Wii in game dashboard

EDIT: I’m assuming you don’t really want to read this wall of text so just skip it and tell me what kind of features you want in a Wii home menu.

So in the off chance you you played (or even just watched the vids of) both Dance Clone and Maze Generator you might have noticed that they have very similar home menus (the menu that comes up when you hit the home button). That’s because they essentially are the same menu.

Maze Generator used a recycled/reworked/improved copy of the same menu I made for Dance Clone. I didn’t just copy and paste it though I also seriously fixed it up. The button sprites are somewhat un noticeably but slightly different, The menu transitions and slides on and off screen rather then abruptly appearing and disappearing when you hit the button and if its transitioning off you can interrupt it and make it start sliding back to on and vice versa rather then needing to wait before you can hit the button again. That’s basically the idea for what I’m going to be doing for the home menu in all my stuff. Its pointless spending time remaking menus that all serve the same function every time I do a new homebrew game/app so I’m going to use the same menu as I continually tweak and improve it. This also means that any time I go back to an old game I’ve done I’ll be able to really quickly slap on the newer version of that menu system and right away already have a bunch of improvements for the game.

I’m not sure how viable an option they are since I’m using SDL rather then Libwiisprite GRRLIB but there are actually already somewhat standardized Wii homebrew home menus available to use like The HOMEbrew Menu Standard Library or HomeMenu but they only really try to imitate the official menu (its crazy how well HomeMenu manages to look like it or at least does in the screenshot) which is cool in one way but also kinda limiting. Theres so much more that could be done in that space then what is accomplished with the official Wii home menu. Just look at what PS3 and 360 do with there in game menu system. So anyways my goal is to add in as much cool shit as is possible without it having a negative effect on the performance of the actual game that the menu is used with.

The menu in Maze Generator is already doing a few things that the real Wii home menu doesn’t. It displays the time and date. It even has a screenshot feature. It saves a perfect quality image of the screen (as it was before you paused and brought up the home menu) to your SD card. Its not perfect. Its in BMP format which means the file size is a bit bloated though the quality is perfect, its a bit slow (the game freezes for a second or two once you select to save the screen), and it always saves it as sd:/screenshot.bmp and overwrites any preexisting file at the address with that file name so you can only take one screenshot. But it was so stupidly easy and such a cool feature that it just seems absurd that it isn’t commonplace.

So anyways I want to know what kinds of things you want to be able to do from home menu. If you can think of anything cool then post the idea in the comments. It doesn’t matter how outlandish it is I want to hear it.

Now on an unrelated note because I’m completely fracking vain I want to point you in the direction of TehSkeen. I use to visit that site regularly before I kinda took a break from paying attention to Wii homebrew and my inner attention whore just had a total nerdgasm when I realized that three of the twenty front page news posts are currently about homebrew things I made. Needless to say they have won the site back its place in my firefox bookmarks.

Maze Generator

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS67qbgxzzo]

Use your wiimote dpad to navigate the blue block through randomly generated mazes and try to find your way to the other blue block.

That is pretty much all there is to it. You can optionally watch the maze being created (just hit 1 or 2 at the menu screen and it will slow down the process and render it on screen as its doing it) or you can just get started right away (hit a and it will only take a sec to make the maze and wont present you with it until its done).

I had just read an article about automated Depth-First Search maze creation and thought it seemed interesting so I went about writing up the random maze generator based on it. Everything outside of the random level generator (the graphics, the controls, the actual game play and goal) where all an afterthought made to justify to myself why I had made this. As a result its not really that great of a game. The mazes are really easy to figure out and tend to not really give you enough opportunities to make mistakes. The controls kinda suck just because of how fast you move and how small you and the path ways are on screen.

