Pseudo Saturn Kai official thread

Thanks for the info.

Any idea if I could just yank out the cart as soon as the game boots? Or would that not fix the issue / risk damaging something?
That might put the game in a playable state but I don't recommend it because the Saturn's cartridge port is not designed for swapping/removing carts while the system is powered on, so you risk damaging something if you do that (as you guessed).
 
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fafling

Gear Supporter
This isn't a Pseudo Saturn Kai issue; instead, this sprite glitching is the result of a conflict between your cartridge and the game. This type of conflict is uncommon but not unheard of (e.g. Die Hard Trilogy refuses to work with certain cartridges, regardless of what firmware is installed on the cart).
Do you have examples of Pseudo Saturn Kai cartridges that run Slam 'n jam 96 without that glitch ? Otherwise I wouldn't rule out an issue with the Pseudo Saturn Kai menu.

The Slam 'n jam 96 glitch is that VDP1 is in a state where it doesn't render untextured polygons with transparent pixel enabled (illegal setting according to VDP1 manual). This is the case of the framebuffer erasure polygon, which explains that sprite graphics from preceding frames remain on screen on the parts where the framebuffer is normally transparent to the VDP2 layers below the sprites :
1631817938851.png


Other games using untextured commands with transparent pixel enabled also have this issue when launched with Pseudo Saturn Kai (tested with original discs) : Need for speed (missing gauges and lower part of sprites not erased), and Croc (the fixed US version which doesn't have to be launched from the multiplayer).

I have checked the Pseudo Saturn Kai lite menu (v6.437), and it uses some texture addresses that are not aligned on 32 for the stars. They're 48 bytes textures and their adresses are aligned on 48 and may not be a multiple of 32 :
1631818958965.png


Such a texture address is also illegal according to VDP1 manual. Although it doesn't cause an immediate glitch, it may put VDP1 in an abnormal state and could explain the glitches when Pseudo Saturn Kai launches games that use other illegal stuff.
 
Firstly, let me enlarge on Die Hard Trilogy. A few years ago, I found that a legit copy of this game was not getting past the copyright screen when booting with an Action Replay 4M Plus cartridge via the following firmwares:
  • Action Replay stock firmware v2.02
  • Pseudo Saturn Kai Lite v6.317
However, that same copy booted fine with Pseudo Saturn Kai Full v6.317 installed on the Saturn Gamer's Cartridge, hence why I confidently declared that Die Hard Trilogy does not like certain carts. And today, I confirmed that by finding that it also doesn't work with my Action Replay cart with the boot ROM completely erased.

Shortly after testing Die Hard Trilogy, I heard about this glitch with Slam 'n Jam. If I remember correctly, I experienced this glitch when loading the game on my Saturn equipped with Phoebe ODE via the following methods:
  • Boot Pseudo Saturn Kai Lite installed on Action Replay -> Load game
  • Boot Pseudo Saturn Kai Lite installed on Action Replay -> Load Rmenu -> Load game
Based on these results I probably thought to myself, "This glitch occurs even when Pseudo Saturn Kai doesn't directly boot the game, so it can't be responsible". Combining that thought process with a) the knowledge of the Die Hard Trilogy glitch, and b) my lack of knowledge on VDP1, I rushed to the conclusion that something similar was causing the issue with Slam 'n Jam. Well, that assumption was wrong because I did more tests today on my Phoebe without any cartridge inserted, and got the following results:
  • Rmenu v0.2 [Fast Boot] - Usually works fine, but sometimes the glitch occurs
  • Rmenu v0.2 [Full Boot] - Works fine
  • RmenuKai v6.437 - Glitch occurs with both CWX and JHL loaders
tl;dr It looks like Pseudo Saturn Kai's menu* causes graphical glitches in Slam 'n Jam, and has nothing to do with any type of cartridge being inserted.
* and sometimes Rmenu when using Fast Boot

Do you have examples of Pseudo Saturn Kai cartridges that run Slam 'n jam 96 without that glitch ? Otherwise I wouldn't rule out an issue with the Pseudo Saturn Kai menu.
I had it in my mind that the game works fine with the full version of Pseudo Saturn Kai installed on the Saturn Gamer's Cartridge, but that's not true because the glitch also occurs with that. I was probably conflating it with Die Hard Trilogy which does work fine with the Gamer's Cart.

I have checked the Pseudo Saturn Kai lite menu (v6.437), and it uses some texture addresses that are not aligned on 32 for the stars. They're 48 bytes textures and their adresses are aligned on 48 and may not be a multiple of 32. Such a texture address is also illegal according to VDP1 manual. Although it doesn't cause an immediate glitch, it may put VDP1 in an abnormal state and could explain the glitches when Pseudo Saturn Kai launches games that use other illegal stuff.
This is really useful info, thanks for providing it. Hopefully @cafe-alpha can re-work the star textures in order to ensure that VDP1 is not adversely affected.

