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V.Smile Pro hacking

Started by gameblabla, March 28, 2016, 07:28:54 pm

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gameblabla

March 28, 2016, 07:28:54 pm Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 09:06:45 pm by gameblabla
I'm not sure if this is where i should post this... hopefully i'm not wrong :p

Today, i got myself a Pink Vtech V.Smile Pro. (also called V.Flash)
So far, nobody was able (or wanted) to run even something as trivial as a "hello world".

This is what i was able to gather about it :
The V.Smile Pro has an ARM926EJ-S processor clocked at 150Mhz (Same as the TI Nspire !)
and it has 16MB of SDRAM.

The CD drive supports CAV and is able to read CD-R/CD-RW up to 4x speed.
It can play Audio CDs and unlike most video game consoles, it has a headphone plug.
It has no copy protection or encryption but games have to be contained in a Vdisk housing or else the console will not play them.

As for the games, CDoty was able to boot from CD using only the following files (using Jumping Bean as a base) :
Quote+0ID_93120_003
|---0DUMMY50.DAT
+0SYSTEM
|---BOOT.BIN (Removed FA.VFF, because it's included in BOOT.BIN at offset 0xC014)
+MAIN
|---MAIN.VFF (Removed all MJP files)
|---T11.VFF


Each game seems to have a realtime kernel operating system on it.
The OS in question is apparently ┬ÁMORE v4.0 ARM9T yet i can't find any mention of a ARM9T version...

It seems like there is no easy way to run executables on this thing.

I found that someone ported FreeRTOS to an ARM 929EJ-S board.
I built a GCC toolchain (similar to the ndless one) and after compiling it, i got a working binary on qemu.
Who knows, maybe it will work on the real thing...

Anyone interested in hacking this ?
Lots of V.Smile Pro in the wild are gathering dust and they don't cost a lot, so it would be a shame.
That, and i personally want to see pr0n games running on this thing... :p

VDisc analysis
V.Flash Explorations (Cdoty)
Canard PC's review (with some interesting technical details)

DJ Omnimaga

I didn't see that console before. Since it isn't that popular, I wonder if it's open like the 3DO? It would be interesting to see if homebrew is possible on this.

gameblabla

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on March 28, 2016, 08:05:25 pm
I didn't see that console before. Since it isn't that popular, I wonder if it's open like the 3DO? It would be interesting to see if homebrew is possible on this.

I'm surprised that you were not able to see it even once, you must not be hanging in toy stores.
They are a lot of V.Smile out there, yet it is little known. (yes this is paradoxal but the same applies to some popular mobile games as well)

Homebrew is, with some effort, very possible.
Unlike the 3DO, which required unlicensed game to be signed, the V.Smile Pro has no encryption or copy protection.
In addition, you can easily see the game's files by simply pop it in your cd drive, it uses a standard ISO layout.
The files also do not need to be set at a certain LBA adress, as if you delete and put it back, the console will still play them.
Any decent hacker should be able to show a hello world on it.
Plus, the V.Smile Pro is not rare unlike the 3DO and you can still get it easily.

The only problem is the unsual binary format, which is, according to MultiMedia Mike, a chunked FourCC format.
It seems that they used GNU AS as the assembler and looking at my Scoobydo CD,
the game was programmed in C++ so they might have compiled their game with GCC.
(Silly devs compiled their game with debug symbols :p)

Lionel told me in IRC that i was not the first to attempt this.
I wish previous attempts were not aborted by lack of interest...

DJ Omnimaga

Quote from: gameblabla on March 28, 2016, 09:03:43 pm
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on March 28, 2016, 08:05:25 pm
I didn't see that console before. Since it isn't that popular, I wonder if it's open like the 3DO? It would be interesting to see if homebrew is possible on this.

I'm surprised that you were not able to see it even once, you must not be hanging in toy stores.
They are a lot of V.Smile out there, yet it is little known.


The last time I hanged out in toy stores on a regular basis, what we had instead of V.Smile was Sega Pico, various Tiger Handhelds, Master Video Painter, Etch-a-sketch and several kid computers that weren't real computers but that parents bought anyway when they couldn't afford the real deal.   http://cdarchive.ca/Consumers-1996-Annual-Preview.pdf

Now I mostly hang out in actual video game stores, which only carry Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft consoles. Whenever I go in a toy store, it's to check if they have any video game that other stores don't have anymore or looking for LEGO basic set deals.


Anyway the V.Smile is definitively interesting. I guess it's a good move to have a topic about this, in case other people eventually gets interested too. I doubt it in the immediate future, but we never know, but at least info will remain public. :)

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