Zoinkity today posted some news and a video regarding an upcoming firmware update for the 64drive cartridge, and it's pretty big news as the 64drive is going to be able to run 64DD (64 Disk Drive) images.
This is a preview of 64drive firmware 3.00, adding 64DD support. The FPGA simulates the ASIC registers, based in large part on Happy's work in MESS.
There isn't enough on-board memory to keep the IPL and disk image loaded at the same time, and trying to load the disk info using SD/CF LBAs was fraught with errors. Instead, disk images are placed in cart space and the IPL is read-only, accessed much like save files, for games using the sound and font data.
My contribution is a custom bootstrap replacing IPL 2 and 3 in the boot sequence. Just like a cart bootstrap it initializes the system, but also applies disk initialization found only in the DD bootloader. The disk is loaded directly without any IPL code executing.
There are some kinks. Writes are not flushed back to SD/CF but are written to cart space, so just like with the Dezaemon DD cart mod you can upload them to PC using USB. Expansion disks can't be run with a cart base, and disk swapping isn't really supported. You can upload a new image via USB, but the eject and disk change flags are not set by the FPGA yet. That would require active monitoring or possibly a trigger, but should be the easiest problem to solve.
2015 is the year NESWORLD turns 20! I can't believe it's been 20 years since I started the site as a HTML coding project at school. Initially the "site" was a poorly written fanzine called NES Journal which only lasted a few releases, and then NESWORLD took over at September 1st 1995 :-)
So I've finally managed to cram out something new for the website. I've been following the Ninjhax exploit for some time now, and if you're into 3DS you know what I'm talking about. If you do not know then why not check out my new page about the Ninjhax and Nintendos race to stop it.
Marshallh, author of the 64drive, has just released the 2.0 firmware to the public and the features are:
New Save Writeback (SWB) module flushes changes in savedata to memory card in real time. All save types are supported.
Revamped SD controller supports 50MHz and slower modes, more than doubling access speeds. Writing long runs of multiple blocks is now supported and utilized by the SWB, no longer causing potential data loss on some SD cards.
CompactFlash controller works at full speed on more cards. Microdrives may no longer work.
USB module has full access to all save data slots and cartridge ROM. It can now load/dump at the same time a game is executing with no data loss. Firmware and bootloader upgrades come in a new format that should eliminate any chance of bricking. Transfer speeds are the same as before.
Removed CI command “Single sector to RAM”, use the Multiple command with a length of 1.
Fixed support for Pokémon Stadium 2 FlashRAM saving. Pokedex previews are now properly animated.
Increased timing margins on Flash/SRAM emulation.
Updated EEPROM emulation so that Donkey Kong 64 no longer experiences savedata loss.
Upgrading to other 2.xx firmware with just a N64 is now possible. USB is also still supported.