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Hardware Hacking Wii Build

World's First Custom Firmware For Wii Released 165

Posted by timothy
from the how-to-quantify-spare-time dept.
Croakyvoice writes "Waninkoko has released the world's first custom firmware for the Nintendo Wii, which is installed using the twilight hack; among its features is the ability to allow writeable DVDs to be read in emulators. From the readme: 'The Custom Firmware installs as IOS249 and it does not modify any other IOS so it is secure to install and has been made to be used ONLY with homebrew software. This is a custom IOS, an IOS modified to add some new features not available in the official IOS.'"
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World's First Custom Firmware For Wii Released

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  • But can it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corychristison (951993) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:45PM (#24232649)

    ... play DVD's?

    That's the only feature missing on the Wii, in my opinion, anyway.

    • by Chyeld (713439)

      They have/are working on ports of Mplayer, I haven't installed it yet but given it can handle dvd's and this firmware will allow access to the DVD, it sounds reasonable to believe that if you can't yet, it's only a matter of time.

    • its missing the ability to play pirated games. or, it was...
    • by AsnFkr (545033)
      Take this with a grain of salt, as it may just be made up crap I read on the internet: I have been under the impression constant reading of the Wii laser is bad for the assembly for whatever reason (uh, cheap manufacturing perhaps?) and this is a reason DvD playback has not actually been included by Nintendo or focused on heavily in the homebrew community. If I had a wishlist that could be filled on Wii features, I'd rather have a nice stable network aware "media center" that can stream video and mp3's. An
      • Re:But can it... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:39PM (#24233539) Homepage Journal

        Take this with a grain of salt, as it may just be made up crap I read on the internet:

        It's made up crap you read on the Internet. Like most made up crap, though, there's a grain of unrelated truth. The Wii's firmware drives the disc at a constant velocity, no matter what track is being read. This is different from regular DVD drives that spin the disc faster or slower depending on the track. The latter puts more strain on the motor, which often causes the drives to fail faster. Thus the Wii's design is for reliability purposes.

        Remember all the drive failures in PS2 models? Well, we'd definitely see a higher rate of drive failures if Nintendo supported DVD playback. In addition, Nintendo would need to add MPEG decoder hardware or software. At a minimum that would be additional licensing fees that would drive up the cost of each unit. At a maximum, that would mean licensing PLUS extra decoder chips.

        So in effect, no DVD support is a practical measure. With DVD drives being plentiful, there's no realistic reason why anyone actually needs their Wii to support such a feature.

        • So would this spinning interfere with the ability to play DVDs using homebrew software?

          • It's just a firmware change. Either the hackers are updating the firmware on their DVD burners, or they're updating the drive firmware in the Wii to support both methods of reading.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          One less thing sitting on my entertainment center springs to mind.

          They can solve their issue with buffering.

        • by Agripa (139780)

          This is different from regular DVD drives that spin the disc faster or slower depending on the track. The latter puts more strain on the motor, which often causes the drives to fail faster.

          Puts a strain on the motor? Drive motors are almost exclusively DC brushless using electronically driven commutation and are usually phase locked to an on board frequency reference. Changes necessary to accommodate variable motor speed include an adjustable reference frequency and appropriate feedback loop compensation.

          • I'm not talking about the electronics of it, I'm taking about physical wear on the rotating parts. Constant changes in velocity cause all kinds of interesting stresses on a motor under load. This sort of situation is regularly seen with power generators vs. car engines. Power generators tend to maintain a constant rotational velocity while in use and thus tend to have lifetimes that measure in decades. Car engines, on the other hand, change rotational velocity regularly and very suddenly. As a result, car e

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        The reason its not an official feature is that they'd have to pay royalties if it could play DVDs, and there's no reason to either add that to the cost or subtract it from their profits, everyone already has a DVD player.

    • by Tryfen (216209)

      Really? The Wii is limited to 480p - so that's a rubbish picture for those of us in PAL territories. The sound is limited to stereo - so no DD or DTS. Considering an £20 DVD will have digital sound and better quality - why bother using the Wii in that way?

      • Really? The Wii is limited to 480p - so that's a rubbish picture for those of us in PAL territories. The sound is limited to stereo - so no DD or DTS. Considering an £20 DVD will have digital sound and better quality - why bother using the Wii in that way?

