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Thread: The State of the Homebrew Scene August 2007

                  
   
  1. #1
    Won Hung Lo wraggster's Avatar
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    Home/News The State of the Homebrew Scene August 2007

    Its now mid August 2007 and time for a new State of the Homebrew Scene for the latter of this year.

    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.

    First off though lets remind all that Homebrew is not the same as warez. (Please Read Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft)

    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.

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    Lets take a look at each scene.

    Apple iPhone



    Apples new touch screen mobile phone has in the last week or two exploded onto the homebrew scene with multiple releases each day. Already we have had Nes Emulators and ports of Doom and projects such as the Arcade emulator MAME will bring masses to this new homebrew Scene. The Phone isnt on a worldwide release yet but the possibilities of a mainstream homebrew scene are staring at us . Short term future looks very interesting.

    Xbox360



    The Xbox360 still only relies on Microsofts XNA (Basically an Official Homebrew Dev from MS). The only downer to XNA is that its not a mainstream solution. We have seen some games and emulators for it but with Microsoft pulling the strings you will be limited as to what you will see. Hacking on the Xbox seems to be limited to just the firmware and sadly the ability to play backed up games. As of writing there's no news of the killer Homebrew breakthrough we all want and the recent modchip raids will make it harder still for an exploit to be found. The best way to move on is for a softmod exploit for Homebrew to be released. In the short term the only Homebrew your going to see for the 360 is XNA.


    PS3



    Sony played a blinder by giving the ability to install Linux onto the PS3, sadly though Linux is really only used by coders and the more hardcore user, we have already had some games that use linux to boot but because of size limitations its not feasible in the long run, a 50MB release for a small game certainly isn't what we all want. Only last week a new exploit was found on the latest PS3 firmware but we are going to have to wait to see if Homebrew will eventually arise from it. In the short term it looks like your stuck with linux.

    Nintendo Wii



    Nintendos Wii console is already an emulation fans dream, the ability to play N64, Snes, Nes, Gamecube, Megadrive and PC Engine on this console make it a killer buy and recently Neogeo and MSX games have been announced to be arriving soon on the Virtual Console.

    Now that's all very well but Nintendo last week in one firmware update killed the ability to load the Freeloader and SD Media Launcher. The only chance you have of playing Gamecube Homebrew on the Wii now is via a Modchip and with the raids on modchip suppliers last week this is a very dodgy area. Nintendo with every firmware update are closing the doors to exploits and that in turn closes the door to Homebrew. The short term future for Wii only Homebrew is that if you want emulators your going to have to use the Virtual Console or have a Modchip installed and wait for an exploit. Sadly it looks like a long wait.

    Sony Playstation Portable



    The PSP Homebrew Scene is still the biggest mainstream noticed Homebrew scene of any generation, we now have homebrew support up to 2 behind Sonys Latest firmware. Custom Firmwares now give you full speed PSX Emulation and the community continues to pump out game after game. Nintendo 64 emulation gets closer to that elusive full speed and even last week a Nintendo DS Emulator was released for the PSP. Recent highlights include PSPTube which enables those of you with an Homebrew PSP to watch Youtube Videos on your PSP direct from the Net. The release of the PSPSlim aka PSP2000 in September with the additional 32mb of ram could mean even better ports of games and emulators. The hacking scene of the PSP at this time is the best in the whole Homebrew scene. The short term and long term future of PSP Homebrew continues to look great.

    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 cpu's and 64megs ram it sure can deliver the goods. Recent developments for the GP2X include excellent GBA and PSX Emulators, both emulators are showing what this linux based console can do.

    Because the GP2X was made with Homebrew in mind its future is secured as long as its fanbase want to see it go on and with one of the most hardcore followers amongst them expect this console to be here in years to come.

    The Nintendo DS



    The worlds biggest selling console at this time and the console that gives the most varied amount of games and applications in the Homebrew Scene. Remember that all you need to run Homebrew on your DS is the is the Console itself (obviously), and a Flash Cart.

    The amount of DS Homebrew games and apps released is staggering and so many push the system in new ways that its an exciting homebrew scene to watch. As with the PSP and GP2X the future of the DS for homebrew looks very solid, if you haven't tried homebrew yet then your missing out majorly. Also With the DS you can also play the many hundreds of excellent GBA Homebrew Releases.

