HBL

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We’ve seen through Teck4′s exploit that PSP exploits run flawlessly on the PSP emulator of the Vita. I’ve spent the past 3 weeks working on leveraging Teck4′s exploit and port HBL to it. I’ve been receiving lots of questions (probably from people who haven’t used HBL back when it was the only possible way to play homebrews on the PSP Go) and will try to answer them here.

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In the past days I stabilized HBL for Teck4′s exploit and got some major homebrews to work. In the video below I’m showing a few homebrews running on the PS Vita. I also included Picodrive again to show that fixing the sound issue is relatively easy as it is just a setting in the emulator. Check the video below. Read the rest of this entry »

A quick report: I’m making some progress on porting HBL to the Vita. Although I’m sad to say that I can’t get syscall estimation to work, I got some major homebrews such as Doom to run already, so overall I think it’s in an acceptable shape. Because it is roughly stable now, today I focused on porting HBL to the EU version of the exploited game (I was working – obviously – on the Japanese version of the game so far). This went smoothly and I can confirm HBL runs fine on the EU version of the game, although of course I could only test on a PSP, not on a Vita.

I used the opportunity to refresh my two guides, how to write a binary loader and how to port HBL. The guides are now simplified, and the binary loader tutorial now has download links to the tools used in the examples.

Writing the first “usable” version of HBL for the patapon exploit took several developers and about 4 months. Thanks to the portability of HBL, bringing it to Teck4′s exploit took me only a few days. Adapting that to the EU version took a couple hours (including porting the exploit itself), so I am confident for the US version.

A year and a half ago when I got Doom for PSP to run on the PSP Go, website hackaday noticed it and said “[being able to run Doom is] a prerequisite for any cracked device”. Some people try to run Linux on their hardware at all cost, I prefer Doom. Today I was able to tweak HBL a bit on the PS Vita to get Doom to run on it. Will I get hackaday’s attention this time too? :) That’s, hands down, the best fps available on the vita so far, check the video below!

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Update: one important clarification: this video shows HBL running on the latest firmware 1.510. The firmware update that happened today does not patch the exploit, unlike what some sites are saying.

A few days ago Japanese developer Teck4 posted a picture of a “hello world” running on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator. I contacted him immediately with some help from Mamosuke, and I soon got enough information to start working on porting Half Byte Loader to this exploit (note that Teck4 is also working on exploiting this vulnerability further, but I don’t know how far he’s been).

What you see in the video below is the game “Sonic & Knuckles” running in picodrive, a Megadrive emulator for the PSP.

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Last week, an exploit on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator was announced by Mamosuke. The exploit was found by Teck4, and, we won’t stress it enough, is a PSP exploit that gives us user mode access within the PSP emulator on the Vita. So this is not a Vita exploit per se, but it’s still very cool. Mamosuke confirmed this with a video a few days ago, and today I was able to confirm the exploit myself as shown in the video below (and I must admit that I spent way too much time working on that basic flame effect). The video below shows the exploit running on both a PSP 1000 and the PS Vita.

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Japanese PSP scener Mamosuke announced today on his blog that he was able to confirm a “Hello World” running on the PS Vita through the embedded PSP emulator. The exploit was made by developer teck4, and most likely relies on one of our good buffer overflow friends. and for those who are wondering “is it real?”, my current answer is that I haven’t tried it yet, but knowing Mamosuke fairly well I can tell you it’s true.

Technically, the idea behind the hack is simple but brilliant: the PS Vita has a PSP emulator, and we have plenty of PSP game exploits lying around… can we assume they will work on the emulator? That’s what teck4 tried, and the answer is yes, so he managed to run unsigned code on the PS Vita.

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While we’re all waiting for a new Kernel exploit, a Hen, or a CFW on 6.60, we might want to enjoy some homebrews on the latest Sony firmware. For that, you currently have two possibilities. Either give a try to the the hundreds of signed homebrews that are available, or if you find a homebrew that is not signed, run it through HBL. I said a few days ago that HBL would run out of the box on firmware 6.60. This wasn’t true, some additional security was added that prevented HBL to run. But thanks to the work of JJS, only a couple days after the release of OFW 6.60, we are able to provide you a version of HBL that runs on the latest Sony firmware. This one is a full release build, so it runs faster than the debug builds you might have seen recently.

Download here, as usual, and enjoy your homebrews!

