I wanted to take a look back at 2004, and share some of the events I thought that were interesting, or ground breaking.. or that just gave me a laugh. You might have a different idea of what should make this list, and you are welcome to it. I wonít cater to the masses by putting in every event that was over hyped just to please them.
The following is my opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of XS or other staff.
Itís hard to speak about 2004 (which isnít even over yet as I write this..) without mentioning a few of the last big events from 2003.
As the last days of 2003 were winding down, a proof of concept caught our eye, the Windows CE on Xbox Concept. ( LINK ) Where did it actually go later in 2004? Nowhere in my opinion, but it did get a lot of people interested. Those that worked so hard to get it running on the xbox in the first place later more or less stopped, and moved on to other projects. ( LINK ) (although recently we have seen a renewed interest in getting any windows functional on xbox)
The 2 major Chip Developers in this scene also treated us to some final moments of interest in 2003. Xecuter gave us details about the long awaits X3 Chip, ( LINK ) While OzXodus came in under 2003 by just minutes showing off production assembly line photos of what would be the first 4th Generation modchip with an true onboard OS handling rudimentary functions. Later as the calendar just changed over into the new year OzXodus showed us their new chip.
The killer app for Modded Xboxí hand down is the XboxMediaCenter (XBMC) Dashboard, FTP, and kick ass media player that makes the Xbox so much more than a game console gave us something that was underplayed, and sometimes not recognized enough for what it brought to us.. reliable SAMBA support. The boys from Xlink didnít lets us down either.. starting the year with a total rewrite of the popular Xbox/GC/PS tunneling service. Console emulation fans cheered with the release of Surreal64, a great combo port of 3 existing pc emulators to the xbox in one package.
A new (old depending on your point of view) chip team (SmartXX) entered the scene, and their first offering became the second chip to enter the 4th Generation of chips. With their launch came the accusations and pissing matches related to the common past of some members from both OzXodus and SmartXX teams. For those interested in the politics of chip teams, it made for some interesting light reading. ( LINK )
Some fucktards (I donít care if itís not in the dictionary, Iím writing this) on the Ďnet released a trojanized SLAYERS install iso into non SLAYERS channels. Results, the already slammed auto installer scene now faced people who were uncertain about the legitimacy of their install, or the stability. End result, people who might have gone the auto installer route were driven kicking and screaming into actually learning how to install their own alternative dashboards. ( LINK ) & ( LINK )
Legal Update: Sony gets a black eye in an Italian court as they ruled it wasnít illegal to chip a playstation. ( LINK )
OzXodus, SmartXX and TeamXecuter launched.. or relaunched in some cases their IRC presence on the net. All is fair in love and war right? Later, toward the end of January OzXodus comes forward to warn us to be on the lookout for cloners, who were promising cheap chips. (Later the clones were found to be of poor quality, with high failure rates, and thatís just for the ones that survived long enough to get nailed by future OS updates that effectively killed the clones off completely.) ( LINK )
Are Halo Fans Violent? Sure seemed that way in late January, as Halo fans everywhere were willing to hang Bungie Execs due to the rumors on the net that Halo2 would again be pushed back beyond the summer launch date. Gaming geeks wanting to hang developer and business geeks. Oh Joy!
A personal milestone for me in January, was seeing the Creator of the POS (you know what that means) Xiso software (Yursoft) finally hung up his hat. He conceded the continuous string of nagging bugs still present from the first release. On his way out he released his source so that other might ďlearnĒ. (dear god help us..) With Yursoft no longer providing new releases, the job of steering people away from that buggy software was made all the easier. ( LINK ) For more info on how buggy dig up old posts in the Xbox Backup Forums here on XS.
Xs Interview with Michael Steil Ė Xbox Linux ( LINK )
As January closed.. MSís usage of MAC hardware for dev kits for the new XBOX was rumored and exposed, leading to a lot of fan reactions good and bad. ( LINK )
Zanga begins his campaign of representing or misrepresenting Smartxx (canít tell with Zanga.. as itís clear heís brain damaged) nut he did give us the first full feature list of the SMARTXX chip a month or so before it would hit the market. ( LINK )
Xlink/Kai reached out to itís members and the scene as a whole, as it became ready to branch out and expand to other platforms like MAC, BSD etc. All they asked for was some help and some new blood to code the ports. ( LINK )
XS Interview with Caustik Ė CXBX LINK
February opens with the closure of long running scene team XDEV. Projects like Xcover and others now put on hold indefinitely as Xbox_Mod wished the scene well on his way out. ( LINK ) I got to admit I wasnít shocked or upset by that. I was never a big fan of their primary project, Xcover. In my opinion, which is well known, a dvd cover app isnít an xbox app.
