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PSP Hacks by C.K. Sample III

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Play Multiplayer on the PSP with Only One UMD Disk

Share one UMD disk between multiple PSPs in an ad hoc multiplayer WiFi game.

You’ve just bought a brand new PSP and so has your best friend. You are both eager to play head-to-head, using the PSP’s wireless gaming capabilities. Unfortunately, you and your friend have differing tastes in games and, as a result, you don’t have two copies of any one game between the both of you. Before you run out to rent or buy a duplicate game from your combined lists, try this little method to trick your PlayStation Portables into thinking that you have two copies of your game.

How It Works

Shortly after the North American release of the PSP, several different sites and online forums began simultaneously reporting that people could play multiplayer ad hoc games among multiple Playstation Portables using only one UMD disk. Here’s the basic procedure:

  1. Load up an ad hoc multiplayer game on your PSP.

  2. Eject the UMD disk.

  3. The PSP will ask “Are you sure you want to quit this game?” Quickly select No and hit the X button.

  4. Hand the disk to your friend.

  5. Your friend puts the UMD disk in her PSP, loads up the game, and connects to the ad hoc multiplayer game you started.

  6. Now, either both PSPs will freeze (if this happens, proceed to the next set of steps) or you both will start playing.

Tip

Alternately, you can at this point start again from step 2 to invite yet another friend to play.

If both PSPs froze at step 6, then it’s time to troubleshoot the swap by doing some more swapping:

  1. Your friend ejects the UMD disk and selects not to quit the game.

  2. You put the UMD disk back in your PSP.

  3. You both start playing. If, yet again, both PSPs freeze at this point, return to step 1 but reverse who gets the disk. Rinse, repeat.

Unfortunately, this trick only works in certain games, and can be slightly different depending on the game you are using. It’s mostly a matter of timing, trial, and error.

To give you an idea of how it works, I’m going to walk you through sharing one Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix UMD between two PSPs.

Sharing Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix

First things first: make sure that you and your friend(s) have the WLAN switch on the bottom-left corner of your PSPs switched on. Assuming that you are playing host to the game, start up Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix. Once you click through all the beginning bits and load any saved profiles you may want to use, select WiFi Play from the game menu wheel.

Next, select Host Game as you would for any normal WiFi game, and set your server settings per your liking. Then, hit the X key to begin hosting. You will have to wait while the board you selected loads in server mode.

Once it has finished loading, your character will enter Free Skate Mode. Eject your disk, choose No, and hit the X button when the PSP asks whether you want to quit the game. You will return to Free Skate Mode (see Figure 4-1). Make sure you leave the drive door open for now.

Continue free skating as your friend puts the UMD in her PSP and clicks through all the beginning bits. Your friend will select WiFi Play from the game menu wheel, choose Join Game, and select your game from the menu. Once your friend’s PSP screen reads “Status: Joining game…,” your PSP’s screen will have an overlay reading that your friend is joining the game (see Figure 4-2) and, in all likelihood, your free skate will freeze. When this happens, have your friend eject the UMD disk and pass it back to you.

Game play resumes without the UMD disk

Figure 4-1. Game play resumes without the UMD disk

The second PSP is on top; the host PSP is on bottom

Figure 4-2. The second PSP is on top; the host PSP is on bottom

Put the UMD back in your PSP and wait until the screen begins moving again, still with the notification of your friend joining. Now, eject the UMD again and pass it quickly back to your friend. After she reinserts the UMD disk into her machine, the loading screen should appear on the second PSP, while you continue to free skate (see Figure 4-3).

The board should begin loading in your friend’s PSP while you continue to free skate

Figure 4-3. The board should begin loading in your friend’s PSP while you continue to free skate

If you didn’t do all of these steps quickly enough, the connection will time out and you will receive a notification that your friend failed to connect. Your friend’s board will still load, however, and inform her that the connection was lost. You can both continue to free skate, or your friend can return to the game’s WiFi screen and try the joining process again.

If you do everything quickly enough, you will both be free skating together and can begin playing. Notice in Figure 4-4, I have both PSPs running the game, connected in a WiFi game, and the tray is still open on the host machine.

Depending upon whether you simply free skate, change games, or change boards, you may have to switch several more times after this initial connection is established. You may also try to connect a third PSP by repeating the steps between the PSP hosting the game and this third PSP.

This entire process can take five minutes each time you try, so this little trick, while cool, isn’t really a long-term solution for multiplayer WiFi gaming. If you like the game that you are joining in on, you may want to invest in your own copy to prevent this delayed setup process from becoming aggravating over time.

The host machine has no UMD inserted, and the disk tray is open

Figure 4-4. The host machine has no UMD inserted, and the disk tray is open

Hacking the Hack

This hack should work with various games, but there are many games that don’t work this way. Although I have tried again and again, I haven’t been able to get a group game of Lumines going successfully. The connection starts, but then one or the other machine times out. Maybe it needs very precise timing, or maybe it isn’t possible. However, I’ve given up on it, because I figured out another trick: just because you cannot join a WiFi game using only one UMD disk doesn’t mean that you cannot all share one UMD disk.

The majority of the games available for the PSP don’t actively access the disk during game play (this is how this multiplayer hack works in the first place). Rather, the individual boards are loaded into the PSP’s memory and then the disk goes unused until you progress to the next level, need to save, or unlock some new cut scene. So, why not share the game among multiple PSPs?

This trick will work with most board/level-based games. Just before writing this hack, I successfully tried it with both Lumines and DarkStalkers.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Load up the game in your PSP and start a single-player game.

  2. As soon as it starts, hit the Start button and pause the game.

  3. Eject your UMD disk, select No, and hit the X button when the PSP asks whether you want to quit the game. The game will return to the pause screen.

  4. Hand your UMD disk to your friend, so that she can load up a single-player game.

  5. Once it loads for your friend, have her hit Start, pause the game, and eject the UMD disk, passing it on to another friend.

  6. Once everybody is ready to go, unpause and begin playing.

With Lumines, you can have a contest between all the players to see who lasts the longest. After a while, the music in the background will stop playing, but the game will continue. In Wipeout Pure, you can see who finishes the agreed-upon race first. In DarkStalkers, you can see who beats his opponent first. Think about all the different group games and tournaments you could have without the WiFi connectivity, but by sharing a single UMD disk.

The best part about this trick is that once you reach time to switch boards, usually the game just hangs, waiting for the UMD. Retrieve the disk from your friend, load up the next board, hit Pause, and then start passing the disk around. You have hours of shared gaming ahead of you. Have fun!

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