CAVE Conversions

Espgaluda, Ketsui and DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou Black Label as cartridges? Why not, as long as they’re 100% true to their originals.

IGS/PGM conversions of Cave titles
IGS/PGM conversions of Cave titles

Yes, you can always claim that “They’re not original!” but if they behave as well as their bare PCB counterparts I for one do like the concept of a cartridge version of my favorite CAVE shmups; better protection and easier storage being two of the pros.

On the flip side unfortunately another game has to be sacrificed as always when making a conversion. In many cases this was the the way for instance when older CPS-II games were to be retired and replaced by newer titles. The older games were returned and the hardware reused in order to lower production costs. Conversions remain a grey area among gaming enthusiasts. Some consider them legit and some write them off as bootlegs. For me it all depends on the game in question and the source of the game. Certain CPS-II games, like Progear, I consider ok since Capcom did them themselves, but the PGM conversions, IMO, are bootlegs. Even if the hardware used is similar to the original these games were never officially released on the PGM platform nor has CAVE ever licenced them for the PGM.

That aside, these conversions are top of the line. They perform (in some cases even outperform) as their original counterparts. Nonetheless it’s a grey zone – they are bootlegs.

Pros

  • Cartridge instead of bare PCB
  • No battery on the PCB
  • Brighter sound than the originals
  • Cartridges can be stored in shock boxes

Cons

  • Bootleg
  • A PGM game needs to act as donor
  • Arrange ROM’s for Ketsui and DDP DOJ cannot be played
  • DDP DOJ Black Label doesn’t have the Vanilla version

Donor games

The following games can act as donors for the conversions.

DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou Black Label

  • Night of Valour Super Heroes

Ketsui and Espgaluda

  • Knight of Valour 2
  • Demon Front
  • Dodonpachi 2 Bee Storm
  • Martial Master
  • Gladiator
  • Killing Blade

Ketsui conversion

As you can see from the pictures below the conversions are kind of messy and not easy to do.

Pictures by Monouchi

Links

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Naomi Pi

Netbooting your Naomi is about to get Raspberry flavored. Naomi Pi 1 For a while now I’ve been thinking about different ways to netboot the Naomi. Yes, it’s quite handy being able to load games from your nearest computer but why not take it further?

How about doing it from your arcade machine? Pretty handy, no?

I had a Raspberry Pi lying around I didn’t know what to do with so I thought what if it had a display and some way to control it? After some search I found an expansion board with a 20 x 4 LCD display and some buttons from BitWizard. The Naomi Pi was born.

The general idea is to hook it up with keyboard and monitor for some easy config (setting up IP addresses the mounting NFS volume etc) and then setting it up inside the cabinet for easy loading of games.

Stay tuned for updates 😉

The NVS-4000-01 PSU

The NVS-4000 Power Supply Unit found in some New Astro City cabinets (and perhaps others as well) are considered the Rolls Royce of PSU’s by some.

While it does lack a -5V output it is a behemoth boasting numerous inputs and outputs and the capacity to deliver enough power to drive a full NAOMI set up with JVS/JAMMA adapter and GD-ROM. It also has a built in stereo sound amplifier.

NVS-4000-01

I’m not going dive deep into the hard data in this post. For now I’m just posting the pictures I took when I opened it up a couple of days ago for a clean up and a bit of troubleshooting regarding the wiring of the mono sound output.

PSU

NVS-4000-01 (PSU PCB)
NVS-4000-01

The PSU with the cover and front/back panels removed.

NVS-4000-01
NVS-4000-01
NVS-4000-01
NVS-4000-01

Top view of the PSU with cooling plate removed.

NVS-4000-01
NVS-4000-01

Stereo apmlifier

Sega Model 3 Stereo Amplifier
Sega Model 3 Stereo Amplifier

The amplifier (a Sega Model 3 Stereo Amplifier  is mounted upside-down below the PSU in the NVS-4000-01.

Top view
Top view
Sega Model 3 Stereo Amplifier
Bottom view

Lastly a picture of my now labelled loom from inside the PSU.

NVS-4000-01 loom
NVS-4000-01 loom

Guilty Gear XX CPO’s

Picked up these two beauties yesterday

Sammy Guilty Gear XX Control Panel Overlays

A pair of Guilty Gear XX 1L5B control panel overlays for Sega cabinets (Astro City, Naomi etc) panels. Compared to most other fighting games the GGX uses a rather unusual set of controls: Punch, Kick, Slash, Hard Slash and Dust. The overlay can be applied to a normal 1L6B panel since the licensed five button panels are quite hard to find.

MVS Motherload

Been sorting a heap of MVS carts the last few days. Need to reclaim space and they’ll be up for sale really soon.

MVS cartridges

I’m currently in the process of testing the games and checking for boots/broken games.

