Original Post

I have recently become extremely interested in the VB for artistic reasons. I have little programming knowledge, but I am interested in creating small animated environments much like the first scene you see in Wario World when you start a new game. I thought that was fantastic, and just watching it in 3D was better than any gameplay experience in my opinion.

My question is: How do you view homebrew stuff on the actual VB unit. From reading the forums, it seems flash carts are too expensive and pretty much out of the question for me. So, I assume it would have to be some sort of cable linked from the computer to the VB. Can anyone tell me where I would get one of these cables, have one to sell me, or tell me how to make one. My electronic skills are nil, so hopefully it isn’t too complicated. But if someone has instructions I could figure it out.

Also, I’m interested in linking two VBs for simple interaction within these environments. Can this be done by someone with little electronic knowledge?

Thanks very much,
I look forward to you response.

21 Replies

The current state of VB development is still in flux and the tools are not that great. For now i would recomend that you try to develop a simple demo on one of the emulators out there and wory about the more dificult challenge of getting it to work on a real VB later.

Things to concider when developing

– The compiler is limited, currently you can have only 1 .c file and there are some minor bugs, especialy with float’s
– There is no single good way to generate graphics, for now I am using V-IDE to import finished screen shots of a game, wich I then tweek as need. I am working on getting a beter graphics editor going but It is definently not top on my list.
– Otherwise we know enough to generate WarioLand style graphics on the VB, brush up on your C programming, read the VB Programming doc and or the patents and look at Parasyts demo code.

– It cost about $200 to get started with a flash cart and they are curently a real pain to develop on, mostly because it takes to long to reflash them.
– There are efforts underway to make a link cable that would let you download games to the VB but it will still require a flash cart for the initial boot.
– If there was a killer game out there there would be more interest in developing a low cost flash cart/link calbe combo. In quantitys of 20 I could develop a system for $50 that would let you play small games (non comercial games) but It would take some mony and effort to get it together.

Thanks Reality_Boy

I was under the impression that most developers were testing their work on the actual unit as they progressed…I guess not…or they have invested in an expensive flash cart system…? What interests me most about the VB is the full imersion of the actual unit, how it blocks out everything else and puts you competely within a world of 3D visuals and sound. I probably wouldn’t have the drive to work on this project if I couldn’t see results in 3D on the unit as I progress, as I am not a programmer, just an artist who has come to really enjoy this retro, yet futuristic feeling device.

I was really hoping there was some way to make a cable that would run directly from the computer running an emulator that would attach directly into the headset.

What do people who download homebrew and commercial roms do? Do they have a flash cart or are they just playing the games on their computer, not on the unit itself.


As far as I know there are only 5 flash carts, and I made 3 of them. There are afiew people who own official development carts form Nintendo but I dont think very many of thoes are being used for development.

I have found that a cheap pair of analgraph glasses (the red/blue glasses you get with comic books and low buget 3D hooror films) and a VB controller hooked into my computer are close enough to get me 90% of the sensation of playing a real VB. Sadly nothing can make the PC screen as bright or ‘focused’ as the VB is.

If programming is not your thing, I would recomend that you get together with some of the programmers out there and colaborate. Developing the artwork will not consume nearly as much time as learning how to code for a porly documented embedded system like the VB.

So anyone that wants an artist, post below…

Me personaly, I am looking to do a 3D Asteroids clone. but my own artistic skills are lacking. if you want to wip out some graphics for that I would apriciate the help.
see: http://www.goliathindustries.com/vb/VBNews.html for my own art fiasco.

David Tucker

Yeah, there’s not really an easy way to get art to the VB quickly or easily… when I make any graphics, I usually end up tweaking the picture 10-20 times before it comes out right (because of the limitation of the chars and the shade thresholds of VIDE). Even when you have the graphics converted, it’s still not an easy process for someone without any programming experience to get it displayed. And David is totally right about everything being tougher since the system is so undocumented.

BTW, I do about half of my development on my flash cart (early stuff in the emu, then after it gets more complete I use the cart)… for most of my stuff, it takes less than 30 seconds to burn and swap the chips (using the 2 PLCC’s). Oh, and there’s LOTS more than 5 homemade carts out there… I’ve made at least 20 (for friends, other VB dev’rs, etc), and I’ve got 3 or 4 for myself (testing link cable stuff, and a few extras), and I know of a few other people that have made carts themselves. I’ve also retired my original EPROM cart since I now have an official dev cart, and it’s much nicer and more reliable than having all of those wires hanging everywhere, but I only really use that for 16mbit stuff.

And yeah, I suck at art too 😛 .


