NDScrc Guide for Complete n00bers! p(^0^)q

Discussion in 'M3 Adapter' started by Densetsu, Apr 17, 2008.

Apr 17, 2008
  1. Densetsu
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    Former Staff Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    I wrote this about two months ago and originally posted it on ADVANsCEne, but GBAtemp seems to have a very active community, so I'm posting it here to spread the word about NdsCRC. Try it out and see what everyone has been raving about!
    =========================================================================
    How to Use NDScrc: A Setup Guide for n00bs by Densetsu
    Version 1.10 (April 16th, 2008)
    Made some corrections as suggested by pixelk, the creator of NdsCRC.
    Changed the formatting a little to make the sections easier to see.
    Corresponds to NDScrc release version 1.4.11.736.

    =========================================================================
    I. INTRO
    =========================================================================

    What is NDScrc?
    NDScrc by pixelk is an application used for organizing, storing and browsing a collection of ROMs. Its features include, but are not limited to the following:
    - Offline browsing of ROM titles including search field
    - Sorting parameters (sort by game title, ROM#, language, country, genre, etc.)
    - Sort newly-downloaded ROMs and add them to your archive
    - Find and rename ROMs if they've been mis-labeled
    - Find corrupted/duplicate ROMs
    - Compress ROMs into .zip format
    - Front/back covers, screenshots of every game
    - Recognizes .NDS/.ZIP/.RAR files

    Due to the lack of substantial documentation (other than the revision history in the NDScrc thread on the ADVANsCEne forums), many would-be users of this app are turned off by its seemingly steep learning curve. But in reality configuring NDScrc is a breeze (it's much faster than the length of this guide might lead you to believe), and once everything is set up, maintaining your collection becomes a no-brainer. This document shall hopefully serve as a definitive NDScrc guide for complete n00bs. It aims to bring in more faithful users of this excellent software, with a step-by-step breakdown of the setup process.

    And so, without further ado...
    =========================================================================
    II. RUNNING NDScrc FOR THE FIRST TIME
    =========================================================================

    1. Download the NDScrc zip file from http://www.advanscene.com. This link will take you directly to the downloads page: http://www.advanscene.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=163
    2. Extract NdsCRC.exe.
    3. Create 4 folders, to be used in Section III, Part [A], Step 4:
    - Archive
    - Unknown (I like to call this folder "New ROMs")
    - Dupe
    - Extractor
    4. Run NDScrc.
    5. If you didn't already download the DAT file separately, download it when asked.
    6. Click on the "Settings" tab.
    =========================================================================
    III. SETTINGS TAB
    =========================================================================

