DDR Ultramix and Dialup FAQ
by Cutriss, 23 December 03
This FAQ is intended for those of us who have Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix, but are, for whatever reason, not equipped with a broadband connection. Since the Xbox features an ethernet port, it has long been understood that Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service, also required a high-speed Internet connection to function. While it is true that Xbox Live cannot work to its full potential without a high-speed Internet connection, dialup users are not left in the cold completely, as there is a way for you to obtain songpacks over dialup, with a little legwork on your part.
This FAQ assumes that you have a modicum of knowledge of how to set up a computer network. If you don't know what "ethernet" is, put your keyboard down and go pet your dog. This FAQ also assumes that you use an Internet Service Provider *OTHER* than America Online (AOL) or CompuServe. They suck, and use weird dialup client wrappers which may or may not work with my instructions here. They probably don't, but I haven't used AOL since version 6.0, and I don't know if things have changed, nor do I care. This FAQ also assumes that you're using Windows 2000 or Windows XP. The information generally applies to Windows ME and Windows 98 SE, but I don't know offhand, and I'm not about to install ME just to find out.
Since you're reading this FAQ on the Internet (I hope), this means you have an Internet connection of some sort, probably over dialup. Xbox Live does not actually conduct a bandwidth check to permit/deny users of the service, so as far as Xbox Live is concerned, there is no difference between a dialup connection and a really crappy broadband connection. The main hangup you have to deal with is the lack of a modem jack on your Xbox.
There are a multitude of different ways you can link your Xbox to your computer to get it onto the Internet, but I'm only going to cover the one way that works with 90% of the individuals out there - Ethernet. This FAQ requires you to either have a network port in your computer to begin with, or a self-installed Ethernet adapter in the computer. Ethernet adapters are ridiculously cheap - You can find one for $20 at your local computer or office supply store (Office Depot, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc). Obviously, you should get a PCI card. If you don't know what that means, then put your keyboard down and go pet your dog.
If you're not sure if you have an Ethernet card or a network port, look at the back of your computer. An Ethernet jack is similar in shape to a phone jack, except it's wider and has eight contacts inside, instead of the usual two or four. An excellent way to verify the presence of an Ethernet jack is with an Ethernet cable, which you'll need to buy anyway. If you don't know if you have an Ethernet jack, you probably don't have a hub either, and so you should buy a "crossover cable". Read the next paragraph for details about that. In either case, once you've gotten a cable, stick it in anything that looks like it'll fit. If it fits, that's probably a network port. If you stuck it in something bad and got electrocuted, I'm sorry you're that stupid.
Once you've gotten the network card installed, or if it was installed to begin with, you're almost set, hardware-wise. You now need a way to physically connect your Xbox to your computer. If you have an Ethernet hub or switch, you can use that. If not, then you'll need an Ethernet "crossover" cable. This generally runs about $10, and can be found in the same places that sell Ethernet cards. They're not *quite* as common, though, so you might want to call and make sure it's available before hopping in the car. Alternatively, you can also use the Xbox System Link Cable. The System Link Cable is indistinguishable from a crossover cable, however it's usually more expensive, since it's an "official accessory".
If you have a hub, just connect an Ethernet cable from the hub to the computer, and from the hub to your Xbox. If it needs power, and most do, obviously, plug it in and turn it on. If you have a crossover cable, just plug it in between your Xbox and your PC in the Ethernet adapter.
If you're using Windows XP, open the Control Panel, and select "Classic View". If you're using Windows 2000, just open the Control Panel (Start->Settings->Control Panel). In the Windows Control Panel, you should have an item labelled either "Network Connections" or "Network and Dialup Connections". Double-click on this item. You should now see at least three items: "Make New Connection", "Local Area Connection", and a third connection which should be your dialup connection. Right-click on the dialup connection, and select "Properties". A new window will pop up with five tabs. If you don't see five tabs, check the last one - It should say "Sharing". If it does not, then you're running Windows 2000, and need to upgrade to Service Pack 4. Have fun. It's 120 MB.
Back on track...The last tab should say "Sharing". Click on it, and you'll see two checkboxes. Clicking the first one will activate Windows Internet Connection Sharing. You will likely be warned that enabling this will temporarily disconnect whatever existing network connection you have. Click away with abandon - I'm sure you're not doing anything important anyway.
