Will you buy the Kinect?

yes, at launch or during the holiday season
maybe later


Crave Online

Week of January 4, 2004
Work In Progress: zsnes for the xbox
>> From Lantus on http://www.lantus-x.com/SDLx/:
Gatsu on the Lantus-X forums has been working on a ZSnes port using SDLx!

"I started trying to get ZSNES to run on the XBOX last night, and due to the SDL port available already for linux I was able to get this going last night with SDLx! :)"

more WIP screenshots are available at this thread

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Saturday 10 January 2004 21:48 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Gentoox: lots of changes to magic
>> ShALLaX has made tons of changes to magic over the last few days. Here's a summary news of the changes.
I think I'm done with actual feature changes and enhancements to magic. It works just the way I want it to now. So from now on, any changes will be bugfixes. The following should reflect how major the changes were:

Lines | Words | Characters | filename
2427 | 10029 | 67786 | ./patches.old
1672 | 6723 | 49045 | ./patches

Basically, over 3000 lines have been cut from the code - this equates to almost 20KB. That means 4 seconds less download time per magic session (which all adds up) and it means the code will get parsed quicker.

Summary of Changes
* Magic is all together far more robust.
* Due to the use of routines, the patches file is much smaller and simpler thus making it quicker to execute and download, and importantly for me, easier to edit.
* LED feedback has been added to magic and a lockfile is put in place to stop loadmonitor from interrupting the LED sequence (fanctl is still active).
* Lockfile to stop multiple instances of magic (can be overridden if needed).
* Text colour codes have been aliased to make the code easier to understand.
* The database means that /etc/conf.d wont get cluttered anymore and potential filename conflicts wont exist.
* The automatic database backups mean you can recover incase something horrible happens.
* Error trapping and handling means that if something goes wrong magic WILL stop and not just skip to the next patch (which may well be dependent on the previous patch which just failed!).
* Failed magic attempts will backup the database with a "failed" tag, and successful attempts with a "success" tag.
* Ctrl-C will kill magic instantly and clean up and backup the database with an "aborted" tag.
* Download rate limit is nolonger hardcoded into each patch - this means if my connection is ever upgraded, the cap can be easily updated.
* Patches updated to work with the new database.
* Probably lots more that I can't think of right now. (Haven't slept in over 24 hours.)

Note that this DOESN'T mean magic is stable yet, it needs heavy testing - if anyone feels like doing this testing with me, then go ahead and run magic and tell me of any problems you encounter.

* Fixed keyboardtoggle1 patch - it was not getting added to the magic database correctly.
* The "want_kde" question had the wrong dependency so after xvkbdpatch1 was installed it would no longer ask you if you wanted KDE - even if it was installed.

Official Site: http://gentoox.shallax.com

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Saturday 10 January 2004 14:39 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

ChihiroX(GBA) - Source Code - Rakusai 1.00 *updated*
>> I tried to understand the japanese babel translation ... but it's really not easy this time.
From what I understand Hikaru released the sourcecode of the latest version of Chihirox(info).

update: Shadow_Mx sent us a translation of what Hikaru said on his newspage:
Chihiro X Source Code Released (Rakusai_1.00.rar)
(picture is a demo made from the SC)
After this he explains that the previous XDK-How To site works, but it has a problem. Then he explains how to compile Chihiro GBA. He has plans to release the source code for the other emulators.

Official Site: http://www.cwo.zaq.ne.jp/90-26/
Download: n/a
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Saturday 10 January 2004 14:27 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox2 backwards compatible petition reaches almost 10000 signatures
>> The petition that started several weeks ago asking Microsoft to make the Xbox2 (alias Xbox Next) backwards compatible has almost reached 10.000 signatures! (9918 at time of writing).

Check it out: http://www.petitiononline.com/xbox2/petition.html.
If you agree with the statement and didn't sign yet ... do it now :-)
Thanks goes to Gamester17 for the info.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 23:57 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox Next takes off a few inches
>> From gamespot.com:
TOKYO--Microsoft Japan's new Xbox division chief Yoshihiro Maruyama says that his company's next generation machine, casually referred to by media outlets as the Xbox Next, will not see its shadow until 2006. Maruyama's comments support statements made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last year, when he told the Nikkei Journal that the console will be released no sooner than 2006 in Japan. But whether the Xbox Next will be out before or after Sony's next generation machine is not decided, according to an interview with Maruyama contained in the current issue of Famitsu.