I’m happy with it though. It didn’t take too long to make and most of the time was actually spent on somewhat unrelated things that will probably come in handy for future homebrew games. I can definitely see myself adapting the maze generator a bit and using it in future games (I just love the idea of randomly/procedurally generated game environments). I really like the look of it. I really like how the title screen and in game background turned out looking and I love how the crisp and simple black maze walls look on it. I think the two blue blocks ruin the aesthetic a bit but it was necessary for the sake of gameplay that they be the way they are.

Download links

Dance Clone

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBBk7LeXsrc&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Its far from done and along with other missing functionality it doesn’t even have audio but here is the beginnings of my Wii homebrew DDR clone. Its intended to be played with a GameCube/Wii dance mat but will work fine with a regular GC controller d-pad or a wiimote d-pad. Just hit the corresponding directional button to match the arrows as they reach the top. You get either a perfect or good rating based on how well you time it or you will get a booed if you totally miss an arrow. The game is completely frame rate independent so even if the currently great frame rate starts to go down or becomes inconsistent the game will always stay in sync with the soon to be added music. Also well the game currently “randomly” generates the arrow placement its setup in a way that will make it incredibly easy to have it save and load the placement from an external file once I create the editor. Another thing is that well the randomly placed arrows are placed at a consistent rate (there is 140 of them per minute and there all evenly separated) Theres nothing that about the way its setup that necessitates that so songs with inconsistent speeds will be more then possible. The top bars distance from the top of the screen, the arrow scroll speed, and what distance good and perfect fall into should all be considered temporary and will be tweaked.

Download

Homebrew gone stale

There is a thread over at WiiBrew’s forum asking if the once news worthy flood of interesting Wii homebrew has dried up. I’ve got to agree with the OP (robmcp1888). I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’ve haven’t been paying much attention to the Wii homebrew scene for a while until recently and during the gap of time not much has really happened. Well there is still new homebrew and updates to pre existing stuff getting released fairly frequently there isnt really anything worth paying much attention to. The thing is that pretty much everything has been done already.

Regardless of how some of you uptight copyright defenders might feel about it the main focus for most people for opening up closed platforms like Wii is to enable piracy and that has already been done. You can play copies of Game Cube or Wii disc based games or even install pirated channels. You can even play once disc based games off of USB external hard drives. There is nothing interesting left to be accomplished for that type of thing.

All of the usual stuff has already been ported. There is a kind of unofficial but well established list of games that ALWAYS get ported to any platform that homebrew is possible on. Stuff like Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake and SuperTux. You can play them on anything from a GP2X or Dingoo to just about any kind of cellphone and you can already play them on Wii.

There is already an emulator for just about every console and the few that dont have emulators are ones that there will likely never will be usable ones for on Wii (for example sure nobody has made a PS2 emulator but its unrealistic to think that there will ever be one let alone one that runs at more then 1 frame per hour or any other tolerable rate).

I think the last frontier is original 3D games. For the most part there STILL hasn’t been anybody who has really done 3D yet. There are a few things like ProjectGMC but as visually amazing as it is its not really doing anything that couldn’t have been done with sprite based 2 graphics and it isn’t really doing anything with the Wii remote either. I’m surprised that there still hasn’t been a good (scratch that it doesn’t even need to be good) original homebrew FPS or 3d platformer for Wii.

Not that I’m any exception to the rule. I’m at least at the moment working strictly in 2D making low quality games that I’m sure nobody cares about. But in the off chance that you do happen to care then you might be happy to hear that I’ll probable have a really early version of a DDR clone up sometime tomorrow. Hopefully it will help to compensate for Wii’s sad lack of a StepMania port.

