A GBA flashcart that fulfills my needs (EZ4 doesn't)

Discussion in 'GBA - Hardware, Devices and Utilities' started by elMagnate, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. elMagnate
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    Newcomer elMagnate Advanced Member

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    I bought a EZ-Flash IV some days ago. I'm in time to taking it back to the shop where i bought it, but just if I find something better. If not, i may just keep it.

    I've found for sale the M3 Real Perfect Bundle, that has a Slot 2 cart with an extra GBA sized case.

    I've a lot of things that can emulate perfectly (turbo 150% PSP, turbo 800% Android, fuck grinding eternities in RPGs) the GBA and are fair more confortable to use than the flashcart and DS/GBA SP (PSP, Android phone, Dingoo...).

    That said, any of those cant' be used with the Game Cube games or be linked with another GBA game through the Game Link Cable. The EZ-Flash IV lacks this functions in a lot of games, not every game thankfully, but most of them. Also it's shitty save sistem, memory arrangement (long load times), lack of RTC(something I wouldn't mind having, but i don't find it decissive for choosing a cart)... It's just not what i'd say perfect.

    I've read that the one that is most compatible with the GC link and Game Link Cable is the M3 Perfect, due to the way the memory is arranged. This one is difficult to find. I did not find much information about the Slot 2 GBA expansion of the M3 Real Perfect Bundle.

    I'd like to know more about the Slot 2 GBA cart of this bunde, and if it will fulfill my needs.

    If not, I might wait till a M3 Perfect appears in any of its versions. Also, I'd like to know if things like the EZ-Flash 3 in 1 (i don't mind modding it if i could not find the GBA sized one), the EZ Flash III or any other flashcarts are also suitable for the things I intend to do with them.

    Thank you in advance ;)

    PS: I've recently noticed the existence of non-emulating Game Boy Advance knock-offs, some of them work with "multiplayer" as they say. Should this work with every or most of the games and connexions to Game Cube?
     
  2. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    The M3 GEP from the M3 Real bundle is totally dependent on the slot1. That is because the M3 GEP is a ram module, the moment you cut power on a DS or DSL the game will be erased on the M3 GEP. You will not be able to use it on a GBA. You will need a flashcart or a 3in1 which has NOR so you can run a game on a GBA after writing a game to it with a DS/DSL.

    The GBA sized version of the 3in1 is no longer sold, even though you can still get the ones that fit flush in a DSL. What you can do is put the 3in1 guts into a GBA shell from a real cart or from another GBA flashcart shell. If your putting the 3in1 into a GBA shell from a real cart, you will have to remove a lot of the plastic to make it fit inside. Then use a glue gun to hold it in place so it doesn't shift when you use the cart.

    Your other option is to get a real GBA flashcart that uses NOR, like the elink.
     
  3. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    how_do_i_do_that took most of what I would have said and more.

    GC linkup... yeah it expects things to be as they would be on a GBA cart to an extent. This does go further though as it will probably also want any saves to use the same format which, having been patched to SRAM, they will not be. In the case of the DS it was worked around on the DS side of things by making the DS game use SRAM read protocols instead of the flash ones it was expecting. Theoretically the same could be done for GC linkup though it probably will not be me doing it (not least of all because I can only think of the pokemon games being the ones to trouble this).

    Straight linking- I have certainly seen the issues and tried to generate a few patches here and there or help people work around the issues but most things can be made to work.

    The save system.... though I guess I would prefer a high end emulation (FGPA acting as SRAM, EEPROM or Flash) and silent copy to NAND/SD the "patch to use SRAM and write on boot to NAND/SD" is as good as any GBA cart got.

    Memory arrangement (assuming you do not mean the only 16 megs of PSRAM where others often opted for 32, in that case lite deluxes are still available in some places).... technical requirements kind of demand it- GBA ROM images need fast memory to run and NAND is not fast enough.

    On straight NOR cards you might still be able to find a fire card and I have seen an old neoflash or two doing the rounds (the early ones were basically rebadged XG flash which were a bit closer to hardware). Of course if you do have a DS at your disposal you might get on with say a 3 in 1 or another expansion pack.

    As for the K101 and co I am afraid I do not know enough to call it either way.

    I did just find http://www.ic2005.com/shop/home.php?cat=4 though which might interest you.
     
  4. Ammako

    Member Ammako GBAtemp Guru

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    EZ-Flash III, if you can find it, supports all three save types (Flash, EEPROM and SRAM), so I think it should be able to do GC linking (take in mind I cannot test this for myself.)
    Otherwise, if you can get an EFA-Linker (the original one, I think), it supports all three save types too.
     
  5. elMagnate
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    Newcomer elMagnate Advanced Member

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    1st of all, I want to make clear that my main goal is compatibility with GC and GBA Link, not ease of use.

    Thank you for your help, guys.

    PS: I never loaded the cart in DS mode. Am i losing something? I do not know how to do it. I've got a NDS cart but it's a bit shitty the one of the bottom rightcorner http://r4i-gold.com/uploads/20110106/2.jpg from http://r4i-gold.com
     
  6. elMagnate
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    Newcomer elMagnate Advanced Member

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    This one has the actual chips of memory for each savetype? That would be gorgeous.
     
