FreeDO 3DO Emulator Project / News: Recent posts

News about the project relocations

First of all we like to say thanks to all people, who keep tracking our project. As you can read at previous posts we will not be anymore open source project, therefore we've take decision to change our host. It will not be anymore at . Our new web currently under construction, and as soon it will be finished we will let you know. It can be found at .

Posted by Felix Lazarev 2002-07-03

The FreeDO FAQ

The FreeDO FAQ

maintained by awright69 with input from FreeDO developers

First, the obligatory copyright notices:
3DO, and their respective logos, Interactive Multiplayer, Portfolio, Toolkit, and others we may not be aware of, are trademarks or registered trademarks of The 3DO Company in the U.S. and other countries.
FreeDO is copyright 2002 by participants of the FreeDO project.

Document History
2002/4/17 - first release. <aw>
2002/4/18 - minor additions, typo corrections. <aw>... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-04-17

IMPORTANT FreeDO Structure Change! Please Read!

There have been some big developments with FreeDO in the past week.

The project has forked.

What this means is, there is now a "closed" side (legally speaking, the reverse engineering portions will be performed in here) and a "SourceForge-legal" or "open" side to the project. The "closed" side gains knowledge of the 3DO hardware, creates emulations of this hardware directly for testing purposes ONLY, and will create an intermediate specification, which the "open" side can then use to write its non-infringing, public, emulation code from. The two sides are independent, and no coder can "switch" sides from closed to open. Once the choice is made by a coder to be "closed", that is the coder's final decision. The only legal way to protect either side of the effort to the maximum extent allowed by law is to do it this way. The DMCA law in the US, as well as other, similar laws abroad, made this our only possible course of action. We cite, as precedent, the Sony/Connectix lawsuit, Sony's loss of injunction and appeal, the denial of Sony's case to be heard by the US Supreme court and Sony's ultimate purchase of Connectix VGS assets. Our reversing and clean/open techniques are now virtually the same as Connectix's. The only difference between Connectix and us? Connectix was SELLING a commercial product, and we are NOT, nor do we ever intend, to sell this emulator. This project is a labor of love, and no amount of potential legal action by large corporations will change that fact. We are simply attempting to preserve this console's history in as loving and direct a manner as possible. It is a shame that the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer product did not "make it" in the marketplace; surely, many of us feel that instead of taking it to the corporate grave with them, it would be nicer to release once-confidential information about this obviously no-longer-commercially-viable product to caretakers such as ourselves, but it's not likely to happen. ... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-04-17

3DO Stream player available!

A Linux player (MPlayer) that will play back 3DO stream files is now available! A CVS snapshot for MPlayer can be found at:
Thanks to Mike Melanson for the news! For more information on Mike and his contributions to mplayer and its codecs, see

Posted by allen wright 2002-04-01

Release of SDK Propels Development Efforts!

We are all trying to absorb the rush of information contained in the sdk we've recently gotten our hands on. There's a lot to pick up, and a lot to do, but this is definitely a big shove forward. From the SDK docs, we can develop the blind, intermediate specification that we can use to write the target code. Docs and distilled, brief intros are now beginning to be posted regarding the operation and format of the various systems and the data they accept/return. This is an exciting turn in the project, especially considering our glacially slow startup over the past couple of months. As usual, more to come; check the docs section as we begin to post brief technotes there... Stay tuned!

Posted by allen wright 2002-04-01

Slow, slow, slow... progress nonetheless

Not that I'm making excuses or anything, but I've been putting in 60-70 hours at work for the past 4 weeks or so. Needless to say, there has not been much time for coding. I have, however, been learning ARM assembler and I have the major structs decoded. Anybody had any experience with the SMTPE-style sync info in the 3DO .AIFC files? I am ignoring the structs at this time but I am sure they are used to synchronize action with gfx somehow. Must have another look at those ROMs! ;-)

Posted by allen wright 2002-03-01

Email from Pete Dabbs


I understand your commitment to the CD-ice project, and appreciate the time you have taken to reply.

I wrote to Andy Looney, programmer of the 3DO game Icebreaker, today. He claims on his website ( to be the world's last active 3DO programmer and also claims to have a full 3DO development station.

