Beginner Guide to Xbox 360 Development Kit

SexyDev Dec 18, 2012

  1. Se

    SexyDev Queen of Darkness
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    Disclaimer


    I do not own,or claim to own any of the pictures that I used in this guide.
    Credit goes to there respective uploaders.


    Introduction:



    Credit to ThePrivateLdw for allowing me to use some of his information in this guide.

    Credit to iShox for helping me with corrections and giving me some extra information for the guide,and by some,I mean quite a lot <3

    Aside from that,I have not copy and pasted any part of this guide,and I have not copy and pasted his information,but I have rephrased some of it.This guide,as my other guide for Jtags,is from information I have gathered from researching XDK's across the internet and then typed this all up from scratch myself,I also searched for all the pictures myself.

    I felt the need to make this guide,as a lot of the community does not really seem to know much about XDK's,and some,do not know what XDK means (it is explained below) so I decided to make a guide easy for beginners to understand and hopefully help some of those people out.

    This is aimed towards people who do not know much about them,so I will not be going into the more advanced aspects of XDK's,if you have any questions,PM me and if I cannot help I will try and provide you with a link that should.

    Please Note:

    I do not own an XDK,so I cannot provide any technical support for them.


    Motherboards


    Xbox Development Kits (XDK's),like normal Xbox 360,have motherboards.


    Like all other consoles it's motherboard will vary.

    Here is a list of the motherboards.

    Zephyr (2005/06/07)
    Xenon (2008)
    Falcon (2007)
    Opus (2008)
    Jasper (2008)
    Valhalla/Vajle (2010)

    The type of motherboard does not affect what the XDK can do.

    However,there are different types of XDK's,which I will explain later in the guide.

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each XDK motherboard.


    Xenon

    Cheapest Motherboard.

    Most prone to the Red Ring of Dead.(RROD)

    It being so old,a lot of these consoles have been banned from Pnet.

    Does not have HDMI.

    Most likely to break due to age/heat problems.

    Oldest type of Motherboard. (2008 motherboard).



    Zephyr

    Exact same as Xenon besides one change.

    Has HDMI.

    First XDK motherboard to be released (2005)

    Prototype Zephyr was released in 2005.

    Retail XDK Zephyr was released in 2006.

    Final XDK Zephyr model was released in 2007.


    Falcon

    Has HDMI.

    Less prone to getting RROD.

    Heats up slower than Xenon,lowering chance of RROD.

    Not as old as xenon but not as new as Jasper or Valhalla.

    Some consoles may be banned from Pnet.


    Opus

    Oddly,they have the same GPU and CPU as an Xenon console,not a Falcon like a retail Opus console.

    Does not have HDMI.

    Released 2008,but still as reliable as a Xenon due to it having the same GPU & CPU as it.

    They are the most popular version of XDK.


    Jasper

    Has HDMI.

    Has internal memory of either 64mbs,like all XDK's.

    RROD is practically unknown.

    Usually not banned from Pnet as they are still used by Developers.

    Does not suffer heating up problems.

    More expensive as it is more efficient and newer.

    Second newest motherboard for XDK's.


    Valhalla

    Newest motherboard (2010)

    Also known as "Vejle" motherboard.

    Very rare to be found as they are brand new,making them extremely expensive.

    Enjoys all the same perks as the Jasper.

    Even lower chance of RROD than Jaspers and much quieter.

    This motherboard is exclusive to the Xbox 360 Slim styled XDK's.



    What Is An XDK?


    An Xbox Development Kit is a special type of Xbox 360 console produced by Microsoft.

    They are sold to official Microsoft developers so that they can develop content for the Xbox 360 console.

    They,like Jtags,can run unsigned code,but they are intended to be able to do this from production.

    They come in four different types,



    Stress Kit
    Demo Kit
    Review Kit
    Test Kit
    Development Kit


    Each of these is described in detail to an extent later in the guide.

    They are not able to connect to Xbox Live.

    However,they do have access to a different community,called Pnet.

    More information is available on Pnet later in the guide.

    As they have been intended to be used by developers,there is virtually no use for buying an XDK unless you are an experienced and a very good programmer/coder.

    If you are only looking to have fun with modding and making Call of Duty patches,you have no business buying one of these.

