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General Questions and Information Thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Andlabs, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Well, I've personally always wanted these to be downloadable on the wiki since we have pages where these are listed under "Extra Content" and they always had the potential to be different.
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I don't think you can embed a TXT file on Mediawiki, so if they were uploaded, there'd be awkward extra clicks to download. For a file that's usually contains just a couple of lines (and you'd have to rename and categorise them all, and there'll be duplciates which Mediawiki will whine about).

    It would be "every CD dump" x 3. Meanwhile if you copy-paste the text, the list of things to maintain is three times less and you'd be able to read it in one go.
     
  3. Chimes

    Chimes

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    There's also whatevers going on in Loadstar... a weird shiftjis message in a american game
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Task 1: Template:ROMHeader

    Hidden Palace has these, but they have to type everything out by hand! Mine just takes hex characters and the wiki sorts the rest out:
    Code (Text):
    1. {{ROMHeader|53 45 47 41 20 4D 45 47 41 20 44 52 49 56 45 20 28 43 29 54 2D 31 33 20 31 39 39 32 2E 4D 41 59 53 49 44 45 20 50 4F 43 4B 45 54 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 53 49 44 45 20 50 4F 43 4B 45 54 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 47 4D 20 54 2D 31 33 30 38 33 20 2D 30 30 F9 86 4A 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 00 00 00 00 00 0F FF FF 00 FF 00 00 00 FF FF FF 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 4A 55 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20}}

    I could take this further and make it detect stuff. We have the official guidelines - I could get the wiki to tell us how many Mega Drive games were claiming to support tablets, trackballs and paddle controllers.

    ...not that these headers are actually trustworthy mind you. We know the dates tend to be wrong, so there's a good chance other parts are too.

    Saturn and Dreamcast also have headers but they use a slightly different format with less blank space. This handles Mega Drive, Mega-CD, 32X and Pico.
     
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    ROM header

    People will know more about this stuff than I do - I just copy-edited Sega's official documents:

    https://segaretro.org/File:SegaGenesisSoftwareManual_1990-02-06.pdf
    https://segaretro.org/File:Genesis_Software_Manual.pdf
    https://segaretro.org/File:GenesisSoftwareManual.pdf
    https://segaretro.org/File:Genesis_Software_Development_Manual_Version_2.0_1991-07-09.pdf
    https://segaretro.org/File:Mega-CD_Disc_Format_Specifications.pdf

    And yes, support for Master System controllers and unreleased peripherals, and a load of modem stuff I couldn't be bothered to decipher.

    Anyway the reason I'm posting is because one of the requirements was to specify the type of software - is it a "game" (GM) or "educational" (AI). And uh

    [​IMG]

    This isn't the first time Sega has associated "AI" with education. I don't know if it's some sort of misunderstanding of the concept (the computer is "educated" like humans?), but seems developers were subtly exposed to the Sega AI Computer's naming scheme.

    Whether any software is actually marked as AI is a different matter though.


    Also for the record Sega never called this "table" a "ROM header". In fact they didn't seem to have an official name for it - "identifier" is about as close as I can get.
     
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  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Attempt 1:
    Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (Mega-CD)/Technical information

    I'm not really sure this "information" is really very "technical", but it's a start. I called things "identifiers" - it might not be the best term. Maybe "identification" is better... and maybe it wants a dedicated subpage. Does the layout/templates/whatever suck? Have I written the wrong things? Let me know.


    The idea would be to repeat this for every dump (that has information to share).


    I don't think there's any official documentation online covering how the Dreamcast handles this topic. It would be great if some were found.
     
  7. I like the formatting, but I'm also at a loss as to what to call it; "Technical Information" doesn't instantly bring to mind what this data is, but then again what does?

    I'd almost suggest this should go in the main article for the game somewhere as part of a template instead of a subpage, but then I don't know where exactly it would fit in the example article nor do I know if that would cause headaches when sorting what data we do/don't have down the line.
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I'd prefer to keep it off the main page, just because when we encounter games with a bazillion translations and revisions, it's going to add a lot of scrolling. It shouldn't matter too much where these things live if we're going to start building fancy pants databases of the contents though.

