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Author Topic: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king  (Read 1034 times)

Joey7

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How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« on: August 04, 2018, 11:25:38 pm »
I've always wished the GBA version of Lord of the Rings the Return of the King had 8 save slots instead of 4 so I could play each characters story without deleting my previous characters save data. How would I go about making this happen? Would it be as simple as finding the save data window resolution and cut them in half, then a searching for a standardized string that would indicate the maximum number of save data? Is there a software that would make this easier than notepad, or would I just be looking for text manually anyway with a nicer window?

If Possible I'd like to do this with the Two towers as well as I understand that had a shortage of save slots as well.

Most of my coding experience is limited to the cheatengine hex editor and patching 98 games in notepad to run on 64bit operating systems, also running dos, actual booting from floppy disk dos.
Thank you for your time and any help You can provide. 

FAST6191

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2018, 10:49:33 am »
I don't know the full save/new game+ type behaviour of this game. If there is something that could change things then please say and I will consider how to work around it. Anyway

If you are running this eventual hack then surely you are on an emulator or flash cart. In that case rename the game, or in the case of some odd emulators you might want to twiddle a string in the header or something (or maybe use the other region's game) so as to have it appear as a different game, there are tools which fix headers like GBATA. In the odd case that you need a completed save to unlock things or whatever and copy and rename does not work then you can probably make a cheat or dummy save with a "game completed" flag.

Still save handler changing then. The change of the ROM to use another type (usually to a specific type of SRAM) is done by all but about two flash carts (the EZ Omega and the Everdrive offerings) so you can look at how that is done (there should be some analysis of it in various places as people remade the windows clients, or maybe in actual source in the case of the EZ3).
In this case you might need to pump the save size up to begin with. This would be hard on older systems but for the GBA it is simple enough.

Getting the game to recognise the extra slots on the other hand is harder. It would not be a text based hack, indeed most games would not be. Going further some games implement save handling different ways (pokemon notably gives two slots per save and alternates between them as a kind of backup, and possibly crude wear levelling) and you might have that here.
With it being easy to assign GBA saves to different types (again there are automated tools that flash carts use that only fell over when Nintendo introduced a new chip/save circuit) that then leaves the issue of getting the game to handle it properly.
In an ideal world it would just be a matter of changing some pointers to use the new slots you made for it. More practically you will likely have to work around some limitations the game has coded into it, and then also fiddle with the load handling. If you are up for a hackery approach you could probably do a button activator cheat to make the game load and save to the "upper" slots while and spare yourself fun fiddling with menus. It won't look terribly professional but the job should get done.
I would imagine that it is easier to add more slots than make multiple slots in the first place, much less add saves to games without it, but it is not something I would necessarily attempt as a first hack unless you really really want it and thus will be motivated to learn the necessary things to do it.

So yeah barring issues with new game + needing things I would first say rename a copy (or if your flash cart or emulator uses headers then change the header or use the other region). If that does not do it for you and you can't work around that with cheats (or a similarly renamed save) then you could change a game to use a larger save type, then modify the game to read from the later parts of the save, possibly before hacking the menu to make it look like it was there from the start.

Jorpho

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 07:39:24 pm »
I've always wished the GBA version of Lord of the Rings the Return of the King had 8 save slots instead of 4 so I could play each characters story without deleting my previous characters save data.
Perhaps you would consider dumping your save data and storing it on your PC?

You should be able to do that fairly easily with a DS Lite and a cheap flashcart, or alternatively a Game Boy Player and a Gamecube capable of running homebrew.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

Bregalad

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 02:07:38 pm »
I don't know anything about this game in particular, but if there's 4 slots, there's very probably a good reason, and increasing the # of slots without affecting the game in any way if probably extremely difficult.

