Posts Tagged ‘Wii’

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WiiWare and WordPress Update

It was a nice fall day a couple days ago. I really enjoyed this sight, in my backyard. 🙂 Quite overcast and dull, the last couple of days, though.

Games

I updated my About page with my Tetris Party friend code. (Add me!!) It’s pretty fun, but I say that as someone who has never owned a Tetris game before, so I’m not a Tetris vet… (unlike Shirley and Alex, who think the DS game is far superior, apparently). My only real complaint with the game so far is the music – they could have done AWESOME things with it. I want a hoppin 8bit remix of these classic tunes… the included midi, even the classic stuff, is pretty dry and slow. Need something with a faster pace. The computer moves at seemingly impossible speeds at levels above 12, but I suspect that some people out there can play like that, as well. Scary. (Especially the top ranked in the Americas, Java AI … hmmm…) Anyway, I can’t beat level 13 yet. And I think I still like Dr Mario for VS more… so fun. … but Tetris Party offers tonnes of modes, including 4-player vs! That’s pretty cool. Maybe I’ll become a Tetris snob, yet.

While on the topic of Wii(Ware), I also got World of Goo. It’s a really great physics based puzzle title. I really love the dark and comical graphic design (reminds me of Tim Burton’s stuff). The music in Goo is epic, as well. I can’t believe everything was made by two guys (+1 for Wii optimizations); two guys in debt! They’re my heroes. Seriously. Both Tetris Party and World of Goo are the most expensive games on WiiWare ($12 US, $15 US, respectively), but I haven’t been disappointed. And with Goo especially, I don’t have any problem supporting the little guys making great stuff. That’s where I’d like to be. 🙂

WordPress

I updated my wp-upgrade script to display a big warning to deactivate all your plugins before continuing (wouldn’t want to damage your database!). Then I used it to update to WordPress 2.6.3. I think that makes me largely up-to-date.

Playing Video from your Linux PC on your Wii

Maybe you’ve watched youtube videos on your Wii using the Internet Channel or the promo videos on the Nintendo Channel and you thought it would be cool to watch other videos from your (Linux) PC. I know I did. But I wasn’t sure if it would be possible in a reasonable quality. Since then, I’ve decided the quality was unacceptable for me… But I’ll try to quickly document what I did for others.

You basically have two options: Put a decompressed copy of your video on your SD card and watch it in the Photo Channel OR watch it streaming from your PC over your network via the Internet Channel (like youtube).

1. Playing it directly off your SD card

Instructions for how to convert the video to play in the Photo Channel can be found here:
http://icculus.org/~dolson/wii-video-conversion.html
HOWEVER, 3/4 of an hour of decent quality video will cost 1+ gigabytes, due to the format. The quality will be maintained, but unless you have a 2GB card and/or small videos, this may not be feasible. I couldn’t get my 45min (350MB originally, I think) file to fit on my 1GB SD card in the appropriate format, so I gave up on this method. I was more interested in browsing multiple files on my PC, anyways.

On to the other option….

2. Stream it from your computer

For this method, you need a few more things:

  • A home PC accessible from the network via your Wii
  • Videos you want to play need to be converted to Flash video (FLV). To do this, you will need ffmpeg.
  • sudo aptitude install ffmpeg
  • Web server running on your home PC. I’m using Apache on an Ubuntu PC.
  • sudo aptitude install apache2 apache2-utils

Most of what follows can be configured, but I’m going to try and follow what’s default in Ubuntu (if I can remember correctly).

To keep things clean, I enabled user directories. To do this, you must enable the userdir mod in apache:

sudo a2enmod userdir

What are user directories?

This is a directory (usually called “public_html”) that every user can use to publish things (like webpages) on the webserver from their home directory. For me, my home directory is /home/steve/ so my user directory is /home/steve/public_html/ . It is optional, so I have to create it if it doesn’t already exist.

mkdir ~/public_html/

When accessing these user directories via a web browser (Internet Channel), you must enter your Home PC’s IP address, followed by a tilde (~) and your username.

