Back In Business! Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Carts and Linkers For Sale

Here we go! I finally have another bunch of Flashmasta/Linkmasta ready. This time I have 20 bundles prepared. I’ve been working on these for a while, and things have taken longer than I expected. Hopefully it’s worth the wait, though as the Flashmasta cartridge has a new feature. We’ll get to that in a bit, though.

If You Can’t Wait For One Any Longer, Click Here

In each bundle, you’ll receive:

  • a Neo Linkmasta USB Device (interfaces between your PC and a NGPC game or flash cartridge)
  • a Neo Pocket Flashmasta SW Cartridge (NGPC flash cartridge)
  • a USB Cable to hook between the Linkmasta and your PC

Previously this bundle was $135. If you wanted the Linkmasta’s case uncut, you could save $10. Well, Xian Xi over at Jamma Nation X offered to help out and cut the cases. This saves me the effort of cutting each one, and the savings gets passed on to you. So, if you like the case or like the $10 you save, do him a favor and check out his site and thank him.

Now, back to the Flashmasta improvement. I’m calling this one the “Flashmasta SW” because it adds one little switch. Yeah, that’s it, a switch. Here’s the deal. NGPC carts can go up to 32megabit. A 32mbit cart is actually 2 16mbit chips. The vast majority of the time, you’ll use less than 16mbit of the cart if you’re only writing a single game to the cartridge. This means that the other “high memory” chip is sitting completely unused. Well, I developed a mechanism to switch which chip is the high and which is the low.

What you can now do is write a 16mbit or smaller game to your Flashmasta SW. Then, you can switch the switch and write another 16mbit or smaller game to the Flashmasta SW. Now you have 2 games that can be selected via switch.

So, it only gets you 2 selectable games, but that’s twice as many as you have without the switch. Just be warned. If you have a game that you’ve been playing (with savegame) and you change the switch and write a game larger than 16mbit, you will wipe out your savegame.

I’d recommend always backing up your cartridge before writing something new. The downside is that the only good way to backup your savegame data from the Flashmasta is to back up the entire cartridge. It only takes a couple minutes, though, so it’s well worth it in my opinion.

I also need to mention that we just got a new build of the Windows and Mac GUI programs. They’re on the download page if you want to check that out. I fixed a bug that comes up when you try to write a 32mbit file to the cartridge. If you ever notice issues, be sure to contact me. I’ll work with you to try to figure it out ASAP.

Well, I need to go update the Purchase page, and I don’t really have much more to say here. As always, leave a comment. I appreciate those. Here are some more pictures to show off the fruits of my recent labor.

Flashmasta-SW Teaser

I have been working hard on these lately. I have over 20 Flashmasta cartridges ready. To go with them, I have 20 Linkmasta USB linkers almost ready. I’m waiting on one little part to arrive, and then I should be ready (in 3-4 days) to reopen the sales. I know it’s taking a while. Everything seems slower than I anticipate, but I guess that’s how it goes.

Thanks to Thor, we now have a new NGPC homebrew game for you Flashmasta owners out there. Check it out. It’s called MIX!, and it’s a mix of 3 different puzzle games all together in one ROM. I put it on the Downloads page. If you have any other Homebrew that you think should be added there, let me know.

New GUI Build and Other Stuff

About a week ago, Mr. Spiv released the GUI he has been working on. Thanks to your feedback, we’ve been making improvements to it. Just now, I added a newer build to the downloads page. Go check it out. I hope it addresses any problems you may have had with the previous release. If not, or if you have something else to add, please leave a comment. If you don’t speak up, we may never know there’s a problem.

In other news, you may have seen that the purchase page lists the Neo Linkmasta and Neo Pocket Flashmasta as sold out. I’m working on getting a bunch of new bundles ready. My goal is to have at least 20 full bundles all ready to go when they go back up for sale. The experimental bare and uncut options were interesting for me to know what people want, but most people just wanted the full bundle. Not only have I have been refining my process and getting some help from people like Xian Xi, Mr. Spiv, Gerry, etc., but, thanks to the orders I’ve received up to this point, I have been able to make some more bulk purchases of parts.

