Worklog Noah's GameBoy "Flash carts"

Noah

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Hey all,

Recently I was organizing my Nintendo Collection and realized that my 1st gen Pokemon games looked a little sad compared to their Japanese counterparts because the Japanese had 4 games in their 1st generation while us American folk only had 3. It got me thinking that I could just design a Pokemon Green that would be a full English translated version while still retaining the original Japanese assets such as sprites and music. I used an American Pokemon Blue ROM as a base and got to work. The sprites and such were simple to port over. Next I went a little bit deeper and even did things like remapping the Unknown Cave to match the original Green version's layout.

Of course there are things that I could not retain from the original Japanese releases such as glitches in the game. For those of us who have played through the original releases it was quite the wild ride when looking at things from a glitching perspective. However, all glitches that can be performed in Red/Blue (US) can be performed in this new Green version.

However, that's just the software side of things. Obviously making a GB flash cart is no easy task. The hardware hacking community for that scene is quite active though, so I stumbled across this nifty open-source board design:

3d7a74f711d5dfbaddba152224792926.png

It allows for the replacement of a standard ROM chip with an AMD AM29F032 or another chip with the same footprint. Then you just need a donor cart that has the rest of the chips you need and you've got yourself a programmable flash cartridge!

Of course then comes the question of how to program such a cartridge. Thankfully, I bought one of these nifty little guys before they were sold out.

2015-06-20T15-00-41.300Z-GBCF-rB-home-2.jpg.855x570_q85_pad_rcrop.jpg

Basically all I'm waiting on is the boards that I ordered from OSH Park to arrive (yeah I know, not the greatest but I don't want 100 of these lol.) They should be here within a week or two so once they arrive I will have more progress. I'll also be posting my Green ROM once that's complete should anyone want to do this themselves.

I think I'll be using the remaining two boards for Pokemon Brown and Pokemon Prism. I haven't ever played the hacks myself but from what I've heard they're very good.
 

ShockSlayer

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Very nice.
 

Luke

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Awesome. I love projects like this. Makes me want to get into board designing and such.
 

Noah

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Boards were sent to the fab. Estimated time of completion is Monday, so we'll see when they actually arrive. (pls be earlier)
 

Noah

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Those cartridges are actually really cheap and flimsy. I'd rather paint a cartridge than use one of those.
 

Nick

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Oh, sorry just trying to help. Have you bought them before?
 

Noah

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Oh, sorry just trying to help. Have you bought them before?
Don't be sorry for just giving suggestions! :P

Yeah, I had the Green one. It was really "meh" and depends on the seller. Some sell the "Chinglish" translated version which is just godawful.
 

Noah

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I have 10 boards on the way to me now. I've also purchased 40 1mb flash chips that should be here soon as well :)

More to come soon once the parts arrive!
 

Matthew

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I can't wait to see this finished.

What sort of software/tools do you use to port all the sprites and everything over? Do you have any tutorials/videos for doing stuff like this?
 

Noah

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I can't wait to see this finished.
The green version ROM itself has been done for a while. Now I'm just creating more carts for MGC and anyone who wishes to buy one (pre-programmed or blank.)

What sort of software/tools do you use to port all the sprites and everything over? Do you have any tutorials/videos for doing stuff like this?
There are various tools for both GBA and GB Pokemon ROM hacking. There are actually big communities built around doing mods like this to the games and such so there are plenty of tutorials out there. Here is a small list of what's out there for exmaple.
 

Noah

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I am currently beginning work on a programmer to go alongside these cartridges. Both should be making their way into the BitBuilt store in January :D
 

Acronell

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The green version ROM itself has been done for a while. Now I'm just creating more carts for MGC and anyone who wishes to buy one (pre-programmed or blank.)


There are various tools for both GBA and GB Pokemon ROM hacking. There are actually big communities built around doing mods like this to the games and such so there are plenty of tutorials out there. Here is a small list of what's out there for exmaple.
I've been a member of Pokecommunity for years now, but all my games usually come to a halt from life, and I forget to make notes on what I've accomplished and when I pick it up I usually start mostly from scratch. I usually use AXVE Ruby for the base ROM.

If you want any tools or anything hit me up, I also made a tutorial for editing the Copyright intro for AXVE Ruby.

 

Noah

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Finally got the parts in and had the time to sit down and assemble a couple of the boards. Everything programmed well and I had the time to test a couple of new things as well:
^5524EFCE313C30CD84D89BC917851B1A84AFB0B7867649DF7D^pimgpsh_thumbnail_win_distr.jpg
ROM hacks work just fine on the cartridges. Obviously the bigger ROMs such as Prism will require a larger chip (2MB) as opposed to most games which are only 1MB. This means that I will be doing two versions of the cartridge since only a few games require the 2MB chips and they cost more to soruce than the 1MB chips which I have 45 of.

So the question is would there be support for me to do a run of around 50 of these boards? I would also do a run of the programmers with them and sell them in two different kits. The configurations would be as follows:

Kit 1:
  • x1 1MB Cartridge, 256K SRAM (can handle any 1MB GB or GBC game)
  • x1 Programmer (programs via mini USB cable)
$30

Kit 2:
  • x1 2MB Cartridge, 256K SRAM (can handle all non-homebrew ROMs 2MB or smaller including ROM hacks)
  • x1 Programmer (programs via mini USB cable)
$35

Kit 3:
  • x1 2MB Cartridge, 256K SRAM (can handle all non-homebrew ROMs 2MB or smaller including ROM hacks)
  • x1 1MB Cartridge, 256K SRAM (can handle any 1MB GB or GBC game)
  • x1 Programmer (programs via mini USB cable)
$50

I'll also be selling individual carts for anyone who has a programmer and wants extra carts or someone who has carts and wants to be able to re-program them and vice versa. Shipping would be a small flat rate package to anywhere in the US, international would probably be more.

I can also style the carts however you'd like so it'll be unique to each person. I have these labels I have created for the carts if you'd rather keep it generic rather than having the cartridge represent one game only:



Let me know if you'd be interested in a cart/programmer!
 
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