This is some very good info, I'm going to be looking at the the dreamCast a little bit more now.
Because we are the only dedicated Homebrew Network on the web covering just about all scenes (and if not then we will ) i feel its a good time to give a low down on each scene and some pointers about where they are going from my point of view.
First off though lets remind all that Homebrew is not the same as warez, its a shame that so many sites for the want of grabbing visitors post the warezy stuff but this network would rather not get shutdown by the likes of Sony, Nintendo Etc.
Also I would like to point out that each scene owes its life to the many hardware and software hackers who discover the exploits we come to enjoy so much today, they are then followed by the many worldwide coders who make the homebrew scene a free and enjoyable place to hang out and make friends etc.
Lets take a look at each scene.
Sony Playstation Portable
The PSP Homebrew Scene is the one getting the most attention at the moment and rightly so, the ease of getting homebrew to run on this up to the latest 2 firmware releases means millions worldwide can enjoy Games and Emulators for the price of a Memory Card and a copy of Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories depending on what firmware is on the PSP, even the latest firmware releases that support Flash only now have releases appearing and in the space of just over a year there has been hundreds of Games, Demos and Emulators. The power of the PSP makes it an awesome machine for Homebrew fans and once Kernal Mode can be accessed on higher firmwares than v1.5 then the possibilities get even better.
The PSP is the biggest homebrew scene for many years and with so many sites, coders and fans it can only get better. The soon to be Undiluted Platinum Modchip will open the door to everyone who wishes to run homebrew on any firmware, it will also open the door to kernal mode for all, so full speed Nintendo 64 and GBA Emulators come a step closer.
Finally later this year Sony themselves are releasing a PS1 emulator for the PSP so expect that to be a major pull for the handheld.
GP2X - The Linux Based Homebrew Console
The GP2X is a console that was made for homebrew fans and coders, it has a worldwide base of people coding Emulators and Games for it and with 2x200mhz cpus and 64megs ram it sure can deliver the goods. After a ropy start with GPL and firmware issues its now flourishing, Its a great console where teamwork has already delivered near on 200 releases for the system, key emulators for now and the future are the excellent Mame4 All emulator which gives you access to hundreds of arcade classics and the Playstation emulator for the GP2X should in time be running most games at near on full speed, great for fans of the original Playstation.
The GP2X with its dual processors in the future will most likely take over as the kingpin of Homebrew because of its pro homebrew stance and not to mention a fantastic community who are driven to make it a success.
The Nintendo DS
The worlds biggest selling console at this time but surprisingly not the most popular for homebrew fans.
Why is that, well most likely people dont realise that all you need to run homebrew on the Nintendo DS is the Console (obviously), and a Passkey/Flash Cart Combo (with mem card).
Once you have the hardware above then the DS with its touch screen is a monster in the waiting, already it has over a hundred homebrew releases for it but with the touch screen, microphone and rumble addon you have an excellent base for games and more, not to mention the wifi mode.
As with the commercial games the DS cant match the PSP for pure power but it can easily bypass it in the innovation dept just like the commercial scene. With the DS you can also play the many hundreds of excellent GBA Homebrew Releases.
The future for the DS looks awesome, Nintendo dont seem to bother too much with Homebrew unlike Sony so once you have your hardware brought then your pretty much set up for life
The Dreamcast is still the only non handheld Console to gain a massive legal scene without the use of modchips, the releases to date stand at over 500 and amongst them many ports of commercial games and awesome emulators, the scene has slowed a lot in the last year or so but it continues to pump out releases. Because of the fact that you dont have to Chip the console it makes the Dreamcast a cheap system to get emulators etc working on.
The GP32 is the younger brother of the GP2X, this console had some commercial releases but the main reason for its success was the hundreds of releases for it, this scene has really slowed down since the release of the GP2X with most people going to the new more powerful system, if your looking for a great console to play free games then this is the one for you.
The biggest selling handheld of all time (from the GB onwards) and even today we still see many great games being released for it as well as a new Snes emulator just recently, theres hundreds of releases for this console with some of the best homebrew games ever created being released on the GBA, the fact that you only need the console and a GBA Flash Cart makes this a real easy to get into scene, the added bonus of being able to play GBA on the Nintendo DS with your flash cart makes the scene last longer.
The Gizmondo whilst being a commercial failure despite being a very powerful handheld is now spawning a decent Homebrew scene, in the last few months we have seen the release of around 50 games and emulators, again like the PSP all you need is a Memory card and your ready to go, because there wasnt many Gizmondos made this will never be a massive scene but oncce more is known about the hardware homebrewers should really push the console.
The most powerful console for years has a massive range of full speed emulators and ported games for it, The best way to get homebrew to run is with the fitting of a Xbox Modchip, the shame about the Xbox scene is that 99% of the homebrew released is made with the Official SDK, so that means no sites can legally host the releases, at one time there were multiple releases on a daily basis but now its slowed to a trickle, the Xbox really needs the creation of a Legal SDK so that it entices more coders to release projects on the powerful console. If your after full speed emulation then this is the homebrew console to get.
