StarFox 2 SNES Cart Conversion Discussion

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    • StarFox 2 SNES Cart Conversion Discussion

      So I've been wanting to talk about this and it seems others have too. so I thought I'd start a new thread.

      There was some discussion in Mitsu's WTT thread so I thought I'd quote the relevant posts here since that's not the best place for it.

      rewrite wrote:

      I know everyone else had really hard time with NES Classic pre-orders, but I got in 4 (all went to family) without a problem. SNES Classic pre-orders just never lined up, I was driving when they came up or otherwise pre-occupied except the last batch of Wal-Mart ones. Cool you randomly found one in Meijer's though, what are the odds?


      Yeah, final image is on-line, it's confirmed to work nicely in both Higan and on real hardware. Picked up another copy of Doom and should hopefully have it on a cart soon-ish.


      I don't know where you could find the rom, but maybe this guy does in the description. :whistling: :whistling: :whistling: :whistling:



      rewrite wrote:

      xodaraP wrote:

      The guy in the video above has a video on making a repro Starfox 2 and he says you have to use Stunt Race FX or Dirt Trax FX


      No idea if these 2 games use a different SuperFX chip to the other games or if they were just the 2 games that came to mind for him
      Interesting. I didn't watch his video, I just found it as a link to the rom.
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_FX shows Star Fox 2 as a SuperFX 2 chip. Maybe it can be done on a normal SFX chip game as well?
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    • Here is a tutorial I've found: nintendoage.com/forum/messagev…?catid=22&threadid=135828
      He basically just burned the game to a 27C801 and then soldered it in place of the mask rom on an Stunt Race FX cart.

      I wonder if anyone knows of a more appropriate SMD chip to use instead of hot gluing a full-sized eprom in there?

      Also does anyone know if there is any special version or patching that needs to be done to the rom?

      I've bought a few Stunt Race FX carts (they were $10 a piece about a month ago but now they seem to be approaching $20 a piece).

      Other notes:

      There seems to be a beta version of StarFox 2 that leaked a few years back and a lot of people are saying it's better than the final version on the SNES Mini. I plan to make carts for both.

      There also seems to be some debate on overclocking the cart. Some people say that OCing makes the game run smoother, others are saying that it just runs faster and that the normal speed is correct. I'd be curious if someone has done a side by side with a converted Stunt Race FX compared to the SNES Mini.
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    • twistedsymphony wrote:

      There also seems to be some debate on overclocking the cart. Some people say that OCing makes the game run smoother, others are saying that it just runs faster and that the normal speed is correct. I'd be curious if someone has done a side by side with a converted Stunt Race FX compared to the SNES Mini.
      My understanding is Nintendo was to use a different crystal (faster clock speed) in the final cart build of SF2.
      This is why so many people's beta carts were plagued with slowdown, it's not the game, they simply direct converted.

      I don't have solid confirmation of this however, I'm not sure anyone does being that the ROM will run at both clock speeds without glitching/crashing.

      You can't even trust comparing the speed to the SNES mini IMO, Nintendo took the lazy route with the mini...
      What do you want to bet it's 100% using Starfox (1) profile/clock speed they stole from the emulation community? ;)
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    • jassin000 wrote:

      You can't even trust comparing the speed to the SNES mini IMO, Nintendo took the lazy route with the mini...
      What do you want to bet it's 100% using Starfox (1) profile/clock speed they stole from the emulation community?
      even if that's the case, Nintendo released the mini and said "this is the final version" so if they're using slower speeds then IMO that's what the final version uses; good bad or lazy.

      If the developers back in the day did intend to use higher clockspeeds then that IMO would only suggest how the Beta should run.

      For those that are interested here is a good guide on overclocking Stunt Race FX and other FX games: sega-16.com/forum/showthread.p…-your-SNES-Super-FX-games
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    • twistedsymphony wrote:

      even if that's the case, Nintendo released the mini and said "this is the final version" so if they're using slower speeds than that's what the final version uses.
      They are using the final code, but remember this is emulation not hardware.
      And YES, I fully believe they have the emulation clockspeed incorrectly set because they copied the emulator (just like the ROMs) from the community.

      I mean do you honestly believe this was anything but pure laziness on Nintendo's part?
      They supposedly have the gold masters for every cart ever made but choose to include ROMs dumped by hobbiest instead?

      "The .NES header, originally created by Marat Fayzullin for his iNES emulator, is used to provide emulators with the necessary context needed to recreate a hardware setup that changed with each and every cartridge. Finding it in this Nintendo-published version of Super Mario Bros. felt like a sign we were heading in the right direction."



