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Video: Picodrive Sega Megadrive Emulator Demo via HBL on PS Vita


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134w ago - Following up on his previous confirmation, today Sony PlayStation Vita hacker wololo has made available a video below demonstrating the Half Byte Loader (HBL) running the Picodrive Sega Megadrive emulator with Sonic & Knuckles on PS Vita.

To quote: Update: One important clarification: This video shows HBL running on the latest firmware 1.510. The firmware update that happened today does not patch the exploit, unlike what some sites are saying.

A few days ago Japanese developer Teck4 posted a picture of a “hello world” running on the PS Vita through the PSP emulator. I contacted him immediately with some help from Mamosuke, and I soon got enough information to start working on porting Half Byte Loader to this exploit (note that Teck4 is also working on exploiting this vulnerability further, but I don’t know how far he’s been).

What you see in the video below is the game “Sonic & Knuckles” running in picodrive, a Megadrive emulator for the PSP.

Yes, I’m running an emulator inside a hacked emulator on the Vita, that’s kind of cool. There’s lots to say about this ongoing work, but first let me state that, for once, this HBL port is entirely my work, except for the underlying PSP exploit which is initially from Teck4. I’ve been testing other people’s work for a while, so it was about time I got back to coding myself

Now that my ego is satisfied, let’s move on to the details of the video below. I have good news, bad news, and ugly news. But first check the video below, the first usable hack on the PS vita, 10 days after the console is released

1. THE GOOD

This is technically HBL rising from the deads, running on the PS Vita, and loading the picodrive emulator. Usually I would show you the entire loading process, but you’ll understand that some of the things I do (in particular the exploit used) need to be kept under wraps until the whole thing is made public (if it is ever made public, read more below).

I hope however that given my reputation on the PSP scene this won’t be categorized as a fake, please understand that I can’t show much this time. Picodrive is one of the easiest homebrews to run on HBL for some reason, that’s why I’m using it in my test. People who’ve used HBL a lot in its early days will recognize the sound glitch, this is some 22kHz sound being played at 44kHz, or the other way around, I can never remember.

That’s because the PSP emulator is using PSP’s firmware 6.60, for which HBL’s syscall estimation code seems to be a bit useless. (I am still pending some reply from Teck4 to see if it would make sense to “officially” involve more hackers on this port, and see if we can fix those syscalls problems. For now, as far as I know I’m the only one who made it that far on the Vita, and I feel kind of lonely on this new hacking scene ^^).

Another good piece of news for me is that before HBL could run Homebrews so “smoothly” on the PSP, it took us several months (I can’t remember exactly, 3 month maybe before we got it running “ok-ish” ?), while here it took me 3 days to get it to a usable state. Clearly, we didn’t lie when we said HBL would be portable to new game exploits

So, that’s the good, I’ve proven to myself that it is possible to run HBL and actual homebrews on the Vita. With little effort, HBL could probably be improved to some extent on that exploit, and run a few useful homebrews.

2. The bad

There are slightly bad news too. One is the syscall estimation algorithm being busted, as I explained above. I discussed a bit with JJS, and it is probable that if a function is not imported by the game itself, we might not be able to use it at all. I’ll have a closer look (if I decide to dig further on this) to see if this can be improved, but that could greatly limit the amount of homebrews that can be played on this.

Another issue is that the time currently needed to load/run homebrews for the “end user” is a bit too long to my taste. In its current state, for now I don’t think this is (or will be, even if improved) very useful for the end user. Basically, if I want to run PSP homebrews for now, it’s way easier and cheaper to do so on a PSP, even on an unhacked one, through HBL.

So, the overall uselessness of this makes me wonder if it should be kept secret in order for other hackers to do some research on it, or if it should really be released. I wouldn’t like people to point fingers at me if Sony patches some security flaws after this exploit goes public… I won’t take that decision alone (since I’m not the only one knowing the exploit), obviously, and there’s still time until the US/EU release, but I’m seriously considering the options here.

I have also yet to find a “good” way to install and run homebrews. I thought I had found a convenient way, but it didn’t work as expected. I’ll dig more on that, but it seems the PSP filesystem, as seen through the emulator on the vita, is a bit tricky and sneaky...

The ugly

There is, however, far worse than the little concerns above. What concerns me to a great extent is that I realized today that Sony can potentially spy everything we do with the content manager. Today I was forced to update my PS Vita to the new firmware. The content manager refuses to run if its PC client is not connected to the internet, and it refuses to run if the console doesn’t have the latest firmware.

