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How to connect Wiimotes to the Dolphin emulator on Linux

Are you a fan of the Nintendo Wii? Did you install the Dolphin emulator on your Linux PC, but can’t figure out how to use your Wiimote in it? We can help! Follow along with this guide to learn how to connect Wiimotes to the Dolphin emulator on Linux.

Note: this guide requires the Dolphin Emulator. If you do not already have it set up on your Linux PC, please follow our guide on how to set it up.

Before we begin

Nintendo’s Wiimotes do not need a driver to interact with the Linux platform or any of the mainstream Linux operating systems. Thankfully, all the support is built right into the kernel. However, Nintendo’s Wiimote can only connect to Linux computers via Bluetooth, so a Bluetooth compatible Linux PC is required to follow this guide.

Thankfully, in 2020, Bluetooth is straightforward to get working on Linux. Linux supports most built-in Bluetooth cards. Additionally, there are several affordable USB Bluetooth adapters available for purchase that work out of the box.

Enabling Bluetooth

On Ubuntu Linux, Fedora, Debian, and even operating systems like Manjaro Linux, the Bluetooth runtime is automatically set up, and users do not need to fuss with setting it up manually. However, if you are using a Linux operating system that does not have Bluetooth set up, you will need to configure it before continuing with this guide.

Setting up Bluetooth on Linux involves enabling the Bluetooth.service, as well as installing a few packages. If you’re new to Linux and need help setting it up, follow this guide on the subject.

Connecting a Wiimote your Linux PC

Although the Wiimote is a Bluetooth device, it is also a video game controller for the Nintendo Wii and WiiU. As a result, it can be confusing to get the device to connect correctly. For this reason, the WMGui app exists. It is an excellent GUI app that can make connecting Wiimotes to Linux an incredibly simple process.

Installing WMGui

The WMGui application is a bit old, but it still is available for most mainstream Linux operating systems. To get the app working, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below that corresponds with the operating system you use.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install libcwiid1 lswm wmgui wminput

Debian

sudo apt-get install libcwiid1 lswm wmgui wminput

Arch Linux

WMGui is in the AUR. To install it, enter the commands below.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

cd trizen

makepkg -sri

trizen -S cwiid

Fedora

Sadly, Fedora Linux does not have WMGui available for installation. Don’t worry! It is still possible to connect your Wiimote to Fedora, but it will not be possible to do it with the simple WMGui app. You will instead need to use the built-in Bluetooth tool on your desktop.

OpenSUSE

You must upgrade your release of OpenSUSE LEAP from 15.0 to 15.1 before attempting to install the WMGui application, as it is not available for 15.0.

Once the upgrade is complete, use the zypper command below to get the WMGui program up and running.

sudo zypper install wmgui

Connecting

With the WMGui app set up on your Linux PC, it is time to connect the Wiimote. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to connect the device.

Step 1: Plug in your USB Bluetooth adapter and enable it. Or, turn on your built-in Bluetooth card.

Step 2: Place the Wiimote into discoverable mode by pressing the 1 and 2 buttons simultaneously. You’ll know it is in discoverable mode when all four blue lights on the bottom begin flashing.

Step 3: Open up the WMGui application on your Linux desktop by searching for “wmgui” in the app menu. Or, press Alt + F2 with the keyboard to open up the quick launcher, write in the command below to open it.

wmgui

Step 4: With WMGui open, find the “File” button, and click it with the mouse. Then, select the “Connect” option. Selecting “Connect” will allow the app to connect to the Wiimote automatically.

Step 5: Click the “OK” button in the “connection” window to finish.

You’ll know the Wiimote is connected when you see “connected” in the bottom-right corner.

Using Wiimote in Dolphin Emulator

With your Wiimote connected to your Linux PC via WMGui, it is time to go over how to use it in Dolphin. Minimize WMGui, but don’t close it, and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the “Controllers” icon in the Dolphin UI and click on it with the mouse to access controller settings.

Step 2: Locate the “Wiimotes” section of the controller window. In the “Wiimotes” section, locate Wiimote 1 and change it from “Emulated Wiimote” to “Real Wiimote.”

Step 3: Under “Real Wiimotes,” check the box next to “Continuous Scanning.”

Step 4: Click the “OK” button to apply settings.

After changing the Dolphin settings, launch your favorite Wii game, and it will automatically detect the Wiimote and let you use it to play!

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