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Author Topic: ROM archives of the world are being DESTROYED! (see page 2)  (Read 15574 times)

RetroProf

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ROM archives of the world are being DESTROYED! (see page 2)
« on: February 05, 2013, 03:34:11 am »
This annoys me tremendously. And it confuses me. So what better place to ask than the internet's leading ROM hacking forum?

I'm sure we all know Planetemu. The French site with minimal adverts and a large ROM collection. For years I used them, since they carried clean, good dumps of pretty much everything.

If you wanted to apply a translation patch or a hack, their ROMs were the best to use.

A while ago though I noticed they replaced everything, their entire collection, ALL of their ROMs, with headerless / unheaded versions.

FOR EXAMPLE: Instead of U in brackets in the file name, the games have (USA) in the filename, and in some cases the files inside are bin instead of their accepted console specific file extension. Their entire Mega Drive set is now wrong. All of their Famicom Disk System games have the headers removed. Their NES games, likewise, are without headers.

Why would anyone do this? ROMs without headers are useless. Utterly useless. I thought the gaming community had long ago agreed that ROMs need to be single files rather than broken up, that we'd all agreed on a specific naming convention, and that headers were to be left alone as standard?

Without headers:

* You can't translate patch them.

* You can't apply hacks to them.

* Worst of all - the FDS games will NOT WORK in the PowerPak cartridge, because they absolutely MUST be disk images with their original headers. I had to download the entire GOODNES set to get them working, which I only discovered after wasting my time with Planetemus broken collection of non-functioning disk images.



Isn't that what the GOODSETS are all about? Standardised, clean dumps of perfectly functioning ROMs with headers? The fact Planetemu has abandoned GOODSETS, doesn't that mean it's now propagating bad dumps of ROMs?

Did someone in the romhacking community piss them off and this is now their revenge? Did they lose their minds? Did everyone suddenly agree that headerless ROMs were the way forward?

Because the patches on RHDN quite clearly state: apply to a standard ROM that has a normal header.

I'm utterly baffled why what used to be the best ROM site on the internet has done what it's done. I'm now visiting Emuparadise, and even donated to them, so it's not such a big deal. But it's still kinda sad to see. Planetemu is now dead to me. My primary reason for emulating is so I can apply the patches that you guys, on this website, create.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 06:01:20 am by Szczepaniak »

LostTemplar

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 05:28:28 am »
I'm sure we all know Planetemu.

Never heard of it.

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ROMs without headers are useless. Utterly useless.

Depends on the system. SNES headers, for instance, are themselves utterly useless and nothing else than unnecessary baggage. Pretty sure the same holds for the Genesis/MegaDrive, GBA, GameBoy (Color), and a lot of other system. As far as I know, the NES/Famicom is one of the few systems where most emulators require a header to be present.

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* You can't translate patch them.
* You can't apply hacks to them.

Solely depends on the patch.

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Standardised, clean dumps of perfectly functioning ROMs with headers?

Clean dumps with headers is kind of contradictory.

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The fact Planetemu has abandoned GOODSETS, doesn't that mean it's now propagating bad dumps of ROMs?

"Not having headers" and "bad dumps" are not the same. What does it even have to do with dumping whether there's some array of bytes slapped on that wasn't in the original ROM (and that's what most headers are). Also, I think no-intro is more popular nowadays.

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Did everyone suddenly agree that headerless ROMs were the way forward?

There at least seem to be a lot of people that think so.

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Because the patches on RHDN quite clearly state: apply to a standard ROM that has a normal header.

You generalize too much; this can't even be true for all patches - for one of the systems with arguably the most patches, the SNES, it's one of the most encountered fallacies to patch a headered version with a patch that was made against the unheadered one, and vice versa.

Hiei-

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 06:32:24 am »
They switched to the "no-intro set" but that don't change a lot of things, as the last version of most roms in the goodsnes (at least, the one I have) are already without headers.

