Author Topic: Alternate backup save data copying idea for those who don't have N64 plugin  (Read 9815 times)

Offline PartyPirate

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So I got my Retrode recently ,which is awesome, but unfortunately I am late for the party and they stopped selling the plugins for it. So I tried searching the web for a site that possibly sells them but to no luck. I really wanted to do something to save my Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time data from possible destruction of a dead battery and that's when I discovered this Idea. by utilizing the N64 Gameshark Pro's data transfer utility. Unfortunately there wasn't really any documentation about this process on the web so I had to do some Experimenting on my own to see how this will work. After a lot of good testing and researching I was able to make a copy of my Legend of Zelda data to a Controller Pak (That's the N64 memory card that attaches to the back of the conroller). It works very nicely and you can easily transfer the data back to the cart by following the instructions from the Gameshark manual (I will post a link below) So allow me to detail this process and tell you the materials you will need

Materials:
A N64 Gameshark Pro version 3.3 (I don't know about version 3.2 or lower, but I recommend 3.3 because it is fully updated.)

A N64 Controller Pak (I used an official one)

Your game that you wish to make a copy of its data ( My wonderful gold zelda game)

***Optional*** An N64 game that requires the use of the N64 Controller Pak (read details below)

First here is the link for how to do process for Normal uses, Read The Manual from the link

N64 Gameshark Pro instruction manual link    http://www.mindspring.com/~glaciuscool/gspro/doc/gspro.htm


Controller Pak error cases with Gameshark


If the N64 memory card you have has a save data along with corrupted data, the Gameshark won't be able to access the memory card and it will freeze the system. To fix this you will need to access the data of the memory card through an N64 game that requires a Controller Pak. to access the memory card
1. First insert you memory card in the controller
2. Insert the N64 game that requires a memory card in the N64
3.While holding down the start button on the controller, power on the N64. you should then be at the memory card screen
4. Delete all the data on the memory card (for me I use a single memory card for each game for safety reasons, but if you happen to have a save data on the memory card that you like and don't want to delete it, refer to the instructions after this instruction.
5.After deleting all the data, shut off the N64 and insert your Gameshark in the N64 and turn the system on.
6. Go to the memory management and Format the memory card. Gameshark will now be able to access the memory card with save data on it without freezing anymore.

If your Controller Pak somehow does work when it has normal and corrupt save data at the same time and you wish to format it to get rid of the corrupt data and make your Controller Pak normal and clean of corrupt data again Be Warned. Formatting a Controller Pak WILL DELETE EVERYTING ON YOUR CONTROLLER PAK. So do not format if you have data that you wish to keep. If so, go to the instructions below on how to transfer and copy it to a Controller Pak

Transferring data from a Controller Pak to another Controller Pak

To transfer data from a Controller Pak to another Controller Pak without the use of GameShark (I used Paperboy 64 as a Test)
1.Insert the Controller Pak that has your N64 data on it
2.Insert the N64 game for the save data on the Controller Pak and turn the N64 on
3.Load the save data on your game
4.Once done, remove the Controller Pak from the controller and switch it with a Controller Pak that does works well
5.Save data of the game on the Memory card, you now have successfully copied the data to another card. and are now free to format the memory card using the instructions above.

****Note**** That this process details games with saving its progress data on the Controller Pak, I am unsure if this process will work for other save datas such as Mario Kart 64 ghost saves, Custom WWE characters, etc. But it could possibly work if the process is anything like above, but i don't have any other games with other Controller Pak save features to test with so my testing is limited.

***Special case*** while I was testing with various Memory cards, I discovered Memory cards that when loaded gives a message saying the memory card is damaged and the game will attempt to repair it. Pressing yes will repair the damage and the memory card will be able to work again, but however the memory card will require a mandatory format from Gameshark to allow the the transfer and copying of save data to the memory card or you won't be able to access its data. Through my experimenting I have discovered that this will happen when you change the battery of the memory card. I am unsure about other the other cases as the other memory cards that had this problem were already like that and had no signs of battery replacement.

Now all you have to do is follow the instructions from the Gameshark Manual from the Link above and you can then transfer and copy data freely between N64 Game Paks to Controller Paks and Controller Paks to Game Paks

I wish to do more research on this Alternate  N64 backup data idea but will need to get more games to test with first.

