Worklog Noah's GameBoy "Flash carts"

Discussion in 'Handhelds' started by Noah, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    I would definitely be interested in at least one of Kit #2. I could probably be talked into a second one for a friend who believes that GBC was the epitome of the gaming experience.

    Do you know what the lifespan of the ROM chips are in terms of how many times it can be written to?
     
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  2. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    According to the datasheet there is a guaranteed minimum of 1,000,000 program/erase cycles with the 1MB chip. It's the same manufacturer and series for the 2MB as well, so I'd assume the same holds true.
     
  3. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    I'd be down for kit 3
     
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  4. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    So I spent most of last Saturday night figuring out the header information inside of GameBoy ROMs. Basically, games such as Pokemon Stadium check the header for information regarding what game is actually present in the transfer pak. The end goal of this quest was to get ROM hacks working on both Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 as any OEM Pokemon game would.

    It was a success! I found out that by coping the header from a stock ROM you can play ROM hacks on both Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2. Interestingly enough, games are also region locked. I tried my physical copy of the Japanese games on an English copy of Pokemon Stadium, and they are not recognized. Same goes for the other way around. By changing one hex value in the header, you can make the game think that the cartridge inside is an NTSC ROM and it'll read and play just the same.

    For example, I dumped my Pocket Monsters Midori ROM from the cartridge. Pokemon Stadium still has the SGB frame for Pokemon Green, even though the game never saw an English release which I thought was kind of neat.

    So, aside from the ramblings above, essentially what I have is a way to get ROM hacks to play the same as OEM games on Pokemon Stadium. The easiest way to do it that I have found is to copy the header from whatever the base game was for the hack. For Pokemon Prism, you'd use the Pokemon Crystal header. Pokemon Red++ uses Red and etc. The coolest thing is that if the hack isn't fundamentally different (for exmaple, Red ++ added extra Pokemon so it wouldn't work with that hack) you can still transfer Pokemon and use things like Prof. Oak's lab and such in Pokemon Stadium 2.

    Even though most of the Pokemon Stadium features are locked specifically to the Pokemon games only, you can still use the header editing to play other games through the transfer pak. Basically, as long as you make the header any Pokemon game that is normally playable in the GB Tower, ANY GameBoy game will work.

    I'll be writing a PC program to do this automatically for any ROM. The plan is to allow users to pick any of the 6 headers from the english releases and any of the 7 Japanese releases and apply it to the ROM of your choice so that you can use these carts to play games on the GB Tower.
     
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  5. Acronell Aquafam .

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    You have essentially unlocked the entire Gameboy and Gameboy Color library to play on a stock N64!!!

    I can't wait to see the program!
     
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  6. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    Love what you're doing here @Noah. Do you happen to know if these flash carts will work in overclocked Gameboys? In my experience, any cart with nonstandard hardware (GB Camera, Robopon Sun, etc) doesn't like being overclocked.

    I guess if not, the Pokémon Stadium trick is still really cool.
    Now who is going to be the first person to incorporate a transfer pack into their 64p so they can play GB games on the go?
     
  7. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Thanks! Not sure but I have an overclocked GBC at home that I will test once I get back from school today to confirm.

    I think the best way to do it would be to just build the transfer pak into a controller replacement and just use FFC for the cart slot :P
     
  8. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    @fibbef if you've got an overclocked DMG (I don't think it'll be much different) send me a PM and I can send you a test cart.
     
  9. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    I've OC'ed one of my SPs and a GBA but not a DMG. I'm not too concerned because I've got all 1st and 2nd Gen pokemon games (plus midori + akai) and I can always play those overclocked.

    Besides, I'll be buying one of these carts once they hit the store anyway! :D
     
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  10. Luke .

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    FINALLY
     
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  11. Madmorda Painting Queen Staff Member . . .

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    So you can basically just overwrite it with a new game when you finish one? Nice!

    I'm definitely interested in at least a kit #1. Will the boards come assembled or should I keep an eye out for donor carts? I'd love to see these on the store sometime soon :)

    Great work Noah!
     
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  12. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Everything will come assembled. I have prepared some labels that will come with each cart (styled after different Nintendo games) that you'll be able to choose upon ordering.

    The out-of-box experience will essentially only require you to plug the programmer in and flash a ROM!
     
  13. HackerBilly .

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    Will these work with stuff like the Mega Memory? If so I would definitely be interested in a Kit 2.
     
  14. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    I don't own one so I can't say for certain but the saves interface the same way as an OEM cart so it should. GameSharks work on this so I'm assuming that the Mega Memory would as well. If you've got a Mega Memory send me a PM.
     
  15. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    Once a ROM is loaded onto the cart, does it boot just like an OEM cart? Asking because my GBA flash cart boots into the game select menu (loads off of SD card, so vastly different setup) and therefore it won't play nice with Action Replay, Gamecube connectivity, etc. But if yours act like a stock cartridge (which it sounds like they do since they play nice with Stadium) then I see no reason why MegaMem wouldn't work. But I'll still be sure to try it out when these become available.
     
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  16. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Yep! It's essentially a 1:1 of an original cart with a new ROM, SRAM and battery installed. The gameboy and all accessories I've tested can't tell the difference.
     
  17. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    [​IMG]
    2MB confirmed
     
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  18. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    The carts are now up for pre-order with a very special offer!

    Each pre-order will come with a programmer, FREE!

    100% free, unless you choose to have the cart and programmer shipped separately in which case the programmer will cost as much as a small flat rate box.

    There is a small amount of each cart available so if you want one make sure to grab it now before this ends.

    I'll be leaving the kit model behind as I know there are people who do their own DIY flashcarts and will want to buy the programmer separately, so the programmer will be in the store soon for $20 which is still like $10 cheaper than other sellers of the programmers.

    The programmer will use mini USB and will not come with a cable so make sure to pick one up beforehand! By the time these hit the store I might also have optional 3D printed enclosures for them as well so that you don't just have the bare board. I'll be sure to post here if I do though!

    https://bitbuilt.net/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=62
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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  19. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    If I preorder 2 carts will I get 2 free programmers?
     
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  20. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    I was thinking just an order that includes a pre-order would get one programmer but if you want/need two then sure! hehe
     

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