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PS Vita Half Byte Loader (VHBL) Release Incoming, Details Arrive


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130w ago - Following up on his previous update, today PS Vita homebrew developer wololo has announced that the PS Vita Half Byte Loader (VHBL) will arrive shortly after March 1, 2012 with details below.

To quote: "This has been a tough week for lots of you, coming to my blog everyday to see that no new information was available about the release of VHBL. Trust me, it's been a much tougher week for me, making sure things go according to my humble plan, coping with a few more issues than expected, and overall, taking all the insults about "being a faker" or "trying to boost my ego" without being able to say anything else than "please trust me".

Ok, let's reveal a few essential things here, starting with the bad news: The game used by Teck4′s exploit is not available on the US vita store. Blame Sony and their "275 out of 900 PSP games available for your vita" scheme for this, not us. Part of the waiting time was to see if Sony would add this game to the US store at some point. It is obviously compatible since it is available in other continents, so my guess is that this is a marketing or a legal decision.

Long story short, people in the US who want to enjoy HBL on their vita, for now, will have to create a European (or HK, or JP,...) PSN account, buy a PSN card for that specific store (google for online shops that can sell you those and email you the code within a few minutes), and buy the game from there. A 20 euros card will cover for the price of the game as far as I know (Update: a 20 pounds card will be enough on the UK store).

This also means you'll have to "link" your vita to a European store every time you want to use HBL. Yes, it's super impractical, yes, it makes HBL even less likely to be interesting for you if you're in the US, but no, that clearly was not part of the plan. The game is, after all, available on the US PSN Store, just not for the vita.

I do not plan to wait even more until Sony adds the game to the US Vita store, since that could pretty well never happen, and is wasting everybody's time (people waiting for HBL in Asia have been waiting for this release for almost 3 months now, keep that in mind if you are one of the few who complained that you had to wait for a week). We waited a week for good measure, and saw that Sony is not adding PSP titles on a daily basis.

Waiting in hope for the game to be added to the US store is not the only reason that I "waited" for the release, but that's one of the reasons. Another reason is that there is a maintenance of the PSN, inconveniently scheduled on march 1st, that is, basically 2 days after I initially planned to publicly reveal the name of the game.

After discussing with a bunch of people, I've decided to wait until after the PSN maintenance to reveal the name of the game. Best case scenario, the game magically appears on the store and everybody's happy (I wouldn't dream about that), worst case scenario, the PSN update patches some of the vulnerabilities used for VHBL, and we're screwed. So we'll see...

I'm using the opportunity to remind everybody that HBL is only a PSP homebrew loader. The exploit and HBL do not give you any access to PSP isos, or vita isos, or the vita system, or anything like that. Even compatibility with PSP homebrews is limited, so basically you're better off getting a hacked PSP if playing homebrews is really what you want, and you're better off going elsewhere if piracy or pure vita hacking is what you're looking for. Basically, this hack is for those of us who want to be part of the "first step", however insignificant that step might be. Other people should not buy the game and then blame me for spending their money foolishly, the choice is entirely yours.

I'm just trying to cover my #ss here: don't go and buy a PSN PSP game for your vita if you're deeply expecting something useful out of this. You should buy the game first to play it, second, as a bonus, to get HBL to (maybe) work with it. Again, HBL has been confirmed to work by a few people already, but I cannot predict if Sony will do a magical trick to patch the game under our feet.

Unless something goes wrong, the name of the game will be publicly announced here on March 2nd, after the March 1st PSN maintenance (give me up to 24 hours, I'm not necessarily in the same timezone as you and I also have a real life). The files for VHBL itself will be available shortly after that."




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Comments 189 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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GrandpaHomer's Avatar
#184 - GrandpaHomer - 126w ago
Sony is CRAPPING themselves from any even minor attempts to hack Vita - it was clearly rushed out to meet the release dates (both in Japan as well as worldwide) and is still full of security holes as Emental cheese ... the sooner this get permanently hacked the better.

hunterr's Avatar
#183 - hunterr - 126w ago
The game is removed from the EU store a few moments ago. I just wanna to buy it , but i got an error when i was trying to pay for it and after that it was gone

I must say 1 day not bad for Sony

NTA's Avatar
#182 - NTA - 127w ago
I've never seen such a talented writer LMAO

elser1's Avatar
#181 - elser1 - 127w ago
ha. that letter is hilarious.. good work.. love the sarcastic views of this dangerous terrorist. LOL

PS3 News's Avatar
#180 - PS3 News - 127w ago
Following up on his PS Vita VHBL Motorstorm Arctic Edge release, this weekend PS Vita and PSP hacker wololo has revealed that Everybody's Tennis (known as Hot Shots Tennis in the US and Minna no Tennis in Japan) contains a vulnerability that could lead to the execution of external code and has since been removed from PSN by Sony.

