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LTO Flash! - Intellivision Flash Cartridge Information

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Thank you for your responses @intvsteve

 

2 quick "Thank You" comments

  • I swear that I checked for a right-click option to sort the menu, but I guess I didn't see it down there
  • The option to Backup and Restore the menu layout should be very helpful.  Thank you for guiding me to that.

 

Is there a manual for the UI somewhere that I missed?  I would gladly review that manual before posting any more questions.

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5 hours ago, intvsteve said:

Regarding .cfg files:

When you run a game in the classic .bin format (.int is identical, not sure of the origins of that file extension for these), a .cfg file is required. jzintv has implemented an internal database that will use an in-memory lookup for the original 125 if the file is missing. The UI does this as well. IIRC some of the file format conversion tools necessary for populating the cart may require the .cfg. My memory is a bit fuzzy on that specific detail. In any case, IIRC the .cfg files must be located in the same directory as the ROM itself, so dropping them in a different directory would not be very helpful, and could turn into a nightmare of doubling the file management.

 

It's quite possible that the auto-creation of the .cfg files was done early on, and later I changed to have this all operate on a backup copy.

Because I read that a .cfg file was required, I looked around for a newer rom collection that had files in the .rom format.  I already had 3 copies of the original library downloaded over the years.  2 of those were 100% .int files and another was a mix of .int, .bin, .rom.  Every new collection that I found when searching had the files as .int.  They were either zipped into a single directory or downloadable as separate zipped folders.

I did a fair amount of searching, and I looked at general romz sites as well as torrent sites and archive.org.  If there is some obvious place to get the original library that I am somehow missing - help a brother out.  Someone send me a PM with some info.

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2 hours ago, wongojack said:

Is there a manual for the UI somewhere that I missed?  I would gladly review that manual before posting any more questions.

You busted me! There's a partial manual here.

 

You can get to it from here (the gold box), too:

image.png.fa6df25366a43d87aa5544cafcd7a921.png

 

I say "busted" because it's incomplete, and it's quite likely that the sorting feature you were looking for was added after I made those pages lol. I think I have a couple hundred screen shots for Windows and Mac that I never got to writing content around, and who knows how many of them are out of date by now lol.

 

...

 

In fact, I just determined that the sort feature is indeed not documented by following link in the above reference page to this sub-page. Based on the released notes at the download page (which is horribly overpopulated), the sort was added in a version released 2016-09-06 meaning that the manual is even older than the earliest releases! Who knows how many little things are "off"...

 

Back to Multi-Select Tree

From what I remember, I was working on key navigation in the multi-select tree. I think the mouse operations work - but it's not Windows Explorer 'lasso' type, it's using the Shift and Control keys. I might just cut bait and leave some of the edge cases in the pure keyboard navigation remain unsolved. I dug around in Microsoft's reference source code to look at how they do key navigation in the tree control for things like page up and page down and it's insanely complex. They've done multi-select tree controls in their own products, and the behavior in Visual Studio is what I was aiming for.

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On 3/8/2021 at 9:30 AM, intvsteve said:

Regarding .cfg files:

When you run a game in the classic .bin format (.int is identical, not sure of the origins of that file extension for these), a .cfg file is required. jzintv has implemented an internal database that will use an in-memory lookup for the original 125 if the file is missing. The UI does this as well. IIRC some of the file format conversion tools necessary for populating the cart may require the .cfg. My memory is a bit fuzzy on that specific detail. In any case, IIRC the .cfg files must be located in the same directory as the ROM itself, so dropping them in a different directory would not be very helpful, and could turn into a nightmare of doubling the file management.

 

It's quite possible that the auto-creation of the .cfg files was done early on, and later I changed to have this all operate on a backup copy.

Jzintv requires cfg files for .bin/.int rom files otherwise it assumes the standard cartridge memory map.  So most Mattel .bin/.int rom files work without cfg files.  Maybe the LTO Flash cartridge does the same.