In my opinion, things are progressing quite well, and I am very pleased with the project as a whole. When the product is once again ready for orders, I hope to feel ahead of the game and better prepared to serve the community. I might need some help, though. If you know anybody or any forums/websites/communities that should know about this project, please let them know. If you want to wait until sales re-open, that’s understandable. I just think it’s you guys that will help grow this whole thing. The Neo Geo Pocket has a lot of owners, but most of them don’t know about the Neo Linkmasta and Neo Pocket Flashmasta. Maybe you can help change that.

GUI Test Version For Windows/Mac

I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been building hardware. There have been several new users over the last month, and I’ve been plugging away and refining things. The latest development that I want to mention is something that Mr. Spiv has been working on. There is an early version of the GUI available. It definitely needs fixing and testing, but I thought that you guys might want to check it out.

Please try it, and let us know what you think. If you think there is an error, be sure to mention it. Those will, of course, take priority over “wish list” sort of items.

Also, there are things that just haven’t been implemented, yet. For example, the “/u” option from the command-line version is not yet available in the GUI. This would speed up writing on Flashmasta cartridges, so writing will be a bit slower at first. This sort of thing is still worth mentioning, though. If you used the command-line version in a certain way that is not available on the GUI, mention it. This will help me better know what people want and how they’re using it.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the DOWNLOADS page, and check out the “Windows GUI Early Test” or “Mac GUI Early Test.”

Units Available, Artwork Coming, Reviews, etc.

Savemasta Socket On Neo Linkmasta

Units Available: If you didn’t notice, there are bundles available on the Purchase Page. I put them up as I make them, but my next push (after this set) may be different. Soon, I am hoping to have a whole bunch ready. They are still being hand made and hand cut, but I ordered more parts this time. I also have been refining my process, and I hope to be able to have a larger group ready all at once instead of just a few here and there like in the past.

Video: I think I currently have 35 LIKEs on my video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTkt11HlMa0 I still need more. If you have a Google/Gmail/YouTube account, I think you can hit the Thumbs-Up LIKE button. If you didn’t realize, I’m trying to win a competition.

Artwork: Thanks to Scaramouche over at Consolas Portatiles, I think that the Linkmasta and Flashmasta are going to have accompanying artwork. The plan is to have labels made for those two items and boxes made for packaging. Scaramouche is overseeing the entire project, and the Argentinian comic artist, Federico Mazza, is being commissioned for the drawings. Check samples of his work at http://mazzartproductions.com/. I have no idea when this will come to fruition, but I am very excited about the development.

Reviews: I’m compiling a list of reviews/posts from people that have received a Linkmasta/Flashmasta. If you got a bundle from me, and you posted something about it, leave a comment. I’ll add it to the list. At some point, I will probably make a separate “reviews” page with quotes and such.

SaveMasta: I finally got around to adding a NeoSaveMasta socket to one of the Neo Linkmasta units for testing. If you don’t know, the Neo Geo MVS and AES can use a memory card for saving scores and such. NeoTurfMasta currently sells these NeoSaveMasta V2 on his website. If you didn’t notice, that’s where I got my naming scheme from. The Linkmasta can read and write these memory cards, but there hasn’t been much work on this feature yet. Essentially, it can backup/dump them and restore a backup. In the future, I envision some sort of online score database that gamers can interface using the Linkmasta and their SaveMasta. Oh, and let me make this clear. The unit shown in the picture is just a prototype. It’s not how they come when you get a Linkmasta. Maybe someday that may be an option, but not now. Also note that the Linkmasta has another expansion port on it. If you’re curious about that, check the Linkmasta expansion port pinout.

That’s it for today. As always, leave a comment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Oh, and do you think we need a forum for any reason, or is the comment section good enough?

Birthday Wish

Hey guys. Tomorrow is my birthday, and my wish is that you guys would like me.

No, I’m not suffering from low self-esteem. I’m hoping that you will go to YouTube and check out my latest video. If you like it, please LIKE it with a Thumbs Up on YouTube. If you think there’s anyone else that might like it, please spread the link. I’d like as many people as possible to see it and like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTkt11HlMa0

EDIT: Yeah, my birthday has come and gone, but I still need YouTube Thumbs Up (LIKE button) votes on my video. It’s for a competition, and they extended the deadline to mid September. Get your friends to vote, if they’d be interested.

Thanks! Ed (aka Flavor)

Mac Software, Uncut Linkmasta, Bundle Options, etc.

