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I am a game developer who has always loved the GameCube system. I've been developing games since 2017 and have been self-teaching and learning various coding languages. I know it's officially unsupported now but is there any way I can make games for the platform still? Google has not been of much help to me so far. Do I need a development SDK or a specific game engine for this task?

I'd also like any and all help and resources related to GameCube optical media security bypassing you can find. I am okay with building my game engine from scratch but my biggest problem is that I have no idea how I'm going to get past the disc verification system. I know that Datel has done it with Action Replay and SD Loader but they haven't made it publicly available what process they used. I know it's possible but the furthest I've gotten research-wise is this article I found that shows how Nintendo scrambled the data.

For clarification, I want to make signed games that can be played on an unmodified system. I also want to released boxed games so it is more like a real game release rather than some hobbyist project.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Presumably you started by researching GameCube Homebrew communities - how have you tried applying what you've learned through this research so far? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jan 5 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory I've done a fair bit of research on Homebrew but I was wondering if there was a more "official" way of doing it so that I could even write signed discs and these could run on an unmodded GameCube. More like what the bigger studios like Retro Studios and Hal Laboratories would have used. \$\endgroup\$ – Caden Mitchell Jan 6 at 2:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then code signing should probably be mentioned in your question. I don't think Nintendo still signs content for that platform, but it's a question you can ask. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jan 6 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CadenMitchell The official way probably requires giving Nintendo a hundred thousand dollars or so, and several meetings with your lawyers and their lawyers. Just a guess. You could always try asking Nintendo (make sure to have the appearance of a "real" game development studio) but I guarantee they'll say no because it's officially unsupported. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Jan 6 at 11:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like more guesswork. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo Jan 6 at 15:42
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Just like when you make games for Windows you use the Windows SDK (DirectX, etc.), or other similar SDKs that work for Windows, if you want to make games for the GameCube, you will need to use the GameCube SDK.

Generally speaking, there are two approaches to making a game for the GameCube (or any platform in general).

The official approach is to use the official GameCube SDK that Nintendo made. Unfortunately, this SDK is not public, so to do this, you need to register with Nintendo, become an official developer, sign an NDA, most likely you will have to buy a development kit (a special version of the console that is designed for development), and reach an agreement for publishing your game once it's finished.

Since there are many newer Nintendo consoles, it is very likely that Nintendo is no longer accepting applications to become an official GameCube developer. You may want to contact Nintendo and see if this is the case. Only they can tell you the exact requirements.

The homebrew approach is to use an unofficial GameCube SDK that people around the world have created, most likely through the process of reverse engineering. To find them, Google can be your friend (I suggest searching for "GameCube homebrew").

These unofficial SDKs are most likely unsupported, may not be complete or stable, and using them may not even be legal in your jurisdiction. In other words, you use them at your own risk.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth adding to this answer that games created through the homebrew approach will not be playable on a retail GameCube without modding it or applying other workarounds to bypass the signature check. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jan 14 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I think this is captured in the "may not be complete or stable" part, but even though OP asked for GameCube, I tried to keep my answer general. \$\endgroup\$ – Panda Pajama Jan 16 at 1:22
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In terms of how to run homebrew games on a retail GameCube, you'd need to work around GameCube's proprietary disc authentication. It isn't digital signatures, it is creating specific errors in specific places on the disc that line up with an encoded value in the BCA. Datel figured out how to manufacture discs that could be read by a retail GameCube, without going through Nintendo. So it may be possible to construct a burnable image that a retail GameCube could read, but I'm not aware of anyone that has actually done that (Datel discs weren't burned, they were pressed at a factory).

So making a boxed disc game at this point will be tricky. If you don't care about the game being on disc, there's lots of solutions out there for running homebrew off of memory cards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the helpful reply! My goal is ultimately to make a boxed game that runs on unmodified hardware. I could then self-publish via Ebay or Amazon and there's already been several people who have expressed interest in the game. It's certainly been a challenge though and I'm not sure how easy this will be. I've gotten closer I think as I came across this article: debugmo.de/2008/11/anatomy-of-an-optical-medium-authentication. Seems like it might be a good start but will require a modified disc burner or a special disc burner application. :-/ \$\endgroup\$ – Caden Mitchell Jan 29 at 21:33

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