The quest for offline Passport access

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The quest for offline Passport access

Postby BlueMue » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:47 am

Great efforts have been made to exchange the dub and increase the visual fidelity of Shenmue, things that can greatly enhance the experience. One thing that is part of the experience but often easily overlooked is the Passport Disc and there is something that should be tackled to increase the enjoyment of Shenmue even more.

The reason why it's often ignored is as everyone knows it's too damn hard to access all it's neat still functional on disc contents and features. Things like long term weather forecast, status on the kitten or trading slot house prizes with Oishi for animal capsule toys, stuff that is actually aiding playing the game. Other stuff like the online manual, character database and an incredibly in depth statistic on what you've done in the game.

What we need is some kind of hack that either tells the game that it's on an active dial up connection or just remove the check alltogether. I've been thinking about this countless times but have no idea where to start to look for a solution. This is where brainstorming and some serious work should start to be put into. There must be a way...

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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Peter » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:59 pm

Oh my GOD yes! This, this is up there with the creation of Demul, Esspirals hack, and Shenmue 3 in terms of God tier level stuff if a functioning offline Passport could be real!
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:20 am

I'd be interested in looking into it too. Does anyone know of a good free SH4 disassembler? The Demul one is too painful...
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby KiBa » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:29 pm

Going back in time to 1999-2001, I must say that the Shenmue Passort was hugely atmosphereic and enjoyable for me. Very memorable. I'd love to see an offline respin project that simulates what it was like, but that's a lot of work.
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Sappharad » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:27 pm

Switch wrote: I'd be interested in looking into it too. Does anyone know of a good free SH4 disassembler? The Demul one is too painful...

dcdis v0.4a by Lars Olsson

It's a free command line disassembler that dumps the entire 1ST_READ.BIN into a text file. I used it to come up with the hack to import US save files into Shenmue 2 EU. I also used the source code to write the SH-4 plug-in for Hopper Disassembler. (But that's not free)

Edit: It seems to be hard to find 0.4, lots of sites have 0.3.3a. Here is a direct link to 0.4 on his website:
https://www.ludd.ltu.se/~jlo/dc/
Last edited by Sappharad on Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:07 am

Sappharad wrote:
Switch wrote: I'd be interested in looking into it too. Does anyone know of a good free SH4 disassembler? The Demul one is too painful...

dcdis v0.4a by Lars Olsson

Great, I'll try it.
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby IlDucci » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:33 pm

I do remember a couple of things, mostly videos made by other people, but my hacking expertise is limited to changing text lines.

I do remember seeing some internet addresses that could be replaced or maybe even repositioned if there's some unused text we can remove, because this might need a hacked server, like the PSO one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fmOSLFIvVo

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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:50 am

Update! I've managed to make a small hack of the 1ST_READ.BIN file to skip the dial-up check on the Passport disc.

Now the various Passport disc screens can be accessed from the main menu, without needing to simulate dial-up.

Most of the screens display at least some images and other data, although there's obviously no online data displayed.

I'll put a post soon on the Phantom River Stone blog with the details.

Before hack:
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After hack:
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby BlueMue » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:58 am

What, really? That's awesome! I'm anxious to see how you got to this solution!
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:07 am

I'll write it up tomorrow! In total it took several hours with the built-in debugger in Demul v0.49, an SH4 manual and the Cheat Engine, slowly tracking through the code.

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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby b_ren » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:22 pm

Awesome, can't wait to see what hidden things are waiting to be found.
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:06 pm

OK, I've posted up an article at Phantom River Stone with more details, including some simple instructions for patching your own image of the Shenmue Passport disc.

Blog post:
http://www.phantomriverstone.com/2017/0 ... -skip.html

Have a play around with applying the patch, let me know if it works for you.

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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Radar » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:36 pm

kind of stuck in hex replacement stage, In gdi image, in which file to search&replace? I tried all files but no results were returned. I found reversed one, but it didn't seem to change anything
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby b_ren » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:32 pm

How do you guys learn how to do this shit!?
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Re: The quest for offline Passport access

Postby Switch » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:11 pm

b_ren wrote: How do you guys learn how to do this shit!?

:D At least in my case, I've got an unfair advantage as my day job is software development.

Radar wrote: kind of stuck in hex replacement stage, In gdi image, in which file to search&replace? I tried all files but no results were returned. I found reversed one, but it didn't seem to change anything

Thanks for trying it out! Ok, seems there may be some difference with gdi image as I've been using a cdi image (NTSC) for my testing. I'll take a look at it.

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