design created an interesting but potentially troublesome situation. It became apparent early on that the RDRAM would not be immediately cleared when the system was powered down. This was due to the RDRAM's unique power dissipation modes, primarily the nap and powerdown modes.

SDRAM Power Management

This situation was quickly discovered during development efforts by Nintendo, and was documented explicitly in the N64 Programming Guide. The guide states in the Data Cache & RDRAM Consistency section that program data in the N64 Game Pak ROM is moved to RDRAM overwriting whatever is there already.

N64 Programming Guide

Overwriting what is already there implies the RDRAM does not immediatley clear when the system is powered down. Nintendo wanted to make sure all games initialized properly to handle this memory holdover without causing error conditions; endless looping or program hangs as they stated. Rare didn't see this as a drawback, but instead as an amazing opportunity, and Project Dream was born. The possibility existed that game data could be stored in RAM and if handled properly and not overwritten, be accessed by a new game ROM. I have been unable to find supporting documentation, but viablity of this memory has been spectulated to be anywhere in the 10 to 30 second range.

So Rare began it's work on Project Dream, later to be renamed Banjo Kazooie. An interesting proposition, but one that would be considered an amazing accomplishment in the gaming community. The transfer of data Proof of Concept was coded and successfully demonstrated by transferring the Ice Key data between beta versions of BK and DK64 (see the DK64 SNS Special for more details). Not via a hot-swap of ROMs, but by turning off the console first, removing one ROM and inserting the other. There was more than enough time to stop the N64, and swap the game ROMS, hence Stop 'n Swop. If the user took to long, nothing bad would happen, just no data transfer.

Rambus, meanwhile, had been working on a fix for the initial latency problem with the Base RDRAM. This issue was beginning to cost them marketshare in the SDRAM battle, due to RDRAM's comparable to slower access times but much higher cost. Rambus was able to successfully resolve the latency issue and the 2nd generation, Concurrent RDRAM, was announced. The initial latency problem was occurring during the powerdown to active mode transition, so modifications to the power dissipation modes must be assumed. By late 1997, Concurrent RDRAM began shipping and would now be used in the fabrication of new Nintendo 64 units.

Concurrent RDRAM

In 1998, Banjo Kazooie was released to the public, with the Stop 'N Swop feature fully intact. Rare got to work on Banjo Tooie, showcasing it at E3 in 1999, with some great unexpected features, including Bottles Revenge. They also put out the infamous BT Tepid Seat interview in 1999, so to assume they were unaware of a devasting upcoming problem would seem fair. Several question in that interview regarding the BK secret items and Blackeye supports the belief the SNS concept was alive and well and was nearing completion. A note regarding Q25, I don't recall ever seeing anyone suggest the BK pak concept.

BT tepid Seat Interview:

Q14: In Mad Monster Mansion, there is a room with two pictures. One of Grunilda, and one of this evil pirate bloak. What I want to know is: Will he be the next villian to face BK? Or is he somehow in league with Grunty? Is he mates with BK? Or is including his picture just arseing with my mind? (Chris Todd)
A: Well spotted sir! The evil pirate bloak has a mission and purpose all of his own, but this is neither the time nor place to reveal even the merest hint. You might learn more from a certain tavern in the future...

Q25: Have you ever been a bit surprised at how close and/or unclose some of the rumors were? (DPrice@aol)
A: Some of the rumours were fairly close, bust most of the suggestions on how to find the ice key, Sharkfood Island, secret eggs, etc, were so amusingly inaccurate it kept us entertained for quite a while.

Q31: Obviously aside from the ice key, Sharkfood Island, and desert door, are there other places in B-K that are locked until B-T comes out? I'm thinking, maybe the closed barrel in the wine cellar in Mad Monster Mansion, or the two doors in the room with Grunty's transformation machine. (Josh Gelman)
A: heh... heh... heh... keep on guessing... ho... ho... ho... all will be revealed... hee... hee... heee... Sorry about that, the simple answer is yes.