    XDK's are very expensive compared to Jtags,this is mainly due to the fact that they are rare as Microsoft does not allow them to be released to the public,but a few have slipped through and some people own them.

    A lot of illegal homebrew has been created using XDK's,and a lot of this homebrew is used on Jtagged consoles,the XDK's are practically essential for developing content for Jtags.


    Types of XDK's


    Here I will go into a brief description of what each of these XDK's can do.

    I will start off with the simplest one,the "Demo Kit".

    Demo Kit:

    The "Demo Kit" allows you to play Xbox 360 games that are still under development and are yet to be offically released to the general public.

    The "Demo Kit" does not support DVD Emuation,making it not as useful for developers who need to debug and edit their game.

    These types of Kits are best used for presentation of a game in development,for explain,at E3 or other trade shows.

    They can run unsigned code and do not have access to Pnet.


    Reviewer Kit:

    These kits are usually sent to reviewers for magazines and/or websites etc.

    They can run unsigned code and can also use a sidecar.

    They do not have all the functions as a Development Kit,as these are intended to be used by reviewers.

    They come with a 20GB HDD.


    Test Kit:

    This type of Kit is intended to be used by game designers,artists and game testers.

    The test console does support DVD Emulation the same as the "Demo Kit" does,allowing the owner to debug there games from there computer HDD without needing to install the game to their XDK HDD.

    These usually come with a large HDD.

    Some of these kits may come with a sidecar,others may not.

    Development Kit:

    The Development Kit has the hardware and the software to allow you to completely develop and release an Xbox 360 game,assuming you know how to make one.

    It allows you to debug games using Visual Studio and you can also use PIX to analyse the games' performance.

    Needs a sidecar attached to fully function as a Development Kit,although it is not necessary to have in order to use it.

    Without a sidecar it you will not be able to use it's extra functions.


    How To Tell The Difference Between XDK's:


    White consoles usually are Demo Kits or Test Kits.

    Only about 30% of XDK's are black


    Demo/Test Kit Picture:

    [​IMG]



    Development/Reviewer Picture:

    [​IMG]



    Xbox Slim XDK Picture:

    [​IMG]



    What Is A Sidecar?


    A sidecar is a big box like shape on top of the Kit.(as shown in the pictures)

    They either have one,or two USB ports on the back of them,each has their own use.

    Whether they have one or two USB slots varies depending on what type of XDK you have and what console the sidecar was intended to be used with.

    Sidecars also makes Kernel Debugging much easier to do.


    Please Note:

    If you don't use a sidecar with a kit,you can use a standard power supply with it.

    However,if you do use a sidecar you need a different type of power supply.

    You need a 213W Power supply for it to work correctly.

    I need clarification about the power supply,if I am wrong,please update me.


    Sidecar USB Ports

    As stated above,a sidecar will either have one,or two USB ports.

    These both serve different functions,and yes,two is better than one but is more expensive as a result.

    Usually you will find 2 USB's on a sidecar intended for a Development Kit.

    If the sidecar has one USB port,that USB is used for DVD Emulation.

    If the sidecar has two USB ports,the first one will be used for DVD Emulation and the second one will be used for PIX.

    Now I am sure you will be wondering what these two things are,so here is a brief explanation of each below.


    What is DVD Emulation?

    DVD Emulation allows you to play or debug games that are a work in project directly from your computers hard drive without the need to transfer the game onto the Kit.


    What is PIX?

    PIX (Performance Investigator for Xbox) basically allows you to see your CPU output.


    Sidecar Picture:

    You see the thing on top where the HDD should be? That is the Sidecar.

    [​IMG]



    What is Pnet?

    Pnet is like Xbox Live,but for XKD's only and it is also completely free.

    XDK's cannot access Xbox Live at all.

    However,they can connect to Pnet,where they can play games online and access free download for upcoming game content and current game comment.

    Yes I said upcoming game content,developers sometimes released DLC to Pnet first so it can be tested out and then find glitches and fix them before they release it onto Xbox Live for the General Public to access and download.

    Some XDK's may be flagged by Microsoft,and will be stopped from connecting to Pnet.

    This usually happens when an XDK travels a long distances and Microsoft notices,what I mean by this is if it was in use in the United States and was sold to someone in Europe,if they notice the huge change in location,they may decided to flag it.

