Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

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illuminerdi
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Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:34 pm

Does anyone here have any idea how to convert a copy of Tengai Makyou Zero (Far East of Eden Zero) cart to use the translated English rom?

I have an original TMZ donor cart, and the necessary tools to desolder the original mask rom, but apparently the translation patch expands the ROM size, so it's not as simple as just swapping out the old ROM chip. I know it's possible, there are people selling copies of the English translated cart on various places, but

1) They're charging $100
2) I don't want to BUY a repro, I would prefer to just convert my own FEoEZ cart (and this is something most translators are usually ok with).

The few tidbits of info I've found on other websites do include pictures of existing repro carts, but no other details, and they're too small/blurry to use as a guide. I'm assuming they use several address muxes or demuxes to deal with the change in ROM size, but I still don't fully understand how to integrate muxes/demuxes in a scenario like this order to figure out what kind of circuit I would need to build to this work correctly, so any information would be appreciated.

Ideally I'd like to build a translation PCB and post it somewhere like OSHpark or other locations so that other DIY-minded repro makers like myself don't have to pay exorbitant markup in order to play this game on original hardware in English.

Thanks!

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koitsu
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by koitsu » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:59 pm

This game looks like some kind of horrific romhack that I can't quite grasp. They literally say the following in the README:
...
Not all emulators can run the patched version of the game, but the translation does work on actual hardware. (Flash carts won't run it, but it's possible to modify the actual cart.)

Several emulators can run the game, including Higan (which requires the .bml and the use of the included rom splitting program), bsnes (which requires the .xml), and recent versions of snes9x. Snes9X does not require a .xml or .bml, and when Higan v107+ is released, it will not require it either.

If you're using Higan, please use DDStranslation's file splitter tool after patching the rom, and add the folder it creates to Higan's main folder. Be sure to add the .bml file to that folder. Apparently, the file splitter may not be required once Higan is updated further!

If you're using a version of the bsnes emulator that requires .xml files, you must place the included .xml file in the same folder that the rom is in, with the same name as the rom (you don't need to use the splitter). If you do not do this, you will not be able to pass the game's two initialization screens.

Some emulators have problems with the real time clock's date display. That is a fault of the emulator, not the patch. To get around it, simply change to a different emulator or version. If the emulator of your choice does not support the English patched version of the game, I suggest that you contact the author of the emulator and ask them to add support for it.
To me, all of this indicates the romhack most likely uses a complete custom memory map layout of some sort. If they're requiring a unique/custom manifest XML (for higan/bsnes), and state that "it won't work on flash carts" (without any explanation) but that "it will work on real hardware" (also without any explanation), I am left to believe this romhacking effort is really not intended to be run on actual hardware.

The PCB used in the official cartridge is an SHVC-LDH3C-01, which was used by one -- and only one -- title: the one mentioned here. The SPC7110F appears to be a custom graphicsdecompression chip of some sort, tied to a "data ROM" of some kind, and has an additional chip that offers a battery-backed RTC (the R4513).

To figure out exactly how to modify your real cartridge, you'd need to study and understand the underlying manifest XML that the romhackers provided. They don't actually explain in their README what they did on a technical level, but I found this post that implies they grew the data ROM size to 5MBytes (actual mask ROMs don't work in such sizes; they're sizes of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.), and that PRG is 2MBytes (16mbit). The post states that additional wiring is needed to deal with the expanded PRG, which doesn't quite make sense to me since 16mbit is nothing to really worry about (standard mode 20 and mode 21 will work with this size just fine). So there's something else going on here.

I suspect what they did was "virtually extend" the addressing range through software by tweaking said manifest XML file, thus accomplishing their expansion needs/goal. To get this to work on hardware, I imagine a lot of additional wiring and an address decoder are needed (and possibly code patches that are used atop the patch itself).

IMO, none of this is worth destroying an original cart for, particularly since this game seems to be very unique and is the only title using this particular PCB. If you botch it, you can kiss your cart goodbye -- to me, that isn't worth it. Just play it on an emulator and be happy with that.

Good romhackers take the time (in their READMEs) to explain the changes necessary to accomplish said task. Honest. On the bright side, byuu was involved partially in this project, so he may be able to provide some insights hardware-wise on what modifications are truly needed.

lidnariq
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by lidnariq » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:34 pm

Looking at the translation's bundled mainfest.bml file:

Code: Select all

board region=ntsc
  rom name=expansion.rom size=0x100000
    map address=40-4f:0000-ffff
  spc7110
    map address=00-3f,80-bf:4800-483f
    map address=50,58:0000-ffff
    map=mcu address=00-3f,80-bf:8000-ffff mask=0x800000
    map=mcu address=c0-ff:0000-ffff mask=0xc00000
    prom name=program.rom size=0x100000
    drom name=data.rom size=0x500000
    ram name=save.ram size=0x2000
      map address=00-3f,80-bf:6000-7fff mask=0xe000
  epsonrtc
    map address=00-3f,80-bf:4840-4842
    ram name=rtc.ram size=0x10
And comparing it to some old version of higan's description of the plain board:

