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Sega Channel Hacking

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by BillyTime! Games, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. BillyTime! Games

    BillyTime! Games

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    Hey guys! For the past two days I have been researching the technical workings of the sega channel rom.

    so far I have found that only the blue sega channel cart has been dumped as it only boots to the error screen while the big grey adapter boots to the intro before reaching the error screen. *meaning the big grey adapter rom still remains undumped*

    Blue sega cart pic, which apparently everyone has.:
    [​IMG]

    A video showing the older adapter in action.:
    Old Sega Channel adapter in action

    Now before I lose your attention, things will get a bit more interesting from here.

    I then opened the rom with a hex editor and found text for menus including parental control, language select, and credits. (apparently some take-out guy was credited)

    If sega channel downloaded almost everything from a server, why would these things be in the rom? Then it came to me that sega channel's menus may still be in the rom. Of course without the background, ratings, and games as shown below. it may appear that those were updated skins supplied by SoA and changed up for time to time or on holidays.
    [​IMG]

    with a bit more tweaking I feel most of sega channel's "insides" can become accessible and maybe become a front end for flash carts or even the sega channel intro being used as a custom O.S. bios as the tmss screen is extremely boring.

    I am just an average guy who decided to take a deeper look into something poorly researched, I would like to see what could be found if someone with a higher expertise took a look at the rom.

    Any thoughts?

    EDIT: a result of me editing the text on the error screen.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sik

    Sik

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    The fact that the menu graphics are not included inside the ROM is gonna make things a lot harder than I expected... Shame. I guess it's time to hack the ROM to put our own graphics into it and make the menu use that?
     
  3. Phithpleis

    Phithpleis

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    It would be better if you changed "ATTENTION" to "ACHTUNG"

    Edit: But, that's just my own personal opinion
     
  4. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

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    I have both models of the Sega Channel, though I can't dump either of them. Also I don't have the power cord to the tall model.
     
  5. Sik

    Sik

    Sik is pronounced as "seek", not as "sick". Tech Member
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    Er, I don't think so. If I understand correctly, he's looking for help to see if the Sega Channel ROM can be hacked into becoming something useful.
     
  6. aka DSL =P

    And windows port. :O
     
  7. Jaseman

    Jaseman

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    I was fascenated when I first found out about the Sega Channel a few years ago. I always dreamed (since then anyway) that somebody was gonna sorta... emualte the err-- 'Channel' part of it some day... Think about it: Hacking the ROM to go... Heck... Umm... Look... for... ... ... I guess a plugin could be made for Kega Fusion to make the (hacked) rom go look for a certain repository of games on the Internet. It would only be emulating the 'Channel' part unfourtunetly.
     
  8. Lobotomy

    Lobotomy

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    Oh man, think about it. Use SSRG's Hacktube ROMS or Sonic Retro's hacks on this mofo by using Game Genie or some shit to route the connection to a server. We'd just need to find a Cable to DSL converter.

    I have the 32X looking model and I'd be happy to help hack it.
     
  9. Jaseman

    Jaseman

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    Yeah. I can't imagine how you would get this to work on real hardware but it might work on Gens or Kega. Maybe anyway
     
  10. Sik

    Sik

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    You'd need a means to convert the data into something the hardware understands.

    One issue though is that the Sega Channel is a one-way connection - basically you can receive data, but not send (after all, it's just like a TV channel, because in fact it is that!). That is gonna make things a bit hard. The main reason that there was a delay to download the games was because all games were being broadcast in sequence and the Sega Channel would have to wait until the game it wants is being broadcast.

    So yeah... good luck getting something interesting for a similar service. Unless it's handled in a similar way as the original service and hacks are being rotated, you're screwed. An alternative would be to put up only well-known hacks permanently and then some of the newest hacks.
     
  11. Jaseman

    Jaseman

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    Yup. Put up only Retro hacks. All of them from the database. As for the emulating the Sega Channel itself... Without some special plugin for Kega or Gens, I think we are screwed.
     
  12. BillyTime! Games

    BillyTime! Games

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    I would, but that red text is part of the graphics, the rest is easily changeable through a hex editor. there is a couple places though where the error text is similar or the same so if it doesn't show up right away then you may have replaced a different text. I encourage some funny new error screens, the old ones just ticked me off.

