If you’ve ever played with a Gameboy Advance emulator, then you probably need ROMs. The ROMs act as cartridges, which are basically the games. A Gameboy Advance ROM has a .GBA file format. That means only one GBA emulator can play this file type, or there are some NDS emulators that can play it as well.
It’s like an MP3 player can’t play an MP4 file, or at least it only plays the audio but you can’t see the video.
This also applies to Gameboy ROMs, but there are some that come in .IPS or .UPS file format. However, regular GBA emulators cannot play these file formats.
There is a new file format being adopted by some ROM hackers: the .bps file. This guide will show you how to patch a BPS ROM hack file.
You must know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch to these ROMs. You’ll need to follow step-by-step steps to convert an .IPS or .UPS file to a .GBA file.
Patch IPS or UPS files with ROM Patcher JS (works for mobile, Windows and Mac)
ROM Patcher JS is an interesting program because it can apply an IPS or UPS patch. This means that ROM Patcher JS works regardless of the desired file format. You still need the base game, but the interesting thing is that you patch the files online. That’s right, the patcher itself is a website and you don’t need to download any app or program and here are the steps to use it.
This is a good website if you play on mobile devices and want to patch a rom hack directly to your phone.
Go to the ROM Patcher JS website. Click here to go to the website.
Click the Choose File on the ROM File section.
Select the base game for the patch. In this case we will use FireRed again.
Now, in the Patch File section, click Choose File.
Choose any .IPS or .UPS file you want to patch. If you take a look at the image, either of these two files can be used, but we’ll be using Pokemon Gaia.UPS for now.
You will see a little green tick that means both ROMs are compatible. All you have to do now is click Patch to start the process.
Once the patch is ready, the file will automatically download to your device or computer.
You may or may not rename the file, but run the GBA emulator and see if the game works.
What you need to do if you want to apply an IPS or UPS patch
The desired result is the conversion of the .IPS or .UPS file to a .GBA file. You cannot play the IPS or USV files; therefore patching of the file is required.
The process of patching means that we change or update the original content of the GBA file so that the content of the IPS or USV files keep the GBA format.
In order for this to happen we need a few things.
Things needed for patching a ROM hack
- patch file
- ROM base
- patcher application
The first thing you need is the .IPS or .UPS patch file. You need them because they are the games you want to play. For Pokemon games, the ROM hacks change the content of the game.
Next you need the base ROM or the ROM the hack is based on. For example, a ROM hack Pokemon Gaia uses FireRed as its base game.
Third, you need the patcher, i. H. the app or program you use to apply an IPS or UPS patch. The gist of this is that we’re patching an actual Pokemon ROM into a ROM hack or whatever the contents of the IPS or UPS file is.
Finally, always make sure you have a separate copy of the original Pokemon game ROM because once the patch is ready, all contents of that ROM will be modified and gone forever.
Why the patch can fail
- There are several reasons and the first one is that the IPS or USV file is unreliable to begin with. In short, it’s not a good copy or it just wasn’t programmed properly.
- The second reason is that you are not using the right base game. You’re probably using Pokemon FireRed as your base game, but it actually needs Emerald.
- Your copy of the base game is not reliable. There are ROMs out there and not just Pokemon that might have been corrupted or not suitable for patching .IPS or .UPS format.
- The patcher is not good and unreliable. Don’t worry, we will include reliable patchers in the step-by-step guide.
How to patch an .IPS file with Lunar IPS (works on Windows PC)
In this procedure, we will show you how to apply an .IPS patch. The patcher we use is Lunar IPS. This patcher only works with .IPS formats. We will also be using the Rocket Edition Final v1 as our .IPS file which we will be patching with FireRed as the base game.
Download the Lunar IPS patcher.
Start Lunar IPS and click Apply IPS Patch.
Select the IPS file you want to patch. In this case it is Rocket Edition Final v1.
Then click on the base game, which in this case is FireRed.
The patch will be performed automatically, which usually takes a few seconds.
This step is optional, but you can rename the newly patched FireRed ROM to Rocket Edition Final v1 or whatever you want.
Start the GBA emulator and if the ROM loads properly and not FireRed but Rocket Edition comes out, you’ve done everything right.
How to Apply a UPS Patch Using NUPS Patcher (Works on Windows PC)
We want to know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch, and we already know how to do that to an .IPS file. In this part we will show you how to apply a patch to a .UPS file. For this you need to download the NUPS Patcher app. Similar to LIPS, the NUPS patcher only works with the .UPS file format.
Download the NUPS patcher.
Start Patcher and click Apply UPS patch to file.
Click the Browse button next to File to Patch.
Choose the base game we want to patch and for this example we have FireRed again.
Click the Browse button next to UPS Patch.
Choose the UPS file you want to patch. For this example we will use Pokemon Gaia Download.
Click Patch and wait for the file to be patched.
You’re done, and the FireRed will become Pokemon Gaia.GBA instead of UPS.
Again, changing the name of the file and trying to launch it on a GBA emulator is optional.
Now that you know how to patch IPS and UPS files to play a rom hack, you can use any of the three methods above depending on what you need.
Keep in mind that the patcher you use only patches the ROM’s file type, whether it’s an IPS or UPS file. In some cases, you may not need to download a GBA ROM file in .IPS or .UPS format.
If you search long enough, you might find a ROM file in .GBA format of the ROM hack you want. Most often, these files are available when the ROM hack is in the process of being updated or patched.
If you want to progress then by all means try to patch the ROM files you have so you can play them on your GBA emulator.