One of the issues surrounding the original Xbox was the fact it was was considerably larger than other game consoles in the market. Rumors have been floating the Xbox Next will be considerably smaller and possibly uses notebook PC components.
While Maruyama did not comment on specifics, he confirmed that the Xbox Next will indeed be smaller than the current Xbox. "In terms of hardware, we get a lot of requests asking us to reduce the console's size. Actually, I was thinking so myself before coming to Microsoft. We promise that we'll make the new console smaller," Maruyama said.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 18:24 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

SMSPlusX v9
>> SMSPlusX(info) - Game Gear/Sega Master System Emulator for XBox
Whats New/Fixed:
- Light Gun / Phaser support

To use the lightgun, first go to Main Menu -] Configuration -] Configure Controllers -] Configure Lightgun.
From that menu, calibrate the light gun. You can also choose to have an on-screen target to help you while playing lightgun games. The color of this target crosshairs can be selected from the lightgun-configuration menu also.
Once you have calibrated the light gun, go to the "Show Targeting Screen" to see the crosshairs and to see if things are calibrated the way you wish.
Next, go to the game selection screen, highlight a gun-compatible game, and press the X button to enter the configuration menu for that game. There is a new option called "Use Zapper/Phaser". I haven't found a game that uses port 2 yet, so just assign it to port 1.

Here are the list of games that I have confirmed as working:
+ Assault City (phaser version)
+ Gangster Town
+ Hang-On/Safari Hunt
+ Operation Wolf
+ Rambo 3
+ Rescue Missing
+ Trap Shooting/Marksman Shooting/Safari hunt

Here are some games which do *not* work yet:
- Bank Panic
- Laser Ghost
- Missile Defense 3D
- Shooting Gallery

Official Site: http://xport.xbox-scene.com
Download: n/a (built with XDK)
News-Source: xbins.org and http://forums.xbox-scene.com

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 16:39 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Phantom is unveiled at CES - sort of
>> From gamesindustry.biz:
Infinium Labs' proposed console, the Phantom, has made a showing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as announced by the company earlier this week, but only in the form of a box which was not switched on.
The Florida-based start-up showed off a Phantom console on the Windows Embedded Device showcase stand at the event, but although the system sported a full array of connectors on the backplate, it was not powered up or demonstrated in any way.

The fact that Infinium Labs did not properly demonstrate the console working is likely to add fuel to speculation that the entire project is some form of elaborate hoax or scam - even though this seems increasingly unlikely.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 12:03 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

dvd2xbox 0.5.3
>> dvd2xbox(info) is a file manager utility for the xbox.
Whats New/Fixed:
+ added changes from 0.5.2 tc1
+ moved ACL entries to the acl directory. Instead of having one file with all entries each title got its own file (titleID.acl).
+ added all.acl which is processed for each title while default.acl is processed when no titleID.acl file is found.
+ moved excludeDirs and excludeFiles to the ACL system as items ED and EF.
+ improved wildcard searching for RM/SM/HR. See ACLSyntax.txt for details.
+ increased xbox native cache. This may improve copy performance for some XBOX games.
+ ACL processing could now be started over the action menu any time you want.
+ some minor changes to hdd browser.
+ changed video dvd copy mode. the dvd key is only calculated once now. However there're some issues with some titles not decrypted properly (Alien copied in less than 15 minutes and decrypted, TNG EU via hdd browser not decrypted).

Official Site: http://dvd2xbox.xbox-scene.com
Download: n/a (built with XDK)
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 10:26 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

libSDLx V1.2
>> libSDL is a port of the SDL library to the xbox.
Whats New?

- Added Vorbis/OGG support.
- Fixed some bugs with Audio handler.
- Fixed lots of small bugs which caused problems or worse,
crashes. Thanks to XPORT for finding most of these.
- Fixed Y-Axis inverted issue.
- Fixed Joystick routines to support all gamepads.
- Fixed Joystick Hat issues.

Official Site: http://www.lantus-x.com/SDLx
Download: n/a (built with XDK)
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 01:15 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Team OzXodus replies ...
>> Team OzXodus posted a reaction to the comparison chart (see previous news) Team Xecuter posted on their website.
From ozxodus.com:
Well my friends, its update time again and we have many things to talk about! We had intended to begin unveiling our many new and exciting features, one at a time for you but is seems we have been beaten to it!!


It didnít take long did it? Isnít it funny how things have been really quiet over the past few months while our friends on the other side of the trenches had it their own way. The minute we announce the launch of yet another groundbreaking, revolutionary new product for you, people start jumping around, guns blazing, rockets firing, in a frenzy of aimless activity and diversionary tactics while they scramble in vain to prepare their artillery.? We love it! We love the attention and the hype our friends are helping to create and we thank them for the incredible marketing job they are doing for us and all for FREE!! To be elevated by our friends to 4th generation pioneers is truly an honour and we thank them.
Have just had a look at the forums and it seems that the job was done better than we thought. All our friends out there are hoping we will not retaliate. Retaliate to what? Were we attacked? Even fools know that apples need to be compared to apples and not to virtual apples. We are not childish. We will not retaliate. No need for counter tables and stuff. Facts are facts, first is first period. You cannot blame us for a bit of harmless fun. As we said before, trust OzXodus to bring back some life to the scene!
As I said in my last update. We are back! All we know how to do is create waves and shake up the scene a little. When you are first in innovation and design you donít really mind the attention, in fact you revel in it while others try to catch up. Remember, my friends there can only be one first place. Everything else is second, or third for that matter.

