Post subject: Need help understanding Saves on EZ-Flash III
Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:35 am
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:42 am Posts: 3
I recently purchased an EZ-Flash III and I'm very happy with it. I do, however, have one thing I am a little unsure of.
I loaded up a bunch of games onto the cart (nearly filling up the full 1 GB) using the EZ-Manager 2.09 Beta 1 software. Everything appears to play fine. The only “problem” I’ve had thus far is understanding how the saves are working. So far I have played the following games: Ultimate Spider-Man (EEPROM_V124), Gunstar Super Heroes (EEPROM_V124), Final Fantasy 1 & 2 (SRAM_V113/256 Kbit). When I look at the saves directory via the PDA GUI, I only see the save files for Spider-Man and Gunstar Heroes; Final Fantasy 1 & 2 did not show up in the list, but it has in-fact been saving without any problems. I hooked up the EZ-Flash III to my PC and did a backup of my save directory and it pulled a file for Final Fantasy, so even though I could not see the file in the PDA GUI, it obliviously is there. So I concluded that you could not see SRAM_V113/256 Kbit files types in saves directory and this was no big deal. I decided to add Mario Tennis Power Tour (SRAM_V113/256 Kbit) on my cart last night. So I then played Mario Tennis Power Tour for the first time. Played for a while, turned off my GBA and started backup Mario Tennis and my save is fine. I decided to switch back to Final Fantasy 1 & 2. When I loaded up my FF game, it turns out my save is gone I then loaded back up Mario Tennis and it does in fact have its save intact. So my question is this, has my Final Fantasy save gone missing because of A) me backing up my saves directory (i.e. it “pulled” the save off the GBA) or B) playing Mario Tennis over wrote the save (i.e. you can only play one game with a save type of SRAM_V113 at a time)?
I do have the FF save on my PC, so I’m guessing I can move it back, but that raises another question, how do I move/restore saves back to the EZ-Flash III cart?
Since we’re on the saves topic, I understand that certain games require patching in order to save properly on the EZ-Flash III. I’ve read that Final Fantasy Tactics (FLASH512_V130/512Kbit) and Mario & Luigi (EEPROM_V124/64Kbit) both require patching. I have Mario & Luigi on my cart, but have not played it yet, so I cannot verify if the saves work, but I thought I might ask prior to me investing any time into it. Out of curiosity, is the need for patching due to these being “odd” save types? Just curious.
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
After playing Mario Tennis, I checked my savers directory and there was no MARIOTEN.SAV file present, but again, the when I started the game, there was a save file to load up. So I did a backup of my savers directory and no MARIOTEN.SAV file was backed up; again, assuming there is something weird about SRAM_V113/256 Kbit save types.
I then looked at the Final Fantasy 1 & 2 save that it did pull off the EZFIII previous (my previous post). The size was 32 KB. I moved the file to my saver folder on my EZ-Flash III and loaded up FF1&2 and did not have any luck with a save to load (i.e. no continue option, only new game). I then attempted to load up the save file with FF1&2 using Visual Boy Advance (renaming the file appropriately of course; I’m familiar with the save process for VBA) and it did not work. *Sniff* 7 hours down the drain
I then loaded up a new game of FF1&2 on Visual Boy Advance and created a save file from that. The size came out 64 KB. So that raised a flag with me. I then took that save file and copied it to my EZFIII and loaded up FF1&2. The load DID work and the save file still shows up in the saver folder on the EZFIII.
I repeated this process above with Mario Tennis and again the save file loaded fine and it shows up in the saver folder on the EZFIII.
I should also point out that when I loaded up FF1&2 and Mario Tennis on my EZFIII, I did select the correct save type when it prompted me (i.e. SRAM – 256).
Also, of the other games I have on my cart and the save results:
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (SRAM v112) did NOT create a saver file in the saver directory
Lady Sai (Eeprom v122) did create saver file in saver directory
Mario & Luigi (Eeprom v124) did create saver file in saver directory
Ultimate Spider-Man (Eeprom v124) did create saver file in saver directory
Wario Land (SRAM v112) did NOT create a saver file in the saver directory
Gunstar Super Heroes (Eeprom v124) did create saver file in saver directory
As far as I can tell, there is a problem saving SRAM type games to the EZFIII cart, but I don’t understand why. So, unless someone can explain to me what I’m doing wrong or why it is this way, my suggestion to any who is going to load a SRAM save type game on their EZFIII, to start a new game in VBA, create a save file from that, and move it to the saver folder on your EZFIII.
