Before you start your hacking projects, you'll need the right arsenal of tools. For some hacks, you might need only a single screwdriver. For others, you could need a workshop complete with power tools and advanced electronic equipment. For the most part, it isn't necessary to have a world-class laboratory or top-of-the-line computer system to conduct most levels of game console hacking. However, it's amazing how much easier things are if you have the right tools for the job.
Besides the physical tools you will need for hardware hacking that we list in this chapter, you'll need a computer system for any adventures into homebrew game development. After deciding on the game console you'll be programming for, you can choose your development system based on the tools that you'll need. Depending on the console you are writing games for, the appropriate development tools might run only on a specific platform (such as Windows, Macintosh, or Linux). Typically, a desktop or laptop PC running Windows 2000/XP with minimum specifications of 1GHz processor, 256MB RAM, 20GB hard drive, and decent graphics card will be sufficient. The more complex and processor-intensive the development tool or emulator, the more powerful your machine needs to be.
The tools and supplies listed in this chapter are merely a baseline of any good hardware hacking cache. We don't list every possible tool in existence, because there is usually more than one solution to any given problem. Think of this section as telling you about the supplies you'll want in your "kitchen" with each hack containing the actual "recipe" you'll cook with. Each hack presented on the DVD provides a list of the specific tools and components you'll need to pull it off.