Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

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ShadowMan44
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Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:24 pm

Tl:dr
Every single script on Kazzo that I've tried has failed to dump CheetahMen: The Creation, properly.
I've attached a picture here showing an example; the sprites are garbaged, but the game itself runs totally fine. I've tested this cart on real NES hardware and the graphics are in tact, so it must have something to do with the script.

The only problem is: I have literally no idea how Kazzo scripts work, there is no way to know how exactly what to put in.
I know only one person who knows how to write scripts, and they unfortunately refuse to work with me on it due to stubbornness, so I've decided to come here and see if anyone can help me here.
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cheetahmencreation_001.png
cheetahmencreation_001.png (705 Bytes) Viewed 2409 times

lidnariq
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by lidnariq » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:35 pm

Are these true Kazzo scripts, or INL's modern successor? If the former, what script did you use to generate this dump?

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:41 pm

I think these are real Kazzo scripts, as I bought this device back before it was discontinued, I have used quite a few scripts including the standard nrom.ad.

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koitsu
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by koitsu » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:43 pm

I could not find pictures of this game's PCB, only butter hoarders demonstrating that they own the cartridge or selling it for ridiculous sums of money. This does not help with dumping. Images like this also do not help. The board is not listed in BootGod's DB.

Start by providing high resolution pictures of both sides of the cartridge PCB (read: you must open the cartridge, it is not transparent enough to get clear visibility). The higher res the better. This will help disclose what the mapper chip is that's used, in addition to PRG and/or CHR size, as well as provide detailed traces for analysis. A hardware-oriented person here can likely figure out via the traces what likely existing script can be used, or which one can be modified (and in what way).

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:46 pm

koitsu wrote:I could not find pictures of this game's PCB, only butter hoarders demonstrating that they own the cartridge or selling it for ridiculous sums of money. This does not help with dumping. Images like this also do not help. The board is not listed in BootGod's DB.

Start by providing high resolution pictures of both sides of the cartridge PCB (read: you must open the cartridge, it is not transparent enough to get clear visibility). The higher res the better. This will help disclose what the mapper chip is that's used, in addition to PRG and/or CHR size, as well as provide detailed traces for analysis. A hardware-oriented person here can likely figure out via the traces what likely existing script can be used, or which one can be modified (and in what way).
Ah, I probably should have posted the images here. Yeah I took some pictures of the PCB a week ago.
Image
Image

lidnariq
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by lidnariq » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:52 pm

With that PCB, a 74LS377, 64K of PRG, and 32K of CHR, this might be mapper 11, 66, or 79 148. Probably not mapper 232.

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:58 pm

I tried dumping it with all 3 of those mappers by clicking "change mapper", it still doesn't work.
Is there a specific script I need to use? My current script is "nrom_GUI.ad"

lidnariq
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by lidnariq » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:04 pm

"nrom" implies you're just dumping it as NROM, period. With the Kazzo, you need separate scripts for each board. You should end up with a file that's 96KB in size, not 40KB.

If you have a multimeter, the best thing to do would be to figure out what pins on the ROM go to what pin on the 74'377. From that we can definitively tell you what the resultant hardware is.

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:36 pm

74'377? Which chip are you talking about?

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rainwarrior
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by rainwarrior » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:45 pm

The smaller chip on the top right (look for the "377" printed on the top in the middle of some other letters and numbers). It should have 8 pins that connect to the card edge connector, and another 8 pins that connect to pins on the 2 ROM chips (the two bigger ones).

If you can determine which is connected to which, this mapper can be completely described.

An additional photo of the back of the board might get us halfway there, but for traces that go underneath chips and can't be seen, a multimeter can be used to check what's really connected.

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:16 pm

This is what you want, right? I do not have a multimeter on hand right now. Is it absolutely mandatory to get one?
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koitsu
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by koitsu » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:16 pm

The 1st picture in the above reply is of the area of the board behind the CIC chip. That isn't particularly helpful (see last paragraph of this post), but the right hand side of the picture does depict some of the other traces (which ARE relevant), but because we can't see the rest of the board in the same shot, we can't tell what they're connected to.

Because you don't seem to understand what's on the board, let's go over it using this picture as a reference

1) 8-pin square chip below the "NTSC ONLY" silkscreening: this is the CIC lockout chip, probably RetroUSB's CICLONE chip (CIC clone). This is needed to comply with Nintendo's lockout protection; Google "NES CIC" if you care. Nothing special/magical about this chip

2) 28-pin rectangular chip to the right of the CIC chip: this is the CHR-ROM (i.e. graphics). It's an Atmel AT-27C256R DIP EPROM, 256kbits (32KBytes)

3) 28-pin rectangular chip to the right of the CHR-ROM: this is the PRG-ROM (i.e. code). I cannot read the silkscreening due to angle/lighting, but I suspect it is an Atmel AT-27C512R DIP EPROM, 512kbits (64KBytes)

4) 20-pin rectangular chip above the PRG-ROM: this is the mapper chip used for CHR-ROM and PRG-ROM bank switching, and possibly other features (unknown).. The silkscreening is again hard to read for the same reason, but I can make out "LS377H" just barely, I think, which means it's likely a 74LS377.

