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Wii Entertainment Games

Wii Homebrew Takes Several Leaps Forward 275

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the make-it-and-let-your-fans-make-it-better dept.
Croakyvoice writes "Fans of Homebrew on the Nintendo Wii can celebrate with an explosion of releases today, in just a few hours there has been a release of a proof of concept version of Linux for the Wii, an MP3 Player, the Super Nintendo emulator Snes9X has been ported and a converter that converts Gamecube Dol files into Elf for usage on the Wii (Which opens up a multitude of emulators and homebrew games and applications). A tutorial on how to get homebrew working with the Twilight Hack will help those interested."
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Wii Homebrew Takes Several Leaps Forward

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  • by sm62704 (957197) on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:47PM (#22551116) Journal
    I understand Grandpa brewed his own during prohibition, and though he heard rumors that the police were polluting some brewer's beer with Wii, he said tey never got hold of his brew.

    Can you Wii while you're leaping? I mean, without getting wet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Oh hell I made first post. What's worse, it makes reference to... I can't beer to say it...
  • nintendo (Score:2, Funny)

    by Freeside1 (1140901)
    Nintendo is sure to be pissed, or wii'd?
  • by Channard (693317) on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:49PM (#22551136) Journal
    .. it wouldn't surprise me if their next system update doesn't block this too. Though the main difference between this and the 360 exploit would seem to be that the Wii doesn't, as yet, force you to update in order to get online. The part of this that interests me the most is the SNES emulator - hopefully this might cause Nintendo to look at their pricing plan for the Virtual Console games. Seven quid for an unenhanced SNES game seems a bit pricey.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:52PM (#22551174) Homepage Journal
      I don't care about an SNES emulator. I just want a Divix player.
      • by webrunner (108849)
        360s support divx natively as of the latest Dashboard update, so if you want a Divx player one of the easiest thing to right now is to just buy a cheap 360 (about the same price as a wii) and stick em on a USB flash drive or external HD or something.
        • by powerlord (28156)
          Yeah, its nice how DivX has finally gotten some love. The latest PS3 update also turned on DivX support (can stream it from a DLNA compliant server also :) ).
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          Well for one I have a Wii already. Also I don't want any more devices hooked to the TV right now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by psychicninja (1150351)

        I don't care about an SNES emulator.
        If you'd ever played Secret of Mana you would care.
    • by flynt (248848) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:02PM (#22551288)
      If 7 dollars is too much for an unenhanced SNES game, what do you think a fair price is, 6 dollars? They can only go so low. I spent 7 dollars on a McDonald's value meal at O'Hare this weekend. I spent 6 bucks on a coffee this morning. THOSE are outrageous prices. Getting to play ActRaiser/SMW/Mario Kart/etc. again sure as hell gives me more value for my dollar than that Big Mac did. If you won't get 5-7 dollars worth of enjoyment out of it, don't buy the game.

    • How are they going to stop it? It's a exploting a buffer overrun in the Zelda save game loading code. What are they going to do, issue a firmware update that prevents the Wii from storing Zelda saves?
      • by inio (26835)
        The firmware gets involved when the save file is copied from the SD card to the internal memory. Since the save can't be copied off the SD card directly, they can just verify the save before they copy it. Alternately, the games probably use an API from firmware to access save data. They could special case accesses from RZD* and verify at that point.
    • The part of this that interests me the most is the SNES emulator - hopefully this might cause Nintendo to look at their pricing plan for the Virtual Console games. Seven quid for an unenhanced SNES game seems a bit pricey.

      I could give a rat's ass about the price of the Virtual Console games. I bought a Wii so I could play the old games from my childhood, and I knew the price points when I bought in. What I didn't know was how pathetically slow the release of classic games would be. I really don't care abo

    • I'm involved fairly closely with the creators of the original exploit, so I know a bit about Wii security.

      The way it's currently implemented, as soon as we start hacking the firmwares they put out, we've effectively won the battle for current consoles. Wiis contain a separate security ARM processor unofficially dubbed the "starlet". It is here that all of the interesting security takes place, and it is also responsible for most of the wii-specific hardware that the gamecube lacked. Ultimately, the consoles carry an unmodifiable boot ROM which loads an also unmodifiable boot1 bootstrap loader (unmodifiable because, although it sits in flash, it is checked against a hash stored in OTP memory). Boot1 is buggy. Boot1 loads Boot2, and we'll probably start hacking boot2 and the next step (the actual operating system and drivers that run on the starlet). This is going to be similar to the PSP scene, most likely: Nintendo will put out updates, but we'll work around them. We can also modify the existing firmware to prevent updates from happening.

      However, new consoles can come with an updated boot1 (the OPT hash is programmed at the factory). Those might be impossible to hack the same way. However, the OS is buggy and other hacks can be found.