My friends let me enlighten you with a few facts to put a smile on your faces:
Only four samples of Xenium have been produced and shipped. Is it not funny that comparison tables are being done without ever having seen or used either product?
The side-splitting table we have seen reads more like the X3 wish list than actual reality. Where exactly is the X3? The only one I know of is made by BMW and that one works wonderfully. The virtual X3 is promising a 400 mhz cpld controller which will only ever be clocked at 33mhz. Imagine your BMW X3 with a 4.2 V8 engine and 200 miles per hour on the clock which is governed at 20 miles per hour!! Would you buy it? We too can create the Xenium VII with features so great and unique, in the land of make believe. (Due for release in 2045, but promised in 1989)

We will be posting regular updates on the many and varied ACTUAL features offered on our product for you to see. With less than a week before the first units start shipping it will not be long before you can try and test these features for yourselves. We promise to send a sample to our new found marketing team so that they too can actually have the experience reality of 4th generation technology first hand!

Thanks guys!

PS. Our first video snippet showing actual boot time for all you skeptics out there. Enjoy and stay tuned for more in days to come (unless they beat us to it again!)

Team Ozxodus

Download Video here

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Friday 09 January 2004 00:54 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Team Xecuter makes own comparison chart
>> From Team Xecuter on the Xecuter3 forum:
As we move into 2004, the next generation of Xbox modchip is about to hit the stores. There is Xecuter3 of course and also the new Xenium from Ozxodus.
Xodus felt the need to make a comparison chart against our X2 against their new mod not too long ago (even though X2 had been out since February 2003) - so we thought we'd do our own against this Xenium that we've been playing with.

Both very good mods and each would take pride in anyones Xbox - it's all down to choice.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Thursday 08 January 2004 21:34 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Interview with Artifex of Xbox-Windows
>> WindowsForDevices posted an interview with Artifex, the founder of the Xbox-Windows project that recently released a port of CE.NET on Xbox.

The interview talk about the project's origins, goals, current status, and future plans.
Check out the full interview on windowsfordevices.com.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Thursday 08 January 2004 18:28 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

ccXstream Server GUI v0.2.9.0
>> A new version of ccXstream Server GUI(info) (XBMC/XBMP streaming server) has been released.
What's new/fixed:
+ fixed a nasty bug making the root dir not working
- removed the root from registry...no need for that anymore

Official Site: http://dott.lir.dk/ccxgui/
Download: here

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Thursday 08 January 2004 12:37 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Microsoft at Work on Next Xbox - Gates
>> From reuters.co.uk:
Microsoft has lately been active in recruiting staff to work on gaming hardware, although Gates declined to talk in much detail about the company's plans for the next generation of the Xbox, which is widely expected to come in 2005 or 2006.
Market leader Sony Corp., which has dominated the current generation of consoles with its PlayStation 2, has been similarly circumspect about its plans for a PS3.

"In terms of the next round, hey it's a new game. We're not showing our hand and I don't think Sony's showing their hand," Gates said. "We're doing some very cool work but that's really all we say at this point."
Despite heavy competition, though, Gates said he was pleased with the market position of the money-losing Xbox, which was released in Nov. 2001 and has battled Nintendo Co. Ltd. for second place in the U.S. market.
"Our goal in this generation was to be one of the leaders, and we feel like we've accomplished that very well," Gates said.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Thursday 08 January 2004 07:53 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox Extender Kit Announced
>> From teamxbox.com:
This evening during his keynote address at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Bill Gates unveiled Windows Media Center Extender Technology.

The software will power a new generation of products that will extend the Media Center Edition PC experience allowing consumers to access their favorite digital entertainment, such as live and recorded television, photos, movies, and music that reside on their Windows XP Media Center Edition PC, from any room in the home - regardless of where the PC is located. Media Center Extender Technology will not only provide access to rich content and services, but will enable devices throughout the home to utilize the full processing and storage capabilities of the PC creating new opportunities for services and providing unprecedented choice and access to content for consumers

In addition, Microsoft announced the Xbox Media Center Extender Kit, which will combine an Xbox DVD title with a dedicated remote control, allowing consumers to extend their Windows XP Media Center Edition experience around the home using their Xbox game console.

Gates announced that Xbox is on track to meet its shipment forecast of 14.5 to 16.0 million worldwide by June 2004. He also highlighted that this holiday gamers broke Xbox Live records by playing more than 1 million game sessions per day over a five-day period.

