[Request] Firmware, IOS, cIOS...

Discussion in 'Wii - Hacking' started by CaptainN, Oct 27, 2008.

Oct 27, 2008
  1. CaptainN
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    Newcomer CaptainN Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I have a NTSC-J Wii, a launch model, newest firmware except for the latest update (with the new Wii Shop Channel), and the Homebrew Channel installed (through the Twilight Hack). I use Gecko OS to play imports, which works great. I'd like to check out some obscure Japanese games, and read about the Backuploader from Wiigator, which sounds perfect for this purpose. Since you have to install a cIOS for this application, I'm trying to understand a little more how the Wii's software works. I've looked around a lot, and read all kinds of stuff on system updates, IOS *insert some random number between 5 and 51 here*, cIOS, firmwares, MIOS, BC, and so on, but still don't really have a clear picture of it. So, I hope somebody can explain this to me. [​IMG]

    Okay, so from what I understand, the Wii software is built up like this:

    First of all, some chip is called Starlet, which handles reading/writing data from internal memory, checks security stuff, handles WiFi, and probably other things. On some other piece of hardware, the Wii's firmware is installed, like 3.3J. When a game, or something in the system menu needs to execute a process, like checking if a disc is legit, the firmware calls a function that's stored in a certain IOS. The Starlet contains multiple IOS versions simultaneously. When new games use new functionality that doesn't exist in the previous IOSes, a new IOS version (and all previously release IOSes) are included on the disc, and installed if you want to play it. In case of security measures, I believe that some specific IOSes that are used by the System Menu are updated to newer versions. So, in a way, I think I can see IOSes as plugins/modules that add new functions that the System Menu or games can use. In that way, it makes sense that multiple IOSes are installed at the same time.

    From what I understand, Waninkoko has made some custom IOSes (cIOS), which you can install next to the existing official IOSes. With this cIOSes installed, which includes functionality like the ability to read normal DVDs, you can call these functions and hence use the added functionality in homebrew apps. You can uninstall the cIOSes as well, and never leave a trace that it was there.

    MIOS is some kind of compatibility layer that's activated when playing GC games. Not sure how it fits in the above though... WADs are like install files for channels, including VC games and WiiWare games as well.

    So, I'm wondering if I understood everything correctly so far. Even if I did, I have still quite some questions left though. What exactly does the firmware do? Why doesn't Nintendo just use a single IOS? Why don't they add that functionality to the firmware by updating that? How do cIOSes effect your Wii? Is it safe to install a cIOS and try out the Backuploader, or are there any risks (aside from bricking your Wii when you cut off the power during installing or something like that)? Hope you guys can help me out. [​IMG]
     
  2. BL4Z3D247

    Member BL4Z3D247 GBAtemp Stoner

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    by george i think he's got it!!!

    -What exactly does the firmware do?
    not sure exactly

    -Why doesn't Nintendo just use a single IOS?
    once again not sure why

    -Why don't they add that functionality to the firmware by updating that?
    they do update, which adds "functionality" and usually block homebrew(or they think)

    -How do cIOSes effect your Wii?
    in a very good way actually, cIOS is what allows you to run/install most homebrew/apps/ect. on your unmodded wii

    -Is it safe to install a cIOS and try out the Backuploader, or are there any risks?
    just read the README and you'll be fine, you seem like a smart guy
     
  3. fennec

    Newcomer fennec Advanced Member

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    Hi CaptainN,

    You're basically right, but with a few mistakes.
    Starlet is running IOSes, it also handle communications with hardware and firsts steps of boot stage. Think of different IOS as if they where different versions of an Operating System. Keeping several different version allows Nintendo to add new features without worrying about backward compatibility.

    Ability to read normal DVDs was probably left open on the starlet to enable reading video dvds. cIOS replaces read calls made by the game by calls to open DVD calls. The trick is to decrypt DVD content as the game does expect its data to be encrypted.


    If you want to know more go there and browse sections at the bottom of the main page :
    http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Main_Page
     
  4. svpe

    Newcomer svpe Member

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    Wrong. Starlet *is* running IOSes and IOS is the software the handles communication with all new hardware (i.e. usb, wifi, fontsd,...) plus the dvd drive and some other minor stuff
     
  5. fennec

    Newcomer fennec Advanced Member

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    oups, you're right svpe, I was just chekcing wiibrew and was about to correct my post [​IMG] i've been too slow.

    i'll edit my post anyway for readability.
     
  6. CaptainN
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    Newcomer CaptainN Newbie

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    Thanks for the info.

    By the way, another thing that popped my mind: can you play games from different regions when using the backup loader? If so, do you have to patch them to avoid updates, or does the backup loader disable them, like Gecko OS does?
     
  7. ether2802

    Former Staff ether2802 we have the techno...!!

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    You just search for WiU1.1.exe and the aplication will modify your .iso before burn so you can patch every .iso to NTSC-J
     
  8. CaptainN
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    Newcomer CaptainN Newbie

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    So the backup loader currently does not disable updates that are on the game disc, like GeckoOS does?
     
  9. Jacobeian

    Member Jacobeian GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    to keep older games (that used a previous version) running fine
     
  10. CaptainN
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    Newcomer CaptainN Newbie

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    Thanks for the elaborate post, that really helps me understand a little bit better how Wii works. [​IMG] Just to be sure: the cIOS is a patched IOS that is placed next to the other IOSes, so nothing inside the existing software on your Wii is actually modified, right? You just add a modified IOS version and the rest stays the same as before. And thanks for the Wii is not a PSP reference, I'll try to locate it and read it. [​IMG]

    As for the backup loader, do you also know whether or not it disables disc updates? Based on what ether2802 says, I think it does not?
     

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