Wololo.net http://wololo.net PS4, PS Vita, PSP Programming, Security and Homebrews Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:07:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 [UPDATE] Cubic Ninja Winner!http://wololo.net/2014/11/25/update-cubic-ninja-winner/ http://wololo.net/2014/11/25/update-cubic-ninja-winner/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:07:37 +0000 http://wololo.net/?p=22704 So it seems we had a bit of an issue with our last winner, he did not live in the US. Therefore was time to let random.org do it’s thing again. And the results are in. (again) :)

 

Congratulations to @ilikepie641 !! (whom I’ve confirmed is a US resident) Please DM me your Name, Address, ect, either here on /talk or on Twitter. And this officially concludes our Cubic Ninja giveaway! I’d like to thank everyone who entered, and our original winner for being honest about not living in the US.

xxwin

On a side note, I popped into GameStop this afternoon and found out from my manager buddy that Cubic Ninja was not in fact recalled by the company or Nintendo, but it seems the higher ups at GameStop have decided to raise the price of a used copy of Cubic Ninja from $4 to $40. Luckily my manager buddy did not agree with GameStop’s price gouging, and I found a free copy of the game in my bag that someone had recently traded in… (GameStop will still only pay you less than $1 to trade it in even though they are turning around and selling it for $40) Nice, eh? I suppose it pays to know what you have! :)

So yeah, I got another free copy of the game. Keep your eyes locked here on Wololo.net and you can follow me on Twitter @heleius ’cause Christmas is coming up and who knows? There may just be another giveaway! ;)

Thanks again to smea for Ninjhax and Wololo for letting me do the contest and thanks for everyone who entered! :)

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Latest update and status of the Vita “bubble” hackhttp://wololo.net/2014/11/25/latest-update-and-status-of-the-vita-bubble-hack/ http://wololo.net/2014/11/25/latest-update-and-status-of-the-vita-bubble-hack/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 02:30:42 +0000 http://wololo.net/?p=22689 Yesterday, Katsu posted a series of steps and screenshots on how to create your own “bubble” on the PS Vita.

The technique requires to have a PS Vita running VHBL (or a custom firmware such as TN-V), and a PS3. After a series of manipulations involving renaming some files, adding a few others, backing-up some content from the Vita to the PS3 and vice versa, one is able to change the icon and name of a game they own on the Vita, as can be seen in katsu’s screenshots. You can find all the details here.

For now this technique only seems to allow to change the icon and “name” of a game you purchased from the PSN, but katsu promised “homebrews” would be coming soon.

bubble_vita

I’ve myself been in touch with Qwikrazor87 on his own work with these “bubbles”, and rumor has it that Total_Noob is also working on some similar feature for a future release of TN-V. Qwikrazor87, in particular, has been making steady progress on this: over the past few weeks, Qwikrazor87 has found that he can do much more than was initially thought with his technique.

Although some of his work involves file manipulation similar to what katsu has been showcasing, Qwikrazor has also been hard at work testing a variety of homebrews with his work, a step which required lots of tweaking to be widely compatible (static ELFs support, etc…). He’s also found techniques that allow a “duplication” of bubbles: the initial technique required to “waste” a PSP Mini for each homebrew you’d want to run. This wasn’t a big deal, people would just choose to run TN-V or VHBL as their “psp mini”, then run their favorite homebrew or isos from there. But now the possibility to run all homebrew directly from the Live Area sounds like even a better deal.

Long story short, I’ve seen with my own eyes this technique running PSP isos and homebrews directly from the Live Area screen. Not only an icon and a name change. But there’s still work ongoing, and releasing “explanations” like what katsu has done today could run the risk of Sony patching this trick prematurely.

Qwikrazor’s technique also requires an exploitable game. Installing the bubbles requires an initial “hack” that can only be run with an exploited game. That game is only needed to install the bubbles initially, but not later on to actually launch the bubble games. In a sense, it means making the method public could also be seen as a waste: if it requires an exploit in the first place, why wouldn’t people just use the exploit to run homebrews with the regular VHBL, instead of using this technique (I mean, true, it is convenient…)

The video below showcases Qwikrazor’s bubbles running a few homebrews on my 3.35 vita: FTP Vita, PSP Filer, and Wagic.

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Cubic Ninja Giveaway Winner!http://wololo.net/2014/11/24/cubic-ninja-giveaway-winner/ http://wololo.net/2014/11/24/cubic-ninja-giveaway-winner/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 04:22:45 +0000 http://wololo.net/?p=22687 So i hope everyone is happy with their 3DS’s ;)

Well, maybe not if you are guy that needs a copy of Cubic Ninja, right?

Well, if you live in the US and read the simple rules let’s announce the winner!

(drumrolls…)

Congrats to  @ManuViloria! DM me (@heleius) on twitter with your name & address so I can get the game out to you. :)

xxwin

Again, Thanks to smea for Ninjhax and Wololo for letting me do this giveaway!

