Week of May 8, 2005
Win an Xbox360, USB Memcard?, Skins, Square-Enix?, Hollywood-ization, ...
>> The flow of Xbox360 and next gen. news goes on. Be sure to check our earlier articles about the Xbox360 Unveiling if you didn't do so yet: here, here, here, here and here.
Here are a few new interesting articles:
* Win an Xbox 360! (from xbox.com)
""No Launch Lines for You!" Sweepstakes
We're so excited about the Xbox 360™ and the revolutionary games on the way that we're sponsoring an E3 sweepstakes to bring you best in the future of digital entertainment … for free!
Register between May 13–23, 2005, for your chance to win:
* Xbox 360™ Video Game System
* Kameo™: Elements of Power™
* Perfect Dark Zero™
* Project Gotham Racing® 3"
Read More/Sign-Up: xbox.com
* Xbox 360 Memory via USB?
One of the picture of the Xbox360 Unveiling Party on TriXie's blog shows a side-view of the Xbox360 memorycards. While it's not very clear, the memorycards appear to use a normal/default USB connector.
BTW: The guy lurking in the background is Major Nelson ;)
* Xbox360 console and controller flash skinner
Peerx made 2 flash scripts that allow you to see how the new Xbox 360 console looks like with different colors and skins. More interactive, skinnable, 3D modeled versions are coming soon.
Console Faceplate Skinner: here
Controller Skinner: here
* XBox 360 Redefining the Console? (from games.slashdot.org)
"Game Girl Advance has up an editorial arguing that, in effect, Microsoft has already won the next round in the console wars by shifting the battlefield. Looking at Gamasutra's rundown on the 360's multimedia and Live components, its easy to see why jane says that the 360 isn't really a console anymore. From the article: "Xbox 360 does not compete with Sony or Nintendo. It is not a gaming console. It is a powerful device to deliver content online and over WiFi. Microsoft's real competition is Apple, Yahoo, and Google. Apple's movie-download service. Yahoo's retail channels. Google's - well, everything. Heck, throw Comcast and TiVo in there for good measure. The games are merely a means to an end - an 'instant-on revenue to support an exponential expansion into the living room,' as Eric put it over an IM chat we had.""
* Game Developers Fear Hollywood-ization of Gaming (from games.slashdot.org)
"While the new generation of console hardware is something to look forward too, CNet has a story discussing the possible downsides to more beefy machinery. In specific, the increase in development time that next-gen games will require may "Hollywood-ize" the games industry even more than it already has been. Warren Spector, from the article: "Once hardware guys give us the capability to do something spectacular, someone's going to spend the money to do something spectacular...The quality bar is going to be raised. Someone is going to spend $20 million or $30 million or $40 million, and the rest of us who don't have deep pockets like that are going to have to find some way to compete.""
* Square Enix on Board with Microsoft? (from IGN.com)
"Information recently surfaced on Microsoft's site pointing toward a potential alliance between Microsoft and Square Enix. An image on photobucket.com revealed a page from the E3 press site displaying a short biography of Corporate Vice President Peter Moore.
The full quote from the image reads: "Moore is responsible for establishing industry-shaking alliances including alliances with industry giant Square Enix and legendary developer Hironobu Sakaguchi (Mistwalker), Yoshiko Okamoto (Game Republic), and Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Q Entertainment), and bringing publishing powerhouse Electronic Arts Inc. onto the Xbox Live global video games online service.""
Read More: IGN.com
* Sony and Apple On PlayStation 3? (from gaminghorizon.com)
"An unknown source is confirming that Apple will be working with Sony to link iTunes and iPod into the PlayStation3. The iPod connectivity will allow gamers to hook their iPod up to the system and play music straight from the device. iTunes will also be built into the GUI so you can download and purchase online without ever needing a computer."
Read More: gaminghorizon.com
Auto-Installer Deluxe v2.0
>> A new version of 'Auto-Installer Deluxe' has been released. It's a CD that allows you to easily setup your Xbox and install many homebrew programs.
The wait is over, you have the powerful and most up-to-date Auto-Installer ever made for the Xbox Console.
Building on the strengeths of Auto-Installer Deluxe v1.01, this new version has more than just updated apps, it has been designed to make things easier, but also at the same time offer you heaps more options. From Formatting your drive, installing the MS Dash (with optional softmod), to backing up your drive's data to a single ZIP file for easy FTP transfer to your PC.
Along with this package comes Softmod Installer Deluxe v3.0, which has been built in to Auto-Installer Deluxe v2.0 so that you can easily install it to a HDD (by either a gamesave, direct install with MS Dash, or to your Memory card). This is also the first Softmod package that supports GameShark Xbox Hardware to my knowledge.
I hope you find this utility package to see you through until the release of the Xbox 2 later in the future. There honestly shouldn't be nothing you should need to update from this, as it's all the current programs and BIOSes.
Cheers from Team Xbox-Hq.
Official Site: http://www.xbox-hq.com
Download: n/a (contains files built with XDK)
Xbox360 News: ATI stocks up, 3rd video, Demos on Macs, Backward comp., ...
>> The amount of news about the Xbox360 since yesterday's unveiling is huge as the media embargo has been lifted for all big news sites and agencies. Here are a few interesting articles I found.