Preliminary list of titles as for now is:

  • 3 Count Bout
  • 8 in 1
  • Aero Fighters
  • Art of Fighting
  • Blazing Star
  • Bomber Man
  • Breakers
  • Double Dragon
  • Driftout
  • Fatal Fury 3
  • Football Frenzy
  • Goal! Goal! Goal!
  • King of Fighters 94
  • King of Fighters 95
  • King of Fighters 96
  • King of Fighters 97
  • King of Fighters 98
  • King of Fighters 99
  • Magical Drop
  • Metal Slug 1
  • Metal Slug 2
  • Metal Slug X
  • NAM-1975
  • Neo Turf Masters
  • Neo Geo Cup 98
  • Over Top
  • Pop ‘n Bounce
  • Puzzle Bobble
  • Puzzle Bobble 2
  • Puzzle de Pon
  • Puzzle de Pon/R
  • Real Bout Fatal Fury
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Samurai Shodown 4
  • Shock Troopers
  • Soccer Brawl
  • Spin Master
  • Stakes Winner 2
  • Street Hoop
  • Super Sidekicks
  • Super Sidekicks 2
  • Super Sidekicks 3
  • Super Sidekicks 4
  • Super Sidekicks Ultimate
  • Tecmo World Soccer ’96
  • Top Player’s Golf
  • Wind Jammers
  • 1, 2 and 4 slot boards

Note! Some games already have reservations and I’m expecting to add more games in a near future so the list will probably be changing.

Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in any of the items. Either drop a comment here or a DM on Twitter to @HSBallina.

Sega NAOMI

Naomi Motherboard

Sega NAOMI logoThis is the first in a series of articles about the Sega NAOMI system. Later posts will cover the hardware (I just love taking things apart :P), connecting the NAOMI to JAMMA cabinets, setting up the NAOMI with a GD-ROM and netbooting (loading games from a server).

The Sega NAOMI (New Arcade Operation Machine Idea), first shown at JAMMA in September 1998, is the successor to the Sega Model 3 platform.

Sega Naomi System

It’s based on the same hardware components as the Dreamcast game console. Though the NAOMI has twice the amount of system memory and video memory and four times as much sound memory as the Dreamcast. Multiple units can be linked to improve graphics performance or to support multiple monitors. The NAOMI Universal Cabinet was developed specifically for the NAOMI system and can house up to 16 units.

GD-ROM

Sega Naomi GD-ROM reader

Another key difference between the NAOMI and the Dreamcast is how the game media is handled. The Dreamcast streams the data from the GD-ROM while the NAOMI arcade boards features 168 MB of solid state ROM or GD-ROM’s using a DIMM board and a GD-ROM reader. The contents of the disc is downloaded onto the DIMM board’s RAM on start up. Once the disc has been read the game is run from the RAM for better performance and reducing the mechanical wear on the GD-ROM reader.

Even if the system is turned off the game will load from the RAM when powered on again. Only if the game data in the RAM gets corrupted of if the system’s been powered off for about 72 hours the game will again have to be read from the GD-ROM.

Licensing

Unlike Sega’s previous arcade platforms the NAOMI was widely licensed for use by other game publishers. Besides Sega about 20 companies has produced titles for the NAOMI system including Capcom, Namco Bandai, Tecmo, Cave, Sammy, SNK, Jaleco and Koei.

Taito launched their G-Net system (based on Sony’s PlayStation hardware) the same year as the NAOMI and, as Sega, tried to license it widely to developers. While the NAOMI became a huge success the G-Net never really made it and only some 20+ titles were ever released for the G-Net.

Connecting the NAOMI to JAMMA

Capcom I/O AdapterThe NAOMI uses the newer JAMMA Video Standard (JVS) for I/O. The JVS uses a USB A port for inputs and VGA for video output. The NAOMI is able to output graphics in VGA and CGA resolutions. There are three different I/O boards available for interfacing the NAOMI with JAMMA setups. Two were manufactured by Sega and another from Capcom.

The Capcom JVS/JAMMA converter is preferable since it offers a voltage converter for the needed 3.3 V line, and audio amplifier with volume control, the JAMMA connector and a JAMMA+ kick harness compatible with CPS2 and CPS3 games.

Trivia

  • The Atomiswave system from Sammy is based on NAOMI hardware.
  • Theoritically a 16 board NAOMI system could do (16 x 3.5 mpps) = 56 million polygons/second. In reality it won’t manage more than around 20 to 30 mpps.
  • Naomi is a Japanese female name that translates to “above all beauty”.

System Specifications

CPU Hitachi SH-4 32-bit RISC CPU (200 MHz 360 MIPS / 1.4 GFLOPS)
Graphic Engine PowerVR 2 (PVR2DC)
Sound Engine ARM7 Yamaha AICA 45 MHZ (with internal 32-bit RISC CPU, 64 channel ADPCM)
Main Memory 32 MByte
Graphic Memory 16 MByte
Sound Memory 8 MByte
Media ROM Board (maximum size of 172MBytes) / GD-Rom
Simultaneous Number of Colors Approx. 16,770,000 (24bits)
Polygons 2.5 Million polys/sec
Rendering Speed 500 M pixel/sec
Additional Features Bump Mapping, Fog, Alpha-Bending (transparency), Mip Mapping (polygon-texture auto switch), Tri-Linear Filtering, Anti-Aliasing, Environment Mapping, and Specular Effect.

Game List

Game lists for the NAOMI system are available at

More info