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January 2, 2012 // 12:44 am - It wasn't long ago that we saw a Sega emulator running on PlayStation Vita, and now homebrew developer wololo has shared a video of the Doom PSP homebrew game running on PS Vita though the Half Byte Loader (HBL).

To quote: 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!

We are aware that this hack will be easily patched by Sony, but we still plan to publicly release it some time soon after the US/EU release of the Vita (we still have to port HBL to the EU/US versions of the game but that shouldn’t have any difficulty).

I also know that some devs are already working on solutions to make it “easier” for people who would want to stay on a low firmware. I wouldn’t be surprised to see unofficial patches to the CMA, to prevent it from connecting to the net.

Let me use the opportunity to remind that HBL is a collective work, it is open source (anybody with a PSVita, a PSP, and a game exploit in their possession could do what I’m doing here!), and I want to especially thank the major work of m0skit0 (the creator of HBL) and JJS (who brought it to the level it is today).

I also want to remind pirates around us that HBL does not technically allow people to run backups, PSP or Vita. (My opinion on the subject does not matter, it is a technical limitation of the tool, and has nothing to do with ethics.)

Happy New Year




Video: Doom PSP Homebrew Game Running on PS Vita via HBL

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#141 - A2theC - January 16, 2012 // 2:54 pm
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New system, same routine.

#140 - valid93 - January 16, 2012 // 12:37 pm
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Thanks

#139 - PS4 News - January 16, 2012 // 12:33 pm
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Cheers for the news GrandpaHomer, I have now promoted it to the main page and +Rep for submitting it!

#138 - GrandpaHomer - January 16, 2012 // 2:36 am
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Following up on the previous PlayStation Vita System Software updates, today Sony of Japan has released PS Vita version 1.52 Firmware update.

Download: PS Vita 1.52 Firmware Update (JPN)

As usual, the Sony PlayStation Vita 1.52 Firmware update is a mandatory install. According to Andriasang.com the PS Vita update is simply another small bug fix.

To quote: "A number of Vita owners are saying via Twitter and blogs and so-forth that the update fixes a version 1.51 bug where the 3G system would not recognize your SIM card."

So far I'm unaware of any visible changes in the system or settings, however, this article will be updated as a change log becomes available on Sony's official PS Vita Web site.

System software version 1.52 for PlayStation Vita Update:

  • From January 16, 2012, began to update the system software version 1.52.

To become available and some features of the PlayStation Network features, updates the system software of PS Vita (Update) is required. PS Vita also system software, by updating, adding and security can be enhanced many features. Please use the update to the latest version.

The main features in system software update version 1.52:

  • The software system has improved the operational stability.

Finally, wololo reports (wololo.net/wagic/2012/01/16/forced-firmware-update-1-52-for-the-ps-vita/#more-3875), to quote: "Mamosuke confirmed to me today that Teck4's exploit for the PSP Emulator in the vita is still working on 1.52.

Note that it doesn't guarantee 100% that some of the techniques used to get HBL to work on top of this exploit haven't been patched, as I haven't tested myself. But for now I'm confident. I might update to test that, at some point."

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#137 - PS4 News - January 10, 2012 // 9:18 pm
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Today PS Vita hacker wololo has made available a Half Byte Loader (HBL) development FAQ for those interested in progress thus far on Sony's PlayStation Vita handheld console.

Also below he states that he has ported HBL for Teck4's exploit successfully and updated to EU/US versions.

To quote: I managed to port HBL to the US version of Teck4′s exploit in exactly 45 minutes (including writing the savedata exploit and the binary loader), which is a new personal record, thanks to the scripts included in HBL's repository, and also to the fact that the different versions of the game are internally fairly similar (which is to be expected because technically the game is supposed to be the same, just translated, but I seem to recall it wasn't that easy for the Hotshots golf exploit)

I also updated the EU/US versions of this HBL port to get the tweaks I worked on for the past weeks in order to get a fair amount of homebrews to work.

The next step for me is to write a bit of documentation on how to use all this, and then patiently wait. As far as a release is concerned... well check the FAQ I wrote yesterday.

I could spend time polishing this port of HBL for the Vita, improve compatibility, and I might do it, but since there's a high risk this gets used by only a small amount of people before it gets patched, I'll probably leave it in its current state for now. It's probably not worth working too much on the details if nobody ends up using it. Of course if by some sort of miracle this doesn't get patched immediately by Sony, I'll update it accordingly.

Now let's all wait (I'm probably more excited than anybody else about this release, really...)

A FAQ for HBL on the Vita

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.

What is HBL?

HBL stands for "Half Byte Loader". This is a homebrew loader for the PSP, which was written initially by m0skit0, then improved and maintained by a bunch of devs including myself (those two links are good old memories, when HBL wasn't loading a single homebrew properly). It basically allows to run fanmade games, emulators, etc on the PSP. We've found that it can run on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator.

Will this allow to run PSP backups (isos)?

Although in theory that would be possible, HBL only has access to the PSP "user mode" which is fairly limited. Practically, all teams who have tried to create an iso loader in user mode on the PSP have failed so far.

Will this allow to run PS Vita game backups?

No

Does this give us access to the Vita hardware (touch screen, etc)?

No. HBL accesses the hardware through the PSP emulator, and therefore only has access to what is mapped to the PSP controls. It also only has access to 32MB of ram, etc

Does this give us possibilities to hack the vita further?

