Found: Dreamcast Tower of Babel Demo

Discussion in 'Sega Dreamcast Development and Research' started by Dreamcast, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Dreamcast

    Dreamcast Intrepid Member

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    Looking through the files of the Check GD disc posted in [this] thread, I'm certain it's the same demo shown [here].

    If you compare the PVR files to the textures used in that video, they look very similar.

    Several years ago I recovered a file called "BABEL.BIN" from a 5.24 Dev.Box. The same file appears on the disc as well.

    Currently, the BABEL.BIN file on the disc won't work and neither does the file I have. The file from the disc loads, but gives the following error message through GD-Workshop when run from a 5.24 Dev.Box:

    "Warning 1 : EMULATOR : Invalid read at sector 20502 requested sectors 1".

    When I use DC-TOOL to load the BIN to a retail Dreamcast, I see the same thing on the screen (a white background with a black square in the top-left corner), but there's something moving in the square on the console and not on the Dev.Box.

    All of the files appear to be on the disc, so if we can figure this error out, it should work.


    Edit: Here is a texture sheet of all of the PVR textures found on the disc:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
    good likes this.
  2. Woofmute

    Woofmute Site Supporter 2013-15, 17

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    Not sure if it's related, but I get a similar error trying to run games like jet set radio and sonic adventure in emulation mode.
     
  3. Dreamcast

    Dreamcast Intrepid Member

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    It could be. I have a version of Jet Set Radio I can try to see if I get a similar result. I've tried adding padding files to both the low and high density areas to try to get the address space close to 20502, but both areas only get close before their respective size limitations are reached. Is that area between the two areas for a TOC? Instead of padding with large files, I also tried padding with 50+ small text files to see if could expand the TOC into valid address space, but that didn't work either unless I needed more files.


    EDIT: It appears it was either the BIN or the layout of the disc. The GDI version of the Check GD disc is at the bottom of the list linked to in the first post and that lets BABEL get past the read error. It starts to load all of the textures present in the root directory of track 03, then it stops after T_02.P04 and returns to the startup screen. After a while, it goes to the BIOS screen.

    EDIT: If anyone can make sense of this, [here] is a README from the disc and it specifically mentions SET 5 and BABEL in it. It appears to give some configuration settings that may help us figure out how to get it running correctly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  4. T_chan

    T_chan Gutsy Member

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    in short:
    - Dreamcast SET5/MP BABEL for hardware check
    - about the display
    -> explains per region code & per screen mode what the latency is (2/3), and if it runs in fullscreen or halfsize mode
    - then explains the buttons
    you can change the color, the screen mode, latency, show debug info, fog on/off, Y filtering on/off,
    switch the camera from auto to manual, ...

    Nothing that can help you I'm afraid...
     
  5. Woofmute

    Woofmute Site Supporter 2013-15, 17

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    The error I get when running Sonic Adventure in emulation mode is this;
    "Warning 1 : EMULATOR : Invalid read at sector 11716 requested sectors 1"
    It sounds similar enough, but I really have no idea what it's trying to read in either case.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  6. Myria

    Myria Peppy Member

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    I thought Tower of Babel was a Namco game for Famicom with an enhanced remake for PS1 (Namco Anthology 1). I love the remake - made Namco Anthology 1 worthwhile.
     
  7. Dreamcast

    Dreamcast Intrepid Member

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    This Tower of Babel is only tech demo, as far as I know. Some believe it's a part of Shenmue.

    Here is a screenshot of the DC BIOS screen with the Tower of Babel disc image (found in SDK R8). Interestingly, it's part of the documentation and there are no files or reference to it in SDK R8 other than this screen shot:

    [​IMG]


    There is also an archive in the GDI version of the CHECK GD disc and it includes information on setting up the F40 demo. There is a screenshot in that documentation showing the firmware version number in GD-Workshop is GDM 2.3.1. The one I'm using is GDM 2.9.1B (from the R11 SDK).
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  8. T_chan

    T_chan Gutsy Member

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    2.3.1 is very old, it predates the SDK 4, which had version GD-Workshop version 2.3.17a - firmware 2.3.9k.
    Since the SDK 2 didn't have GD-Workshop yet, it must have been SDK3 or a Sega internal version.

