nds-bootstrap loader: Run commercial NDS backups from an SD Card

Discussion in '3DS - Homebrew Development and Emulators' started by shutterbug2000, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. Rya687

    Rya687 Member

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    Apr 28, 2016
    Gambia, The
    Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs doesn't seem to be fully playable. At least not on my system, which is a DSi running TWiLight Menu++ and nds-bootstrap loader 24.1 via a 16 GB microSD card in an SD adapter.

    The first few hours work fine (except for fairly notable graphical glitches on the title screen), but no progress seems to be possible beyond capturing Meganium in the Old Mansion. Once you leave the building, a cutscene plays followed by the screen fading to black and the music changing. Almost immediately after the music change, the game freezes, with even the music being left hanging.

    What's supposed to happen here is that you end up in a special location of the game that supports multiplayer mode. Though you first have to go through some cutscenes and a scripted battle that I'm pretty sure are singleplayer-only, it's still possible the game already tries to do something related to wireless communication as soon as you arrive. Perhaps that's where the bug lies.

    I originally ran into this bug on the NA version, but the EU version also has it, regardless of language (saves are cross-compatible).

    I experimented with various different settings, but none of them helped. I hear holding L on startup is supposed to fix some games, but it just breaks this one even further by already making it freeze after the title screen.

    If it helps, I can upload a save file from just before the bug occurs, but only via PM. I was dumb and put some private information in my name on this playthrough, so I don't want to share it publicly.
     
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  2. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
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    Please PM it to @ahezard.
     
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  3. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
    United States
    v0.26.1

    What's new?
    • DSi/3DS SD card: Load speeds have slightly improved!
      • The IPC-Sync IRQ now only handles the reads.
      • Games that render 3D on both screens will now have minimal to no swap flickers.
      • Certain game crashes have been fixed, such as loading certain save files in Pokemon HGSS.
    • B4DS: If the `CARDENGINE_CACHED` setting is not set, the FAT table cache will now be built before the ce9 code, instead of before the game's heap.
    • B4DS: For early SDK2 games, the FAT table cache is now built in an unused area of RAM.
      This fixes the opening FMV not starting in Castlevania DOS, and Kirby Canvas Curse now boots, but doesn't save.
    Bug fix
    • DSi SD card: Bookworm (DS version) now boots on DSi consoles.
     
    Last edited by Robz8, Oct 23, 2019
  4. Rya687

    Rya687 Member

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    1
    Apr 28, 2016
    Gambia, The
    I see the compatibility list still claims Pokémon Ranger: GS works. This should probably be changed, seeing how it's currently only partially playable. The latest update doesn't fix it yet.
     
  5. kevinrodolfoxD3

    kevinrodolfoxD3 Member

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    3
    Feb 3, 2016
    Mexico
    Has anyone made a tutorial to run commercial games on a homebrew-only flashcard? I have an Action Replay DSi, I already patched the "b4ds-release.nds" file but when I launch it an error message appears: "nitroFSInit failed!", I tried running the .nds file from the Action Replay DSi menu and the Homebrew Launcher but still no success (When I launch it from the Homebrew Launcher it just kicks me back to the Homebrew Launcher menu).
    (Edit: Forget it, I got it to work, never thought it was possible to run games on an Action Replay lol)
     
    Last edited by kevinrodolfoxD3, Oct 26, 2019
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  6. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
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    EDIT: nvm
     
    Last edited by Robz8, Oct 26, 2019
  7. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    19
    Oct 1, 2010
    United States
    v0.27.0

    What's new? (nds-bootstrap)
    • Now confirmed working on CycloDS iEvolution, with DSi mode set in CycloDSi settings!
      You can also run DSi-Enhanced games in DS mode, without switching back to DSL mode in CycloDSi settings.
    • DLDI driver is no longer re-inited, when booting a game.
      This should fix support for Acekard 2i.
    • DSi/3DS SD card: You can now dump the RAM!
      To do so, hold L+R+DOWN+A for 2 seconds. The sound (and maybe game) will pause during dumping.
      The dump will be at "sd:/_nds/nds-bootstrap/".
    • The cardEngine arm7 binary is now loaded in main RAM for DSiWarehax users running SDK5/TWLSDK games.
      Improves chances of SDK5 games booting.
     
    Last edited by Robz8, Nov 2, 2019
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  8. soniccomcisbr

    soniccomcisbr GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Jul 27, 2014
    Brazil
    Fortaleza, Brazil
    I dobt understand about these things, so, what the dump ram thing will do for the game?
     
