Scott Hanselman

Solved and Fixed: StreetPass stopped working on Nintendo 3DS XL

January 25, '17 Comments [3] Posted in Gaming
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Nice to meet you! says my MiiYes, this is kind of a silly blog post but it's been bugging me for months so I wanted to get it out there in case it helps someone who is googling for the answer!

I have a little Nintendo 3DS XL (the "new" one) that I bought for long trips. It's a great little device with a large library of games, plus it plays SNES classics like Super Metroid. All in all, I'm thrilled with the purchase.

It has wifi, and both Netflix and Hulu in a pinch for the kids, but it also has some really cool social features using a proprietary wifi connection called "StreetPass." The nutshell is that if you pass by someone (within 30-40 feet in my experience) their "Mii" avatar will jump into your game console and bring with it data from other games.

There's simple stuff like Puzzles, there's mini games like Find Mii, and StreetPass enhances more complex games like Mario World or Resident Evil: Revelations by adding in whole new components. In Resident Evil you'll get communications and weapons drops from your colleagues who are apparently fighting zombies at the same time as you. In Shovel Knight you can race the "ghost" of another player. It's safe and anonymous.

If you travel it's even cooler as you'll StreetPass people in airports and collect their countries or states of origin. I carry my 3DS to conventions and all over the world. It's a hoot.

BUT. A few months back it stopped StreetPassing. Nothing happened, ever. I made sure everything was updated, turned it on and off, but nada.

Recently I fixed it and I'm sure it will fix StreetPass for you also.

  • Go into Mii Maker and design a secondary Mii. Doesn't matter what it looks like. I did it quickly.
  • Switch to that secondary Mii. You won't lose anything.
  • Exit Mii Maker, then go back in and switch back to your original Mii.
    • I surmise that this clears things out and re-writes some settings for you.
    • I also changed my Mii's hat and outfit just to make sure it was re-written completely.
  • Head over to Mii Plaza and you should be all set.

My system started StreetPassing within a few hours.

Photo Jan 24, 9 59 42 PM

I hope this helps someone because as a traveller who really digs StreetPass, having it not work was really harshing my mellow. By the way, I REALLY love this "DreamGear" rubber case I got for my 3DS. It changes the shape of it, makes it larger, almost like an Xbox controller. That's an Amazon link that you can use that will help me get more 3DS games. ;)


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Awesome, legal, wireless retrogaming with a Hyperkin Retron 5 and 8bitdo's nes30pro

December 8, '16 Comments [11] Posted in Gaming
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Hyperkin Retron 5 is amazing with an 8bitdo nes30pro!My kids and I are big fans of retrogaming. We have a whole collection of real consoles including N64, Dreamcast, PS2, Genesis, and more. However, playing these older consoles on new systems often involves a bunch of weird AV solutions to get HDMI out to your TV. Additionally, most retro controllers don't have a wire that's long enough for today's 55" and larger flatscreens.

We wanted a nice solution that would let us play a bunch of our games AND include a wireless controller option. Here's the combination of products that we ended up with for retrogaming this Christmas season.

Hyperkin Retro Console

There's a company called Hyperkin that makes a series of retro-consoles. They've got the Hyperkin Retron 2, Hyperkin Retron  3, and my favorite (and the one YOU should get) the Hyperkin Retron 5. You'd think the Hyperkin 5 would let you play five consoles, but it actually lets you play NES, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and GBA (Gameboy advance) cartridges on one system. It has five slots. ;)

Everyone's talking about how they can't find the NES Classic Edition. I'd spend that money on a Hyperkin and then go out and buy a few actual game carts from your local retro gaming shop.

I like the Hyperkin Retron 5 over the lesser models for a few reasons.

  • It outputs HDMI natively for all it's emulated consoles.
  • It's got great firmware that is updated fairly often.
  • Its firmware has video features like adding fake CRT scanlines for authenticity (we like playing that way)
  • It supports cheats ;)
  • It's got multiple, real ports that support your existing console gamepads
  • You can use one system's controller for another. For example, a SNES gamepad on an NES game.

