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Homebrew GameCube Coding Tools Released

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the pso-and-007-go-straight-to-back-of-class dept.

GameCube (Games) 36

EGSonikku writes "Costis has released his PSOLoad (for Win32) tool, which takes advantage of an exploit in the GameCube game Phantasy Star Online to upload and run code on a totally unmodified GameCube. A demo is included, and you can build your own GameCube binaries using Torlus' GCC build." Although it still has the potential for misuse, this could have more positive ramifications than trying to copy existing games.

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This has already been abused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6227964)

It seems that you can upload the Action Replay image (recently released) to the GC and it will work just like an original.

Actually (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6228173)

This has potential to be used legitimately, but will probably be used mostly to trade and download games off the internet.

GCN discs are so small its hard to scratch them. I work in a game store, see tons of used gcn discs a day, and only a handful were scratched. Why doesn't everyone quit lying and just admit that they really want to steal games?

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6228206)

its true, all i want to do is steaaaaaal!

Re:Actually (2, Insightful)

alph0ns3 (547254) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228217)

It's not for "backup" only, you might want to run linux or emulators on your gamecube... That's what I do most of the time on my dreamcast...

Re:Actually (1)

simoniker (40) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228373)

FWIW, it appears that only programs up to approximately 2mb in size can be transfered by this method (which works by utilizing the Gamecube broadband adaptor and have the user fake being the PSO patch server?) - so it won't be possible to download and run games, which is _good_ - piracy can and will kill entire formats.

Re:Actually (1)

djNocturne (94307) | more than 11 years ago | (#6229134)

While I don't necessarily condone ISOs (the game image kind ... Linux ISOs are okay :), I do have to take exception with the idea that they "can and will kill entire formats." To the best of my knowledge, no legitimate contender has ever taken a dive due in significant part to pirating.

True, the DC was clearly the most pillaged console in history, in terms of "purchase-to-pirate" ratio, but such piracy was honestly the least of Sega's concerns by that point (as anyone who owns a DC can likely attest to). The history of Sega had already become a comedy of errors *long* before the DC even shipped. What began with the "Sega CD" simply ended with a bang rather than a whimper. Sega well into the slow burn before the DC was even a a twinkle in their eye, and their eventual exit had very little to do with rampant pirating. It had to do with burning their customers time and again, until even the most ardent loyalists had completely lost faith.

The PS1 is, without a doubt, the single most pirated console in history, in terms of raw numbers, but Sony continues to make bank to this day, and their enormous marketshare lead shows very little sign of abating, even with everything both M$ and Nin can collectively throw at them. Why? Because they know how to play the game (no oun intended). Sony is the diametric opposite of Sega. Sega just couldn't get out of their own way long enough to be successful, regardless of how many chances the were afforded.

Sony, on the other hand, looks bulletproof at this point. Thus far, they've withstood an army pirates, the Nintendo juggernaught, and the most relentless force known to mankind: Bill Gates with his hand out.

Someone recently remarked to me that M$ is now basically adopting one of their favorite tactics: prop a thing up with an endless supply of money and simply play the waiting game. My response was that such a thing will eventually get them ahead of Nin, who is given to occasional stumbles. On the other hand ...

Sony doesn't stumble. Period. Sure, go ahead and take that "prevent defense" against the remarkably nimble Sony Corporation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Right now, M$ is merely trailing, but the writing is on the wall. As the entire XBox Live versus Sony's *much* more publisher-/consumer-friendly approach shows us, M$ is in over their heads here. (Which is amazing, considering how big their heads actually are ... *visuals of Bill and Steve on one of those FPS "bighead mode" unlocks* =) I don't think they have the first idea what to do, as it's not a position they're too familiar with. For the record, I myself have absolutely no idea how I managed to turn a philosophical debate on GC pirating into a Sega-bash/Sony-will-own-M$ doubleheader. That's pretty much where all of my conversations eventually lead these days ... even when people ask me about things completely unrelated to gaming ;) [Suddenly counting out my Ridilin pills to make sure I haven't been forgetting to take them ...] I have to go now, though. I need to figure out some obtuse analogy so that I can sneak this M$ vs. Sony tirade in on the next SCO post. I figure I've only got about 45 minutes left.

Re:Actually (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230469)

Sony doesn't stumble. Period.

Oh man, you don't have the slightest clue, do you? Remarkably nimble Sony Corporation? Try reading the news lately, go check out some reports from the analysts who track them. A brand new term was recently created due to Sony's blundering: "Sony Shock."

