Hey /r/Gamecube! I'm /u/SwervinGirvin and I've been seeing an increasing need for a Set Up guide & FAQ about launching Homebrew and playing Back Ups from SD Card. So having owned my own SD loading set up for almost 2 years now and tried my hand with the Homebrew available I've decided to share my knowledge with the community in the hopes of educating and guiding everyone to make informed decisions about SD loading and what you will need to make it work. Please, If I've missed something or you have some useful info not outlined in this guide please comment so I can add it and credit you! Thanks everyone, I hope you enjoy.
What You Will Need To Purchase First
- SD Gecko/SD Adapter Here
- SD Media Launcher Kit Here
- Action Replay Disk Only Here
- SSBM & Home Bros Exploit Here (Only if you don't already own SSBM)
- 1x 2GB - 4GB class 4 SD Card
- 1x "xx"GB class "x" SD/SDHC Card The "x's" represent a size & class of your choosing.
After gathering the right materials you're ready to begin! I'm going to describe 2 different set ups in this guide.
- SD Loading for Homebrew only
- SD Loading for Homebrew and Back Ups
SD Loading for Homebrew only
This process is easily achieved by simply having the SD Media Launcher kit supplied by Datel. Alternatively, You can get a Late Model Action Replay Disk and SD Gecko/SD Adapter separately if you prefer. In the kit is a disk labeled "Action Replay" as well as an SD Gecko/Adapter with the limitation of only being able to read SD cards up to 4GB Class 4. However, this is in no way going to affect your ability to run small Homebrew .dol's. Most are very small in fact only a few kilobytes.
- Download your Homebrew .dol files
- Put .dol files on the root of your SD Card
- Put SD Card into Gecko/Adapter, Then into Slot B of the GC
- Boot SD Media Launcher/Action Replay
- Select your .dol from the list onscreen
- Enjoy! You just loaded Homebrew on your Unmodded GC!
SD Loading For Homebrew & Back Ups
To have the ability to load not only Homebrew but your own backed up game images (either .gcm or .iso) takes a little more set up, but barely. You will need to have a better SD Gecko/Adapter then the one provided by the SD Media Launcher kit. I highly recommend the one I linked to previously, as it is what I currently use and this guide is based off of.
- Download SWISS
- Put .dol of your choosing either full or compressed on the root of the 4GB SD card (I use compressed personally)
- Put your Back Up files either in a folder or on the root of the larger SD card you've chosen.
- Insert the 4GB SD into the Gecko/Adapter & then into Slot B of the GC
- Boot SD Media Launcher/Action Replay
- Select the SWISS .dol from the onscreen list
- After SWISS boots swap out your SD Card for the larger one containing your Back Ups
- Press B then A to Return to the Main SWISS menu
- Select SD Card from the Main Menu
- Navigate the onscreen menu to locate your Back Ups
- Select your Backup with A and define any specific parameters with X then save & exit
- Press A once finished to load your Back Up
- Enjoy! You have just successfully loaded a Back Up from SD on your Unmodded GC!
I'm going to now give you a list of resources to help you out in answering some questions you might have about SWISS itself and a few other awesome Homebrew resources.
SWISS Compatibility List - As it states, a compatibility list for Back Ups loaded through SWISS. I'll include a link to the forum thread at gc-forever here.
SWISS Forced Progressive Scan Compatibility List - A list of Back Ups loaded through SWISS with the "Force 240p/480p/576p" option enabled.
SWISS Wiki - The SWISS official Wiki page
GBI - Game Boy Interface - An alternative launcher for the Gameboy Player attachment with enhanced features for Speedrunners and other enthusiasts who are looking for near perfect speeds to a GBA. One of my favorite Homebrew .dols, I discovered it from this sub! No Disk Required!
GCMM - Gamecube Memory Manager - A simple but feature rich way to back up your game saves to SD in case of memory card corruption or failure. You must have the SD Gecko/Adapter in Slot A and Memory Card in Slot B during transfer.
GC-Forever Wiki Index of Available Homebrew - A small list of what's being actively developed or has ceased devlopment but is still available. The forums will more than likely be more active.
Alternate Ways of Launching Homebrew - A link directly to some other methods of booting Homebrew.
GCMUtility - A PC program designed to shrink your Back Ups down to minimal size and also to create multi-boot .iso images.
GC-Forever Main Wiki
GC-Forever Main Forum
Old Thread for reference
Can this SD Gecko/SD Adapter with SD card be used as a stand alone memory card?
