View Full Version : Ideas for removing ghosts

26th December 2005, 09:42 PM
So I've returned to the pure goodness for Christmas and am enjoying the latest packs (now that Ive a 2GB pro duo to fit them on!) and have decided to experience the full length of each music track by playing on free play mode.

However, the Ghost ship is REALLY bugging me (ruins the clear atmosphere and takes your attention away from the gorgeous landscapes) and Im starting to wonder whether we couldnt edit the ghost ship save files in some way.

Im thinking that if I deleted my fastest lap times (back them up on PC first of course) then did a ridiculously slow race with the smallest least colourful ship and saved the ghost, put on auto-load ghosts, and then never saved another ghost I'd be sorted (passing a very slow ship at fast speeds at the start of each lap is better than being "shadowed" through the entire lap).

Ok - just realised that wouldnt work because as soon as I do a faster lap the PSP will immediately auto-load it right? What about changing the param.sfo of a really slow ghost file (the .gho files themselves appear to be encrypted) to a faster lap time? Probably wont work - but Im just throwing this out there in case anyone can think of a way to trick the PSP into not playing ghosts or trick pure into playing a slow ghost instead of a fast one.

If I was a slow player then an extremely fast ghost from someone on the site here might help (unfortunately Im not slow) or if we could artificially make a super fast ghost...


26th December 2005, 11:14 PM
hmm, that's a problem, indeed! I agree that a ghost can be disturbing if you just wanna take a joyride round Blue Ridge... unfortunately, I can't think of a way to get rid of it...

27th December 2005, 10:37 AM
If u want to take a cruise around the track, there's no need to care about the ghost. Just let it run to the finish line on its own while ur enjoying the scenery. If theyr really causing a problem u can always turn them off.:)

27th December 2005, 11:02 AM
turn them off? how? as soon as you complete your first lap, you will always have a ghost running.

27th December 2005, 01:57 PM
Also - stopping and starting your craft every time you get to a new lap just to let the ghost get ahead is a MAJOR pain when you are playing phantom as you have to do it like every 10 seconds. I think Im going to try editing the .SFO file today to see if it works...

27th December 2005, 11:34 PM
editing the SFO file would also only be sufficient for the first lap, since the game is simply not gonna find the old ghost and will create a new one after your first lap I think...

28th December 2005, 03:32 AM
not necessarily. if an incredibly slow lap is marked with a really good time, pure might think you are doing worse when in fact the ghost is so far behind you it's not funny. I can't give an analogue to clarify what I mean, but it all depends on the way the ghost is saved

28th December 2005, 02:37 PM
Also - stopping and starting your craft every time you get to a new lap just to let the ghost get ahead is a MAJOR pain when you are playing phantom as you have to do it like every 10 seconds. I think Im going to try editing the .SFO file today to see if it works...

I know, doing that on Phantom is really annoying, but if ur just cruisin the track, ull probably be going slow enough that the ghost will just fly off. If there is a way to make an ultra-fast ghost, it may help as an ultra-slow ghost will be gone in one lap. By "turn them off" I ment turn off the auto-load but I never really cared about those translucent shadow-ships, I treated them like those random scenery-AG craft flying around.

28th December 2005, 02:45 PM
Yeah turning off auto-load only works for the first lap, i dont particularly want to fly around slowly and I just tried editing the SFO file:


And then the second lap overwrites as usual.

As you say Distrupto, what we need are insanely super fast ghosts but I think they made the ghost files themselves difficult to edit to avoid people spoiling the game with stupidly fast ghosts and saying that they'd made them themselves.

Any more ideas?

28th December 2005, 03:18 PM
turn them off? how?...

By accessing from the main menu Profile>Settings and you should find the auto-load ghost option, switch to off, press the X button and you should remove them except that for later laps, it displays the current (fastest) ghost done from your driving on prior laps.

For me, I don't mind ghosts in the race so the best is to avoid them...

28th December 2005, 03:21 PM
Any more ideas?

Yes, ask Colin and the other guys for help!


Rouni Kenshin#1
30th December 2005, 10:20 PM
I say screw the gosts i don't spend the megs on them i just save the times and beat them.
and you can deleat the gosts from you stick if you go into you save game utility on the main menu.

