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Hard EverDrivin'! Flash cartridges & ODEs

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Had to mess about a little to get the Action Replay reflashing utility to work (Prof. Abrasive helped me super fast via Discord), but it's great. I had a memory card all set up already, so it's been smooth. Loving it.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Finally ordered an EverDrive 64 2.5. Was pretty cheap - I had $50 of store credit at SAG, and they have a $10 off coupon, so I got out under $60 shipped. Will enjoy messing around with some of the anti-aliasing codes for sure, and it'll be nice to not drag my carts out every time I get the N64 itch.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Finally ordered an EverDrive 64 2.5. Was pretty cheap - I had $50 of store credit at SAG, and they have a $10 off coupon, so I got out under $60 shipped. Will enjoy messing around with some of the anti-aliasing codes for sure, and it'll be nice to not drag my carts out every time I get the N64 itch.

Mine should be here this week!
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Sounds like we're both in for fun times. (Of course, you've got a Satiator now, so of course you're having fun! :) )
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
True! Apparently, there's a bug with some games that use the 4MB cart? X-Men vs. Street Fighter was a bust for me (not a huge deal, since I own the official disc), but Final Fight Revenge worked fine? Anyways, the Prof is on it.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Huh, weird. Was X-Men vs. Street Fighter one that showed problems with other solutions? I figure he'll get it for sure, though.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Got my ED64 in today. Got to fiddle around with the no anti-aliasing patches, which I think overall improves things. To get real clarity, I'm sure I'd need to go the deblur route, but this certainly helps a lot of games in my opinion. Textures and objects look cleaner, especially from distance, at the cost of increasing dithering. I think in most cases, I'm willing to make that trade, especially on a CRT.

I also ran into a weird issue with Donkey Kong 64 crashing, and apparently it's something to do with the new OS, 3.05. KRIKzz added support for the 2.5 and 3.0 in that firmware, but I ended up dropping back down to 2.13 and it now works swimmingly.

I don't think this changes my opinion of the N64, but it certainly makes it easier to goof around with when I do get the urge to play it. Yanking down all my carts is a pain. Oh, and being able to back up my controller pak saves before they die is a good thing, too!
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Yeah, I honestly have barely messed with mine, since it came right between my Satiator and XStation, so I need to make some time to play more with it.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Well, that's completely understandable. Saturn + PSX > N64 any day, in my book. Talk about an embarrassment of riches, though! You have the three big fifth-gen consoles covered by high quality ODEs/flash carts. :)
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I came very close to pulling the trigger on a GC Loader last weekend, but instead I reassessed the current state of my other disc-based consoles to determine which one would actually benefit the most from an ODE. Since most of my Dreamcast games currently exist as burned images on CD-RW media anyway, I decided that my DC was a better candidate for an optical drive replacement and picked up this GDEMU clone board on Aliexpress for about $40. I also ordered a 3D-printed GDEMU remote SD mount kit to fill in the empty space after removing the disc drive, as well as making it easier to insert/eject the SD card. Pretty excited to see this thing in action!
 

John

(he/him)
I just hooked up my old Wii, and am looking into hacking it to load GC games, since that looks like the easiest way to go. I haven't checked what OS version it's at, but anyone know if there are any that are unhackable?

I'm mainly looking at it for GC games, but there's a couple Wii titles I don't have anymore that my kids would like. I've got the Wii Component cables, but it looks like they add a bit of softness compared to OG Gamecube component cables. I still have those cables, but the only GC I still have is one without the digital out port. It looks like the Wii Dual mod to put in RGB/HDMI is sold out forever, so upscaling through my OSSC will be the best I'll ever get.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
It's not so much the component cables adding the softness, it's the Wii itself, although apparently later models are better. Makes me think I should try to track one down...


(Apparently, both of mine are 01 revisions, so basically launch-era Wiis. That has advantages and disadvantages, but one of the benefits is being able to install BootMii into boot2 as brick protection.)
 
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muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Well the one thing about the GC output is the same thing that makes the original component cables so expensive -- that port outputs a digital signal, and the encoder chip to get the component signal is in the cable itself. The corollary is that with different encoding you can easily make an adapter cable that outputs to HDMI and that has proper HDMI output. The Wii does that conversion internally, which means that on the one hand it's very easy to get cheap component cables for it, but on the other hand means that just getting a pure digital signal means having to mess around with PCB traces.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Yeah, that's pretty much it. Whatever they're using for the encoder in the Wii isn't as good as the encoder in the Gamecube component cables.
 

