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Brad_from_the_80s

Atari Flashback X Custom Firmware for USB roms and boxart

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10 hours ago, KevinMos3 said:

I finally bit on the X Deluxe.  Got one online from Sam's Club at $39.  It arrived yesterday, but so far I'm very disappointed.  The performance is much worse than my 9 Gold.  I'm wondering if it's just this firmware, or if it's like this on all Xs.  My firmware is v0.1.7.

 

After playing around with the X for a while, I tried my 9 Gold again just to make sure it wasn't just my memory playing tricks on me.  And yep, the 9 Gold definitely plays MUCH better than my X.

 

I'm looking forward to what comes out of the custom firmware for it, because I really have no reason to keep this one as-is. 

- Wired controllers vs the awesome wireless ones of the 9 Gold...

- Bad lag of the X Deluxe and dropped frames in emulation vs the responsiveness and smooth emulation of the 9 Gold...

I can hardly wait to flash this X unit.

As a test I tried editing the retromenu.ini and see if I could get River Raid running more smooth. (Thats the one game I'm familiar with and deff notice the "dropped frames" on that game.) I also turned on the On Screen Display and watched the Frames Per Second counter.

 

When you first start a game, it dips to 40 fps, and then jumps to 60 pretty quick. but, if you use rewind, when you return to gameplay, it dips back down to 40. Sometimes, out of nowhere it dips to 40 long after you used rewind last. If you rewind a lot, it happens a lot.


I disabled rewind and it runs at a smooth 60fps. I did see it dip a time or two to 40fps, but not nearly as often. And I want to say it was on the same part of a stage every time. I realize the AFB9 had rewind also, so Im not sure what gives. I wonder if the rewind feature itself is different. I'll mess with it some more, and let you know.

Edited by Draxxon
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10 hours ago, Draxxon said:

If we can have real games, HB, and "other". I think thats best. 

OK, I think there is a pretty easy a way to have more or less complete flexibility, with any emulator/extension combination and "Back" "Next" and "Goto" for the romsets all supported.  It's going to be the weekend before I get it done, but I will try to "proof of concept" the idea pretty soon. 

 

On the mame2000 - I hope you are right about .zim!  The Freeburnalpha romset has almost all the mame  games supported, but for whatever reason some old games (Spiders) are not in there, and I could not get berserk to load.   Also, canyon bomber ran fine, but had some major bad sound buzzing which makes it not playable (unless there is a way to disable sound).  I noticed there are a ton of fba setting in the .ini file you provided, maybe those would help...

 

On the Picodrive - Oh that makes more sense and thanks for providing it.  I believe the differences I was seeing before somehow come from running inside the menu system vs. outside.  Maybe with a different home folder set or whatever, but it's like the aspect ratio is slightly different when you run by hacking a command into the startup.sh instead of going through the menu. 

 

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in the 3.1 pack i just cut and pasted all the retromenu emu settings for the cores from the LFB2019 to the AFBX.
/rom_alt_2 is set up to take FinalBurn Alpha roms. The FBA settings are enabled in that category.

also forgot to mention earlier, the retromenu settings for quickness emu fixed the diagonal screen tearing on nes games.

The Gen+GX settings did little to fix the genesis sound issues. Disabling rewind made them a tad faster. enabling frame drop made them a tad

faster, but you have frame drop :( .  Frame drop didnt get them to 100% speed, so I turned it back off.


 

Edited by Draxxon

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Quick note with good news.  Sonic runs much better (pretty perfect) from that new picodrive core including sound!  So I think that is going to be better for Genesis games at least.

 

Also, mame2000 is working with .zim!

 

I had to add:

mame2000-show_gameinfo=disabled
mame2000-skip_disclaimer=enabled

To the retroplayer.ini for them to start, and they still come up with the mame settings menu, but work when you exit that.

 

canyon bomber - working.

battlezone - working.

berzerk, working with no sound but there was another rom version I didn't try.

 

Also, I found another retroplayer.ini (I think from a LFB2018 update?) with a few different settings.  Attaching in case there is anything else useful in there.

 

retroplayer_ro_different.ini

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I have all the stuff from the AFB9/X and LFB2018/9. But i havent looked too close at the LFB'18 retromenu.

I have no idea where that picodrive core came from, but I suspect the sega genesis flashbacks, and I never purchased one of those. Im going to go unpack the latest firmware from it and see if i can gleam any extra info.

