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Europatari

Atari FB Portable Built in Games Hack

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Hi Guys

I would like to Change the Built in games of the 2017 Atari Flashback Portable

May i get some Ideas, how to do That?

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Any of the game files used in the portable can be added to a memory card except:

 

FB6 console version of Space Invaders (present in the preproduction model of the portable):

FB7 console version of Frogger (present in the production model of the portable):

Those 2 games use custom coding and exist in their respective units apart from the emulator.  These are NOT 2600-compatible versions.

 

All other games built-in to either version of the portable use their original Roms...available right here.  So, you could hack a game and simply put that on a memory card for the portable to use through its SD card browser.

 

That's the good news.

 

The bad news is that some games have their own restrictions: such as paddle games requiring a paddle controller, or using the right controller instead of the left.

The portables' emulator "cheats" a little to get around such restrictions...but these modified rules only apply to the original unhacked Roms part of the portables' lineup.  If you alter them, the emulator no longer recognizes these specific Roms to apply the modified rules to, so a paddle-specific game still expects a paddle controller, etc.  The original Asteroids version (the one without the onscreen copyright notice) also has its own special handling - it merges odd/even frames together to provide a flicker-free effect on the portable.

 

VBLANK handling in the emulator is particularly bad...it works as expected in some games, while in others the display will be "pushed down" so that the lower portion of the display is not visible.  Since the emulator has been tweaked to cheat a little in order to get some games playable, this VBLANK issue may crop up if you alter a Rom (where the emulator no longer recognizes the file to apply its own tweak to the code).  This VBLANK issue appears to have gotten slightly worse between preproduction and production model portables.  Fortunately, the VBLANK issue is easily solved (just hack the game to ignore the register altogether).

 

Any modification to playfield, sprite positioning, or sprite rewriting done within a scanline may also suddenly begin to have issues if you alter the game code...and may need to have slight timing modification done to correct.  This is a VERY inconsistent problem, with little rhyme or reason why it appears in some programs and not in others.

 

Paddle or right stick-controlled games would need their code altered to use the left stick.

 

Some of these problematic Roms have already been hacked to adjust the game code (by me or others).

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BTW the original unhacked version of Warlords works with the portables' D-pad even tho it is not part of the included game list in either version.  I dunno why this paddle game is handled specially by the emulator...unless some decision to drop it during the portables' development was made.  In any case, you'd need to hack that game to use the left stick too if it is altered in any way.

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