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News

An Announcement

*Temporary edit by Aleron Ives*

Since BlueCrab seems to be dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane, I sadly must make this edit for him instead. A serious bug has been discovered in the loader disc which causes problems like those associated with the Utopia boot disc. You can’t target enemies with Rafoie, you can’t use Shifta and Deband on other players, and other things. Please don’t try to download it until a solution is devised. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news…

*The original post follows*

So, I had posted on my Twitter a few weeks back about a big announcement coming up with regard to PSO, and I’m finally ready to make that announcement. I probably would have waited a bit, since I really wanted to have the news available in Japanese as well, but various circumstances happened, and I’d rather get this out now than wait any more.

As you probably know (if you play PSO on the Dreamcast), several versions of the game (USv2, JPv1, and JPv2) are reliant on a specific Sega server that no longer exists called the Hunter’s License server. Well, long story short, with a lot of research and studying, I was finally able to defeat that check to get those versions back online. I’ll go further into details on this a bit later in the post, but there is more to the announcement before that.

You may have noticed (if you play PSO on the PC as well) that Sylverant’s patch server has been sending out updated versions of the PSO binaries that have a fix for some maps in Ultimate mode integrated. This fix, which enables a few maps in Ultimate mode that Sega seems to have forgotten in v2, was up until this point only available for PSO for PC. Well, now I can say that it is also available for the Dreamcast versions of PSOv2 as well (US, Japanese, and European), thanks again to Aleron Ives’ work (and some of my own).

Both of these patches, as well as a patch to force PSO to connect to sylverant.net directly (so you don’t need to use the DNS trick with a BBA or a nasty Codebreaker code with dialup) have been integrated into a program that I’ve written for the Dreamcast that I’m calling Sylverant PSO Patcher. Sylverant PSO Patcher effectively acts as a boot-disc for PSO (legitimate GD-ROMs only — it does not and will not ever work with CD-R copies), that will automatically patch the game and launch it.

The Connecting to Sylverant page (the “Connect” link in the menu) has been updated to reflect how to connect to the server with the newly supported versions, both using Codebreaker and using Sylverant PSO Patcher.

More details are available if you wish to continue reading…

First, more about the Hunter’s License server part of the announcement. When Sega still hosted PSO servers, the Hunter’s License server was responsible for verifying whether or not you had paid your monthly fee for the game. The connection that the game made to the server was encrypted with SSL, and thus nobody could ever reverse engineer the HL server. Thus, since it wasn’t defeated in any other way, and nobody knew exactly how it worked, all versions of the game that were reliant on that server were effectively rendered inoperable by Sega’s shutdown of the server. I had decided early on in Sylverant’s life that at some point I would like to figure out how to defeat the HL server check. However, I didn’t really ever think to heavily about doing it up until a few weeks ago. I then took the Japanese copy of PSOv1 that I had, and studied it a bit. After a bit of tracing and some luck, I found out what needed to be changed in the game to disable the HL check once and for all. Then, after being provided with some data by Aleron Ives (half of which was provided to him by Lee), I found that the same patch (albeit in a different location in the game) would work on both of the other two versions that had HL server checks (USv2 and JPv2).

Next, onto the Ultimate mode map fix… Sega basically made a rather silly mistake in the code for PSOv2 (all versions), and with Sylverant PSO Patcher, we were able to fix it. PSO has a table of maps embedded in the code. It has various pointers to sub-tables and eventually all the filenames of maps in the game. Well, when Sega was adding in Ultimate mode, they somehow forgot to include 4 maps (one on each of Cave 1, Cave 3, Mine 1, and Mine 2). Aleron Ives figured out how to fix the problem on the PC version of PSO a little while back, and we began providing fixed binaries through the game’s patch server. Unfortunately, the same method of patching it didn’t work on the Dreamcast version, as the binary was a lot more tightly packed. That essentially meant that we actually had to relocate parts of the table outside of the table to fit the extra data in. We initially tried this with a really long Codebreaker code, but somewhere along the line that didn’t work properly. Since I was already working on Sylverant PSO Patcher, we tried by using it, and it actually worked! Thus, all versions of PSOv2 can now benefit from the map fix patch that Aleron Ives worked on (once again, with data provided, in part, by Lee).

Finally, one last note that isn’t really mentioned in the earlier parts of the news post… Through the testing that we have done, we’ve noticed that the Japanese release of PSOv1 is a lot more buggy than the later versions. We’ve found a few bugs that essentially made it impossible to use, even with the Hunter’s License check disabled (which is why Japanese v1 players couldn’t ever connect to schtserv when the server was still up). Well, I can say that as we found these bugs, I fixed them in Sylverant’s code. So, the Japanese version of PSOv1 should work just fine on Sylverant at this point. Know that it still may have more bugs that we haven’t encountered yet, so it may not work quite as well as the other/later versions of the game. If you encounter any bugs with the Japanese version of PSOv1, please report them!

