How the new Game Genie lets you hack your PS3 saves: Some words from Wayne Beckett (Hyperkin)

August 1, 2012

Some days ago i posted about Game Genie, now in this article (pretty extensive) that covers most of the areas of the concept *cheaters* and how the encryption works (among many other *tips*).
Now with this release he created some fuzz with Sony. (Game Genie was sued by Nintendo under violation of copyright law).

To quote:

What is Game Genie today? (since we all remember the cartridge era):

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.

Since Game Genie documentation is almost null on the manipulation of a save file (but the sofware for the ones to like point and click solution it’s awesome), the author of this article contacted Wayne Beckett (the one behind Hyperkin) to explain the basics of how the PS3 save file hacking works.

Breaking the encryption:

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.

Here on HAX many user maybe will find this interesting since the problem with the PS3 game saves and the encription of them. Even if you want just make a slight mod, can brought heavy headaches to the ones who don’t understand too much of it. But again the program = Game Genie has a limit of 70 PS3 games listed on their own software to do whatever you want to that save files and they plan to expand their catalogue.

Playing with HEX: Memory Hunt

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.

Your right to Hack: (I found this in the same Article) Nintendo Sued Galoob (Maker of Game Genie)

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.

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.”

Source = artechnica

Tweet this!Tweet this!

Previous post:

Next post: