Alex Mitchell

BBA Emulation Demonstrated In Swiss

If you’re a fan of the extremely limited handful of GameCube games with online and local network functionality, today is your lucky day. Swiss, a homebrew utility that extends and enhances the functionality of the GameCube platform, will have Broadband Adapter (BBA) emulation support implemented in its upcoming releases.

Although Nintendo clearly prioritized developing local multiplayer experiences for the GameCube, they did release both a 56K modem and 10/100 Base-T adapter for the Serial Port 1 slot present on all hardware revisions of the console. The 56K modem has obviously been relegated to the junk heap with the death of home landlines, but the BBA has continued to be a desirable accessory and now commands a higher price than most GameCubes do! This is a pretty vexing problem for enthusiasts who want to squeeze every last bit of fun out of the GameCube’s library, and so homebrew software and hardware developers have been working to find an accessible and affordable solution.

Extrems, one of the developers behind Swiss, has just released a video of two GameCubes running the LAN mode in Mario Kart: Double Dash with a new Swiss feature called Broadband Adapter Emulation. This feature enables the use of non-Nintendo networking hardware with officially released games, opening the door for hardware developers to make cheaper alternatives to the official Nintendo BBA. In this example, it also allowed the GameCube on the left of the video to load the MK:DD ISO file from a server through an official BBA while also using the same BBA hardware for in-game networking. A pretty astounding feat!

BBA emulation isn’t just limited to MK:DD though; it supports all titles with networking features and can even be used to connect to Phantasy Star Online fan servers! Just like memory card emulation and all the other amazing features that came before it, BBA emulation in Swiss is an incredible milestone for the platform and will finally give users a more accessible way to set up LAN parties. Once a pre-compiled version of Swiss with BBA emulation is available, you’ll be able to find it on its GitHub page.

To download the latest version of Swiss, follow this link.

While you can technically add Serial Port 2 functionality back in to GameCube console revisions that lack it, the easiest way to take advantage of BBA emulation is with an early revision DOL-001 console that has a Serial Port 2 already built in. If you’ve got one of those, and a way to run unofficial software, then the hardware shopping list is surprisingly simple:

  • Microchip ENC28J60 module
  • Half of a SD2SP2 PRO, or other right-angle SD2SP2 adapter
  • DuPont jumper wire (7x)

Because there’s a pretty broad swath of SD2SP2 adapters on the market today there is no wiring diagram that would work universally with all of them, but I don’t imagine that documentation will be too far behind. Most layman enthusiasts won’t have to wait for too long for a plug and play solution though, as hardware developer webhdx has already posted about releasing their own module in the coming weeks.

Prototype design from webhdx for a serial port 2 ethernet adapter.

To support these developers, I’ll leave some links below:

Support Extrems on Patreon

Purchase webhdx products on tindie