When Sony’s PSP first appeared on TV ads prior to its launch, it was advertised as a online gaming device that would bring people together.
… who would have thought that Sony’s interpretation of online gaming device means less than 10 online playable games in its whole lifetime… (talking about fail product placement here)
To bring that bit of extra fun that online gaming is to more titles… Team PRO has built the scene a own alternative online gaming network, with a tiny bit more than just 10 supported titles.
It goes by the name of Prometheus, is funded by linkbucks ads as well as community donations, and promises to blow new life into your old games.
Playing adhoc games online for free has been a promised but often delayed upcoming feature by Team PRO for a long time…
Originally scheduled to come in a firmware update, the PRO-C revision, this feature was made available as a set of separate plugins, due to the complexity of the code and the torrent of updates required to keep this network up and running in a working way.
Since the initial beta release, only supporting God Eater Burst, a lot of things have changed, allowing a lot more titles to become playable…
The Requirements & Limitations
Like every other plugin out there, this one has a few requirements one has to fulfill before being able to take their games online.
The biggest limitation in that list is that a 2g+ PSP model is required, as online tunneling of adhoc data requires a bit more RAM than 1g PSPs can provide.
The full list of requirements isn’t long, which makes Prometheus a great alternative to Xlink-Kai or other known VPN software on the market.
- 2g+ PSP Model required
- WLAN Router with DMZ (aka. Exposed Host or Standard Server) support required (alternatively, the experimental UPnP plugin can be used at the cost of reduced game compatiblity)
- Atleast one public IPv4 address required (who would of guessed that… duh.)
The Technical Background
For those that aren’t interested in the inner workings of Prometheus, please skip to the next headline as this part is mostly interesting to developers or those that want to have a better understanding of what goes on behind closed curtains.
Sony equipped their PSPs with a WLAN adapter capable of working in Infrastructure Client Mode as well as Adhoc Peer or Host Mode, of course, you can never mix those two modes at the same time… and as Infrastructure Client Mode is required to access the Internet… and Adhoc Peer or Host Mode is required to play adhoc games… this needed a bit of dirty magic to get adhoc games internet play compatible.
I’m positive every reader of wololo.net knows what a emulator is and most likely used one before in their life, be it to play NES games or some other ROM from a different game system.
Prometheus itself, is a emulator as well, as it simulates a set of libraries. In this case, the flash0 modules…
… which take care of adhoc game data transfer, peer finding and game-group-assembly.
Each of those modules serves a special purpose in the PSPs firmware… pspnet_adhocctl.prx creates the network (wires the PSPs together physically), pspnet_adhoc.prx sends the data once the PSPs were wired by pspnet_adhocctl.prx and pspnet_adhoc_matching.prx provides a wrapping library to make group creation easier for game developers.
pspnet_adhoc_auth.prx is a cryptocraphy layer, which on original PSP firmware encrypts the adhoc data before sending it… memab.prx helps in this job and both are dummied in Prometheus as we have no need for encrypting adhoc game traffic.
The Emulator Setup
Of course you, as normal end users wish to take this thing online asap, so lets show you how that can be done.
It’s fairly simple in fact as everything you need is directly linked and visible on the server homepage pro.coldbird.uk.to.
First of all, you need to unlock the extra 32MB RAM from your 2g+ PSP model, sadly… current release builds of PRO CFW can’t unlock that memory in official Sony games (aka. UMD / ISO) so you will need to grab and install the latest PRO CFW Nightly Build on your PSP first.
Once that is done it’s as easy as counting 1-2-3~ following the instructions below.
- Open the PRO CFW Recovery Menu and navigate to the “Advanced” menu.
- Set Memory Stick Speedup to None, Inferno & NP9660 Use ISO Cache to Disabled and Unlock Memory in PSP Games (Breaks Homescreen) to Enabled.
- Unpack the latest release of the Prometheus Online Client to your PSP and enable the atpro.prx plugin in game.txt like you would with any other plugin.
(If you aren’t going to use UPnP, but go with the more stable DMZ option please delete pspnet_miniupnc.prx from the kd folder!)
- Open your Router Configuration Page, add a DHCP IP Reservation for your PSP MAC and configure the reserved IP as your router’s DMZ / Exposed Host / Standard Server.
- Add a Infrastructure Profile for your Router on your PSP and write down your router’s SSID (the network name).
- Write the SSID (network name) into seplugins/hotspot.txt and save the file.
For DMZ setup, you are best of reading the manual that came bundled with your router.
As a alternative, those instructions can be simplified a bit by enabling UPnP on your router and NOT deleting pspnet_miniupnc.prx from the kd folder.
However taking this route results in several games malfunctioning.
Either way… after you’ve followed the instructions above, you will be ready to take your adhoc enabled games online!
For a list of verified – aka. proven to be working online – titles please visit the forums at http://forum.coldbird.uk.to.
The compatiblity list can be found in the Online Server -> Compatiblity List subforum.
Handling PRometheus after Setup
So how does playing online work?
Generally it’s always the same thing…
- Visit pro.coldbird.uk.to to see how many other players are currently playing the game you wish to play.
- Simply start your game with atpro.prx enabled in game.txt and play the game as if you would play a normal adhoc match, however this time around Prometheus will make sure your PSP can see people that you could normally not reach.
- Enjoy your games, online!
In addition to that… when being connected to other players, you can press the Home Button to bring up a ingame chat menu to talk to your companions!
Now if that ain’t cool then I don’t know what is.
Screenshots and Videos showcasing Prometheus
To give this so far rather textual blog post some color, here is what you can expect from Prometheus.
While the general opinion might differ, I think that with Prometheus at our fingertips, supporting more and more games with every new update, PSP might just have a good chance of staying alive for quite a while longer.
Furthermore… with the recent shutdown of several PSP game server machines owned by EA as well as Sega’s habit of shutting down old servers when new products are released Prometheus might become a even more important token in keeping the PSP gaming system alive than it already is.