Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

You keep asking so here’s PCE status: In progress.

I know it doesn’t look like it from the outside but I am working on it. Most of the Saturn code changes I’ve introduced lately are actually meant for PCE. It’s quite difficult to do a proper low-level optical drive emulation. For example dumps usually don’t have track 1 pregap or leadout data in them – it has to be spoofed. Missing sector headers, EDC/CRC data has to be regenerated on-the-fly. Copy protection has to be spoofed. Not all dumps have subs so basically the whole system must be able to do without them, whereas it should actually be based on subs only. Then there are hardware limitations, I want to avoid PLD/FPGA devices as these make things more expensive and difficult to upgrade – so I have to resort to some tricks that aren’t always easy to implement or timed perfectly. And don’t get me started on hardware bugs, both in the stuff I use and in the consoles.

Case in point: After some tinkering Rhea has only one code path now that handles both audio and data sectors, which actually requires more processing but the result is closer to what a real drive does. This, coupled with some changes in the internal logic and status reporting made Bug! work. New FW will be available once I test things a bit more.

For PCE I’m going to go even further and limit supported image types, subs will be required. Now that I have one less thing to worry about I can focus more on hardware design again. I will post some photos but only once I have something booting at least a few games.

Speaking of Rhea, I’ve sold all the leftovers – there really weren’t many so it all happened pretty quickly. I’m planning to start Phoebe run next, probably near the end of this month. Then Rhea or GDEMU, depending which will look like less work. As usual watch the blog for announcements.

55 thoughts on “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

  1. I just received my GDEMU in the mail this afternoon. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication!

  2. Thanks for the update on the PCE device. Is it still the case that your device will only work with the briefcase setups, and not with the Duos?

    • I think it would be good for D to make the confirmation in the blog post sooner rather than later as it’s mostly been mentioned in comments sections.

      Essentially GDEMU, Rhea etc work by replacing the components that handle the drive reading. Because Saturn, DC and cdrom² all make use of separate controller pcb’s to handle things, you program the device to replace those boards. Data comes out of the sd card and gets sent to the system after whatever magic the devices use.

      With Playstation and Duo’s everything is integrated into a single pcb, making code injection incredibly difficult. Even with PSIO using the parallel port to inject code like a fancy Action Replay, you still have to cut traces and install a modchip to make it work with disc images. Without that modchip it simply doesn’t work properly because the system architecture gets in the way. Trying to replace the drive with something like a Rhea is either going to take significant work on top of making the base device or is impossible.

      • That’s too bad for Duos. Do you know if this simply replaces the CD add-on or goes into the add-on?

      • With psio you don’t need to install a modchip to use the disc images, you need a modchip with psio if you want to use burned games in the optical drive, the “chip” you install with psio is a switch board to change from psio to optical drive, you could also use the psio without switchboard simply cutting some traces and jumper them with some points on the parallel port but in that case you can’t use the optical drive anymore

  3. Thank you for the update I’m really looking forward to your next creation, keep up with this awesome work!!!

  4. amazing! it would be great to have a device like this for PCE. will stay posted for sure

  5. Just want to say I really appreciate you doing this, I got a GDemu ages ago and it’s great, I’m excited that Phoebe is next because I opened up my Saturn and discovered that it’s a 21pin! 😀

    Can’t wait!!!

  6. with psio you have to install a switchboard.
    without switchboard,your original games cant be played,the cdrom isnt working anymore because off the tracecuts,thats why there is a switchboard.
    i only have turbo duo,so i have to buy a cdrom².
    will thinking about it,or hope deunan will create 1 for turbo duo,we will see.

  7. Yeah, Phoebe at last. I will be abroad but I’ll try to keep an eye on it. Count on me dude

  8. Just bought an IFU-30 with the cdrom2 for your device 😀

    The problem is the expensive Arcade Card Pro :S

    • If the PCE ODE attaches via the extension bus you won’t need the IFU or cdrom2, just any PCE variant with the ext bus on the back… there again there has been no reveal as to how it will interface… yet 😉

      • I’m placing all my bet on cdrom2 replacement as the IFU contains the scsi like controller, but also the additional ADPCM chip, some ram chips for sound and data and sram for saves. That would be an interesting project though.
        I believe this PCE ODE will pave the way to low level replacements for many devices. 🙂

  9. can you please email me? cant find your contact, interested in purchasing thanks!

  10. Hi.
    I’d like to purchase a GDEMU. Is it posible to place an order or be put on a waiting list?


  11. Hi
    I’d like to buy a GDEMU.
    Is it possible to place an order or be put on a waiting list?


  12. I’m reading in the ordering tab “Preorders are currently closed.”…

    Is it possible to order anyway ?

    I would buy one me too. Thanks.

