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Pseudo Saturn Kai official thread

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

  1. seal1

    seal1 New Member

    grrr, I moved last xmas from a full blown desktop machine to a thin laptop with win10.
    for now it works.

    he modded the driver for large transfer to get higher speeds.
    his tool is running in the shell and looks like norton commander 25 years ago ;-)
    I don't think it is worth to port it, but I will send it to you via PM for acadmic reasons w/ source.

    yeah sure I forgot the central pillar, but if you move the sd-slot to the left or right it should be possible and not so bad with the maybe missing symmetric optic if the SD-card is fully inserted.

    I have no clue about 3D-printing, but Darius sounded like 3D-printing would be to expensive, at least for now where so much defective old carts are out there.

    so for programming the CPLD not to flash a SGC over this JTAG outside a saturn ?

    but there are some unused pins left ?
    even a slow serial link option with those 1-2 buck$ usb-com-converters will do ?

    so hitomi2500's approach with a FPGA with RAM on chip or emulated RAM in the gates is the easier solution for this problem ?

    this will do for now, so to speak I will take the just "USB Dev cart" you have in stock (more via PM).

    I don't play that much, so a cheat option is last on the list.

    in general I looking for the ultimate cart (in 3-4 years), "one for all" pcb but modular (not fully populated) to save costs ?
    - so a pure gamer buys only e.g. the SGC-version.
    - a homebrewer buys the usb-dev-version
    - the collector the ultimate-version

    but all have at least 3 function:
    - import adapter
    - pseudo saturn
    - 1m/4m ram

    and one of the obligated options:
    - SD-Card (with a better CPLD are higher speeds than 40 kb/s possible ?)
    - USB

    so we could get a broad base (worldwide) to load homebrew (and later semi-commercial releases like on dreamcast) from CD-R or SD or USB.

    but all depends an jhl's mpeg-slot-cart (price point, features), it maybe cheaper to have 2 carts in different slots, and you or somebody have not to invent the wheel again for usb-loading (maybe only from USB-device instead from USB-PC-Server).

    I have no knowledge about costs for SD-cart-slot vs. usb-chip or CPLD vs. FPGA, the above are just pure ramblings from my head.

    for realtime cheat hunting like with AR / Commslink or ODE-feature (like jhl's mpeg-slot-cart) ?

    what hidden gems you have in the pipeline ?
  2. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    You're lucky ! My dev laptop was manufactured in 2010 ^^;

    Thank you. I you like tools full of keyboard shortcuts, I can adapt it for USB dev cart.
    I feel a bit nostalgic to see Visual Studio version 6 project ... I made my first C projects on that compiler :)

    I'm not sure it's possible, because this would require to remove a part that keep the shell closed.

    Well, I actually would be OK to pay a bit more than Action Replay shells in order to get custom shells for my cartridges :)
    The lack of people motived to design and print custom shells is the most important bottleneck I think. And yes, it's easy to find Action Replay shells, so this breaks motivation to do something different.
    (Are you French ? I though you used Darius forums for SGC purchase only, but it seems you are following his forums too.)

    Yes : CPLD is programmed via JTAG, and SH-2 firmware is flashed directly from Saturn.

    That's a very small CPLD (EPM3064, Altera MAX3000 series), so I'm not even sure serializer/deserializer logic (in order to interface between USB dev cart registers and serial communication port) would fit.
    But if you're OK to break compatibility with USB dev cart (= do the serialize/deserialize job on SH-2 side), remaining glue logic should fit in CPLD.

    Yes : it's flexible, and hitomi2500's FPGA (MAX10) has by far more horsepower than my poor EPM3064 :)
    The demerit is that it's more difficult to solder than SGC, a bit more expensive too, and still WIP too.

    Thank you ! I keep it for you.

