What's the latest version?
Version 2.3, released 18th August, 2009.
What's on this page?
It's a program which lets you take the codelist.bin file downloaded from CodeJunkies, and strip out all the games that you don't care about in order to create a smaller file -- thereby giving you a lot more room on your memory card. In addition, you can also add additional games and codes, whether from an official source or a third-party website.
You'll need to have an Action Replay MAX, a PS2, and some way to get the codelist file from your PC over to your PS2. This usually means one of the following combos:
In theory, you could use some other device (such as a memory card reader or a modded & networked PS2), but in that case you'll need the help of some additional software, as MCM does not export full save files.
Another option, which might be simpler for those with a modded console and lots of spare CDs, is to burn your own copy of the ARMAX CD itself, replacing the standard codelist with your customised one. Since I don't have a modded console myself, I can't verify this procedure, but someone (called ITSE) provided this guide.
There are two primary features in the v2 series of MCM:
An additional feature that can come in handy is the ability to compare codelists. The most useful example of this is to compare the (official) codelist you've just downloaded against the one you had downloaded previously, thereby allowing you to see which codes and/or games have been added. Among other things, this allows you to see if there was anything interesting, giving you an indication whether it's worth going to the trouble of copying the codelist over to your console. In addition, you can of course compare custom codelists against each other as well, although that is less useful as custom codelists are frequently wildly different from each other.
At its heart the program merges codelists together. You can selectively enable and disable custom codelists (to prevent them being included in the merge), but you cannot disable the official codelist. This in turn means that you cannot prevent a code in the official codelist from appearing in your final codelist except by excluding the entire game that contains it -- although you can tweak it by renaming it or changing the order in which it appears.
In addition, some of the features of MCM require an external component (the "decryption engine") in order to operate. Without the engine, MCM will fall back to simpler functionality. Specifically, the following features will not be available:
A standard version of this engine is included with MCM, although it had to be separated from the main program for licensing reasons. It is also possible for a third-party engine to be built and connected to MCM, if desired.
New to v2.2 is the ability to create and customise your own codes more directly; this requires an enhanced encryption engine (also included) and is intended for skilled code authors only. While it does have a few safeguards, it's still easily possible to create chaos if you're not sufficiently careful.
Yes, provided that they are valid MAX codes, and provided that you have the decryption engine installed. This is the major advance over the v1 series.
Note that while MCM does perform basic validation of codes you enter (to catch typos and the like), and I've put in a number of sanity checks to discourage making invalid lists, it is still possible to slip a bad codelist through the cracks. Care is warranted. We will not take any responsibility for corrupted savegames or other weirdness through the use of any codes you've set up through MCM.
One proviso: it requires the Microsoft .NET Framework v2.0. It will not work if you have v1.1 or earlier. If you have a later version, it will work fine (though if it's too recent the installer might complain a bit -- but will let you install anyway). If you're not sure whether you have the right version (or whether you have the framework at all), then just try running the installer, since it will check this for you. If you need to upgrade the framework, you can get it from Windows Update (or failing that, direct from Microsoft [x86, x64]).
Hopefully you won't need it any more, but if you like, the v1.x version of this page contains the downloads for v1 and its documentation.
MCM is available in two editions: standard and portable.
The first thing you should do after running MCM is to hit the Settings button in the lower right hand corner.
Initially this function won't be available, since you will have only just downloaded your first codelist. Once you download a later codelist, though, this button will become available, and if clicked will show you the list of games and codes that have been added or removed between your older list and the newly-downloaded one. This can help you determine if there's an interesting new game to add to your favourites or not.
Note that this will only be available during the session that you downloaded the new list -- once MCM is closed, it will "forget" about the older list and will no longer be able to show you the changes.
The core of the program is still your list of favourite games. Only codes for these games will be exported into your personal codelist file. Typically you should choose the smallest number of games you can (normally just the ones you expect to be playing over the next few days/months), since the smaller your selection here, the smaller the resulting codelist file will be and hence the more room you'll have on your memory card for actual gamesaves. One exception to this is if you're burning a new ARMAX CD (requires modded console), in which case you'll probably want all of them.
