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Mr.T

Jaguar GD compatibility testing and questions

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After a good wait I finally got my Game Drive the other day and am mostly happy with it. I do have some observations about it's setup and usability which I'll be bringing up in my live video review of the device this Thursday, for anyone who wants to check that out. For now though I'm persevering with putting together a rom selection I'm happy with and have found compatibility so far to be hit or miss. Here's what I've found:

 

Original commercial releases all work fine, in .jag format, if obtained from a good source.

Reboot roms all work fine with the .rom extension, with the exception of 1.

Other homebrew/indie games are hit or miss, whatever the extension.

ST ports are also hit or miss. 

Pretty sure none of the skunkboard-modded roms work which I kind of expected.

Several betas/protos/demos from the goodset don't work.

 

Besides the commercial stuff, most of the roms I'm using were downloaded from threads here on Atariage, mostly from one master thread by Cyrano. From my 'master list', (a combination of commercial, homebrew and ports), here are my current non-workers and the fault I'm getting on my PAL Jaguar. RS = red screen after first jag logo screen, BS = black screenafter first jag logo screen, UFF = unknown file format that wont boot on either mode offered:

 

1943 - RS
Aircars - RS
Arkanoid ROD - BS
Asteroids - BS
Badlands - RS
Bionic Commando - RS
Brutal Sports Football - UFF
Dragon Breed - RS
Escape FTPOTRM - RM
Flying Shark - RS
Gorf 2000 - UFF
JagMarble - UFF
Midnight Resistance - RS
Phase Zero - UFF
Project One - BS
Rampage - BS
Rick Dangerous 2 - BS
Solomon's Key - BS
Star Wars Arcade - BS
Stunt Car Racer - BS
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - BS

 

If anyone has links to working versions of these roms or any ports or homebrew known to work then I'd love it if you could share them. 

 

My only other question is on rom naming. Some roms read the naming I've manually given them on my PC for naming consistency, but many don't and I'm not sure where the Game Drive is reading them from. Made a couple of .mrq files for some games adding my naming for consistency and it's not reading it from there it seems. rom extensions also seem to show for some roms and not others? Could options not be added to change this to user preference? Auto name reading is always problematic in my eyes, editing file names is so simple on a PC after all.
 

 

 

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Hi there,

 

for the ST ports you need the Skunk_GDRom locked versions, a large bunch were posted in the first post in the thread (right at the bottom)  to replace the skunkboard locked ones.

 

The later ones all appear in the thread directly. I know they work, it's what I've been using to make them :)

 

Project One, you will need the ROM from the reboot-games site (on the downloads page)

 

Brutal Sports - there's a bad rom dump out there for that, you'll need to find another ROM.

 

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Posted (edited)

Cheers fella, will give those a whirl tomorrow. If it’s the thread I’m on about, it may need a bit of a tidy up and some additional info like this in the lead post now the GD is reaching more end users, and because some clicks links are no longer working. Jaguar homebrew is a new beast to me (and indeed a lot of people) being the first proper everdrive-like device the console has received so I think more people will come hunting for this info now. A lot of UK bods are waiting on my video so the more info I have to give the better for them looking to get a GD in the near future.

Edited by Mr.T
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3 hours ago, Mr.T said:

Cheers fella, will give those a whirl tomorrow. If it’s the thread I’m on about, it may need a bit of a tidy up and some additional info like this in the lead post now the GD is reaching more end users, and because some clicks links are no longer working. Jaguar homebrew is a new beast to me (and indeed a lot of people) being the first proper everdrive-like device the console has received so I think more people will come hunting for this info now. A lot of UK bods are waiting on my video so the more info I have to give the better for them looking to get a GD in the near future.

