Notes from inside your Wii

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In Memoriam: Ben “bushing” Byer

February 9th, 2016 by marcan · 1 Comment

Ben Byer
1980 – 2016

We are deeply saddened by the news that our member, colleague, and friend Ben “bushing” Byer passed away of natural causes on Monday, February 8th.

Many of you knew him as one of the public faces of our group, fail0verflow, and before that, Team Twiizers and the iPhone Dev Team.

Outspoken but never confrontational, he was proof that even in the competitive and oftentimes aggressive hacking scene, there is a place for both a sharp mind and a kind heart.

To us he was, of course, much more. He brought us together, as a group and in spirit. Without him, we as a team would not exist. He was a mentor to many, and an inspiration to us all.

Yet above anything, he was our friend. He will be dearly missed.

Our thoughts go out to his wife and family.

Keep hacking. It’s what bushing would have wanted.

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HBC release for a new Wii U

December 7th, 2012 by dhewg · 36 Comments

Update: HackMii Installer v1.2 with The Homebrew Channel v1.1.2 now available, see below

Another year, another console, another Hackmii Installer!

Despite all of the anti-reverse-engineering tricks we put into our last installment of the HackMii Installer, Nintendo managed to find the IOS exploit we used to install The Homebrew Channel and fix it sometime within the last two years. There never was a Wii system update for this, the fixed IOS versions can only be found on a Wii U.

They also blocked our old title ID. Consequently, we have a new release with a new version of The Homebrew Channel; this will install on both Wii consoles, and inside the virtual Wii sandbox inside the Wii U.  The currently used IOS exploit is courtesy of tueidj.

Please note that this is not running in full Wii U mode; running this on a Wii U will probably work just like on a Wii. (See if you can find any differences, we can all try to hack the Wii U together from inside Wii mode!)

Also, due to technical limitations of the virtual Wii mode, BootMii will not work on a Wii U. If we are able to resolve this, we will make a new release with BootMii support.

As usual, grab the new installer here.

If you’re unsure what do to with the installer, see this wiki page for a general tutorial on how to setup homebrew on your Wii, and this one at the brand new wiiubrew.org for savegame exploits that still work on a Wii U.

Unfortunately some bugs snuck into the v1.1 release, which are now fixed in v1.2:

  • PAL 50Hz (576i) video mode now works properly
  • BootMii/boot2 can be installed again on newer Wiis. This does not mean what you think it means. v1.1 had a bug that made BootMii/boot2 available to fewer Wiis than v1.0. v1.2 fixes that. If your boot1 is not vunerable, you still can’t and will never be able to install BootMii/boot2.
  • Icons load again in The Homebrew Channel

Sorry for the inconvenience.


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The Homebrew Channel v1.1.0

February 27th, 2012 by marcan · 44 Comments

You thought HBC was dead? Can’t say I blame you!

Our usualy update cycle tends to follow Nintendo’s updates: Nintendo plugs one of our exploits, and we release a new version with a new exploit. At the same time, you get all the new goodies and bugfixes that we may have accumulated since the previous version.

However, Nintendo’s care for the Wii lately has been rather sparse. We’ve been working on HBC every now and then behind the scenes: a bugfix here, a new feature there, and so on. Meanwhile, we waited and waited and waited for an update to break the current version. Alas, crickets.

And yet! Recently, Nintendo did break The Homebrew Channel. No, it wasn’t a system update. It wasn’t a new Wii model (though they did release a new Wii, it turns out it works just fine). What they came up with was a new Wiimote, which, completely by accident, happens to be incompatible with the previous version of The Homebrew Channel.

You see, way way back in 2006 when the Wii came out, someone figured out that you could send commands to the Wiimote in a certain way. Libraries were developed, and eventually we had support on the Wii itself with the advent of Wii homebrew. And yet, nobody though to question the way we were sending the commands. Nobody bothered to check whether the Wii itself was doing the same thing.

As it turns out, it wasn’t. It was using a different method of sending data to the Wiimote. The Wiimote itself supported both – until the new RVL-CNT-01-TR model came out, that is. They probably had to trim the firmware to make space for the Motion Plus stuff.

HBC 1.0.8 was released 18 months ago, and we’re at over 3.1 million unique installs – that’s 3.4% of all Wiis sold to date, and this is only counting on-line HBC installs! Today, we bring you the HackMii Installer v1.0, featuring The Homebrew Channel v1.1.0 and BootMii 1.4. Here’s what you get:

  • The new RVL-CNT-01-TR Wiimotes are now supported. Unfortunately, although HBC itself will work, there’s no way it can make existing homebrew work with it too – authors will have to recompile using the latest libogc SVN. C’est la vie!

  • HBC now has a new font renderer with TTF support. The new renderer uses FreeType to render fonts with kerning and antialiasing, which looks much, much better than the old crummy bitmap font engine. You can use multiple fonts, sizes, and colors, under the control of a theme. The rendering is optimized for the screen resolution in use (4:3 or 16:9) for the best quality (note: this means the fonts will look a bit different between both modes, as they are hinted at different resolutions). The new default font is Droid Sans.
  • Unicode (UTF-8) support. HBC has been using UTF-8 in meta files for a while, but only supported the latin-1 subset. Now you can display any character present in whatever font you’re using.
  • HBCは日本語を話します! HBC wa Nihongo o hanashimasu! Yup, with Unicode support comes a Japanese translation, courtesy of JEEB. However, to enable it, you need to install a theme with a Japanese capable font. Check out the themes page to get it.
  • While adding the new font engine we also fixed a bunch of underlying issues. The meta.xml system should now be quite a bit more tolerant and stable.
  • We’ve added screenshot functionality for theme creators who want to show off their themes. Plug in your Nunchuk and press Z+C (in that order) to create a png screenshot on your SD card.
  • The crashes when using no_ios_reload with a bad/disabled network config have been fixed – by removing <no_ios_reload/> mode. Instead, we always reload IOS, but don’t fret – you can still use AHB access, thanks to a trick that we implemented. Use <ahb_access/> (<no_ios_reload/> is actually just an alias for that now).
  • “This update provides behind-the-scenes fixes that will improve the overall system performance”. And unlike Nintendo, we actually mean it; there’s an assortment of fixes for quite a few minor (and some not so minor) bugs and glitches, including those that come with the latest libogc and libfat (e.g. 4K sector support) and some issues when launching apps and hotplugging devices.

The full release notes with all the gory details are available on WiiBrew.

As usual, either grab the new installer here, or use The Homebrew Channel’s online update (a confirmation dialog should pop up when you start your current version, if you are connected to the Internet). Have fun!

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