Author Topic: RETRODE II GUIDE/REVIEW of sorts XD  (Read 5355 times)

Offline gliitch

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RETRODE II GUIDE/REVIEW of sorts XD
« on: 26/Dec/2013 02:11:38 PM »
I received my RETRODE II for my birthday (25/12/) ;)  So I thought I'd write a review of what I think of it so far, the benefits & what I feel could be improved upon. This is a personal opinion, and this is a civilized forum so I don't expect any flaming :D

Positives

Being able to play from the original carts, with the original controllers.
Read & Write access of SRAM saves. (Partially)
RETRODE II appears as USB MASS Storage Device.
Size. It's about the same size as a glasses case.
Looks like one too with the lid closed.

Bonuses
You can plug in the SEGA Wireless IR Controllers, you'll need to use an Amiga Extension Cable.
In Windows 7 VM  (Paralells) the Retrode II installs properly with the correct drivers, without any hassle.


The Design/Look

The overall design aspect of the Retrode II is very sleek, and the color choice complements the feel of the old carts themselves to give it that long lost retro feel for the modern era. Everything looks so clean, by that I mean, it doesn't look like some cheap piece of equipment that would break in 5 minutes, or fall apart at the slightest of touches.

It's a very light, but made of a sturdy construction.

Connections

The ports themselves are flush with the device, the connection for the pads is very tight so there's no chance of it coming loose.

The Cartridge Slots

The slots hold the carts firmly in place so there's no chance of a disconnect. I only have EU Megadrive carts to test, so I can't say much for the SNES.

There's space for all region types (JAP/EU/US) So you'll be able to play games from all regions.
You can also play EU games at 60 FPS with the US aspect ratio in Kega Fusion to do so:

Go to Options > Country > (Depending on your cart it will automatically select your region)
In this case it's EU. Select US - This will make your EU ROM run at 60FPS.- If you have the FPS on, you'll see it jump from 50FPS to 60FPS. Also the music will speed up, and so will game play, it will be far less laggy.

Load up your cart, make sure you point it to the Retrode, so KEGA read's the cart's BIN file
Then go to Video > Use NTSC Aspect - this will widen your screen's output so its, um..proper fullscreen.

To get smooth playback select from the Options Tab - Perfect Sync
Then from the Video Tab - Vsync

These two options will stop the judder & artifacts (pixelation) you can sometimes see whilst playing games in KEGA.

Other Bits.

There's a standard USB B connector at the back which holds the provided usb cable snugly, it's recessed for a more secure fit.
Also in the SNES connector side, there's a 3V/5V switch to supply extra power i would imagine.
On the side of the Megadrive/Genesis Cart Slot there's two pressable buttons. The first a RESET switch & the second HWB button, which allows you to flash an updated firmware onto the device.

Here is the link to a guide on how to do that.There are also links to latest firmware available for your device.

http://www.retrode.org/documentation/firmware/

Flashing The Retrode II's Firmware.

Some people have had issues with being able to update the firmware due to drivers not installing properly.
You'll need to use FLIP which is a flashing program. It's rather straightforward if you follow the guide.
If you get an error when putting the RETRODE into DFU mode - You'll need to do the following, if in Windows:

My Computer (Press Windows Key + E to bring this window up)
System Properties > Device Manager > Click on Human Interface Device > One of the items will have a yellow triangle on it, which will read as Unknown Device.

Right click & select Update Driver Software.
Next you'll be presented with a window lets you search for your device driver.

Navigate to where you installed FLIP -
In Windows it would be  Program Files(x86)/Atmel/Flip 3.4.7(Latest Version Number at the time of writing)/usb/atmel_usb_dfu.inf <this is the driver file you'll need to install.Let Windows install the driver, depending on the speed of your processor it may take some time.

It will finally appear as "AT90USB64" - In FLIP select AT90USB646 & then follow the instructions given in the link above.

