Guide: Add Japan-Only SMA4 e-Reader Levels to Your US/EU Cart

Discussion in 'GBA - Emulation' started by Shugo Takahashi, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Shugo Takahashi
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    Newcomer Shugo Takahashi Advanced Member

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    I originally posted this as a response to MidniteBlaze's problem thread, but I figure it will be easier to find for everyone if it has its own thread. It's about time someone made one of these for 2010; most of the links in older tutorials of this kind I've found are broken or outdated! Hopefully this helps some people searching for the same things I was.

    Equipment Needed: A Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite (for GBA slot), A Slot-1 NDS flashcard with DLDI (I use the DSTT)
    Software Needed: Rudolph's GBA Backup Tool, NO$GBA
    ROMs Needed: GBA BIOS (You NEED this for NO$GBA), Super Mario Advance 4 (US or EU; you can rip this from your existing cart using Rudolph's tool), e-Reader (US; also rippable with Rudolph's tool)
    Save Files Needed: e-Reader save with SMA4 Level Card program, SMA4 Japan-Only Level Card Dotcodes with Translated Titles (also includes all the US-released stages in case you need them), and if you're using an EU version of the game you'll also need a save file with e-Reader access unlocked.
    Optional Resources: caitsith2's SMA4 e-Reader Resources - Site contains all SMA4 power-up/switch/level dotcodes and a program that lets you encode your own power-up/demo dotcodes. It also has a custom e-Reader-enabled version of VBA, but I can't personally get it to run.

    Obviously, I will not provide any ROM images for you. You have to find or rip those on your own. Keep in mind that even if you are using the EU version of the game, you will need the US version of the e-Reader ROM in order to scan the US region-encoded dotcodes into the game. As the e-Reader function was blocked in the EU version of the game, it has not been updated to accept EU-encoded dotcodes and as such the US codes work just fine with it.

    1. First what you need to do is put Rudolph's GBA Backup Tool onto your slot-1 flashcard. Put SMA4 into the GBA slot and run the Backup Tool. Press L or R to navigate through the different modes. If you need the SMA4 ROM, then go to Rom Backup and press B. This will rip the ROM to your flashcard as a .GBA file. Then go to Save Backup and press B. This will rip your save file to your flashcard as a .SAV file. If you need to rip your e-Reader ROM as well, then go back to Rom Backup, press X, and insert your e-Reader. You must have a DS Lite for the e-Reader to fit in the console. Turn it off and plug your flashcard or memory card into your computer.

    2. Next you need to set up NO$GBA. Place the GBA BIOS file in NO$GBA's root and run NO$GBA. Open any ROM (right now it doesn't matter) and immediately go edit the settings by pressing F11. Go to the Controls tab and define your control layout for both Player 1 and Player 2, then click on Options and click "Save Options". Close out of NO$GBA.

    3. It should now have created several files and folders in the root folder you placed it in. Open NO$GBA.ini in Notepad and find the "SAV/SNA File Format" setting. Change this to "Raw" and save it. Go place your SMA4 SAV and the e-Reader SV2 in the BATTERY folder. Make sure they share the same names as the SMA4 and e-Reader ROMs you have.

    4. Open NO$GBA and open the e-Reader ROM. Change "All machines" to "1st machine". Then press F11 and change "Number of Emulated Gameboys" to "2". DO NOT SAVE THE OPTIONS HERE. IT WILL CRASH ON STARTUP EVERY TIME IF YOU DO.*

    5. After enabling two Game Boys, click "File" and "Cartridge Menu (FileName)" and open your SMA4 ROM, this time selecting "2nd machine". If you did this right, then SMA4 should be loaded on the left side with sound and the e-Reader should be loaded on the right side without sound. Navigate to the SMB3 main menu and check to see that your save file loaded properly.** Go to "Level Card" and then move Mario/Luigi onto the swirling panel in front of the castle to open a menu. Move up to "Level Card" and select it to be taken to the e-Reader communication screen.

    6. Next use the Player 2 controls you mapped out to navigate the e-Reader menu to "Access saved data". "Super Mario Advance 4" should be displayed as the saved data.** This should take you to a communication screen just like SMA4's next to it. Hit A on SMA4 to begin communication. Go to "File" and then "Load e-Reader Dotcode" in NO$GBA and navigate to the .RAW Level Card dotcode files you downloaded. Double-click one and the e-Reader should accept it and send it back to the SMA4 ROM. The SMA4 ROM will then tell you that a Level Card was received.

    6b. Now here's the catch. SMA4 will not let you save a level permanently and then scan more levels until you beat the level you just scanned at least once. So you either have to beat the level now in the emulator or load the save back onto your real game, beat the level, and then repeat this entire process for the next level. It's cumbersome, I know, but in the end when you have all the levels scanned in and you've played them all it'll be well worth it; these are some of the coolest levels in the entire Super Mario series!

