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Pseudo Saturn Kai official thread

Discussion in 'Saturn Dev' started by vbt, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

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  2. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    thank you for this thread !
    I plan to put sources/binaries about Pseudo Saturn Kai here : http://ppcenter.free.fr/pskai/

    And this thread gathers detailed informations about Pseudo Saturn Kai.

    Index of this thread :
    - Glossary/description of each modules in Pseudo Saturn Kai : post #9
    - Full/lite firmware differences : post #17
    - What you need to do when compatibility reporting something : post #10
    - About save support on Action Replay : post #6
    - When reporting a bug : post #11
    - List of games requiring patching : post #95
    - Flash Pseudo Saturn Kai to ARP on early Model 1 Saturn : post #212
    - Cartridge boots fine, but game won't load → let's check around CD-R and Saturn CD drive : post #237
    - Why does my cartridge flash ROM is recognized with 5345/4741 vendor/device IDs ? Detailed answer in post #244
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    Cliff Moore and NoAffinity like this.
  3. Red Ring Rico

    Red Ring Rico Mid Boss

    I think there's a typo on the page:
    "Pseudo Saturn is a software exploit allowing to run game backups (burned on CD-R) without only the need of Saturn Cartridge."
    Shouldn't it be:
    "Pseudo Saturn is a software exploit allowing to run game backups (burned on CD-R) with only the need of Saturn Cartridge."

    It's looking very promising for any possible future Saturn homebrew games =D.
  4. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Arg, it's a mistake from me :D I just fixed it. Thank you for pointing it :)
  5. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Beta tester reported that "SD Memory Cart" feature worked on some games :]
    There are still other things to verify/cleanup/fix/whatever before release however ...
  6. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    I recently had inquiries about save feature availability on Action Replay, so I post a detailed answer about it here :

    Question :
    My answer :

    Basically, the text blob above is a memo for future myself ^^; But of course any additional comment or advice is welcome.
  7. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    vbt, can you rename this thread from "Pseudo saturn thread" to "Pseudo Saturn Kai official thread" ?
    Reasons are that Pseudo Saturn already has his thread on assembler games, and that I want to use this thread as official one for Pseudo Saturn Kai, mostly in order to share detailed informations, and discuss about changes/requests/bugfixes/whatever with future users.
  8. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    renamed + sticky bonus :)
  9. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Thank you ! I still doesn't deserve a sticky, but I will do my best to pay off this debt :)

    First, I should describe each modules in Pseudo Saturn Kai :

    1. Pseudo Saturn Kai itself
    The main executable that allows to boot games burned on CD-R.
    It is basically similar to "traditional" Pseudo Saturn with the following additions :
    - Both "CWX" (Pseudo Saturn 0.831) and "JHL" (Pseudo Saturn 0.832) loaders available, with a menu in order to select which one to use.
    Main purpose for this is to try CWX loader in the case JHL loader doesn't works.
    - USB transfer, for use by USB dev cart.
    It is available anytime in all menus.
    Old "parallel" transfer for use with Action Replay and USB Data Link is still available, but not enabled by default (because there's no simple way to detect Action Replay parallel connector), so it needs to be enabled from link type selection menu.

    2. Save Data Manager
    Allows to manage save states of internal memory, cartridge memory, or even FDD (untested, but should work).

    Similar to "Memory Manager" embedded in Saturn's BIOS, with the following extra features :
    - Allow to import saves from various formats : among others, Action Replay and Memory Cart Plus flash memory dump as well as official memory carts dump formats are supported.
    - Open source ... not yet, but it will be when Pseudo Saturn Kai will be released ^^
    - Better menus, especially it is possible to copy/delete several saves at once.

    How it looks like : some screenshots are available on my blog :

    Save Data Manager will be released in .iso format, with several save data to import, and also cartridge flasher utility : "one CD-R to rule them all" :D
    Also, Save Data Manager will be available directly from Pseudo Saturn Kai in the case 1MB flash memory size is available on cartridge (= not possible Action Replay, there isn't enough room in flash memory).

    3. Vmem
    "Virtual Memory Cart". This is what allows direct save (when game is displaying save state menu) to cartridge's SD card.
    Similar to "Memory Cart Plus" cartridge behavior, but saves to SD card rather than flash memory.

