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Atari/Legends Flashback Expansion Builds


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@Batchman Thanks for the pointer.  I'm glad to hear Mr. Hancock took a look and I will check out his review.  I'm still a little bummed out the 2600+ is emulation vs. something like "2600 on a chip" or an FPGA implementation, but those may be a bit much to ask at present.  I will certainly start looking at a minor Christmas update for these.  🙂

 

N0mi has a Legends Flashback which is the similar device to the Atari flashback but with Sega six button controllers, so I'll add a post here on that.

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, N0mi said:

Hi there,

 

I have a Legends Flashback 2019 (the one with 100 games) lying around and I originally intended to get a Nexus build for it.
Since it appears the full build is no longer available (for reasons already discussed), I wonder what is the best way to make the most out of this unit?


I know there was an unreleased CFW mentioned, some posts refer to the official update to be installed in order to be able to put games on a SD card, others say it should be avoided because it irreversibly swaps the A and B buttons in NES games.


I read a lot of posts, most of them regarding the 2018 variant that came with 50 games, though - but I'm a bit lost on determining what steps are indeed required on a stock unit and which builds are still available?

 

Any help welcome!

First of all, what version of the FB2019 do you have (check the bottom)?  Someone reported they bricked a unit which was a newer style than I knew existed - identified as - Fb8660B.

 

Otherwise, if it is a previous version than that AFAIK it worked fine and I and a few others have updated those successfully.  The build for the legends flashback is sort of a "fork" of the Nexus project and can be found on archive.org by searching  on "legends flashback expansion".  You will see there are two - please go ahead and download/use the December 2022 one.  In that are all you need to update the firmware in a folder called /firmware and a file called instructions.txt.  You will need an archive program that can open .rar files such a 7zip installed on your computer.

 

On the NES button thing, we eventually learned how to map buttons, so I believe that all got sorted out by Draxxon in the build.  I didn't grow up playing NES, but if you want me to check some game to make sure A is A and B is B, just tell me what to look for and I will plug mine in and check it to re-double verify.

Edited by rocketfan
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Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention!

It is in fact the "B" model, I see this is now sold as the Legends Flashback 2022 Edition.

So I have to be patient and see what will surface over the next month, I saw @Konstitrying to get involved in firmware analysis. 

I will nevertheless check out the build hosted by archive.org.

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Just as a note, I went with the suggestion from Brad_From_the_80s and got a PS Classic and modded it to handle all the other early gaming systems, which gives me very happy and somewhat simple access to all the other consoles. But I'll still joyfully keep an eye on this project and the Atari Flashback series in the hopes that someday they get a firmware update that will actually provide near-perfect paddle control (they've improve a bit over time, but still not ever to anywhere near perfect!)

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6 hours ago, Batchman said:

Just as a note, I went with the suggestion from Brad_From_the_80s and got a PS Classic and modded it to handle all the other early gaming systems, which gives me very happy and somewhat simple access to all the other consoles. But I'll still joyfully keep an eye on this project and the Atari Flashback series in the hopes that someday they get a firmware update that will actually provide near-perfect paddle control (they've improve a bit over time, but still not ever to anywhere near perfect!)

Well many happy hours of enjoyment with your new setup.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Hello out there, happy holidays! 

 

I had mentioned I would do some updates, and have now completed the first part which is a 2023 update for the AtGames Legends Flashback.

 

Spoiler

It can be downloaded here:  https://archive.org/details/lufb-dec-31-2023

 

Here are the notes I have on the changes:

=========== Changes for December 2023
Add new Sections:
   arduboy - minimal handheld based on arduino - MANY games.  A mixed minimal bag for sure.
             Sound is not too good.  I think the real device has not good sound.  Set volume low.
   supervision - gameboy clone with a small and somewhat weak game library, but a few decent games!
   msdos - a few DOS games using "DOSBOX Pure" core.  Limping, with Audio and compatibility issues.
   ps1 - is working pretty decently at this point, a sampling of games is included.

Additional Games:
   -Shareware games were added to each of the 2600 home brew, 8Bit Computer, and 7800 sections.
   -The new games have been marked so they will appear in the "console" or "featured" section.
   -Pico-8 - around 2 dozen new games added, and the section was cleaned up to remove duplicates
    and set up with better featured, arcade, and console sections.
   -Jazz Jackrabbit has been added to the ports section.  This is a "native port" of openJazz for
    the device.
 
