Retrode Community Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: aaale on 13/Jan/2012 08:20:46 AM

Title: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 13/Jan/2012 08:20:46 AM
Hi all  ;)

I've got a couple of questions for you:

A) What's the correct process for cart changing? Eject Retrode, change cart, wait for the drive to appear OR eject retrode, disconnect usb cable, change cart, reconnect usb cable, wait for the drive to appear? I'm asking this cause when i remove a cart without unplugging the usb cable i notice the led status flashing a couple of times and i'm afraid of a possible cart damage.

B) Whenever i save during a game (i try Shining in the darkness, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario All Stars) save files are note wrote in the cart but in default emulator folder despite i changed [sramReadonly] to 0 in RETRODE.CFG
Is there a way to avoid this?

My configuration is:
iMac OSX 10.6.8
SNES Emulators: Zsnes or SNES9x
Mega Drive Emulator: Kega Fusion

I've got also a Windows XP SP3 laptop with exactly the same emulators.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: hedwards on 13/Jan/2012 06:45:37 PM
You can hotswap, the main risk is corrupting any saved games you have. Personally I hotswap because I don't have saved game on any of my carts as I play ROMs only and my carts were previously owned.

It's a bit like any other time that you swap memory cards or what not, you run the risk of corrupting stored data. The ROM itself shouldn't be effected by it.

BTW that information is in the little manual that came with the unit.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 15/Jan/2012 07:45:03 AM
Have you set the correct path for RAM/.srm files in your emulator? Also, please note that this will only work with battery-backed on-cart saves, and NOT with save states (memory and CPU status dumps) that are specific to the emulator.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 16/Jan/2012 10:27:36 AM
Thanks for all suggestions.

After a sunday afternoon of tests i want to share my results with you ;)

ROM READING:

It simply WORKS ! in Windows and OSX, with all emulators (kega fusion, gens, snes9x, zsnes)

JOYPAD COMPATIBILITY

This worked out of the box too except for the Kega Fusion emulator under OSX (it's a know problem already discussed in this thread http://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,11.0.html (http://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,11.0.html))

SRM SAVES

This took most of my time.

SNES

On OSX i wasn't able to get it to work.

ZSNES doesn't let me input the correct path of the Retrode unit (/Volumes/RETRODE) cause it doesn't recognize character like / and other.
SNES9x let me set the correct path but it creates a rom_name.srm.ooops when i save.
I think it's for this problem http://www.retrode.org/documentation/troubleshooting/troubleshooting-saving-files-to-the-retrode-does-not-work/ (http://www.retrode.org/documentation/troubleshooting/troubleshooting-saving-files-to-the-retrode-does-not-work/) I didn't try the cat thing but it probably works.

On Windows SNES9x saves worked out of the box (Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario All Stars) configuring the correct retrode path.
I saved and started the game on a real SNES ... it worked.

Mega Drive

On OSX i didn't test anything.

On Windows i wasn't able to get it to work with both Kega Fusion and Gens.
I try to save the game directly to the cart but saves weren't recognized when i plugged it on a real Mega Drive.
Same result when i saved to the disk and then manually copied the file on the retrode unit.
Games tested were: Wonderboy 5 in Monster World, Shining in the darkness, Shining Force I.
Carts are not broken cause when i play and save them using a real Mega Drive they work fine.

If someone has suggestions for the Mega Drive saves it will be really appreciated !



Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 16/Jan/2012 04:02:54 PM
I will try to get my hands on some of the titles you mentioned, and investigate the problem.

Cheers,
Matthias
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 20/Jan/2012 01:04:45 PM
FYI Matthias last firmware fixed my saves problem, except for Wonderboy 5 in Monster World but only because it saves in a non standard place (EEPROM):

http://www.tototek.com/store/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2849&highlight=&sid=8f06cb288f552a3bfee14b6b32526b53 (http://www.tototek.com/store/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2849&highlight=&sid=8f06cb288f552a3bfee14b6b32526b53)

Cheers
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 20/Jan/2012 05:16:55 PM
EEPROM is currently not supported but I hope to add it at some point.

Good to hear about your success with the latest firmware, though! Since I could only develop the Sega SRAM support with exactly one title (Sonic 3), I'd be very interested in learning more about your testing procedure. So you only tried Wonderboy 5 and the two Shinings, but what exactly did you try?
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 20/Jan/2012 06:03:46 PM
I plugged Shining in the darkness in the Retrode, fired up Kega Fusion on my Windows XP laptop, configured SEGA joypad and started the game.

I created a new adventure, gave hero a name, talked with king who gave me 200 golds, went to the village, bought a new sword and sold a knife that left me with 75 golds.

At this point i went to the shrine and saved the game, closed emulator, safely removed Retrode, and hooked up the cart on a real SEGA Mega Drive.

When i started the game i found the game saved and my 75 golds intacts.

I went to the labyrinth, i killed a couple of monsters who gave me a couple of XP points and golds, returned to the shrine and saved.

