SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis (Project Lunar) Hack Update Part 5

SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis (Project Lunar) Hack Update Part 5

Hi all this is a bit of a clarification post more than an update post. However before you read on any further, please watch this video…

Yes, that’s booting directly to stock menu, with extra elements added to stock menu, all running from NAND. (Courtesy of Cyanic)

We are aware it’s completely 50/50 between the people who want the “completely stock + extra games” approach vs the people who want to be able to customise their mini to get the most of it.

We understand this and we are trying our best to cater to everyone’s wants and needs.

Therefore we put together a quick FAQ of recent comments and questions we have had over the last week which will hopefully answer your questions.

I don’t want to boot to a boot menu! I just want to boot directly to the stock UI 

That’s fine! The boot menu is designed so you have access to extra config options on console like adjust the CPU clock speed, enable SSH/SFTP and hopefully in the future, a savestate manager where you can actually delete save states! However…

On first boot after install, you can just set whatever item to boot directly to. (Stock UI, RA, maybe Emulation Station?) and then on every reboot you will boot directly to that element.

The above screen is a mock however this should give you a good idea what to expect.

Also if you need to boot to the boot menu after setting auto boot to stock UI… you can hold a button on boot to boot up boot menu.

This should make everyone happy, if you have it set to boot directly to stock UI you wouldn’t really know it’s been modified otherwise!

I don’t want to plug in a usb I just want it to run from internal storage!

That’s fine too. Storage is limited though and currently after the mod and RA install, we are hoping you will have approx 190mb for roms/cores/savestates. (This is what we are aiming for and could very much change by RC1 so don’t hold us to it!)

This will mean you will be using all of the rootfs_data partition on the NAND which original purpose was for savestates. If you use all the space you won’t be able to save any more. However we believe this is the best solution that caters for all.

I want the full experience with OTG and external usb. Is this possible?

Not a problem, OTG still needs some more testing but external storage is working fine. No power restrictions like the PSC either. You should be able to plug a usb stick in one of the ports or otg adapter. (You can also use a usb hub on either otg or front ports)

When the stick is inserted, project lunar will auto detect, mount and then overlay it self on top of the existing NAND partitions effectively increasing the available storage completely eliminating the worry about disk space.

Why can’t it just be like the (S)NESC and just drag and drop

If only. Unlike the (S)NESc where you could effectively dump a rom on the NAND and upload a .desktop file with an execute command…Or the PSC where you upload the rom, intercept the launch request and upload index data to an internal db…The Mega Drive mini is a lot more complex…

This is why. You are looking at the UI, emulator, configs, elements and roms within 3 files. That’s it. The data is also encrypted and compressed using M2’s own proprietary methods just to make life difficult. Any data/roms being fed back into the emulator also needs the same encryption and compression otherwise it will refuse to load.

So to give an idea on just adding one rom to the stock UI, we need to:

  • Extract the data file
  • Decompress the data files
  • Decrypt the data files
  • Inject need rom
  • Dynamically modify and rewrite parts of the Stock UI code
  • Add the artwork into an artwork file
  • Add to the file index data relating to rom
  • Re-encrypt all the data files again
  • Compress the data files
  • Bundle the data files

And this is generalising the process! Needless to say this is a lot more complicated than what we have worked with in the past however we have got it working and currently working on it. The end user should hopefully not even know this whole process is taking place in the background

How much internal storage is available?

We are hoping 190mb as explained above.

How will the hack work?

It’s still TBD. The general idea is that you plug your console into the pc holding the reset button, run our desktop program which will backup and install and then you are good to go.

This is a separate project from hakchi and will be it’s own module. (Please take note above about the complexity of the mod. Because of this we are effectively having to create tools from scratch)

This desktop UI will most likely be primitive but easy to use on first release. It will eventually become more fully fledged as we progress and the intention is that it will eventually become a single module of a multi platform tool in the future.

TL;DR, it’s not going to be all singing and dancing on day one but it will be easy to use and functional. We have a roadmap and a vision, given enough time and support we will endeavour to make it as good as we can for you all.

When is it coming out?

When it’s ready. There is no deadline and we are in no rush to be the first either. We will be posting updates as and when we can to keep you all updated. However when we near RC1 we might go radio silent whilst we concentrate, eat pizza and work till the early hours to make it RC viable.

Right now there is at least one dev working on the project 24/7 so we are currently working as hard as we can!

Can you send me the roms/artwork?

No! Please, please, please stop asking. We do not endorse or encourage the distribution of copyrighted materials. It’s against the law. We write OSS and we honour the companies who put out these devices and don’t wish to get in trouble with them.


THANK YOU! The support from everyone has been overwhelming and generally super positive. We also appreciate your patience and we hope we can give you all some extra enjoyment out of your mini in the future.