Avalaunch, in an effort to quiet the fan boys of EvolutionX dashboard, makes peace with them by removing a factual but controversial comparison chart/page that showed the two dashboards side by side. The revised page expands on the great features of the Avalaunch dash. ( LINK )
After the traumatic split of EB2k and Xodus in 2003, Easybuy2k return in 2004 and lets us know they are still alive and kicking with an announcement they intend to release a 2mb ChameleonII chip. (months after Xodus had parted ways with them EB2k over issues with EB on how they handled Chameleon and the earlier matrix chips.) ( LINK ) At the end of the month, EasyBuy2k switches gears, and names, renaming their ChameleonII chip to X-Chip, upping the chip to 4 MB. ( LINK )
XS interview UnleashX LINK
SmartXX shows off their chip (still prerelease at that time) and a functional (and the scenes first) http server in their os for bank flashing. ( LINK ) This might not have been revolutionary in some peoples eyes, but I did like http server.
In mid February, Max Trainers decided to wisely stop being forum dependant on their original home forum, and chose to branch out and expand to Xbox-Scene and Evolution X forums, and in doing so change their name to Evox-T. This allowed them to expand, and better serve the scene and enjoy the wider audience that comes with being involved on XS. ( LINK )
XS Interview with Xport ( LINK )
Late February saw OzXodus release the source of the Xenium OS boot loader, which at the time of this writing is still the first and only scene release of any OS related files by any chip team. ( LINK ) (if my memory serves anyways..)
XS interview with The Joker Ė Team Avalaunch ( LINK )
In like a lion, out like a lamb (or so they say anyways) the running of the lions brought us the discovery of Xcalibur video chips, which caused installers no end of trouble for a while as no bios at the time supported that video chip. ( LINK )
The boys at xboxdash.net decided to releases pics of their xbox blob animations (they werenít the first.. but they did get the most attention doing it.)
( LINK ) Later, Xecuter takes it mainstream and makes it dummy proof. Itís a fluff gimmick to me, altering the color schemes of the bootup blob, but it please a lot of people for some reason. I usually grab a beer or take a crap when the xbox boots so I never see it anyways.
Hami made public what he felt was the first attempts by MS to track modders on the Xbox Live service. He wasnít the first to claim MS was tracking us via included commands in games, but he was the first to show us the disassembly. MS did nothing with this info for a long time, until quite recently. ( LINK )
One of my personal fav moments of the year, was the release of a non linux solution for browsing the internet on the xbox called LinksBoks. It was a fully functional web browser for the xbox modded masses. ( LINK ) This pleased me to no end as the idea of installing Linux just to browse the net I felt was an asinine proposition. Linux on Xbox was an explosive option for xbox, but for those that donít want to learn all the nooks and crannies of Linux just to browse the net from their living room now had a viable option to install Linux.
OzXodus starts to expose those who were actively selling or promoting the sale of clone chips. Shops involved of course gave a black eye to the scene as a whole, and hurt member with their inferior products. ( LINK) The clones added nothing to the scene, with poor performance, inferior quality, and as we see later, a short lifespan. OzXodus later reveals their new solderless adapter.. an improved model over their earlier Chameleon solder adapters. ( LINK )
April showersÖ Xecuter details plans for X3 development, (yes.. not done yet) and let us know there is/was no release date for x3 at that time. ( LINK) They also treat us to what was/is the last official Bios release that wasnít centered around their own X3 product plans. ( LINK ) and also setup a new Official Xecuter forum of their own. ( LINK )
Mid April the crew at XBMC treated us to the first big news of the port of XBMC to PC. ( LINK ) A lot of people couldnít be bothered to get interested in this, but I did. Frankly, given XBMCís past, I find stuff just runs better on XBMC than on a pc running windows and windows media player. (so any option to run a different player was a welcome one.)
MS announced on their own site that they were about to upgrade their LIVE game service with version 3. Bug fixes, and other minor updates were included but the bread and butter of the upgrade was more communications and stat options. ( LINK )
OzXodus came back with a vengeance in April, and exposed how they would wipe out the cloners themselves via their OS. The meat and potatoes of the Xenium, their OS, would more or less kill the clone chips. A controversial decision to be sure, but one that most can understand given the position cloners put them in. Cloners for the first time were faced with the realization that not only were they hawking a buggy and inferior product, but now the original chip guys were going to cripple the bogus chips. Kudos to OzX for having balls to do this.