John

(he/him)
Just checked, my Wii's version 01, so a Wii Dual kit's not an option. We originally had two, like we had two gamecubes, but apparently downsized sometime in the last decade. Will still look into homebrew options.

Gamecube component cables are going for $300 now on ebay?!? I'll still keep my cables, but that's insane. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to find a DOL-001 model for cheap around town.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Yeah, it's completely bughouse how expensive the official GC component cables are. If you've already got a set then you may as well hold out for finding a DOL-001; the console itself should be super-cheap compared to those damn cables.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
If you have a GC, there are other pretty solid options, though. Stuff like the Carby or the EON GC HDMk2 are good solutions that are way cheaper than official component cables. (For my part, a viewer sent me a PAL GameCube with SCART cable, so that's what I use, along with my Framemeister.)
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I came very close to pulling the trigger on a GC Loader last weekend, but instead I reassessed the current state of my other disc-based consoles to determine which one would actually benefit the most from an ODE. Since most of my Dreamcast games currently exist as burned images on CD-RW media anyway, I decided that my DC was a better candidate for an optical drive replacement and picked up this GDEMU clone board on Aliexpress for about $40. I also ordered a 3D-printed GDEMU remote SD mount kit to fill in the empty space after removing the disc drive, as well as making it easier to insert/eject the SD card. Pretty excited to see this thing in action!
I got the GDEMU board and remote mount kit last weekend, and despite a minor bit of confusion during the setup process, I am super-impressed with how well this thing works for playing Dreamcast games off of an SD card. Preparation for installing the board was a breeze; just remove the four main Phillips-head case screws, lift off the upper shell, remove three more screws holding the GD-ROM drive, then lift it straight out to expose the drive connector. The board just drops straight onto the connector and is normally supported by three little plastic standoffs, but since I had the remote mount kit, I didn't even need the standoffs. The mount kit is dead-simple, just a 3D-printed housing that sits around and on top of the GDEMU board, and it provides a nice spring-loaded SD card slot that connects to the slot on the board itself via ribbon cable.

However, the software side of the setup was a little trickier. Turns out you really need to use a custom SD Card Maker program to get the best performance from GDEMU, and you need to provide .GDI-format ROMs for compatibility. Also don't forget to check the "Menu" box when writing your image files in SD Card Maker; this makes the GDmenu load much faster on your Dreamcast when you have dozens of games on an SD card.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Did you use the Laserbear mount? I used the Bit-District one, which I like, but the card is not quite as easily accessible as the Laserbear version.

Did you do any other mods? I figured I was gonna go HAM on it, so I did the chriz2600 PicoPSU mod and the Noctua fan mod all at the same time when I put in my GDEmu. (Also, yo, get on those Atomiswave conversions now!)
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I did indeed install the Laser Bear Industries remote mount! They offer a few different color options, and I went with orange button and black housing. The mount kit ships with two main 3D-printed frame pieces that screw together around the GDEMU board, and it all feels very solid.

I haven't done any other DC mods yet, but next on my list is to desolder the dead coin cell battery from the system board and replace it with a battery clip/holder. The Atomiswave conversions look dope, so perhaps I'll start loading up some of those over the weekend.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I've discovered one potential hidden cost of the GDEMU after playing a few dozen games: needing extra memory cards to hold all the save files! Unfortunately you can't save to the GDEMU's SD card, which is understandable but also somewhat inconvenient, so I've ordered myself one of those 4x memory cards with no screen. But apparently 4x cards aren't compatible with all games, which is rather bizzare...
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Juggling memory cards is a giant pain, even without a GDEMU. I'm lucky enough to have bought like three or four VMUs plus a 4x card back in the day. Wonder if someone would consider making some sort of VMU replacement or mod at some point with a ton more storage?

Also, good grief did those things suck down batteries. There's apparently a battery mod out there, though, which would be interesting. The VMU wasn't all that impressive spec-wise, though, so I'm not sure it would bring that much value to the table... other than stopping hearing the incessant beeping when you power up the system.

EDIT: Figured I better check and make sure I pulled the batteries from mine, and I did, but daaaaang, I forgot that it took two CR2032 batteries. Yikes.
 
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