Code: Select all

    board type=LDH3C revision=01
    spc7110
      rom name=program.rom size=0x100000
      rom name=data.rom size=0x400000
      ram name=save.ram size=0x2000
      map id=io address=00-3f,80-bf:4800-483f
      map id=io address=50,58:0000-ffff
      map id=rom address=00-3f,80-bf:8000-ffff
      map id=rom address=c0-ff:0000-ffff
      map id=ram address=00-3f,80-bf:6000-7fff mask=0xe000
    epsonrtc
      ram name=rtc.ram size=0x10
      map id=io address=00-3f,80-bf:4840-4842
The differences indicate:
you'll need to divide the resulting patched result into the first 1M ("Program"), middle 5M ("Data"), and last 1M ("Expansion"). The bundled "HiganFileSplitter" does this.
you'll need to find where SPC7110 A22 exists. It assuredly does, because they say it works on actual hardware.
you'll need two or three 1MB PROMs, one or two demultiplexers, and an 8 or 4MB PROM.
you'll need to either use 5V PROMs, or add voltage translation if using 3V PROMs.
you'll need to use one demultiplexer to detect the memory region where A23...A20 = 0x4, and use that to enable the "Expansion" ROM.


(this was my 8284th post, apparently the clock generator for the original IBM PC)

Pokun
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by Pokun » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:49 pm

koitsu wrote: To me, all of this indicates the romhack most likely uses a complete custom memory map layout of some sort. If they're requiring a unique/custom manifest XML (for higan/bsnes), and state that "it won't work on flash carts" (without any explanation) but that "it will work on real hardware" (also without any explanation), I am left to believe this romhacking effort is really not intended to be run on actual hardware.
One reason is that the SPC7110 isn't supported by any flashcarts yet.


I have this game CIB, it wasn't expensive but it's very unique so yeah I also don't recommend destroying it for such a patch. Hopefully it will be made to work on SD2SNES when it gets support for SPC7110.

calima
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by calima » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:35 am

Is the game any good? I can't find much in English.

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Gilbert
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by Gilbert » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:27 am

I've only played the three games on the PCE and as killer titles of the system they're all doubtlessly great (though I might not age well).
Anyway, according to some reviews most of the games (including the SFC, SS and GBA titles) are good, except III and the 3-D remake of II.

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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by Pokun » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:24 am

I haven't really played it yet myself as I haven't beaten the earlier games in the series yet and I want to play them in order.

Tengai Makyou series is the closest thing to being the PC-Engine's Dragon Quest series I guess. Instead of western fantasy though, it's based on old Japanese ninja legends but with a lot of humor. It takes place in the fictional world Zipang/Jipang (which is a way to say Japan in a certain Chinese language from a certain time period and which probably eventually evolved into the European name for Japan).
The team behind the series are also known for the later Sakura Taisen series.

The SFC game supposedly uses a real time clock like Pokemon and Animal Forest games for time-based events, and the main character's name is Higan.

Markfrizb
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by Markfrizb » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:59 am

The PCB used in the official cartridge is an SHVC-LDH3C-01, which was used by one -- and only one -- title: the one mentioned here. The SPC7110F appears to be a custom graphicsdecompression chip of some sort, tied to a "data ROM" of some kind, and has an additional chip that offers a battery-backed RTC (the R4513).
This game: Super Famicom Momotaro Denstetsu Happy can be "converted" to also run the Far East Eden. You have to add the RTC chip to it though. It's a difficult cart to mod because 2 of the pins on the SPC chip have to be lifted and soldered to for the higher address lines for FEoE ...and... adding the RTC connections - which aren't too bad to connect. Still a difficult cart to work with.

RetroCircuits makes the conversion and this is what their board looks like.
There's nothing on the back side.

The rom does have proper down level-shifting so that's good.
Last edited by Markfrizb on Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:16 am

koitsu wrote: The PCB used in the official cartridge is an SHVC-LDH3C-01, which was used by one -- and only one -- title: the one mentioned here. The SPC7110F appears to be a custom graphicsdecompression chip of some sort, tied to a "data ROM" of some kind, and has an additional chip that offers a battery-backed RTC (the R4513).
According to https://rom-laboratory.000webhostapp.co ... pc7110.htm there are 3 pins on the SPC7110 labeled RTC. The R4513 is the clock module itself, but I'm unclear as to how the SPC7110 factors into the RTC signal. My best guess is that the RTC signal is generated from the R4513 and then passed through the SPC7110 since it's necessary to decode the compression on the ROM, and thus is necessary for interfacing with the ROM and/or the SRAM?