* ATI stock gets lift from Xbox 360 launch (from Reuters.ca):
"ATI Technologies Inc. stock popped up more than 8 percent on Friday after the graphics chip maker replaced rival Nvidia Corp. as a supplier for Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox 360 video game console.
ATI expects royalties that are similar to its Nintendo GameCube deal, in a range between $2 and $5 per console, and that should affect the company's first-quarter results, chief executive Dave Orton told Reuters in an interview.
Beyond the deal's financial impact, ATI expects that Xbox 360 will help drive demand for the high definition products its graphics chips can power."
Read More: Reuters.ca
* Xbox 360: In Depth Video Feature
A 3rd video (6.41m) of the Microsoft Xbox360 has been released. We had the MTV unveiling show and the ourcolony.net video yesterday, and now we found another video on kikizo.com (thx to wolf202 for the link). It's in the same style as the ourcolony.net video (so much more interesting then the MTV show ;)). The video feature goes behind the scenes with everyone on the Xbox team (J. Allard, P. Moore, ...), for a detailed look at the Xbox360.
You can download this (large 74MB) video from kikizo.com (links are at the bottom) or gamersreports.com.
* Backward Compatible or not?
That's probably the hottest question left unanswered so far by Microsoft.
As recently as last week, a Microsoft executive said Microsoft hadn't yet determined whether the new Xbox 360 would be backward compatible. They cite a host of technical issues as reason because the console is moving from a Intel x86 based CPU to an IBM PowerPC and from an Nvidia GPU to one made by ATI. Analysts say it may come down to whether Microsoft is able to license patented technology from the cpu/gpu vendors of the original Xbox or find a way to emulate Xbox1 games without having to pay license fees.
The images shown on the new Xbox Live demos where they use images of Halo 2 and Crimson Skies and the fact that people are playing Xbox1 games on the Xbox360 on the ourcolony.net video gives some credence to the theory of Microsoft supporting backward compatibility. It atleast suggests that the test units are backward compatible. But it could be because Microsoft tries to prevent us from seeing Xbox 360 games in action as well.
Read More: IGN.com and nwsource.com
* Xbox 360 demos running on Macs (by News.com)
"The nifty clips of video games supporting Microsoft's new Xbox 360 console are running on Apple machines, Microsoft confirmed on Friday.
"We purchased a number of Apple G5's because very specific hardware components of the G5 allow developers to emulate some of the technology behind future Xbox products and services," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. "This is an interim development tool that will be replaced with a more powerful and comprehensive solution later.""
Read More: News.com
* Microsoft’s Disruptive Xbox 360 Marketing (by Joystiq.com)
"Forrester Research published a piece that says Microsoft's decision to launch their console prior to E3 represents a deliberate strategic move that accomplishes several key objectives. Forrester calls it a “brave move” that allows Microsoft to:
1. Side step the industry shindig and talk directly to potential consumers.
2. Reduce the classic five-year game console cycle.
3. Build a frenzy of community speculation and support.
4. Offset some of its negative branding in the PC market.
5. Break the new console out of the gaming ghetto."
Read more info and Joystiq's opinions check Joystiq.com.
You can find the original paper on Forrester.com (free reg. req.)
* Xbox 360: What might have been
The guys over at Hellogamer made a panoramic shot of all the Xbox360 designs that didn't make it. These were shown very shortly in the ourcolony.net video released 20-30mins before the MTV show yesterday.
Check out the panoramic shot on hellogamer.com and the original video is available here.
* Japanese Xbox360 Unveiling
As I said in previous news, Japan got their 'own' special unveiling. After the MTV show they got a special event hosted by Microsoft Japan that took place at the Virgin Cinema in Tokyo. Yoshiki Okamoto of Game Republic, Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Q Entertainment, and Hironobu Sakaguchi of Mistwalker, appeared onstage to present their projects.
GameSpot has an article about it here.
Game (retail software) related news is not covered on Xbox-Scene, for that info we refer you to the big game news sites like TeamXbox, IGN, GameSpot, Xbox.com or one of the many other sites that go into detail on game specific info.
Sony and Nintendo's Reaction to Xbox360 Unveiling
>> With all the media attention Microsoft got with their Xbox 360 Unveiling, Sony and Nintendo had to say something aswell ;) From Joystiq.com:
* Sony have announced that there’s a possibility we may see their next console some time this year! 2006 was the expected launch, but a lot of people are waiting to see what Sony present at E3, to determine how likely it is that we’ll see the PS3 sooner than later.
* Perrin Kaplin, Nintendo of America’s VP for corporate affairs, went on record with the following tidbits about the Revolution - that will be released sometime next year:
-Backwards compatibility (with the GameCube)
-Internet will be important
-WiFi ready out of the box
-Sleek design that will stand on its side (she said the size would be the same as 3 DVD cases sitting on top of each other)
-DVD format discs (and it will play DVD movies)
Read the whole article here(PS3), here(Revolution1), here(Revolution2)
Xbox 360 Lightsynth: The Neon platform
>> From games.slashdot.org
Renowned digital artist Jeff Minter of Llamasoft has created a new lightsynth that will be built into the Xbox 360. More information on the console's music player is available from Microsoft.
