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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

how does Nintendo feel about the homebrew scene?

how does Nintendo feel about the homebrew scene?
by on (#42227)
I accidentally happened upon a page about how Nintendo feels about ROMs and emulation---my goodness they are not happy about it. So I wondered, how do they feel about the homebrew development scene? I don't see how that could possibly affect their sales, since many of these games are not even intended to be sold---they are just made by enthusiasts, for other enthusiasts to enjoy.

by on (#42230)
They're not particularly happy about homebrewn anything, nor have they ever been. If you want confirmation of this, dig around online for details about the Wii and homebrewn games/demos -- continual firmware updates for the Wii intentionally block homebrew stuff.

EDIT: If you're specifically referring to NES homebrew, my guess is that they're not too concerned with it, as long as it doesn't involve direct copyright violation (copying of sprites/graphics from commercial games), or somehow imposes on the Wii's VirtualWare stuff (which uses an actual NES/FC emulator), especially since that's a form of financial income for them.

Nintendo Co. (Japan) didn't appear to have any problem with MONDO21's documentary called "TV-GAME GENERATION - SPIRIT OF 8bit"...

Part 1/3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzXbDcTqZ3M
Part 2/3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9FJK8F6a-w
Part 3/3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkxFvf1Tx9A

...where a series of dudes got together and made a present-day Famicom game called Mr. Splash. They had to find all the necessary folks (6502 programmer, two pixel artists, and a sound programmer) too, plus had a producer and director. They used publicly-available tools (YYChar, NESASM, etc.) to make the game. Box art, a full game manual, PCB, mask ROMs, and a casing were all made too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm3DSMULStI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k50-R6kESGM

In the case you bought it, you actually got a CD as well, which contained the source code, and a custom-made version of VirtuaNES which only runs Mr. Splash (and the ROM image is embedded in the Windows EXE).

The source was intentionally obfuscated in a couple ways:

1) Filenames/directory structure was intentionally lost (so you have tons of files to edit to fix INCLUDE directives)
2) Palette + CHR data files are actually ASCII dumps of the hexadecimal values, which requires you to copy/paste the contents into a hex editor and save them as an actual binary for INCBIN inclusion.
3) Code does not assemble due to NESASM bugs -- variable names are too long, causing it to segfault (yes really!). Rename the variables to something shorter to work around this. I have no idea how the authors dealt with this in the first place...

I've fixed up all of the source myself, and have been able to assemble/link an actual working ROM image of Mr. Splash:

Code:
12/21/2008  14:15            40,976 001_ProjectF.nes

MD5:
81CD1CC07B694CFB61B77A098D5A6B9C  001_ProjectF.nes


I'd rather not give it out based on the fact that I don't know what the copyright is. My guess is, based on all of the above, they'd rather people not run around distributing the ROM, but actually take the time to go through the pains I did to fix up the source and make their own copy.

Maybe the latter portion of my post should be put into the FCdev forum... heh. :-)

by on (#42231)
Homebrew/emulation/piracy falls under the same umbrella IMO. They all feed off each other, despite ideological differences. I expect Nintendo feels the same way. I suppose some distinction can be made for "antique" systems but it's splitting hairs. At some point it isn't worth pursuing, and they turn a blind eye to it instead.

by on (#42234)
koitsu wrote:
The source was intentionally obfuscated in a couple ways:

1) Filenames/directory structure was intentionally lost (so you have tons of files to edit to fix INCLUDE directives)


This part was not done on purpose (according to them). There was an error at the pressing of the cd/dvd. If you can prove that you own the DVD and ask them for the files, they will send you the proper version.

I sent an email to them 6 months ago regarding Mr Splash source files since I wanted to know if it was really included with the movie or not. There is a thread about this in the general forum. Didn't know someone already looked at the source. I was going to buy the DVD but gave up (a little bit expensive) . There was a version with the PCB/eprom for the pre-orders when it came out.

by on (#42235)
Well, I guess Nintendo is not happy about it at all, exept when they have to make a NES emulator for the GBA or the Wii where they are very happy to be able to re-compile an open-source emulator they found on the web, and in exchange of all the money they made out from selling remakes on those platform they kepp slitent and don't sue anyone.

by on (#42237)
Banshaku wrote:
koitsu wrote:
The source was intentionally obfuscated in a couple ways:

1) Filenames/directory structure was intentionally lost (so you have tons of files to edit to fix INCLUDE directives)


This part was not done on purpose (according to them).


