MVS & AES NEOSD flash card... AES Version ANNOUNCED & AVAILABLE!!

GadgetUK

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This is great that you want to offer this! I would want a version of the NeoSD that is bare (no NeoSD menus or logos, no SD card support, etc.) and is basically a cart that I can attach a daughtercard (through a header connector or whatever) and program it, then detach the daughtercard and put the programmed boards into shell and package it for shipment...

This is one of the ideas we thought about if we were to make a flashable cart, but I was thinking through USB, much like NGDT's cart. But a cart with an attachable daughtercard with the capability to program it from an SD card is fine too. Just something I can remove so that the flashing (or reading) circuit is not present on the release cart.


I totally agree! Also the idea that developers could lock the game to a particular NeoSD cart is just fantastic! I hope NGDEVTEAM go with that - I would quite like to buy Fast Striker, Neo XYX and Razion (not all might get a reprint), and this sounds like a great way to do it and it should be cheaper as theres no cart manufacturing etc.
 
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That's exactly what I said a few posts up and I got laughed at.


I totally agree! Also the idea that developers could lock the game to a particular NeoSD cart is just fantastic! I hope NGDEVTEAM go with that - I would quite like to buy Fast Striker, Neo XYX and Razion (not all might get a reprint), and this sounds like a great way to do it and it should be cheaper as theres no cart manufacturing etc.
 

Arcade Magician

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Ok I'm just a NGCD owner... BUT! I have to congratulate the NeoSD Team! Thank you guys! Amazing project !


M_B.gif
 
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AMike

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@neoSD
Is it possible to send you the money with IBAN & BIC Code? I've only American Express (I know bad idea in Europe, but it's a company card), paypal or banktransfer with IBAN. Thanks :)
 

aku

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hola..

what conversion/rename process is needed to get the roms working? i think you mentioned *.neo files and the fullset being 9gb? so i guess its the 9gb *.fba(s) renamed to to *.neo? :glee: (convert *.zip to *.fba, batch rename all *.fba to *.neo)

just to make sure: when the sd is in the pcb it fits into a normal mvs shell and there is no need for a insert slot etc.?

my plan: insert prepared sd, put the pcbs into a mvs shell, play.

thanks!
 
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Kid Panda

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It uses the mame set that needs to be converted, using a tool that they supply. The SD card slot sticks out. You either use the cart they are making or cut a slot in a normal mvs cart. All of this was explained in this thread. Please read.
 

FilthyRear

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It uses the mame set that needs to be converted, using a tool that they supply. The SD card slot sticks out. You either use the cart they are making or cut a slot in a normal mvs cart. All of this was explained in this thread. Please read.

I'm gonna need a bigger SD card...
 

aku

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It uses the mame set that needs to be converted, using a tool that they supply. The SD card slot sticks out. You either use the cart they are making or cut a slot in a normal mvs cart. All of this was explained in this thread. Please read.

the "mame set" is only around 4 gb, he mentioned its around 9gb. the "mame set" converted to *.fba is around 9gb. so imho my question is valid.
when you check the layout of the pcbs you can see that the card might fit into a normal mvs shell. the insert slot of the neosd shell might be only "optional" for not taking out all screws when you take out the sd card. so imho my question is valid.

thanks.
 

neosd

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Hello,

The conversion process right now, works this way, we have a windows console app that does the job :


Code:
NeoBuilder
Usage:
Converting all MAME zip files in a directory: NeoBuilder -d Directory_absolute_path
Converting a MAME zip file: NeoBuilder zipfile_absolute_path
Converting a generic zip file: NeoBuilder -n GameName -m developer -y year -g genre zipfile_absolute_path

With the first option every mame rom in a folder gets converted, with the seccond option just one mame rom, and the last option allows you to change metadata on .neo header.

Of course, its pretty easy to provide 3 bat files to just double click and convert files.

About rom sizes, mame roms are compressed zips, .neo roms are uncompressed roms. Neobuilder just gets a mame .zip rom, uncompress all files inside, decrypt those if files are crypted and copies those one after one into a new .neo file.

I hope this answers the questions about how conversion works.

We have already sent neobuilder app to Raz, so he can examine the format of the converted files.

Thanks !
hola..

what conversion/rename process is needed to get the roms working? i think you mentioned *.neo files and the fullset being 9gb? so i guess its the 9gb *.fba(s) renamed to to *.neo? :glee: (convert *.zip to *.fba, batch rename all *.fba to *.neo)

just to make sure: when the sd is in the pcb it fits into a normal mvs shell and there is no need for a insert slot etc.?

my plan: insert prepared sd, put the pcbs into a mvs shell, play.

thanks!
 
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neosd

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It uses the mame set that needs to be converted, using a tool that they supply. The SD card slot sticks out. You either use the cart they are making or cut a slot in a normal mvs cart. All of this was explained in this thread. Please read.

Thats correct !