The second checkbox can also be checked - it's up to you. Checking the second box will enable On Demand Dialing, which means that whenever your Xbox tries to connect to Live, if you're not already online, your computer will dial. The problem with this is that the Xbox expects an "always-on" connection, and it will timeout long before your dialup connection completes. I personally recommend that you forget this option, and dial your connection manually before you turn your Xbox on.
Once this is set up (you shouldn't require a reboot at this stage), you're basically ready to get on Live. Dial your connection if you need to, and then pop in Ultramix and select Xbox LIVE in the main menu. It'll ask you for your Live account profile, or start you on the account creation process if you haven't made an account already. Once that mess is all taken care of, you'll come to the Live menu, where you can choose the last option, Download Content. Here, you'll see a list of available songpacks which you can purchase. Select one and hit the A button and you'll see a description of what the pack contains. Hit the Purchase button, and you'll be presented with a Merchant Agreement similar to what your credit card slips say. Hit the button, pay the $5, and your download begins.
Now, go get yourself a magazine, and probably a drink. Each songpack is about 25-30 MB in size.
Once you've gotten your songpack(s), the game will reboot. At this point, you can (and should) remove your Ethernet cable and disconnect from the Internet, unless there are more songpacks to download. You've done all you're going to be able to do here.
WHAT WILL PROBABLY BE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
Q: How much does Xbox Live cost?
A: Xbox Live itself costs $49.99 a year, or $5.99 per month. Many game stores sell month-by-month subscription cards. If you're stuck with dialup, you might want to go this route, and download several songpacks at once, that way you don't have to pay as much.
There are a number of different ways you can establish service on Xbox Live. You can read about them at the following webpage:
Q: Do I have to buy Xbox Live to download songs for Ultramix?
A: You have to *have* Xbox Live, yes. You may not have to pay for it, though. Ultramix comes packed with a 2-month free trial for Xbox Live. You could use this to create a new account and then go download songpacks.
At the end of your free trial, however, you may need to contact Microsoft and cancel your Live subscription.
You will still need a credit card number to create the account, and to pay for the content.
Q: Can I use XBConnect or XLink or those other services to get songpacks downloaded?
A: No. These services do not actually connect to Microsoft's game servers, and thus can't download the content.
Q: Why do I have to pay for downloaded songs? I already paid for Xbox Live!
A: There's this saying: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Konami is making your game more valuable by increasing the content available to you. Since the average number of songs in a DDR game nowadays is 50-70, and the games cost $50, paying around $1 per song is a fair bargain.
You think you've got it rough? Go talk to someone who plays Phantasy Star Online on Xbox Live...
Q: How often will Konami release new songpacks?
A: Only Konami knows, but "kinda monthly" is what has been tossed around for some time. The first songpack was available as soon as Ultramix was released in mid-November, but at the time this FAQ was written (23 December 03), Songpack 2 had not yet been released.
Since that time, SP2-SP5 followed a more-or-less monthly schedule, with a significant delay between SP5 and SP6. The schedule for Song Packs for
Ultramix 2 is currently unknown.
Q: So, I have Ultramix and Ultramix 2. Can I use my Ultramix Song Packs in Ultramix 2?
A: According to Konami officials, here's how this works:
SP1-6 are useable in Ultramix 2. If you don't own Ultramix, you can still purchase SP1-6 in Ultramix 2. However, if you later purchase Ultramix, SP1-6 will be accessible *only* in Ultramix 2.
Therefore, if you're sitting on the fence about whether or not to get Ultramix, consider this when you consider whether or not to buy SP1-6.
Q: I live in Canada. Will this FAQ help me circumvent the Canadian release restriction?
A: Not really. People have claimed to be able to register a Live account in the US and then use it on a Canadian Xbox, but I don't know anything about that. The game was never intended to be sold in Canada, and so the content is restricted to Live accounts registered in Canada.
As far as Ultramix 2 goes, however, Ultramix 2 will be properly licensed for sale in Canada, and thus SP1-6 will be offered along with all other forthcoming content to Canadian owners of Ultramix 2.
Q: Hey - If I'm on Live, that means I can play online versus too, right?
A: Hold your horses there, pancho. Downloading content can be done over any sort of connection, since the size of your pipe only affects how long the download will take. Online gameplay requires faster connections to keep up with the game data, as well as to handle voice chat (which most, if not all, Xbox Live games support).