Is it like the SA-1 where it has the ability to do computational functions independent of the S-CPU and thus it sort of acts like a proxy for the SNES CPU and basically keeps certain game logic running while the SNES is off, so that the game doesn't need to do a bunch of work post-boot to "catch up" on processing due to the passage of time?
koitsu wrote: To figure out exactly how to modify your real cartridge, you'd need to study and understand the underlying manifest XML that the romhackers provided. They don't actually explain in their README what they did on a technical level, but I found this post that implies they grew the data ROM size to 5MBytes (actual mask ROMs don't work in such sizes; they're sizes of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.), and that PRG is 2MBytes (16mbit). The post states that additional wiring is needed to deal with the expanded PRG, which doesn't quite make sense to me since 16mbit is nothing to really worry about (standard mode 20 and mode 21 will work with this size just fine). So there's something else going on here.
I was under the impression that additional wiring was necessary because the translation's ROM expansion resulted in the shifting of location of various pieces of data within the ROM game - mostly code, and thus it also shifted the memory address that the SRAM was located at. Isn't this exactly the problem that the XML manifest solves for emulators - basically giving emulators "overrides" for certain things so that it can automatically reroute calls to memory addresses that have changed size or location?
koitsu wrote: I suspect what they did was "virtually extend" the addressing range through software by tweaking said manifest XML file, thus accomplishing their expansion needs/goal. To get this to work on hardware, I imagine a lot of additional wiring and an address decoder are needed (and possibly code patches that are used atop the patch itself).
As I said in my original post, there are pics online of existing translated carts, so it's definitely possible, and the circuit isn't that hard - it's about 3-4 memory address decoders and a handful of wires, but they are too blurry to get an accurate sense of what exactly was done, so I can't use them as a guide. Multiple address decoders are needed, yes. It's certainly not easy, but if it was, I wouldn't be here - I've already made translated carts of virtually every other type of game, even SA-1 and Super-FX games. TMZ is the only cart for which a guide on how to build a translation cart does not currently exist - hence why I'm asking for help. I know enough about hacking SNES PCBs but not enough about how the SNES memory addressing works to build the circuit I need...
koitsu wrote: IMO, none of this is worth destroying an original cart for, particularly since this game seems to be very unique and is the only title using this particular PCB. If you botch it, you can kiss your cart goodbye -- to me, that isn't worth it. Just play it on an emulator and be happy with that.
I don't speak Japanese and I probably won't any time soon, but I own an original cart, so it's basically going to go unplayed forever unless I get the translation working. Also I personally enjoy playing games on original hardware and on my Super NT. Call me a purist, but there's just something about slotting a cart and booting a SNES that no emulator can replace, for me.

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:20 am

Markfrizb wrote:
The PCB used in the official cartridge is an SHVC-LDH3C-01, which was used by one -- and only one -- title: the one mentioned here. The SPC7110F appears to be a custom graphicsdecompression chip of some sort, tied to a "data ROM" of some kind, and has an additional chip that offers a battery-backed RTC (the R4513).
This game: Super Famicom Momotaro Denstetsu Happy can be "converted" to also run the Far East Eden. You have to add the RTC chip to it though. It's a difficult cart to mod because 2 of the pins on the SPC chip have to be lifted and soldered to for the higher address lines for FEoE ...and... adding the RTC connections - which aren't too bad to connect. Still a difficult cart to work with.

RetroCircuits makes the conversion and this is what their board looks like.
IMG_1599.JPG
There's nothing on the back side.

The rom does have proper down level-shifting so that's good.
Yeah I think I've seen that picture before. Do you have this cart yourself? Can you provide details for me as a full wiring diagram and/or take some macro shots of the board and chips so that I can recreate it myself? I can't quite see in your pic what all is routed where.

I reached out to Retrocircuits last year asking if they would be willing to sell me just the board or the schematic so I could build my own, and they declined. IMO this is not very communal of them, since they're already selling someone else's work by selling translated carts, so I don't think they have a very strong claim to "protecting their IP", since they're simultaneously stealing and reselling the IP of the translators...

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:31 am

Markfrizb wrote:RetroCircuits makes the conversion and this is what their board looks like.

The rom does have proper down level-shifting so that's good.
Yeah the other downside of that pic is that I can't see the underside of their add-on PCB which has a bunch of circuit traces on it showing which pins are routed where. There are obvious through-hole vias on their board so I can't really see what they're doing without someone desoldering that separate PCB and flipping it over and taking pictures of it.