    I prefer to design one PCB per cartridge type :
    - It allows to use CPLD/FPGA suited for cartridge, rather than one common CPLD/FPGA for each cartridges.
    - I prefer to order PCBs little by little, in order to avoid manufacturing problems on large batchs, and because I do this as an hobby. So ordering different PCBs for each cartridge type is not a problem.

    This is my way of doing/thinking things too :)
    There are still many things to do on Saturn cartridge : RAM, modem, ODE, homebrew, etc ... but doing such ultimate cartridge would take decades, and cost (both development and manufacturing) a lot.
    So I decided to focus on SGC first, which would satisfy a majority of "casual" users.

    Yes, but games requiring RAM can work with Action Replay cartridge, and in this case backup memory feature is useless, so that I didn't added RAM in SGC.

    Yes : SD card is good for homebrew programs, since it allows to update program, add levels, etc easily.

    VCD port and cartridge port have both strong and weak points :
    VCD port is best located for CD-ROM, audio, video related things, while cartridge port is the only solution to add RAM and boot code, so both will be required I think.

    Yes : USB dev cart is not designed to do ODE things.

    Long time I was waiting a context in order to show that gif :D

    More seriously, I don't plan a lot of new hardware releases in near future, and plan to focus on software (cheat codes addition, homebrew applications) instead.
    In the same time of SGC development, I made a USB dev cart + SD card cartridge. It works, but it is still in "messy prototype" stage and even doesn't fits in Action Replay shell.
    If you're interested in developing games for SGC, I can make such cartridge for you ;)
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  3. seal1

    seal1 New Member

    great news

    the one from @zone66x looks great, hope he comes back to the forum.

    No, I'm German, but following his "new items in stock"-thread.

    mmh, but as I remember for playing VCDs with the original VCD-Card you jump (manually or automatic) from the audio-player into the vcd-player-interface. so no other (boot)-cart needed for executing code.
  4. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    I hope too :)

    I actually have limited knowledge about VCD cards, and according to how they behaves, boot cartridge may be required or not :

    Case 1 : SH-1 copies SH-2 code from VCD card ROM+20KB to high/low work RAM, and then SH-2 executes it.
    In that case, as SH-2 doesn't have direct read/write/execute access to VCD card ROM, boot cartridge is required for backup memory, extra RAM/ROM, cheat codes, etc features.

    Case 2 : Saturn hardware maps VCD card ROM+20KB to A-Bus CS0 : in this case it would be possible to do extra RAM/ROM, cheat codes, virtual memory cartridge (as I do in Saturn Gamer's Cartridge) with only VCD card.

    I suppose that VCD card behavior is "case 1", but that just a guess : SH-1 main job is to copy data from CD-ROM to CD block registers (accessible from SH-2), so that would be natural to do similar things from VCD card ROM to CD block registers.
    If someone could give some technical details about VCD card behavior, that would be appreciated :)
  5. seal1

    seal1 New Member

    I believe it's "case 1" and no chance of features like 1M/4M RAM, ROM, (official) BACKUP MEMORY, CHEATS in jhl's ODE.
    if it were "case 2" vcd-card-roms would easy to dump and floating around the www, which is not the case ?

    yabause has an option to load a VCD-card-rom. jhl's build of yabause may give more clues ?

    we will see this all in 2017 with jhl's ODE.

    for now I think sh1 in cd-block executes unsigned code from vcd-card-rom.
    jhl uses this to feed the cd-block different (speak his ODE-) code.
    cool to know would be:
    - adds or overwrites the vcd-card-rom functionality to the cd-block ?
    - which then means temporary patching sh1-functionslist to point to functions/code in sh1-ram
    - if jhl's cart-rom can patch those pointers of normal cd-check/cd-read-functions to his own code his ODE will have 100% compatibility !? (aside vcd-card-games)

    Edit: I read the http://assemblergames.com/l/threads/saturn-cd-block-rom-dumped.52419/ it's done via "the CDB supports microcode extensions, which is how the MPEG cards work." instead of my guess patching a vector/subroutines-table/list of the ROM which is mirrored/copied to RAM (<-- that would maybe the case 10 years further in the past).
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  6. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Nice guess :)
    AFAIK, there are no way to dump VCD cards ROM other than desoldering its flash chip, and to use a *ROM dumper device.

    jhl said his ODE will be able to dump SH1's ROM, so analyzing it will probably give clues about how to use/hack CD block.

