SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis (Project Lunar) Hack Update

SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis (Project Lunar) Hack Update

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dd8IZ5eVwAAvRC9.jpg

A lot of people are coming in to chat and asking about the progress of the SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis Mini hacking. We thought it would be helpful to list out the progress, the facts and any information that we currently know and what our intentions are.

Before we begin… Can it be hacked? Yes (In theory). Just give us some time to create something that is end user friendly and doesn’t require soldering wires to the board like Frankenstein.

What’s happening right now?

Development on the hack is difficult due to the European shipping delay so not all of the devs have their hands on the device yet. We have effectively been working remotely on the hack with only 2-4 of the devs physically having the device. However we are approximately 48 hours in and we have full access to the console, decrypted the internal data packages and learnt a lot already.

A user friendly hack is possible in theory and work has started on it as we speak. We are currently codenaming the hack project within MMC “Project Lunar” named after SEGA M2 codename for the mini “Project Moon”

When is the hack going to be available?

How long is a piece of string? There are currently two key components missing which we are currently working on obtaining. Once we have those then we will be able to build a custom kernel and u-boot based off SEGA’s OSS. Once we’ve done that we’ll need to actually write up the hack so you can easily add stuff into the interface itself and not just gain access to the device.

We won’t be applying any deadlines to ourselves but we are going full speed on the hack and will be posting updates on progress as and when they arrive.

Who is responsible for hacking it/timeline?

  • HoneyLabs and NV on the first day managed to locate the UART lines and gain root access to the device and dump the kernel
  • Cyanic dumped the RootFS and decrypted the alldata package
  • MMC devs are currently working on build tools, customising the kernel and u-boot and writing up some hack scripts for the console

How powerful is it, what is it capable of?

The SEGA Mega Drive mini is a near identical copy of the (S)NESC in terms of specs and SoC. Meaning anything the (S)NESC is capable of running. The SEGA Mega Drive mini will run it at similar performance.

Can I put it in FEL and run Hakchi on it?

Yes and no. However Don’t try it. It’s true that the SoC used on the SEGA Mega Drive mini (A33 Allwinner) is the of the same spec of the (S)NESC’s R16 Allwinner. However the U-boot and kernel used on the SEGA Mega Drive uses a different config and different build. Therefore the flashing tools WILL work but you run the risk of flashing kernels/u-boots to the console that will NOT WORK. We have had a couple people try this to no avail already in the discord.

There is a strong possibility you will screw your system. Especially if you don’t know what you are fully doing.

Lastly even if you get it in to recovery, the way the UI/Emulator/Roms work on the Mega Drive is completely different than the (S)NESC so you wouldn’t be able to do anything with it.

Please just wait and be patience.

Where can I get involved/watch/chat about the developments?

We have set up a dedicated section in the discord for all chat regarding the Mega Drive. We also made our Development Chat publicly visible so you are able to watch developments as and when they happen. You can find the discord link here: (fixed link) https://discord.gg/8gygsrw

Wheres the code?

SEGA Mega Drive public Repo: https://gitlab.com/modmyclassic/sega-mega-drive-mini

TL;DR, what do we know?

  • The SoC is a cheap clone of a Allwinner A33. https://linux-sunxi.org/A33
  • The USB cable supplied is POWER ONLY. You will need your own USB with data to connect it to PC
  • The Front USB ports are locked down to only a few speicifc gamepads and usb hubs. USB memory sticks will not work. (We will change this when we build the new kernel/u-boot)
  • It is the same specs as the (S)NESC
  • To boot the console in FEL and connect it to the PC you need to hold the reset button and plug it in to the PC
  • There are two secret test modes that can be enabled using an official 3 button and 6 button gamepad. (PM one of us if you have this combo so we can get some notes)
    .rodata:00017280	00000047	C	1P: A+B+C+START = Stress Test\n1P: START + 2P: X+Y+Z = USER Mode change
  • A full list of roms available (on the us release at least) is here: https://pastebin.com/8dkqF3Um
  • We have a full dump of the rootfs
  • The emulator used on the Mega Drive is m2engage. It’s closed source and also supports emulation of other consoles. It’s the same emulator used on the Wii U Virtual Console
  • All the data for roms and scripts for the UI are encrypted and compressed on the NAND. We have decrypted it
  • There are scripts available which directly interact with the UI meaning that customising the UI should be easy
  • To put custom content on the console using the stock UI will require decrypting, decompressing the payload, modifying, recompressing, encrypting and uploading. A new hack tool is being developed to handle this.
  • DMESG Log – https://pastebin.com/brXcJwXv
  • UART Pads – https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/561896394697211924/624109168273522718/unknown.png

Images and stuff

UART locations

BOXART files

If you have any questions, please just ask in the discord and we will try and answer any questions you might have

 

Mod My Classic

40 Comments

Restalgia Posted on2:36 am - Sep 21, 2019

Dope!

