So Ho Sung

system11 picked up a SemiCom ‘gambling’ game called So Ho Sung. It’s protected the same way as all SemiCom games, and we still need to extract the proper data the MCU places in RAM, but since the actual codebase seems VERY close to Puzzle Break I was able to use a temporary cheat to get it booting.

Interestingly the copyright shows 1997, the same year as Puzzle Break, but the backgrounds ingame have a coin with ‘Semicom 2002′ on them, maybe it’s a revised version of the game?

Also I say ‘gambling’ I don’t think it’s actually a gambling game, there doesn’t seem to be any payout mechanism that I can see, so it’s probably a card themed game with fake betting for amusement purposes only (it even has your regular ‘continue’ and ‘game over’ type sequences, and you only ever need to insert one coin to play)

Until the actual data for this game is extracted I still consider it non-working as there could be issues unknown to me, but here are some screenshots of it running with the fake data.


So Ho Sung So Ho Sung So Ho Sung
So Ho Sung So Ho Sung So Ho Sung
So Ho Sung So Ho Sung So Ho Sung
So Ho Sung So Ho Sung So Ho Sung
So Ho Sung So Ho Sung

In other news ShouTime picked up the kit for a Power Drift Communication / Link version upgrade with funding help from rtw, B2K24, Gor, Dullaron, anonymous, Mucci, gregf, ghoolster, Smitdogg and The Dumping Union.

This game doesn’t yet work, it looks like it needs the extra link board emulated at least, possibly both PCBs. Currently it runs one loop of the attract mode where you can clearly see problems (all players are shown as the same character, and only one car moves) although you can also see the course is slightly different (a jump in the middle of it at the top of the ramp) You can’t start a game if you attempt to coin it up, and it crashes after the attract loop.

I don’t know what it will take to make this work, I might have to emulate 2 y-board units at once.


Power Drift Link Version Power Drift Link Version Power Drift Link Version

Power Drift Link Version Power Drift Link Version Power Drift Link Version

Power Drift Link Version

Here are some pictures of the kit ShouTime took.


Power Drift Comms version ROMs

Above you can see 4 replacement sprite roms (for the HUD layer, to handle changed graphics) and a pair of replacement program roms for each of the 3 68000 CPUs. Unlike other versions of Power Drift this one only has a single pair of roms for the main CPU as you can see from the ROM test in the pictures above.

Power Drift Comms version ROMs

And this is the link board that stacks on top of a y-board setup, connecting to another y-board setup.

Please note, this was a very expensive purchase, and there are always things available we could do with picking up, so do consider making a donation to the Dumping Union by contacting Smitdogg. Not every board is going to be to your personal taste, but there is important work to be done and always boards we could do with securing to further MAME. The fundraiser associated with this game was at Mameworld Forums but help is always appreciated, even when no targets are announced.

Also apparently there is a funding issue with my host here, not sure what’s going on there because nobody has told me anything directly, but if this site ends up vanishing you’ll know why. That was also mentioned in a post at Mameworld .

 

UME 0.154ex1

UME (logo by JackC)
UME is the complete/combined version of the MAME / MESS project.

0.154ex1 is built from SVN revision 31598

There were still a number of issues with DCS sound in the 0.154 MAME release causing some games like Carnevil and the 3D Gauntlet games to lack music, these have since been resolved so it is recommended you use this build instead. Some other issues such as missing sound in the Eolith titles have also been resolved, in addition to a number of other bugs that were caught after the 0.154 release. Assuming no new bugs have been introduced this should be considered a more stable build than 0.154.

I have specifically built against SVN rv. 31598 rather than the more cutting edge ones because the revisions immediately after 31598 do nothing but destroy the human parsability of some areas of the source. Assuming the team has any common sense these changes will be quickly reverted so I’d rather not inflict them on my users due to it being unlikely they’ll appear in a final build, it would just result in confusion.

UME 0.154ex1 Windows binaries – 32-bit, 64-bit and all tools
UME 0.154ex1 sources

Here is the 0.154 to 0.154ex1 SVN log

Other Binaries (if you don’t know what these are you don’t need them)
MAME/MESS split 0.154ex1 Windows binaries – 32-bit, 64-bit and all tools
(SDL binaries might come later)

Points of Interest

Fixes as mentioned above, Music Ball as shown below, some other stuff I’ll write a bit about soon.

 

Music to my ears

Back in May of last year Marcos75 dumped his rare Music Ball PCB. Music Ball is an alternate version / semi-sequel to the well known ‘Speed Ball’ pinball title.

What is strange about Music Ball is that despite being advertised on the flyers alongside Speed Ball the images used on mocked up cabinet shots were both from Speed Ball.

As far as emulation was concerned the big issue was that unlike Speed Ball, the Music Ball PCB had an encrypted CPU module and the Z80 code was encrypted.