To choose your favourite games, you first need to see what's available. So click on the "View full combined codelist" button. This button will always show you the largest codelist we have -- the result of combining all the other lists specified in the program. From here, the simplest thing to do is to scroll through the list and tick the boxes next to those games you're interested in, finishing up by clicking the "Update favourite games" button. (If you don't click the button, changes to the checkboxes won't affect your favourites -- this is to help prevent accidentally changing your favourites.)
Another way to choose your favourites is when you're viewing the codes for a specific game; a button appears at the bottom indicating whether this game is already one of your favourites and provides the opportunity to either add or remove it, as appropriate.
New in MCM v2 is the ability to manage (and edit) custom codelists, whether built by yourself or downloaded off others. This is what the list on the left side of the main screen is for. Bear in mind that this is an optional feature of the program -- if you just want to use the official codelists, then that's fine.
To start out with, you've got two options -- you can either create a new codelist (with the New button) or import an existing list (with the Add button). Once you've added a codelist to the list, you'll see that it has a checkbox next to it. This determines whether the list is enabled (which it is, by default). An enabled list will be included in the combined codelist; a disabled one won't be. This allows you to "swap in" different (perhaps conflicting) codelists fairly easily.
There are two main functions that a custom codelist can perform. The first, obviously, is containing entirely new games or codes. Note that MCM will not help you actually create these codes -- it's strictly a codelist manager. You will need to obtain valid codes from elsewhere. The second function is to "tweak" existing codes, especially those from the official codelists. Perhaps you want to rearrange the codes to put the ones you use the most near the top, or perhaps you want to correct a typo or provide additional comments for a given code. All of that is possible.
If you're just starting out using MCM, chances are that you've manually entered some codes into your PS2 at some point. If you follow the normal codelist update strategies (which usually involve deleting your old codelist file), these can get lost. But never fear, MCM now includes the ability to import these as well.
Note that you only need to import manually-entered codes if they were obtained from a third-party source -- codes that were in the official CodeJunkies codelist are already available to MCM (if you've downloaded them).
WARNING: if you import these codes into a custom codelist and then include that in the codelist being exported by MCM, then you should delete the original files (arsettings.dat or ActionReplayMAXSettings) from your MAX Drive or memory card afterwards. This is because any user-entered codes in those files takes precedence over the codelist.bin file that MCM generates, so any changes made in MCM will be overridden by the "old" codes in the files you imported from. (Don't forget to take a backup copy of these files before deleting them though, just in case.)
Only one codelist at a time is editable -- this is called the "active codelist". You can make any of the custom codelists active simply by clicking the Make Active button when the codelist is selected -- it doesn't even matter if the list is enabled or disabled. Note however that the official and combined codelists cannot be made active and thus cannot be edited directly (they can, however, be edited indirectly by overriding their codes).
Once you've made a codelist active, it will appear in the Active List section. From there, click on the View button to see the list of games and codes within just that list. When viewing the active list, a number of additional functions become available, such as the ability to directly Add a new game or code, or Edit an existing code (editing a game is achieved by editing its master code). This can be as simple as changing the text associated with a code (and in fact, if a valid decryption engine couldn't be found then that's all you'll be able to do), or include changing the actual definition of the code as well -- though again, MCM will not help you with that, except to verify that the code you've entered is a valid one.
There's one other useful ability that appears once you've made a list active: if you view a different list (including the combined list), an option to add a given game to the active list appears. This is how you can accomplish tweaks to existing games/codes, since once they're in the active list then they become editable.