    Jose Posted on9:30 am - Oct 20, 2019

    On this hack r we to softgrafic on the game I’m asking that some game look pixielet I’m 50 ano men I grew up this game pixel grafic is hard play so can softpixes on the Sega Genesis thank you it be super nice from guys thank u again and GODBLESSS U GUYS

Kujo Posted on2:58 pm - Sep 21, 2019

Discord link has expired or is invalid. Can you please provide me a link to join the discord chat. Thank you.

Brian Posted on3:22 pm - Sep 21, 2019

Rip Darius off it.

    admin Posted on7:12 pm - Sep 21, 2019

    Already have and analysed. Nothing special. Definitely fan made as found in the hex editor and not a lot else to report

Veganbond Posted on5:47 pm - Sep 21, 2019

the discord link don’t work

Mega Drive Mini wird gehackt – Spiele-Maschine Posted on3:28 pm - Sep 22, 2019

[…] erste Hobby-Entwickler auf der Hardware herum und versuchen weitere Emulation möglich zu machen. Auf ModMyClassic.com gibt es erste Einblicke in das Vorhaben und den derzeitigen Status der Arbeiten, sodass Menschen, die das MD-Mini modden möchten, immer […]

Iuri Fiedoruk Posted on12:20 am - Sep 23, 2019

What I am curious to know, is that if the MegaMan Wily Wars rom is identical to the ones around the internet, or m2, Sega or Capcom did some patching.
I say that, because it is really difficult to shot 3 consecutive pellets in the roms I’ve tried (inclusing original japanese nptsc one in original system), but looking at videos it seems to work fine. There is a patch in romhacks.net that also fixes this issue.

    admin Posted on10:30 am - Sep 24, 2019

    From my understanding the MegaMan Wily Wars rom is NOT the same. Tetris is deffinately different too and obviously Darius is a new rom.

    That’s all I have personally checked so I am not sure about the others.

      z3razerviper Posted on5:01 am - Sep 27, 2019

      I just want to get the wily wars rom off my genesis mini so I can play it on my Mega SG….

        admin Posted on1:27 pm - Oct 3, 2019

        You can do this when the hack is available

Peter Posted on12:16 pm - Sep 23, 2019

Where I can found a Darius Dump?

    admin Posted on10:29 am - Sep 24, 2019

    This is copyrighted content and we are unable to provide this. Sorry

Living L393nd Posted on10:01 pm - Sep 23, 2019

Impresive! Checked the full list of roms on the link you provided and it doesn’t have too many other games on top of the 42 included ones. Will more roms be added?

The ones I am most interested is Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Ristar, Alien Soldier, Rocket Knight, Sparkster, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, Vectorman 2, Golden Axe 2 & 3, Mortal Kombat series, Aero the Acrobat 1 & 2, Earthworm Jim 2, and Prince of Persia. Hopefully these games I mentioned will be added 🙂

    admin Posted on10:29 am - Sep 24, 2019

    You will be able to add your own roms to the stock UI and emulator when our hack is released

      Living L393nd Posted on9:04 pm - Sep 24, 2019

      Also forgot to add in my previous reply but this will support other roms like 32X, Sega CD, and even SNES?

      Curious about how we will be able to load the modded kernel if the USB ports are locked to only controller inputs. Will the script disguise a USB drive to appear as a controller similar to how the Bash Bunny from Hak5 tricks computers into thinking a mouse or keyboard was plugged in, so that it can load the new modded kernel into the system? I guess all this info will be revealed step by step here once the hack is complete? Thanks 🙂

free.gen Posted on2:18 am - Sep 24, 2019

Can you add to the git lab a complete dump of the root directory of the sega mini, or that part of it that contains the things that are responsible for the UI (pictures, sounds, music)? I am making a ui hack for one project in the style of sega mini, and for this I do not have enough source data. please!

    admin Posted on10:28 am - Sep 24, 2019

    Apologies we are unable to share this as it’s copyrighted materials. When we eventually provide tools to gain root access to the console you will be able to access the materials for yourself

NeilZander Posted on10:33 pm - Sep 24, 2019

I’m defiantly looking forward to this the Genesis Mini is by far my favorite Mini right now for what it already has to offer! Once it’s hackable tho it will be even more amazing I hope by the time it’s successfully done will be able to get SEGA 32X and SEGA CD support that would create a reason to get the Sega Tower if it ever does come to the west to make it look more legit lol. Good Luck to the team!

