View Single Post
Old Dec 28, 2002, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 987
Default For those who like sharing xbox games on newsgroups :)

Q01) What's going on here in [b]NOT ALLOWED[/b]

We're posting binary images of backup copies of XBox games and
utilities. These can be burned onto removable media, and can be a
lifesaver if your legal, original disc gets scratched or damaged.

Q02) But I thought you couldn't read recordable media in your XBox...?

You can't... if you have a factory-original XBox. If, however, you have
installed a mod chip in your XBox (for educational purposes only, of
course), you CAN read recordable media.

If you DON'T have a mod chip in your XBox, don't bother downloading
anything from here -- it will be useless to you.

Q03) Where do I get a mod chip? How do I install it in my XBox?

This newsgroup isn't really the best place to go into that... we
concentrate on binary posts, and requests and thanks for same. There
are some helpful links at the end of this FAQ that can point you in the
right direction.

Q04) What are "releases"?

Various software groups often get early access to new game releases and
publish the binary images to the community at large as a multipart set.
For example, when MLB Slugfest was released, Team CSiSO made available a
multipart set named cs-slug.RAR, cs-slug.R01, etc. (More details on
what these files mean in a later question.) If you collect all of the
parts and unpack them, you will end up with a copy of the original
binary image.

Q05) What are "requests", "fill requests", and "attentions"?

While Usenet is very cool, it has its limitations when dealing with
posts of binary files. News servers typically cache binary files for
only a few days before deleting them (because of their size), and
individual pieces of these files may consist of hundreds of discrete
messages, any of which may not "make it" to the poster's news server.
The result is a multipart posting with missing parts; as you can
imagine, this renders the whole posting useless.

If your news server didn't get a complete posting for a given piece, or
if the poster didn't get a complete, valid binary piece posted, you can
request a "fill" for the pieces you are missing, typically by posting a
message with a subject like this:

REQ FILLS: cs-slug.R10, cs-slug.R14, xb-007.R03 -- Thanks!

and hopefully some kind person will post them for you.

If you are looking for an entire game, you might do something like:

REQ: World Series Baseball 2003 -- Thanks!

Now you have to find a *really* kind person, as you are asking them to
repost an entire multipart binary...

If you post something to fill someone else's request, it's common to
start your posting with something like:

ATTN: Mr xxx, here are your cs-slug fills

This alerts the intended recipient to pay attention to the posts. (As a
general rule, it pays to read ALL subject lines anyway, but this
clarifies things a great deal.) If you are posting to the community at
large, obviously you won't have an "ATTN:" type subject.

Q06) What are "repacks"?

Most of the posts to this newsgroup are "original releases". Some folks
collect and keep the release files, even after they have decoded the
binary contents; this makes it easy for them to respond to fill requests
for release files. Other folks discard the release files after they
have decoded the contents. In that case, if someone requests a complete
game, the poster obviously does not have the release pieces that (s)he
can simply post; instead, the poster must create his/her own, new
multipart archive, and then post the pieces. This "self-packed" archive
is called a "repack".

If you post a repack, please (1) make sure it WORKS and UNPACKS
properly, (2) make it clear that it is a repack when you post it, and
(3) hang onto the parts and be willing to satisfy fill requests (as,
unlike release posts, YOU will be the only person capable of satisfying
these fill requests). These things are very important! Folks will be
grateful for repack posts, but they will be plenty pissed off if you
leave them hanging with a 90% complete post, a colossal waste of their
time and bandwidth.

Q07) What are these yEnc messages?

yEnc is a rather efficient mechanism for encoding binary files so that
they can be posted on Usenet (a text-only service). When decoded, you
get the original binary bits. Many news readers and standalone
encoder/decoder programs understand the yEnc format. See [url][/url]
for details.

Q08) I use Outlook Express to read news, and it doesn't understand the
yEnc messages!

Get a real news reader. There are several news readers which
understand yEnc natively; my favorite is XNews. There are also
standalone encoder/decoder and posting programs that understand yEnc;
again, see [url][/url] for details.

Q09) What are these RAR, R01, R02, etc files? What do I do with them?

The binary files being posted here (generally CD or DVD images) are
quite large, typically hundreds of megabytes or gigabytes in size. In
order to make the posting easier to handle, the image file is split into
smaller pieces (usually 20-50 MB or so) using the RAR archive format.
The RAR, R01, R02, etc files are the pieces of the large archive.

After downloading all of the pieces of a multipart posting into a single
folder, use a RAR tool such as WinRAR to unpack the multipart posting.
Note that many of the posts here use RARs that were created with WinRAR
v3.0 or later; these files may be incompatible with (unreadable by)
earlier revs of WinRAR, so make sure you are using a current version.