DOWNGRADING THE RETRODE II'S FIRMWARE

Should you need to downgrade the Retrode II's current firmware, you can follow the about how to, but instead of using the latest firmware, just choose a lower firmware. However, for best performance its probably wise to use the latest firmware available to avoid any nasty bugs.



Here's the part I've been reluctant to get to but will hopefully be resolved as the firmware evolves.

SRM Files & Other Oddities. ???

I have done some hunting around the interwebz &  found a command that seems to fix the saving issue of one game. It's dd if=/path/to/your/srm/file of=/x: RETRODE/srm here. I found it on a different portion of this very website.

The only issue which still remains is even with this command some games still do not write properly. & even when it does write as soon as you put in a new game then replace it with another cart, the save vanishes again. I typed the command in Windows using the type command although that proved to be a fruitless endvour.

So now at least I have made some progress.

Here is the Compatibility List for the Retrode II. It covers the type of game as well as the Save File type, Emulator you can use the Retrode on as well as the OS too.All in All quite informative.


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ahrd-1bLKmXZdHhjSF9sb2pTZWxrQk5KSTh3ckprTnc#gid=1
 
I did manage to copy the SRM to the Retrode II, it was recognized by both the Megadrive & Kega Fusion - In both Fusion & Gens, set the SRAM DIR to point to X: RETRODE X= Drive Letter.  However, in Shining Force 1, You'll get this when the Megadrive tries to read your save file:

Cursed music plays: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UevaGMheAUo
followed by this script:

Simone: "Oh no! I cannot find adventure. X  I hope you're not too mad!" - X = Battery Save 1,2 or 3

At the time when this happened my screen was of a blueish tint (looked all sinister), the reason for that was the cable wasn't plugged in properly -_- (always check your cables!) I thought I had completely goosed it. >_<

I have never seen that before either, as I've never had a Battery die on me. I'm just trying to imagine that back in the 1990's that would of been so scary to witness, all those hours/days/weeks of blood (burst thumb veins) sweat, tears & all nighters. I would of defiantly dropped a few bricks.

LED NOTIFICATION

It's a nice touch as it responds [FLASHES] to the following:

READING THE CARTS - STAYS A SOLID RED FOR A BIT
DISCONNECTING THE CARTS
CONTROLLER INPUT

What would be good is if it flashed when writing the SRAM to the carts, then have a notification pop up which said something like "Saved SRM. Successful" so you'd know that you can be sure it's going to work for next time, either on the real Megadrive Hardware or on the emulator.

GenericRomInSegaSlot.dat

This had me bricking it for a bit. You'll not be able to load this file up in Kega as the emulator won't recognize it.
This file is what <Name of ROM>.bin should be. To solve this issue, just RESET> UNPLUG > RE-PLUG (not sure if that's even a proper term XD) It should revert back to its wonderful state.

RETRODE.CFG FILE

This file holds all the information that the Retrode itself reads.
When you first get the Retrode II - SRAM Writing is set to 1 - You'll need to Set it to 0.
Depending on the OS (Operating System) you run, you'll need to pick out a specific File Editor as not all of them can edit & save your SRAM's.

With LINUX & OSX You can use NANO via the Terminal to edit the CFG directly without having to copy & paste the file to the Desktop > Edit > Replace.  First you'll need to navigate to where the Retrode is mounted.
First type nano <path to device goes here>

OSX

/Volumes/RETRODE(you can customize the name)/RETRODE.CFG

With all these OS's you can use the GUI versions, it's just a case of finding one which works.
Here is a link to some.

Compatible Retrode II CFG File Editors

http://forum.retrode.org/index.php?topic=23.15

In Windows you can just use NotePad.You'll need to go to "Control Panel > Folder Options > View >" Untick the box which says "Hide extensions for known file types"

This will allow you to see what file type your file is as it will be displayed in the name ie:"Phantasy Star IV Combos List.txt" Where as before the .txt or whatever it is, would be hidden.

