Notes from inside your Wii

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My 6-hour trip to the Dark Side

March 29th, 2009 by marcan · No Comments

Warning: rant and drama ahead. If you’re not into that sort of thing, feel free to skip over the following.

Time and time again, Waninkoko’s apps have just been thin wrappers around existing code or tools written by others. His Filesystem Dumper came about when I told him about the GID 0 TMD trick. WAD Installer showed up after I reverse engineered the ES interface and added the relevant functions to libogc. His first DVD warez launcher showed up after the IOS Module Toolkit appeared, to which he added DVDX and some old Gamecube code. And just now, his USB warez launcher appears mysteriously 22 days after a USB2 module for IOS was released.

The only strange part is that it took him all 22 days to get it to work.

All his later apps have included advertisements, and the official downloads all required signing up for his sponsoring site, which also requires that you sign up for an e-mail spam service. He’s definitely making a pretty penny out of his particular version of the “scene”.

Now, this would ordinarily be just one more episode of waninkoko hyping up ad-riddled trivial warez-friendly applications built on top of other people’s code and work. However, some interesting things happened. He hyped up the release date of the video on his blog, and the mass amount of page reloads around the time caused his sponsoring site to go down. They also claim that there was a DDoS attack involved. I followed this hilarious situation on the ElOtroLado forums, and correctly predicted that the hyped app would be a USB warez launcher before it was revealed. Of course, he is once again being revered as a scene god by those who don’t know any better.

Then I got accused of the supposed DDoS. (No, I had nothing to do with it)

Teknoconsolas administrator Xtreme, who doesn’t seem to like me that much, started firing shots using a cheesy music literature reference where Waninkoko is Mozart and I’m Salieri. Insults galore, apparently I’m now a “wannabe waninkoko”. Though the analogy kind of breaks down when you consider that I’m responsible for walking Waninkoko through his beginnings on the Wii scene (and boy do I regret that).

So I figured, how hard could it really be to replicate Waninkoko’s loader? After all, as I said, all the pieces are there. So I set out to create my own USB warez launcher, starting off from publicly available bits and pieces, in the shortest possible amount of time. Maybe this would help people understand just how trivial it is.

The answer? It takes about 6 hours.

This is the rough progress log of my very own venture into the Dark Side:

Start time: 3am (CEST, just after the DST change in Spain)

  • 3am – 4am: copy game to USB, screw around, think
  • 4am – 5am: get build structure in order, make IOS + installer, add gecko debugging to it
  • 5am – 6am: add EHCI driver to build and make EHCI driver work right
  • 6am – 7am: make USB storage work, add DI commands
  • 7am – 8am: adapt PPC loader code, debug apploader
  • 8am – 8:20am: debug apploader some more
  • 8:20am – 8:30am: fix MEM1 globals and finally get the game to boot
  • 8:30am – 9:30am: clean up and debug

I recorded a video of the result. It’s a crappy loader, of course, but the point is that the core functionality of the loader – the only thing that could possibly be innovative – took all of 6 hours to write and debug. Many extra features could be added, like proper NTFS filesystem support, a cache (this loader has none and it still loads fast!), multiple game support, a built-in game ripper, and enough ads to make you gag, but those are just boring bits of icing on the cake. And the reason for this is that the core USB loader code is not innovative at all – it’s just an amalgam of the following existing components: IOS36, the USB2 module, the IOS module toolkit, some random apploader launch code (this dates back to the GC era), some bits of Gecko OS to make it work, and a small amount of original code.

For obvious reasons, there is no chance in hell of this ever being released.

What follows is a video of the launcher loading a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (which I own the original to, of course). Pay attention to the USB drive’s activity LED.

(Yes, I spam thunderbolt.)

So there you have it. The 6-hour warez launcher.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks to bushing for editing the video for me.

Tags: Wii