GBA has 3 type of saves, battery, EEPROM and FlashROM. All those have tradeoffs, and limited memory available. It seems extremely unlikly to me the developers would purposedly use only half of the available memory, leaving half unused and unuseable. So it's most likely most memory is used, and that doubling the # of save slots requires a larger saving memory, something which is non trivial.

Even if this could potentially be feasible (I don't know), it's not an easy job type of hack.

In all cases to play hacked GBA ROMs you need some dumping device, so you can just as well back-up your saves, and in some cases restore them, with it.

FAST6191

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 08:41:09 pm »
I don't know anything about this game in particular, but if there's 4 slots, there's very probably a good reason, and increasing the # of slots without affecting the game in any way if probably extremely difficult.

GBA has 3 type of saves, battery, EEPROM and FlashROM. All those have tradeoffs, and limited memory available. It seems extremely unlikly to me the developers would purposedly use only half of the available memory, leaving half unused and unuseable. So it's most likely most memory is used, and that doubling the # of save slots requires a larger saving memory, something which is non trivial.

Even if this could potentially be feasible (I don't know), it's not an easy job type of hack.

In all cases to play hacked GBA ROMs you need some dumping device, so you can just as well back-up your saves, and in some cases restore them, with it.

I should note that battery/SRAM got replaced with FeRAM a few years in (there are even reissues of games that have FeRAM where first runs used SRAM and a battery, make repro ID a bit harder in some cases even).
There are tradeoffs, most of those are in the "we want to make 100k of these games and that extra 10 cents per chip adds up so can we maybe use less save?". If this is the film tie in for the GBA (I know the various LOTR games actually turned out surprisingly decent for the GBA) then safe money was on film tie ins not being worthy of the big investment.

Changing save types is nothing drastic, indeed just about every flash cart changes every save.
The basic idea runs something like search the game with an ASCII search for SRAM, FLASH and EEPROM. Find one of those and you have the broad type (there are games with none), the next few characters will be the sub revision (v103 or something -- http://www.advanscene.com/ lists them for given games). From there you have a set distance to the string you replace to change the access protocols ( http://problemkaputt.de/gbatek.htm#gbacartbackupids ) and you can replace that with another. Flash carts then made automated programs that only fell over in the case of things like new save types, things like real time clock, anti piracy (which very few things had), additions like solar sensors/tilt sensors... and that was about it.
In the case of flash carts most converted to SRAM (usual differences you get like read width being different, read enable commands...) to match the type flash cart designs favoured. Here you might want to find a larger type (I just checked and apparently the Euro versions uses 4KBit EEPROM, 64 being another sort of EEPROM available), though thinking about it you could probably get away with using a flash cart style change as well.

Quite rightly you would probably say next that you can extend the save into the gigabytes and that does not mean a thing for the game itself if it is not coded for it. I would agree. However the utter cowboy way would probably be to find the read protocols and do a shift/addition if a flag (which a button activated cheat or something) to set a simple offset difference (if the original fits in 4kbit then surely 64kbit or even 1024K of a homebrew flash type will have the space).
Adding a full menu hack to it to support it all like it was there from the start might be a far more involved hack, certainly one that would challenge those with limited skills in assembly and ROM hacking in general, but still within the realms of reasonable to do.

Similarly to play the ROMs you might not have a dumping capable device*, indeed not even all GBA era GBA flash carts had that (rather than linkers or multiboot cables some attached directly to the flash cart). You can easily get such a setup, there is any amount of DS homebrew that will do it too, but required is harder to assume. If the OP does have the means to play this hypothetical hack though I still maintain that LOTRROTK1.gba and LOTRROTK2.gba with their own respective saves on their flash cart or emulator is the far easier method.

*I assume this is not a "everybody that wants to use a ROM must dump their own" type discussion.

Joey7

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2018, 08:45:51 pm »
Perhaps you would consider dumping your save data and storing it on your PC?

You should be able to do that fairly easily with a DS Lite and a cheap flashcart, or alternatively a Game Boy Player and a Gamecube capable of running homebrew.

