This is the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer Frequently Asked Questions list. It consists of the following four sections:
This FAQ List was last modified on July 29th, 1994. The latest version of this faq, along with other 3DO related materials, can be found at the ftp site ftp.ee.pdx.edu (184.108.40.206).
Also, check out Michel Buffa's video games home page available via WWW at:
the 3DO faq is available there in Mosaic format, along with lots of other
video game information. Special thanks to Michel Buffa for his great job of
formatting the faq and for creating and maintaining the video games page.
This Mosaic version has been last updated July 31st, 1994by Michel Buffa.
The closest analogy is that of the VCR; The VCR *technology* was
created by JVC, and any company can manufacture a VCR or VCR videocassettes
as long as they pay a small royalty to JVC. The 3DO *technology* was
created by the 3DO Company, and several companies have licensed the right
to manufacture 3DO systems based on this technology. The 3DO Company
itself does not manufacture 3DO systems.
(Note: It's somewhat incorrect to state that VCR technology was created by
JVC; things are a bit more complicated than that. For the purposes of my
analogy, however, its close enough. :)
Basically, a 3DO system consists of an ARM60 32-bit RISC processor as the
general processing unit, with a graphics engine based around two custom
designed graphics and animation processors. It has 2 Megabytes of
DRAM, 1 Megabyte of VRAM, and a doublespeed CD-ROM drive for main
storage. This is a simplified description of the system; See below for
Be sure to read the newsgroup rec.games.video.3do for ongoing discussions
about 3DO software and hardware.
A: The Panasonic 3DO system can run 3DO Interactive software, Play audio
CD's (including support for CD+G), View Photo-CDs, and will eventually be
able to play Video CD's with a special add-on MPEG1 full motion video
With its controller port up to 8 controllers can be daisy-chained on the
system at once. A keyboard, mouse, light gun, and other peripherals may
also some day be hooked into the system (although they are not currently
available,except for the light gun).
3DO Interactive software is a step beyond most current consumer multimedia
interactive software. With its powerful cel engine, the 3DO can display
full motion video, fully texture mapped 3-D landscapes, and other amazing
visuals, all in 24-bit color.
For more information on the Panasonic REAL(tm) Interactive Multiplayer, call
People in the newsgroup rec.games.video.advocacy will almost certainly be
discussing this issue. Check there for more information, but only if you are
strong in body and spirit. :) System wars are well known for their ferocity.
Section 1 - 3DO consoles and general information
[1.1] What is a 3DO?
A: The 3DO is, technically, a set of specifications created by the 3DO
company, which is itself a partership of seven different Companies. These
specs are the intellectual property of the 3DO Company, and are the blueprint
for making a 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. Manufacturing companies license the
rights from the 3DO Company to manufacture a system based on the 3DO Company's
specifications. Software companies license the ability to develop software for
[1.2] What can the 3DO do?
"It will be more stimulating to the human mind than any new technology
since printing." - Trip Hawkins
[1.3] What does the Panasonic 3DO system come with?
A: The Panasonic REAL 3DO player includes the 3DO system with an RF output,
composite video output, S-Video output, left and right audio outputs, and
cables for composite video and L+R audio. The 3DO system contains an FMV
port for attaching the optional MPEG1 full motion video cartridge (used to
watch Video CDs), one expansion port, and one controller port. Up to eight
devices can be daisy chained together on the controller port. The base system
also includes one seven-button controller with 11 foot cable and headphone
jack + volume control. The base system also includes two CDs: a 3DO sampler
disc and the game CD "Crash and Burn." The sampler disc contains an intro to
the system, demo programs, and information about upcoming titles. "Crash and
Burn" is a high speed 3-D texture mapped racing-combat game. A manual, setup
information, and promotional poster are also included.
[1.4] Where can I get the lowest price for a 3DO?
