Tools for dumping and mastering PlayStation 1 ("PSX") CD-ROM images
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Christian Bauer
Christian Bauer fixed typos
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PSXImager V2.0

PSXImager is a collection of tools for dumping and (pre-)mastering
PlayStation 1 ("PSX") CD-ROM images. It consists of three tools:

 * psxrip
   Dumps the contents of the data track of a binary CD image ("BIN/CUE") to
   a directory tree plus a "catalog" file containing filesystem metadata.
 * psxbuild
   The inverse of psxrip; takes a catalog file and a directory tree to
   produce a binary CD image which can be burned to a CD medium.

 * psxinject
   Replaces the contents of a file inside a binary CD image.

What sets PSXImager apart from standard ISO 9660 imaging tools is that
PSXImager handles images in the CD-ROM XA format, which is what the
PlayStation 1 uses.

CD-ROM XA, defined by Sony and Philips, is an extension to the "Yellow Book"
and ISO 9660 standards, and also used by Video and Photo CDs. The main
extensions of XA are:

 - CD-ROM sectors contain an additional 8 bytes of "subheader" data for
   storing information related to audio/video files (data type, codec and
   channel information, etc.).
 - Directory entries contain more attributes, such as Unix-style owner/group
   IDs and permissions,
 - Most importantly, XA allows "Form 2" files with 2324 data bytes per
   sector (as opposed to the regular 2048 bytes) which are recorded in
   special CD-ROM sectors ("Mode 2, Form 2"). This allows storing more data
   on a CD (up to ~740MB) at the cost of having no error correction for this
   data. Form 2 files are primarily used for audio/video data, in particular
   the FMVs of most PlayStation 1 games.

"Red Book" CD-DA audio tracks are not handled by PSXImager.

PSXImager is based on code from the GNU VCDImager project and uses the
libcdio and libvcdinfo libraries for most of its work.


Usage: psxrip [OPTION...] <input>[.bin/cue] [<output_dir>]
  -l, --lbns                      Write LBNs to catalog file
  -t, --lbn-table                 Print LBN table and exit
  -v, --verbose                   Be verbose
  -V, --version                   Display version information and exit
  -?, --help                      Show this help message

Reads the data track of the given input CD image and dumps the filesystem
contents to a directory together with a "catalog" file which specifies the
directory structure and contains additional metadata which is not in the
filesystem dump.

The input CD image must be in raw ("MODE2/2352") format. Only the first data
track is dumped, additional data and audio tracks are ignored. All files in
the CD filesystem are dumped, preserving the original directory tree
structure and (uppercase) naming.

If no output directory is specified, the basename of the input CD image is
used. The catalog file will have the name "<output_dir>.cat". The format of
the catalog file is explained in the section "Catalog File Syntax", below.

Additionally, psxrip will dump the system area (the first 16 sectors of the
CD image) to a file named "<output_dir>.sys". On the PlayStation 1, the
system area is used for storing licensing information.

With the option '-l', psxrip will also write the start sector numbers (LBNs)
of all files and directories to the catalog file.

When invoked with the option '-t', psxrip will not dump the filesystem of
the image but instead print a table which lists
 - the start LBN (hex)
 - the number of sectors used (hex)
 - the file or directory size (hex)
 - the item type ('d' = directory, 'f' = regular file, 'x' = XA Form 2 file,
   'a' = CD-DA audio file)
 - the path name of the item
for each file and directory in the filesystem. This is useful for ROM
hacking because many PlayStation 1 games access files by sector number
instead of going through the filesystem.

Usage example:

A CD image in the required format can be produced from a PlayStation 1 game
CD with the cdrdao tool as follows:

  cdrdao read-cd --read-raw --datafile GAME.bin GAME.toc
  toc2cue GAME.toc GAME.cue

The filesystem of the produced GAME.bin/cue can then be dumped with:

  psxrip GAME.cue

This will create a directory named "GAME" which contains the complete
filesystem tree of the CD, plus a "" catalog file and a "GAME.sys"
file with a dump of the system area of the CD.

These files can be used with psxbuild to recreate a CD image of the game.


