Silent Hill Heaven

PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial (UPD!)
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Author:  PaulSilentin [ 10 Jul 2014 ]
Post subject:  PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial (UPD!)

NEW: Video tutorial!

Hello, i saw here that many people don't have information about playstation original romhacking basics. I can write some info about all traditional methods simplifying as possible, to help anyone who want to modify this game.

About first silent hill mod ever:
i'm almost sure, that really first mod was completely done by comercial russian hackers for internal russian bootleg market, it was done after several months from USA retail release, as i can remember. This mod is actually unofficial english - russian translation with a lot of errors and mad skillz stuff. Method for modding was - their own hacking tools and debugging hardware with soldering on real console and such advanced stuff. All the first modifications was based on replace: font texture, city textures, audio streams and in-game text bytes, they was replaced from english to russian language, i mean it was replaced BYTE TO BYTE - without rebuild of the iso, without codes, only HEX iso editing! This is was most basic and first mod ever, i think. (newer mods-translations was more advanced with rebuild iso and extended characters limits in game subtitles, but this is was a lot later then first one (like polish, brazilian and other translation projects))

proof scans and screens of this mods here, i can confirm this is 100% real, cos i was holding this in my own hands back in 1990's-2000's
audio modding proof:

PlayStation games modifications main methods

1. Memory editing
Example: no$psx debugger/disassembler, Cheat Engine, ArtMoney, ect...

Good about this: It's pretty simple, it can be done by anyone (hacking bullets amount or medical kits amount). It's popular, there is a lot of youtube tutorials. It can be shared with anyone in simple text format, without files, patches and media files. It's can be used everywhere.
Bad about this: memory adresses can be dynamic, that means you can hack something, but you can't hold it hacked for a long time, or after reboot. Or you can't share this with other people (you can share only videos and screens). This is problem, but it can be solved. Only a few romhackers with a lot of experience can do the code, that will work for anyone, all the time, in any console and with any retail game. This people doing great cheats for GameShark, Xploder, ARMAX, CodeBreaker and more, codes listed here:

2. PlayStation common formats media/text files scanners/rippers
Example: PSound 2.0, tim2view r86, PSX VRAM viewer 1.0, PSmplay 0.4, TIMViewer, Jaeder Naub 2.14g, VGMToolbox, Dragon UnPACKer HyperRipper, several TMD, TIM, STR, XA, VAB scanners and rippers, such stuff...

Good about this: super easy, you just hit the scan button and extract files, then modify them, and after replace original with modded, like in tim2view r86 and in others.
Bad about this: MANY game files may be under heavy compression methods (some SH files too!), like zlib, custom .zip and other specific stuff, scanners in most can't work with compressed files and archives, so sometimes you will not find something, that you was looking for, but this will stay in game resources anyway until it will be unpacked (look method â„–3 down here). Also some games don't use common files like: TMD (PS 3d models), TIM (PS 2d textures), STR (PS stream video), XA (PS stream audio), VAB (sounds) - so you will find nothing again without unpacking archives.

3. Editing the actual game files physically /rebuild /*.PPF patches
This is not easiest, but most correct method, you will see game files in their original formats and folders/files direct native locations. Let's write step by step how it's goes usually with Silent Hill game:

  • 1. Create game iso file from your own retail Silent Hill game to your PC HDD. (don't use iso, mdf, mdx formats)
  • 2. Download already created hacking tools for SH by russian translators:
  • 3. Extract all files from your ISO in root of your main HDD partition, in C:/sh/ with Deamon Tools Lite, windows explorer or with CDmage tool.

    Attention: this tutorial for EUROPE retail release of Silent Hill, that had Sony ID: SLES-01514, NOT USA release, i don't know how to work with USA retail version in this tutorial with this tools (you may mod this/create your own unpacker tool for any other versions, it's possible, you can find source code of unpacker). Actually you can unpack "SILENT" archive from USA release WITH EUR "SLES_015.14" file, but i don't recommend to do this, some extracted files may be corrupted with this method or maybe not all of them.
  • 4. extract silent hill tools archive, place file "SHFilesExtractor.exe" in path C:/sh/
    Your folder must be like:
  • 5. Run Windows Command Prompt, then write in this:
    cd c:/sh
    SHFilesExtractor SLES_015.14 SILENT c:/sh/ex

