F2A 256M: GBA ROMs in wrong menu slots

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by a50135133, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. a50135133
    OP

    a50135133 Newbie

    Newcomer
    5
    0
    Apr 10, 2017
    Swaziland
    Help appreciated,

    I am using the F2A USB software and drivers from here:

    http://www.gameboy-advance.net/fal_soft/flash_2_advance_writer.htm

    When I write multiple ROMs to my F2A 256M, they appear in out-of-place menu slots when I boot up.

    e.g. 4 x ROMs will be in slots 1, 4, 7 and 8, not 1-4 as expected. The other slots have either blank entries, or are non-functional duplicates of existing entries.

    This is a problem, as all ROMs in menu positions >4 will overwrite slot 4's SRAM save.

    Is this a file system issue, such as ROM file naming?
     
  2. r0ni

    r0ni Member

    Newcomer
    42
    0
    Nov 5, 2002
    United States
    Michigan, USA
    It sounds to me like one of your roms is bad or damaged or your headers are messed up. Not sure if it's included or findable these days but make sure your gba is using the "gba sys 3.2" file (the blue boot screen shows the version) the 3.3 version that came out with the USB writer software is garbage. I believe that is flashed with the "gba pre-boot" button prior to flashing games.

    Also, make sure to do a full cart erase before writing new roms. And it could be damaged, those things only flash so many times before they don't work any longer.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. a50135133
    OP

    a50135133 Newbie

    Newcomer
    5
    0
    Apr 10, 2017
    Swaziland
    Thanks for the advice r0ni.

    The menu gbaldr32.bin that is being installed says that it is v3.2. Do you know if the broken v3.3 release identified itself as such, or did it also report v3.2?

    I'd like to eliminate the boot menu software as the issue.

    I've tried multiple dumps of Mario Kart, and they all result in a dupe and blank slot entry after the main rom.
     
  4. a50135133
    OP

    a50135133 Newbie

    Newcomer
    5
    0
    Apr 10, 2017
    Swaziland
    I found a copy of the v3.3 GBA Menu rom (gbaldr3.3.gba), and verified that it identifies itself as such, so I am certainly using the v3.2 GBA Menu loader (this is baked into the Flash2Advance USB Writer v1.1).

    N.B. The same issue of misaligned roms was observed in v3.3 as in v3.2.

    This is what the GBA Menu entries look like after writing over USB:

    1-MARIO KART
    2-MARIO KART
    3-
    4-SUPER MARIOB
    5-POKEMON LEAF
    6-DRMARIO&PONP
    7-
    8-DR MARIO​

    N.B. It looks as though Super Mario Advance 2 and Pokemon Leaf Green are behaving as expected. Are there any differences between the roms that I can look for? I could not spot anything obvious in GBA Tool Advance 0.7a.
     
  5. r0ni

    r0ni Member

    Newcomer
    42
    0
    Nov 5, 2002
    United States
    Michigan, USA
    Are these roms trimmed?

    Also how are you flashing the cart? One rom at a time or you doing them all in one batch?

    If I have a chance this evening I'll try flashing mine with the same games and see what happens. (I tried this, and had no luck on win10, didn't have my XP VM available to try on).

    My other suggestion is to use pogoshell to manage the roms and save data for the games. They shouldn't appear mangled in the pogoshell interface.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited by r0ni, Apr 12, 2017
  6. a50135133
    OP

    a50135133 Newbie

    Newcomer
    5
    0
    Apr 10, 2017
    Swaziland
    Thanks r0ni.
    • I have tried roms that are:
      • Untrimmed & unpatched
      • SRAM patched
      • Trimmed & SRAM patched
      • all of the above combinations with, and then without, the "Fix Data" and "Cut 32K" options in the loader application
    • The cart is being flashed in one batch
    I'll track down a build of pogoshell that will work on the 256M F2A and try it.

    My main concern is that the roms are aligned correctly with the 4 banks of SRAM for saving.
     
  7. a50135133
    OP

    a50135133 Newbie

    Newcomer
    5
    0
    Apr 10, 2017
    Swaziland
    N.B. I used pogoshell 2.0b5 to create a single rom and allow pogoshell to manage the saves:

    http://kuwanger.altervista.org/gba/pogoshell/

    The games appear to be operating as expected, although it is interesting that the rom listings under the "rom" folder are as expected, but the listings under the "cartrom" folder show the duplicate entries as described above (but not the blank entries). There are also entries for "Cologne .gba" and "Goombagoomba.gba", which I believe are baked in emulators.
     
  8. r0ni

    r0ni Member

    Newcomer
    42
    0
    Nov 5, 2002
    United States
    Michigan, USA
    [​IMG]

    Well I'd at least like to verify at this moment that it's not just you. I have a feeling Mario kart is the culprit but I'm not sure why.

    EDIT: yes those other gba files are included emulators, they are in a hidden folder, you can manually remove them or even add pocketnes or roms and pogoshell will auto-load the correct emulator for them. It is nice software for that f2a device that I wish was still maintained.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited by r0ni, Apr 13, 2017
  9. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    245
    116
    Jul 26, 2006
    There isn't really a lot to add to Pogoshell at this point. The major limitations of a 256MBit NOR and 256KB of SRAM really limits what can be usefully done. That and 99% of the good stuff that is Pogoshell was done before I even touched it, so.. If you can think of something interesting to add, I'll listen. No promises on any changes, though.
     
  10. r0ni

    r0ni Member

    Newcomer
    42
    0
    Nov 5, 2002
    United States
    Michigan, USA
    Is there a import/export save file manager by chance? Some kind of software to access the pogo save file and remove individual files or add them? Would be a nice addition...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. tatumanu

    tatumanu GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    468
    131
    Nov 1, 2004
    Portugal
    Was Mario Kart Super Circuit already in the cart when you flashed the batch?
    I remember having this back in the day...
     
    Last edited by tatumanu, Aug 6, 2017 - Reason: DidnĀ“t read right
  12. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    245
    116
    Jul 26, 2006
    Yea, there was one although it's been such a long time I've forgotten the name of it (Pogo Filer or something, maybe?). Although I forgot too if it was for the older Pogoshell 1.x save system which had multiple 64KB banks instead of the continuous system introduced in 2.x. In any case, that's really not a Pogoshell feature per se. It's more of an external PC feature. Although I guess one could have a save swap feature with a link cable or something.

    If you're really interested, I might look into it more. One minor issue is that like PocketNES, Goomba, etc there's a SAVE header attached used (in theory) to figure out which save to use in the event there's no matching name. Long ago I (or perhaps it was Pogoshell's original author?) ended up commenting out the check (and a few of my forks of PocketNES/Goomba/etc (forget which) did something similar for similar reasons). Still, fussing with those headers is a pain. :/