I was wondering, why would someone release the source code, but obfuscate it.

by on (#42240)
Bregalad wrote:
Well, I guess Nintendo is not happy about it at all, exept when they have to make a NES emulator for the GBA or the Wii where they are very happy to be able to re-compile an open-source emulator they found on the web

I know a few third-party compilations (e.g. Jaleco's) use PocketNES, but as I understand it, Virtual Console (Wii) and Classic NES Series (GBA) use in-house emulators. Have you evidence that Nintendo licensed a Free emulator?

by on (#42241)
The Wii games comes in iNES format which has not been invented by Nintendo.

For the emualtor, you are right they are probably in-house but to get the knownledge to make them I wouldn't be surprised if they had to sneak into "pirate" made emultators and doccuments (I say the world pirate to reflect the way of thinking from nintendo).

by on (#42271)
Bregalad wrote:
The Wii games comes in iNES format which has not been invented by Nintendo.


Yup, as if we're officially buying homebrew... :)

by on (#42273)
Bregalad wrote:
The Wii games comes in iNES format which has not been invented by Nintendo.

For the emualtor, you are right they are probably in-house but to get the knownledge to make them I wouldn't be surprised if they had to sneak into "pirate" made emultators and doccuments (I say the world pirate to reflect the way of thinking from nintendo).


Maybe using the iNES format was a hidden nod to those in the emulation scene. I don't mean from Nintendo themselves, but the programmers. If the higher ups at Nintendo know the association of the iNES format, I'd doubt they'd want it used due to public relation reasons or whatever. But of course that's all speculation ;)

by on (#42275)
I'm guessing Nintendo used the iNES header because 1. it had already been used in licensed titles based on the PocketNES engine, and 2. it happens to be a well-documented way to specify in general terms what PCBs a game is capable of running on. And I seem to remember that Sega hid even bigger nods in one of its classics compilation for the Dreamcast (or was it the Saturn?).

by on (#42293)
Or because it was the first and -- still is -- most prominently used file format for NES/FC games.

I'm somewhat surprised that a community full of technically-savvy individuals haven't realised the sad reality of technology: what comes first is what usually wins. Look at how long it's taken to get rid of the ISA bus from x86 PCs (we still haven't fully gotten rid of it, by the way). We're still using ZIP archives, floppy drives (not entirely on the way out due to complexities involving booting from USB pen/flash drives), and (especially in this arena) parallel ports.

So Nintendo uses the iNES file format. So what? There is no license, AFAIK, on that file format. More importantly, has anyone actually spoken to Marat Fayzullin to see if he's received any contact from Nintendo with regards to use of his file format in the Wii? I'm willing to bet not a single one of you has taken the time to do that (it would have been the first thing I'd done). Seriously guys, ease up. :-)

by on (#42308)
koitsu wrote:
floppy drives (not entirely on the way out due to complexities involving booting from USB pen/flash drives)


The thing I find funniest about this is that all USB mass storage devices are approximately SCSI, and the only difference between them is minor variations in the SCSI commands they support and what they report themselves as. The "U3" USB keyfobs already lie and claim they are a CDROM and HDD simultanously; I really wonder why no-one has side-stepped this mess and made a USB flash "floppy" drive.

by on (#42310)
I don't think iNES came first, I thought Pasofami's .PRG + .CHR + .PRM came first. Also, don't forget that Famtasia (then called Famicom Emulator) was the first emulator to emulate frequency sweeps and DMC, and it used the .FAM image format, with no easy way of loading .NES files.

by on (#42315)
I remember Pasofami files, also wasn't there even .DKA and .DKB files for FDS emulation? That was a long time ago, but IIRC it was a shareware program in Japanese with limits in the trial version. Around here, that's about as obscure as it can get. I never tried it myself, but then again I never tried iNES either because I was using DOS/Win3.11 up until 2000. :P

by on (#42329)
I'm pretty sure I still have some FDS archives with .DKA/.DKB files inside, as well as some .FAMs. Boy, was it fun trying to convert those into a usable format...

by on (#42331)
Dwedit wrote:
I don't think iNES came first, I thought Pasofami's .PRG + .CHR + .PRM came first. Also, don't forget that Famtasia (then called Famicom Emulator) was the first emulator to emulate frequency sweeps and DMC, and it used the .FAM image format, with no easy way of loading .NES files.


And if my memory serves me right, I believe Pasofami was a Japanese Win32 emulator, and people had to resource/exe-hack the strings to get English menus? (This would greatly limit the number of English userbase.) Wasn't this the same emulator which, in one version, wiped out all of your C:\WINDOWS directory if a hacked/cracked version was used? (Further limiting the userbase...)