A: The retail price of the 3DO has recently been dropped to $499 (with many
retail outlets selling it for $449), so make sure not to buy a 3DO somewhere
that has not changed to the new price. Mail order outlets usually have
slightly lower prices than retail stores, and may have it for less. Prices as
low as $399 have been found. Ask on rec.games.video.3do for more info about
finding the current best place to purchase a 3DO.
[1.5] Is the 3DO a Panasonic product?
A: No. The 3DO system was developed and designed by the 3DO Company, and
Panasonic has licensed the right to manufacture the system from the 3DO
company. Panasonic has little to do with the design of the system, they
just build them. Panasonic calls their 3DO console the "Panasonic FZ-1
R.E.A.L. 3DO Interactive Multiplayer."
[1.6] Who else is a 3DO hardware licensee?
A: Here is a list of the current 3DO hardware licensees:
[1.7] I thought the Sanyo 3DO console was cancelled? EGM says so!
A: This is incorrect. A news article came out in November '93 saying that
the Sanyo 3DO had been shelved, but it turned out to be false information.
EGM picked up this story and printed it. Both 3DO and Sanyo contacted EGM
to tell them the story was false, but EGM amazingly refused to retract their
story. The information about the cancellation of the Sanyo 3DO in the March
issue of EGM is incorrect. Sanyo has announced that they will release their
own 3DO console in August, and at a price "lower than Panasonics." No
specific price has been given.
[1.8] What's this I hear about a "reduced-cost" 3DO chipset?
A: 3DO has re-worked their chipset to reduce the cost of manufacturing. The
new chipset has no more or less functionality or speed than the previous one,
it simply combines several chips into one to reduce the cost of making it. The
new chipset should be available in quantity soon and is slated to be used in
the new 3DO consoles.
[1.9] Will each 3DO system be compatible?
A: Yes. You will be able to run all 3DO software on any manufacturers
system. However, each system can be customized to some extent by the
manufacturer to add their own special features.. for example the built-in
MPEG decoder on the Samsung console.
[1.10] Will there be special PAL titles for PAL versions of the 3DO?
A: Yes. However, NTSC versions of 3DO games will be playable on PAL 3DO
consoles, although they may look slightly "crunched" due to the differences
between PAL and NTSC aspect ratios. PAL versions of 3DO titles will look
correct on PAL 3DO systems.
[1.11] Will I be able to play current 3DO software on the next generation 3DO system?
A: Yes. Right now 3DO intends that you will be able to play current 3DO
software on any future 3DO compatible machine.
[1.12] Will I be able to upgrade my current 3DO console to a next generation 3DO console (through the FMV expansion port perhaps) when it is available?
A: Its not known if there will be the ability to upgrade current 3DO hardware
into next generation 3DO hardware. Very little is known about the next
version of the 3DO, though it is rumored to be designed and is possibly being
readied for a Christmas '95 release. 3DO has made no official comment on
the matter as of yet.
[1.13] Is the 3DO just going to be an educational system?
A: No. While educational and informational programs are going to be an
important part of the 3DO software library, there will also be lots of
games. Trip Hawkins is said to love games, and the system was designed
by game players almost certainly with games in mind.
[1.14] Is the 3DO just going to be a games system?
A: No. Childrens, educational, and reference/informational programs are
planned to be a large part of the 3DO software library.
[1.15] Is the 3DO the same as CD-I?
A: No. CD-I stands for "CD Interactive" and is a system developed by Phillips
Electronics. The two systems *are not* compatible and are totally unrelated.
[1.16] Which system is better, the 3DO or the Jaguar?
A: It isn't really known. Due to the bus design and architecture of the
3DO, the two systems cannot easily be compared. Only time and software
will begin to show the different abilities of the two systems.
[1.17] Where can I ftp 3DO related files?
A: the ftp site ftp.ee.pdx.edu (220.127.116.11) has 3DO related materials,
including the latest ascii version of this FAQ, in the directory /pub/gaming/3DO.
New files can be submitted in the /pub/incoming directory. The administrator
of the 3DO section is Shawn Baird (firstname.lastname@example.org), please notify him of
any files you upload.
