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Wii Gets Custom Firmware, Purported PSP Emulator

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the radically-different-definitions-of-working dept.

Wii 68

Engadget is reporting that some recent unofficial Wii modding news has had a couple of interesting breakthroughs. First, it seems that a team has released what is being called the "first custom firmware for the Wii" that supposedly allows writable DVDs to be read in emulators. Second, the folks from TeamShift have shots of a "working" PSP emulator for the Wii. Unfortunately "working" only means between 4 and 8 frames per second, so still a long way from playable.

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Excellent article (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246805)

I especially like how this article and its twin [slashdot.org] are back to back on the main games.slashdot.org [slashdot.org] page.

Re:Excellent article (2, Informative)

distr0 (1161389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246893)

Posted by timothy on Thursday July 17, @03:21PM
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday July 18, @03:48PM

24 hrs and 27 minutes, that has to be a record

Re:Excellent article (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247003)

ScuttleMonkey... FAIL!

Re:Excellent article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246913)

But the one has a plug and the other a wiimote they have to be different....

Re:Excellent article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247191)

The name "Wii" refers to the penis size of the folks who bought one(note that women do not buy them because they are busy going out and being laid by the REAL MEN). It seems to be very popular here on Slashdot.

Dupe from Yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246809)

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/17/1919236 [slashdot.org]

Deja vu all over again.

--A2K

Re:Dupe from Yesterday (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247141)

You must be referring to the 5 guys that spotted the dupe before you.

Is it just me (0)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246821)

or you can smell dejavu [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Is it just me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247275)

No.. That was me... I had Chili with beans for lunch.

WOOOOOO (2, Funny)

Flaystus (887453) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246863)

OH sweet! Who needs more then 7fps anyway?

Re:WOOOOOO (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247333)

It depends on the game Disgaea: afternoon of darkness doesn't really need more than 7fps it will be choppy but playable

what's the problem around here? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246867)

where is the batman review? come on guys, you're slacking.

The PSP "emulator" (1)

MadMcMan (190196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246951)

is obviously fake

Re:The PSP "emulator" (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247061)

Ditto. The image on the TV is wrong on the upper right corner and the FPS text has blurred squares around it.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (5, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247073)

Probably not fake, but also probably not realistic, nor will it ever see widespread use. Knowing the PSP's specs, and knowing the Wii's specs, there is simply no way you can make an emulator run at a reasonable pace. The performance of the emulating machine must be *many times* faster than that of the emulated machine, to account for the massive amount of overhead. The performance gap between the two machines simply is not enough to make this happen.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (4, Insightful)

psavo (162634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247175)

well.. the main thing behind PSP is that it has fairly fancy 3D chip inside, the CPU is not "that" good by itself. 3d acceleration of "slower" console emulation lowers emulation overhead very much.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (2, Informative)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247405)

Not necessarily true. First of all the Wii is quite a bit faster than PSP. Second, they are both MIPS so you don't need to emulate most code, it can run natively. You just have to hook the right calls. Third, most PSP games do not access any hardware directly (all the rendering is done through a library similar to a very light opengl and all the file and audio calls are similarly through system libraries). If you got the system libraries running, all you have to do is hook them up and then you can do a WINE style system where you're not actually emulating at all, you're just replacing system calls.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247565)

First of all the Wii is quite a bit faster than PSP.

333MHz vs. 729MHz. Even if we assume that they have a different performance profile on a per-cycle basis, a little more than twice the clock speed is not really enough for smooth emulation.

Second, they are both MIPS so you don't need to emulate most code

Since when does the Wii contain a MIPS chip? Last I checked, the "Broadway" chip was a PowerPC processor running at 729MHz.

Third, most PSP games do not access any hardware directly (all the rendering is done through a library similar to a very light opengl and all the file and audio calls are similarly through system libraries).

That's true of nearly all modern consoles. Yet the last time I looked into GameCube emulators, they still showed very poor performance on a modern PC. And that's counting that most 3D emulation is done by using replacement libraries whenever possible.

