NOTE: Ever since I stopped maintaining this, replies have queued up and it has become woefully outdated. Axeman has done some great edits but more are needed. In the process of splitting this out for the FAQ forum, the info will be updated. Please be patient.
This is the current GP32x FAQ. It assumes knowledge of the console's existence Note: I had a few posts saying 'thanks'. While I appreciate the feedback, the replies of this thread should be additions to the FAQ. If you have anything to add please post it, I will integrate it here. The 'Todo' list is just below.
Special thanks to: Arutha (for Wind-Ups info), Bonks for dvd2gp32 guide, akumajo for gp32 retailer links, Shrike for GPFM info, plus others for suggestions, rcx21000 for test mode, vdub settings, VirtualLeech & others for reversed speakers, Chip for reminding me about FPS games, atrkid for many corrections, Evil_Cartman for some reminders, Axeman for tons of new info and corrections
Heavily updating going on at the moment by Axeman
6/16/04 Change: New Emus added, BLU information added, generally updated.
Recently added: GPCinema update, several new emus (more to go in yet!), overclocking info corrected.
Todo: info on coding for the GP32, import taxes, more info on GBA emulators
Unlit GP32, about 8-12 hours. Lit, 4-6. Depends on battery type, rechargable 1800 mAh or higher batteries work the best. Your mileage will vary. Also, higher CPU speeds will lower this amount.
What you need
One GP32 unit, an SMC to store games etc. on, two AA batteries.
An SMC reader is optional - it transfers files a LOT quicker but if you're patient, save the case. It takes about 10 seconds for a megabyte to transfer, I believe.
Lit or unlit?
The front light unit (FLU) is very impressive, but pricey. Really, unless you're going to playing at night in the dark, or in a car overnight etc. the light isn't needed. The screen reflects well and is much clearer than the Gameboy Color screen for example. However look around for other people's opinions if you are unsure. NOTE: you can't add an GBA afterburner light to the GP32 due to the Afterburner light-reflecting membrane being too small for the gp32's screen. Edit - There is now a back-lit unit (BLU) available with slightly updated components.
128mb max, due to voltage. Anything above 128mb is 5V, GP32 only supports 3.3V cards. The brand doesn't matter but it must be a SmartMedia card, not CompactFlash. Edit - No, a voltage adapter won't work. The BIOS is setup to go as high as 128MB with the SMC cards.
Buying the unit
I suggest GBAx for the unit, if you're in the UK. However, get the SMC from somewhere else if possible, for cheaper. Other alternatives are: Play-Asia, Lik-Sang, Entware and Shibuya (for those in France). Edit - Import taxes are usually around $20 - $30 to the United States. You may be able to get them a little lower if you ask them to send it as a "gift".
If you have the BLU, it's already set up to run downloadable games just fine. No registration hassle required You can skip this section. For FLU or regular GP32 users, however:
You can run commerical games now just by putting in the SMC and playing. To play free games and download games off the internet, you must register your GP32.
You do so at http://www.gp32.com/ - the steps are: download usb drivers, install them, connect your gp32 to your pc, run the identification program, get your account. With your account you can then download the free launcher. This is basically a menu of free games, put .fxe (game) files into your GPMM directory and you're set. If you have trouble registering, try clearing out your cookies and try again - this seems to have solved several problems before.
If you really can't download the stuff, you'll need to use GPS2 (a free tool from Darkfader's site, Firefly's drivers, and then get an encrypted freelauncher from #gp32. Try #gp32 on EFnet for details.
First you've got to format the SMC, then put .fxe files into GPMM. MP3s go into MP3, commerical games into GAME. Often you will get ZPK files - using PC Link, choose File -> Install to install them. Finally, emulators might require you put roms in a specific place, check the readme. For example, CaSTaway needs things to go into GPMM\ATARIST.
Unfortunately you need to register again using a different identification program to use Entware's JoyGP service and download commercial games and Movie Park.
What do I see when I boot up?
The long, annoying Gamepark intro. Ok not that long. Then a menu appears (press SELECT to change mode, START to go into it). There are three modes: MP3 shows up a playlist of all your songs, with play/stop/fast-forward etc. and an equaliser (R+B exits). PC-LINK will ready the GP32 for PC-Link transfer - it justs waits. Close PC-Link on your computer and unplug the USB, and the GP32 returns to the menu. Finally GAME shows your commercial games. If you have the Free Launcher, this will also appear, choose this and a list of non-commercial games will appear. Edit - Some new GP32s may have different firmware.