I inserted the game again in the retrode, fired up Kega Fusion and i found my XP points and golds gained a few minutes before.

Exactly same story with Shining Force I.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 20/Jan/2012 06:37:26 PM
Awesome, thank you for your thorough testing. Did you choose the 16-bit mode for the SRAM?
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Muzer on 20/Jan/2012 06:52:56 PM
Could you explain what the two different modes do? Does one of them pad every other byte with a 0 or something?

(Too excited, mine will be coming soon, I hope!)
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 20/Jan/2012 08:15:28 PM
Awesome, thank you for your thorough testing. Did you choose the 16-bit mode for the SRAM?

Exactly, before that mode, no Mega Drive saves worked for me.  :)

I'm real happy, if you make a better compatibility with the Mac world i will be happier than a child on christmas day :P
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 20/Jan/2012 10:05:56 PM
Ah well. I just spent considerable effort removing the "keyboard mode" from the codebase, since the HID game controllers seemed to work perfectly. I guess it will have to go back in for v.17d :)
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: madmonkey on 21/Jan/2012 04:30:54 PM
hehe, only sonic3? technically, it's not even sram, though interface is the same.
you might find the attached info useful, it's a list of all roms that support saving to the cart.
sizes are counting even bytes for md and 32x, not counting for sms.
32x list might be incomplete, and sms list is most certainly incomplete.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Muzer on 21/Jan/2012 07:09:40 PM
Yeah, Sonic 3 used FRAM, didn't it? Always wondered why it hasn't caught on - is it too expensive/physically large to make with larger storage capacities?
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Zerker on 22/Jan/2012 01:25:27 PM
Per my other thread (http://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,16.0.html), I tried three Genesis games with Saveram other than Sonic 3:

Phantasy Star 2
Beyond Oasis
and Light Crusader

Of those three, only Phantasy Star 2 worked. The other two games have valid saveram (confirmed on physical Genesis both before and after trying with Retrode), but it was not interpreted properly by the emulator after copying via Retrode.

Which is weird, because according to Madmonkey's list, they should all have identical sram sizes.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: madmonkey on 22/Jan/2012 03:47:09 PM
make sure that srm file size is exactly 16kb for these 3 games.
if not, you might want to update to one of the beta firmwares posted here.
and, check your emulator settings. save directory might not be the same as rom directory.

story of thor works just fine, though I only checked japanese version.
and, I didn't update firmware, I just expanded srm files.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 23/Jan/2012 05:30:51 AM
Exactly same story with Shining Force I.

A different user is having issues with Shining Force I, save slots 2 and 3. Slot 1 appears to be working fine, but no luck with the other ones. Can you confirm this?

Regards,
Matthias
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 23/Jan/2012 07:49:13 AM
Exactly same story with Shining Force I.

A different user is having issues with Shining Force I, save slots 2 and 3. Slot 1 appears to be working fine, but no luck with the other ones. Can you confirm this?

Regards,
Matthias

I've only tested slot 1 ... give me some days and i will give it a try.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Muzer on 26/Jan/2012 09:08:23 PM
I just read on an emulation forum that most emulators expect Mega Drive SRMs to be 16-bit, because there are a few that actually are 16-bit apparently (a few EA Sports titles, including NFL95 and NFL98 according to that forum). So, perhaps this mode should be enabled by default, and the 16-bit SRAM chips looked into (though probably not at a high priority)?
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 28/Jan/2012 12:17:31 AM
a few EA Sports titles, including NFL95 and NFL98
Interesting! Do you also happen to have a link to said emulation forum? :)

Also, does anyone have any of those 16-bit NFL titles? Because implementing 16-bit SRAM I/O is no big deal but it would be good if someone could test it.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Muzer on 28/Jan/2012 12:37:39 AM
This was where I found it:

http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35987

And here's a line from the changelog of an emulator:

"* fixed SRAM 16-bits memory handlers: fix some Sega Sports and EA Sports games (NFL95, NBA Action 95, NHL97, NHL98,...)"
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 29/Jan/2012 02:58:55 PM
Exactly same story with Shining Force I.

A different user is having issues with Shining Force I, save slots 2 and 3. Slot 1 appears to be working fine, but no luck with the other ones. Can you confirm this?

Regards,
Matthias

I've only tested slot 1 ... give me some days and i will give it a try.

I've tested save slot 2 and 3 and i confirm they work for me.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 29/Jan/2012 03:23:25 PM
Another thing:

I try to save Kega Fusion .srm on the hard drive under OSX and then cat it on the Retrode using that command:

cat /Users/aaale/Library/Application\ Support/Kega\ Fusion/ShiningForce.030D.srm > /Volumes/RETRODE/ShiningForce.030D.srm

I plugged the cart on a real Mega Drive and i found no saves on it so for me that didn't work.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 30/Jan/2012 03:20:15 PM
Another little update:

When i save Mega Drive .srm directly from the Kega Fusion emulator on the Retrode using OSX i confirm they work until unit is unmounted.