  13. If this add-on allows you to simulate a CD-ROM drive, could we also have a USB pass through port added so that we can use a regular external USB CD-ROM drive to play CD games with?

    That means, you can play games via SD card dumps, or you can play original games via a real CD-ROM drive. This would be extremely popular, as it would eliminate the need to hunt down a CD-ROM2/IFU-30a, or any kind of CD-ROM attachment that is no longer made anymore and usually is broken!

  14. I received GDEMU a month ago.
    It was not detecting my SDCARDS everytime and it was not reliable at all.

    I bought new quality SDCARDS and now everithing is working very, very, very well !!!

    It is really amazing… what a great product !

    Thank you very much for this !!!!

    • It could be the cards, or Dreamcast PSU. If you have problems again please clean the PSU contacts.

    • I was having problems using micro sd cards in adapters. switched to a full sd card and no more problems.

      • Some adapters are really poor quality, though in general this approach should work (I have one such card and no issues).

  15. thx deunan for rhea fw,bug works,but need more testing later.
    if something is broken,report to deunan guys.
    grts filip

  16. I received my Rhea, and it’s terrific, thanks! Playing it on my launch day (in the US) Saturn and it brings back a ton of memories.

    Yes, I know it was a surprise launch in the US, but I just happened to be at ToysRUs that day and picked to up – it was $400. So its good to finally get my money’s worth!

  17. I just found your website recently and now i daily show up to look for new posts from you.

    I read much about your Hardware and my Saturn and Dreamcast are waiting for your upgrade =)

    So thank you very much for your hard work and please keep it up.

  18. I’m having major issues with my GDEMU I got it back in November 2015. It hiccuped a couple of times with a 32gb class 10 SanDisk, didn’t think much of it because I could only really play for like 20mins or so and it sucks to be an adult but I have work, I thought I may have formatted my card wrong or something. After a period of time I reformatted with the suggested program and even got the games again fresh to be sure. I had issues of it freezing mid game and such. I saw on the technical details its better to use 2gb to 8gb SanDisk, so I bought a brand new 8gb class 4 SanDisk and formatted it and a 2gb SanDisk class 4 I had laying around. Both of them are giving issues still with freezing, crashing, and at times just not loading at all. I’m updated to the newest firmware and the games are fresh each time to be sure. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong. I made sure I had the right model Dreamcast and I had no loading issues at all with the GDRom drive installed playing back up disks. All I want to do is have the product of my dreams to work. Please help.

    • Probably bad PSU contact, as usual. What does the status LED on GDEMU do when you have these issues?

      • It flashes and flickers constantly like it is trying to read the file again. It only does it when it freezes. On the 2gb as well it had noticeable lag with Volgarr, this isn’t the games fault as it worked quite well on my 32gb for a bit until it did the freezing and crashing it inevitability did.

      • Dude can’t wait for phoebe. Count me in for sure. Pretty sure I got a 21 pin type three Saturn. Stoked to finally get the full potential put of it.

  19. Scotty , you can also try and bend the pins on the Dreamcast motherboard toward a certain direction. Google it as i forgot which way to bend them , also don’t do them individually use a pen or something straight and do all at once.

    best of luck

  20. You you were completely correct. Cleaned the contacts with alcohol and pushed the pins a tiny bit closer and pushed on the contacts with a clean toothpick for better contact. Played a couple of the trouble games and some others that I didn’t try last night and it works solid now. Thank you so much!

  21. God, I want one of these. All of these! lol

    I hope you get something in stock soon.

  22. I want to buy GDEMU, RHEA, Phoebe. Want to buy in this reservation! Please email me, thank you.

  23. I am a Chinese player, very want to buy Rhea, GDEMU, Phoebe. hope you can contact me as soon as possible. My email address is: email removed, thank you.

  24. euh,you have to keep an eye here if the preorders are open,if there open,you can order what you want.deunan doesnt contact people to warn that the preorders are open,thats how it works.
    visit the website every day to see if the preorders are open,takes a minute.

    • Wasting your time answering them, just leave it be. Let them learn the hard way.

  25. Hi, how to follow and receive an email when the GD Emu orders will open ?

    • The PC-Engine the console made from NEC for the Japan market, in USA is called TurboGrafx-16 and in Europe TurboGrafx

      • Actualy it came out in europe as the PC-Engine too. Just not for your country unless you lived in France. Very few games came out on the pal version I think about 4-5 pal releases. (I think i remember some bonk games and castlevania rondo of blood had a pal release for sure). Nec had a deal with a company called sodipeng they were to distribute their products in France only (there was never any plan for the rest of Europe, NEC was opposed to it).

      • OK! Thank you very much, I thought it was a special version of the Phoebe or Rhea, something caming out 🙂

  26. I just wanted to state the obvious: I eagerly await further developments in PCE project. Thank you for devoting time and energy to our humble PCE/TG-16. 🙂

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