Flashing the Nintendo Wii


One of the most exciting pieces of news in the last few days was the release of the Opera-based browser for the Nintendo Wii. Why? Because it has Flash support. Flash 7, to be precise.

This means that Flash developers are now automatically also Wii developers if they want to be. You have to love a platform that adds to your skill set without your having to do anything! :)

So, today, I started playing around with my Wii. Sorry, I'll stop now. It won't happen again.

Initially I wanted to know what resolution the Wii browser supported. There are a number of online references, like the Web design guide for Opera Browser on Wii, that state that the browser supports a resolution of 640 x 480 and that you should design for a safe area of 608 x 456. My own findings with Flash contradict this, however.

System.capabilities tells me that the system resolution on the Wii -- at least what is reported to Flash -- is 800 x 600. On a test SWF, set to 100% width and height, you get Stage dimensions of 784 x 484 with the default Macromedia HTML and 800 x 500 by hitting the SWF directly. Setting all of the margins to zero on the HTML page removes the 16x16 border and gives you the same 800 x 500 resolution.

I start to wonder whether the supported resolution is affected by the display settings in the Wii Options and decide to test it out.

Initially, I test with the TV Type set to 60Hz (480i) and the widescreen settings set to Standard (4:3). This results in the browser's controls appearing slightly cut off on my screen (46" Sony Bravia W series/1080p). Next, I try it at 50Hz (576i), again with Standard (4:3), and that gives me the same results.

Next, I change the widescreen settings to Widescreen and hit the same test page. This time, the system resolution is again reported at 800x600 but the Stage width and height defaults to 1024 x 500 (100% width, 100% height, stage set to noScale and align TL). The grid I'm drawing, however, looks all wrong. The aspect ratio is way off and there's definite antialiasing.

Update: I just tested with pixel values (the movie set to 800px by 500px) and I can confirm that this is the largest movie size that the browser will display without showing the scroll arrows. I also included a mock Wii safety image from IconFactory.com in the test file that is 800 x 500 px.

I'd love to hear what results you get with your TV set. If you have a Wii and the browser, hit the Flash resolution test file for the Nintendo Wii (http://aralbalkan.com/wiipii/arrow_wii.html) and report your results in the comments.

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So, does anyone else have information they'd like to share on developing for the Wii?