    [A] URL/Path Tab
    1. On the far-left side, make sure you are on the "URL/Path" tab.
    2. Place a check in the two boxes:
    - Check on startup
    - Get Pictures/Nfo
    3. Leave the URL [http://www.advanscene.com/offline/datas/AD...CEne_NDScrc.zip] and [ADVANsCEne_NDScrc.xml] in the text fields alone.
    4. Point the "Archive path" to the Archive folder you just created. For "Unknown path," browse to the Unknown folder. For "Dupe path," the Dupe folder. For "eXtract0r path," browse to the Extractor folder.
    5. In the section "Sort archives in directories," these radio buttons change the way you want ROMs to be sorted in the Archive folder, but ultimately it doesn't matter which one you choose. So you can leave this setting alone.
    6. Leave the 2 checkboxes on the lower-left (Store relative path, Read-Only mode) unchecked.
    7. On the lower-right, the first 3 boxes (Write Miss/Have files, Move unknown archives, Search for bad known ROMs too) are checked by default. Leave them checked.
    8. Check the box "Search also for .nds files." This will enable NdsCRC to recognize decompressed ROMs (as long as the filename contains the extension ".nds").
    9. Download the UnRAR DLL file (unrar_nocrypt.dll). You can do this either by clicking the button "Get UnRAR dll," or by checking the box "eXtract0r mode." Checking the "eXtract0r mode" box will enable NdsCRC to recognize ROMs compressed as RAR files.
    10. When extracting RAR files, NdsCRC will keep the original RAR in the Unknown folder, a copy of the extracted (decompressed) ROM in a Cache folder (created automatically), and create a zipped copy in the Archive folder. Since you probably don't need/want 3 copies of the same ROM in 3 different folders, you can delete the original RAR file from the Unknown folder and the decompressed ROM from the Cache folder. Checking the box "Delete uncompressed archives" will do this for you automatically.
    Naming Tab
    1. Now click on the "Naming" tab on the far-left side. Place a check on the box "Custom ROM name." Note the following in the input field:
    %n - %t (%l)(%g)
    These are called "flags." Flags might look like intimidating nonsense to a n00b, but they're actually very simple. See the Sample right below the flags? Try deleting one of the flags and see what happens to the Sample. This is how you tell NdsCRC to rename all of your ROMs.
    2. There are many more flags. At the very bottom, click the button "Get help on the flags." This will take you to the "Misc" tab and show you all of the flags in a section that's clearly labeled "Explanation of the flags."
    3. Now go back to the "Naming" tab and try replacing one of the letters with a different letter from the list of flags. Try adding a whole new flag. Watch how the sample changes. This sample will become the template NdsCRC uses to rename all ROMs. When you're satisfied, click "Apply" and move on to the next section. Leave all other options on the "Naming" tab alone for now.
    [C] Display Tab
    1. Only strip char incompatible with Windows: This is checked by default. Un-checking it will strip characters from ROM names that are incompatible with Unix as well.
    2. Replace spaces by underscores: If you prefer underscores in your filenames (as opposed to spaces), check the box
    3. Show flags: Leave this setting alone.
    4. Sorting by languages: If you only download ROMs specific to the language(s) you speak, you can leave this section alone. If you have no interest in playing foreign language games, but download all ROMs regardless of language just to complete your collection, you can check the boxes of the languages you speak. When viewing the ROM list, if you check the display box "By language," ROMs only in the languages you check here will be displayed.
    5. Display sizes as: These options will change how the size of the ROM is displayed on the ROM list. Choose your preference.
    - Octets display sample: 67108864 bytes
    - Moctets display sample: 64MB
    - Mbits display sample: 512Mb
    6. Leave all other options in the "Display" tab alone.
    [D] Misc Tab
    1. Mode: NDScrc actually has another mode, called GbaCRC. It's almost identical to NDScrc, except that it manages and organizes GBA ROMs instead of NDS ROMs. By clicking the "Change" button, you can switch modes (this requires a restart of NdsCRC, and will cause it to shut down automatically). This is not advisable. It's better to just create a completely separate directory, extract a new copy of NDScrc into the new directory and run that one exclusively in GBA mode. The reason for this will become apparent below in Part [E]. For now, leave this button alone.
    2. Set "Zip Compression" to 9 (Max).
    3. Files to keep in the rebuilt archive: These checkboxes tell NDScrc which files/images to include (game cover scans, screenshots, NFO files, etc.) with a ROM when it compresses it for storage in the Archive folder. Which of these boxes you check are entirely up to you.
    4. Place a check on the box "Extract only ROM file." Uncheck the box "Extract to a sub-folder."
    5. Leave all other settings alone. Leave the "Proxy" tab on the far left alone as well.
    [E] Final Setup Step
    This next step will take some time. Click again on the "URL/Path" tab. When you first opened NDScrc, you downloaded a DAT file update. Now you have to update the pictures and NFO files. Click the Update button (make sure the box "Get Pictures/Nfo" is checked). This will download ALL of the front/back covers, screenshots, icons and NFO files for ALL of the ROMs. At the time of this writing (April 16th, 2008), 2294 NDS ROMs have been released on the scene. Needless to say, this step is going to take a LONG time (even with broadband). It's not so much because the files are large; it's because of the sheer number of files that need to be downloaded. In total, it's only ~235MB of files, but you're downloading 9176 individual small files (3 JPGs and 1 NFO per ROM). So click that Update button and go watch a DVD or two with your girlfriend (or boyfriend). By the time your movie is over, the download process should be done, or nearly finished. You will find all of the images/NFOs in the automatically generated Cache folder.
    If you've been following this guide all the way up to this point, recall all the way up in Section III, Part [A], Step 2 that you placed a check next to those two boxes ("Check on startup" and "Get Pictures/Nfo"). So every time you start NDScrc, it will check for updates and download a DAT file, pictures, and NFOs if there are any new ones. It will save all of the images and NFOs to the Cache folder, and it will reference that folder while you're browsing your NDS ROMs. If you decide you want to change to GBA mode, you'll be able to browse GBA ROMs. Now, Part [D], Step 1 above says to create completely separate directories for NDScrc and GBAcrc. Here's why: In GBA mode, the app will still reference the same Cache folder and use NDS screenshots for the GBA games, so you'll be seeing the wrong images while browsing your GBA ROM collection. Even worse, if you ever update in GBA mode, GbaCRC will scan the Cache folder. It will check the CRCs of the NDS screenshots and NFO files, and since they are not the correct images for the GBA ROM list, it will begin to download the GBA screenshots/NFOs, thereby overwriting the NDS screenshots/NFOs.
    If you want to be able to browse NDS and GBA ROMs and enjoy the functionality of screenshots in both modes, it's better to just have 2 separate folders with separate caches, one devoted to NDScrc and the other one to GBAcrc. Otherwise, just use OfflineList, another app that organizes your ROMs like NDScrc/GBAcrc, but allows you to switch back and forth between GBA and NDS ROM lists effortlessly. Please note that if you want screenshots for each GBA ROM, you'll have to go through the lengthy download process again in GBA mode.
    =========================================================================
    IV. ROM LIST/PICTURES/NFO TABS
    =========================================================================