The GP32 can play many MP3s as long as they are renamed to 8.3 characters, like Windows 3.1/DOS. ID3 tags, however are supported so you see full filenames. However, your bitrate is limited to around 128/192 kbps. However - the new MP3 player, in beta and to be released, supports much more (between 96 and 320 I believe). No VBR support. Edit - New MP3 Player has been out for a while, works great, especially with the European Firmware which doesn't include a MP3 player. I'd recommend this over the built-in MP3 player of the original firmware.
When uploading your MP3s you can use the MP3 Basket program, built into the PC-Link. This lets you rename MP3 files to 8.3 chars and set their ID3 tags up before sending them to the handheld - very useful.
Players - either official Moviepark from Entware, which supports 10 frames per second and is very easy to use, or GPDivX (available here at gp32x) which supports up to 25 frames per second but it harder to use and perhaps buggy. Moviepark only costs £3 so I heartedly suggest it Edit: Plus GPDivX has no sound so that might put you off...
Moviepark runs DivX 4.12 movies at 10fps. However, the movies play a lot smoother as the LCD blends the frames nicely. You need the codec from http://www.divx.com/ (4.12, not 5).
UPDATE by Axeman 5/1/04
GPCinema is now available from Entware, superceding the now out-of-date moviepark. It supports 15fps at 132Mhz, and up to 24fps at 166Mhz. It is superior to moviepark in almost every way, and if you hav moviepark, you can upgrade for a discount.
There are several ways to make movies - use VirtualDub, from http://www.virtualdub.com/ to convert movies into GP32 format (http://faq.gp32emu.com/ has an excellent guide for this). Or you can use Entware's 'easy' converter but filesizes may be higher. Finally you can convert straight from DVD to GP32 movie. A 2 hour movie will just about fill an 128mb SMC in most cases. Read Bonks' brilliant guide which fully covers the process.
Just tell me the VirtualDub settings.
Codec: Mpeg Layer 3
Audio Sampling Rate: 11,050Hz-22,010Hz (I recommend 11,050)
Stereo (Mono works for me but crashes some units)
Codec: 4.12 Divx
Res: 320 x 240 or 320 x 172 (320x240 strongly recommended)
Framerate: 10FPS (decimate by 2 or 3, do not type in a new framerate. Fps < 10 is also ok)
Bitrate: 64-128kbps (nothing else!)
There are tons of emulators, check http://www.gp32emu.com/ or http://www.gp32x.com/ for emulator lists.
These use the same rom files as their PC-based counterparts, as most are ports of x86 based versions...
A quick summary of the best ones:
GPengine (PCengine) - An almost full-speed emulator. Easy to use and supports R-Type, PC Kid, Raiden and other classic games no problem. Black-- is working on a netplay version, too!
SMS32 (Gamegear+Master System) - Very speedy and easy to use. Supports Sonic 1/2, Alex Kidd, Golden Axe etc at pretty much full speed. Not being worked on, I think.
fSMS32 (Master System) - A different emu that uses the same core. Supports saved states and an incredibly fast ROM list at startup. In beta.
Castaway/GP (AtariST) - Feature-packed, regularly updated ST emulator with huge compatibility (check the CastawayGP forums here at gp32x to see the comp. list and other details). Easy to use and relatively fast. Supports custom keymappings and other neat stuff.
fNES32 (Nes) - Coming soon, will be high speed! There is an existing version with OK speed and stuttery sound, this version has crystal sound and almost full-speed. And movie recording in the new ver! A matter of weeks until this comes out. Good compatibility too.
Little John GP (Nes) - Neat NES emulator with save states, conventional saving, gui, fast forward feature and compressed rom support, as well as full sound. Features galore, decent compatibility.
NesterGP (Nes) - This port of the Nester core is currently a good emulator with saved states and a fast rom browser. Try them all to see what's best for you.
fMSX32 (MSX) - Full-speed, feature packed emu with screenshots and sound.
fGen32 (Genesis) - Currently the fastest and most compatible Genesis emulator available. Was only released for 24 hours at Christmas 2003, but many people have it, and it is likely to be updated soon and released properly. Edit - Massive update was made to this emu and now it has sound and working about as well SNES9XGP.
