SaturnDave (Sega Saturn, SHIRO!)

Saturn NetLink: Tunnels It’s Way Online…

SegaRPGFan (aka eaudunord) has done it again! The same guy who worked with Xiden to bring us the original exploit for NetLink play over VoIP, and the same who brought Japanese XBand games back online through a clever patch, has finally crossed the threshold to the future of Saturn NetLink play… Having written a script that tunnels NetLink’s data through the internet, a stable and far less latent transmission has been achieved!

NetLink Tunneling Script: DOWNLOAD

Here is an example of how much better this tunneling solution works, even at this early stage. (After iteration and optimization, even further improvement may be possible…)

CREDIT: Dan – Retrospectors

Having tested several games with Dan (Retrospectors), including Decathlete, Virtua Fighter Remix, Puzzle Bobble and Bomberman (all of which have proven troublesome for the existing VoIP solution), SegaRPGFan confirms a night & day difference in performance, so much so as to render the VoIP solution obsolete by comparison.

CREDIT: Dan – Retrospectors

Those who’ve recently picked up a VoIP adapter (specifically to play NetLink over VoIP) don’t need to feel too bad, though, as you can actually use that VoIP adapter (disconnected from your router) to provide the line voltage required for this new tunneling method. (assuming you don’t already have a Line Voltage Inducer LVI which is also used in the DreamPi setup for Dreamcast).

The future plan, of course, will be to integrate this tunneling method into DreamPi, for those who’ve already invested in the kit and use it for Online Dreamcast play and for browsing the DreamPipe & NetLink Zone. However, at present, this tunneling method is works on Windows & Linux PCs.

Here’s a list of games currently playable through NetLink:

  • Daytona USA: Circuit Edition For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Decathlete For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Puyo Puyo Sun For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Puzzle Bobble For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Saturn Bomberman For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Sega Rally Championship Plus For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Sega Worldwide Soccer ’98 For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Shadows of the Tusk For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Virtua Fighter Remix For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Virtual On: Cyber Troopers For Sega Networks (NTSC-U)
  • Battle Cubes (Xband Prototype Testing)
  • Daytona USA C.C.E NetLink Edition (NTSC-J)
  • Duke Nukem 3D (NTSC-J)
  • Saturn Bomberman (NTSC-J)
  • Sega Rally Championship NetLink Edition (NTSC-J)
  • Virtual On: Cyber Troopers NetLink Edition (NTSC-J)

Here’s what you’ll need to get it running…

  • SEGA Saturn Console (obviously)
  • US NetLink or JP XBand Modem Cart
  • Desktop or Laptop PC running Windows or Linux
  • Voice-capable USB Modem (Conexant RD02-D400 preferred)
  • Phone Line Voltage (achieved through a variety of methods)
  • Internet Connection (wired ethernet preferred, though 5Ghz Wi-Fi w/QoS works decent as well)
  • Python 2.7 (older version of Python used for compatibility with DreamPi, which also uses 2.7)
  • Pyserial Module
  • Tunneling Script

While this list of requirements may seem a little overwhelming at first glance, it’s actually quite simple & straightforward for those who have even a basic level of technical knowhow. Once you have everything on the list, it should only take about 15 to 30 minutes to get it set up and running.

The general setup should look something like this…

It also seems that this method may work for emulators like Yabause as well (with the appropriate modifications).

SegaRPGFan testing the tunneling method on Yabause v0.9.15 (while not working, it does seem feasible)

We at SHIRO! are very excited about this new connection method, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on any news as it comes down the pipe!

Check out this original interview with SegaRPGFan (from a few years back) where we talked about the original VoIP exploit and the potential future of Online Saturn gaming. It’s a real blast from the past!

Building a Line Voltage Inducer

To build a line voltage inducer you will need the following components:

  1. A capacitor 0.47uf
  2. A resistor 380 Ohm
  3. A battery connector 9v
  4. A battery 9v
  5. A soldering iron, tin (welding wire) OR insulation tape.

First you will pick up the phone cable and you will open it (Be careful, dont break the wires). Inside it you will find two wires one white and one red. You will cut the red in the middle and will bind the components as follows:

If your phone cable has both wires of the same color, cut the right one with the connectors facing up and the pin facing down.

A massive Saturn fan since Christmas ’96, Dave is enthusiastic about growing the community and spreading Saturn love and knowledge to fans old and new. Co-founding the SEGA SATURN, SHIRO! podcast back in 2017 and creating the SHIRO! SHOW in 2020, he seeks to create interesting and engaging Saturn-related content for the community. Dave’s interests circle around game preservation, and he is a huge fan of game magazines and developer interviews.

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