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Sega Saturn interesting finds

#1 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

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So I was looking to rip some FMV sequences from Rayman on Sega Saturn a few days ago but couldn't find the disk. I didn't know whether my disk ripping program would even run Saturn games yet, so I decided to run whatever game I still had in my Sega Saturn, which happened to be Sonic Jam. Needless to say, the program worked like a charm and ripped the files on the disk into their own folder. I later found the CD case that had Rayman and my other Saturn Sonic games in it and got to ripping those as well.

What I found was quite strange to say the least.

In Sonic Jam's files, I found that I could view certain files correctly in Tile Layer Pro and assemble them into perfect sprites. These were mostly the sprites for Sonic and Co, along with some special stage artwork, and the Pause Menu graphics. Some files also contained a few compressed looking files, but they were somewhat viewable. Despite having strange file extensions, they can either be opened in TLP and formatted to Genesis, or they can be re-named as BIN files and opened in TLP normally.

As for Sonic 3D, I found some interesting pictures that I have no way of opening. Although I cannot open them, I have a feeling that at least two of them are unused files from the PC version that are also unused here. They are the two pictures of Sonic with Knuckles and Miles that were theorized to be connected to the Special Stage on the Wiki. Another interesting thing is that the special graphics that were added for this version of the game are in their own folder that's separate from their respective level folder. (Things like the new bridges and the weather effects.)

And for Sonic R, all I was able to uncover was a strange naming system for all the levels. They are NOT called what they are normally called in game. (Resort Island is called BEACH for instance.) Rayman used a similar naming system for its levels, though it was discovered by the public as early on as the release of Rayman Designer, which called the levels by their internal filings rather than established names in universe.

Now for proof, all I can post are some pictures at this time. I don't want to put up the files unless I'm told otherwise that I won't be banned for doing so, however I will post a text file showing my research of Sonic Jam so that you can get somewhat of a look as to what I've found.

A rip of Sonic's Sonic 1 art from Sonic Jam, which is located in a file called "DATA.SN1". All that's on here is the graphics for Sonic. They are also unassembled, though Sonic seems to have all of his unused frames intact.
Also located here are the dust effects for when he skids or spindashes.
Posted Image

Another screenshot from TLP showing the Sonic 1 sprite being assembled in the tile viewer.
Posted Image

A screenshot of TLP showing Sonic Jam's in-game pause menu. Strangely, certain parts are either compressed or omitted from the pause menu graphics, such as the top half of the CONTINUE text.
Posted Image


A screenshot showing Sonic R's strange internal naming. I'm unsure if the PC version names them the same way, so if anyone could tell me, that'd be great.
Posted Image

As for the Text file, it's still being updated as I check the files in my HEX editor. If you still want to see the incomplete file, you can find that here:
Sonic Jam Documentation v0.1

I do apologize if someone else has also found this and posted it before me, I couldn't find any topics pertaining to this using the Search feature. I hope this allows others to learn more about how Sonic Jam works, and (hopefully) to spark more interest in the Sega Saturn.
This post has been edited by Sonicstudium: 19 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

#2 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

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Well, Jam runs ported versions of the MD games, so it's perfectly predictable that it would store their data, and trivial things such as the pause overlay, in an almost-compatible format.

As for Sonic R and the “weird” names: firstly, they're not weird at all, as they make sense in the context of the levels’ environments; and secondly, you can't have filenames longer than 8.3 format in ISO-standardised data CDs such as those by the Saturn, so they couldn't possible be called their ‘normal’ names anyway.

#3 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:09 PM

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Well the reason I noted the viewable Sonic graphics is that for the longest time I've seen people saying that they couldn't extract the graphics from Sonic Jam because it's not an emulation of the Genesis games, and that they can't extract them.

As for Sonic R, I understand as to why they named the files like that, I just found it a little strange that they're referred to as such.

Now please note, I'm still researching the files I have right now, so I haven't posted everything that I COULD post. I'm just trying to get this started so that I can post everything as I find it. Heck, I'm still looking through Jam's files through hex editing and TLP.

I've seen a topic by Master Emerald that asked for a rip of the Sonic 3D Blast Saturn ISO, which I do have. I may have to tell him that I've got a rip.

