Some Notes on the old M3 Perfect Movie Player

Some Notes on the old M3 Perfect Movie Player

Still the unique card for backup, music, movie, and eBook on GBA/NDS.

The M3 Movie Player was released almost 15 years ago and I just got one miniSD version recently. I use it mainly on GBA. Here is basic information:

M3 Perfect Movie Player [M3-miniSD(D)]

  • 256Mb PSRAM (50ns cache)
  • multiple saves (3x Real Time Saves)
  • Movie: .GBM
  • Music: .GBS/.WAV
  • eBook: .txt/word/html
  • Picture: .BMP
  • Power consumption: max. 0.6W
  • Battery life: 5 years (based on 20℃, 12 gaming everyday)
  • TouchPod PDA system

How Save works on M3

For M3 adapter, the data is stored into the SRAM memory of M3 adapter. And the Sram data will be automatically copied into the “Default Saver” file after booting up the console at the next time. (“Default Saver” file = “the same game name.DAT”). Hence, the previous game save data will be permanently stored into CF/SD. Users may restore back the game save data later. In addition, our program has an option to create more than one game save data backup file. Just press “select” after entering into the game icon, the “Save backup” menu will show up.

In short, after playing a game, we either need to soft-reset (L+R+A+B) and select save / save backup 1(2) / MAIN MENU, or we enable “Auto Save” in Setup, turn off the console and turn it on again and wait to finish.


DAT files

The M3 perfect uses “Game Saver” (.DAT) files instead of .SAV files for game saves. The .dat files need to be stored in /GBASAVE folder, with the exactly same name as the gba rom file, otherwise M3 cannot save.

There are two options to generate the .dat file for each game:

1. use blank .dat files and just change the file name exactly as the game name

The .dat file can be 1MB or 129KB in size and there are differences in functions:

The .dat file of size 1MB support storing both “Instant save data” and “Normal game save data”. The .dat file of size 129KB support storing only “Normal game save data”.

1. GBA NORMAL SAVE FUNCTION: (GBA)
----------------------------------
Run GBA game in GBA or NDS console. The game save dada will be temporary stored into M3 sram during game. And M3 SMS (SAVE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM) will automatically backup the sram data into the CF/SD at next time booting the console.
  
2. GBA INSTANT SAVE FUNCTION: (GBA)
-----------------------------------
Run GBA game in GBA or NDS console. Press A+B+L+R simultaneously at anytime during game, The "M3 special Effect Menu" will be called up. Select the "SAVE" and press "A" to confirm saving data into SRAM. And M3 SMS will automatically backup the sram data into the CF/SD at next time booting the console. The INSTANT SAVE FUNCTION is an useful function as it can let users to store the whole status of game at any time. 

I used the 1MB blank .dat file but it doesn’t support RTS (L+R+A+B).

2. use the M3 Game Manager on PC

  • setup a folder on PC with gba roms and (optional) .sav files
  • Insert MiniSD in Adapter to PC
  • Open M3 Game Manager v36a (I tested on Win 7), select “SD”, setup source folder (the gba directory)
  • On the Left panel select the MiniSD Disk; and click Write GBA on the right
  • It will pop up the source folder window to select the .gba file that will be written to SD: it’s best to process 1 game at a time
  • select a .gba file and click OK will pop up the options (explained in the Ultimate M3 Perfect GBA guide FINAL)

Tab RealTimeSave

only patches games if Real Time Save is selected, or if Real time Clock is required for say Pokemon or Boktai. otherwise it does nothing more than create a save file in GAMESAVE Folder

Tab Rom Patch

  • Software Patch: simply a SRAM patch for some problem games that use EEPROM.
  • Hardware Support 1: is the Auto Patch option. the Software will patch games as needed.
  • Hardware Support 2: this means it does nothing. it literally just copies the GBA game over and creates a save file in GAMESAVE folder

you can ignore the SoftwarePatch and HardwareSupport2 options, and leave it on the default settings. you can also Ignore all other buttons besides “Write GBA” and “Real Time Save”.

  • click OK to generate .dat file into SD:/GBASAVE

M3


Backup and restore save

Make sure to turn on the GBA to clear SRAM save before taking out SD

by right/double clicking a game rom and select “Save Manager”

Button functions:

  • Read: Save data from GAMESAVE into PC
  • Write: Write game save data from source file into the GAMESAVE of M3 adapter
  • Create Saver: Copy and create one more backup saver file within the M3 adapter
  • Create bank: Create one more bank backup saver file within the M3 adapter
  • Delete / Rename: delet or rename saver file in M3
  • Read .sav (optional): Only read the portion of normal game save data within the “M3 saver file” in and store the data into PC
  • Write .sav (optional): Write the game save data of .sav format into the “Saver File” of M3 adapter (select the .dat file and then the source .sav file (eg. from EZ Flash Omega)

M3 on GBA

  • Setup: enable “Auto Save”

  • “A” button Quick-Loads a game and “Start” button regular loads a game. games over 16Mb must me loaded with START button

  • some games have problem loading RTS save, use “SAVE BACKUP1” instead

  • create more than one game save data backup file. Just press “select” after entering into the game icon, the “Save backup” menu will show up.

I also tested it and I can link two GBAs with M3 and EZ Flash Omega.


References:


一些中文说明

电池寿命约5年,按室温20℃,每天插入游戏主机运行12小时状态下计算,
 关闭主机电源后若电池快要消耗完毕时,会出现以下情况:
   ·内置时钟(用于GBA游戏)停止或复位
   ·游戏存档的记忆丧失,仅能够关机前软复位执行存档备份
   ·功能图标不能记忆上次使用的位置
   ·电子书书签数据丢失

Z. Lu avatar
Z. Lu
Parasite, bioinfo, omics, scripting, data science.
comments powered by Disqus