        As you say you will probably get more out of a dedicated DVD player, but it can't really hurt if does play DVDs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)

        Uh. Wii carries Dolby ProLogic 2, like the GameCube.

        • by nxtw (866177)

          Dolby Pro Logic II is matrixed surround audio carried over 2ch stereo. It is not a great substitute for an actual AC3 or DTS track.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        No it isn't.

        I'm no fan of the Wii Graphics - frankly on an HDTV they look shit - but it can do 576p, a little better.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      The reason for no DVD playback is that the drive was designed for short reads not constant reading. If the current Wii drive is used to play DVDs you will either wear it out or it will burn out. That's why Nintendo kept telling people who asked about DVD playback they would have to do some manufacturing changes to allow it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306)

        Wrong. The Wii spins the disc at Constant Angular Velocity, which means that it is far better designed for constant reads. DVDs are spun up and down at Constant Linear Velocity. Which makes the electronics simpler, but puts a lot more wear and tear on the motor. Thus the PS2 drives that failed during its early lifetime vs. the low rate of Wii drive failures.

    • Re:But can it... (Score:5, Informative)

      by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3NO@SPAMjustconnected.net> on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:20PM (#24233225)

      Let's get this straight.

      The drive in the Wii is NOT a DVD drive. In a DVD drive, the speed changes so the laser reads at the same speed all throughout the disk. This puts a strain on the motor (different speed and etc)

      A Wii drive does NOT spin at different speeds, only one. The laser reads at variable speeds all throughout the disk. This makes the drive like a tank.

      One is not the other, at least not without a firmware mod.

    • Re:But can it... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by merreborn (853723) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:44PM (#24233609) Journal

      But can it... play DVD's?

      That's the only feature missing on the Wii, in my opinion, anyway.

      Really? At home, I've got two laptops, a desktop, a PlayStation 2, and a DVD/VCR combo -- all of which play DVDs. The fact that my Wii does not also play DVDs has not been an issue.

      Hell, I didn't even find out that it doesn't play DVDs I read it on the 'net, months after having purchased my unit.

      Are there really that many people who would purchase Wiis that don't already have a DVD player set up? When you can pick one up at Wal Mart for $40 or less...

      IMO, the biggest thing working against the Wii is that it's being treated as a last-gen console by many developers. The Wii port of Guitar Hero 3 had graphics worse than the PS2 version of GH2. Rockband for Wii has no online capability whatsoever, even though GH3 had some, and GH4 is planned to have full online capability on Wii.

      It seems like the development process these days is:

      1. Develop original version for PS3/Xbox360
      2. Backport to PS2, cutting out features and reduce graphical complexity
      3. Port PS2 version to Wii

      Which really shortchanges Wii owners. Yes, the console is far less capable by the PS3/Xbox360... but it's far more capable than the PS2. Try to fully utilize the hardware. Please.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's about boxes around the TV and connectors on the back of it. I use my xbox to play DVDs. Sure I could get a DVD player for $30, but why would I want an extra remote, extra box, extra connection etc.
        • Gawd I hate having to swap my Xbox and Wii out all the time. At least the PS3 has HDMI.

          • by KillerBob (217953)

            If your TV doesn't have more than 2 inputs, maybe you need a new TV... Mine's got 3 HDMI, 2 Component Video, 2 Composite, 1 S-Video, VGA, and coax in, as well as optical and coax digital audio out.

            • I have a good TV. It has 3 HDMI, but only one of the component inputs has sound analog sound. Unfortunately for me, the Xbox only supports optical digital and the Wii has no digital out at all. What I really need is a decent sound system.

            • Could always use an upgrade though :)

        • by merreborn (853723)

          It's about boxes around the TV and connectors on the back of it. I use my xbox to play DVDs. Sure I could get a DVD player for $30, but why would I want an extra remote, extra box, extra connection etc.

          Allow me to emphasize:

          I use my xbox to play DVDs

          That's my point. You already have a DVD player. You only have one input on your TV? Buy a switch box.

