Hacking GBA saves disappearing?!

gaboumafou

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Hello,

I got an M3DS Real with the M3 Sakura firmware, plus an M3 GBA Expansion Pack, and my GBA saves are disappearing at random. In fact, they're not really disappearing, as they are still on the SD card, but the game will act as if there was no save. I can't find what is causing it, but it's really frequent; I would say 1 time out of 5. It's enough to "scare" me, as I don't play GBA games anymore; I'm too afraid to play for a long time, then losing my save for no reason.

I read a thread where it was said that removing the expansion pack to plug another slot2 device then plugging it back could be causing this, but I don't have anything else to put on my slot2, so my expansion pack is always in my DS.

I also read that it could be a bug in Sakura, and that using TouchPod for GBA games would work flawlessly. True?

And I also read that leaving the DS off for too long could be the cause of that problem...




I need a little help to sort this out...
wacko.gif
 

dsrules

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after you've finished playing the gba game, (before putting away your DS), turn it back ON so that Sakura could write the Save to the microsd before it loses it
 
T

The Jackal

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dsrules said:
after you've finished playing the gba game, (before putting away your DS), turn it back ON so that Sakura could write the Save to the microsd before it loses it

I know the GBA Expansion keeps the GBA-save in its ram/flash/whatever.. but seriously, this turns me off from playing GBA-roms.
Why isn't there a better solution to saving, why doesn't the game save directly to the SD?
I suppose it's some technical aspect to it, considering it aint like that and something the team at M3 would have thought of.

Playing GBA-roms is something I haven't done yet (M3 Perfect) because of the issues I've heard surrounding saves, it kind of turns me off.
I'd go bonkers if a save in went AWOL.
 

Skyline969

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The Jackal is right. It's a technical issue as to why GBA games don't save to the SD card directly. See, when you load a GBA game, from my knowledge it copies the ROM to your expansion pack and then reboots quickly to the GBA game. From there, it's just like a GBA pack. Once you reboot your DS, the M3 Real takes the save data from the GBA pack and writes it onto the card. However, if you don't get this data from the card before its internal battery loses power or before you switch expansion packs, you'll end up with an erased save. You just gotta remember to reboot your DS after playing a GBA game so it can save your data to the SD card.
 

grape_garden

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Interestingly, this seems to tie in to this topic. Sucks that the battery dies so quickly, but if you remember to boot up your DS after you finish a game, there shouldn't be much of an issue. I recall M3 SD had a smart feature, which let you go back to the main menu without having to turn the system off, and it would back up your saves to the SD card then and there, but that doesn't appear to be present in the DS Real.
 
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The Jackal

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Skyline969 said:
Once you reboot your DS, the M3 Real takes the save data from the GBA pack and writes it onto the card. However, if you don't get this data from the card before its internal battery loses power or before you switch expansion packs, you'll end up with an erased save. You just gotta remember to reboot your DS after playing a GBA game so it can save your data to the SD card.

But when does one know when the battery is running out of juice? From my understanding, the soul purpose of the battery is carrying the saveinformation between reboots.
So how does the GBA Expansion behave when the battery is running low?
Will it prompt the gamers that "you can't save"? Probably not, considering people experiencing lost saves "out of the blue".
Will it boot the game at all? - Ofcourse it would, since boot is handled by the firmware, the M3/SD and the GBA Expansion, all of which are powered by the battery of the actual DS system.
It will in other words behave as normal and the next time you boot up the game you're left with this dud of a savefile.

It's like russian roulette, here's my theory.
It appears to be an automatic protocol of the GBA Expansion to ALWAYS write back to the save upon reboot, no matter what that information really is. What's being carried is written, even if that means a bunch of zeroes due to the weak/dead battery (and also because the information is wiped the second you turn off the DS), hence overwriting actual saved information with blanks. This would explain why the savefile is still present on the SD.

Why isn't there some failsafe to the GBA Expansion? When the battery is running low, no information on saves will be carried and the GBA Expansion itself won't write anything back to the save upon reboot, it should leave it alone.

I might be totally wrong or missed something, since I don't have actual experience from this myself, but that's what I can make out of all this.

As a sidenote regarding the battery, what kind of battery is inside an actual GBA-cartridge? Since I've never heard of saves disappearing from a cartridge, and considering these cartridges soulely holds the saves internally, they must be quite the little powerhouses.
Or perhaps they lack batteries altogether, and saves are flashed to the cartridge itself.
 

Skyline969

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Actually, game cartridges lose their battery life over time as well. It takes a long time (SNES cartridges with batteries in them for saves are dying these days) but they will die and the saved data will be gone. The same goes for anything, though - CDs and flash media are the same way. They can fade over time, and chances are they will.
 

grape_garden

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Skyline969 said:
Actually, game cartridges lose their battery life over time as well. It takes a long time (SNES cartridges with batteries in them for saves are dying these days) but they will die and the saved data will be gone. The same goes for anything, though - CDs and flash media are the same way. They can fade over time, and chances are they will.

I guess have to ask, what's the life expectancy on stuff like that? I mean, does this mean that in a few years my music CDs will all eventually stop working, that my SD cards will be blank, or hell, even my computer will lose data? Or is it more difficult to quantify? Say, a matter of decades?
 
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The Jackal

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Skyline969 said:
Actually, game cartridges lose their battery life over time as well. It takes a long time (SNES cartridges with batteries in them for saves are dying these days) but they will die and the saved data will be gone. The same goes for anything, though - CDs and flash media are the same way. They can fade over time, and chances are they will.

M3 should've thought of those batteries when they designed the GBA Expansion, considering the SNES was introduced in -90/-91/-92.

QUOTE(how_do_i_do_that @ May 15 2009, 09:02 AM) 2 to 3 years.

It takes 2-3 years before what dies?
 

Fun_Zephyr

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I use to have this happen to me - castlevania games - so I used the RTS feature for GBA. Great feature so long as it works (allows you to load again) for the game you are playing.
 
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The Jackal

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Fun_Zephyr said:
I use to have this happen to me - castlevania games - so I used the RTS feature for GBA. Great feature so long as it works (allows you to load again) for the game you are playing.

Does RTS write directly to the SD?
 

grape_garden

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The Jackal said:
Fun_Zephyr said:
I use to have this happen to me - castlevania games - so I used the RTS feature for GBA. Great feature so long as it works (allows you to load again) for the game you are playing.

Does RTS write directly to the SD?


As far as I know, yeah.
 

da1writer

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grape_garden said:
The Jackal said:
Fun_Zephyr said:
I use to have this happen to me - castlevania games - so I used the RTS feature for GBA. Great feature so long as it works (allows you to load again) for the game you are playing.

Does RTS write directly to the SD?


As far as I know, yeah.
I second this. This is how I save most of the time anyway, RTS is somewhat like cheating in a GBA game (which we weren't able to do back then). I also do what everyone has mentioned, where after you are done playing the game, just reset the DS and you'll see the M3 DS Real transfer the save to your SD card. Also a Small tip, don't remove the GBA Expansion card until you load up a DS game, then you are fine after that...
 

KazoWAR

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In GBA mode there is no way to access the slot-1. The GBA hardware is not designed to do that. So every and all gba packs that run in slot-2 for slot-1 cards needs to be rebooted after playing to have the information copied to the Micro SD card.
 
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The Jackal

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KazoWAR said:
In GBA mode there is no way to access the slot-1. The GBA hardware is not designed to do that. So every and all gba packs that run in slot-2 for slot-1 cards needs to be rebooted after playing to have the information copied to the Micro SD card.

But RTS (in a GBA-rom) seems to access Slot-2.
 

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