Hacking XCI vs NSP. What are the differences?

NightDweller

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I am new to the Switch hacking scene and am having some issues. I used NXdumptool to rip Mario Odyssey from the gamecard. The options were "NX card image (XCI)" or "Nintendo Submission Package (NSP)". I chose XCI not knowing what the major/minor differences between the two were. After choosing, you can adjust some settings or start the dump. (what is "keep certificate", and why is it auto unchecked?). I started the dump. After it dumped, it was in 2 files because of the fat32 split. At this point, I have absolutely no idea how to play this game dump. I tried Gold Leaf and Awoo installer and just cannot figure out how to have it recognized. This is what makes me ask these questions.

What is the difference between XCI and NSP?
Which format is preferred and why?
Can you play online at all without getting banned using one of these formats?
What are the pros and cons of each format?
Thanks for your answers in advance! Also, if you have any other recommendations regarding Switch Homebrew apps and such I'm all ears.
 

almmiron

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All are containers to game files.

.XCI is like a clone to the gamecard. think .iso being a clone from a disc.
.nsp is a dump from digital game. smaller than xci, without garbage files.
.nsz is like nsp, but with smaller file sizes than .nsp, in most cases.
 
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Draxzelex

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I am new to the Switch hacking scene and am having some issues. I used NXdumptool to rip Mario Odyssey from the gamecard. The options were "NX card image (XCI)" or "Nintendo Submission Package (NSP)". I chose XCI not knowing what the major/minor differences between the two were. After choosing, you can adjust some settings or start the dump. (what is "keep certificate", and why is it auto unchecked?). I started the dump. After it dumped, it was in 2 files because of the fat32 split. At this point, I have absolutely no idea how to play this game dump. I tried Gold Leaf and Awoo installer and just cannot figure out how to have it recognized. This is what makes me ask these questions.

What is the difference between XCI and NSP?
Which format is preferred and why?
Can you play online at all without getting banned using one of these formats?
What are the pros and cons of each format?
Thanks for your answers in advance! Also, if you have any other recommendations regarding Switch Homebrew apps and such I'm all ears.
  • .XCI files are dumps of cartridges while .NSP files are packaged dumps of digital content such as anything from the eShop
  • There is no preferred format however they are treated very similarly when it comes to Atmosphere since you can only install both formats with that CFW. When it comes to SX OS, you have the option to mount the .XCI files which has the advantage of saving you the installation time at the cost of some speed and storage space
  • You risk getting banned regardless if you use .XCI or .NSP files
 
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almmiron

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NSP are not compressed. XCIs are just packed in two ways - as 1:1 with null data at the end or without them. NSP is packed without any ending nulls always.
as I Understand is kind of compressed, with bunch of game files .nca inside. I'm sure it has a more adequated term to use.
 

masagrator

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as I Understand is kind of compressed, with bunch of game files .nca inside. I'm sure it has a more adequated term to use.
Compressed means it's using compression.

NSP is an uncompressed archive type, storing files in blob with header. No compression involved.
The same NSZ. It's in real NSP, but it's used to show easily that it stores NCZ, which are zstd compressed NCA.

I can understand saying that NSZ is compressed to explain it simpler. But saying that NSP is compressed is completely false.
 
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