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Turn your Wii-U into a fantastic emulation machine


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Been playing with the retro arch build today. Lots of work clearly gone into it. And when it works it’s great.
 

But my god loading anything is extremely slow. Even booting the front end - to the point where I thought it had crashed. Been trying arcade games mostly and several have crashed requiring a hard reset. 
 

Will persevere though and the bezels are a nice touch. Kirbys pinball land on Gameboy was worth the 80gig download on its own. 

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I tried to hack my WiiU today, got the CBHC on and then the Homebrew launcher. I made up a 128Gb SD card with that retroarch build on it but I have no idea how to get it to run. I launched the Homebrew app while the SD card is in the WiiU and then nothing happened. The WiiU sat on the homebrew launcher page with background animation going but no menu options or icons. 

 

Anybody got any idea what's gone wrong?

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1 hour ago, jonnyalpha said:

I tried to hack my WiiU today, got the CBHC on and then the Homebrew launcher. I made up a 128Gb SD card with that retroarch build on it but I have no idea how to get it to run. I launched the Homebrew app while the SD card is in the WiiU and then nothing happened. The WiiU sat on the homebrew launcher page with background animation going but no menu options or icons. 

 

Anybody got any idea what's gone wrong?

 

I presume you formatted your SD card as FAT32? (Windows does not make this easy - particularly as I had to subsequently mount the SD card explicitly in Windows Disk Manager to even see it in Explorer.)

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1 hour ago, jonnyalpha said:

I tried to hack my WiiU today, got the CBHC on and then the Homebrew launcher. I made up a 128Gb SD card with that retroarch build on it but I have no idea how to get it to run. I launched the Homebrew app while the SD card is in the WiiU and then nothing happened. The WiiU sat on the homebrew launcher page with background animation going but no menu options or icons. 

 

Anybody got any idea what's gone wrong?

 

I installed Retroarch today and it works for me. It's worth just going through the Retroarch readme file to double check everything is in the correct folders. Is the retroarch folder in the wiiu/apps folder on your sd card? If it is you should see the retroarch frontend in the homebrew launcher.

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I used the tool that the modders site recommended to format the card as Fat32 so that should be ok.

I'll check the folders to make sure everything is where it should be. I was wondering if I was not patient enough, does retroarch take ages to set up on first use?

 

 

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2 hours ago, jonnyalpha said:

I used the tool that the modders site recommended to format the card as Fat32 so that should be ok.

I'll check the folders to make sure everything is where it should be. I was wondering if I was not patient enough, does retroarch take ages to set up on first use?

 

 

 

It didn''t take too long to boot up, less than 30 seconds.

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17 minutes ago, MrMorgasaurus said:

Retroarch takes far longer to start than 30 seconds for me. More like 2 minutes. Lord knows what it’s doing. I’ve got a U1 class sd card for reference. 
 


 

 

 

I've just timed it out of curiosity (and boredom while working from home) and it takes 47 seconds to get to the retroarch menu, so my guess wasn't far off. 256g Sandisk Ultra, U1. I start it from the launcher on the Wii U homescreen, not through the homebrew launcher. I don't know if that would affect the speed.

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30 minutes ago, jonnyalpha said:

I've got a 128Gb Sandisk U1. It went way beyond two minutes but that wasn't even getting to anything showing in the homebrew launcher. Should retroarch show up as an option on the homebrew launcher screen?

 

Yes, the retroarch emulation frontend should appear in the homebrew launcher. It will appear there instantly after you open the homebrew launcher, it only takes a while to load when you're launching retroarch itself.

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I got it working. I copied across part of the file structure from the sd card I used to exploit the wiiu to the larger card with the retroarch package and it worked. 

Thanks for the help guys, you pointed me in the right direction. 

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4 hours ago, Filth said:

 

I've just timed it out of curiosity (and boredom while working from home) and it takes 47 seconds to get to the retroarch menu, so my guess wasn't far off. 256g Sandisk Ultra, U1. I start it from the launcher on the Wii U homescreen, not through the homebrew launcher. I don't know if that would affect the speed.

 

Sandisk Ultra U1 128Gb here. Takes 1 Minute and 27 seconds to launch from the Forwarder I have installed on the Wii U homescreen. Almost double! <_<

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I'm looking at doing the vWii today. The 2 main methods seem to be needing a specific firmware, which I don't appear to be on since I used the CBHC exploit, or a number of specific retail game disks which I don't have. 

 

I remember using a letterbomb method on my original Wii way back when. Does this still work? 

 

How did other people hack the vWii component of their WiiU? 

 

Edit: I know I have smash bros on the wii but I can't find it.

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4 hours ago, jonnyalpha said:

I'm looking at doing the vWii today. The 2 main methods seem to be needing a specific firmware, which I don't appear to be on since I used the CBHC exploit, or a number of specific retail game disks which I don't have. 

 

I remember using a letterbomb method on my original Wii way back when. Does this still work? 

 

How did other people hack the vWii component of their WiiU? 

 

Edit: I know I have smash bros on the wii but I can't find it.

 

This will do the trick. Part 2 I think. Let us know how you get on.