There is also limited support for moving codes up and down within the list, which you can use for example to put your most frequently used codes at the top for easy access. It's limited because we don't support reorganisation -- while you can move codes within a folder and you can move folders of codes, you can't move a code into or out of a folder. There are two important reasons for this. The first is that folders themselves require a unique id (just like any other code in the list), making them tricky to create on the fly. The second is that exclusive codes (the ones that appear as radio buttons and only allow you to select one at a time) depend on the folder they're in to determine which codes cannot be mixed -- which is important to prevent code clashes. Moving those around would let you set up potentially unsafe codelists, which doesn't seem like a good idea.
In addition to regular letters and numbers, ARMAX can display special icons representing most of the controller buttons. This is most commonly used in a Comment to indicate the buttons that need to be pressed to activate a certain code in-game, but you can put them wherever you want. MCM will automatically translate the following escape sequences:
To create the combined codelist, the official codelists and any enabled custom codelists are merged together. The merging itself is an ordered process -- this means that if a given game or code exists in two different codelists, then whichever one is merged last "wins" and will be included in the final merged codelist.
The starting point is always the codelists from the CDs (if you've imported them), since they should be the oldest. Then the downloaded codelist is merged with that, producing a combined Official Codelist. After that, each of the enabled (ticked) custom codelists are merged in the order listed (meaning ones toward the bottom will "win" over ones further up), and the result is the Combined Codelist. After that, the list is filtered by your choice of favourite games, and the final result is your Personal Codelist, which is the one that you'll end up exporting to ARMAX.
The most useful thing to remember is that you can move custom codelists up and down to influence when they are merged in, and consequently which of them will "win" if there is a clash. This isn't all-or-nothing at the game level, though -- you can delete individual codes from a given codelist, which will ensure that they can't clash with codes merged in earlier. This whole merging thing makes it fairly easy to create little "patch" lists that only change one or two codes in a given game (or add additional codes without affecting any of the standard ones). But all this merging also means that you can't get rid of a given code entirely without disabling any codelists that contain it -- and you can't disable the official lists.
Once you've included all the codelists you want and set up your favourite games, it's time to get your personal codelist over to your PS2. For starters, insert your MAX Drive (if you're using one) and click the "Export favourites to ARMAX" button. Depending on what choices you made in the settings, this may automatically copy your personal list to the drive, or it may put it elsewhere for you to manually copy across later. Exactly how you do this depends on the method you chose (and disclaimer: these steps work for me; I make no warranties or guarantees they'll work for you, though I hope they will):
In addition to exporting your personal list, MCM can also export individual custom lists in a variety of formats. The idea is that if you've spent a while tweaking a codelist or building your own list of custom codes, you may want to share them with the world. (After first making sure you have permission to redistribute them, of course!) Or simply print them out or save a backup copy somewhere. Most people won't need to use this feature, but it's there for those who do.
To do this, first make the codelist in question Active. Next, click on the Export button (in the Active List section). From here, you can choose a file type (from the dropdown list) and choose where you want to save the resulting file.
Hopefully everything else is obvious; I tried to make it fairly easy to use. But if you have any other questions, or feel that something should be added to this manual, then please let me know.
There's all sorts of weird and wacky things you might want to do with your codelists. If there's something you particularly want and can't seem to get MCM to do, then leave me some feedback and I'll see what I can do.
I have no idea. I told them about the upcoming release of this program about a month prior to releasing it, but haven't as yet heard anything from them about it. So until I specifically hear otherwise, I'm considering them as "not actively disapproving" -- in other words, they don't actually approve of it, but they don't care enough to make an issue out of it. Or possibly that they like the idea but can't officially endorse it for legal reasons. Either way, it's much the same thing.
I don't foresee any real problems with this -- after all, I'm not trying to profit from it, and if it catches on then it gives people one more reason to go buy an Action Replay MAX and/or MAX Drive, if they haven't already -- but you never know. Some companies (or their lawyers) get snooty, and I don't know whether Datel is one of those or not :-) Besides, the PS2 is nearly EOL anyway.
Special thanks to the following people, without whom MCM v2.x probably would never have come out (or would be missing some things):
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