    7. If you choose to beat the level using your original game cartridge or are just ready to transfer your save file back, then press Start in NO$GBA on SMA4 and hit "Save". It will take you back to the title screen. Go back into Level Card and check to make sure the level you just scanned is still on the level list. Close out of NO$GBA and go into the BATTERY folder. Copy the .SAV file from SMA4 back onto your flashcard in the same directory Rudolph's tool created when it ripped your original save file.

    8. Run Rudolph's tool with SMA4 in slot-2 and go to Save Restore. Select the save file you copied to your card on the top screen and press A. It'll return the save to the SMA4 cart. Boot up SMA4 and check to make sure it saved. If it worked, then congratulations! You now have previously lost, Japan-only e-Reader levels on your US/EU SMA4 cartridge! Collect all the A-coins and e+-coins to unlock various minigames to spend regular coins on and win useful items for the e-world, like Hammer Suits. If you need to scan more Level Cards, then repeat this process starting from around Step 3. It should be much easier and quicker now that you (hopefully) know what you're doing.

    Footnotes:
    *If you screw up and save the NO$GBA options after you've enabled two Game Boys, then open NO$GBA.INI and find the "Number of Emulated Gameboys" option. Change this to "-Single Machine" and save.
    **If either the SMA4 ROM or the e-Reader ROM don't have the proper saved data, make sure that you changed the save type in NO$GBA.INI to "Raw", the save files are the same names as their ROM counterparts, and that SMA4 is on the left screen while e-Reader is on the right screen. If their screens are flipped, then either restart NO$GBA and follow my instructions more carefully or open BATTERY and change their save types around (.SAV to .SV2 and vice versa). Make sure you change your SMA4 save back to .SAV before returning it to your cartridge.

    I hope this helped. I spent a whole night trying to figure this process out, and while there are already many other tutorials for this elsewhere, most of them use old, broken links or don't fully explain the entire process involved with ripping/restoring your original save file. These levels are seriously cool, containing elements from the entire Super Mario 2D series up to that point (even enemies from Yoshi's Island!), a challenging difficulty level, and even a revisit of several SMB3 bosses like the Koopa Kids and Bowser! It really is a shame that the US and EU were deprived of this awesome entry to the series; combined together with the amount of playtime it takes to complete them (beat them as both Mario and Luigi, find all A-Coins and e+-Coins), they're almost enough to constitute a full game!
     


  2. soulx

    Member soulx GBAtemp Legend

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    Dude, you're awesome!
    I'm going to do this. I haven't touched SMA4 for a long while. Time for extra levels!
    [​IMG]
    Thanks!
     
  3. Presto99

    Member Presto99 You slammin, bro?

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    This hasn't gone unnoticed! [​IMG]
     
  4. totalnoob617

    Banned totalnoob617 Banned

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    uhhh i am totally lost ,could that tutorial be any longer?

    so is this so i can play these e-levels an my ds with a flashcard and a rom of the game?

    i mean not just on an emulator on my pc right?

    and will all i need for this be my ds lite,my dstwo,and a rom of smba4?well plus the no$gba emulator on my pc and e-reader rom,no$gba bios, and the other files,what i mean is can it be done without the smba4 cartridge,just my dslite and supercard dstwo?in terms of physical hardware?

    because i dont understand the the steps that say to use the rudolf backup tool ,especially the last step, if i have a nds slot 1 flash card and the rom for the game then why do i need the actual game cart, and the and a flashcard, and the rom?

    and why cant someone just post the damn .sav files on here with the us and jap e-levels already unlocked?


    so that all we have to do is load the rom and the sav files onto our flashcard and be done with it?

    oh ok so maybe its for people with flashcards that cant do gba emulation then? but even if thats true ,then why not still post the .sav files ?they could still be used right?

    i am using a ds lite and a supercard ds two, i dont have my smba4 cart anymore ,so can i do this or not ? or do i have to have my super card dstwo and the smba4 cart and a rom of smba4?

    and if it is possible for me to play the e-levels on my ds lite with my supercard dstwo and its gba emulator and a smba4 rom,will i have to still go through all of these steps over and over again to unlock each level? or can i just download the .sav files?i dont see why i cant just download the .sav files with the e-levels already unlocked,why wouldnt it work for me?and why wouldnt it work for someone with a slot 1 flashcard with no gba emulator support?or will it work for scds2 but not other slot 1 cards with no gba emulator?

    i already had a hard enough time getting the damn game to work at all on my flashcard, so this shoudnt effect the ips patch i had to put on the rom just to get it to work right?i mean if it can be done at all
     
  5. Shugo Takahashi
    OP

    Newcomer Shugo Takahashi Advanced Member

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    This guide is specifically for adding the Japan-only e-Reader levels to a real copy of the game. If you want to add them to a ROM, you can simply scan the codes in using NO$GBA and use the resulting save file with your ROM on whatever cart you want. You can also, like you mentioned, just go download a save file with all the levels already unlocked; this guide is tailored to people who just wanted to add them to their real game while keeping their original save data intact.
     