If you collect all the homebrew / free ROMs together with MRQ's into one place I'll happily host them on the RetroHQ site on the product page for people to download. There's already the Reboot game pack there, so the more the merrier. :)

 

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It’s not the cleanest as it was all done live and we had a network interruption halfway through, but here is a lengthy video recorded Thursday evening talking about my experiences with the device and showing a fair few games running: 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/9/2020 at 3:18 AM, Mr.T said:

My only other question is on rom naming. Some roms read the naming I've manually given them on my PC for naming consistency, but many don't and I'm not sure where the Game Drive is reading them from. Made a couple of .mrq files for some games adding my naming for consistency and it's not reading it from there it seems. rom extensions also seem to show for some roms and not others? Could options not be added to change this to user preference? Auto name reading is always problematic in my eyes, editing file names is so simple on a PC after all.


The ROM naming question is interesting, not sure what you mean.

 

The names are either taken from the filename of the ROM, or the contents of the MRQ. The MRQ takes presidence. Nothing is done to change the filenames in any way.

 

And all files with .ROM extension should be showing, if some are not something is wrong.
 

And phase zero works, so I can only assume you have a bad image. Same for a few (RS) of the games you list. Black screen is the game just hanging for whatever reason, some games are setup to run on the skunk, which can cause an issue.

Edited by SainT

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7 hours ago, SainT said:


The ROM naming question is interesting, not sure what you mean.

 

The names are either taken from the filename of the ROM, or the contents of the MRQ. The MRQ takes presidence. Nothing is done to change the filenames in any way.

 

And all files with .ROM extension should be showing, if some are not something is wrong.
 

And phase zero works, so I can only assume you have a bad image. Same for a few (RS) of the games you list. Black screen is the game just hanging for whatever reason, some games are setup to run on the skunk, which can cause an issue.

With the rom naming, the games as they appear in the list on the JagGD don't match with how I named them on my PC. As a PC is the simplest way to edit and obviously where you organise your files anyway, I'd prefer that the game list read exactly how I typed it. For some games it did, and in my review video you can see the ones that did. Without having my Jag set back up side by side with the same files on my PC I'm not sure. Not being able to view the MRQ files on a PC makes it a bit trickier - hopefully someone can make a simple GUI for MRQ creation so you can view and change individual elements (change one screenshot, fix a spelling mistake etc.) individually on PC, instead of having to write out all that command line info each time?

 

It's not that roms aren't showing, it's that those with certain file extensions actually SHOW the file extensions in the menu, namely .abs, .rom and .j64 files.

 

Yeah, something I mentioned in my video is that the sources for a lot of Jaguar stuff seem a mixed bag. For several commercial games I had to go to various sources to get a working rom, but especially the homebrew stuff, Project One didn't work straight away from the pack shared by Reboot and had to get that individually from their site. Same applies for ST ports; had to grab a few downloads from over these forums to get working versions. As far as demos and betas go though, those all came from the proper Jaguar Goodset, and yet a bunch of them don't work either, neither do some of the betas. The Fight for Life betas and AVP alpha don't work for example. I'm not saying it's necessarily a fault of your work, but maybe in the crowd-driven nature of Jaguar preservation and homebrew? Speaking for flash carts for other systems, my general experiences are that pretty much anything downloaded works that I throw at them (sometimes even with wrong rom extensions, bad headers and everything), the only real exception being CD flash solutions which often require conversion to a specific format. Im not suggesting it's a fault of your programming, but the messy nature of game creation and dumping for this console?

 

 

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Quite a lot of the rom problems stem from various site using overdumps and part dumps.  Brutal sports football is a prime example as that has extra bytes added to the front of the rom. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Mr.T said:

With the rom naming, the games as they appear in the list on the JagGD don't match with how I named them on my PC. As a PC is the simplest way to edit and obviously where you organise your files anyway, I'd prefer that the game list read exactly how I typed it. For some games it did, and in my review video you can see the ones that did. Without having my Jag set back up side by side with the same files on my PC I'm not sure. Not being able to view the MRQ files on a PC makes it a bit trickier - hopefully someone can make a simple GUI for MRQ creation so you can view and change individual elements (change one screenshot, fix a spelling mistake etc.) individually on PC, instead of having to write out all that command line info each time?

