SSF

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Current version: 0.12 beta R4
Active: Yes
OS: Windows
Authors: Shima
Official website: Shima's Site

English Tribute Site

Source code: Closed source

SSF is a Sega Saturn emulator. It is the only Sega Saturn emulator to date that has any level of compatibility with SS games and the only one worth using.

Downloads[edit]

Review[edit]

The best, and only good Saturn emulator right now. SSF is superior to Yabause for compatibility, but is Windows only, closed source and requires mounting ISO files in a virtual drive to run them.

A recent major update to 0.12 improved compatibility for certain games and broke others. It added support for some of games such as Astal (needs "Enable SH2 Cache").  Keep both versions, pre- and post-0.12 just in case. To raise compatibility, you can try with "No Bios" enabled or disabled, and you'll want to start with the MaxCompatibility (slow) option, then try with the faster options (that do not always work).

SSF needs an external virtual drive to read ISO files. Close and restart the emulator (as it says in the Japanese dialogue popup appearing) whenever you modify the options for them to take effect.

Even though it has a "No Bios" option, you'll sometimes need the BIOS files, of course specifying the correct region in the options.

Some useful commands:

  • F7: Pause and Load State (Press 0-9 to choose)
  • Shift + F7: Pause and Save State (Press 0-9 to choose)
  • Numeral Pad 1-6: Disable 2D layers. Useful for sprite ripps. Keep in mind this often causes 3D games to crash, and they already have lower compatibility than 2D one when it comes to general emulations.
  • You can change the speed of emulation under options up to 4x.

Guides and Info[edit]

General Guide

Shima's FAQ about compatibility issues. Note that this is Japanese-to-English Google Translate, and has very shoddy syntax as a result.

Troubleshooting[edit]

A rough translation of Shima's FAQ about compatibility issues with various games and fixes for them. The original can be found here.

The configuration closest to accurate hardware emulation would be: Enable "Bus Wait". Set "Bus Wait Clock" to 0. Enable "SH2 DMA Real Transfer". Alternatively, "Setting5" (holding the 5 keyboard button at startup) achieves similar results.

General issues:

  • Character sprites in SNK games don't appear: Change "Cartridge" to "1MBytes RAM Cartridge".
  • Flickering in FMVs: Enable "Check Cycle Pattern".
  • No sound: Enable "Memory Access Wait".
  • Stuttering sound: Enable "Scanline Base Timing".

Game-specific issues:

  • Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter (fix for sound noise): Disable "Sound Thread".
  • Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai II (fix for cutscenes): Enable "Check Cycle Pattern" and "VDP2 RAM Revision Access".
  • The Tower: Enable "VDP2 RAM Write Timing".
  • Quovadis 2 (fix for FMVs): Set "Dot Clock" to 3.0 or above, and "EZ Setting" to "High".
  • Galjan: Enable "SH2 DMA Real Transfer".
  • Whizz, Thunder Hawk II: Enable "Bus Wait".
  • Dark Savior: Enable "Bus Wait" (fix for logo). Enable "VDP2 RAM Revision Access" (fix for save data screen).
  • Taito Chase HQ Plus SCI: Enable "CD Track/Index".
  • Daytona USA Circuit Edition: Enable "VDP2 RAM Revision Access".
  • Virtua Fighter 2: Enable "VDP2 RAM Revision Access" (fix for key config screen). Enable "Memory Access Wait".
  • Baroque (FMV issues): Enable "Check Sprite Priority".
  • Sonic Jam: Set "Dot Clock" to 2.7 or above. Enable "Check Cycle Pattern" (fix for 2P Mode in Sonic 2).
  • Lunar Silver Star Story (FMV issues): Enable "SCU DMA Delay Interrupt".
  • Grandia (FMV issues): Set "Dot Clock" on 3.7 or above. Set "SlaveSH2 Speed" to 90%, Set "EZ Setting" to Highest.
  • Deep Fear, Daina ☆ Airan, Mr. Bones, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter: Enable "Memory Access Wait".
  • Riglord Saga 2: Set "Dot Clock" to 3 or above.
  • Sol Divide: Set "Dot Clock" to 3.4 or above.
  • Pro Mahjong Kiwame S, Megaman X3: Set "Dot Clock" to 3.7 or above. Set "1Block Clock" to a value as low as possible.
  • World Heroes Perfect, Castlevania Symphony of the Night (fix for data select screen), Macross Do You Remember Love: Enable "VDP2 RAM Revision Access".
  • Chaos Seed: Enable "Check Cycle Pattern". Enable "VDP2 RAM Revision Access".
  • Denpa Shounenteki Game, Astal: Enable "SH2 Cache".
  • Gokujou Parodius Da! Deluxe Pack (aka Fantastic Journey): Enable "Bus Wait", Set "Bus Wait Clock" to 0.
  • Ruri Iro no Yuki (fix for company logo among other stuff): Enable "Check Cycle Pattern".
  • Toshinden URA (if FMVs skip): Set "1Block Clock" to 50. Disable "Check SlaveSH2 Idle Loop". Enable "Bus Wait". Set "Bus Wait Clock" to 1. Enable "Enable Instruction Cache".

Free Virtual Drive Software[edit]

As said above, SSF requires a virtual drive to read ISO files. Sadly, most of the good free ones don't work with SSF for one reason or another. They either have a bunch of adware or they don't support mdf/mds files. The ones that do work (along with some that don't) will be listed below.

List of Free Virtual Drive Software
Program Name Pros Cons
Virtual Clone Drive
  • Isn't a cut-down version of a paid software.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Doesn't try to install unwanted software.
  • Doesn't support .mdf/.mds files. This is kind of a big deal, since quite a few of the Saturn's popular titles are only available as mdf/mds.
  • Can't mount .cue files. DON'T mount the .bin instead, as SSF will boot you back to the bios whenever it feels like it if you do. Instead, make a .ccd/.img copy with CloneCD and another virtual drive program.
Alcohol 52% Free Edition
  • Supports every Saturn image extension.
  • Very reliable.
  • Installer contains optional adware.
  • Mounting the images causes the sound files to autoplay.
  • The installer forces you to install crapware called Smart File Advisor, which you can't uninstall without uninstalling Alcohol.

(You can mostly ignore the program by stopping it from running on startup, however.)

Daemon Tools LITE
  • Nice UI.
  • Supports every Saturn image extension.
  • Installer tries to fill your computer up with adware, and newer versions force you to install adware (Version 4.30.4 does not force it).
  • Sends data on every image you mount to an outside location. [1]
  • No longer run by the original team. Possibly Chinese spyware at this point.
WinCDEmu
  • Isn't a cut-down version of a paid software.
  • Open-source.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Doesn't try to install unwanted software.
  • Supports every Saturn image extension.
  • SSF isn't compatible with it.
MagicDisc
  • Lightweight.
  • Doesn't try to install unwanted software.
  • Supports every Saturn image extension.
  • SSF isn't compatible with it.

References[edit]