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MAX Code Manager
Inno Setup
Fun and Amusement




 MAX Codelist Manager

What's the latest version?

Version 1.5, released on the 15th of September, 2005.

What's on this page?

  1. What is it?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. Why would I want to use it?
  4. What doesn't it do?
  5. Can I add individual codes?
  6. Where can I get it?
  7. What's changed?
  8. How do I use it?
  9. What does Datel think of this?

What is it?

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.

Who is it for?

This program only has a limited audience. At present, it's only useful if you have all of these:

  1. A PlayStation2 (PS2), either PAL or NTSC
  2. Action Replay MAX (PAL or NTSC)
  3. MAX Drive (PAL or NTSC)

OR both of these:

  1. A PlayStation2 (PS2), either PAL or NTSC
  2. Action Replay MAX EVO (PAL or NTSC)

I am uncertain whether other PC-to-memory-card technologies (such as a PC-based memory card reader) are sufficient -- I don't have one, so I can't test it. If you have such a device, then you could always try it and let me know how it turns out.

Also, if Action Replay MAX comes out for a different console system (with a similar ability to download codelists off the Internet), then let me know via the Feedback page to the left and I'll investigate adding support for those platforms too.

UPDATE: Someone has told me that another approach that apparently works (if you have a modded console and a CD-RW drive) is to burn a new copy of the ARMAX disc itself, swapping out the codelist file from the original disc and putting a replacement there instead. Since I don't have a modded console myself, I haven't been able to confirm this, though. Doing it this way also makes the main advantage of the program (that of creating lists that won't take up as much space on your memory card) fairly moot. ITSE posted a guide on how to do this.

Why would I want to use it?

As of now, the official PAL codelist download is around 2MB. That means that it'll eat up 2MB of your memory card. NTSC users are even worse off, with a 3MB codelist. And it's only going to get bigger from there. That may not be a big deal for people with 16MB cards, and with MAX Drive you can at least copy off all of your saves to make room for new ones... but what about people with 8MB cards, and those who don't want to copy/delete saves frequently? That's where this program comes in handy. When I build a codelist from just the games that I actually own (or expect to buy fairly soon), its total size is about 300kB. Yes, that's right, only about 15% of the size of the full list. And that means that I can store 25% more actual game saves on my 8MB card! It also loads quicker, which is another bonus.

And that's not all: in addition to the codelist compaction, whenever you download a new codelist it'll show you what has changed since the last one you downloaded. In other words, it'll list all of the newly added games, and newly added codes for existing games. This makes it easier to tell if something interesting has been added, and therefore whether it's worth the effort of copying it over to your console. Obviously, there's also a code browser, which lets you look over all the games and codes listed (although at present you can only include/exclude entire games, not individual codes).

Just in case it wasn't immediately obvious: if you double-click on a game (whether on the main screen or in the codelist browser) then you'll reach the Game Viewer, which lists all the codes for that particular game (and also tells you how much room all those codes would take up on your memory card). This display isn't quite as pretty as the one on the CodeJunkies website, since at present the program can't tell which codes are folders and which are actual codes. (I do know how to find this, but it requires decrypting the codes themselves, and I haven't decided yet whether I should include decryption code in the program. It's a bit of a grey area.)

What doesn't it do?

Anything not mentioned above, basically. But something that deserves special mention, since so many people keep asking about it, is this:

Currently, you cannot modify the codelist in any way (except by including or excluding an entire game's worth of codes obtained from the official codelist). This means that you cannot rename games or codes, nor can you add or remove individual codes. You also cannot add third-party codes. All of this may be possible in a future version of the program, but for now you're limited to the official codes.

Can I add individual codes?

Nope. See the previous answer (I only wrote this separately because I keep getting questions about it).

Why not?

That's a longer story. But basically, it's only possible to add user-entered codes to a list (at least in a user-friendly manner) when the code can be decrypted. And I have no usable decryption code at present. (Yes, I know there is some floating around the Net, but it's clearly disassembled code and I don't feel comfortable using it.) I have contacted someone at Datel requesting permission to use some kind of decryption code, and at this point while I have received a reply, it is nothing more encouraging than "we'll think about it." Rest assured, if I could get some legal decryption code then this is the feature I would implement next.

Where can I get it?

Right here. This is the installer for version 1.5 of the MAX Code Manager, and it's roughly 332 kB.

However, it is built using the .NET Framework (version 1.1), so you will need to download and install that before you'll be able to use it. You can download the .NET Framework from Windows Update (if you use Internet Explorer), or directly from the Microsoft Download Center. If you don't know whether you have .NET installed or not, then just run the MAX Code Manager installer -- it'll detect if .NET isn't installed.

What's changed?

