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Memory Card Annihilator 2.0

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Memory Card Annihilator is a tool created back in 2007. Its main purpose is formatting/unformatting memory cards (both PS2 and PSX) as well as managing memory card images (creating images of physical cards and writing images onto physical cards). It can be used to restore cards broken by other formatters back to normal (eg. when 64MB card has been formatted to 8MB by MCKiller and similar tools).

It has quite nice bad block handling, so even worn cards should work fine after formatting (unless it's the very first block that got screwed - because of the way mcman handles the cards when recognizing the file system, I don't think this kind of error could be solved in a different way than hardware block remapping).

The previous version, although worked really nice (got quite a lot of success stories), had two big drawbacks:

a) was all in Polish language,
b) display mode was fixed to PAL.

Now in 2010 I created my own "GUI Framework". It's pretty generic, so could be probably used on any platform, but I created dedicated renderers, input systems, texture managers, io systems for PC Windows (rendering using OpenGL) and PS2. I finally got bored of the unit tests (well... for some systems "unit" tests were not really even possible, he, he). So along with Berion we decided to re-release changed MCAnnihilator. It uses the new framework to do all the GUI. The core part is mostly the same as the one from 2007 (just some fixes done). So it now supports multiple languages, can display in PAL/NTSC/VGA. It doesn't make a full use of the framework (just some simple windows, effects, text printing, input, etc.), but it was a great "real life" test for it. I was able to find many bugs (especially in PS2 Vram Manager). I've also noticed the fwork needed some additional stuff. Nevertheless, although it's just a test, it is a fully fledged application.

2. Basic usage.

The video mode needed should be detected automatically (for PAL/NTSC - depending on console). But if it fails for some reason, you can always force particular mode by keeping a button pressed during application startup. The options are as follows:

a) PAL - press dpad RIGHT.
b) NTSC - press dpad LEFT.
c) VGA (640x480) - press dpad UP.

All the gfx has been made with PAL (640x512 framebuffer) mode in mind, so for NTSC (640x448 framebuffer) and VGA (640x480 framebuffer), everything is downscaled to match the screen and preserve on-screen aspect ratio (not the framebuffer pixel ratio). This makes the app to look a little bit worse in NTSC and VGA. One possibility would be to move the screen up and not scale it. But that caused top and bottom to be cut off... And the on-screen aspect ratio would change (so everything would look like it was stretched vertically up).

The possibility to exit application and launch another elf (browsing) has been added just before the release... Take it as an experimental feature. It should work fine, though.

The keys are pretty straightforward. Some are not that obvious, but whenever needed, a hint is displayed to make sure the user knows what to do.

- dpad up/down: change menu item selection, change file selection in explorer.
- dpad left/right: change horizontal menu item selection (yes/no), change submenu item selection (fast/full formatting), change memory card size in the size selection window to the nearest of 8/16/32/64/128MB.
- L1/R1: change memory card size in the size selection window by the unit of 1MB, jump to the next/previous page in file explorer.
- L2/R2: enable/disable file mask in file explorer (on by default).
- START: display virtual keyboard in file explorer, display "thanks/about" window.
- SELECT: when in main menu (card selection screen), display "exit to" dialog and browser to select elf file to exit to, display memory card info screen when in memory card screen (there is also an additional menu item that does exact same thing).
- X: confirm.
- TRIANGLE: cancel/return.

I decided to put the key mapping for virtual keyboard in separate paragraph to make things easier for everyone. You can open the virtual keyboard when using file explorer in write mode by pressing START button.

- left analog stick: move cursor.
- dpad: move cursor (you can switch analog mode on/off by using
"mode" button).
- X: "press" the highlighted key.
- SQUARE: space (can also be pressed on screen).
- CIRCLE: backspace (can also be pressed on screen).
- R1: shift (active only when button is pressed, can also be pressed on screen).
- L1: caps lock on/off (can also be pressed on screen).
- START: enter (confirms filename, exits keyboard, can also be pressed on screen).
- TRIANGLE: exit keyboard without selecting filename.

3. Menu items description.

FORMAT

It basically does what it says. The iop code will clear all the card blocks, check the card for bad blocks (multiple times to make sure) and save bad blocks in an array, then it will write the new filesystem. There are two options: "Fast" and "Full". Fast should be ok for most cases. Full makes additional bad block checks and writes all the card pages (necessary in some cases... takes few times as long as fast). Fast is the default (you can just leave it... unless you're experiencing some problems).

UNFORMAT

Clears all blocks. It leaves the card in a state it should be when you bought it (totally clear, no filesystem on card). Then
you can use PS2 Browser, in-game tools or whatever you like to format it.

CREATE MC IMAGE

Creates an image of memory card (or a portion of it) and stores it in a selected place. Creates a raw memory card image (without ECC after every page, so you can mount it in uLE or use it with mcsio emulator or OPL). Stores MCI descriptor file for PS2 memory cards.

RESTORE MC IMAGE

Restores an image of memory card (writes the selected image to the physicall memory card). Only raw memory card images are supported - no ECC block after every page (no worries, MCA will calculate ECC on the fly if needed). If the image is shorter than the card capacity, an error will be displayed (all the image data will be written, though). IMPORTANT NOTICE: MCA WILL NOT CHECK FOR BAD BLOCKS WHEN RESTORING THE IMAGE. THAT WOULD REQUIRE TO CHANGE THE IMAGE DATA, WCHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE (it's fine only if you're trying to store standard MC filesystem data... which is most likely the only thing you will do, but for the sake of versatility, it has to be left this way.)!

MEMORY CARD INFO

Displays some basic information regarding the card in currently selected slot. There is a "shortcut" to this option - just press "SELECT" button.

5. Disclaimer.

This application is free and provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The authors cannot be held responsible for any damage to the hardware or data loss caused by application usage and missusage.


~ ffgriever & berion 09.09.2010

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