    At this point you should have downloaded and extracted NDScrc, downloaded the DAT file (ADVANsCEne_NDScrc.xml), the UnRAR file (unrar_nocrypt.dll), all of the covers, screenshots, icons and NFO files of all the ROMs. You've tweaked the basic settings to your liking, and now you're ready to use this excellent software. You've gotten the (seemingly) difficult, tedious setup stuff out of the way, and all that's left is to start collecting ROMs.
    1. Click on the ROM list tab. This is the main interface of NDScrc.
    2. Find some ROMs, and dump them all into the "Unknown" folder.
    3. Click on the "Search & Sort" button. It doesn't matter if the ROM is zipp'd, rar'd, decompressed, incorrectly named, or rar'd AND incorrectly named at the same time (the ROM filename could even be something completely random like "w4p598jn.nds" for all you care, just as long as it contains the ".nds" extension). NDScrc will check the CRC32 of the ROM and compare it to the DAT file, then use the corresponding name from the DAT file to rename it. The ROM will then be sorted to the following folders:
    - Archive: After NDScrc verifies and renames a ROM, it will compress the ROM and sort it into this folder.
    - Dupe: If you already have a certain ROM and NDScrc finds a duplicate in the "Unknown" folder, it will send the duplicate to this folder. As you already have these ROMs safely and neatly organized in the "Archive" folder, any ROM that ends up in the "Dupe" folder can be immediately deleted.
    - Unknown: If the ROM isn't recognized, it will remain in this folder. There are a few reasons why a file won't be recognized:
    a) The ROM is not one of the following 3 supported file types: NDS/ZIP/RAR. NDScrc doesn't support 7-Zip compression. Also, make sure to add ".nds" to the end of the filename if the file extension is missing, and enable eXtract0r mode for RAR files.
    b) The ROM has just been released and the DAT file hasn't yet been updated to include the new ROM title. Download the latest DAT file and click the "Search & Sort" button again. If you already have the latest DAT file, wait until the next DAT update and try Search & Sort again.
    c) The ROM's CRC32 failed or the ROM is corrupt. If the ROM is one of the 3 supported file types (NDS/ZIP/RAR) and hasn't been added to the archive after a few DAT updates, it is most likely a bad ROM, or a hacked ROM/homebrew that isn't accepted as an official release by the NDS scene. This can be deleted, or moved to another folder for separate archival from the rest of your collection.
    4. Click on the "Nfo" tab and scroll through the NFO files. If they look strange or you can't read the text, go to the "Settings" tab, click on the "Display" tab on the far left, and in the "Nfo viewer" box, click the "Change Font" button. The default font is probably System. Change it to a more legible, ASCII art-friendly font like Courier. Try checking the "Reverse colors" box. This will invert the background and text colors so that you'll see white text on a black background when viewing NFOs.
    5. If you made it this far and NdsCRC is working the way it should, the rest (like the "Pictures" tab) is easy to figure out. Go and do some fine-tuning and final tweaking to the app, and just play around with the different sorting features until you're comfortable with what everything does. Enjoy!

