Can someone do an EZ-Flash IV review?

Discussion in 'EZ-Flash' started by Yepi69, Jan 12, 2013.

Jan 12, 2013
  1. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    Dirtie's review doesn't have any photos or anything, I do need specific details about this flashcard because I'm am getting it soon, so... yeah, can you guys give me an specific review? Thank you
     
  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    When they were considering a new run the other year we did think about doing a new review/EZ4 overview but there is not an awful lot to be said.

    EZ4- plays DS and GBA games. DS only if you flashed your DS or have a nopass. Most people just want it for GBA games which is good as DS games released much past April 2009 will not work on the EZ4. It works on everything that has a GBA slot (GBA, GBM, GB player, DS.....) and if you have the GBA sized version you will probably want to track down a miniSD rather than use a microSD to miniSD adapter (adapters seem to have detection/quality issues and cause all manner of problems which are totally solved by getting a proper miniSD).
    Do not use any DS expansion pack handling tools with the EZ4 as it has a nasty habit of overwriting loader sections which is a pain to recover from (if you can do it at all).

    Realistically you can probably play every dumped GBA game, most will work having just been run through EZ4Client ( http://filetrip.net/nds-downloads/flashcart-files/download-ez4-client-2009-04-03-f31119.html ). Those that do not are the usual suspects with the handful of GBA ROM images to have anti piracy (Classic NES/later famicom mini which you should just get a NES emulator for and some of the Dragon Ball ? titles which should have fixes save perhaps for samurai deeper kyo), the games with extra hardware (aside from Pokemon Emerald and an obscure Japanese series called Legendz they should all have fixes). The main downside for RTC fixes is they have the clock run only when powered rather than all the time of the originals, this only really makes a difference for berry growing. More on those http://gbatemp.net/threads/rtc-game-information-for-k1-revo-review.338288/
    There are a few little quirks like some ROM hacks (stands at a pokemon one, a fire emblem one and a kingdom hearts one as far as things I have heard) change I think it was byte BEh in the header to something other than 00 which when written to the NOR causes it not to appear. Change this back to 00h and it works again.
    If a game does not save (most notably the super mario games) then rename the patched ROM image and corresponding save to use 8:3 naming (up to 8 characters for the name and up to 3 for the extension) and if that does not work then try patching with GBATA- http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm
    GBA homebrew is pretty much universal, some of the emulators are a bit tricky but Kuwanger made patched versions ( http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=12660 ) and the big two of pocketnes and goomba color should be sorted anyway thanks to Dwedit. The EZ4 does have a DLDI patch for DS homebrew as well (no argv I am afraid), there is not a lot that was not otherwise patched to work from DS slot devices or had something made with equivalent/superior functionality, however the GBA slot DS ROM dumping tools are the fastest around and save manipulation with one is a piece of cake vs the other methods which are a pain (you fiddle around with wifi on your PC and wait hours for ROM images or you get used to swapping out your 3 in 1 expansion pack and waiting hours). On DS homebrew it can be used as a RAM expansion ( http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/3_in_1_Expansion_Pack_for_EZ-Flash_V#Third-Party has a list of them), I do not believe the GBA side of things can be used as a RAM expansion but it was only ever a build of the PCE emulator to allow CD support for the EZ3 that did anything here so that does not matter.

    Some people do not like the skins the loader comes with, modding these is easy enough with tools and plenty of alternative skins available from http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewforum.php?f=4

    Other models of EZ4- there are 4 types of EZ4
    EZ4 original
    EZ4 lite
    EZ4 lite compact
    EZ4 lite deluxe

    The original is GBA sized where the lite is small enough to barely poke out over the DS lite slot and the others should be 1:1 copies of the DS lite dust cover. Nothing stopping you from using DS lite stuff in something other than a DS lite if you mod the case a bit (a few minutes with some sandpaper and a bit of ribbon or tape to pull it out.

    The original uses miniSD, the others all use microSD. Note none support SDHC so you are limited to memory cards up to 2 gigabytes in size, this is fine as most GBA ROM images are 8 or 16 megabytes. Note you can only have around 80 games in a directory but that is OK as making new directories is not hard.

    On internal memory
    GBA games can not be run from NAND flash (which is what most CF, SD and other memory cards use) and they need something quicker. Typically this means RAM or NOR memory of which the EZ4 has both types.
    GBA games go up to 32 megabytes aka 256MBits though most do not go above 16. I have listed the greater than 128 Mbit list a few times around here and I should also note several ROM hacks do make use of the extra space (some of the Non English Fire Emblem translations being the most notable).

