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My FinalGROM99 venture


Sinphaltimus
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This is going to be a pretty bare post for now. I just got the thing and I've already made some mistakes by assuming instead of getting off to a good start.

I'm calling "do over".

 

And by that I mean, here's my FG99 noob process that isn't going as planned.

First, I just start creating directories and loading up every bin file I could find under the sun that is meant for the flashROM99 and then I did the same for all those images I downloaded from the FG99 images topic, then i decompressed the final grom zip I downloaded from someplace (probably whtech) then I loaded up all the tools from the github site, then I made a mess of things by renaming files that were more than 8.3 format but keeping the 8 as the last character then I tried to use the thing and got all confused with all the fuss I made.

Too damn excited.

Here are some issues I ran in to that I think i caused myself.

First, I noticed some extra root folder entries that are empty when I select them n the menu. They are not visible on the SD card so I don't know what that is about. I took a photo but not going to post it unless it happens after my do-over steps.

Next, I could not find rasmus 8 in 1 in the menu list but somehow the FG99 loaded it at one point because after a console restart, I was presented with the 8 in 1 menu. I did not know it was the 8 in 1 menu until later on when I loaded the 8 in 1 up in classic99, so not sure how that worked out on the FG99. I never did find the bin file in the menu to select it but somewhere, somehow the FG99 found it without my help and loaded it.

Another thing, I loaded up the touch typing tutor from the EDU folder. Shortly after the title screen (pressing a key) I read the instructions and in the middle of that, the screen started filling up with random characters and the program would not work.

I also loaded up the F18A update bin. it reported I had the same firmware on my F18A (1.8 i think it was) so I pressed Q to quit, the program locked up the console at that point after making the screen green so I pressed the console reset button on the FG99 and got to the title screen but the entire thing was tinted green and the TI title screen was frozen. this persisted for 2 more warm restarts before I powered the console off, waited a few seconds then turned it on again to be returned to regular operation,

So, now I have to go feed myself, repair a few pins on an unrelated product and cut up a cart for the FG99 - BTW, I searched everywhere for a the label but it doesn't seem to be publically available for end user printing. I guess I'll make my own. However; when IO come back to this FG99 I am going to first do the following..

1. Reformat my 4GB SD card to FAT32 - is currently FAT.
2. Copy over just the FG99 files (DEv, GAMES, TOOLS etc...) and nothing else. I'll test the current line up as much as I can and see if touch typing works.

3. I want to identify all the images that show up as the file name instead of the program name the cart image is taken from. Those I'm going to created folders for with the correct names and put the BINS into those folder so i know what they are when/if I need to use them.

4. Once all of that is done, I will begin adding bins not included in the original ZIP file for the FG99. really? SparkDrummer's Rescue isn't included in the homebrew? Plus my own and others I found missing from the collection.
5. Test all the bins I added.

6. Become a recluse and play, play, play...

No worries. I plan to document my journey here as I move along and make progress. May I suggest you start with step 1 above and don't be me - that is to say, don't just jump in and start doing crap like I did unless you know exactly what you're up to. Yes, I just now read the entire website so now I kind of think I know what I'm up to. That is all. TTFN.

Have Fun!

Edited by Sinphaltimus
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Lenny,

Do not make a subdirectory for every cartridge image. For example, make a subdirectory called "RASMUS" and move all his games into that one directory. Use the individual images, not the 8N1 compilation (it's faster). For other games you could make one directory simply called "GAMES" then put the games of your choosing into the directory, using the required naming scheme of the FG99, which can be found in the documentation.

 

I've added an example file below. Just download the zip, and slide the two directories onto your SD card, then put it into the TI... you'll see what I mean.

example.zip

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I wasn't going to do every cart, just the ones that show up in the FG menu using the bin filename instead of having a descriptor (like FR99 bins) for example. SCRAA.bin (spark drummer's rescue by AirShack) shows up in the menu as SCRAA so to avoid that I would make a directory - Oh wait. As i type this i recall the directory names are 8 characters also so the long name would get truncated. Oh well, thanks for the heads up. i probably wouldn't have realised that until i did a bunch and checked. *sigh* - what can we do with Module Creator (if anything) that will display the full game name? do we need to use the full game name when creating the bin files?