    It is not available for Action Replay cartridges : sorry, but there isn't enough room in flash memory, and there isn't even SD card socket available too. (More details in post #6)

    Vmem emulates Saturn's internal backup memory, file-based (= SD card) backup memory, but not cartridge backup memory, nor FDD.
    Reason for cartridge backup memory : probably not enough RAM to do this, and file-based (= SD card) backup memory will do the job instead.
    Reason for FDD : I need one in order to reverse engineer it, and it's too expensive. Also, I doubt somebody is still using one ?

    Vmem also features "hybrid" memory device : in that case, internal backup memory is replaced by both internal backup memory and SD card backup memory : this allows to store state data on SD card, even if the game doesn't supports backup memory cartridge :)

    Vmem currently supports only CWX loader, and some games are incompatible, but I'm working on improving theses two points.

    Also, some games may ignore vmem and directly access to backup memory (I noticed that NiGHTS and Xmas NiGHTS are behaving like this), so in that case save state on SD card can't be used. But, Saturn internal backup memory works fine, and of course importing, copying saves from Save Data Manager works fine too.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  10. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    In the case you want to send Pseudo Saturn (Kai or not) compatibility report, this thread is the right place :)
    However, rather than posting "XYZ game doesn't work !", please try to open your game CDROM with Saturn Region Patcher and post here a screenshot of it.
    It would help me to clearly verify which game is concerned, and it would help you to verify if your game was correctly burned or not.
    Also, please inform about the Saturn you're using :
    - Modchipped ?
    - Which Saturn model ? European ? USA ? Japanese ?
    - Which BIOS version ? (*1)
    - Using Action Replay ? Other cartridge ? (which model)

    (*1) Pseudo Saturn Kai can display BIOS CRC value : turn on Saturn, press B button (in order to exit loader selection menu) → Extra → System Info.
    Posting a picture of that screen helps me a lot in order to verify which hardware you're using.

    The more information you post, the better for us :)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  11. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    I couldn't wait for beta testers to try Shining Force 3 (my favorite Saturn game !), so I tested by myself and took a couple of videos by the same occasion :)

    Edit : video are finally ready and available here.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  12. Amon

    Amon Staff Member

    Hey café-alpha. I just want to say keep up the good work. I would love to help you test but I do not have any carts that can take advantage of a lot of the features. I only have a gameshark and an AR+ (with port). Is there anything I can do to help? Any carts I should buy to help ;)
  13. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Thank you for your support :)
    Unfortunately, I already gave all my Q&D proto carts to beta testers, sorry.
    If you have something to connect your AR+ to PC (USB Data Link for example), I would be interested in you to verify if comms link transfer stuff still works : it's around 3 years I didn't used it, and my old PC compatible with my exstand device don't want to boot anymore.
    Please note that the limiting factor to everyone isn't hardware, but free time : do you have enough free time for testing ?

    Carts aren't already available for purchase ^^ And I can't assemble a lot too.
  14. Amon

    Amon Staff Member

    I haven't been able to get my AR+ to work with a pc in a while now. At one point I was updating the USB Data Link software but never tested it correctly. I should find that project and see if it works.
  15. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    OK, please let me know if you can get them working :)
  16. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Steps when reporting a bug.
    This requires access to SD card, hence not possible when Action Replay cartridge is used.

    1. From firmware main menu, go to Extra -> System Info & Dump -> push start button and wait until information is saved to SD card.
    2. From firmware main menu, go to Settings -> Default Settings -> Log to SD card in order to save log messages to SD card.
    3. Reset your Saturn.
    A "SD card log confirmation" screen is displayed, that's normal.
    Please push B button in this confirmation menu in order to keep log to SD card setting enabled.
    4. Perform the steps to reproduce the bug, and after that, turn off your Saturn.
    (Don't reset your Saturn, because firmware restart would overwrite the .log file in your SD card)
    5. Send me the following files below :
    - "PSKAI.LOG" and "VMEM.LOG" (if exists) files located in your SD card root folder.
    - Whole "DUMP" folder (up to 3 files).

    After testing, please restore back "Log to SD card" setting to OFF. This can be done on firmware startup, or from Setting screen.