      The REAL version is the cart that was intended to be made, the code alone can't tell us at what rate it should have run.
      Nintendo can't be trusted to act as an authority on preservation (even their own) when given the above TRUTH!

      This (all thos F'n mini consoles, both current and yet to be released *cough*N64 mini*cough*) is a cold hearted cash grab/stop gap designed to prey on casuals (that don't know clockspeed from corn husk) and nothing more.
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      The post was edited 9 times, last by jassin000 ().

    • reading through that over clocking guide there was an interesting bit of information.

      Apparently when Stunt Race FX is overclocked the intro animation finishes before the associated audio. Checking for situations like that in StarFox 2 would give us a good indication if the graphics are running faster or slower than the audio since presumably the audio is timed off of a clock in the SNES itself and the "proper" speed should see them synced up.
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    • More searching I found another great guide on rom swapping SNES carts including the tools and other info necessary for prepping the rom file: jaskagaming.com/2015/09/18/sne…oduction-cart-tutorial/#4
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    • jassin000 wrote:

      My understanding is Nintendo was to use a different crystal (faster clock speed) in the final cart build of SF2.
      That is the primary difference between SuperFX (GSU-1) and SuperFX2 (GSU-2) chips (plus SFX2 can read 16mbit and SFX can only read 8mbit), isn't it? Unlike all other SNES games they got their clock speed from within the cart instead of through the cart connector. Star Fox 2 was supposedly going to be a SuperFX2 game. That's why Doom seems a better candidate for donor than Stunt Race FX. You don't need to overclock, because it already has a faster crystal and runs at the proper speed all on its own.

      Even the final rom is 8mbit though, so you could put it on either/both. Emulator should be able to detect what chip-type the game is, and you could base the decision off of that I suppose.

      As for what SMD chip to use instead of the "billion wires" method, I'm not sure. They use TSOP chips for Star Ocean. I've seen a few mentions of the wires method being "the old method" and there being a newer "drop-in method" but haven't really figured out where that is yet.

      I've made a *lot* of NES repro's, but only a handful of SNES.
      On the hunt for: Dinoking, Mushiking, Love & Berry, Egret 29, Grand Am Q25, Capcom New Concept 2, and Naomi guncabs.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by rewrite ().

    • I like where this is going, please proceed :thumbup: The only conversion cart I bought a loong while back was Bahamut Lagoon for the english patch...and unfortunately it had text glitches all over the place. I started looking into these cart conversions to see about reflashing but didn't get very far. Not a SFX game but still..lol
    • I'll try this with a Doom cart! Pretty sure I have an 801 hanging around. I'm not in love with the awful wiring I've seen on some other conversions, but gotta think about that.

      Anyone making nice labels??
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    • ekorz wrote:

      I'll try this with a Doom cart! Pretty sure I have an 801 hanging around. I'm not in love with the awful wiring I've seen on some other conversions, but gotta think about that.

      Anyone making nice labels??
      I get mine here (I've got a pile of repro/bootleg carts too). ;)
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    • I've seen a bunch of different labels floating around. this one is my favorite so far but I've yet to find a print-ready version:


      EDIT: looks like it's available on Jassin's link!
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    • I wondered if you were looking to build one after commenting on my photo the other day. I did a lot of research on this several years back when I first planned on making one of these. Unfortunately, I don't recall all the details now and just ran with what I remembered as I wanted to just get it done. We've all read the different sides of which doner cart to use, to OC or not, etc. In the end, I went with what I felt was the simplest, cheapest, and most universally accepted route. I used Stunt Race FX mostly for the battery, not that high score saves in this game really matter much. Doom was the other choice for the SFX2 chip but at the time Stunt Race FX was cheaper and easier to track down and, I think, fewer people really care about that game in the long run. I seem to recall someone had a battery mod for the Doom cart? Maybe? I forget.

      The end result, I think, was perfectly fine. I guess the game could be arguably slower than maybe it was intended to be, but not in a bad way - to me anyway. I'm not sure how much different it might make to OC this thing, but I don't really care either. To me the game feels like it runs at a pretty natural speed for a game like this on the SNES. Maybe a more proper test would be to play a bunch of SF1 and then immediately follow it up with SF2 and see if there's any noticeable difference in how the game feels. That, I haven't done.

      As for the eprom, I've seen a few guides that offered other alternatives, but I'm not sure if any of them were SMD. There's plenty of room though - I installed a socket in mine so I could change ROM if I wanted to. And to be honest, I'm glad I did...the guide I ended up using didn't mention that you had to patch the ROM if you wired it the "easy" way where only two wires are swapped. So on my first test, the game didn't boot - just a black screen. If I'd snipped the legs and soldered directly as the guide said, then I'd have been up shit creek at that point (and would need to rewire several connections). Instead I was able to reburn the rom once I finally figured out what was wrong (thanks to the same jaskagaming.com link you posted above).