Edited by mr_me

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29 minutes ago, mr_me said:

Jzintv requires cfg files for .bin/.int rom files otherwise it assumes the standard cartridge memory map.  So most Mattel .bin/.int rom files work without cfg files.  Maybe the LTO Flash cartridge does the same.

All .bin- and .rom- format ROMs go through a utility that prepares them for use on the LTO Flash! The utility will assume a standard memory map if none is provided for a .bin-format ROM. If the memory map isn't correct, the game won't run correctly.

 

When the UI is handed a ROM that it determines is of .bin format, it performs a CRC and attempts to identify the ROM from it. There are several reasons for UI bells and whistles, like fetching ROM metadata from a database (publisher, etc.).

 

But the most important reason, by far, is to cope with missing .cfg files for .bin-format ROMs. If a .bin-format ROM's .cfg file is missing, the UI uses its internal database to try to find a match based on a CRC-32 of the ROM. If a good mapping is found, then the corresponding "canonical" .cfg is placed next to the .bin with the intent of making it unambiguous about the mapping being used. If no match is found, then a copy of the default memory mapping .cfg is created. It does no active harm, and if someone is savvy, they can then edit that .cfg to get the game working.

 

For .rom-format ROMs, the memory map is embedded in the file itself, so no such measures are necessary.

 

 

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There are at least three developers that sell rom files that can be used with an ltoflash but none are sold with an ltoflash.

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Elektronite sells ROMS that are encrypted for each LTO Flash! cartridge. For example, TNT Cowboy, A.F. and Ninja Odyssey. 

 

However, at this time, we only have ROMS for the first 600 LTO Flash! cartridges and are awaiting Left Turn Only to have some time to encode the ROMS for the recently released copies. I expect it will take a couple of months. 

 

We have purchased new website building software and will be redoing our website at www.elektronite.net 

 

Please keep an eye on the site for new information posted there soon. 

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10 hours ago, poconojo said:

When??

The simple answer:

Never

 

There are all kinds of unpleasant issues involved if the hardware itself were to be distributed pre-populated with anything. The simplest case would be if such ROMs from Left Turn Only, and under their full control. Given that many of those ROMs are already freely available to download, modifying the manufacturing process would still impose a significant time investment, and at this point, one would imagine the market for the cartridge is approaching saturation. That said, the world is a crazy place that never ceases to surprise. lol

 

From the UI software side, we actually did consider having a 'Starter Pack' of ROMs to include, and there are even some hooks in the UI code laying groundwork for such a feature. It never materialized for the same reasons you can guess.

 

Q: Why not ship the cart with most of the ROMs already on it?

A: We can't. Intellivision Entertainment and Blue Sky Rangers, Inc. own the original games, and the authors and publishers and IP owners of all the newer games own their works. I.e. it would be illegal, and making it legal costs a lot of people a lot of time and a lot of money.

 

Q: Why not offer a way to buy the ROMs?

A: We're hobbyists, not iTunes for Intellivision. ;) It's simply not feasible. See above.

 

9 hours ago, poconojo said:

The new home-brews?

Same answers apply.

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47 minutes ago, intvsteve said:

From the UI software side, we actually did consider having a 'Starter Pack' of ROMs to include, and there are even some hooks in the UI code laying groundwork for such a feature. It never materialized for the same reasons you can guess.

If only we knew a source of some Inty programmers that would be willing to donate some small games for such a project.

:fing02:

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8 hours ago, Games For Your Intellivision said:

Elektronite sells ROMS that are encrypted for each LTO Flash! cartridge. For example, TNT Cowboy, A.F. and Ninja Odyssey. 

 

However, at this time, we only have ROMS for the first 600 LTO Flash! cartridges and are awaiting Left Turn Only to have some time to encode the ROMS for the recently released copies. I expect it will take a couple of months. 