P.s please note whilst we want as many features available on release as possible. Everything is subject to change, elements might get cut or delayed due to time constraints etc. Same goes for internal storage and hack method, until we put the project through it’s paces it’s unknown if we have thought about every issue/problem.

Bonus screenshots and video


Mod My Classic


steven Posted on12:17 pm - 13th October 2019

this is gonna be freaking aswome keep up the great work

Banjo Posted on12:36 pm - 13th October 2019

Sounds really good to me!

I’m definitely a “boot to stock” person, but intend to use USB storage for my extra/added games, so hopefully that combo will be possible. I am also very happy that there will be a desktop app, however primitive (really hoping it wouldn’t be web/browser based like early PSC modding), so thanks for that, too!

Totally appreciate that the internals here are much more complex than the SNESC (hence the need for a different approach than Hakchi)… that’s a good reason for me to K.I.S.S. and just add Sega games and keep my NESC/SNESC/PSC for Retroarch and other systems!

Three quick questions:
* Can Master System (or even Sega CD) games be played via the stock emulator (and thus be added to the stock UI) or do they need a different boot menu/UI?
* Will the “hidden” roms be available from the stock UI after the hack (optionally or via new language selections)? By that, I mean US roms on a EU console and vice versa (since they are currently no accessible).
* Can we change the appearance of the boot menu if we want to?

    admin Posted on5:30 pm - 13th October 2019

    1. No, we found it’s just mega drive available in the stock emu. But we bundle Picodrive and Genesis GX plus for the other SEGAs
    2. Yes, should be added
    3. Yes, but probably not straight away.

      Banjo Posted on5:41 pm - 13th October 2019

      1. A shame but understandable. Can Picodrive/Genesis GX be used via the stock UI, the way other emulators can be used on Hakchi-modded Nintendo minis (i.e. you can’t tell if a game is being loaded via a different emulator)… or does Retroarch’s GUI have to be booted into first?
      2-3. Cool, thanks! 🙂

      Gary Posted on10:37 pm - 13th October 2019

      So this would allow us to boot up other Sega roms in the stock menu, but they will use another emulator? Like how GB ROMs can be loaded on the SNES mini?

YoshiAngemon Posted on2:24 pm - 13th October 2019

Coming along nicely. Needless to say, take your time. Can’t always rely on that “Gotta Go Fast” rhetoric all the time.

afiction Posted on7:59 pm - 13th October 2019

Amaaaazing. Thanks for your dedication to this.

Alex Posted on10:39 pm - 13th October 2019

looking great so far keep up the awesome work! so just to be clear this mod would not require any hardware soldering chips, etc? in other words is it user friendly and entirely software based?

Also what distro is the kernel based off? Debian?

    admin Posted on9:49 am - 14th October 2019

    No hardware mods required and it’s based off VIVID

Anton Posted on11:38 pm - 13th October 2019

Hi! Thanks for the work! You guys are amazing! Only one n00b question: if I understand correctly, every time i want to add a ROM into the SEGA, this time the full data files are to be rewritted in to the NAND: is it safe? I’d rather have a PS Classic external USB Drive solution in this case.
P. S. Despite all the negative comments, I like the possibility to run the retroarch from the boot, like in the PS Classic. I will like more the ability to “call” the retroarch core from the stock UI, but for what I unterstood is not convenient.

Brian Clark Posted on3:06 am - 14th October 2019

Will it be possible to replace Langrisser II on the Asian Megadrive Mini with the translation hack when it’s set to English?

wwywong Posted on3:33 am - 14th October 2019

I heard about having a hsqs similar to snesc leading nesc hsqs. Will sega genesis be able to be flash to snes as one of the external kernel so snesc owner can enjoy genesis mini? Or that pretty much not in the road map?

MrMan2k7 Posted on4:56 pm - 14th October 2019

Just curious, would it be possible to add a button combination to cycle through languages instead of needing to go into the settings menu?

With some games having major differences between the different regions, it would be nice to have an easier way to change back and forth. Possibly the L & R buttons on the 6-button controllers?

Benjamin Posted on6:30 pm - 14th October 2019

Will the mod allow us to delete stock ROMs that we maybe don’t want? If we can I guess that would also help a bit with the overall internal storage.

supersonicjc Posted on7:16 pm - 14th October 2019

so this will be user friendly like hakchi was with just drop the rom find the box art and flash to the system? also would there be a way to not have all the region versions of the same game on the system to maybe give more space for roms saves ect?? cant wait for the speed up and hope kid chameleon improves with that

zer0 Posted on12:59 pm - 15th October 2019

Czekam jak pojebany 🙂

FJTR Posted on5:41 pm - 15th October 2019

I Can’t wait for hack my “Drive” hehehehehehe. Good Job guys GOOOD JOOOB!!!!.

String Posted on7:55 pm - 16th October 2019

DO we need a special USB Stick like we did for the PS Classic? Or can i use my USB 3.1 64GB Stick?

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