Is enough, but just not yet. (4, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#24249631)

The 2x speed factor could be enough if the CPU emulation uses good dynamic recompilation.
And efficient libraries replacement can give the necessary performance boost.

That's how fast emulation of the N64 was possible back then.

The main problem is that the emulator isn't mature yet :

- Wii's target architecture is PowerPC. Coder haven't as much experience doing fast assembler optimization for PPC compared to IA32 (which 90% of the emulators currently target)
- PSP's architecture is MIPS. This isn't an architecture that has been emulated as extensively as, say, the Z80 or 68k architecture (for those there are lots of ultra highly optimized emulation libraries).

=> Thus you won't currently get a high performance DynaRec egine.

- The PSP is quite recent and the libraries replacement still have to mature a lot (compared to the current state of N64 or PSX libraries).

=> thus even if most game use mainly hi-level interfaces, the emulators aren't currently quite good at harnessing that.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#24278977)

Since when does the Wii contain a MIPS chip? Last I checked, the "Broadway" chip was a PowerPC processor running at 729MHz.

D'oh, you're right... The funny thing is that I've worked on both of these platforms... I must have just wanted to suppress the memories of pain involved in porting to them - haha :-)

Re:The PSP "emulator" (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24279715)

Perhaps you were thinking of the N64? That was MIPS all the way. The first TRUE 64 bit console. (Even if that didn't help it any.) :-)

Re:The PSP "emulator" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247655)

You are partially wrong, The UltraHLE is a Nintendo64 emulator from 1999 and I played games using it without problems and no significant slowdowns in a Pentium II 266Mhz with 64MB of RAM and a Voodoo 1.

The question here is what type of emulator is, is it is a LLE (low level emulator) then the of the system need to be various times more powerfull and if it is a HLE (high level emulator) then the machines don't net to be much more powerfull but is needed to optimize it for every game.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248411)

The other issue I imagine would be that a decent PSP emulator doesn't even exist for the PC. The only ones that exist can only play PSP homebrew. I don't believe this story.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250305)

Yup. The screenshot shows a splash screen running at 7 fps. If that's a splash screen, imagine what a real game would run at.

Re:The PSP "emulator" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247695)

I'll go ahead and list off a couple of the errors.

1. The TV is slanted, the picture is straight and even clipped off at the top unevenly (Look at the tips of the badge)

2. The screen picture is much too clear to be a shot from a digital camera while the TV is on.

3. The FPS monitor in the corner looks very much like it was added on TOP of the picture (With Paint no less!).

I like this game! It's like where's Waldo for geeks!

Not playable?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246961)

What do you mean not playable? I played through Quake II at 8 fps (software rendering on a Cyrix)...

Re:Not playable?! (0)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246995)

And you won?

Re:Not playable?! (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250177)

I know a guy who played on a passive lcd display on an old laptop. There was more than 8 fps, but everything really blurred together to the point where it was almost unplayable. When he upgraded to a real screen, he started to really win quite a bit, as he was so used to playing with such a bad view of the game. He almost learned to play blind.

Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247187)

I think that this has more meaning than just "oh, look, psp games!" I think that the fact that custom firmware is now running on the wii means that it will become the hacker's choice, if you will. It's already a huge success in the modding world, and this will just make things more interesting. I can't wait till they get a simple way to get scummvm running on the wii (yes, there IS a port for it). If they do that, I'll have a wii before the end of the month.

Re:Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (5, Informative)

Josejx (46837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247225)

I'm not sure what you're waiting for. With the Homebrew Channel, you can start ScummVM directly from the Wii Interface. The only tricky part is getting the HBC installed and there are plenty of tutorials for that.

Re:Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247277)

Exactly. I want simple. Hell, if they sold scummvm for the wii, I would buy it in a heartbeat, as long as I could have stuff on the network or something. I love scumm games.

Re:Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (1)

unhooked (21010) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248545)

How simple do you want it? copy some files to your sd card, and play zelda - that's it.
However if you really need it, there's a windows executable that sets everything up for you.
Mplayer, geexbox, and dragonmedia are becoming rather useful of late. And with homebrew channel even my kid can mod our wii (and he just graduated from kindergarten today).

