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Nintendo Wii Hardware

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Yes, I know this thread has appeared before (I saw exactly one relevant one in search), but I did not see any useful information in that thread. Or atleast not enough to even bother trying to necro it. Well, apparently, according to http://wii.nintendo.com/hardware.html , the Nintendo appears to be using Broadway, PowerPC 970 for its chipset. Now, I can probably build a version of the Gnu Cross Compiler to compile from i?86-linux-elf to powerpc-*-elf, but I am wondering, what sort of emulators are already available for the Nintendo Wii? Normally when this much information on the hardware is known ahead of time there are already emulators. For example there were GBA emulators. A quick Google shows nothing but crap, so does anybody here know anything? Or do I need to use PearPC to test Nintendo Wii Homebrew ROMs? (Yes, there are ROMs out there that are legal... we should know better than to have that debate) So questions:
  1. Anything I should know about cross compiling from i?86-*-elf to powerpc-*-elf?
  2. Any decent emulation of the Nintendo Wii?
  3. Any decent Wii homebrew communities?

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The Wii has not been released yet..and will not for a little less then 2 months. After that it'll probably rake a year for someone to crack the Wii to get their own code to run on it. After that they have to develop a library that greatly simplifies development. Also...because of the sweet controller, you will never be able to accurately emulate the system on any other system.

So I wouldn't expect any Wii homebrew until at least a year to two years after the Wii is released.

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I don't think it will take a year or two, or any emulation.

Most of the specs are online already, so it really does not require being Cracked. I'll point out my example of the GBA which had emulators available for it months before it came out.

As per the controller argument, I used the same argument against the DS, and it seemed to be a bad argument in that instance. I think a simple mouse could probably be used for the "motion sensitive" portion of emulation. The controller just requires creativity to emulate.

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I don't understand what you think you want to do ... emulating the hardware? for what purpose. There are only 2 reasons to want to have a cross-compiler or emulator. 1) you have games built for the hardware in question, so you emulate the hardware to run the game. 2) you want to write games for the platform in question, but don't have access to it ... this has 2 subcategories .. A) homebrew, in this case, you just write a game the same as you would for ANY PowerPC chip, and target the general specs of the Wii, no "emulation" or exact specs are likely to be relevant. B) retail, this almost by definition will require acccess to the SOFTWARE that will part of the Nintendo Wii Dev Kit, as without linking to the Wii specific libraries, you cannot create a Wii game of any significance.

People don't write "emulators" for modern platforms, because in general it is not possible to emulate a current platform until technology makes the PC much more powerfull ... for instance it would be meaningfull to emulate the PS2 / Gamecube / XBox ... but you cannot "emulate" an XBOX 360 witha PC if the PC has a power and video card as good as the 360 ... it must be many times better, or else identical, nothing else will work.

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Yes, it is for homebrew, and from my knowledge, most of the time when current game consoles come out onto the market, they are somewhat limitted compared to the current computers on the market (which my computer I bought fairly new, so if they are still gibbling consoles compared to the current computers, I should atleast some power ontop of it. Even if it only enough to hold the OS and X11).

Yes, I know better than to think I could emulate any console on a computer with the exact same or similar specs. I was just under the image that the practice of crippling hardware to make it affordable was still in practice.

As per just creating games for any similar Powerpc based chip, I am pretty sure there have got to be some discrepancies between the layout of the Powerpc chips in the Wii, in comparison to say, the latest Powerbook.

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Quote:
Original post by Mr_Fhqwhgads
...



The Wii has not been released yet..and will not for a little less then 2 months. After that it'll probably rake a year for someone to crack the Wii to get their own code to run on it. After that they have to develop a library that greatly simplifies development. Also...because of the sweet controller, you will never be able to accurately emulate the system on any other system.

So I wouldn't expect any Wii homebrew until at least a year to two years after the Wii is released.


I've seen the Wii controller run on a GC dev kit (in person)... thus you could use a real Wii controller and have the rest of the system emulated. (Or just say 'screw that' and make a PC game that uses the controller).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If they find a way to get code running, homebrew development on Wii will be trivially easy, as the hardware is simply a higher clocked gamecube with 3 times the RAM. Yes, it's true.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by DakeDesu
Yes, it is for homebrew, and from my knowledge, most of the time when current game consoles come out onto the market, they are somewhat limitted compared to the current computers on the market (which my computer I bought fairly new, so if they are still gibbling consoles compared to the current computers, I should atleast some power ontop of it. Even if it only enough to hold the OS and X11).

Yes, I know better than to think I could emulate any console on a computer with the exact same or similar specs. I was just under the image that the practice of crippling hardware to make it affordable was still in practice.

As per just creating games for any similar Powerpc based chip, I am pretty sure there have got to be some discrepancies between the layout of the Powerpc chips in the Wii, in comparison to say, the latest Powerbook.


Well, you're not exactly right on this one. Typically when a new console comes out, it runs circles around the average PC of the time, with only high-end or very-high-end PCs having a power advantage. Often times, consoles include new technology that will be mainstreamed in the coming years, such as the GPU in the xbox 360 (unified shader core, embedded framebuffer) or the Cell CPU used in the PS3 (multiple SIMD streaming processors). Consoles have also typically demonstrated a signifigant bandwidth advantage.

However, and lucky for you, the Wii (as reported by credible sources) is really just an overclocked gamecube in many respects. Assuming that the reported specs are accurate, the Wii CPU/GPU are only 1.5x the speed of the gamecube with no major architectural differences, and only 64MB of ram was added (and the 8 megs of gamecube sound RAM removed.) The "Bradway" CPU is not in any way related to the PPC 970, nor is it 64bit. If the reports are true, the Broadway CPU is simply a 32bit PowerPC processor, similar to the G3 (4x0 series, or was that 7x0 ?), with custom instructions added to support packed integer/float calculations... Just like the gamecube.

There already exist many homebrew compilers and tools for gamecube development, and it appears that these should work without change for the Wii. Of course, homebrew coders will have to find a new way to transfer code over to the Wii, and they will have to discover how the new hardware works (Wiimote, WiFi, etc.) but for all intents and purposes much of the work is already done. There does appear to be a somewhat-functioning Gamecube Emulator, Dolphin, but the screenshots I saw claimed to be running at around 2.5 frames per second. Due to architectural differences, its very difficult to emulate PPC on x86 efficiently (endian-ness, registers, dst=dstsrc vs. dst=src1src2, etc.) so fullspeed emulation is difficult to say the least. Then there's emulating the GPU, which is another can of worms, but can sometimes be hardware accelerated if the emulator translates the GC API calls into D3D or OpenGL calls on the PC. Given that the gamecube uses an OpenGL-like API, its likely that this option will be available, but it doesn't appear that they've gotten to it just yet. I'd expect a playable Wii emulator to arrive whenever they squeeze another 50% performance out of the first playable gamecube emulator :D

As for homebrew communities, given that the GC/Wii are so similar I wouldn't doubt that most GC communities will simply expand to include Wii materials.

Of course, if the report is not true, then most of what I said doesn't apply :D

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