From the post: "I believe it finally begins to achieve the potential that I saw all those years ago when I first made Psychedelia... and I am happier with it than I have ever been with anything I've created in my entire career.
And we got it into the firmware again... Microsoft firmware. Of the Xbox360 for goat's sake. At last... after more than 20 years' work, one of my lightsynths is going to reach a decent sized audience. Millions and millions..."
A bit more info from llamasoft.co.uk:
"Neon is Llamasoft's latest and most breathtaking light synthesiser. Capable of generating anything from soothing ambient swirls to strobing multicolour explosions, it's infinitely configurable thanks to its modular nature, and always stunning to look at.
Neon can run purely off audio input or from up to four joypads, each controlling a different display element with incredible ease and precision and generating hypnotic, multi-layered end results that are way ahead of every other piece of audio visualisation software available.
A version of Neon comes built into Microsoft's Xbox 360, on sale toward the end of the year."
For a glimpse of Neon in action, view the available screenshots or download the teaser trailers
Xbox360 Official press release, Xbox360.com, MTV show and more official Info!
>> The official Xbox 360 website went live: www.xbox360.com. Check out the close-up and multi-angle view of the Xbox360 console and controller!
Certainly go check the Fact Sheet, Online Specs and Peripherals Details. Interesting is that Microsoft doesn't give any exact release date, they just state 'Availability: Holiday 2005' on their website. Most people in the industry expect it for November 2005 in US/CAN with the EU launch very close. In Japan, that apparently got their 'own' unveiling by Microsoft Japan's Yoshihiro Maruyama in Tokyo, the Xbox360 is expected to launch in December 2005, after the US and EU launch.
Microsoft also doesn't tell if the Xbox360 will be backwards-compatible... but our previous news post about the ourcolony.net video gives hope it will be backwards-compatible after all.
Also check out TeamXbox's full coverage - Taking a Spin with the Xbox 360:
* Xbox 360: Pulling Back the Curtain – the story behind Microsoft’s upcoming console.
* Xbox 360 Dissected – all the official specifications and other techno-speak.
* Xbox 360 System Specifications – a quick reference table of the Xbox 360’s specs.
* The Xbox 360 Software and Services Features – a reference table of Xbox Live and more.
Other interesting coverages: GameSpot, TomsHardware, IGN, GameInformer, Xbox.com, Anandtech, 1UP, GameSpy.
A very short overview of the highlights is available from Associated Press on forbes.com.
Some screenshots/videos of Xbox360 games: Test Drive: Unlimited, Perfect Dark Zero, Full Auto, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3, Xbox Guide, ...
Engadget.com, GamesFirst and IGN have coverage of the MTV show. Engadget has lots of pictures for those who missed it or didn't see it yet.
You can discuss the Xbox 360 on our Xbox 360 forums!
More Pictures of the Xbox360: here[xbox360.com], here[teamxbox.com] and some posters here.
The specs are the same as those leaked a few days ago, but I'll post them once more. The specs could not be 100% final as Microsoft adds this below the specifications on their website: "this fact sheet relates to a prerelease product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release". Anyway, here they are:
Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
* Three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each
* Two hardware threads per core; six hardware threads total
* VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
* 128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
* 1 MB L2 cache
CPU Game Math Performance
* 9 billion dot product operations per second
Custom ATI Graphics Processor
* 10 MB of embedded DRAM
* 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines
* 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines
* Unified shader architecture
* 500 million triangles per second
Pixel Fill Rate
* 16 gigasamples per second fill rate using 4x MSAA
* 48 billion shader operations per second
* 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM
* 700 MHz of DDR
* Unified memory architecture
* 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
* 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
* 21.6 GB/s front-side bus
Overall System Floating-Point Performance
* 1 teraflop
* Detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive
* 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM
* Memory Unit support starting at 64 MB
* Support for up to four wireless game controllers
* Three USB 2.0 ports
* Two memory unit slots
Optimized for Online
* Instant, out-of-the-box access to Xbox Live features with broadband service, including Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable content, gamer profile for digital identity, and voice chat to talk to friends while playing games, watching movies, or listening to music
* Built-in Ethernet port
* Wi-Fi ready: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g
* Video camera ready
Digital Media Support
* Support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD • Ability to stream media from portable music devices, digital cameras and Windows XP-based PCs
* Ability to rip music to the Xbox 360 hard drive
* Custom playlists in every game
* Built-in Media Center Extender for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
* Interactive, full-screen 3-D visualizers
High-Definition Game Support
* All games supported at 16:9, 720p, and 1080i, anti-aliasing
* Standard-definition and high-definition video output supported
* Multi-channel surround sound output
* Supports 48KHz 16-bit audio
* 320 independent decompression channels
* 32-bit audio processing
* Over 256 audio channels
* Stands vertically or horizontally
Customizable Face Plates
* Interchangeable to personalize the console
Check out more facts on xbox.com.
And here's the official Microsoft pressrelease:
NEW YORK — May 12, 2005 — Celebrating the dawn of a new era in entertainment, millions of game fanatics around the globe came together tonight for the televised unveiling of the Xbox 360™ future-generation game and entertainment system from Microsoft. An audience of millions watched "MTV Presents: The Next-Generation Xbox Revealed" as celebrities, professional athletes, musicians and Xbox officials took the wraps off the much-anticipated system, ending months of intense speculation and satiating consumers worldwide.
