PPCenter :: devblog

PPcenter. Arts and craft for my Sega Saturn. Since 1847 !

Pseudo Saturn, Kai, and Dragon Ball too

Written by cafealpha 14 comments
The kids are currently on winter holidays, I don't want unexpected and messy task at work before entering new years holidays, so today was spent at movie theater with kids
We went to see Dragon Ball Super - Broly, and it was cool !! I really appreciated the "フリーザー!「カコク」ってなんだ!?" from Goku just after Freezer used "過酷" word in a dramatic scene

So well, it seems it's the good moment to announce a new public section in my homepage, which is about Dragon Ball cards
More than 15 years ago (but it feels like last week ... I'm really getting old !), I spent many afternoons in scanning my collection of Dragon Ball cards, and then put everything on a CD-R ... because internet was paid for each minutes connected, and my maximum transfer speed at that time was around 7KB/s, hence not suitable for uploading hundreds of megabytes of data

All theses limitations are no longer a problem, so please enjoy my digital cards collection

Broly when I was a kid

Oh, I forgot to say that everything in more or less in its original state, including the html, so in advance I'm sorry for any reaction to Comic Sans MS font and flashy image background Also, the textual contents are left as-is in omelette du fromage language

My main Saturn project during the last four years was named after watching a Dragon Ball Kai episode on TV, so in a related note, I'm glad to announce a new version of Pseudo Saturn Kai is available
But ... there's currently a bug so I shall re-release it soon
After everything will be fixed and verified, I shall make a proper announcement in this article, so if you don't want to flash your cartridge twice, please keep tuned for one day or two !

Edit (2018/12/31) : version v6.274 was released a couple of a days ago, and so far I didn't received major claims about it, so let's consider this version a stable one ! Please find below an overview of the changes and additions in this release.

What's new in Pseudo Saturn Kai v6.274

Automatic Game Loader

So far in Pseudo Saturn Kai 6.074, user had to choose which game loader to choose before starting a game, but this is now done automatically on Pseudo Saturn Kai side.
There's no magic around this feature : it just uses a list of games not compatible with CWX loader, and decides accordingly
Pseudo Saturn Kai boot menu
No need to worry about which loader to choose ♪

Cheat Codes

That's a big addition for this release. Its development spans around June 2017 to Spring 2018.
The main features for cheat codes are :
  • Built-in : don't need to manually enter the cheat codes
  • User friendly : just push X button when booting a game, and then select the cheat(s) to enable.
  • Maintained by cafe-alpha () : rather than adding an "enter cheat codes by yourself" feature, I plan to continue improving and maintaining the cheat codes list

Disc image selection menu for Rhea/Phoebe ODEs

Back in 2015, I added a stub of alternate rmenu to Pseudo Saturn Kai, but didn't had the technical information regarding Rhea/Phoebe API so the feature was disabled in its unfinished state.
And this summer, an enthusiast friend helped a lot to get this technical information, so that I could finally finish this feature
Development of this feature was an occasion to bring usage of proportional font in image selection menu, thus showing more information on a single screen. Base of menu module was developed around 2010 without any consideration for proportional font, so development of this side feature was a nightmare, but I don't regret for having done it now it is finished

Image selection menu for Rhea/Phoebe ODEs

Dezaemon 2 Save Game Manager 3

Dezaemon 2 is a shooting game maker application for Saturn. And Save Game Manager is a collection of user games for Dezaemon 2.
By the past, there were two volumes released by Madroms : SGM1 in 2007 and SGM2 in 2008.
And 10 years after that, SGM3 is released and contains some new user games as well as all the games from SGM1 and SGM3 : one SGM to rule them all

Special thanks to Dezaemon DB for gathering a community around Dezaemon 2, and dumping the user games

A stylish logo for Pseudo Saturn Kai

That's maybe a detail, but that was really missing from a long time !
Special thanks to Alien^PDX for the logo, and CyberWarriorX for putting me in touch with him
Pseudo Saturn Kai logo, 2017/12/31
Yes, taken one year ago !

