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Utopia causing glitches in some DC games?

IcKY

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As the titled stated I'm in need of some help. I'm a speedrunner that has been learning Jet Set Radio for the Dreamcast and I've been coming across a few game altering bugs that affect the games enemy and gg's AI and I'm seeking the help of people who might be able to explain what exactly Utopia itself is doing to cause something like this. When I load these retail Japanese discs on my NA console with something like code breaker, the enemies AI does not break and acts normally and follows their pre programmed route. If Utopia 1.1 or 1.2 is used the enemies will go dumb and bump into walls, wander the streets, and even reset their positions. (I cant test any other versions of utopia since I cant find any online anymore). I'm asking for insight mainly because this will affect moderation of the leader boards over at Speedrun.com as well as all other Dreamcast games that people speedrun, and it seems this has never been brought up before.

I've read through the old post (What did the Utopia bootdisc actually do?) on assembler, but nothing there seems to explain anything I can relate to this. I have lots of footage I can provide of the glitch in JSR as well as a game breaking glitch in Rent A Hero no. 1, but I don't want to litter this post with links to my twitch since its my very first post on this forum. If anyone can help that would be awesome! Thanks!
 
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iiAlexLiveii

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Utopia does causes glitches in games, or maybe it's piracy control within each game. I remember that Sonic Adventure 2 (using the Jap GDrom and US console) on the last chapter the floor is glitched at the start of the level, loosing all of your lives until it kicks you to the Chapter Select Menu, but testing with the GameShark CDX does not display such glitches.
My suggestion if you're speedrunning would be to get a japanese console if your using a NTSC-J game, I don't know if import loaders could cause something else while running imports, or use a better import loader, Gameshark has been my favorite.
 
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IcKY

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Interesting that SA2 has something like that as well, when I mentioned Rent A Hero No. 1 the very first scene, the ground disappears, your character model drops in the environment, you can talk to all the npcs but once you have to climb some stairs your character cant access them, basically breaking any progress right in the prologue.

Without a doubt running JP discs on a native console would be ideal. Code breaker works fine, have not tried gameshark yet myself. But thanks for sharing that, lets me know that its definitely a thing.
 

Aleron Ives

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The Sonic Adventure 2 problem is an anti-piracy measure. You fall through the floor if you use a bootleg copy of the game, as well. Apparently Utopia is able to trigger the anti-piracy code, too. Utopia doesn't boot games cleanly and thus is likely to cause problems on many games released later in the Dreamcast's lifecycle. If you don't have a CodeBreaker disc, BlueCrab's PSO boot disc allows you to bypass the region lock on most, if not all, Katana games (but not WinCE games).
 

FamilyGuy

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The Sonic Adventure 2 problem is an anti-piracy measure. You fall through the floor if you use a bootleg copy of the game, as well. Apparently Utopia is able to trigger the anti-piracy code, too. Utopia doesn't boot games cleanly and thus is likely to cause problems on many games released later in the Dreamcast's lifecycle. If you don't have a CodeBreaker disc, BlueCrab's PSO boot disc allows you to bypass the region lock on most, if not all, Katana games (but not WinCE games).
It could be as simple as looking for starting lba or the presence of cdda tracks for bootlegs/utopia to trigger the anti piracy measures.
 
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Trimesh

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It could be as simple as looking for starting lba or the presence of cdda tracks for bootlegs/utopia to trigger the anti piracy measures.

I think he was talking about using an original Japanese GD-ROM on a non-Japanese console, so presumably this wouldn't be a disc structure issue.
 

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I think he was talking about using an original Japanese GD-ROM on a non-Japanese console, so presumably this wouldn't be a disc structure issue.
Just a bios/region check?

AFAiR, utopia as a boot disc doesn't support cdda? Or maybe is it just a sketchy way to boot, leaving a signature in ram? It's been over ten years...
 

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It's been a while for me, too, but I'm pretty sure Utopia supports CDDA just fine, it's just that a lot of releases back then had broken CDDA and needed patches etc.

To OP:
That the Utopia disc still seems to be some ubiquitous in the DC community all these years later is a mistake.
It was written and abandoned by a crappy hacker group that got lucky for being first and ripped off other people's code.
It's buggy and it only has one special use: to boot non-selfboot pirate releases from 2001, which are all pretty much gone from the internet.
Sometimes when people try to burn selfboots and they don't work for whatever reason, people ask why and get a response: "what about trying it with utopia?" but it's not really good for this use. But it's another way this disc continues to circulate unnecessarily...
Bypassing region and video mode checks is better done with Code Breaker... and you get a cheat engine with it too.
It's not even a legal disc either, technically, so it has that against it too. Might as well pirate Code Breaker.

By the way, Rent-a-Hero no.1 was released in Japan only, and its release was prior to any Dreamcast pirate releases or the Utopia disc, so it certainly has no copy protection or Utopia checking built in. This proves that using Utopia can create an altered system state and as such I would not recommend using it for any official speedruns.

Using a console with a patched BIOS to remove checking discs' region coding would be my preferred method of playing imports, though technically it would be possible for software to detect that it's being played on a foreign console by performing its own secondary check on the read-only flash partition that contains the console's region code, but this is an extremely rare practice and wouldn't affect game AI or anything like that.
 