The end of April saw the final demise of the old and loved XboxMediaPlayer just as XboxMediaCenter was now at the full 1.0 level. ( LINK )
Legal: Spanish Judge ruled Xbox Modchips Legal ( LINK )
May, with flowers blooming, brought the scene the first photos posted publicly of the then new 1.6 motherboard and key chips. ( LINK ) courtesy of Booyeah of XS. Every Chip dev in the scene was now scrambling to make up time and get their hands on the 1.6 boards. Some paid some ridiculous amounts of money for these new boards. People were racing to Walmart and trying to find this rare new bird so they can sell it to the highest bidder. (pretty scummy imo) Rest of the month is splattered with research, findings, and rumors, and proclaimed full support for 1.6 from each of the major devs in the chip scene.
Most memorable moment for the month was easily EA signing on to have their Games on the Live Service. ( LINK ) Players rejoiced, as finaly one of the leading publishers was now going to have their franchise titles on LIVE. It was a match made in heaven.
May wasnít all flowers and sunshine though, as the gentoo team gave a major ass kicking to Shallax. He had worked forever on his own to keep Gentoox running, then found support from the mother ship of retards wasnít there. They even had the audacity to claim he was inactive, (dude has a life ffs) when truth was he WAS Gentoo on Xbox. They kicked him in the groin, kicked him to the curb then ďofficiallyĒ pulled xbox support from Gentoo. Funny, itís not like they supported it anyways. ( LINK )
The story got more twisted as the month marched on, and even more entertaining for me. Iím sure it wasnít for him though, as he was later propositioned to work on a new xbox port. ( LINK ) Members from that mother ship really need to phone home some time. Thankfully, Shallax gave the bunch a retards the one fingered salute than vowed to continue his work. ( LINK )
While on the subject of Mayís retards (and there were many).. Hami from SmartXX decided to shit on everyone parade. Long story short, he conned someone from the inner circle of Evox Testers to hand him a copy of a w.i.p. bios which wasnít ready for the public. That wasnít the bad part, he released it to the world thinking it was potentially dangerous code/instructions, hosting it for 6-8 hours on SmartXX commercial site for users of his chip to download.. (and users of any chip for that matter) The good news was it appeared that no one ended up destroying any hardware, and all Hami accomplished was to show heís a moron, and pissed off users of his own chip. People arenít stupid, and know that someone who puts something out there that they think would hurt peopleís xbox units is a scumbag. ( LINK ) His actions arenít a direct reflection on the SmartXX chip.. as it is an excellent chip. But it is a reflection on the borderline mental behavior of itís leader.
A carry over from May, Hami managed to piss off just about everyone in the scene short of a handful of fan boys. June opens with OZ_Paulb exposing many legal issues regarding the SmartXX OS. (which still stand to this date if Iím not mistaken.) ( LINK ) Oz Paul is one of the quietest people in the scene and it take a lot to get him up and in your face about something. This was shocking, and awesome at the same time.
Some 12 year old dickhead decided to take a cheap shot at Xecuter and hack their site up deleting a handful of posts and files. ( LINK ) on the eve of them releasing X3 to review sites and others. All I got to say about that is ďHackingĒ sites is like sticking your finger in your ass. Yeah, you can do it, and yeah, you can stick it in other peoples asses too, and yeah, you can brag about sticking your fingers in your ass, but in the end, you still fucking stink.
A first for me and a first for Xbox-Scene as far as I know was something I never thought Iíd see, someone sending in a defective product for review. EasyBuy shocked me by not taking enough measures to ensure their original review sample arrived intact and functional. They did however move heaven and earth to quickly fix the situation. ( LINK ) A follow review was done showing the functional chip in action.