Other games using untextured commands with transparent pixel enabled also have this issue when launched with Pseudo Saturn Kai (tested with original discs) : Need for speed (missing gauges and lower part of sprites not erased), and Croc (the fixed US version which doesn't have to be launched from the multiplayer).
Thanks for this info too. According to this post on reddit, Mechwarrior 2 and Space Hulk also have graphical issues with Pseudo Saturn Kai, perhaps for the same reason?

Screenshot 2021-09-17 at 11-02-33 r SegaSaturn - Comment by u Cabal17 on ”Game graphics buggin...png


If you have one, could you possibly PM me a link to the fixed US version of Croc? I've heard about this version but it's not on Redump and I can't seem to find it anywhere else.
 

fafling

Gear Supporter
Interesting about Mechwarrior 2 and Space Hulk glitches with Pseudo Saturn Kai, I didn't know.

I'm off for 3 days, so can't check right now, but iirc the redump US version of Croc is the fixed one. I compared its settings for the polygon commands and it was the same as those made by my US CD (only transparent pixel enabled while the bugged PAL CD enables transparent pixel and end code, illegal combo ! ). Apparently there was a recall of the US bugged version, so it must be quite rare.
 

cafe-alpha

Established Member
Thank you @fafling for the remark about data alignment ! So far I thought sprites had to be aligned to an 8 bytes boundary but I was probably misunderstanding with restriction regarding width of the sprites.

Data alignment is fixed on latest (WIP, not public) build and I hope it will fix the glitch with Slam'n Jam
20210919_starfield_64b.png
 
I'm off for 3 days, so can't check right now, but iirc the redump US version of Croc is the fixed one. I compared its settings for the polygon commands and it was the same as those made by my US CD (only transparent pixel enabled while the bugged PAL CD enables transparent pixel and end code, illegal combo ! ). Apparently there was a recall of the US bugged version, so it must be quite rare.
Yep it's the fixed version, thanks for the tip. On my Phoebe ODE it loads fine in Rmenu (Fast and Full Boot) but is glitched when loaded by Pseudo Saturn Kai.
 

fafling

Gear Supporter
Thanks for this info too. According to this post on reddit, Mechwarrior 2 and Space Hulk also have graphical issues with Pseudo Saturn Kai, perhaps for the same reason?

View attachment 6611
Yes, same kind of issue in Mechwarrior 2 and Space Hulk : the missing graphics are drawn with line commands with transparent pixel enabled.

Interestingly, in Space Hulk, the map doesn't appear during the first briefing, but then in game it appears correctly, and if you exit the mission and go to select mission to display the briefing again, the map is displayed. In all cases, the map is drawn with the illegal line commands.
So Space Hulk seems to do something that allows VDP1 to resume the drawing of those illegal commands when gameplay starts.
 
for some reason when playing tomb raider (usa) i can save to my gamer's cartridge and load if i exit to title but after i reboot and select cartridge then go to load it's just blank and my save isn't there.
anyone know if this is an issue with tomb raider itself rather than anything else and if so is there a patch to fix this issue thanks.
 

cafe-alpha

Established Member
wow it's official on twitter !
the force of the blue cow !
thanks for this release @cafe-alpha

Hehe, that's a chameleon cow whose color changes from a site to another :)

for some reason when playing tomb raider (usa) i can save to my gamer's cartridge and load if i exit to title but after i reboot and select cartridge then go to load it's just blank and my save isn't there.
anyone know if this is an issue with tomb raider itself rather than anything else and if so is there a patch to fix this issue thanks.

So far I didn't received any feedback regarding this game and Gamer's Cartridge, so fortunately it should work fine.
-> Can you see a save data from Save Data Manager ? Did you checked the contents of MEMCART folder ? Did you tried with another SD card ? etc
 
Hehe, that's a chameleon cow whose color changes from a site to another :)



So far I didn't received any feedback regarding this game and Gamer's Cartridge, so fortunately it should work fine.
-> Can you see a save data from Save Data Manager ? Did you checked the contents of MEMCART folder ? Did you tried with another SD card ? etc
it's interesting because it does save the game but for some reason it doesn't show up when it comes to loading, i think it may be a tomb raider issue because it may have been something i remember happening in the past when trying to save/load from an official memory cartridge.
 
Tomb Raider (USA / JPN) are partially compatible with Gamer's Cartridge. I followed these steps to test compatibility:
  1. Load Tomb Raider and select 'CARTRIDGE' as the memory device
  2. Start new game and reach first crystal to save game progress
  3. Soft reset back to title screen and able to load save file
  4. Power cycle Saturn
  5. Load Tomb Raider and select 'CARTRIDGE' as the memory device
  6. 'Load game' option is not available
  7. Exit Tomb Raider and go to Save Data Manager
  8. Copy save file from cartridge memory to internal memory
  9. Load Tomb Raider and select 'SYSTEM' as the memory device
  10. 'Load game' option is available and able to load save file
Official memory cartridge works as you would expect it to; you can save game progress to it, power cycle the Saturn, and then load your save file.

@cafe-alpha : Let's add Tomb Raider (USA and JPN) to the list of games with vmem disabled in the automatic loader. European version does not support official memory cartridge so that's not a concern.
 
