In The Wake of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
The 20th has been and gone for Nintendo, and with this we say goodbye to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for original Nintendo DS and Wii games.
Where does that leave us though? How will we all play Mario Kart now?
Well, some industrious people have been hard at work reverse engineering the service and building an ’emulated server’ environment under their “Save Nintendo Wi-Fi” campaign. The aim is to replace the service for most popular of game titles at a minimum. Their initial work happened long before now, but finally we have some publicly available tests available to try out their hard work for oursleves. Mario Kart is saved!
The initial hard work done on the project was thanks to Nagato, Toad King (reversing and coding). For the Pokemon titles, Pikachu025 providing packet dumps for analysis so that further work could be done.
Congratulations to these guys, and all of the initial testers for their hard work.
Now, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, because there is still a long way to go to build in support for more titles and extra features (such as DLC unlocking). Games that have been tested by the community and confirmed to work are only a handful at present (Mario Kart, Phantasy Star Zero, Advance Wars, Bomberman, Tetris DS, etc.).
However, because the project is open source and a lot of developers and amateurs alike will want to play their old favourites, I think we can all expect some hard work to pay off soon.
Initial development is focused around DS, but Wii support is also being worked on (packet dumping is current step #1).
If you are interested in the technical aspects of how the initial reversing has occurred, I have a brief summary below:
The SSL connection to the Nintendo WFC (as found out long before now) was not a requirement, so changing the URLs to http (unencrypted) as opposed to https (encrypted) worked fine for making a connection.
From there, the traffic could be captured and analysed, allowing them to see how the handshake was occuring (plaintext). Once the handshake was able to be reproduced, further investigation on the system was fairly trivial. From here the focus will be on getting some of the extra content working for special functions of games, such as high score ladders, Pokemon game features, some game DLC, etc. and building upon the system will be more difficult as we can no longer probe the server and see what happens.
The work will continue on of course, and if you think you have the talent and are interested, I suggest you check out the project and get in touch (if you are not already).
For now, some DS games run fine from their original cartridge, while others require patching of a ROM dump to change the SSL connection. For this, you will need to find a legitimate way to dump your game, patch it (from the website) and play it via a DS mode “flash card”. (Mario Kart DS is an example of one such game) For the Wii side of things, you will need a homebrew capable unit.