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LTO Flash - A few questions


Steve Jones
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So I finally got around to opening my LTO flash this week, months after buying it, been messing around with it and I have to say it is great.

 

I do have a couple of questions.

 

1) The Christmas Carol rom that is available to download here

 

http://www.carolvsghost.com/pg_game.html#download-rom

 

doesn't seem to work on it, has anyone else gotten it to work?

 

 

2) For some reason when I try to play Ms. Night Stalker, it plays Ms. Pac-Man. i have both roms on it, but Ms. Night Stalker opens ok in JZintv.

 

 

3) when I first ran the LTO software I pointed to a directory that had some disorganized roms.

 

Since then I have got the roms all organized and sorted the way I want and pointed it at new directories

 

but can't seem to be able to tell the LTO software to ignore the old directory, I'm using a MacBook. Any thoughts on this?

 

 

All in all a great product, saves wear and tear on your mint condition boxed carts, I highly recommend it.

 

 

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1) The Christmas Carol rom that is available to download here ... doesn't seem to work on it, has anyone else gotten it to work?

 

Hmm... Not sure I've tried that one. Will need to get back to you on that. What happens?

 

 

2) For some reason when I try to play Ms. Night Stalker, it plays Ms. Pac-Man. i have both roms on it, but Ms. Night Stalker opens ok in JZintv.

 

When you click on that ROM on the right hand side (in the menu) it should highlight which ROM file it thinks it is on the left hand side. Does it match the right thing?

 

 

3) when I first ran the LTO software I pointed to a directory that had some disorganized roms. Since then I have got the roms all organized and sorted the way I want and pointed it at new directories but can't seem to be able to tell the LTO software to ignore the old directory, I'm using a MacBook. Any thoughts on this?

 

Here is what I think you're asking, rephrased:

When I added ROMs the very first time, they were added based on the files as organized at the at time. I changed things in the file system in Finder, but the cart doesn't match any more. Also, the UI is telling me in the ROM list (on the left hand side) that some are missing. How to fix that?

 

Hopefully I can answer some of that one.

 

When you add a directory to the ROM list, it "remembers" it. You can tell it to forget about that by clicking the 'delete' button (looks like a "-") in the ROM list preferences.

post-35516-0-17676000-1519601137.png

 

The list of ROMs remembers where you added it from. It'll display an icon (red 'x' IIRC) if it can no longer find the ROM where it remembers getting it from. If you're seeing that, you'll want to delete the ROM from the list and then re-add. Whenever you add ROMs, unless you've said otherwise in the dialog, it'll ask you to add them to the menu. You can just uncheck that option and tell it to not ask any more if you want.

post-35516-0-99035900-1519601381.png

 

There are lots of other little things to discover in this area, but it's likely most don't really care. PM me for more than you'll ever want to know.

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Now... all that said, an important thing that maybe is a nice little fine-tuning fix-up....

 

The UI may be showing the red 'x' because it can't find where the ROM was. At the same time, when you want to add "new" ROMs, it checks to see "do I already have this ROM"? I'll need to look at the source code to see, but it's possible that it looks at the ROM contents and looks to see if something matching that content is already known. If it does, it skips adding it... I'm not certain if it also checks: "Oh, since we're looking for this guy... did he go missing from where I thought he was earlier?".

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ok all sorted, I didn't realize those dashes in the Rom list menu were minus signs so that's taken care of now.

 

I renamed Ms. Night Stalker files to Ms Night Stalker (without the period after Ms) and now that works.

 

And I searched back through threads here on AA to when Christmas Carol was being developed and found the final rom in a different place on the Christmas Carol site

 

and that one works, not sure how it is different from the one I had but it works so I'm happy.

 

 

Found a bunch of roms in the programming section here, mostly incomplete or still in development but a couple of cool games that are quite playable so far,

 

Fiery Inferno is a decent little game.

 

Thanks for the help. Cheers.

Edited by Steve Jones
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Glad to hear you've got it all sorted out!

 

Hmm.... The name of the ROM in the menu or pretty much anywhere else shouldn't make a difference. In fact, in the menu side you could be totally pathological and name them all "bob" and it would be OK with that. I'm positive I've got various ROMs w/ a '.' in the name.

 

Those minus signs are the standard icon on Mac for 'delete this thing from a list' - but I guess they're usually hiding off underneath the list instead of right inside it. Maybe I should make them look more like a button.

 

If you ever run into trouble or any head-scratchers or just have questions about the UI, PM me or contact me via the website.

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I've one question. Why a yellow marker sign appears over the ROM name in left side?

 

I thought it signalled updated ROM but doesn't disappear.

 

The only way I've found is to delete ROM first from right side and then from left side, and add ROM again.

 

This because when I delete only in left side, the ROM is re-added in right side and I'm not sure what's the old one to erase.

 

There's an easier way?

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The yellow icon in the ROM list (left hand side) indicates the ROM has changed since it was added to the list. It's probably on a 'to do' list somewhere for me to figure out how to resolve that without doing the delete / re-add.

 

The reason it's there is to help recognize when a ROM has been changed -- and in the case writing a game, that happens often.

 

I haven't re-tested this recently, but the 'workflow' intended was something like this:

  1. Add ROMs to the ROM list
  2. Add ROMs to the menu
  3. Send the menu layout and ROMs to the cart
  4. ROMs change!
  5. ROM list indicates ROMs changed
  6. Menu indicates ROMs changed (*)
  7. Connect cart and sync - modified ROMs updated on the cart

* There is a setting in the application preferences ... 'Verify menu layout at startup' I think... Depending on how that's configured, menu checks for changes at startup may be skipped. For a large menu, that can slow things down a bit.