I wonder if the compressed graphics that I can't see in TLP use a similar compression to any of the formats that have been established.
This post has been edited by Sonicstudium: 19 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

#4 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

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Cool, not meaning to discourage you, as more attention to the Saturn is something I really like to see! :) Good luck with it.

#5 User is offline Sonicstudium 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:28 AM

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View Postdsrb, on 19 January 2013 - 11:05 PM, said:

Cool, not meaning to discourage you, as more attention to the Saturn is something I really like to see! :) Good luck with it.


I'm currently working on ripping the textures from Sonic World. Unfortunately the only thing I have to rip with is Satourne, so it might take a while.

As it is, I think it would be a fun little project to attempt to find out how Sonic Jam's textures are stored, if a successful attempt hasn't been made before.
This post has been edited by Sonicstudium: 20 January 2013 - 02:34 AM

#6 User is offline Friend of Sonic 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:22 AM

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Which brings up an interesting point IMO: Has Sonic Jam ever been fully explored? There might be something interesting for Sonic World that was unused.

#7 User is offline Master Emerald 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

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Yeah, ripping the entire model of Sonic World would be nice, since there's an unused part near the waterfall!

#8 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

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After seeing those graphics in the same old format I need to ask, has anybody ever tried porting the Sonic Jam versions back to the Mega Drive?

I mean, proper ports with the actual code and data from the Saturn disc and not just approximations based on what you can see while playing.

#9 User is offline InvisibleUp 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

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View PostSonicstudium, on 19 January 2013 - 06:36 PM, said:

...

A screenshot showing Sonic R's strange internal naming. I'm unsure if the PC version names them the same way, so if anyone could tell me, that'd be great.
Posted Image

...


The PC directory looks like

Posted Image

The one straight off the CD looks nearly identical. (In fact the installation process is probably a straight-up copy/paste I believe.) Strange how they completely changed the layout of it disc. It seems unusually pointless, especially considering they were too lazy to put music on half the discs.

#10 User is offline Scarred Sun 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

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View PostICEknight, on 20 January 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:

After seeing those graphics in the same old format I need to ask, has anybody ever tried porting the Sonic Jam versions back to the Mega Drive?

I mean, proper ports with the actual code and data from the Saturn disc and not just approximations based on what you can see while playing.


That happened years ago.

#11 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

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LOst's port had the data, or at least most of it, but not the code or art:

Quote

The data for the level layout could be ported easy. The code or art could not be ported bacause it's not emulated. It's all new programmed for the Saturn CPUs


#12 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

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That hack seems a bit incomplete (was the coding for the skidding dust and the final boss also in Saturn format?), but I didn't just mean the Easy mode, anyway... I remember Normal mode having small differences as well, like solidity in those rising platform/walls in Green Hill. I wonder if that kind of stuff can be ported back as well.

Those small changes might be worth looking into, by the way, if only for curiosity's sake. =|
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 20 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

#13 User is offline Eric Wright 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:40 PM

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"Normal" mode had additional item boxes and rings in certain places, if I recall... All I remember was playing normal mode for a couple levels back when I first got Sonic Jam, and I was put-off by whatever they changed compared to the original version, so I avoided Normal mode from that point forward. I think it was just still easier than Original or something like that

#14 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:02 PM

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Oh, I had completely forgotten that "Normal" and "Original" were two different modes... So that makes two versions that haven't been attempted at "back porting".

#15 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

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View PostICEknight, on 20 January 2013 - 03:02 PM, said:

Oh, I had completely forgotten that "Normal" and "Original" were two different modes... So that makes two versions that haven't been attempted at "back porting".

There's actually quite a few, because only the level layout (I think) of Sonic 1 easy mode has been brought over.

There's effectively... eighteen(?) different games, as each game comes in three different varieties (and even the "original" modes come equipped with bug fixes IIRC). There are also time attack options though I'm not sure if they changed anything in-game.


This is why that old hack was always a bit disappointing to me - it doesn't represent the true extent of Sonic Jam's changes (and I'm not sure back-porting code to the Mega Drive ever could - sound effects are slightly different and there are subtle pauses in music as the disc loads).


and of course all the PAL versions run at full speed IIRC, so differences between variants of Sonic Jam no doubt

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