It is unknown what quantity of Base RDRAM Nintendo still had in inventory, or how quickly the Concurrent RDRAM N64's where built and shipped to market. Unfortunately for Rare, change was about to come and it was going to hit like a ton of bricks. The newly shipping N64s now had the 2nd generation RDRAM, which adversely affected the memory holdover time. Be it by fixing the initial latency problem, or due to some other change, the memory retention was shortened immensly. The holdover period was spectulated to now be in the 2 second range following power down, clearly way too fast to have someone switch ROMs. Project Dream was officially dead.

It was way too far in the development cycle for Rare to change course with the SNS concept. Switching to a controller pak or a lock-on cartridge were impossibilites, since Banjo Kazooie had already been released with no contingency coding in place. How could anyone at Rare have anticipated a hardware change on a gaming console? PC Game developers must deal with this situation, but not console development shops. Rare quickly had to scramble to come up with a viable alternative, one that would give the BK players the items they were promised. Hence, the bouncing BK packs were conceived. All things considered, not a bad idea with the incredibly short timeframe they now had to work. Unfortunately, all development resources had to be thrown at this, leaving Bottles Revenge to forever remain incomplete. The poster artwork for Tooie had already been completed, so removing Devil Bottles from that could not be done.

Banjo Tooie was released to the public with the BK paks and we were left scratching our heads. Rare was so close to pulling off the unprecedented SNS, but at the end of the day, got the shaft. Blackeye apparently got the shaft too. No more purpose all his own, such as giving us the sandcastle codes? Makes me wonder if Rare was somehow referring to Rambus as the Bear in the "a bear stole my glory" statement. Rambus as the bear, hmmm. I'll have to work on that one.

In my mind, one final question remains, though. Did Rare actually have enough time to remove the SNS code from BT? There was the infamous statement from the Rare employee claiming the connection between the games was still there. Rare claims he was misquoted. Maybe, maybe not. The clean up effort appears to have been a little sloppy. Blackeye still has the Pink Egg portraits all around him. Remnants of Bottles Revenge remain. The Base Egg being left in the NTSC version of Tooie.

So, I am holding on to the final remaining glimmer of hope. Assuming SNS does still exist, one would need a pre-1999 N64, the NTSC version of BK, and the NTSC version BT to find it. If this, however unlikely, is true, it creates a tough position for Rare. Is SNS still there? No, well yes, well kind of. I wouldn't comment on the subject either. I also wouldn't have taunted everyone with the chalkboard in GbtG either, but hey, Rare will be Rare.

---

Last edited by slaphappy; 15th July 2004 at 08:59 PM.


  #2  
Old 15th July 2004, 09:20 PM
Jason's Avatar
Jason Jason is offline
Jolly Rodger
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Total Awards: 2
You're Appreciated! INFECTED - B1K1 
Bravo! With all of your well-support facts, this theory might-as-well be true!


  #3  
Old 15th July 2004, 09:27 PM
Icy Guy's Avatar
Icy Guy Icy Guy is offline
Runaway from the Past
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: The Matrix...er, California
Total Awards: 5
INFECTED - B1K1 Awesome Default Medal RWP Bash Day 8 Participation Award RWP Bash Day 4 Participation Award RWP Bash Day 1 Participation Award 
Ooh, nice 'n' technical, and it makes sense, too. That last paragraph really caught my eye...

...so I went upstairs, plugged my NTSC BT into my 1996 N64, went into Jinjo Village on a completed file, turned the power off, stuck my NTSC BK in (only took about 5 or 6 seconds, because I already had the cart sitting next t me), powered on, and went to Wozza's Cave. I had a feeling there wouldn't have been anything different, although I think I should point out that, when I booted up BK, a portion of the screen flashed white, as if I had just started playing a video tape. Then it went onto the intro, like normal.