Re:Actually (1)

djNocturne (94307) | more than 11 years ago | (#6259131)

I essentially misspoke here. My comments were only directed at the entertainment division, in general, and the gaming division in particular (which is pretty much an island unto itself). I won't lie. Sony the corporation does tend to shank it quite a bit on market management ... although I still stand by my "remarkably nimble" comment, as making quick market adjustments---when they want to---isn't their problem.

My take on the gaming industry has always been this: As long as you do right by gamers, you buy yourself a great deal of breathing room in the overall market. You can afford to withstand a few minor misjudgements on the direction of gaming so long as the community still believes in you. Sega is a prime example of a company that gave back every ounce of goodwill they ever earned from the Genesis system, then proceeded make "questionable decisions" their official mission statement. They obviously paid the price for that.

My only point is that Sony is the precise opposite of Sega. They have consistently done right by gamers, in my opinion. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that they haven't even needed that fallback cushion ... at least not yet. They've had an enormous library of available titles from the very beginning, and titles to suit a wide variety of gamers. The success of the "Greatest Hit" program, as they implemented it, is widely considered to be one of the more brilliant ideas they've introduced into the industry. For my money, they haven't made a bad call yet, and that in itself is almost unbelievable in the sometimes screwy world of the "throw-every-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks" gaming industry.

Sure, someone else might have a different opinion on what officially constitutes a "misstep," but I think that even the harshest PS critic would have to agree that at this point, Sony is by far closest to approaching the elusive "always delivers, every time" label. Microsoft, as a console manufacturer, is far too young to even be considered for that title at this point.

That's actually what I meant by "Sony doesn't stumble." Granted, I should have made clear that what I really meant was, "Sony's gaming division doesn't stumble in delivering the goods." But yes, in terms of mastering the art of graceful stock market strategy, they could definitely use a Prima guide or something. Quick, someone get them a walkthough! ... Anyone? ...

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6228689)

1. I do not own a gamecube.
2. If there would be a possibility to copy games I would consider buying one.
3. I would also buy some _good_ games then - occasionally, I'm a poor student =)

That being said: Do you think it's better for Nintendo to get no money from the likes of me at all and have a piracy-secure console?

Re:Actually (1)

PaleZer0 (632282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228761)

Your argument is the same one we've heard for years about mp3s. Why don't you buy a fricken gamecube and then buy the few good games you want to play. Then the developers will actually receive money and continue to make creative games that people like. Like the music industry, now all the record companies think everyone likes boy bands and crap, when really, people are only buying boy band crap because older people are stealing it. Its wrecking the industry.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6231849)

There are no demos for the gamecube, I'm not buying blindly just because some guys say it's a nice game.

The magazines with the demo-discs for other consoles are too expansive.

Give me free demos and you can end the "piracy" comming from my side. Arr.

Re:Actually (1)

Hedonist123 (681091) | more than 11 years ago | (#6236008)

There are no demos for the gamecube?! Walk into Wal-Mart, KMart, etc. and go to the electronics section. See that thing that all the kids are huddled around, those are your demo machines. Usually have a range of the better new games that are worth purchasing, so you can try them out. Heck, if you're nice enough (and preferably a decent looking girl) you can con that studly college kid working part time at KMart (yeah, that's me) into giving you an old demo disk or two, there are plenty thrown into our drawers on a monthly basis. Hed.

Re:Actually (1)

matlokheed (602233) | more than 11 years ago | (#6232739)

Here's why that doesn't work. You get the gamecube. You then make copies of a few games, say Super Monkey Ball 2 and Resident Evil. Then you go out and buy Super Mario Sunshine.

So now Nintendo has profitted by your generosity. Except Sega (Super Monkey Ball 2) and Capcom (Resident Evil) have spent money on development, production of the games, and yet get absolutely no benefit from your pirating ways since you were buying another companies games.

Are you an organized pirate that considers what companies you're stealing from and which ones you want to support? How about when dealing with a company like Sega which is a bunch of design teams that work very seperately (Sonic Team, Amusement Visions, Smilebit)?

It's nice to say that you want to support companies sometimes and I'm probably one of the last people that should condemn those activities, but the fact of the matter is, when I tell people I have a modchip in my PS2 and Xbox, they immediately say, "Cool. You don't have to pay for games." My Xbox library of purchased games is very substantial and my Xbox's modchip is almost entirely for Xbox Media Player purposes, but very few people stick to the honor system.

Just because you can't afford something doesn't mean you're entitled to it anyway. We've all been there.