 

There's still the bug that the 'changed' icon in the ROM list (left hand side) won't go away. Maybe what I need to do is just add something like "Update Changed ROMs". This work would need to do the following:

  • Update data in the ROM list and
  • Update all menu items referring to that ROM

This isn't too difficult to implement - it's just one of those situations hit more often by those who write games -- or those who replace ROMs with update versions vs. keeping all the different versions around.

 

Here is an alternative approach if you're doing rapid development cycles on a program. It works well if you can have your dev machine near your test console(s):

  1. Add the ROM to the ROM list -- but you do NOT need to add it to the menu!
  2. Plug in cart, turn on console
  3. Connect dev machine to cart via USB cable
  4. Use 'Download and Play' to directly launch the ROM on your console, bypassing menu updates, etc.

That approach skips updating the menu and just lets you basically have 'Intellicart' style behavior. Reset console to the cart menu when you're ready to try the next build of the ROM.

 

You can double-click the ROM, or use a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+P, Cmd+P on Mac). I can't remember if 'enter' on the keyboard works as another alternative. Or right click on the ROM and choose "Play on LTO Flash!".

 

Remember, while a game is running, those options are unavailable -- you will need to reset console back to the game select menu between "runs".

 

That approach won't work for everyone. You need the console, its display, and your dev machine all near each other, and enough space to do that. In my setup, I have been using analog TV input devices on a PC, or an old 13 inch "travel TV" that takes up only a little space.

 

I'm absolutely open to suggestions for how to improve the "game developer" workflow!

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The yellow icon in the ROM list (left hand side) indicates the ROM has changed since it was added to the list. It's probably on a 'to do' list somewhere for me to figure out how to resolve that without doing the delete / re-add.

 

The reason it's there is to help recognize when a ROM has been changed -- and in the case writing a game, that happens often.

 

I haven't re-tested this recently, but the 'workflow' intended was something like this:

  • Add ROMs to the ROM list
  • Add ROMs to the menu
  • Send the menu layout and ROMs to the cart
  • ROMs change!
  • ROM list indicates ROMs changed
  • Menu indicates ROMs changed (*)
  • Connect cart and sync - modified ROMs updated on the cart
* There is a setting in the application preferences ... 'Verify menu layout at startup' I think... Depending on how that's configured, menu checks for changes at startup may be skipped. For a large menu, that can slow things down a bit.

 

Ok, it was expecting exactly that behavior (developer's mind) :)

 

There's still the bug that the 'changed' icon in the ROM list (left hand side) won't go away. Maybe what I need to do is just add something like "Update Changed ROMs". This work would need to do the following:

  • Update data in the ROM list and
  • Update all menu items referring to that ROM
This isn't too difficult to implement - it's just one of those situations hit more often by those who write games -- or those who replace ROMs with update versions vs. keeping all the different versions around.

 

At last! I was sure it was a bug! :)

 

Here is an alternative approach if you're doing rapid development cycles on a program. It works well if you can have your dev machine near your test console(s):

  • Add the ROM to the ROM list -- but you do NOT need to add it to the menu!
  • Plug in cart, turn on console
  • Connect dev machine to cart via USB cable
  • Use 'Download and Play' to directly launch the ROM on your console, bypassing menu updates, etc.
That approach skips updating the menu and just lets you basically have 'Intellicart' style behavior. Reset console to the cart menu when you're ready to try the next build of the ROM.

 

You can double-click the ROM, or use a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+P, Cmd+P on Mac). I can't remember if 'enter' on the keyboard works as another alternative. Or right click on the ROM and choose "Play on LTO Flash!".

 

Remember, while a game is running, those options are unavailable -- you will need to reset console back to the game select menu between "runs".

 

That approach won't work for everyone. You need the console, its display, and your dev machine all near each other, and enough space to do that. In my setup, I have been using analog TV input devices on a PC, or an old 13 inch "travel TV" that takes up only a little space.

 

It could work for me, I could move my laptop near the TV. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

 

I'm absolutely open to suggestions for how to improve the "game developer" workflow!

So far I would suggest to solve that yellow icon! :)

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Few questions about the Lto flash!

What is the command to remove duplicate roms? Can I make the software remove the duplicate roms after they have been added to the rom list?

 

The ROM list -- on the left hand side -- does not keep duplicate ROMs.

 

That said, the notion of "what is a duplicate" is subtle.

 

The ROM list uses a 32-bit checksum of the ROM to do the check. It's a little trickier with .bin+.cfg format ROMs. In that case, the .cfg file is considered, too. The .cfg file checksum is simplistic, so even changes in whitespace register as "different".

 

On the menu side, there's no command to remove duplicates. You can put the same ROM into your menu numerous times. The nice thing is that the space for the ROM itself is only consumed once - the file system "de-duplicates" that part. There's still the overhead for the file name, icon, etc. in each location.

 

Are you asking for the feature: Remove duplicate copies of this ROM from my menu?

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No thanks, all I need is to know that the rom list doesn't allow duplicate roms even if as you said the checksum is not an optimal solution.

 

There are ways to make it 100% accurate, but it would basically mean loading and parsing everything as if it were going to be played in an emulator. That would slow things down considerably when processing a large number of ROMs.

 

Going out on a limb, my bet is most people don't tinker much with the .cfg files unless it's really necessary to do so -- so the likelihood of 15 copies of Astrosmash being found on a system each with slightly altered .cfg files is low.

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