USB-GDROM ''temporary'' firmware

Discussion in 'Retro' started by Fedor Wearing A Fedora, Jul 22, 2019.

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    Fedor Wearing A Fedora

    Fedor Wearing A Fedora Member

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    I'm a few weeks late to the party and maybe the DC fanatics here saw this already but turns out that MNEMO had implemented an anti cloning measure in the USB-GDROM firmware. After a certain period your firmware would expire and after contacting MNEMO he'd send you a new firmware (with a new expiration date). I remember seeing videos of USB-GDROM users a couple of months after the GDEMU was cloned with the "firmware obsolete" message, never thought it was linked to this. Once the news was out there the DC community was not happy (since it was never mentioned) and he fixed it in the same week by releasing a new version of the firmware (no mention of it in changelog tho). People always had bad stories about this dude (Stone Age Gamer vs MNEMO beef for example) and his ways of communicating, but i see those things as more a ''personal experience'' thing (since mine was neutral). However this lazy "anti cloning" method (although fixed for now) kind of makes me side with the haters. Would you still trust/support/respect a dev after doing something like this?


    BTW anyone else here with a DC? can't believe it's almost 20 years back since launch, starting to feel REALLY old lol.
     
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    atreyu187

    atreyu187 Retired Old Hunter Moderator

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    Used to be huge into the DC scene as a member of a GeNiuS, ReviveDC, DCCM Project (Dreamcast Clean Merge Project) as well as Underground Gamer, Trurip and of course TOSEC. So I have quiet a long history with the system. @kozarovv is also a long time scenery for the Dreamcast as well as @Anthonyy817

    As for the USB GD-ROM I was never a fan of it as I don't see the need for one but they are nice. And I see why the dev did that and so long as he warranties any issues and fixes it so be it. Never been a fan of any type of DRM but he did put a lot of work into it. I plan on getting another one soon but will probably go back to DreamShell or maybe a GDEMU clone.

    My ex-wife still has this lovely system held hostage in her storage shed and I hope to have it back one day as it has my black BBA still attached.



    Also have the full NTSC-U set, all English PAL exclusives and about 200 NTSC-J and third party stuff from NG Dev, HuCast and more. Even have the launch editions of all the Pier Solar releases.

    https://dreamcast-talk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5751

    I also did a few beta releases and so forth.





    As well as how to fix the Black Swirl of Death



    So yeah I gotta bit into the scene.

    As well as helping to complete the archiving of the entire NTSC-U and PAL sets. As well as a few NTSC-J hashes. Note there are not any pirated content in any if this.

    https://dcemulation.org/dumpcast/search.php?author_id=281&sr=posts
     
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    Fedor Wearing A Fedora

    Fedor Wearing A Fedora Member

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    Nice, good stuff dude! I'll post a picture of my DC's later on, still looking for a black sega sports edition in good condition...but besides that one i've most of the normal retail models from the pal, ntsc-u and j region. Most of them were sold as non functioning consoles that turned out to work fine after a little bit of cleaning. I don't know why i've so many of them to be honest (i like to collect), but i'm planning to sell most of them and keep 2 or 3.

    About the USB-GDROM, let's agree to disagree :) He's not selling his product in this way, he's renting/loaning it.
    Let's say that if I bought a product, i'd rather see a hardware failure decided when it's time to stop working than the developer of the product. If for some reason MNEMO wouldn't be able to distribute new FW all of the USB-GDROM's would be turned in to worthless plastic after a while if the FW was expired.
    I think it's sad for Deunan that his GDEMU got cloned, he will miss out on a lot of money but as it turns out the demand is still very high for his products. There has been a little to none decrease in requests despite all the clones out there being 70 to 80 EU's cheaper.
    This was just a panic move by MNEMO which he fixed quick, but not a nice one.
     
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    MrMario2011

    MrMario2011 Member

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    I heard about this happening, glad to see the developer was called out on it and the timebomb was (for the time being) removed. I had no idea of that, so thank you for getting me up to speed. With the way the USB-GDROM's timebomb was set up my biggest complaint is what if something happens and the developer goes POOF? Doesn't matter what the circumstance is, if the developer kept the timebomb in the firmware and either decided or couldn't continue issuing updates, that would mean every single USB-GDROM out there would eventually be a paperweight. I'd suggest anyone reading check out this article to see how difficult it was for Stone Age Gamer to work with the developer of USB-GDROM.

    http://www.thedreamcastjunkyard.co.uk/2016/03/stone-age-gamer-drops-usb-gdrom.html

    As for the GDEMU getting cloned, I know it has happened about a year ago at this point, I'm surprised it took so long. I know the developer of that is making everything by hand. A clone is inevitable in any situation, but a lot of lost revenue could have been curbed if the developer went with a larger scale operation.
     
