TinyLoad

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TinyLoad
Tinyload.png
General
Author(s)marcan
TypeLoader
Version0.2
LicenceGPLv2
Links
Download
Source
Peripherals
DVD Drive

TinyLoad is a region-free original Wii game loader in 4096 bytes.

Contents

2011-08 update: LetterBomb compatible build

LetterBomb compatible version. This fixes a bug and makes it work straight from LetterBomb, which lets you play imports while making no changes to your Wii. To use this, download LetterBomb without the "bundle" checkbox checked, and instead place this boot.elf on your SD card. Clicking on the red envelope will then boot whatever (original, but possibly imported) disc is inserted (the disc must be inserted first).

What?

TinyLoad is a simple original Wii game launcher. You run it, it launches whatever's inserted into the drive. Simple. It ignores game regions, so it's region-free. It won't install updates. It won't load burned copies. There are no controls or settings.

The user interface shows two things: progress, and error status. A white bar across the bottom of the screen shows the current (rough) progress. If an error is detected, a portion of the top of the screen will turn red. It will then attempt to launch The Homebrew Channel (only applies to recent versions with the JODI Title ID). If this fails then it will simply hang.

If the launcher freezes with the progress bar visible and no red error box, then you've probably hit a bug. Try the debug version if you have a USB Gecko.

If it freezes with a black screen after the progress bar has reached its endpoint and disappeared, then the game itself is freezing.

I obviously have only tested this with a few games. Chances are it doesn't work with every Wii game out there.

The debug version requires a USB Gecko and shows debug messages over it.

Notes

  • TinyLoad sets the PPC timebase correctly according to your Wii's RTC. This fixes date/time issues in games.
  • The video code makes lots of assumptions. It will only work if VI was left configured in a "standard" mode, with a 640x480-640x574 framebuffer. VI should be blanked; if it isn't, then TinyLoad will not blank it before launching the game so your screen will blink green for a split second as the game initializes VI. It has been tested to work correctly when launched by the Homebrew Channel in at least NTSC 480p and PAL interlaced modes. If these assumptions don't hold then the progress bar display will not work properly, but the rest of the loader should work fine.
  • TinyLoad does not perform any patching of games. The lowmem video mode setting follows whatever video mode was left set by the application used to launch TinyLoad, except that PAL games are forced to PAL if NTSC is detected. This does not patch the game, it's merely the informative value in low memory; games are free to read SYSCONF/setting.txt and ignore it. I don't really care because I use 480p mode anyway. If you need more advanced options, just use Gecko OS.
  • Normally, game audio will not work correctly if launched via a loader that was initially launched via BootMii-boot2. This is a bug in libogc (it doesn't know how to initialize the DSP for the first time and leaves it in a broken state), and it affects anything running after the Wii was booted first into a libogc application, including the System Menu's loader. In other words, BootMii-boot2 → HBC → System Menu (or Gecko OS) → Game may cause distorted audio. TinyLoad does work, by resetting the audio hardware to let the game reinitialize it properly. So, BootMii-boot2 → HBC → TinyLoad → Game will work fine. This ought to be worked around in a future release of HBC, at least. I'd suggest fixing libogc, but I know shagkur is just going to rip the proper code from the SDK again. Anyway, launching using TinyLoad will work fine as it contains the workaround.
  • TinyLoad will load the correct IOS as specified in the partition TMD. It does not support loading any other IOS.
  • TinyLoad will not install updates. Not having the right IOS for the game will probably result in a red error and reset about halfway through.

Broken stuff

  • I don't think online games work. Not sure why (I do copy the TitleID to the proper spot, I think). If it works for you, let me know. Likewise, if you know what the problem is or you can fix it, please let me know.

Who?

Program:
Copyright 2008-2009 Hector Martin (marcan) <marcan@marcansoft.com>

Supporting code:
Copyright 2008-2009 Segher Boessenkool <segher@kernel.crashing.org>
Copyright 2008-2009 Andre Heider (dhewg) <dhewg@wiibrew.org>
Copyright 2008 Nuke <wiinuke@gmail.com>

Awesome icon:
Copyright 2009 Freddy Leitner (drmr)

This code is licensed to you under the terms of the GNU GPL, version 2; see file COPYING or [1].

The icon is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0

Why?

Because:

  • System Menu 4.2 forever broke region free via modchips
  • I have a USA Wii which I regularly use with EUR games
  • Gecko OS is somewhat annoying and recent versions are unstable (for me anyway)
  • I refuse to perform retarded firmware mods.
  • I autoboot HBC via BootMii-boot2 and using the System Menu takes longer anyway.

I also think that low-level apps that tightly hug the hardware are very educational, so why not. And hey, the code is pretty short, so you ought to be able to read it completely and learn how all this crazy Wii stuff actually works :-)

How?

TinyLoad is not compressed. The 4 kilobytes are raw code and data, plus the ELF header. The original loader was fit in 4 kilobytes by avoiding bloated libraries like libogc and instead using a small codebase pieced together from bits of the Twilight Hack and of HBC's reload stub. Extra features (SYSCONF reading, RTC reading, proper lowmem settings, VI stuff, progress bar, etc) were added by making space via a combination of increasingly complex compiler options, manual tweaks, and micro-optimization.

Nonetheless, there is almost no assembly code and the C code, though compact and odd at times, should be moderately readable. Just keep in mind that I deliberately leave old values floating around and/or use odd initializations in order to simplify the code. Also, I haven't commented most of it. If you're really interested, give me a shout and I'll see what I can do to make it more acceptable.

If you want some real fun, load the ELF in IDA. The function inlining and tail call goodness ought to provide tons of entertainment.

The 4K binary was compiled with powerpc-linux-gcc version 4.3.3.

Where?

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