Anyway, I think I’ve blabbed on for long enough at this point, so I’m going to cut this off at this point. Thanks for reading this far, if you made it all the way to this point.

20 Responses to “An Announcement”

  1. K_I_R_E_E_K says:

    Great news actually.
    I have seen for some time the fact that US version was always cheaper then EU, basicly because ppl were aware that the EU version was the only one that could connect.
    So, that means for the time beeing ppl can get a cheap US version and connect online, beeing the game less wanted is actually a good thing, ppl will not have trouble finding a copy online and they can get it much cheaper then the EU version

  2. TeamXlink says:

    Awesome, great work, this is brilliant and amazing!!!

  3. nyte says:

    great job, i would like to try it out but i would half to buy a dc and a regular tv too. and probably other accessories i’m not aware of. xD

  4. T_chan says:

    Great work, thanks for that !

  5. […] The strategy here is simple, Bluecrab created a loader (similar to utopia) that will change some functions in the game disk inserted afterwards, enabling to have fixes and to connect online. A great work was done and i thank him. You can check more details on the anoucement made on sylverant http://sylverant.net/2011/08/27/an-announcement/#more-278 […]

  6. Shadowrod says:

    Blue Crab, my hero!

    I know that you´d be the only one to bypass those dc hl checkers lol.
    I´m counting on you to put psox back online someday.

  7. Treamcaster says:

    On Sylverant anything’s possible. I have no words that can express how delighted I really am.

  8. hehelsing says:

    GREAT WORK!!!

    Seriously, i was about to buy a PSOv2 EU when you came out of the nowhere with these great news!!
    You’re a lifesaver!! 🙂

  9. Lee says:

    “Then, after being provided with some data by Aleron Ives”

    Ives provided it really? Funny they where my binaries.

    In fact Ives doesn’t provide a whole lot of anything except using things found by other people and claim credit for it these days lol…

    • Aleron Ives says:

      Hey now, I give credit for the things people help with, and to be fair, I had to get the one for JPv2 myself, since you didn’t have it. Since BlueCrab had to write a massive post all at once before the power went out due to the hurricane, it may not be surprising that he forgot to mention some things. Once he comes back, I think he can amend his post.

    • BlueCrab says:

      I thought that both the JPv2 and USv2 binaries (the only two binaries that are being spoken about in the part you quoted) were provided by Ives by dumping the data from NullDC. If I misunderstood, I apologize.

      Once again, I don’t have electricity at home or anything else like that. I made this post knowing that the power was likely to go out and stay out for a while. As Ives said, I wrote this post quickly and I’m sure I left plenty of stuff out that if I had time, I would have written a better post.

      Note that on the “Connecting to Sylverant” page, you’re given credit for providing the data we needed for the mapfix stuff and such.

      I certainly didn’t mean any harm in not mentioning you. I hope you can understand the pressure that I was under to try to release this before I couldn’t do so for a potentially protracted period of time. As it is right now, I can’t go and fix the bugs that have been discovered, as I still do not have electricity at home. I’m only lucky that the university that I go to does (as the community college nearby apparently does not).

  10. Peccatum says:

    I hope this server will live forever, cause it has good updates and community!

    Ives you still playing online or not ? I made a break for PSO PC , but i think about going back online for some CMODE and lvling , ill be glad if you’ll fight by my site 😀

  11. Lee says:

    Ives was provided with by me a number of extracted Binaries including the EU V2 and USA V2, JPN V2 was the one i did not provide, mainly because i didn’t have a copy of the game. Note I did instruct Ives on how to get it though, just like he was given specific instructions by me on how to modify the floor table list.

    Wouldn’t solve the dns connecting problems but the console versions do have a patch server, although downloading a new binary over dial up every time you connect doesn’t sound all that appealing, it is how patches where designed to be applied, and what was exploited in the gc version if you need an example of it. psul and psoload both expliot pso’s gc’s patch server ability.

    • Aleron Ives says:

      To our knowledge, nobody knows how the Dreamcast patching method works, and even if we did, it would be impractical, since as you noted the process takes too long. BlueCrab already examined PSOLoad and didn’t learn anything useful in however much time he spent, and it’s probably not worth spending any more on it. Having to reboot the game every time you want to go online would be far too tedious.

      If your advice on fixing the maps had been “specific”, they could have been fixed a long time ago. 😉

      • BlueCrab says:

        I didn’t spend much time looking at the packets. I basically looked at one set of packet dumps from uploading one binary from my PC to a Gamecube, and didn’t really feel much like looking any further due to the limitations of the method.

        Anyway, this place is about to close, so I have to go home…

  12. Lee says:

    the method is designed to replace the executable file of the console version and reload it. It’s what they exploited to load code on the GC. Basically you connect: it replaces your exe, forces a reload back to title as it resets it. reconnect you have the correct dol / elf, problem with this method is that each time you power off it has to re download it.

  13. Legit Nyck says:

    o sylverant conta com o pso BB? onde esta o host? ou não é preciso host?

 
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