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Saturn Aren't all Dev Saturn consoles the same?

dj898

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I got asked enough times before from certain forums and groups I decided to do quick write up and point to this posting when asked in future. :)

One of common questions asked at various forums about the Sega Saturn console would be about the so called Development Saturn console. They came up on eBay from time to time and the asking and sold prices weren't something one could cough up easily since they cost far higher than the retail Saturn console.

Firstly do note that not all dev Saturn consoles are the same. There were ones produced for Sega Japan by Cross in Japan and then they were ones modified and produced by other third parties. For example Psy-Q made various dev system for many popular game consoles and they also did one for the Saturn.

Sega Japan made several different development systems for Saturn. One of most famous one would be the Sophia system which was a huge box. And the price was high as well. :) Hence another more cheaper alternatives followed shortly starting with the CartDev Rev. A. The Rev. A supposedly had an issue with the power supply unit, however, and it was quickly replaced by the Rev. B to address the issue.

To cut the long story short if you just want the dev Saturn console to play the games here's the one you should get. You don't need anything else other than the pad, power cable and video cable.

240

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By the way that VCD port is NOT for the VCD as in Video Compact Disc. Rather that port is the Virtual CD port connecting to the Mirage unit. Back then burning CD-ROM was very expensive and time consuming. Hence running the image of CD-ROM off the HDD would save a lot of time and cost during the game development.

243


This is what you should look for when you are getting the Dev Saturn. Cross produced Dev Saturn complete with the full region switch. You turn that rotary switch to match with the region matrix on the sticker and the system will be set accordingly.

By the way unlike SONY DebugSatation, Dev Saturn still has the genuine CD checking mechanism and you will need the Saturn System Disc that comes with the Dev system package or the mod chip to bypass. Of course, with the Pseudosaturn cartridge readily available now you can discard this issue. :)


Now here is another Dev Saturn console usually seen on eBay UK.

244


Can you see the difference compared to the Cross Dev Saturn?
Not sure?

Let's turn it around. :)
245

How about this now?

As you can see the Saturn console often lack one or all the features found in the other Dev Saturn. These basically retail Saturn consoles were often used as part of the Psy-Q dev system. And unlike Cross Dev system the Psy-Q dev system was really a blue cartridge with the software package. If you stuck that cartridge into any of retail Saturn console you would have the dev system - of course you would need the necessary program that came with the cartridge like the one below.

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So unless the so called Dev Saturn comes with the fully modified or includes the above cartridge be aware. Also most of Dev Saturn consoles were basically the standard console so they should work standalone hence any seller claiming he/she cannot check the console's working condition is basically talking out of their you know where. :)

Plug in the any Saturn power cable and connect video cable - both of them can be bought from eBay dirt cheap - to test the working shouldn't be hard nor expensive. If the seller is asking $400-500 for the dev console alone, at least they should do the minimum checking whether the said console does run the retail disc. :)

Thank you for reading my ramblings and do happy hunting! :)
 

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logi26

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Firstly do note that not all dev Saturn consoles are the same. There were ones produced for Sega Japan by Cross in Japan and then they were ones modified and produced by other third parties. For example Psy-Q made various dev system for many popular game consoles and they also did one for the Saturn.
The Sophia was the first Saturn development kit and was apparently hated by most devs.

Cross-Products was originally a UK based company (Leeds) that produced development tools.
They produced devkits for the Mega Drive/Mega CD.

Cross-Products developed the Cross Saturn and CartDev.
They where purchased by Sega in 1994, as part of Sega's development tools strategy:
https://web.archive.org/web/19970217093645/http://www.crossprod.co.uk/company.htm

Similar to the way Sony purchased SN systems for their expertise with development tools.

Both the PSY-Q Saturn and the Cross Saturn are basically just modified retail consoles. (modified slightly differently)
The bespoke parts are the PSY-Q cart for the PSY-Q Saturn and the CartDev for the Cross Saturn.
 
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logi26

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Also, the picture of the PSY-Q Saturn that you have above is missing the interface:


The interface card:


I have read somewhere that generic SCSI cards can be used.
 
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dj898

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Thanks for the info. I don't have the Psy-Q anymore so those were the ones I Googled up. :)
 

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
Good post! You should also mention that some Cross Saturns came equipped with a MIDI interface board and the relative cable, and some didn't...
 

logi26

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Good post! You should also mention that some Cross Saturns came equipped with a MIDI interface board and the relative cable, and some didn't...
That info can be found from the link that I posted above to the Cross-Product website from back in 1997.

Also here is a link which contains price lists for the Cross-Products hardware in 1995 and 1997 in PDF form:
https://segaretro.org/MIRAGE_Universal_CD_Emulator

The 1997 price list has the regular Cross Saturn for £500 (Item # MS100) and the MIDI modified Saturn for £1400 (Item # MC100):

MS100
Modified Production Saturn with shielded NMI cable, Mirage CD-ROM Emulator interface port (see EM300) and territory switch. Please specify NTSC or PAL Saturn.

MC100
MIDI-modified Production Saturn as MS100 but with: Saturn CartDev; Additional MIDI interface for use with Mac-based Sega Sound Tools; Mac System-to-CartDev (SCSI-2) cable.Please specify NTSC or PAL Saturn.
 

dj898

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Thanks guys for providing more information.
Hopefully this thread can be sticky for future Sega Saturn collectors :)
 

logi26

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Hopefully this thread can be sticky for future Sega Saturn collectors :)
In that case, I will provide a bit of technical info about the Cross Saturn and PSY-Q Saturn.

