Jump to content
Brad_from_the_80s

Atari Flashback X Custom Firmware for USB roms and boxart

Recommended Posts

Greetings Atari fans. 

 

I have had the standard Atari Flashback X sitting around here for a few weeks and finally got around to creating a custom firmware to allow you to load additional roms with boxart from USB (using USB OTG hub/cable and a USB drive of your choice).

 

The basic idea is the same as the firmware I created for using the SD card on the Flashback 9 series, see original thread here:

 

 

Attached here you will find a CFW version for the standard Atari Flashback X, and also one for the Atari Flashback X Deluxe.  The standard firmware has been tested a little, but I don't have a Deluxe model to test.  However it's the exact same hack, so I think it should work for those who need it.  If it does work for you then feel free to report back, or I can tweak as needed.

 

In the zip archive you will find an atari_update.img file.  You can follow the AtGames official firmware instructions to load this firmware image using the same desktop flashing tools.

 

HOWEVER, if you have applied at least one of the earlier firmware updates then this new CFW can be applied in a manner similar/same as for the Flashback 9.  Simply attach your USB drive with the atari_update.img file in the root and the system should detect the update and flash the same way it did for Flashback 9.  After successfully applying the firmware delete the atari_update.img file from your USB drive. 

 

As before, the customizations are activated by the presence of the "mount_sd.ini" file in the root of your USB drive (yeah, I didn't bother renaming it).  By default the custom firmware will dump the internal /rom partition from the device to your attached USB storage and then use the USB copy of /rom for game roms, box art and all-games.ini file. 

 

Also included is a sample startup.sh custom script you can include in your USB drive.  This script will also dump and run the /emulator partition from your USB drive.  This should allow for tweaking the artwork.

 

One tip, if you are using an old or slow USB thumb drive (like USB 2.0), you may need to wait a few minutes to allow write operations to complete when first allowing the CFW to dump files, so be patient.

 

I haven't messed with the Flashback X or this CFW much really.  it's simple enough, and I think it should work fine, but if you do find issues just report here and we'll see what can be done about it.

 

No warranties, use at your own risk, etc, etc.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

AR3060_CFW.zip AR3060S_Deluxe_CFW.zip

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here is a theme, if you will. It's a few small edits of the "emulator" folder. The giant word "BOOM!" has been removed from the Menu Backgrounds. The Atari Flashback Gold bezels were swapped in. The blue and yellow SD Card icons for side loaded games were switched to generic Atari 2600 box art (since there is no SD Card slot). The ActiVision game launch/splash screen text was changed to an ActiVision logo from the Atari 2600 time period. Simply swap out the "emulator" folder you dumped to the root of your USB Device with the "startup.sh" script with this new "emulator" folder. Or you could go into the "emulator/res/images" folder and just swap out the individual images that you want to change ala carte.

ProTip: If you are having trouble getting the "startup.sh" control file script to trigger (slow 2.0 USB device), try launching a game. If you still cannot get it to dump, simply use this theme ("emulator" folder) instead.

Looking forward. The rom packs that were made for the AFB9HD and AFB9Gold will also work on the AFBX. The all-games.ini file, the thumbnail sizes, naming conventions and file extensions all stayed exactly the same. I'll have a new pack up sometime very soon. And, it will be backwards compatible with the Flashback 9s.

I want to take a second to sincerely thank Brad. Thank you so much, bud. I really enjoy modding the Atari Flashbacks. It's a super fun hobby that I couldn't enjoy without your efforts. You're awesome.

 

 

Sans_Boom_Theme.rar

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking through the Sans_Boom_Theme folders, it looks like we can replace the background music by simply converting a .wav (or .mp3) file to .ogg Vorbis audio format and swapping into the directory. I have already converted the existing .ogg to .wav, and it plays normally, so I taking a guess that it is using the standard format & compression. When I install Draxxon's theme, I am going to experiment with swapping the music. 

 

This being said, does anyone have any suggestions as to a retro "Atari-like" .mp3 to add? (Bear in mind that it should be something self published or otherwise openly licensed for redistribution by the community).