The closest analogy is that of the VCR; The VCR *technology* was created by JVC, and any company can manufacture a VCR or VCR videocassettes as long as they pay a small royalty to JVC. The 3DO *technology* was created by the 3DO Company, and several companies have licensed the right to manufacture 3DO systems based on this technology. The 3DO Company itself does not manufacture 3DO systems.
(Note: It's somewhat incorrect to state that VCR technology was created by JVC; things are a bit more complicated than that. For the purposes of my analogy, however, its close enough. :)
Basically, a 3DO system consists of an ARM60 32-bit RISC processor as the general processing unit, with a graphics engine based around two custom designed graphics and animation processors. It has 2 Megabytes of DRAM, 1 Megabyte of VRAM, and a doublespeed CD-ROM drive for main storage. This is a simplified description of the system; See below for detailed specifications.
Be sure to read the newsgroup rec.games.video.3do for ongoing discussions about 3DO software and hardware.
A: The Panasonic 3DO system can run 3DO Interactive software, Play audio CD's (including support for CD+G), View Photo-CDs, and will eventually be able to play Video CD's with a special add-on MPEG1 full motion video cartridge.
With its controller port up to 8 controllers can be daisy-chained on the system at once. A keyboard, mouse, light gun, and other peripherals may also some day be hooked into the system (although they are not currently available,except for the light gun).
3DO Interactive software is a step beyond most current consumer multimedia interactive software. With its powerful cel engine, the 3DO can display full motion video, fully texture mapped 3-D landscapes, and other amazing visuals, all in 24-bit color.
For more information on the Panasonic REAL(tm) Interactive Multiplayer, call (800)REAL-3DO.
People in the newsgroup rec.games.video.advocacy will almost certainly be discussing this issue. Check there for more information, but only if you are strong in body and spirit. :) System wars are well known for their ferocity.
Section 2 - 3DO Founders and Company information
[2.1] What does 3DO stand for?
A: Nothing, really. Some people have said it stands for "3 Dimensional
Objects," or "3 Dollars Only," (The current licensing fee per disc) but the
general consensus is that it means it is the next step after audio and video:
audio, video, "threedeo."
[2.2] Who developed the 3DO system?
A: Dave Needle and RJ Mical are named as co-inventors of the Machine. Needle
and Mical previously worked on the the design team of the original Amiga
computer, and on the design of the Atari Lynx handheld gaming system. The NTG
(New Technologies Group) company designed most of the 3DO technology/hardware.
[2.3] Who is Trip Hawkins?
A: Trip Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the 3DO Company. He is also the
founder of Electronic Arts, a well known software publishing company. Trip
is the driving force behind the creation and development of the 3DO.
[2.4] Who are the seven partners that make up 3DO?
A: Matsushita, AT&T, Time Warner, MCA, Electronic Arts, venture capital firm
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the New Technologies Group(NTG). NTG
was previously a separate company but has now merged into the 3DO company and
no longer exists as a separate entity.
[2.5] How does the 3DO company make money?
A: 3DO gets a small royalty for each 3DO console sold. They also get a
royalty on each 3DO software disc sold. The 3DO disc royalty is currently
at $3 per disc. Since 3DO does not directly manufacture the 3DO consoles or
software, it has little control over their retail pricing.
[2.6] Why doesn't 3DO release information on how many consoles have been sold?
A: Since 3DO does not manufacture the consoles, they _cannot_ give out
statistics on how many consoles have been sold without the consent of the
manufacturer. This is the confidential information of the manufacturing
company. Ask the manufacturer for sales figures, not 3DO.
[2.7] What about 3DO's stock?
A: In mid-March, 1993, 3DO (NASDAQ: THDO) entered into the stock market with
an initial public offering (IPO) that values the entire company at around $300
million. 3DO has an ongoing promotion offering 3DO hardware manufacturers two
shares of 3DO common stock for each hardware system shipped at or below certain
retail prices before Sept. 30, 1994. All of the current hardware licensees are
eligible to take part in this promotion. In June 3DO completed an offering
of almost 3 million shares of common stock to existing and new investors to
raise $40 million in capital.
