Wii Internet Channel
This web browser is not included when you buy the Wii. It will cost 500 Wii Points (about 5 Euros). E.g. in Switzerland you can buy 2000 points for CH 37.- in a shop. You also can buy points through the shopping channel with a credit card. (April 2008).
2 Browser features
Basically, the Wii "Internet Channel" browser may be like Opera 9, including
- Full HTML/XML support
- The only "old" piece of software is the Flash plugin (Flash 7 compatible)
Disclaimer: This information may be wrong, I didn't try to look under the hood yet myself - Daniel K. Schneider 10:28, 17 April 2008 (UTC).
4 User interface
- The Wiimote (main game controller) is used as a pointing device (like the mouse) and the "A" button is the normal "mouse-click". Most buttons do something (read on ...).
By default, most web pages hardly can be read since the resolution of a TV screen (and the resolution the Wii supports !) are really low. There are three solutions to this: problem.
- Consult only pages made for small devices (e.g. PDA's, modern cell phones, Wii). A page that shows well is for instance the wiiportal.
- Zoom out (with the +/- buttons) and use either the arrows to scroll or (better) the B button that has a nice interface with a directional arrow.
- Consult the page in "vertical mode" (Hit the "2" button). Opera will reformat the contents of the page.
User input is fairly well done. No surprise here, since Opera managed to create web browsers that even work on a cell phone.
- For user input (e.g. entering a web address or filling in an HTML form), the navigator will open an input window where one can select letters with the Wiimote. When filling in forms it will suggest words on which you may click (in several languages). Alternatively, you may hook up a USB keyboard to the console (not tested yet).
- The keyboard for french language is AZERTY which is an insult to Swiss customers (didn't figure out how to change it to a Swiss keyboard that looks more like the US one)
- On the bottom of the screen there is a navigation bar (back/forth, reload, search, bookmark, enter URL and channel home)
- Options can be defined on the channel home page, e.g. screen width, wether you want the navigation bar on permanence or when you move the pointer or when you hit "i". etc.
Below are some pictures. I made them with my cell-phone and you can enlarge them.
- The almost black border you can see in most pictures is the frame of TV screen (A digital good quality Samsung low resolution TV).
- Enlarged, pictures are still 50% scaled down and 85% jpg quality. But you should get the idea that using a Wii to browse normal webpages is not that straight forward since most pages either need reformatting (vertical mode) or zooming + horizontal scrolling.
5.1 Documentation at Opera
All technical information articles at Opera seem to be dead. Nintendo put an embargo on these. There doesn't seem to be any replacement. There are several theories about this, e.g. Nintendo doesn't want 3rd party developers to become too creative, the API may change again etc... (April 2008).
On the other hand, both Hullbreach (HTML/Canevas/JS) and WiiCade (FLash) SDK's seem to do well (not tested yet).
5.2 Websites optimized for Wii
- wiiportal (A portal with a selection of various topics)
5.3 Hullbreach SDK
Hullbreach Wii Opera SDK seems to be very popular library for game programming for the Wii's Internet Channel. Daniel Gump develops this SDK for Hullbreach, a MMORPG game, but one can find small games made with with the SDK on the Web, e.g. Wii42.
- Wii Opera SDK
- Wii Opera SDK v2.0 documentation
- HullBreach Forum
- Wii Opera SDK and HullBreach MMO RPG. This is Daniel gump's developers blog.
- Wii Opera SDK Wiki. Some SDK user should help writing documentation there.
- Wii Opera SDK Now Open to the Public
WiiCade is a website designed to provide users of the Wii console with online games using the built-in Opera (Internet Channel) browser. This is a Flash API. “The WiiCade API was introduced to provide developers with the ability to access the buttons on the Wii Remote controller. Specifically, the API is capable of providing access to the Directional Pad and the A, B, +, -, 1, and 2 buttons. Access to these buttons is not hampered by the default actions in the Opera Browser, and the game can be configured to allow or disallow the Opera zoom functionality. Furthermore, the API provides support for the use of the Wii Remote controller in a sideways configuration.” (Wikipedia, retrieved 10:28, 17 April 2008 (UTC).
- WiiCade homepage for game users
- WiiCade Labs. Documentation and downloads for developers.
- WiiCade Blog
- WiiCade (Wikipedia)
- WiiCade API creates new possibilities for Wii browser play, by Frank Caron, Ars Technica.
5.5 Wii official Opera Sdk
5.6 MarioToo Flash/WiimoteMote API
(including blog entries, forums)
- Wii Opera SDK and HullBreach MMO RPG. Interesting project. Includes technical tips. E.g.
- The Nintendo Wii Technical Questions (Nintendo Forums) don't include any technical information ;)