      Their next system update may block this, but people just have to hold off until hacked firmwares come out. Worst case, you can always apply the hack to current consoles by directly modifying the Flash memory in the Wii.

      All this only applies to the security system though, and the bug that was used for the demo at 24c3. It is rather unlikely that Nintendo will patch the Zelda bug (which is what we're using to boot current homebrew, not the meaner more powerful 24c3 bug) from firmware somehow, so there is a very good chance that we'll always have options for booting homebrew. Besides, we can find exploits in other games, easily. The 24c3 bug lets us get total system access, but even if they lock that out in newer consoles, we can still get homebrew running via game exploits.
  • by Leptok (1096623) on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:51PM (#22551166)
    Have to commit Seppeku.
  • Slowly but surely... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:51PM (#22551172) Homepage Journal
    ...they're getting there. Meanwhile, game programmers have been working with the (admittedly limited) Opera Browser to produce games designed for the Wii [wiicade.com]. WiiCade is even paying for games [wiicade.com] now, something which you won't find out of other homebrew ventures.

    It's not a perfect solution, but it does work, and it works well enough to play some pretty cool stuff. And you can even get paid to perform your hobby! How cool is that? :)

    Disclaimer: I am associated with WiiCade. So take this with a grain of salt.
    • by NullProg (70833)
      Ok, I just got off Wiicade (with our Wii). My thirteen year old said it was OK. He wasn't impressed by the games.

      I thought the Games/Gameplay was alright but the videos seem a little slow (compared to youtube under Verizon Fios). Can the site handle the load if it becomes popular?

      I added your website to our Wii Favorites.

      I'm still waiting for Java support in Wii Opera. My younger son wants to play Runescape and I'd like it so I can view/animate the local NOAA weather radar.

      Keep up the good work.

      Enjoy.
  • I bought that Zelda game along with Red Steel when the Wii came out (yup, i preordered in a COMET in the UK). I played it for maybe 5 hours (not straight, at different times) and got really bored. The first two hours is a really boring tutorial and the next hours are so monotonous that I just stopped playing it. It has been gathering dust since then. I was thinking of trading it but with these news I do not think so!)

  • by Sabz5150 (1230938) on Monday February 25, 2008 @04:55PM (#22551200)
    It seems that their attempts to host a website on a Wii has failed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There seems to be a weird message on http://wii-linux.com./ [wii-linux.com.] Anything related?
  • SDGecko (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sangui (1128165)
    I won't care until I can run this off of my SD card plugged into the Wii, as opposed to needing an SDGecko to go through my Gamecube Memory card port. Until then, ZZzzzZZZzzzzzZZ
    • I won't care until I can run this off of my SD card plugged into the Wii, as opposed to needing an SDGecko to go through my Gamecube Memory card port. Until then, ZZzzzZZZzzzzzZZ

      Given that you can get an SDGecko or knock-off for under USD$7 including postage from a few reasonably reliable Hong Kong suppliers, it's not that much of an impediment. Also, because of the nature of the attack, it's unlikely that that hack will get direct to the Wii's SD slot - it's more likely that a loader program in the SDGec

  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wandering Wombat (531833) <mightyjalapeno.gmail@com> on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:19PM (#22551504) Homepage Journal
    ... can it run Vista?

    No?

    Awesome.
  • But does it run ...

    It does? Sweet.
  • Smash Bros (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Applejoint (1173609)
    Wonder if the twilight hack can break region locking so euros can actually get Smash Bros Brawl this year!
  • PS3 Linux Wide Open (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 25, 2008 @05:36PM (#22551694) Homepage Journal
    The PS3 has been running Linux on its Cell CPU's PPC core [psubuntu.com] for several releases now, including several official Ubuntu PS3 releases. Sony does lock out the RSX graphics chip to Linux, but the Cell's 6 SPUs (pipelined DSPs) are wide open for development. And now that developers have ported video drivers to the SPUs [psubuntu.com], the PS3 is a hot little multimedia PC. I watch downloaded 1080P HD videos (and regular upsampled MPG/WMV/AVI/etc) right on the same 50" HDMI TV I surf the web (and watch Blu-Ray discs) and program with. And when Sony releases the PlayTV [wikipedia.org] 2-channel DVB TV tuner for PS3 next month, I expect my Linux PS3 will beat TiVo at its own game, too.

    The Wii is just getting started as "homebrew". Its HW isn't nearly as screaming as the PS3, nor as designed to be open for Linux. Hacking it sounds like a fun toy, which is why people buy the Wii. But the PS3 is already starting to be a Linux platform more interesting than even its gaming. A few more leaps forward on the PS3 and the Wii will look so 21st Century.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      I'm pretty sure Fedora was running on it even before Ubuntu.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        When Sony released the PS3 in November 2006, Yellow Dog Linux was ready to run on it.