Living L393nd Posted on7:26 pm - Sep 25, 2019

Thats what I want to know too. Curious if it will also support SNES roms. Never been a big SNES fan, just liked Donkey Kong and Kirby. But it would be a nice bonus if the hack will enable SNES support.

    admin Posted on1:28 pm - Oct 3, 2019

    Yes it will

Jolu42 Posted on7:40 am - Sep 27, 2019

Hi admin, I started creating accurate box art if this hack does come into fruition. Can you check if the images I’ve created so far look like they would work with the current res and aspect ratio? (I’m pretty certain they would be auto-supersampled down to much smaller file in the end after adding.)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1l-NOXpyI9PFSDWyIg2V8qP5CqsAmHxQk

    admin Posted on1:27 pm - Oct 3, 2019

    Looks like it could be helpful. Thanks

Mike Luetjens Posted on11:49 am - Sep 27, 2019

Greetings,

so Darius is a real ROM which will run on a real Sega MegaDrive/Genesis?
Thanks for your work! 🙂

    admin Posted on1:27 pm - Oct 3, 2019

    Yes it is, tested and works on real hardware

Martinboy Posted on9:52 pm - Sep 29, 2019

Think it’s possible to remove the blur from the scanline-filter? Basically just looking for a sharp image with horisontal lines 🙂

And do you think it’s possible to add interpolation to the games that run in 256×224 mode to remove shimmering when the screen scrolls?

I know this can be done using other emulators, but that is not really what I’m looking for.

    admin Posted on1:26 pm - Oct 3, 2019

    Yeah this could be coded out I think

Jose Posted on8:32 pm - Oct 5, 2019

Can you guys please make the hack Linux compatible? Hakchi2 for example doesn’t work on Linux unfortunately only on Windows 🙁

    admin Posted on12:10 pm - Oct 9, 2019

    We will be aiming for cross platform. We MIGHT not have it for RC1 but it’s 100% on the roadmap

Sketcz Posted on7:00 pm - Oct 6, 2019

I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, or if it’s even something you can look at, but the CRT filter seems to be applied at a different point along the rendering pipeline compared to the SNES Mini, which results in terrible horizontal banding. Or it’s just a godawful filter.

It’s difficult to articulate, but:
I’m using a Samsung 720p HDTV, bought circa 2008.

The SNES Mini right out the box applied scanlines on a pixel by pixel basis, so the lines were always fixed to the pixels in precisely the correct places and ratios. It did not matter what my TV settings were. There was never any banding – and changing settings did not introduce banding.

With the Mega Drive Mini (UK model), the scanline filter seems to be applied haphazardly. The lines are not attached to specific pixel rows, and on my 720p HDTV there is horrendous horizontal banding issues.

The weird thing is, changing my TV’s zoom setting changes the banding problem. I can switch 16:9, Widescreen (seemingly different to 16:9), 4:3, Zoomed, Just Scan, and maybe another?

Anyway, each of these produces a slightly different type of banding, or clumping of horizontal pixel rows.

Except – and this is what blew my mind! – the zoomed in option, which cropped the entire outer ring of the gameplay area, produced no banding.

I don’t quite grasp how or why this happens, other than realising it is truly one of the worst emulator filters I have ever seen. The SNES Mini filter was precise, locked to specific rows of pixels, and when anti-aliasing was disabled through hacking the system, it produced a crisp and gentle scanline image. It was beautiful.

I don’t understand how an emulator by M2 can introduce godamn banding to the filter. That’s like amateur hour when it comes to emulation.

Ost2020 Posted on8:43 pm - Oct 9, 2019

When released, will I be able to install the mod via MacOSX?

    admin Posted on5:32 pm - Oct 13, 2019

    We are hoping so. Might not be possible on the first release though. It completely depends on time constraints

BoxMan Posted on4:01 pm - Oct 12, 2019

It would be very interesting to take advantage of the 1080 output available on the chip. The result would be spectacular image quality, compared to the SNES or PS1 mini. Maybe it has an impact on performance, I am aware, but leaving it as an option for the user would be great. Congratulations on the work done, surely Sega will not make the customization work easy.

    @Silveredgrunion Posted on2:10 am - Oct 14, 2019

    I feel it would create stutter effect and not as smooth as it should, but still great idea

@SilveredGrunion Posted on8:04 pm - Oct 13, 2019

Hello. I see you get many questions here about the progress. I just wanted to take the time here instead to just say thankyou. Your work is appreciated, and very much respected. I hope all is well with you and the team, and have a great day.

viperkid89 Posted on11:33 pm - Oct 13, 2019

looking forward to it cant wait to hack my sega mega drive mini . pls do update when is ready

RP Posted on3:56 pm - Nov 27, 2019

Thanks for all you guys are all doing here.

The two major questions I have are:

1. When all is said and done will I be able to add games but continue to use the pre-installed GUI? I actually really like the layout and music and prefer to keep it looking different than say, Emulation Station.

2. What kind of space are we looking at here? Say I want to keep this Sega Genesis/MD exclusive, would I be able to fit the entire Genesis/MD library (possibly including 32x and CD games) on the HD or would we be limited on internal space need to boot from an external drive for larger ROMs?

Josh Posted on6:09 pm - Nov 28, 2019

Is it possible that we’ll be able to play NES games on it?