See wiibrew.org for more.

Re:Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247413)

Absolutely. I got the HBC installed using the install dvd image (have a modded wii, but you can use some other tricks to install it on an unmodded wii too). If I want to play MI I just select the homebrew channel from the wii menu, then select scummvm, and that's it. Piratey fun point'n'clicking from the couch.

Re:Wheeeee... wiiiiiiiiii (1)

TavisJohn (961472) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248333)

Thanks to the Homebrew Channel I have been playing Secret of Monkey Island on my Wii for almost a month now. I was going to try out Loom next week.

ScummVM is already really playable and stable. And it runs off of an inexpensive 2gig DS card.

I would care... (-1, Troll)

CaptnCrud (938493) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247361)

if the wiis graphics didnt look so simalar to the gamecubes, the wii is nothing more than two gamecubes duct taped together. and apparently im not the only one as stated here by joystiq [joystiq.com] to think this. sure bowling is cool but why the hell wouldnt I go out and...you know bowl for real. [end rant]

Re:I would care... (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250401)

sure bowling is cool but why the hell wouldnt I go out and...you know bowl for real. [end rant]

I dunno, maybe because you don't like rent a foot fungus?

No NES emulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247385)

Maybe with a NES emulator I could get my Battletoads for the fucking Wii while I wait for Gamestop to stop being bitches and hoarding the new Wii version.

How Battletoads is like Windows (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24254737)

Maybe with a NES emulator I could get my Battletoads for the fucking Wii while I wait for Gamestop to stop being bitches and hoarding the new Wii version.

It's not GameStop that's being a bitch; it's Microsoft. Like RC Pro-Am for NES, Jeopardy!, and Banjo-Kazooie, the Battletoads games were developed by Rare, which is now part of Microsoft. At this point, it's a toss-up whether the game will show up on Xbox Live Arcade or on Virtual Console.

Hmm... (4, Insightful)

Tpl2000 (1174767) | more than 6 years ago | (#24247561)

Y'know, the picture they give is fake. I'm not saying the lighting is wrong, or anything... but it's a "perfect" picture. the image on the screen is at exact right angles, and that would be damn near impossible regardless of what surface your camera is on. Also, the power light on the Wii appears to be orange. HMMMM......

Re:Hmm... (1)

tlacuache (768218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248191)

oblig. [xkcd.com]

(Although I agree, it is fake.)

Re:Hmm... (0, Redundant)

Tpl2000 (1174767) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248379)

Haha, I would've posted that had I thought of it. xkcd for the win.

Re:Hmm... (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248463)

Looks green to me, and the top of the screen definitely isn't square.

Come on, people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24247783)

On the topic of "no$Psp":
Ugh! Rather than discuss how obviously fake this is, I am going to address the fact that this even made it onto the front page of Slashdot. It seems like many of the replies (on all the various sites reporting this) pointing out how fake this is loose credibility by sounding stupid, as in "Come on this is so fake just get a life stupid dude I don't know how to use punctuation," although there is one good one on DCEmu that sums up why this is a (poorly constructed) hoax. It seems as though no one, not even the editors (here, engadget, and elsewhere), RTFA's anymore. In fact, I'm seriously considering producing a fake _video_ of the same "quality" (that is, with all the same giveaways) as this picture, just to see if everyone still argues about whether it's real. I think it's so funny how people think that a video automatically means "real" and a picture is usually faked.

On the topic of the new firmware, though, great job devs! I had read a little bit about how this might be possible without damaging the original firmware a few days ago, so I'm glad to see it has been put to use so quickly!

Re:Come on, people! (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24249693)

Who's loosing credibility? I need some of that action!

No, seriously, I do. All of us grammar Nazis gonna get in a huddle and lap up the loosed credibility. We's gonna hunt down all that there loosed credibility. And there ain't nobody gonna stop us.

