Homebrew Channel

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Homebrew Channel
Homebrew channel logo.png
General
Author(s)Team Twiizers
TypeLoader
Version1.0.6
LicenceFreeware
Links
Download
Website
Peripherals
Wiimote1.svg SensorBar.svg Nunchuck alternative.svg ClassicController.svg GameCube Controller Les Paul Controller Loads files from the Front SD slot Loads files from SDHC cards in the Front SD slot USBGecko2.svg SD Gecko Local WiFi Internet USB mass storage device

The Homebrew Channel is a self-updating homebrew application loader by Team Twiizers which allows users to load homebrew applications without having to run an exploit every time. Once installed, users can access the channel from the Wii System Menu just like any other Wii channel. It can launch or install homebrew applications from an SD or SDHC card or via TCP/USB Gecko using Wiiload. You can install the Homebrew Channel as part of the HackMii Installer by seeing the Installation part of this page.

Installation

Note: To install the Homebrew Channel on System Menu 4.0 to 4.1 use Bannerbomb v1 in conjunction with the HackMii Installer.

Note: If you updated to System Menu 4.2 this can still be installed via Smash Stack or Indiana Pwns as of this edit. You can also use Bannerbomb v2 in conjunction with the HackMii Installer.

READ THE DISCLAIMER! In the VERY unlikely case your Wii should be bricked by the installer, this will let you know where you stand in regards to Team Twiizers.

Using The Twilight Hack, Bannerbomb, Smash Stack, or Indiana Pwns.

Assuming that the Twilight Hack, Bannerbomb, Smash Stack, or Indiana Pwns is already setup on your Wii;

  1. Download the HackMii Installer.
  2. Expand the archive to find README.txt, wiiload and boot.elf or boot.dol
  3. Place the boot.elf or boot.dol file in the root of your SD card.
  4. Run the your needed installer, and allow the installer to load.
  5. Press 1 when given and continue installing things you want.

The installation should be automatic from this point on, and your Wii will reboot.

Using DVD

The DVD method requires a drivechip and won't work with the 3.3 firmware update or newer. DVD images for the more recent versions are currently unavailable, though you can install beta8 and then update.

Using a previous unsigned code-loading method

If you have an older version of the Homebrew Channel or another means of executing unsigned code, you can use that to install the latest version.

Configuring Applications

In order to make an application appear in the Homebrew Channel, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Make a folder on the root of your SD card called "apps".
  2. In the folder "apps," create a folder for the application (for this example, ScummVM will be used).
  3. Copy the files for the application into its folder (e.g. apps/scummvm/).
  4. Find the executable file (either .elf or .dol) and rename it to boot.elf (or boot.dol if it was a .dol file) if it is not already named that (e.g. apps/scummvm/boot.dol). If the app comes with these files, copy the icon.png and meta.xml files into this folder.

Now the application will appear in the Homebrew Channel. However, if the application did not come with icon.png or meta.xml, its appearance on the menu is ugly, and difficult to distinguish from other applications. To fix this, text and an image can be added.

Adding Text

To add text to an application in the Homebrew Channel, do the following: (note: you may install the Homebrew Browser and download pre-formatted apps without performing this step for every app)

  1. Make a file in the folder of the application (e.g. apps/ScummVM/) called "meta.xml" (e.g. apps/ScummVM/meta.xml).
  2. Open "meta.xml" in Notepad and add the following text as a template:
  3.   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <app version="1">
        <name></name>
        <coder></coder>
        <version></version>
        <release_date></release_date>
        <short_description></short_description>
        <long_description></long_description>
      </app>
  4. Add the appropriate information in between the relevant indicators. For example, the name of the application goes between <name> and </name>. The purpose of each field is as follows:
  5.   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <app version="1">
        <name>The name of the application</name>
        <coder>The name of the person or group that wrote the code for the program.</coder>
        <version>The version of the application.</version>
        <release_date>The data the application was released.
        It has to be a timestamp using this format: YYYYmmddHHMMSS</release_date>
        <short_description>This is displayed on the main menu of the Homebrew Channel 
        (before you select an application) and is used as a space to add a few words
         to describe the program.</short_description>
        <long_description>This is displayed once the application is chosen. It describes 
         the program and its function in great detail, and can be used to elaborate 
         on a program's controls.</long_description>
      </app>

An example of a completed "meta.xml" for ScummVM is provided below:

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
  <app version="1">
    <name>ScummVM</name>
    <coder>dhewg</coder>
    <version>rev32231</version>
    <release_date>20080523000000</release_date>
    <short_description>Point &amp; Click Adventures</short_description>
    <long_description>ScummVM is a program which allows you to run certain classic 
    graphical point-and-click adventure games,provided you already have their 
    data files. The clever part about this: ScummVM just replaces the executables 
    shipped with the games, allowing you to play them on systems for which they 
    were never designed! Some of the adventures ScummVM supports include Adventure 
    Soft's Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2; Revolution's Beneath A Steel Sky, 
    Broken Sword 1 and Broken Sword 2; Flight of the Amazon Queen; Wyrmkeep's Inherit 
    the Earth; Coktel Vision's Gobliiins; Westwood Studios' The Legend of Kyrandia 
    and games based on LucasArts' SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) 
    system such as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max and more.
    </long_description>
  </app>

A web application to create meta.xml files and code was made by abeisgreat, but has been taken down due to repeated abuse. Alternatively, you can use Pinecone's Java-based HBCXMLGen program.

