Recently SilverBull of AssemblerGames.com (linked above) has released his Kermit ODEM (Optical Drive EMulation) DBGCORE v0.4 BETA for PS2 alongside some videos by leonardoliveira of it in action, which appears similar to the elusive PS2 SuperBender but based on reverse-engineering of the PlayStation 2 HD Loader software.
Kermit aims to deliver PC-assisted real time debugging facilities similar to what is offered by the DTL-T10000 kit (Playstation 2 TOOL) but on a retail PS2 console.
Download: Kermit v0.4.4 BETA 1 / Embed v1.3 R1 PLUS v3
Kermit has partial DECI2 support and this feature is still being worked on. Expect more mesmerizing features to come.
All debug, disassembly, cheat-engine, memory dumping, PC communication features are achieved by the install of the resident kernel module called DBGCore which hooks/patches into the existing PS2 OS kernel. Kermit communicates with the PC through either full duplex EE-SIO (Mr.Brown's EE-SIO cable) or through iLINK (IEE 1394).
With IEE 1394 Kermit makes a full EE memory dump in just 30 seconds.
Another feature recently added is the Optical Drive EMulation (ODEM) which allow the user to boot an installed HDLoader game while having all DBGCore facilities enabled. The "Auto launch HD Loader games from SONY browser" video demonstrates how ODEM can be used to simply play games if the user is not interested on debugging anything.
ODEM is currently the only HDLoader-like piece of software which is capable of playing HDD games on an SCPH-10000 console equipped with an PCMCIA Network Adapter + External HDD.
Here are some hi-res screenshots for your viewing pleasure (intro, main+comm settings, disc emulator settings, disc partition details):
All taken from my TOOL using Kermit's PC-side software, but with no resident Kermit patches in the PS2 kernel. You can archive similar results on retail machines by first starting Kermit itself, then rebooting into the OSD and restarting the GUI later.
Although I like the 1x000 consoles and can only recommend to get them while they are still available, you don't need one to run Kermit on. The program basically supports all hardware versions, although I do most of the development on a DTL-T10000, an unmodified SCPH-39004, and (mainly for compatibility testing) a DTL-H10000.
However, I stronly recommend to use a 3900x or previous model if you want to employ host communication. EE SIO is sloooooooooooow (~3KB/s), and even though 1394 is not that well connected on the PS2 (I get ~500KB/s), it is far more enjoyable.
The Kermit distribution includes everything you need to get up and running: basic usage instructions, PS2 ELF (resident part, GUI, ODEM, EE DECI2 interface) and the PC application with 1394 driver. ODEM uses the exactly same format for disc images than HDL, so it should recognize all your installed games.
However, some of the weirder Kermit features require using certain files from a T10000 ROM, but I will only provide instructions on how to extract them, not on how to get the ROM itself. These things are highly experimental at this time, so you probably won't miss much if you do not have a ROM dump lying around.
On another note: you need a PC running Windows XP (I still use SP2, but SP3 should work as well) with installed .NET Runtime v2.0 SP1 for communication with the PS2; it also needs to have either a serial port for EE SIO, or (preferrably) a standard 4-/6-pin firewire port for 1394. USB and network communication is currently not supported, and (due to lack of IOP memory while games are running) probably won't be anytime soon.
For 1394 to work, you'll need to install a special kernel-mode device driver supplied in the Kermit distribution. I know this might be a problem for some people who do not want to install drivers from dubious sources (I wouldn't like to as well), but unfortunately this is necessary because Windows does not provide a user-mode 1394 API.
I used an old version of the Microsoft 1394diag sample for the driver (basically, I just patched it not to crash the machine immediately when the connected device powers down), so in case you are really anxious, you could download a current WDK and compile the driver yourself. It should work just like my own one if you adjust the PnP ID in the INF file accordingly.
Quick and dirty demonstration of what can be done with Kermit debugger core installed and active:
This video demonstrates the new feature of KERMIT which allows for booting HD Loader format software from the SONY HDD Browser with an SCPH-18000 PS2 (no modchip) and SONY official HDD kit. Auto launch HD Loader games from SONY browser:
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