Elf Loader (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248161)

So I was trying to find that "custom firmware", but could not find it anywhere on the page. All the emulators on dcemu that the engadget article pointed to all seemed to use the Elf SD emulator, which is like a hack to Zelda: Twilight Princess. That is why I got so excited about the custom firmware headline - I was hoping I would not have to jump through all these hoops just to get a SNES emulator to work. That would be so cool - I just want to put all my ROMS on a disc, and play them using the classic controler for the Wii.

One of the main reasons I still have my DreamCast around. Freakin easy to homebrew.

Re:Elf Loader (1)

Antwerp Atom (1306775) | more than 6 years ago | (#24253053)

You can download the firmware directly from the maker's site, which is: wii.waninkoko.info [waninkoko.info]
I don't really understand what you're complaining about, once you installed the homebrew channel, it's really easy to play with the snes emulator and it works with the classic controller too.

+stupid+ (1)

Xakep (1319525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24248659)

To me that is just stupid! Why would you want to emulate a PSP @ only 4 and 8 frames per second. I at least have to give them some props for TRYING. Who knows, next they will probably try to create an Wii emulator for PSP, witch will be even DUMBER!

Re:+stupid+ (1)

Wanon (808109) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259725)

Well there is an NDS emulator on the PSP. The first ever system to emulate a same generation console. A next gen system being emulated may not be that out of reach...

The PSP Emulator (3, Informative)

Bragg (147168) | more than 6 years ago | (#24249209)

Given the screenshot, it seems likely that this is a port of the Potemkin emulator which was released under GPL about a year ago. I have not tested Potemkin but, i haven't read that it's fake anywhere either.

FAKE (1)

kribby (964773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250063)

classic example of a "emo kid trying to grow his e-penus" Throughout the years as a admin at NGemu, I have witnessed the birth of PS1, N64, and PS2 emulation. There is always a common characteristic between fake emulator of then and now: An unknown author claiming the extraordinary without any previous debug release that can play homebrew games. Also, they always seem to post 1 image claiming their amazing accomplishments.... I don't think anyone can tell me, with a straight face, that the image is 100% authentic

When are homebrew developers... (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250237)

... going to make something other then emulators and ports of Doom/Quake/Etc?

Re:When are homebrew developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24251017)

They do. Everybody ignores anything that isn't either an emulator, or a port of a commercial game.

Re:When are homebrew developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24251231)

In this "market", you're competeing against higher-quality pirated commercial titles. Why would the "customers" want to play lower-quality indie games when they can get the commercial stuff for "free"?

Free non-software works (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24255053)

[When are homebrew developers] going to make something other then emulators and ports of Doom/Quake/Etc?

Probably once you help with creating models, textures, etc. under a free [freedomdefined.org] license suitable for use in free video games. The free non-software works movement isn't as mature as the free software movement yet.

Re:When are homebrew developers... (1)

solcott (1002711) | more than 6 years ago | (#24269521)

... going to make something other then emulators and ports of Doom/Quake/Etc?

There is a port of Quake, and it works very well.
http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_apps/Quake [wiibrew.org]

Controls work very similarly to Metroid Prime 3 if you have played that.

Re:When are homebrew developers... (1)

solcott (1002711) | more than 6 years ago | (#24269529)

... going to make something other then emulators and ports of Doom/Quake/Etc?

There is a port of Quake, and it works very well. http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_apps/Quake [wiibrew.org] Controls work very similarly to Metroid Prime 3 if you have played that.

Wow, something _other_ than. I fail at reading.

Re:When are homebrew developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24271207)

Wow, something _other_ than. I fail at reading.

Well that and english grammar...

Rampant misinformation (3, Informative)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 6 years ago | (#24250407)

... as usual.

Let's set a few things straight:

  • Currently, there is no public method for reading DVD-Rs on an unmodded Wii.
  • This isn't the first "Custom Firmware" (I hate that word) for the Wii. Not even close. Not even the first public one. Or, alternately, this isn't and there has never been a true wii Custom Firmware, depending on how you look at it.
  • The "Custom Firmware" is only a small patch to the firmware that does two things: disable signature checks and disable a certain read restriction on the DVD code. What this does is let you use standard-format DVD-Rs (i.e. ISO9660 or Video DVDs) with the DVD drive on the Wii, but you still need a modchip.
  • The difference between this firmware and the original is exactly 5 bytes. 4 for the DVD maximum read restriction (an unsigned int), and one code byte patch for the signature disable. Hardly earth-shattering.

