Suggestion Reorganise the Wii U Hacking & Homebrew section

QuarkTheAwesome

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Hey all!

As some of you may know, the homebrew scene around the Wii U has been growing a lot lately. Development has been picking up and the release of several exploits is finally starting to reap the rewards. Wii U owners now have a one-stop homebrew shop, game dumping and loading, extensive modding tools, unique games and emulators, stable exploits on all firmwares and several game-changing works in progress.

With this new progress has come a need for better sectioning and organisation in the forum itself. This need has been around for a while, but the recent influx of development has highlighted it further. For this reason, I've decided to formalise it and make a thread about it here, along with some suggestions as to how such a change could be implemented.

The current setup (one "umbrella" section, entitled "Hacking & Homebrew", covering everything on the scene) isn't working. The forum is dominated by discussion around backup loading (and compatibility), game modification and other related questions (which firmware version is best for the backup loader etc). While it's great to have these tools and the community surrounding them, I feel that the section has become far more focused on the "Hacking" than the "Homebrew". Even then, exploits and the like (very much "Hacking" in my opinion) are also hard to find. For example, at the time of writing, there's 2 homebrew threads on the first page of the Hacking and Homebrew section. This number is unusually large - normally there's no homebrew on the first page at all. As a reference, there's 4 threads related to backup dumping and loading (unusually small) and a staggering 15 threads related to game modification. In addition, all of these threads were bumped in the last 10 hours - the community is very active. Despite this, the two homebrew threads were bumped by developers - not users. In general, these threads get very little attention from actual users.

This is why a dedicated homebrew section is needed - threads relating to homebrew are buried within hours and often never get the attention they deserve. This sentiment is echoed by their developers. I've put together a few examples below.

@brienj is the developer of homebrew such as U-Paint and Ast-U-Roids and has assisted in several other projects by creating HBL ports and creating GX2 code (GX2 is the Wii U's graphics engine and very few know how to use it). He's been very vocal about the ongoing need for new sections.
People are working on things, but it takes time, and trying to post any WIP thread would just get too many bs posts, or it would end up on page 5 of the forums within a day or two. I've released two of my apps with HBL compatible upgrades, but you'd have to look several pages deep to find them by now. I wish they'd create a whole new section just for Loadiine, then maybe some WIP threads could be posted in this section.
That's exactly like I was thinking, have a complete section, just for Loadiine, or Loadiine type apps. It's pretty disheartening to any homebrew developers, when they post something, then within a couple hours, the thread is on page 5, because page 1 - 4 are about people who can't run a game on Loadiine ...
On another note, GBATemp still needs to make that separate homebrew section in the Wii U section, like the 3DS and Wii both have. This thread was already on the second page, lost among all the irrelevant to homebrew threads that have been posted in this section.
The reason most people think there is no homebrew for Wii U, is because of this. You have to really search hard to find all the homebrew for Wii U in the forum.
And since they still haven't made a section dedicated to just Homebrew, all of the good new Homebrew that is getting updated for the Homebrew Launcher, or even completely new releases, are all quickly drowned out by Loadiine and modding.
It gets buried, because the Wii U section does not have a separate homebrew section like the 3DS does - https://gbatemp.net/forums/3ds-homebrew-development-and-emulators.275/ or even the Wii does - https://gbatemp.net/forums/wii-emulation-and-homebrew.179/
Why is this? Several people have asked for it, but it never happens.
This may be the Hacking and Homebrew section, but having the hacking in it, seems to keep any homebrew threads buried at all times. Both the 3DS and Wii sections have hacking in completely separate sections.
If it requires emulators for the Wii U to make a Homebrew and Emulator section, well, there are a few emulators already made for the Wii U, as well as URetro which is a port of Libretro to the Wii U which is currently being worked on.

@vgmoose made a fully-fledged game for the "limited" browserhax environment. He's also recently dropped a bombshell with the Hombrew App Store - an app similar to the Homebrew Browser on the Wii that's set to revolutionise how people interact with the homebrew scene.
It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. People believe that there's no homebrew and it's hard to make, so there's no reason for a separate section. With that attitude, the homebrew stays hidden and "hard to make", because there's no section focusing on it. :glare:
Yeah... every day ticks onward without a board just for Wii U Homebrew development (which the 3DS section has...)

@CreeperMario is responsible for porting a huge number of apps to HBL, allowing them to be ran under the more expansive and modern kernel environment as well as allowing them to be accessed with the Homebrew App Store.
Yeah, now that the homebrew library is getting bigger, it needs its own section. Perhaps a separate section for game modding as well.
Homebrew releases usually fall off the front page of the forum within a few hours (once again, help @QuarkTheAwesome in his quest to re-organise the forums) unless the homebrew happens to be REALLY popular.