    I don't know exactly how jhl's ODE works. I thinks it uses a(nother) exploit in SH-1 ROM in order to substitute original CDROM access functions with ODE ones. I would be surprised there is a straightforward way to do this.

    Since this is a SH-1 (CPU who handles CD-ROM stuff) exploit, I suppose that compatibility will be good.
    In comparison to existing ODE (rhea, etc), it will probably allow to read data faster than CDROM nominal speed (rhea can't do this, because of CDROM unit clock limitation), and read CD-R games :)
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  7. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Not directly related to Pseudo Saturn Kai, but custom labels for Gamer's Cartridge are finally available :banana:
    (More informations and pictures in my devblog)

    This last step regarding Gamer's Cartridge design is (finally) finished, so I can now focus on cartridge's firmware (= Pseudo Saturn Kai) development, which is great, because I prefer C language rather than design stuff ^^
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  8. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Thank you :) I actually didn't made a lot of regarding labels :
    Design was made by volunteers :
    - jjennings089
    - @Thales Peres (youtube)
    And printing / cutting job was made by Darius.

    My part of the job is just ... to stick the labels on cartridge shells :D
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  9. SegaSaturnShrine

    SegaSaturnShrine New Member

    Well great work all around then! Also you have the hardest job out of all of it @cafe-alpha, writing and maintaining the firmware
    cafe-alpha likes this.
  10. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    finally i've installed pseudo saturn lite on my dev cart and it's working like a charm.
    i have one improvent request on start game with usb, when you have selected this menu, you can't do "back".

    well i've tested some games, i hope it can help.

    working games :

    ninpen manmaru
    thunderforce 5
    layer section 2 (raystorm)
    athlete kings
    mizubaku adventures
    incredible toons
    puzzle bubble 3
    drift king 97
    hang on 95
    fanta step
    winter heat
    lupin 3
    bubble symphony
    soukyugurentai otokuyo
    choro q park
    zap snowboarding trix 98
    wanghan dead heat
    capcom generation 2
    cotton 2
    dead or alive
    high velocity
    king the spirits 2

    not working

    bokan to ippatsu
    cafe-alpha and SegaSaturnShrine like this.
  11. Thales Peres

    Thales Peres New Member

    The carts are looking awesome!!!! :D

    Strange... My burned copy of Bokan to Ippatsu works perfectly :confused2: maybe you've got a bad iso? does the burned disk work on emulators such as SSF?

    oh.... and by the way... as time passed, I finished Magic Knight Rayearth!! from start to finish using pseudo saturn kai, no problems at all!

    @cafe-alpha feel free to update the entry of this game on the compatibility list :cat:
    cafe-alpha likes this.
  12. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Sorry for the delay.

    Thank you ! That's only the beginning :)

    Great you could test it, and that it works fine :)
    Transfer is maybe a bit slower than original USB dev cart firmware, but that's not noticeable for normal usage of USB dev cart.

    > i have one improvent request on start game with usb, when you have selected this menu, you can't do "back".

    At that moment, CD unit is initialized, Pseudo Saturn exploit is performed, and firmware is waiting for you to execute code, or run game from CD-ROM, so what is the interest to return to return to main menu ?
    If you really want to return to main menu, I'll verify if it's safe to do that, else, I can simply reset the Saturn, which is better than preventing to go back, and simple to implement :)

    I gave a try to bokan to ippatsu (video here), and it worked on my Japanese Saturn.
    As Thales Peres suggests, you probably may want to verify that's not a bad dump or bad burn. Trying to read CDROM contents from PC, or emulating it with yabause/SSF may help.