As far as what you can do, simply register at for a user account (you choose an id and password). Email me with the account id and I will add you to the project in whatever capacity you desire (even if it's just snooping around).... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-10

Email from Leo Schwab - UPDATED 2/12/2002!

You've made some good points on your insights into Trip's mind, Leo. I do acknowledge that emulation of any platform is, on the whole, a legal "shaky ground" as well as a moral/ethical one. Not that it matters, in the end, to Trip and Company, but I am not out to "get" any monetary reward or "name fame". I would not wish Trip, or anyone in this business, any harm or monetary loss due to the development of, or use of, any emulator product. OTOH, I and many others feel "left out in the cold" by the actions and failure of a company and a system that showed much promise when introduced, that cost myself and around 500,000 others $700 and up to "invest" in, that will not last forever, hardware-wise, and do not wish to see it fall into total obscurity (as has nearly been done already with much of the documentation going to waste).... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-10

Links to 3DO tech tidbits - UPDATED 2/12/2002

Here are some 3DO links I have so far... (Alexander Trush's site, he's posted the most technical stuff thus far. He also wrote the extractor/decryptor for the CD filesystem (thanks so much! you made our lives a LOT easier!)) (Rich wrote the cd-extraction guide to go along with Alexander's program) (recently restarted) (for the active console gamer)
Some more unclassified links:

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-09

Emailing former 3DO project members

I have already contacted the following folks who had something to do with the 3DO console. It's probably a Bad Idea to attempt to contact these people with regard to this project simply because they may resent getting swamped with redundant requests. If I hear from them, I will share what they said with the group, removing their email addresses to ensure their privacy is maintained (unless they give strict orders not to) If I do not hear from them, that's their right, their choice. If any of these individuals wants to help with the project, they are welcome. Here they are, in no particular order: Leo Schwab, RJ Mical, Phil Burk, Joe Buczek. Please respect these individuals by not burying them with email requests.

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-09

Email from Joe Buczek

From: Allen Wright []
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 3:11 PM
To: 'Joe Buczek'
Subject: RE: Request for information on a dear old system

Hey Joe,

I appreciate your prompt response and thank you for taking the time to reply.

Unlike the others you may have heard from, I have nothing but respect for the work you did on this platform, as do many system owners that still care for the aging platform. It is this (admittedly illogical) nostalgia that drives me and others to make the platform live on through emulation. Emulation has been done for all other gaming platforms except the 3DO, many of which had nowhere near its market penetration.... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-09

Email from Phil Burk

From: Allen Wright []
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 2:36 PM
To: 'Phil Burk'
Subject: RE: 3DO Emulation: definitely API at this point...

Hi Phil, thanks for your rapid response.

I do agree that emulation at the hardware level, certainly with respect to emulating the CLIO and MADAM ASICs, would be difficult at best and impractical in the short term. I also came to the conclusion, as you did in your third paragraph, that if we had access to the high level API functions, Folio structs and BIOS calls that we could do a reasonable, although nowhere near complete, emulation. This has already proven its practicality in such efforts as PSXe for the Sony Playstation and UltraHLE for the Nintendo 64 platforms, where said HLE (high level emulation), at the API level was used to shunt most fetch-decode-execute emulation instructions away from hardware and into native host calls. So the answer seems to be HLE for API, at least to get the majority of software up and running. The audio system, as I understand it, you wrote to be flexible enough to allow designers to download bits of microcode through MADAM to the audio DSP (EMU 8000?) and provide for those custom audio effects.... read more

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-09

Welcome to the FreeDO Project!

Put your asbestos gloves on and prepare to handle the fire! I welcome all serious developers to the FreeDO project. We will (hopefully) be creating a working emulator for the 3DO game platform. Send submissions and requests for membersship to me. I am extremely busy with work and family, so I promise to delegate as much of the administration of this project to those qualified and willing to help. Jump in early and stake your claim! Any resulting code will be GPLed, since this is the least restrictive legally and also the least likely to get us into trouble with the remnants of 3DO/Matsushita, who as best I can determine have buried the fact that they ever created the machine.

Posted by allen wright 2002-01-07

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