[2.8] How do I contact the 3DO company?
A: Contact 3DO's public relations department at:
Section 3 - Hardware, Peripherals, and Specifications
[3.1] What Peripherals are coming for the 3DO?
A: Peripherals have been announced by Logitech and CH Products. Alps Electric,
Inc. has also signed on to create 3DO peripherals but has not announced any
products as of yet. Logitech is going to produce a mouse for the 3DO, and CH
Products an analog joystick. No release dates have been made public for either
product. A keyboard peripheral is also expected.
[3.2] Is there an external storage device coming for the 3DO?
A: Yes, a PCMCIA SRAM card reader is being readied for release for the 3DO.
This peripheral will expand the 3DO's NVRAM by allowing users to store games
to standard PCMCIA SRAM cards. The memory cards and card reader will be
manufactured by TDK and is tentatively set to be released in the first quarter
"One merely needs to partially unscrew the six screws which hold the controller in place. Unscrewing only the three screws on the right side of the bottom face of the controller three turns each restores much of the control; loosening the remaining screws slightly can be used to tune the sensitivity of the controller. The origin of the problem may be that the rubber contact pad and the plastic control disk are pressed too tightly in the factory-produced controllers, causing a slight warping of the rubber pad. Loosening the two halves of the controller, however, remedies this problem."
Many thanks to David Liu for this quick and simple fix! Remember, although this is a simple procedure, neither David nor I can bear any responsibility for damage done to your controllers while attempting this fix.
There is also a slightly trickier and more involved method developed by Casey Grimm that might be a better fix. It involves taking apart the control pad and cutting a small part of the thumb pad. This fix can be found on ftp.ee.pdx.edu for those who are interested.
The heart of the system is two Graphics and animation processors which are capable of rendering up to 64 million texture mapped pixels per second (interpolated). The Graphics animation processors and the DSP are custom designed by NTG, a division of the 3DO Company.
The block diagram shown below is taken from an article on the 3DO system in the Dec. 93 issue of Popular Science Magazine.
Software available (you can pick these in stores NOW):
Software available (you can pick these in stores NOW): Title Publisher Type 20th Century Video Almanac Software Toolworks Reference Alone in the Dark Interplay Adventure/Action BattleChess Interplay Chess Cowboy Casino IntelliPlay Education CPU Bach Microprose Education Crash & Burn Crystal Dynamics Racing/Shooter Dennis Miller - It's News to Me Sanctuary Woods Canned Video/comedy Dragon's Lair Readysoft Canned Video/Adventure Escape From Monster Manor EA/Studio 3DO Action Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise Humongous Entertainment Education Fatty Bear's Fun Pack Humongous Entertainment Education Horde, The Crystal Dynamics Action/Strategy Incredible Machine, The Dynamix Puzzle ESPN Step Aerobics IntelliPlay Fitness/Workout It's a Bird's Life Sanctuary Woods Education John Madden Football Electronic Arts Sports Jurassic Park Interactive MCA/Studio 3DO Action/Adventure Lemmings Psygnosis Puzzle Life Stage, The Panasonic Virtual House Mad Dog McCree American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Night Trap Virgin Games Canned Video/Puzzle Oceans Below Software Toolworks Education Out Of This World Interplay Adventure Pebble Beach Golf T & E Software Sports Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon Humongous Entertainment Education Putt-Putt Joins the Parade Humongous Entertainment Education Putt-Putt's Fun Pack Humongous Entertainment Education Real Pinball