We released a legal open source firmware patcher [hackmii.com] some time ago. Approximately three days before this purpoted "custom firmware" came out, svpe had added the DVD restriction removal patch to it (this was in response to an outright modification to an older firmware, released with the original code and hence illegally, by nitrotux, which he distributed with a disc dumper, but our patcher patches all of the recent versions of the firmware which use a completely different subroutine for the check, so the patch is different even though the result is the same). The first revision of Waninkoko's "custom firmware" was so hastily done that it was basically a PPF patch over the original firmware. Except it's encrypted. And he even changed the key. Hence, the patch was useless and he ended up distributing the entire patched-and-reencrypted file in the form of the patch (the entire patcher was 2MB, which is the size of the entire firmware). The fact that he made this trivial mistake makes me think that he did this very quickly and stole the patches from the open source patchmii (the DVD patch is identical except for the actual number involved in the restriction, and the signature check disable patch, which is relatively hard to find and there are several ways of doing it, is exactly the same). He later released a newer version without the blatant patch fuckup which is presumably legal to distribute now, although it still requires people to rip the original firmware from a recent game (whereas our open source patcher automatically downloads it from Nintendo's servers).

Now onto the news. Recently, we actually did figure out a way of reading DVD-Rs without a modchip. Since this can be used for piracy (and could potentially cause quite an increase in it, since a free simple non-warranty-voiding pirate-game-playing hack is very appealing compared to the current modchip situation), we have tried to contact Nintendo about it (privately and publicly [hackmii.com] ). If they ignore us, then we'll probably release an open source library and tools that will let Wii homebrew read information from a DVD-R on any Wii, modchip or not.

For anyone trying to draw parallels between the PSP and the Wii, I suggest this article. As for the PSP emulator, I'll believe it when I see more than a single screenshot.

Possibility for DVD player? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24255099)

Recently, we actually did figure out a way of reading DVD-Rs without a modchip.

Does this include DVD-ROM, DVD-R, and DVD+R discs? If so, then I'd guess Nintendo has no excuse not to make a "DVD-Video Channel" and sell it in WiiWare for 2000 points to cover the price of DVD format (MPEG-2, AC-3, CSS) licensing. That's what Microsoft did for the original Xbox: sell a copy of the DVD decoder software on a memory card and bundle it with a remote.

Re:Possibility for DVD player? (2, Interesting)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 6 years ago | (#24256805)

That's correct. Technically, Nintendo could make a DVD-Video player channel. If Nintendo ignores our attempts to contact them, we'll give porting a DVD player a shot.

mo3 do3n (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24250893)

fear t4e reaper percent of the *BSD is also a miserab7e time wholesome and

Here is some actual information: (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24252191)

That is mostly on topic. There is a new Open Source wii emulator out that runs in both x86 and x64 windows. It was initially just a gamecube emulator, but it now emulates several wii titles, and shows perfect graphics until it realizes you have no wiimote, for which there is currently no software interface, either.

But still, a wii emulator is ALREADY OUT that shows graphics, and it's OPEN SOURCE (now)!

http://www.dolphin-emu.com/ [dolphin-emu.com]

Re:Here is some actual information: (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24255123)

[This GPL'd GameCube emulator] emulates several wii titles, and shows perfect graphics until it realizes you have no wiimote, for which there is currently no software interface, either.

Would it likely be made to work with titles that can read GCN controllers, such as Brawl, Mario Kart, and (apparently) City Folk?

Re:Here is some actual information: (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24257825)

Eventually. It seems the pattern for emulation is: Nothing, then a few loading screens, then it's almost playable, then the games become playable, then the emulation steadily improves, and finally the gameplay experience is vastly superior to the original console.

Screw PSP (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24252993)

I'd be happy if I can play my old MegaCD games on it, if only so I can do it without needing 4kg of power bricks.

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