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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:27 am 
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via the Dreamcast Junkyard

A new Megadrive emulator developed by Sega of Europe has been discovered and dumped. The emulator postdates the release of the Smash Pack, and supposedly has better emulation. There are a large amount of included games, and most likely if there had been an official release, the list of games would have been tremendously trimmed down.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:57 pm 
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Very interesting!

Was this going to be included in a European version of the Smash Pack or was it another Genesis emulator for a different Dreamcast release?

Can the emulator be manipulated or 'tweaked' for personal use? (DreamONGen II springs to mind). :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:46 pm 
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DCDayDreamer wrote:
Very interesting!

Was this going to be included in a European version of the Smash Pack or was it another Genesis emulator for a different Dreamcast release?


Supposedly it was going to be a Mega Drive collection for Europe, which never saw a release Sega Smash Pack Vol.1.

DCDayDreamer wrote:
Can the emulator be manipulated or 'tweaked' for personal use? (DreamONGen II springs to mind). :wink:


So far, this is what I have figured out:

There's a ROMs folder where you can place your .BIN format Genesis/MD ROMs.

In the MD_EMU folder there's a file called ROMS.LST that has a list of all of the filenames of the ROMs in the ROMs folder, along with the filename. Here is an example snippet:

Code:
AfterburnerII.bin   Afterburner II
#UALADDIN.bin   Aladdin
aliensol.bin   Alien Soldier
astorm.bin   Alien Storm
ALISIA_D.bin   Alisia Dragoon
altbeast.bin   Altered Beast    (smash pack)
animan.bin   Animaniacs
arcade.bin   Arcade Classics
batman1.bin   Batman
!BLOODLIN.bin   BLOODLIN
bubstix.bin   Bubba N' Stix
calgame.bin   California Games
columns.bin   Columns    (smash pack)


The emulator is set to European region, but you can switch the region for a specific ROM to USA or Japan by prepending the #U or #J tag to the filename (See #UALADDIN.BIN above).
You can also prevent a game from displaying on the menu by prepending !, as in BLOODLIN.bin above, it was probably removed from displaying since it actually crashes on bootup.

From what I can see, the emulator is based on the same core as Sega Smash Pack's emulator, but this hasn't been confirmed. Given that there are references to the Smash Pack and the same ROMs are included as what was included in the Smash Pack, it's probably a correct assumption.

The one advantage known so far is that the region can be changed; on Sega Smash Pack it was locked to USA region you couldn't play any region-locked Japanese or European games at all without patching the individual ROMs to circumvent their region-checking routines. And, also, the menu looks a lot cleaner and polished and official of course.

The disadvantage is that the Smash Pack had tweakable graphics modes, sound modes, and frameskipping, and this one does not. Which is a tremendous disadvantage. However, japanese_cake did look at the code and determined that the emulator tries to load per-ROM configuration files in the format MD_EMUXX.CFG, but we don't know what options this presents nor the format for the configuration files. So, there's more work to be done here.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Thanks for the info |darc|, if I get the chance sometime in the near future I'll try the emulator out.

So this is quite possibly the Smash Pack emulator with a region changing facility? nice find. Does it also compare to the DP Dream Library Genesis emulator? I'm not sure if anyone ever did find out if that was the same emulator as the Smash Pack with a 15 minute time limit on the games but from what I can remember it would play certain ROMs that the Smash Pack emulator wouldn't.

It's been a very long time since I played around with officially developed software (I was personally more interested in pushing the limits of the homebrew developed emulators) but I do remember trawling through the binaries looking for hex strings that would reveal certain flags that could possibly be manipulated to change the emulator parameters.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:28 pm 
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I never did try the DP Genesis emulator. As far as I know, there was never a menu made for it that could allow you to select ROMs etc.?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:17 am 
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Are there any credits screens in the emulator? I noticed in the video that the menu has a credits option but it wasn't selected. I just took a very quick look at the DP and Smash Pack files and...

