Bubble madness – Bubbles here, bubbles there. Where are the limits of the custom PS Vita bubbles?
In the last few days people have showed pictures and videos of PS Vitas running custom-made bubbles, which could start a various amount of different things, be it our well known VHBL (up to 3.35+), be it a TN-V launcher (for ≤3.20) or even an ARK-2 launcher (for ⋚3.20?).
Most of the time it has been me who showed you those things, but my good friend KanadeEngel also showed some interesting things.
The questions now are: What are custom bubbles, what can they do – what can’t they do, where are the limits and can this be easily patched by Sony?
Let me explain it.
If you did not had the chance to take a look at these custom bubbles for the PS Vita, feel free to check out this Playlist that I’ve created. It contains all current and will contain all future videos that deal with these custom bubbles.
Most of the work on this has been done by Qwikrazor, while I’ve provided key information about important things, which, in the end, lead us to success.
We would also like to thank all people that have been involved in this. Without you this would not have been possible!
What are those PS Vita custom bubbles?
Like the name already suggest, it is a modified bubble for the PS Vita. The PS Vita usually launches its games via the click on a small bubble, which is on the Homescreen of the PS Vita itself.
A custom bubble pretty much just means that it is a modified version of an already existing bubble (or a completely new one). It is not an official bubble that you can download from the PSN store (or create via a PS Vita cartridge).
The first appearance of these custom bubbles has been a month ago, which shows the custom bubble method by french developer Tomtomdu80 and our forum member mr.gas. Those two figured out first how to do this, but there is never just one way to achieve a goal, is there? More about this at the end of this article.
What can those custom bubbles do (as of now)?
Like with most kinds of code execution, we prepared a simple hello world. Something that is easy to do and should always work, that is, if you have enough access to run (at least) a Hello World in the first place.
Since a hello world is pretty boring, and I have to agree, our hello world was especially boring – It lacked cool colors, special snow flakes and everything that makes a hello world cool, we know – We went a bit further and tried to incorporate the VHBL into one of these custom bubbles. The success speaks for itself, I would say.
A VHBL is pretty cool, I mean it can run emulators and other kind of homebrews, but how about another kind of launcher, for example one that launches the PSP XMB?
We did this as well, and after some trial and error it worked. Keep in mind that since TN-V is not open sourced, we were unable to port TN-V to firmwares 3.3x, fix the bugs that TN-V has on 3.3x and therefore this can only be done on firmwares ≤3.20.
Some other ideas have been the direct launch of a homebrew itself, without the help of TN-V, ARK-2 or the VHBL, and we have to say that this is possible too. Some homebrews might have to be patched to work, but, in general, this should be possible with most kind of homebrews. No video for this, though.
Playstation 1, Playstation Portable and PS Vita game backups were pretty much the last we have thought about (at first), but after some tinkering we even managed some of those things.
For example the English patched version of Final Fantasy Type-0 is fully working on a PS Vita, even though it has never been approved for the western world or the PSN store itself.
Other games, that have never been on the PSN store before, or are only available on one PSN store, are also working without problems.
PS1 games are currently still untested, but we think this should be possible too. It is also possible that this does not work at all, so I would like to leave this uncommented.
What is definitely impossible to do (as of now)? Limits?
To those who have paid attention in the last part, you might have noticed that I spoke about PS1, PSP and PSV backups. PSP backups were confirmed to work, PS1 backups might (not) work, but we can definitely confirm that it is impossible to run non-bought versions of PS Vita games.
Qwikrazor’s custom bubble method is not capable of running pirated PS Vita games. Yay~
This unfortunately also includes all the legal content that could’ve been installed via the Package Installer on firmwares ≤3.20.
And since those stupid questions will appear: This also does not enable the playback of PS2, PS3 or PS4 games.
Can Sony easily patch this?
To the other part of you that might have paid attention while I was talking about Tom and mr.gas, might have noticed that I would like to talk about the method at the end of this article.
Since this is pretty much the end of this article, lets talk about the method (at least about as much as I can say without spoiling it, of course).
While Tom and mr.gas have been the first to achieve this on a retail PS Vita, we still do not know the method they use. They refuses to share files and they refused to share too many information, but we are kind of glad that they shared a bit of information with us.
Tom’s and mr.gas’ method might be easily patchable by Sony, as far as I know, but the method that Qwikrazor uses might be a bit more durable [Note from Wololo: I don’t have the same understanding].
You read that right, there are (currently) at least 2 completely different methods of creating those custom bubbles. This is good news, because even if one gets patched by Sony, we will still have another way of creating, using and abusing those custom bubbles on our Vitas.
We also know that a lot of people would really like to have custom bubbles themselves, but not even Wololo himself has access to this [udppate from wololo: between the time this article was written and now, I have actually had the opportunity to test and confirm this hack. It is great!], and he also said he prefers to not have access to this, since less people with access means less people that could potentially leak and spoil it for everybody.
This will be released at some point in the future, but don’t expect an official release too soon. Qwikrazor still has to iron out some bugs, and for example to confirm if PS1 backups are possible or not and investigate what else can be done by this.
If you appreciate Qwikrazor’s work, feel free to drop a buck or two, we would really appreciate it.