I would have thought that artist were a dime a dozen and programmers would be scarce. But in my experience it is easy to find a coder who can write a game but almost imposible to find an artist to do the artwork (grrr). Oh well, time to go learn how to draw…

David Tucker

I was wondering, how much would someone sell a flash card filled with homebrew games? I lack any sort of programming knowledge, and would love to get my hand on one of those if possible.

O.K. – I don’t want to sound pretentious- especially because I’m new here, but I guess I am an artist. I am sadly 0% programmer, but I think we need as many varieties of opinions as possible to ever see this get off the ground. I guess we all have this strange device in common.
I have in my brain a simple design for a game that would be dismissed by anyone as too basic to work as a game. On any other medium, it would fall short in comparison to flashy big-budget games. The theme of the game is geometry- and as we all know there is only one system that could express this type of game. Only the virtual boy allows for a visual of the x, y, and z axis. I think that it would shine in terms of gameplay, and I think that simplicity is beauty. This game would be a perfect start for someone who can turn it into pixels. I would love to contribute…

If anyone requires music to be made for VB games I could probably manage it 🙂 Just give me details of what format you need them in and stuff and I’ll see what I can do =D

Music would have to in mod format (midi-like!?), but wav is also possible. I have not yet worked with sound on the VB though, so I’m not 100% sure.

I’m not familiar with mod, but midi should be pretty easy. I know wav is a possibility, but I’m assuming that it’ll take up a lot of space on the cart 😉 Anyway, if anyone does want me to make music, then email me and tell me what sort of atmosphere you want the music to create and I’ll do my best =)

I’ve made a few sound things for the VB… it’s kinda a pain, but I sorta wrote a mod->VB converter. I think midi would work, except the VB doesn’t really do instruments like midi (or even mod), so you just have to keep that in mind (like you can’t have a drum beat and expect it to convert easily or at all).

If you could make any sort of cool music, in mod or midi, that’d be sweet if you could send it my way (dogp (@) comcast (.) net). I’m not too picky about the theme of the music, especially since I have several projects that it could be used for, and most are probably not far enough along to really have a “theme”. But, there are only 6 channels, 4 regular, 1 regular or sweep/modulation, and 1 white noise, so obviously it can’t be too complex. I’d listen to some released VB game music and hear what they do, and remember that they created the system, so they know what they’re doing, and have the right tools, so don’t make yours as complex until we have better tools 😉 .


I’d also have use for music in Blox, if I ever get arond to adding sound ~_~

Yeah, well we need sound in the emulators too, so people will actually hear it. I mean, otherwise only people with carts will actually hear the music, which kinda puts it pretty low on the priority list :P.


Darn thoes lazy emulator authors! (HeHeHe)

I know… I’m sure they’re all just sitting around doing nothing posting messages on some message board or something ;-).


Speeking of nothing, I have a new port of GCCvb and Reality_Boy almost ready to go but man I can’t find any free time.

I would love to pass GCCvb off to someone else so they can finish it up if someone wants to take it back. As of right now I have it working perfectly so you can use doubles, turn on optimization, support unary increments, etc. I even have new and delete stubed in (but I dont allocate a heap since we dont have enough memory).

I think this build would finaly be ready for someone to start porting code from the SNES to the VB. Or even some GBA code might run.


I recently downloaded the latest binutils sources and planned to add v810/NVC support to the v850 ‘core’. But it sounds like you have already started that process.
The current “GCCvb” is unfortunately quite old. It would be nice to have something newer, and maybe even get it into the official distribution so our changes will automatically carry over to new builds. 🙂

Well, he did mention that he’s willing to pass his code onto someone who will finish it… 😉

GCC development is a huge pain in the side. Mostly because there is NO documentation for anything. I think I have identified all of the areas that need to be modified in GCC 3.x but its the nity grity details that kill you.

So far I have only been improving the current release of gccvb and ahve not migrated any of the v810 code forward. But it will need to be done sooner thain later since 4.x GCC series no longer compiles the 2.x GCC code (grr!).

Im way buisy right now trying to get a job in Colorado at Idol Minds (makers of Neopets for the PS2) but I will try to find time to post all my new code and changes to my site soon (before I forget everything =0). Right now Im working on a PS2 remake of asteroids (in vector mode) but usig a 3D perspective (like my VB Asteroids 3D project).


Sounds like a plan. And I concur with your sentiments on lack of documentation for GCC hacking. I have only looked at the assembler to be honest, though. I haven’t even bothered to delve into the inner working of the C compiler.

I just made a few very quick changes to Vue32 (the VB emu I have been writing forever) I haven’t touched it since last March, but the code is surprisingly well-written. (I don’t know how I managed that.) it doesn’t do much other than simple CPU and framebuffer emulation. Meaning it is little more than something to log CPU activity without any additional hardware emulation, or even CPU interrupts. I think I’ll upload it to my sourceforge account when I can work up the nerve to deal with CVS.


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