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RetroArch PSP – Update V1.0.0.3 Beta 2http://wololo.net/2014/11/23/retroarch-psp-update-v1-0-0-3-beta-2/ http://wololo.net/2014/11/23/retroarch-psp-update-v1-0-0-3-beta-2/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:36:48 +0000 http://wololo.net/?p=22660 Last time we spoke of RetroArch was when the first beta of version 1.0.0.3 had been released. Although we are a little late on this, we’d like to announce an update that fixes some of the issues that were faced in the previous version. If you don’t know what retroarch is, then I’m sorry to say but you’ve been living under a rock. RetroArch is an open source, multi-platform frontend designed to be a fast, lightweight, and portable multi-system emulator. It has been making its way onto PSP very recently, while supporting a plethora of other devices such as Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10, Raspberry Pi, OpenPandora, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, and Nintendo Wii.

RetroArch running on a PSP.

Users, this is where we need you! The developers have stated that if these updates are proven to be stable enough they will consider adding more cores. Feedback or bug reports are highly welcomed! Feel free to let them know on their forums here, or drop a comment below, and I’m sure one of those eagle eyed lurkers will report after testing it themselves.

The new update has resolved the following issues.

– tempGBA now correctly saves sram to the correct folder (.sav extension)
– fixed an issue with tempGBA when loading compressed archives.
– pce-fast: fixed most graphical glitches and improved speed a lot. most CD-rom games now run close to fullspeed.

 

PSP 1000’s are told to use this version.

PSP 2000’s and newer (Slims) are told to use this version.

 

If you think you have what it takes to give the developers a little hand, make sure you do contact them on their forums. The source code for each system can be found here, in their master branch. Happy Emulating! :)

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Review: R5SDHC (Sky3DS clone)http://wololo.net/2014/11/22/review-r5sdhc-sky3ds-clone/ http://wololo.net/2014/11/22/review-r5sdhc-sky3ds-clone/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:26:29 +0000 http://wololo.net/?p=22668 I am writing this review with mixed feelings. Everyone who’s come here more than once knows our stance against piracy. The Sky3DS and R5SDHC are specifically created to play 3DS “backups”, and have no pretention of letting people play homebrews. As such, I have classified those as “piracy devices” so far.

You might remember that I have contacted the Sky3DS team several times as an attempt to review their device, but they never replied. Some retailers of the Sky3DS and R5SDHC, however, immediately contacted me after reading my article about the Sky3DS, and sent me an R5SDHC for free. As such I feel I owe them this review. Additionally, the fact that these cards indirectly run homebrew through the cubic ninja exploit also makes it a valid homebrew option moving forward, but I’ll get back to this in the review.

So, first of all, many thanks to /talk member jackmax for sending me the device for a review. You can get an R5SDHC from their partner site here. (or the Sky3DS here). I want to emphasize that I am not affiliated with these sites and cannot judge the quality of their service as I have never used them.

TLDR

r5sdhc_review

Let’s get the cat out of the bag: the R5SDHC (and, I assume, the Sky3DS) does what it claims to do: the device lets you play 3DS roms on a 3DS running the latest firmware (9.2.0-20 as of writing this review. It’s safe to assume the next firmware will attempt to patch this). In theory, this is advertised as a backup device, letting you play 10 of your 3DS games without having to carry 10 cartridges with you, and risking damaging or losing them. In practice, most people will use this device to play pirated games they download on the intertubes.

Unboxing and first impression

r5sdhc_package

The packaging for the R5SDHC is as simple as can be: a piece of cardboard enclosing the device. No manual, no complimentary Micro SD, you’ll have to provide your own. For a device which averages at $110 on retailer sites, I felt an effort could have been made by the team here, but hey, piracy is a “for profit” business with not so much interest for returning customers, so be it. At least we can say this is some frustration-free packaging here. Open the box, get the R5 out, done.

The R5 itself feels reasonably solid, but I wouldn’t expect less from a tiny square made of solid plastic. Basically, inserting it in and off the 3DS doesn’t feel like anything could break.

How this works & ease of use

The R5 has a slot for a micro SD. The user copies 3DS Roms (that they acquired on their own) to the micro SD on their computer, through some proprietary software (the DiskWriter). Once the files are copied to the MicroSD, it is inserted back into the R5. The R5 goes into the 3DS, and the 3DS will automatically detect the first game in the list. To switch to another game in the list of copied games, the user has to press a button on the R5. I’ve seen this on videos before and it felt awkward and slow. After using it myself, this is actually pretty convenient, especially because one cannot carry more than 10 games on the R5 (in theory. I’ll get back to that). As a result you only have to cycle through at most 10 button presses to run a specific game.

The software provided with the device is windows only, but is extremely simple to use. Select your roms, add them to the interface, and let it do its work.

r5sdhc_diskwriter_main

Once the games are on your microSD, everything works out of the box without any complicated manipulation, besides inserting the R5 cartridge into the console, and pressing its button to switch games.

r5sdhc_light

10 games limitation?

