Extension Ram Cartridge and mini prep guide for Mars CD developers and programming


Ban Hammered
Attached is a mini prep how-to for Mars CD developers and programmers. It's missing lots of information and is intended to resolve the biggest problems some developers face with Mars. It's also somewhat of a problem this is on the internet which seems to have become a marketing tool. This guide goes against many marketing preferences... If you really are a developer, programmer and/or hobbyist targeting Mars, this should solve most issues and supplement your ingenuity.

If you prefer pirating existing programs and catalogs then this guide may not be for you. Guide is intended to be resourceful with genuine facts, and ironically some of these facts are a result of pirating. Go figure :rolleyes2:

Gamefaqs rejected F.A.Q. so I decided to post it here. Hopefully Segaxtreme.net hasn't been flooded with marketing and spam bots. I know it's late, but better late than never. Thanks for your support.

Will try to update F.A.Q. when possible.

Here are some links provided as-is. These may or may not shutdown as of this update. You should already have a 74ls612 pager assembled and installed with a test program by now otherwise you’ll be restricted to cartridge ROM programs. I will try to update the Mini how-to as soon as possible with test program for the pager with 64 megabytes..

Computer recommendation and prerequisites for Mars CD content creation:

DGT2, PICT, DXF, and PICS formats should be used for visual content. These formats are supported by various Sega tools. Some of the Sega Saturn tools from Sega, and various other software (e.g. 3DO Animator) support some of these formats and can be used (even if they don’t explicitly state 32X Mars support). If you have a Sega DTS CD, there should be an Adobe Photoshop plugin available on the CD. It isn’t mandatory to use these formats always, but it may make things easier and more consistent. Don’t forget the SuperVDP does implement hardware line-scrolling and RLE decompression.

Computer recommendation is Macintosh PowerPC with MacOS 8,9. Most programs designed for Microsoft OSs can still be used on PowerPC Macintosh MacOS 8,9 via Softwindows or VirtualPC. If your PowerPC machine doesn’t support MacOS 8,9 install, you can use SheepShaver. Some Sega and other Software requires a 68K System 7 Macintosh; if you need to use such software MacOS 8,9 provides a virtual 68K mode which should work, otherwise you must use Basilisk II with at least MacOS X. If using 8086 compatible P.C., Windows 3.1 is a good choice. It's recommended to use 95,98,ME OSs for more advanced 2D content editing. If you can’t install Windows 3.1 or 95/98/ME on your machine, this can be accomplished through Virtualization software such as Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 (recommended), or VMware Workstation Player. Intel Mac OSX users can use bootcamp, and/or VMware Workstation Player. VirtualBox should be used as a last resort if all else fails since there can be difficulties with virtual hardware selection against MSDOS and Windows 3.1/9x/ME virtual machines; if you have too much trouble installing MSDOS and/or Windows 3.1/95/98/ME in VirtualBox, enable nested virtualization and install a post Windows 2000 virtual machine with virtualization software inside the virtual machine (like Vmware Workstation Player or Virtual PC 2007), and then finally install MSDOS and/or Windows 3.1/9x/ME inside the virtual machine of the virtualbox virtual machine. More advanced users can use qemu but this requires a separate guide and usually doesn’t work unless nested virtualization is used (e.g. virtualmachine inside a virtual machine with different virtualization software)..

Computer software for Mars CD content creation:
SoftWindows (MacOS 9. Recommended. Packaged Windows image is crossed over for powerpc so it's very fast!)
Basilisk II (Unix with X11 "Linux i386/x86_64, Solaris 2.5, FreeBSD 3.x, IRIX 6.5". Mac OS X PowerPC and Intel. Windows NT/2000/XP. BeOS R4 PowerPC and Intel. AmigaOS 3.x)
Connectix VirtualPC (MacOS 8,9 & Windows 98,ME,2000)
DosBox (Windows RT ARM in Test Mode, Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10. Intel MacOS X. Linux. Android)
Bochs (Recommended. Windows RT ARM in Test Mode, Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10. Ppc MacOs unknown. Irix mips. Digital Unix Alpha. AIX Ppc. Solaris sparc. Intel MacOS X. Linux)
Qemu (Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and mobile variants with Intel HAX driver. Linux. Intel MacOS X)
Virtual PC 2007 (Recommended. Windows Vista and 7 with NTFS filesystem. Unofficially Windows 8 & 32-bit Windows 10)
VMware Workstation Player (Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Intel MacOS X. Linux)
Virtualbox (Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Intel MacOS X. Linux)
Visual Studio 6.0 (Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT 4)
Visual Studio 2012 (Recommended for targeting Windows RT ARM. Windows 7, 8, 10)
Adobe Photoshop 7 (MacOS 8,9 and/or Windows 98/ME/2000)
Code Warrior (Revisions pre v6.x Pro MacOS 8,9, Windows 98/ME/2000,) (Version 4 Pro works with Linux)
Sega Art and Graphics Tools (Macintosh 68K System 7. Newer revisions are unknown)
3DO Animator (Macintosh unknown)
Wingrit and grit (Windows XP) Wingrit: Windows GBA Image Transmogrifier.
Mappy (D.O.S. Windows 98/2000) Mappy Tile Map Editor - A utility for creating flexible 'maps' for 2D and 3D tile based games
Gems (MSDOS)
snasm68k (MSDOS)
snasmsh2 (MSDOS)
Zasm (MSDOS)

Misc. Code libraries and software for Mars CD content and development:
Squish (lib) Bananattack/squish
bmp2c (software) danfekete/bmp2c
Allegro (lib) Allegro - A Game Programming Library - Allegro Wiki
Sixpack (software) Sixpack - Image converter and packer
program and lib examples from jigawatt Console programming
Timidity command line (Software. Useful for copying custom pat set to Gems. Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7. Linux)

Useful references and examples for Mars CD content and programming:
Guides and samples (webpage available as single zip. It's for DOS development but is very useful for Mars) GameSmith


  • sega mars programming FAQ v0.1.txt
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Attached some interesting facts from mailing list thread 1998 archive cbm-hackers mailing list: 74ls612, clocking 6502and others....

Edit: Here's a link to some useful details about using 74ls612 http://www.unige.ch/medecine/nouspikel/ti99/superams.htm#operating the 612. Check other links on same page. Attached datasheet too.

Maybe Steve Snake can update Kega Fusion with extension ram cartridge and definable ram size functions...? Maybe PicoDrive and others...? Supposedly the 74ls612 is some of the pagers (or mappers) on Nintendo/Famicom 8bit catalogs; if true it should be possible to copy it over to picodrive.


  • 74ls612 1998 Mailing List rbaltiss_at_worldaccess.nl.txt
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Added links and references to first post. Don't forget this can be messy and rather difficult since many programs are old and nobody seems to care about CD programs, and the W.W.W. being influenced by the market. It's usually easier with Sheepshaver and virtualization.
That's just terrible advice. Why would anyone suffer with 25 years old software, when there's infinitely better art packages available today, that don't require dicking around with emulators for dead operating systems to run?