Panasonic Pinball San Diego Zoo: The Animals Software Toolworks Education Sewer Shark Virgin Games Canned Video/Shooter Shock Wave Electronic Arts Flightsim Stellar 7 Dynamix Action/Shooter Supermodels Go Wild Vivid Interactive Video Super Wing Commander Origin Flightsim Tom Kite: Consistent Golf IntelliPlay Education ToonTime!.. In the classroom VideoactV Cartoon Total Eclipse Crystal Dynamics Shooter Twisted EA/Studio 3DO Puzzle Who Shot Johnny Rock American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Woody Woodpecker Cartoon Vol1-3 Universal Home Video Cartoon Software in production (not yet done, but officially announced): Title Publisher Type 3D Atlas Electronic Arts Information 7th Guest II: The 11th Hour Trilobyte/Virgin Puzzle AD&D Slayer SSI 3D RPG Air Warrior GameTek Flightsim Alien Trilogy Acclaim 3-D Action Alone in the Dark II Interplay Adventure/Action Baseball: Catching IntelliPlay Education Baseball: Defensive Play IntelliPlay Education Baseball: Hitting IntelliPlay Education Baseball: Pitching IntelliPlay Education B.I.O.S Fear Sense-Net Corp. Adventure BlueStar Magnetic Adventure Burning Soldier Panasonic Shooter Chaos Control Infogrames Shooter C.I.T.Y 2000 Paris Aditus Mystery Clay Fighters II Interplay Fighting Cool Knight Readysoft Music Cool Spot Virgin Games Platform Creature Shock Argonaut Action/Arcade Crime Patrol American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Demolition Man Virgin Action/Arcade Dennis Miller - It's Geek to Me Sanctuary Woods Canned Video/comedy Dino Park Tycoon MECC Edutainment Dragon Ballz Jaleco Fighting Dragon Lore Mindscape RPG Dragon's Lair II Readysoft Canned Video/Adventure Dragon Knight III MegaTech Adult Adventure Drug Wars American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Duelin' Firemen! RUNANDGUN!, Inc. Interactive Movie Electronic Housing Planner TOPPAN Printing Co.,Ltd Cad/house design Family Feud GameTek Game Show FIFA Soccer Electronic Arts Sports Flashback US Gold Action/Adventure Flying Nightmares Domark Flight Sim Football: Defensive Backfield IntelliPlay Education Football: Linemen IntelliPlay Education Football: Quarterback IntelliPlay Education Football: Receiver IntelliPlay Education Frommer's M'media Travel Guide Frommers Reference Galaxian 2 Namco Shooter GEX Crystal Dynamics Platform Gradius Konami Shooter Gridders Tetragon Action/Strategy Guardian War (Powers Kingdom) Panasonic RPG Heart of Darkness Electronic Arts ? Humans, The GameTek Action/Strategy Inspector Danger's Crime Quiz Digital Productions Puzzle InteractV Aerobics VideoactV Exercise Iron Man (Tetsujin) Panasonic 1st person 3D Jammit Virgin 1-on-1 Basketball Kingdom: The Far Reaches Interplay RPG Lawnmower Man Sony Imagesoft Adventure Lemmings III Psygnosis Action/Strategy Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes Electronic Arts Adventure Lost Vikings, The Interplay Action/Adventure Mad Dog McCree II:The Lost Gold American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Maelstrom Readysoft Strategy(?) Magic Carpet Bullfrog/EA ? Mega Race The Software Toolworks Racing Mathemagics LS Interactive, Inc. Education Microcosm Psygnosis Shooter Mieko Digital Productions Education Need for Speed Electronic Arts Driving NHL Hockey Electronic Arts Sports Off-World Interceptor Crystal Dynamics Shooter PatAank PF Magic Futuristic Pinball Peter Gabriels Explora 1 Interplay Interactive music Peter Pan Electronic Arts Paint/Education PGA Tour Golf Electronic Arts Sports Plumbers Don't Wear Ties JC Research Inc. Interactive Movie Powerslide Elite Systems Racing PO'ed (working title) Any Channel 1st Person 3D Rap Rock n Roll I & II Paramount Interactive interactive music Rebel Assault Software Toolworks FMV/Shooter Red Baron Dynamix Flightsim Return to Zork Activision Adventure Return Fire Silent Software Tank battle