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Using a console with a patched BIOS to remove checking discs' region coding would be my preferred method of playing imports, though technically it would be possible for software to detect that it's being played on a foreign console by performing its own secondary check on the read-only flash partition that contains the console's region code, but this is an extremely rare practice and wouldn't affect game AI or anything like that.

Out of ignorance, I still use the utopia disk to boot my imports and have been looking for a better solution for some time. Would you be able to point me to any information to help me patch the BIOS on my DC?
 

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I've never done it, but as far as I know... First, you need to solder a new BIOS chip on top of the original BIOS chip on the Dreamcast, put a switch between those chips to select which one will be used when the Dreamcast turns on, then copy a new BIOS file into the new chip that will make the console region free.
 

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It's been a while for me, too, but I'm pretty sure Utopia supports CDDA just fine, it's just that a lot of releases back then had broken CDDA and needed patches etc.

To OP:
That the Utopia disc still seems to be some ubiquitous in the DC community all these years later is a mistake.
It was written and abandoned by a crappy hacker group that got lucky for being first and ripped off other people's code.
It's buggy and it only has one special use: to boot non-selfboot pirate releases from 2001, which are all pretty much gone from the internet.
Sometimes when people try to burn selfboots and they don't work for whatever reason, people ask why and get a response: "what about trying it with utopia?" but it's not really good for this use. But it's another way this disc continues to circulate unnecessarily...
Bypassing region and video mode checks is better done with Code Breaker... and you get a cheat engine with it too.
It's not even a legal disc either, technically, so it has that against it too. Might as well pirate Code Breaker.

By the way, Rent-a-Hero no.1 was released in Japan only, and its release was prior to any Dreamcast pirate releases or the Utopia disc, so it certainly has no copy protection or Utopia checking built in. This proves that using Utopia can create an altered system state and as such I would not recommend using it for any official speedruns.

Using a console with a patched BIOS to remove checking discs' region coding would be my preferred method of playing imports, though technically it would be possible for software to detect that it's being played on a foreign console by performing its own secondary check on the read-only flash partition that contains the console's region code, but this is an extremely rare practice and wouldn't affect game AI or anything like that.

Retail rush 2049 will hash check bios and fail to boot on modified consoles
 

darcagn

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Out of ignorance, I still use the utopia disk to boot my imports and have been looking for a better solution for some time. Would you be able to point me to any information to help me patch the BIOS on my DC?

The Dreamcast BIOS chip is read-only, so you'll either need to add a second chip connected to a switch, or just replace it with a writable chip. So you'll need to be able to solder a 44-pin surface mount chip.

Alternatively, you can change the region (not make it region-free) with a 1-wire modification.
 

megavolt85

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with a 1-wire modification.

it's can kill flashrom IC

Retail rush 2049 will hash check bios

it is possible in more detail about it?
only retail? there is beta version without check?
checked really hash of whole BIOS or small part as in NFL Blitz 2000, Sonic Adventure 2, PSO1/2?
 

dark

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I couldn't get Roommania to work on my modified bios DC, seller I bought it from swore it worked before sale and after I sent it back. It's the only game I ever tried that I couldn't get working on my system (never tried retail SF Rush). I wonder if it checks the bios as well.
 

IcKY

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It's been a while for me, too, but I'm pretty sure Utopia supports CDDA just fine, it's just that a lot of releases back then had broken CDDA and needed patches etc.

To OP:
That the Utopia disc still seems to be some ubiquitous in the DC community all these years later is a mistake.
It was written and abandoned by a crappy hacker group that got lucky for being first and ripped off other people's code.
It's buggy and it only has one special use: to boot non-selfboot pirate releases from 2001, which are all pretty much gone from the internet.
Sometimes when people try to burn selfboots and they don't work for whatever reason, people ask why and get a response: "what about trying it with utopia?" but it's not really good for this use. But it's another way this disc continues to circulate unnecessarily...
Bypassing region and video mode checks is better done with Code Breaker... and you get a cheat engine with it too.
It's not even a legal disc either, technically, so it has that against it too. Might as well pirate Code Breaker.

By the way, Rent-a-Hero no.1 was released in Japan only, and its release was prior to any Dreamcast pirate releases or the Utopia disc, so it certainly has no copy protection or Utopia checking built in. This proves that using Utopia can create an altered system state and as such I would not recommend using it for any official speedruns.

Using a console with a patched BIOS to remove checking discs' region coding would be my preferred method of playing imports, though technically it would be possible for software to detect that it's being played on a foreign console by performing its own secondary check on the read-only flash partition that contains the console's region code, but this is an extremely rare practice and wouldn't affect game AI or anything like that.
Thanks so much darcagn, that was the kind of insight i was looking for! :3
 

neo

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I couldn't get Roommania to work on my modified bios DC, seller I bought it from swore it worked before sale and after I sent it back. It's the only game I ever tried that I couldn't get working on my system (never tried retail SF Rush). I wonder if it checks the bios as well.
I made a custom hacked 80min version. I bet it works for you
 
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