Thanks !!
 

fluxcore

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decrypt those if files are crypted

Ah, so the ROMs it requires are not actually clean, but do get decrypted? Having a flash cart which can be supplied unmodified ROMs is something Razoola has been championing for a while, if I understand the situation correctly.
 

Razoola

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They have always said that this is the case. What they mean by unmodified is there are no patches applied to the data after it is decrypted. This means the data as the NeoGeo would see it is unaltered, identical to if it were encrypted on ROM. NeoGeo Land would do the same.
 
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Razoola

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I will be shortly post up (in this thread) my review of the Neobuilder tool as of the version I have been given. This is a review of the conversion process only and nothing more given I do not have a NeoSD to actually verify the .neo files work at this time.
 

Razoola

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ROM conversion for storage on SDcard.

Before we can use the NeoSD we need to have at least one game stored on the SD card. Let's go through the process of doing this now as without Neo Geo ROMs to load, the NeoSD has no more use than making a good door wedge.

This will hopefully be a painless operation and very simple. I will need to use a conversion tool and have access to the Neo Geo ROM library as used in MAME available (in my case that's split sets). The tool should find Neo Geo ROMs from the selected directory (in zips) and then store each game into a single new .neo format file for storage on the SD card. I'm told it will not matter if non Neo Geo game ROMs are also in the MAME ROM directory as they will be skipped. Any encrypted Neo Geo ROMs are decrypted during the conversion process and I am assured apart from this no patching is applied to remove game protections for known protection mechanisms. I will be confirming this claim is accurate later by using the Universe Bios game cart CRC check as it's a bold claim indeed.

The tool I have been given is command line based and only needs to run once to convert the MAME Neo Geo library. You must have the 32bit Microsoft C++ redistributable installed (even on a 64bit OS) or you'll see problems with the conversions. This can be obtained from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53587.

I guess the tool should reject any ROM it finds with a bad CRC32 compared to the expected MAME ROM. Thus not creating the .neo file for the game in question when that happens. The tool should also be able to build .neo files for Neo Geo ROMs that are not in MAME and the usage information seems to confirm this.

NeoBuilder Usage:

Converting all MAME zip files in a directory:

NeoBuilder -d Directory_absolute_path

Converting a MAME zip file:

NeoBuilder zipfile_absolute_path

Converting a generic zip file:

NeoBuilder -n GameName -m developer -y year -g genre zipfile_absolute_path

The first two options are purely related to the conversion of Neo Geo games as they are used in the MAME emulator. The third option (generic) is used to create .neo files for Neo Geo games and revisions which are available but not supported by MAME (Metal Slug 2 Turbo for example).

Ok, let's give it a go.

I have a class10 16GB ScanDisk Ultra micro (HC) SDcard ready to go (8GB card is not large enough to store all games). Check... The Neo Geo MAME ROM library based on version .179. Check... Command line prompt pointing to the directory holding the conversion tool. Check...

neobuilder -d c:\neogeo

I twiddled my thumbs for 5 minutes while the conversion process took place. The created .neo files were placed into the same directory as the tool and not the directory holding the zipped ROMs. Errors were displayed on screen during the conversion process in the command line window. Given the amount of ROMs being converted (or skipped) during this process a generated error.txt file which automatically opens once the process is complete would be a very helpful addition.

At the moment I can see the tool revision I have does not convert every single MAME Neo Geo ROM, some bootlegs and other games were skipped. I have queried this already and have been told they will be converted in a future version of the tool. At the moment they are concentrating on original games over bootlegs as they have other priorities to take care of. A couple of notable exceptions I spotted were dragonsh (darkseed) and kf2k3pcb were not converted. Irrmaze (The Irritating Maze) also threw up a CRC32 error but the .neo file was still built, I assumed this would not be the case.


The irrmaze issue is caused by the tool being based on a previous version of MAME so this issue will for sure be fixed before release. I thought it would be a good idea however to see if I could use the other features of NeoBuilder to fix this game (bear in mind only more advanced users are likely to use this feature). I did the following after changing the ROM zip name;

neobuilder -n "The Irritating Maze" -m "SNK / Saurus" -y 1997 -g Other c:\neogeo\irrmazea.zip

Indeed it did create a nice new .neo file but on inspecting it I could see it was not correctly created compared to the other with bad CRC32. The problem relates to the P ROM in this game having a 2MB P1. The tool had placed the P1 and P2 area of the ROM into the .neo file in the wrong order. All I had to do however was alter the P ROM data to match the generic format (P1,P2 and not P2,P1), then run the tool again and the correct .neo file was created.

The only remaining issue was a screenshot not being added in, I have let them know an option (maybe "-s") to choose a screenshot may be an idea. I manually edited the .neo file myself to do it.