          • I have only one connector of every type. I have a slightly older HDTV (2 years or so) when connectors weren't as common. I have one HDMI, one component, one s-video etc. For a long time I didn't have an xbox and just had a Wii. The DVD player functionality was one of the things that I bought the Xbox for (among many others, but it was a factor). For a while I had a component switch box that sucked, good HDMI ones are fairly pricey, and I like the look of less junk around my TV.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Nope but a console playing DVDs is sort of like an appliance that has a clock display. There are so many that it is no longer an important feature.
      My PS/2 Plays DVDs. My DVD player plays DVDs, My HDDVD player plays DVDS "It was cheap", and my XBox plays DVDs. I need the Wii the wii to play DVDs.....
      Now if it could play Divx from a network share that would be useful.

      • My PS/2 Plays DVDs. My DVD player plays DVDs, My HDDVD player plays DVDS "It was cheap", and my XBox plays DVDs. I need the Wii the wii to play DVDs.....

        The only thing I own out of that list is my Wii...

        Case in point.

      • My PS3 upscales DVDs and plays DivX from network shares. It also plays BD movies.

        Just saying :-)

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Yes but it doesn't play MarioKart, Mario Galaxy, BoomBlox, or Wii Fit.
          And it cost more than my HDDVD and my Wii combined.
          I may get one someday because my wife loves SingStar.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by marcansoft (727665)

      It can't, unless you have a modchip and are willing to develop a DVD-playing application. There's rampant misinformation on this, 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 sm
  • by assassinator42 (844848) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @02:54PM (#24232811)
    I know of at least a [gbatemp.net] couple [hackmii.com] that were released before.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AsnFkr (545033)
      Those look more like applications for the Wii (WAD OR ELF's) more than a total custom firmware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Eluan (788868)
        Waninkoko's "custom firmware" is just a ripoff of PatchMii with reduced functionality. PatchMii actually downloads the IOS from Nintendo's servers, patches and install it. It's even easier to use. Waninkoko has a bad reputation on the wiibrew community for stealing credits, and, as always, he releases a new tool days after someone else do all the hard work and release it for free under the GPL. PatchMii was created by bushing, one of the creators of the twilight hack. The unencrypted dvd read patch is by s
        • Mod parent up, he knows what he's talking about. Although bushing did say that Waninkoko was a nice guy, he also said he didn't think things through all the time, and I do notice that his new things come out right after someone else makes a breakthrough.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @03:36PM (#24233491) Homepage Journal

    The "features" that this firmware enables that were not present in the official firmware..

    These are not features. If your hardware can read the disc, then the manufacturer specifically disabled the ability to read from writable media. This firmware disables a form of DRM.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the intent of this firmware!

  • Why limit piracy? Nintendo hates it all the same, so why limit the possible applications of said firmware?

    Videogames are too expensive to purchase often. :P

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by satoshi1 (794000)
      Nintendo has cracked down on piracy, yes, but they have NEVER stopped homebrew projects (and things like OoT2D don't count). They don't seem to really give a shit about homebrew, it's just that both are often lumped together thanks to people like you, asshole.
    • by Shados (741919)

      If you can't afford them, find another hobby between your purchases. Not like you're entitled to them.

  • by josath (460165) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:18PM (#24235825) Homepage

    1. This is not a "custom firmware". It is a hacked copy of an official IOS. IOS is the code which runs on one of the sub processors on the wii, it has nothing to do with the main firmware you see that shows channels, launches games, etc
    2. You still CANNOT read dvdr's on an unmodified Wii. On an unmodified Wii, this modified IOS lets you only do one thing: dump commercial wii discs.
    3. To read dvdr's in wii homebrew, you need a drivechip (a modchip attached to the DVD drive in the wii)

    Conclusion: This is pretty much useless for homebrew, unless you are in the small minority who installed a modchip for piracy, but are still interested in homebrew. Even then, burning DVDR's is much more hassle than using SD's.

  • by STKD (1295515) on Thursday July 17, 2008 @07:27PM (#24235905)
    That the wiidev guys don't know where to start with correcting it. Seriously. For one thing, wanky borrowed these features from patchmii. Just as he borrows for everything he does. The version he released yesterday was almost 100% Nintendo copyrighted code. He cannot code. Fact. Sad slashdot, sad.
    • How'd he get the copyrighted code? Disassembly? I saw something about that on hackmii.com, but I didn't quite understand what it was talking about.

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