Read the full press release on microsoft.com PressPass and check microsoft.com.

Neowin has some additional information including codenames for this and related products, a screenshot, and a link to a Windows Media Center Extender Brochure from Microsoft.
Check it out on neowin.net
Thanks techSage for this link.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 23:05 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

OzXodus newsletter
>> Team OzXodus sent a newsletter with some new info (expected release date, resellers info, ...) about their new Xenium modchip (reviewed yesterday by xbox-scene):
The Xenium is a revolutionary development in the Xbox enhancement devices and is more than definitely the pioneer in what will become the new fourth generation devices.

From the team that only knows how to lead, we have achieved another first! We introduce you to XUI (Xenium User Interface) through the exclusive Xenium OS (XOS). The first fully software controlled device which opens up possibilities and features too many to mention!. Here are just a few examples:
2. Dual SPI expansion port ( be ready for many new innovative and exciting hardware add-ons to come soon)
3. Dynamic Bank partitioning
4. Emergency Recovery System (ERS)
5. Multi installation methods (solderless adaptor out soon)
6. Compatible with Chameleon solderless adaptor
7. in built EEPROM utilities
8. Back up EEPROM to flash
9. Restore EEPROM from flash
10. Quick Select user programmable bank booting ( use joy pad to over ride default boot bank setting)
11. Bios flashing from HDD browser, or Cdrom
12. Full colour status/bank indicator LED

With an ever evolving OS there are limitless possibilities. So stay tunedÖ

Production is in full swing as we speak and we expect to start shipping to all major retailers by the 15th of January 2004.

We will be posting a list of online shops and you can order your chip(s) from there.

Official Site: http://www.ozxodus.com

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 21:24 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

The ApeXtreme PC Game Console
>> More news has been released about this new console made by Apex, Via, and Digital Interactive Systems.
From gamespot.com:
Nominated for this year's CES Innovation Award, the ApeXtreme feels like a scaled-back version of the Sony PSX, minus the personal video recording. The system will run at 1.4GHz and use a variety of VIA hardware, including the CN400 processor, the DirectX 9.0c-compatible S3 DeltaChrome graphics chipset, and a Vinyl Audio Dolby 5.1 sound card. It will feature a standard 40GB hard drive, six USB ports, Ethernet, and 56.6kps modem. The console will also support a variety of media inputs and formats, including DVI, SPDIF, RCA, S-video, and HDTV-compatible component video. It will also support DVD+/-R/RW and progressive scan DVD playback.

However, what is unique about the ApeXtreme is its purported ability to let users play PC games like they were console titles. Over an embedded version of Windows XP, the machine will run Digital Interactive Systems' DISCover "Drop and Play" engine, a software system that will allow gamers to slip in a PC game and play it almost immediately. More importantly, the DISCover makers' claim their engine will automatically install patches and "major mods" for the 2,000 games that the ApeXtreme is pre-programmed to recognize. "It will happen automatically, similar to TiVo or Replay TV," said Digital Interactive Systems vice president of operations Loren Kaiser in an interview with GameSpot. "We're trying to take some of the pains out of playing PC games."

Although the ApeXtreme won't support any non-game or media programs, its functionality--combined with its $399 price point ($299 for a lower-end model)--sound almost too good to be true.

Read more about it on gamespot.com.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 21:19 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

(USA) Microsoft Says Xbox Holiday Sales Strong + Halo2 info + Xbox2 info
>> From reuters.com:
"Christmas was good, we feel like we had a very good holiday," Bach (Chief Xbox Officer) said. "I think it was one of those holidays you would describe as solid."
Bach claimed Microsoft's Xbox outsold Nintendo's GameCube in the last two weeks of December, despite GameCube's lower price, $99 versus Xbox's $179. Nintendo's move to a $99 price spurred a boom in GameCube sales that brought it closer to second-place Xbox in terms of U.S. installed base of users.

Bach, declined to commit to a launch for highly touted "Halo 2." Most expectations have been for the new game to come out in early April or thereabouts.
"We're going to ship it when it's ready," Bach said. "That might be the first half of 2004, it might not. You have to be careful with franchises like this."

Most expect market leader Sony Corp., as well as Microsoft and Nintendo, to bring out new consoles in 2005 or 2006.
Sony's PlayStation 2 had a one-year head start on the Xbox and GameCube, an advantage that has proved insurmountable, in terms of installed base and market share. Microsoft has of late been actively hiring engineers for its development efforts.
"Really, the imperative is to not give anyone a head start," Bach said.
He declined to offer further details on Microsoft's announced partnership with International Business Machines Corp. or to discuss issues like whether or not the next Xbox would contain a hard drive, as the current unit does. Many analysts have cited the hard drive as a key cost of the money-losing console.
He also said it was unlikely Microsoft would make any major hardware upgrades to the Xbox before the current business cycle ends, as Sony has done with PS2.
"They do their tuning with hardware, we do our tuning with software," he said.