As for now I need to do some reading on the forums for how to use my Retrode for SNES/Genesis backing up data and transfering it to computer, then transfering it back to the game cart and also on how to play its emulations service.

Currently I am researching some alternative form for Gameboy backup and Transfer/Copy data to external sources and back to the game cart. And I have found some very good candidates for the job but still have to do some research and experimenting first before sharing my work.

I will post updates on the alternate N64 data Transfer/Copy idea regarding the above cases I haven't researched yet.

*****Battery Life Research update*****  I've also decided to check how long a CR2032 battery will last before it gives out and dies for N64 cartridges my Test subject is my Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. By checking the manufacturing number on the back of my cartrige i've determined my cartridge to be the first version making it a 1998 version so that would make my game about 16 years old now and the battery still works. So for those who complain about the battery possibly dying on the Controller Pak very soon. Do not fear, the battery will last for quite a good long time before it kicks. Thus you shall have plenty of time to have keep a backup on the Controller Pak if you plan on changing the battery right away on the Controller Pak before doing the above process. Also remeber to read the Special Case section about changing the battery on the Controller Pak.

« Last Edit: 15/Aug/2014 08:13:12 PM by PartyPirate »

Offline crw

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Thanks for posting this; I never knew of this GameShark functionality.

To the best of my knowledge, the Retrode N64 plug-in doesn't support savegame data from the actual cartridge (at least as of late 2013 http://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,196.msg1490.html#msg1490).  So you're actually breaking new ground here, and I have also been looking for a solution to N64 on-cart saves.

People may actually be able to combine this method with the Retrode plug-in to enable computer back-up of savegame data from the N64 cart itself by using the GameShark to copy the save to the controller pak, and then from the controller pak to a computer using Wannado's work detailed in the last link.

Even without the Retrode plug-in, this method enables competition-style events where each player starts from the same savegame on separate carts on actual hardware without having to start from the beginning.  I'm thinking OoT challenge starting on the Water Temple with 3 hearts :P

Just figured I'd give you a big high 5 for this work, and try to come up with some interesting ideas that this GameShark method allows.

Offline PartyPirate

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Bumper cars

Offline rimsky82

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Dragonbox currently has Retrode 2s and plugins in stock.  I just bought the SMS plugin from them a month ago.

https://www.dragonbox.de/en/63-retrode

I have a few gamesharks, I can test this theory.

Offline rimsky82

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I couldn't get the Gameshark to boot with Zelda on it.  I'll have to research why, I have a few of them, including a fully-featured 3.3 and a dummy-port 3.3.

I did get my SM64 save onto the pak though, and I was able to transfer it to my pc using the retrode.  I'm not sure yet how I'll get the save out of the mempak file, though.  PJ64 will load the mempak file as if it were in controller one, but SM64 doesn't care about it, it wants the save from its gamepak and I haven't figured out yet how to get it there.

Is there a tool for extracting saves from a raw mempak file?  I could probably quick develop one if there isn't.

Edit:  I just remembered the N64 Gameshark has key codes, which is why it wouldn't boot with Zelda.  So this should still work with Zelda games and others.
« Last Edit: 06/Nov/2015 02:16:03 PM by rimsky82 »

Offline Wannado

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Is there a tool for extracting saves from a raw mempak file?  I could probably quick develop one if there isn't.

I've seen a mempak file editor in Mupen 64 0.5.1 with the N-Rage Input Plugin V2. It appears in the "Input Settings..." dialog for that plugin on the tab "Controller Pak", when "Mem Pak" is selected as the type of pak. You can save and load the individual "Notes" there.
But as I remember, the editor had some issues. Make sure you have a backup of the files you're editing.

However, if the cartridge contains SRAM (like Zelda OoT), the Gameshark seems to compress the data for storage on the mempak:
http://assemblergames.com/l/threads/dumping-n64-game-saves-with-a-gameshark-with-lpt-access.31850/

Offline pmarshall

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The fellow at the link below posts Gameshark save file backup procedures in some detail, including a workaround of the file compression Gameshark uses when backing up large SRAM save files like Zelda Ocarina of Time that prevents the recovered save file from being used in an emulator.

https://www.kyleniewiada.org/blog/transferring-n64-saves/