In-game connectivity for USB dev cart

This uses cheat codes routine, hence requires at least a valid master code to be set. It can do USB connectivity while doing transfer with PC, but that's a bit slow (because of unoptimized C running from cartridge ROM), and consequently may cause glitches on some games.
As a countermeasure, there is another mode who does only USB connectivity (hence no cheat codes) but does it fast since the code for it is written directly in assembly and running in RAM.

That may be cool for game hacking, or looking for new cheat codes ... but I still need to add a proper cheat codes finder feature on SatLink before looking for cheat codes on my favorite games

I stopped USB dev cart support, so this feature is disabled and software on PC side won't be released.

In-game USB connectivity in action.
Radiant Silvergun was one of the very first games
to work correctly with Pseudo Saturn Kai cheat codes

Virtual Memory Cartridge support via USB dev cart

This is similar to "Virtual Memory Cartridge" used in Gamer's Cartridge, but access save data files on PC via USB dev cart instead of SD card.
That's convenient for save data hacking, or testing several saves, but for normal use then using SD card is (in my opinion) a better choice.
As a consequence, full firmware can now be installed on USB dev cart. But cartridges not using SST39SF040 flash chips are not supported (because there's not enough room in flash ROM) and in that case only lite firmware can be installed.

I stopped USB dev cart support, so this feature is disabled and software on PC side won't be released.

Virtual Memory Cartridge via USB dev cart
It was convenient for taking screenshots
for Dezaemon 2 Save Game Manager 3

Fixed support for 3D pad

In previous version, using 3D pad would sometimes cause an emergency exit to multiplayer screen when touching analog buttons. This is now fixed, and additionally supports input from analog buttons.
Pseudo Saturn Kai is not a 3D game, so the interest of using analog buttons is a bit questionable, but at least it is supported now

And the most voluminous change is ... :
Fixed many bugs everywhere, added other bugs here and there
Everything should work now ! Trust me, I'm an engineer

Congratulations, you reached the end of this long article
Last but not least, I wish you a Merry Christmas, happy new year 2019 and happy gaming


#1  - ruiner9 said :

Amazing! I've been using it with Dezaemon 2 and it's so much easier than using the original discs with their generic naming schemes.

Is there any way I can add my own codes to the cheat program? I was trying to play Assault Suit Leynos 2 with some cheats that were on gamehacking dot org, but the only built-in code on the cart is one that isn't very useful. I'd love to be able to add a few more!

#2  - cafealpha said :

Hehe, I did my best to make Dezaemon 2 Save Game Manager 3 as friendly as possible as I could :) Some edges still need to be rounded, but that will wait until next release ^^

Cheat codes addition feature is not available for the good reason that I want to add more codes in the future, and make theses built-in to Pseudo Saturn Kai so that everyone won't have to manually enter codes as on Action Replay legacy firmwares.
I recently (around October IIRC) noticed about gamehacking.org, and am interested in this site too ! But I couldn't verify if the codes from there can be re-used in 3rd party project ; if there are no problem with this point, then I shall merge their cheat codes to Pseudo Saturn Kai.

#3  - ruiner9 said :

I see! That's good news! The staff at GH is very friendly and I think they'd be very excited about letting you use their codes on the cart! :)

#4  - cafealpha said :

It took me one week, but I finally had enough time to register at GH forums ^^; I didn't asked about the authorization yet, and merging the codes to Pseudo Saturn Kai is an huge task so patience is required :)

#5  - Hennessy Slick said :

Just updated my carts.

Minor thing you guys might want to know; the firmware update includes adding a Rhea/Phoebe menu.

Thank you so much for all involved in getting this menu working - this makes the whole experience of owning the two best modern pieces of Saturn hardware so much more slick and it looks waaaaaaaaay better than the rather spartan Rmenu (though functionally there's nothing wrong with it I guess).