Change the extension to .txt It will most likely complain, but then reconfigure itself to CFG but with your edits intact.

Compatible Emulators

Window/Linux/OSX

Gens
Fusion
SNES9x
ZSNES

Android

MD.EMU
SNES9x
(Probably More I only have those 2)

RETRODE II ON ANDROID - XPERIA Z3 Compact:

Retrode II works as intended on the xz3c. The cart shows up along with the save file (when browsed in a file manager)

It also shows up correctly under /storage/usbdisk
UPDATE:
I looked into the Retrode's CFG & edited the HID MODE to 2 (USB Controllers) instead of 1 (USB Game Controllers + Mouse) & Now my controller works like a charm.

RETRODE II WORKING ON ANDROID TF300 - FIRMWARE: 4.1.1
Shows up as a Removable Storage Device USB DISK1 When plugged in with keyboard dock.
Works with the ASUS USB Adapter (Appears as USB DISK2)

CONTROLLER TUTORIAL FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO USE CONTROLLERS TO CONTROL THINGS WITH... ??? XD


If you have a 6 Button Controller you can do the following:

USE YOUR MEGADRIVE PAD TO CONTROL KEGA'S/GENS FUNCTIONS.

Prerequisites:

6 Button Megadrive/Genesis Pad Wired or Sega Wireless (MK-1629-50) - These have a mode button on the top. All 6 Button pads all have the MODE function, its to emulate a 3 button pad in certain games like MK.
Looks like this tutorial gives a new use for the MODE button. :D

LINUX

1/1/14

To get your controller working in Linux, change the HID Mode to 3 (read the solution in the retrode forums.) :D
Next update will bring keyboard shortcuts to your controller... then this tutorial will finally be complete :D yaay.


WINDOWS:


Megadrive Extension Cable/Amiga Cable (9 PIN D CABLE) (OPTIONAL)
Kega Emulator (WINDOWS VERSION)
Joy To Key
Retrode II

FIRE UP KEGA FUSION:

Go to Options
Set Config...
Controllers - Select "Retrode  3/4"

Select your controller - Depending on the type of controller you use, the port number will be different.
After that select "Define"

Enter UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT A B C START.

SETTING UP A SHORTCUT

First things first you'll need to create a Shortcut if you'll want to load up Kega Fusion via a button on your Megadrive Controller.

Right Click on the Fusion Icon > Create Shortcut.
Right Click on the shortcut you've just created, go to Properties then click on Shortcut Key. Add your shortcut ie: Ctrl+Alt+ K
Just be sure to use a shortcut that isn't used by another program or function. As this will override the current function.

ALL YOUR CONTROL BELONGS TO US.

SETTING UP JOY2KEY -

Go to Options - You'll have "4 Joysticks Detected" but only 2 in the box.
Change this to 4. As you'll need the Forth Tab to show up. (that was the case in my ...erm case. XD)
The #(Buttons) numbers will be different so ignore the number next to the #'s
Depending on which controller port you use you'll get different numbers for controllers.

Farthest Port (RIGHT) is 4th Nearest Port is 3rd

This is a relatively simple program to suss out & doesn't take long to learn the basics.
Make sure you've plugged in RETRODE II & let Windows Update do it's thing - finding drivers and such.

You'll be greeted with a set of inputs 32# of them to exact. By pressing the buttons will make the program show up which buttons correspond to what on a keyboard.When pressed they will show up in Yellow.

When you've found the button you wish to map (say X) you'll have 4 boxes each says "Disabled" to map the command "Open Fusion" look at the shortcut that you've assigned to the shortcut key. So for example:

You'll need to map the A,B,C START. DIRECTIONAL BUTTONS in this program, otherwise Kega Fusion won't input your commands.

