Believe it or not, the highlighted value there is key to unlocking maximum health in a Dead Space 2 save file. Hyperkin
The newest, PS3-based incarnation of the Game Genie doesn’t share much of a lineage with the original line of similarly named, cartridge-based cheat devices nearly ubiquitous in the 8- and 16-bit eras; manufacturer Hyperkin picked up the rights to the name when Galoob’s original trademark recently lapsed. it doesn’t share exactly the same functionality as its namesake either. while the old Game Genies actively patched the ROM code being loaded from the game cartridge, the PS3 Game Genie is actually just a computer program that lets you decode and modify PS3 save files stored on a standard USB stick.
But one thing the old and new Game Genies share is the ability for a determined, patient hacker to create their own cheats by diving in to the vagaries of the hexadecimal code. while most users will probably be satisfied clicking checkboxes to activate pre-built cheats like maximum health and full game unlocks (just like most users of the original Game Genie were satisfied copying down codes from the included booklet or game magazines), the Game Genie software also offers an Advanced mode that allows for more direct save file manipulation.
The Game Genie documentation doesn’t offer much guidance on how to use this advanced editing option, so I reached out to Hyperkin Project Manager Wayne Beckett (a veteran developer of previous cheat devices like the Action Replay and Game Shark) to explain the basics of how the PS3 save file hacking works.
While the interface the Game Genie uses for its save file hacking looks like a simple hexadecimal file editor, the software actually conceals a lot of behind-the-scenes work needed to make those files editable in the first place. “If you take a hex editor like Winhex on your PC and you open a PS3 save, the only thing you’re ever going to do is break it,” Beckett said. That’s because those save files are protected by “encryption, compression, checksums, second level encryption, and so on,” he explained.
“So we basically make all of that invisible to the user. We’ll actually decode the save on our server, then we’ll send it to you, and then you make the changes, then we’ll re-encode the save and send it back,” he said. (This process also makes it possible to re-encode a save file with the profile from another PS3 system, letting you easily transfer saves between hardware).
Unfortunately, this means that the Game Genie only works with a selection of about 70 PS3 games that Hyperkin has gone to the trouble of figuring out how to decrypt and decompress to be directly editable (the company is working to expand that list going forward with automatic online updates). Beckett said the involved process of unlocking the specific save format for a single game can take days or even weeks, especially for complicated files like those found in Skyrim or Max Payne 3.
To prioritize which games go through the process first, Hyperkin keeps track of player sentiment through Facebook and e-mail to figure out which games people want to cheat on the most. “Sometimes the most popular games aren’t necessarily the games people want to most cheat on,” Beckett said. “The ones people typically want to most cheat on are typically the hardest games. It’s not exactly what you’d expect.”
HyperkinFor some of the games that Hyperkin has unlocked, editing the save file is a relatively straightforward process. Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma, for instance, stores the raw save data as a human-readable plain text file, making it simple to find the specific values you want to edit. For the vast majority of saved games, though, the save file you get back from Game Genie’s decryption process is just a wall of hexadecimal values (and perhaps a few stray human-readable ASCII variable names) that’s going to look like gibberish even to an experienced programmer.
One of the best ways to figure out which brick to chip away at in that hex wall is to cross-reference a couple of different saves for some known values, Beckett said. Say you have one save file where a character has 325 gold pieces, for example, and another where he has 500 gold pieces. If you search out all the memory locations with a hexadecimal value of “325” in the first save file, and those with “500” in the second file, you’ll likely find at least one location where the values seem to overlap. That provides a good clue as to where the “gold value” variable is being stored in the save file.
The Game Genie name doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation, as far as some first-party console manufacturers are concerned, at least. back in the early ‘90s, Nintendo actually sued Game Genie maker Galoob, alleging the modifications the device made to its games and system amounted to copyright infringement. the case took the Game Genie off the market for a time, but Galoob eventually prevailed. In the process, the case set a precedent for a user’s right to modify their own technological property for personal use.
“Basically Nintendo said, ‘we don’t like this product and we’re going to sue,’ [but] the fact that Nintendo didn’t like it wasn’t enough, because it wasn’t illegal,” Beckett said. “At the end of the day it’s your save… if you buy a car you can make certain modifications to that car.”
That doesn’t mean Hyperkin is out to antagonize Sony by letting players gain unearned PS3 trophies or an unfair advantage in online play. those kinds of things are pretty much impossible with the Game Genie, anyway, since editing a local save file can’t alter the server-side player statistics maintained by the publisher. Still, Beckett said they keep an eye out for things that might affect online gameplay and purposely leave them out of pre-loaded code lists.
While Beckett expects that the new Game Genie will “will mildly irritate Sony,” he was adamant that hacking your own, single-player save files is a basic right. “The games companies don’t have a right to dictate how you play your game. If you want to fast forward through a DVD and watch the second half or the ending, as long as you bought the DVD, it’s your right to do that.”
