Sega Saturn copy protection




While I am certainly no authority on either the internal workings of the Sega Saturn or the nitty-gritty details of CD encoding, I am very interested in the topic of the Saturn’s copy protection (a ring on the outer edge of the disc which until now has been considered impossible to reproduce).

Over at SegaXtreme’s forums, there is a discussion going on about said protection. One member claims that he has intercepted the data which the Saturn mod chip sends to the CD controller in order to allow copied discs (and as such, those without the security ring) to boot. There is data up which apparently represents the data which the mod chip sends.

I am just posting this topic to ask that anyone who can possiblly offer information or assistance in investigating the protection and potential methods of determining and/or circumventing it, takes a read through the topic. It is long, but it would be great if somebody from here could offer some help - I know that a lot of you certainly know your stuff!

The address of the topic is Thank you in advance for any help - both from this technically-inferior fan and the SegaXtreme community! :slight_smile:


I think you might be looking for this thread Drenholm Copy Protections SEGA SATURN.


Thanks for the link; I have briefly read that topic before. What I meant was that a member at SegaXtreme claims to have the security code itself, or at least some semblance of it. I hoped that there may be people here who could do something along the lines of confirming the accuracy of the code he intercepted from the modchip or reporting any past experiences they have had.

I can’t say whether his report of his own ‘reading’ of the security code is correct or not, or whether the subsequent debate on that same topic about burning the code will produce anything or not. I was just hoping that somebody here might be able to further help the discussion along!

Thanks again. :wink:


To make it a bit easier:

I hope I got most of the relevant info. It’s annoying that the SegaXtreme forums don’t allow quotes within quotes.

EDIT: Reading those italics hurt.


Thank you very much, Untamed - I should have done that sooner myself. :slight_smile:

Hope Untamed’s info helps!


Bump. I guess not.

Dren, I registered at three forums (ASSEMblerGames, SegaXtreme, and this one) just to do this. :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s a shame, huh? However, there has already been considerably activity at the SegaXtreme topic, so I’d advice you to keep a look out. :slight_smile:


I think these features of Truman’s tool could prove interesting, at the very least:

This version adds an additional feature: the ability to specify starting position (expressed in LBA) when writing data to CD. It will allow you to tell the writer to start writing the lead-in at any position you specify. This will allow you to skip a portion of blank space at the beginning of the CDR/W. Example, if you specify -200, then you will end up with a blank gap where the lead-in should normally be - in other words the lead-in and all data following are shifted ahead.

Added a skip sector position file support in the ‘Image To CD’ area. The file is a text file with a list of starting sector and length to skip for the blank areas you wish to be on the CD (this means no EMF data is written in those areas). The format is as follows:

starting sector in LBA unit,skip length

Example file skip.ssp:


The first line means don’t write anything at sector position 100 for 150 sectors. The second line means don’t write anything at sector position 200 for 10 sectors.

I have yet to read further about this tool, but it seems very interesting and well made. Thanks, Truman! :slight_smile:

Edit: Missed out the T from the word This in the first quote


Wow! There is still some activity in this topic! :slight_smile: I thought that saturn fans have already forgoten this topic…
A big thanx to untamed and drenholm! Keep up the good work ! :slight_smile:
It’s a shame but I can’t help you guys… because of a very simple reason : I have a lack of knowlege in this thing…


Normally the carts that let you play games from another region allow you to boot games off of CD-Rs. I know mine claimed to do it however I have never tried.


Ok sure this post is 2 years old or whatever… but its 4am and i’ll help ya out. :slight_smile:

Sega Saturn is the easiest mod ever to play burned games… burn the discs on nero (i forget the exact method)… it doesnt copy the “ring” as i dont think that is possible… BUT… on the lid of your SS there is a rod that pushes a button when the lid is closed… basically mod this button so its pushed down all the time

your sega will think the lid is closed even when its open.

Put in a normal cd to boot… the disc will spin real fast then slow down… when you see it slow down… take it out and put your burned one in. There ya go… playing a burned game with no mod chip or soldering…

When it spins fast its reading the security ring, swap ur disc and ur good to go.


wow, i’m sorry but you’re dumb, because everyone in this thread would have known that. also this thread is about not having to swap the discs, etc.
it’s about being able to recreate the information of the ring at the edge of the disc, so that we can all play without having to swap (as swapping discs can cause laser wearout).