  • Version 1.5, released 2005-09-15:
    Minor bugfix; it wasn't saving the username/password of the proxy server. Now it does.
  • Version 1.4, released 2005-05-03:
    A couple of bugfixes to "Both" mode. It was downloading the PAL codelist twice, for some silly reason, and ended up with two copies of it loaded simultaneously. Which works, but it's kind of pointless :) It now downloads the correct lists, and displays them slightly better than before too.
  • Version 1.3 redux, reuploaded 2005-04-18:
    Something got broken during the release procedure, which killed your settings file if you chose "Both" mode. This has now been sorted out and the program reuploaded, but since it was just a minor fix and the initial release was only yesterday, I haven't increased the version number.
  • Version 1.3, released 2005-04-17:
    Two major changes here. Firstly, the program can now import the codelist from your Action Replay MAX CD. You'll find this feature in the Settings page. Once you have imported the codelist, it will then automatically merge codelists that you download or load with them -- thereby ensuring that you will still be able to use codes for games on the CD, even if they are dropped from the downloaded codelist.
    The second change also affects your Settings -- you can now tell the program that you use both PAL and NTSC systems. This will make it load both codelists simultaneously, although it will still only export a single codelist (potentially containing codes from both regions). In theory, you will then be able to use the same codelist on both types of game, and ARMAX will show only those codes that are valid for the region you're using at the time. Please note that this feature is currently experimental; while it appears to work correctly as far as I can determine, I do not have an NTSC system to test it with, so I do not know how ARMAX NTSC will react to it. I am also uncertain whether this will permit you to use a single memory card for both NTSC and PAL, or whether you'll still need two.
  • Version 1.2, released 2005-03-16:
    The download process now behaves a bit more politely -- the download progress window will no longer sit on top of other applications, and it now also contains an abort button (for those times when the download stalls, or you change your mind). Note that with the way the download is performed at present, the abort button may not take effect immediately -- it will usually require a few more bytes to be received from the server before it cancels the download.
  • Version 1.1, released 2005-02-08:
    Now provides support for HTTP proxies. By default, it will use any manually-defined proxy from the Internet control panel (as used by Internet Explorer). If that fails, you can manually specify the proxy (or forbid the program from using the proxy) in the settings screen. Note that it cannot automatically fetch the proxy configuration from a server or configuration file -- it can only use explicitly specified info.
  • Version 1.0, released 2005-01-31:
    Initial release. Provides code browser, favourite games, and basic export functionality.

How do I use it?

Hopefully it should be fairly straightforward, but here's a quick overview:

Initial setup

The first time you run the program, you should click on the Settings button.

  • The most important thing in here is to indicate whether you have a PAL or an NTSC console. This determines which codelist will get downloaded.
  • Next up, you should decide whether you want the program to automatically check for a new codelist whenever you run it, or whether you want to manually click the Download button before it does anything. Both automatic and manual downloading follow these rules:
    • If you have not yet downloaded a codelist, then the full codelist will be downloaded.
    • If you have previously downloaded a codelist, then it will first do a quick check (which only takes a second or two) to see if there is a later version available.
    • If there was a newer version available, then you will be asked if you want to download the new list (and you will be told the version numbers of each).
    • If you already have the latest version, then for manual downloads you will be told that; for automatic downloads it just returns to the main screen without any other notification (because showing a dialog each time would be annoying). In both cases, nothing further is downloaded.
    So you can see that even if you turn on the startup check, you can still choose to avoid downloading a codelist (if you're in a hurry).
  • It's a good idea to import the codelists from your ARMAX CD, which you can also do here. Datel have recently taken to removing some games from the downloaded list, when those games are provided on the CD. Importing the original lists will allow you to keep them all together, avoiding the need to keep swapping between the CD and the memory card.
  • The remaining settings determine where the exported codelist is written to. The default settings should be correct for most people, but you can tweak them if desired.

Choosing your favourite games

The core of the program is your list of "favourite games"; that is, those games with which you are interested in using codes. First of all, you will need to have a codelist loaded. The best way to do this is to click the Download Codelist button, but you can also use the Load Local Codelist button to load a list that you've downloaded earlier. Note however that some features won't work if you only load local codelists.

Once you have loaded a codelist, click on the Browse Codelist button. This gives you a list of all games contained in the codelist. Simply tick the box next to each of the games that you want to use, and then click on the Update Favourites button. When you return to the main screen, you'll see your list of favourites in the bottom right.

Since your favourites are so important, there are two additional ways of changing them: firstly, on the main screen, you can add favourites from the left-hand box, or remove them from the right-hand box. The left-hand box contains the changes between your "previous codelist" and your "current codelist", and as such is only intended for use with downloaded codelists rather than local ones. The second way is to click on the "Add/Remove from Favourites" button shown at the bottom of the Game Viewer, which you can get to by double-clicking any listed game.

Exporting a codelist

Once you have selected your favourite games, you're ready to export the codelist. First of all, make sure that you've plugged in your MAX Drive. Then simply click on the Export button and the "export codelist" (containing only your favourite games) will be copied to all the locations you have specified -- including your MAX Drive. Once it reports success, you should be able to remove your MAX Drive (using the Safely Remove Hardware screen first, preferably) and load your new, leaner codelist on your PS2.

If you have the Datel MAX Drive software installed as well, then by default MCM will copy the exported codelist to your Saves folder so that you can use the MAX Drive software to copy it to your drive later, if you prefer. But this is not necessary, and can be switched off if you wish.

Your second and subsequent visits

If you've been downloading codelists (rather than loading them from disk), then when you download your second (and subsequent) list you'll see an additional feature kick in: the What's New? screen. This is the box in the lower-left corner, and it shows you what has changed since you last downloaded a codelist.

  • New games are shown in green -- if you think they're interesting then you can select one (or several, by using Ctrl- or Shift-clicking) and add them to your favourites.
  • Deleted games are shown in red; these are games that were in your previous codelist but aren't in the new one. Hopefully you won't see any of these from downloaded lists, but you might see them if you load codelists from disk.
  • Modified games are shown in orange. Note that "modified" in this sense just means that the game has had some of its codes added or removed -- currently the program does not check for things such as being renamed or having an existing code altered.
  • Within each game you'll see the names of each code. These will also be colour coded (green for added, red for removed, or black for neither).
  • Again, the program only checks whether codes were present or missing -- it will not detect if a game/code has been renamed, or if the code block itself has been changed (it could, but it doesn't, because that didn't seem particularly interesting).

What does Datel think of this?

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 :-)

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