There are random item drops that often cannot be used by the character that picks them up, the game has a in level storage mechanism to transfer items between save profiles. For example, if Gandalf finds the best bow in the game, it won't do that profile any good although it can be placed in the storage for Legolas to pick up. The only way restoring would be useful Is If I could restore 1 of 4 profiles, and choose which save slot it was restored to. That seems like it would require building some custom software from scratch, so back to hacking the existing rom.

I don't much care what the menu looks like as long as it functions, and I know what character save profile I have selected to load.

If it weren't for the ability to transfer items between profiles then I would simply run two versions of the same file, however each profile can benefit all other profiles.  Lets assume I'm running an emulator and I will worry about finding a compatible flash cart later

.

August 19, 2018, 07:10:35 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Apparently I timed out while typing my last response, so the more eloquent statement is lost.

As someone suggested, some of the GBA LOTR games were fairly good. The GBA version of LOTR ROTK is one of my favorite games, and a good hack n' slash. I have heard the GBA Two Towers is of a similar format, also lacking in one or two helpful save slots. Perhaps if this goes well I'll move to that game.

I don't know anything about this game in particular, but if there's 4 slots, there's very probably a good reason, and increasing the # of slots without affecting the game in any way if probably extremely difficult.

GBA has 3 type of saves, battery, EEPROM and FlashROM. All those have tradeoffs, and limited memory available. It seems extremely unlikly to me the developers would purposedly use only half of the available memory, leaving half unused and unuseable. So it's most likely most memory is used, and that doubling the # of save slots requires a larger saving memory, something which is non trivial.

Even if this could potentially be feasible (I don't know), it's not an easy job type of hack.

In all cases to play hacked GBA ROMs you need some dumping device, so you can just as well back-up your saves, and in some cases restore them, with it.

I hope your right on the last point. I am trying a .GBA file found elsewhere to get started with until my Retrode plugin arrives for me to get the actual file I want to use.

I tried opening the file in notepad, it didn't seem to work. Do I need a special software specifically for reading GBA roms files or just a better programming software than notepad? Is an ASCII search a fancy of saying text search, Ctrl + F?
GBA tool advance says the file uses EEPROM_V122 as the save type.

From what I understand from the previous replies, I need to change the save type to a larger format to allow for more save slots, then I can easily add a additional, not alternate, set of 4 save files. the extra slots would automatically use the stock graphics and settings. I could swap between which of the two sets of four would be shown for loading by pressing a button such as the left or right shoulder. If that is the case then all I'd need is a logo in the menu to indicate that the shoulders are used to scroll and'd it'd look professional.

People keep mentioning that ability to completely change the file save system type, as apposed to a larger capacity version of the same system with out explaining why that would be helpful. Is there a thread I should read that explains what that accomplishes and when if ever it would be desirable.

Again the saves need to be connected, there is an in game mechanic for moving items between save slots, and if the saves are isolated I might as well just buy another cartridge. I am not sure if it is the saves that detect each other or the game shell, however the game keeps track of items being stored to be picked up in other profiles, the progress of the other saves, and non-item collectibles. If someone could look at the code and determine if it is the save slots detecting each other or the game shell, that might be very helpful and I'd be appreciative.


Since so many suggested I give up and just run two unaltered roms I will explain my reasoning in another way. In order to unlock all the maps for all the characters, I have to play through each characters story twice, even though there are 6 initial characters and 4 slots. some things are only unlocked by beating the game with the other characters, others by finding in game character specific non-item collectibles usually near  the end of the story, and if I recall only accessible after the first play through. I'd have to play through 4 characters stories twice, then delete two of those characters, and play through two more characters stories twice. That would allow me to unlock the bonus maps, and one extra character, the other unlocked through a GameCube link. Now that everything is unlocked, I could duplicate that save, and on the duplicate delete all 4 save slots so I can start over with the two characters I first deleted and the other two slots being used by the unlockable characters. I mentioned being able to move items including the ultra rare random drops such as for example the best item in the game for a specific character, like a wizard staff for Gandalf not doing Frodo any good, to that character's slot from any other character's slot. If I have two separate files for the 8 characters and I get an amazing drop for a character on the opposite file, then I have no way to get it to them, unlike If I had a modded file with all 8 save slots. I cannot unlock everything for any one character unless I delete saves for other characters. If using two cartridges was an acceptable solution I wouldn't be here hoping to learn how to fix this game issue.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 07:10:35 pm by Joey7 »