I cannot thank you enough.

#6  - cafealpha said :

You're welcome, and wish you happy gaming :) There are a bit more features than in rmenu (remember last played game, several sort methods, etc), so I hope this will make everyone enjoying even more their Rhea or Phoebe ODEs.

Adding support for Rhea/Phoebe menu to Pseudo Saturn Kai was not an easy task, so I really would like to thank Deunan Knute for the technical support and privateye for motivation and beta testing supports !

#7  - Anon said :

I noticed in the Rhea game list menu .gif, that sometimes when scrolling, it updates some lines/text slightly late, so for example, you scroll up one line, but it retains the title name from the one below it for a frame or so, but then it refreshes on the next frame and the proper name appears. Not a big deal, just thought I'd mention it. I ordered a red 1M/4M/backup cart to use this on and I'm planning on upgrading it with this new Kai lite version. Nice job with all the new features. Looking forward to trying it out.

#8  - cafealpha said :

Thank you for the report ! I did noticed that before, but that's way less noticeable on real hardware; I will try to capture a video from my Saturn to be completely sure it doesn't causes problem.
By design of Pseudo Saturn menu module, this kind of glitch is possible, and shall do my best if this needs to be fixed ... but don't guarantee I will do it because menu graphical improvements caused a real mess on source code side :D

#9  - Gorka said :

Hello there!
I flashed my AR 4 in 1 with PSKai 6.274 and it works perfectly. The new Auto Load function and various reset options are great improvements.
All the games I've tried run well, but the cheats doesn't work for me:
Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter crashes when selecting the characters and Christmas NiGHTS (J) doesn't load, the video signal is lost instead. This can be due to my cartridge, since the "Vendor" and "Device ID" appear as "Unknown" although they're in green.

Good job anyway.

#10  - cafealpha said :

Thank you for the feedback :)
I know that not all cheat codes may work, and shall improve this in the future, so please be patient until next release. I'm surprised about Christmas NiGHTs support, because I thought I tested it here (IIRC, it required tweaks around master code).
Unknown vendor and device IDs of cartridge flash chips won't cause any problem regarding cheat codes. This just requires some precaution when installing Pseudo Saturn Kai, but after that there's no difference with legit flash vendor/device IDs.

#11  - Gorka said :

Oh, alright, thanks. We'll see if it works better with the next release.

#12  - Anon said :

Is there any reason for the loader incompatibility issues when used in conjunction with a Rhea? For example, if I try loading Panzer Dragoon Zwei (J) on my VA0 Japanese console with a Rhea through Pseudo Saturn Kai Lite 6.274, I get a black screen with JHL, and it crashes when starting a game using CWX, but if I boot to RMenu first, then load the game, it works fine. I also tried patching the image with the included patcher app but that didn't make a difference - same behavior with the respective loaders. Also, the game was named "Not a valid saturn disc" in the menu after patching and it wouldn't load with RMenu at all - it would reset the system back to the Kai menu. I'm using a bin/cue image from the redump.org set. I converted both to .cdi using the same method with DiscJuggler.

#13  - cafealpha said :

The main reason about this problem is that Rmenu is closed source, which prevented me from re-using its game loading module.
Pseudo Saturn Kai use the same game loader for original optical drive and Rhea/Phoebe ODE, whose support is rotten for few games (including PDS) on some Japanese grey Saturns, so I guess your problem comes from that.

I recently added a workaround regarding this problem, but as my dev Saturn (Phoebe) is not concerned with it, I don't know if this works or not. So please contact me if you want to give a hand regarding beta testing :)

How to contact me : http://ppcenter.webou.net/contact/

#14  - Anon said :

I sent an email. Let me know if you didn't receive it.


Write a comment

Please enter this homepage's webmaster favorite video game console name.
It fits in 6 letters and is case insensitive.

Rss feed of the article's comments