Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

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SatoshiMatrix
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Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by SatoshiMatrix » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:58 am

I want to make a Final Fantasy III reproduction cart based on the 2011 English fan translation and bug fix that offers extras like dashing with the B button.

However, I've been told this game is only playable in emulators as the original Final Fantasy 3J uses TGROM, MMC3 + battery backed sram with a maximum CHR/PRG size of 256K. Unfortunetely, the 2011 English translation exceeds this, doubling both to 512K each for a 1MB game.

Recently I've become involved in the already incredible Rockman 4 Minus Infinity project which moves Megaman 4 (also TGROM with the same limitations, but without battery back up). Minus Infinity is a rom hack that moves the entire game to MMC5 with battery back up. Specifically, it now uses the NES/Famicom's most advanced board type ever made, ETROM - which allows a maximum 1 MB PRG and 512K CHR.

This got me thinking - is it possible to move Final Fantasy 3J to ETROM? ETROM boards have battery backed 8K SRAM and 8K work ram, but they use MMC5, not MMC3.


So what I'd like to know is to get a repro of FF3J working on the real hardware, is what I'm talking about possible, and is there anyone here who has the expertise to actually do the mapper hack? From what I've read MMC5 should be able to do everything MMC3 can.
Last edited by SatoshiMatrix on Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

tepples
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by tepples » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:53 am

S-series boards are used with MMC1. T-series boards are used with MMC3. E-series boards are used with MMC5. The boards you're thinking of are TGROM (Mega Man 4, Mega Man 6, Ninja Crusaders) and TNROM (Final Fantasy 3 and a few other Japan-only games). Both of these boards use CHR RAM. No official MMC5 board uses CHR RAM, and no official 72-pin MMC3 board uses both PRG RAM and CHR RAM. I wonder if infiniteneslives could help with the FF3 problem.

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SatoshiMatrix
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by SatoshiMatrix » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:08 am

Oh you're totally right. I remembered wrong. Yes, it is TG-ROM that Final Fantasy 3J uses.

I want to switch to ET-ROM (MMC5) using a Koei Famicom donor, not an NES repro. Famicom ET-ROM boards use four NES security screws, granting easy access to the pcb and making that board ideally suited for reproductions, especially in this case.

Take a look here for details of one of the donors I've got to work with:

http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/profile.php?id=1729

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by lidnariq » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:19 am

MMC5 donors are far and few between, and the few games released in the US that use them are particularly tragic to consume. It'd be far better to build a new MMC3-compatible thing using INL's boards, possibly using one of the funny Waixing (74, 192, 194, 195) TQROM-alike mappers that appear to support 1MB PRG for emulator compatibility.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by infiniteneslives » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:05 pm

My boards support TNROM, I've tested them with FF3 and several other TNROM games.


This statement confuses me...
However, I've been told this game is only playable in emulators as the original Final Fantasy 3J uses TGROM, MMC3 + battery backed sram with a maximum CHR/PRG size of 256K. Unfortunetely, the 2011 English translation exceeds this, doubling both to 512K each for a 1MB game.
I thought we were talking CHR-RAM games/boards? There's 512KB of CHR? If so, how does the hack expand the MMC3 to support all that?

1MB of PRG data can be done several ways with MMC3. I'm working on a QJ-variant of the MMC3 that latches extra address bits from $6000-7FFF. That obviously won't work if you've got WRAM. But if you were interested in a non-standard MMC3 that supported 1MB of PRG data it'd be pretty easy to create with my boards. MMC3's prg bank registers are only 6bits wide (ROM A13-18 for 512KB max). Making those registers 7bits wide would give 1MB of PRG data available. Which also works since my boards support up to 1MB of parallel rom. Going 8bits wide to step upto 2MB would probably work too, but would require stacked memories and some jumpers as there isn't much available for 2MB 5v parallel roms.

Edit: a third less software freindly, non emu supported, but standard MMC3 compatible option: Assuming you've got small amount of CHR since it's RAM, you could use upper CHR address bits for extra PRG similar to what nintendo did with the MMC1 on SUROM and SXROM boards.