I don't know if it can help  ;)

Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 30/Jan/2012 03:51:43 PM
Another thing:

I try to save Kega Fusion .srm on the hard drive under OSX and then cat it on the Retrode using that command:

cat /Users/aaale/Library/Application\ Support/Kega\ Fusion/ShiningForce.030D.srm > /Volumes/RETRODE/ShiningForce.030D.srm

I plugged the cart on a real Mega Drive and i found no saves on it so for me that didn't work.

Did you make sure the format of the .srm matches your Retrode's config setting (8 vs. 16 bit)? You can tell the format of a .srm file by inspecting it in a hex editor. If every other byte is a zero, FF, or duplicated, the emulator saves in a 16-bit format.

When i save Mega Drive .srm directly from the Kega Fusion emulator on the Retrode using OSX i confirm they work until unit is unmounted.

That means the file is not written, only cached by the OS. Old problem (http://www.retrode.org/documentation/troubleshooting/troubleshooting-saving-files-to-the-retrode-does-not-work/).
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 02/Feb/2012 01:54:27 PM
Did you make sure the format of the .srm matches your Retrode's config setting (8 vs. 16 bit)? You can tell the format of a .srm file by inspecting it in a hex editor. If every other byte is a zero, FF, or duplicated, the emulator saves in a 16-bit format.

Check out this video i made:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45975356/Registrazione%20schermo.mov (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45975356/Registrazione%20schermo.mov)

From what you say this is a 16-bit filesave, isn't it ?

If yes, my retrode is already set to save in 16-bit format.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 02/Feb/2012 04:53:42 PM
New firmware. I found a whole lot of weird things in the SRAM detection and I/O routines that are cleaned up in this new version. For instance, the size of the SRAM was always detected too short.

Find it on http://retrode.org/firmware (http://retrode.org/firmware)
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 02/Feb/2012 08:56:19 PM
New firmware. I found a whole lot of weird things in the SRAM detection and I/O routines that are cleaned up in this new version. For instance, the size of the SRAM was always detected too short.

Find it on http://retrode.org/firmware (http://retrode.org/firmware)

Link http://www.retrode.com/files/firmware/Retrode2-v0.17d-beta.zip (http://www.retrode.com/files/firmware/Retrode2-v0.17d-beta.zip) doesn't work for me  :(

OK It's working now :)

Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 03/Feb/2012 02:36:51 PM
New firmware. I found a whole lot of weird things in the SRAM detection and I/O routines that are cleaned up in this new version. For instance, the size of the SRAM was always detected too short.

Find it on http://retrode.org/firmware (http://retrode.org/firmware)

Matthias another bunch of results for you from my tests.

Situation is always the same:

OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8
Retrode Firmware: 0.17d beta
Game: Shining Force I (Mega Drive)
Emulator: Kega Fusion

Sadly direct .srm saves on the Retrode continue not to work but a step forward has be done:

I started a new game saving on slot 1 creating a .srm on the mac.
I cat it to the retrode with this command:

cat /Users/aaale/Library/Application\ Support/Kega\ Fusion/ShiningForce.030D.srm > /Volumes/RETRODE/ShiningForce.030D.srm

then i plugged the cart into a real Mega Drive and ... bidibodibib├╣ slot 1 was there! as i saved on the mac :)

Next move was to copy slot 1 on slot 3, after that i plugged the cart back on the retrode, copied .srm and loaded the game. Slot 3 was there. Happy :)

The bad end of this little story was that i copied slot 3 on slot 2, do the cat thing another time, plugged the cart into the Mega Drive and slot 2 wasn't there :(

The only thing that i noticed was that .srm created by Kega Fusion was 16k but the one in the retrode is 33k.
This happens only with 0.17d-beta, with 0.17d-experimental it is 16k.

FW 1.17d-beta:

(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45975356/Schermata%202012-02-03%20a%2012.54.33.png)

FW 0.17d-experimental

(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45975356/Schermata%202012-02-03%20a%2013.07.08.png)

What i want to do next is to repeat my tests with the experimental firmware. Just to be secure of my past results.

Cheers

Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: aaale on 03/Feb/2012 05:11:24 PM
Another thing:

I try to save Kega Fusion .srm on the hard drive under OSX and then cat it on the Retrode using that command:

cat /Users/aaale/Library/Application\ Support/Kega\ Fusion/ShiningForce.030D.srm > /Volumes/RETRODE/ShiningForce.030D.srm

I plugged the cart on a real Mega Drive and i found no saves on it so for me that didn't work.

Sorry it was a bad test ... it's woking great with the experimental firmware.
Title: Re: Cart change and Saves questions
Post by: Matthias_H on 03/Feb/2012 05:31:14 PM
The SRAM should be 32K; Kega only writes the files as big as it has data to fill.