The only bad things about the Hyperkin Retron 5 is that the included controller kind of sucks and with all console games, you need to be fairly careful inserting and removing the cartridges.

8bitdo NES30 Pro Game Controller

You might assume the 8bitdo NES30 Pro Game Controller would be a cheap overseas knockoff controller but it's REALLY well made and it's REALLY more useful than I realized when I got it!

8bitdo controller

There are a number of these controllers from this company. The NES30 is nice but the NES30 Pro includes two analog sticks while still keeping the classic style. Think of it as almost a portable Xbox 360 controller! In fact, when you plug it into your PC with a USB cable it shows up as an Xbox 360 controller! That means it works great for Steam games. I've been carrying it in my bag on trips and gaming on my laptop.

for-pcThe build quality of the pad is great, but it's the extendable firmware that really makes the 8bitdo NES30 Pro shine. It has support to act as a Wiimote and even custom firmware for a...wait for it...Retron 5 mode! This means you can use this controller as a replacement for the Retron and play all the consoles it supports.

Even better, the 8bitdo NES30 Pro Game Controller also supports iOS, Android, etc. It's really just about perfect. My only complaint is that you have to turn it on while holding certain buttons in order to start in the various modes. So there's Bluetooth mode, iOS mode, Xbox mode, etc. Not a huge deal, but I've printed out the manual to keep it all straight.

8bitdo Controller Wireless Receiver

Here's where the magic happened. Because the 8bitdo NES30 Pro is a Bluetooth device, there's wireless receivers available for it for most consoles! If you have an NES or you managed to find an NES Classic, there's an 8bitdo Retro Receiver for NES.

However, I recommend you get the 8bitdo Bluetooth SNES Retro Receiver and plug it into the Hyperkin Retron 5. This, for us, has been the sweet spot. It works great with all games and we've got HDMI output from the Retron while still being able to sit back on the couch and game. You can also get two if you like and play multiplayer. As for power, the receiver needs just 100mA and leeches that power from the SNES port.

Even better, this Retro Receiver lets you use existing controllers as wireless controllers to whatever! So you can use your Wii U or PS3 controllers (since they are Bluetooth!) and retrogame with those.

If that wasn't awesome enough, the Retro Receiver can act as a generic "X-Input" controller for your PC or Mac. You plug an included Micro-USB cable into it and then pair your PS3, PS4, or Wii Remote into your computer and use it!

To be clear, I have no relationship with the 8bitdo company but everything they make is gold.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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FIXED: Xbox One losing TV signal error message with DirectTV

September 28, '16 Comments [21] Posted in Gaming
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Your TV signal was lostI've got an Xbox One that I love that is connected to a DirectTV HDTV Receiver that I love somewhat less. The setup is quite simple. Since I can control the DirectTV with the Xbox One and we like to switch between Netflix and Hulu and DirectTV we use the Xbox One to control everything.

The basic idea is this, which is quite typical with an Xbox One. In theory, it's amazing.

I fixed my Xbox One losing Signal with an HDMI powered splitter

However, this doesn't always work. Often you'll turn on the whole system and the Xbox will say "Your TV Signal was lost. Make sure your cable or satellite box is on and plugged into the Xbox." This got so bad in our house that my non-technical spouse was ready to "buy a whole new TV." I was personally blaming the Xbox.

It turns out that's an issue of HDMI compliance. The DirectTV and other older cable boxes aren't super awesome about doing things the exact way HDMI like it, and the Xbox is rather picky about HDMI being totally legit. So how do I "clean" or "fix" my HDMI signal from my Cable/Satellite receiver?

I took at chance and asked on Reddit and this very helpful user (thanks!) suggested an HDMI splitter. I was surprised but I was ready to try anything so I ordered this 2 port HDMI powered splitter from Amazon for just US$20.

