The information contained on this page is outdated, but may still be of use to those starting out on the Saturn emulation journey. The easiest way to configure SSF these days is using the EZ Settings tab (covered briefly below). Start with the Full Compatibility option and work your way down if it isn’t running smoothly on your system or if you experience crashes/freezes at certain locations.

I. Requirements

1. Patched ISO. See the Patch Instructions page for additional information.

2. Saturn Emulator – SSF works well, but isn’t perfect. The emulators on the FTP are versions that have been found to work best with SF3. More recent versions have not been tested by us. The latest version will not always give the best results. A read me.doc is provided with each self extracting install that includes the information provided here. The SF3 Translation Project holds no copywrites to SSF or Daemon Tools. This software is provided here solely to ensure SF3 fans get the appropriate versions and settings for the best SF3 experience possible.

SSF – emulator of choice for those who have the computer hardware to run it.

3. Virtual Clone Drive (or Daemon Tools if you prefer) – Virtual drive software used with both emulators
Virtual Clone Drive
Daemon Tools

II. SSF – Instructions for use with the Shining Force III Translation Patch

A. Information

For this section, the following computer specs were used as a basis:

– OS: Windows XP SP2 Home edition
– Processor: Intel Pentium 4 CPU 2.60GHz
– Graphic card: ATI Radeon 9200 series 128 MB
– RAM: 1024 MB

Thus this recommended configuration may not offer the best performances on computers running at different speeds. Therefore I’ll attempt to explain how the game’s speed is affected by emulation settings so that you can adjust the values in Program2 or other options under the different tabs based upon your computer speed.

B. Options Settings

Install SSF from its self-extracting .zip archive and launch SSF.exe.

In the SSF window, go to Option (O) > Option (O). Configure as follows:

Peripheral Tab
Saturn BIOS: Click on “browse” to select a BIOS (SF3 works with any of them).

Don’t forget to extract it first if needed.

STV BIOS: You don’t need to worry about this since SF3 isn’t a STV game.

CD drive: In the list, select the CD drive in which you will load your SF3 CD. If you’re using an ISO of SF3, see section “Set up Daemon Tools”.

Cartridge: Set this to “Backup RAM Cartridge” so that you can use both system and cartridge memory to save your games.

Area Code: Select the area code of your game. If you don’t know its area code, test them all until the game starts. The ISO created from the SF3 Patch has all regions enabled, so the region you select here is not important. However, you may want to set this to Japan in case you need to revert to the original disc to get past a crash.

Screen Tab
Disable “Scanline” if you don’t like its effect on the game screen and enable “Auto Field Skip”. Keep in mind that “Auto Field Skip” has a great influence on speed. (See “Program2” section below)

Enable “Use DirectDraw” or “Bilinear Filtering” if you want to make the graphics less pixelated. Those 2 features are optional and one or the other may affect the game’s speed depending on your graphics card.
For more information on the Screen tab, see SSF Tribute NEO

Sound Tab
Check “Linear Filtering”. Set the Buffer Size to either 1024 or 2048. “Linear Filtering” and the larger buffer are generally better, but 1024 or unchecking “Linear Filtering” may give better results on some computers. There may be a very small speed difference as well with these options.

Controller Tab
To the right of “Player1:A”, click the “Redefine” button and set up your controls accordingly. You can use a keyboard or even an USB control pad if yours is compatible with SSF.

Program1 Tab

Disable “CD Block No Wait” and “Use VDP1 Draw Thread”. Enable everything else.

Program2 Tab
Most of these values have various effects on the game’s speed.

CD Drive Read Sectors: 16
16 is the new default value. It only seems to affect compatibility so I don’t recommend modifying this field.

Dot Clock: 1.70 to 2.50
The Dot Clock affects the game’s speed and fluidity. The recommended values provide a normal and regular game speed. That’s because low values make the game slower but smoother while higher values make it faster but jerkier.

SH2 Instruction Numbers: 150
This only has an effect on smoothness, though some of the higher values increase the speed and sometimes will even cause the emulation to freeze at the loading screen. Use lower values only if you get too many CD errors.

Slave SH2 Speed (%): 100
This changes the game’s speed. Slightly lower values also give some spell animations more fluidity but since this slows everything down. A 100 value is highly suggested here.

SH2 Recompile Block Instructions: 50
This tends to affect game smoothness. Set it to 50 because it’s recommended in the EZ settings for fast emulation.

CD Sector Numbers Per Second: 150
Function unknown. Leave this on the default value.