One of my most important news posts of the year rounded out the end of the month of June. I was able to make public a lot of Xbox2/Xenon info MS did not want publicly released. This was made possible by an individual whom chose to remain anonymous. It confirmed some aspects of rumors posted by a few sites, while exposing other sites for the frauds they were. This story drew a lot of heat on the staff of XS but we felt it was too important a story to not publish. ( LINK ) and ( LINK )
Iím not going to spend much time re-addressing that whole bullshit THC/BSX issue. Read my other editorials and posts on how BSX lifted code and lied and then worked feverishly to fix/cover up the situation. Iím glad the two teams later kissed and made up, but I remember when members from one team cried long and hard to have the thieves hung by their nuts. (Want links... start with JUNE/JULY news posts... then search my own posts on the forums)
On a lighter note, Xbox Live hit one million users.. and did so in record time. Kudos goes to MS for a good online launch. ( LINK )
Late July Xecuter shows off their flagship chip in itís final incarnation ( LINK ) Finally, we got to see this bad boy. Xecuter fans rejoiced, naysayers laughed. It got pretty ugly in the forums for awhile.
Iíd hate to admit it, but no article or story about memorable moments of 2004 would be complete without the retarded ad campaign MS used to con people into spending time online finding clues (in and effort to further hype and promote the over-hyped and over promoted Halo2) ( LINK ) MS and their PR dept. are geniuses, itís the sheep that spent hour after hour searching for clues and speculating that are retarded. The retards arenít going to like that last comment, but being retards, they might not notice. The MS/Bungie marketing/pr people really do deserve some credit. They got a lot of free press and publicity by slapping the retarded thing at the end of their in theater trailer.
No Remorse launched what is the first of many MODDING MAYHEM events for the scene in July, and it was a moderate success and fun was had by all. Keep an eye for the next one already being planned. ( LINK ) I encourage anyone wanting to sponsor the event to contact No Remorse.
Cluster X showed the world the current record held for the largest functional Xbox Cluster. ( LINK ) Now they just got to show us a good use for it.
In the ĎI canít believe these people had parents intelligent enough to breedí dept. we saw what was likely the first XBOX related murder conspiracy. LINK Note to self, do not steal others Game Consoles. (Or visit Florida)
Malaysian Modding Mayhem event was held showing the Xbox Modding scene is alive, well and growing. ( LINK )
Cleveland Ohio not wanting to be upstaged by Florida had some inbred cousins who were determined to gain their 15 seconds of fame when they attacked a guy and stabbed him 70 times over his xbox (and some gold) ( LINK ) (scratch Ohio from the need to visit list..)
Easily the biggest story of August, was the final dissolution of the team formerly known as OzXodus. OzXChip and Xodus split amidst a flurry of issues and innuendo. OzXchip was rumored to start up their own new chip (no news yet though..) and Mike has clearly moved on to other projects signing up with Xecuter. Xodus on the other hand moved on (now called TeamXodus) and continues to be active, profitable and progressive. ( LINK )
We finally got to see someone new enter the Bios scene with IND-BIOSí first offering. A feature rich and interesting first try. ( LINK )
Segaís Chihiro Arcade Xbox was exposed.. and itís still an extremely unique unit in the scene.( LINK ) Iíd love to add this to my collection... thatís for sure.
Mid-Septemberís release of the Star Wars DVD set (as far as I was concerned the best DVD release of the year movie wise) spawned a flurry of debate, discussion and research to see if a new exploit could be done. It made for a hell of a week in the scene. ( LINK )
Home Cinema Choice, a worldwide publication for the people who enjoy tricking out their home threater experience were treated to an article discussing the benefits of an Xenium Modded Xbox in ones home. ( LINK ) and ( LINK ) If memory serves itís the first non-xbox type mag publication to feature a modded xbox type story.
Xecuter plugged away tirelessly, and finally X3 ships. (too many related links.) Fan Rejoice.
Lik-Sang pushs the SmartJoy Frag device. A unique device, as it is designed to allow a FPS fan to use a PC USB Keyboard and Mouse with an XBOX FPS type of game. ( LINK ) This device, and future devices like it will bring more PC fps players to the xbox console. The excuses are over boys.
MacOS X running on an Xbox. I donít care what hoops they had to jump though, or that it runs slow as molasses itís just damn cool. ( LINK ) Funny thing is, it still ran faster running MacOS X faster than some Macs with twice the horses under the hood.
Wanna' see MS and Bungie really pissed? Well.. we all did as someone posted Halo 2 with French Audio onto IRC, Torrents, and a number of other distribution methods. It was slipped out to the public on the internet almost a month before itís proper retail release pissing off MS/Bungie to no end. ( LINK ) and ( LINK) discussion, links, etc of it were taboo for 30 days on their forums.
Dark days of fall starting to set in, and with it news from Xodus announcing the cloners were back, however, in usual fashion, the clones just donít hold up. ( LINK ) Anyone wanting my views on the slime who makes the clones feel free to read my past posts.