ADDING AN HDMI SPLITTED WORKS - TOTALLY SOLVED THE PROBLEM

It totally works. The Xbox One now does its "negotiations" with the compliant splitter, not with the Receiver directly and we haven't seen a single problem since.

I fixed my Xbox One losing Signal with an HDMI powered splitter

If you have had this problem with your Xbox One then pick up a 2 port HDMI powered splitter and rejoice. This is a high quality splitter than doesn't change the audio signal and still works with HDCP if needed. Thanks internets!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Easy accelerated 3D Games in a browser with JavaScript and WebGL using Three.js or Babylon.js

June 11, '14 Comments [12] Posted in Gaming | Javascript | Open Source
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Let's ignore that we haven't got a web-agreed-upon way to do just about anything, much less basic line-of-business apps with data-bound text boxes over data, and just revel in the fact that we can do hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in our browsers with WebGL. This works today in all the latest browsers.

I noticed this fantastic mini-game promoting Assassin's Creed over at http://race.assassinscreedpirates.com that uses WebGL via a library called Babylon.js. On my Windows machine it runs perfectly in IE11, Chrome 37, or Firefox 30. (Yes, in retrospec, the version numbering for browsers is getting out of hand.)

Some folks on Macs have reported issues with WebGL. Check out https://www.browserleaks.com/webgl for YOUR browser's capabilities.

This Pirate Ship game is really worth checking out and it's fun for the kids. You can also check out the Developer Teardown and learn how they built it.

3D Assassin's Creed Pirates in my browser

I wanted to get a better understanding of exactly how difficult it is (or easy!) to get in to WebGL in the browser. I found this article over at SitePoint by Joe Hewitson and started with some of his sample code where he compares two popular WebGL libraryes, three.js and babylon.js. The Assassin's Creed game here is written using Babylon.js.

Three.js seem to be  a general layer on top of WebJS, aiming to make scene creation and animation easy. Using Joe's sample (that I changed a little) along with a texture.gif, I was able to make this spinning 3D cube easily.

There's a live example running at http://hanselstorage.blob.core.windows.net/blog/WebGL.html you can see in your modern browser. Below is just a static image.

I would have animated it but that would have been a meg. ;)

Three.js is on the left and Babylon.js is on the right. It doesn't really matter given the static image, but one think you'll notice immediately if you run the live sample is that you can zoom in and out, pan, grab, and manipulate the babylon.js cube. I could have hooked up some events to the three.js cube, or perhaps added a physics engine like Physijs and made it interact with the world, I suppose. It struck me though, that this little example shows the difference in philosophy between the two. Babylon seems to be more of a game engine or a library that wants to help you make games so there's interactions, collision detection, and lighting included.

Three.js supports many renderers, cameras, and lighting. You can use all WebGL capabilities such as lens flares. It supports all the usual objects and geometries as well. Their examples are extensive with over 150 coding examples covering everything you'd want to know from fonts, models, textures, to sounds. There's even an in-browser Three.js editor.

Babylon includes a lot including a physics engine from cannon.js built in, full scene graph, offline mode, textures, special effects and post processes, many cameras including Oculus Rift (!) lots of meshes. Babylon.js even supports standard Gamepads via like the Xbox One controller natively via the Gamepad API spec.

Anyway, here is the cube on the right from Joe's code that I modified slightly, using babylon.js:

// Babylon.js 
var canvas = document.getElementById('babylonCanvas');
var engine = new BABYLON.Engine(canvas, true);
var sceneB = new BABYLON.Scene(engine);
var camera = new BABYLON.ArcRotateCamera("camera", 1, 0.8, 10, new BABYLON.Vector3(0, 0, 0), sceneB);

var light = new BABYLON.DirectionalLight("light", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, -1, 0), sceneB);
//light.diffuse = new BABYLON.Color3(1, 0, 0);
//light.specular = new BABYLON.Color3(1, 1, 1);

var box = BABYLON.Mesh.CreateBox("box", 3.0, sceneB);
var material = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("texture", sceneB);
box.material = material;
material.diffuseTexture = new BABYLON.Texture("texture.gif", sceneB);

sceneB.activeCamera.attachControl(canvas);

engine.runRenderLoop(function () {
box.rotation.x += 0.005;
box.rotation.y += 0.01;
sceneB.render();
});

I also commented out the lighting but you can see how easy it is to add lighting to a scene if you like. In this case there was a diffuse red light along with a specular white.