8 Partially Populated Linkmasta

Alrighty! It seems like things are picking up. More people are getting interested in the project, and that’s great. Some people are wondering when there will be new bundles available. Some are wondering if they can get part of the bundle without the other parts. Some people want to know how they can help. All of these are positive, and I really appreciate the enthusiasm.

One guy that has already been helping is Mr. Spiv. You may know him from the old days of NGPC, GP32, GP2X, etc. Spiv has been helping with some of the software portability, and today he has sent me a Mac binary for those of you that use OSX. I believe that a Linux version may be close at hand, also. Check out the Download area if you have a Mac and a Linkmasta. Try it out and leave a comment about how it works. Spiv also said that he wouldn’t mind if I mentioned that, “an eyecandy GUI is on the way!” Thanks, Spiv!

The Uncut Bundle

Some people have asked if it would be possible to get the Flashmasta/Linkmasta bundle without me cutting the plastic case. Of course, I promptly went to my room and cried my eyes out. How could they not want my hand cut case? Each one is uniquely crafted with love for you. Okay, enough with the fake story. I’m losing no tears or sweat over this request. I would like to gauge interest on this one, and I already have 3 bundles that are entirely ready (with 7-8 ready in the next few days). I’m listing them on the Purchase Page with some new options. I will offer a full bundle and a bare bundle, and both will be available “uncut”. With only 3 currently available, I probably won’t see a “trend”, but I think that this is the best way to see which options people prefer.

Keep the feedback coming. I’ve already seen people posting impressions and reviews elsewhere. If you have written anything, please leave a comment and link to it. Maybe I’ll get a page of those sorts of links made up at some point.

Flashmasta Goes Green

After the initial run of red PCBs, the Flashmasta has now gone green. I had previously been assembling a few Flashmasta, building a few Linkmasta, testing them, shipping them, etc. as time permitted. Right now, though, I’m waiting on some Linkmasta parts, and these new green PCBs showed up. I decided to build up a bunch of them so I’m ready when the Linkmasta parts are ready.

This may mean that there will be maybe 8-10 bundles available all at once when the Linkmastas are ready. Previously a few were available and sold out, and that happened a few times. I don’t know that it matters, but you needed something to waste a few minutes of your day reading about, right?

I also got some cartridges that may become part of the bundle. I’m not exactly sure how to do this. If you have an opinion, please comment. I enjoy getting feedback, as it doesn’t happen all that much. I have some cartridges that can become Flashmasta carts. Each bundle could come with a cartridge, or I could make it an option. If I can easily do it, I’m thinking of making it optional at checkout. This way, if you wanted to “sac” your own cartridge for the Flashmasta PCB, you could. If you wanted the Flashmasta to come in a game cartridge case, then that would be an option. Any thoughts?

New Faster Software Available

Monkeymasta

On the software downloads page, you can now find Firmware v0.12 and the PC-side software to go with it. I am considering this a TEST release at the moment. If you would like to try it and report any problems, please do.

This software has some significant improvements, but it may also bring new issues. For example, one nice thing about the old version was that it did not require any Operating System drivers. You just plugged it in, and you were able to run the PocketLinker.exe. The new version uses a completely new technique for accessing the USB functions, and it now requires a driver under Windows. That driver can also be found on the software downloads page.

The main upside is speed. Writing a full 32mbit now takes about 8 minutes. Reading the full 32mbit is about 45 seconds. Try it out and see if it works well for you. Leave some feedback.

Flashmasta/Linkmasta In Japan

Ponrev's Package From Here

Well, our friend Ponrev received his unit in Japan already. That was fast! I don’t have much to report about this, but he did! Check out his blog post. Even if you can’t read Japanese, you can still look at all the pictures.

http://ponrevival.blogspot.com/2011/08/ngp-linkmasta.html

If you want to see what Google Translate makes of it, try this.

He seems to be putting it through a bunch of tests. That’s great. Keep messing with it, and keep us updated. Just don’t find any bugs. 😛

Anyway, of these Flashmasta+Linkmasta bundles, we’ve now sent 2 units to Japan, 1 to Canada, 1 to the US, and 1 to Taiwan. That’s on top of the early version linkers that were almost all sent to Europe. It seems like this has pretty good worldwide appeal.