I don't think I need to add my own posts. As you can see, there's a definitive need for the Wii U subforums to be reorganised if the homebrew scene is going to succeed. It's at the point where a separate forum website has been created just for homebrew developers to band together and collaborate, something they should be able to do on GBATemp but the current system simply doesn't allow for.

So, how could this be resolved? I've created a few mockups of what I feel would be helpful. I'm open to other suggestions as well, this is simply what I think.

4twz148.png

Taking inspiration from the 3DS and Wii sections, this setup splits the Hacking & Homebrew section into three - "Emulation and Homebrew", "ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities" and "Backup Loaders and Dumpers". This covers the three major types of Wii U discussion. The Emulation and Homebrew section would be for exactly that - emulation and homebrew. This section would contain the Cemu thread ("Emulation"), homebrew releases and support questions, development ideas and discussions of all things homebrew. Since it's likely to be the quietest (due to the smaller number of developers) the "Homebrew" in the title also covers threads that may not fall into the other sections.

The next section is "ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities". This section would cover the various game modifications and related tools, cheat codes and translation projects currently in action. As mentioned before, this is a hugely active portion of the Wii U community so having a dedicated section would be helpful for this.

The third section is "Backup Loaders and Dumpers". This would cover backup loading, game dumping and support questions relating to this topic. It would also cover more abstract questions on this topic (usually relating to SD cards).

I feel that this is the best option for the system, accommodating for the major discussion topics while still allowing for threads that do not follow these standards. However, if three sections is too many, I also came up with a smaller option with only two sections.

2uMRYfL.png


This setup basically merges the "ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities" and "Backup Loaders and Dumpers" sections from above. While having the benefit of fewer sections, it lacks an "umbrella" section to catch unusual threads and will likely generate complaints similar to the ones above from the modding community over time. It might be useful to use "Emulation and Homebrew" for the first section to solve the umbrella problem.

Well, there you have it! There's a major issue in the way the Wii U community is organised, and I feel I've presented some good alternatives. I'm open to suggestions around the specifics of the sections and I'd be willing to help with any tasks that arise from such a reorganisation (I'm aware lots of threads may need moving). I hope you consider this situation properly and thank you for taking the time to read this.
 
Last edited by QuarkTheAwesome,

pwsincd

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Well said , QTA . It is frustrating to see any homebrew release just fly down the pages of the current setup , to emphasise this there was a post made in the pacman homebrew thread : https://gbatemp.net/threads/pacman-v2-1-beta.434092/#post-6529188 that sums up the reasons you list above. I like the first idea with a homebrew and emulation section.
 

QuarkTheAwesome

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Well said, mate.
@CreeperMario is responsible for porting a huge number of apps to HBL
I wouldn't consider four porting projects a "huge number." (It was four, right?)
Taking inspiration from the 3DS and Wii sections, this setup splits the Hacking & Homebrew section into three - "Emulation and Homebrew", "ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities" and "Backup Loaders and Dumpers".
I like this setup. @shaunj66 is currently online, hope he sees this.
 
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rw-r-r_0644

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Taking inspiration from the 3DS and Wii sections, this setup splits the Hacking & Homebrew section into three - "Emulation and Homebrew", "ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities" and "Backup Loaders and Dumpers".
^^ This setup would be perfect ^^
There's a huge need to separate sections as a lot of people don't even see new homebrews because some days it takes minutes to see the thread in a new page and also the search function is not usefull at all if someone doesn't know the homebrew name or doesn't know that a new homebrew came out (and even knowing the name sometimes it takes pages of search results before finding what you're looking for)
The Homebrew App Store is fixing that (as there are homebrew threads list and a full list of homebrews) but I still think that also GBATemp should separate sections
 
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I'd be willing to help with any tasks that arise from such a reorganisation
I'd be willing to help a little when I can as well, if this were to go through. I just restructured the WiiUBrew Wiki's categorisation system, fixed up the "Infobox homebrew" template and started documenting all existing HBL homebrew. I even re-mapped mentions of the Homebrew Browser to @vgmoose's Homebrew App Store. Seriously, though, 5759 threads (and counting) is a lot to sort.

to emphasise this there was a post made in the pacman homebrew thread that sums up the reasons you list above.
This clearly shows off how quickly things de-escalate. I mean, the Pacman v2.0 thread was founded, stayed around the top for somewhere between a few hours to a day, while the hype was still going. Then when the hype stopped, it dropped off the front page of the forum underneath all the question threads and bumps of the Loadiine GX2 thread. (Luckily the HBAS thread was stickied).

sometimes it takes pages of search results before finding what you're looking for
I highly agree. I'd be better off using Google to find a thread rather than GBATemp's built in search functions.
 

Swiftloke

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Though it would be nice, I think the problem is that most noobs would end up overflowing into the Homebrew section. Coming from the 3DS section I see a lot of that lately.
 

