Today is some kind of special day for me : among many other things, this is the anniversary of Jean-Luc Le Ténia
, the best French singer in the world
! Jean-Luc would had be 45 years old today but unfortunately is no longer here to celebrate today with us.
Today is also the 4th anniversary of Gamer's Cartridge
initial public release. For more than three years, this project was the occasion to meet many people, to loose hair on many bug and -I hope- to have contributed in a better Saturn community
Jean-Luc Le Ténia is no longer here, Gamer's Cartridge production was frozen (not to say discontinued) last year because of enough free time lacking to assemble new cartridges. And Saturn gamers are now either using Action Replay (reliable expansion RAM but no backup memory) or "all-in-one" cartridge (backup memory but sometimes buggy expansion RAM) to play their favorite games.
To makes things a little brighter, the best I can do is to develop a new Pseudo Saturn Kai fitting more nowadays needs and situation :
- Built-in support with latest ODEs
- In-game save data access for Satiator ODE
- Save data storage on cartridge flash ROM
As a consequence of my free time being limited from this year, I thought in stopping non-priority projects to focus on other (not necessarily Saturn) ones. But on the other side, if I don't improve Pseudo Saturn Kai, I'm not sure that somebody else would do it for me !
So if the Saturn community shows enough interest, I would like to contribute to a newer Pseudo Saturn Kai
And to measure if the community is interested or not, I'm making Pseudo Saturn Kai development crowdfunding-based.
Principle is simple : the more interest (support) from the community, the more free time I allocate on Pseudo Saturn Kai. And the less interest from community, the more free time I spend on other projects.
I don't plan to make a living in developing Pseudo Saturn Kai, and for this reason all the development made so far was done on a altruist basis.
All the development made so far (cheat codes, Rhea/Phoebe support etc) was cool but honestly a lot of work. So with your help I would like to find enough energy to give it birth again
Read more Rebirth
Webou (which host PPcenter) was kindly providing HTTPS for already a long while but my homemade CMS was messing up the display of my homepage : for obscure reason (I honestly don't remember why) it was trying to load the page's CSS from an absolute URL, including the "http", and as HTTPS doesn't really likes to load something from an unsecured location, the CSS was discarded so that the page display was ... minimalistic
Saturn cartridges page before fixing HTTPS support
This is now fixed, and additionally trying to use plain HTTP should also magically redirect to HTTPS.
That's quite helpful, because all the labels for Gamer's Cartridge are referring my homepage as "HTTP" (*) and I really didn't wanted to have to re-design theses labels
Forgive me for the link : http was still a thing when
Gamer's Cartridge labels were designed !
Read more P.P. Center : Security at its Finest
Just a small article to inform that NinPen Manmaru translation patch was updated recently : I was reported that the game freezes after beating the final boss and that this could be fixed by using original (Japanese) script file instead of the translated one during that moment.
So this update of the translation patch is just a lazy implementation of what's described above : before overwriting script files with translated ones, the file used after beating final boss is renamed so that Japanese one is kept
At some moment I wanted to do something better regarding this translation project, such as translating in-game images :
Me trying to convert images to
standard format : the cut scene In-game image correctly converted on second try
But that concerns so few screens (typically, regarding memory cartridge setup) that the game is playable as-is.
And also, I'm not that motivated to do translation work to then see physical copies for sale on some kind of stores for retro-gaming; so far I did my best to make my projects available for a large majority of players (Pseudo Saturn Kai itself doesn't costs a dime and can be installed on cheap Action Replay-ish cartridges, there are no kind of advertisement nor crowdfunding requests on my homepage, etc), so on the other side it's quite frustrating to see other retro gaming teams making cash on other people's work ...
To end on a positive note, I would like to add from the fact it could be verified that -except the small problem above- the game could work fine until last boss, it's fairly sure that the two "NINMES.DA" and "NINOMAKE.DA" are not necessary to play the game.
Consequently the "Press Enter to continue patching at your own risks" message caused by theses two files can be safely ignored during the patching process
Ninpen Manmaru - 忍ペンまん丸
Read more NinPen Manmaru translation patch update
That's a bit late for Easter, but did someone noticed the one hidden in Pseudo Saturn Kai v6.314 ?
Easter Egg in Pseudo Saturn Kai v6.314
This can be triggered by a key combo from Pseudo Saturn Kai main menu and ODE image selection menu. It's available in both lite and full versions of the firmware and can also be triggered from RmenuKai too.
Keys sequence was changed after taking the video above, so don't try to guess it from there ! Unsurprisingly, keys sequence is more complex in Pseudo Saturn Kai v6.314
Why such kind of technical demo in Pseudo Saturn Kai ? Simply because it was fun to implement
Additionally, this is also a small wink to the good old times I was daily using a TI-89 calculator : this Easter egg was ported from Voxel2Space demo
by Kai Kostack
I still keep using my TI-89
, but way less more than when I was a student. It's actually quite handy to do quick math
or binary to (hexa)decimal conversions at work : the more Windows evolves, the more horrible its builtin calculator becomes (seriously, my eyes are about to bleed each time I see the Windows 10 calculator
), so it's good to have a physical calculator at reach of hands
Let's play a game with this Easter egg : the first one to find the correct keys combo will be rewarded by a Gamer's Cartridge
from my own collection !
Rather than just putting on sale, theses are kept for good occasions, and finding this keys combo is one of such kind of good occasions
and printing them
- Post the correct keys combo in the comments of this article. - This is limited to one Gamer's Cartridge, for one lucky Pseudo Saturn Kai user.