FAST6191

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 05:55:37 pm »
Notepad does not open files as is -- anything that is not decodable as text tends to get dropped or rendered oddly which is a quick way to break a file.

Anyway thanks for the description of the cross slot interaction/new game+ type behaviour, it does indeed change things and make a hack approach more useful.

If a PC application is a viable option (as opposed to all in cart) that changes some things.

Quick and dirty way is to break the game's save hashing/checksum routine* (should just be a matter of changing the "if check matches stored hash" line to go to the "matches" part of the function). At that point figure out where in the save the relevant slots are -- most GBA saves are not encrypted so should just be a matter of making a save, making a save in the next slot... and comparing them all. Overwrite that (copy and paste job with a hex editor** once you know the locations and sizes, or maybe not even sizes if you just copy everything up to the next save slot). Saves should even work still with the unmolested game if you load them in the hacked game and save normally to correct the hash.
If you do want to figure out the save hashing/checksum routine and implement that into a proper save manipulator then that would be more work but the "proper" way to do it.

*sounds hard and indeed will involve some assembly, however you can find the hash easily enough just by doing minor alterations to the save (if it has a timer then that will do). Any change should change the hash and thus you will soon know what is the hash value. Follow this value ( http://www.romhacking.net/documents/361/ , though I would suggest no$gba debug these days) through the handling process and the check will probably be something like cmp r1, r2, bne [address] and you would change the bne to something that skips that and just goes right to the "good" outcome.

**if you can copy and paste this line to this line/from this document to this document in a word processor you can do it in a hex editor. Don't work on files you don't have backed up and worst that happens if you redo the process if you make a misstep.

While I am at it I would probably also unlock the GC link character manually or with a finished game or something but that is a different matter.

I should also spin the button activator thing for an expanded save in light of the single slot necessary thing. In that case rather than a upper/lower arrangement I would probably do a "window" type arrangement. It is not impossible to make it so you can select a desired slot to swap in and out (probably need multiple button combos to select multiple values and then some kind of binary compare) but if we are building a hack to share with the world such complexity would be undesirable.

Joey7

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2018, 09:08:09 pm »
Notepad does not open files as is -- anything that is not decodable as text tends to get dropped or rendered oddly which is a quick way to break a file.

Anyway thanks for the description of the cross slot interaction/new game+ type behaviour, it does indeed change things and make a hack approach more useful.

If a PC application is a viable option (as opposed to all in cart) that changes some things.

Quick and dirty way is to break the game's save hashing/checksum routine* (should just be a matter of changing the "if check matches stored hash" line to go to the "matches" part of the function). At that point figure out where in the save the relevant slots are -- most GBA saves are not encrypted so should just be a matter of making a save, making a save in the next slot... and comparing them all. Overwrite that (copy and paste job with a hex editor** once you know the locations and sizes, or maybe not even sizes if you just copy everything up to the next save slot). Saves should even work still with the unmolested game if you load them in the hacked game and save normally to correct the hash.
If you do want to figure out the save hashing/checksum routine and implement that into a proper save manipulator then that would be more work but the "proper" way to do it.

