Phoinix, the free Gameboy emulator for PalmOSby Bodo Wenzel
How to convert cartridges
Before you're able to run a Gameboy ROM it has to be converted into a Palm database (PDB). This is done with the converter included in the tools archive. This program is a command line tool, so you have to call it with so-called parameters.
There are readily compiled executables for Intel-Linux, MacOS 9, MacOS X and DOS/Windows. The source code is included for your curiosity.
After converting you need to hotsync the resulting PDB file into your handheld.
Note for MacOS X users: the converter has to be run in the terminal!
If you're using Microsoft Windows as operating system, you can use these simple approaches.
Associate file type
If everything's fine, there should be now a PDB file aside the GB file. Install it the common way. If you have problems, please read on...
The command line tools are quite awkward to use. So nice guys wrote so-called "frontends" that translate your wishes into the correct commands.
Phoinix Conduit for Windows
The Phoinix Conduit for Windows is a Visual BASIC .NET application by Alex Henrie.
Phoinix Conduit requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, which may be on your system already. If it is not, you can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0856EACB-4362-4B0D-8EDD-AAB15C5E04F5&displaylang=en.
During installation, Palm Conduit Support for COM will also be installed. This component is required for Phoinix Conduit to run. If Palm Conduit Support for COM is not currently installed, you will need to restart your computer after Setup is complete.
To download the conduit use one of these links: http://phoinix.sourceforge.net/phoinix_conduit.zip or http://www.geocities.com/cdfalcon_2k/pc/phoinix_conduit.zip.
Phoinix ROM Converter for Windows
The Phoinix ROM Converter for Windows is the precursor of Alex' Phoinix Conduit. You can still download it: http://phoinix.sourceforge.net/p-rom-c.zip.
Game Boy Rom Converter for Mac OS X
This converter frontend was made by David Williams. You can download it via this link: http://phoinix.sourceforge.net/Game Boy Rom Converter.dmg. Please read his comment:
Installation: Pretty Basic, Just double click on the installer and press the install button.
Paul Chandler wrote a graphical frontend in Tcl/Tk. You need a Tcl/Tk installation to use it, the primary HTTP site is www.scriptics.com/software/download.html. The "Pbtools" are in the tools archive. This program can be used on any system (the screenshot shows it on my PC running GNU/Linux with IceWM), and this is what Paul writes:
To use, simply click the "Add ROM to transfer list" button to add a rom file, or click the "Add all files in current dir" button to select all files in the current directory. Click the "Begin Transfer" button to begin the Conversion and Transfer(on Unix only) of the selected files.
You call the converter with one, two, or three arguments. The first is the name of the game file - they have commonly names ending with ".GB" and are just binary images of the ROM. The optional second argument is the name for the database file; if you leave it out it'll get the name of the GB file but with a PDB extension. This has nothing to do with the name of the database later in your handheld - that one is taken from the ROM image itself as default, or as the optional third argument. Examples:
converts the game file "ants.gb" into the database file "ants.pdb". After hotsyncing to your handheld you'll see the game name "Free Ants!" because the developers of Ants called it like that.
"gb2pdb /home/gb/ants.gb /home/palm/tosync.pdb PhoinixAnts"
converts the game file "ants.gb" in the directory "/home/gb" into the database file "tosync.pdb" in the directory "/home/palm". After hotsyncing to your handheld you'll see the game name "PhoinixAnts".
When you launch the converter, you will be prompted for parameters. At the "Argument" line enter the command line like described above. The first screenshot shows the most simple way, the GB file named "Lolo.gb" will be converted into the PDB file with the name "Lolo.pdb", and the game will show up as "LOLO".
The second screenshot shows a command line with three arguments, the GB file named "Lolo.gb" will be converted into the PDB file with the name "ConvLolo.pdb", and the game will show up as "Lolo in Phoinix".
To include blanks in an argument (like the name of the game in the second example) you'll have to quote it with quotation marks.
If you leave the selection for input and output at "Console", a window appears with some messages from the converter. Simply quit it, optionally saving the messages into a file. Alternatively you may select "File" and enter any filename you like right there.
IMPORTANT NOTE: this converter works only for versions before v.1.3!
Some emulators on other systems allow to save the emulated RAM of cartridges. Its contents are usually the saved states of the game. Aaron Link was playing on his desktop and his handheld, and he wanted to copy these states between both systems. Since there was no converter he sat down and wrote his own!
Please visit the homepage of the Phoinix RAM Save Converter for more information and download. It runs on Windows and needs the .NET framework. At this place just a screenshot:
Currently I'm learning JavaTM, and I think it's a great language to learn object oriented programming! And the best thing is:
So you may expect a converter with graphical user interface that runs on any Java2 enabled system! But for now I have just ported the commandline converters GbToPdb and PdbToGb to Java. You may be interested in the sources , too.
Call for feedback
This is preliminary. I'm a newcomer to distributing Java applications, so help me help others, please.
Currently I have no idea what's the best way to ensure that the Java applications run on all main systems. So I need lots of feedback how you make it run, please mail all your stories! In particular MacOS users' experiences are needed...
Another detail I like to know is where Palm Desktop stores the files to be installed. If you're happen to be an experienced Windows or MacOS user/programmer and know how an application can get this information, please share your knowledge with me!
Send any comments, reports, and suggestions to: email@example.com
How to use (PRELIMINARY!)
Get the Java Runtime Environment on your PC. If you're using Linux, you'll probably have it already. If not, and for Windows or MacOS, please visit http://java.sun.com! Unfortunately it's not possible to simply use any Java enabled HTML browser, because the applications need read and write access to the local filesystem.
Depending on the Java version, one of the following command lines should work. Please read the documentation provided by Sun Microsystems carefully! Create a batch, or a script to simplify it after finding the line you need.
Examples for GbToPdb:
jre -cp GbToPdb-1.0.jar GbToPdb <parameters...> jre -cp <path-to->classes.zip -cp GbToPdb-1.0.jar GbToPdb <parameters...> java -jar GbToPdb-1.0.jar <parameters...>
Beginning with JDK 1.4, Java Web Start and its JNLP (Java Network Launch Protocol) is part of the Java 2 Standard Edition. So I'm trying here how well this works. Look at it as experimental! Please read all about Java Web Start and how it works in Sun's documentation.
In order to launch applications via Java Web Start, you will need to have it installed on your system. If not, please download Java Web Start.
To run my test application via Java Web Start, simply use this link: TestJnlp. If it's not already on your machine, it will be fetched automagically :-) After the initial download into the cache, Java Web Start will take care of updates, and if off-line it will be run right out of the cache. On Windows you'll also have the option to install icons for a convenient launch.
This is the Java Archive file for your separated download: TestJnlp.jar. Run it like shown above with the converters.
Please send any comments, reports, and suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org