Forum Home Forum Home > Off Topic > Console Gaming
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Any interest in Star Fox 2 repro carts?
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Any interest in Star Fox 2 repro carts?

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234>
Author
Message
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 5:17am
The problem with using Stunt Race FX carts is that it uses the FX1 chip.  The FX1 will work with Starfox 2, but the framerate will be slower than if you used the FX2
EDIT:  Looks like I was wrong about this, see post below
Also not all Super FX games have enough ram for it to work (Yoshi Island, but I wouldn't gut one of them!).  I have a donor cart in mind but I don't want to name it yet just in case all of them disappear off ebay before I get a chance to get a few in!

The carts I propose to make will be:

FX2 based and overclocked for smoother framerate
Saving enabled
Fitted with the patched romset to take out the debugging and translated.

I'll probably only do PAL ones because I don't have a NTSC SNES to check them in.  That ebay link looks like it could come in handy in the future!  I'll post back once I've made some progress.

EDIT:  With regards to price, that depends on a lot of things:
How much a pain in the bum it is to solder on the new crystal and ROM
How hard it is to source suitable donor carts
Whether people want it boxed/labelled


Edited by Sonny_Jim - 26 April 2012 at 5:21pm
Back to Top
rockford View Drop Down
High Score
High Score
Avatar

Joined: 04 August 2006
Location: Buckinghamshire
Status: Offline
Points: 759
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rockford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 10:32am
Quote I have a donor cart in mind but I don't want to name it yet just in case all of them disappear off ebay before I get a chance to get a few in!

Seeing as there were only 3 SFX2 games released for SNES and you don't want to gut a Yoshi's Island that doesn't really leave much to work out, especially since one of those two isn't even available on eBay at the moment. So that leaves just one game... ;) :P

Anyway, I'd be interested (and I do actually own that one game) :)
I code, therefore I am.
Back to Top
retroshaun View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 09 April 2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1283
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote retroshaun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 1:02pm
+1
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 1:18pm
Ok, so I managed to snaffle the last one off ebay europe and there's another on ebay oz I might get as well, so I can let slip and say that 'Winter Gold' is the donor cart I'm going to try first.  From the bits and bobs I've read it should work just dandy.  But before all you lot go off and start hunting carts I'll say these two things:

1.  It's going to be a while until I start actively working on this project, I get back to the UK at the end of October so I won't do any hardware stuff till then.
2.  I'm not 100% sure Winter Games will work, so I'd wait until I've built my first one until you all go ransacking places for it.

After having a think about it, a *rough* price guide would be:

£30-£50 if you supply the donor cart
£50-£70 if you don't supply a cart and just want an unlabelled one
£70-£100 if you want it labelled, boxed with manual (see ebay link above).

Sound fair?  As I said before, I'm guessing it's going to be about 2-3hrs work per cart but I won't know till I actually try for myself.  If people really want I suppose I could use FX1 carts but I want these to be as perfect as I can.

I have to admit I'm actually surprised by the amount of responses!  I was going to go post on some other forums to attract interest but I think I'll just stick with J+ and see how I get on.

EDIT: Oh and for some reason part of me thinks that some FX1 games actually shipped with an FX2 chip inside that is underclocked.  If anyone is feeling brave enough could they pop open their carts to have a look? If so that could make tracking down donor carts a little more of a roulette experience.
EDIT2:  It's 'Winter GOLD', not 'Winter Games' as I had previously.

Edited by Sonny_Jim - 26 April 2012 at 3:07pm
Back to Top
sjbaines View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen

Lucky Geezer

Joined: 03 December 2010
Location: Shropshire
Status: Offline
Points: 2581
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sjbaines Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 1:25pm
Given the work involved, that sounds like a reasonable price range to me,
so change my 'interested depending on price' to 'definitely interested'.

Wanted: Robotron CP+Sticks for Euro machine.
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 1:31pm
This link shows you what I'm going to be doing:
http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30143

The difference is that I'll be changing the crystal to 27MHz, which I read is a good overclocking value. 
EDIT: See post below
Also I'm not sure if I'll be able to squeeze in a 27c080 into the cart packaging, so I might have to use surface mount stuff.  If I do, the price may go up a bit as I don't have any tools for SMT.
EDIT: Pretty sure it'll fit in a PAL casing.
I'll be using the patch from here:

If you look here you can see examples of the gameboy flashcarts I've been making (amoungst other things....):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/60736230@N02/page2/






Edited by Sonny_Jim - 26 April 2012 at 5:20pm
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 5:19pm
OK, here's what I've found out regarding overclocking:
 
The FX1 and FX2 chip operate identically apart from a couple of minor differences:
 
1.  The FX2 can use larger ROM's than FX1, but in Starfox 2's case this doesn't matter as it's small enough to run on an FX1
 
2.  The FX2 are more stable when being overclocked.
 
Now, there is only one person (Drakon) who believes that overclocking the FX2 gets you faster frame rates in Starfox.  There's quite a few people who disagree with him and the general consensus is that the games 'Vortex' and 'Stunt Race FX' get a mild framerate increase (3-4fps) when using an overclocked FX chip (doesn't matter if it's FX1 or FX2).  Starfox 1&2 don't get any noticeable increase due to the way they are coded.
 