Be aware that sometimes the RAR file is split up as foo.RAR, foo.R00,
foo.R01, etc, sometimes it is foo.r01, foo.r02, etc, sometime it is
foo.part01.rar, foo.part02.rar, etc... these are just naming
conventions. The important thing is to be sure that, regardless of what
naming scheme was used, you collect all of the pieces of the multipart
binary before decoding it. The NFO file for the posting, or some other
file/post associated with the binary posting, should tell you how many
files make up the multipart binary.

In most cases you are now left with an ISO file, from which you can burn
a CD or DVD for use in your (modded) XBox.

Q10) What are PAR files? How do I use them?

PARs are PARity files. Like hardware parity used in memory and disk
subsystems, PAR files can be used to recover missing pieces of a
multipart posting.

Say, for example, that someone has posted a multipart RAR file,
consisting of foo.RAR, foo.R01, foo.R02, ..., foo.R75. Further, let's
suppose that you were able to successfully download and decode all
pieces except for R44 and R47. Normally, you'd have to request a repost
(or "fill") for the missing pieces.

If the poster was smart and posted PARs for the binary (say, ten of
them, foo.P01 - foo.P10), you could grab ANY TWO of the PAR files to
"make up for" your two missing pieces. Then, you could use a PAR
program to recover the missing files.

Each PAR file can replace any one missing file. So, if you are missing
five files, you need five PAR files. (The small PAR header file, e.g.
foo.PAR, doesn't count, and is really not necessary.) ANY PAR file can
replace ANY missing file. You don't have to have particular PAR files,
e.g. you can use foo.P03, foo.P04, and foo.P09 to replace any three
files, and you don't have to have foo.P01, foo.P02, etc to use them.

You need a PAR program to work with these files; I heartily recommend
SmartPAR ([url]***********[/url]). It works great, is free,
and is pretty much the standard tool for the job. Another alternative
is FSRaid ([url]***********[/url]).

Once you have collected all of your RAR pieces and PARs into a folder,
double-click on any of the PAR files to start SmartPAR. It will
validate the pieces that you have, make note of the missing pieces, and,
if you have enough PAR files, will recreate the missing pieces. Then
you can unRAR as you normally would.

If you post a multi-part binary, PLEASE consider posting PARs as well.
Simply start SmartPAR, create a new parity set, and add all of the RAR
pieces in your file set. (DO NOT add NFO and SFX files to the PAR
set!!!) Then post the resulting PAR files along with your RAR pieces.
This greatly increases the likelihood that everyone will find a
complete, useable post on their news server, and minimizes the need for
you to fill particular RAR pieces.

Q11) What are SFV files? How do I use them?

If you download a multipart binary, you may wish to verify that 1) you
have all of the pieces, and 2) the pieces are complete and not
corrupted. When the binary was created, the packer can use a program to
generate an SFV (Simple File Verification) file, which basically is a
list of all file pieces and their checksums. Using this information, an
SFV program can determine if you have all of the pieces and if they are
all valid.

There are quite a number of SFV programs out there... I use, and
recommend, PDSFV, available at [url]********[/url]

Q12) OK, so now I have an ISO file... now what?

You need to burn the ISO file onto a disc so that you can play the game
on your XBox. If the file is small enough, you can put it on a CD-RW
disc if desired; if not, use DVD-R or DVD-RW. (Note that many/most
people have difficulties reading CD-R media in their XBoxen, so if you
have a small image file, use CD-RW instead of CD-R.)

Use a CD/DVD burning program that knows how to burn an ISO image onto a
disc. The most commonly used app for this purpose is Prassi PrimoDVD,
although you may be able to use other apps such as Nero Burning ROM.
Use these burn parameters: Disk At Once (DAO), closed, CD Mode 1
(blocking 2048).

(PrimoDVD was known to have difficulties working with some drives, such
as the Pioneer DVR-104, at one point, but these problems have been

Note that these are XBox ISO images, not PC ISO images, so you will not
be able to "browse" them using "normal" PC ISO image tools; you can use
XBox-specific utilities like xISO to browse/extract/create XBox-
compatible ISO images if desired.

Q13) When I try to read a backup disc in my PC, the PC thinks that it's
either blank or damaged...what's up with that?

Discs for XBox are written in an XBox-specific ISO format. Further,
XBox ISO format != standard PC ISO format. As a result, XBox discs may
appear to be blank or damaged when you try to open them using "standard
PC methods"... the standard tools just don't know how to cope with XBox
discs. The real test is to try to read the disc on your XBox; if the
XBox can read it, it's a good disc.

Q14) Instead of making a CD/DVD, can I install the game on my XBox hard
drive and run it from there?

