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Saturn Optical Drive Emulator

Discussion in 'Sega Saturn Programming and Development' started by jhl, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. jhl

    jhl Rapidly Rising Member

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    A proper announcement is coming soon but in the mean time my dear friend cTrix came to visit:


    Preliminary functional description:

    The cart occupies the video CD port, and has a USB mini B (or AB) connector. A short adapter cable provides a USB host port, into which a mass storage device can be plugged.
    If a USB drive is plugged into the connector at power on, the boot flow of the console is interrupted. A menu is loaded from the USB drive, and this provides the interface for selecting and loading subsequent games. Once a game is loaded into the virtual drive, it remains active until the virtual lid is opened, at which point the menu is reloaded.

    Preliminary features:
    • USB host support: single FAT32 drives, size limit TBD.
    • Solder points for advanced permanent installations
      • Can remove original drive and emplace a 2.5" USB HDD
      • Connects to original lid switch and perhaps to activity LED
    • Region-agnostic disc loader
    • Virtual lid opened by a button on the cart, OR opening the real drive lid
    • USB filesystem access available to homebrew (eg. for savegame management)
    • Menu is fully open-source and can be customised to your heart's content
      • CD format support by the firmware is quite flexible, the menu is responsible for parsing CUE files or whatnot, so can support CUE+BIN, CUE+WAV, ISO, etc. (assuming the WAVs are in native CD format)
    • Firmware upgradable in the field
    Caveats:
    • A USB host connector can't be provided directly on the card because the MPEG PCB is too thin and the high plugging forces would lead to long-term failures. That's why an adapter cable is necessary. I'll try and make it possible to mount a USB port on a modified MPEG slot door and/or shove a stripped-down USB stick or microSD reader inside some spare space though.
    • No MPEG decoding support for those few games which use it. No MP3 decoding support if anyone has CUE+MP3 or other weird animals. These will never be added.
    • No SD card support. No arguments please.
    Possible future features via firmware upgrade:
    • R/W subcode (as used by CD+G) currently not supported. If any games use this I'll definitely add it.
    • USB device mode, ie. running connected to a PC. This would be super handy for development - I sure get sick of replugging my USB stick a zillion times - but it's also very complicated and may not support emulation at 100% speed.
    • exFAT support. Looks like fatfs is acquiring this but not clear how stable it is yet.
    Menu firmware:
    You can build and test the menu right now using a modified version of Yabause. I haven't yet documented this process so this is only for the brave. Build the menu bin, then set it as the MPEG card binary in the options.
    http://github.com/abrasive/satisfier
    http://github.com/abrasive/satisfier-yabause
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  2. PixelButts

    PixelButts Well Known Member

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    Here's an accurate representation of everyone that's watching this.
    Bless this man's work and may we have a solution soon.
    giphy.gif
     
    almmiron, Ekenmer, Getta Robo and 8 others like this.
  3. keropi

    keropi Familiar Face

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    can't wait!
    usb is the correct way to go with this, really really really glad it's not another sd-card based device :)
     
    DeChief and AUSTIN PEYTON like this.
  4. Nick

    Nick Rapidly Rising Member

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    Loving that clip of the Saturn spinning around on the turntable.
     
  5. coreyk78

    coreyk78 Newly Registered

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    I want this
     
  6. alecjahn

    alecjahn Site Soldier

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  7. MrMario2011

    MrMario2011 Robust Member

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    This is incredible :)
     
  8. Zandengoff

    Zandengoff Active Member

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    Like a dream come true. I cannot believe it. So excited I am light headed right now.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Moo

    Moo Gutsy Member

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    USB? Are you supposed to have a external hard drive? I would rather have SD card myself.
     
  10. citrus3000psi

    citrus3000psi Housekeeping, you want towel?

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    You could use a flash/pen drive.
     
    tkeely4777 likes this.
  11. Atolm

    Atolm Rapidly Rising Member

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    and this is a problem, how?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. MrMario2011

    MrMario2011 Robust Member

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    They're flaky, so do what I do: BUY 5!
     
  13. Atolm

    Atolm Rapidly Rising Member

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    Hey jhl, just a quick question.
    Will you be able to soft reset out of a loaded game(with a controller button combo of some sort) back to the game select menu?
     
  14. modrobert

    modrobert Rising Member

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    The project is not just an impressive reverse engineering effort by Dr Abrasive (jhl?) spanning several years, but also a professional grade video by cTrix, this makes me drool even more, hehe.
     
  15. americandad

    americandad Familiar Face

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    Or buy these, they're tidier. And reliable! :p
    [​IMG]
     
    MrMario2011 likes this.
  16. jhl

    jhl Rapidly Rising Member

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    Good question. I'd like to detect console resets and handle that appropriately. That's a little tricky though, because some game(s) might use the exact same reset sequence as the BIOS does, and then things could get pretty confused. I've also had requests to be able to use the Saturn CD player et cetera.

    Alternatives might include: push a button on the back of the VCD card, or pop open the original drive's lid.
     
  17. gwald

    gwald Net Yaroze '99

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    Good video.. still would be a nightmare to program for lol
    I doubt it'll help the homebrew scene
    Edit: I guess it will if he keeps the IO on it.
    And the cdrom must be serviceable and close to something else?
     
  18. Atolm

    Atolm Rapidly Rising Member

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    Well.. the whole point was to not to get up from the couch. :D

    But, thanks for anwering.
     
  19. Greg2600

    Greg2600 Dauntless Member

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    Tears of JOY my man! Hope I can get it when it eventually gets released! Been following this since day 1.

    I never realized the internals were still somewhat unknown of the Saturn (emu wise).
     
    gwald likes this.
  20. TheEnigma

    TheEnigma Member

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    I was weighing my options about getting a Rhea installed, but THIS! Oh I want it, I NEEED it now!
     

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