Two days ago I mentioned that Half Byte Loader was a good way to still run homebrews on official firmware 6.60, if you’re one of the poor souls who updated. It turns out I was wrong, as HBL, for now, doesn’t run on Firmware 6.60, due to some tricky changes in the PSP firmware. JJS found a workaround however and published a Debug version of HBL, that runs on 6.60. Since the download also contains a patch file, it is fairly easy to compile a “release” build for those who want to, but JJS announced he still wants to add a few tweaks before we feel confident to publish a release build.

In the meantime, if you are on 6.60 and definitely need to play homebrews, you can check ToBSucht’s great list with hundreds of signed homebrews, or you can try JJS’s debug build of Half Byte Loader.

This is of course, until a downgrader or a Hen appear for 6.60, which should happen sooner than later :)

With the number of firmwares, PSP models, motherboards, and the speed at which devs come up with new tools, it is very difficult to keep up to date with what’s the best way to install a Custom Firmware on your PSP. Some people don’t even know if they can run a CFW on their PSP or not, or what solutions exist for them.

CFW For Dummies is my humble attempt at making an up to date guide on how to install a CFW or Homebrew solution on all existing PSP models. I tried to cover all existing “up to date” solutions. Like most similar guides, it needs improvement and fixes. Like most guides, it will become obsolete in a few weeks.

But right now it is up to date, and I’ll do my best to update it based on people’s comments and experiences :) And unlike most guides, it is designed in a way to lead you directly to the information you need, based on your psp hardware and firmware. It is not noob-proof yet, but that’s the ultimate goal.

So, if you have a PSP, and are lost as to which Custom Firmware can be installed and/or run on your machine, if you don’t clearly understand what a HEN, CFW, or Ta88v3 are, just follow the guide :)

Note: Looking for the NesterJ NES Emulator? You can download it here

If you’re on a Firmware 6.36 or less, there’s a high chance you already know about the Homebrew enablers available for you, which are as close as you can get to a Custom Firmware nowadays. Homebrews, plugins, Kernel mode, everything you want to do with your PSP is now doable (Sony still hasn’t added youtube support in the official firwmare, while we’ve been enjoying it on CFW for almost 3 years now… but if you’re running one of those Homebrew enablers, you already know that.)

Of course, Official Firmware 6.37 patches the Kernel exploit used by the HEN, as well as the exploit in the Game “minna no sukkiri”.

But this is no news anymore, we can now sign user-mode homebrews for the PSP, and 6.37 doesn’t patch that. This means that if you’re on 6.37, you still have a possibility to run user-mode homebrews (which represent the majority of homebrew games and utils)… as long as they are signed.

Of course, you can look for signed homebrews (there’s a good list here), and run them directly on your machine. Often though, you will run into a homebrew that is not yet signed. Yes, you can sign homebrews yourself on your PSP. But maybe you won’t want to bother. Or maybe the homebrew you want to play has limitations that prevent it to be signed (*cough* scummVM *cough*). Such as homebrews that are too big, or homebrews compiled as static elf. Unless you’re very tech-savvy, don’t try too hard figuring out which ones will work or won’t, the best way is to try…which is frustrating.

What I’m saying is: don’t trash your perfectly fine collection of unsigned homebrews, HBL is still here for you, in a shiny new version that you can run from the XMB. (Thanks to JJS for this new version!)

This new release of Half Byte Loader runs directly from the XMB on any 6.xx firmware, and will allow you to:

  • Run your homebrews on 6.37 (or any other 6.XX firmware) without the need to sign them
  • Run homebrews that cannot be signed (such as ScummVM), on firmware 6.37 or below
  • Put your homebrews in any folder you want, to avoid turning your “Game” XMB into a huge mess

I expect this release to be interesting mostly for 6.37 owners, but this new HBL release is compatible with all 6.XX firmwares for people who are not into the “Hen” stuff ;).

I must say that I’m perfectly happy that for this one time, Sony patches the Kernel exploit (we expect them to) but still lets us enjoy User mode homebrew. I’m sure this is not intentional, but thanks anyways.

Download here and enjoy :)

Regarding donations  

Total_Noob posted a warning a few days ago regarding donations for the TN Hen: it seems some people are impersonating him in order to get donations in exchange for vaporware…

Don’t get tricked! Devs always appreciate donations, but we (I speak for Total_Noob and the devs of HBL and Wagic) will never ask for donation in exchange of new features. TN Hen, Half-Byte Loader (and Wagic) are free. As  a matter of fact, HBL and Wagic are so free that they are open source.