This means not only that Sony can force you to update your Vita firmware whenever they feel like it (something they never dared to do on the PSP or the PS3), but also that every time you copy a file from or to your Vita, some information is possibly sent to Sony’s servers. I half joked about me copying my adult movies to the Vita and Sony knowing about it, but it really concerns me that Sony is spying on the files I have on my hard drive just because I bought one of there gadgets.

I’m thinking here that the upcoming hacks for the PS Vita will involve lots of legal fights. It seems to me that unless Sony can prove they are not spying on their users, it is potentially illegal to require the tool to be connected while the content manager is running. Something as big as CarrierIQ could happen to them if their customers are willing to take it to court at some point (that’s an official call to network engineers would would like to analyze what’s going on when the content manager is connected to the Intern...).

Incidentally, this is also means that Sony could be already aware of the hack and the techniques we’ve been using to trigger it, assuming they take a close look at the interactions between users’ PC and the Vita.

Anyways, despite these massive concerns, I’m proud to announce that I got some homebrew to run on the Vita 10 days after its release… as said before by BlackFire, it’s like “posting a sticker on a fortress”. Not very useful, but a message to Sony that we’re around







Stay tuned for more PS3 Hacks and PS3 CFW news, follow us on Twitter and be sure to drop by the PS3 Hacks and PS3 Custom Firmware Forums for the latest PlayStation 3 scene updates and homebrew releases!

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PS3 News's Avatar
#4 - PS3 News - 136w ago
Here are also some PlayStation Vita internal pics for those interested via Japanese site pocketnews.cocolog-nifty.com/pkns/2011/12/ps-vita-pch-110.html

PS3 News's Avatar
#3 - PS3 News - 136w ago
Thanks, if/when found it will be useful to grab the PS Vita updates from similar to the PSP and PS3 updater links.

Below are a few PS Vita links from zecoxao and SKFU and some pics from psx-sense.nl/75005/japanse-playstation-store-vol-met-ps-vita-content-de-fotos/:

[Register or Login to view links]

[Register or Login to view links]

Edit: Here are the PS Vita updater links for those interested:

Retail (JP) [Register or Login to view links]
Retail (EU) [Register or Login to view links]
Retail (US) [Register or Login to view links]
Shop (JP) [Register or Login to view links]

CJPC's Avatar
#2 - CJPC - 136w ago
Currently working on checking where the updates are coming from - it seems like Sony is doing what it can to not expose the update link. Kind of odd, eh?

PS3 News's Avatar
#1 - PS3 News - 136w ago
Update: Sony has now released [Register or Login to view links], and although no official changelog is available according to [Register or Login to view links] the update fixes an issue with Dynasty Warriors Next that prevented players from progressing further.

With the Japanese release of PlayStation Vita slated for tomorrow, Sony has now released a PS Vita 1.50 Firmware update which allows for PSN feature access including the PlayStation Store alongside a Content Manager Assistant application for updating via PC.

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

Some PS Vita Disassembled Pictures revealing the internal components are also available, and [Register or Login to view links] also reports that the PlayStation Vita games ship without instruction manuals as it appears Sony is ditching a paper manual in favor of an in-game digital manual.

The package includes a single sheet of paper showing warning messages and details on a firmware update that's included on the card.

To quote from Sony's official PS Vita site: PlayStation Vita System Software Update - System software version 1.50 for PlayStation Vita Update

From 17 December 2011 and began updating the system software version 1.50. 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.

For more information on the latest system software features of the [Register or Login to view links] please visit.

Interestingly, the guide reveals that users can now take screenshots during gameplay, which are saved as an image to their PlayStation Vita Memory Stick.

How to Update

By one of the following methods, you can update the system software on PS Vita:

  • Update using a Wi-Fi - Wi-updates with the PS Vita-Fi. ([Register or Login to view links])
  • Connected to the PS3 update - Using the network function of PS3, the latest update file download over the Internet. ([Register or Login to view links])
  • Connected to the PC and update - Using computer networking capabilities, download the latest updates via the Internet. ([Register or Login to view links])
  • PS Vita card to update - If the PS Vita card data includes updates to update using the PS Vita card. ([Register or Login to view links])

After updating, the home screen of PS Vita Setting (Settings)> [start]> [System]> [System Information and tap. [System Software] If the data is displayed and updated version, and has been updated correctly.

And update the system software update to connect to PlayStation Vita PC

Connected to the PC and update

Using computer networking capabilities, download the latest updates via the Internet. To update your system, you must keep the following states in advance the target computer.

