The Twilight Hack was the first way to enable homebrew on a Wii without hardware modification. It was discovered in 2008. The Twilight Hack was used by playing a hacked game save for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess which executes a homebrew application from an SD card. Examples of such homebrew .elf or .dol files can be found on the Homebrew applications page. The Twilight Hack was created by Team Twiizers.
Twilight Hack 0.1beta1 is compatible with System Menu up to 3.3, 0.1beta2 is compatible with System Menu 3.4. The twilight hack is not and never will be compatible with System Menu 4.0 and up, unless a specific Priiloader hack is enabled. Use another exploit from now on.
The source code was written to be readable, portable and reusable; most of the code was reused for Indiana Pwns, and you are encouraged to use it to create your own savegame exploits (provided you follow the licensing terms of the codebase). The shared code is now referred to as the Savezelda loader.
Fanmail can be left at Twiizers Fanmail.
Usage and Installation
- SD card (<= 2GB, not SDHC) formatted as FAT16 or FAT32. (The Wii System Menu, which is used to copy the save, only reads SD cards, not SDHC).
- SD card reader
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that has been played at least once
- Some homebrew to load (e.g. the Homebrew Channel installer)
Inside the zip file you will find versions of the hack for all three regions. You may copy all of them to your SD card, but you will need to choose the correct one to copy to your Wii based on your version of Zelda: Twilight Princess. USA users, additionally, need to determine the correct save slot to load once inside Twilight Princess. The easiest way to check your version is to compare the text string which is on the inner circle of the data surface with the ones below.
|Region||Inner circle text||File||Save slot|
|Europe/Australia (EUR)||RVL-RZDP-0A-0 JPN||/private/wii/title/rzdp/data.bin||Twilight Hack|
|Asia (JPN)||RVL-RZDJ-0A-0 JPN||/private/wii/title/rzdj/data.bin||Twilight Hack|
|America (USA)||RVL-RZDE-0A-0 JPN||/private/wii/title/rzde/data.bin||TwilightHack0|
|America (USA)||RVL-RZDE-0A-0 USA||/private/wii/title/rzde/data.bin||TwilightHack0|
|America (USA)||RVL-RZDE-0A-2 USA||/private/wii/title/rzde/data.bin||TwilightHack2|
Step by Step
- Ensure your SD card is formatted as FAT. By default SD cards are formatted as FAT, so if you're not sure you can skip this step.
- (Optional) If you have an existing Zelda save that you want to backup, do so before proceeding:
- Put your SD card in your Wii and turn it on.
- Go into Wii Options --> Data Management --> Save Data --> Wii
- Find your Zelda save, click on it, click "Copy", and click Yes
- Put your SD card in your computer, and copy the "private" folder from the card to a safe place.
- Copy the "private" directory from the Twilight Hack download to the root of your SD card.
- Take your homebrew Wii executable (elf or dol file) and save it in the root directory of your SD card as "boot.elf" or "boot.dol" as appropriate.
- Put your SD card in your Wii and turn it on.
- Go into Wii Options --> Data Management --> Save Data --> Wii.
- Find your Zelda save, click on it, click "Erase", and click Yes.
- Open the SD card and select the "Twilight Hack" save that corresponds to your game region. Note: Some people are having problems with the Wii not "seeing" the save file on the SD card. If you are experiencing this, try setting the archive bit for the data.bin file - in Windows this can be either be done from the file's properties dialog (right click on it in Windows Explorer and check the box) or from the command line using "attrib +a <path to data.bin>". More info at #wiihelp on Efnet.
- Click copy and then yes. Now exit out of the menu.
- If you are using System Menu 3.4, you must immediately put the Twilight Hack to use. Turning off or running some other channel or game will have the System Menu delete the savegame again, and you'll have to start over.
- Insert The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game disc and run the game.
- If you have the USA version of the game, load the "TwilightHack0" or "TwilightHack2" version of the game as appropriate (see above).
- Otherwise, load the only "Twilight Hack" save game.
- Once in the game, either walk backwards or talk to the man standing in front of you.
- Follow the instructions listed on the screen.
- If you get an error such as Failed to read boot.elf (-1), your SD card may not be formatted as FAT. Try reformatting your SD card with the Official SD Card Format Tool.
- Workaround for the System Menu 3.4 check. Only works once after being copied.
- The Twilight Hack is now compatible with version 3.3 of the Wii System Menu.
- Improvements in video configuration. The entire console should now be visible in all video modes, and scrolling has been improved.
- For the USA version, the two variants of the hack have been packed into one save file. Just select the save slot that corresponds to your version of Twilight Pricess when you start the game.
- New savegame icons by drmr. The new icons now show which region that version of the hack is for.
- This version now tries to load boot.dol, and falls back to boot.elf if boot.dol is not found.
- Many, many bug fixes.
- Experimental version with FAT32 support. Only try this if you receive an error message while loading boot.elf.
- Correctly loads geckoloader code from USBGecko flash.
- Front SD slot is now supported; SDGecko slot support has been removed.
- FAT16 is now supported; you should save your ELF executable on your SD card as "boot.elf".
- RZDJ is now supported.
- Added support for Geckoloader stub: If you have a USBGecko installed and have already run the Geckoloader program to install into flash, then the Twilight Hack will try to load that stub if it does not detect an SD card.
The hack exploits a buffer overflow error caused by loading a specially crafted save file for Twilight Princess. The save file stores a custom name for Epona, Link's horse, that is much longer than what the game would usually allow, in fact it even contains a small program. While the game doesn't allow you to manually enter a name this long it doesn't check the name in the file. When the game tries to load the name into memory it inadvertently drops the small program into memory filling not only the "horse name" buffer but adjacent ones. In a round about way these regions of memory happen to be designated the next region the console should execute. As you can see the save file is specially crafted indeed. Once the code loads it runs either a "boot.elf" or "boot.dol" file from the root of the SD card. If the boot.elf and bootmini.elf that loads HackMii exists on the root of your SD Card, you can use it to then install BootMii IOS, BootMii Boot2 (if compatible), or, importantly, the Homebrew Channel.
When System Menu 3.3 came around, a check was added to delete all Twilight Hack save files, and prevent them from being copied onto the NAND. Luckily, the System Menu only checked the first instance of zeldaTp.dat in the save, which meant a hacked zeldaTp.dat could be placed later in the WAD and survive. This version of the Twilight Hack does not give different paths to the zeldaTp.dat files, but since the legitimate one (16k of zeros) is earlier, the hacked one gets written over it.
A similar bug existed in the System Menu 3.4, although here, only the last file is checked to be a zeldaTp.dat, so the Twilight Hack places a file called FAILURE (with content FAILURE) there.
- Can it load files from the internal SD slot?
- Can I load GameCube homebrew with this?
- Not directly. Though you can use the Wii Gamecube Homebrew Launcher once you've got your Wii ready for homebrew.
- What about if I use doltool or dol2elf?
- No. These tools merely change the container file format, it does not convert between GameCube/Wii code.
- Does this work with the v4.0, 4.1, 4.2 or 4.3 System Menu update?
- Can we use games other than Zelda to achieve the same/similar effect?
- What about our current saves?
- There's no easy way to merge saves between files. Use the Twilight Hack to install the Homebrew Channel, then copy your old savefile back into place.
Main FAQ Page: Wiibrew FAQ
- After you load the save, the Wii Remote pointer may move to the bottom of the screen and stay there. It is purely a cosmetic bug and does not affect operation. The Wiimote pointer will return to normal after a reboot.