Check “Always Running”.

Program3 Tab
Uncheck “CD Access Led” if you don’t want to see the red led at the bottom right.

Check “Pattern Name Renewal”, “Check Cycle Pattern” and “Memory Access Wait”.

EZ Setting Tab

These are preconfigured settings. Use them if the recommended settings are not working for you.

When you’re done configuring SSF, click “Ok” to apply the changes and then close the emulator.

Insert SF3 into your CD drive (if you’re using an disc image, read the next section).

Open SSF again and set the clock and language. The BIOS screen appears, followed by the SEGA logo and SF3’s loading screen.

Restart the emulator one more time.

Play SF3.

C. Using Daemon Tools

Download Daemon Tools and launch the installer. Follow each step carefully. (you may have to restart your computer).

When you’re done with the installation, the program’s icon should appear in the taskbar if you chose to run it after the install. Right click on this tray icon (the red lightning bolt in a silver circle) and go to

Virtual CD/DVD-ROM > Set number of devices… > 1 drive.

You’ve just created a virtual CD reader on your machine.

Now left click on the tray icon and your virtual drive should be in the list. Left click on it and a new window will appear asking you for an image file. Browse for the SF3.CUE, select it and click on open. Your image is now mounted and you can select your virtual CD reader in the SSF options.

D. Other Resources

Links to sources of useful information that I decided to put in this section after writing this guide.

The SSF Tribute NEO handily complements my explanations:

SSF in Wikipedia

SSF Tribute NEO

SFC SF3 Forum

E. FAQ’s

Question: I open SSF.exe for the first time but I get a message “SSE?????”, “SSE2??????” or whatever and the emulator closes. Why?

Answer: Your computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for SSF to run. Check the creator’s site or the “system requirements” section of SSF Tribute NEO to get an idea of what you need.

Question: After restarting SSF, I get a message “Not True Color” and the emulator closes. Why?

Answer: The “Use DirectDraw” feature is only for 32-bit resolutions. Change your color settings to 32-bit or if it’s really necessary, delete SSF.ini, reconfigure the emulator and don’t enable “Use DirectDraw” this time.

Question: I configured SSF but I had to use the task manager to stop it because the main window wouldn’t close. As a result, the emulator didn’t save my configuration. What happened?

Answer: By default, SSF checks your main CD/DVD drive at start up when you run it for the first time (the CD/DVD reader using the first letter closest to A). Make sure this drive doesn’t contain a disc the emulator can’t read or else it will freeze like that each time until you configure a BIOS in the options. To be safe, empty all your CD/DVD drives before running the emulator for the first time.

Question: I configured everything, restarted the emulator and set the clock and language in the BIOS. But after the SF3 loading screen, I get a “RAM message” instead of the intro. How do I get past this screen?

Answer: You have to format the RAM by going to the Saturn Control Panel. One way to access this menu is to unmount SF3 from your drive and start the emulator. Another would be simply to push A and Start simultaneously on your control pad right before the BIOS screen.

Once you get there, select Memory Manager and clear both System and Cartridge memory. Restart the emulator and the RAM message won’t be displayed.

Question: I replaced one of the BackupRAM.bin files with another one containing saved games but they’re not detected by the game and aren’t even displayed in the Memory Manager! How can I access them?

Answer: Make sure you entered the correct location for your BIOS file on your computer and that this BIOS file is not corrupted.

Question: I’ve read that SSF doesn’t need a BIOS to run games properly. Is it really necessary to use one?

Answer: True, technically SSF doesn’t need a BIOS at all to run games. In fact, not using one even increases the speed of your game if proper settings are used.

Question: Then why should I use a BIOS if it reduces global performance?

Answer: The downside of not using a BIOS is that it deprives you from important features that are inherent to the original machine. Furthermore you won’t be able to load saves coming from other Saturn emulators using a BIOS or even from a real Saturn’s memory as they won’t be compatible. Have a look at the Other Resources section for more specific information.

Question: Some of the graphics look corrupted. Why are there colored stripes everywhere?

Answer: This is caused by DSP Dynamic Recompile in Program 1. Graphics that were missing in older versions of SSF are now displayed on the screen thanks to it. Though they still don’t look like anything close to the original, this new processing routine makes the game way faster.

Question: Can I uncheck this DSP feature if I want perfect graphics?

Answer: Yes, you can as this will remove the corrupted graphics. But many other animations may also disappear. They will come back eventually depending on where you are in the game but they will also make the game more jerky just like in older versions of SSF.