The homebrew scene for the Nokia seems to have died a death, most likely because Nokia killed the console but it has quite a few decent emulators for it but the longterm future looks very grim, emulation on mobile phones isnt very easy to understand even if you are a pro in the scene. Best to avoid is the answer.
Heres a console much like the Nintendo DS with its Touch Screen but its also a Pocket PC type device so you get the best of both worlds, the homebrew scene for this console has dried up massively since Tapwave gave up last year, it does boast some great emulators and games though so if your after a homebrew console and a pocket PC device then this is for you.
To get Homebrew on the Gamecube your gonna need a Modchip, the Gamecube scene is very small compared to most other scenes with only a matter of 30 releases, it does however boast a great N64 and Snes emulator plus if you buy a Gamecube Gameboy player you can play GBA homebrew with a flash cart that way. Long term it doesnt look good for this scene.
The PS2 Homebrew scene despite being a powerful console and the biggest selling non handheld console of recent years has never really thrived, it has around 30 releases for it similiar to the Gamecube, but the long term prospects dont look great. A modchip is the best way to get homebrew working on this console.
The worlds most popular music player in time could be a real contender for mini games and emulation of simple systems, so far it does have some homebrew for it but controls are never going to be easy for it, because of the constant changing of hardware its unlikely to have a strong homebrew following. Best to stick to music
The Sega Saturn is another console for which youll need a modchip for, via a coder named Rockin-B the Saturn has a site with nearly 100 homebrew releases and although its never going to be a massive scene its great to see the console still getting some loving.
This will be the next console cracked for homebrew, the hackers are doing a great job at taking it apart and within 6 months i would think homebrew code will be running on this powerful console.
The most powerful console of the next generation is apparently going to have Linux on it so does that open up the doors to homebrew easily, well we will have to see.
Nintendos Wii console is going to be an emulation fans dream, the ability to play N64, GBA, Snes, Nes, Gamecube, Megadrive and PC Engine on this console will make it a killer buy, if Nintendo somehow allow homebrew to be run on the console then we could be looking at the best homebrew console ever.
I hope i havent bored you too much but theres some opinions and facts about homebrew across the systems, if your looking for a killer handheld homebrew scene then PSP, Nintendo DS or GP2X should be your focus.
Those looking for a Console based scene then the Dreamcast or maybe the Xbox Should be your port of call.
If your an emulation fan and if Nintendo let small time developers use the Wii to create games then Nintendos Wii Console will be the king of Homebrew for the next generation.
Agree or disagree, please respond via comments
This is some very good info, I'm going to be looking at the the dreamCast a little bit more now.
i would say that the ps3 is more of a homebrew fans wet dream than the wii.
i mean, come on.... linux ffs. linux it's self already has countless games and emulators and you are only a VMWare away from an xp environment.... and with wine you can play an awful lot of stuff. also, with 7 cores im sure someone will mod VMWare to allow each virtual computer a core to it's self
But never the less a very very good read
well the ps2 was to have linux, but that was aload of old balls. Still it will be interesting what linux on the ps3 can do...
also I think there are more than 500 releases for the DC, but i will know how many for sure soon...
yea i agree with the whole "linux and ps3" thing, the wii does sounds awsome because of the fact it is totaly open to emulation and homebrew. but if the ps3 has got linux and its as open as people hope its gona be, we can expect to be doing alot more than just emulating and homebrewing on it, we could have full fetured application that are already out for linux, things like video encoding and maybe even installing a dvd burner (via USB 2.0) would really kick ass!
Something I feel should be mentioned is that the GP2X runs linux out of the box, it has an X, Qtopia has been ported and there will be some 3D releases soon.
And as for the GP32, the only problem is that it is still a bit too expensive, there are many many many great apps and emu's for the device and can be OC quite far.
The Blu version is especially interesting, it was heavely OCed out of the box and has a backlight.
Also, with the NDS, there is a difference between passme1/passme2/wifime/flashme.
This is something we all know overhere, but for those who don't it is a very interesting aspect.
For example I run homebrew of of my DS but I have never touched a passme.
You notice that the linux installed on ps3 is hacked down version highly secured and designed only for sony needs. ps3 is probably going to be the hardest console to hack due to the amazing protection on blu ray and the fact that you need a computer with a cell chip to compile the homebrew unless someone makes a cross compiler (very hard to make!!). So do not get so hyped up over the ps3 it is not that great
That and there wil be a Linux development kit for the PS3 (o wait, that speaks for it...).
The problem wil be mostly that you will want to run homebrew native, not via Linux (with the gp2X that is native), maybe some bootloader can be made someday that boots the code.
It will mostly depend on people's hacking skills (I don't think that will go fast), or how easy the linux kit will be to crack.
I believe Nintendo HAS stated that homebrew will be possible. I remember reading a quote somewhere stating that they are interested to see what enteprising independent devs can come up with for the system. Er, I think anyway.
Screw PS3, honestly, at that point you should just buy a low end PC if you want a $600 emulator box
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