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Hackers reverse engineer Wii U GamePad for PC streaming

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Hackers have reversed engineered the Wii U GamePad controller allowing users to stream PC games to the controller, bypassing the Wii U console.

Presenting their findings during a lecture titled "Reverse engineering the Wii U Gamepad" at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, the duo detailed how they went from a "32MB binary blob" to the proof of concept of Wii U gamepad "emulation" on a PC. Gamecube emulated gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on the device was demonstrated by the hackers — Pierre Bourdon and another known as Shuffle2 — following another of a drawing app streaming from a PC to the peripheral.

"When the Wii U was released, a few console hackers and I were talking about potential uses for the Wii U GamePad," the lecture's description reads. "However, before being able to use a Wii U GamePad as a remote controller for a robot or a quadricopter, the first step was to understand how it worked and how to communicate with it."

According to the programmers, Nintendo is using a client server model utilizing an ARM chip in the Wii U console as the server, which is paired with a similar chip in the GamePad as the client, with codenames of DRH and DRC respectively. Nintendo puts a proprietary twist on the protocols used, such as A/V streaming, input and RPC communications. These protocols are wrapped up in a proprietary twist on the WPA2 Wi-Fi protocol that is sent between the console and GamePad.

The duo's lecture slides are available online and further documentation is located on open source community libdrc. A video of the lecture was available but has since been removed.