"http://your.pc's.ip.address/~username/"

So accessing my public_html directory is done as follows: http://192.168.0.99/~steve/ . (Note that 192.168.0.99 is a private IP address and unless your computer is set up on your local network with the same IP AND your username is “steve”, this won’t work for you. 😉 )

Test it, and make sure you’ve installed Apache and set up user directories correctly.

Flash Video Player

Now you need a compatible flash player to embed into your webpage. Wii’s Internet Channel is based on Opera, and includes Flash version…. 7?! Doh! Newer FLV players won’t work! Also, Full-screen mode isn’t possible so you want the video to be as large as possible, or to be easily zoomed in and centred – yup, it’s a pain. The best player I found for this was FLV Player, but feel free to look around for more. 😉 Now put your player of choice (I chose player_flv_maxi.swf) in public_html somewhere so that it can be included in your webpage.

Example Preparing Video

An example command for converting your video to FLV using ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -i input_video.avi -ar 22050 -b 1280 -s 320x240 output.flv

Example Webpage

An example of an html page containing a video:

< !DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
 
	<title>Wii Video Test</title>
 
	<style type="text/css">
		body { background-color: #000; padding: 0 20px; color:#000; font: 13px/18px Arial, sans-serif; }
		a { color: #360; }
		h3 { padding-top: 20px; }
	</style>
 
</head>
<body>
 
    <object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="player_flv_maxi.swf" width="624" height="352">
        <param name="movie" value="player_flv.swf_maxi" />
        <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
        <param name="FlashVars" value="flv=my_converted_video.flv&amp;autoload=1" />
    </object>
 
</body>
</html>

Note: both player_flv_maxi.swf and my_converted_video.flv must be in the same directory as this html page. For testing purposes, call this index.html and put it in your public_html directory.

That’s it, I think. Again, I wasn’t really satisfied with the compression of FLVs and the frame rate of bigger videos, so I ended up not using either of these two methods. I suppose a media PC, Apple TV, or PS3 or something would be better suited – none of which I have. 🙂

Related

Getting Fit

Over the last few days I’ve purchased the following:

New Rollerblades

They seem good, but yesterday I went for a long ride around the Sea Wall (Stanley Park), along English Bay, and around False Creek to Science World and the work-in-progress Olympic Village (which looks nice!) and back to English Bay, then to Pender and Granville. I quickly made a rough route:

25.5km. Not bad! But I my feet and legs were quite sore, in ways they shouldn’t be.. including a couple small blisters (ew). I think I still have to find the right socks/tightness adjustment combo. The rollerblades themselves are 2007 K2 Moto Speeds. I couldn’t find this model on the K2 website, which I found a little strange…. I got them for $130. Getting 2007 vs 2008 (had to go all the way to Metrotown for my size) saved me $30 and apparently they were originally $180 or $190 or something. Oh, it sure is nice having a brake again! 🙂

Wii Fit

I tried this out for the first time, last night. I tried to document my body test, but the video on my camera isn’t that great (another thing I need to look at replacing). Unsurprisingly, it called me overweight with a BMI of 27.95 and weighed me at about 168 lbs. BMI is not a very good measurement for my obesity because I’m rather stocky (heavy for my short height – all this muscle, you know), and height and weight are the only factors. However, I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds, so I set an 8 pound goal over 1 month. It gave me an initial Wii Fit age of 41, which basically means I haven’t gotten used to the balance board yet – I’m sure I could get a better age doing the test again. So far, I’ve only tried a few games and a couple exercises, but I enjoy it! I really like how it tracks and graphs your progress.

I attempted to make a couple annotated youtube videos:

Brawl

After a nice brunch with Ben and Mayu (and Emachan!) in the Cove, today, I went and picked up Smash Brothers: Brawl. I called EB and asked, “Do you have lots of copies of Brawl in?” They replied, “Yep!” So I said, “Great!” and went to pick up a copy. When I get there, they say unless I reserved a copy, they’re sold out. Wha…? They had 170 reserved copies and got 24 extra, so they sold out of the 24 extra, but not everyone had picked up their reserved copy yet. Anyway, the trip wasn’t totally in vain, as I signed up for a tournament. (Yes, 10 year olds will hand my ass to me.) Luckily, Superstore (which received 88 copies), was on my way back and had a few left. Whoooot!!