Dream Library (Megadrive Part) - Programmer: Kazuro Morita
Smash Pack - Programmer: Gary Lake, Original Code: Kazuro Morita

It looks like the Smash Pack emulator was a continuation of the DP Dream Library emulator. It's been so long since I actually played with these files I can't remember which was the better emulator, both had the well known sound emulation issues but DP would play ROMs that Smash Pack wouldn't, obviously I wouldn't know just how much Gary Lake did to the original code, perhaps he implemented some configuration or region settings?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Just browsing through the main binary file of this emulator and it is the Dream Library/Smash Pack emulator with a different front end menu, not sure if there's many changes code wise to the emulation though (probably not).

Way back in 2002 ZacMC sent me some plain files he'd been messing around with 'DreamONGen', this was basically using the menu system from the DreamON demo discs loading the Smash Pack emulator with multiple ROMs. I messed around with the DreamON menu and the Dream Library emulator in pretty much the same way to create my own personal Genesis collection, the only drawback was the time limit with that emulator. The beauty of using the DreamON menu was you could set launch parameters for each game by using .CFG files corresponding to each ROM:

LAUNCH
PATH "\"
EXEC "\md_emu.bin sonic2.bin MODE0 SKIP1 SOUND0"
LAUNCH_END

I'm not sure if you could do the same with this emulator (can't see why not) and I wouldn't know for sure how to set the CD structure with .CFG files if you weren't using the DreamON menu.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:39 pm 
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DCDayDreamer wrote:
Just browsing through the main binary file of this emulator and it is the Dream Library/Smash Pack emulator with a different front end menu, not sure if there's many changes code wise to the emulation though (probably not).

Way back in 2002 ZacMC sent me some plain files he'd been messing around with 'DreamONGen', this was basically using the menu system from the DreamON demo discs loading the Smash Pack emulator with multiple ROMs. I messed around with the DreamON menu and the Dream Library emulator in pretty much the same way to create my own personal Genesis collection, the only drawback was the time limit with that emulator. The beauty of using the DreamON menu was you could set launch parameters for each game by using .CFG files corresponding to each ROM:

LAUNCH
PATH "\"
EXEC "\md_emu.bin sonic2.bin MODE0 SKIP1 SOUND0"
LAUNCH_END

I'm not sure if you could do the same with this emulator (can't see why not) and I wouldn't know for sure how to set the CD structure with .CFG files if you weren't using the DreamON menu.


Both the original Sega Smash Pack frontend and the DreamON frontend use Katana's Ginsu library to pass control from one binary (the frontend menu) to another (in Smash Pack, the emulator core; in DreamON, whatever demo was selected), while also passing those parameters. Similarly, the Echelon and Lemec frontends for the Smash Pack also use Ginsu to launch ROMs, but the parameters are picked by the user in the interface instead of being set permanently through config files.

The difference with this emulator is that everything is self-contained in one binary and thus there is no mechanism to receive those parameters.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:14 am 
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I'm alive, so is dreamcast emulation, cool discovery!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:21 am 
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|darc| wrote:
The difference with this emulator is that everything is self-contained in one binary and thus there is no mechanism to receive those parameters.

Of course!, now it makes sense, cheers. Using DreamON (or the US Demo Menu, or whatever you're using with the Ginsu library) this emulator would load but the individual game parameters would be ignored?. Thinking back, that's what was probably happening with the Dream Library emulator, I can't recall any improvements to the actual emulation other than the fact the emulator would load certain ROMs that the Smash Pack wouldn't.

|darc| wrote:
However, japanese_cake did look at the code and determined that the emulator tries to load per-ROM configuration files in the format MD_EMUXX.CFG, but we don't know what options this presents nor the format for the configuration files. So, there's more work to be done here.