    NOR is slow to write (for a full 32 megs you are looking at maybe 20 minutes depending) but once written it will stay there until you erase it. As an aside if you use it to store multiple games you can only erase in a first in last out pattern (write games 1,2,3 and 4 and if you want to lose game 2 you will also be removing 3 and 4 to get to it).
    RAM is fast to write but any data written to it will be lost on power down (your saves are stored elsewhere and backed by a battery and then written back to the miniSD every boot).

    The original EZ4 and EZ4 lite have 128MBit/16 megabytes of RAM (known as the PSRAM section) and 256MBit of NOR.
    The EZ4 lite compact pretty much has nothing- it was designed to allow people to have a cheap method of running DS games.
    The EZ4 lite deluxe has 256MBit/32 megabytes of PSRAM and 384Mbit/48 megabytes of NOR.

    The original EZ4 saw a new batch made a few years back so it is the most common to find these days, you might still find a EZ4 lite though be prepared to change the battery if you do (will require soldering), several shops still have a lite compact but as they are very limited for GBA games (I think games up to 64Mbit aka 4 megabytes are supported) we do not suggest them and the EZ4 lite deluxe is probably one of the most sought after GBA flash carts. A few places still have the lite deluxe but they are quite pricey when they do crop up.

    Pictures wise unless I am going to cover patching processes there is not a lot of great use- patching processes typically amount to "open ROM image", open patch (if any) and press the big patch this ROM button. EZ4Client is a bit rough around the edges but it can be made to work in WINE so it is not all bad, I have not got around to testing it in ReactOS yet.
     
  3. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    I am already gonna buy an EZ-Flash IV along with a 2GB MiniSD card and a MiniSD compatible card reader, so basically everyone rom requires patch? Even the Super Mario World games?

    As for the Pokemon games I already have their original cartridges so I don't really care much for RTC.
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    GBA ROMs use three broad save types (if they have saves at all- some have no saves and use passwords or something) and GBA flash carts have traditionally only used one type of save (SRAM- hence the SRAM patch option of GBATA) so games had to be adapted to use the SRAM type present on the flash carts. It is a trivial thing to pull off though but not one that can feasibly be done onboard so it needs a PC or some such to do it- that is where EZ4client, GBATA or one of the several tools capable of it come into play. This does for most games, EZ4client supports ROM images that at zipped or RAR compressed (no 7z unfortunately) and can do batch processing (the name list should be fairly complete but do make sure your ROMs are clean ROM images to be begin with else things risk being overwritten).
    There were a handful of ROM images (I linked a thread where they were being discussed) that did things like have tilt sensors, real time clock, solar sensors and whatever else that will need additional patching but that usually amounts to grab a IPS patch (pocketheaven seems to be down right now but do a search for bubbz for most and http://filetrip.net/gba-downloads/t...boktai-solar-sensor-patch-kit-200-f30114.html should sort boktai) and run it against the ROM somewhere along the line. Technically such patches are part of the EZ4 patching DLL but for some reason the EZTeam never implemented the ability to call them in the EZ4Client program (the EZ1,2 and 3 all have patching options in the program) but again it is easy enough to sort otherwise.
     
  5. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    Games that require a specific feature (such as Boktai or WarioWare) I just buy them myself to save me some headaches, I just wanted to know if I can use my VBA save files on EZ4, yes I do use the normal save feature instead of the save states.
     
  6. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Wow I forgot that one from my little info dump earlier

    Yeah it is quite easy- save properly in the game and click on file - export - battery file, make sure it is named the same as the EZ4 one and replace files as appropriate. Going the other way is just as easy (go in reverse but click import instead of export).
    The only real troubles come in VBA's save handling is considerably more basic than flash cart save handling so sometimes it uses the wrong size (this mainly troubles pokemon) but that is just a matter or slicing it up or padding it back to the proper size.
    Just to round it off as I came up last time it seems AKAIO adds a little header to the GBA save (for good reason- GBA and DS saves have no broad format to follow and if you rename it wrongly it can be a nightmare to figure out what it came from) which will need to be sliced off. I forget how many bytes it is but if you make a save to check it should be fairly obvious.

    Oh and the EZ4 does technically feature cheats but http://gbatemp.net/threads/gba-auto-trainer-maker-gbaatm.99334/ is the suggested method unless there is otherwise a trainer ( http://gba.dellicious.de/gbatrainer/ ).
     
  7. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    I converted a VBA Pokemon Emerald save file from 64k to 128k to work on a real emerald cartridge (and it did!).

    So basically say if I want to play Super Mario, i need to check its correct save size and save at that save size right?
     
  8. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Most of the time you do not have to worry about the saves being the wrong size- although VBA's save handling is sub optimal for pokemon most other things will transfer around just fine with just the export options.