Find me online! Here’s my friend code: 2964-8264-9474. I’m not great. Yet.

Turrican

I’ve mentioned previously that one of my favourite games on my Amiga computer was Turrican II. Frantic. Platform. Awesomeness. Hard as hell, but awesome. (The difficulty could have had something to do with the fact that I was playing it with joystick meant for flight simulations….) Also, the music is phenomenal. Anyway, I was reminded again of this classic with this week’s release of Super Turrican for the SNES Virtual Console. I had tried Super Turrican due to my fondness of Turrican II, but I remember feeling a little disappointed, so I won’t bother getting it for VC. But Super Turrican II looks a little better, and I might consider that if it comes out. And, if you have a Windows PC, I really recommend checking out this fan-made game, Hurrican. It gets awesome reviews and it looks really sweet. You can get a level editor for it, too! Free. Go get it. Now. While you’re waiting for it to download, you can watch Street Fighter: the Later Years.

Hmm.. While I’m mentioning classic Amiga games that have been remade for Windows, I should also mention Warblade (Shareware), a modern take on Deluxe Galaga.

Less than a week until Brawl (May 9th, 2008)… Yum.

Happy Holidays 2007

christmas tree

Turkey dinner

I had a good Christmas. 🙂 Hung out with family (and a couple students), ate copious amounts of turkey and sweets, and drank a pleasant variety of cocktails. I got a few interesting gifts, including: a larger tripod (used when taking the photo of the tree, above), Holey Soles (wearing and loving them now), and a Wii Zapper (with Link’s Crossbow Training). All of these things were on my wishlist. Turkey dinner #2 is coming up tonight… but I’m still full from last night. I think my new year’s resolution will be to lose the weight I will have gained in the last week of 2007. 😛

To all my friends and family around the world, Happy Holidays! 🙂

Check Mii Out

That’s the name of the new channel available on Wii. I gotta say, it’s much better than the other channels we’ve been getting. After you download the channel (from the Shop channel), go in and look at all the “Popular” Mii’s. It’s pretty amazing what some people can do with the limited Mii palette. Moles are mouths. Sunglasses are cheeks. Eyes are eyebrows. Eyebrows are horns. Characters that you wouldn’t think were possible have been done. There’s also a contest aspect to this channel. The first contest is to create Mario without his cap. After seeing what others could do, I spent quite a bit of time getting my Mario submission just right. Oh god, I spent a long time (over an hour, I think) making a Mario Mii…. help me. The channel might not be revolutionary, but it’s kinda fun. 🙂

And, of course, the contest seems to be a way Nintendo is promoting their latest game: Super Mario Galaxy ships today. It is being dubbed the spiritual successor of Super Mario 64 (which you should have either on N64 or Virtual Console) and is pretty much unanimously the best Wii game. Get it. Now.

Steven runs out the door.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

So I got Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, for my Wii. The release date was listed as Aug 27th, so I went out to grab it late that day. However, Nintendo only ships on Tuesdays (for whatever reason) so I had to wait another day – what’s one more day, anyway? I haven’t played too much of the game yet, but I would have to agree with what most of the reviews are saying: it is awesome in nearly every way.

The controls are a big part of the awesome: well implemented Wii controls (thanks, Retro) make for the best console FPS experience I’ve ever had, only rivalled by the mouse and keyboard on pc. (Mouse and keyboard don’t lend themselves well to the couch, however.) Quickly changing Prime’s controls to the more sensitive “Advanced” mode, I find it hard to imagine anything coming as close to the mouse and keyboard in the living room. After taking a little while getting used to it, I found I was double-jumping around enemies and firing down at them while airborne with ease. I simply can’t imagine doing that on a dual analog control scheme. And a lot of the combat in Corruption takes advantage of this new found accuracy of the wiimote. I like the added immersion of the controllers representing each of Samus’ hands, even though at times it seems glitchy. Moving the wiimote backward (pull) and forward (push) when operating some controls, for instance, sometimes requires multiple attempts. Luckily, these situations are never in the heat of battle.. and when they work, they’re very satisfying.