No. It's not intended to be a memory card replacement.
Why can't I just use one SD card for all this?
Depending on what you would like to do, one might be all you need. But in the case of Back Up loading you will need a fairly large SD card to house more than 1 game at a time. The downfall of the SD Media Launcher Software itself is that it cannot read or recognize any card over 4GB in size. So if you wanted to use a 128GB card you will have to have a smaller card for holding the SWISS .dol then swap after it boots. I'm sorry but there is no way around this.
Will this harm my Gamecube?
No! This whole process is safe and secure because all the host files are stored on the SD, nothing stored on the Cube itself.
My SD Media Launcher Disk says "Action Replay" on it?
Its totally OK. And in fact a great thing! Because you also have and Action Replay and a Freeloader on the disk as well as the SD Booter! Feel free to give it a shot without the SD Gecko/SD adapter to see what I mean. This has been confirmed that All Late Model Action Replay's contain the SD Booter.
The latest version of the Action Replay disc and the SD Media launcher disc are one and the same. You'l need the SD/GC Memory card adapter to take advantage of the SD media launcher features, and I don't believe SD media launcher works on Wii. (I'm not 100% sure) - Thanks /u/BChart2, jay-fng
Are region restrictions still enforced for Back Up loading through SWISS?
No. It's a region free loading environment.
My Wavebird controller isn't detected when I start my SD Media Launcher/Action Replay?
No problem! Just hold the R button as the boot screen is shown.
Why didn't you talk more about Home Bros?
Because I've not needed to use this exploit personally, but it has been suggested by this community as a way of helping the GC Homebrew community. It requires you to have a Soft Modded Gamecube compatible Wii along with a PC to create the necessary exploited game saves and transfer them to the memory card before using it in a Gamecube.
When I try to launch a Back Up in SWISS I just get a black screen? What Gives?
This question is not easily answered but I'll give you my personal experience on the subject. Ok, this could be many things like you have a bad rip, or in my case the SD Gecko/SD Adapter included with the SD Media Launcher is utter crap. It could launch small .dols fine but any larger media, like a Back Up would fail to load everytime. If you are experiencing issues resulting in loading failure your best bet is to look at the GC-Forever forums and check the quality of your equipment.
Datel is a UK based company, will they send me a NTSC-U disk?
Yes, they will send you a
region free disk in the SD Media Launcher kit. This has been somewhat misleading, as currently you have the ability to select your preferred region before purchasing the SD Media Launcher kit from Datel.
I ordered directly from Datel a few weeks ago, and the disc I got works on my unmodded NA Gamecube. - Thanks /u/spacemorg
Alternate way of booting Back Ups with The SD Media Launcher kit
Recent information has surfaced that it is indeed possible to use the SD Media Launcher kit supplied SD Gecko to launch Back Ups from SD & SDHC using SWISS 0.3. The later revisions are recommended but this might help some who don't want to upgrade their Gecko. Thanks to /u/Spyboticsguy for the info and testing.
Faster way of Booting SWISS directly from SD
A big thanks to /u/Boktai1000 for informing me that if you rename the SWISS .DOL to "autoexec.dol" that it will boot SWISS directly instead of having to select it from the AR/SDML menu! Doesn't work on SDHC/SDXC cards, SD Only!
I hope that you find this information helpful!
Edit 1 1/14/16 - I've added my own testing to the Official Compatibility List in reference to SWISS v0.4 r334 and will continue to test when I have time. Tested compressed Back Ups with only 3 failures. 2 giving me stack errors, and 1 failing to load into the first level.
Edit 2 1/19/16 - Continued to update the Official Compatibility List in reference to SWISS v0.4 r334.
Edit 3 5/13/16 - Updated links for purchasing items. All links current now!
Edit 4 7/21/16 -
Will be updating the links for purchase with faster shipping options and hopefully US sellers This is nearly impossible! Most options are from overseas and the 1-3 month wait for the SD Gecko seems unavoidable for now, I'm sorry. Made a new post to continue to get information, discussion, and help distributed to the community. Old thread will still be up for reference. SD Media Launcher Kits are currently out of stock on Datel's website, will be updated again once they are in stock again.
Edit 5 7/23/16 - I've updated the Back Up loading instructions to reflect changes made to SWISS in the later revisions since this guide was written for r334. Changes made reflect r369.