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View Full Version : 'Homebrew' community blends hackers, gamers



wraggster
July 7th, 2006, 23:44
Article from Washington Post: (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13739111/)

Independent programmers are working on ways to listen to Internet radio and wirelessly check e-mail through the handheld Nintendo DS game device. Elsewhere, some jokers figured out how to get a playable version of Doom onto the iPod.

When one popular Tetris-like game, called Lumines, was not released for the Nintendo GameBoy, one programmer made his own knockoff version, which he called "LumineSweeper."

These are the things that happen inside the "homebrew" scene, the online place where hacker skills and video game culture overlap. For the enthusiasts in this community, figuring out how to make a Nintendo game work on a Sony device is as much fun as playing the games.

For the past year or so, a favorite device among homebrew tinkerers has been the slick PlayStation Portable, Sony's answer to the GameBoy. The PSP plays audio and video files and comes with built-in wireless technology. For the homebrew crowd, the device's capabilities and its built-in software safeguards are like candy.

For months, though, the PSP homebrew scene had been nearly dead, thanks to software updates from Sony designed, in part, to shut the tinkerers down. As of this past weekend, however, the game is on again.

PSP owners have to install Sony's PSP updates if they want to experience the latest off-the-shelf titles, but the updates generally offer users only a few new features or tools. Quietly, though, they close the security holes that programmers exploit to do their tricks.

So lively is the homebrew scene that some PSP fans it's impossible to say how many say they don't buy or play new games because they don't want to upgrade their gadgets and lose their homebrew software. There's even a circulating joke slogan: "Friends don't let friends upgrade their PSPs."

Unable to break through recent versions of the Sony software, PSP homebrewers have moved on to another trick: downgrading their PSPs to earlier versions.

Thanks to a new file recently posted on the Web, PSP owners with version 2.6 software are able to roll back their devices to the more hacker-friendly software version 1.5. And if any recent game title for the Sony device has generated as much excitement online as this underground developer's announcement, I missed it.

Programmers also have been working away at hacking Microsoft's Xbox 360, but it's unclear how successful they've been. From screen shots floating around the Internet, it looks as though some clever person may have figured out how to put a larger hard drive into the console than the one the machine comes with out of the box -- but the shots could also easily have been faked by somebody spending a few idle minutes with Photoshop.

Microsoft has made bold claims about how secure the Xbox 360 is just the sort of comments that egg hackers on. But so far, nobody appears to have cracked the 360's security open enough to allow for the installation of free software like Xbox Media Center.

That software, developed by hobbyists, made Microsoft's original game console a more functional home entertainment system than much of what is commercially available today. The program has such a stellar reputation among techies that I've known of some folks who don't care for video games much but bought an Xbox just to use it.

Console makers dislike this sort of tinkering because it opens the door to piracy. The same tricks that make an Xbox more functional to power users are the same tricks that override the controls put into place to keep users from playing illegally copied versions of games.

For inexperienced consumers, there's a huge risk with tinkering on these gadgets. At the very least, you'll void your warranty as soon as you crack open a game-console case. And game devices that connect to the Internet can give their makers stronger ways to register their disapproval: Microsoft throws anyone that it detects as playing with a "modified" Xbox off its online service.

The worst-case scenario for this type of hobbyist is a bit scarier: Install some amateur software code the wrong way, and it can turn that console or portable gadget into a useless piece of plastic and metal. In the gamer-hacker community, this is called "bricking" as in, that's what you just turned your $400 game console or $250 PSP into.

What are your thoughts on a mainstream sites view of our scene?

vettacossx
July 8th, 2006, 00:07
:d

Junixx
July 8th, 2006, 00:41
heres what i think, they are only looking on the bad sides of it, and thats all they want to reveal, they are not sayoing the good things that have came from homebrew, i have DS homebrew, and i must say Moonshell is the best possible media player for my DS, Beup! get on MSN messanger anywhere theres a hotspot! im sorry but that article has infuriated me :mad:

DimensionT
July 8th, 2006, 00:50
The bad side of things is all these people seem to care about nowadays. If the video game companies would support homebrewers they wouldn't have to worry about them hacking their systems.

Why not get hombrewers on their side to help with copy protection?

SSaxdude
July 8th, 2006, 01:01
If homebrew was on the side of the companies it wouldn't be complete homebrew.

Emeriastone
July 8th, 2006, 01:19
What? You mean we're finally getting some attention!?

Is this good or bad?

Junixx
July 8th, 2006, 01:31
What? You mean we're finally getting some attention!?

Is this good or bad?

i think the impression they are giving is bad

Emeriastone
July 8th, 2006, 01:37
I would think so too.

DimensionT
July 8th, 2006, 01:50
If homebrew was on the side of the companies it wouldn't be complete homebrew.

It would be if they were doing it from home, :p.

I don't mean hire them on. Most homebrewers are against piracy right? Why not support homebrew and allow homebrew copy protection methods to be submitted? Seeing as how they always manage to crack the protection on current systems, they'd probably be some of the best to make it.

That probably sounded really stupid, but I'm just thinking out loud, :D.

container
July 8th, 2006, 02:39
The guy who wrote that most likely works for Sony on the sly - lol
It does seem like he's missing the point somewhat...
for me, homebrew is like the old C64/Speccy days never ended.
And if it wasn't for homebrew - I would have sold my Dreamcast two years ago!

RvLeshrac
July 8th, 2006, 03:16
I don't get where you come off saying this is a "bad" article. I think it gives a pretty good voice to both sides.

They mention that XBMC extends the media capabilities of the XBox, and they mention that homebrew on the PSP has extended the capabilities of that device.

