Hacking USB Loader GX

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kobeskillz

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Hey guys I’m an old GameCube Swiss dog but new to the Wii scene!
First of all I’d like to thank Blackb0x for all his time hats he’s put into this amazing project!

I should get my Wii in a few weeks from being hdmi modded but in the meantime I’m preparing for the usb loader gx.

one thing I’m not sure of is can you turn off the diflicker in the menu without the need to patch games? I’m kinda confused about that. I’d be great if this had that option plus 1:1 output for razor sharp image.
 
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ca032769

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Hey, for all we know the next USB Loader GX update will include RVZ support and therefore maybe a 2TB hard drive will be more than enough?


(I don't actually know how much disk space is required for all of the Wii games when compressed as RVZ, I'm just making a joke...)


Alternatively, if the next USB Loader GX update includes SD card support, then you could instead go the insane route and buy a giant batch of SD cards and go the cartridge-like route and set things up to have one game per SD card and have the console auto-boot the game located on the according SD card (it's my impression that USB Loader GX is able to auto-boot directly to a game, and we already know that you can make a bootmii-enabled console directly boot to USB Loader GX)

I like where you're going with this. I'll skip the separate cards, but when the time comes I will definitely try out a 5TB SDXX card.
 
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blackb0x

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one thing I’m not sure of is can you turn off the diflicker in the menu without the need to patch games? I’m kinda confused about that. I’d be great if this had that option plus 1:1 output for razor sharp image.
The loader patches the game in memory, so your backups aren't modified :)
 

Nintendo Maniac

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hey guys sorry to bug but Wii Guide website says i need to cIOS before using the USB Loader. Is that right?

Yes. The cIOS are required to play the backups.

One point of clarification that many people don't know - cIOS is only needed to play Wii backups.

GameCube backups do not need any cIOS at all with both Nintendont and Devolution - all you really need is IOS 58 which you should have anyway if you're on system menu 4.3.
 

fandango

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USB Loader GX is able to create banner files in the cache_bnr folder for any games that you browse in channel mode or open in list mode, which is good. It list mode when you select a game, the Wii ones are great as they seem to be pulled from the Wii game itself, but the GC ones are just a tiny picture and stock music. I realise this is because of a limitation of the GC games themselves.

In ULGX you can download custom GC banners (it's in the download covers screen) that are much better. Unfortunately for me it only downloads about 170 bnr files of the 500 GC games that I have. Does anyone know why? It seems to be checking https://banner.rc24.xyz/ so that is correct I think. Is it because the banners there are often abbreviated to the first 3 characters, so it can't match them to my GC games?
I've manually downloaded the banners from https://banner.rc24.xyz/ so it's not a big deal anyway.
 
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blackb0x

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Unfortunately for me it only downloads about 170 bnr files of the 500 GC games that I have. Does anyone know why? It seems to be checking https://banner.rc24.xyz/ so that is correct I think. Is it because the banners there are often abbreviated to the first 3 characters, so it can't match them to my GC games?
It checks for the full game ID first and then when it can't find a match it'll look for partial IDs.

Did you try downloading the banners again and did the number of banners to download change? Because if the number did change then your Wii might have a weak connection, so it's sometimes timing out.
 
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Confruggy

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I recently got an HDMI modded Wii using GCVideo. It has the option to disable the fix resolution (720*480/576) and instead use the resolution the VI scales too. This has the advantage of not having black borders, so my monitor can just scale the full image to a 16:9 ratio.

However, that got me thinking: Because the ratio of the VI's image doesn't matter, I could just skip the VI scaling altogether and instead use the frambuffer's resolution. This should lead to a way sharper image. So I created a simple mod of USBLoaderGX which sets viWidth and viHeight to whatever fbWidth and xfbHeight is.

Then I booted up Mario Kart Wii and indeed it works. It set the resolution to 608*456 which is the resolution the game renders at and it looks really sharp.
IMG_20210916_111230[1].jpg

Then I booted up Super Mario Galaxy 2 which renders at 640*456 and even just the title screen looks gorgeous.
IMG_20210916_111018[1].jpg

Combined with the deflicker option this is the cleanest image I've ever seen from a Wii. I haven't tested it with many games yet, but so far it seems to work fine. Also, I haven't tested if it works with the analog output.

I wonder if such a feature could be incorporated into USBLoaderGX? The way I did now isn't really optimal as it forces it onto every game. In case you're curious, I've uploaded the source files I edited below.

Edit: Seems it doesn't work with Kirby's Epic Yarn (NTSC). It always reports as 711*480 which is the VI's resolution for this game (funny my monitor reports it as 710*480). Has anyone an idea why that might be?
 

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fandango

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It checks for the full game ID first and then when it can't find a match it'll look for partial IDs.

Did you try downloading the banners again and did the number of banners to download change? Because if the number did change then your Wii might have a weak connection, so it's sometimes timing out.

Yeah it worked when I tried it again, just a glitch with my network. Many thanks for your help (once again)!
 
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blackb0x

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Then I booted up Mario Kart Wii and indeed it works. It set the resolution to 608*456 which is the resolution the game renders at and it looks really sharp.
Does the aspect ratio look correct for MKW? An easy way to tell is by looking at the blue circle on the title screen.

Also, I haven't tested if it works with the analog output.
I've got my Wii connected to my TV via a component cable and the image ends up looking squished with pillarboxing.

I wonder if such a feature could be incorporated into USBLoaderGX? The way I did now isn't really optimal as it forces it onto every game. In case you're curious, I've uploaded the source files I edited below.
I've got similar code in a test build somewhere, since I was experimenting with custom widths while it was being discussed a few months ago. Although what you're requesting is a little different.

I guess if your display can do the scaling correctly then it might be worth adding. But you should test this against every game that you've got.
 
