May Meeting notes!

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Aaron Johnson

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May 12, 2020, 9:50:17 PM5/12/20
to QCLUG

The May meeting was the second official virtual QCLUG meeting, attributed to COVID-19!

The meeting started promptly at 6:30PM but we took some time to do a couple of introductions as well a couple members shared their at home Internet connection configuration (wifi, routers, switches, etc.) which was mostly cords, wires and boxes sitting on the floor :joy:

Alex and Devon presented the meeting topic which was "Homebrew Console Hacking with Linux"

Alex started with the Nintendo 3DS (or 2DS, non 3D version) and began explaining what Homebrew is and that it is basically a term to describe non-official software that is not necessarily designed to help people pirate software/games.

Alex then shamelessly promoted a Right to Repair advert which I would also encourage any readers to consider following and supporting thier cause!

He recommends using the guide located at https://3ds.hacks.guide/ in order to get started
It will take you about 2 hours to get going and an SD card is required and a way to put data on the card using your computer

Data will likely be lost, you have been warned!

This process will NOT actually load custom firmware but rather it is exploiting the firmware via a "hot patch" as the firmware boots.
This will not prevent you from running authorized software/games.

A list of homebrew tools that you might want to use on your hacked 3DS/2DS: FBI, Anemone3DS, Checkpoint, Luma3DS Updater, GodMod9. Homebrew Launcher, DSP1 and crt-no-timeoffset

Installation is fairly simple, you copy a bunch of things to your sdcard and the packages are called CIAs which are installed via FBI.

Homebrew is more than just the 3DS, there is a Homebrew community for Wii and the Nintendo Switch as well and of course many non Nintendo consoles.

For 3DS homebrew another good resource is https://www.3dbrew.org/wiki/Main_Page for things such as DevKitPro

DevKitPro is a C++ SDK and cross compiler for building applications for the 3DS. This helps you make simple programs using C++ and the SDK without worrying about learning how to use the OS which helps make it easy(ish) to get started. You will however have to write code in C++ of course ;-) Also DevKitPro works well on Linux.

Example Code can be found here: https://github.com/devkitPro/3ds-examples

Another tool that will help you in your homebrew development adventures is the 3DS emulator called Citra. Citra executes 3dsx files natively and can easily be installed using Flatpaks...

Conclusion: It did not work out as a successful project for Alex's kids, too much C++ and they weren't interested... Also found out that he was not that interested in homebrew game programming even simple things required a fancy understanding about the hardware.

Also it turns out the 3DS actually has 3 screens (upper screen is divided into a left and right screen...)

and finally we got a live demo of some homebrew via the Citra emulator!

We were able to see the the demo app that Alex made (https://github.com/qclug/qclug-3ds) which included a copy of the QCLUG Martini Tux! Awesome!

There is an abandoned release of Linux for the 3DS that will run but doesn't do much more than busybox type stuff...

Next Devon showed us a Playstation 1 classic that was hacked and can play homebrew content and runs Linux.

To exploit the PS1 classic you format a flashdrive as fat32, label it SONY and dl a .zip file (project ERIS ModMyClassic.com) and extract to the flashdrive.

Connect it to controller port 2 and it will load the payload when powered on.

Once booted it will load an Emulation Station based UI (Retroarch?) and will allow you to play unofficial titles

Devon was set up with an HDMI capture card plus OBS to show us the gameplay and his webcam simultaneously, nice!

He showed us how he was able to ssh into it and add a unofficial title to the stock menu and play it using the official PCSX Rearmed emulator that comes with the PS1 classic.

You can add additional games to the menu too but you are limited to 16GBs worth of games if you want to use the stock emulator.

Amazing presentations Alex and Devon, you guys rock!
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