*sounds hard and indeed will involve some assembly, however you can find the hash easily enough just by doing minor alterations to the save (if it has a timer then that will do). Any change should change the hash and thus you will soon know what is the hash value. Follow this value ( http://www.romhacking.net/documents/361/ , though I would suggest no$gba debug these days) through the handling process and the check will probably be something like cmp r1, r2, bne [address] and you would change the bne to something that skips that and just goes right to the "good" outcome.

**if you can copy and paste this line to this line/from this document to this document in a word processor you can do it in a hex editor. Don't work on files you don't have backed up and worst that happens if you redo the process if you make a misstep.

While I am at it I would probably also unlock the GC link character manually or with a finished game or something but that is a different matter.

I should also spin the button activator thing for an expanded save in light of the single slot necessary thing. In that case rather than a upper/lower arrangement I would probably do a "window" type arrangement. It is not impossible to make it so you can select a desired slot to swap in and out (probably need multiple button combos to select multiple values and then some kind of binary compare) but if we are building a hack to share with the world such complexity would be undesirable.


I'll look into that software. I'm used to changing/making bin files in notepad to update old software, so I thought it'd work.

I am mostly focused on it simply running in an emulator, specifically Higan.
Since I couldn't find it already done, I'd like to release a patch or something eventually, if I am successful that would set the standard game to have the 8 slots, the bonus maps, and the two bonus characters either unlocked or bound to the last two slots, both would be sufficient. If I am successful that generic patch will be another discussion, for now I just need to figure out how to make it work on the one.

IfI'm understanding you correctly, your suggesting I start with a blank copy, fill  slot, create duplicate fill another, etc, then compare each file to determine the code that indicates a slot is occupied. So by starting the first slot repeatedly with a different character I could learn the character codes and set a new save slot as a character without having to be able to fill a new 5-8th slot from the in game menu?

The other non gc-link unlockable character is unlocked by completing the full non-item "artifact" collection of items found by the different main characters. The unlockable characters are only usable on the unlocked bonus maps, yet they still take up a save slot, and can contribute what they gather to the other profiles. Perhaps I'll find it easier to define the last two slots as the bonus characters, as I am uncertain how the save slots interact in the code.

Jorpho

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 12:04:27 am »
The only way restoring would be useful Is If I could restore 1 of 4 profiles, and choose which save slot it was restored to. That seems like it would require building some custom software from scratch, so back to hacking the existing rom.
:o What do you think "hacking the existing rom" requires if not "building some custom software from scratch"!?

It should be fairly trivial to analyze how the save data is stored and find out how to copy and paste data from one save file to another.  In case this is not clear, hacking the ROM is many, many times more complicated.

Quote
I need to change the save type to a larger format to allow for more save slots, then I can easily add a additional, not alternate, set of 4 save files.
I don't think anyone said that would be "easy".

I would start with something very simple:
-Create a new saved game in your emulator in the first save slot and make a backup of the save file.
-Load up the emulator and create another new saved game in the second save slot.
-Compare the new save file in a hex editor with the backup of your save file.

The old save file will probably contain many instances of "FF" or "00", signifying empty space.  The new save file will of course have substantially less empty space.  You can then try using the hex editor to copy the different data from the new save file to the start of the empty space in the old save file, and see if the game recognizes it.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 12:22:59 am by Jorpho »
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

Joey7

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 12:29:35 am »
no$gba puts the .sav files under battery. I started a game, and did not move the character, saved to one slot, then created another with the same setup saved to two slots. I compared the two .sav files with HxD and there were a lot of differences between the two files, and some were letters instead of numbers, plus one extra blank line of code at the end. While there were some changes prior, starting with the tenth line of code there were multiple changes in every line of code.

This seems very different from modding old pc games in notepad. With a lot old pc games, I just had to save a back up of all files, change something in game, and search for the differences. The numbers I found didn't always make sense, often a huge number for a value with 3 digits or less, but it was easy to find what codes were associated with events or numbers in the game. Some of those old pc games, the kind that listed minimum requirements as windows 98 with soundblaster, were easy to mess with without understanding the code, whether it was changing inventories or counts, or just juggling alternate saves for games that didn't support multiple profiles. Its been a while though. Those old pc games probably weren't written in hexadecimal, yay for progress I guess.