It was speculated for a while what the “10 games limitation” meant on these cartridges. It means exactly what their FAQ is saying: the Sky3DS and the R5SDHC will let you use 10 games, not one more. If you want to play an 11th game, you can’t delete a game from your Micro SD and replace it with a new one. Instead, you’ll have to buy another R5 cartridge, to support 10 more games. This is because somehow the R5 keeps track of how many games you have used with it, and has a hardcoded stop at “10”. This is not a limitation of the hack or the hardware, but an intentional limit put in place to make people buy more of the R5. It also makes it difficult to resell the device on the second-hand market.

I’ve mentioned that the device can currently be found for about $110 on retailer websites (not including shipping). This means you literally pay an average of $11 per game you pirate backup with this device. At this price point, this makes the device slightly unattractive. A majority of 3DS games can be purchased for less than $25, and a significant amount can be found today, used, for less than $11. The choice will be up to gamers, if they are willing to give $11 per game to pirates, or $25 to the actual game creators. I think my opinion on this subject is pretty clear.

With all the above being said, some people have found ways to bypass the 10 roms limitation, and actually install up to 100 Roms on the R5 (provided you have a big enough Micro SD). The R5 official site has admitted the bug, confirming the steps to add up to 100 roms on their device. They also mentioned the next batch of devices will probably not have this flaw. A smart marketing move, that will probably guarantee people will rush to buy the R5 rather than its competitors. From a pure pricing point of view, a 100 Roms limitation makes the device much more viable, pricing piracy at $1.1 per game, the cost of a casual game on itunes. Too bad for 3DS developers, good for pirates.

I have not confirmed the glitch that lets people play more than 10 roms. I didn’t even have access to that many roms during my tests.

Compatibility

r5sdhc_mario

As I’ve mentioned above, the R5 is fairly easy to use, even for a novice like me who’s owned a 3DS for less than a week. It is compatible with the latest 3DS firmware, and has accepted almost every game I’ve thrown at it. It is worth mentioning though that it is whitelist based: not all games will work on the card, they have to be supported by it. The list apparently expends regularly, but out of the few games that I tried, 1 did not work (Puzzles and Dragons). That’s not a very statistically significant amount of data, but that represented 15% of my attempts.

I am not too worried that compatibility will increase with time, at least for games that came out before the device. For future games, there’s always the possibility that Nintendo makes them incompatible somehow with the device.

I could successfully run Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, one of the “professor Layton” games, Shinobi 3D, and Cubic Ninja (more on that later). In my tests, only puzzles and Dragons refused to install. In that case, the Diskwriter tool explains you can’t install the game, and this will not “waste” one of your 10 slots.

r5sdhc_diskwriter_noresource

Region Locking

The R5, Sky3DS, etc… do not remove region locking from the console. What this means is that a Japanese 3DS will only run Japanese roms, a US 3DS will only run US roms, etc…

The Diskwriter will not prevent you from copying a Rom with the wrong region, even if you have copied Roms from another region in the past (at which point it could at least ask you to confirm). But once on the R5, the game does not show up on the console when you switch to it. It is possible to delete it from the Micro SD, and I have been told this does not use one of your slots but I couldn’t properly verify that (I do not have 11 roms so I don’t know if I reached the limits). My recommendation is to be careful and not even try to copy roms from the wrong region. I did it because this was a free sample, you wouldn’t want to mess your $110 device.

Cubic Ninja and Homebrew

r5sdhc_cubicninja

One of the roms I tried was Cubic Ninja. This game is the entry point to Smealum’s recently released Homebrew Launcher. and I could confirm this works perfectly: the Cubic Ninja rom, running through the R5, executes the homebrew launcher perfectly fine. Other people have confirmed that the Gateway3DS and Sky3DS also run the exploit fine through a Cubic Ninja rom. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for piracy here, but given that cubic Ninja has become almost impossible to find (and at any rate, not below $40, when the game was worth $5 less than a week ago), people should be aware that this remains an option. To help with conscience issues, it is also worth mentioning that Nintendo have apparently recalled the game, and that therefore only second-hand copies can be found moving forward. So even if you pay for the game, the money does not go to the developer anymore at this point. Just sayin’ that the possibility to do this exists, technically.

r5sdhc_hbl

Conclusion

Thanks again to the people who sent me this sample. The R5SDHC works as advertised, and apparently does even a little bit more since its 10 games limitation can be bypassed (in the current hardware revision) thanks to a bug. Additionally, Homebrew can indirectly be achieved on this device through Cubic Ninja. It is worth emphasizing that this does not remove region locking at all. With the current price point of $110, I still think this device is 10 times too expensive for what it does. If the 10 games limitation was officially removed, then it would be much more acceptable, as far as “piracy” devices go.

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