The new Xbox 360 system places players at the center of powerful next-generation games and entertainment experiences. The elegant design features a breakthrough wireless controller and an array of Faces, interchangeable faceplates that let gamers personalize their console. The unveiling spotlighted some of the groundbreaking games in development for the new Xbox 360 system, advancements for the Xbox Live™ service — the only unified console gaming service— and new digital media experiences that only Xbox 360 can deliver.
"With the first generation of Xbox, our ambition was to change the way people think about video games," said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. "Starting today with Xbox 360, our ambition is to transform the way people play games and have fun."
Xbox 360 will unleash the greatest game lineup in the history of video games when it launches in North America, Europe and Japan this Christmas holiday. The games that captured the color, drama and fun of high-definition gameplay at the MTV unveiling included 2K Sports' "NBA 2K6"; Activision Publishing Inc.'s "Call of Duty® 2" and "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland™", along with id Software's "QUAKE 4™"; Electronic Arts' "Madden NFL 06," "Need for Speed™ Most Wanted" and "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06"; Majesco Entertainment's "The Darkness"; Microsoft Game Studios' "Perfect Dark: Zero™," "Kameo™: Elements of Power™," "Project Gotham Racing™ 3" and "Gears of War"; THQ Inc.'s "Saint's Row"; and Ubisoft Entertainment's "Ghost Recon 3."
The Platform and Partners Power the Portfolio
Xbox 360 ignites a new era of digital entertainment that is always connected, always personalized and always in high definition. It is the only system designed with a singular platform vision that combines the most-powerful hardware with intelligent software and services advancements.
Every Xbox 360 game is designed for high-definition, wide-screen televisions. Regardless of the television Xbox 360 connects to, gamers will experience smooth, cinematic experiences that far exceed anything they've seen or felt in games before. And these experiences are never more than a click away. The Xbox Guide Button is the launch pad that connects gamers to their games, friends and music from the wireless controller.
With more than one teraflop of system-floating point performance, a three-core PowerPC-based CPU for the most-advanced artificial intelligence and physics processing, a custom ATI graphics processor, and more than 512 MB of memory for the ultimate in visual fidelity, the Xbox 360 hardware is a perfect blend of power, elegance and balance. Xbox 360 also features software so smart it remembers what gamers have achieved, continually evolving and enhancing the game experience. When the system is combined with unrivaled Microsoft® XNA™ software development tools, game creators can produce truly believable, thriving worlds.
Fabled game studios such as BioWare Corp., Bizarre Creations Ltd., Bungie Studios and Rare Ltd., as well as legendary Japanese game creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and Yoshiki Okamoto, are harnessing the powerful Xbox 360 platform to create exclusive games for Microsoft Game Studios. Equally commanding, game-changing publishers such as 2K Games, Activision Publishing Inc., Capcom Co. Ltd., Electronic Arts, Tecmo Inc., Namco Hometek Inc., Rockstar Games, SEGA of America Inc., THQ and Ubisoft Entertainment — just to name a few — are flocking to Xbox 360.
"Xbox 360 marks the beginning of a renaissance in video games," said Don Mattrick, president of Worldwide Studios for Electronic Arts. "The unbelievable Xbox 360 games in development at Electronic Arts will accelerate the industry's mission to make video games the pre-eminent form of all entertainment."
"With Xbox 360, a new chapter in video game history is being written," said Kathy Vrabeck, president of Activision Publishing. "The platform liberates us to achieve new levels of graphics and gameplay so our audiences connect emotionally with more riveting stories, more believable characters and more open, living worlds."
Xbox Live: New Levels of Service Get Everyone in the Game
Connect Xbox 360 to a broadband connection and get instant access to Xbox Live Silver, available for no monthly service charge with an Xbox 360 system. Players can express their digital identity through their Gamer Profile; connect with friends anytime, anywhere through Xbox Live voice chat; send and receive text and voice message; and access Xbox Live Marketplace to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, classic arcade and card and board games, community-created content, and more to the detachable Xbox 360 hard drive — all right out of the box at no extra cost. Composed of user-generated information such as Achievements (rewards players have earned in games), Gamerzone (style of play), and a custom-created Gamertile (a visual icon to represent the gamer online), the Gamer Profile makes it easy to connect with the Xbox Live community.
Gamers who subscribe to the premium service, Xbox Live Gold, can experience the thrill of multiplayer online gameplay. Gamer Profiles will provide a foundation for intelligent matchmaking, so players of similar skill levels and interests can quickly and easily connect, and the Xbox Live Camera peripheral will let gamers add their faces into games and see their friends while they play. Other Xbox Live Gold features for premium members include video messaging; online tournaments and ladders; and exclusive, original programming such as playing with celebrities online and joining sponsored tournaments to win prizes. And all Xbox 360 owners new to Xbox Live will kick-start their experience with a free month of the full subscription service, which will let them experience the full power of Xbox Live.
