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FreeDVDBoot

PlayStation 2 DVD Player Exploit. This allows you to burn your own PlayStation 2 homebrew discs and play them on an unmodified console as seen in the demo video. With uLaunchELF as the initial program, users can include multiple homebrew programs on the same disc.

For technical details please refer to my blog post.

Read from here if you have a Slim PS2.

Read from here if you have a Phat PS2.

Easy setup for all PS2 Slim consoles / Bravia TV

All you need is:

  • A compatible console (all PS2 Slim / Sony Bravia TV units are supported),
  • A DVD (not a CD), preferably a DVD-R as other types such as DVD+RW put more strain on the PS2 laser,
  • A computer with a built-in disc burner / external USB disc burner,

Step 1: Download the ISO

Download PREBUILT ISOs/All PS2 Slims - English language.iso

Step 2: Burn the ISO

Please check following to ensure a good burn which the PS2 will be able to read:

  • Clean off any dust from the disc,
  • Select lowest burning speed option,
  • Select finalise disc option,

Step 3: Set console language to English

Your console must be set to English language for the exploit to work (other languages cause memory contents to change).

To do this, boot without a disc inserted, press Circle to enter System Configuration and set your system language to English.

Step 4: Boot!

Insert the disc into your console, and wait. It should boot into uLaunchELF within a few seconds.

From uLaunchELF, you have the ability to run any homebrew you want over USB mass storage! Many people choose to run FreeMCBoot or Fortuna installer, as they find booting from a memory card more convenient.

If you want to add additional homebrew to your DVD / replace uLaunchELF, please read from Custom disc setup.

Troubleshooting - please read if the above didn't work

Problem Solution
Disc doesn't spin on slim console Press the lid down hard to ensure the sensors detect that the lid is closed. If still not working try placing some weight such as a book on the top of the console.
PS2 detects the disc as "PlayStation 2 disc" instead of "DVD Video" in the browser Your PS2 has a modchip which is incorrectly preventing the DVD player from launching. You do not need this exploit for a console with a modchip, but if you really want to try it some modchips offer the ability to temporarily disable themselves (by holding start when booting for example).
PS2 displays "unable to read disc" Please try playing a real DVD movie disc to verify that your console's DVD laser works; doing this can also recalibrate the laser which might solve the issue, as commented here. Also try the following PS2 setting Version -> Console -> Diagnosis -> On which can assist with laser problems.
PS2 freezes at black/red/green screen If your PS2 DVD laser is really worn out, or you are using something difficult to read like a dusty DVD+RW burned on high speed, it might take some time before uLaunchELF actually starts. Please try waiting 3 minutes or so, per this comment

Other suggestions that worked for others:

  • Try unplugging your controller, and plugging it back in. Apparently that solved the issue for this user.

  • Try removing all memory cards. Apparently that solved the issue for this user.

  • Try burning with different software. Apparently for this user and this user ImgBurn didn't work, but CDBurnerXP with 1x speed, compatibility settings, and finalize option worked.

  • Check that your console's language is set to English.

  • Check the GitHub repo to see if the image has been updated recently. Download the new one if it has.

Please, only open a GitHub issue if you have read and tried all of the above. If you do open an issue, please confirm that you tried a real DVD movie and it worked on your system so that we know it's not just a laser failure; also include your DVD player version, the name of the ISO you tried, the type of DVD, and what happens when you launch the disc.

Phat consoles

Phat consoles have many different firmware version revisions, which makes them harder to add support for. It also means you will need to identify your firmware version, and burn the matching ISO file.

It's still early in terms of support for different versions, check back here later. Hopefully over time other developers from the scene will also contribute support for additional DVD Player versions. The new exploit for 2.10 should be possible to port to all firmwares between 1.00 - 2.13 (Sony actually patched this one in 2.14 lol).

Step 1: Identify your DVD Player Version

Boot your PlayStation 2 without any disc inserted, and press Triangle to identify which DVD Player version your console has.

Currently only support:

  • 2.10 (certain models only? Working: SCPH-30001 R (ROMGEN 0160AC20010427), SCPH-30000 (ROMGEN 0160JC20010427), SCPH-30004 R (ROMGEN 0160EC20011004), Not working: SCPH-39004 - todo),

  • 2.12 (regions U, J, and G, if any other regions exist for 2.12 let me know),

  • 3.04 (tested only region M in emulator so far, but guess most other regions EUMACDG, except for J will work - with English language set in settings),

Step 2: Download the ISO

Download the ISO that corresponds to your firmware version.