Import Command in each section: 
    Import game(s) from folders named import.??? in the root of your device.  Each folder should
    contain a single game with the .gme extension added AFTER the normal extension and a single 
    art/box image with either .png or .jpg as the file type extension.  If there is a
    description.txt file it will be used for the game description text.  If there is a
    displayname.txt file it will be used for the displayed name and sort entry.  Otherwise the
    rom name will get used.  Note:  This can lead to sorting issues as all lower case first letters
    come after all upper case in the menu system.  So I recommend have a displayname.txt file which 
    contains a name that starts with an uppercase letter to stay consistent.

    That means each import.??? folder will contain AT MOST four files: 
                 1) one box image (named anything, does NOT need to match rom name)
                 2) one rom
                 3) optional "description.txt" containing your description.
                 4) optional "displayname.txt" containing your display name.

Updated manual:
    Mainly describing the import mechanism.  Added Nexus manual to image.  Written for the Atari Flashbacks, but a lot still applies. 

Unfortunately this is now over 16Gbytes unzipped, so will require a 32Gig SD card. 

 

PS1 was something I revisited after adding the DosBox Pure core.  DosBox works OK, but a little shaky for sound and performance. In the source, I happened to see a comment that rewind has a huge performance hit, so turned it off and indeed it is now (barely) acceptable.  I do like playing the Old Duke Nukem platformer and the Jetpac game though! So I went back to PS1 with rewind disabled, and lo and behold it is working pretty well!  Obviously I could have filled a disk with those games, but that was not the goal.  I found a highly compressed set of games, which did allow more than I had originally planned though.

 

Hopefully someone other than me is still using their Legends Flashback :lol:.  Anyway, if you do and have any feedback (good or bad) feel free to leave it here. 

 

I will follow this up by updating the Nexus build with some of the changes, but it may be a week or two. I have a lot of projects.  The Arduboy and Supervision sections are no-brainers, since MANY of those will play with a single action button.  Honestly, some Arduboy games are fun! 

 

Edited by rocketfan
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I wanted to mention the reason the Arduboy games are prefixed like they are.  That matches the categories on the handheld and was the way the game files I pulled down were named already.  It seemed helpful given so many games.  I had two collections that had some disagreement in the classifications for some games.  I just used my best judgment as to what made most sense.

 

Here are a couple of the Arduboy shooters I like.  For us Atari fans there is also a great "demake" of Atari 2600 Seaquest called "Tiny-Squest".

Shooter_Sirene_hex.png.148ec10a488a517796e2cd4571d23806.png

Shooter_Ardubullets_hex.png.c202737d503321fdc4d73f8f43f5feec.png

Arcade_TinySQuest_hex.png.ef2697eb6bdc48ca12511e532ed91006.png

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Batchman said:

I'm still looking forward to the NEXUS update, whether anyone else is or not.

I am already ramping up on it!  🙂 I would do it just for myself!  The amount of new home brew coming out for Atari consoles amazes me.  Even with only the titles that a) work on the units and b) have full versions freely available - there are a lot of great games!  One disappointment to me was that many of the home brew 7800 titles I tried had graphical glitches or just wouldn't start.  I will explore whether that 7800 emulation has any updates or improvements to be had.

Edited by rocketfan
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Posted (edited)

Just an update.  I'm making progress on an ABF/Nexus bump.  I guess it will be called 1.6.  I have the new sections integrated, but things still need fine tuning.  I did work out a couple more Linux ports that should be fun.

 

Falling Time is either a one or two player game, but probably most fun as two player.  Inertia blast is like a Lunar Lander clone with a hint of caverns of mars.  Based on a C64 game called thrust.

 

falling_time_uex.png.ca51729faceb60ee9cf0d2e85a681918.png

falling_screenshot.png.bf21562691b60466f23292e9d37a8120.png

inertiablast_uex.png.d734822bc9a31f12d75971371db4febe.png

inertia_screenshot.thumb.png.27c4919fcd310eddb23f823db2cf3791.png

 

Edited by rocketfan
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, pimpmaul69 said:

Are there more atari games in this upcoming update?

Yes!  So far there are about 40 new home brew games in the 2600, 8-bit, and 7800 sections.  Thanks to Zero Page Homebrew, it's pretty easy to find them, but sometimes box art for these is challenging.  ZPH creates some nice mock-ups and sometimes I just use those.