I am an expert solder jockey with extensive rework tools and the knowledge and experience to safely disassemble and reassemble that cart without damaging anything. IF someone already has a working English cart and is willing to loan it to me for disassembly and examination I would return it in working order and also compensate them for their trouble, but I doubt anyone is interested in sending a $100 repro cart to some unknown dude on the internets...but it can't hurt to ask? Obviously I would pay shipping, etc.

That cart also has the RTC in the same location as TMZ - is there an unpopulated header for one on Super Famicom Momotaro Denstetsu Happy?

If that's the case then converting a TMZ cart basically just means you need to omit the step to "add" the RTC since it already has one built in and wired, and if they use the same base PCB then the signal routing is already correct.

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:42 am

lidnariq wrote: The differences indicate:
you'll need to divide the resulting patched result into the first 1M ("Program"), middle 5M ("Data"), and last 1M ("Expansion"). The bundled "HiganFileSplitter" does this.
you'll need to find where SPC7110 A22 exists. It assuredly does, because they say it works on actual hardware.
you'll need two or three 1MB PROMs, one or two demultiplexers, and an 8 or 4MB PROM.
you'll need to either use 5V PROMs, or add voltage translation if using 3V PROMs.
you'll need to use one demultiplexer to detect the memory region where A23...A20 = 0x4, and use that to enable the "Expansion" ROM.
There's only 2 headers on the PCB for ROMs, so I'm unclear what you mean about dividing the ROM like that since adding a 3rd ROM to the PCB would be a monumental undertaking (and a wiring nightmare). I was under the assumption that you just divided the ROM into 2 sections (Program + Expansion, Data) and then used address decoders to properly route the cart signaling to the expansion data when it gets requested.

I understand the theory, I just don't know how to build the circuit.

I have a partial pinout of the SPC7110 - A22 is *probably* pin 41 on the SPC7110. But I don't quite understand what you mean - is A22 where the expansion ROM data is located, so I essentially need to ensure that A22 on the SPC7110 is wired to the location where my expansion data is stored on my ROM chips?

I have a plethora of 5V and 3V (EE)PROMs, so I'm not concerned about voltage, and any circuit I built would include proper level shifting if I couldn't make this work with 5V EPROMs, though it's a moot point anyway - the Super NT has built in level shifting (thanks Kevtris!) because cheap chinese bootlegs/multicarts/repros all use 3V EEPROMs, so it can handle carts with 3V ROMs just fine. So even if I didn't build a level shift I could still play the cart without risking damage to anything...

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:54 am

Pokun wrote:
koitsu wrote: To me, all of this indicates the romhack most likely uses a complete custom memory map layout of some sort. If they're requiring a unique/custom manifest XML (for higan/bsnes), and state that "it won't work on flash carts" (without any explanation) but that "it will work on real hardware" (also without any explanation), I am left to believe this romhacking effort is really not intended to be run on actual hardware.
One reason is that the SPC7110 isn't supported by any flashcarts yet.


I have this game CIB, it wasn't expensive but it's very unique so yeah I also don't recommend destroying it for such a patch. Hopefully it will be made to work on SD2SNES when it gets support for SPC7110.
This is not really a solution for me for multiple reasons. First, I don't have an SD2SNES and I don't intend to buy one. Second, it would be cheaper for me to buy a translated repro cart than an SD2SNES so it doesn't solve the cost issue. Third, my goal is to publicly and openly document how to do this so that others can recreate my work on their own carts for minimal cost compared to existing repro costs, so playing the game on an SD2SNES would not solve that issue either...

Pokun
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by Pokun » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:27 am

If your goal is to research and document how to reproduce the cartridge with all new parts I'm all for it.
But I thought the SPC7110 was a custom chip?

BTW it's actually spelled Momotarou Dentetsu which is a boardgame spin-off of Hudson's Momotarou Densetsu series (densetsu = legend, dentetsu = electric railway).

illuminerdi
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Re: Tengai Makyou Zero / Far East of Eden Zero English Repro

Post by illuminerdi » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:42 pm

Pokun wrote:If your goal is to research and document how to reproduce the cartridge with all new parts I'm all for it.
But I thought the SPC7110 was a custom chip?

BTW it's actually spelled Momotarou Dentetsu which is a boardgame spin-off of Hudson's Momotarou Densetsu series (densetsu = legend, dentetsu = electric railway).
No, I meant my goal was to freely/openly document a method for using a donor cart and doing a ROM swap to the english patched ROM. I'm nowhere near able to the level that would be required to make a reproduction with new parts - that would involve an FPGA and basically would be an SD2SNES.

I just need assistance figuring out how to do the address translation of the patched ROM and how to fit that ROM into a TMZ donor cart. There aren't any guides online that I can find for how to do it, but I know it's possible, people are selling modded carts already and have been for half a year...

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