 

We have purchased new website building software and will be redoing our website at www.elektronite.net 

 

Please keep an eye on the site for new information posted there soon. 

I gotcha. I am not looking for free roms. As long as the developers make the rom available for the LTO Flash thats fine.

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I purchased Cosmic Avenger and Wizard of Wor from @TrekMD I believe which are tied to my LTO’s DRUID ID. Basically I can play the files but they won’t work in emulation nor on another Flash.
 

Both good ports BTW. 

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Games released for the LTO as binaries are indeed locked to a specific LTO cart based on the LTO's DRUID ID.  So, as @ClassicGMR has said, the binaries will not work on emulators or other flashcarts. 

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Its a long time folks, but finally i have the LTO and been able to play it about a week and absolutely loving it.

 

Why not earlier?

The French posting system lost my package and it took one month to travel inside EU. no tracking info or anything. Almost piss my self for anxiety when days just rolled without any info :D but luckily everything turned fine :P

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Are these still available? I've reached out to intvnut here and emailed joe.zbiciak@leftturnonly.info and have not heard anything. And it's no big deal. I understand people get busy, but I would like to order one if possible. 

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On 3/7/2021 at 10:57 AM, wongojack said:

After receiving my LTO flash a few weeks (months?) ago, I finally got over the hurdle of setting it up.  I've never felt the need to write a review of setting up a flashcart before, but I may start a new thread for that because this one is different.  I'll chime in that I also had to manually install the FTDI Virtual Com Port drivers to get it working.  I'll note that I typically don't run the installer for drivers and still opt for the "Have Disk" manual method.  If you do that in this case, note that you will have to do it twice to get the LTO fully working.  Here is my current Windows version info for reference:


WinVer.png.411c2f1dc8788cf099ffdefdefc46a58.png

 

I have a few questions that @intvsteve or others who have used the cart for a few years might be able to help me with.   Basically, I'm looking for advice on how to spend less time in the GUI tool.  If you don't read this whole thing, just tell me how you maintain your roms and what steps you've developed to add them quickly to the device.

 

My setup is that I have an old set of roms for the original library that is nice and orderly in a single folder.  These are all .int files and they are alphabetized and have reasonably good filenames that tell you what they are.  I pointed the LTO flash UI at that folder and it added them all to the left side of the interface quickly and easily.  I wasn't sure how it would handle the .cfg files, but I noticed that it created a unique .cfg for each .int.  It would have been nice to have been given the option of where to store those .cfg flles, but I guess it is fine.  Anyway, now my original library is on the left side and (because I chose yes at the popup) each file was added to the right "Menu" side.  This is where I started having a problem.

 

I don't want 125+ files on the root of the LTO flash, so the next thing I did was create a folder.  It was at that point that I discovered that I cannot multi-select files in the menu layout window.  Am I missing something because the shortcuts and mouse movements that let me select multiple items in Windows don't work in here?  This meant that I had to select each newly added file individually and "drag" it to the newly created folder.  I also noted that there is no way to sort the files once they are on the menu side.  So I also had to ensure I dragged them to the new folder in alphabetical order or be forced to fix it manually later - fnck that!  I got past this first hurdle relatively quickly by simply removing all the items (one click at a time) from the Menu Layout then I created my desired folder and was able to add all the files from the left side to the right by highlighting them all and clicking "Add to Menu."  I still didn't do it exactly as I would have liked and I need advice, but I will come back to that.

 

Adding demos, alphas, and homebrews proved to be MUCH more time consuming.  I don't have these neatly ordered in a single folder.  I have them in many sub-folders.  Some are .bin, some are .rom and some are both.  MANY of them lack a descriptive name.  Many others were still zipped up.  So I took the time to create a folder on my PC called Homebrews where I unzipped all the brews into their own sub-folder with the best name I could come up with.  I then pointed the LTO Flash UI at the top level Homebrews folder and it found them.  This time I didn't choose to add them to the Menu Layout because I knew I wanted to nest some folders and add some organization.  I ended up with a long list of new files on the left side added below the original library (as expected).  I then went through and chose the individual roms and added them to subfolders in the Menu Layout.  This took some time, but it is organized.  However, I still can't figure out how to sort these files once they are added to the menu.  It just adds a file to the end of the list . . .