Download: [Register or Login to view links] / [Register or Login to view links] / [Register or Login to view links]

To quote from his blog (linked above) as follows: Dear Sony, it has come to my [Register or Login to view links] that one of the PSP games available on the PlayStation Vita has a vulnerability that could lead to the execution of external code by some malicious users. Therefore I am writing this blog post so that you can patch the game or remove it from the PSN store as soon as possible.

Preferably, I suggest you take the money from your clients first, and prevent them from downloading the game afterwards, just like you did with Motorstorm Arctic Edge, 3 weeks ago. This way it will be a win-win situation for you, and you can always blame it on the hackers later on.

As a matter of fact, I have discovered that some "hackers" (I prefer to call them terrorists) have already prepared a [Register or Login to view links] which, using this vulnerability, could allow people to run software that would be extremely dangerous for your business, such as 20 year-old 8 bit games and 154 different versions of pong.

I think this puts your business at risk, and I've tried to stop those vilains by all means necessary, but sadly it seems they are not breaking any law. Hopefully, giving you the name of the game will help you to take some efficient action.

Those people are clearly wrong in their mind to try to play crappy open source software, when they could enjoy a great game such as Ridge Racer for less than 10$ a track, (which is clearly not a ripoff compared to the price one would have to pay in the real world to drive cars that completely defy the laws of physics. Although on that subject I woud like if you could help me, as my version of the game seems to be blocked in "demo mode" for some reason. All the 5 cars have exactly the same specs, so surely there's something I've done wrong somewhere.)

I digress. The name of the game is Everybody's Tennis. It is also known as Minna no tennis in Japan. Thankfully the game is not available on the US Vita store, so this should limit the problems on your end. I heard however that these hackers have prepared a US version of the hack just in case that version is being sold somewhere such as the HK store. I also heard people can buy the UK version from the US if they buy some PSN cards from resellers on ebay and other sites.

If I may give some advice, I think this is not secure enough. True, you did a good job in preventing people from buying games outside of the country they live in (and being a French living in Japan, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that I can't buy any game on the French PSN, this is exactly how globalization should work, and it helps me sparing lots of money by not buying any game), but I think in order to avoid future hacks, you should simply prevent everyone from buying games on the PSN, which will guarantee you a complete control of the market.

The hackers also announced they would release their hack a few hours or days after they announce the name of the game being used. They claim this only allows people to run "homebrew" games and that in no way it allows people to play pirated PSP or vita games, but I think this is not an excuse to hack.

I realize it is saturday evening for your teams in Europe, and Sunday morning in Japan. I hope you will not have to wake some people in the middle of the night just to take action, I would have chosen a better time, but I myself have very little time to blog outside of weekends.

Hoping that working together we will be able to stop hackers. I seem to be one of the few people on Earth who understand that the real enemies of the Vita are not your poor marketing techniques, the terrible software such as the "back to the 90′s" netfront browser, the bad launch lineup, the delays on the playstation suite, the recent downgrade from 5 to 2 allowed copies of any given psn game, and the increasing competition of smartphones that all have better CPUs than the Vita. No, the real enemies are those people playing Lamecraft, who are clearly killing the videogame market, so let's destroy them together.

Please pay extra attention to the dev known as wth, who apparently is behind this whole thing, as well as Teck4 who apparently helped him for the Japanese version of the hack. I also heard that somes guys named mamosuke and msparky83 were involved in the testing. It would be good if you have a way to maybe track these guys' phones or something. Or maybe you can simply sue them, I heard it's something you do very well.

Yours truly, W. Ololo

Update: Following our discovery yesterday that the Honk Kong version of Everybody's Tennis was different from the 3 other ones, wth got to work and adapted VHBL to this version. I haven't tested this, but hopefully people who bought the HK version of Everybody's Tennis can confirm if it works.

WTH also hinted to me that he might be able to get rid of the current limitation on the European version of the exploit, in which people have to switch the language of their console to French before running VHBL. Stay tuned.

Thanks to the great work of wth, here is the long awaited second release of VHBL. Those of you who missed the Motorstorm exploit probably had a chance to grab a copy of Everybody's Tennis before Sony pulled it (let's be happy, they gave us a bit more than 30 hours this time, last time was 8 hours). If not, well stay tuned, there are still other PSP user exploits lying around, and I'm sure something will come eventually.

But let's get to the real subject here, this new release of VHBL. Sadly, I didn't test it myself on my Vita, only on a PSP, so here's to hope everything will go well. The full port has been done by wth (a.k.a. Yosh), with some help from Teck4 (JP exploit), and msparky83 and mamosuke (testing). I wasn't involved in this port, so all credit goes to these guys. I want to thank as usual all the developers behind HBL, who made it relatively easy to port, in particular m0skit0 and JJS. Yosh also adds special thanks to dridri85, Zer01ne, Truthkey, and other devs who kept this a secret while it was being developed. From the readme:

  • HBL port to the EU/US/JP versions of the exploit by Yosh
  • EU/US Exploit by Yosh, JP Exploit by teck4, discovered by Yosh
  • wololo for the help

Thanks go to:

  • All the devs who made HBL what it is today, in particular m0skit0 and JJS
  • dridri85, Zer01ne, Truthkey and all the other devs who kept the secret, that's much appreciated guys
  • Monsieur2T2R for the cool VHBL icons/wallpapers

Apologies to all the people who bought the Everybody's Tennis game from the HK store, it turns out that version is a 4th version of the game for which no exploit was prepared yet.