    Gamecube

    To get Homebrew on the Gamecube you can use the SD Load Method, the Gamecube scene recently because of the ability to play on Wii also has seen updates of many emulators and new ports like Quake. Nintendos killing of support for the SD Load Method on the Wii will hurt this scene but the fact that the Gamecube is so powerful and with a console that doesn't require modding means you have a great future if coders work on the system, projects ongoing at the moment include a port of Cave Story and even a Nintendo 64 emulator for the Gamecube. Short Term future is the best for years for this console.


    Dreamcast



    The Dreamcast continues to live on as the only mainstream console that plays homebrew out of the box (apart from a few later consoles). The Homebrew scene continues to churn out releases and they are all quality releases too. More and More Commercial Homebrew is arriving on the console now and that's great news for new developers to show their tools on Sega's Last console. The future of the Dreamcast will continue to shine because of the hardcore fans and coders who support this console over the many years.

    GP32



    The GP32 is the younger brother of the GP2X, the GP32 has a homebrew scene is very stagnant these days with only a few releases this year, it does have a fantastic catalogue of releases for the system but the future looks to be bleak at best.

    The GBA



    The GBA has a console has very few games being released these days but for homebrew users there are still some excellent gems being released. The back catalogue has some of the very best commercial quality homebrew games ever created and those with a DS and a Slot 2 flashcart should try out the many excellent releases. Because you can play GBA Homebrew on the DS it means that the GBA scene will continue to attract massive interest in the years to come.

    Gizmondo



    The Gizmondo whilst being a commercial failure despite being a very powerful handheld had the makings of a great homebrew scene but the last 4 months have seen next to no new releases and the future looks very bleak apart from a few dedicated fans.


    Xbox



    The most powerful console for the last generation of consoles 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.

    Nokia N-Gage

    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 long-term future looks very grim, emulation on mobile phones isnt very easy to understand even if you are a pro in the scene.

    Tapwave Zodiac

    Here's 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, 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
    .

    PS2

    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 similar to the Gamecube, but the long term prospects don't look great. A modchip is the best way to get homebrew working on this console.

    Ipod

    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

    Sega Saturn

    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.

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    Conclusion

    I hope I haven't bored you too much but there's 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 Xbox and also the Gamecube, Should be your port of call.

    Of the next gen consoles only the 360 with the XNA enviroment is progressing at the moment.

    Agree or disagree, please respond via comments

  2. #2
    DCEmu Regular Adrenalin's Avatar
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    Nice Summary! well written.

    The Homebrew scene is awesome and one of the best things about game consoles.

    And Hear Hear! Homebrew is not the same as warez!

  3. #3
    DCEmu Newbie 160R's Avatar
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    Well, about Wii, you can still play homebrew (games, emulators,...) through SD Gecko with an autoboot sdload disc

    And what about Virtual Console? It is the only commercial 3D system and it even have some homebrew games! lol

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    yeh i agree with pretty much all of that, i think the iphone looks promising, the psp at the moment is king in my eyes

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    DCEmu Regular yoshinatsu's Avatar
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    What a nice article! I really enjoyed it!
    I think that the showcase of the immortals is the PSP and the Dreamcast, though the iPhone and the DS are growing each and every minute.
    But PSP is THE BEST choice for homebrew, you can do ANYTHING.

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    Thats greta wraggy, thats pretty much how it goes.

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    nice article. shows every console from a non-biased view, so if you want homebrew, you can pick without any hassle

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    I'm very proud to be a psp owner using homebrew, the psp is a killer!

  9. #9

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    What about the oldie/moldy systems like the NGPC and Atari systems? Not even a passing mention that since full speed emulation is available for them, homebrew coders find it easy to develop games.

  10. #10

    Default Codgers not allowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by GinaWrite View Post
    What about the oldie/moldy systems like the NGPC and Atari systems? Not even a passing mention that since full speed emulation is available for them, homebrew coders find it easy to develop games.
    I think this article had more to do with systems that are readily available. The older systems you have to ebay or garage sale for them.

    It would be nice if a separate article could be written about older systems and the things that can be done with them. especially for people that happen to have them in mothballs somewhere.

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