Performing these kinds of searches with the Game Genie software is relatively simple, thanks to a “find” function that automatically converts decimal values to hexadecimal. Unfortunately, the software doesn’t provide much help in comparing those discovered memory locations across two different save files. the program doesn’t provide the opportunity to run a simple “diff” operation between two different save files, which would make it relatively simple to see which memory locations are being changed between two largely similar saves states (Beckett said they hope to add this feature in the future). It’s not even possible to copy the raw data out to your own more powerful hex editor to find those differences for yourself, or to open two save files side by side to do a direct visual comparison. the only option is to copy down the memory values by hand and compare them that way, a tedious and laborious process.
Once you’ve found the key memory location, though, it’s just a matter of editing it to whatever hexadecimal value you want (Beckett noted that most experienced hackers have memorized the hexadecimal value for 9,999,999 for this very reason). it may take a few trial-and-error passes to figure out exactly how extensive the edits should be (does the gold value take up 8 bits or 16 bits, for instance?) but the Game Genie backs up the original saves, so you don’t have to worry about screwing up your save file permanently.
What about cheats that don’t have a distinct numerical component, like those that unlock hidden characters or levels? Beckett said these are going to be harder for an average user to suss out for themselves—Hyperkin uses its own more advanced tools to figure out which precise bits control these elements of the save file. but at-home hackers have a chance to discover these kinds of things on their own simply by making some educated guesses.
“You could do it, especially if you see some of our codes,” Beckett said. “If you look around [the memory locations for known codes] and modify the bits immediately above and below, there’s a very good chance there’s something interesting around there, so that’s another trick you can use.”
That kind of hunting can even unlock things that the developer had probably intended to remain totally hidden, as Hyperkin found out for itself when it unlocked a previously unknown “god mode” in the save file for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. “It was probably a god mode that was built-in and probably left in for the developers, I guess, to give to magazines for reviews and things like that,” Beckett said. “That’s something they probably never expected us to find it, but we have found it and we’ve unlocked it.”
Unearthing your own gems in the mess of hex values that is a PS3 save file is largely just a matter of putting in the time to try things out and see what happens. “Some people come up with some quite amazing codes just by trial and error, and they’ve got a lot more patience than I have, let’s put it that way,” Beckett said. “The main [strategy] is just to change the value and just look for places that have changed, especially when it’s an actual numerical value, they’re the easiest ones to look for. you just have to sort of go in and be a bit nosy, and look for information that will give you clues…”
Stepping off a boat in the shoes of illegal immigrant Niko Bellic as he arrives in Liberty City at the start of Grand Theft Auto IV, you can tell immediately that Rockstar North’s latest offering is something quite special. Yes, this is another GTA game in which you’ll likely spend the bulk of your time stealing cars and gunning down cops and criminals, but it’s also much more than that. GTAIV is a game with a compelling and nonlinear storyline, a game with a great protagonist who you can’t help but like, and a game that boasts a plethora of online multiplayer features in addition to its lengthy story mode. It’s not without some flaws, but GTAIV is undoubtedly the best Grand Theft Auto yet.
One of the many things that set GTAIV apart from its predecessors is Liberty City, which is more convincing as a living, breathing urban environment than anything that you’ve seen in a game before, and bears little resemblance to its namesake in 2001′s GTAIII. Liberty’s diverse population believably attempts to go about its daily business, seemingly unaware that several criminal factions are at war in the city. Niko has no such luck. He’s compelled to start working for one of the factions shortly after arriving, when he learns that his cousin Roman has some potentially fatal gambling debts. Niko’s military experience makes him a useful freelancer for employers in the business of killing each other, and though his reluctance to carry out their orders is often apparent, he does whatever is asked of him in the hope that completing missions for other people will ultimately give him the means to complete his own.
Actually, Niko doesn’t have to do everything that is asked of him. On several occasions as you play through his story, you’ll be presented with decisions that afford you the option of doing what you think is right rather than blindly following instructions. You don’t necessarily have to kill a target if he or she promises to disappear, but you have to weigh the risk of your employer finding out against the possibility that the person whose life you spare might prove useful later in the game, or even have work for you in the form of bonus missions. to say anything more specific on this subject would be to risk spoiling one of GTAIV’s most interesting new features, but suffice it to say that every decision you make has consequences, and you’ll likely want to play through the game at least twice to see how the alternatives unfold.
