Homebrew with the Sega Virtua Processor on the Sega Genesis

I was interested to come across this video by MatteusBeus – AKA Matthew Bennion – whose channel covers game development on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive.

In it he provides an excellent overview of the ongoing work of both Richard Kaussler and Javier de Silóniz Sandino (known in the community as Javi) towards reverse engineering the Sega Virtua Processor (SVP) chip.

The SVP is a custom 3D graphics processor which was planned to be included in various Genesis game cartridges, with only Virtua Racing ultimately making it as far as release due to the chip’s high cost.

As documented in the video, Javi’s research involved building a custom interface board which replaces Virtua’s Racing’s ROM chip, allowing direct access to the SVP and laying the foundations for potential homebrew on real hardware, while Kaussler’s decap and documentation of the chip’s internals potentially lead the way for hardware-level recreations of the chip as well as more accurate software emulation.

Javi’s code is released under an MIT license, meaning that others are free to build upon it as they see fit.

Exciting times to be a Genesis homebrew developer!

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