Any luck with 32X or SCD support? Not sure there are any one button games, but just curious.

Edited by Draxxon

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Well, no picodrive in the Sega Flashbacks. I know that rrifonas brought Mame and FBA cores over from the SNES classic, maybe thats where the PicoDrive core came from. Not sure.

 

Here is an unpacked Genesis Flashback Update image. If you want to check out the "retro-files".

 

SEGA-FB.rar

 

 

Now Im thinking, how similar are the LEGNENDS ARCADE products and go check those again.

Edited by Draxxon

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As a test I swapped the AFBX stella core for the AFB9 Gold version. I tried river raid again and I feel like it plays better. I turned off Rewind and it NEVER dipped below 60fps after the initial game startup. Im going to test it some more but here are the two cores if someone can compare them. Again, I'm no expert, so they may be the exact same thing and purely turning off rewind greatly improves River raid.
 

If anyone wants to test River Raid here are the files. I included the AFBX core so someone might check whats different, or so you can change it back. It is now called "Stella_libretro.so.old". 

open the retroplayer.ini file with notepad to turn on and off settings.

Drop the /emulator and /rom folders on the root of your drive and copy over the old ATARIv3.1 files.
 

AFB9~X_Core_Test.rar

 

Edited by Draxxon
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OKAY. SO. I removed both cores from the /emulator folder and River Raid still worked. which proves two things:

 

1. the core is hardcoded and swapping them didnt do anything. (But, I dont think that means that they arent different or cant be swapped with a CFW flash or rerouted.)

2. I dont know what im doing and i need to stay in my lane (art) lmmfao.

 

So... the test above.... dont copy over your stella files found in the /emulator folder. instead change the names around. rename "stella_libretro.so.old" to "stella_libretro.so" and vice versa. if you DID copy them over, just switch the names back. Just understand which is which and throw the AFB9G version (now named stella_libretro.so.old") in your /emulator folder for safe keeping. Bottom line is the system doesnt even see those files so it doesnt even matter, really. Its not going to break anything.

 

The .ini file in the /rom/data folder is still good for testing the disabling of rewind for river raid, or any other game you want to try, and using the On Screen Display.

Sorry, I'm trying.

 

Edited by Draxxon

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1 hour ago, Draxxon said:

As a test I swapped the AFBX stella core for the AFB9 Gold version.

Curious if the wireless joysticks from the AFB9 might work on the AFBX? I'd find it hard to believe the AFBX has a receiver in it but a few noted they thought it did.

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Im curious what this version of Adventure II is doing lost in the AFBX emulator folder? Is it the same as the built in version? the "box art" is different and this game was on the AFB9? I just wonder where this came from???

 

 

AdventureII.a26.s.png

Aventure_II.rar


 

 

Here is the built in version for comparison:

 

AdventureII.a26.s.png

Built_In_Version.rar

Edited by Draxxon

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13 minutes ago, Draxxon said:

Im curious what this version of Adventure II is doing lost in the AFBX emulator folder?

The 5200 Adventure II? Or some new 2600 Adventure II?

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On 2/9/2021 at 12:00 AM, Velvis said:

What's the odds the FBX would be able to play arcade Warlords on MAME with paddle support?

Before today I would have said zero.  Now, with mame 2000 control config menu coming up, I think maybe there is a chance.  I don't have paddles, so won't be able to try it.  I was thinking more of disabling rewind for a given game, then using that button (like Draxxon suggested before) to map to a second button for mame.  Still not confident it will work, but that  would add a lot of games. 

 

BTW, the freeburn alpha core is saving high scores across reboots, which sort of surprised me.

Edited by rocketfan
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2 hours ago, rocketfan said:

Before today I would have said zero.  Now, with mame 2000 control config menu coming up, I think maybe there is a chance.  I don't have paddles, so won't be able to try it.  I was thinking more of disabling rewind for a given game, then using that button (like Draxxon suggested before) to map to a second button for mame.  Still not confident it will work, but that  would add a lot of games. 

 

BTW, the freeburn alpha core is saving high scores across reboots, which sort of surprised me.

Well, if it gets that far I would be happy to test it with my paddles.

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Odds just improved slightly.  I tried out mapping the rewind button for button 2 on Xevious.  Not quite the result I expected.

 

Rewind seems to come out <tab> key to mame, but when I mapped it in the P1 Button 2, the bombs drop continuously.  Pressing rewind brings back up the mame config  window.