Implications on computer security? (5, Interesting)

bobthemonkey13 (215219) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228265)

This certainly seems to be the trend for defeating conole protection systems in software -- unless all code that has been signed is 100% secure from local attacks (ha!), you can simply insert code into a signed program and take control. It seems like this might be a weak point in new computer security systems like Microsoft's Palladium (in fact, it's been rumored that the Xbox's protection system is a testing version of Palladium, and that's been completely broken this way). If Palladium is being used for DRM for example, then a bug in Windows Media Player might let a user slip in code to save the decoded audio stream, thereby defeating the DRM. But it could also be used by malicious programs to defeat security measures imposed on behalf of the user (indeed, as buffer overflows are used now). I guess it comes down to this question: How will systems like Palladium guard against security holes in signed programs that could compromise the whole security model?

Finally! (4, Interesting)

jayoyayo (650349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228605)

Its about time something like this came out, It appears that someone has finally broken thru what is probably the best protection in a home console. I understand this may have "more positive ramifications than trying to copy existing games", which was stated in regards to Starcube's recent gamecube hack. However, even Starcube are also helping to jumpstart to gamecube homebrew. Go [] read their nfo files and you'll see that furthering homebrew dev and hacking is their motivation for providing ISOs. There are no GameCube emulators and its impossible to play a burned game on a GameCube. Other consoles have mods which let you play discs from other regions as well as burned discs. (Upcoming link is PDF)--Currently, the only mod [] for Gamecube only allows playing discs from other regions. I'm sure there will be another breakthrough in the future to play pirated games on a GameCube, but until then the dev scene can (hopefully) blossom without people looking over our shoulders yelling 'Pirate!'.

Re:Finally! (1)

Man In Black (11263) | more than 11 years ago | (#6229843)

I'm sure there will be another breakthrough in the future to play pirated games on a GameCube

I sure hope not... the Gamecube is doing badly enough as it is. If piracy erupts, it could easily make the systems death even faster.

I'd love to see some good emulators on it, like the ones available on the Dreamcast, but if it comes at the cost of a shorter lifetime for the platform, then it's not worth it.

Re:Finally! (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 11 years ago | (#6232782)

It probably won't be too long until someone rips the NES emulator out of Animal Crossing and gets it working with other ROMs.

Re:Finally! (1)

Vej (199488) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230303)

No, what I think has the potential for mis-use is Slashdot promoting piracy news. We are striving to make our tools as homebrew and non-piracy as possible. That probably includes not releasing some news tools.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6231772)

there's a PC Dolphin Emulator in the GCN SDK. fwiw, it's only useful for testing apps you've compiled with the SDK.

Yeah, yeah... piracy is bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6228799)

I hope I'll get all those shiny new releases fast enough to witness how bad it is...

Sweet, horrible irony (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 11 years ago | (#6228931)

It seems ironic to me that the program being used to backdoor into the Gamecube is a game which has a) been around for years now and should in theory be tight as a drum at this point and b) been all but ruined in its past incarnation on the Dreamcast by cheating - something Sega apparently STILL hasn't seen fit to address.

Re:Sweet, horrible irony (1)

Vej (199488) | more than 11 years ago | (#6256891)

It is "tight as a drum" in what they want it to do. We just exploited a feature they were using from a supposed secure location in their minds/code.

Hmmm... (0, Troll)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6229936)

Perhaps Slashdot Games should rename itself to "Slashdot Console Warez News". Seriously guys, this is inappropriate. Its a hundred times more likely that this information will be used to pirate games than it is to port Linux to the cube, or whatever you say you're going to do.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

Iscariot_ (166362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230057)

How is this in any way inappropriate? Believe it or not, but the ability to develop for a console without an SDK is a good thing. Plus, I OWN the hardware, I can do with it what I want as long as I don't take someone elses software illegally. These guys aren't selling any illegal software, or hardware. There's nothing wrong with it.

Being anti-warez is cool, but being anti-hack well that's.... that's like being anti-slashdot! :)

Re:Hmmm... (2, Interesting)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230125)

I own a Gamecube too, it's my favorite of the current generation of consoles. And I know that homebrew for a console is neat. However, I also recall the likes of Kalisto claiming they were helping homebrewers when they blew the Dreamcast wide open. And while this was true, it also had a different effect. It destroyed the profitability of a damn fine piece of hardware, and shortened its lifespan by a number of years. I'd hate to see that happen to the Gamecube, especially considering the amazing and innovative software Nintendo has been putting out lately.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Vej (199488) | more than 11 years ago | (#6256920)

Even though I run and was part of the scene trying to produce this hack, I agree also.

However, our loader does as much as it can not to load dvd rips, it doesn't support that.

However, slashdot posted to the FRONT PAGE the ISO ripping news. But legit stuff, first they rejected my article and then posted this to a topic area and not the main page to balance the community.

Everyone loves controversy.