Read the whole article on reuters.com.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 18:00 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

ccXstream Server GUI v0.2.8.0
>> A new version of ccXstream Server GUI(info) (XBMC/XBMP streaming server) has been reeleased.
What's new/fixed:
* added Hide on start function...can be enabled when autostart server is enabled... the gui will be sent directly to systemtray.

Official Site: http://dott.lir.dk/ccxgui/
Download: here

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 16:18 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox-Windows Website
>> The group that released the CE.NET port on Xbox has been working on their own website the last few days. The mainpage has now been updated with the project goals, future and more.
From xbox-windows.org:
This is the web home of the xbox-windows project, an effort to bring Microsoft Windows operating systems the the Microsoft Xbox hardware platform. We are a non-profit, hobbyist effort, done in the interest and spirit of self-education. Xbox-windos.org exists as a place for users, developers, and other interested parties to come together, find information, share ideas and accomplishments, and build a small community around a common goal. We hope that you find, here, everything that you are looking for, and maybe a little that you wern't.

Project Goals
The primary short-term goals of this project are, currently:
* Organize a team of interested volunteer developers
* Finishing a full Xbox BSP for CE.NET 4.20
* Writing and implementing drivers for CE.NET 4.20 to support the existing Xbox hardware
* Creating CE "Platforms" for general use, and specific purposes such as media players, I-appliances, and embedded servers

Long term goals may include:
* Creating a new, generic bootloader, capable of loading multiple operating systems
* Investigating approaches towards an XPe solution
* Investigating solutions towards creating a generic "Legacy-PC" environment on the xbox, in order to load arbitrary operating systems

Throughout the course of the project, xbox-windows will stay devoted to:
* Open Source; All of our works will be LGPL and readily available. (NOTE: GPL is NOT an option in most cases, as we are STATICALLY linking against closed, copyrighted code from Microsoft)
* Legality; All of our works must remain legal, and not infringe upon anyone's copyrights or binding licensing.
* Community; Anyone may contribute to the project in any area they choose, and anyone may use the project for whatever purpose they see fit, within the limitations set forth by "Open Source" and "Legality"

Current Status
Currently, we have a partial BSP for CE.NET 4.20, and working PCI, USB, Display, and Mouse drivers. Most of the "important" parts of the BSP are done, however some features are still lacking or bug ridden. We also have a simple, preliminary bootloader based on xbeboot from the xbox-linux project. With these in place, CE loads and runs properly, but is not yet very usefull.

How can I help?
At the moment, there is much to be done. Unfortunatly, there isn't much formal organization, yet, as to what needs done, what order it needs done in, and who's doing it. We're working on getting that together, now. For the time being, the best way to find ways in which you, with your own individual talents, can contribute is to join our IRC channel, #xbox-windows on server irc.oftc.net and speak to an op.

Official Site: http://www.xbox-windows.org
SourceForge dev page: http://sf.net/projects/xbox-windows
News-Source: #xbox-windows (server irc.oftc.net)

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 13:00 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

(USA) Console price cuts expected by early Q2
>> From gamesindustry.biz:
Major US videogames retailer EB Games has announced that it expects price cuts to the Xbox and PS2 within the first half of 2004, with CEO Jeffery Griffiths telling a conference call that the drops will come by early Q2.

Pachter (Wedbrush Morgan analyst) believes that Sony will lead the next round of price-cutting, with the PlayStation 2 dropping to a $149 (Ä117) price point in February - which, if mirrored in Europe, would bring the price of the console in the UK to under £100 for the first time. Microsoft is likely to respond in kind to any price cutting manoeuvre by Sony.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Wednesday 07 January 2004 10:27 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

OzXodus Xenium review
>> Official Xenium website:

What's in the package:
* The Xenium modchip

Pictures (pre-production prototype ... final will probably look a bit different):
Picture 1 - Picture 2 - Picture 3 - Picture 4

Install the Modchip:
The Xenium modchip can be installed with all known LPC install methods: with headerpin, with wires (connected to the quicksolder pads) and quicksolder (alias X1-style). This version of the Xenium also has a d0 connector (not compatible with the one used on X2 or XBIT) for easy hot-swap or d0 can be connected to a simple solderpad on the modchip for those who prefer. For v1.5 a wire from the power/ground point can simply be relinked to a working power/ground.
The Chameleon nosolder adaptor can be used with the Xenium.

There will also be a solderless Xenium version (probably using pogopins and springwire for d0 like the chameleon). There will be a connector for alternative power (xbox v1.5).