With babylon.js I could change the size of the scene by changing the size of the canvas. With three.js the width and height are pulled in programmatically from the enclosing div.


Here is the near-same box created with three.js.

// Three.js 
var div = document.getElementById('three');
var height = div.offsetHeight;
var width = div.offsetWidth;

var renderer = new THREE.WebGLRenderer();
renderer.setSize(width, height);
div.appendChild(renderer.domElement);

var camera = new THREE.PerspectiveCamera(70, width / height, 1, 1000);
camera.position.z = 400;

var sceneT = new THREE.Scene();

var cube = new THREE.CubeGeometry(200, 200, 200);

var texture = THREE.ImageUtils.loadTexture('texture.gif');
texture.anisotropy = renderer.getMaxAnisotropy();

var material = new THREE.MeshBasicMaterial({ map: texture });

var mesh = new THREE.Mesh(cube, material);
sceneT.add(mesh);

animate();

function animate() {
requestAnimationFrame(animate);

mesh.rotation.x += 0.005;
mesh.rotation.y += 0.01;
renderer.render(sceneT, camera);
}

Both libraries have amazing Examples Galleries and you should check them out.

Also note that there's a contest running until June 20th, 2014 over at http://www.modern.ie/en-us/demos/assassinscreedpirates where you'll create your own shader within the browser and submit it for judging. Contestants must be over 16 years of age and from one of the following countries: United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, or Australia. The contest starts here and the grand prize is an Assassin’s Creed Collector’s Black Chest Edition and an Xbox One.

Create your Shaders in the browser

Even if you don't win, do check out the in-browser shader editor. It's amazing.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to use an Xbox One controller on your Windows PC

June 9, '14 Comments [18] Posted in Gaming
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B00CMQTUSS_XboxOne_Controller_F_TransBG_RGB_2013The Xbox One controller is fantastic. Even if you don't have an Xbox One, the controller now works on a Windows PC with a standard micro-USB cable. Any Steam and Windows game that supports standard XInput works great. I've played Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite and both worked wonderfully. Everything works smoothly and even vibration feedback is supported.

I've previously used the Xbox 360 Controller's "Wireless Receiver Adapter" for Windows to pair XBox 360 controllers. It also works great, but I frankly prefer a plug-in and remove model, rather than having another adapter.

Soon the drivers for the Xbox One controller will be available on Windows Update. That means you'll be able to just plugin the Xbox One controller into any PC and the drivers will just download.

Until then, you'll want to install one these drivers depending on your machine:

Once these drivers are installed, plugin the Xbox One Controller to any USB port. There's a micro-USB port on the top of the Xbox One so you can use a regular USB cable. I used the one from my Kindle because it's very long.

The controller shows up as a Gamepad in Windows and works with any game that supports a standard joystick. Here's  a screenshot from my PC:

image

Here's an animated gif of me moving the controller and seeing the result in the Properties Dialog. You can see it's got all 10 buttons, 3 axes and the POV hat.

If you've got a Xbox One controller, you should grab a micro-USB cable and get this set up today. If you're considering a new PC controller, I recommend this controller even if you don't have an Xbox One.

Related Links


Sponsor: A big welcome to my friends at Octopus Deploy. They are sponsoring the blog feed this week. Using NuGet and powerful conventions, Octopus Deploy makes it easy to automate releases of ASP.NET applications and Windows Services. Say goodbye to remote desktop and start automating today!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.