SNES9XGP (SNES) - At the moment, has sound and saves but low speed. Almost unplayable, but it's only a straight port. Good news is Intelecto is working on a new ver which is faster than full speed without sound! I have heard reports of 75-80% with sound as C is replaced with ASM code. Edit - Project discounted. OpenSNES9XGP is faster with sound, but SNES9XGP retains higher compatibility.
SnesEMU (SNES) - ZJ's emu has been cancelled, but it runs games much faster. No sound or saves though. A beta is available.
OpenSNES9xGP (SNES) - Fantastic SNES emulator. Emulates some games at full speed at 166Mhz with no sound and frameskip 1. Frameskip 3 will give you full speed at 133Mhz. Sound slows the thing down, but frameskip 3 at 166Mhz will still give you more or less full speed at 166mhz. Allows savestates. Edit - Just to note, you can easily get Super Mario World working on 133 MHz with sound with about Frameskip 4 or 5. Because the human eye captures one image with a rather low rate, the frameskip doesn't matter TOO much. RPGs will look like they run at about full speed with sound.
GenEMU (Genesis) - About 40% compatible Genesis emulator by Zardoz Jones. Not very customizable, and in heavy beta stage, unlikely to be updated any time soon.
Frodo (C64) - Very nice emulator, good speed, with virtual keyboard like CaSTaway.
GPVGB (Gameboy/Gameboy Colour) - Incredible speed and screen resizing, and game saves. Runs a lot of early GBC games fine. Recently fixed crash bugs. Supports mono and colour games.
NeoGeoPocket GP32 - Only Alpha at the moment, can run some games overclocked to ~150MHz. No sound. update
Wonderswan Colour for GP32 - Alpha, no sound. Runs FF1j and FF2j fine with the translation patches, full speed. Does have save states. update
Also Atari 2600, Colecolvision, Vectrex and Lynx emulators are out. Plus more I'm sure I've missed, and more under production such as fMAME (MAME), and Atari800, etc.
Thanks to Slashdot many people believed the GP32 could emulate the GBA. Short answer no, long answer an emulator has been produced and reportedly runs at 5-10 fps, however it doesn't run many games and isn't going to be out for a while...so don't ask.
"I Want XXXXXX game ported to the GP32, it's great - can anyone do it?"
TO PORT A GAME, YOU NEED ACCESS TO THE SOURCE CODE. The source code is the original code entered by the programmer(s) and contains all the annotations, help and indicators required to see whats going on in the code, as well as containing the code itself. The majority of commercial games will NEVER have their source released, so the only way to get these on GP32 is for someone to write them as a clone from scratch. Some games are 'open-source' which means their code is freely available, and the possibility of a port is more likely.
Doom has been ported to the GP32 and is available from this site. It runs Doom 1 and 2, plus Doom shareware, perfectly fine, as well as custom WAD files. Full speed with full sound and (albeit slow) saving. Just supply the WAD files. The doom shareware WAD is available from our download section.
In addition both Spear of Destiny and Wolfenstein have been ported and both run fast also. Edit - Rise of the Triad has been ported as well, and it runs great! Sound is available for these ports, of course.
Finally, other games are being ported or ports have been attempted, such as Descent. News of these ports will be released as they become available.
Not so much an emulator as a replacement engine, ScummVM runs great. phox ported it, and it's still being worked on. Current version plays tons of games, Monkey Island 1/2, DOTT, Sam & Max, etc. fine.
The garbage on your screen means it's loading, wait a bit...
GP File Manager
GPFile Manager is very, very good as it allows you to move programs and files around on the SMC and also has compress and decompress functions. It allows you to look at jpgs, listen to MP3s and has an equaliser function that allows equaliser settings to be imported from WinAmp, has text viewer function, can load fxes from there. JPG images have to be under 1024x768 and 110KB in size, however.
After flashing your firmware you can even set GPFM to start automatically instead of the default menu (if you flash with Pacrom).
Atrkid notes: "it's well known for corrupting files". I've never heard this before, but you might want to look into it before use.