Start="1", mapping to this does work in the game to drop the bombs.

Select="5", but didn't work right, I guess because you can add coins at any time.

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so if im following, mapping action button-2 to the rewind "button" resulted in an always on turbo "button", and a disabled rewind "button" = tab in mame, which brings up the config, from there you map bombs to start and bombs and start share a button. thats thinking like a real arcade player with not enough buttons on the CPO.

 

and if im still following, start button is bombs, and if you accidentally hit rewind trying for bombs, youre going to bring the config menu back up pausing the gameplay? I also wonder does the chrome toggle start switch on the console function as button-2 as well? Im guessing it has to function the same as the joystick button.


i wonder if rewind is up+down or left+right or select+start, and i wonder if that is the hotkey for tab in mame.

Starting to think maybe building an arcade style stick out of an old atari joystick may be worth while.

Edited by Draxxon

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On 2/9/2021 at 10:07 PM, rocketfan said:

Comparison of my AFBX firmware (unit purchased in January, batch code D10908 then updated to the custom fw ) to the one with V.0.1.21 FW from Schnafe.

 

Partitions which are identical:

boot

recovery

misc

resource

rootfs

 

Partitions which differ:

kernel

emulator

rom

 

I know emulator is updated by the custom fw, and I believe that is the only partition it impacts.  Both rom and emulator can be mounted in linux, so I copied out the contents. 

 

I am attaching the output of "diff -q" on linux for both directories.  You can see I have the Sam's club version with the extra games.  Also, the SpaceInvaders.a26 and a couple other files are different, which surprises me.  Interesting thing to me about the emulator folder is that retroplayer is different - I'm not positive, but I believe that is not modified by the custom firmware.

 

I don't know how to look in Kernel, or even what type of filesystem it is.

 

 

 

rom.diffs 1.81 kB · 4 downloads emulator.diffs 517 B · 3 downloads

 The cfw for AFBX actually did include a modified/hacked retromenu.  The reason being, as i recall, that for this console AtGames had hardcoded the full path to /emulator/all-games.ini instead of using /rom version.  Unable to remount /emulator at the time this would have precluded using a custom .ini file for game roms/art in the player menu, so I hacked the path string in the binary.

Edited by Brad_from_the_80s
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6 hours ago, Draxxon said:

Im curious what this version of Adventure II is doing lost in the AFBX emulator folder? Is it the same as the built in version? the "box art" is different and this game was on the AFB9? I just wonder where this came from???

Those 2 ROMs are the same, just different box arts.  The game was originally on the Flashback 2.  I'm not sure who made the hack of Adventure to come up with this sequel, but I remember hearing Curt Vendel was involved (obviously in designing the FB2 anyway, but not sure if he did the hack).

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I thought I remember hearing something about Adventure+ was Adventure II but I have no clue. I found that rom and art sloppily left in the /emulator folder where games dont go. They had already used the much nicer, original art on the AFB9, so I had hoped maybe they had tested an alternate version of AdvII or something, oh well. Thanks for checking.

Edited by Draxxon

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So does anybody know how to get the 10 bonus games back after a IDB brick?  I tried erasing the flash, updating, I just get placeholders and game info where the bonus games were, and they don't start.

I have reached out to atgames and they told me that I installed the wrong firmware after I told them what I done and what happened. They still insist I installed the wrong firmware... I didn't install the wrong firmware! 

So I am asking the community for help on this issue.

 

Edited by MrFister

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3 hours ago, MrFister said:

So does anybody know how to get the 10 bonus games back after a IDB brick?  I tried erasing the flash, updating, I just get placeholders and game info where the bonus games were, and they don't start.

I have reached out to atgames and they told me that I installed the wrong firmware after I told them what I done and what happened. They still insist I installed the wrong firmware... I didn't install the wrong firmware! 

So I am asking the community for help on this issue.

 

I believe it should all just be controlled from  the all-games.ini in the rom folder.  If the rom files, art files, and all-games.ini are there and match-up, they should show up.  It does sound like there are some missing files, but you have the wrong contents.  Hopefully there is not a problem with the onboard flash!!

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9 hours ago, Draxxon said:

if you accidentally hit rewind trying for bombs, youre going to bring the config menu back up pausing the gameplay?

Yes, and I did.  It is awkward to use those buttons for actions because of that.  In some games the "turbo fire" of the rewind could work out, I guess.  It's annoying in Xevious because of the bomb sound effect constantly going.

