Wii Homebrew: The do’s and don’ts
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read my previous article then you now have a basic idea of what is possible with homebrew. Allthough it has lots of positive aspects, there is a certain risk to it. For starters, it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t realy clear whether this voids waranty but I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be too surprised if Nintendo refuses to fix a wii with traces of homebrew on it (allthough most likely they will, judging by the amount of WiiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s they’ve fixed that had botched up solder jobs caused by modchip installations). This wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be that much of a problem if homebrew didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t introduce a certain risk to your console, and like IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve guessed by now, it does. Executing homebrew on your Wii console will always have a certain risk to it, so be sure to only use homebrew from a somewhat Ã¢â‚¬Å“trustedÃ¢â‚¬Â source.
The most comon risk with homebrew is bricking due to import games. As we all know some games have updates on them, but this isnt a problem as long as you update with games from your own region. However, if you decide to use homebrew software to enable your Wii to play games from other regions, you might get in trouble. If you update with a game from another region, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get system software from another region, and your wii doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like that. This might result in a loss of your settings screen, meaning that when you try to go to the Wii settings you get an error message. This is quite easily fixed by updating with a newer version of the WiiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s system software of your own region.
A problem with Wii homebrew is that it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a recovery system (yet). This means that when you develop something, you have to be realy carefull, because if you do one thing wrong you can forget about your Wii. As opposed to systems like the Sony PSP the Wii does not have an equivalent to the so called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Pandora BatteryÃ¢â‚¬Â, for more on this specific subject I advise you to read http://hackmii.com/2008/06/your-wii-is-not-a-psp/. This also means that if someone wants to do harm to your Wii they can easily do that, because its so fragile and one wrong piece of code can do the trick.
The problems described above are all incidental problems, they weren’t intentionaly created by Nintendo. I will now give you a few examples of what Nintendo has done so far to try and stop homebrew and what risks this introduces. Nintendo isn’t realy known for trying to stop homebrew, if you look back at the gamecube days they did close to nothing to stop homebrew. However, now with the Wii they do respond *somewhat* more. If you look at what they’ve done against modchips, they’ve actualy done quite a lot. They’ve introduced I think about 4 or 5 drive revisions to try to stop modchips. Allthough in some cases this caused some setback, these new revisions were always compromised within weeks. For homebrew, Nintendo didn’t realy do anything against it until about a week ago when they pushed the 3.3 software update into the world. This version actualy checks for and deletes the twilight hack. However, it actualy doesnt do anything against people that have allready used it, so if you have the homebrew channel installed for example, this won’t give you any problems. Luckily for all the homebrew fans that have yet to take the plunge, within 6 houres the original writers of the Twilight Hack announced a new version that wasnt detected by the 3.3 firmware, the tech savy ones amongst you might want to check http://hackmii.com/2008/06/wii-menu-tp-hack-killer-analysis/ and http://hackmii.com/2008/06/twilight-hack-v01beta1/. This new version of the Twilight Hack was released about a week ago and I have to say, it works like a charm.
This basicaly means that every Wii, no matter what firmware it runs, can execute the Twilight Hack and therefor all homebrew. However, this also shows that Nintendo IS actively looking into the matter, meaning that we can expect some more bumps in the road. I will post a big warning sign as soon as Nintendo distributes anything that causes a risk to your Wii console, but up until that point, you can update your Wii console without any problems. The 3.3 firmware update didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just fix the twilight hack though, it also fixes the so called Ã¢â‚¬Å“trucha bugÃ¢â‚¬Â. The trucha bug allowed for previously altered discs to be run, and this was mainly used for things like uncensoring Manhunt or so called Ã¢â‚¬Å“scrubbingÃ¢â‚¬Â isoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, in other words, this wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t present any problems for people that havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t installed a modchip, since they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t run these discs anyway. The problem on this one is that Datel also uses the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Trucha bugÃ¢â‚¬Â on its Freeloader, meaning that with firmware 3.3 you can no longer use the Freeloader. However, there is a great alternative for this which goes by the name of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gecko Region FreeÃ¢â‚¬Â. It is a homebrew application that you run, and then you insert your imported disc. This will completely ignore the update partition on the disc and make sure it runs on any region Wii.
The most comon fear that people have is that Nintendo will try to brick your console (or ban you from their online service ala Microsoft) if they find any traces of homebrew. Well rest assured, this most likely wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen. Why not? Because quite frankly, Nintendo doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give a shit about you. Just like every other major company, they only care about money. As long as homebrew doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cause any money loss for them, they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care. Also, if they decide to brick consoles all those WiiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will be sent to their repair centers, which will evantualy cause them to lose money. But then why did they distribute the 3.3 update? Because due to some bad people homebrew also enables you to pirate things like VC and WiiWare games, which offcourse is a horrible thing to do.
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve payed attention so far you now know that allthough homebrew will always present a certain risk, if you use it wisely it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t present any problems.
Well thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about it for today, this was the last part of the introduction. My next post will be a step by step guide to installing the twilight hack and the homebrew channel. After that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll focus on putting great homebrew applications in the spotlights.
Once again, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.