I know there's are a ton of chiptune and demo scene stuff floating around, but I think something quiet/pleasant, more "traditionally 2600" and nostalgic would be better suited. Don't get me wrong, there's some amazing chiptune stuff out there, but the stock AtGames music becomes pretty repetitive and annoying after a little while, I'm sure 220BMP techno music will become equally distracting for a menu background score, (especially, when you only have the one track selection).  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had some previous ideas for FB9 custom bezels, but now that Brad and Draxxon have opened the FBX door for us, I'm also going to throw my hat in the ring, and attempt making my own custom theme. I will post my progress here. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thank you very much for this updatre. Just one question, where do I have to put the boxarts or title screens? Do I also need that ini file? Thanks!

 

edit: I am not sure if I made it right, but I just copied those 3 files to USB and turned on FB X deluxe. Then pressed joystick left and it seems like it installed some update, after restart it asked me to install it again.

 

It created 2 folders on SD: "emulator" with empty files and "rom", which contains empty and non-empty files. What did I do wrong?

Edited by Wizzard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here it is, the A.T.A.R.I. (AtariAge Text, Art and Rom Injector) v0.X

900+ games this time. It will work with the Atari Flashback 9HD, 9Gold, X and XDeluxe as long as you are running the Custom Firmware and the mount and startup files are on the root of your SD Card/USB Device.. This works the same as the "emulator" folder. This is the "rom" folder. Swap it out with the one you dumped to the root of your USB Device.

you should have on the root of your SD Card/USB Device:

the "mount.sd" file.

the "startup.sh" file.

a folder named "game" with Atari 2600 roms in either .bin or .a26 format and no spaces in the rom name, and not an overly long name. (this is just for side loading games without art the old way.)

a folder named "rom". dump it with the "mount.sd" file when you power on the system. (or just use the one I just posted here)

a folder named "emulator". dump it with the "startup.sh" file when you power on system. (or just use the Sans Boom Theme/"emulator" folder up above.

 

If you need help, just ask. If you have changes in mind to make to the rom pack for future updates, just let me know.

 

About the music, I always turn the background music off, so I don't even think to edit it. but yes, totally swappable. The stella core is in there too, I imagine someone who knows what they are doing could edit or swap that. 

 

To edit the main game list: in the rom folder is a file named "all-games.ini". you have to edit that file with notepad. If you have Tron.a26 rom you will need a thumbnail in PNG format, 211x290 pixels, named Tron.a26.png and a second thumbnail 122x168 named Tron.a26.s.png. The rom the thumbnails and even the all-games ini file all are in the "rom" folder together. Check the other games entries in the all-games.ini file to get an idea how to add your new game. but it looks like this:
 

[Crossbow]
File=/rom/Crossbow.a26
Platform=Atari
Sort=Crossbow
Year=1987
Genre=atari
Description=
Note= \
Player Mode: Multi-player game (1-2) \
 \
1. SELECT button. \
Press the SELECT button to choose between games. \
 \
2. Use joystick controllers. \
Use the P1 or left slot joystick for one player games, and the P2 or right slot joystick for the second player in two player games. \
 \
3. Difficulty switches. \
Toggle Switches for Difficulty. \
 \
4. Instructions. \
Press START button to begin play.

 

Alright guys, Have Fun!

ATARIvX.rar

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wizzard said:

Thank you very much for this updatre. Just one question, where do I have to put the boxarts or title screens? Do I also need that ini file? Thanks!

 

edit: I am not sure if I made it right, but I just copied those 3 files to USB and turned on FB X deluxe. Then pressed joystick left and it seems like it installed some update, after restart it asked me to install it again.

 

It created 2 folders on SD: "emulator" with empty files and "rom", which contains empty and non-empty files. What did I do wrong?

Step 1: put "atari_update.img" file on your device, insert device and power on. push left to update when prompted. let it update. after it is finished it will ask again. hit right for no. go to main menu. power off system. remove device. delete update file from device.

 

Step 2: put the "mount_sd" file on the device, insert and power on system. it should take a while. IF YOU HAVE A USB 2.0 device it will take a very long time. let is sit on the main menu and go do something else for 10 mins. sometimes ive found launching a game and playing for a few minutes triggers the control files and works. USB 3.0 seems to not have these issues from my testing. Anyways this generates the "rom" folder. all the files should be inside and not corrupt. you should be able to see all the box art images and roms and whatnot. the "all-games.ini" file is inside here also. leave the "mount_sd" file on your device permanently.