 

It's not that roms aren't showing, it's that those with certain file extensions actually SHOW the file extensions in the menu, namely .abs, .rom and .j64 files.

 

Yeah, something I mentioned in my video is that the sources for a lot of Jaguar stuff seem a mixed bag. For several commercial games I had to go to various sources to get a working rom, but especially the homebrew stuff, Project One didn't work straight away from the pack shared by Reboot and had to get that individually from their site. Same applies for ST ports; had to grab a few downloads from over these forums to get working versions. As far as demos and betas go though, those all came from the proper Jaguar Goodset, and yet a bunch of them don't work either, neither do some of the betas. The Fight for Life betas and AVP alpha don't work for example. I'm not saying it's necessarily a fault of your work, but maybe in the crowd-driven nature of Jaguar preservation and homebrew? Speaking for flash carts for other systems, my general experiences are that pretty much anything downloaded works that I throw at them (sometimes even with wrong rom extensions, bad headers and everything), the only real exception being CD flash solutions which often require conversion to a specific format. Im not suggesting it's a fault of your programming, but the messy nature of game creation and dumping for this console?

 

 

 

The only places game names are coming from are the filename or MRQ. If you name it differently in the MRQ to the filename, that's the one that will show. That sounds to me like what your issue is. And, yes, it could do with a proper GUI tool! It's on the list.... :) I could add an option to always display filenames in the list then display the MRQ data just in the window below. 

 

I think all FILES will show their extension, but if you have an MRQ it shows the NAME, so there is no extension. Again, perhaps the showing of filenames in that window makes more sense.

 

And yes, the Jaguar has had a far more active homebrew community than pretty much any other console really, and the methods of developing titles meant that you used things like BJL to upload via the joypad ports or used 16bit flash. Both of these methods require intervention to get the code to work on a "standard" cart layout, which is what the GD provides. And with BJL, it loads to RAM and executes, starting in the state BJL left it. This is not the state the console is in when its booted, which is how I hand over execution. These are things which can be fixed (we did look at it to degree before), but equally a lot of files out there are just binaries with no indication of where they load or execute. So unless you happen to know HOW to run them, they will not work on anything.

 

And I do know things like FFL work, so that again will be a bad ROM. Just because a zip has the name "good" in the title doesn't mean that they are "good".... 😉 I know from experience there is broken crap in there.

 

Btw, no negativity taken, I want people to experiment and find issues. I will take the time to investigate them when I actually have some time to give. I'm hoping that wont be too long now, I'm getting more and more things under control. ;)

Edited by SainT
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On 6/14/2020 at 4:05 PM, Mr.T said:

Not being able to view the MRQ files on a PC makes it a bit trickier - hopefully someone can make a simple GUI for MRQ creation so you can view and change individual elements (change one screenshot, fix a spelling mistake etc.) individually on PC, instead of having to write out all that command line info each time?

I wrote an alternative MRQ tool (primarily because I'm not a Windows user) which does have the ability to view and edit existing files as well as create them.

 

There's a screencast showing the basic usage, feel free to give it a go: https://github.com/bodgit/retrohq

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Nice one for doing that, I’m sure Mac users will use that instead.

 

Still mightily inconvenient though. PC and Mac users could both do with something much more user friendly with a graphical interface to streamline this. Even simpler would be if the GD could just read .png and .txt files named as per the rom, but I can understand why that might not be the case.

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2 hours ago, Mr.T said:

Nice one for doing that, I’m sure Mac users will use that instead.

 

Still mightily inconvenient though. PC and Mac users could both do with something much more user friendly with a graphical interface to streamline this. Even simpler would be if the GD could just read .png and .txt files named as per the rom, but I can understand why that might not be the case.

Yep, both valid points. There is now code out there if anyone wants to do a graphical version.

 

I've got so much on my metaphorical plate at the moment that I'm not likely to get to it for a while. :(

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Posted (edited)

Does anyone have a full list of all the games I can use for the GD and the various places I can get it from? Does anyone know if the paid games on the atariage store are available to buy digitally?

Edited by hypochondriac

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