Most likely, not. HBL is stuck in user mode, in a sandboxed emulator. To get access to Vita information, we would need first to get kernel access in the emulator (through a psp kernel exploit), and then find other exploits in the emulator/OS itself to break away from the sandbox (which, if the Vita OS is as secure as I think it is, is close to impossible)

But will it give us more horsepower than the psp? Can we expect emulators to run faster, etc?

This still needs to be investigated deeper, but from what I've seen, not really. Memory stick access is definitely faster on the vita (Wagic loads between 5 and 10 times faster on the vita than on a psp go), but the rest seems to follow the psp limitations (as one would expect from an emulator)

Will this be made public?

Yes. Teck4 (who found the exploit) and I agreed to making this public at some point.

When will this be made public?

Some time after the Vita is released worldwide.

I heard Sony can patch this very easily as soon as it's made public?

Yes. Since this uses a vulnerability in a PSP game, as soon as they know which game it is, Sony can remove the game from the PS Store. Once they do that, they can patch the Vita firmware to reject the "malicious" files (either by preventing them from being copied through the content manager assistant, or by patching the PSP emulator, or by patching the PSP game, etc). At that point, people who don't already have the game on their console won't be able to use HBL. Also, people who do have HBL will need to never upgrade their firmware, will have to use some tools such as OpenCMA in order to copy files to the vita, and will be locked out of the PS Store as long as they want to use homebrews.

So shouldn't you keep this under wraps instead?

Meh, it's not like anything is really secret here besides the name of the game. It's already pretty sure this is not useful for hacking the vita further, so even if it gets patched I don't think we will lose "too much".

No iso, no access to the vita internals, and Sony will patch it as soon as it's out, so basically it's useless?

Yes and No. Technically, a hacked PSP is way cheaper and will allow you to do more than that. But this is, as I write these lines, the only way to run unsigned code on the Vita, which in itself makes it a great achievement (and it's always cool to show your friends that your Vita can run Mario, and theirs can't). Also, it didn't take too much time to adapt since most of the code was already available from our past work in the psp scene. It would have been even more useless to say "oh yeah, interesting, we can run psp exploits on the vita" and not do anything with it.

How do you copy/install homebrews to the ps vita, since it cannot be mounted as a regular usb drive?

This will be explained when HBL is released.

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#136 - Bartholomy - January 9, 2012 // 8:37 pm
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Awesome, thanks

#135 - smokyyuwe - January 9, 2012 // 8:20 pm
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Virtuous Flame released an update to his Open CMA tool a few days ago. Open CMA allows you to connect your playstation Vita to your PC through the Content Manager without needing to be connected to the internet. This is useful if you need to transfer some files while away from your network, or simply if like me you don’t see why it should be required to be connected to the internet when you transfer files between two pieces of hardware you own.

This update (revision 3) patches the PC side of the content manager further, preventing it from auto updating. Without this patch, Sony’s driver is silently updating itself whenever it’s connected to the internet even if you were using open CMA so far, which makes this r3 an important update.

Download source: wololo.net/downloads/index.php/download/1252

Source: wololo.net/wagic/2012/01/10/virtuous-flames-open-cma-r3-released/

#134 - Bartholomy - January 9, 2012 // 6:40 pm
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Superb. I hope to see more and more about PSVITA hacking

#133 - NTA - January 9, 2012 // 5:26 pm
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>_> at 0:41 I usually die of don't jump or duck. I don't see how that's possible.

Sucks that gpsp doesn't work yet. Really looking forward to that

#132 - PS4 News - January 9, 2012 // 5:08 pm
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Today PlayStation Vita hacker wololo has shared a video (below) demonstrating several PSP homebrew applications and emulators running on PS Vita using their Half-Byte Loader (HBL).

To quote: 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.

You can see in this video snes9xTYL (super nes emulator), Bookr (pdf reader), CSPSP, T.O.M.E. (text mode rpg), EmuMaster (game boy emulator), Zombie Crisis (FPS), Wagic (which loads about 10 times faster than on a real PSP, this talks for the improved access speed of this new memory stick format), cavestory (platform/adventure), Picodrive (sega genesis emulator), Spider solitaire, ScummVM (point-and-click adventure), Daedalus (N64 emulator, this is not DaedalusX64), FCEU-PSP (Nes emulator). Those are more or less the homebrews I recommended to HBL users back when HBL was big.

Missing from this video is (unfortunately) gpsp which I couldn't get to run on the Vita, while it ran fine on the PSP. What I could see is that the emulator is more sensitive than the PSP when a thread that's currently not running crashes. I think (not sure) that gpsp somehow crashes HBL.

On the PSP it usually means that once you quit gpsp, HBL crashes. On the vita it seems to crash as soon as gpsp does “something wrong” to hbl, which is roughly as soon as it loads.

I got major homebrews to work, and now I'll focus on reporting this to the EU and US version, which both need to be brought up to speed with these latest changes.

From what I could see, syscall estimation basically doesn't work (which is what JJS discovered a while ago when porting HBL to 6.60), which will limit the amount of homebrews that can be played with this exploit, but as you can see on the video, I got a few good ones to run already

A message to haters who say I'm reusing other people's work from the PSP scene and not contributing anything new: ask yourself who made it so easy to port HBL to new game exploits in the first place.



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