Maybe I'll try it without the Expansion Pak in next time, in case that's affecting it at all, but I doubt the results will be any different.
__________________
Since August 18th, 2001 | The Icy Guy Portal - it's got codes, music, and stuff


  #4  
Old 15th July 2004, 11:16 PM
Jason's Avatar
Jason Jason is offline
Jolly Rodger
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Total Awards: 2
You're Appreciated! INFECTED - B1K1 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy Guy
Maybe I'll try it without the Expansion Pak in next time, in case that's affecting it at all, but I doubt the results will be any different.
Hey! You never know.


  #5  
Old 16th July 2004, 12:16 AM
BlueBreegull BlueBreegull is offline
Retired
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Wow. Very nice case, slaphappy. I am quite impressed. It all does seem feasable.


  #6  
Old 16th July 2004, 01:07 AM
Banjo's Banjo's Avatar
Banjo's Banjo Banjo's Banjo is offline
Formerly Banjo's Banjo
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Total Awards: 2
Awesome Default Medal RWP Note Medal 
This is probably the best overall theory I've heard in quite a long time. Good job Slaphappy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy
So Rare began it's work on Project Dream, later to be renamed Banjo Kazooie. An interesting proposition, but one that would be considered an amazing accomplishment in the gaming community. The transfer of data Proof of Concept was coded and successfully demonstrated by transferring the Ice Key data between beta versions of BK and DK64 (see the DK64 SNS Special for more details). Not via a hot-swap of ROMs, but by turning off the console first, removing one ROM and inserting the other. There was more than enough time to stop the N64, and swap the game ROMS, hence Stop 'n Swop. If the user took to long, nothing bad would happen, just no data transfer.
Although I've never really bothered to read up on the subject much, this kind of connection makes sense really. It would have been a great testing medium, as it was a similiar platform style game and would have been easily compatable (Had I been in their shoes, I would have done the same.). This also explains the remnants found in DK I believe.

As for your other points, I have to agree. I think it's sad that space has to quash creativity, but 'dems the breaks it seems. And as other's have said, I repeat: Very good job. You did your homework.
__________________
I have Gold Jinjo Points, I have some award, I have a post count, I post when I am bored Boom de-yada boom de-yada.


  #7  
Old 16th July 2004, 02:34 AM
Gold Jinjo's Avatar
Gold Jinjo Gold Jinjo is offline
Banjokazookalaylee Time
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Canaderp
Total Awards: 5
Imagination Wiki-Master INFECTED - B1K1 Awesome Default Medal RWP Bash Day 5 Participation Award 
That was the best theory I've ever read since the first day I came to this site (circa 2000 ), and increadibly feasable as well.

I bought my N64 in '99, but given my local area, it could have been manufactured well before the hardware change. I can't readily test what Icy did for myself, since my N64 isn't hooked up at the moment, but I've always believed Banjo-Kazooie had fully implemented SnS functionality. Don't know what we can do with the BT cart, but I think all we have now is a matter of "finding the Citadel", if you catch my drift

Might take us a few more years, but if someone works heartily on it, we might dig up something. After all, it was thought that the Citadel was deleted, much less findable. Of course, we're not talking about level data. SnS would be a procedure of sorts... likely more difficult to discover

We'll see.
__________________
Penis

Last edited by Gold Jinjo; 16th July 2004 at 02:37 AM.


  #8  
Old 16th July 2004, 07:37 AM
cyberen's Avatar
cyberen cyberen is offline
Brash Breegull
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Shamwow Town
incredible. the SnS theory to end all SnS theories.
__________________
Stop having a boring tuna,
stop having a boring life!


  #9  
Old 16th July 2004, 09:22 AM
Gaming Master2k's Avatar
Gaming Master2k Gaming Master2k is offline 1 Highscore
Admin of Awesome
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Down Under
Total Awards: 21
You're Appreciated! INFECTED - B2K1 Reminiscence Chatterbox SteamLink Verified 
This theory is unbelievable... It's certainly the best I've ever read. and the best bit about it is it's all facts and better yet. Facts anyone can check up for themselves... This is a lot of work. well done.
__________________

Error ID: 10T. Rage Buffer overflow.


