What makes a good homebrew scene for a console?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Flame, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. Flame

    Flame Me > You

    Jul 15, 2008
    what are the things that makes a homebrew good scene for console.

    is it the architecture of the console?

    how early in the life time a console is "hacked"?

    easy to pirate on?

    scene devkit?

    how popular the console is?

    i was wondering why some consoles have some great homebrew on them i.e. Wii or PSP and others dont when should

    your thoughts and opinion?
  2. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2006
    I would say "All of the above".

    is it the architecture of the console?
    Yes, in part, because the architecture dictates the development framework, which in turn determines how easy it is to develop for the console.

    how early in the life time a console is "hacked"?
    Yes, the earlier it's hacked, the earlier people can start working on it and the longer the scene lasts.

    easy to pirate on?
    Depends on what you mean by "pirate"; PS2 was pirated relatively early but homebrew took a while.

    scene devkit?
    Definitely. A better devkit means a better development environment, and makes development easier.

    how popular the console is?
    The more people own a console, the more people are going to start developing for it.

    None of these in itself is a deciding factor.
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  3. BORTZ

    BORTZ "Another stunning Van Gogh"

    Dec 2, 2007
    United States
    I would think that popularity and a good dev toolkit really help a lot. I'm not a real hacker or anything but popularity is a great start. The more people who have said console in question, the higher chance someone in that group will come up with an entry point.
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  4. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

    pip Contributor
    GBAtemp Patron
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    Jul 11, 2009
    United States
    I forgot
    Honestly, I think it's just straight up random on why some consoles have good homebrew scenes while others don't. I think the only major factor that decides whether a console will have some good homebrew is the difficulty of accessing the exploits/homebrew and that's it.

    The Dreamcast, for example, is more of a "cult classic" console and sold like junk (as much as I love it) but has a homebrew scene that's still active today because all you need to do is burn some discs, whereas something like the 360's scene is mainly just a few emulators, custom dashboards, and ISO loading and that's it because it's basically jtag/RGH or bust.
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  5. Flame

    Flame Me > You

    Jul 15, 2008

    You know i was thinking that and the idea of this thread came from, randomness. i mean 3DS has great homebrew and such. but is also easy to get an entry point. but the amount homebrews are lacking and makes me think did smartphones kill the homebrew scene. all the homebrew in the 3DS are games addons in a way. you can either mod a save, add a extra thing to the game. play a game though a homebrew i.e. emu. in the DS we had moonshell which was a homebrew like no other imo. but who today with such thing as one as we have google music and spotify. in xbox we had XBMC but do we need one with all the console having video player of one form or another.

    randomness and free is a big factor imo also why OG Xbox sold way less PS2 but the OG Xbox homebrew scene was the cream da la cream when compared to PS2.
    Last edited by Flame, Jan 17, 2017
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  6. luckymouse0

    luckymouse0 Mad Scientist

    Oct 20, 2014
    Future Gadget Laboratory
    Don't forget that XB360 have C#/XNA, and XBONE C#/Monogame.
  7. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    I have considered this on several occasions. What I arrived at

    Some nice combo of price point and feature set.
    The GBA and DS were genuinely good portable devices for the time, and they were pretty cheap and easy to come by.

    Feature set wise.
    My xbox connected to my TV at a time when a VGA port in my TV was a rarity and getting VGA out of a console was also reserved for those willing to go deep. It also had a PC like media player and emulators in a lot of cases. I am not entirely sure why they wii hit as hard as it did but it was pre raspberry pi, many had one, it was very easy to hack, came with a workable controller and was pretty cheap when all was said and done. The general sub par nature of mobile phone controls for emulation and gameplay styles seen on devices commonly emulated is probably the main driving force for a lot of 3ds work from where I sit.

    Architecture and scene dev kit.
    A bad architecture will hamstring you and while I enjoy messing around with assembly, reading hardware manuals and writing my own libraries there are others that want to press compile and have it go which leaves them to focus on getting things done, or maybe can not handle that low level stuff which is fine too as seeing everybody able to program like everybody can read today is a good goal for civilisation. The device maker having a kit leak out into the world, or the homebrew community offering something of similar or otherwise considerable potency is a key part of this. Having SDL helps too, the PSP having it definitely helped in several instances over the DS.
    Having a similar architecture to something else of note may also help but more on that later.

    Today we have if not entirely open then effectively open mobile phones, tablets, raspberry pis, crazy cheap PCs and TVs which have HDMI in as standard. If we ever have another proper homebrew scene (I do not count the 3ds as having one if I have to also include the wii, xbox, gba, ds and psp in the list) it will be because the device offers something unique and interesting. It could come from peripherals but I am not sure if anybody really has the juice to make a non standard device to support an interesting peripheral rather than just sticking it over USB or something, it could also be because the device has a unique ability that allows it to do something -- various arcade hardware and consoles offered significant advantages over contemporary PC hardware of the day (and for some time after in many cases) which allowed them to far exceed what said PC hardware could do, however I again deem this unlikely. Maybe if something appears that means we do not face the "up to 16 bit era it is great, after that it gets tricky" thing for emulation for however many years this is now but I doubt it.
    I would not want to see it but there is a ghost of a chance some VR company pulls this off, I would be distraught to see good VR go locked down though.

    I do also have to remember the effect the rise of ios (and then android) had on the DS homebrew scene, probably some of the PSP stuff as well but I was less aware of that. The injection of easier means of making money may not have been an overwhelming positive but its effects I can not ignore as part of this.

    There will always be people that pull things apart to figure out how they work, pull things apart and tweak them to do something better for them, create software that does something that primarily interests them, create software that is not really commercially viable but still very cool and the other things we like and see in homebrew circles. A world where that does not happen is not one I care to be in*, and indeed is my main problem with a lot of science fiction/future fiction.
    Whether we will be able to continue to view it through the lens of a specific console is a different matter entirely, and actually I am content to let it become part of history rather than trying to prop it up. Also though I mentioned raspberry pis several times during this a lot of what goes there is fairly basic ARM linux or even general Linux, and most things are ported out or ported to it. The closest to specific device stuff will probably remain like custom firmwares for phones and cameras is today, and that is hardly port your favourite emulator as much as hack something specific in.

    *choice video
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  8. VinLark

    VinLark This machine kills bourgeois sentimentality.

    Jun 11, 2016
    Trinidad and Tobago
    4chan and other wonders of the internet
    Well, for me what makes a homebrew scene, as a user who hasn't done anything for it and probably won't. The homebrew makes it, the console of course makes it. It could take tons of work and breaking to hack the PS4, but to me that wouldn't make a good homebrew scene in my eyes because I don't care about that homebrew scene. I don't care about the architecture of the console or anything technical. Just the stuff as a end user I can do.