Jorpho

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2018, 09:44:41 am »
I would take a swing at this myself if I wasn't ridiculously busy and about to go on vacation.

I compared the two .sav files with HxD and there were a lot of differences between the two files, and some were letters instead of numbers
Are you familiar with what hexadecimal is, exactly?

Perhaps you should start with this, if you haven't seen it already.
The Newbie Package of REQUIRED Material
 
ROMHacking.net FAQ: You ask, we answer!
ROMHacking.net Getting Started Section: Newbies Go HERE!
ROMHacking.net Documents Section!
How to ask questions the smart way.
On the Essence of ROM Hacking
Talk with experienced people in our IRC chat and ask specific questions there.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

Joey7

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 08:58:32 pm »
I would take a swing at this myself if I wasn't ridiculously busy and about to go on vacation.
Are you familiar with what hexadecimal is, exactly?

Perhaps you should start with this, if you haven't seen it already.
The Newbie Package of REQUIRED Material
 
ROMHacking.net FAQ: You ask, we answer!
ROMHacking.net Getting Started Section: Newbies Go HERE!
ROMHacking.net Documents Section!
How to ask questions the smart way.
On the Essence of ROM Hacking
Talk with experienced people in our IRC chat and ask specific questions there.

Yes, I knew hexidecimal was another way to arrange binary. I've also seen octadecimal. That doesn't help me know how to read or edit them. I just have never worked on software that used it as the primary code type before, other than running cheat engine a long time ago. Every game I've ever modded was meant for pc and done in notepad, usually a bin file, sometimes the exe. Please forgive me if I'm less familiar with a new form of programming language, or the software associated with it. If I understood hexeditors as well as I know Photoshop or CAD I wouldn't have posted in the newcomers board.

I'm not sure if I should be looking at the rom or .sav files. On a .sav that has 4 identical profiles I would have expected 4 identical sets of text for the matching data, I didn't see any matching data. Some files with more save slots filled have less lines than files with less slots filled. Unlike bin files, It seems I may actually need to know how to program hexidecimal from scratch before I could edit it. Maybe when my retrode plugin arrives the files from the actual cart will make more sense. I looked at a sav someone uploaded with the bonus stuff unlocked and it looked completely different from the files I have and couldn't be made to work. I'm not seeing any tutorials that seem relevant to what I want to do. It is possible I may have to abandon this and focus on my other projects.

Thank you everyone for your time.

August 28, 2018, 11:02:15 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
the retrode plugin arrived today, and it seems that rom can't be dumped correctly. When I opened the official cart there was only one file inside and it was named "ReturnKing.BLRE.gba". There was no .sav file, so apparently the real game uses a different type of save than the emulators produce, perhaps one that will be more like what I'm used to. 

Higan simply pretends it didn't here me and says no cartridge loaded when I attempt to load this rom.

I tried opening the file with GAtools advance and got the error message, "Access violation at address 0048A947 in module 'gbata.exe'. Read of address 000000B0."
no$gba debuger brought up the "No$gba Cartloader Warnings" window with the following errors.
Bad Header Checksum (real gameboy would shutdown)
Bad ROM Entrypoint at Header [000h]
Bad Fixed Value at Header [0B2h]

clicking ok to dismis the errors yeilded an new warning box,
Undefined opcode - with no debug vector defined
under the emulation window it shows an image stating this is machine code.

This game still works on the actual GBA.

Most of the other rom dumps I tested worked although one eeprom v122 was playable but didn't dump the save, also pokemon fire red plays the intros before crashing. I've heard it's common for people have issues with pkmn games in general though. One of my eeprom v122 carts apparently lost it's save data in storage, is that common?