        But Ubuntu is a better Linux for desktops, and it's more popular than YDL. Plus, I like the idea of a Linux that's not so closely connected to Sony, and still works well.
    • by Punto (100573)
      the wii has fun games
    • by Big Boss (7354)
      Have you tested it with 720P and/or 1080I MPEG2 files like those one would get from an ATSC tuner? That's what I need in a Myth frontend. I use a AMD X2 box to do it now, but if I can make a PS3 do it well, I would buy one. With blu-ray and games available in the same box, that's worth $400 if they can get Myth playing ATSC files deinterlaced with a 720P output.
      • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:36PM (#22555028)

        Have you tested it with 720P and/or 1080I MPEG2 files like those one would get from an ATSC tuner? That's what I need in a Myth frontend. I use a AMD X2 box to do it now, but if I can make a PS3 do it well, I would buy one. With blu-ray and games available in the same box, that's worth $400 if they can get Myth playing ATSC files deinterlaced with a 720P output.


        You can, but don't expect Linux to do it. If your Myth box can do DLNA and export compatible h.264 videos, it'll stream over the network just fine.

        The problem is, everyone thinks PS3-Linux runs "on bare metal" when it's really running on a virtual machine. The VM allows access to 6 of the 7 available SPEs (PS3's OS reserves one for its purpose, and one of the SPEs is disabled in the silicon). The VM disallows access to the RSX chip - it's a rather expensive framebuffer operation to update the screen (update memory, trigger interrupt to get VM to update RSX's framebuffer). Hard drive, card slots are virtualized, as well. Access to Bluetooth and WiFi are disabled. Access to the Blu-Ray drive is limited to insecure ATA commands only. Hard drive (SATA), Blu-Ray drive (IDE) and card slots are exported as standard SCSI devices without using any IDE-SCSI type emulation. A bad sector on the disk leads to strange errors (I know - my first drive upgrade had a bad sector, and the disk kept giving me strange ext3 errors).

        Stupid framebuffer kernel thread also runs all the time...

        I can't get the PS3 to play back a DVD upscaling to 1080p without Xine complaining that it has to drop frames. The X server is the Xfb framebuffer server. Xrandr, yes, Xv, no.
    • by NullProg (70833)
      The PS3 has been running Linux on its Cell CPU's PPC core [psubuntu.com] for several releases now

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sony partner with Yellowdog to get Linux working on the PS3? Thats not a hack and like you said, you can't access the graphics chip (as of yet).

      The Wii Zelda Hack allows us to control the machine in ways Nintendo doesn't approve of.

      Don't get me wrong. I'd love to have a PS3. I just can't justify the expense with the wife right now.

      Enjoy,
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        You are correct. Though at $500 the PS3 is pretty cheap, considering it includes a Blu-Ray player, HDMI output at 1080P, WiFi/Bluetooth, and a popular game console.
    • Do you have any links that concisely summarize turning the PS3 into a versatile media center? Or are you just talking about the out of the box functionality?

      I looked at the news sites for console hacking and didn't see much. Linux access to the RSX but nothing really far developed.

      Is there an easy way to turn the PS3 into a replacement for my Xbox Media Center on my Xbox 1?
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Linux access to the RSX is a dead end hacking safari that Sony seems committed to stopping. The SPU acceleration that's now available is plenty good enough.

        The PSUbuntu site I linked to has howtos and other good advice. It's not exactly "concisely summarized", but it's got the info to make PS3 a Linux media center, often collected into one place. But it could use some help. Why don't you help out, maybe making a bunch of .deb packages out of what are still just HowTos and components of the complete solution
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kamineko (851857)

      Sony does lock out the RSX graphics chip to Linux


      Not that wide, then.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)

        but the Cell's 6 SPUs (pipelined DSPs) are wide open for development.


        Pretty wide.
  • wasn't there a guy right before new year who was able to sign his own code? (something about transfering all the ram through the controller ports).

    Why hasn't there been any news on that?
  • As a Wii developer I am amazed by the progress of the homebrew community. It's hard enough to get a devbox up and running with the official Nintendo SDK, complilers, utilities, manuals, and sample code; but to do all of it without any of that information at hand is just unbelievable. On top of all that, using a toolchain that doesn't include a devkit for quickly testing builds must really take a huge amount of dedication. Hopefully Nintendo recognizes the best of the homebrew games and offers authorized de
  • Please, oh please, please, puh-leeeeeze, somebody with the free time and passion please port MAME and SCUMMVM to the Wii.
    Now that would rock.

    Perhaps it will beat Duke Nukem Forever.

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