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Modding the Flashback 8 HD - Part Two

Posted by AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol, 24 September 2018 · 641 views

flashback flashback 8 mod modding

Adding a game to the Flashback 8 HD
 
Some prerequisites:

  • in this example I'm adding the Double Dragon Arcade ROM from KevinMos3 ( Available at http://atariage.com/...-xenophobe-etc/ ; also note that there is a very nice label he created
  • you have to have added the USB connector the Flashback
  • Android Debugger Bridge (ADB)
  • a bit of patience
 
 
First a walkthrough ...
 
There are two key items to remember during this mod:
- the "all-games.ini" file contains the list of the games that the Flashback will display in its menu.  It also contain instructions and tells the device what ROM file to load.  You will find that file under "/system/atgames/all-games.ini"
- the actual games (and the menu images) are all stored in "/system/atgames/Atari"
 
Step 1: Plug in your Flashback to your computer
 
Use your USB cable and make sure that the Flashback adapter is plugged in.  Turn on the device.
 
Step 2. Launching ADB
 
You need to run the DOS command prompt from Windows.  I usually run under "administrator mode", but it doesn't seem to be a requirement.
 
Step 3. Connecting to the Flashback
 
Navigate to the folder where the ADB has been extracted; in my case, I kept it simple and it sits in "C:\adb\platform-tools"
 
dos1

 
Type in "adb devices"
 
dos2

 
It will find your Flashback and get it ready to be used.
 
Step 4.  Let's Explore
 
This step is optional, but type in "adb root".  This will give you higher privileges in case you run across any files you need.  I suggest not to delete or modify anything unless you know what you're doing and/or made a backup.
 
Type in "adb shell", that will basically log us into the Flashback device and see the internal folder structure.
 
 
 
dos3

 
Use "ls" or "ls -l" to list all the files/folders
 
dos4

 
The Flashback installation is under "/system/atgames"; you can use "cd /system" or "cd /system/atgames" to move onto those folders
 
 
dos5
dos6

 
 
You see the "all-games.ini" file.  Keep this one in mind, this is the most important file for this mod.
 
You can see the "Atari" folder.  Let's navigate by using "cd Atari" and then listing the files:
 
dos7

 
You will see all the files with .a26 or a26.png.  The ROM files are your usual ROM files with the .A26 extension; the respective .A26.PNG are the images for each game.
 
Another interesting location is the "app" folder; use "cd /system/app" .  You can see the Frogger and Space Invaders Android APK files.  It seems that these two are special cases and don't invoke the ROM files in the "/system/atgames/Atari" .
 
 
dos8

 
Type in "exit" to get out of the Flashback shell.
 
 
dos9

 
So now you know the basics
 
 
 
How to Add a Game
 
For this exercise I have copied the DD.A26 and DD.A26.png files into my ADB folder at C:\adb\platform-tools.  You can place them anywhere, but I decided to keep things simple and reduce the amount of typing.
 
So let's continue where left off.  The main thing we're going to do is to pull down the important all-games.ini file.
 
In the command prompt type in "adb pull /system/atgames/all-games.ini" .  This will copy the file into your ADB folder on your computer.
 
mod2

 
MAKE A COPY OF THIS FILE!!!  You may need to restore your set-up in case something goes wrong.
 
mod1

 
If you open the file (in notepad for example) you will see something like:
 
 
mod3

 
The format is somewhat self-explanatory.  You have the name of the game within square brackets, followed by the ROM file location ("File="), "Platform" tells you what grouping on the Main Menu it should add it to (only "Atari" and "Activision" have sub-menus).  Then you have the description and the instructions. 
 
Here's an example:
[Double Dragon]
File=atgames/Atari/DD.a26
Platform=ActivisionGenre=Arcade
Description=Double Dragon Arcade Mod!!
Note= \test for atari 2600 games.
 
While we're here, let's take a look at the image files; let's pull a file for the Wizard game; "adb pull /system/atgames/Atari/Wizard.a26.png".
 
mod4

mod5

 
It's a 214x300 PNG file.
 
I created my Double Dragon PNG file based on KevinMos3's label he provided.
mod6

 
 
Let's copy our Double Dragon ROM onto the Flashback.
 
First of all, we need to add an entry in the all-games.ini file for Double Dragon:
 
mod7

 
I have the ROM and image file sitting in ADB folder:
 
mod8

 
We need to run these commands as root as we need to temporarily change permissions on folders so that we can upload files.
 
 
Run "adb root"
 
Next we will alter the permission of the "/system" folder.  I tried just targeting "/system/atgames" but kept getting an error.  So I copied a page from the Genesis Flashback mod.
 
Run "adb shell mount -o rw,remount,rw /system"
 
 
mod9

 
Next we're uploading (and overwriting the existing) all-games.ini; enter"adb push all-games.ini /system/atgames"
 
 
mod10

 
And next we're uploading the ROM and image into the Atari folder:
"adb push DD.a26 /system/atgames/Atari"
"adb push DD.a26.png /system/atgames/Atari"
 
mod11

 
Now, turn your Flashback device off and back on again.
 
You should see the Double Dragon ROM in the menu now!
 
 
First Results

 
You can basically add a bunch more games.
 
The odd thing is that the PNG file is not displaying.  Strangely enough it does not seem to get saved into the Atari folder.  Not sure what the issue is.  I will have to do more investigation.
 
 
 
 
 Updates:
1. I have been able to add 56 games so far to the Flashback.
2. The PNG files needs to have 24-bit colour depth.  My original file was 32-bit.
3. Pitfall II does not work.
4. Looking at the Flashback APK file, it appears we have some hard-coded values for Frogger (and Space Invaders).  Even Frogger II goes to the quasi-arcade version.
5. the All-games.ini is finicky, make sure you had linefeed/carriage return after each item for the game; Platform, Genre, etc.  Notepad mangles this.  Notepad++ is a good option.