    Please note, however, that as this is a very basic guide for n00bs, no proxy help has been included. This guide is based on what works for me and every other PC on which I have installed this app. So I've had no problems installing and getting this to work on 8 different computers, using 5 different home wireless networks. If you're behind a proxy or a firewall at work, school, etc., please refer to the proxy threads on the ADVANsCEne forum for help in that area. If you're downloading and playing ROMs at work, shame on you! :P For additional info, don't forget to check the general NdsCRC FAQ by pixelk. Includes illustrations.
    =========================================================================
    THANKS GO OUT TO:
    - pixelk for writing this amazing software
    - ADVANsCEne for sharing NDScrc, all the great ROM info, and everything else
    - GBAtemp.net, for attaining "Badass Ninja" rank on the coolness scale :ninja:
    - you, the reader, for your continued support of the ROM scene
    =========================================================================

    *EDIT*
    Sorry, I seem to have posted this in the M3 thread :wacko:
    I apologize for the n00bish mistake...moderators, please move this post to an appropriate thread. I'd repost it in the right thread myself, but I can't seem to find a way to delete this post.

    *EDIT*
    As per thefunkygibbon's request, I have included the link in Section II, Step 1. Thanks to thefunkygibbon for the suggestion!
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. thefunkygibbon

    Newcomer thefunkygibbon Advanced Member

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    might sound a bit dim but i cant find NDScrc on the advancescene website.. could you maybe post a direct link?

    :Edit: ok found it in the forums for the site. might be worthwhile putting that the file can be found there in the tutorial.

    http://www.advanscene.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=163 is where its at

    thanks for the guide though, been using romulator up until now, this looks good. not sure if it does all that romulator does yet though
     
  3. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    yea

    I couldnt find it either
    had to go searching for 10min for it
     
  4. fdias

    Newcomer fdias Member

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    First of all let me say that NDScrc is great!

    I miss two very important features (IMHO) though:

    - The ability to extract multiple files
    - Embeded trimmer so you can extract and trim the roms simultaneasly

    Why aren't those features there? Extracting roms one-by-one and using a third-party trimmer kinda sucks.

    But besides that I loved the program and really appreciate the effort!
     
  5. -Mew-

    Member -Mew- GBAtemp Regular

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    Awesome thanks for the guide!

    It really takes AGES for the pictures and nfo...
     
  6. Densetsu
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    Former Staff Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    Wow, I totally forgot that I posted this guide up here...it was one of my first posts ever. Thanks, I'm glad my efforts have helped others out.

    I wrote this guide before I knew about Rominator and before RToolDS was available (RToolDS download here). You might want to check these out, because the interface is MUCH nicer, and they feature the ability to extract multiple files and embedded trimmer, among numerous other improvements.

    The documentation for Rominator is excellent, so you can have it set up in no time. There isn't much documentation on RToolDS, but it's easier to use than NdsCRC, and RToolDS uses the same image and nfo caches, so once you've downloaded them for NdsCRC, you don't have to do it again for RToolDS.

    I only use NdsCRC (as well as OfflineList) to manage my GBA ROMs now. I would love it if GBA ROM support were added to Rominator and/or RToolDS so I could just use one application to manage all ROMs.
     
  7. -Mew-

    Member -Mew- GBAtemp Regular

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    Well guess i'm gonna try the Rominator.
     
  8. fdias

    Newcomer fdias Member

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    Rominator seems nice but it keeps crashing on me. I can't even load my game list, I have downloaded the latest version from rominator's site 2008.16, but no luck. [​IMG] Guess I'm gonna try RToolDS
     
  9. Densetsu
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    Former Staff Densetsu Pubic Ninja

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    Don't give up on Rominator so easily! [​IMG] Whenever there's a problem it usually means you might have overlooked something. Go here for support. hankchill (the creator of Rominator) is really good about responding to questions.
     
  10. toliman

    Newcomer toliman Newbie

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    even with the "help", there's still major file parsing issues in the last copy i downloaded,
    i.e. for fun, in Rominator, change your library folder, drag and drop the old .NDS/Rzip files from explorer, into the GUI window, and count how long in seconds it takes to crash.

    while NDSCRC does have the same parsing issues, i.e. importing files and checking the same files over and over and over again, it silently ignores files it has trouble with.
    that's partially worse since it doesn't log why it left files alone, but also better than crashing the whole app.
     

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