They then go on to note that the hardware manufacturers don't really like this because, *SHOCK*, people actually DO use hacks to pirate games! Amazing! Who would've thought that MIGHT be a possibility! Do you have your head stuck in the sand?

Further, if you think that a discussion of the possible consequences of using certain software on a PSP is 'bad,' there are quite a few people with bricks who would disagree.

SSaxdude
July 8th, 2006, 04:53
Pirating games will always be around, so whatever is done against it will fail somehow. I don't care if people do it because that would be taking away their rights (same with blocking homebrew.)

smoky
July 8th, 2006, 04:55
Man this is making homebrew look REAL REAL bad.. what percent of homebrew supports piracy?... exactly.. sony needs to get they're facts straight, this is bullshit. They make it seem like homebrewers and coders are nothing but bad hackers out to destroy the psp... stupid..

iniquitous_beast
July 8th, 2006, 04:56
I also don't see this article as portraying the scene as particularly "bad". Just what were you expecting from a mainstream news story? In-depth praises and analysis of the homebrew community; complete with exhaustive justifications for every action taken by its many members? Surely not.

This article covers all the basics of the current state of psp homebrew - the cleverness of its hackers, the aggressiveness of Sony's subversive firmware patching, the recent downgrader, and the absence of official games worth upgrading for. Naturally, it covers some of the risk and controversy - they are just as much a part of the psp homebrew scene as any other aspect.

dwc
July 8th, 2006, 05:16
This may be a dumb idea, but if Sony would allow buyers to run homebrew on the PSP and not force people to constantly update their firmware, I would buy all the newest games. I don't buy new games because they force me to update, if this were not the case I believe Sony would sell more games.

Any Thoughts?
DWC

smoky
July 8th, 2006, 05:19
I partly agree with you dwc. I do sometimes not update because of a semi force they lay upon us..

smoky
July 8th, 2006, 05:20
lol that made no sense...

makaveddie
July 8th, 2006, 05:28
I thought the article wasn't half-bad. It remains somewhat objective when addressing the homebrew scene, and brings a fancy slogan to the table... "friends don't let friends upgrade"... never heard that before!

The only thing that kind of chaps my ass is their derogatory use of the term "hacker." They never explained that the homebrew scene can be 100% legal and can make the console worth getting on its own.

ExcruciationX
July 8th, 2006, 06:36
...and brings a fancy slogan to the table... "friends don't let friends upgrade"... never heard that before!
I think that slogan, is originaly from PSP Hacking 101. And, like you, I don't like how they use the word "hacker". I think that they can't say homebrew is good, because they might have Sony growling down there backs. It would promote homebrew, and we all know Sony wouldn't like that.

Junixx
July 8th, 2006, 06:43
Article from Washington Post: (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13739111/)
Independent programmers are working on ways to listen to Internet radio and wirelessly check e-mail through the handheld Nintendo DS game device. Elsewhere, some jokers figured out how to get a playable version of Doom onto the iPod.
view of our scene?[/B]

so are they complimenting the DS's homebrew and going against the PSP homebrew? because they never mentiontion the DS anywhere else in the article....it was just somethingi thought of, makes you kind of wonder if sony in fact did hire someone to publish something like this....

smoky
July 8th, 2006, 07:01
CPU_smarts has a point there.... only once did they mention the ds... hmm..

Uruz 6
July 8th, 2006, 09:18
What, were you guys expecting positive comments? you should know better. Also, expecting an in-depth analysis of the homebrew scene from a I've-never-seen-these-things-but-I'll-write-about-them-anyway-journalist?
No, he wasn't bought by $ony he's just ignorant.

nexus68
July 8th, 2006, 10:35
What's the real % of psp users that use homebrews or iso, 10%, 15% :rolleyes:

muffinman
July 8th, 2006, 11:40
probably slightly higher than that. I'd say the ratio of psp users who use homebrew and those who dont is nearer 50/50

MikeDX
July 8th, 2006, 12:33
I think you are talking out of your ass with those figures. Look how many psps have been sold, millions. and how many hits sites like pspnews and the other psp homebrew sites get. Millions per day? No. Not even millions of downloads.

I bet the hb community accounts for less than 10% of the worldwide psp community.

Cap'n 1time
July 8th, 2006, 20:28
MikeDX is probably right... I Imagine a huge sum of people that own psp's are >12 years of age. I my experiance very few younger kids know jack about homebrew development, emulation, etc because they dont exactly know what to look for. (though I was like 10 when i got into emulation :))

I imagine alot of you got into the whole homebrew scene via emulators. Everyone at some point thought "Man, wouldnt it be cool if you could play SNES on PC?" and then googled, or searched altavista or yahoo for it and discovered you could.

The DC really started the MODERN console homebrew scene and Alot of us older peoples got started with the DC, however the xbox's scene was also a huge success.

The point is, not everyone is bright enough to... read a readme and figure this out. I imagine alot of people would think it is too difficult to get into this type of thing.

Junixx
July 8th, 2006, 21:46
The point is, not everyone is bright enough to... read a readme and figure this out. I imagine alot of people would think it is too difficult to get into this type of thing.

That is so true when i tell my friends about homebrew stuff

slayer2psp
July 9th, 2006, 03:03
i use my xbox all the time to watch avi movies if it wasnt for mods i wouldnt even own or play any games. only about 1% of game players seem to know or care about hombrew i tell my friends all the time they dont give a hoot

nielsss
July 9th, 2006, 22:57
sony does't wan't to allow homebrew because it can brick your psp and hacker will always make virus's to kill there time i mean if sony would allow home brew they would do it themself for example the psone emulator commig out on the psp