I will not go deeper into each install method. All known/popular install methods are available, so everyone should be happy :-)

Let me first say both the hardware and software (XeniumOS) I tested was NOT final. The modchip is a preproduction prototype and the XeniumOS is an alpha/test release.

Now let's take a look at what makes this modchip different from the previous generation.
The modchip contains a great 'operating system', called XeniumOS, included directly on the chip. XeniumOS is based on linux (means that it's legal) and allows you to fully manage your modchip.
The Xenium modchip has a 2MB flash, 1MB is reserved for XeniumOS and 1MB can be used to store your bioses.
The Xenium modchip can only be flashed through XeniumOS so it can't be flashed by any program that doesn't have permission to do so. As you can always boot to XeniumOS, you can always reflash your bios if you have a corrupted bios image. So this is what you could call software-based flash protection.
XeniumOS allows you to select the multi-bios mode (4x256K, 2x512K, 2x256K + 1x512K or 1x1024K) and you can also flash (see screenshot flash features) your banks separately (with a bios file from CD/DVD or HDD). (see screenshot of setting menu)
The modchip will always boot to XeniumOS first. There you can reboot your xbox with the bios bank you select or boot with the onboard bios (modchip disabled). There are several ways to do this:
* After you assigned controller buttons to bios banks you can select the bios with 1 push on the controller. This is the first time you can actually select your bios with a simple press on one of the button of your xbox controller while your xbox is booting - no need to move switches manually anymore.
* Enter XeniumOS and select bank on screen (see screenshot of bank selection)
* Press nothing and after a timeout (that you can modify yourself) the Xbox will reboot with the default bios (which u can also set yourself). (see screenshot of quickstart settings)
The XeniumOS version I tested also included EEPROM management (see screenshot) where you can modify things like video region, game region and DVD-region. You can even store a backup of your EEPROM on the modchip.
You will ofcourse always be able to upgrade your XeniumOS to the latest version - I'm sure OzXodus will add new cool features later. Now if an upgrade of XeniumOS would fail, or if the OS would get corrupted for some reason, OzXodus included a safe-boot (with switch on PCB or if you solder optional E-wire you can also use power/reset button) so you can always restore the OS (with image from CD/DVD).
The version we had didn't have it yet, but we received information from OzXodus that XeniumOS will soon also include HDD tools like lock/unlock, format, ...

The Xenium also has a bright multi-color led, that can indicate the status of the modchip. The led can for example indicate if modchip is enabled or disabled (boot from tsop) and it will also show from which bank you are booting. The PCB under the led is even made transparent so you can also see the led flashing from the other side.

The Xenium modchip also has a SPI port. I think a lot of people don't realize how great that concept is. Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) is a known way for devices to communicate with eachother. While an obvious upgrade would be extra flash chips (extra capacity for bigger bioses if this will ever be needed), lots more *would* be possible with a SPI port (usb, network, ...) . I don't know what OzXodus plans to do with the SPI port (right now it's not used for anything), but it offers the Xenium modchip a lot of flexibility for upgrades.

About the price there's nothing I can say at this moment as the retail/wholesale prices haven't been released yet.
The modchip is expected to be available in stores sometime later this month (Jan 2004).

+ Legal Linuxbased software control
+ Software to flash bioses is directly on modchip and thus always available
+ EEPROM control/backup in XeniumOS
+ Muti-bios: 1x1MB, 4x256K, 2x512K, 2x256K 1x512K
+ New features to XeniumOS can be added at any time
+ Failsafe, you can always boot to XeniumOS to reflash your bios. There's even a safe-mode if the XeniumOS is corrupted.
+ 'Quick Assign' buttons ... select bios bank with your gamepad
+ Boottime-out ... Xbox will autoboot with default bios if no button is pressed
+ All install methods are available
+ SPI port ... offers endless possible hardware upgrades

- Only 1MB of the 2MB flashchip available for your bioses ... but again, should be enough and an addon via the SPI port is always possible
- Longer boottime (will always bootup XeniumOS first)

You can always find this review back on http://www.xbox-scene.com/hardware/xenium.php

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 21:07 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox Media Center (XBMC) Xbins CVS 2004-01-07
>> A new Xbins CVS Compile of XboxMediaCenter(info) has been released.
What's new/fixed (since last CVS release):
* added: new skin - now comes with MediaCenter (default), HiFi and Retro another nice new skin available on www.allxboxskins.com: LixxBox (missing My Music screen currently)
* added: shoutcast station downloader python script for XBMC (under patches on the sourceforge project page)
* fixed: if you have no albums and you do a 'sort', XBMC hangs
* fixed: crash when adding directory with .nfo file to playlist
* fixed: my music songs, record button couldn't get focus
* fixed: reorg my music database remote file reading and improved error handling
* fixed: samba crashes and open sessions / files, better handling of special characters in filenames
* updated: danish langfile

Official Site: http://www.xboxmediacenter.com
Download: binaries n/a (built with XDK) - Source code CVS
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 21:05 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

FatX: File Renamer v1.0.0
>> FatX: File Renamer is a simple utility to rename all the files in a directory to be compliant with the XBox's FatX file naming system so you can upload them through ftp or burn them on to a CD or DVD.