The good news is that Andreas Naive has now managed to decrypt the ROM making the game playable.


Music Ball Music Ball Music Ball
Music Ball Music Ball Music Ball Music Ball

One of the weird things about this game is that despite coming from what seems to be an original PCB, with encrypted Romset the title screen display and copyrights have all been removed, the graphics are still present in the graphic roms, but are unused by the game.

I do wonder if this copy was actually bootlegged from a prototype version, and encrypted by the bootleggers, or whatever licensing agreement existed between DE Systems and Tecfri fell apart and this is all that was left, I suspect we’ll never know tho. Either way, a huge thanks goes to both Marcos75 and Andreas Naive for the emulation of this one! Aside from the encryption it runs on the same hardware as Speed Ball, and while I did make some clean-ups and improvements in the driver last year when it was first dumped (as did hap, adding the external LCD score displays) I can’t really take credit for the emulation here!

 

UME 0.154

UME (logo by JackC)
UME is the complete/combined version of the MAME / MESS project.

The release of 0.154 has arrived roughly 3 and a half months after 0.153.

There have been a large number of changes and additions over this period, many worthwhile, but unfortunately some regressions remain, of note the DCS sound issues haven’t been 100% fixed so the 3D Gauntlet games and Vapor TRX currently don’t run as they should. For details on what has changed over the course of the cycle you should check the write-ups for the previous ‘ex’ build updates. The official whatsnew texts (MAME, MESS) also provide full details.

UME 0.154 Windows binaries – 32-bit, 64-bit and all tools
(source matches official mamedev.org source distribution)

Here is the 0.153ex6 to 0.154 SVN log

Other Binaries (if you don’t know what these are you don’t need them)
UME/MAME/MESS split 0.154 Windows *SDL* binaries – 32-bit
UME/MAME/MESS split 0.154 Windows *SDL* binaries – 64-bit

Points of Interest

Robbert has continued with the emulation of the video portion of some of the hybrid video/pinball games starting with one of the better known ones, Granny and the Gators. This is another Bally one, like Baby Pacman and runs on similar hardware but with doubled up video chips for better video capabilities. Again you start play on the video part and enter the pinball part by hitting one of the exits at the side of the playfield. The pinball part isn’t emulated as a playable pinball machine, but you can mash the various target / exit ramp inputs to score points and return to the video portion of the game.


Granny and the Gators Granny and the Gators Granny and the Gators Granny and the Gators

He also looked at the less well known ‘Mr. Game’ pinballs, two sets boot up, ‘Motor Show’ and ‘Dakar’. There is another game in the driver ‘Mac Attack’ but the dumps are bad/incomplete. A 4th game ‘World Cup 90′ runs on slightly different hardware and shows nothing as of yet. The procedure to get these to accept coins at the moment is non trivial.


Mr. Game Dakar Mr. Game Dakar Mr. Game Dakar Mr. Game Dakar


Mr. Game Motorshow Mr. Game Motorshow Mr. Game Motorshow Mr. Game Motorshow

Olivier has also been working on Pinball systems, in his case the Williams DCS based ones.

The Rolling Crush and Center Court progress covered here already is included so both of those are fully working.

A potentially important stability fix for the cheat engine was also submitted in the brief period since ex6, it might stop some of the crash-on-startup issues some people have been seeing with cheats enabled. Also some important fixes for the Lua integration (which saw a rewrite earlier in the cycle) went in, so if you use the ‘autoboot’ functionality it’s important you use this build and not ex6.

In the MESS side of the codebase we’ve seen the Psion Organiser II XP and Psion Organiser II P200 added as working, simple portable devices from the 80s.


Psion Organiser II XP Psion Organiser II XP

Psion Organiser II P200 Psion Organiser II P200

 

Right down the middle

A few weeks ago I did an update about Ken Sei Mogura, a rare Street Fighter II themed Whac-a-mole game found by Alan Meades at a disused location in the UK. It turns out that was not the only rare game being stored at that location.

Also there was a very dusty looking cocktail cabinet marked ‘Center Court’ with full original Sega artwork etc. We knew from Japanese flyers and a review in a UK magazine that Center Court was an alt title for Passing Shot, but apart from those references and the odd photo of a cabinet there had been no trace of it.


Center Court Cabinet

Alan returned to the site and picked up the board (with a view to fixing it / restoring it for actual use) and it quickly became apparent that this was a bit more than a simple clone; to cut the story short it’s a prototype. A picture of the board can be seen below.

Center Court

Immediately obvious are the handwritten labels, while the game does have official Sega EPR stickers the numbers were not finalized at this point so instead the locations have been written in, and for the program roms the checksums of the current build.

The other important feature to note is the use of the MC-8123B. The MC-8123B is an encrypted Z80, all other versions of Passing Shot use a regular Z80 and an encrypted 68000 (Fd1094) instead. This has the 68k unencrypted. The game also has 8 sprite roms whereas the final version uses 6.