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    Fedor Wearing A Fedora

    Fedor Wearing A Fedora Member

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    You should read RetroRGB's Bob rant, and the mail correspondence the dev had with users about this issue:

    https://www.retrorgb.com/usb-gdrom-self-brick-timer.html
     
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    atreyu187

    atreyu187 Retired Old Hunter Moderator

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    I don't have an issue with it provided he was up front about it but he was not. I do see why he would have done it but be up front and honest first and foremost then let your customers decide if they want it. So I see why he did it and had he of done it right I wouldn't have issues. That being said how he did it trying to be sneaky was cool at all. I guess what I am saying is I do not have an issue with them protecting what they made but I do have an issue with how he went about it. It's like the NDS time bomb carts or how Apple designs their hardware to self destruct. That being said I myself would never by any of the three just because all three did it behind consumers backs.
     
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    MrMario2011

    MrMario2011 Member

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    Being up front about it would be better for transparency sake, but I don't think it would be beneficial for the product, although people would be able to openly vote with their wallets. Apple is a whole other story, but I too thought of the DS flashcart timebomb firmwares. I don't think those are great by any means, but I'm more lenient on them for a few reasons.
    1. They're extremely cheap, well under $10.
    2. There's many bypass firmwares and menus for them, if you own a timebomb cart.
    3. There's multiple alternatives available on the market at or around the same price.
    With the USB-GDROM you're dealing with a ~$200 product with firmware created by one person and no other USB based GD-ROM emulator on the market. As Bob from RetroRGB said in the article linked to me (good read, btw):
     
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    Anthonyy817

    Anthonyy817 Member

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    I made a few huge threads about this over at various Dreamcast related sites, such as AssemblerGames, Obscure Gamers and Dreamcast-Talk as a PSA warning owners of this device. The main issue with this, is what if he was never found out, and he got killed by a bus crossing the street one day. All those who ever bought the device would be fucked after a certain amount of time due to no fault of their own. So yeah, I do have to agree it is a shady move. I am really happy with my GDEMU and the GDMENU front-end for it, as well as the possibility for other competing front ends since there is now an alternative in the works with way better features by Mrneo240. There is no option for a fancy front-end on that device sadly.

    The good thing is he already said he was working on a fix when it was found out about a month or 2 back, so there is the silver lining to the whole fiasco.
     
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    atreyu187

    atreyu187 Retired Old Hunter Moderator

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    Apple shouldn't be another issue. If someone drops hundreds of not a thousand bucks it should be up to the owner when it replace not when Apple feels the hardware or OS is dated.

    And the DS flash carts should not matter either if it just $10. If they want more money they should price it as so and add features to entice a user. Not sabotage the hardware hoping to get more funds. Especially since it's just a clone of another device. So they are making money off another's hard work.

    Reminds me of the whole True Blue and Blue Disk CFW fiasco. People wanting to free their hardware only to have someone try to lock it back down and using someone else's work. Glad that was hacked quickly even though there was no charge for the second edition.

    And as for the USB GD-ROM if the seller was up front about it would have been ideal as the GDEMU guy lost a lot of cash by cloning. Grated the new ones can't be updated but doesn't seem to matter since it hasn't been updated in a very long time as well. It would have killed the USB GD-ROM even more due to the high price tag. The only really good benefit was it's capacity size. But that's not really an issue due to larger microSD cards becoming larger, cheaper and faster. Hopefully the GDEMU sees another update to support larger cards giving it an advantage over clones. But due to not meeting demand there was a market for clones. It was cheaper but still costly nonetheless. Now people want absurd amounts for the original ones even more so then the USB GD-ROM. They claim to be of better quality but one can buy more then two clones for the price of just one.

    But hopefully they see an update allowing these 1tb cards and more soon enough. As 1tb can hold a full set of all unique copies of games and any mods or translations. If it adds Bleem support while not a huge benefit would be nice as well as making Codebreaker and so forth easier to use. And homebrew is nice since the system sees regular new third party releases. But I'm getting away from all this. The dev shouldn't have done it and if he did let users know so they could decide. And a safe guard in place in case of an untimely circumstance with him.
     
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    Anthonyy817

    Anthonyy817 Member

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    The GDEMU has been confirmed to support 512gb and up cards, and likely up to 2gb will work in the future as they support FAT32 and that file system can support up to 8TB partition size, so in the future when 1tb SDXC cards are affordable they should also work fine. I have a 128gb SDXC card on mine, so denuan's info about not supporting over 32gb cards is a bit outdated and we now know they should fully support much higher card capacities when those become available.

    No need for him to add Bleem support in an update, as Japanese_Cake has already recently removed 100% of the protections on the MGS disc, and will work on the other 2 games next. He hasn't publicly released anything yet, but this guy does release all kinds of awesome bio's and forcing VGA support patching non VGA games. So this guy is pretty legit. So even clones will be able to fully play Bleem games in the future, as well as the possibility to create selfbooting versions of the 3 retail Bleem games. So the future is very bright indeed.

    You can check out his tweet here.

    https://twitter.com/jc_dcdev/status/1080916326003007488
     
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    atreyu187

    atreyu187 Retired Old Hunter Moderator

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    Yeah J_C and YZB are on totally different levels when it comes to making magic happen on the Dreamcast for sure.
     
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    pinky

    pinky Bitsiboo's Other Half Developer

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    this is one system I never tried exploited/hacking. I only started with the ps2, and I wasn't even a part of the scene then. I think my first actual scene was the 360 one. :) ah, memories...
     

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