Adding an Icon

See also: Homebrew Channel icons

In order to make icons for the Homebrew Channel show up, they must be in .png format with dimensions of 128x48 pixels. The full alpha channel can be used. Copy it into the folder of the application under the name "icon.png" (e.g. apps/scummvm/icon.png).

Complete Setup Format

You should have a compatible SD or SDHC card. See here for a list of SD and SDHC cards known to be compatible or incompatible. Note: it is by no means a complete list.

An SD card should be formatted in FAT16 or FAT32. After you have installed the apps on your SD card, its folder structure should look something like this:

  • Removable Disk (eg: (E:) on Windows and where it is mounted to on Linux or Mac OS X eg: /media/disk/ )
    • apps
      • ScummVM
        • boot.dol
        • meta.xml(Optional)
        • icon.png(Optional)
      • WiiShopInstaller
        • boot.dol
        • meta.xml(Optional)
        • icon.png(Optional)

If you have any problems having your Applications showing up on the 'HBC', make sure you are following the correct format.

Loading from USB

Files and folders on your USB storage device must be structured in the same way that they would be structured on an SD card for use with the Homebrew Channel. For example, you must have an "apps" folder on the root of your USB storage device with sub-folders containing an executable, meta.xml, and icon.png for each homebrew application. Any specific homebrew instructions related to file and folder placement on and SD card also apply if you are using a USB storage device instead.

Your USB storage device should be plugged in before loading the homebrew channel, but it is not required. If you do not have it plugged in when the Homebrew Channel is loaded, simply plug it in and then bring up the Homebrew Channel menu, then select the "Reload" option.

Notes: At this time, loading applications from USB is considerably slower than loading from an SD or SDHC card. When reading the applications to display from the "apps" folder of a usb device, an SD card icon will appear even though it is loading from USB. If you have an sd card inserted at the same time as a USB storage device, the SD card takes priority and apps from the USB device will not be shown even if there are no visible apps on the SD card.

Controls

You can use Wii Remote Aim to navigate though the application list.

Wiimote.svg ClassicController.svg Nunchuck alternative.svg Action
Wiimote D-Pad Up / Wiimote D-Pad Down Classic D-Pad Up / Classic D-Pad Down Move through the applications Up/Down
Wiimote - Button or Wiimote D-Pad Left Classic - Button or Classic D-Pad Left or Classic L Trigger Change applications page left
Wiimote + Button or Wiimote D-Pad Right Classic + Button or Classic D-Pad Right or Classic R Trigger Change applications page right
Wiimote A Button Classic a Button Select option
Wiimote HOME Button Classic HOME Button Menu
Wiimote B Button+Wii Remote Aim Classic Left Control Stick Nunchuck Control Stick Scroll text
Wiimote B Button Classic b Button Returns from app screen
Wiimote 1 Button Classic x Button Settings menu
Wiimote 2 Button Classic y Button Swap view
Wiimote Power Button Shutdown

Removal

Removing the channel can be done by simply deleting it with the channel management in the Wii system software.

Compatibility

Note: The Homebrew Channel requires that you system have at least one unpatched IOS in order to guarantee reliable performance; we've received too many bug reports that were later traced to misbehaving versions of IOS. The HackMii Installer will automatically choose an appropriate (unpatched) IOS to use when installing the Homebrew Channel; if you attempt to defeat this safety measure by replacing its IOS with a corrupted version, you may experience an "impaired HBC experience" (reportedly an upside-down screen). Please just don't do it.