4th January 2006, 07:51 PM
Possible Solution


4th January 2006, 09:09 PM
I`m sure you won`t cheat, Yawns, and very few, if any, of us here would, so this isn`t aimed at you, but frankly I`m disapointed that kind of thing exists. It would please me just fine if PSPs and UMDs were so well protected and encrypted no-one could ever run homebrew, copy discs, pirate them or do anything of this hacker stuff you see on that site EVER. All this talk of copying games to memory stick for backups is BS. People just copy them to pirate them, much of the time. It`s not that hard to avoid breaking a UMD. There`s nothing wrong per se with making a copy of a game, but the fact that it can be done will lead to piracy much of the time. If you want to play Gameboy games, get a gameboy. And this kind of game-save breaking thing will just lead to hacking cheaters and ruin it all for the majority of people who just want to play normally with a wonderful product. Quite honestly, I`ve got no desire to play Pacman, Asteroids or any other Atari 2600 class games on my PSP. Progress, sometimes, is a good thing. How long until people start popping up in online games with hacked ships? And what`s going to happen with Socom PSP when people finally hack into it? Halo online, by all accounts, is a mess because of cheaters and it`s this sort of "research" which could help make sure PSP gaming goes the same way.

If you ask me, most of this "hacking" is just a load of I`m so "l33t" willy-waving which will spoil it all for the many of the rest of us in the end. If these people were really interested in the PSP as a games device they`d be playing not hacking. Somebody buy these people a home electronics kit, or a chemistry set, or something, so they can fiddle around with stuff that won`t harm anything for the rest of us. I really hope with the PS3 we can go back to the days when a console is just a console, where you can`t do anything with it except what it`s supposed to so - and that`s a good thing. That`s the joy of a console over a PC, but I fear those days are gone. PCs are for doing what you want with, not consoles. That`s not the idea of consoles, imo.

Anyway, regarding your ghosts ;) Why not just take all the best times off the ghost site? Most of those laps will be done with double turbos, so the ghosts will usually be gone from sight at the start of the lap anyway, unless you do the same. And if you find yourself keeping up with one, don`t worry about it, beat it and take the glory! :)

Rouni Kenshin#1
4th January 2006, 09:40 PM
lunar, you bring up a good point but there will always be people who will want to hack the system. It phsycological like underage drinking. It being extreamly illigal or band will cause some people to do it just because they are not ment to. I love the copasity of my psp to store my pics and other things but most of the homebrew that lets you play calssic games i say do it if you love the old games and don't mind screwing your warrenty and possibly geting arrested for owning games that you didn't buy such as mega man and asteroids. i have foud that since my brother and i both have psps the ability to move save data on to my pc for backup has let me have a save on his games while he goes to college and when he comes home i pull it back on my memmory stick and can start where i left off. But i have really found that most of the people who cheat to beat a game or unlock things dont have nearly as much fun or play time out of their games. so... there loss. Also untill the goverments of the world find a way to successfully police the net there are few ways to stop the piracy. The way they keep online games ligit is through a team of people who track down cheaters and ban any registration from the ip address and registration on that e-mail. my overall point is people like you and me don't like it but FOR NOW there is nothing we can do about it.

4th January 2006, 10:43 PM
Well lunar, I would say that while you're definitely right, you're also kind of wrong. 8 )

On the one hand, I totally agree with you here:

It would please me just fine if PSPs and UMDs were so well protected and encrypted no-one could ever ... do any of this hacker stuff

And I doubt there would be many people to disagree with you.

However, sitting, as I kind of am, in the "hacker" chair, I can tell you that this part just doesn't sit right with me:

it`s this sort of "research" which could help make sure PSP gaming goes the same way.

If you ask me, most of this "hacking" is just a load of "I`m so l33t" willy-waving which will spoil it all for the many of the rest of us in the end. If these people were really interested in the PSP as a games device they`d be playing not hacking.

Most certainly it is just "I'm so 1337!", but this kind of "research", as opposed to destroying PSP gaming, is actually going to be what delivers us to the promised land!

What was the first thing that Sony did when Homebrew came out? They released a firmware upgrade to patch the security holes! After a certain version, Homebrew just couldn't get through. Were it not for Homebrew, the firmware would still be open to exploit in those locations.

Now the save game files are open to exploit. What do you suppose the next step Sony takes is going to be?

The real problem here is that the save game files can be modified _at_all_. There should be 128-bit PGP encryption on those damn files and no hacker in the world without access to a quantum computer should be able to modify them and produce anything but unreadable garbage!