I tried to flash my AR plus cartridge which already included quite old version of PSKAI to the newest version and attempt ended up to erase failed error. Is there any way to try to flash it again or is it brick?
 
I tried to flash my AR plus cartridge which already included quite old version of PSKAI to the newest version and attempt ended up to erase failed error. Is there any way to try to flash it again or is it brick?
If you own an ODE (Rhea/Phoebe, Fenrir etc) then you can simply run the flasher utility from there and try again.
If you don't have an ODE and your Saturn isn't equipped with a modchip to read CD-Rs, you'll have load the flasher utility via the disc swap trick.

When running the flasher utility, if the Vendor ID and Device ID look like this:

2.jpg


Then please pull the cartridge up gradually until it looks like this:

1.jpg
 
If you own an ODE (Rhea/Phoebe, Fenrir etc) then you can simply run the flasher utility from there and try again.
If you don't have an ODE and your Saturn isn't equipped with a modchip to read CD-Rs, you'll have load the flasher utility via the disc swap trick.

When running the flasher utility, if the Vendor ID and Device ID look like this:

View attachment 7064

Then please pull the cartridge up gradually until it looks like this:

View attachment 7063
Ok thanks. I already tried swap trick but didn’t managed it to boot burned disk. It’s vert hard to success with my japan version 2 console. Was like a pain in the ass when I originally flashed the cartridge.

I’m waiting for my Terraonion MODE to arrive and give it another try after that.

But good to know.
 
Hi, I looked around quite a bit before posting this, but couldn't find anything describing this exact scenario. It appears that the Action Replay Plus carts don't auto switch back to 1MB RAM mode after a 4MB game has been ran during the same power cycle. The games that only support 1MB, like KOF '96 and Real Bout will have graphical corruption if a game like Vampire Savior has been run beforehand.

I found this as I recently loaded up a SD card with images for use on a Rhea ODE. I was testing all the games by Fast Booting from RMENU and then doing a A+B+C+Start soft reset, CD player, back to RMENU, load next game. When I got to the RAM cart games I put in my ancient AR I've had since the late 90's, comms port and v2.01. I tested something like XmenVsSF and then moved on to Samurai Spirits IV. I saw the graphical corruption, and soft reset and tried again with same results. I tried loading 1MB only games with "Full Boot" and "Load Cart" after first running a 4MB game. They still had graphical corruption like the cart wasn't switching back to 1MB mode. After a fresh power off/on, the 1MB only games would work fine when starting them first, running non-RAM games beforehand, or other 1MB only games beforehand. As soon as a 4MB required game, or even a 4MB optional game like Astra Superstars was ran, the cart would then be stuck in 4MB mode until a power cycle.

Thinking the v2.01 cart was just old, I bought a brand new v2.02 Action Replay. That new cart had the same exact results. I then flashed the new cart with the latest PSK lite. The same results were had using PSK. As a last effort, I even tried loading Real Bout with JHL loader but still got the corruption.

I realize this isn't a problem as the solution is pretty simple. If you're planning on running 1MB only games, don't run any 4MB games beforehand. If you do, cycle power before loading the 1MB only game. I just found this interesting and have never seen it discussed before. Is it possible for a loading mode to be implemented in PSK that would force reset the cart to 1MB mode? Just a long shot, as I'm guessing this is some sort of cart hardware side thing.
 
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cafe-alpha

Established Member
As you were reporting about expansion RAM, Action Replay stock firmware and RMENU utility I was about to reply something like "flaky hardware and not my problem" ( :D ) but after thinking a bit more it looks like Saturn BIOS is not caring about expansion RAM access when doing a soft reset. If that assertion is right and if the problem can be reproduced then a fix may be doable.

@privateye : can you please try to load X-Men vs Street Fighter -> soft reset -> load Samurai Spirits Amakusa Kourin and see if graphics are corrupted or not ? If this problem can be reproduced I shall then prepare a beta build to check the status of A-Bus access registers.

I realize this isn't a problem as the solution is pretty simple. If you're planning on running 1MB only games, don't run any 4MB games beforehand. If you do, cycle power before loading the 1MB only game.

The fact this problem can be "fixed" with a power cycle is probably the reason why it wasn't reported so far. But if it can be fixed on Pseudo Saturn Kai side then things shall become more convenient for ODE users.
 
I observed some other odd behavior moving the cart to a spare Saturn. I currently have the new cart flashed with Memory Card Plus firmware to experiment with direct saving, but I imagine this new observation would affect PSK as well.

On the back up Saturn, first boot was to a 1MB game and got the corruption. Quick power cycle fixed it. Experimented with 4MB games and the results were the same as my first post.

Moved cart back to the main Saturn, and did a first power boot to a 1MB game, corruption. Power cycle fixed it.

Even letting the system sit offline for a while .. going back on first power up to a 1MB game would lead to corruption, with a quick power cycle fixing it.

So in my current setup, regardless of system. If I walk up to a Saturn and want to load a 1MB game, I need to power it up for a boot, and then do a hard power restart to ensure no corruption. It's definitely odd.
 
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