    Now you will see extraction process, wait until it will say "done", then close the Command Prompt.
  • 6. open you new "ex" folder with extracted game resources, you will see folders and files. Write search tag in windows 7 search tool (upper right of window) with ".TIM" and you will see 1043 amout of 2d textures from game. To open TIM you can use tim2view r86 or "OPTPiX iMageStudio for PS2" with full TIM support.
  • Write search tag in windows 7 search tool with ".VAB" and you will see sfx sounds from in-game track music, can be opened with PSound 2.0 tool. Track music cannot be converted in PSF right now (all track music complete soundtracks you saw earlier was recording from emulator, not hacking silent hill konami track music driver), more info here: or here:
  • Write search tag in windows 7 search tool with ".TMD" and you will see some part of 3d models (not all 3d models in this format!), you can open SOME of them with MilkShape 3D 1.8.4 and TMD plugin. More info here:
  • Write search tag in windows 7 search tool with "BODYPROG.BIN" this is file with in-game text, and guess what? This file is encrypted. Place "SHDcdr.exe" from SH tools to new folder together with "BODYPROG.BIN" then drag'n'drop one to another, nothing will happend (will open and close small black window), but file will be decrypted in one moment. Open decrypted file in HEX editor and scroll down, you will see in-game text, here is visual explanation for this process for better understanding:

It's not complete list of Silent Hill's resource native formats, but this is basic information, i will find more files and i will report results later. Archive "HILL" contains several stream media formats like STR video and audio stuff, you can use scanners/rippers for it. Also actually there is a lot of information inside of "SLES_015.14" file too, but i don't know how to modify this file in correct way, some people can do amazing things with it.

Replacing/actual modding guide:
Well, you can modify extracted files right now, but you can't directly rebuild "SILENT" archive with this tools. So you will need HEX editor or your own rebuild tools (you can try to create QuickBMS script with rebuild for example, compare to the sh tools source code My choise is HEX editing of "SILENT" archive with BYTE TO BYTE method or BYTE PLUS ZEROS. After replacement inside of "SILENT" archive in HEX, you can replace SILENT archive in iso with CDmage "import file" function without rebuild if new file in same size (unpacking archive from unpacked iso similiar to russian Matryoshka doll, if this way easiest to understand).
I will write more details about HEX modding later, maybe will be a video tutorial. There is another methods of modding PS games, i will write about it later. Also some files STILL COMPRESSED after "SILENT" archive extraction process, you can decrypt some of them with "SHDcdr.exe" tool. I know how to rebuild PlayStation ISO with file replacement style "modded file bigger then original file", but it's useless without "SILENT" archive rebuilder tool. Down here is result of my mod, i was replaced knife model with "alessa room knife" from "nowhere" - it's works.

How to create/work with .PPF patches:
The "Create PPF" tool compares the "original image" and the "hack image" of a game or any other type of image, and make a PPF file with the differences to apply to the original image. Nothing more, just useful method for sharing your mods in the net with others in simple way. You can find many PPF tutorials and patches for Resident Evil series or you can convert memory codes to PPF someway (it's another cool story).

That's all for today, feel free to correct me, my english is not perfect and my knowledge of technical stuff too, i can be wrong with some of my words and my suggestions in this thread. Correct me, if you know something more then me. Also i can provide anyone with public domain hacking tools, useful links and tutorials (about ps1 emulators too, i know how to turn on true widescreen in SH), feel free to ask such things. Will be updates later. Thanks.

Author:  PaulSilentin [ 12 Jul 2014 ]
Post subject:  Re: PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial

PaulSilentin wrote:
I will write more details about HEX modding later, maybe will be a video tutorial.

Done! Here is video tutorial. It will show how to swap things inside of SH resources by using HEX editor without memory codes and other unstable stuff. This mods will work always in real console ps1/ps2/psp/ps3 cfw, android mobile emulators and on all other stuff too, 100% stable, no freezes, no broken isos. Tools pack download available in description of video, possibly will work with USA SH version (no guarantee about this). Feel free to ask anything about this.

Another fun stuff you can see on pics, that was done by me with this method. In next videos i will show how to edit cut-scenes and scripts stuff.

Author:  Matt S [ 14 Aug 2014 ]
Post subject:  Re: PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial (UPD!)

thats a fascinating read, thanks!

Author:  PaulSilentin [ 06 Feb 2015 ]
Post subject:  Re: PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial (UPD!)

Author:  FatherlyNick [ 21 Feb 2015 ]
Post subject:  Re: PlayStation (SH) modding basics FAQ & Tutorial (UPD!)

Excellent guide.

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