Unlock a New World of Digital Entertainment
With Xbox 360, gamers are always on. At its core, Xbox 360 is an amazing game machine with a wide selection of titles. But it is also an entertainment system that lets people power new experiences. Every Xbox 360 system has built-in progressive-scan DVD movie, CD music and photo playback support. The integration of Xbox Live into the system lets players receive game invitations from friends while they're watching movies or listening to music. And every MP3 player, digital camera and Windows® XP-based PC with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 port can plug right into an Xbox 360 system to stream music and photos.
In addition, with built-in Media Center Extender functionality in every system, Xbox 360 players can access recorded TV and digital movies, music, video and photos stored on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs through any Xbox 360 system in the house.
Xbox 360 also opens the door to incredible, new high-definition entertainment. In addition to optimizing all Xbox 360 games for high definition, Xbox 360 will stream high-definition TV and movies stored on Media Center PCs starting this holiday season. As high-definition entertainment becomes more pervasive, Microsoft will offer more ways to experience HDTV and movies in any room in the house, any way people want it. Whether it's by the dropping of an optical disc in a drive, streaming to Xbox 360, or through broadband distribution, Xbox 360 will let players choose how to light up their high-definition content.
"Xbox 360 is a revolution that promises to ignite new levels of creativity, community and competition," Bach said. "Tonight's unveiling is a signal to the world that the next generation of gaming is here."
Xbox-Scene Forum Threads: forums.xbox-scene.com
Xbox360 video at OurColony - First official Info - Xbox 360 Watercooled!
>> The MTV show 'Xbox360 Unveiling Show' goes life on MTV USA in about 30mins (update: Show is already over now (USA/CAN)) ... but the teams at the Alternate Reality Game OurColony.net get the 'premiere'. The first official Xbox360 is out - and it confirms pretty much everything we knew so far, the 'Xbox360' name, the Xbox360 logo, the wireless cotrollers, the specs, the skinnable front plates, the look and design of the console, contoller and much more.
What's unexpected: Watercooled CPUs! When you thought that leaks would have told you everything there is to know, think again :)
They even show the Xbox360 motherboard :)
Check out the full video: Stream video here, Download High Quality 750k version, Download Low Quality 300k version.
For all the non-believers, Lex Luth.. euhm I mean J. Allard and other Microsoft guys are in the video - confirming this video is real/official and OurColony.net was really an ARG organised by Microsoft. Njoy :)
Also note some people are playing current-generation Xbox games on the Xbox360 in this video (MX vs. ATV Unleashed and Halo 2), this could mean that, at least in the testing stage, it is backwards-compatible. BBC and nwsource report a Microsoft executive said they hadn't yet determined whether the new Xbox 360 would be backward compatible. Microsoft is aiming for backwards compatibility but is still facing technical difficulties (because of the move from Intel x68 to an IBM PowerPC CPU and from a Nvidia to ATI gfxcard). Analyst Michael Pachter says the situation may come down to whether Microsoft is able to license patented technology from one of the processor vendors for the original Xbox.
The video also confirm the 'ring of light' (logo button) on the controller will be used to switch the UI/Dashboard.
Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
Nvidia ends shipments of chips for Xbox
>> From FT.com:
Nvidia, the graphics chipmaker, said on Thursday it was ending shipments of chips for Microsoft's Xbox game console in the current quarter as what was once one of its biggest customers moved on to its next-generation machine.
Microsoft is expected to release the Xbox 360 in November, featuring a graphics chip from rival ATI. Microsoft had informed Nvidia it would not take any more product after Nvidia's second quarter, ending August 1.
System-Mods X3 Control Panel customs paint jobs
>> From TeamXecuter.com:
We saw these over at system-mods.com - very very cool indeed !
Also notice they seem to be having a blow out sale to promote the move to their new premises (X2.6 $32 & X3 $55)- CONGRATULATIONS !
New Modchip: X-Changer V2
>> From Team X-Changer:
Development of the X-Changer successor the X-Changer V2 is now complete. Jam - packed with even more features and optimum levels of stability, the X-changer V2 is a mod for everyone with diverse appeal - ranging from the average "newbie" and up to the most technically savvy!
We have been fine-tuning X-changer V2 And the X-changer operating system for many months based on your feature requests. In essence the X-Changer V2 plays host to a whole range of premium rate features but at an incredibly low price, which will not break the bank by any means!
New features (Compared to our predecessor the original X-Changer):
* Easy 1.6 installation (direct bottomside installation)
* New User-Friendly PCB design
* Improved XBox 1.6b function
X-Changer V2 Features:
* Compatible with all Xbox Versions, JAP, PAL, NTSC and right through from version 1.0 through to version 1.6b.
* Fully Functional Boot Menu
* Network Flash (new with Update 1.4)
* Only 1 Wire to solder (and 8 LPC Pins)
* 1.6 friendly soldering (direct bottomside installation)
* Emergency Recovery System (ERS)
* Quickboot function (Eject Button without opening the tray ;)
* Direct Linux boot
* 100% Legal (Linux based)
* Easy Disc Flash Function (EDFF)
* Stealth Mode Preventing any untimely Xbox Live Bans
* HDD Lock/Unlock
* PAL/NTSC toggle
* LED Menu
* LFrame friendly(1)
* Flash Upgradble
* 512 KB Flash Bios (256k for XC OS - 256k for third party flash bios)
* Highspeed Xilinx CPLD
* Fully compatible with other third party flash
(1)Our chip does NOT tie the LFRAME to GROUND and does NOT permanently draw current from the NVIDIA-chip on the XBOX-mainboard.
