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 Post subject: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:55 am 
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Posts: 49
Hi,
I want to dump Gameking cartridges which are similar to a Game Boy but have 2x30 pins like the Famicom or better Game Theory Admiral but different pinout.

It must be possible. 2 guys have managed it but discontinued. There is no well working emulator.
The basic facts like the pinout is known and it should be easy. Not sure about if mapping, bank switching and thelike are the problems.
Can someone tell me if it's possible or too difficult.
Maybe with a Arduino. The Cartridges have 17 address lines and needs 3V (5V should be too high).
Any hints?


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:10 am 
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Location: Hong Kong
If I remember correctly, Brian Provinciano(he's also a member here who posted a while earlier), who created Grand Threftendo Retro City Rampage, did some researches on the system and dumped the ROMs. He never published the games for downloading though.

I really miss his original homepage(it's now just a twitter page). There're loads of interesting stuff on obscure systems, not to mention that he also worked with SCI Studio.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:11 am 
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Brian Provinciano's website is still available via archive.org.
http://web.archive.org/web/200710280903 ... /index.php

That's the only useful website with pinout details. He also built a cart reader

http://web.archive.org/web/200710250631 ... cartreader

but the images are very tiny and he didn't tell exactly what kind of resistors, software etc he used. And no schematics. The Graphics editor can still be downloaded from there.
I doubt that he would help me, now as a professional game designer. Maybe there is a reason why everything was removed from the web. There was an emulator of him on SourceForge but nothing there anymore.
And the GameKengu emulator for DS of Lira Nuna is still available but doesn't work properly. And no source code anyway. Emulation is secondary. First I need to dump.
My skills are limited, maybe someone can say something more by watching the images.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:57 am 
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Location: Hong Kong
Of course his old site is still available via web.archive.org, but I rather wish he would continue to update it, especially SCI Studio.

Since Brian is still around, why not try sending him a PM or ask in his current Twitter page? Maybe he would offer the information you need.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:33 am
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I have to think about it if I should bother him.
Look what he posted here. Just to promote his game and to ask for music. Last post mid 2011.
Do you think a professional game designer has the time and will send me schematics for a 10 year old project what he removed on purpose from the web? His 2 other SourceForge projects are still there but not this one.
Maybe he didn't made schematics.
I think I rather contact Lira Nuna. He even still collects that Cartridges in 2013.

As I don't have much experience I think I would make it on a different way using a microcontroller instead of direct wiring.
There are many microcontroller dumping projects and there must be many folks around to know how to dump (any) ROMs if the pinout is known what is the case.
There are many Game Boy projects but I choose this board as the Famicom also has 60 pins.
I first considered buying a commercial product but I'm not sure if there's something what will do it without major changes for a reasonable price. So probably a microcontroller is the best way.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Location: Seattle
The easiest way to figure out what you need to do is open up your cartridge; the labels on any parts inside will probably give you enough information to dump it.

Anyway, the scant information BriPro gives is actually enough to figure out most of what kind of interface the game king wants.

The two CD4040s he uses are each 12-bit counter ICs, which strongly implies inside the cartridge is just a parallel ROM without any special decoding logic. Smaller than 2^(24) addresses (16MB), and almost certainly 8-bit wide output, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:33 am
Posts: 49
Thanks! I knew that there must be enough information. And the system is quite easy.
However there are no ROM packages inside but globs. Here are high res pictures

http://wiki.portablegaming.de/GameKing

I still need more information of how to build a cart reader. What microcontroller is the best? Can I use other software and hardware with minor changes?
And here's the reason, why Brian stopped his site. He could make money of his emulating project and knowledge. So he won't give me any infos (I wonder why he chose SourceForge and released his emulator under GPL. Maybe someone has downloaded it.)

http://contrabvs.wordpress.com/2010/01/ ... ng-clones/


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:14 am 
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Location: Seattle
Gamekin wrote:
I still need more information of how to build a cart reader. What microcontroller is the best? Can I use other software and hardware with minor changes?
Oh, boy. This is going to be a doozy... Do you have a functioning GameKing and an (oscilloscope or logic analyzer)? I wouldn't even bother trying without both.

The best microcontroller is the one you're comfortable using. It sounds like this is all new to you, so you probably either want a BASIC Stamp or an Arduino, but I'm really not qualified to advise on this.

Quote:
And here's the reason, why Brian stopped his site. He could make money of his emulating project and knowledge.
I really find that implausible; the only thing he's been up to with any visibility is Retro City Rampage. Also, if he's selling a GK emulator ... why haven't you heard of it?

Anyway, here's a stab in the dark of what some of the pins might be. Don't trust them: I'm just going on pattern recognition, and it's really easy for that to be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:27 am 
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We have complete pinout informations

http://web.archive.org/web/200710271141 ... page=carts

I don't have an oscilloscope.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:12 am
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Location: Seattle
Oh, well, I guess given a pinout...

