Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Setting up Wii as a mega game center

Instead of swapping DVD games, you can put them all on a USB drive.  That's mega.  You can also "exchange games" via the Internet this way.

The problem for the Wii is the versions.  Software modifications are very specific to the firmware version of Wii.  Since these softmods aren't updated that often, you may be using out of date instructions.  There's still a possibility of bricking the wii.

The other problems are trolling.  You never know what the purposes of some instructions, and the mentality of some writers.

Let me tell you a story.  I overheard a kid said to his father, "You said we will go to the game shop again to get a new game.  That was last January."  So the kid probably got the Wii for Christmas or Thanks Giving, at the sales or not.  Then he got a game probably the next year at New Year sales.  Then no more games for another year, probably.  So, for whatever reasons, please minimize the trolling.

So if your Wii is virgin, update to 4.3U/E/J.   U for US, E for Europe, J for Japan etc.  You can do everything in 4.3.  If you already have homebrew something in your Wii, I don't think updating will brick it.  But you will have to install homebres all over again.  For this reason, you want to disable automatic updating once you complete installing everyting homebrew for 4.3.

First the trusted instructions are here at GAF, pretty good, very detailed but not too specific.  The order of installation is:

Wii 4.3
Configurable USB Loader

Homebrew is simply a simple way to run other applications and installers.  Almost all softmods are IOS, modifying the I/O system of the Wii, say, instead of reading the DVD drive, read from the USB instead.  d2x handles with some ways that games uses I/O.  The USB Loader manages the games and play them.

Firstly, about the security.  These installers load a lot of things directly from websites and Nintendo.  So you have to trust them.  If you have internet filters for your kids, typically these ware sites and even game sites are blocked by default.  Then you MAY have to turn your firewall off to your Wii, and only your Wii.  You can do it easily on your Wifi router by setting the DMZ option on your Wii - demilitarize zone, meaning no protection.

After installing everything, you should set the firewall to normal.  The homebrew software will still download from the web, but this is normally allowed.  There is no guarantee what is in your softmods.  For example, the easiest method to install Homebrew is to use the letterbomb method, without actually buying an old game.  But your IP and the MAC of your Wii is given away.

If you If the installation complains that it cannot download a file, search for the file directly on the internet, download it, and put it in the right place on the SD card as directed.  This probably won't happen if your Wii is unprotected from the Internet.  The installers actually check hash signatures, so you probably won't download the wrong files into your wii.

Before you do anything, it's best to go to Homebrew channel, get to BootMii by the Home button.  Then save 512 mb of NAND memory onto the SD card.  In BootMii, the wiimote won't work, use the Wii power button as next, and the reset button as select.  If anything goes wrong, you can load the NAND back to the Wii and all your installations are nulled.

After installing IOS236, you should get the hell out without any further steps, step 2.  To get out of step 2, you push the 2 button, confusing, isn't it?  Otherwise you need to insert a real game, start it, and install IOS236 again.

Something is missing in the USB Loader instructions.  I don't know what the hell he is talking about.  Just download the v69 version directly.  It works as instructed.

I advise using NTFS for file format, which is the usual format that comes with USB drives, which is used in Windows, Linux compatible.  You have to add two lines to the config.txt file.  Then you don't need to add another FAT32 petition.  Just remember that in NTFS, filenames are case sensitive, while the old FAT are not.

The important thing is that, USB Loader (and a few others with similar names) put everything on the folder wbfs at root of your USB drive (single or multiple partitions).  Otherwise the loader won't see them.

You can only plug the USB drive into USB1 socket, the one near the bottom or near the edge.

The loader will backup your DVD game to the USB drive via the + button.  It takes a while for all 4 Gb of data.  The filename will be GAMEID.iso inside the wbfs folder (or a few other alternatives).

If you somehow get DVD image files .iso files, you must lookup the correct GAMEID from the internet such as http://wiitdb.com/.  Rename your file to GAMEID.iso and put it right under the wbfs folder.  Or else the loader won't see the game.

If you play the same games often, you can use the SDHC cards too.  You need an 8 GB for one game, and a 16 GB card for 3 games.  USB flash drive should work.  You don't even need a card reader for your PC.  But with the USB socket at the back of the Wii, I find it not that convenient.

I have a very old SD card (up to 2 GB), but I never come across the need to use it in installing all the homebrew software.  All SD cards are now SDHC.  Anything other than the biggest capacity you can get it on the net for cheap.  So cheap that the postage is significant.  You can pick these things up like trash in shops such as Fry's and Micro Center, if you are lucky to live near one.

The best format for external HDD is NTFS.  HDD is also the cheapest, but some adaptors of old internal hard drives don't work.  As for the games, you simply download the .iso DVD image file and put it under the wbfs folder.  Some are compressed into .rar for example after "scrubbing".  You extract back the .iso file after download. 

The USB loader can also read .wbfs files.  But the HDD should also be formated as wbfs.  If your HDD format is NTFS and you download a .wbfs file into the wbfs folder, it will play, but the USB loader will ruin your whole HDD.  You don't discover it until the whole disk of data is corrupted.  I have unrecoverable errors probably due to a combination of back sectors.  Even after complete reformatting, the HDD isn't "clean" as reported.  So I reserve 100 GB for games in one partition.  The others disk space I can safely create a clean partition and use it for backups.

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