Adrenaline ePSP Custom Firmware will have custom IPL and 64MB of RAM (and what that means for you)
Vita Developer TheFloW confirmed a while ago that he has been working on a Custom Firmware for the PSP running within the PS Vita. The tool, nicknamed Adrenaline, will allow you to run a PSP hack within the PS Vita. This will allow you to run PSP Homebrews, plugins, and backups without having to use more constrained tools such as VHBL.
Custom IPL for your PSP CFW on the Vita
Let’s rewind a little bit, what does that exactly mean for Adrenalin in terms of features, and for you as a potential user?
Hacking the IPL, or creating Custom IPLs in the PSP days was essentially equivalent to having the Custom firmware instantly loaded at boot time on One’s PSP. In other words, instead of having to load a hack in RAM every time you would reboot your PSP, the hack was already “integrated” within the console’s firmware, meaning the console would load the custom firmware automatically without any action from the user. The only hacking step was to install the custom firmware once.
In practice, for the end user, the difference wasn’t huge. Not having a custom IPL boiled down to launching an exploit after each reboot which was literally 5 seconds of effort. This also meant your PSP was “clean” and a simple reboot was enough to wipeout any potential hack. But to some, it also felt less “real” than a Custom firmware that was here at startup.
I would expect the same kind of difference on the PS Vita: I assume that Adrenaline will modify the ePSP files running on the PS Vita, in a way that you’d have to do the installation only once, so that any time you run the PSP emulator moving forward (even through purchased games?) you’d be running within TheFloW’s Custom Firmware. There’s lots of unknowns but it seems the main benefit is that you’d have to install Adrenaline only once. In practice you probably won’t see a difference.
At the hacking level, though, it means TheFlow has been able to fundamentally alter the PSP Firmware installed on the PS Vita, rather than having to do runtime hacks. Although it won’t make a major difference to the end user, from a hacking perspective this is pretty major.
64 MB of RAM in ePSP
Maybe more importantly, TheFloW announced that he has unlocked the PSP’s extra RAM. Now, some of you might remember that the original PSP, the psp 1000, had only 32MB of RAM. With 8MB used by the system, this left only 24MB for homebrew. The PSP 2000 introduced 64MB, and as such games and homebrews had access to at total of 56MB (a 133% improvement). Although all games were compatible with the PSP 1000, this additional RAM gave them an option to load faster or use higher resolution textures.
Some PSP homebrews also run significantly better with 64MB, including Daedalus (although, of course, I don’t see many people using emulators within the PSP when we have retroarch on the Vita).
My homebrew Wagic is an example of a homebrew that runs noticably better with more RAM: the game can load higher resolution textures of the cards, or has to load textures much less often, resulting in a much smoother game (less loading times in general). Aquaria was an other example of homebrew game that required the 64MB, it couldn’t run on 32MB.
From my perspective, the 64MB unlock will have a more significant impact on end users than the cIPL. Both of these achievements are extremely cool either way, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Adrenaline for my PS Vita!
A Preview of Adrenaline
TheFloW shared a preview of Adrenaline a few hours ago. Looks gorgeous
TheFlow has stated a few times that Adrenaline is taking a significant amount of his free time, and has not stated a release date for his ePSP Custom Firmware. Stay tuned.
Source: TheFlow on twitter