http://forum.wiibrew.org/read.php?14,40725,42540#msg-42540

Homebrew Browser

Ok for you Wii homebrew ignorant the way you run homebrew is by taking advantage of one of the many exploits to run a tiny little but of unsigned code that will in turn launch a full blown homebrew app. Back in the real olden days pretty much all you could do was use the Twilight Princess exploit to launch a port of tetris. What happened really quickly though was that installable homebrew launchers where made like the homebrew channel and a few others like it that I dont think absolutely anybody uses. Once you had the homebrew channel installed you would never need to use another game save exploit again and you could use it to way more easily brows multiple apps stored on your SD card which majorly streamlined the whole process of running homebrew which in turn streamlined the process of developing it (I dunno how other people work but I tend to recompile and retest things a lot even when I’m confidant that what I’m doing wont cause problems). For the end user though its still a bit of a hassle going about using new homebrew. To find out about and get apps that you dont have yet requires motivation which in my opinion somewhat clashes with the laziness that plagues gaming. That is where the Homebrew Browser comes into the equation. Its a homebrew app which you can conveniently launch from your homebrew channel and what it does is provide you with a constantly updatting list of all homebrew games, emulators, media players, demos and everything else and lets you download them with your Wii directly to your SD card so there ready to be played as soon as you back out to your homebrew launcher.

I’ve always known about it but I never actually tried the Homebrew Browser but I have now so let me tell you about it: its so very cool in concept and just a little flawed in execution.

It starts up with a simple white text on black background screen as it reads out what its doing well loading up and connecting to the server and downloading updates and images. Once its done the screen seizures and briefly sits at some random garbage image. It doesn’t take too long for the app to get ready for use but even so that start up doesn’t scream quality presentation and that first time it does have a considerable wait time well it downloads the thumbnail title images for games. The fact that it failed extract all of the images from the rar file that first time also didn’t fill me with confidence about the apps quality. Once you get started there are other problems and shortcomings. Scrolling through the lists using the d-pad painfully slow and well you can hold down the b button and tilt the wiimote to scroll I would still think that its speed for even that method should be ramped up. Switching from category to category (especially with once with a lot of entries like games to emulators and vise versa) causes it to freeze up for a little bit well it presumably loads up the list and associated images. There are lots of little things like that. It also completely crashed and gave me a code dump well I was using it the first time.

But the thing is that once you get past those little gripes it really is an amazing app. That start up may look weak but the visual presentation of the actual app is great. It has a really nice GUI. Aside from the very short pause when loading up a different category to browse it runs increasingly smoothly and is generally just very responsive. You cant comment on homebrew but you can give em a 1-5 star rating and you can also see how many times its been downloaded. You continue browsing well something is download or extracting/installing in the background which I really was expecting to be able to do and it even continues to run really smoothly even then.

Its got room for improvement as any program does but overall its just great quality and lives up to its concept which despite its obviousness I dont think any one else has tried to do on Wii. I downloaded a bunch of games with it to try out which I wouldn’t have bothered to do if I had to involve my computer in the process so that alone justifies downloading.

The real reason I ended up getting around to trying it though is that The person/people (presumably the apps author teknecal) are crazy dedicated and fast when it comes to adding newly released homebrew. Since I finished up the Wii port of Pineapple Apocalypse yesterday and posted it here I decided to make an account over at WiiBrew (aka the god of all Wii homebrew wikis) and after writing up my user page I created a page about my game and stuck a link to it in another page in the wiki with all the other role playing homebrew games. This morning I went back to the wiki and checked the list of recent changes to see if anything I posted had in any way caused people to rage (I’m addicted to reading wikipedia and wiibrew but aside from reporting my results with wiigators backup loader over at the gbatemp’s wiki back when the loader had more compatibility issues I’ve never actually contributed anything to a wiki so I dunno if I’m doing any thing wrong) and what I noticed was that along with awesome helpful people fixing the way a link as done in my user page and adding spaces between the words in the title of the game what else had happened was that it had been added to the Homebrew Browser. I didn’t tell anybody about it on the forum or request that it be added to the browser or do anything like that but it still got added within 24 hours of my posting it on the wiki. That some serious dedication.