Yes. Maybe I'll explain how to do that in a later rev of this FAQ. For
now, if you are interested in doing this, check the resource links at
the end of this FAQ.

Q15) How do I post stuff?

Well, presumably you're bright enough to figure out how to post plain
text messages...

To post binary files, use a news reader or poster that understands
binary attachments. News readers such as XNews have the ability to post
binary files built-in. If you're going to do large-scale binary
posting, I'd recommend a dedicated bulk posting program like PowerPost.

Make sure that your subject and file name(s) are clear and descriptive.
If it makes sense, include a separate NFO ("info") file, and put the
particulars about your post in there. Post your NFO file *first* so
potential downloaders can decide if they want to bother waiting for and
grabbing your multipart binary file or not.

If you are making a repack, use maximum file compression and make solid
archives to minimize the archive size. I recommend using WinRAR 3.0 or
later. Limit your file pieces to a reasonable size (say, 50,000,000

Make an SFV file for your RAR set. Do NOT include the NFO file in your
SFV generation.

Generate PARs using SmartPAR, and post them along with your archive.
(Do NOT include the NFO or SFV files as part of the PAR set.) Make sure
you create a reasonable number of PARs... at least 10 percent of your
total archive pieces (for really big posts, 20-30 percent is even

When actually posting, limit the number of lines per post to somewhere
between 2000 and 4000. This will keep the individual messages small,
and increase the odds that they will be accepted and propagated by all
of the servers on Usenet.

yEnc-encode your posts... it makes both posting and downloading go
faster. If you are using PowerPost to post your files, be sure you have
a version that supports yEnc-encoded messages.

Q16) Are there any rules of etiquette for this newsgroup?

Well, I don't consider myself the Etiquette Police or anything, but here
are some common-sense rules that I think most of the "regulars" here try
to follow:

* This group is used for the posting of binary images, and requests and
thanks for same. Limit the amount of non-posting traffic to discussions
relevant to the group.

* Read the FAQ and monitor the group a bit to get a feel for "how things
work"... then you should fit right in.

* Don't flame the newbies, unless they REALLY deserve it. Remember, YOU
were a newbie once, too. If you really want to make a difference, help
them to drop their newbie status by actually ANSWERING THEIR QUESTIONS.

* If you have a request, ask NICELY. If someone fills your request,
THANK THEM. Remember that ALL posters are doing ALL of us a favor by
spending their time and money posting stuff here. Show your
appreciation for their efforts.

* Use clear and complete "Subject:" lines. A subject like "PLEASE
REPOST PARTS 2, 3, and 9 -- THANKS!!!" is pretty damn useless; we can't
read your mind to determine the program for which you are requesting

* NO VERTICAL SPAM. Successive posts with subject lines like


are not only a waste of bandwidth, they are likely to piss people off
enough that they won't fill your request just on principle. WE GOT YOUR
REQUEST THE FIRST TIME; don't be a pain in the *** about it.

* If a large multipart post is in progress or just finished, don't
hammer the poster with "please fill" or "this didn't complete" or
"please repost" requests! Usenet is not a zero-propagation-delay
medium; it sometimes takes hours or DAYS for parts of posts to get to
your particular news server. If someone has been kind enough to post
the first 35 parts of a 50-part file and then stops, there's probably a
good reason for it. Show a little patience before you start freaking
out; you'd be surprised to find how many times "missing pieces" get
"magically" filled in or "incomplete posts" get "magically" finished by
the original poster. If for some reason they CAN'T finish the post,

* If you are posting a large file and will spread it over several days,
please start the post with a "intention to post" message. It doesn't
have to be anything elaborate, just something like "Hey, I'm going to be
posting Gore Warriors 17 over the next three nights" or some such. This
stems the tide of "PLEASE PLEASE FINISH GORE WARRIORS 17" posts from the

* Use PAR files... they are the Usenet equivalent of manna from heaven.
When downloading, take advantage of PARs to fill in missing pieces
BEFORE you make repost requests. When posting, post PAR files along
with your archive to increase the chances that folks will be able to
rebuild the archive the first time, with a minimum number of repost

* yEnc-encode your posts. It saves both the uploader and downloader
time and money.

* Don't be a leech! Post yourself whenever possible. Remember, this is
a volunteer community; let's not let two or three people do all of the
heavy lifting. While some people have better access to 0-day releases
than others, we can ALL help out with fill requests. Do what you can.

Q17) Can you give me some pointers to additional information and

Sure. For starters, check out:





Also, snoop around the XBox channels on IRC (especially on EFNet).

Last edited by mitsu50; Dec 30, 2002 at 06:57 AM.