And it's not a big deal, if the patch you want to use require an header, just add one to the rom, there are a lot of tools which handle that.

But I think most new patchs are now often produced from roms without header (the header is a thing that come from the old copiers and are pretty useless except if you have a copier).

Gideon Zhi

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 08:41:59 am »
Personally? Every patch I've created for the last several years requires a rom without a header. The only reason I'd required roms *with* headers in the past was in cases where they seemed easier to come by. Headers are vestigial, make the hacking process needlessly more complicated, and really ought to be removed.

henke37

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 08:56:17 am »
Headers that contain real valuable information are critical. "Headers" that are just a fixed length of random crap that everyone ignores are junk.

If headers can be magically re-added, without even looking at the contents of the file, then they where clearly junk.

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 10:20:51 am »
FDS headers are also useless.
If you really need one, just use a hex editor to add 16 bytes to the beginning of the file.
All it is:
-The string "FDS"
-the hex value 0x1A
-1 bytes containing the number of disk sides (which you can tell easily from the file size). FDS images are 65,500 bytes per side. (so, a .fds file about 64K is 1 side, ~128K = 2 sides, ~256K = 4 sides (techincally 2 2-sided disks. Even more techinically, I've heard the few games that use that are text adventures that were sold in 2 parts, but merged into a single file)
And the rest is all zeroes.

Technically, all FDS dumps are inaccurate anyways as they don't contain the checksum data present on real disks. One person sent me a redump of one FDS game. I assumed the different data (2 extra bytes per file/block) was checksum data, but it doesn't seem to match after looking up the only doc on FDS checksums. (Brad Taylor's FDS doc)
If someone wants to solve it, here's an xdelta patch It's for New Cluclu Land (no header).
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 10:37:57 am by KingMike »
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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 10:25:22 am »
About exceptions of games which NEED their headers: Satellaview games require them, otherwise the data is even unusable on real hardware.

Zoinkity

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 10:38:20 am »
NES ROM headers define what mapping they use, for instance.  Even Nintendo uses the iNes header, which should give you an idea of how important it is to emulation.  Most consoles have useless ones though, and some scenes have made a point of obliterating them outright.
SNES header issues are so common that there are ips patchers specificly designed so you can set it to ignore or simulate the header size.  They're pointless too, yet responsible for the largest number of patching issues, and for that reason some people are all for abolishing them outright.  To take it out on everything else, well, that wasn't a great idea ;*)

There are a few reasons the no-intro naming convention is prefered, especially since it uses a more consistant naming system cross-platform.  They tried to make the names slightly more obvious so you don't need to reference a key.  It's a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing though, and pretty sure goodtools can/will autorename them anyway.

RetroProf

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 04:27:20 pm »
I see I'm in the minority. Ah well.

My severe annoyance at this came about as a result of spending several hours downloading ROMs and IPS patches, patching them each individually (30+ patches), and only afterwards finding that none of them worked. This was... mainly NES and PCE games. I had to go through my entire list again, dling from different ROM sites, re-applying the patches, and then replacing all the bad ROMs on my original Xbox's HDD. Absolutely maddening.


As for the statement that the headers are junk... Perhaps for some systems, but I'm unconvinced when it comes to the FDS. If they were really junk, why is it that FDS images without a header won't work on actual hardware? By actual hardware I mean the NES PowerPak. Is it the way the FDS mappers for the PowerPak are designed?

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 04:55:55 pm »
I'd like to point out that the NES is not an FDS and I believe the Powerpak is just emulating the FDS and it's not perfect.

Anyhow, I think we're in a bit of a transition period with headers and eventually we wont need them at all. Updating all the patches that use them though might take a while though, but that's a different matter. They can always be deleted/added in a hex editor.

Bregalad

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 05:14:01 pm »
I can't belive people can fight along lines with "headered roms RULES" and "headers are BULLSHIT" without even knowing about which system they're talking about.

