Guide Me From 0 To Finish?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by SaltyBones, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. SaltyBones
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    SaltyBones Newbie

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    Hello, I recently started up on a project to start doing Lets Plays with a friend of mine with some old GameCube games, and I stumbled upon my old Gameboy Player setup. I already have a capture setup for the GameCube, but I'd love to start getting some footage of Gameboy games, but I don't exactly have an impressive collection, so rather than drop $10-$20 a cartridge (we were fortunate enough to have a lot of GameCube games), I figured I would invest in a flash cart setup. Problem is, I don't know where to start, and even after browsing this forum I can't make much of the terminology and what products will have what compatibilities and shortcomings. Do you think I could get some help?

    • I'm willing to spend a fair amount of $ on a setup, I know that stuff is rare these days, and I feel I'll get more out of a decent setup than just buying the cartridges.
    • It needs to be able to run on the GameCube Gameboy Player, having 2 people trying to watch and comment on a GBA/SP/DS screen is just not an option.
    • I don't need a clock system or save states, but I do need a consistent save system. I'm planning on playing long life games like Battle Network and LoZ.

    Beyond just what product I'd need to buy, though, I'd like to understand more about the technology and terminology behind all this. I've used flash carts before but that's far from understanding it. Any kind of rundown would be great. I'll be browsing around the forum to try and learn more, but some direct information or suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance, guys.
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Emulation on a PC not an option? You can have nice screen capture here, filters, an easier audio setup if you are doing commentary with the game/as the game goes on and more besides (capture link game footage if you want).

    There are basically 4 GBA flash carts these days, maybe up to 6 on a good day though that in turn boils down to one option for you unless you really want to push the boat out and try to buy an old one off someone (not really worth it).

    As long as they fit then basically all GBA flash carts will run in a GBP, the only issue will be with the GBA videos but even there you can get a cheat/patch.


    The options then

    Fire Card
    About as close as you get to true old style GBA flash carts. Will be very small (as in 16 megs when games did occasionally get up to 32 megs). They do go by various names.

    Supercard
    Not great GBA compatibility. Basically everything else will have the same GBA compatibility of "pretty much everything and patches for the stuff that is troubling". Not suggested unless you are in a really tough position or a friend has one that they are willing to let go for a small favour/a beer.

    EZFlash 3 in 1 (and other combinations of 3 in 1)
    Designed for use with the DS where you can flank it with a proper DS flash cart. You can run more or less whatever you like but it will need to return to the DS to be flashed every time. The full GBA size ones are rare as anything these days (between people doing repros/fakes and some people doing hardware hacking they are basically all sold out) so you will have to case mod a DS lite sized one.

    EZ4
    Originally made for use with DS roms before DS slot flash carts took off and made everything easy. However it works well with the GBA stuff as it is based on the EZ3 which is one of the very well liked GBA era flash carts. Features wise it does not compare so favourably with the GBA era carts (its cheats, soft reset, game compression, save states, general polish of the client..... is not great) but it can fit a couple of gigs of GBA games on there, play them and save so you never have to think about it. The original miniSD version is about the only thing you can really find today that is good, you will want to try to find a miniSD as well (the adapters seem to cause issues) and as with all flash memory it is best if you do not order it from China/Hong Kong.
    If you can find a EZ4 lite deluxe then they are nice and I would suggest that if you can case mod it (not hard) as it is DS lite sized. Do not get a EZ4 lite compact as it was designed for DS games and is crippled in size when it comes to GBA games.
    They were getting really hard to find last year but the EZTeam came back and made a new batch.

    The others are you can occasionally find old neoflash gear which is quite nice (better than a supercard, not as good as the EZ4 unless you know you want one of its features (you do not for your purposes) or are collecting) and maybe the odd old F2A cart (like fire cards but good) or something.

    http://gbatemp.net/threads/buying-a-gba-flash-cart-in-2013.341203/page-18#post-4756995 has a list of all the trouble games (and solutions for those troubles, should there be one) and 256Mbit titles.

    Short version -- get an EZ4 original and a miniSD. It will do what you want and is actually not bad anyway.
     
  3. SaltyBones
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    SaltyBones Newbie

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    Thanks for your quick reply. Capture on a computer is always an option, of course! But, we've gotten a little spoiled with the GameCube controllers and the nice big TV and beanbag chairs. As well as the fact that our go-to computer couldn't run Wii/GameCube games at good speeds, and the resolution was a little funky having it hooked up to the TV. I'd imagine those resolution problems would just be worse with something like VBA blown up onto a TV, and playing with a keyboard is much less optimal than a controller for games needing tighter controls. (Plus, I'd love to be able to use my old SP again for gaming during school/traveling.)