  6. YayMii

    Member YayMii hi

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    If anyone wants, I've uploaded a US save file that has most of the e-Reader levels (levels 1-12, the Japan-exclusive levels 13-30, and the promo castle levels. The star levels aren't included because there's no room).
    The save file works fine on emulators if they are configured correctly.
    Here's the save file. Enjoy.
     
  7. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    HOLY. FUCK SAUCE.

    Your save works on my 3 in 1 and EZFIV!!!! YES!

    I tried to modify the save on VBA and transfer the save, and then I tried to acutally use the e reader it my link cable wouldn't work.

    I tried diligently for WEEKS to get this working on real hardware, THANK YOU SO MUCH YAYMII. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Sheimi

    Member Sheimi A cute Vixen!

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    You Sir, made my day!
     
  9. 8BitWalugi

    Member 8BitWalugi Taiyohhhhhh!

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    Hmm... if I post my retail cart's save file, can someone import the levels in?
     
  10. Ziggy Zigzagoon

    Member Ziggy Zigzagoon GBAtemp Fan

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    I wonder if this can be used to unlock other e-Reader-based extras in other games...
     
  11. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    It takes FOREVER.

    Like I said, after weeks of trying, I gave up on this.

    Of course, upload your save and maybe somebody will give it a go.

    @ Ziggy: It most definitely can. If somebody were to import Pokemon/etc. whatever cards into ereader dot codes, it could be done.
     
  12. YayMii

    Member YayMii hi

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    @anyone using my save: YOU'RE WELCOME.

    @Schlupi: Actually, it doesn't take that long if you know how to properly do it. There's a command prompt tool (for Windows) out there that allows quick importing and exporting of levels from a SMA4 US .sav file, which is what I used. It is a lot less hassle compared to emulating a link and e-Reader and transferring each one manually. And AFAIK, you'd need to beat a level before importing another if you're importing it the normal way.

    @8BitWaluigi: Go ahead, you can post it. It only takes 10-20 minutes if I import it my way (however I'll be away from home for a week or two starting Wednesday, so I might not be able to do it immediately).

    @Ziggy: It's certainly possible, but I haven't seen anyone do this for other games. I'm assuming that the reason that only SMA4 has these e-Reader features available online is because of demand. There were so many exclusive e-Reader features in the game(demonstrated by this video), and the sheer amount of hacking potential in the game caused people to want a level editor. And by getting the e-Reader cards into a readable file format was the first step towards this.
     
  13. 8BitWalugi

    Member 8BitWalugi Taiyohhhhhh!

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    Alright YayMii, here's my save.

    I'll try yours though.

    Oh, and I have the same problem as your Windows 7. If you find a solution, can you tell me?
     
  14. YayMii

    Member YayMii hi

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    Okay, I got it. And I've also created an overly simplified process of adding the levels in.

    Here is what I used to hack in the levels. It makes the process a lot simpler, as it's directly importing the levels into the save rather than using an e-Reader emulator to copy it in. Here's a direct link if you can't be bothered to read the details.

    I've also created a batch file that allows for instant importation of the levels. See the spoiler.
    batch file
    Note that you can only store 32 complete levels in a save. You can put a 33rd level in also, but I haven't included one in my saves since it breaks the completed menu layout (it leaves one of the levels on its own empty page). The 33rd level is also counted as a "temporary" level, and will prompt you to save it after completing the level (and since there's only supposed to be space for 32, it doesn't allow you if you select 'yes')
    --------------------

    @8BitWaluigi: Here you go. I just used the method described above to do this. I haven't tested the save yet, but I'm pretty sure it should work flawlessly.
    And I really hope I find a solution to my Windows 7 issues.
     
  15. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    Holy shit YayMii. You're awesome.

    I love you forever! I can't express how much I appreciate this with words.

    On a similar note... these e-levels are VERY interesting. I can't begin to comprehend how bizarre, crazy, and crossover filled these levels are. They are pretty challenging too.
     
  16. 8BitWalugi

    Member 8BitWalugi Taiyohhhhhh!

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    Thanks YayMii! I imported your save file into my game (The one you posted earlier) and all I got was a black screen with sound. :/

    I'll test my save file when I get home. [​IMG]

    EDIT: YayMii, IT WORKED! [​IMG]
     
  17. YayMii

    Member YayMii hi

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    [​IMG] Glad it worked.
    I don't understand why my savefile didn't work though. I thought it would be pretty much the same. But I made my save using VBA.

    And it's looking like reinstalling Windows may be my only option. Hopefully I find another way [​IMG]
     
  18. Sheimi

    Member Sheimi A cute Vixen!

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    I must have some bad luck. My Super Mario Advance 4 JP decided to say "fuck you" to me. So I selected #21 60 Seconds and it re-directs me to "Swinging Bars of Doom". I have not touched it in so long. Any idea's

    Edit: The US Version work just fine. My original JP Copy hates me.
     
  19. hunter291

    Member hunter291 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Can someone please upload a save for the eu game with the levels injected ? i'm to stupid to do it xD
     
  20. 8BitWalugi

    Member 8BitWalugi Taiyohhhhhh!

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    Mine should work on EU.
     

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