  7. Ammako

    Member Ammako GBAtemp Guru

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    Unsure if it has different chips for everything, but I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be able to support every save type, without having to patch all your games for SRAM.
     
  8. jalaneme

    Member jalaneme Female Gamer

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    i hope you are rich, EZ-flash 3 can go for a lot of money, good luck.
     
  9. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    NOR is a flash memory, aka like your usb sticks, just an older type of it.

    Your use of the term "modding" or patching is related to save types supported by a GBA flashcart. If a GBA flashcart supports EEPROM, any game that uses that save type will not need to be patched and can be run "as is" on that GBA flashcart.

    Most patching you will do is to change the save type used by the rom. Depending on what you get for a flashcart for the GBA will in some cases determine what tools you will need to use to make it work on that flashcart. Secondary patching are for features like RTC (Real Time Clock) or solar sensor or built-in gyroscope, etc. Third type of patching, IPS, are normally for those types of games that are unreleased Japanese games that require translation for people not Japanese or game level mods to make the game harder or entirely different.

    Example of a patch game is Boktai 1 & 2(solar sensor patch) and Pokemon Sapphire (RTC patch)
    Example of a IPS patch game is Mother 3.

    When you use any kind of GC link or GBA to GBA link, you will always deal with NOR. Some games require you to turn on the GBA after you started your GC game. PSRAM, like the RAM found in the M3 GEP is temporary; once power is turned off anything in PSRAM gets erased.

    Anything found on ic2005.com will require getting drivers. The drivers are for XP SP2 and below, if you got a system like Windows 7 x64 or Windows 8 will require the use of a VM or the VirtualPC XP mode tool.
     
  10. elMagnate
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    Newcomer elMagnate Advanced Member

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    Got a XP workin machine, but has SP3, don't know if it will work, but anyway, as I said, I value compatibility over ease of use.

    I know PSRAM gets erased (PSRAM is not the same as SRAM, that there is where the saves go before the restart, am i right?), and as I said before, EZ Flash IV has 32 MB of NOR, so to my understanding, that won't be the problem) The problem is that in order to some games to be saved they need to be patched through EZ4 client or GBAtA, and if you patch them, it's possible that they'll no longer have linking capabilities. There are also other patches made by FAST and others that allow to save the games and link them with another GBA or the GC.

    That's what I do understand. So in order to have full linking capabilities, the flashcarts have to run the games unpatched, or run them with special patches that make them "saveable" and linkabe.

    Did I get it right or terribly wrong? I'm a complete newcomer to the GBA flashcart community and I'm not experienced in these things (which are thousands of different models, but yet only a few available). So in conclusion, as the problem is the saving system, do any of the flashcarts previously mentioned not need any patching for running 99% of the games?
     
  11. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    You have it understood correctly. If the GBA game you want to use for GC linking requires patching, you might be more or less out of luck on the matter.

    The only 2 games that I know that use the GC link are the zelda wind waker and the pokemon game. I don't have the pokemon one, so I can't really tell you anything about it. The zelda one doesn't even require a game in the GBA for use.
     
  12. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Compatibility with link and GC... basically there is nothing I can suggest even given a time machine and money is no object. I can give you a handful of workarounds for the link stuff* (those patches were not so much actual fixes as I noticed it worked and the general consensus was make it a light patch** and it will usually work- no soft reset and such like) but still not much for the GC as there was basically nothing made for it (in general and especially things that wanted a game, much less the save in one) and the incentive is not really there to go back now- I have a rough idea of what needs doing but it is not necessarily a skillset that crosses lines (CISC powerpc ASM and ARM asm combined all with nice protocol level stuff on the GBA and GC...... I would be fairly hard pushed to find you someone to do things at the kind of levels required on the GC let alone in both at the same time).

    *my main one is probably just use vbalink or something that has its functionality (VBA-m should if nothing else).

    **see timings. I am not sure why it plays out like this (the GBA link protocol should not be all that troubled by latency or lack thereof) but it is.

    Saves- SRAM is cheap and well understood. There are Flash, SRAM, EEPROM and password/no password saves out in the wild with a few variations on each theme. Technically they are a kind of universal patch (find the save type by searching the game for it, it will have the subtype soon after and then you can patch a few things which are the same every time to change the routines from whatever you have to SRAM).

    The NOR stuff (writing things there and hoping it works)..... probably not actually. By and large the first memory/initial memory seen is the loader section until you change it (hence us telling you not to use Rudolph's expansion pack tools on the EZ4), I have done things in the past like overwrite the loader with my own stuff and they themselves do it for GBA-link on the DS (certain DS games unlocked extra things if you have certain GBA games in the DS slot- this was the pokemon stuff I mentioned earlier as they actually wanted saves where most games just wanted the header).
     
  13. elMagnate
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    Newcomer elMagnate Advanced Member

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    Well, thank you guys for your help. As I see that I'm the one most interested in this functions around here, I'll report if the K101 or the EZ4 work as they should when I start testing this.
     
  14. finkmac

    Member finkmac GBAtemp Fan

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    *Sigh*...
    And no way to get a proper NDS-size shell. :sad:
     
  15. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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  16. Cactuar

    Member Cactuar GBAtemp Regular

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    The original Animal Crossing utilized the GC/GBA link. You could use it to access a secret island on your GBA and character would find items there and bring it back to the GC. The items would re-pop every day.
     

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