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Confruggy

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Does the aspect ratio look correct for MKW? An easy way to tell is by looking at the blue circle on the title screen.
Yes, my monitor scales it to a 16:9 ratio, so everything looks as it should.

I've got my Wii connected to my TV via a component cable and the image ends up looking squished with pillarboxing.
That's what I guessed, because component still outputs a 720*480/576 image which then gets scaled by your TV to either a 4:3 or 16:9 ratio. Because of that the VI has to scale to a 3:2 ratio (or 10:8 in PAL) to match the ratio of the output image for it to look correctly on your TV. However with GCVideo you can set to only output the visible area, so the pillarboxing is gone.

I guess if your display can do the scaling correctly then it might be worth adding. But you should test this against every game that you've got.
Yeah, I will. As I already mentioned in Kirby's Epic Yarn this method doesn't seem to have an effect. I'm still trying to figure out why that is. But if it will work with most games, this will be pretty useful for GCVideo users.

The main purpose of this is to avoid any scaling done by the VI to get a pixel perfect image.
 
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blackb0x

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Yeah, I will. As I already mentioned in Kirby's Epic Yarn this method doesn't seem to have an effect. I'm still trying to figure out why that is.
It's because the resolutions already match.

Code:
vi: 640x574 fb: 640x574 @ 0x808b7ed0
vi: 640x528 fb: 640x528 @ 0x808c87d0
vi: 640x528 fb: 640x528 @ 0x808c880c
vi: 640x524 fb: 640x524 @ 0x808c8848
vi: 640x480 fb: 640x480 @ 0x808ccb80
vi: 640x480 fb: 640x480 @ 0x808ccbbc
vi: 640x480 fb: 640x480 @ 0x808ccbf8
vi: 640x528 fb: 640x528 @ 0x808ccc34
vi: 640x480 fb: 640x480 @ 0x808ccc70
vi: 640x480 fb: 640x480 @ 0x808cccac

And that's an indication that this game doesn't use the values set within the render modes. So you'd need to patch VIConfigure(), but that's easier said than done.
 
Last edited by blackb0x,

kobeskillz

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I recently got an HDMI modded Wii using GCVideo. It has the option to disable the fix resolution (720*480/576) and instead use the resolution the VI scales too. This has the advantage of not having black borders, so my monitor can just scale the full image to a 16:9 ratio.

However, that got me thinking: Because the ratio of the VI's image doesn't matter, I could just skip the VI scaling altogether and instead use the frambuffer's resolution. This should lead to a way sharper image. So I created a simple mod of USBLoaderGX which sets viWidth and viHeight to whatever fbWidth and xfbHeight is.

Then I booted up Mario Kart Wii and indeed it works. It set the resolution to 608*456 which is the resolution the game renders at and it looks really sharp.
View attachment 276057

Then I booted up Super Mario Galaxy 2 which renders at 640*456 and even just the title screen looks gorgeous.
View attachment 276058

Combined with the deflicker option this is the cleanest image I've ever seen from a Wii. I haven't tested it with many games yet, but so far it seems to work fine. Also, I haven't tested if it works with the analog output.

I wonder if such a feature could be incorporated into USBLoaderGX? The way I did now isn't really optimal as it forces it onto every game. In case you're curious, I've uploaded the source files I edited below.

Edit: Seems it doesn't work with Kirby's Epic Yarn (NTSC). It always reports as 711*480 which is the VI's resolution for this game (funny my monitor reports it as 710*480). Has anyone an idea why that might be?

I do something similar with Gamecube and Swiss. I set the Swiss to do 1:1 and then i have OSSC settings that sets the correc 4:3 aspect ratio depending if it's 640x480, 640x448 or 512x448 and it looks stunning. Now i know the gamecube does some other odd ball internal resolutions but those 3 settings catch most of it and looks good in 4:3.

I was wondering if USB Loader Gx has a similar 1:1 option.
 

almmiron

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How hard it is to implement a "user profile" option? I have 2 kids, and my own game saves. Each one has their own. Every time I change emunand saves location, depending on wich one will play. I'm sure, there's a way to create 'user profile choose menu' when usbloader(or game) is launching, then, auto-change the (preconfigured) emunand location for each person.

On modern systems like xbox360 (...). My kids already know when and how to load their profiles. TO them, it's visually easier then enter configuration inside usbloaderGX trough so many options...

I think it's a good (optional toogleable (i know this word does not even exists) feature.

Can, please, @blackb0x take a look at you next update?
 
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Nintendo Maniac

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How hard it is to implement a "user profile" option? I have 2 kids, and my own game saves. Each one has their own. Every time I change emunand saves location, depending on wich one will play. I'm sure, there's a way to create 'user profile choose menu' when usbloader(or game) is launching, then change the (preconfigured) emunand location for each save store.
One work-around is, while keeping all of the the games stored on the USB drive, to store accordingly-configured copies of the "apps/usbloader_gx" folder on multiple separate SD cards - one SD card per "profile" if you will (do note that, in order for this idea to work, the "apps/usbloader_gx" folder must only be stored on the SD card and must not exist on the USB drive).

The idea is that, rather than selecting a user profile, the person that wants to play simply inserts their according SD card in a manner similar to how things worked on memory-card based consoles (e.g.PS1, PS2, etc).


Technically you could use entirely different USB drives instead, but I figure that'd be a much more expensive option since the config files could easily fit onto SD cards with capacities measured in megabytes rather than gigabytes, and you'd then need to have duplicates of much more data rather than just USB Loader GX itself. Also, unless you're using a USB extension or USB-SATA adapter/enclosure, swapping USB drives is going to simply be more difficult as well due to the rear location of the USB port and needing to know which port to use.
 
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