    I really recommend if you get the chance see if drx will dump them. I read awhile back on an older post that he is willing to dump the rom and since he has a big release coming up at hidden palace, I think anytime before that would be nice, especially if dumping that rom means we find more information that can lead us closer to hacking this thing.

    Correct. :)

    Now on the lines of a custom bios, that was my intent as most of the code can be removed and slightly reworked so you get the intro and from there goes to the game's following sega logo. as for a flashcart front end, if we just gain access to the menu's "skeleton" somebody surely will pick it up for all those neoflash or megacart fans out there.

    More importantly besides what stated above I am interested in the intro, menu access *maybe by fooling the rom into thinking as if all games were already downloaded* and the music. As for emulating a dead form of television, nope I don't think so either. At least not without finding and stealing a time warner server room way back in the archives.

    In the meantime I hope the 32X looking cart gets dumped as that will give us *probably* better results as I think it is an earlier model that came with more code.

    EDIT: also, it most likely won't work on real hardware unless we find out how the server works and emulate that. Would soldering together the right pieces be able to make this Cable2ethernet cord? I don't I've ever seen that.
     
  13. Sik

    Sik

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    I just remembered, from what I was reading the menu code is not present from the ROM but also was downloaded (so basically the Sega Channel is a very raw interface). So I guess we're mostly screwed. Although it could be as well that the BIOS had to download the graphics and music rather than the code as well... Meh.
     
  14. BillyTime! Games

    BillyTime! Games

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    I believe the intro maybe the only complete thing. But the aside the options I found, most of whats downloaded is,graphics, music, advertisements, and primarily games. But if the there are options that effect the cart every time you power on why would it have to be download, and if it had to be downloaded why would the text be there.

    Its confusing way to look at it, maybe I can slim it down so everyone can understand.

    Bios:intact
    Error screen: intact :argh:
    Menu skeleton: somewhat there
    Options: same as above
    graphics:downloaded
    music:downloaded
    Games and etc.: :)

    How I have come to find this is through a hex editor and the text is out there in the open. I wish I could post pics but I don't have everything for that just yet.

    aside from graphics and music though I believe all sega channel did was detect all these roms that were on the server, and downloaded just music and graphics.

    That is my hypothesis, but it is one that provides some evidence.
     
  15. Diablohead

    Diablohead

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    Damn I still remember reading about the Sega Channel being beta tested around america from an old megadrive magazine I use to own, the article made me want to have it over here and then out of no where nothing was said ever again, so it obviously flopped I thought :P
     
  16. Evil Cheese

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    Correct although there were plans to release a Sega Channel cartridge that could work on the Xband network. I don't know if that was ever released but it was in Sega's plans at one point. The cartridge would connect to Sega Channel via a cable line and to the xband network via a phone line.
     
  17. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I honestly thought it made it over here, and remember idly wanting it but knowing my parents would never go for a subscription. Guess it didn't...

    EDIT: Fucking hell. I WAS right!

    http://www.cbronline.com/news/sega_channel_launched_in_uk

    That link shows the company that operated it to be Flextech Plc. Their website is http://www.flextech.co.uk/ , and goes to a familiar and not surprising name for anyone who knows the UK cable industry... seems it started out with the name it has today, renamed to Flextech after a buyout by the newly formed Telewest, then to the current name after the rebranding exercise after the buyouts that have made it what it is now. Though I'm surprised NTL had no involvement with the Sega Channel...
     
  18. BillyTime! Games

    BillyTime! Games

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    I'm no stranger to virgin media. especially with their influence here in the states.

    Time warner *ted turner's baby* did sega channel over here in new york. I highly doubt they are willing to give up their sega archives should they have them. I figure the server information must have run off a hard driver or cd. 50 roms and extras can't be anymore than 1XX MB and even then they are streaming it.
     
  19. Diablohead

    Diablohead

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    I don't think we had cable tv until late into the MD live so it's probably why I never heard of it appearing in the UK myself, would have been cool instead of renting games from the local hop-in at the time.