      All-in-all, I think either rom version is fine - the official one is definitely more polished, but the game play is the same. The charge shot not locking on is the biggest change that I noticed and definitely ramps up the difficulty, especially on Hard or Expert, holy shit. I haven't tried Hard or Expert on the old beta rom yet where you can lock on, but I suspect that with that, it'd still be way easier than the final official build. I'd argue this was a good move for the final version, though I do wish the lock on feature was a power up or something that you could get later in the game. I'll admit that Star Wolf on Hard without the charge lock is a bitch.

      Something else I'm considering is the Super FX all-in-one cart that Retro Circuits sells. I think it's a great complement to also having an SD2SNES. I keep meaning to email them to ask if they're planning to add the SNES classic version of SF2 to this cart or replace the beta rom with it or not. Either way, I'll probably still pick it up once they have the translucent red ones back in stock.


      Big honking eprom and tons of stupid wires aside, this was a pretty simple and fun project for me. I've been wanting to do it for a while and am glad that NOT finding an SNES classic on Friday finally got me to take the time to do it, lol.

      Definitely interested in seeing/hearing about others' carts if they make them. I'd make one out of DOOM as well but I'd hate to kill more carts just for that.

    • Two PCBs that will be helpful for converting a board to Star Fox 2: oshpark.com/profiles/The_Real_Phoenix

      Add a 3.3V crystal for overclocking:

      Super FX 3.3V SMD Oscillator adapter

      Replace the rom without soldering all those wires:

      Starfox 2 Adapter for 27C801 on SHVC-1CA6B P
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    • kuze wrote:

      Check this out for a very clean approach:
      That's what my repros use/have installed, no I didn't solder that SMD personally...
      My friend @cpsystem3 did them for me. ;)

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      It's somewhat important to point out that in the cases of SM-RPG and MM-X3 I got the less expensive Japan versions/carts.
      So only the code (English ROM) needed to be changed.

      For Kirby's Dreamland 3 however, a Sand Scorpion cart was used/sac'd.

      In every case a USA cart was also ordered and sac'd for its SuperFX/expansion chip grey case, and a label ordered from Retrogamecases. :D
      I might be partially responsible for the increase (Stunt Race FX) in price sorry guys (personally sacked over 8 of these shitty games).
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      The post was edited 9 times, last by jassin000 ().

    • Mattroid wrote:

      I wondered if you were looking to build one after commenting on my photo the other day
      I had talked about this with Jassin a while back, but your photo reminded me and prompted me to start tracking down the parts :thumbup:

      My plan was to do a socketed chip as well at least on one cart until I can verify that I got the ROM setup properly. I have a friend that wants one too and I'm interested in trying both the beta and final versions. so it will be useful to have at least one "test cart" setup.
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    • Searching for info on a battery mod for DOOM I came across a post from @l_oliveira talking about putting 2 games on one cart: assemblergames.com/threads/add…o-i-e-doom-for-sf2.33623/

      pictures seem to be dead for me. Would be cool to have 1 cart with both the beta and final versions.


      EDIT: I also found this interesting:

      MottZilla wrote:

      GSU-1 features the 21mhz High Speed Mode that GSU-2 had too. GSU-2 can
      address more ROM and is the only operational difference I am aware of.
      People pass misinformation off about Star Fox 2 needing "Super FX2" or
      else it suffers slowdown or something like that. "Super FX2" doesn't
      exist and Star Fox 2 naturally will have places with slowdown.


      Doom, Yoshi's Island, Winter Gold. All these need GSU-2 not for some
      performance boost, they all need the ability of the GSU-2 to address 16
      megabits of ROM. GSU-1 cannot do this. Super FX has a register for clock
      rate control. GSU-1 games set this to High Speed mode (21mhz) too.


      If you do not believe me, test Star Fox 2 on a GSU-1 board. Star Fox 2,
      like other GSU-1 games also enables High Speed mode. Disabling high
      speed mode the game does run slower than intended. But the fact remains
      that GSU-1 can and does run at 21mhz. Mario Chip (Star Fox 1) can't run
      in High Speed mode.
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      The post was edited 1 time, last by twistedsymphony ().

    • twistedsymphony wrote:

      I had talked about this with Jassin a while back, but your photo reminded me and prompted me to start tracking down the parts
      In person while I was dropping off the Taito stools in fact.
      At that point I was only about 6 Stunt Race FX carts deep haha. ;)
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