As you can see the feature list is pretty comprehensive including just about every feature you could wish for in a legal linux based operating system! Each and every X-changer V2 mod is made under strict European Union quality management systems and we can reassure you of a 99.9% success rate, or your money back!
Of course the above features are just a taster for which you can enjoy right away. Based on your input and feedback we will be consistently working hard on releasing new updates for the OS, which will be available via our web site. We welcome distribution and retail inquiries, feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested.
To summarise the X-Changer V2 is a premium quality mod with a profusely low price! If anyone ever devised a price-value ratio index, we are totally confident X-Changer V2 would rank as number one by some distance.
Official Site: http://www.x-changer.net.tc
X-Changer v2 Manuals: here
X-Changer OS(info) v2.0: here
News-Source: maxconsole.net / heo.com
Leaked Article: Xbox360 in Danish Game Reactor
>> Scans of the danish magazine 'Game Reactor' have been leaked on the internet exposing the Xbox360 (even more). It's once again a proof the earlier leaked images of the console, controller and logo and customizeable face plates were all real. It also confirms the silver/gold Xbox Live and full specs of the Xbox360 (incl. the 20gb HD, WiFi and the free silver Xbox Live account!) leaked 2days ago.
Few more details tell us the doublelayer-DVD (DVD9) player will have a 12x speed and it confirms the ourcolony mem. card image that the default memory card will be atleast 64MB. The machine will have a polygon-capacity of 500 million-a-second and a shading-capacity of 48 billion-shadings-a-second.
The article says the console should be released within the next 6 months in USA/CAN and in Europe only 7-10 days later. Japan will get the Xbox360 in December 2005. Microsoft will release the console with probably around 10-16 games ready and 40 titles within the first 6m onths. Halo 3 is confirmed aswell, should be released within 1year. The price of the Xbox360 won't be confirmed before October or November.
Other nice details (thx to the danish people in our forum for translating!):
* The Xbox360 will not run at full power when watching movie DVDs so the console will make less noise. (depending on what you are doing 2 fans will automatically be turned on or off)
* XboxLive will be completely integrated in the console.
* The controllers will have the rumble feature.
* You can transfer data from your iPod and digital camera and share your pictures with other Xbox Live members.
* It will have Media Center Extender functionality.
* The 'Xbox360 Logo button' (called 'Ring of light'), will allow you to switch between your game and Xbox Live. If you received an Xbox Live messages, the logo will light up. It will also indicate which port/channel-number your controller is using.
* You'll be able to use the Xbox360 for video-chatting with the webcam spotted in this picture. It will have a resolution of 1280.
* The controller is similar to the Xbox S-controller, just slightly smaller. The black and white buttons have been moved to the shoulders of the controller. You can charge the controller batteries by connecting the controller via USB-cable with your Xbox360. You can also use simple retail batteries (2x AA-batteries).
Also don't forget to watch the Xbox360 unveiling show tonight at 9:30pm on MTV for our US visitors and 12:30am on CTV for our Canadian visitors. European countries will get the show tomorrow (13th) on their local MTV channel (see TV schedule), but it'll probably be all over the internet before that.
Scans removed on request/advice of maxconsole.net
News-Source: dailyrush.dk / maxconsole.net
Game Reactor Website: http://www.gamereactor.dk
Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: here and here
Microsoft to Unveil Universal Gaming Controller at E3
>> From TeamXbox.com:
For the first time, at this year's E3 Microsoft will reveal a prototype of the universal gaming controller. Designed for use on Windows-based PCs and the Xbox 360, the controller will allow gamers to enjoy a consistent playing experience across Microsoft's gaming platforms.
Read the whole article on TeamXbox.com.
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(Wednesday 11 May 2005 23:06 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by::
Virtual Xbox CD Ripper v0.0.4
>> XceL released a new version of Virtual Xbox CD Ripper(info) - a tool originally written by BlueCELL that allows to transfer audio files from PC to Xbox, without having to worry about converting audio formats. What's new/fixed:
* UIX Support
* Runtime Error '380' fixed
* Resizeable window (Bug free! :])
* Skips conversion if wma file
* Right-clicking on soundtrack name brings up popup menu
* Some settings weren't saving/reading in properly
* Adding songs should be named and added to ST.DB properly
* If viewing files by filename, doesn't add file extension to filename in ST.DB
* Took out CD ripping for now (was never there in the first place)
* Attempt to fix "Runtime Error '6': Overflow"
* Settings are reflected as soon as you click 'Done'
* Fixed bug with deleteing multiple songs at once
* Fixed a bug where it would upload songs with no ID3 Tag information
* Possibly fixed error with deleting soundtracks
* Possibly fixed error with encoding engine
* If no songs are checked to delete, it will delete selected (highlighted) song
Official Site: n/a, by XceL
Xbox-Scene Forum Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
Download: here (FIXED! now links to v0.0.4 (linked to v0.0.3 before - sry))
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(Wednesday 11 May 2005 10:55 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by::
Nintendo's Revolution to emerge in mid-2006, says key supplier
>> From GamesIndustry.biz:
A solid indication of the timeline for the launch of Nintendo's next home console has emerged from memory firm MoSys Inc, which has revealed that it will supply memory for the system, with "mid-2006" touted as the launch date.