 

So now I have 3 problems that I am trying to think through

1) I want my original library organized into sub-folders.  I think I have to create those folders and then drag the files one at a time manually in the correct order in the menu layout window.  Alternatively, I could remove all the files, create folders and then select the roms in alphabetized groups from the left window.

2) I want my homebrews alphabetized.  I think I just have to do this manually one file at a time - eeek.  Since the only way to sort the files is on the left side of the screen, I think I need some ways to add folders over there.  That way I could separate Homebrews and Originals and still sort under those headers, making it easy to multi-select those sub-lists and add them to the menu layout.

 

3) I want to experiment with different menu layouts without ruining the existing configuration.  Right now even when the LTO isn't connected, I can see the existing menu layout I created previously.  That's nice if I want to make some changes and then apply them later (I think), but how do I wipe the slate clean, test some different ways to import without losing the current config?  What if I change something and decide I don't like it?  Is there an "undo" button that I'm not seeing?

 

 

 

 

 

Win FTDI Drivers v2.12.28 WHQL Certified.zip 1.61 MB · 2 downloads

I hope I can maybe provide some help here as I was tinkering around with my LTO Flash last night after I pretty much just dumped all of my games onto it with no folders and it was a mess.  If I misunderstood your post, I apologize in advance.  I have Windows 10 OS by the way.  I created a folder called "LTO Flash" on my hard drive.  In the folder, I created folders A-Z and copied all of my games alphabetically in each folder.  I then opened LTO flash interface, deleted all of my previous files, and once I was done I clicked on "add folder" on the top left.  I then browsed and clicked on the "LTO Flash" folder on my hard drive and hit open.  This took all of my already created folders and put it on the menu.  I then just clicked "send to LTO Flash" and was all set.  When I put the cart in my INTV, I had all of the alphabetical folders and could go into each one with "enter" and go back to the main menu with "clear".  I'm sure this method also works if you wanted to do different types of folders like Mattel games, homebrews, demos, Coleco, Activision, etc.

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1 hour ago, Illtiger1 said:

I hope I can maybe provide some help here as I was tinkering around with my LTO Flash last night after I pretty much just dumped all of my games onto it with no folders and it was a mess.  If I misunderstood your post, I apologize in advance.  I have Windows 10 OS by the way.  I created a folder called "LTO Flash" on my hard drive.  In the folder, I created folders A-Z and copied all of my games alphabetically in each folder.  I then opened LTO flash interface, deleted all of my previous files, and once I was done I clicked on "add folder" on the top left.  I then browsed and clicked on the "LTO Flash" folder on my hard drive and hit open.  This took all of my already created folders and put it on the menu.  I then just clicked "send to LTO Flash" and was all set.  When I put the cart in my INTV, I had all of the alphabetical folders and could go into each one with "enter" and go back to the main menu with "clear".  I'm sure this method also works if you wanted to do different types of folders like Mattel games, homebrews, demos, Coleco, Activision, etc.

Totally - I should have done it that way, so anyone reading this that hasn't set up their LTO - listen to @Illtiger1

 

I've settled in now.  I left the original library in a single folder.  It's only ~125 games and the LTO flash makes it easy to flip through the list.  Maybe someday, I'll reorganize, but now that I've got it set up and have all the manuals set, I don't want to eff with it.

 

For the homebrews, I've got alphabetized folders and now that I've got most of them in there, I just add one file at a time and sort it.  I expect that the be the primary activity from now on and I'm fine with it.  Best advice though is to do it exactly as you described.

 

 

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