 

When I hit 40-ish on the LUFB update I was a little tired out and had been working on a bunch of other stuff to boot.  With the new game import mechanism it's not too bad to add games though, so I now intend to go back for another round.  I guess there may be quite a few more 2600 home brew games that have compete binary available that can be added in.

 

I mentioned earlier the prosystem emulator for 7800 seems like it's pretty not-compatible with a lot of home brew games.  Some won't start, and some start, but have graphical corruption.  There have been a few updates to the emulator, but what we are running on these is a slightly modded version, so I would need to  grab the new sources and re-integrate the changes.  That's not very hard but another thing on the to-do list before I want to call this done.

 

Binary-Parasite_xex.png.1bdc19f000d7911068b9a0fa62f5bf0f.png

Ladytut_xex.png.2b98fbe4210b9e36e7be655fa9dd81cc.png

SpaceTaxi_atr.png.584172489985abacf32a06c17cf6e6f3.png

JutlandSkiesNTSC_a26.png.efd084417cece72513a0dca58737a196.png

meooowNTSC_a26.png.ab87ecba285f001950eda59ce050ecd3.png

potatochips47_a26.png.2ba7ccb4eb08e66571eb822ae5b18a87.png

 

 

 

Edited by rocketfan
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3 hours ago, rocketfan said:

Yes!  So far there are about 40 new home brew games in the 2600, 8-bit, and 7800 sections.  Thanks to Zero Page Homebrew, it's pretty easy to find them, but sometimes box art for these is challenging.  ZPH creates some nice mock-ups and sometimes I just use those.

 

When I hit 40-ish on the LUFB update I was a little tired out and had been working on a bunch of other stuff to boot.  With the new game import mechanism it's not too bad to add games though, so I now intend to go back for another round.  I guess there may be quite a few more 2600 home brew games that have compete binary available that can be added in.

 

I mentioned earlier the prosystem emulator for 7800 seems like it's pretty not-compatible with a lot of home brew games.  Some won't start, and some start, but have graphical corruption.  There have been a few updates to the emulator, but what we are running on these is a slightly modded version, so I would need to  grab the new sources and re-integrate the changes.  That's not very hard but another thing on the to-do list before I want to call this done.

 

Binary-Parasite_xex.png.1bdc19f000d7911068b9a0fa62f5bf0f.png

Ladytut_xex.png.2b98fbe4210b9e36e7be655fa9dd81cc.png

SpaceTaxi_atr.png.584172489985abacf32a06c17cf6e6f3.png

JutlandSkiesNTSC_a26.png.efd084417cece72513a0dca58737a196.png

meooowNTSC_a26.png.ab87ecba285f001950eda59ce050ecd3.png

potatochips47_a26.png.2ba7ccb4eb08e66571eb822ae5b18a87.png

 

 

 

Awesome! I look forward to it!

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On 1/1/2024 at 3:26 PM, Batchman said:

I'm still looking forward to the NEXUS update, whether anyone else is or not. (Though if there isn't enough interest, I would understand it not be worth the hassle.)

I'm looking forward the Nexus update. Will it still run on the Flashback 9?

Edited by magnusfalkirk
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On 1/12/2024 at 3:08 PM, magnusfalkirk said:

Will it still run on the Flashback 9?

Yes, everything should be compatible.  Most of this supports both the Legends Flashback and that Atari Flashbacks.  The AFB9 uses similar device names to the Legends flashback since they are both using an SD card.  But that said, it's worth me going back and trying it on an AFB9.  At some point I picked one up used, and it's in a box in my basement...somewhere.  🙂

 

I'm getting close.  I identified more 7800 homebrew that is working and now has been added, up to like 17 or 18 new games now.  I also did update the 7800 core's code to the latest version from github, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to have a big impact on the compatibility issues.  I have in mind to try hanging the libretro front end onto the A7800DS emulator, which was based on the Prosystem emulator, but supposedly has a lot of compatibility fixes.  If that could work it would give another potentially more home-brew friendly core to use.   Looking at sources it's still a pretty big overhaul so it may or may not work out for me to just hack away at it.  I hope to spend some more time on that this weekend.

 

 

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3 hours ago, OrangeKryptonite said:

Is the Nexus_1_5_1_Slim build essentially the slim version of the original Nexus V.0.5.1 build before the subsequent updates?