According the Chinese website Unika.com that claims to have seen an actual specification for the hardware, the console will boast four 2.5Ghz IBM G5 Custom cores, with 128KB of level 1 cache and a 512KB shared level 2 cache, while the graphics will be powered by a dual core ATI RN520 chipset, with 16MB of on-board eDRAM for the frame buffer.
Read the whole article on GamesIndustry.biz.
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(Wednesday 11 May 2005 10:49 EST) - (Category: (default)) - (Posted by::
EB Games goes Xbox Live
>> From TeamXbox.com
Microsoft and EB Games unveiled today a new alliance that brings the Xbox Live experience to gamers across the U.S. in an exciting and innovative new way. The first program of its kind for Xbox Live, "EB Games goes Xbox Live" by Microsoft and EB Games delivers custom-made Xbox Live game kiosks in 25 EB Games locations across the U.S., enabling gamers to experience and test-drive Xbox Live for the first time in designated retail outlets.
More information about the Xbox Live retail kiosk program can be found at:
Read the whole article on TeamXbox.com.
XLink Kai: kaiStation - Next Phase
>> From TheDaddy & Prestige on teamxlink.co.uk:
I have recently completed the next phase of the kaiStation project. Users of the Linksys WRT54G, WRT54GS (yes - you now can use all the fancy GS bits of the firmware), along with Asus WL-500g users can now download much less "intrusive" firmware for their devices.
The new code abstracts the Kai(info) Engine away from the firmware itself - some clever scripting, and tight integration with the main TX user database now allows us to update every aspect of the Engine remotely - including adding new config options on your router HTML interface, without you needing to reflash your router. This is literally a flash-once-and-forget solution - something which many people have been after for a while.
Furthermore, this new release opens the door for firmware integrators - manufacturers and hobbyists alike - to quickly integrate Kai Engine without needing to care about re-releasing code when we make engine code / config changes. I hope this will pave the way to a much wider range of supported KaiStation devices in the near future.
The engine used by this firmware is 188.8.131.52 - which contains the engine bind fix to 184.108.40.206, along with BSD platform support, kindly engineered by brianffeldman, sebster and th0mas (nice work lads). You can download the source package for all platforms here, but please note that you will need to ./configure libpcap, and manually configure socketcc and pthreadcc yourself, along with manually configuring the makefile for kaid itself. Please do not hesitate to contact any TX admin, or support@ if you have produced a working binary for a new platform - we will be more than happy to host and support the packages for you.
Finally, a note for Fastweb users. Unfortunately, 220.127.116.11 still does not contain the Deep Resolution Support which you guys need - but I can guarantee that this support will be fully available, with source, with the forthcoming Kai Evolution VIII release - details of which will be posted here in the coming weeks.
For details, please see: kaiStation Info
Microsoft Xbox 360 Specifications Leak
>> Seems like some new Xbox Live info and the final Xbox360 hardware specs have been leaked on the internet, courtesy the next issue of Play magazine.
Days before Microsoft is due to air a special event on MTV across the world, specifications for the next generation Xbox have been posted in full online. Amongst the details leaked is word of two Xbox live services, a silver free service and a gold paid service.
"There will be two versions of Xbox Live. Silver is free (everyone gets it), and Gold is a paid subscription, like the current XBL. It looks like Xbox Live will be free on the weekends for everyone; Gold members will get it all the time, obviously. Current Xbox Live accounts will carry over to the 360 and become Gold Xbox Live accounts. Both Gold and Silver members will be able to download demos, trailers, and other content through XBL."
The leaked specs (if true) confirm lots of the rumors we saw over the last few months.
The specs say the Xbox360 will have support for 4 wireless controllers and the console will have 3 USB2.0 ports. The DVD drive will be a 'simple' DVD9-drive, with support for these formats: DVD-video, DVD-Rom, DVD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-Rom, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 cd, JPEG photo CD. The detachable 20GB HDD will be included by default from the information we received (atleast in the 'full' package). We also got some sources telling us the Xbox360 will come with Wi-Fi 802.11 A, B and G support.
The Xbox 360 face plates will be customizable to change the appearance.
All games will have full support for the 16:9 format , 720p and 1080i HDTV (Max resolution: 1920x1080) and anti-aliasing.
Xbox360's IBM CPU will have 3 symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each with 1 MB L2 cache. Each core has 2 hardware threads and one VMX-128 vector unit. Enough to boost an impressive 9 billion dots per second.
The ATI GPU will run at 500MHz with 10 MB embedded DRAM (256 GB/s memory bandwidth) and contain 48 parallel floating-point shader pipelines.
System memory will probably be 512MB of GDDR3 RAM (at 700 Mhz) with 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth and 21.6GB/s frontside bus bandwidth.
The Xbox360 will also have a mulitchannel surround output.
