Birthday Bash 2018/Recent pickups

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Birthday Bash/
Recent Pickups
(Not a dead hobo yet)


   I and EagleSoft Ltd are not dead! I just have been really busy with my day job as a developer lately. I somehow recently lived long enough to turn 26 years old during April! As usual, I picked up a few video game related items this month in celebration, some homebrew development related, others just video games. Unfortunately, turning 26, I fell off my parents' health insurance. What did I pickup this year?

   Around April, I found a few good games at a thrift store for dirt cheap, and some other great finds at the annual Pittsburgh Retro Gaming Convention (2018)! At the thrift store, I found a boxed copy of the Starter Pack for Skylanders Superchargers Racing for Wii, with Bowser, his airplane, the portal, and the game, as well as a copy of Megaman Network Transmission for Gamecube, and a longbox copy of Twisted Metal for PS1. A future blog post will give a short game review of Skylanders Superchargers Racing for Wii, as well as a quick review video in a future episode of Nerdology.


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 PRGC/Gamemaster's Realms Pickups:

At the 2018 Pittsburgh Retro Gaming Convention (PRGC) and a recent trip to the local game shop (The GameMaster's Realm), I found some great pickups! 

  • PS2
    • Hw
      • 8MB Memory Card
    • Applications 
      • HDLoader
      • Network Adapter Startup Disc
      • DVD Player v2.10 
    • Games
      • Star Wars Battlefront 1
      • Star Wars Battlefront 2
  • Gamecube
    • BMX XXX (at GMR)
      • Homebrew Game Save exploit!
    • Gamecube SD Gecko (eBay)
  • Sega Saturn
    • Games
      • Virtua Fighter 2
      • Virtua Cop 
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        PS2 Pickups/FHDB Setup

   Last year, somebody gave me a working Fat PS2. It was fully working, but the CD tray was jammed. I was able to easily fix that by lubricating the drive belt. I also had future plans to acquire a HDD Network Adapter, and to install a HDD with Free Hard Drive Boot (FHDB) and Playstation Broadband Navigator (PSBBN) on it. This adapter would also enable me to play various games online again, via private servers or self-dumped, patched backup discs.

    That same someone also gave me an OEM HDD Network Adapter (with Ethernet and Dialup jacks) on it, so I had been trying to setup my PS2 Fat up with networking and HDD capabilities. Initially, the blank Memory card I acquired at PRGC'18 would be used as the Free McBoot (FMCB) memory card, with HDLoader being the software to use to get over the chicken-and-egg problem of having to write the appropriate files to the memory card on a non-modified console for the FMCB installation, and being the software to use to utilize the HDD. However, the HDLoader disc was badly chipped on a section of disc near the inner ring. Although I tried getting the CD buffed at the Gamemaster's Realm (whose owner has such a professional CD buffing machine), it still wasn't enough to fix the issue, so I ended up returning the disc back to the seller on the 2nd day of the convention. It was a shame too, because HDLoader is a somewhat rare but useful homebrew utility disc, and I found this copy for a steal of only $3.

    A few weeks later I picked up a compatible 40GB IDE HDD for dirt cheap ($10) on eBay, and ended up just writing a modified PSBBN disk image to it ("PSBBN custom install 2013 by AKuHAK" from somewhere online), for a Free Hard Drive Boot (FHDB) installation. More info about what a PS2 FHDB installation can do in a future blog post/Nerdology video.

Formatting the old drive
on the Windows ME DosBox

 Powering up the HDD
in the Windows ME DosBox desktop,
LLF formatting the drive,
and writing the PSBBN Custom image
to the drive from Windows 7 dev machine

End result
(HDD support in OSDSYS, PSBBN, PS2 Linux)

  Also picked up were a Network Startup Disc and a DVD Player v2.10 disc. The former allows setting up a Network Adapter for usage with an internet connection, while the latter installs an updated version of the PS2's DVD Player application onto a memory card. Using the former, I was able to determine that my HDD Network Adapter does indeed work with respect to connecting to the internet, as well as setup the PS2 with an internet connection. The FHDB installation also showed the HDD interface to be working too. The latter pickup is mostly a curio item, which updates the PS2's DVD Player version. (My PS2 had its DVD Player software on v1.x, this updated it to v2.10). Most PS2 online games back in the day were hosted via GameSpy; however, when the website folded, so did all of the servers. Believe it or not, in 2018, it is still possible to play some games online, via reverse-engineered, dedicated servers.