No problem! Questions are what these topics are all about.  For quite some time these builds were "pre 1.0" and the archive files were labeled for example "Nexusv8.rar" was really version 0.8.  The later builds were posted in a "community build" topic that is no longer around.  If you have enough patience (I don't) I believe you can go on the wayback machine and still see some of that content.  Anyway, those proceeded to about a V1.1 I believe which was late/fall 2021 time-frame.  At some point the OP and originator of Nexus was no longer with us, and I did some few releases to try to fix issues but (long story short) even those all went bye-bye when the community builds topics were wiped a little later.   Anyway, eventually some builds were posted to that other well-known site which is an "archive organization" of so much content. 

 

For the Legends flashback builds they have just been identified by the date.  For example the December 31 2023 one recently posted.

 

A "Nexus 1.5.1 Slim" was made available for the Atari flashbacks mid-2022.  1.5.1 was the next number at that point I believe.  I was having a lot of trouble uploading so much and having it complete at that time, so got rid some non-game content (A karaoke section and some video game related movies) to make the uploads MUCH smaller.  So "slim" just indicates it was trimmed down.exy

 

As far as the "pure" version out there: There have always been people who wonder why we tack all this non-Atari stuff onto Atari flashbacks.  I personally like the bonus content, and for MANY of the sections they are curated to be single action-button games.  Some people say very reasonably that there are better ways to play that content, and I get it.  At some point a helpful AtariAge user created a "pure Atari" build with ONLY the Atari content, so that is smaller and even more "curated" to Atari only - if that's your take on the topic.  It's about the same as "slim" but minus non-atari content.  

 

TL;DR - "Nexus 1.5.1 Slim" and "Nexus Pure" are the latest things out there and reflect almost all the 2021 work done by the OP and others.  There is about to be a 1.6 posted in very short order.  That will have more content - mainly additional home brew titles of various types for Atari devices, but also quite a bit more new content.  My artwork skills and style will never equal the OP in terms of making things look good and consistent, but I do what I can.  At least I found a lot of ZPH art I could borrow in place of box art.  🙂

 

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Thanks so much for explaining all that! So effectively Nexus 1.5.1 Slim  should be the latest community build out there. I tried it and I see all the Atari systems but none of the other systems. Do you have to do something to be able to see the other options for the other systems like ColecoVision, Arcade, Odyssey 2 etc?

 

 

Edited by OrangeKryptonite
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1 hour ago, OrangeKryptonite said:

Thanks so much for explaining all that! So effectively Nexus 1.5.1 Slim  should be the latest community build out there. I tried it and I see all the Atari systems but none of the other systems. Do you have to do something to be able to see the other options for the other systems like ColecoVision, Arcade, Odyssey 2 etc?

 

 

Sorry for the confusion, I figured it out. Different menu setup than the older builds. All the non Atari systems are in the first selection, Atari Flashback Deluxe. This is incredible!

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Nexus v1.6 has been uploaded.  It is an expansion build for Atari flashback 9, X (and later up to now) devices.

 

Spoiler

It can be found here:

 

https://archive.org/details/nexus-1-6

 

I have not completed the attempt to improve 7800 emulation yet, but felt that may take some time either way.  There is definitely enough at this point to get it out there.  Here are the notes I have on the release:

 

Add new Sections:
   arduboy - minimal handheld based on arduino - MANY games.  A mixed minimal bag for sure.
             Sound is not too good.  I believe even the real device has poor quality sound.  Set volume low.
             Pressing start will reverse the two action buttons which are the fire and select buttons.
   supervision - gameboy clone with a small and somewhat weak game library, but a few decent games!
   msdos - a few DOS games using "DOSBOX Pure" core.  Limping, with Audio and compatibility issues.
   ps1 - is working pretty decently at this point, a sampling of a few games is included.  The sample games can be played
         with one button up  to a point, but I would guarantee some menu/config/action can't be done since PS1
         utilized many more buttons in a typical game.  Who needs to brake in a race game anyway?  PS1 may struggle
         somewhat on non-overclocked hardware.
   Jump'n Bump - Added a section with levels for the jumping bunnies game.  This is a two player game
                 where the object is to jump on your opponent more than they jump on you. Like a competitive Joust. 
                 To start, both players need to jump the log in the title screen and head off to the right.