The board was sent to Porchy and he dumped the roms remarking that the legs on them were in a very fragile state and, despite the clean appearance of the boards in the photo, it seems this is another to file under “saved just in time”

Anyway, looking at the dumps I could see that aside from the sound sample roms they all differed when compared to the other sets. This suggests that the sound code / samples were probably final at this point, maybe why Sega chose to encrypt the sound program. Charles MacDonald has a tool to help decrypt the sound programs, but for the time being I opted to load the original sound program rom over the encrypted one on the gut feeling that once decrypted the code will be the same.

Upon booting the games in MAME a number of differences were immediately obvious. I’ve put Center Court screenshots on the left and Passing Shot screenshots on the right.


Center Court Passing Shot
(The most obvious difference is the title screen, the entire presentation sequence here is different)
Center Court Passing Shot
(The Vs. screens in Center Court show less detail)
Center Court Passing Shot
(In Center Court the ball flashes when serving, in Passing Shot it has a flashing outline instead)
Center Court Passing Shot
(The layout of the court differs)
Center Court Passing Shot
(Center Court has a less elaborate Game Over screen / sequence)

There could be other differences too, but those were the most obvious once.

The first time I booted Center Court I was surprised by something else too, debug text on the screen.


Center Court Debug Center Court Debug
Center Court Debug Center Court Debug

After playing with the dipswitches a bit I found that the ‘Demo Sound’ dipswitch turns On/Off this display instead of turning On/Off the Demo Sounds, again further evidence for this being a prototype build.

Another very nice find, huge thanks to all involved!

 

Semi-Semicom

Osso recently purchased an unknown Korean title called ‘Rolling Crush’ and donated the board to Caius for dumping.

Upon arrival Caius posted a picture of the PCB.


Rolling Crush PCB
(Rolling Crush PCB)

There are a few distinguishing features about the PCB, first of all it uses an MC68EC020 rather than a regular 68k like most Korean games, second and most significantly it had an AT89C52 MCU. These features instantly allowed me to identify it as a Semicom PCB, and as it happens it turned out to be the same PCB as Dream World.


Dream World PCB
(Dream World PCB)

The boards are essentially identical, but Rolling Crush does not have one of the AD-65 (sound chip) positions populated (top of the images). Interestingly this would bring it closer to the Baryon profile, which uses only a single AD-65 as opposed to the dual ones used by Dream World, however that PCB is a slightly different design.


Baryon PCB
(Baryon PCB – not identical)

Now this was interesting because the game was not sold as a Semicom game, nor did any of the provided screenshots or videos show a Semicom logo or Semicom copyright, furthermore it does not appear on any official list of Semicom games I’ve seen. The video Caius provided is embedded below. The blue-white colour fade on startup is the same as Baryon, and the sound effects (coin etc.) are also clearly Semicom but that’s as far as the obvious signs go.



Once the dump arrived I looked in the main program roms of the game, and as expected there were a variety of Semicom related messages, looking in the graphic roms further bolstered my view that this was a Semicom development, the usual Semicom ‘Unicorn’ and could clearly be seen there too.


Rolling Crush

Unsurprisingly it was also protected like the other Semicom games too, with the MCU supplying the interrupt routine for the game at startup. This kind of protection is easy enough to deal with, I modified some code I’d used to extract the data from Dream World and Baryon, Caius then ran that code on the original hardware and took some pictures.


Rolling Crush

After entering all the data the game successfully booted in MAME. I tried playing with the various dipswitches to see if one showed a Semicom copyright, but none of them had that effect.


Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush Rolling Crush

One thing I had noticed when looking at the program roms was a credits roll including names of Semicom staff, viewing this of course meant I would have to complete the game, and even on the easiest setting things started to get very difficult on the later stages. Thankfully MAME has cheat finding capabilities built into the debugger, and even if they’re not as good as they used to be I was sill able to use them to find some cheats allowing me to finish the game.

Finishing the game (50 stages) yielded the following credits roll after a psychedelic ‘Congratulation’ message.


Rolling Crush Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush
Rolling Crush

So there you have it, the actual Semicom copyright, inexplicably only visible for a brief second once you finish the entire game! I don’t think the game is a hack or a bootleg* instead it was probably simply licensed to ‘Trust’ for sale / distribution. I wonder if there is an alt. version out there actually using the other Semicom graphics that are present in the roms.

*I’m aware the gameplay is a complete rip-off of Puzzloop, but the code and other assets are original

*edit* ArcadeFlyers has a flyer for the game, also mysterious because it too lacks any manufacturer information.


Rolling Crush Rolling Crush

While the flyer lacks manufacturer information it does still hint at Semicom, the layout of the back page is similar to More More Plus with the ‘MEMO’ box.

More More Plus