Here's a video Drakon made of them running side by side:
 
Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I can't see that much difference.  Also the debug Starfox 2 ROM has a framerate counter on screen.  I'm very surprised that he has turned it off (via a patch).  It's also worth noting that Drakon also sells Starfox 2 carts, charging extra for 'overclocking'....
 
What does this all mean?  From what I gather, a Stunt Race FX cart would work as a donor just fine, which is great news as they are easy to get hold of.  I just haven't seen enough evidence to suggest that overclocking is a worthwhile mod for Starfox 2.  I'll probably give it a go myself at some point but for the moment I'm not going to bother overclocking the ones I make to sell.
 


Edited by Sonny_Jim - 26 April 2012 at 5:24pm
Back to Top
gavdog01 View Drop Down
Thin Ice
Thin Ice
Avatar

Joined: 21 June 2011
Location: South Yorkshire
Status: Offline
Points: 912
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gavdog01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 5:35pm
Any chance you could start doing megadrive repros ? Id love an Alien soldier and a pulseman
Back to Top
Hojo_Norem View Drop Down
Level Up
Level Up


Joined: 15 April 2012
Location: Cumbria
Status: Offline
Points: 69
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hojo_Norem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 5:41pm
I have done a lot of reading up on StarFox 2 repros.  In my experience Stunt Race FXis the most ideal.  It has enough ram and a battery (I don't know why so many people aren't bothered about this...).

Doom: I've heard reports that Starfox 2 runs worse on this and it has no battery.
Yoshi's Island:  Not enough ram and why on earth would you gut a Yoshi's Island?
Winter Gold:  Iv'e heard that the english patch won't run on this plus its quite a rare game to be gutting.

I have successfully made two Starfox 2 carts from Stunt Race FX and both have played fine at stock clockspeed.  On the second cart I doubled the ram and made it into a Starfox multicart. (Starfox, Starfox 2 and Starfox Competition).  I may be willing to trade my first cart.

Id say run Starfox 2 without a overclock.  The music seems to sync up with the action better.  In Drakon's vid the intro music gets cut off early cause the action is running faster.




Edited by Hojo_Norem - 26 April 2012 at 5:44pm
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 5:49pm
I've also read one report that the english patch doesn't work on WG, but that sounds dubious to me.  I've also seen other reports that say it works.  I guess I'll find out when I give it a try.  Worse case scenario is that I have to go out and get a Stunt Race FX.  On the multicart how do you switch between games, via a dipswitch on the cart?

Regarding megadrive repro's, I could give it a shot.  From what I gather they are even easier.
Back to Top
Hojo_Norem View Drop Down
Level Up
Level Up


Joined: 15 April 2012
Location: Cumbria
Status: Offline
Points: 69
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hojo_Norem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 10:05pm
Originally posted by Sonny_Jim Sonny_Jim wrote:

On the multicart how do you switch between games, via a dipswitch on the cart?


Pretty much.  The reason I had to double the ram was because the ram is used for both the SFX's work area and battery save.  Starfox 2 must keep the saves in one half of the ram and the checksum for them in the other half because I tried banking out half of the ram when Starfox was selected and I discovered what ever bank I let Starfox work with it would end up corrupting Starfox 2's save data.  So what I did was replace the ram with one double the size and just toggle the upper bit depending on what game is selected.

To select games I use 2 DPDT switches.  The first selects between Starfox and Starfox 2 and controls the ram paging.  The second selects between Starfox and Starfox Competition.
Back to Top
river9999uk View Drop Down
Dev Team
Dev Team
Avatar
A sledge hammer is a repair tool

Joined: 26 July 2005
Location: Devon
Status: Offline
Points: 5726
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote river9999uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 10:33pm
Cool stuff...look forward to being able to get one :-)
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 April 2012 at 5:25am
I think the thing about the patched version of Starfox 2 not working on Winter Gold carts is a bit of a red herring tbh.  I think it's more likely that whoever tried doing it forgot to remove the header from the SMC file they used, as this is only used by emulators (to figure out what chips the cart used and stuff like that).

I've spoken to the guy on ebay with the boxes and manuals and he's offered a slight discount for a bulk buy, which is good.  He can't do the cart labels however, he tried making some and wasn't happy with the results.  If anyone knows anywhere I can get some made then let me know.

Would anyone prefer a 'multicart' instead?  The difference would be that there would be a ZIF socket poking out the cart so you can easily change the EPROM to be whatever SuperFX game you wanted.  The downside would be that saved games would be overwritten when changing game as I don't particularly feel like replacing the SRAM like Hojo has done.