Sorry, must have overlooked or misread that info in your earlier post. There's the same reference to MD_EMU00.CFG in the Dream Library emulator but not in the Smash Pack emulator (there is a reference to SMASH_01.CFG), I thought that was just the configuration you set in the front end, controller button configuration etc which you could then save to VMU?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:11 am 
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DCDayDreamer wrote:
|darc| wrote:
The difference with this emulator is that everything is self-contained in one binary and thus there is no mechanism to receive those parameters.

Of course!, now it makes sense, cheers. Using DreamON (or the US Demo Menu, or whatever you're using with the Ginsu library) this emulator would load but the individual game parameters would be ignored?. Thinking back, that's what was probably happening with the Dream Library emulator, I can't recall any improvements to the actual emulation other than the fact the emulator would load certain ROMs that the Smash Pack wouldn't.


I have no idea if anything will load other than it just starting up the emulator frontend (title screen) as normal. I mean, it's certainly possible that there is code left in and the emulator could accept those parameters and start a ROM, but most likely it'll just go to the title screen.

DCDayDreamer wrote:
|darc| wrote:
However, japanese_cake did look at the code and determined that the emulator tries to load per-ROM configuration files in the format MD_EMUXX.CFG, but we don't know what options this presents nor the format for the configuration files. So, there's more work to be done here.

Sorry, must have overlooked or misread that info in your earlier post. There's the same reference to MD_EMU00.CFG in the Dream Library emulator but not in the Smash Pack emulator (there is a reference to SMASH_01.CFG), I thought that was just the configuration you set in the front end, controller button configuration etc which you could then save to VMU?


There are no .CFG files on the Smash Pack GD-ROM, but now that I think about it, I think I do remember the VMU saves for the Smash Pack configuration being named something like "SMASH_01.CFG" when you view them in the Dreamcast BIOS VMU menu. If the MD_EMUXX.CFG file references are for the same purpose in this new European Megadrive Emulator, then it sounds like that's just the VMU saving and it's even less likely that there was a way to set the emulation settings. :(

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:18 pm 
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I noticed that sonic 3 had the music disabled and other games dont. Wouldn't that mean that the sound was disabled somehow for this particular game. If that is the case then there must be some kind of control of launching each game with particular settings. If you couldn't change this settings file, couldn't you change the rom file itself so the setting for enabling sound on one particular rom could be used for a name modifed sonic 3 rom?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:25 pm 
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At first I was super excited but judging by videos the emulator itself is identical to the DreamLibrary & Smash Pack emulator. :|

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:24 pm 
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law56ker wrote:
I noticed that sonic 3 had the music disabled and other games dont. Wouldn't that mean that the sound was disabled somehow for this particular game. If that is the case then there must be some kind of control of launching each game with particular settings. If you couldn't change this settings file, couldn't you change the rom file itself so the setting for enabling sound on one particular rom could be used for a name modifed sonic 3 rom?


I'm pretty sure the sound is just broken for Sonic 3. I mean, the sound is broken after the title screen on Sonic 2 as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:55 pm 
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there where promising scene emulators in development for both snes and genesis on dreamcast, sadly the developers and the emulators progress kind of dissapeared.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:12 pm 
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Well, Chui and Fox68k are still active. They were part of the team that ported Pier Solar HD to Dreamcast and are now involved with Xenocider.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:21 pm 
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Cool release.

Genesis Plus DC is damn near perfect aside from some funky SFX and a few unbootable roms


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:14 pm 
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Christuserloeser wrote:
Well, Chui and Fox68k are still active. They were part of the team that ported Pier Solar HD to Dreamcast and are now involved with Xenocider.



Yea that is pretty cool, too bad emulator development went to the wayside though. Crazy to think that the dreamcast still has one of the best emulator libraries out there for a gaming console, maybe only beat by the psp.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:16 am 
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Xbox? Wii?

You can pretty nearly every console on those systems.

Emulation on DC is pretty pointless these days, but I enjoy following that stuff for technical and nostalgic reasons nonetheless.

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