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SSF is a closed-source Sega Saturn emulator known for being the most compatible for a long time.
The best Saturn emulator right now. SSF is superior to Yabause and Mednafen for compatibility, but is Windows only and closed source. It no longer requires mounting ISO files in a virtual drive to run them (see below).
A recent major update to 0.12 improved compatibility for certain games and broke others. It added support for some of the 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 requires either an external virtual drive or a specific loader to read disc images. 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 rips. 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
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.
- 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".
- 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".
SSF Drag and Drop Loader
The best option for SSF. Put it in your SSF directory. It works with normal Saturn filenames. Just drag and drop the game file, like Mednafen.
This loader allows you to use disc image without having to mount them at all with the only major caveat being that it requires you to convert your rips to .CHD beforehand using chdman or one of it's forks.
Cheating with CEP
- download CEP and prepare your CODELIST.TXT file. You can find an example with some codes and an handy converter here.
- start SSF.exe and wait for the game to load, then click About->cep, and leave the dialog with the base address opened.
- start cep.exe
- click "Process" tab, and select the correct emulator version and code type (usually "60codes")
- make sure the address in the field in the 2nd line matches the one in SSF (NO NEED TO CLICK "Search"). Usually it won't match and you will have to change a few digits.
- click "Codes" tab, select the current game and the cheat codes you want to enable
- click the "On" button to activate codes
Free Virtual Drive Software
As said above one of the ways to get SSF to use disc images is using a virtual disc drive. 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 some formats. The ones that do work (along with some that don't) will be listed below.
As of Preview Version R4, you can mount CD images that use .cue and .bin files by going to Options > Peripherals, then in the CD Image section, select Enable, then select the .cue file of your choosing, and restart the emulator. Mind you that this feature is still experimental, ergo the game will likely crash at certain points, so it's best to use the software below.
.mds/.mdf & .ccd/.img/.sub files are fine, though.
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(You can mostly ignore the program by stopping it from running on startup, or you can install the program while completely offline using an offline installer and the crapware will fail to install itself and won't cause any further issues at any point)
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- Shima's Site (archived from xrea.com)
- Shima's Site (archived from geocities.jp)
- English Tribute Site