Hack and / - Wiimote Control
One of the first things I wanted to do with my Wiimote after it was connected was to use it as a controller for my various game system emulators. But, before I go any further, if you do use a game system emulator like nestra, fceu, snes9x or MAME, be sure you have full rights to use any ROMs you might have. Make an appointment with your lawyer for details, but essentially, to play a commercial ROM, you should own the corresponding game.
With the legal disclaimers aside, the Wiimote makes a great wireless NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) controller. All the basic buttons are there, and all that's left to do is rearrange the button mappings to work with either nestra or fceu NES emulators. Both programs use slightly different mappings, so I created files called buttons-fceu and buttons-nestra and placed them in ~/.cwiid/wminput. First, buttons-nestra:
Wiimote.A = KEY_0 Wiimote.B = KEY_1 Wiimote.Up = KEY_LEFT Wiimote.Down = KEY_RIGHT Wiimote.Left = KEY_DOWN Wiimote.Right = KEY_UP Wiimote.Minus = KEY_TAB Wiimote.Plus = KEY_ENTER Wiimote.Home = KEY_PAUSE Wiimote.1 = KEY_Z Wiimote.2 = KEY_SPACE
After I set the regular NES buttons, I had a few extra to bind, so I bound the A button to pause the emulator, the B button to set nestra to normal speed and the home button to reset the game.
The fceu emulator had completely different keybindings, so here is my buttons-fceu file:
Wiimote.A = KEY_F7 Wiimote.B = KEY_F5 Wiimote.Up = KEY_A Wiimote.Down = KEY_S Wiimote.Left = KEY_Z Wiimote.Right = KEY_W Wiimote.Minus = KEY_TAB Wiimote.Plus = KEY_ENTER Wiimote.Home = KEY_F10 Wiimote.1 = KEY_KP2 Wiimote.2 = KEY_KP3
In addition to the standard buttons, I bound the B button to save a game state, A to restore and home to reset the game.
Now, to use either of these configuration files, all I need to do is tell wminput to load these files instead:
greenfly@minimus:~/$ wminput -c ~/.cwiid/wminput/buttons-nestra Put Wiimote in discoverable mode now (press 1+2)... Ready.
Because wminput sends regular keyboard events, I don't have to do anything special to nestra or fceu.
The Wiimote worked great for NES games, but how about SNES (Super Nintendo) emulation? I actually purchased a few different SNES games for the Wii virtual console, and I also bought a Classic Controller so I would have all the standard SNES buttons. It turns out that wminput also can bind keys to the Nunchuck and Classic Controller attachments, so all I had to do for it to work with snes9x was create a new configuration file that mapped all the keys. Here is my buttons-snes9x file:
Wiimote.A = KEY_X Wiimote.B = KEY_S Wiimote.Up = KEY_LEFT Wiimote.Down = KEY_RIGHT Wiimote.Left = KEY_DOWN Wiimote.Right = KEY_UP Wiimote.Minus = KEY_TAB Wiimote.Plus = KEY_ENTER Wiimote.Home = KEY_ESC Wiimote.1 = KEY_C Wiimote.2 = KEY_D Nunchuk.C = BTN_LEFT Nunchuk.Z = BTN_RIGHT Classic.Up = KEY_UP Classic.Down = KEY_DOWN Classic.Left = KEY_LEFT Classic.Right = KEY_RIGHT Classic.Minus = KEY_SPACE Classic.Plus = KEY_ENTER Classic.Home = KEY_ESC Classic.A = KEY_D Classic.B = KEY_C Classic.X = KEY_S Classic.Y = KEY_X #Classic.ZL = #Classic.ZR = Classic.L = KEY_A Classic.R = KEY_Z
Even though I planned to use the Classic Controller, I tried to map as many of the regular Wiimote keys to buttons that made sense, so you could potentially play at least some games with the regular Wiimote as well. If you notice, I also left bindings for the special ZL and ZR keys blank, so you could bind them to extra keys.
One of the best game system emulators out there is MAME. MAME emulates classic arcade games, and there are many guides out there (including in Linux Journal itself) on how to use MAME to create your own arcade cabinet. Well, I haven't cleared away the time for that project yet, but I did want to use my Wiimote and Classic Controller attachment for MAME games. MAME has a large number of bindings (press Tab in MAME to see a list), so it was difficult to choose which to bind to the extra keys. Here is a sample buttons-xmame file I created:
Wiimote.A = KEY_P Wiimote.B = KEY_5 Wiimote.Up = KEY_LEFT Wiimote.Down = KEY_RIGHT Wiimote.Left = KEY_DOWN Wiimote.Right = KEY_UP Wiimote.Minus = KEY_2 Wiimote.Plus = KEY_1 Wiimote.Home = KEY_F3 Wiimote.1 = KEY_LEFTCTRL Wiimote.2 = KEY_LEFTALT Nunchuk.C = BTN_LEFT Nunchuk.Z = BTN_RIGHT Classic.Up = KEY_UP Classic.Down = KEY_DOWN Classic.Left = KEY_LEFT Classic.Right = KEY_RIGHT Classic.Minus = KEY_2 Classic.Plus = KEY_1 Classic.Home = KEY_F3 Classic.A = KEY_LEFTCTRL Classic.B = KEY_LEFTALT Classic.X = KEY_SPACE Classic.Y = KEY_LEFTSHIFT Classic.ZL = KEY_5 Classic.ZR = KEY_P Classic.L = KEY_Z Classic.R = KEY_X
In addition to the standard bindings you might expect, the home key resets MAME; the plus key selects single player; minus selects two players; ZL on the Classic Controller and B on the Wiimote insert a coin; and ZR on the Classic Controller and A on the Wiimote pause. These are by no means perfect bindings, so I recommend you experiment with different keys that work better for you.
The possibilities with wminput go much further than what I've presented here. There also are configuration files that use the analog joystick inputs on the Classic Controller, the IR sensors on the Wiimote and the accelerometers on the Nunchuck. Wminput isn't just a handy way to play video games on your laptop or desktop. The fact that the connection to the computer is wireless makes the Wiimote a great gaming input for a MythTV client or other computer connected to your PC. As for me, I think I'll be spending a few more days trying to beat this impossible Super Mario Brothers hack that has been floating around the Internet.
Kyle Rankin is a Senior Systems Administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of a number of books, including Knoppix Hacks and Ubuntu Hacks for O'Reilly Media. He is currently the president of the North Bay Linux Users' Group.
Kyle Rankin is a VP of engineering operations at Final, Inc., the author of a number of books including DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu Server Book, and is a columnist for Linux Journal. Follow him @kylerankin.
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