 

Step 3: put the "startup.sh" file on your device, power system on and let it sit. again, launch a game and play a few minutes. this will dump the "emulator" folder. Inside the "emulator" folder is other folders where you will find the music the emulator core, the UI elements etc. leave the "startup.sh" file on your device permanently. Not all of the UI elements are editable. some that you will find and edit will have no in game effect because they are hardcoded. the default bezel_00 (no bezel) is an example. 

 

Step 4: create a folder named "game" on the root of your device. to load .bin and .a26 roms (without artwork) the old way. I'll reiterate, .bin or .a26 extensions work. no spaces in roms name, it cant be super long but I never tried to figure out the max. it also cant have crazy special characters, but again, dashes and underscores work, im not sure exactly what doesn't. but you will know because you will be navigating through the pages of your game folder in the Ext. USB Drive section and it will black screen freeze your system when the unproperly named game appears. And you will be forced to reset your console.

 

Alternate: Update system and delete update img file from device. Put the Mount_SD and StartUp files on your device. download my theme and it is a slightly edited "emulator" folder and put that on your device. download my Atari pack and it is a "rom" folder with 900 games and art. put that on your device, and you wont have to do the partition dumping if you can live with using my edits as a base. Or just use the rom folder by itself and forget the theme altogether. you don't have to have an emulator folder on your USB device at all. or vice versa, the rom folder doesn't have to be used to run the emulator folder.

I will add, using a 2.0 device will work, but it is slow. not just for the dumping of files, but navigating the main menu at times and launching games. I mean, it works, and once you load a game, its fine. but for what its worth, use a 3.0 device or sd card with usb adapter. its a lot smoother experience overall. use a 2.0 drive if that's all you got and don't have access to a 3.0. I have a 32GB SanDisk Ultra 3.0 Flash Drive and it works great. my 32GB PNY 2.0 drive gave me similar problems as described here.

Something else to note. All the edits are on the USB device, not on the system itself. removing the device will boot the system like stock/normal. Which means you could have multiple USB devices with multiple custom setups if you wanted to. Or multiple game, emu, and rom folders all on the same USB device, and you could just rename them all something different. but the system will only recognize the folders with the proper names, "rom" "game" "emulator" so just swap the names around to run different set ups. for example, dump the emulator folder and rename that folder to "stock_emu" or whatever really, and download my them and use that. if you want to go back rename my "emulator" folder to "Sans_Boom" and change the "stock_emu" folders name back to "emulator". Same for the other folders. For instance you could download all kinds of different romsets, like no-into, good set, pal only, 1G1R, favorites, etc, and have all those romsets in folders on your USB Device, and just change the one you want to runs folder name to "game". get tired of that set, change the name back and pick a new set and name it "game". With these small files and todays large drives, you could really have a massive digital Atari collection. I actually have like 500 Atari manuals in PDF format in a folder on my flash drive also. the only downside is you can't select any of this on the console itself. you will have to plug your Flash drive into a pc or laptop to swap folders or read manuals. but at least its possible.

 

 

 

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Draxxon said:

The stella core is in there too

😃Sweet, now maybe we can get Stella 6 in the future.

Quote

"all-games.ini". you have to edit that file with notepad

I had to use Notepad++ when editing the 'all-games.ini' file for the Flashback 8 hack. For some reason, windows notepad wasn't properly saving the carriage return and line feed ascii characters. Notepad++ also lets you collapse each entry (like when editing an XML file), makes it easier to keep track when editing a specific entry.

Edited by BitMerge6502
incorrect information
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use notepad. It works. I'm sure ++ is better for sure, though. 

The swapping of the core is something that gets asked about a lot. Here is the info that was told to me:

 

"The flashback is running an old Stella core. The menu launcher is hard-coded to use that core, so you'd either have to hack the menu app or swap a different core for the one it thinks it's launching."

 

"The Mali400 GPU driver is misconfigured at best. OpenGL ES is basically broken and the correct version of the driver binary isn't present. It is launching everything in Windows X (slow). In theory if I can compile a replacement kernel and load the correct driver it could conceivably run Stella 6."