Having read a couple reviewers’ comments on the game’s difficulty level being a little easier than the previous Metroid Prime games, I started on Veteran mode. A few puzzles have had me wondering around rooms for a while, but until this latest boss fight I’m on (the third boss, I believe), I haven’t really been out-performed by enemies too much. But wow this latest boss is really kicking my ass… after a few failed attempts, each getting a little closer, I decided to call it quits for the night. The boss fights are AWESOME, of course. 🙂

The game, in general, simply oozes polish – which makes sense, considering it was delayed nearly a year. The graphics are great and the frame rate is buttery smooth. There is quality voice acting and many nice in-game cinematics. Samus doesn’t talk, which is generally a good thing. This surge of other characters into the generally solitary you-alone-on-an-alien-planet Metroid universe is a bit of a mixed bag… Some of the added characters seem a little shallow and forced. There is some background provided through scanning objects and reading (optional) but a little more backstory on the other bounty hunters would be nice, for example – before first meeting them in the introduction.

Anyway, the game is fantastic, even though the original Prime blew people away more. Definitely not a casual game, which is a huge relief. But I’m trying to limit my time with it. A few hours a day, kinda thing. I haven’t actually played it for a couple days… Gotta get back there and beat that boss…. later tonight, I think. Oh yeah, I have to mention: Super Metroid, or Metroid 3, has been out on Virtual Console for a while, and that game is a classic.

After many hours of playing…

I finished Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii), the other day. After beating the game and watching the ending cinematics, I thought about the overall experience. It’s an extremely long game, but not terribly difficult. Yes, some of the puzzles stumped me for a while, and when I figured them out, they were thus a little more rewarding. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes, it was more of an “Oh my god, I just wasted my time on that!?” kinda feeling. This usually occurred when I missed something obvious, or the game failed to make something obvious.

But I had almost no troubles at all surviving. I can think of a few moments that were intense, but I had trouble recalling if I actually died. Ever. I had to load up my game and let the nearest baddy kill me to see if I recognized the death sequence. I did, so I must have died at least a few times. The boss in the Sky Temple (3rd last dungeon), I beat without even getting hit. The final boss I got hit quite a bit, and I think I even used a fairy (maybe two), but I did not die. There’s a place called the “the Cave of Ordeals” in the desert, which contains a long series of levels (50, actually) filled with increasingly difficult enemies, and rewards at every 10th floor. I went in a little cocky and very nearly died on the last couple levels, making it very intense. I had to use 2 fairies and a fairy tear. I was down to just a couple hearts at the end. This was possibly the hardest part in the game, it’s completely optional, and was very satisfying. 🙂 The desert temple boss is awesome. I didn’t die, but it’s very fast paced and exciting. There’s also a moblin camp outside the temple that is quite difficult (and fun) if you charge through it. It’s very difficult to balance difficulty of the game with frustration of the player… and the difficulty must come from the game, not from the crappy controls. Zelda has awesome controls & game play, by the way. It looks like the New Super Mario Bros (which I thought looked awesome) may suffer in a similar way.

I enjoyed the story of Twilight Princess, and I could even feel a little emotion swirling around in my hollow interior during the ending sequence. But I feel a lot of the characters and relationships could have been fleshed out a little more. A lot more. Without giving away spoilers, I’d say the Ooccaa are a prime example. I got the feeling that the game was rushed in parts. Being originally created as a Gamecube game and ported to Wii in time for its launch, it very likely was. Here and there it seemed to lack the Nintendo polish that I’ve come to expect. But overall, it was still an awesome game.

I broke down and downloaded Gunstar Heroes for the Wii Virtual Console. 800 of my precious points… gone. About $10 CDN. I’d say that’s way too much for a Genesis game, but the game seems pretty good and is most definitely not too easy. 🙂 So who wants to spend a night playing GSH w/me? 😀 gameplay clicky!

wii blogging

this post done from the comfort of my couch using the new Wii internet channel. looks like the kubrick wp theme works perfectly. 🙂