The Sega Saturn, a console loved by many that owned one and just as hated by independent developers alike. Sega had problems when they launched the Saturn, problems beyond the scope of this article. That has not stopped some developers from working on the complicated hardware and doing what they could. Take Jo Engine for example, this is a 2D scrolling engine that has some 3D trappings being added in upcoming updates.
The Jo Engine is constantly being updated by the developer, Johannes Fetz. There are tons of little things that have been getting updated in the updates that have been made public. Unfortunately, they are complicated and beyond my capabilities to relay them in layman’s terms so just check out the forum at Sega-16.com where things are collected.
What can you do with Jo Engine on the Sega Saturn? Well, Mr. Fetz has created a Sonic demo that features true transparencies (something the Saturn has major trouble doing- at least we were told that). There is also a 2D overhead shooter similar to Galaxian. A fan has been working on using Jo Engine to make a 2D Final Fantasy style role playing game (here and here)- complete with targeting, win/lose conditions and text handling capabilities.
While it seems that development has slowed, at least updates made publicly have, the last update showed 2D sprites on a 3D background. This is interesting as it would mean games like Bug could be created. It also means that we could start seeing an influx of new Sega Saturn games using this engine to get up and running quickly. That is always a good thing in my book. I don’t really care how a cool game is developed or what engine is running it (custom or something like Jo Engine) as long as the game is good on its own.
Source: Sega-16.com forums