  #10  
Old 16th July 2004, 11:27 AM
Nebuchanezzar's Avatar
Nebuchanezzar Nebuchanezzar is offline
Jinjo
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Camden, NSW, Australia
I like it, when I read that Ice went upstairs to check it out, that made me wanna check too, unfortunately, I have a PAL 64, a pal tv and a pal game (obviously obviously and obviously)...so yeah, although the theory was pretty good, what I wanna know is, if they did indeed want to put SnS in, they would have put some Controller pak coding into the game anyway wouldnt they? I mean, they delayed PD and many of their other games, then surely that means that they must have been able to put it into the Controller pak if they wanted wouldnt it...Wouldnt it? Or maybe they werent that dedicated to the whole idea, but we wouldnt want to think that way of Rare now would we... But I like the theory and generally think its probably right!
__________________
Be sure to check out:

www.6starwrestling.com


  #11  
Old 16th July 2004, 02:02 PM
slaphappy's Avatar
slaphappy slaphappy is offline
Dingpot
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: incognito
Total Awards: 1
RWP Note Medal 
Although Rare was entirely capable of transferring the data via controller pak, I find it unlikely they did. Just some quick thoughts about it though.

First, we are talking about Rare, and transferring data bewteen games without the controller pak would be the milestone. Fully utilizing the capabilities of the game console is what we've come to expect from them, DKC for the SNES being a perfect example.

Second, once the concept was proven to work, it should always work. There would be no need to code a backup data transfer mechanism into BK since the RDRAM holdover method already worked. Consoles aren't supposed to change, that's the benefit of developing for them.

Third, I think Rare would have needed to indicate Banjo Kazooie did indeed use the controler pak. The only indication is for the rumble pak, though.

BK Box Art

In comparison, Diddy Kong Racing was released in 1997, where the controller pak use is indicated.

DK Racing Box Art


However, the controler pak issue was discussed here in the forums several years ago. If I recall correctly, someone using a N64 emulator to play BK claimed the memory pak was written to. A .pk3 file or something with a similar extension was generated after a series of events. I don't think that ever went anywhere, and could very likely have been false information.

---


  #12  
Old 16th July 2004, 03:31 PM
Hakey Wake's Avatar
Hakey Wake Hakey Wake is offline
Most Missed Member '10 - '11
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: London, England
Total Awards: 4
INFECTED - B1K1 RWP Podcast Awesome Default Medal RWP Note Medal 
Hmmmm, interesting.

But anyway, since BK was released before the Expansion pack was, why would having an Expansion pack in the machine change anything?
__________________
I was sitting in traffic this morning...and I got run over.


  #13  
Old 16th July 2004, 03:43 PM
Jason's Avatar
Jason Jason is offline
Jolly Rodger
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Total Awards: 2
You're Appreciated! INFECTED - B1K1 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakey Wake
Hmmmm, interesting.

But anyway, since BK was released before the Expansion pack was, why would having an Expansion pack in the machine change anything?
It an cause problems sometimes, even with older games.

It used to cause some of my games to freeze. I know it was the expansion becuase they never froze before I put it in.


  #14  
Old 16th July 2004, 04:01 PM
germaniac germaniac is offline
Glowbo
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
hmm... isn't memory pak memory smaller/different than the n64s? hence massive coding changes would probably be needed... doubt they could just copy+past the code out of another game somehow... infact afaik the only other game they made before that with mem pak was DKR and the code would hardly be compatible... and like someone said, the point was to show wat the n64 could do, not what mem pak could do... and not everyone has/had a memory card, this opened the market to more people without costing them more... look how many people complain aboot having to buy the expansion pak... make em buy a memory card too and they'd be bitching till time begone...


  #15  
Old 30th July 2004, 12:34 AM
Random idiot's Avatar
Random idiot Random idiot is offline
Glowbo
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
hmmm...interesting, i have a pre-1999 n64, i tried to swap once, from BK to BT, nothing happened, i think it failed because i used the sand castle codes...hmph!
anyway, best theory EVER!


Closed Thread


User Tag List

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:17 PM.


Forums powered by vBulletin® Copyright © Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website © 2000-2015 The RWP