You'll want to drive 18 lines, and read 8 lines. Do any of the Arduinos come with that many I/O in the first place? If so, I'd just hook it up and start writing code to drive it appropriately.

You'd want to do something like

  1. Set Dx lines to inputs
  2. Out binary 0 on Ax lines
  3. Assert /OE low
  4. Read value on Dx, send to computer
  5. Assert /OE high
  6. Increment address on Ax lines
  7. Go to step 3 until done


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 7:28 am 
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Posts: 49
That's one of the problems. Most dumping projects use an Arduina Mega which is expensive enough but it must work with boards with fewer ports by reading data in 2 parts (but needs additional electronics).
There is a Sega Genesis project called Ardumpino including schematics and source code. Genesis has 23 lines and he used a small Duemilanove. The other problem is the voltage because I need 3V.
However I have to change the pinouts and dumping code. And need a 2x30 pin socket. It's not that easy. I've also seen projects using a modified cheap programmer. I think I have to ask some Arduino experts (or dumping experts).

http://www.brunofreitas.com/node/31
The 2nd one looks even simpler without that many wires. I even have a similar controller. But I can't use that Genesis cartridge and have to built at least a cartrige adapter. Not sure about other issues like voltage and timing. I have to check out the schematics and Sega pinout details. Famicom would be better.

http://www.brunofreitas.com/node/42


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:29 am 
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Location: Seattle
You're either going to have to salvage the the game connector off a (hopefully already dead) Gameking, or maybe you'll luck out and find that it's something standard that you can buy at digikey/mouser/newark.

Some of the Arduinos already run at 3V. I don't know more. (I've never had reason to leave the Microchip world)

The 2nd one is the same as the first, he just got a real PCB made instead of using a protoboard.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:21 pm 
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The slot is standard for Gameking and Game Theory Admiral. Or there is a larger slot but I have to check the right pin distance. Or I have to attach the wires somehow.

I have checked some of the source codes of Ardumpino and found a different SNES project (based on Ardumpino and others, also referring to nesdev) with better source code description but they are all different. 16 bit, 5V, different (fewer) address lines, including bank switching, RAM reading and much more.

So I have to change hardware and software. My skills are limited and I think I need someone who can explain it to me including complete schematics or very detailed descriptions.
First I have to know what controller is the best for this purpose and easy to handle and not too expensive. Depending on the hardware and programming language, I maybe also need someone to help me coding.
I did some other projects some time ago but don't have experience with all that. I don't want to ruin either controller or cartridges or PC.

I need a more versatile dumper or have to read much more source codes.

Any help what I should do is appreciated. Is there a better forum for that purpose? I wonder why only 2 guys in the world managed that. Hardware and games are also owned by a MESS member but nobody can read that (or want to ruin console and games). Maybe I have to contact Lira Nuna who wrote the first emulator. I wonder how he has dumped them.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:12 am
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Location: Seattle
Dumping games isn't hard, but between the short commercial run of the console, the games not being particularly compelling, and the non-zero barrier to entry, you're not going to see very many people attempting.

The dumper systems you see for the Genesis (16 bit data instead of 8, 5V instead of 3V), SNES or NES or 2600 or GameBoy (5V instead of 3V), GBA (multiplexed data/address) are all quite similar to this. You should be able to adapt any of them pretty easily.

In general, a design that would work at 5V will still work at 3V, you'll just need to change what it's powered by.


In any case, I'm not interested in simply giving people solutions: I want them to learn to do it themselves. Dumping a ROM makes a good 2nd or 3rd microcontroller project, but you should get comfortable with digital stuff first.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameking
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:53 am 
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Posts: 49
Yes, my skills are limited although I did some microcontroller projects and emulating stuff including compiling and debugging some years ago. Few own projects though.

Yes I have to learn and study more. But first I have to know what microcontroller I should buy to not buy the wrong stuff and waste too much money.

With a 3V Arduino how do I get data to a 5V PC? Don't know if there's conversion stuff embedded or if I have to pull up with electronics by myself. Then I don't need a microcontroller and can built a card reader like Brian.
People say he is a genius managing that.
I'm not sure if you could do that by reading what you told here. Just hooking it all up is obviously not enough. Sounds easy. But it's a system with few facts known. And too expensive to experiment without enough knowledge.
Even Brian doesn't know all of the Gameking as there are pins with functions he didn't understand at all even with an oscilloscope and his code.

I think I will try it somehow and first buy a microcontroller. But I think I need someone to check if my schematics and code would work before I do the real thing.
As I told I better ask elsewhere. Why should I do that alone?

There are different Gamekings and probably many people in China and elsewhere own one and maybe tried. And I don't think that Genesis, GBA and Gameking are that similar. Even a Gameboy has many different styles of cartridges. And who knows if a 4in1 Gameking cartridge needs bank switching or else.


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