Trying to track down a list of “five game mods you must download right now” is a lot like trying to choose your five top games of all time. Sure, your list might be impressive—maybe even awesome—but you’re still going to get a heap of contenders sobbing in the corner at your refusal to acknowledge their almost-noteworthy existences. And nobody likes bawling boxed titles.
So let that be a warning to you, fun-loving gamer who continues to read this article. I’m covering freeware game modifications this time around—freeware, obviously, because I doubt your average enthusiast is going to risk the wrath of a developer’s fury because he or she is selling blood, sweat, and tears in the form of a $5 game add-on. As well, I’m not just looking at maps, or other whip-dip little tweaks. I’m talking about huge transformations that range from, “making this game playable in the modern era” to “wow, I want to go back and revisit this title because it is now sweet.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you get the idea.
But as I mentioned, narrowing down to a list of five is near-impossible. So if you don’t have an affinity for the Infinity Engine (including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment), Sins of a Solar Empire, Fallout 3, TIE Fighter/X-Wing Alliance, or Half-Life 2… you might want to sit this one out. Otherwise, let’s get real.
Adafruit Industries lit a fire under the hacking community's feet when it announced a chance to win $2,000 to the first person to deliver open-source software drivers for the Kinect, and it looks like a winner has emerged.
Nothing has yet been verified, but NUI Group forum member "AlexP" posted a couple of videos showing the Kinect merrily communicating with Windows. Microsoft, as you might imagine, probably isn't going to take the news well and was never in support of the contest to begin with.
"Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products," a company spokesperson told CNet. "With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant."
AlexP has been down this road before. In addition to hacking the Kinect, he also modified Sony's PS3Eye Camera to run under Windows.
What do you do when your 11-year-old son tells you he wants to dress up as a chick for Halloween? You help him build a Samus Aran costume, of course!
Little Jospeh DeRose wanted to do exactly that, and so his father decided to help him construct a replica of Samus Aran's Varia Suit from Metroid Prime, starting with the awesome arm cannon complete with a speaker and LED lights. Best of all, the father-son team posted an 8-minute worklog on YouTube for all to see.
Check it out below, then hit the jump and tell us if you've seen any noteworthy Halloween costume mods.
I own an HTC Dream, otherwise known as the T-Mobile G1. Yes, it's now dated and slow and pitifully behind the curve compared to today's superphones, but with my contract just about up, I'm riding it out before switching carriers (T-Mobile's coverage in my area isn't the greatest). So how do I deal with constant smartphone envy? It helps that I rooted my G1 almost from Day 1.
Still today the XDA forums are brimming with modified firmware for the G1, and it's that culture of modders that helped make the first Android handset such a popular device. Surely then the recently released G2 would follow in the same footsteps, right? Sadly, that's not the case. Rather than encourage third-party ROM development, or even just leave them be, the G2 comes with a security mechanism that prevents the device from saving changes made by modified firmware.
Hit the jump to read T-Mobile's explanation on why this is necessary.
Sony appears to be fighting a losing battle in preventing users from jailbreaking their PlayStation 3 consoles. In a recent Australian court ruling, a judge made permanent a previous ban on the distribution of the PSJailbreak dongle only to watch the software code behind a similar hack released for free into the wild. Naturally, Sony responded with a minor firmware update blocking these bits of code from working their mojo, but it's an ongoing cat and mouse game at best.
What we find most interesting, however, is how insanely easy it is to jailbreak a PS3. This is Sony's flagship console, after all, yet users have been able to jailbreak the device with everything from a Palm Pre to a calculator.
That's right, we said a calculator. Gizmodo has put together a collection of clips showing various devices cracking the PS3, and one of them includes the above mentioned hack (known as PSGroove) run from a TI-84. Pretty rad, no? Check it out below.
Those of you who ever wanted to piece together your very own replica of Mass Effect's M8 Avenger assault rifle should send Harrison Krix a 'Thank You' card. This 28-year-old self-proclaimed "dork working in Graphic Design" went and posted a detailed work log on how to build a very cool looking knock-off of the in-game weapon.
"I've been a huge Mass Effect fan for awhile now, and with the release of the second game I knew I wanted to take a crack at building some of the weaponry from the ME universe," Krix explains. "As a bit of a personal challenge to myself, I decided to construct this gun from as much of my existing materials as possible. That is to say, 95 percent of what you see here is scrap I had in my shop from other builds. In the end, the entire piece cost me $28 in raw materials."
Krix walks readers through the blueprints stage and on through every last step, the end-result being a fantastic battery powered replica that lights up and even simulates the muzzle flash.
We have to hand it to Zachariah Perry, a 19-year-old sculpture student, blogger, and the man behind one of the coolest Iron Man Xbox 360 mods we've ever seen.
Perry took a standard Falcon HDMI-based Xbox 360 console and outfitted it with an Arc Reactor with bright white LEDs. "Also there is a ring of light around the outside of the Arc Reactor that mimics the ring of light around the power button," Perry explains in his eBay auction.
Completing the ensemble is a matching red controller and a 120GB hard drive with a "Stark Industries" label. Plenty more pics can be found on Perry's blog here.
Huzzah! Throw up the flags! Send off the fireworks! Summon the townspeople! Apple has lost! The people have won! Huzzah!
I’m referring, of course, to Monday’s ruling by The Library of Congress, which explicitly carves out a legal exception for those looking to jailbreak their iPhones. No longer will industrious little hackers (or those who downloaded a one-button jailbreak app off the Interwebs) be subject to Digital Millennium Copyright Act smack-downs over their choice of Cydia instead of the App Store.
In short, so long as you’re jailbreaking your iPhone to make it work with a third-party application that, itself, isn’t kosher on a vanilla iPhone, you’re in the clear. I’m not quite sure what you would do with a jailbroken phone otherwise—perhaps smash it with a hammer to test its durability or something--but there you have it.
Now, we’ve won, right? The choice of how and why you use your iPhone has finally been wrested out of the turtleneck-laden hands of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The people are in control now, and we all have carte blanche to do with our handheld devices as we please! Yay!
Score a victory for Joe Consumer, who according to the U.S. government, is fully within his legal right to unlock his iPhone, or any other mobile phone, without having to look over his shoulder for Johnny Law. Not that Apple or anyone else would ever go crying to the cops for trivial matters (wait a tick), but it doesn't matter now anyway.
Federal regulators approved a bunch of new exemptions to a federal law that prohibits circumventing technical measures companies put into place to prevent unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Apple has always taken the position that jailbreaking is an unauthorized modification of its software and violates copyright law, but under the new regulation, iPhone owners are within their legal right to unlock their mobile device and install third-party apps.
Regulators also approved the practice of unlocking cell phones to use on an unapproved carrier, another practice that already exists (scores of iPhone owners roll with unlocked phones on T-Mobile's network, even though the iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T) and is now out of the legal gray area.
Palm Pre modder who goes by the name "unixpsycho" is living up to his nick with a new bit of firmware that comes with following disclaimer in big, bold, red lettering:
"DO NOT INSTALL THIS IF YOU LIKE YOUR PHONE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!"
If that sounds over the top, consider that his latest firmware -- SR71 Blackbird -- pushes the Palm Pre's OMAP 3430 processor to 1.2GHz. That's twice the speed this little chip was meant to run at, which ships stock at 600MHz.
For those willing to throw caution to the wind, there are some safety measures that keeps this from being a total smartphone suicide mission. Temp monitoring comes built in, and whenever the chip jumps past 55C, the firmware ramps things down to 500MHz, "or at least it should."