Changelog

1.0.6

  • Freeze fix
  • Some other minor hiccups

1.0.5

  • System Menu 4.2 support
  • Improved startup
  • HBC prefers boot.elf over boot.dol when launching apps
  • Improved fonts [enjoy :)]
  • Widescreen support:
    • If your Wii is set to 16:9 in the system menu options, HBC won’t stretch the picture like it did in older versions
  • Grid view:
    • 4 columns on 16:9 TVs
    • 3 columns on 4:3 TVs
  • Device hot-swapping:
  • Added a menu for device options
  • App sorting
    • Name
    • Release date
      • For release date sorting to work a valid release_date tag must be present in the apps meta.xml file
  • Wiiload overhaul
    • On-the-fly compression
    • Improved USBGecko support
    • libftdi support
      • Because of these improvements, older wiiload versions and 3rd party upload clients are incompatible. Use the bundled v0.5, binaries and source code are included
  • Basic app management :
    • To add apps: Just wiiload a ZIP archive, it will then get extracted to the active device. The ZIP file must be structured in a certain way, check this description for the details
    • Added option to delete apps

1.0.4

  • Fixed POWER button bug (BootMii IOS)
  • Turned HBC upside down for those who modified the contents of the HBC or installed it using a "wad manager"

1.0.3

  • SDHC support... again
  • Improved SD Card support (regression was introduced in v1.0.2)
  • HBC is compatable with all pre-4.2 system menu versions (stock 3.3 post Oct 23 has issues1)
  • Fixed rare hangs when exiting HBC
  • Added translation for "Launch BootMii" button

1.0.2

  • Added "Launch BootMii" button (BootMii IOS) to home menu
  • System Menu 4.0 support
  • USB support
  • Manual shutdown support

1.0.1

  • Fixed B button issues
  • Wiimotes are in-sync with System Menu
  • Possibly fixed the USB Ethernet Issues
  • Fixed wiimote auto-shutdown
  • Possibly fixed "video after shutdown" Issues
  • Changes to () -> *

1.0

  • Meta.xml supports all ISO-8859-1 characters
  • Wiimote shutdown support
  • Rumble support (system menu settings)
  • Fixed some crash bugs
  • Fixed meta.xml UNIX style newline regression
  • Support for Non-Nintendo wiimotes
  • Classic Controller support
  • Nunchuk support (scroll only)
  • Guitar Hero 3 guitar support
  • Left/Right button page scrolling
  • Hit 1 on Wiimote for net reload (like net icon click or GC Z)
  • Add information to installer
  • Fixed network issues
  • Pushed in some text to avoid overscan crop
  • Widened video width to match System Menu ("black bars" fix)
  • B returns from app screen (unless scrolling)
  • Auto-connect support
  • Retry network init
  • Reload stub now identifies itself (magic number)
  • Support for broken HTTP proxies in update check
  • Added IOS revision in main menu

Beta 9

  • Installer / updater now works with the October 23 update
  • SDHC support
  • Fixed memory card bug
  • Installer now picks newest sane IOS (fixes some beta 8 regressions)
  • Added reload button (SD card)
  • Removed return to system menu warning
  • Fixed some graphical glitches
  • Compliant ELF loading code (if you get errors use ELF to DOL Converter)
  • Improved XML load code
  • Many fixes to underlying stuff in the newer libogc

Beta 8

  • Removed the need to eject your memcards
  • Converted from IOS35 to IOS21 (hbc is usable on older firmwares now)
  • Improved SD card support **Thanks, svpe
  • Improved translations
  • Fixed IP label
  • Improved argv support
  • Fixed wiiload issue
  • Apps are now sorted alphabetically
  • Rumble support
  • Installer overhaul
    • Added warning if your system menu is too new (future updates)

Beta 7

(Initial Public Release besides chainloader)

  • Minor bugfixes
  • GUI updates
  • Added translations
  • ISO distribution
  • First public beta

Beta 6

  • GUI overhaul chapter 2
  • Added translations
  • Wiimote dragging on memo widget
  • Auto-disconnect wiimote after idle time
  • Other fixes I can't remember

Beta 5

  • GUI overhaul chapter 1
  • Improved IR pointer
  • Improved argv support
  • Fixed wiimote code bugs
  • Fixed update bugs
  • SD card is scanned for boot.dol then boot.elf

Beta 4

  • Added wiimote IR cursor

Beta 3

  • Fixed flicker glitch
  • Stable wiimote libs
  • Support for argv

FAQ

The official FAQ from the developers of the Homebrew Channel can be found here.

Bugs

If you believe you've found a bug in the Homebrew Channel, report it here.

Easter Eggs

Pop the Bubbles!

Being able to pop the bubbles in the background of the HBC was a frequent request, and as of 1.0, it is possible.

Press Wiimote 2 Button + Wiimote 1 Button and the animated background will be the only thing visible, along with a score counter in the bottom right hand corner. Place the hand cursor over any bubble and it will pop, spawning smaller bubbles and adding to the score counter. The smaller bubbles can also be popped. When you are done, press Wiimote 2 Button + Wiimote 1 Button again to return to the list of applications. If you leave the wii on this screen for too long, it will crash.


NOTE: As of version HBC 1.0.5 the Pop the bubbles (with scoring) is removed. You can still pop the bubbles (without scoring) by pointing at the bubbles as usual, but you cannot prompt a score board. You can also remove the SD Card (and/or USB drive) to make more room on the screen.

Notes

1. ^ IOS51 problems