But programmers are lazy (I know this, I am one, don't try and dispute me here! 8 D) and if a certain feature isn't specifically requested ("Make the saved game file totally unhackable") then guess what? No such feature.

Programs like this that allow you to edit your save game file, combined with a company that is fearsomely protective of its IP, can possibly lead to standardized encryption on all files written to the memory stick.

Which would be exactly what we want (refer to quote at top of post).

Is there any way we could get that _without_ "hackers" and their "sploits"?
I'm certain the answer to that one is "no".

So while it _is_ quite unfortunate that there is software that allows you to edit your saved games, I would say that your viewpoint on the whole issue is back-asswards.

CHEER they who create the saved game file editor! SHAME to whoever it is that allowed such a security hole to exist! PRAISE those who fix the problem in the next version! 8 )

And that's my take on it.

Oh, and yeah, that's the best idea for fixing the "I don't want to see the ghost" problem: use the fastest publically available ghost file!

I know that when I'm racing zargz ghosts, I have a heck of a time just keeping him in my viewscreen!

He's only a little bit faster than me, but it doesn't take much of a difference at all to make that ghost vanish from view.

And that's really the beauty of the system, isn't it? That you can even DO such a thing? Easily grab someone elses prize TT ghost, throw it on your system, and see the most amazing race on that track?

Totally awesome.

Gotta get me one of these PSP things. As soon as I've got a good job lined up. 8 P

4th January 2006, 11:58 PM
I take your point that corporations and the programmers who work for them share some responsibility. They should make their best efforts to make their products secure, as you say, and boos to them if they don`t. I also agree that what "hackers" do could point out security flaws. But, at the end of the day, what the hackers do is part of the problem, not the solution. It`s one of the major reasons why encryption is necessary in the first place. If someone produces a gamesave editor or game modding system that enables people to cheat, and spoils the game, they have already done the damage. It`s not really an excuse for them to say that what they have done might stop the same abuse happening again - it`s too late for that.

It`s like arguing that people who create viruses are doing us a favour because they point out security flaws in Microsoft products. Tell that to the guy who has to rebuild his computer, or loses data because of it. Its like me thanking the man who burgles my house because until he did I didn`t realise I needed an alarm, double glazing and a big scary dog. If these hackers just wanted to point out flaws in encryption etc they could just send what they have to Sony and say "look what I could do." They don`t actually have to enable people with less knowledge to cheat, or cheat themselves. Certainly if I was able to create such clever stuff, which I never could, I wouldn`t consider letting anyone else abuse it or even risk that they might. No doubt the best PSP hackers are clever people, but you`ll never get me to cheer for them, though I`ll go along with your advice on who to shame and praise. ;)

Anyway, ahem..... ghosts...... marvellous things apart from when they get in the way of your line of sight. The Van Uber one I race against could do with being a little more transparent at close quarters sometimes. I deliberately set some free play fast laps (by my standards) so that they would be a long way ahead and not bothering me in usual time trials.

Rouni Kenshin#1
4th January 2006, 11:58 PM
Task, when you say your a programmer do you mean as a hobby or job?
After that did you go to college and get a comp sci degree or some other that lead to you programming Job?

5th January 2006, 01:45 AM
Rouni: I've got a B.Sc. in Computer Science (specialized in Databases and Robotics) and it is both a hobby (I write software for fun) and a job (the past many years coding has paid my bills).

It seems that what really bothers you most is called "human nature". It's truly only natural that people will look for the limits and see just what they can get away with. Sometimes that will manifest itself as people like us, who strive to beat records. Other times, it will manifest itself as people who will write the most destructive virus they can.

I'm certainly not saying "yay, you virus writers are awesome!", more like "with human nature as a given, somebody somewhere will eventually break this laughably weak encryption, I'm glad that this group over here has done so with a nice usable tool and proved that it's not difficult to do so. I hope the company owning the hardware will rethink their file encryption strategy ASAP and give to us (the consumers) a better product."

When you can't have a free market driving product improvement, you have to have something else doing it, or you'll get crappy product. Hackers fill the gap, and I'm glad of it.

Actual Topic:

Yeah, I always liked how the W3O "ghost" ship was most transparent. Did its best to not obstruct your view of the track. Fine piece of work that was. Sounds like the Pure ghost didn't come out quite as nicely.