Revolutionary: Progress Wiiport, Part 1

Every Tuesday, Mike Sylvester brings you REVOLUTIONARY, a look at the wide world of Wii possibilities.

Are you getting tired of "Wii gimmicks?" Has waggling lost its charm? Has the Wii's cheese become old and moldy and sent you looking for the bathroom? And are you tired of seeing everyday words being pwiif ... *ahem* - prefixed with "Wii?" If the answer to all of those questions is a resounding "Heck no!" then read on as we wiicap Revolutionaries past, and wiivisit the projects and hobbies previously featured and see how they've progressed since last we discussed them.

Introducing GlovePIE
GlovePIE version 0.29 was released in December of 2006. Since then, its large community of users has become quite familiar with the program and discovered many of its flaws and shortcomings. Many people had give up the hope that any further development would be made to GlovePIE, but Carl Kenner has been hinting at the eminent release of version 0.30, and mentioned a few of the additions and updates that will be made.

What's an even more exciting development is that Carl has decide to start sharing details on how his input emulating program works. Coders interested in lending a hand to the OpenPIE development project, which is intended to become a progressively updated, multi-platform alternative to GlovePIE, may be able to use the shared experiences of GlovePIE's creator, in lieu of that application going open source. If OpenPIE ends up being closely modeled after GlovePIE, it should be easy for GlovePIE scripters to make the switch. However, it's still too early to see what shape OpenPIE will take upon release to the public.

Outside the Box
Home automation doesn't take Wiimote usage out the box so much as it expands the box from the dimensions of your TV or monitor to encompass your entire home. LiquidIce has spearheaded the movement to have folks turning on their lights with a wave of the Wiimote. His how-tos are centered around web-based automation tools, so they can even be used with laptops, PDAs, iPhones, Wiis, or PSPs, and from anywhere in the world! Just don't forget to set up a video camera to catch the antics of you tormenting your dog, by raising and lowering the window blinds while you're away on vacation.

Respectable Specs
We're no more informed about the technical abilities of the Wii than we were a few weeks ago, but in that span of time we've been treated with the preview channel and final release of Metroid Prime 3. The design of the Wii definitely showed a great deal of potential throughout both the marketing campaign and within the game itself. Not only were the graphics a generational leap beyond the already gorgeous visuals of its Gamecube predecessors, but the controls are being universally lauded as the best of any console FPS – ever.

If that doesn't command your respect, then Super Mario Galaxy should do it for you. New pics of the game are showing bump mapping and effects that seem to be more complex than the already stunning visuals we've been seeing since E3'06.


Is this EMBM or could it be normal mapping?

Web Wii Wares
When last I'd spoken of Hullbreach Online, the Wii Opera SDK was in its infancy. From that time it has developed further to include more tools to take advantage of the Wiimote's motion sensing abilities. With your help, support of this SDK - which makes motion-sensitive 3D applications and games run through your Wii's browser - could open up some amazing possibilities. How about building a home automation interface in 3D?


General Pepper must not miss his Gilmore Girls!

Wiicade has made some advances, as well. Their custom API now has support for motions, Nunchuk attachment, and up to 4 players. The games list continues to expand, as users upload their games to the site. Not everything is wholly original, but it's a great link to have amongst your favorites if you want to get your dose of a Puzzle Bobble doppleganger or a Tetris twin (replete with Korobeiniki). WiiPlayable has garnered its share of clones, too, as games like Diner Dash and Zuma are represented.

Balance Boarder
Since I built my custom Balance Board, I've been trying to conceive of more uses for it. I've gotten some tips from you – the readers, and sifting through my PC games collection I've come across another game that may be as good at demonstrating my homemade peripheral as the game I initially chose. But we'll have to wait until Part 2 of the Progress Wiiport to see how that all pans out.

In what ways have you found the Wii to be revolutionary? Are the licensed developers proving the system's worth to you, or are homebrewers and DIYers doing the majority of the work in keeping your console clear of cobwebs? Leave a comment for discussion.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.