Xecuter showcases their new Xbox Control Panel/LCD combo unit. ( LINK ) Itís not for everyone, but I know I want one.
MS pissed off about Halo2 Leaked? Wanting revenge maybe? Donít know and donít care, but it is clear they targeted some modders for LIVE Bannings.. lots of checks being done. ( LINK ) 30+ key sceners in a short period had their accounts closed out. While others were left alone. As time went on, more people got bans. The consensus now is to do what you can to go virginal on the service, or take a lot of precautions.
MS makes my list again, releasing XboxMediaCenter Extender for Xbox. Just about anyone who picked one up laughed, put it down, and went back to using XBMC. ( LINK ) People with no mod chip are going to like the remote and disk though. But anyone who is modded, in my opinion just wonít spend the money for a pretty remote.
The worlds first 1.6 solderless chip shows up, called the spider chip. Itís an ugly chip, with lots of D0 wire loom like wires. Initial offering not 100% compatible (fixed in later revision) with all 1.6 incarnations. Still deserved a noteable mention. ( LINK )
Can lightning strike twice in the same place? Lightning struck again, this time, Xbox Nation magazine published an article highlighting another Xenium modded xbox and itís uses. ( LINK )
The funniest story of the year in my opinion, and one that wasnít even xbox related was seeing MS with egg on itís face. People in their organization, or one of their subcontractorsÖ whateverÖ used pirated software to develop modules or components that are installed in your Windows XP. ( LINK ) Some donít care, but I believe that if you are MS, and you put out the most used OS on the planet, that you take the time to ensure all of your people working on the project are doing so legally.
Again.. not xbox related, but still of interest ot me was the late November release of the worldís first published photos of the Game Cube Viper Chip. ( LINK) Took long enough didnít it?
Iím a huge fan of XboxMediaCenter, and seeing Media Portal 0.1.0.0 for the PC warmed my heart as December turned around the corner. ( LINK )
Legal: In Washington DC in December, we saw the law come down on a shop that was dumb enough to sell pre-modded xbox units to the public openly in the store preloaded with games. (maybe these people were from Florida or Ohio..) ( LINK )
Easily the biggest story of December.. and the biggest deal in the console market was the report of EA signing and exclusive deal with the NFL that locks out all of the other game software developers in the world on every console from competing with them. In 2006, the next five years of Football Video Games will be made exclusively by EA sports. I viewed this as a Win-Lose situation. ES Sports/Madden is an awesome franchise that improves year after year. However, there were entertaining alternative titles from some great game houses that used the NFL or the NLFPA. I suspect that this deal will change the game industry as other big name game houses rush to secure exclusive deals with other pro sports leagues. ( LINK )
ReactOS might not be Windows, but a weak version of it now runs on Xbox. Time will tell if they get the needed support from devs to get everything we want running on it. ( LINK ) Does this help or hurt those trying to get REAL windows running on xbox?
Last but not least was the revelation of a new IDE dvd drive that MS is including in current XBOX units on the market. Hopefully, someone can rip the firmware from it and give us another PC dvd drive that it can be flashed to. I wonít hold my breath though. ( LINK )
A few days left in the month of December 2004.. and I donít know if anything really interesting is going to get posted. That basically sums up what I liked, loved, laughed at, or found interesting about the scene in 2004. (Iíll update if something worthy comes up)
Many things are clearly not listed in here, as they didnít grab my heart, didnít get my attention, or I felt they didnít need to be listed. Halo2 Retail Release most notably. I felt the title was over hyped in all media far too long.. and that the end result did not live up to the hype. The game plays well enough. Itís just not revolutionary.
XBMC, AVALAUNCH, KAI updates. I only mentioned them as it appealed to me. I see no point in discussing how each month these 3 teams out did themselves with each new release they put on the market. Most modded users are using one or more of these apps on a daily basis and it show by the fan base they have. Me included.
Exploits. Any and all for that matter. Iíve tried them all, used them, then undid them. I have no love for them as I believe that add nothing to the scene. Thatís not to say their continued research isnít interesting. It is. What has been accomplished, simply by taking a tiny mistake and building on it has been incredible. Itís just nothing that floats my boat.
Xport, Lantus, and the rest of the Emulation Scene. Definitely deserves honorable mention, I just canít keep with all the great stuff these guys, especially Xport, brings to us each month.
Edited by HSDEMONZ, 01 January 2005 - 06:53 AM.