    If required (it usually isn't), it is also possible to perform memory dumps :
    Note : memory dump is useful only when debugging game loader.
    1. From firmware main menu, go to Settings -> Default Settings -> Log to SD card in order to save log messages to SD card.
    2. Reset your Saturn.
    A "SD card log confirmation" screen is displayed, that's normal.
    Please push B button in this confirmation menu in order to keep log to SD card setting enabled.
    3. From main menu, select Start Game, and push Z button when CWX loader is highlighted.
    Firmware will dump several files to your SD card.
    It takes around 30 minutes to dump everything, so please be patient.
    (No user interaction is required while dumping files, so you can do something else in the meantime)
    4. Turn off your Saturn when game's title screen is displayed.
    5. Send me the following files located in your SD card root folder :
    - TEST*.DMP (up to 6 files)

    After testing, please restore back "Log to SD card" setting to OFF. This can be done on firmware startup, or from Setting screen.
  17. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Pseudo Saturn Kai full/lite firmware differences :
    There are two firmware versions of Pseudo Saturn Kai : full and lite. Technical differences are firmware file size (256KB for lite version, vs 1MB for full version) and full firmware only features :
    - Virtual Memory Cart
    - Extra "RomFs" data
    Consequently, full version of the firmware requires SD card adapter installed on your cartridge.

    Lite version of the firmware can be installed on basically any "standard" cartridge (Action Replay, Game Shark, USB dev cart, etc), and allows "base" functionalities :
    - Communication with PC (USB Data Link and USB dev cart supported).
    - Boot games from CD-R (Both Pseudo Saturn 0.831 and 0.832 loaders included).
    - Other minor features.
  18. JDE

    JDE New Member

    This is a great thread vbt! I have just received 3 ems AR carts i picked up from amazon. Wanted to try out the flash procedure and give one to my son. I have a few questions about the readme txt file for pseudoSaturn v0.832 FINAL.
    Should i post the questions here or pm you?
  19. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    If answering theses questions can help somebody else reading this thread in the future, it's better to post theses here.
    (I'm not available this week-end, so it may take a while before I can reply you.)
  20. JDE

    JDE New Member

    ok no worries, here goes.
    I will copy n paste samples from PseudoSaturn v0.831 read me txt file.
    Dependencies & Build Instructions. I have to do all of this to make a PseudoSaturn.BIN first?

    I have burned the installer.iso to a CD with an old puter.

    Install Instructions
    Requirements: Installation requires you to own an Action Replay(ideally EMS) and a method for flashing data to the Action Replay. The default
    installer is via cd image, which requires you to burn and boot the disc on the Saturn, which requires a blank cd, and modchip or disc swapping which won't be covered here.
    WARNING: Flashing data to your Action Replay may possibly fail. This is especially true on Saturn's with old and/or faulty cartridge connectors. If your Saturn has a history of corrupted saves or cheats it's quite possible flashing will fail and your Action Replay will be bricked.

    1. Burn installer.iso to a cd
    2. Boot Saturn and let CD load
    3. Select "Backup AR to Commlink" (Optional)
    4. Use a utility designed for your commlink and download memory addresses 0x00200000-0x00240000. When finished go back to menu. (Optional)
    5. Select "Inst Firmware from Disc".
    6. When ready hit buttons A+B+C.
    7. Wait for firmware install to finish. DO NOT TURN OFF SYSTEM. It may take a few minutes.
    8. You should see a "SUCCESS" message if all goes well. Press reset to enjoy your new firmware!


    "installer is via cd image, which requires you to burn and boot the disc on the Saturn"
    This sounds like the Saturn console has a built in CD burner. Did they release one? Maybe it should read something like, burn the cd image on your PC or laptop or whatever, then, put that disc into the Saturn drive.

    "3. Select "Backup AR to Commlink" (Optional)"
    What is this "optional" option or is "Backup AR to Commlink" the option i have to check to get to step 4?

    4. Use a utility designed for your commlink and download memory addresses 0x00200000-0x00240000. When finished go back to menu. (Optional)
    So...im downloading the "memory addresses 0x00200000-0x00240000" from where? off the disc?

    6. When ready hit buttons A+B+C.
    I read that as ...AplusBplusC... together simultaneously at same time, or you goof up the whole darn procedure and have to report front and center to these forums for twenty lashes with a rubber chicken by vbt.

    Well, as you would expect, ive been doing alot of finger exercises these past few days, i don't want to mess this one up.

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