5) There is a solder bridge (solder dot) across the HORIZ pads, rather than VERT. That means it either uses horizontal mirroring (a.k.a. vertical layout) or possibly horizontal layout (a.k.a. vertical mirroring), for how the NES organises its video memory for multiple screens of data. I suspect it means Horizontal Layout, because this video of the game depicts a horizontally scrolling game, not vertical.

This PCB in general looks to be a variant of a Sealie Computing (RetroUSB) RetroPak board. Maybe "CD" is "Custom Design"? Don't know. bunnyboy, the guy who owns/runs RetroUSB, would probably be glad to help if we asked him. Not sure we need to, however.

Anyway, from (2), (3), and (4), we can tell definitively this is not an NROM game -- NROM games (a.k.a. "mapper 0") have no mapper chip, and are usually 32KB PRG + 8KB CHR because that's all the NES can address natively without a mapper chip**. Gyromite is an example of an NROM game (the board there has 3 chips only: CIC + PRG + CHR). Hopefully now you understand why lidnariq said your dump should be 96KB (64KB PRG, 32KB CHR).

The 2nd picture in your reply; it is semi-blurry (mobile phones, sigh), but I think it might be good enough. I'll let lidnariq/others decide. But:

What we need is very clear photos of the board PCB (read: all the traces or "lines" that go from X to Y, especially from the edge/cart connector onward). It's hard because the PCB is blue, I know. As I stated originally, both sides of the board need very high resolution pictures. The ones you've provided so far have been so-so; the reference picture I mentioned above is actually the best of the bunch ((for seeing traces, etc.). You may have to take 20-30 pictures, with and without a flash, or even put the PCB inside of a scanner (if you have one) to see if you can get 1 or 2 really good results at the highest resolution possible. It may take multiple shots, which is OK. Here are some example threads which should give you some idea of the resolution and clarity needed, and what exactly the hardware folks do with these pictures:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19017
viewtopic.php?p=236113#p236113
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=18375
viewtopic.php?p=228739#p228739 (great example)

It is from these pictures that hardware folks reverse-engineer the "setup" of the board and what chips are connected to what pins (or other chips) on the cart/edge connector -- and all of this is what the Kazzo dump scripts effectively need to know for a cartridge to be dumped properly. Without the proper script/configuration, the dump may be incorrect (garbled graphics, does nothing, crashes, is too large (overdump), is too small (underdump), etc.).

When it comes to dumping a game that hasn't been dumped before, it's very important you try to get it right -- multiple dumps are often needed (to verify/validate/ensure the bytes are consistently correct; bad dumps are VERY common! There's literally hundreds if not thousands). But the first step is understanding the board config, then writing the Kazzo script that should work with it, seeing if you got the right filesize, and/or possibly writing or modifying the 16-byte NES header that correctly matches the board setup (maybe Kazzo does this for you, not sure), then trying the ROM in an emulator and playing it as far as possible (and doing the same on real hardware) to make sure nothing is missing/mangled.

Does this make more sense to you now? :-)

** -- Pedants, do not get fixated on this statement. You know exactly what I'm conveying to the OP here.

ShadowMan44
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by ShadowMan44 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:36 pm

The photos I've shown are pretty much the absolute best I can take using my limited camera resources, so instead I can read the 20 pin chip to you.

07D51VK E4
SN74LS377N

I guess what I can do with the traces is I can open it in Paint.net and put some colored lines on the traces to show where they all lead, is that a good solution?

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koitsu
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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by koitsu » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:47 pm

I'll let lidnariq/others decide. The reference picture you took of the front of the board is really good, it's totally usable. The rear board picture may be good enough; there aren't a huge number of traces, which make this a bit easier.

Thanks for the mapper chip ID; yeah, that's a classic flip-flop and is most certainly used in some other boards.

The thing is: sometimes PCBs can wire things up (from edge connector to chip or pin) differently than other boards, so that's why PCB pictures are needed. The wiring is what depicts what memory/address ranges control the mapper. I'm not a hardware guy, as much as my earlier description might make you think otherwise.

I'm ~99% certain lidnariq is familiar with this chip and it shouldn't pose too many problems. I suspect it's similar, if not identical, to some of the Color Dreams boards/games. Mapper 11 might be a good starting point. If the board varies compared to "standard" Colour Dreams games, then the PCB pictures should help tell us that. After that, it's a matter of finding or writing a mapper 11 (or whatever mapper) Kazzo script.

Just wait for lidnariq et al to provide some answers.

P.S. -- For Tepples/Memblers: can we have this thread moved from Newbie Help Centre to NES Hardware and Flash Equipment? I suspect krzysiobal could help too, if needed. Edit: looks like lidnariq is active on the forum, so maybe not necessary. :)

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Re: Need help dumping Cheetahmen: The Creation

Post by lidnariq » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:53 pm

I can't really tell from the pictures. Too many traces are hidden under the ICs to make educated guesses about what's connected where.

If ShadowMan44 is willing to use a multimeter (or a cheapo homebrew continuity meter) to determine which pins from the 74LS377 go to what pins on the ROMs, we could tell you which script is needed to use to dump it (or I could write one).

Otherwise ... I have no better idea than just trying a bunch of different scripts and seeing what works. (Does the CNROM script produce 32KIB of CHR? Does the ANROM script produce 64KiB of PRG?)

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