  • Keep connected to the Internet
  • Administrative Assistant to the content you download / install the administrative assistant for PlayStation content can be downloaded from the Web site: [Register or Login to view links]

1. PC, to determine whether to launch a content management assistant. You can check the computer's system tray.
2. Connect the USB cable to PC and PS Vita.
3. In the PS Vita, Setting (Settings)> [start]> [System Update]> [to be updated by connecting to a PC] to tap. Using computer networking capabilities, download the latest updates via the Internet. Please follow the instructions on the screen then.

Content Manager Assistant

Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation is a computer application that enables data transfer between a PS Vita system and a computer. By installing it on your computer, you can do things like copy content from your computer to your PS Vita system and back up data from your PS Vita system to your computer.

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

Main Features

  • Backing up saved data and application data (game data) - You can back up the saved data for games played on your PS Vita system, and the application data (game data) for games purchased from PlayStation Store to your computer.
  • Copying music, image, and video files - You can display lists of music, image, and video files stored on your computer and transfer them to your PS Vita system. You can also transfer music, image, and video files in the opposite direction.
  • Backing up system files - You can back up system files saved on the PS Vita memory card or in system memory to your computer.
  • Performing a system update of the PS Vita system - When a Wi-Fi access point is not available, you can perform a system update of the PS Vita system using a computer that can connect to the Internet.

For detailed operating instructions for each feature, and for information about other features, see the [Register or Login to view links] for the PS Vita system.

Installation and Uninstallation

Installation

Download the installation file (above) and save the file on your desktop or in a convenient folder. When the downloaded file is launched, the installation screen for Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation will appear. Follow the on-screen instructions to perform the installation.

  • During the installation process, dialog boxes might appear that direct you to download components (additional software) needed to operate Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation. If this happens, follow the on-screen instructions to download the components.
  • After the installation is complete, a message for creating the database for the PS Vita system will appear when Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation is launched for the first time.
  • After the installation is complete, if a dialog box like the one shown below appears, click [x] in the upper right of the dialog box to close it.

Uninstallation

From the Windows control panel, select “Add or Remove Programs” (if using Windows XP) or “Programs and Features” (if using Windows Vista or Windows 7), and remove the program shown below.

Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation

Operating Environment

PS Vita system

  • PS Vita system (system software version 1.00 or later)
  • USB cable

Computer running a Microsoft Windows operating system

One of the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later (32-bit version only)
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or later (32-bit or 64-bit version)
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (32-bit or 64-bit version) or later
  • 1 GHz processor or greater
  • At least 150 MB of free space on the hard disk
  • At least 512 MB of RAM
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later
  • Windows Media Format Runtime 11 or later (for Windows XP) (included in the installation)
  • Windows Media Player 11 (for Windows Vista)
  • Media Feature Pack (for Windows 7 N and Windows 7 KN)
  • A USB 2.0-compatible port (used for connecting the PS Vita system)
  • An Internet connection

Operations on custom-built computers are not guaranteed.

How to Access the PS Vita Recovery Menu

The PlayStation Vita Recovery Menu offers users several tools to fix corrupt system files, upgrade your firmware, format memory stick and more. It is a powerful tool and several features should be used with caution as they can remove all your settings, as well as all of your saved information.

  • Turn OFF your PS Vita (Press Power Button for 10 seconds)
  • Now press and hold “R” + Power + PS (PlayStation Button)
  • Wait...
  • Now you’re in Recovery Menu (Mode)

PS Vita Recovery Menu Options

1. Restart System
This option boots your system as normal without changing any settings or files.

2. Rebuild Database
This can be a useful feature if you have lost files on your system for no apparent reason. Try using this feature to see if it can restore those files. This will also rewrite corrupted files within the database, potentially eliminating future issues. This feature should not erase any of your saved data or settings.

Deletes messages, playlists, changes made on “Information” screens, trimming information for pictures in “Photo”, video thumbnails, video playback history and video resume information. This operation may take a long time depending on the type and number of data items.

3. Format the memory card
This will format the memorycard, effectively erasing all data currently on it.

4. Restore PS Vita System
This will restore your system to original including, formatting and erasing all of the data on internal flash and returning all system settings to default. This will not take your system back to a previous Firmware release. Use this option as a last resort, unless you have nothing on the console that you want or you want to erase everything on the console, do not use this option.

5. System Update
This can useful if your system has become corrupted to the point you can not boot. This will allow the user to update their console with new firmware via PS3, PC or PS Vita memorycard.

PS Vita Hidden System Menu

This PlayStation Vita hidden system menu is present on both PS3 and PSP, and includes the product code, release build, and other internal version strings. To access it, do the following via EmuOnPSP.net:

  • Go to Settings > System > System Information
  • Press simultaneously R1 + L1 + DPad Left + Square for a few seconds
  • Release those buttons then immediately press the start button (and keep it held)



















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