I have a spare HDD, however it is spoiled so it left with no choice but to use a USB 2.0 pendrive to carry out this little test.
64MB USB 2.0 pendrive
MAX Drive(a Japanese Version of AR Max Evo which has memorycard manage function only. As a result it loads very fast, within 5s, from HDD unlike the USA or PAL version of AME)
1. Format my pendrive using ul_format. It is in FAT format after that anyway.
2. Install MAX Drive to my pendrive using ul_install.
3. Turn on my PS2, ps2menu-k 0.31 launches as BOOT.ELF. USBADVN.ELF launches from MC.
4. Plug my pendrive to my ps2. Max Drive is shown in game list. Select 'start' after highlighting the title, 'MAXDRIVE'.
5. Wait.............................................. ...........
6. It runs, MC0 and MC1 are accessible. Pendrive icon expectedly does not light up.
1. The format of a USBAdvance formatted disc is FAT.
2. It is really plug and play.
3. The 'ul_install' installing is very very slow. It's like 0.2~0.5MB/s. And you know what? I have usb2.0 ports on my laptop and I used a USB 2.0 pendrive. Well that's...
4. After installation on PC side, ul_install generated 2 files on my pendrive.
This is understandably the configuration file. Under a hex editor, it shows 'MAXDRIVE' and 'ul.SLPS_200.06'. 'MAXDRIVE' is the name I assigned to the Game I installed. 'ul.SLPS_200.06' can be understood easily.
This is the game itself. I did a comparison of this file and the original ISO of MAX Drive. Unsurprisingly, they are identical. So if we can find out how ul_install rename a game then we can just rename them ourselves and drag them into the PS2 HDD instead of wasting time on that 'useless' ul_install. I think the only not so easily understood part is 'DA2FBC44'. Coders? any? Btw, the ul_format is of even less use than its partner.
5. Images are not at centre of the screen when MAX Drive loads. Certain images lack from the screen. Frame rate drops from time to time.
6. It takes 1min48sec to load MAX Drive from game list screen until the MC selection screen. The same process HDLoader takes 5s with normal frame rate and complete images at the centre of screen.
It is indeed no April Fool's joke but it is more like a job after all.
I only express my own opinion in this post.
edit: it does not matter if you format your HDD in FAT16 or FAT32, both work fine. It completely makes ul_format useless...