    I highly doubt I know anyone with a flash cart for GBA tucked away somewhere, (though I will ask around for sure) so which one would be easiest to order online? And from what site would you suggest I get it from? I've looked at the EZ-IV, and it seems like the clear choice, but the only place I've found so far to order them feel like really sleazy sites. I'm not daunted by a ~$50 price tag, but I'd love to get it for cheaper if possible, or at least from a more.. reputable source.
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Gamecube to USB is an option ( http://www.amazon.com/GC-Controller-Adapter-PC/dp/B0089NVTDM/ and that one has two controllers), GBA emulation.... was basically done at full speed from day one of the GBA so as long as your computer is a little more recent than "was pretty good in 2001" you should be good. Certainly during the GBA's lifetime it was not unusual or considered the lesser path to not be on hardware of some form.
    Full TV resolution for GBA games... in some ways 2d ends up better than 3d and some of the filters do very well. That said I have not done full screen GBA on a large 1080p TV. A 27 inch computer screen sitting 50mm from my face does it OK though.

    If I can do better than $50 it is only going to be down to $45 or so. For a hot moment there it got a bit cheaper but then loads of people decided they wanted flash carts and the price went back up -- GBA flash carts take more hardware than DS ones (GBA stuff needs fast memory, DS stuff just needs a basic chip to convert signals to and from a microSD) so they tend to be more expensive.
    Not sure what US vendors are doing the EZ4 right now though http://www.realhotstuff.com/EZ-Flash-Team_bymfg_6-0-1.html have them and they are a good site. For the Hong Kong side of things then http://www.nds-card.com/ProShow.asp?ProID=504 seem to work well.
     
  5. SaltyBones
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    SaltyBones Newbie

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    Oh yes of course, I've used the hookups to PC for controllers, but it's very awkward setting up all the crap to play a Gameboy game on a PC with a GameCube controller while also having it blown up to flat screen size. Yes, the computer can run GBA emulators just fine, of course, heheh. Brawl/Project M on the other hand, though, is an entirely different story. It even chokes a little more than tolerable with Melee. The Gameboy Player to Capture to TV setup is working just fine, we've been using it for a few days already, we just need the library of games is all!

    Realhotstuff was the site I was considering getting from, so I guess that works out. Happy to spend $50 to be able to play the whole roster of GBA and then some on one cartridge. Thanks again for your help, really looking forward to seeing how many days it takes me to blow through all 6 BattleNetwork games!
     
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    One of my favourite review scores ever, and I do not normally go in for review scores, ran something like "8/10 but take off one point for every previous game in the series you have played" so I wish you luck there. There is also 4.5 but that is still being translated and is slightly different. For MMBN5 are you going to do anything for the DS version of the title? Equally some of the later games have marginally different stories, nothing like Demi Kids but enough to at least pause to consider it.

    The entire library all at once might be a stretch, and you will want less than 80 files per folder (saves should not matter as you normally do not have to go into it), but 2 gigs (oh yeah no SDHC, though if you are buying miniSD that should not be a problem) does very serious damage to the GBA library.

    RHS, and most other flash cart sites, tend not to have the best web design but it is usually more profitable to sell devices rather than scam people. Not all are good but a quick search usually reveals a bad one.
     
  7. SaltyBones
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    SaltyBones Newbie

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    The DS "sequel" never really got brought to my radar, though after learning of it's existence a few weeks ago, I'm interested in trying it, even if it does seem like sort of a weirder tangent design-wise. (Then again, a LOT was weird about these games..) We're setting up to do some iron-man runs, where we basically blitz through a whole series of games in one long stretch sitting. For example, OoT and Majora's in one go, Colosseum and Gale of Darkness, ect. I don't even pretend to hope to nail all 6 in one go, but I am considering 1-3 and 4-6. 4.5 I know near-nothing about, to be honest, but I'll be interested to look into it. Also Sonic Advance 1-3, actually have the cartridges for those.

    Yeah, I've already got a few miniSD's from cameras and ect lying around, so hopefully storage won't be a problem. But, even if it is, it isn't hard to juggle roms on and off of the card as we plan to play them. Either way, order's already sent!
     
  8. Harsky

    Harsky Madmin

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    I know you say that you want to play and record GBA games via the Game Boy Player but have you considered a modded Wii running the Visual Boy Advance GX emulator? It allows you to play with the Gamecube controller as well.

    But I would also recommend a GBA Flashcart such as the EZ Flash IV (which is kinda uncommon now).