Anyway aside from the expected pkmn failure most of the dumps are working, yet this one is unreadable by 3 different utilities, so does that mean LOTR:ROTK is is one of the supposedly rare encrypted games? If so is there a standard GBA decryption utility or will I need to dig out john the ripper and try to brute force the encryption?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 11:02:15 pm by Joey7 »

FAST6191

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2018, 02:48:55 pm »
Sounds more like the retrode has continued to cause woes for all involved. I recall having to fix things in the past for it and those looking at other devices are often similarly frustrated by its approaches vs what everybody else uses. I don't know what method it uses, if it is a USB thing it might use MTP/PTP and that can pose a problem for some. Copy it to a normal directory on your PC first if so.

There are no "encrypted" GBA games. Closest you will get is stuff like https://mgba.io/2015/10/20/dumping-the-undumped/ , those 101 in 1 games you get in tourist traps, a few modern repros that colour outside the lines or trying to dump various flash carts. No commercial game beyond those videos from the link should pose a problem for dumping. There are some tools more limited for saves but modern methods do OK, not to mention should not be a problem here.

Jorpho

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2018, 11:00:40 pm »
Shucks, I missed your reply earlier.

Yes, I knew hexidecimal was another way to arrange binary.
You said that there "were a lot of differences between the two files, and some were letters instead of numbers", which seemed to imply you weren't aware that hexidecimal representation by definition is letters and numbers..?  Perhaps I misunderstood.

Quote
Maybe when my retrode plugin arrives the files from the actual cart will make more sense.
By definition, the save ram produced by an emulator is exactly what you would find on an actual cart.  Otherwise, it wouldn't be emulation.

But to be clear, you're comparing save ram data and not emulator savestates, right?

Unfortunately I've never used a retrode before, so I can't help you there.  (As I said in my first post, all you really need to dump a GBA game is a DS Lite and a flashcart.  Apparently a GBA connected to a hacked Wii with a GBA-to-GC cable works too.)
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

Joey7

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Re: How to add save slots to GBA LOTR return of the king
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2018, 11:29:16 pm »
Sounds more like the retrode has continued to cause woes for all involved. I recall having to fix things in the past for it and those looking at other devices are often similarly frustrated by its approaches vs what everybody else uses. I don't know what method it uses, if it is a USB thing it might use MTP/PTP and that can pose a problem for some. Copy it to a normal directory on your PC first if so.

There are no "encrypted" GBA games. Closest you will get is stuff like https://mgba.io/2015/10/20/dumping-the-undumped/ , those 101 in 1 games you get in tourist traps, a few modern repros that colour outside the lines or trying to dump various flash carts. No commercial game beyond those videos from the link should pose a problem for dumping. There are some tools more limited for saves but modern methods do OK, not to mention should not be a problem here.

I'm suprised to hear problems are common. I have far better luck with my retrode on snes carts than my original snes. In fact I have one original game that can't be read at all by my snes yet always works on my retrode.

In response to the other yes, I was checking the .sav file from using the in game save menu and didn't touch the emulators save state menu.

I don't have a modded ds or a ds flash cart, I do have a retrode I picked up for $4.

September 02, 2018, 01:26:37 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I was suprised to find no one had made a 8 save, all bonus character/map unlocked patch for LOTR:ROTK, so that all game features and stories could be enjoyed to their fullest on one cart. I came here thinking modding a gba rom would be as easy as modding some of the older(win98) pc software. It has become clear to me that hexadecimal is far too different from the older computer languages I'm used to dealing with to be at all comparable. I can think of no method to devise the exact portions of code that are relevant to loading to make any attempt. I have read several documents here and elsewhere, including the one about translating hex to binary. I have also tried google search without luck for similar goals of extending the number of save slots. Since it is clear I can make no progress with my current skill level in this language, I will be abandoning this task. I would like to thank everyone for their time, and apologize if any felt it was wasted.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 01:26:37 am by Joey7 »