Please don't bother trying on a non-supported firmware/language configuration, it won't work...

For example, if your DVD Player version is 2.10J, you would want to download PREBUILT ISOs/2.10.iso.

Step 3, 4, 5 - Burn the ISO, set console language to English, and boot!

These steps are the same as described for slim above.

Custom disc setup - Slim

If you intend to make your own image containing additional homebrew / modified initial loader, please read on.

Step 1: Copy your homebrew

Once you've identified your console's DVD Player version, copy all of the homebrew you would like to include on the disc into that directory in the Filesystems (EG: Filesystems/All PS2 slims (3.10 + 3.11) - English language/ is the one that supports all slim consoles).

Step 2: Make an image

Once you've placed all the homebrew files you'd like into the directory, generate a UDF (ISO9960/UDF hybrid also works) image of the directory (so VIDEO_TS is in the root).

On Windows, you can use a GUI like ImgBurn to make an disc image. It will give a warning that VIDEO_TS.BUP is missing, but just click continue anyway (PS2 doesn't require this file).

On Linux the easiest way is probably to use genisoimage as it comes pre-installed on many Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Run the following on terminal (where exploit.iso is the output and Filesystem/All PS2 slims (3.10 + 3.11) - English language is the directory containing VIDEO_TS and any homebrew):

genisoimage -udf -o exploit.iso "Filesystems/All PS2 slims (3.10 + 3.11) - English language"

Step 3: Test and burn

I would recommend you test in PCSX2 first, but since PCSX2 doesn't support loading the DVD Player, you have to decrypt and repack it yourself, which is beyond the scope of this README. With that said, if you aren't touching anything in VIDEO_TS, there shouldn't really be any reason for the exploit to fail.

Custom disc setup - Phat

Instructions for building the phat exploit coming soon.

Replacing the initial program - Slim

I've included uLaunchELF recompiled with DVD support as the default initial program. It presents a menu which allows you to select any of the homebrew programs you chose to include on the disc (and also allows booting from USB).

Alternatively, if you would rather just boot into a single homebrew application, the initial program the exploit attempts to boot is located at VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.IFO, replace it with your desired ELF file, with the below caveat that compatibility might be lower than if you booted a program through uLaunchELF:

For the initial release, I didn't bother to reimplement a couple of functions used by the loader, so it requires that the ELF you load doesn't overwrite those functions I use (those are around 0x84000 - 0x85fff and 0x250000 - 0x29ffff). I will probably remove this limitation in the future, but all ELFs I could find were fine with this limitation.

You can run readelf -l to verify your executable satisfies this requirement. For example, this Tetris homebrew just uses 0x00100000 - 0x0017a940:

$ readelf -l VTS_02_0.IFO

Elf file type is EXEC (Executable file)
Entry point 0x104490
There is 1 program header, starting at offset 52

Program Headers:
  Type           Offset   VirtAddr   PhysAddr   FileSiz MemSiz  Flg Align
  LOAD           0x001000 0x00100000 0x00100000 0x72ef4 0x7a940 RWE 0x1000

 Section to Segment mapping:
  Segment Sections...
   00     .text .ctors .dtors .rodata .data .jcr .sdata .sbss .bss

Replacing the initial program - Phat

The ELF is read from 0x5bb000 in the ISO file, copy to that location with a hex editor to replace it.

Loading backups

It's possible to patch backup images of commercial games to make them bootable using this exploit. I didn't want to maintain this tool, so it's not included in this repository, but can be found by searching for something like FreeDVDBoot ESR auto patcher.

DEVELOPMENT: Replacing the loader payload - Slim

The default payload will boot VIDEO_TS/VTS_02_0.IFO as an ELF file, but tweaks might be desired to improve compatibility, or maybe changing the behaviour to boot BOOT.ELF instead for instance.

If you wish to update the loader payload, run build.sh inside PAYLOAD directory, and copy the output .bin files into VIDEO_TS/VIDEO_TS.IFO at the offsets displayed by the output of the command.

DEVELOPMENT: Replacing the loader payload - Phat

Run the following to build a new dvd.iso:

make -f hardware.mk

If you want to test on PCSX2 using KrHacken's repacked DVD players, it loads udfio at a different base address, use the repacked Makefile to build an image for testing on the emulator:

make -f emulator.mk

clean before switching between these different Makefiles, or use -B flag.

PORTING:

Please read my technical writeup, to understand how the exploit works. I've also provided some notes about porting in the gh-pages branch.

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