    Another cause may be display frequency ? If you have a Japanese Saturn, please give a try with it.

    I burned Scorcher and ... didn't had time to test it ^^;
    It can try it here if you want.

    Thank you ! And thank you for your contributions to the project :)

    Cool to see people still enjoying their Saturn :]
    I will update the list someday, but I have a bunch of things to terminate before that (Pseudo Saturn Kai, learn how to hold soldering iron, current tasks at work, etc) ^^;
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  13. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    i got a question about psk, if i burn a cd with ip.bin
    then i want to upload a new boot binary file for this cd, will psk unlock the cd access ?
  14. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    "Start with USB" option (second in the main menu, selected by default if USB cable is connected) should do the job.
    "should" because I didn't made extensive testing regarding this feature, so any feedback is welcome.

    The "Start with USB" option was added in order to help debugging homebrew applications that don't fit in a single binary, for example "main binary + level data files + graphics data files".
    It works only on main binary (first user program executed by the BIOS), so you still have to burn a CD-R each time you want to update level/graphics/whatever file other than main binary.

    Is that in order to test fba ?
    I don't know if that's better than uploading ROM, then executing program via USB, because CD-ROM access time when using "Start with USB" option is probably longer than USB transfer. However, it may be quite helpful if you want to debug application streaming data or audio from CD-ROM :)
  15. Timrod

    Timrod New Member

    Hi, I've just got a quick question:

    I'm a new Saturn owner, and I want to install Pseudo Saturn Kai to an Action Replay. I noticed on the compatibility list that Panzer Dragoon Saga is listed as "probably" compatible as long as you're using the JHL loading method - but then it mentions that not all Saturn models are compatible with JHL.

    Is the Grey Japanese Saturn the only one not JHL-compatible? The one I have shipping to me is a white Model I Japanese Saturn.
  16. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    The only known model where JHL loader (hence PDS) can't work is ... my grey Japanese Saturn.
    I didn't had many feedbacks about this problem, so I suppose it concern few Saturn models, so let's hope your white Japanese Saturn is safe from it. Please let me know if you can get PDS working or not :)

    To everybody else : feedback about Pseudo Saturn ("it worked, thank you :3", "my favorite game doesn't works :/", etc) in this thread, or directly by email is highly appreciated :)
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  17. Timrod

    Timrod New Member

    Having an issue with PS Kai. My Saturn (White Japanese model) reads discs just fine - my retail Japanese copy of Dark Savior works. I've also been able to disc swap to a burned copy of Radiant Silvergun with no issues. The problem is that the Pseudo Saturn Kai disc does not work: either I get dumped to the CD player menu after I swap, or the screen goes black and the patcher never loads. I'm doing this without my Action Replay being in the cartridge slot at all.

    I burned PS Kai at 4x with Imgburn to the same CD-Rs I used to burn Radiant Silvergun.

    What am I doing wrong here?

    Edit: Apparently, the timing for PS Kai swapping is different from regular Saturn games. I have it working now.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
    cafe-alpha and SegaSaturnShrine like this.
  18. cafe-alpha

    cafe-alpha Member

    Oops, sorry for the delay.
    I'm glad disc swap trick finally did the job !
    I'm not expert about CD swap trick, but I suppose that its timing depends on many things, such as size of initial executable, CD tracks count, etc. So some "trial and error" is needed when installing Pseudo Saturn Kai with swap trick.

    I wish you happy retro playing with your Saturn :)
    SegaSaturnShrine likes this.
  19. SegaSaturnShrine

    SegaSaturnShrine New Member

    Exactly, there are a lot of different variables at play when using the swap trick. Trial and error indeed. For those still struggling to flash their carts using the swap trick, here's a repost of my noobie tutorial (warning, very long lol, its noob friendly):
    cafe-alpha likes this.

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