Official Site: http://www.socautil.com
Download: here

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 18:52 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

EvoX DTSR - 01.06.04
>> A new version of EvoXDTSR(info) has been released.
What's new/fixed:
Bug fixes:
-Big log buffer problem.
The on screen log wouldn't work properly after a large amount of data had been receieved. It would stop logging. This has been fixed.
-Settings window failing to load.
If your comctl32.dll is out of date the settings window will fail to load. This newer version now prompts the user about the problem, and asks them to update their dll (Needs the IP control).
-Various copy/paste problems
Various copy/paste problems have been fixed. These include copy/pasting from one offset box to another, copy/pasting via ctrl combinations, and buffer problems.
New features:
-Breakpoint window.
A window pops up showing the breakpoint information, and a history of past breakpoints. This window will be tweaked a bit to give more information, but for now it works fine.
-Queue window.
Allows entry of multiple raw commands for queueing up actions.
-Clear logs
Two new options: clear the on screen log, and clear the file log.
-Shortcut keys
Added some shortcut keys to speed up certain tasks. More will be added in the future.

Official Site: n/a, by ddh
Download: here
News-Source: trainers.evolutionx.info

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 18:35 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

MXT Easy EvoX Trainer Maker v1.1
>> A new version of Easy EvoX Trainer Maker(info) has been released.
What's new/fixed:
* Fixed bug that was importing incorrect Title ID in some cases

Official Site/News-Source: http://trainers.maxconsole.net
Download: here

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 18:32 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

(UK) Christmas console sales decline despite price cuts
>> From gamesindustry.biz:
Over the crucial last four weeks, the PS2 outsold the Xbox by 2.69 to one, and the sixty-pounds-cheaper Cube by 4.81 to one. However, compared to the same period last year, sales were down by around a third, but Sony UK will be more than happy that such an ageing machine is still thrashing the competition so comprehensively - a legacy of its huge and increasingly cheap back catalogue and backwards compatibility, as well as PS2-specific innovations such as the EyeToy and the Dance Mat phenomena.

Microsoft, meanwhile, must reflect on a very disappointing Christmas, with a summer price cut and numerous fantastic value bundles failing to increase demand over the same point last year. Sales for the four-week Christmas period were around five per cent down despite an impressive surge during the last two weeks - and the Redmond giant would have been hoping for much better things in the console's second Christmas.

Read more: gamesindustry.biz

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 14:01 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

>> Here's the official release of Surreal64, the new N64 emulator on Xbox.
From readme:
Surreal 64 is a Nintendo 64 emulator for the xbox which combines three Windows based Nintendo 64 emulators that have been ported to the Xbox. These emulators are 1964, Project64 and UltraHLE.
By porting three emulators we aim to improve the overall compatibility of the emulator.

- Three N64 emulators in one
- Greater compatibility/speed and flexibility
- Virtual Memory for Roms
- Per-Game Settings
- Mempack support
- Rumblepack support
- EEPROM/Sram support
- Savestate support
- Skinable GUI

You can leave any questions/comments on forums.xbox-scene.com

Official Site: http://surreal64.sourceforge.net
Download: n/a (built with XDK)
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Tuesday 06 January 2004 09:56 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

XXX ... in a Tom Clancy game?
>> From money.cnn.com:
About two-thirds of the way through the game (Rainbow Six 3), there's a level set in a garage with posters adorning the wall. The URL at the bottom of each of those posters links to a Web site featuring graphic images, hundreds of links to XXX pictures and the welcome message "Welcome to Interracialporno!"

A multi-player version of that same level can be freely downloaded via Xbox Live and played immediately.

In any situation, this would be a public relations black eye. In the case of "Rainbow Six 3," it's a little more embarrassing. The game, which has been lauded by critics, has been a strong seller at retail.
The Xbox version of the game has sold over 220,000 units since it hit shelves in October, according to The NPD Group.

Thanks to T.V. for the news.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Monday 05 January 2004 23:01 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Ultima port coming to Xbox ?
>> From Lantus on http://www.lantus-x.com/SDLx/:
Stealth on the Lantus-X SDL Forums has mentioned he is working on a port of Exult to the Xbox called ExultX using SDLx.

here is a WIP screenshot.


Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Monday 05 January 2004 19:54 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

VIA producing a console? *updated*
>> ... maybe not, but that how it looks like anyway. (check picture)

VIA says:
Are you ready for a New Gaming Experience?
Coming Soon to a Living Room Near You!
To be announced during CES on January 8 at the Lunch@Piero's Press Event

Check it out on http://www.via.com.tw/en/VInternet/glory.jsp.
Thanks to Gamester17 for the news/link.

Update: we received this information from Azadar:
Its for the Discover Console www.discoverconsole.com its in essence a PC game console.
Drop in a PC game and play on your TV. The hacking community might love this as it's a PC and plays PC games.DVD's / MP3's and Pictures
APEX and Alienware and a few other vendors are Actually making the hardware thirdparty. Expected prices are anywhere from 299.00 for a base unit to 800+ for the Top of the line version with upgradability.

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Monday 05 January 2004 10:35 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

X2 4980 Bios
>> A new bios release from xecuter...
From the readme:
Main X2 4980 XBL Disable Hack Info page:
http://www.teamxecuter.com/x24980_xbl.htm - We advise you to read

We hope you enjoy what is now most definatley the last X2 bios release. Our advancements in the Xbos hacking scene have driven development forward in many areas over the last two years and your support has been fantastic. We look forward to serving the community in 2004 with many exciting new developments and new partnerships.

This bios is designed to work with ALL modchips and methods. It is our parting gift to the scene from the X2 Family.

Now on with the show. Post all your feedback & test reports in here.

This is not a "How to flash my bios" forum. This is for people with test results on using the X2 4980 Bios :)

Enjoy !

Changes 4979 - 4980
- Disabled Connecting to Xbox Live
- 4980.06 = LBA48 6
- 4980.67 = LBA48 6+7

A bit of info about the 'Disabled Connecting to Xbox Live' hack:
It fakes out the Xbox Live login process into thinking there is no network cable by patching memory on the fly.
It does not affect syslink, xbconnect or xlink at all
It affects only XBL services.
It DOES NOT allow you to play copies on Xbox Live.

Official Site: http://www.teamxecuter.com
Download: n/a (Copyrighted MS code)
News-Source: xbins.org

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Sunday 04 January 2004 23:07 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

Gentoox major magic changes *updated3*
>> From ShALLaX on gentoox.shallax.com:
I'm doing some major changes to magic - please DONT USE MAGIC until I say its safe!

I suppose I should really say what I'm doing, shouldn't I ;). Basically... over the past few months the Pro and Home editions have gradually drifted further and further apart, and I'm sure compatibility has been broken in one way or another with the magic system. In an effort to fix this all, I've had to rewrite several patches and add even add new patches. The following commands have been removed from magic:

The kde and xfce commands have been replaced by the "tokde" and "toxfce" commands. on/no-keyboard has been replaced by a new patch called "keyboardtoggle" - all you need to do is run "keyboardtoggle" as root and it will toggle whether the onscreen keyboard is loaded on boot or not.
XFCE has now been 'properly' added to magic (in that it is a selectable patch). This means that Pro users should be able to run magic and end up with _ROUGHLY_ a home edition system (of course, some stuff is still missing... such as OpenOffice).
Im currently testing the new magic system out on Home 3.0, if its stable enough, then I'll move onto testing it with Pro 1.1. In the past, I would have tested it will all of the old versions, but I think its pretty safe to assume it will work.

*Update 2*
The first run-through with Home edition seems to have worked perfectly. If anyone else wants to run magic now to try it out - feel free ... and let me know how it turns out. -- Oops, found a tiny bug in keyboardtoggle, run "magic fix keyboardtoggle && magic && keyboardtoggle"
A special note to Home v3.0 users - when it asks you if you want XFCE, say "yes". I know its already installed, but the script doesnt think so ;) Youll only be asked once. Besides, this takes very little time and upgrades you to v4.0.1.

*Update 3*
After another run with Home edition, magic seems perfectly stable. Now I have to move onto testing it with Pro (which could take about a week!).

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Sunday 04 January 2004 19:22 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )

(JAPAN) Top-Selling Games In 2003 Reveal Trends
>> From games.slashdot.org:
Thanks to The Magic Box for their chart showing the top-selling videogames in Japan during 2003. Square Enix's Final Fantasy X-2 for PS2 tops the chart, selling a little less than 2 million copies, despite Japanese consumer discontent with the title, and Nintendo's Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire for GBA places second, with almost 1.5 million copies sold in 2003, and nearly 5 million in total. A surprise hit in third place is the PlayStation 2 action title Dynasty Warriors 4 from Koei, and further down the chart, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for GameCube can only manage a disappointing 26th place, with 310,000 copies sold, and an Xbox title of any kind is, sadly, nowhere to be seen in the Top 30

Spread News: PermaLink | Add us on: Twitter - Facebook - RSS
(Sunday 04 January 2004 10:06 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by:: )


Giganews Newsgroups