On the vast majority of consoles and smart devices, the basic user interface is there to stay and only minor changes/additions are done during the device’s lifespan. However, ambitious developers sometime challenge this norm and come up with their user interface which is what happened with uLaunch for the Switch, a home menu replacement that’s just received its second release!
What is uLaunch?
As the introduction suggests, uLaunch is a HOME menu replacement for hacked Nintendo Switch consoles developed by XorTroll, a Switch scene veteran who’s also behind Goldleaf and emuiibo among others.
While the Switch’s HOME menu is pretty nice in its own right, uLaunch has a good amount of extra features together with a good deal of potential for future development!
According to its developer, developing uLaunch was a major undertaking which took many months of reverse engineering & research with work starting in February of this year and culminating in a first release less than a month ago!
When it comes to features, uLaunch has a decent arsenal of them even though it’s only been out for less than a month and these include:
Basic HOME Menu functionality such as launching, suspending and closing titles / applets
Support for functionality relating to state management such as shutting down your console, rebooting, sending it to sleep mode and detecting HOME menu button presses
User account log-in on startup with the ability to add passwords to accounts
A Settings menu allowing you to modify WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC settings and view console information among other things
Folder support, theming capabilities, the ability to launch homebrew as applets, web browsing through web-applet and screen capturing from a Windows PC through a USB-C cable!
Various other features which can be seen at this link on its GitHub Wiki
It also has a good deal of potential since the fact that it’s open-source makes it much easier for developers to add/modify functionality since they can freely see how it works compared to qLaunch (Nintendo’s official HOME menu).
Second release of uLaunch now out
On Saturday, the second release of uLaunch landed with version number 0.2. This update brings along numerous welcome additions which include:
Quick Menu – a way to open menus without using the touchscreen
This can be accessed by holding the left/right analogue stick, moving it till it points to the setting you want to change and then leaving it
With this release, uLaunch now comes with a quick menu for easier navigation! (Image Source)
The web browser touchable menu item was replaced with the controller applet version
More options in the Settings Menu which include:
Console Information Uploading
Automatic Titles’ Download
The ability to see the MAC address and serial number
2 new applets namely a controller menu applet (menu touchable) and an album applet (quick menu) to see your screen captures
A power menu to the quick menu
uViewer – refactored from QForegroundViewer
This includes a new entry creator menu that can be customised with plugins and a custom RetroArch-themed DLL plugin
Custom icons can now be used for normal titles as well as homebrew
Custom name, author and version entries for applications are no longer restricted to a fixed character size
Some parts of the code received improvements which should help reduce lag in certain scenarios
To grab uLaunch 0.2 and significantly change your Switch’s user interface and experience, follow the link below. You may also donate to XorTroll via Patreon as a token of appreciation for his work.
I'm a girl that's liked technology from day 1. Mostly interested in the PSVita/PSP scene but I've always modded my stuff when it's possible, that is :)Contact me via DM at @KawaiiAuroraA on Twitter if you have any questions/concerns about my articles or if you have any article requests.