    We could also go another level down, i.e. "xxx/Technical information/Identifiers" - the possibilites are endless.
     
  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    SorachiJirachi made me a happy man. Again

    [​IMG] -> [​IMG]

    This is how you make video games.
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    The Dreamcast version of Test Drive 6 was a North American exclusive. But it was made in the UK. In fact... it was made up the road from me.

    [​IMG]

    One of its levels is based on where it was made, Newcastle upon Tyne (although I'm also hearing Pitbull Syndicate were based in Gateshead but whatever).

    https://www.google.com/maps/@54.969...4!1sGbAnCH_EI-LIGLF8-dg1OQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    It's a very rough implementation (it only has two bridges) - you'd almost certainly kill people if you took that route, but there are two things weirder about this tale - one, Driver did it too, which meant it was technically one of the most represented cities on the PS1, but what gets me is the fact it's inclusion would have meant nothing to the American audience. Why is this murky looking city in my racing game with supercars?

    Not that I'm losing sleep for not having access to Test Drive 6 on the Dreamcast - it's a middling PlayStation port, and there are plenty of better alternatives, but it's a 20 minute drive away - they could have given me a copy in person.
     
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  12. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Just posting to say that Virtua Fighter had a spot at EVO Japan this year.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Today on "oh yes, that's a thing"

    Dreamcast (and Saturn) games often contain fun little extras that you can only see when loading the disc on a PC. Usually this is artwork or wallpapers - we've got several and there's loads more.

    How do we know what classes as bonus material? Well with the Saturn, you have to make an educated guess, but with the Dreamcast, it's simple - a GD-ROM disc is split into bits, and a CD-ROM drive can only read the "low density" portion. You can actually see the divide on the discs themselves:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (left: GD-ROM, right: CD-ROM - the inner ring of the GD-ROM is the CD-ROM section)

    [​IMG]

    If I take this totally legitimate copy of MDK 2 and try to... uh... "open" it as a CD-ROM, there are only a handful of items: abstract/bibliography/copyright text files (which the CD-ROM standard suggested a disc should have), and a folder with extras in it.

    Where is the game? It's in the "high density" GD-ROM section which a normal CD-ROM drive can't read. So a clear divide between bonus extra content and genuine game data.


    Yes I know it's more complicated than this, but that's not the point of this post. The point is, we've made a few mistakes:

    [​IMG]

    This image, from the category above, claims to be from Test Drive 6, but if you put the game in a CD-ROM drive... you won't see it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We have a few of these too. 256x256 images that look like disc labels. Where did they come from?


    This is 0GDTEX.PVR, and it has one, very specific purpose:


    [​IMG]

    If you attempt to play your game disc as an audio CD through the Dreamcast, and 0GDTEX.PVR exists in the GD-ROM data, you get a custom disc label. It is an entirely optional and often missed feature of Dreamcast games, for the 0.00001% of customers who just want to play the audio off the disc, and not the game.

    Do Dreamcast discs even have redbook audio that you can listen to? Yes - every game is meant to have at least one track - an audio message telling users not to play this in a CD drive. Sometimes you get custom warnings (which is another thing to document), and sometimes you get genuine music, for the same reason as the developer might have bundled in extra wallpapers - it's a bit of fun.


    Do we want to make a collection of 0GDTEX.PVR images? Probably? But at the very least, a distinction ought to be made between these pseudo-disc labels for the Dreamcast's audio player, and extra content found when reading through a CD-ROM drive. It's technically not "game" data, but users weren't meant to have free access to these either.

    We don't have any official documents detailing how developers should handle this feature. My guess is that most games don't have custom disc labels... but I might be wrong.
     
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  14. Chimes

    Chimes

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    Holy fucking shit, you just accidentally solved one of the weirder mysteries that I got stumped on re: Dreamcast textures.
    Last year I tried datamining Rainbow Cotton, which is infamous for being a total disaster of a game. The disc PVR contains a totally unique render of Cotton's model that isn't seen anywhere else, which puzzled me for months.
     