Grand Theft Auto IV’s story mode can be beaten in less than 30 hours, and there are so many optional activities and side missions to take part in along the way that you can comfortably double that number if you’re in no hurry. The majority of the story missions task you with making deliveries and/or killing people, and play out in much the same way as those in previous games. With that said, most of the missions are a lot easier this time around, partly because Niko is a more agile and efficient killer than any of his predecessors, and partly because the LCPD seemingly has better things to do than hunt down an illegal immigrant who’s gunning down undesirables all over the city. Some of the more imaginative missions sprinkled throughout the story include a kidnapping, a bank heist, and a job interview. The cinematic cutscenes associated with story missions are superbly presented and are the sequences in which the game’s characters really shine. Without exception, the characters you encounter benefit from great animation, great voice work, and superbly expressive faces. They’re not always so impressive when they join you on a mission and refuse to do what they’re supposed to (for example, not following you on an escort mission, or failing to negotiate a doorway). nevertheless, these problems are few and far between, and they’re made less painful by the new “replay mission” option that you’re presented with whenever you fail.
New abilities in Niko’s arsenal include scaling fences and walls anywhere he can get a foothold, shimmying along ledges, and, most importantly, taking cover behind objects. The ability to stick close to walls, parked cars, and the like at the touch of a button makes GTAIV’s gunplay a huge improvement over that in previous games, and, in tandem with the new targeting system, it also makes it a lot easier. Enemies are rarely smart enough to get to you while you’re in cover, and given that you can lock your targeting reticle on to them even when they’re hidden, all you have to do is wait for them to poke their heads out and then pick them off with a minimum of effort. Locking on to enemies targets their torso by default, but you can use the right analog stick to fine-tune your aim and kill them more quickly with a headshot or two. Playing without using the lock-on feature make things more difficult, but youll need to master the technique so that you can shoot blindly at enemies from positions of cover when you dare not poke your own head out to line up the shot.
Given the amount of trouble that you get into as you play through the story mode, it’s inevitable that the police are going to get involved from time to time, even when their presence isn’t a scripted feature of your mission. Liberty City’s boys in blue are quick to respond when you get flagged with a wanted level of between one and six stars, but they’re not nearly as tough to deal with as their counterparts in previous GTA games. They don’t drive as quickly when pursuing you, they rarely bother to set up roadblocks, and you’ll need to blow up practically an entire city block before the FIB (that’s not a typo) show up. furthermore, you’re given an unfair advantage in the form of your GPS system; when you’re not using it to plot a valid route to any waypoint of your choosing, it doubles as a kind of police scanner. Any time you have a brush with the law, the GPS shows you the exact locations of patrol cars and cops on foot in your area, and highlights the circular area (centered on your last known whereabouts) where they’re concentrating their search. to escape, all you need to do is move outside the circle and then avoid being seen for 10 seconds or so, which is often best achieved by finding a safe spot and just sitting there. It’s not a bad system in theory, but in practice it makes dodging the law a little too easy, especially when your wanted level is low and the search area is small.
When you’re not running missions for criminals, taking part in street races, stealing cars to order, or randomly causing trouble, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to unwind in Liberty City. Some of these optional activities offer tangible rewards that can prove useful in missions later on, whereas others are just a fun way to kill time and take in more of GTAIV’s superb humor. For example, you can watch television, listen to numerous different radio stations, check out some genuinely funny shows (including some big-name acts) at cabaret and comedy clubs, and use a computer to surf the in-game Internet.
GTAIV’s Internet is filled with spoofs of all the kinds of Web sites that you’d only ever look at accidentally or when you know there’s no danger of getting caught. Some of them can be found only by clicking on links in spam e-mails, whereas others are advertised prominently on the search page. There’s plenty of amusing stuff to find if you spend some time in one of the “TW@” Internet cafes, but the most interesting site by far is an online dating agency through which you can meet women who, if they like your profile, will agree to go on dates with you. Dating and socializing with friends is something you can spend as much or as little of your time doing as you like, and though the people you meet can occasionally be demanding to the point that they become irritating, keeping them happy invariably benefits you in some way.
- Online Casino Gambler Blog » Blog Archive » Is it true that Michael Jordan is now broke and owe hundreds millions dollar in gambling debts?
- SPORTSbyBROOKS » Did Phil Sell Out Golf, USA Over Gambling Debt?
- Grand Theft Auto IV (xbox 360)- Marvellous Action Packed Game « FeverGame.Com
- GTA IV Mission #79 – Liquidize the Assets | Walkthrough | MediaVerso.com
- GTAmissions’GTAIV VG-Mission 08 | TechH2o.com
- GTAIV Becomes 5th Game in Gamespot's History to Get a 10/10! | Foilball.com
- Heavy Rain in Liberty City: a GTA IV Machinima | The Warp Pipe
- Capcom shares Dead Rising 2 multiplayer features | ENCROYABLE
- Hope You Die The Best | Evil Monito
- Niko Bellic, the jerkiest jerk that ever jerked « Grinding Down