QuarkTheAwesome

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Though it would be nice, I think the problem is that most noobs would end up overflowing into the Homebrew section. Coming from the 3DS section I see a lot of that lately.
Do they do that even with a specific section just for what they want (backup loaders/sm4sh mods)? Just curious, don't know much about the 3DS section other than "shitshow".
 
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Swiftloke

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Do they do that even with a specific section just for what they want (backup loaders/sm4sh mods)? Just curious, don't know much about the 3DS section other than "shitshow".
Yup, often. They don't give a shit about making new threads, you think they give a shit about what section they do it in? They get into the tutorial section at least weekly, more like daily lately.
 

QuarkTheAwesome

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@Swiftloke Saw that post you tagged me in, and, well... (mentions "hack" in ROM hacking section?) You've got me there. Even so, this suggestion is more for the benefit of the established developers and modders than the noobs (who will always end up in the wrong section). I'd argue that even with the noobs such a reorganisation would be an overall benefit, if only just for a better homebrew scene.
 
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Swiftloke

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@Swiftloke Saw that post you tagged me in, and, well... (mentions "hack" in ROM hacking section?) You've got me there. Even so, this suggestion is more for the benefit of the established developers and modders than the noobs (who will always end up in the wrong section). I'd argue that even with the noobs such a reorganisation would be an overall benefit, if only just for a better homebrew scene.
I still agree. I just wanted to point that out. Taking a quick look at the Wii U section, it's clear that you're right. I wrote a link to this post on Costello's profile.
 

CuriousTommy

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It would be nice to have a dedicated cheat codes section, I don't know it there a popular forum like WiiRD that is dedicated for Wii U cheat codes, but it would make it easier for people to find cheat codes for a specific game since people can make a thread for each game. Currently, all cheat codes are thrown on the Post your WiiU cheat codes here! thread. I feel like this results in other cheat codes/information being overshadowed.
 
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QuarkTheAwesome

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Again, still hoping for a response over here; any talk of this from the staff? The need for this reorganisation was recent highlighted by the IOSU exploit teasers that took everyone's attention off homebrew. While that thread was EoFed, the attention hasn't really returned; I haven't seen a single post related to native homebrew in days. I can't speak for all the homebrewers but I know myself and a rather significant other developer have been having tough motivation issues lately; it's like people don't know stuff we make exists while someone else can print some flashy colours to a screen and get all the support and attention the community has to offer.

For me at least, the Wii U community revolves around maybe 5 people and a (non-GBATemp) IRC channel right now. There's more people than that; there's more talented (soon-to-be?) developers than that; there's more community than that; but I feel like the current setup is quashing all of it in favour of the hype train and a backup loader that isn't even under active development anymore. I'm not saying anything about the people who set the current system up - it's perfect for a small community (that all-in-one hub, I get it) but we're outgrowing that now and it's starting to get uncomfortable.

I'm sorry for getting passionate; it's just that as a developer I want to take advantage of the opportunities and services a place like GBATemp gives me. There's vast potential in a forum system like this - collaborative coding, teaching and educating new developers, sharing the fruits of my hobby, growing a community and making a failed console awesome. However, right now I feel like I just can't. That's why I'm pushing for this.

Again, apologies for getting emotional. I could go on but I want to keep this on track, so, any news from the staff? :3
 
Last edited by QuarkTheAwesome, , Reason: Break up a wall of text a little

brienj

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Again, still hoping for a response over here; any talk of this from the staff? The need for this reorganisation was recent highlighted by the IOSU exploit teasers that took everyone's attention off homebrew. While that thread was EoFed, the attention hasn't really returned; I haven't seen a single post related to native homebrew in days. I can't speak for all the homebrewers but I know myself and a rather significant other developer have been having tough motivation issues lately; it's like people don't know stuff we make exists while someone else can print some flashy colours to a screen and get all the support and attention the community has to offer.

For me at least, the Wii U community revolves around maybe 5 people and a (non-GBATemp) IRC channel right now. There's more people than that; there's more talented (soon-to-be?) developers than that; there's more community than that; but I feel like the current setup is quashing all of it in favour of the hype train and a backup loader that isn't even under active development anymore. I'm not saying anything about the people who set the current system up - it's perfect for a small community (that all-in-one hub, I get it) but we're outgrowing that now and it's starting to get uncomfortable.

I'm sorry for getting passionate; it's just that as a developer I want to take advantage of the opportunities and services a place like GBATemp gives me. There's vast potential in a forum system like this - collaborative coding, teaching and educating new developers, sharing the fruits of my hobby, growing a community and making a failed console awesome. However, right now I feel like I just can't. That's why I'm pushing for this.

Again, apologies for getting emotional. I could go on but I want to keep this on track, so, any news from the staff? :3
The problem is actually releasing things, the new strategy should be to make something, show a video of it, and then say, it will be released soon. Apparently nobody actually wants anything of substance and that's the only way to get any attention ...
 

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