  15. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    There's actually one more reason - some games genuinely use the Redbook audio in-game too. It's not overly common, but off the top of my head Shenmue has its insert song Wish on both Disc 3 and the Passport disc so it can play in-game at full quality (presumably without taking up GD-ROM space?). Of course, Shenmue has the disc art and custom audio warnings too - Chai telling you not to put the disc in a CD player is definitely something to behold.
     
  16. It's my first time making a company page, but I just had to after finding out about WillLink.
    WillLink - Sega Retro

    There was a very specific group of developers whose only SEGA contributions were Maru-chan de Goo!, Sega Tetris and Columns Crown. Maybe they were just a very tight group of devs at AM1, but I was way more suspicious when I saw SEGA ARCADE HISTORY list a second developer for SEGA TETRIS: WillLink (later I saw that the same was true for Maru-chan de Goo!!!)
    Somehow, their home page is still up fine, with both a complete history works (which reveals they also worked on Waku Waku Shoubousya and Sega Bass Fishing Duel) and highlights page on the sort of work they do, which goes back to SEGA TETRIS, confirming all for their SEGA works starting there (maybe the previous as well), they handled main programming, general graphics and sound direction, so that confirms most of the credited developers in those games (pretty much everyone credited in at least 2 of the WillLink games) is one of their employees rather than AM1's.
    ウィルリンクホームページ (will-link.co.jp)
     
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  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Today I make this template smarter than most emulators:

    Nobunaga no Yabou: Haouden/Technical information

    It was valid to use "JIS kanji code" for the game titles in Mega Drive ROM headers. Which means this:
    Code (Text):
    1.  M       ] E e   `ECTION        
    is now
    Code (Text):
    1. 信長の野望・覇王伝ECTION        
    (no idea what an "ECTION" is - blame the game)

    None of the official documents talk about ranges, but screw it - Sega Retro supports just short of 7000 kanji characters now.


    And a fun fact about fonts - most of the time, monospaced kanji characters are bigger than monospaced latin ones. Even when in the same HTML div tag. Ideally kanji is meant to be twice as wide, but while Asia has had a handle on this for years, the West... not so much, so it slightly breaks the formatting.

    I like to think that Sega realised this, because JIS is not allowed in Saturn headers. Every day's a school day.
     
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  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I came across this old topic yesterday:

    https://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?threads/source-code-accidently-compiled-into-games.19503/

    Much of this isn't on Sega Retro, so I'd like to put it there. But I have a question:

    If we want to say exactly where something starts in the ROM, we would specify the hexadecimal offset, e.g.:

    [​IMG]
    Here's some crap from No Escape. It starts at "001FD205".

    But it would be nice to have some consistent formatting. We have a "hex" template already - it wouldn't take much to force standards.

    Because Sonic Retro has historically been more Mega Drive-centric, "$" has been used as a prefix, because that's how Motorola did it. In the PC space, it's often "0x", but But what of the other consoles we might care about - the SG-1000, Master System, Game Gear, Saturn and Dreamcast? Do we want to force the leading 0s (e.g. "001FD205" instead of "1FD205"). Do we want to do something fancy to describe what these numbers even mean?

    tl;dr should 001FD205 be:

    - 001FD205
    - 1FD205
    - $001FD205
    - $1FD205
    - 0x001FD205
    - 0x1FD205
    or something else?
     
  19. Chimes

    Chimes

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    Since a massive, and I do mean massive chunk of these come from various disc/floppy games where in certain systems you can just poke inside specific files with names anyway like Sega CD/Dreamcast/home computers, I suggest using the 0xFFFFFFFF system for virtually everything since that's what TCRF uses. Having alternate systems of definition for various consoles can get messy.
     
  20. Hivebrain

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    Either prefix is going to be wrong half the time, so I'd suggest not using one. Let the choice of font imply that it's hex, and maybe add some mouseover text. Would it look good to have leading 0s grey (or translucent)? And possibly have separate templates for longwords/words/bytes so you know how many leading 0s there should be.