So, it looks like it is possible, after all.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also, for anyone that wants it, here's my AFB8 all-games.ini file. It might be useful to someone if they want to copy a specific entry for a game for use on the AFB9/X. I spent a great deal of time with the game descriptions. Most of them are excerpts from the original manuals with 2600 specific stuff that doesn't apply to AFB removed or changed (like TV picture switch & insert cartridge stuff).

all-games.ini

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, BitMerge6502 said:

also, for anyone that wants it, here's my AFB8 all-games.ini file. It might be useful to someone if they want to copy a specific entry for a game for use on the AFB9/X. I spent a great deal of time with the game descriptions. Most of them are excerpts from the original manuals with 2600 specific stuff that doesn't apply to AFB removed or changed (like TV picture switch & insert cartridge stuff).

all-games.ini 533.1 kB · 1 download

can I add any info from your file that's missing in my pack? and share it in a future update? so far I have the entries from the 9/gold/x/xdeluxe in the pack. I also used all the entries that were made by the guys here in the FB9G CFW thread.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Draxxon said:

The menu launcher is hard-coded to use that core

I didn't consider the launcher. that's going to be a lot of work unless it can be spoofed to run a slightly less older version of Stella. 

Quote

"The Mali400 GPU driver is misconfigured at best.

That happens frequently with these SBCs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you would just name the new core the same as the old core and swap them, and trick the system into running it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Draxxon said:

can I add any info from your file that's missing in my pack? and share it in a future update? so far I have the entries from the 9/gold/x/xdeluxe in the pack. I also used all the entries that were made by the guys here in the FB9G CFW thread.

Yes, please do! That's why I shared. I was kinda hoping someone would compile a "master.ini" file with lots of game entries listed, then users can just cut & paste the individual games they want to include when installing the firmware. Like I said earlier, I would also like to do the same with the bezels, & themes, (Basically, just have a "buffet" of available options for folks to customize their UI & ROMs).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here is my current all games file, 901 entries.

all-games.ini

 

Here is the Bezels Pack from the FB9 Gold reposted. They will work here, its all the same. Just note the 9 Gold supported an extra bezel slot. so the X can only add 4 bezels.
https://atariage.com/forums/applications/core/interface/file/attachment.php?id=701781

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Draxxon said:

you would just name the new core the same as the old core and swap them, and trick the system into running it.

would that really work though for two different software versions that are that far apart in age? Just being an amateur programmer, I would imagine that the UI is passing parameters back & forth to Stella (much like running Stella from the command line), those variables and switches would have to be referenced the same for both versions of Stella, maybe they are, but I wouldn't know.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

on the legends flashback 2018, we renamed the pico drive core to "genplusgx" and it worked. Full disclosure, I'm not super technical. I just test the CFW, and have a pretty decent art background. That's all.

I'm guessing the Legends is running retroarch and FBX isn't. I have no idea.

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Draxxon said:

on the legends flashback 2018, we renamed the pico drive core to "genplusgx" and it worked.

wow!?! (all I can say).

Was there AtariAge thread about it?

Had any luck adding MAME ROMs to it? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

https://gbatemp.net/threads/custom-firmware-for-atgames-legends-flashback-with-support-for-arcade-games.527550/

Swapping the sega core was done in test only. it never got released. gen plus gx was chosen over pico drive because it supported more extensions and would pose less questions from users. Mame2000 core got swapped to mame2003+, but i'm not sure how it all works. rmr_md / rrifonas would be the one to ask. So yeah Mame and FinalBurnAlpha roms can be add. And crazy but, Sega 32X will run on the Legends Flashback after all too.

This was the core swap, maybe it will help. Getting Stella6 to run on this would make the FBX the "AtariBox VCS Killer" to me.




 

core swap.rar

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my problem. I use to have my Atari flashback 8 hooked it to my tv,, Which was fine. But I got a new tv, smart tv nd there sno place for hookup. I went to best buy and  the said I needed the rca to hdmi converter. . I ordered it from amazon, it didn't work cause the Atari has just the two color yellow and white and the converters have a three color hookup. o I had to return it. As I looked on the amazon site, I do not see the two color hookup. So What do I do?????          

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here is the Atari 2600 game manual pack in pdf format, if anyone was interested:
https://archive.org/compress/Atari2600Manuals_201812/formats=IMAGE CONTAINER PDF,TEXT PDF&file=/Atari2600Manuals_201812.zip

Here is the link to get one at a time or different formats.
https://archive.org/details/Atari2600Manuals_201812/mode/2up

Edited by Draxxon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$40 bucks for the standard version at Dollar General store,

The deluxe version is at Sams Club.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Flashback X isn't even giving me the option to update when I add the .img to the root of the USB drive. Is there a step I'm missing?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   1 member

×
×
  • Create New...