Wii U update

USB storage

My previous Anker SD card reader broke – it would think all full-size SD cards inserted into it were write-protected, even though they weren’t – so I ended up buying a UGREEN SD card adapter instead. It works fine and is fast enough. It still requires that I use the full-SD slot though, I assume the Wii U only accepts the first drive presented via USB, which happens to be the full-size SD slot.

LAN adapter

I ended up buying a LAN adapter because, you know, it’s a Nintendo product, the Wi-Fi is awful. I bought the adapter for £5 + £1.50 shipping from CeX, and got some Chinese clone – but who cares, it works well.

And more modding

I installed Coldboot Haxchi on my Wii U. Haxchi is basically an exploit that turns a Virtual Console DS title into a custom firmware launcher, and Coldboot Haxchi is another exploit that sets that DS title as your Wii U’s boot title (instead of the Wii U menu). So now I don’t have to deal with the web browser whenever I want to use CFW. Also, I can brick my system by deleting a DS game! Woo!

It requires a legit VC DS game from the eShop to work – and interestingly, I apparently already owned Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, despite never having bought it. Interesting. But it worked, so I guess that means my Wii U technically boots into Brain Training. Neat.

That’s basically all that’s happened with my Wii U so far, I’ve been playing a lot of Splatoon (of course) and some Wind Waker HD every now and again. Maybe I’ll play some of the other games I downloaded sometime… Also, really wish it supported full-range RGB, but whatever. I’ll have to live with everything looking washed out.

I bought a Wii U

Mario Kart 8 not included, unfortunately

I always wanted a Wii U, but …never got one. It might’ve been a commerical failure, but the first party games made it worth it: Splatoon, Wind Waker HD, Mario Maker with a thin stylus! Also, Miiverse. Whether that’s a good thing or not… it was iconic, at least.

Fully untouched sensor bar! And it’ll probably remain untouched.

I ended up buying a used (but good quality) 32GB Wii U, along with Splatoon and Wind Waker HD, from CeX for £145 (+£3 delivery). It arrived in good condition – the hardware was a little dusty, but that’s easy solved with some screen wipes. The top of the console was also scratched up a bit but other than that, everything was in great shape. Everything was included – including the GamePad stylus and a totally untouhed still-in-original-packaging sensor bar! The games were also in good condition, discs were very clean and included the manuals telling you how to read an electronic manual.

After finishing the set up and reaching the home menu, I was pleasantly surprised at how featureful the system was… or would’ve been, had Nintendo not killed off almost all of the online features for it. The one important feature that’s missing, though: support for full RGC colour over HDMI. The Wii U only supports limited RGB, and my monitor only supports full RGB – meaning everything looks washed out. It’s quite jarring, especially being adjusted to Splatoon 2 – which is on a platform that does support full RGB. Speaking of – Splatoon really does end up pushing the Wii U’s hardware to its limits. Even running at its much lower than 1080p resolution, it easily drops below 60 FPS when there isn’t that much going on. Even some of the more hectic matches in Splatoon 2 can stay at 60 FPS, though that game has dynamic resolution…

Homebrew on the Wii U is incredibly easy: you put some stuff on an SD card, shove it in the slot on the front of the console, go to a website, click a button – and you’re in the Homebrew Launcher. Alongside running custom applications, you can also install official titles – the Wii U eShop server doesn’t actually check whether you own a title, meaning you can just download it and then install it via a tool like WUP Installer GX2. Annoyingly, DLC is actually restricted to being registered to an account, but you can use custom firmware like Mocha to avoid those restrictions. Woo, piracy…! Modding games is also really easy, thanks to Cafiine and TCPGecko, and a myraid of other tools the Wii U community has produced over the years. I’ve even been getting dirty with some of that stuff myself…

It’s USB 3, but the Wii U only supports USB 2…

Of course, to store all these games, I’ll need storage. The Wii U supports expandable storage via USB drives – the SD card slot on the front is actually only for compatibility with Wii games. I ended up buying a 128GB microSD card with a USB adapter – and it’s pretty damn fast, reaching speeds of around 75MB/s on my PC. Interestingly, the Wii U only accepts using the full-size SD slot on the adapter, not the microSD slot. I suppose it has to do with the ordering of the drives it presents, or something… luckily, the microSD came with an adapter for a full-size SD card. There’s no speed impact, although it might add an inconsequential touch of latency. Overall not an amazing solution – but it’s better than having some hard drives laying on my floor, I guess.

I’ve been enjoying the Wii U over the past couple of weeks I’ve owned it, though. Actually obliterating people in ranked Splatoon has been an enjoyable change, and Wind Waker is just glorious in HD. Eventually I’ll check out some of the other games I’ve downloaded, but my list of games I want to play just keeps piling up…

Review of Splatoon 2 gamemodes

I want to actually blog about something but I have nothing interesting to say, so here’s me ranting about Splatoon, which is literally the only thing I play anymore:

  • Turf War is the classic. It’s the game’s iconic gamemode. There’s nothing at risk (except your Freshness, which doesn’t really mean much anyway). You can only get mad when you teammates are idiots and your enemies are pricks. Then ragequit because you’re petty then get a matchmaking ban.
  • Rainmaker is probably the best ranked gamemode. Spend a few minutes studying the stages, and then you can just pick up the Rainmaker and run to the goal via a path that basically nobody takes. Easy win, especially with teammates that are at least marginally competent, and if you’re good enough you can win a match in less than 40 seconds.
  • Splat Zones is Turf War in a smaller area. Interestingly, this is the mode where I’ve been least likely to find people who are awful at playing – maybe the smaller area increases the density of your team’s competence, or something.
  • Tower Control scares me. I don’t know why – it’s probably to do with the fact that it’s my highest rank, but I generally shy away from it. It’s generally a clusterfuck: nobody really wants to ride the tower because they’ll probably get murdered instantly, so you go and rush the tower and then proceed to get murdered instantly.
  • Clam Blitz is used to indicate when you should play Turf War or Salmon Run instead. Speaking of…
  • Salmon Run is a fucking ridiculously impossible lagfest the higher you climb into Profreshional rank. Remember when Nintendo cared about not having FPS drops?
  • Octo Canyon is some easy lore.
  • Octo Expansion is difficult. And I will wear this fucking toothpick forever.

Well, here we are again

So, I’m going to try blogging again. This hasn’t gone well the previous tries, where I said I was going to try blogging and never updated the blog again. The new WordPress block-based editor is pretty cool, and I much prefer it for writing than the old editor.

This blog will probably be used to show off updates for my projects, which are currently Altair, a Doom source port; and Epsilon, a fork of All Out War 2: The Omega Project with a focus on gameplay tweaks and fixes.

But in actual recent developments: I recently dropped £200 on a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M2 NVMe SSD, and it is very fast. Unfortunately, VS2015 with ReSharper still takes a very long while to start – but at least text editing isn’t as laggy as it was? The old 240GB SATA SSD I had has been shoved into the spare machine made of my old i5-4460 and other spare parts, and I shoved FreeBSD onto the SSD. Not sure what else I’ll do with it, but it’s something more to play with.