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Generation 1 Link Protocol

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Hey all, i've been working with a few friends on a device and some software to trade and battle Generation 1 with real devices, over the internet. I know this isn't exactly an original or new idea, and i'm aware of a handful of other projects that have managed it with some success. However, the existing implementations fall short in quite a few places in my opinion and it's always been an interesting topic to me, so i figured i'd give it a shot myself.

So far, i've managed to proof of concept some spoof trades on real hardware with the device i built, but i'm currently using the real gameboy as the clock source which is a non starter for this project due to the way the gameboy's link works.



I'm hoping there's someone out there who understands the gen 1 link protocol enough that i could pick someones brain about it. I'm currently making progress on it, but i feel like this information is out there somewhere, and i would rather spend time writing and documenting the protocol for the community than i would writing another arduino implementation of it.


Anyway i plan to update this thread when and if i have anything interesting to share. If anyone is interested in getting directly involved i created a small discord for it https://discord.gg/ECTaJXtCCN 

We also have a few repos up on the github org https://github.com/CableClub. everything is still fairly early POC but i think there's already some good information here for anyone who is looking for it

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Maybe stacksmashing could help you reverse the link protocol, he's reverse engineered Tetris to the point its playable online via a server / special dongle he's made:

You might have already seen this, however it was only released a couple of weeks a go, so possibly not.

I'd certainly be interested in this, I always wanted to be able to link my GameBoy up to the PC and trade online as a kid, it would be great if that was finally possible!

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wonder if that adapter would allow trades from emulator to actual hardware. i wanted to know if that little thing could do it. 

(this was before i had accses to a homebrew wii and pkhex)


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3 hours ago, SpringtraP-MasK said:

wonder if that adapter would allow trades from emulator to actual hardware. i wanted to know if that little thing could do it. 

(this was before i had accses to a homebrew wii and pkhex)


this is actually how I've been testing. ive managed to trade with BGB emulator. the BGB link protocol is a little funky but i managed to cobble it together.

ive got the protocol pretty much completely figured out at this point. ive got the device i designed acting as a "master" clock source which is the important part since it allows for exact control of when a byte goes in or out. 

currently, the pokemon link protocol state machine is implemented in the device firmware itself but im still playing around with a few different implementations and might not stick with it. works great for a proof of concept tho.

i think the next step is going to be connect a second Gameboy and link device up and try to get the trade to happen over a network.

will grab a video of the entire thing tomorrow for some eye candy.

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Sorry for the double post, might be babbling to myself here but anyway here goes.



Pic isn't much, but I've mapped out the protocol enough to consistently perform trades with BGB. i don't have a second functioning device yet to try out a internet trade, but i'm almost positive it would work. There's a lot of cleanup to do before it goes live, but it's really close. I'm writing up an extensive document on how the link protocol works for anyone who is interested in this in the future.




spent a bit of time on it after work today. after a few tweaks, i just completed my first trade over the internet between two real gameboys

Edited by PLS_PressY4Pie
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 years later...
On 7/12/2021 at 4:40 PM, PLS_PressY4Pie said:

 been a whilbeen bbn6mi6b88been a while since ive had an update because ive been waiting for hardware to come in. still working on bringing the board up, but as far as i can tell, everything is working



Any updates since?

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