Why do no games support the PAL vcd card and could they possibly be forced to use it?

Just curious if anyone has any insight to why none of the japanese games that support mpeg cards work with the PAL card. Is it cause it's a PAL card and they are all NTSC or is it cause it doesn't even have the information in it's bios that the games look for to execute the videos in games?.
 

TrekkiesUnite118

Established Member
The PAL VCD Card can only decode PAL MPEG files. All games that support the card are Japanese and as a result have NTSC encoded MPEG files. You might be able to force the game to boot with it, but it will probably have odd results with how it decodes.
 

dibz

Boss
Staff member
I should think it was probably just because PAL and NTSC video standards along with their MPEG encodings aren't compatible. PAL and NTSC video standards do differ in their encodings. I would assume it's not so much that the VCD card couldn't do it, but rather that they didn't want people thinking the games were broken when the videos didn't work correctly on their TVs.

Just a guess obviously.
 
Sadly I am far away from my PAL vcd card atm so I can't do any testing but it sure would be interesting to see if one could rip the videos and transcode them with either devkit tools or open source tools into something tangible and then into PAL format, reinsert the files into the game and see if it actually accepts it.

If somebody has a pal card then feel free to beat me to it cause I won't be able to in quite a while, just something I've always been thinking of.
 

Mr Conan

Established Member
I think the main issue is the frame rate. If you look at lunar it isnt using standard ntsc vcd resolution... but the frame rate is ntsc which would throw the pal vcd card off. Now hacking in pal files into an existing game might just involve some flag adjusting. I need to take a look at this thread sometime:

 

dibz

Boss
Staff member
I believe there are a few differences, you're probably right about the framerate being the primary concern. Off the top of my head, resolution is slightly different (pal has more vertical lines), the framerate is different (23.976fps for pal vs. 29.976fps for ntsc), and the color is slightly different between the two.
 

TrekkiesUnite118

Established Member
I think frame rate and the way audio interleaving works might be the primary concerns. The Video CD card will play different resolutions and bitrates just fine. I'm not sure about framerates though. That would need to be tested.
 
The decoding thing is a limitation in the software player included on the card. The cards are also region locked, but you can bypass that so it can't be the issue.

One of the functions, that the card extends the CD Block with, must be wrong or incompatible and the games must have a way to specifically check that.

All of that is in the card firmware however, you can replace that and have the card work fine. The decoding ASICs are the same on all mpeg cards, only the firmware and the amount of ram differs.
 

Mr Conan

Established Member
The decoding thing is a limitation in the software player included on the card. The cards are also region locked, but you can bypass that so it can't be the issue.

One of the functions, that the card extends the CD Block with, must be wrong or incompatible and the games must have a way to specifically check that.

All of that is in the card firmware however, you can replace that and have the card work fine. The decoding ASICs are the same on all mpeg cards, only the firmware and the amount of ram differs.
From RockinB’s post, wouldnt we just need to locate and send in different flags to the SBL Mpg_Init() function?
 

Knight0fDragon

Established Member
The decoding thing is a limitation in the software player included on the card. The cards are also region locked, but you can bypass that so it can't be the issue.

One of the functions, that the card extends the CD Block with, must be wrong or incompatible and the games must have a way to specifically check that.

All of that is in the card firmware however, you can replace that and have the card work fine. The decoding ASICs are the same on all mpeg cards, only the firmware and the amount of ram differs.
the card is not region locked, the VCD video player software on it is. An MPEG card on my US Saturn worked just fine on my Fenrir patching Lunar SSSC to the US region
 

Knight0fDragon

Established Member
That's what I said, yes.
no.... you did not.... You said the card is region locked. The card is not region locked, the VCD video playback software is. This is only for the system menu to play VCD movies. The card itself works fine across regions, providing the game is correctly patched for that system's region.
 
no.... you did not.... You said the card is region locked. The card is not region locked, the VCD video playback software is. This is only for the system menu to play VCD movies. The card itself works fine across regions, providing the game is correctly patched for that system's region.
Yes I did, read the last paragraph.


Can you elaborate on this?
Replace the firmware with one from another card, and you have now changed your PAL card to a JP card. Nothing to really elaborate there.


EDIT: regarding this:
the card is not region locked, the VCD video player software on it is. An MPEG card on my US Saturn worked just fine on my Fenrir patching Lunar SSSC to the US region

I don't know how the Fenrir bypasses the region, but when I use a region patched copy of Lunar MPEG Edition, with a JP MPEG card with no other mods, the game will just throw me back to the CD player saying the cartridge is unsuitable (card had JP region, console had EU region).

May I ask you to open the card and tell us what the label is on IC303?
 
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TrekkiesUnite118

Established Member
Replace the firmware with one from another card, and you have now changed your PAL card to a JP card. Nothing to really elaborate there.

I mean how do you go about doing that? Is it actually re-writable?

I don't know how the Fenrir bypasses the region, but when I use a region patched copy of Lunar MPEG Edition, with a JP MPEG card with no other mods, the game will just throw me back to the CD player saying the cartridge is unsuitable (card had JP region, console had EU region).

May I ask you to open the card and tell us what the label is on IC303?

Region of the card doesn't matter for games, all that matters is the region of the game. The only reason the card region matters is for playing plain VCDs as the player software on the card is region locked. Now what you may be running into is a PAL console trying to use an NTSC card. Was the PAL console running in 60Hz?
 
I mean how do you go about doing that? Is it actually re-writable?



Region of the card doesn't matter for games, all that matters is the region of the game. The only reason the card region matters is for playing plain VCDs as the player software on the card is region locked. Now what you may be running into is a PAL console trying to use an NTSC card. Was the PAL console running in 60Hz?
You replace it, not rewrite it.

It's true I didn't bother to do much checking, I may not have set the Rhea to use the correct region, but what I found odd was that the game specifically said I have an unsuitable cartridge - not that the game CD was unrecognized. I'll need to re-check it later, it may have been just my fault.
 

TrekkiesUnite118

Established Member
Unsuitable cartridge can happen with a RAM Cart or Back Up Cart or AR Cart. Or it could have also been because 60Hz VCD card + 50Hz Console = bad.

As for replacing the firmware, do you mean removing the chip and putting a different one on?
 
ok, checked again, EU console (no mods) in 50Hz mode worked fine with JP MPEG card. Lunar MPEG edition boots fine and plays videos fine too. The problem was that I forgot to set the region.

Yes, that's what I meant, replace the firmware. Take out the old one, put in a different one. You could even put a socket on the card.
 
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