    It would be good to take into account that Pnet has no where near the amount of users as Xbox Live has,actually it is substantially less users than Xbox Live,but that should be pretty obvious due to the fact that XDK's are not intended to be used by the public.

    Movies and other media are not available sadly,but all content available is completely free to download.

    Please note that Pnet does not hold downloads for long periods of time like Xbox Live,you may only download items that have been added recently.


    XDK Uses:


    XDK's have quite a few uses.

    However,you should not consider buying one unless you fit into one or more of these categories.

    A professional programmer/coder
    Very rich with money to waste
    A skilled programmer/coder

    If you are not one of these,you should not be looking to buy one.

    As you can guess by there name,they are Xbox 360 Development Kits.

    They can develop Xbox 360 games and are able to test the game projects out allowing you to test them for any issues they may have and then you have to return to coding them to attempt the fix the problem.

    They can also run unsigned code,which is pretty obvious.

    They can save games to the HDD and run them without the disk.
    (Please note the games have to be patched on a computer first)

    Using Pnet,you can play un-release and un-finished games that have been uploaded to Pnet by their Developers.

    You can change to any desired dashboard version as long as you have the recovery for it.
    This means you can be on Kinect Dash,and then downgrade to an older dash board without blowing your efuses and bricking your console.

    HDD's are not locked to a console,allowing them to be any size.

    Play Homebrew.

    Backup games to your computer for safety.

    They are mutli-region,meaning all types of games work,European,American,Japaneses etc.

    Take screenshots or videos of your gameplay.


    Warnings


    If your XDK gets any errors or RROD,you have to fix it yourself,it is not under warranty and cannot be sent to Microsoft.

    You could ask the repairers here on TTG if they could repair it,but they may be unable to repair them.

    They are very expensive to buy,even when compared to a Jasper Jtag.

    Newer the motherboards,such as the Slim XDK running on a Valhalla motherboard will more than likely have a raised value,but other factors contribute to the pricing of an XDK,such as if it is,or is not,banned/flag for Pnet,meaning it will not be able to access it.

    Not all patched games will play on an XDK.



    FAQ's


    This section is for Frequently Asked Questions.

    Before asking one,check here to see if it is answered first.

    I will be adding more to this over-time as I am asked them or I think of some.

    If any answers are incorrect,please correct me so I can edit it.

    Q. Can you make accounts preloaded with MS Points?
    A. Yes,but they will ONLY work on the XDK,NOT on a retail console.

    Q. Can I get free XBL accounts using a Dev Kit?
    A. No you cannot. Period.

    Q. What should I get,Jtag or Dev Kit?
    A. Expert Coded = Dev Kit, Fun Mods = Jtag.

    Q. How much do they cost?
    A. The prices vary depending on the seller.

    Q. Are they illegal?
    A. Microsoft has the right to reclaim any XDK whether or not it is licensed to you.

    Q. Can they run homebrew like a Jtag?
    A. They can run unsigned code,so yes they can.

    Q. Can I host XBL lobbies with these?
    A. *Facepalm* No,you cannot connect to XBL.

    Q. What is a "Recovery"?
    A. It is the dash board version on an XDK.
    It is the equivalent of the Kernel of a retail Xbox 360.

    Q. How to put a Recovery on an XDK?
    A. Either put the ISO onto the console or send it over a network connection. A Recovery can also be installed using a disk with the recovery install onto it.

    Q. Can I downgrade my Recovery without blowing efuses?
    A. Yes you can,just install the desired Recovery and you are good to go.


    I plan to provide updates for this guide,so keep your eyes open.

    Notifications will be added for each update.

    If you have any suggestions,post a reply or sent me a PM.

    For anyone who feels the need to ask,it took me over 4 hours to put together.

    If you feel this is useful,post a reply and thank the topic.

    It will keep the guide alive and also encourage me to keep it more updated.


    Credit to iPatobo on TTG for this tutorial.
     
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  2. Vash The Stampede

    Vash The Stampede Developer XPG Developer TeamXPG
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    very nice guide very useful thanks ^_^
     
  3. xpghax

    xpghax Gold Section Mod/Uploader
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    awesome TUT, nice work ;)
     
  4. Se

    SexyDev Queen of Darkness
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    Thanks guys. I'm more than happy to lend assistance :p
     

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