- Don't forget to indicate an email address where you can be contacted !
This is necessary for offering the reward.
- Choice of the Gamer's Cartridge shell color etc is at my own discretion. - Application will end in December 31st, 2019 : if nobody find the key combo until that time, I shall re-use this Gamer's Cartridge for similar kind of games with my Saturn projects.
Read more Pseudo Saturn Kai v6.314 : Easter Egg !
I was recently asked about the instructions to compile Pseudo Saturn Kai from sources archive provided with Pseudo Saturn Kai binaries, so let's write a short blog article to make things clear to everyone.
The simple answer is : Pseudo Saturn Kai can't be compiled with theses sources.
End of simple answer. Those who want more details can refer to the few lines below.
Technically, some sources files are missing from source archive, preventing someone from opening sources archive, making some few changes, and installing it on a cartridge.
Why ? For the simple reason nobody won't help me if ...
- Some dude takes sources, change logo and credits page and then release this as "Pseudo Saturn Kai Gold Edition made by some dude".
- Some dude adds a major new feature to Pseudo Saturn Kai, and start doing business by making this firmware (and the cartridges compatible with it) available for paying.
This dude will eventually forget to release any source, but who care about that except me and few other nerds ...
Maybe I would be told this I'm overthinking, but case 1 and 2 above already exist. Theses are detailed in another blog entry
, and deserve a look if your time allows it.
Concretely speaking, there is one model using Pseudo Saturn sources (whose sources are fully available, and with build instructions too), hacked to don't show any startup menu (why not would you say, it's more convenient for the consumer), and consequently not showing any credits nor any mention it was made from Pseudo Saturn ... why not would you say, but that's a massive NO for me, and the Pseudo Saturn team will certainly not appreciate that too.
Some other projects are using fancy case and label instead of Action Replay ones (I'm OK with that, especially because Action Replay design guidelines are completely outdated), but don't mention anything about Pseudo Saturn Kai on their covers and labels until booting the cartridge and discovering ... a vanilla version of Pseudo Saturn Kai without any mention of the fancy product name advertised on the cartridge box and label
I'm sorry for the consumers
who were expecting firmware design to be unified with cartridge box and label : this wasn't done because some few files are missing in Pseudo Saturn Kai sources !
This case of "some people are making money from rebranded homebrew projects" is also detailed on Segaxtreme forums
, which deserves a look if your time allows it.
The thread there is not by me, nor about Pseudo Saturn Kai, so I hope how real the fact is that there are people making money from other people's hard work ... that's maybe normal in any work place (
), but that's a dick move in such a small Saturn homebrew community.
To sum up the bulky paragraph above, the way of sharing Pseudo Saturn Kai source code is not how it works in free software world.
In an ideal world, everybody share source code, and everybody other make contributions, and the project is getting brighter by brighter.
So if the story stops here, I'm the bad one, but in real world, people deface the credits page, rebrand the projects under fancy names and start making cash and show business from projects they didn't contributed on ... Maybe it's selfish from me, but I don't want that and consequently removed few files from Pseudo Saturn Kai source code.
And if I may add an additional paragraph about Pseudo Saturn Kai, I would like to say it is quite open in the magic world of application to play games on Saturn real hardware : modchips are completely closed-sources, ODE too.
In Pseudo Saturn Kai, the sources of the exploit to play CD-Rs, as well as the ones to redirect memory devices to SD card are available.
The source code of the implementation of cheat codes engine is available too. I coded it from scratch because sources of Action Replay firmware are not open source ...
To add a bit of melodramatic taste to this blog article, I would like to say I spent the last four years developing Pseudo Saturn Kai.
I didn't asked for any payment about it. The next day after I received a $5 donation for it, I changed my donation page
from "send money here if you want" to "send me kind message or a comment on my blog".
While four years seems a long period for just two or three features, you probably may want to look at Pseudo Saturn Kai credits page, and all the people who contributed to it.
Theses two or three feature are not the kind of thing someone develop, test, re-test, fix, and keep testing more and more during a weekend. From my own experience, normal people don't continue development so far and just give up development after a couple of weeks.
And, I won't appreciate this credits page to be defaced. Not for my nick to be removed (I'm listed there only one time), but for the respect to all the contributors being lost.
And while I developed custom cartridge using Pseudo Saturn Kai
, I kept support for Action Replay cartridge and their clones. That may sound obvious, but technically speaking it isn't, mostly because Action Replay have limited ROM size.
At some point of Pseudo Saturn Kai development, I hesitated to put cheat codes feature in a ROM portion larger than current one, but unavailable from Action Replay cartridges.
This would had made more cheat codes available, but the feature itself usable on Gamer's Cartridge only. I choose to keep a reasonable size for cheat codes list, so that it would be available for everyone on Action Replay cartridges
Words count for this initially expected "short" article is about to reach four digits soon (it's 827 words now), and as I doubt a lot of people will read it entirely, it's probably time to conclude :
- No full sources for Pseudo Saturn Kai
- If you want to make you own Saturn cartridge firmware, then feel free to use Pseudo Saturn sources as a starting point.
- Feel free to technically refer to Pseudo Saturn Kai source code, and to merge whatever you find interesting there to your project.
Still begging for Pseudo Saturn Kai full source code ? No problem, I shall make it available to everyone ... if there's not a physical disaster on my dev laptop or its SSD in the meanwhile.
At that time, this will definitely be the end of Pseudo Saturn Kai development. For you, and for me too.
Read more Compiling Pseudo Saturn Kai