 

Here is an update on the new approach I was investigating to launch roms:  It works.  I also proved there is a "default" slot which is used if the extension is not know (slot 1 in the file).  The new approach takes the technique previously used by Brad and rmr_md (and me) when hex editing the retromenu "up a level" so now all the slots just call a wrapper script for everything.

 

The wrapper script can do any parsing you want.  Currently I pull out the file extension and have a big case statement to use the emulator of choice for that extension.  I will be adding a couple special cases next like "goto", testing some more and should get  done by the weekend.  The approach ends up being a bit simpler and definitly more flexible.  Once this is in there, it will be easy for anyone to modify the case statement for rom launching any way they want, because it sits out in /emulator on your thumb drive.

 

I found out that picodrive works well for Sonic, but is not a winner for everything.  For example it does a really bad job for game gear.  So for now I have ".bin" set to trigger picodrive, and "genplusgx" is the default for everyting else, since it handles so many extensions well.

 

Also PS, this could theoretically allow for a bezel per game.  Like if you have theend.zip.bzl.png" in your roms folder, then copy that in while the game runs.  You could copy over the current bezel, or use "sed" to edit the retroplayer.ini file.  I may stub that in, for someone/anyone to flesh out later.

 

I hope to put something on here filled-in and polished more by the weekend.

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on xevious, can you set button1/shoot to rewind, for continuous gun fire, and set bombs/button2 to the red fire button instead?

my new FBA romset has finished torrenting, so I will be messing with that on my end.

 

BTW, it looks like Menu is actually Select+Down and Rewind is Select+Up.
And, the AtGames Joystick shaft unscrews from the base. I'm not sure if some people havent discovered that yet.

Edited by Draxxon

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I have FinalBurn Alpha 2016 (v0.2.97.39 Non-Merged) Reference set from www.Archive.org

 

It looks like the FBAlpha samples go in /rom_alt_2/fba/samples

have to make a folder named "fba" and place the "samples" folder in it. the "fba" folder goes wherever your FBA roms are ran from. 
dont change any of the FBA rom or sample file names or they wont work.

Ive got...

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Jr

Donkey Kong 3

Galaga (Runs a bit slow, might disable rewind or wait for mame version and see)

...all working with audio samples. The monitors are rotated, and they are in the correct aspect ratio. yay :) 

Probably going to go with arcade flyers for box art. It will be the easiest/fastest.
BTW, I remember doing all this on my LFB and we've come to a point where a lot of arcade games can be ran on either MAME or FBA... I want to say that which emulator is best will be on a per game basis. I won't be much help in this department... because without playing each game extensively on both emulators.... I just wont know. I suppose with so few one-button'ers, including both versions may not be a huge deal.

Edited by Draxxon

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On 2/7/2021 at 12:27 PM, Schnafe said:

I have no idea what to do with these, but here are all of the partitions backed up from my v21 firmware.  Hopefully I did it correctly, and hopefully someone can use it to make an updated .img for anyone that wants to use it.  

Atari Flashback X v.0.1.21.zip 46.63 MB · 10 downloads

I get a corrupted zip file.  I redownloaded and get the same results.

Anyway you could upload a new zip?  Also has anybody been able to pack these into a update.img file?

I have been trying but I am a Linux newb!!!

Edited by MrFister

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On 2/10/2021 at 4:04 PM, MrZarniwoop said:

Curious if the wireless joysticks from the AFB9 might work on the AFBX? I'd find it hard to believe the AFBX has a receiver in it but a few noted they thought it did.

At this point, nothing surprises me. Here is the system file:

 

wireless

 

 Here are tear down pics of the antenna:

 

Atari Flashback X Able to Use Wireless Controllers of 9? - AtGames Flashback and Portable Consoles - AtariAge Forums

 

I've got FBAlpha rolling and its hit or miss, but mostly positive. 

 

these worked very well:

 

rallyx.zip  - worked

qbert.zip - worked

pacman.zip - worked

mspacman.zip - worked

marioj.zip - worked

dkong.zip - worked

dkongjr.zip - worked

 

not so much:
galaga.zip - almost (slow)

dkong3.zip - almost (buzzing audio)

 

not at all:

mario.zip  - broken (wont load / black screen)

donpachi.zip - broken  (wont load / black screen)

 

 

Edited by Draxxon

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