Edited by Sinphaltimus
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The name that the cartridge uses is not necessarily the name that shows up in the FG99's menu.

If you are not satisfied with the current name (in the FG99 menu)... you can always use a sector editor.

Ah, I'll have to look in to that at some point. I read the docs and see that it is something a developer can do in the header when creating the cart file from scratch but that's way beyond me. if a sector editor can do it and it's in plain text then that may be the way for me to go. I guess I'll research that when the time comes to see if it's possible and how difficult it is along with the risks and caveats and things I need to kow in order to not mess it up. Thanks for the tip.

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The name that the cartridge uses is not necessarily the name that shows up in the FG99's menu.

If you are not satisfied with the current name (in the FG99 menu)... you can always use a sector editor.

 

Ah, I'll have to look in to that at some point. I read the docs and see that it is something a developer can do in the header when creating the cart file from scratch but that's way beyond me. if a sector editor can do it and it's in plain text then that may be the way for me to go. I guess I'll research that when the time comes to see if it's possible and how difficult it is along with the risks and caveats and things I need to kow in order to not mess it up. Thanks for the tip.

 

Obviously, be careful when changing the cartridge display string(s) in the binary with a sector editor. Unless the author padded the display string(s), you cannot extend it(them). Once you find a display string, there is a character count byte immediately preceding the name that should be changed to your edited string's length if it is less than the original. You can also leave the character count byte alone and pad your string with trailing blanks.

 

Another gotcha is that the author may have used the display string elsewhere in the cartridge! I did that in fbForth 2.0 to extract the build number of the cartridge ROM binary.

 

...lee

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Thought this might be the perfect place to post this (since the FR99/FG99 thread is soooo long),

 

I got my FG99 on Friday, and as (bad) luck would have it, it wasn;t until today I got to play.

 

I had already decided I was first going to create folders by distributors (TI, AtariSoft (just "Atari to meet 8-letter naming conventions), DBT, Funware, Parker Bros (ParkerBr), Homebrew), and I've been collecting the C/D/G cart dumps for a couple years and I have a good collection of the common ones, so the set up went exactly as I expected. Had my first SD card done in about a minute (hey, I've been making the folders on my hard drive in anticipation of the FG99's arrival, so it was literally just drop them onto the SD

 

I had to hex edit the names of the Parker Bros Games so they were not all simply listed as "PARKER BROTHERS GAME", but once again, I did that a week ago.

 

The one thing I did not anticipate (and the reason for this post), was having the folder named "System...1", which at first I assumed was used by some of the advanced features of the card, that I still have much reading about to do.

 

Well of course that is the windows file "System Volume Information". Since I don;t want any folders that are not TI related I used a trick a friend taught me back when that folder was first introduced
(XP? Vista?) to delete it - a trick I thought I'd share since a lot of us are going to have that folder showing up and taking up a menu slot on our FG99 cards...

 

open a CMD prompt and type the path of the SD card (in my case it was drive I, so I just typed I:) and hit ENTER

once there just type (without the brackets) [ rd "system volume information" /s /q ] and hit ENTER

that is simply "remove directory "system volume information" and all subdirectories, and don't bug me with confirmations."

 

I'm sure 99% of people already know how to do this, but many folks have become so reliant on pointing/clicking/draging everything, that maybe it will prove useful to some(and you can't delete that file by dragging it to the trash can.)

Edited by PeBo
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I had to hex edit the names of the Parker Bros Games so they were not all simply listed as "PARKER BROTHERS GAME", but once again, I did that a week ago.

 

GREAT IDEA THERE! :thumbsup:

 

Would you be willing to share these edited files as a folder in a ZIP in the FR99/FG99 thread for others to download? I'm sure the guys would really appreciate not having to re-create the great work you've already done. ;-)

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Not to belittle the work Paul has done, but the ZIP file on WHTech is also pretty comprehensive, ordered, and has hand-edited images that fix the menu (name instead of "English", other languages removed) and some weird cartridges (which acted like a translator and implemented their own menu -- WTF?).