Usage: psxbuild [OPTION...] <input>[.cat] [<output>[.bin]]
  -c, --cuefile                   Create a .cue file
  -v, --verbose                   Be verbose
  -V, --version                   Display version information and exit
  -?, --help                      Show this help message

Creates a raw mode BIN/CUE CD image from a catalog file and a directory tree
holding the contents of the CD filesystem.

The directory structure, the files to be included in the image, and
additional metadata are controlled by the specified input catalog file. The
format of the catalog file is explained in the section "Catalog File
Syntax", below.

Although it is possible to build a CD image from scratch by providing a
hand-written catalog file, it is recommended to dump a PlayStation 1 CD
using psxrip and use the produced catalog file as a template.

The files and directories to be included in the image must be placed in a
directory which has the same name as the basename of the catalog file. The
files will be written to the image in the order they appear in in the
catalog. Files which are present in the directory but not specified in the
catalog will be ignored.

Usage example:

Given a catalog file named "" and a directory named "GAME" which
holds the filesystem tree of the CD, a CD image can be built with:

  psxbuild -c GAME

This will create the two files "GAME.bin" and "GAME.cue" which contain the
CD image. They can either directly be used with a PlayStation 1 emulator, or
the image be written to a CD using a standard CD burning application such as

Note 1: A CD produced in this way will not be bootable on original
PlayStation hardware because the PlayStation checks a signature on the CD
which is not reproducible using off-the-shelf CD burners. However, there are
hardware modifications ("Modchips") available for the PlayStation which
disable this check.

Note 2: Rebuilding a CD image which has been dumped with psxrip is not
guaranteed to preserve the start sector numbers (LBNs) of files. Since many
PlayStation 1 games access their data files directly via sector numbers
instead of going through the filesystem, a game whose image has been rebuilt
with psxbuild may crash or not work correctly. In this case it will be
necessary to adapt the game code to the changed LBNs.


Usage: psxinject [OPTION...] <input>[.bin/cue] <repl_file_path> <new_file>
  -v, --verbose                   Be verbose
  -V, --version                   Display version information and exit
  -?, --help                      Show this help message

Replaces the contents of a file inside a standard or raw mode BIN/CUE image
with a file from the local filesystem, preserving the file's name,
attributes, and start sector. This is useful when patching individual files
without having to rebuild the entire CD image.

The new file must not require a greater number of sectors in the image, i.e.
shrinking a file is allowed, but extending it beyond sector boundaries is
not. If the new file is significantly larger than the existing file the
image must be rebuilt in its entirety using psxrip/psxbuild.

Usage example:

To replace the file with the path GFX/INTRO.TIM in the CD image GAME.bin/cue
with the contents of the local file "new_intro.tim", use:

  psxinject GAME.cue GFX/INTRO.TIM new_intro.tim

Catalog File Syntax

The catalog file is a plain-text file which specifies the directory
structure and additional metadata of a PlayStation 1 CD image. It is
produced by psxrip when dumping a CD image, and read by psxbuild to control
the creation of a CD image.

The syntax of the catalog file is line-based. Extra spaces and empty lines
are ignored but each data item and each item opening or closing a section
must be on a line of its own.

A catalog file consists of three sections: The system area section, the
volume section, and the root directory section. The first two sections are

* System area section:

The system area section has the following syntax:

system_area {
  file "<file>"

<file> specifies the path name of the file which holds the data of the
system area (first 16 sectors) of the CD image. It can have a maximum size
of 32 KiB.

Although this section is optional, the system area of a PlayStation 1 CD
must contain special, region-specific licensing information in order for the
CD to be bootable on a PlayStation. This data is not included with PSXImager.