Q: Will this connection method allow me to do Internet Ranking?
A: Possibly. I haven't tried it.
Q: Can I trade edits over Xbox Live?
A: This was supposed to be a feature of Ultramix, but it appears to be missing from the final release. This is available in Ultramix 2, but only for songs playable in Ultramix 2.
Q: Will this connection method work with other games?
A: That depends. Are you trying to download content for other games, like MechAssault or Midtown Madness 3? If that's the case, then sure, it'll work all the same. But don't try to play against anyone - it'll be piss-poor, and you might get your Xbox Live account restricted or revoked.
Q: Why would I get my Xbox Live account restricted or revoked?
A: Xbox Live offers players the ability to report other players who are making a nuisance of themselves, whether it's by verbal harrassment, gameplay harrassment, offensive or rude behavior, or any number of other things. Purposefully connecting to a game or hosting a game over a slow connection like dialup could annoy other players enough that they'd report you to Microsoft. Microsoft could invoke restrictions on your account, or revoke your account altogether if you continue to be a jerk.
Q: Will Konami distribute any other content over Xbox Live besides songpacks?
A: In Ultramix 2, downloadable dancers will be made available when the game hits shelves. Whether or not more dancers will be made available over time remains to be seen.
As for anything else, Konami representatives have hinted that other material, such as new steps, would be made available via Xbox Live. Nothing has been committed to, however.
Q: Will Konami ever distribute content via any other channels than Xbox Live?
A: This also has been hinted at, though nothing has been set in stone.
Q: I don't want to do all this! Why can't Konami just put the songpacks on a CD and sell that?
A: Because there's nothing stopping you from installing that disc and then giving it to a friend, who gives it to his friend, who gives it to his friend, who gives it to his friend, who gives it to his friend...See where I'm going with this? It's a big piracy risk, and you're just being a ninny.
Q: I'm a l33t hax0r, and I modded my Xbox! Can I get on Live and do all this?
A: Maybe. Don't ask me.
Q: I'm a l33t hax0r, and I modded my Xbox and got banned from Xbox Live? Can I still get the songpacks?
A: Nope. Have a nice day.
Q: I'm a l33t hax0r, and I modded my Xbox, *AND* I'm smart enough to not get banned from Live! What's to stop me from downloading the songpacks and putting them on the Internet for all to see (and download)?
A: The fact that nobody has been able to do this yet, for starters.
Downloadable content is tied to your Xbox specifically, and cannot be simply "moved" or copied to another Xbox. People have been trying ever since MechAssault downloadable content was released in early 2003. Many more people have MechAssault than will ever buy Ultramix, and MechAssault has been available far longer than Ultramix. Since they use the same method of content protection, and MechAssault is still secure, it's a pretty safe bet that you're never gonna get anywhere.
Q: Is there any way these downloadable songpack thingies can be used with StepmaniaX?
A: For the same reason that the content is protected from copying from Xbox to Xbox, the content also cannot be accessed by 3rd party software.
Q: Is there any way to do this with a Mac?
A: Probably. Give me your Mac, and I'll figure it out. :D
Q: Is there any way to do this with Linux?
A: If you're using Linux, you really should know how to do this sort of thing already. :)
If you really want to know, though (and I can't give you specifics), your distro probably has an Internet Connection Sharing facility of some sort available to you already, if it's less than two years old. Red Hat 8.0 or Mandrake 9.0 probably has something like this.
If you're dealing with an older distro, or one that doesn't include such a feature, you'll need to either be running dhcpd on your machine to give the Xbox a DHCP IP address, or you'll need to configure a private network. I suggest using dhcpd, simply so that you won't have to mess with manually entering gateway addresses and stuff like that. Next, you'll have to set up routing (routed and/or netstat and/or ifconfig) to route connections from /dev/eth0 (or whatever) to/from /dev/ppp0. Finally, you'll need to manually dial the connection.
My Linux experience is very minor, however, so I probably couldn't give you any competent assistance even if I wanted to. If you understood everything I said just now, you're probably well-enough equipped to do this yourself. If not, then you should probably hit Google and start doing some research.
Q: How can I do this with AOL?
A: You can start by giving up. Read the FAQ.
Q: How can I do this with CompuServe?
A: See previous question, you brains-overflowing-type-person.
Q: You're quite the rude one, aren't you?
A: You should see me on a bad day.