If you're looking to step to MMC5 for it's large memory abilities alone, I should be able to support most of that as well. I haven't played around with it much yet, but it'd be 'heavily simplified' as all the extra MMC5 features would have to be stripped.
If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers

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SatoshiMatrix
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by SatoshiMatrix » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:05 pm

Well actually, I'm not totally sure what the breakdown is. Since the final ROM is 1 MB, I naturally assumed the PRG and CHR were 512K split down the middle. That might be wrong though. Here's the patch for you to look at yourself.

http://www.romhacking.net/translations/1590/

If you like I can provide the patched rom to work with.

I don't really care how it's done, but I'd like to reproduce this on a physical cart as neither the Powerpak or EverDrive can run it on real hardware, and there's no existing ready to use MMC3 donor that I'm aware of.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by lidnariq » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:27 pm

The original FF3J was 512k PRG on TNROM (battery-backed PRG RAM and CHR RAM). The translated version is 1M PRG.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by Dwedit » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:41 pm

What? FF3 translated is 512KB, just like the Japanese version.

Edit: Apparently, I completely missed the second translation of this game. Seems to work fine on PocketNES despite being 1MB in size.
Last edited by Dwedit on Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SatoshiMatrix
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by SatoshiMatrix » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:46 pm

There are two fan translations of FF3J for Famicom. The first one is kinda rough in it's translation, but otherwise is just the same as the original.

The translation I want was made years later and features many bug fixes and the all important ability to dash holding down the B button, something missing from the original and the first translation. It also cleans up the text considerably to more or less match the DS translation.



the original FF3J board:

http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/profile.php?id=1507

If all 1 MB is PRG, does that mean the CHR is combined into that PRG chip?

What I need is a board donor that can support that size PRG. As I say, I have several ETROM boards which can support that (Metal Slader Glory did so apparently), but ET-ROM is MMC5, meaning this English translation would need a mapper hack.

ETROM:

http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/profile.php?id=1729

So what I am asking are two things:

1. Is it possible to transfer the FF3J translation from TGROM to ETROM, and more importantly
2. Is there someone here with the expertise to actually do that? That kind of thing is totally out of my league.

If this isn't necessary and there is another alternative board type (especially a 72 pin alternative), feel free to lay it out. It doesn't matter to me how this is done, just that it is done. I know I could play FF3J on any number of emulators or just go with the modern remake, but I'd like to have the original game playable on the real Famicom hardware with all the modern tweaks the 2011 translation offers.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by Dwedit » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:56 pm

I wonder if it's possible to hack the game to Mapper 245? Mapper 245 is a MMC3 pirate variant uses CHR bit 2 to switch between two sets of 512k PRG. This could be done with an existing MMC3 chip, and a slightly different board layout (maybe moving a wire or something).
Last edited by Dwedit on Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by Bregalad » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:57 pm

You are mistinguishing the release order of the translation, the expanded translation is acutally older, and it has of course nothing to do with the DS release. It was made back when Nesticle was the standard to play NES games. (only it's submission to RHDN is newer).

As for your questions, the answer are :
1) no
2) no

If any MMC3 ROM with 1204KB of PRG-ROM were to hit real hardware, your best bet would be make a CPLD or FPGA clone of the MMC3 with more PRG selection bits. Remember that the MMC3 is itself a clone of a Namco mapper with more PRG and CHR selection bits.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by Dwedit » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:02 pm

The expanded translation was released in 2005, compared to the other translation released in 1999.
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by lidnariq » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:08 pm

It is possible in the same sense that it's possible to, say, port a flash game to the NES. Actually a little easier because you don't need to rewrite everything. But it's a royal PITA, and I really doubt you're going to get anyone doing it for you out of the kindness of their heart.

Mapper 224 (what nestopia calls 'Waixing type J') seems to be an MMC3-compatible mapper without any PRG ROM size limitation.

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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by infiniteneslives » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:39 pm

Dwedit wrote:Edit: Apparently, I completely missed the second translation of this game. Seems to work fine on PocketNES despite being 1MB in size.
Then presumably they just expanded the 6bit prg bank registers to 7+bits. Should be an easy setup, I've just got to get some 1MB roms to test it out. I'll post the results when I get my hands on some chips, I don't feel like messing around with two 512KB roms.
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Re: Final Fantasy 3J move to MMC5?

Post by tepples » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:11 pm

Want me to make a big-MMC3 test ROM like the one I made for mapper 28? And while we're at it, I thought of the obvious back-compatible extension to larger PRG RAM using bits 5-0 of $A001.

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