Road Rash Electronic Arts Racing Robinsons Reqium Similaris RPG Rock and Roll Racing Interplay Action/Arcade Rise of the Robots Mirage Fighting Samurai Shodown Crystal Dynamics Fighting Santa Fe Trail American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Scavenger 4 Psygnosis Canned Video/Shooter Scorched Earth Electronic Arts ? Seawolf SSN-21 Electronic Arts Subsim Sesame Street: Numbers Electronic Arts Education Shadow: War of Succession Tribeca Digital Studios Fighting Silly Classix!... At the Museum VideoactV Cartoon Soccer Kid Studio 3DO Platform Solvalou Namco ? Space Ace Readysoft Canned Video/Adventure Space Hulk Electronic Arts Strategy/Action Space Pirates American Laser Games Canned Video/Shooter Space Shuttle The Software Toolworks Simulation Star Control II Crystal Dyanamics Adventure/RPG Star Trek: The Next Generation Spectrum Holobyte Adventure Star Trek: TNG Technical Manual Paramount Interactive Reference Star Wars Chess Software Toolworks Chess Super Street Fighter II Turbo Capcom Fighting Syndicate Electronic Arts Strategy Theme Park Bullfrog Strategy/Sim Tigernaut: Beyond the Stars VideoactV Edutainment True Golf Classics: Waialae Country Club Panasonic Software Sports Virtuoso Elite Systems 1st person 3D action VR Stalker Morpheus Interactive Flight sim Way of the Warrior Naughty Dog Software Fighting Whole Dog Almanac, The Digital Productions Education Wing Commander III Origin/EA Space Combat Japanese Titles in production or released: Title Publisher Burning Soldier Pack-in Video Chiki Chiki Machine Race Future Pirates Doctor Hauzer Riverhill Soft Fireball Japan Data Works Kyoto Mystery Pack-in Video/Panasonic Mask of the Black Death, The Humming Bird Soft/Panasonic Nobunga's Ambition Koei Nontan To Issho Victor Entertainment/Panasonic Policenauts Konami Powers Kingdom Panasonic Professional Mah Jong Goku ascii/Panasonic Sangokushi Koei Seal of the Pharoah ? Shogi Special Ascii Solar Moon S Bandai Suchi Pai Jaleco Takeru Fun Project/Panasonic Tetsujin (Ironman) Synergy/Panasonic Theatre Wars Hakuhodo/Panasonic Toki O Koeta Tegami Thinking Rabbit/Panasonic Virtual Quest Ask Kondansha Wacky Racers ? Winning Post Koei Ultraman Power Bandai Yu Yu Hakusyo Tomy
If you have problems with your NVRAM, such as problems saving or loading files from it, you can get free software from Panasonic to help you correct the problem. Have the serial number of your 3DO handy, and call Panasonic at (201)348-9090. Tell them you are a 3DO owner and need the 3DO combined demo disk/memory manager. If the person you get doesn't know what you are talking about, make sure they take down your address and have them ask their supervisor for more information.
UPS will not deliver to a P.O. Box . Please _mail_ your Horde (3DO) CD along with the 3"x5" index card or piece of paper with your name and full street address to:
This has been the 3DO Frequently asked questions list. It is maintained by Scott A. Krotz, email@example.com. Although I attempt to keep the FAQ as accurate as possible, some information may be incorrect. I have no affiliation with the 3DO Company other than being a satisfied customer and the information in this FAQ should not be taken as an official statement from the 3DO Company.
Special thanks to Blake Stone, Enrique Conty, and all of the friendly folks at 3DO who helped in creating and maintaining this list. The information and help provided by these people has been a great assistance in making this list as complete and correct as possible. Thanks also to Michel Buffa for his great work in creating a Mosaic version of the faq.
Send all corrections, comments, and ideas for additions to me, Scott Krotz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send all corrections or suggestions about the Mosaic presentation of this page to Michel Buffa <Michel.Buffa@cmu.edu>