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Well of course that is the windows file "System Volume Information". Since I don;t want any folders that are not TI related I used a trick a friend taught me back when that folder was first introduced

 

Similar things will show up if you use a Mac to set up your card, like .spotlight-v100. You can run 'dotclean /Volumes/YOURCARD' from a terminal window before you eject the card.

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Not to belittle the work Paul has done, but the ZIP file on WHTech is also pretty comprehensive, ordered, and has hand-edited images that fix the menu (name instead of "English", other languages removed) and some weird cartridges (which acted like a translator and implemented their own menu -- WTF?).

Thanks Ralph, I'll check it out (although a few seconds with a hex editor isn't exactly "work")

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GREAT IDEA THERE! :thumbsup:

 

Would you be willing to share these edited files as a folder in a ZIP in the FR99/FG99 thread for others to download? I'm sure the guys would really appreciate not having to re-create the great work you've already done. ;-)

Just got home for lunch (office PC has all forums blocked (arrggghh!)) so I'll post it now.

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Similar things will show up if you use a Mac to set up your card, like .spotlight-v100. You can run 'dotclean /Volumes/YOURCARD' from a terminal window before you eject the card.

EXCELLENT addition...as we play around with vintage systems, we often forget that we're not all using Windows based systems as our current-era machines! (and I should know better, having worked on MACs for a major chunk of my career.)

 

Sorry for my PC-arrogance and thanks for your helpful supplement!

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Thought this might be the perfect place to post this (since the FR99/FG99 thread is soooo long),

 

I got my FG99 on Friday, and as (bad) luck would have it, it wasn;t until today I got to play.

 

I had already decided I was first going to create folders by distributors (TI, AtariSoft (just "Atari to meet 8-letter naming conventions), DBT, Funware, Parker Bros (ParkerBr), Homebrew), and I've been collecting the C/D/G cart dumps for a couple years and I have a good collection of the common ones, so the set up went exactly as I expected. Had my first SD card done in about a minute (hey, I've been making the folders on my hard drive in anticipation of the FG99's arrival, so it was literally just drop them onto the SD

 

I had to hex edit the names of the Parker Bros Games so they were not all simply listed as "PARKER BROTHERS GAME", but once again, I did that a week ago.

 

The one thing I did not anticipate (and the reason for this post), was having the folder named "System...1", which at first I assumed was used by some of the advanced features of the card, that I still have much reading about to do.

 

Well of course that is the windows file "System Volume Information". Since I don;t want any folders that are not TI related I used a trick a friend taught me back when that folder was first introduced

(XP? Vista?) to delete it - a trick I thought I'd share since a lot of us are going to have that folder showing up and taking up a menu slot on our FG99 cards...

 

open a CMD prompt and type the path of the SD card (in my case it was drive I, so I just typed I:) and hit ENTER

once there just type (without the brackets) [ rd "system volume information" /s /q ] and hit ENTER

that is simply "remove directory "system volume information" and all subdirectories, and don't bug me with confirmations."

 

I'm sure 99% of people already know how to do this, but many folks have become so reliant on pointing/clicking/draging everything, that maybe it will prove useful to some(and you can't delete that file by dragging it to the trash can.)

 

 

Just remember - if you put the disk back into a windows system, it's possible windows will recreate the deleted folder - I wanted to explain fully but then I recalled google to the rescues and someone else already did -

 

https://www.howtogeek.com/282214/what-is-the-system-volume-information-folder-and-can-i-delete-it/

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Hell, you don't even have to put the card back in your PC, using "safely remove" will usually re-write the file.

 

Of course SD/CF cards and USB sticks are usually set for quick removal in windows by default, so safely remove is not even required unless you changed that policy setting - and let's face it, when you're copying files that are between 8k and 40k, write caching is superfluous.

 

Just make sure that if it's set it for quick removal, that you give your device a few seconds before removing it (in case writing is not quite finished). I find the old 15 second rule is still a valuable guideline all these years later (albeit for a different purpose).

 

To be honest though, when dealing with tiny TI files, it's probably major overkill to wait 15 seconds for a write to complete.

 

 

It's also possible to change your search/index policy settings to disable the use of System Volume Information completely for USB devices.

Edited by PeBo
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