 

https://cheapergamer.co.uk/wii-u-hacking-guide/

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On 05/09/2020 at 14:12, MrMorgasaurus said:

 

Sandisk Ultra U1 128Gb here. Takes 1 Minute and 27 seconds to launch from the Forwarder I have installed on the Wii U homescreen. Almost double! <_<

 

Just to update on this. I’ve now tried it with a U3 class card. Takes 40 seconds now wi which is far more usable. 
 

I’m guessing the card I used originally may actually be a fake as it’s the same class and make as the one used by Filth. 
 

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I'd like to hack my Wii-U and rip my Wii-U disc games so that I can load them from a hard drive. Am I right in saying that's possible? I'll probably want the emu/GC stuff at some point in the future but not now. Where do I start and what do I need?

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11 hours ago, Camel said:

I'd like to hack my Wii-U and rip my Wii-U disc games so that I can load them from a hard drive. Am I right in saying that's possible? I'll probably want the emu/GC stuff at some point in the future but not now. Where do I start and what do I need?

 

Poking around it looks like i first need to follow the guide at wiiu.hacks.guide. Are people generally just installing haxchi? When it talks about relaunching each time you turn the console on, how long/how much of a faff is that?

 

Then it seems I need Disc2App to create images from my discs. Finally, I think I need WUP installer. Do I need to do anything to a new HDD? Presumably there's a way of having the Wii-U format/configure it?

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Re-running haxchi every time is a bit of a pain. It’s not like the PSP where once it’s run it’s only negated by a hard restart. Every time you turn the machine on you will need to run it. 
 

it doesn’t take very long. But it’s most annoying when I just forget to do it and try and run something non-standard. I’m definitely going to do the permanent hack, just need to get round to it. 
 

The wii u supports external USB storage so you don’t need to do anything special there. Just plug it in so the wii u recognises it. It format’s it itself. I have got an externally powered caddy for the hard disk I use. The USB ports on the console don’t kick out much power. I’ve transferred everything over to the wii u using the sd card slot and installed via WUP installer. 

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I totally forgot about the Y cable thing and my other (legit) Wii-U has a Toshiba HDD attached which seems to work fine, so that's weird.

 

Edit: Actually this is a filthy lie. I've just checked and it has a Y cable. I don't even remember doing that. Getting old is fun.

 

Can I WUP install to the internal drive until I get an external one sorted? 

 

I'll probably do the permanent hack.

 

I've got a 32gb SD card; will that suffice or do I need a bigger one?

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7 hours ago, Camel said:

I totally forgot about the Y cable thing and my other (legit) Wii-U has a Toshiba HDD attached which seems to work fine, so that's weird.

 

Can I WUP install to the internal drive until I get an external one sorted? 

.....

I've got a 32gb SD card; will that suffice or do I need a bigger one?


Installing to internal should work fine I think. Never transferred from internal to external myself. But no reason it shouldn’t work. 
 

As for card size - it depends on what you’re using it for. If it’s just for transport between pc and console. 32Gb should be fine. If you’re running emulators though you need to run them from the Sd card and that includes the roms. So Retroarch images like the one discussed above can require a lot of space. 
 

That said you can always cut them down. The 100Gb image can be cut down to about 60 just by removing all the pc engine cd games. 
 

If you set retroarch up yourself from scratch and added roms peace meal rather than as entire system collections I would have thought 32Gb would be plenty. 
 

Not set up the vwii yet. I presume you can run those roms off USB too. But not sure if it would need to be a different usb device to the one you use for the wii u games/installs. 

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For now I'm planning to just rip my Wii-U games and get those running. I've just ordered an HDD and y-cable so no need to worry about using the internal drive now. Sounds like a 32GB SD card will suffice for modding it and ripping those games.

 

More questions (sorry):

 

Do you need to hack the virtual Wii in order to run Wii games from a hard drive? 

 

GC games would be nice, but is there a way of hooking up a GC pad?

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54 minutes ago, Camel said:

More questions (sorry):

 

Do you need to hack the virtual Wii in order to run Wii games from a hard drive? 

 

GC games would be nice, but is there a way of hooking up a GC pad?

 

Wii games will run without the need to hack vWii, GC games won't.

 

To answer the second question, Mayflash sell an adaptor that'll work with WiiU, PC and Switch.

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Depends how many you need, but in my experience it's much nicer to pick the Wii, GC etc titles you want and inject them. That way you can have them nicely organised in folders, plus they fit onto the same storage as Wii U games.

Also the tiny SanDisk usb stick I bought works fine, no need for y-cable.

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3 minutes ago, roobarb said:

 

Also the tiny SanDisk usb stick I bought works fine, no need for y-cable.

 

I used a 64Gb SanDisk flash drive on my Wii U and it died after about 6 months, so I'd be wary of using one. Nintendo themselves recommend HDD for external storage.

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9 hours ago, Lyrical Donut said:

 

I used a 64Gb SanDisk flash drive on my Wii U and it died after about 6 months, so I'd be wary of using one. Nintendo themselves recommend HDD for external storage.

Hmm ok.. is there a way of copying Wii U files from one usb drive to another? Can I just copy them using a PC? Really don't want to go through the hassle of installing and moving them all again if it did die.

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2 minutes ago, roobarb said:

Hmm ok.. is there a way of copying Wii U files from one usb drive to another? Can I just copy them using a PC? Really don't want to go through the hassle of installing and moving them all again if it did die.

As far as I'm aware, a Wii-U drive can't be read by a PC. I had to re-download all my purchases to the hard drive.

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