The truth about this exploit (5, Interesting)

Myria (562655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230023)

The reality is that this is not exploiting a bug - it's exploiting a back door. In the Dreamcast PSO Version 2, Sega added a packet command named RcvProgramPatch. (The game had debug symbols.) This packet was added to make cheating more difficult and fix bugs. Basically, the server can send assembly code to the client to execute. But back doors work both ways. The GC version and Xbox version have the same packet, and this is the result.

Sonic Team did encrypt the packets, as most online games do. In fact, it is with a custom algorithm that is different from the already-cracked Dreamcast encryption. This system should have been secure: Gamecube disks are basically unreadable, and you need to read the disk in order to break the encryption!

However, Sonic Team made a fatal mistake. They used the same encryption in the Xbox version. Those disks are readable. Hackers found out, and used the Xbox encryption algorithm to break the Gamecube encryption.

It's believed that the GC ISO copies were made using this PSO exploit, as well as the N64 ROM of Zelda Master Quest, which in fact was dumped off the Zelda bonus disk using PSO.

I'm really wondering what Nintendo and Microsoft will do about this... Microsoft, for one, has told developers that anyone who puts a back door into a game will lose their developer's license >_<

Melissa ^-^

Re:The truth about this exploit (1)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230367)

This may not be true. I recall reading PSO forums a few months before PSO Xbox came out, and barubary (the man who did the ASM hacking for the famous homebrew translation of Final Fantasy 5 as well as the one who released the vast majority of cheats and hacks for the DC version of PSO. I often find myself blessing him and damning him at once) was discussing a recently applied server patch, analyzing the decrypted traffic between client and server. When someone asked how he had done it, he mentioned that he and a Japanese friend had convinced the game to send them the decryption key. If this is true, then it has nothing to do with the Xbox version being released.

Re:The truth about this exploit (1)

Vej (199488) | more than 11 years ago | (#6233051)

Well, as this is the only game out there that uses this stuff, how do you know that it isn't a feature and not a back-door?

how long untill... (1)

SaXisT4LiF (120908) | more than 11 years ago | (#6230120)

...someone installs linux on it?

Welcome to gamecube homebrew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6231249)

hardware hackers, software coders, cheat coders, demo developers, and anyone who is interested in anything related is welcome to become a part of the blossoming gcdev community. A comprehensive list [] of all sites related to GameCube development should be your starting point. Links to all necessary software are available, as well as forums for those just getting started and needing some guidance. The scene is brand new and we need YOU!

Fantastic! Bring on the homebrew emulators! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6231883)

I see this as amazing news! How long 'til I can load Stella onto my 'Cube and play some Yar's Revenge with a purple controller?

Congrats to the team who discovered this!

Pirating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6233435)

This is all a long way away from running pirated software. The only people downloading 1.5GB ISO images are those with broadband. Nintendo don't have much to worry about.

Hob - Java Spectrum Emulator []

A big plus about this tool. (1)

Dolemite_the_Wiz (618862) | more than 11 years ago | (#6233682)

Is that people don't have to pay seven grand for the 'official' Development software for the GameCube.
This, and other Dev Tools for this console, has the potential to allow more people to be able to develop software for this console. People will have the ability, on their own time, to learn game development on their own, at home. In addition they will not have worry or pay to go to REALLY expensive schools for this development experience.


This is a Cheap Mac OS Box! (1)

cmstar (521171) | more than 11 years ago | (#6234739)

I'm elated about this news. For one, I'm a supporter of homebrew. There have been some great things come to the Dreamcast because of the dev scene. I hope that continues and will translate over to the Gamecube as well. However, everyone should be waiting anxiously for linux to be ported! The Gamecube uses an IBM Power PC G3 (if I remember correctly) and an ATI Graphics chipset which is very similar in some respects to PowerMac G3's. If Linux can be ported to it, I'm sure it could run a version of Mac On Linux and perhaps even Mac OS 9/X. Imagine a small server/rendering farm of Gamecubes......

interesting... (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6240752)

though i'm more interested in seeing who is going to be first to utilize the progate [] technology talked about in this article [] (which is geared more for licensed developers), i'm also interested in seeing how the homebrew community plans on getting any meaningful code on the cube. from what i can tell, you can't upload that much to it (it's gotta fit in 48M of RAM and has no HD for now) and using this hack, i'm not so sure you are going to get much on there. add to that the fact that you can't burn your own cube disc, i think there are are a lot more hurdles ahead. oh and for those interested or worried about cube warezing, i don't think you are going to find copies of cube games around, and if it were to happen, there is still no such thing as a powerpc emulator yet. the only way you could possibly play any pirated game would be on a mac, if it is even possible... like i said, there are a lot of hurdles left to go. which is afterall, the whole point. make it too expensive and time consuming for folks to pirate...
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