The HK version of the game is difficult to find, so if you happen to own that game on your PSP and are a bit technical savvy, you might want to give it a try and port VHBL to it. I'm convinced it's just a matter of time, it just takes one guy.

So, to whoever will do that port, thanks in advance, and to people who are waiting for the HK version of VHBL, please stay tuned. Neither wth nor me were actually aware that the HK version was different from the other 3, so it might take a while for something to be ready, but we're not forgetting you.

HOW TO INSTALL AND RUN HBL ON EVERYBODY'S TENNIS

  • It is *strongly* recommended that you turn of all wireless connections on your PS Vita, and that you use OpenCMA on your PC instead of the regular CMA. This is recommended because otherwise your console has a way to force you to upgrade the firmware even before you get a chance to use the exploit.
  • Extract the HBL archive matching your version of the game in your CMA PSP Savedata folder. It is a folder on your PC named PSSAVEDATA/[lots of random characters here]. If you don't know where it is, check your settings in CMA
  • Connect your PS Vita to the PC through the CMA, it should give you the possibility to copy the savedata from your PC to the Vita. If not, you probably extracted it in the wrong folder. (Note: You will also want to install some homebrews with a similar technique, read the section below)
  • Important for owners of the European version of the game: Before running Everybody's tennis, you need to change the language of your PS Vita/PSP to French. This is a limitation of the exploit for now, this might or might not change in future revisions. you can of course switch your console back to your own language once you are done playing with VHBL.
  • To run HBL, start the Tennis game, select "Continue" in the Main Menu. At this point, HBL should start

HOW TO INSTALL AND RUN HOMEBREW

Installing homebrew on the PSP was an easy task. On the Vita, until better solutions are provided, it's quite a pain in the rear. The CMA will only let you copy savedata, and will not recursively browse folders. To address this, HBL comes with a tool that can extract archives with a specific structure.Packaging the homebrew for installation on the Vita:

1) download PSP homebrew from your favorite Web site (wololo.net/downloads)
2) extract the homebrew somewhere on your hard drive, and with your favorite utility, zip it again with the *store* setting (no compression), in a file that you will name "install.zip"
3) take any PSP savedata (but not the one used for HBL!), and add the "install.zip" to that folder, in your PC CMA folder. so your PSP Savedata will look something like this:
in folder PSSAVEDATA/1a2b3c4def5678/UCUS12345000/ (or something like this) you will have the following files:

  • ICON0.png
  • PIC1.png
  • DATA.bin
  • PARAMS.SFO
  • install.zip

Installing:

1) run OpenCMA on your PC, and CMA on your Vita
2) copy the previously packaged SAVEDATA (see above) with your homebrew in "install.zip" on your Vita
3) run HBL (how to run HBL is explained in the previous section)
4) navigate with the HBL menu to the SAVEDATA folder, then go to the folder you just downloaded (in my example, UCUS12345000), and clikc cross or circle on it
5) At this point, the HBL menu should ask you if you want to install the homebrew. select yes, and wait until HBL is done extracting your homebrew
6) The homebrew is now installed, and you can run it by going to the GAME folder, if everything went well, a new subfolder with your homebrew has been created here, and you can run the homebrew

OpenCMA (wololo.net/downloads/index.php/download/1252) is strongly recommended to install if you want to use VHBL. Open CMA is a tool by Virtuous Flame that allows you to copy files from and to your vita without being connected to the internet. This is useful, especially if you don't want Sony to forcefully update your firmware.

Update 2: PlayStation Vita developer wololo[ has updated (wololo.net/wagic/2012/04/15/new-vhbl-version-for-everybodys-tennis-gets-rid-of-language-limitation-in-eu-version/) the VHBL version for Everybody's Tennis, which now gets rid of language limitation in EU version. Downloads:

  • [Register or Login to view links] (All EU versions except Italy)
  • [Register or Login to view links] (Italian version)
  • [Register or Login to view links] (JP/US, also works with the EU version, but for EU the links above are recommended)
  • [Register or Login to view links] (HK)


To quote: "Developer wth released today an update to his Everybody's Tennis exploit, specifically for the EU store. This change does not improve homebrew compatibility, but will work independently of the language of your console. Yes, finally, no need to switch your console to French or Spanish.

Even though there is no new homebrew compatibility, I'm sure this will be a welcome update for those of you who are using this exploit."




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