Any information you could provide would be appreciated.
Hmm. You're being a bit verbose there so I'm having a hard time following everything you did, and it certainly sounds like you're overcomplicating the issue.
Let's start from the beginning. Here's how saves work: when you save your game, it is transferred to a bit of memory dedicated specifically to savegames. Then, when you either soft reset or restart your gameboy, it saves to the .sav file you find in your saver directory. That is, assuming you don't hold L when EZPDA loads up. This is a very important point: if you're bypassing the alert box that says "hold L to skip saving" by holding L, the save is erased from the savegame memory, and is NOT written to a .sav file; the save is lost. This is the only reason I can think of why a .sav would disappear or not become written in the first place. The only other thing that could be the problem, and is a possibility given that you've pretty much filled the NAND section with games, is that on occasion I've had the ezmanager freak out on me when writing a lot of games, or individual large games, etc. Mostly this happened with older versions of ezmanager, but I'm sure it's entirely possible that it happens now and again. Basically it's something like a rom appears to be written correctly but is corrupt in some way; maybe the NAND section is overly fragmented or something. The surefire way to solve these sorts of problems is to format the NAND section, and uncheck quick format when you do it. Then freshly write your roms again one after another, making sure your PC has enough RAM when you do it. Running from a clean slate almost always gets rid of any problems.
As far as patching certain games, there are a small number that don't work, I think I heard tactics ogre was one of them but I disremember. The vast majority save perfectly, and certainly SRAM saves work fine. The size of the save also has nothing to do with whether or not it is compatible. I'm thinking you're looking for a pattern when there is none. Which games have save issues I'm not sure - a bit of searching on this or the official forum may reveal a list, though. Or there's always your friend Google.
First off I want to apologize for my wordy explanations. It’s a bad habit, but I want always want to try and convey as much information as I can to help others understand my problem and hopefully help resolve my issue. I will try and keep my explanations shorter in the future.
Second, I wanted to say thank you for your reply. It is very appreciated and it was helpful. First off, you were right, my EZFIII was full, including the NAND section. As you suggested I formatted my cart, reloaded FF1&2 on it, loaded it up, saved and reset the GBA. NOW there is a (32k) .sav file being created. I loaded Mario Tennis back on my EZFIII as well and it also created a .sav file. I appreciate your suggestions and for taking the time to reply back.
While I have your attention, could you explain the save option that pops up when you load a new ROM on the EZFIII cart? When ever I add a game in the EZ3 Manager software, it presents you with a screen with the following options:
Soft Reset / Instant Save
I’m familiar with what the Soft Reset does, but I’m not with the Instant Save feature. I also understand the differences between the different Saver Types and Saver Sizes (I usually just choose Offline List and select the appropriate settings). But what I don’t know is the Saver Patch option. What are the differences in the options selecting there.
And again, thank you for your time. While I do want this situation resolves (as it is now), I also want to understand how this works so that I can hopefully help others.
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:11 pm Posts: 3044 Location: Or-Stray-Lee-Ya
You shouldn't ever need to change the save type thats presented to you via EZManager.
Leave the settings as is and you will rarely have any issues at all. EZManager should be able to read the information from the rom and patch the game without you changing anything.
The Instant Save option allows you to snapshot the current game state. It's useful for games whereby you can only save at the end of levels and the levels are quite long. You press the button combo (forgotten off the top of my head) and the snapshot is taken. If you die, you can reload the snapshot and keep playing from that point.
It can be reloaded at almost any stage. You just have to keep the "play type" the same. Ie, if you're in game when you Instant Save, then you should only load when in game, and the same goes if you're in a Menu when you Instant Save.
And before you ask, Instant Save files are saved with the .inv extension.
Is there a compatibility list for GBA and EZ3? I'm having trouble with instant save and Super Mario Advance 4, Super Mario 3. I'm using EZ-III, EZ-Manager 2.20, and U.S. ROM with compression/instant save when I write to the cart. The game works fine except for the instant save feature which immediately locks up the game.
Paused or unpaused makes no difference, nor trying to quicksave in the level or world map. Finally quick?-starting the game by pressing L+A had no effect. On a side note I'm wondering if there is an alternate way to patch gba games for the EZ3. It would be nice to patch goomba or pocketnes based .gba files to support the quick save or return to the main menu features.
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