Edited by Sonny_Jim - 30 April 2012 at 5:29am
Back to Top
subcon959 View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 13 May 2011
Location: Hindley
Status: Offline
Points: 4525
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote subcon959 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 April 2012 at 6:18pm
Spectre is the dude for getting labels printed.
Back to Top
bensonrad View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 13 December 2007
Location: Seaford ESussex
Status: Offline
Points: 5574
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bensonrad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 April 2012 at 9:05pm
Mine was made from a UK PAL Stunt Race FX Cart.  I also have another game called Mario Kart R, which is some kind of hack, not sure what kart that was previously though.  The prices you have quoted, I would say are certainly the going rate.
Ben
========================================
WANTED: Med Res Paperboy Monitor, Paperboy & Outrun Boardsets
========================================
Back to Top
GAMESMONKEY View Drop Down
Bonus Stage
Bonus Stage
Avatar

Joined: 16 May 2005
Location: Cornwall
Status: Offline
Points: 329
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMESMONKEY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 5:58pm
+1 for me please, what a great game can't believe it never saw the light of day. 
Back to Top
astaroth View Drop Down
High Score
High Score
Avatar

Joined: 03 May 2011
Location: Essex
Status: Offline
Points: 835
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote astaroth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 9:44pm
I've made a fair few of these now. I actually made another NTSC one last night.

It's one of the harder repros to make. You need to solder a full size M27C801 EPROM in place of a surface mounted MASK ROM. I would only advise doing these if you are very good with a soldering iron.

Games like Mario Kart R are different as you only have to remove the MASK ROM and replace it with the new EEPROM, with a couple of pin diversions needed.

Do you own an EEPROM programmer and UV eraser?

If i were you i'd make my own one first then when you are confident making it, put them on the market. I would also get to work with Photoshop for the label if i were you! Smile

The boxes for sale on ebay are pretty decent. Don't expect Nintendo quality but it's a very very good homemade effort.

Also look into making Secret of Mana 2 once you've made Starfox 2! Wink
Back to Top
astaroth View Drop Down
High Score
High Score
Avatar

Joined: 03 May 2011
Location: Essex
Status: Offline
Points: 835
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote astaroth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 10:10pm
Back to Top
Sonny_Jim View Drop Down
Kill Screen
Kill Screen
Avatar

Joined: 20 April 2009
Location: Location
Status: Offline
Points: 1742
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonny_Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 5:55am
Originally posted by astaroth astaroth wrote:

I would only advise doing these if you are very good with a soldering iron.
I've made a few Gameboy carts and didn't find it that difficult, I'm guessing the pitch is the same.

 

I spent a few evenings reading up on it and it is possible to rearrange the file so it's less pins to swap, but tbh it's not really worth it as you need to divert a few of them anyway.

Quote Do you own an EEPROM programmer and UV eraser?
Yep, got my trusty Dataman S4 and an eraser.  Very cool device the S4, found out the other day that even though it's only got 4Mbit of RAM internally, you can program up to 8Mbit by splitting the file into two :-)
 
Quote If i were you i'd make my own one first then when you are confident making it, put them on the market.
That's the plan, as I said before I've made quite a few Gameboy classic carts so I'm pretty confident, but I'm out of the country at the moment and the earliest I'll start working on them will be late October.  Good to see that there's plenty of interest though.
 
Quote
Also look into making Secret of Mana 2 once you've made Starfox 2! Wink
I imagine if it's not too much of a ballache I'll start doing them to order, unless I'm stepping on someone elses toes (I don't think anyone in the UK does repro carts?).  I actually quite like making GB carts, it's like knitting after a while!
Back to Top
astaroth View Drop Down
High Score
High Score
Avatar

Joined: 03 May 2011
Location: Essex
Status: Offline
Points: 835
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote astaroth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 3:10pm
Yep, it looks like you are all ready to go! The pin spacing is pretty much the same as the gameboy one so your soldering skills look perfect!

Re: Pins - There are only 5 to swap and i've tried using the pin software, and to be honest i've no problem switching the 5 so have never really bothered with it.

If you need any help or a certain known working file then let me know and i'll help you out. By the way i always use Stunt Race FX and i've had no complaints from anyone about the way the game runs.

Secret of Mana 2 is a great game. It needs 4 EEPROMS and it took me a fair few goes before i got the "fit" right. There are a few ways to do it and my way seems more complicated than others but i just could never fit a stack of 3 EEPROMS in the cart comfortably.

Anyway, if you need anything give me a shout and i'll be happy to help. Also, i would recommend making a switched SNES and opening the cart slot up. That way you can use it as a test machine whenever you make a cart, both PAL and NTSC.

One other tip, always check the donor is working before taking it apart. I was stung like that once!
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down