GBA, NDS, etc... : I don't think headered ROMs even exists, because that is not necessary. Neccesary "header" info is within the ROM itself.

SNES : It's a bit more complicated. Technically, all the necessarly info is within the ROM itself. However the "internal" header can be at a different addresses, and sometimes is not accurate. Also the header that copiers used to add have no purpose, contrary to...

iNES : The header is an absolute nessesity and the emulation can't even happen without knowing which mapper to emulate. Some ROMs effectively have an internal header at the end like the SNES game does but only about a third of games have it, and it is in all cases incomplete and inaccurate. In no cases this can be used for emualation.

FDS : Technically the user is only useful to know how many disk sides there is. Not really useful but emulators tend to require the header to be here anyway.

Zoinkity

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 06:31:04 pm »
NES should have headers.  FDS probably should for emulation.  The case is two-fold:

The original hardware for an FDS is not a cartridge.  It's a giant floppy, read by the disk system, where pertinent information is sent through a cartridge adapter.  Like any disk system they can't boot themselves and require an IPL.  Basically, a small ROM waits for the drive to be full, you press start, and it loads the contents of the disk.
So, FDS images don't need them and carts are not their 'original hardware'.  FDS images are dual-booted.

Case 1:
However, since the iNES header is required for NES emulation.  The 16 bytes must be expected, and naturally anything else that the emulator would expect should have them present.   An iNES header would need to be present for compatability, otherwise an FDS image could be 'read' as a header and (in the fringe case) mistakenly be loaded as a NES game with weird settings.  Conversely, presuming non-iNES provided data is an FDS disk rules out that the user may provide bad data, and without some means of verification you'd boot an unknown file of unknown format as a disk, possibly locking the program yada yada yada.

Case 2:
Unless you had a completely seperate boot mechanism (ie. multiboot IPL and required disk(s)) there must be a way to identify FDS images from NES roms.  In this case, the header would identify the different format and vastly simplify the boot method.  For something like the powerpak that is essential.

So...
They were wrong to remove them from any NES ROM.  Even if one were to make the case that it was required only for emulation, it actually is required in some form for preservation.  The original hardware arrangement is required to know how to run the program or what to load it on.  If the header was stripped they should have provided some external information (ie. XML document or .nfo), preferably for each ROM but more likely a rom database file.


To do that across the board for everything, including NES ROMs, must mean they're catering specificly for a certain scene.  Are the MAME/MESS people at work here?  Whatever it is it's relying on a massive compatability table, and definately breaks on any unregistered ROMs (such as homebrew).


About SNES:
"Internal headers" would be a valid part of ROM.  What's at question are external ones: tacked-on information that isn't a part of the ROM image extracted from carts/individual chips.  When this provides no information whatsoever it isn't necessary.  SNES headers, added by the dumpers, fall into this case.  Removing them has no impact.  The only case when they are needed is whan a patch was made expecting them, but this can be simulated via patching software.  Really, they should be removed to eliminate confusion.  Most hackers need to remove them anyway to properly calculate addresses, yada yada.
Not to say SNES wouldn't have benefitted from a header (or footer) specifying hardware configurations.  That's a different discussion though.

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 08:53:13 pm »
I know FCEU doesn't need headers for FDS games.
It should be detectable by the .fds filesize, as disk sides are consistent. Also, each side of an FDS disk does begin with an internal header, starting with 0x01 (to indicate block type), followed by the string "*NINTENDO-HVC*". Pretty unlike a cart game is going to start with that exact sequence.
While all licensed games have a "license" file at the start (which contains an exact duplicate of the "licensed" message that appears after a game loads, must match the text stored in the BIOS.)
I'm not sure if unlicensed games still have that text file (as it seems they were able to avoid making that screen appear after booting).
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Tony H

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 10:38:00 pm »
I also noticed that Planetemu had recently replaced all their ROM sets.  I mainly use Genesis ROMs, and their old sets were all in bin format.  Perfect.  Now, they're still in bin format, but the file extensions are all "md".  Gens doesn't recognize md as a Genesis ROM, so I have to rename all my ROMs from there.  No big deal, but gets to be annoying after awhile. 
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MathUser2929

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 08:22:41 am »
Some other places rename them as .gen.