    That said I just looked at the release lists and Super Mario Advance 4 appears to have a 1024Kbit save so it might need fiddling with in the same way. Beyond that when dealing with SMA4 saves I believe it had ereader support but not all the unlocks could fit in the given space or something- this was usually solved by using a specially modded save, I have no link to it at hand but I believe it was either Thug or shaunj66 that did a lot with it back when the GBA was active.
     
  9. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    I'm not caring about that anyways, BTW is EZ-Flash IV compatible with the NDS Backup tool?
     
  10. RodrigoDavy

    Member RodrigoDavy GBAtemp Maniac

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    One thing I would like to ask, since you seem like a expert on gba hacking. :lol:

    When I play gba in my friend's DS lite using EZ-flash V 3in1 it is usually not necessary to patch the game, all of them worked properly (I am no Pokemon fan :P btw)

    With EZ-IV is it really necessary to patch every game or just specific games? And why isn't it necessary to patch things in the DS but with the gba it is?

    Sorry for noob questions...
     
  11. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    Some 3in1 loaders have a basic on the fly SRAM patching support which will work on the majority of games that people use. Leaving the games that fail the basic on the fly SRAM patching to you to manually patch with specific patchers etc.

    Games with SRAM as the save type normally are passed through without patching or modification and run fine because almost all flashcarts support SRAM.

    In the very early days of NDS flashcarts and running roms etc, you still had to patch your NDS roms. This was called DLDI patching. Fast forward to today, slot1 flashcarts ALL support auto DLDI patching of your NDS roms.
    The GBA flashcarts had no on the fly auto patching of any type back in the day.



    As to why, it was due to Chishm's efforts at getting DSLinux running with DLDI on a phat NDS. It is that flashcart makers eventually adopted this method and applied it to commercial roms that you can run a game or homebrew and not have to manually patch it. I glossed over ALOT of inbetween information but this is the basic reason behind why.

    On the flip side nintendo reduced the number of save types allowed for a game on the DS to 2, down from the multitude that was available under GBA development. And with the 3DS, nintendo reduced it down to 1 save type allowed, EEPROM.
     
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  12. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    On NDS backup tool- by which I assume you mean Rudolph's tool then yeah it is and the original versions even came prepatched for the EZ4.

    how_do_i_do_that took why DS flash carts can get away with not needing to patch GBA roms save for those with the AP, RTC, tilt sensors (though such things would not be hard to add either)....... if you want to get technical how to save patch a GBA ROM runs something like
    Search the ROM for SRAM, EEPROM or FLASH (it will be encoded in ASCII), at this point will also be what sub type it uses (Flash V103 or something) which also determines size, from here apply patches which are the same for each version but the two patched sections are different distances apart (one version might be find the string, patch 20 bytes later and then another section 48 bytes later where another version might be 20 bytes and 62 bytes later). VBA stops once it finds EEPROM, FLASH or SRAM where flash carts go onwards which is why you might have to set it for Pokemon and other types of flash.

    There is no quick way to determine save types via an assembly trick like there is to find the entry point in for the game's code so you do have to search which is absolutely fine on a PC but the little cut down 16 MHz ARM7 of the GBA all running on 288 KBytes of RAM poses a far bigger challenge. If you saw the first time you played a game on the DS stuff (the DS is still largely a souped up GBA but it is somewhat faster and has more memory) take ages to initially patch and then far less next time that is because it saved the location of the save string and type (maybe even made a straight patch to apply), making a database of all GBA games was discussed at one point and similarly taking a leaf out of the more interesting DS flash cart playbook of emulating the types of memory in hardware using a FPGA (the original EZ5 and several of the newer carts with certain AP bypass abilities do this) was also pondered but GBA stuff stopped being developed in earnest long before those discussions.
     
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  13. pyromaniac123

    Member pyromaniac123 ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็(ಠ益ಠส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็

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    I see alot of members from here have viewed this video :D
     
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  14. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    But does patching roms with the EZ Loader affects how it saves? For example, instead of Pokemon Fire Red saving with flash 128k it saves with SRAM instead?
     
  15. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    I do not quite follow- as far as you are concerned it makes no difference to the way you save in the game or the ultimate content of the save file. It might be slightly quicker to work as flash cart SRAM is a bit faster in many cases but that does not trouble anything.

    I guess if you tried to launch a patched ROM in an emulator it would then be forced to use SRAM routines/emulation but that is neither here nor there really.
     
  16. Yepi69
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    Member Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    Thats all I needed to know, thank you very much for your piece of information.

    Looks like I won't back down on a EZ Flash IV then :grog:
     

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