* Volume section:

This section specifies metadata, most of which is stored in the ISO 9660
primary volume descriptor of the CD image. It has the following syntax:

volume {
  system_id '[' <string> ']'
  volume_id '[' <string> ']'
  volume_set_id '[' <string> ']'
  publisher_id '[' <string> ']'
  preparer_id '[' <string> ']'
  application_id '[' <string> ']'
  copyright_file_id '[' <string> ']'
  abstract_file_id '[' <string> ']'
  bibliographic_file_id '[' <string> ']'
  creation_date <YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss.xx ofs>
  modification_date <YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss.xx ofs>
  expiration_date <YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss.xx ofs>
  effective_data <YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss.xx ofs>
  default_uid <integer>
  default_gid <integer>

All items in this section are optional. Unspecified items will be filled in
with default (usually empty) values by psxbuild. Few (if any) PlayStation 1
games actually use the information defined in the volume section.

The meaning of the *_id and *_date items, and their possible values, are
defined in the ISO 9660 and ECMA-119 standards. The convention for
PlayStation 1 games is to set the system_id to "PLAYSTATION" and the
volume_id to the name of the game in caps. The volume_id is also the name
the CD will appear under when mounted on a PC.

In the four *_date items, the "xx" part specifies hundreds of seconds, while
the "ofs" part specifies the offset from GMT in fifteen-minute units,
ranging from -48 (west) to 52 (east).

The default_uid and default_gid items specify the UID and GID attributes
(0..65535) of all files and directories on the CD when creating an image
with psxbuild. These two items are not written by psxrip.

* Root directory section:

The root directory section recursively defines the entire filesystem tree
of the CD image. It has the follwing syntax:

dir {
  file <file1> [@<lbn>]
  xafile <file2> [@<lbn>]
  dir <dir1> [@<lbn>] {
    file <file3> [@<lbn>]
    xafile <file4> [@<lbn>]
    dir <dir2> [@<lbn>] {

A directory section may specify file items as well subdirectory sections,
which in turn may contain files and subdirectories themselves.

Each "file" item specifies an ordinary data file (2048 bytes/sector), while
an "xafile" item specifies an XA Form 2 file holding 2336 bytes/sector (the
8-byte XA subheader followed by 2324 bytes of data followed by 4 bytes of
error detection (EDC) info per sector). An "xafile" can also interleave Form
1 sectors which are stored in "raw" (2336 bytes/sector) format (8-byte XA
subheader, 2048 data bytes, 4 bytes EDC, 276 bytes ECC).

psxbuild recalculates the EDC/ECC data of XA files when writing them to the
output image.

The file and directory names should follow ISO 9660 level 1 conventions (8.3
characters, only uppercase letters, digits, and underscores). The name of
the root directory must be empty. File versions (like ";1") are not

The "@<lbn>" part of file and directory items is optional. If present, it
specifies the start sector number (LBN) of the file's or directory's extent.
When creating a CD image, LBN specifications must appear in ascending order
in the catalog; it is not possible to place an item at a lower start sector
than the previous item, or to overlap items. When psxbuild detects this case
it will print a warning message and move the item to the next free sector.

There is no way of specifying additional per-file or per-directory metadata.
Permissions are set to standard values and file creation dates are set to
the volume creation date by psxbuild.

Example catalog file:

system_area {
  file "license.sys"

volume {
  system_id [PLAYSTATION]
  volume_id [MYGAME]
  publisher_id [CEBIX]
  creation_date 2014-03-15 14:46:30.00 4

dir {
  dir GFX {
    file INTRO.TIM
    xafile MOVIE.STR @1000

Together with a corresponding directory tree of files:

  $ tree
  |-- MYGAME
  |   |-- GFX
  |   |   |-- INTRO.TIM
  |   |   `-- MOVIE.STR
  |   |-- MYGAME.EXE
  |   `-- SYSTEM.CNF
  `-- license.sys

a CD image can be built with:

  $ psxbuild -c MYGAME
  Reading catalog file ""...
  Reading filesystem from directory "MYGAME"...
  Image file written to "MYGAME.bin"
  Cue file written to "MYGAME.cue"

The root directory of the produced image will contain the files "SYSTEM.CNF"
and "MYGAME.EXE", plus the directory "GFX" with its two files "INTRO.TIM"
and "MOVIE.STR", the latter being a Form 2 file. The "MOVIE.STR" file will
start at sector 1000, if possible.


Christian Bauer