   As far as games, I found copies of Star Wars Battlefront 1 & 2 for PS2 (the original games, not the terrible next-generation ones ruined by EA Games). A SWBF community member by the name of Phobos has recently put the finishing touches this summer on launching SWBFSpy, an OpenSpy replacement for the SWBF Master Servers. This will allow online multiplayer for these games once again, after applying patches to them, as well as gameplay stats and a plethora of other features, which haven't been around since the GameSpy servers ended. I'm quite excited for the release, and to play some SWBF online once again very soon!

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GameCube Homebrew Exploit

    To quickly followup from Repairaganza last year, someone gave me a used Wii. It was fully functional, but the DVD Drive mechanism was jammed. It was determined that a copy of Mario Kart Wii was jammed in the drive. After prying the DVD out, the drive still wouldn't suck or eject discs. Although I attempted lubricating and adjusting the DVD drive's gear system after disassembly of the console, I was unable to repair the drive; the mechanism was just too fragile to fix up. During early 2018, I transplanted the working DVD Drive from my brother's dead Wii. This DVD Drive was an early D2A chip drive, and works perfectly in my Wii! As a bonus, it's an early enough disc drive revision that it can watch DVD movies through MPlayer for Wii (not that I want to reduce the lifespan of the ODD's laser by watching DVD movies).

  One item I was looking for the GameCube at the convention was a copy of any GCN game from the short list of exploitable GameCube games. Games from this list can utilize a hacked saved file, which will exploit the game into running unsigned code from another device (run boot.dol converted to a save file on the same GCN memory card, Mini DVD-R, SD Gecko, etc). An SD Gecko is a GCN Memory card which allows plugging in an SD Card. Such devices are widely use in the GCN homebrew scene for running games, apps, and other things on real hardware, but compatibility is better on smaller SD Cards (not SDHC cards). In order to setup the exploit, the user needs to copy the hacked saved file onto a GCN memory card through a hacked Wii, using a utility such as GCMM on the Wii. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any of those games (there was a copy of 007 Agent Under Fire, but it was case only; no game). I was hoping to get Swiss running on an SD Gecko, so I'd be able to run and play Gamecube hombrew on real hardware. Specifically, I was planning on running the Gameboy Inteface (GBI) homebrew app using the softmod. GBI is a GB(C)/Advanced emulator that utilizes the Gameboy Player hardware to play real cartridges, and has much superior emulation than that with the official Nintendo GBP Bootdisc. This would allow me to play old Gameboy games on the big screen, as well as allow for future streaming of retro games for Nerdology in glorious high quality.

   Fortunately, I found a very cheap copy ($3) of BMX XXX at Gamemaster's Realm. (No, I'm not interested in playing this mature game lol. Just using BMX XXX as an XXXPloit game). After ordering a cheap SD Gecko and recently acquiring an official Wii SD Card (1GB, so less than SDHC capacities). I was able to get Swiss and GBI running on my 'Cube through the Exploit 😎. I still have been having too many troubles with running homebrew that access external files, for whatever reason. Further details about this softmod in a future blog post/Nerdology video.

Running Swiss and GBI
through the BMX XXXPloit
via SDGecko
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Sega Saturn finds
   Some better finds at the convention were copies of Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Cop for the Sega Saturn. The latter came in a longbox (CIB minus manual), while the latter was a loose copy. The longbox game is the first for my Sega Saturn collection; I've only recently gotten around to collecting and playing on the Sega Saturn, after I repaired one last year.
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Other EagleSoft Ltd News.

   EagleSoft Ltd has been relatively inactive the last 1.5 years, due to real life. Recently, this blog has been updated to use an HTTPS connection, in order to encrypt traffic for its own safety on the public web. This is the 99th blog post here at EagleSoft Labs, with next post being the 100th post! I have a few surprises, announcements, and important web/blog updates for the 100 blog post special; stay tuned!

-Tamkis

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