Keep in mind that you donate to thank the devs for the work they’ve done so far, not for something you expect to happen.

TN Hen is the result of months of work by Total_Noob. You can find his donation link directly on his blog.

Half Byte Loader is the result of more than one year of work, from almost 10 developers. Wagic is the result of 3 years of work by more than 20 devs and designers. I shamelessly accept donations for my own involvement in these 2 projects. I try to use the donations money wisely. However if you don’t want to donate to me directly, but still want to thank us for these 2 projects, donate to the Red Cross and let me know by email!

Thanks to all people who donated and to those who will :)

This will sound like old news to many of you, as the binary has been made available a while ago by Mr.X on our forums, but, believe it or not, with all the “Hen” and “iso loader” things going on, I didn’t find the time to do a proper release of HBL for the sukkiri exploit.

I apologize in advance as I haven’t tested this release very thoroughly, but there it is, official support of all firmwares up to 6.35 for HBL.

I also want to announce that I will stop supporting the Golf exploits from now on. I don’t know yet what the decision will be from the development point of view, but as far as binaries are concerned, I won’t release updates for the Golf exploit anymore. I strongly suggest to people on OFW 6.30/6.31 to migrate to the sukkiri exploit as soon as possible. As far as I know, this exploit will bring a higher compatibility rate than the golf exploit, the game being a bit more recent.

The patapon exploit is a different story. For now I keep it at the latest R109 release, as I expect people using this exploit to quickly start using the HEN. And there’s no need to update HBL as long as the Hen starts fine :)  (by the way, don’t mind the “memory leak” message when running the Hen through HBL, this is perfectly normal)

Thanks to JJS, some1 and m0skit0 for their work on this release.

Download here and give us feedback here.

Enjoy :)

I see many comments asking for the availability of a HEN for firmwares 6.30, 6.31, and 6.35…

I won’t describe in depth how stupid it is to upgrade your console and then complain about it. It’s not like hackers (or Sony, for that matter) come into your house and upgrade your PSP while you’re sleeping, right? Most people on 6.3x right now are people who made a choice on their own (I know there are exceptions…) and it’s not like we didn’t warn you

Let me also remind you that Half Byte Loader works on firmwares 6.3x and will allow you to run most applications that you can run on a HEN. I know it’s not as convenient, but it should be enough for you to wait patiently.

Now, back on the Hen for 6.35. Yes, I’m convinced this will happen. I don’t know when, and I don’t know if it will be a downgrader or a HEN for 6.35, but now that Total_Noob’s Hen is in the wild, people already started reversing it, and it is probably a matter of time before a public solution is made available for 6.3x owners. After all, the Kernel exploit used in this HEN is still here in 6.35.

Usually the difficulty in these things is to find the exploit. Now that the exploit for 6.35 has been made public, anybody with a brain and enough free time could contribute to a HEN for 6.35. And remember, beggers can’t be choosers, so grab a decompiler or shut up :)

I expect the news to spread very fast by now, so no point in hiding this. Today Jeerum released a user mode exploit for the Demo of the video Game “minna no sukkiri” (files below).

This demo exploit was known by several hackers, and had been found before Jeerum by (at least) the following people: Darxploit, Flyer, minomushi, some1. These people made the clever move of keeping this as secret as possible, and contacting us (mamosuke, j416, JJS, m0skit0, and myself) in order to discuss release plans.

I had written a long explanation on how stupid this leak release was, but then realized that such drama is mostly useless. Let’s just say that Sony will patch both the Hen and this exploit in their next firmware, while everybody already knew that TN had been working on “something” on 6.35 involving a VSH exploit. Well, at least he won’t have to waste this one…

Thumbs down to Jeerum for releasing this now. Man, had you waited a few weeks after Sony’s next firmware, you’d have been in a much better position.

Some1 and JJS have a port of HBL ready for this exploit, we will most likely release it asap but I need to synchronize with other  HBL devs.

Oh, and for those who ask, this was pretty much the only known  Demo exploit, at least until we can start investigate on Demos that require 6.xx. And trust me, we looked hard.

History repeats itself I guess…

You can download the files of the exploit below, HBL will come later once we’re ready. This exploit is nothing but a call to sceKernelExitGame. Once you load the game and click on “continue”, this will simply exit to the XMB.

Minna no sukiri Demo

Jeerum’s exploit (recommended link) (or try this mirror )

Please stay tuned for the release of HBL on this exploit.

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