Edit - A lot of people now prefer COMI (by Don Miguel) or YAFL (by wookie) as their file managers.
If your GP32 randomly resets, flickers or goes white in places, it's probably your battery. FLU users get the advantage of seeing their front light go out first, others cry in fear until they realise their batteries have run out...
If you're still having troubleshooting problems, try the test mode. At the official ROM menu (PC-LINK/MP3/GAME) press L,R,R,L,R,R,L,L and you can test various things, using Start+Select to skip through each test. Ask around on these forums as well.
That's right - L sound comes out of the R speaker and vice versa. This is only true for the real unit; if you use headphones, sound will be correct. Since the speakers are right next to each other the L/R swap doesn't matter much.
Wind-ups and WinGP both allow you to search your SMC for files, run files, place icons on the desktop and run custom applications like notepad, ebook reader, address book. Wind-ups is out already, WinGP isn't. Edit - WinGP released, it's just a FXE loader for right now. Project was discounted unfortunately.
Ok so tell me about Wind-ups.
Wind-ups is available from http://www.f-labs.co...d-ups/index.htm and gives the GP32 a "windows" like feel, including a desktop with changeable backgrounds and icons. To create/modify icons just move the cursor over a blank area of desktop and hit B... its easy to learn! Wind-ups also includes a text editor, text viewer and address book application. It can be run just like other home-brew creations via the freelauncher. If you prefer using Wind-ups to the default GP32 firmware, you can flash your firmware to Mr. Spiv's multi-firmware, which allows you to directly boot into Wind-ups so you do not have to start it using freelauncher every time. You do NOT need to flash your firmware to use Wind-ups however! Spiv's version can also run crunched FXEs.
Download from http://www.emu.pl/gp...=fileinfo&id=95
Speaking of flashing...
Flashing your ROM
If you like you can flash your ROM, which is risky unless you have full batteries. Edit - Flashing your "ROM" means you will change the firmware on your GP32, which is what you see when you first boot-up the GP32. You have to download Darkfader's flash program with a new ROM image. Then it takes from 30-60 seconds to flash your ROM. What do you get? Well instead of booting into the PC-LINK/GAME/MP3 menu, you can boot into Wind-ups, Pacrom (a very simple environment with file manager, music (?)), or any other firmware that has been created. Mr.Spiv's firmware is best, as you can choose between Wind-ups, Pacrom or the default menu at start up. Spiv even hacked out the stupid GP32 startup animation Plus you can access PC-Link faster by using Darkfader's alternative PC-link program.
However ... while not risky by itself, it's easy to mess up if you're inexperienced (wrong file to flash with, low batteries) so don't do it unless you feel safe doing it!
If you flash your ROM with Mr.Spiv's firmware, you'll also need to install Wind-Ups on top (link above) as it contains graphics, files etc. not included by the firmware.
UPDATE: The GP32 European firmware is now available. It is a little prettier, and includes the Freelauncher built-in, at the expense of the MP3 player (which is now available seperately)
Edit - There is now a mod of Mr. Spiv's firmware by Aquafish which has the original GP32 Firmware, Pacrom, Wind-ups, and PC-Link built-in. There is also another version with the new European Firmware instead of the original one. It also has the ability to run four programs of your choice straight from the boot menu!
Is over-clocking safe?
Amended by Axeman 5/1/04
It used to be thought that it was risky to overclock your GP32 to over 133Mhz. However, this was more due to scare stories put out by various people than due to pure fact. Basically, no-one wanted to risk their gp32 to test it. However, since then, many of us have risked the demise of our lovely little handhelds in order to test the theory. I'm happy to say that based on the current evidence, one of two things will happen when you overclock above 133Mhz:-
- Your GP32 will crash at one of the speeds above 133Mhz (some gp32s o/c to 160Mhz with no probs, but crash at 166Mhz) with no ill effect other than losing your place in the current game...
- Your GP32 will happily overclock to a speed up to 166Mhz, with the only ill-effect being a shortening of the battery life (down to about 2 1/2 hours in my tests)
The whole thing seems to depend on the quality of the RAM chips in your GP32 - Gamepark source ram from several manufacturers.
- Xtreme Team & contributors
Edited by Rico, 10 September 2004 - 02:25 AM.