The info regarding the Cross Saturn has came from the Cross-Products website, that I have linked above.
The info regarding the PSY-Q Saturn has came from a PSY-Q catalog that I purchased and shared on AG a while ago:


Cross Saturn
To ensure complete compatibility with the equipment that the games player purchases, we supply modified production Saturns which have the following:
  • NMI Cable giving complete interrupt access to the processors via the CartDev.
  • Territory Switch allowing you to alter the country setting of the Saturn for testing of single territory-only projects.
  • Mirage CD Emulator interface which gives the Saturn access to the emulated CD as though it were a real CD in its CD drive.
  • Modified production Saturns can also be supplied with a MIDI interface to give complete compatibility with Sega's Macintosh-based sound tools
CartDev
To allow for fast, flexible debugging a high speed external debugging interface (the CartDev) is used between the Development PC and the Sega Saturn

The CartDev interface hardware has its own RISC processor to avoid handicapping the SH2s with communications tasks, and it uses a high-speed SCSI-2 interface so you get ultra-fast downloads and responsive debugging. The CartDev connects to the Saturn via an extended cartridge buffer board.

An extended buffer board is also available which increases the Saturn's System RAM by up to 16MB or 32MB. This can greatly speed up conversion of PC-based games to the Saturn.

CodeScape (software)
Cross Products' software development environment is called CodeScape.
Its latest version offers:
  • Fast and powerful assembler written specifically for the games industry.
  • 32-bit 386 protected mode provides even more speed and supports larger projects.
  • Combined assembler and linker allows any combination of direct assembly and linking, and any combination of C and assembler code.
The assembler features:
  • Extensive conditional assembly structures
  • Rich Macro language
  • C header, structure and function support
  • Hitachi , GNU and SNASM syntax compatible
  • GNU and Sierra C object module support


PSY-Q Saturn
Hardware provided
:
Saturn interface adapter cartridge - This is a Compact and robust cartridge that plugs directly into the Saturn’s cartridge port.
The Psy-Q SCSI interface fits into a standard 16 bit ISA sIot of any PC compatible and requires no addltlonal boxes or power
supplies.

Additional Hardware Required:
Host 386/486/Pentium PC with hard disk drive, at Ieast 1 Megabyte of memory and one free 16 bit ISA sIot.
Sega Saturn - This Can be either a Development Target machine or a standard production Satum, regardless of origin i.e Japan, Europe, UK etc.

PSY-Q (software)
Psy-Q for the Sega Saturn is supplied with some of the most advanced software tools ever seen in the development industry.
  • Two highly optimised RISC SH2 assemblers that are compatibIe with many standard C compilers including the popular Freeware Gnu-C (Supplied).
  • A super fast 68000 assembIer.
  • High Speed Linker and Librarian, with extensive link-time options.
  • FIexible Project Management tooIs.
  • Powerful Source LeveI Debugger, allowing the programmer to step, trace and set breakpoints directly in the source code.
 
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dj898

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I recall there was an AG member who hosted all the software back in early 2000-2002? Think it was antime?

[note] what do you know the first hit from Google search :)
 

logi26

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I recall there was an AG member who hosted all the software back in early 2000-2002? Think it was antime?

[note] what do you know the first hit from Google search :)
I remember finding that link a while ago.
I also have all of those files backed up, just in case that site went down.
Good to see that it is still going.
 

jollyroger

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
That info can be found from the link that I posted above to the Cross-Product website from back in 1997.

Also here is a link which contains price lists for the Cross-Products hardware in 1995 and 1997 in PDF form:
https://segaretro.org/MIRAGE_Universal_CD_Emulator

The 1997 price list has the regular Cross Saturn for £500 (Item # MS100) and the MIDI modified Saturn for £1400 (Item # MC100):

MS100
Modified Production Saturn with shielded NMI cable, Mirage CD-ROM Emulator interface port (see EM300) and territory switch. Please specify NTSC or PAL Saturn.

MC100
MIDI-modified Production Saturn as MS100 but with: Saturn CartDev; Additional MIDI interface for use with Mac-based Sega Sound Tools; Mac System-to-CartDev (SCSI-2) cable.Please specify NTSC or PAL Saturn.
You are absolutely right, I didn't actually notice the "Link" in your post, it is very small and the hyperlink color scheme didn't help...
 

logi26

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You are absolutely right, I didn't actually notice the "Link" in your post, it is very small and the hyperlink color scheme didn't help...
That is a very good point.
I have edited the link to display the actual address. This should make it more obvious that it is a link.

But I agree, with the dark theme the hyperlinks are a dull red colour by default, which may not be very intuative, especially if the address is not displayed.

I also edited the link to the PSY-Q catalog and now it seems to have embedded the PDF in the post, I did not realise that was possible.
 

dj898

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wonder if there's way to underline like it used to be back in good(?) old world wide web? :)
 

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An extended buffer board is also available which increases the Saturn's System RAM by up to 16MB or 32MB. This can greatly speed up conversion of PC-based games to the Saturn.
Is this a cart pluged in one of the ports of the cartdev interface?
 

dj898

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407

yea the cartridge on top of the DevCart
 

jollyroger

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
View attachment 407
yea the cartridge on top of the DevCart
Actually, there is a different version of the cartridge that has two SIMM slots as well as the top cartridge slot, I have one of each.
When I am back home I can take a picture of it, unless someone else does it first...
I am pretty sure @Shane Battye has one as well.
 

jollyroger

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
How come the images in this post have disappeared?
 

Damien

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How come the images in this post have disappeared?
It's fixed, somehow I missed @logi26's pm. We changed attachment servers and existing didn't copy but they're fixed now sorry about that. Need the thread they're in to fix and transfer manually/rename etc.
 

jollyroger

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XenForo says Oct 18, 2008, but actually I originally register in 1998...
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