    Edit: It dates from around 05/1998 according to the changes history of GD-Workshop.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  9. Dreamcast

    Dreamcast Intrepid Member

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    Sorry, T_chan, I should have clarified that it's the GD emulation firmware. I found version 2.3.9n on SDK R5. From what I can tell, R5 supports Set 5 boxes, I just don't know if it supports 5.24 boxes. I was able to flash GDM firmware 2.4.5i, but 2.3.9n just caused the program to stop responding as it was writing to the Dev.Box.

    I was also able to install the 1.001 bootrom on the 5.24. I have 0.71 bootrom, however DBFlash from R11 doesn't recognize it as a valid flash.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  10. T_chan

    T_chan Gutsy Member

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    Yes, thought about that right after I posted my response, so I checked the firmware version of SDK 4 - it's 2.3.9k.

    A long time ago, I checked several change history documents, and found that this was written about SDK 5:

    So I always thought it would support the latest 5.2x devkits....
    (cfr Katana11\Changes.txt -> changes from R4 to R5)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  11. wombat

    wombat SEGA!

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    Great job in finding the files. I'm going to keep an close watch to this topic, it would be amazing if you can get the Babel demo up and running!
     
  12. PrOfUnD Darkness

    PrOfUnD Darkness Familiar Face

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    Great find! I'd love to see this running, it's a missing part of DC's history (I wonder if one day we'll find that duck demo...)
     
  13. GigaDrive

    GigaDrive Enthusiastic Member

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    I've been wanting to see a HQ video of the Tower Of Babel Dreamcast tech demo for a very long time.

    The demo almost certainly is early work for Project Berkley / Shenmue, which was unofficially known as Virtua Fighter RPG. I believe the Tower Of Babel tech demo was shown in Japan at the New Challenge Conference, May 21, 1998 when Dreamcast was revealed for the first time.

    http://www.ign.com/articles/1998/09/19/virtua-fighter-rpg-the-story-so-far


    It is pretty well-understood that the Tower Of Babel demo was the basis for Kowloon / Kowloon Tower from the Shenmue beta footage (which was Shenmue 1+2) and although modified, very much present in the released Shenmue 2 game. Both the Tower Of Babel demo and Kowloon in Shenmue beta / Shenmue 2, were presented in the same way, with sweeping camera angles.

    Compare:

    the only online footage of Tower Of Babel tech demo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLUG214M398

    Shenmue Beta
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiQ1wh6XKTc


    Tower Of Babel tech demo
    [​IMG]

    Shenmue Kowloon (beta or final ?)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  14. Dreamcast

    Dreamcast Intrepid Member

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    I received a PM from a member here (I tried to reply to your PM, but you have receiving PMs disabled in your settings) that found there's a possible missing file referenced to in the BABEL.BIN file. Specifically, the file is called "346.P16".

    I tried copying the T_02.P04 file and renaming it to the missing file, but it still goes back to the boot screen. I don't think it's trying to load the missing file since GD-Workshop never shows it as trying to access it. Why the system returns back to the swirl animation screen may not even be because of missing files, but because there's a problem in main binary where it's trying to read / write to invalid address space.

    BABEL.BIN can be run using NullDC, but there's no rendering - just a screen with information about the state of the controller, sound driver, video and VMS animation, etc. It's possible BABEL.BIN wasn't mean to run as a standalone file and may need to be called from another BIN.

    Here is a screenshot from NullDC:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. PrOfUnD Darkness

    PrOfUnD Darkness Familiar Face

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    I don't remeber seeing this output in the babel videos on youtube.
     
  16. yzb37859365

    yzb37859365 Spirited Member

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    . p04 and. p16 is generally sound files
     
  17. -=FamilyGuy=-

    -=FamilyGuy=- Site Supporter 2049

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    Just so you guys know. It's possible to make it run and it was made! I've seen a video of it running on NullDC and I should be able to share the video/hacked binaries in a few days!
     
  18. PrOfUnD Darkness

    PrOfUnD Darkness Familiar Face

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    WHAT? Tells us more :) How was it done?
     
  19. -=FamilyGuy=-

    -=FamilyGuy=- Site Supporter 2049

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    Well, I don't want to say or post anything without express consent of the person who did it, out of respect for hard work. But I can say it was *cracked/hacked* to run on emulators. It's not working on hardware yet, but work towards that is in progress.

    More satisfying infos/data should be available soon :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  20. T_chan

    T_chan Gutsy Member

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    Very cool !
    Any idea about the perf stats of the demo ? (triangles/sec/...)
     

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