Tap X and it will show up as button 5#
Now click on it, this will bring up a new menu

The command to "Open Fusion" has been assigned as Ctrl+Alt+K
So, in the first box we input "Ctrl"
The second box we input "Alt"
The third box we input "K"

So now when we tap the "X" button, the computer will think we've input the actual keyboard command.
We just go through all the other buttons as assigning them to which ever function you choose.

Say for example you want to assign "Select MD/Genesis Rom" to the MODE button:

We look up what the command is for "Load Megadrive Rom" - which is Ctrl G

Go to Key To Joy

Press MODE the button will light up in yellow indicating that we will need to bind this button to a certain set of shortcuts to carry out the desired function.

In the First box input Ctrl
In the Second input G

Because the Retrode II shows up as a Mass Storage Device, you can assign your ROM files to automatically boot Fusion or Gens automatically when pressed. Which free's up an extra button on your controller. You can assign this controller button to anything you think you'll find useful. Such as changing from EU (Country) to US for a smoother/faster experience.

So now, you can test out these new commands. All going well, you should now be able to activate Kega Fusion & select a ROM of your choice all from the comfort of your controller. ;)

CONTROL MD.EMU WITH YOUR MEGADRIVE PAD

PREREQUISITES

ANDROID PHONE
MEGADRIVE PAD (6 BUTTON)
RETRODE II (OPTIONAL)

Go to your Retrode's CFG file. Aptly named RETRODE.CFG (genius XD) look for the lines

[sramReadonly] 1 Edit this to 0 so it will allow you to write your save files back to the cart.
[HIDMode] 1 Edit this so it's [HIDMode] 2 - This will allow you to use your controller properly.

Download MD.EMU from the Google Play Store. It's by a guy called Robert Broglia lovely chap. It allows you to emulate the following consoles Sega Megadrive/Genesis/Sega CD/Master System/MARKIII. He also does SNES9XEX Which allows you to play SNES games.I don't own any SNES carts as of yet, so I shall update this tutorial when I purchase some. (Hopefully get the Retrode to work with my phone by then)

Once installed, load up the application navigate to "On-Screen Input Setup"
Press down on the controller & press [A] and press up till you see "Off" tap [A] again to set.
Then press B to go back to the previous menu.

Now, go into the "Key/Gamepad Input Setup" menu.Press [A] to access the menu. Go down till you see "Retrode UG Retrode" Press [A] Go to "Set Gamepad Keys" Select Unbind All. Now, After each selection Press A to configure (access the menu) then when it says "Push key to set" Press the key you wish to set it as. ie: Press A for A and so on.

Configuring your D-PAD

Press Up for Up - it will be displayed as Y Axis-
Press Right for Right - it will be displayed as X Axis -
Press Down for Down - it will be displayed as Y Axis -
Press Left for Left - it will be displayed as X Axis -   

Set "Use Virtual Gamepad" to Off - This will turn the touchscreen gamepad off.
In the "Retrode UG Retrode" menu, at the bottom you'll see an option called  "Joystick Axis 1 as D-Pad"
Put this also to Off, because if its set to "On" you won't be able to control your character or characters.


Configuring your buttons

Leave the MODE button as None
Press START for START - it will be registered as G4
Press A for A - it will be registered as G2
Press B for B - it will be registered as G1
Press  C for C - it will be registered as G5
Leave the X,Y & Z buttons as None

Press the B button to go back.

Enter the "Set In-Game Actions Menu" Press [A] to access the menu.

Leave Load Game as None
Set "Open Menu" as MODE - This will be registered as G3
Set "Save State" as X -  This will be registered as G7
Set "Load State" as Y - This will be registered as G6
Set Fast Forward as Z - This will be registered as G8

As for Exit/Quit Game, Load Game I felt that Open Menu was more the useful choice as you can access everything from it.

You can set the buttons to whatever you feel accustomed to this is just a guide to what I felt would be useful to me.   

The above tutorial is a modified version of the original that I wrote & posted on another site.




   
 
« Last Edit: 01/Jul/2016 01:20:51 AM by gliitch »