You'll know if all above is real and more in a bit more then 3 days ;)
News-Sources & Read the full leaked specs on Neowin.net, GamesAreFun.com, Engadget.com and ve3d.ign.com
Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
>> Kassoulet reelased a new version of gX-iso(info) - a GTK2 graphical program to extract or upload XBox ISO images to an Xbox. What's new/fixed:
* extract from .gz and .bz2
* fix crashing when reading some isos
* some minor bugfixes
* Italian translation
* better Avalaunch(info) compatibility
* win32 installer
Official Site: http://gXiso.berlios.de
Download: Windows Installer - Sources (for linux)
Virtual Xbox CD Ripper v0.0.3
>> XceL released another new version of Virtual Xbox CD Ripper(info) - a tool originally written by BlueCELL that allows to transfer audio files from PC to Xbox, without having to worry about converting audio formats. What's new/fixed:
* Rename soundtracks added
* Autoconnect added
* Passive FTP mode supported
* Can create a new ST.DB
* Lots of other fixes
* Note: This version is incompatable with the previous versions Settings.ini file.
Official Site: n/a, by XceL
Xbox-Scene Forum Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
>> A new version of neXBC(info) (alias XBConnect(info) 5) has been released.
We have posted an update for XBConnect 5.0 on the website. This update addresses a few issues reported by our users and brings back the mute function for pro users. We have also tweaked IRC security and altered come of the console detection process. We have also fixed the room name overlapping when a large number or people are present. This update is also available in the autoupdater.
There are still a few things we want to add to version 5 before we begin on the next major release (mac address locking, some lan improvements and 64 bit driver support).
What’s next? Well, I have been playing around a lot with PIC microcontrollers, initially for interfacing the Xbox directly into the PC. I've since been playing around with a PIC controlled Ethernet device that will be plugged directly into the Xbox and be able to do a lot of XBC's work. There are just so many things a guy can do with PIC controllers. The sky is really the limit. We'd also like to continue our clan support and create a stripped down client that will use minimal resources. Anyway, there is a lot of work to do. Game on!
Official Site: http://www.xbconnect.com
>> NghtShd released an update of X2ool(info) - a tool to easily create a x2config.ini to configure the features of the new X2 Bios Config Live. What's new/fixed:
* Moved LED settings to the Colors tab.
* Fixed bug causing LED color to not be saved in presets.
* Added setting to delete any config found on other partition when sending. For example, if your config is being sent to F, "E:\x2config.ini" will be deleted if found.
* Changed "Reset on Eject" to read "No Reset on Eject" in misc tab.
* Updated theme files.
Official Site: http://home.alltel.net/nghtshd/x2ool.html
X2 Config Maker v2.7.2[PC]
>> Klutsh released a new version of the PC build of X2 Config Maker(info) - a tool to easily generate the x2config.ini for the new X2 5032 Bios. It allows you to easily configure all the X2 bios features.
* Full LED Cycle options
* Fixed loading of Animation path.
* Altered FTP code (Again)
* Does not set Colour Preset or x2logo selection when loading config file.
* Does not load LED cycle settings.
* FTP fails with Evox.
* LBA48 Patching
* Preview Flubber screen.
Official Site: http://x-projects.xbox-scene.com
UnleashX V0.38.0508A Build 564
>> A new version of the UnleashX(info) Xbox dashboard has been released.
* Fixed Ambient sound stopped working.
* Fixed C:\xboxdash.xbe is used/inserted automatically when the Audio CD player is blank and you modified the Autoplay option.
* Fixed Screen flashes when transferring files to/from the xbox.
* Fixed SITE FreeSize is reporting a wrong value if the free HD space on the target drive is more than 3.5GB (approx.).
* Fixed Extracting Rar files was very slow.
* Fixed Auto-shutdown was not functioning properly.
* Fixed Playlist does not display the name of song when played using the file explorer.
* Fixed Removing the language file causes the xbox to reboot, but changes are still saved.
* Added Auto-log off of FTP users after 5 minutes of inactivity.
* Added "Relative" attribute to the MusicPlayer section. This will cause the coordinates of the items to be relative to the top-left coordinate of the player window, rather than the screen. Default value is False.
Ex: [MusicPlayer Left="10" Top="96" Width="308" Height="288" Relative="True"]
This means that an item with (0,0) coordinate will be shown at (10,96).
Note: Playlist window is still absolute.
* Added "Direction" attribute to the "Progress" and "Volume" element of the music player, which controls the way these element are drawn. Acceptable values are "Up", "Left", "Right" and "Down" with "Left" being the default.
* Added The button ("Element" element) sequence is now honored by the player, meaning you can re-order them and the control sequence will follow that order. It is also possible to omit a button and still keep the sequence intact.
Note: For music player related skinning, take a look at OrangeShapes_ConstantineMP.zip. This is a skin based on OrangeShapes with Constantine music player theme.
* Changed ScreenSaver will default to Text mode if Slideshow path or video file is not found.
*Changed On screensaver text mode, the "tick" sound is suppressed if background music is playing.
*Changed All fonts has been modified to include characters above ASCII 127. Hence, the caption should also display accented characters.
Official Site: http://www.unleashx.com/
Official Forums: http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showforum=63
Download: n/a (built with XDK)
News-Source: forums.xbox-scene.com and xbins.org