Anyways check it out:
http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_Browser

And be sure to download and rate Pineapple Apocalypse and all my future stuff with it once you’ve got it 🙂

Pineapple Apocalypse RPG for Wii

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6VMJQtn5xI&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Well it really didn’t take too long. I have Pineapple Apocalypse RPG running on Wii and it even does a few things that the PC version doesn’t. For starters you can save and load your progress. It also costs you 1 gold to get repaired/healed which gives gold a bit of a purpose though your still likely never going to run out it.

Everything else is effectively the same as in the PC version.

Its not perfect though. Along with having the same shortcomings as the PC version (there still isnt really anything to do but wander and level grind) there are a few new problems. Most noticeably well it is (or should be) properly rendering at 640×480 just like on PC (its made to look even more low rez at 320×240 but it technically is 640×480) it doesn’t seem to be getting stretched to the screen properly and instead part of it is getting clipped off the top and bottom. It isnt game ruining though and you are still able to read all of the text though some of that text gets uncomfortably close to the edge of the screen. Maybe that could just my TV though. It also isn’t performing as well despite its simplicity. It runs at a constant smooth 60 frames even on my old computer but well I dont have it setup yet for me to be able to check the frame rate I had to basically make it do everything twice and only render once to make the game run at a comparable speed. Still 30 (or presumably somewhere just a little above or bellow that) frames per second isn’t really bad and it doesn’t seem too choppy to me.

For controls just old the wii remote sideways (NES controller style) and use the directional pad to move your character and also to navigate the menus. Use the 2 button to accept your selection and proceed through menus. Press the pluss button at any time when you arent in combat to save and hit the minus button at absolutely any time to load your save. Hitting the home button at any time will exit the game.

So just drop it into the apps folder on you SD card and try it out.

Download

Video game port job

I’ve been meaning to get back into Wii homebrew so I’ve decided to port Pineapple Apocalypse to Wii. This time around I’m abandoning libwiisprite (which is what I had used for all my previous Wii homebrew games) and instead I’m going to be using SDL. I’ve already started messing around with it a little bit and I’m at the point where I dont really expect to hit any rode blocks so rewriting the game to run on Wii shouldn’t be too time consuming. Even aside from just getting more experience in Wii homebrew I’m kinda psyched about having a justification to work with SDL which will make it possible to more directly port things from platform to platform rather then in the case of this game which is essentially being remade because of its dependence on DarkGDK/DirectX which will never work on Wii. If I’m happy with it I’m considering going with SDL/OpenGL for all my future PC projects which will make Linux and Mac versions possible. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do once I have Pineapple Apocalypse running on Wii. I might improve upon it (admittedly it really is far from being a complete RPG) or bring it over to GP2X (I have an old GP2X F100 which I’ve always wanted to try programing something for but just never did) or mess around on Wii some more or maybe just return to PC stuff as usual and work some more on They Do Not Die which I’ve been neglecting for way to long.

A history of Zombie games. Part two.

A long while after making that first zombie game Wii homebrew became a possibility and and I started getting into it. One of those Wii homebrew games was another top down zombie shooter. I think I actually reused the same image for the reticule but aside from that the graphics where all new and obviously out of necessity so was the code. This time around it was full 2D. It didn’t take too long for a quake port to make it to Wii and the last time I bothered looking into what other people where doing on Wii some original 3D homebrew games where starting to pop up but at the time making games in 2D was more or less the only way to go. It never really got very far. I actually found the transition to working in C++ (which I had never used before) fairly easy and I had become fairly comfortable with great and simple to work with graphics library called libwiisprite which another homebrew programmer had made specifically for Wii. But I was also using Box2D again and having trouble figuring out a few things related to using it in C++. In the end the game had you moving and aiming perfectly fine and also had a car you could push (slowly though since cars tend to be heavy), collision detection with most but not all of the walls and one lone zombie which followed you around. I’ll dig it up and post it if anybody wants it but I don’t think I’ll bother sharing it unless/until I get back to working on it Which I’m actually seriously thinking of doing in a way.