you remember: http://forums.x-cult...-hedgehog-x360/ - where I basically burnt down DVD after DVD just to test minor file system modifications. Well times like this are back.. just without DVDs and thus with far less danger.
And I guess that unlike last time I guess I can publish the modifications. For one single reason: what required one DVD for every single modification last time (resulting to 45 minute burning times thanks 2.4x speed back then) only requires a single external harddisk now. However, while the old hack required your Xbox 360 DVD firmware to be modified.. these hacks require a MAJOR(!) Xbox 360 modification, however let me promise you, doing so will pay out.
Before I start: yes, this is a TL;DR post - read it or ignore it.. I won't do a sum-up! The Sonic next stuff begins after two horizontal lines if you are not interested in doing the modifications to your box!
I'll do some quick sum-ups:
-Your console MUST have a 7xxx firmware (first run of NXE).. if it does not.. you can download CDs you can burn to upgrade your console to NXE of that version. However, your Xbox must not have an 8xxx firmware.. if you have an 8xxx firmware.. then you're out of luck.. it won't work.. really! Forget about it.. even downgrading won't help.. the 8xxx setup routines modify your consoles boot rom and that exactly contains the vulnerability.. downgrading the firmware will revert your system menu to 7xxx but it will not unpatch the boot rom - currently, unpatching the boot rom is impossible! What you can do though if you really want it: go into a store and check for consoles, you can see their manufacturing dates when you open the flip thing on the side: Please note that the console should be produced before 06/2009 (retail consoles got the fix a little earlier, it was included in the firmware update 09/2009).
Let me requote: if your system software says 8xxx, you ARE OUT OF LUCK and there's nothing you can do about it right now
-Then you need to perform the so-called JTAG hack on the console: instructions to do so can be found on http://www.free60.org/ - yes, you need to do soldering
-Now, even more: you need a way to run freeboot or XBReboot.. I for myself use FreeBoot which requires an additional flash device for the console (in my case a Cygnos360 v2 - the advantage: on the Cygnos I have I hacked 8955 firmware installed so my System Software is up to date.. and yes: I can access Xbox Live - yes, this again requires soldering!
-Then (the easiest part): you need to install the XeXLoader onto your console
and last but not least:
-a USB 2.0 Harddrive is recommended (and well, I realize that would be easy to perform) - has to be formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS, so if it is over 32 GB you need some formatting tools.. fat32formater is a simple option)
I realize that these steps are quite difficult: therefore if you think you're unable to do that: many people on xbox-scene.net sell pre-modified consoles (you won't find them in modification stores I guess, the steps involve modifying the System Software NAND which basically means you modify contents of the dashboard software - and while drive flashing is so-so on the legal side, modifying the system software clearly is!). Some might even offer to do the modifications for you, for some cash if your console hasn't been upgraded yet!
Once you've gone through all of this (it's fortunately a one time hack only).. the fun can begin: basically you can just unpack games to your USB harddrive.. their directory would normally be: [hd]:games[game name] - this is for easeness purposes as XeXLoader will then directly show the game.. all you're required to do is to patch default.xex (takes 2 seconds there are tools for this).. and then the game runs via harddisk.. and all files are lying in an unpacked form on the harddisk..
So to make up a quick FAQ:
1) So that means there is no ISO on the harddisk, but the unpacked ISO - just the game files:
-Exactly that's it!
2) The files can be just modified then?
-Yes, yes, that's exactly what you can do... no more stupid ISO repacking and all that crap
3) Does the original file size have to match up like with ISO modification:
-No! You can modifiy the files in any possible manner.. making them larger, smaller.. hell, you can even try to check how a game reacts if you remove a file!
4) Can I modify the XEX (Game executable) that should be signed, isn't it?
-Yes, you can. Performing the JTAG hack allows you to run unsigned XEX files.. basically after patching the XEX with XeXTool so that it runs on USB drives it is already unsigned.. you can freely modify it in any manner you like!
5) Can I continue using my regular savegames?
6) Will this mean an Xbox Live ban?
-Well.. that's difficult.. some jtag modified consoles have already been banned! However, many of them have been unbanned, too - essentially I think Microsoft is careful about that.. all they have to identify a console which is known is its ID and the serial.. and well: right now (according to MS) the serials are banned.. and you could simply go into a store and check the serials of consoles by just opening that paper flip again.. that would mean you'd already have that and you could modify your system menu so that it reports that serial.. and even for console IDs.. many stores have demo boxes.. simply quit the game on them (well, many of them block the guide button), enter the system options and it'd show you the console ID - a quick cellphone photo and you could modify your system menu to report both that ID and that serial.. and if Microsoft banned you, they'd also ban that console. However, I assume that in the long run, jtagged Xboxes will be locked out from Xbox Live as they are very easily detectable (much easier than drive modified consoles) (maybe they are not banned per se via serial but just when you log in some JTAG check is performed - as mentioned it's easy, just send an unsigned code bit to the console and check whether the console would execute it - if it refuses to execute it is unmodified).
For Sonic Next: all of this means direct editing of the ARC files.. thus I will send you ARC packers and whatever. I will also include the LUA files (which were decompiled by xose) and several instructions on how to do modifications.. I can already assure you some positive things: I tested how the game reacts if you pack plain-text LUA files into the ARC files (just with the LUB extension): it works, so no LUA compiling is necessary.
So far the ARC toolkit is here:
This one contains both the PHP sources xose ( http://www.soniconthenet.org ) originally created for unpacking as well as my packing PHP sources.. it also contains one EXE file (which essentially is a PHP interpreter and all the scripts wrapped in one EXE so that Windows users do not need to download PHP additionally!).
Its runtime is:
arctool [options] [filename] Possible options: -d: Deflate/Extract (standard if file does already exist) -s: List files (simulate extraction) -c: Create ARC file (standard if file does not already exist) -l#:Compression level (# ranges from 0 to 9, 9 being default, 0 meaning very low compression) (uncompressed files do not work in the Final version!) -a#:Write 32-byte-arranged ARC files (#1 for true, true is default) (only for creation) -f: Force overwriting of old ARC file -i: Input directory (only for creation) -j [filesize/filename]: Fill file with junk data (only for creation) If a numeric value is given: the final file will be at least as large as the given value If a filename is given, the filesize of the filename given will be used for final size! ARC file format/Unpacker: written by xose Packer: written by Link
Thus for unpacking you could simply run:
arctool player.arc - it will create a folder called player and all files of the ARC file will be unpacked into that directory
to repack that file from the same directory you'd do the following: enter the player directory (which has been just unpacked):
and run: arctool -c -f ..player.arc
it will collect all files in the current directory, pack them up and overwrite player.arc - voilÃ : new file created.. please note that most of these options it has were for crushing file sizes (like -a0 and -c9 - for a JTAG modified console those are obsolute as you do not care about file sizes.. thus that packer by default only compresses with minimal efficiency and also 32 byte aligned files.. it also contains code for virtual files (symlinks it packs into the archives) however as mentioned all of that were tricks to get more files into one ARC package.. that stuff is all obsolute by now!)