How to install ARK (ePSP Custom Firmware) on PS Vita 3.63
Since the release of psvimgtools it is possible to install some hacks on your 3.61 or 3.63 PS Vita. We posted recently about the possibility to switch accounts on PS Vita 3.63 without formatting your memory card, and for some reason I totally missed the train on the possibility to install ARK.
What is ARK?
ARK is a Custom firmware for the PSP emulator within the PS Vita. In summary, it lets you run PSP homebrew, plugins, and backups, directly from your PS Vita.
Unlike HENkaku, ARK is not a native Vita hack in itself, it is a PSP Custom Firmware that happens to run on the PS Vita. The technique to install it on Vita 3.63, however, leverages some vulnerabilities in the PS Vita system.
How to install ARK on PS Vita 3.63
Note that this tutorial not only works for ARK, but for any PSP Homebrew or tool you might want to install (e.g. VHBL). ARK is probably the best idea as it will let you install and run pretty much everything directly.
Credit for the tutorial below goes to Cinnaminn on Reddit:
- psvimgtools – https://github.com/yifanlu/psvimgtools/releases
- ARK pboot bubble for Vita 3.60 – http://wololo.net/talk/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=47678
- QCMA: http://wololo.net/downloads/index.php/download/8241
Installing ARK Custom Firmware on PS Vita 3.63
- Get your PSN AID. This is the 16-hex code found in your CMA backup folder path. To quote Yifan:”For example, if I wish to decrypt PS Vita/PGAME/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/NPJH00053/game/game.psvimg then my AID is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
- You can now use this site: http://cma.henkaku.xyz/ to get your KEY. Thanks Davee!
- Download and extract the psvimgtools for your OS. We will need to use the command line/terminal for these next steps.
- Backup a PSP game from your Vita to your computer using QCMA.
- Find the PSP game backup in the folder: PS Vita/PGAME/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/[GAMEID]/game/game.psvimg. Copy this file to your psvimgtools folder.
- Run “psvimg-extract -K YOUR-KEY game.psvimg game”. You will get a folder named ux0_pspemu_temp_game_PSP_GAME_GAMEID.
- Extract the ARK pboot bubble archive and find the PBOOT.PBP. Use this PBOOT.PBP to overwrite the one in your output_folder which you just generated using psvimg-extract.
- Run “psvimg-create -n game -K YOUR-KEY game game”. You will get “game.psvimg” and “game.psvmd” in your game folder. Use these to overwrite the ones in your CMA backup folder.
- Restore the backup from your PC to your Vita using Qcma.
- Copy ARK_01234 from the ARK pboot bubble archive to PS Vita/PSAVEGAME/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/
- Restore the ARK-2 PSP SAVEDATA from your PC to your Vita using Qcma.
- Say thanks to yifan.lu, xyz, Proxima, qwikrazor87 and Davee for this neat trick.
There is also a detailed version of this tutorial with pictures from Darthsternie over at hackinformer.
How to: use ARK to install and run PSP backups and Homebrew on PS Vita 3.63
Lots of people are having trouble using ARK once it’s installed. These steps let you install OneMenu which is a friendlier menu for ARK. The following guide is from user tuxdude 143 on reddit.
This guide assumes that you have already installed the ARK bubble and it is working. [note from wololo: see section above]
Firstly download OneMenu.
Once you have OneMenu you need to navigate to where your PSP Savegames are stored on your PC (or you can open the backup manager in QCMA, select psp save games from the drop down and click the open directory button for the ARK save data)
Once you are in the ARK save data directory you need to DELETE THE EBOOT.PBP IN THE ARK SAVE DATA DIRECTORY. After doing this extract the contents of the OneMenu archive you downloaded earlier to the ARK Save Data directory.
Next download VitaFTP and place the VitaFTP eboot into a .zip file entitled INSTALL.ZIP. Make sure this zip file is zipped in STORE mode, this stops anything from getting accidentally compressed. Place INSTALL.ZIP into the ARK save data directory and refresh QCMA’s database.
Now connect your vita to your computer and copy over the ark save data. In the content manager on the vitas end you should see a banner with OneMenu written on it next to the ARK save data. Copy that save data to your vita and if it asks if you want to overwrite then select yes.
Disconnect your vita from your PC and start up the ARK bubble. This time OneMenu should load and you’ll be greeted with a main menu screen. From here press the Select button to go to the file browser and browse to your ARK save data folder, you should also notice a new folder has been made called ISO.
In your ARK save data folder you should see the INSTALL.ZIP that we created earlier. Move your cursor over it and press the triangle button then from the menu that pops up select extract, then navigate to the folder called ISO, press triangle again and select the option “extract to”. OneMenu will prompt you with the option “Use Pass?”. Select no.
Now open the FTP folder and press X on the PBP file inside the folder. VitaFTP should start!
From here open up your favorite FTP client and connect to your vita by punching in the ip address vitaftp gives you. If the address it gives you is 0.0.0.0 then double check that your vita is connected to the internet and restart ARK.
Once you have connected to your vita through FTP simply transfer your homebrew, isos/csos etc over to your vita and place them in the ISO folder.
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO COPY FILES TO YOUR VITA BY PLACING THEM IN THAT ISO FOLDER. ANY OTHER FOLDER WILL NOT WORK DUE TO THE HIGHER RESTRICTIONS ON FOLDERS THAT SONY PUT IN PLACE.
From there OneMenu should see all your homebrew and games when you next start up ARK! Have fun!
NOTE: By default OneMenu looks for homebrew in the VHBL folder which we do not have write access to. This means you have to place your homebrew in ISO. As a result the homebrew WILL NOT SHOW UP IN ONEMENUS HOMEBREW SECTION. However you can still start and use said homebrew in the ISO folder by pressing select, navigating to the ISO folder and starting the EBOOT/PBOOT of the homebrew you want to use (I recommend labeling folders and placing each homebrew application into their corresponding named folder to make things easier)