  9. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
    United States
    The console's main memory will be dumped to a file on the SD card, and will be at "sd:/_nds/nds-bootstrap/ramDump.bin".
     
  10. soniccomcisbr

    soniccomcisbr GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Jul 27, 2014
    Brazil
    Fortaleza, Brazil
    Ok, but this will help to make the games run better?
     
  11. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
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    Nope. I don't see how RAM dumping will make that possible. :P
     
  12. bahamut920

    bahamut920 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    5
    Jan 23, 2009
    United States
    From what I understand, it's more of a troubleshooting/development thing. If you encounter a problem that doesn't outright freeze the console, you can dump RAM and then comb the file for anything that's not supposed to be there. Or you can post it for someone else to do so.
     
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  13. Rya687

    Rya687 Member

    Newcomer
    1
    Apr 28, 2016
    Gambia, The
    The RAM dump feature doesn't work for me at all. Even when I hold the keys in question, the sound never pauses and the file created always has a size of 0 Bytes. Tested it with multiple games. Either some games don't work or something's wrong on my end.

    All of my specs are the same as before, except that I obviously updated nds-bootstrap. I didn't update TWiLightMenu, though. Should I have done that? I originally installed it about a month ago.

    I was hoping this feature might unveil what's wrong with Pokémon Ranger: GS, though I suppose it's unclear if it'd even work with the game frozen.
     
  14. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

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    Oct 1, 2010
    United States
    Delete the RAM dump file, and let nds-bootstrap recreate it.
     
  15. Rya687

    Rya687 Member

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    Apr 28, 2016
    Gambia, The
    I already thought of that, which is why I deleted the empty dump between two tests that involved different games. The new one was no different.
     
  16. Robz8

    Robz8 Coolest of TWL

    pip Developer
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    Oct 1, 2010
    United States
    The size should be 32MB.
    If it's still 0, try adding 0x2000000 bytes to it using a hex editor.
     
  17. Rya687

    Rya687 Member

    Newcomer
    1
    Apr 28, 2016
    Gambia, The
    Okay, figured it out. I was my fault.

    I didn't know that nds-bootstrap needs several minutes to create the initial RAM dump file, during which it gives you nothing but a white screen. So when that happened to me, I assumed the game had randomly frozen on startup and shut off my system. That's what left the RAM dump empty and prevented it from working later on. Everything's functional now.

    I went ahead and tried to dump Pokémon Ranger: GS's RAM, but found that it doesn't work once the game has frozen. However, things got weird when I initiated the dumping process just seconds before the point where the game usually freezes.

    The game went silent as usual during dumping, but once it was finished, it actually made it past the point in question. There were numerous missing sprites and other graphical issues in the area it just loaded, but it was fully functional from a gameplay and sound perspective. Once the cutscenes and the scripted capture were over and I automatically left the area again, everything worked perfectly again. Returning to the area causes no issues either (all images load correctly now).

    So I'd assume the bug happens when the game tries to load some images for a specific cutscene. It's weird because most of these images always show up in this area, yet only this one cutscene seems to be bugged.

    In case it's of any help, the cutscene that normally freezes the game begins at this point (Edit: Looks like GBATemp automatically removes timestamps from YouTube videos. It starts at 0:38):


    I will also upload my RAM dump and PM the link to @ahezard again.
     
    Last edited by Rya687, Nov 4, 2019
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  18. peteruk

    peteruk GBAtemp Addict

    Member
    13
    Jun 26, 2015
    Finally just got around to setting this up on my N3DS XL Galaxy Special edition and I really love it. I've only tried a few games so far but they run smoothly, load fast, it's just perfect for me.

    I'm gonna install it to my wife's N3DS XL Special Emblem Fates console tomorrow when her larger micro sd card arrives, she's a big fan of the original DS games.

    Just came back to thank all involved with this project for a great piece of homebrew and for the continued updates :bow:
     
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  19. ber71

    ber71 Member

    Newcomer
    3
    Apr 24, 2019
    Spain
    My o3ds was suffering from frequent crashes related to progress saving. The ultimate cause was an unsupported sdcard allocation size, 64kb, which boots faster. The recommended 32KB cluster size should be mentioned in the readme so people avoid these headaches.

    Anyway, great piece of software, thank you for your time and efforts.
     
    Robz8 likes this.
  20. whywhy2

    whywhy2 Member

    Newcomer
    1
    Aug 21, 2019
    United States
    i have a question regarding the new update
    since we can now dump RAM off the game, can we also take screenshot with nds-bootstrap? it'd be great if it can take screenshot while playing online
     
    banjo2 likes this.
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