Nightcrawler

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2013, 08:46:59 am »
This is what happens when responsible parties don't work together and instead start pushing their own individual agendas. An incompatible mess where everybody loses. :(
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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2013, 10:12:22 am »
Cool about FDS.  Yeah, totally agree that with a standard like that a header really wouldn't be required.

Guess megadrive (.md) vs. genesis (.gen) just matters what side of the pond you're on.
Extensions are the bane of every emulated platform.  It seems there's an extension for every copier, every localized name for a platform, then generic ones like .bin and .rom, occationally the ones used by the devs, others that seemed like a good idea at the time, and heaven forbid some emulator decides to ascociate them all.

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2013, 02:10:02 pm »
I also noticed that Planetemu had recently replaced all their ROM sets.  I mainly use Genesis ROMs, and their old sets were all in bin format.  Perfect.  Now, they're still in bin format, but the file extensions are all "md".  Gens doesn't recognize md as a Genesis ROM, so I have to rename all my ROMs from there.  No big deal, but gets to be annoying after awhile.

I'd switch to Regen or Kega Fusion, you'll get better emulation(more accurate sound effects, less emulation glitches, etc).
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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2013, 05:36:41 pm »
Kega Fusion doesn't recognize .md either (in my experience at least, but I think I'm using a fairly old version) so you'll still have to rename them.

I am in concurrence about its emulation quality, though. :thumbsup:
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RetroProf

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Re: Why would Planetemu replace all their ROM sets with headerless versions?!
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2013, 03:41:46 am »
This is what happens when responsible parties don't work together and instead start pushing their own individual agendas. An incompatible mess where everybody loses. :(

Ultimately this is my complaint.

I'm not a programmer, or a ROM hacker, I'm just an end user. So my gripe stems solely from the fact the we have different entities (ROM providers, patchers, hackers, flash-cart producers, mapper makers, etc), and each is producing something which should be 100% compatible with another, but is not for whatever reason. Or it was compatible, but then one group decided they wanted to use another system, and suddenly everything is out of sync.

Planetemu was a great source for clean ROMs, what they provided worked. It worked with what RHDN provided. But now they've changed it. This means RHDN either needs to change all its patches, or I need to find another ROM supplier (I chose the latter). Even if RHDN did update all its patches, what about those acquiring headered ROMs elsewhere? Why must there be so much confusion? The emulators I have will boot headered and unheadered ROMs in exactly the same way, so what is the logical reason for changing a system which we've become ingrained with.

I mean, to put it another way: a metric time system (100 < 100 < 10 + 10) makes more sense than two lots of 12 hours, but we're never going to adopt metric time because we're ingrained with what we have. This change to unheadered ROMs, even if headers are junk, seems to be creating more confusion and chaos than actual benefit. Actually, I can't see that there is any benefit to it at all. At worst headers are superfluous and vestigial/uneeded. You don't notice. But remove headers, and at best no one notices. At worst, the ROMs refuse to work, patches won't work, nothing works!

I managed to get around this ROM problem, but I had to work at it - reading through README files, patching and then checking and then redownloading and then patching again.

Why couldn't the PCE games I patched just work, off the bat? That Bubblegum adventure game at least had the decency to provide two patches in the ZIP file, one for a headered ROM, and one for an unheadered version (well done to the team behind that - I noticed and appreciated the effort you made). Most of the other games didn't even acknowledge that there were two different kinds of ROM. A few just said "get a clean ROM". Which is what I assumed Planetemu carried! At least, they once did....