I could also create the Dragons Heaven/DarkSeed .neo using the same tool but I first had to interleave EP1 / EP2, add a buffer M1 and V1 into the zip and do some ROM renaming. Once done the builder spat out a dragonsh.neo which looks ok, I used the following to build it;

neobuilder -n "Dragons' Heaven / Dark Seed" -m "Prototype" -y 1997 -g Fighting c:\neogeo\dragonsh.zip

In case you are interested, the following genres are currently available in NeoBuilder as options;

Other, Action, BeatEmUp, Sports, Driving, Platformer, Mahjong,
Shooter, Quiz, Fighting, Puzzle.

Once all the ROMS were converted I simply copied the .neo files onto the SDcard which should be formatted in the FAT32 format. Now all that is left to do is plug it into the SDcard slot on the side of the NeoSD.


Conclusion

The NeoBuilder tool as it stands now does a good job converting the official Neo Geo games used in MAME. I'm told it should be updated at some point to have a GUI, this should make the process more straightforward for some. NeoBuilder is a little bit awkward however when trying to convert games not in MAME or in a different format than the tool expects. There are a couple of clone sets in WinKawaks for example that are not in MAME. I ended up simply copying the .neo file of the parent. Then changing its internal game name and pasting the different ROM directly over the data already in the .neo file (using a hex editor). For me personally it was easier doing it this way than using the tool given I had an almost accurate .neo file to work with.

In the end the tool was what I expected based on what I was told. It's not the final version I must stress so I expect to see it getting better in the coming weeks. To recap some changes/additions that would be helpful in my personal opinion after my first experience;

  • When using either option related to converting MAME ROMs, do not create the .neo file when a needed ROM fails the CRC32 check during conversion process (regardless of ROM type). The Generic conversion process however should never check a ROMs CRC32 (which is how it appears to work already).
  • Creation of an error.txt file which is opened after the MAME ROM conversion process competes.
  • The generic creation of .neo files being a little more advanced in checking of a few known instances of how data is stored in Neo Geo ROMs. 2MB P1 for example where P1 data is from 0x100000 - 0x1FFFFF and P2 from 0x00000 0xFFFFF.
  • The addition of an "-s" option when creating from generic ROMs so the user can choose a screenshot from one of those available. This could be done by choosing a ROM set game the converter understands that has a screenshot. For example "-s kof94" would give the kof94 screenshot to the created .neo.
 
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GadgetUK

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Great work Raz! One thing that bothers me though - if its changed to not output a .neo file if the CRC32 doesnt match, how do we get modified games onto the cart? I am thinking about the Metal Slug 2 turbo P1 etc - my first thought was to take the MAME ROM for that game then just swap out the P1.
 

Razoola

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Great work Raz! One thing that bothers me though - if its changed to not output a .neo file if the CRC32 doesnt match, how do we get modified games onto the cart? I am thinking about the Metal Slug 2 turbo P1 etc - my first thought was to take the MAME ROM for that game then just swap out the P1.

You would use the generic option to create the .neo files for games like that (mslug2t is not in MAME). The generic ROM conversion would not be expected to check a CRC32 like a Neo Geo MAME game given some ROM CRC's may be unknown to MAME.

The problem I foresee if it is left the way it is now is people can create .neo files that don't work correctly due to corrupted ROMs used in the conversion process (from known good MAME ROMs). It has already happened I believe in the kof2003 video neosd posted showing the the unibios crc check failing on a banked region. That was down to a corrupted file on the SD card.

So for me, stopping the creation of .neo Files during the MAME conversion helps protect the user against making bad .neo files without realising it. The error should still be reported to the user however so they can take steps to fix the bad ROM and try again.
 
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tcdev

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So for me, stopping the creation of .neo Files during the MAME conversion helps protect the user against making bad .neo files without realising it. The error should still be reported to the user however so they can take steps to fix the bad ROM and try again.
Or alternatively, a command-line option that forces creation of .neo files with bad CRC... might make both camps happy?
 

Razoola

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The issue with crc32 I brought up is only in relation to the two options in NeoBuilder related to MAME ROMs. These two options are building games from known ROM dumps with known CRC's so it clearly knows when a CRC32 is bad.

The third option (generic) is different and not related to MAME at all. It cannot have a CRC32 checking function given it may have no idea what the ROM is. That does not stop you however using this option to build a .neo from a Neo Game ROM zip used in MAME.

I can see why it might be hard to grasp what I'm saying given not many have used the tool but when you understand how it works (MAME or generic) you understand even with the CRC32 check and block during MAME ROM conversion like I suggest (when CRC32 fails), you can still use the 3rd option (generic) to build a .neo file with a ROM that would fail a MAME CRC32 check.

I think I will edit the review slightly to make this point more apparent, I can kind of see where the confusion is coming from.
 
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Razoola

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I have amended this part of the review related to my suggestions a little more clear, now states.

'When using either option related to converting MAME ROMs, do not create the .neo file when a needed ROM fails the CRC32 check during conversion process (regardless of ROM type). The Generic conversion process however should never check a ROMs CRC32 (which is how it appears to work already)'
 
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