Additional Games:
   -Quite a few home-brew games were added to each of the 2600 home brew, 8Bit Computer, and 7800 sections.
    The total is about 90 new games.  The new games have been marked so they will appear in the "featured" section.
   -Pico-8 - 2 dozen (or more) new games added, and the section was cleaned up to remove duplicates.  
    The pico 8 section was brought straight from LFB, so there may be more games that want two buttons.  
    For the fake08 emulator (which most of the Pico-8 games use) switching the left difficulty switch down will
    reverse the action buttons (fire and start) when needed!
   -Two new Linux port games were added.  Falling Time, and Inertia Blast.  Inertia blast has been customized 
    to work with one button.   Falling time uses no buttons.  To start Falling time, each player should roll
    off their starting platform.
 
Import Command in each section: 
    Import game(s) from folders named import.??? in the root of your device.  Each folder should
    contain a single game with the .gme extension added AFTER the normal extension and a single 
    art/box image with either .png or .jpg as the file type extension.  If there is a
    description.txt file it will be used for the game description text.  If there is a
    displayname.txt file it will be used for the displayed name and sort entry.  Otherwise the
    rom name will get used.  Note:  Starting the displayname with lower case can lead to sorting issues, because all
    lower case letters sort after all upper case in the menu system.  So I recommend have a displayname.txt
    file which contains a name that starts with an uppercase letter to stay consistent.

    That means each import.??? folder will contain AT MOST four files: 
                 1) one box image (named anything, does NOT need to match rom name)
                 2) one rom (with .gme tacked on the end after the normal extension)
                 3) optional "description.txt" containing your description.
                 4) optional "displayname.txt" containing your display name.

    For each game imported you will hear "Importing.  Please wait." to indicate things are progressing.

Miscellaneous Updates:
     -A new text display capability was addeded using the "showtext.uex" program in the /emulator folder.  It is
      used in a couple of places in the UI, including a credits command in the main Nexus menu.
     -The libretro prosystem emulator for Atari 7800 was updated to the latest version of source available
      on github.
     -Several of the existing 7800 homebrew games were updated with newer rom versions. 
     -The paddle section has been renamed "featured" to match the usage in Nexus better.  Will still be paddle games
      in some sections though.
     -Sound player (playwav.uex in /emulator) was improved to not sometimes cut off the beginning of the .wav file.
     -Karaoke section was added back. No longer so slim.

Updated manual:
    Mainly describing the import mechanism.

 

A couple of disclaimers:  1) I haven't tested everything.  There is just too much content.  That said I visted a lot of sections and tried a lot of the new content.  2) Some of the new sections have not been thinned out to contain only "one-button playable" games.

 

A lot of Supervision and Arduboy can be played one button though, or with only the occasional use of the Select button for the second action.  Some games that require jumping and shooting (Castle Boy in Ardubooy) just are not going to be a good experience on these devices.  In Arduboy games you can press Start to swap the action buttons if needed for a specific game, or if you want to make it permanent, modify /rom_arduboy/data/retrplayer.ini and modify the button mapping for the specific game to swap the values in the first and fourth positions.

 

There are bound to be problems.  Please let me know anything you find so they can be fixed for a future build!

 

If you think Arduboy can't be fun I suggest try Pico Invaders which is a well done Space Invaders clone or Ravine Despoiler, a Canyon Bomber clone.  Both do a good job with very minimal pixel use.   Similarly for Pico-8 try the Joust or Phoenix clones, which are both really fun versions.

 

One thing the Import mechanism could allow going forward is incremental updates with a few games.  You could pack up some import folders, run the import to make sure it works, then share a zip of the import folders so others can do the same Import on their devices.  If anyone tries it, please only share public domain home-brew/shareware on this site.

Edited by rocketfan
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I have the Flashback X and things are working great. I have been looking at the Flashback 9 Gold particularly because it has wireless controllers.

 

Does anyone know if the Atari Flashback 9 Gold has OTG support already built in? I am wondering if I can just flash with the latest custom firmware with OTG and be good-to-go?

 

Also, does anyone know how the performance of the Atari Flashback 9 Gold compares to the Atari Flashback X?

 

The Atari Flashback X has a speed hack available to flash. Does the Atari Flashback 9 Gold perform slower than the Atari Flashback X with the speed upgrade? If not is there a similar overclock for the Atari Flashback 9 Gold?

 

I think it would be a great pivot to this device for the wireless controllers alone however I likely wouldn't bother if this latest build won't perform well across the board compared to my Flashback X.

 

Hoping someone with some more knowledge on this can answer the questions.

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