I thought I might share my intial testing with you all, this probably should be considered not be a review as I did not test it all that well (as in all features, functions and problem roms) at the minute (I will add to this over the next few days).
Well first I must say the EZTeam have done it again, after making some of the best flashcarts for the GBA they have at least started down the right path on the DS.
EZ4 (obviously) EZ0608631 on the label
An original model European DS (initially with early firmware, now V6 flashme) serial: NU41597476 (7) (no cart in DS slot)
A GBA original (European model).
A USA model GBASP, classic nes style.
EZ4 Client beta 1 and whatever the latest loader was available yesterday morning
A Sandisk 512mbyte card from the high street, I used both the EZTeam bundled one and a cheap 5 in one I have around here.
My PC is a vaio laptop (K315B) with windows XP SP2 (clean install, no other EZFlash stuff installed at this point).
I tested it on all three setups and it worked fine (I too forgot how dodgy the GBA original screen looked, thankfully it was £15 and only used for Cybe linkup)
As I already said I have not tested it to destruction yet (that is the next few weeks plan) but so far it has perfomed excellently.
Issues and a few solutions Thought I might as well get these out of the way first.
I might also mention the lack of bundled documentation which may warrant a small FAQ/cutdown version of the one that exists or some such to be included.
EZ4 Castlevania video skips, not a problem as I usually drop it from the rom:http://www.sosuke.com/ezflash/viewtopic.php?t=457&start=0 . It works fine on the EZ2.
Megaman 5 (reJapanesed audio) intro video skips as does some cutscene type events in game (not as bad a Castlevania mind). Works fine on EZ2
GBA roms on DS loader have no PSRAM status bar unlike GBA loaders.
I suppose I should mention 8.3 naming but quite frankly it does not bother me, I used windows 3.11 and below for years though, and it is to be upgraded.
EZ4 Client Renames non-"clean" DS roms as a ".nds" file, these do not work DS side unless renamed to something else first and could cause issues with batch patching NDSTool altered roms or if many new roms get (re)dumped.
It detects them via a CRC32 check against a DS rom list in the sysbin directory. This file is a .txt one which has a human readable structure.
You can add your NDSTool altered rom's data to the .txt file make sure to follow the format of the file exactly (EZ4 client does not open otherwise) and do make sure you press return/enter after the adjustments (the "unreadable code" you may see is just a chinese name of the rom: simply add something for it (I just copy and pasted the line above) before continuing). You will need to have the roms CRC32 value to hand (I have it in my hex editor but compression utilities will have it too). At some point in the near future I will make up a method detailing this.
Slade also is updating the rom list:
Skins cause issues on dual screen computers, I could not drag the EZ4 Client back after moving it there.
By renaming the extension of the SSK file (or otherwise rendering it "not there") in the skins directory I got a standard windows UI apperance (I use the classic look on XP by the way) which solved that problem although making the progress bar lose it's % count (normal block by block method instead).
File selection issues
Although it is a matter of personal preference the little box on the left hand side of the open box that allows you to select my documents, my computer, network etc is not there and although I only really just started using it I do find it noticable.
Once again personal preference but the versions of offline list compress to it and I use it in place of winrar these days (which also can open 7zip files) as the space savings are great. Admittedly I normally play around with roms in NDSTool first so this is not that great of an issue for me.
Decompress your roms first, EZTeam 7Zip has a great SDK: http://www.7-zip.org/
Language/grammar issues of software
The EZTeam not being native/frequent English speakers I suppose is the cause
A simple tweak in notepad of the English.lng file sorted this one, you could also translate it via this method.
Standard rules apply: http://www.sosuke.com/ezflash/wiki/inde ... anslations
The testing I did not try any DS homebrew yet (just put it directly on the miniSD via windows) and I forgot to check out any GBA roms bigger than 128mbit or the problem roms (super monkey ball saving) primarily due to sleep deprivation and me being so excited about having a new cart.
GBA roms. All tested on my GBA's above and on my DS with DS loader and with the GBA loader.
Worked and saved fine in all cases, PSRAM time is about the same for an EZ3 although the DS did not have a progress bar in DS loader mode.
DS roms. I tried a fair few but I lost a few a little while back (turns out it was not a software issue on my PC but the fan was clogged with dust causing my CPU to be throttled majorly: an air line for an air ratchet sorted that one out).
Tony Hawks did not work, it crashed as the spraycan entered the screen when starting a new game (ndstool rebuilt version too) but this is a known issue.
Every other rom worked and saved fine although I only did about 50 ones I know and liked.
NDSTool tweaked roms have the issue of being renamed ".nds" coming out of the EZ4 Client patcher which meant I had to give them a name.
The EZ4 Client patcher detects roms via a CRC32 check so EZTeam could you at least give the roms the name found in the first few bytes of the header.
That and the video/cutscene issues of some roms above.
Moonshell video and audio functions I used the EZTeams version of DPGTools I grabbed of their site back when the EZ4 was first released.
I burnt the moonshell.ds.gba file from the EZ4 Client base directory directly to my card and loaded that rom and the selected my music and or video via it.
Video is something I would like to believe I am familiar with and I also enjoy it a lot so this is an important feature to me.
I have not had the opportunity to do extensive testing of this yet (that will take at least 2 days of solid work, probably ending up at about a week otherwise) but poking around the directories I found that it uses some of the most repected tools in video editing to accomplish the task of conversion/transcoding so I should imagine you can give it a fairly nasty file unlike meteo (the GBA video solution) where it had to be pretty. I am told the container used is a custom AVI one so all subtitles will have to be hardsubbed (integrated into the picture) by the looks of things.
Conversion is pretty much one click although there is advanced options available. Speed is very good with my FF7 Advent children video (a great source to test video codecs with as it contains lots of action scenes and lots of low motion scenes) coming from a 700megabyte XVid encode to the moonshell format in under 30 minutes which is very respectable for video.
The video complete with audio (1hour and 40mins long) turned out at just over 230 megs which considering it has to play on the DS is very good.
Expect this feature to be tested to death over the next few weeks (AVIsynth testing, bad sources. multiple codecs (video and audio) and containers etc.)
The testing begins:
I tried out the areforementioned FF:AC and it worked fairly well, hardsubs were not a good choice and were just about readable.
More testing, I tried out converting my copy of Heroin Skateboards Live from Antarctica , my intial source was a 2 pass encoded XVID AVI, MP3 190kbps audio clocking in at 1.7gigabytes.
Converting to DS format took about 45 minutes on my machine.
DS side it was fairly jerky to begin with but it settled down and only jerked on panning and on high motion/bitrate scenes (something that can be expected frequently with a skateboard video).
I tried out the MP3 player with files of multiple bitrates, quality was good on speakers but not so good on headphones. All the OGG files I tried crashed the program.
I am not anywhere near there yet but my after my initial testing: yes this is a good cart.
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:11 pm Posts: 3044 Location: Or-Stray-Lee-Ya
Just to let you know. When testing homebrew you have two choices:
1/ Use the presetup .ds.gba files most HB authors provide. Remove the .ds and just leave the .gba. This gave me a very high (95% + success rate).
2/ copy /b Darkfader's nds header to the front of the .ds HB file renaming it with a .gba extension. This allowed the HB I tested to work. It was only 1-2 files that didn't come in .ds.gba format, but it was better than not working at all.
I personally haven't had an issue with GBA games. I haven't tested that many of them, but they all worked for me. I tested games of all sizes.
Nice info by the way. Oh and task, not taks. It took me a few seconds to work that one out.
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