UPDATED on November 23, 2014 for both guide simplification and the recent release of Project M version 3.5!
Project M is an incredible mod for Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii which changes the gameplay to more closely resemble its more competitive, more skill-based, and faster predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee. Even though Project M is designed to be played on a genuine Wii console, it is possible to run Project M on the Dolphin Wii emulator on your Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux computer!
To begin, you will need to download the following files (Note that some of these programs are Windows-only):
- Dolphin Wii Emulator (Use v4.0.2)
- An NTSC ISO of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (You’ll have to make/find this on your own.)
- SD Card Maker
- Project M (Homebrew Option ZIP (Full Set)) (I’m using version 3.5)
- WinImage (I’m using version 9.0)
- Gecko OS (The download link is on the top right of the page) (I’m using version 188.8.131.52)
Installing and Configuring Project M
- Begin by unzipping Dolphin somewhere on your hard drive, i.e. “C:\Games\Dolphin”
- Move your Super Smash Bros. Brawl NTSC ISO to a directory such as “C:\Games\Dolphin\ISOs”
- Run Dolphin.exe and set up the emulator to your liking.
These next steps assume you have run and set up your personal preferences within Dolphin, including settings such as controller mapping (I use an Xbox 360 controller), video options, and sound options.
- Extract the contents of “Dolphin-SDCard-Maker.zip” somewhere on your hard drive, i.e. “C:\Games\Dolphin\Tools\Dolphin SD Card Maker”
- Run EasyDolphinSDCard Maker.exe.
- Extract the contents of Project M (likely “homebrew.zip”) somewhere on your hard drive, i.e. “C:\Games\Dolphin\Tools\Project M”
- Click “File,” then “Open.”
- Navigate to your SD Card Maker directory.
- Double click “sd.raw.”
- Click “Image,” then “Inject a Folder.”
- Navigate to the folder where you extracted homebrew.zip. The correct folder likely contains the folders “apps,” “codes,” and “projectm,” depending on the version of Project: M you have downloaded. Press OK.
- Click “File,” then “Save.”
- Close WinImage
- Copy “sd.raw” to “<Your My Documents Folder>/Dolphin Emulator/Wii/”.
- For OS X users: The sd.raw file goes into “/Users/<Your User Folder>/Library/Application Support/Dolphin/Wii”. The library folder is hidden. If you can’t find it, you’ll need to go into terminal and type: “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE” without quotes. To hide the folders again, simply type FALSE at the end instead.
- Extract the contents of the Gecko ZIP (likely “gecko1931.zip”) somewhere on your hard drive, i.e. “C:\Games\Dolphin\Tools\Gecko1931″
- Open Dolphin.
- Right-click “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” in your ISO list and select “Set as default ISO.” (If you don’t have Super Smash Bros. Brawl in your ISO list, make sure you have your ISO directory configured correctly within Dolphin.)
- Click “Config” at the top of the Dolphin window.
- Click the “Wii” tab at the top of this window.
- Check the box to the left of “Insert SD Card.”
- Press OK.
- Click the “Open” button at the top left of the Dolphin window.
- Navigate to your Gecko1931 directory.
- Double click the “Gecko1931″ folder, then the “HBC” folder, then the “Gecko1931″ folder.
- Double click “boot.elf.”
- Press “OK” on the dialog box that likely appears.
- If you’ve done everything correctly so far, you’ll be inside Gecko OS. Note that you will not see the Project M logo inside Gecko, as recent versions of Project M have removed this background image.
- You will only have to do the following step once (Every other time you’ll be able to open the Gecko .ELF and press Start Game). Note that you must configure GCPad controls within Dolphin to be able to navigate within Gecko:
- Press Down on your D-Pad and press A when you have selected “Config Options.”
- Scroll down to “Gecko Hook Type” and press Right on your D-Pad until you see “VBI.” You shouldn’t have to touch any of the other options.
- Scroll down to “Save Config” and press A. Press B to return to the main Gecko OS screen.
- Scroll to “Start Game” and press A.
That’s it! If you’ve done everything correctly, you should be playing Project M. Enjoy!
Note that if you see a screen that tells you that you don’t have enough space left in the Wii System Memory, you can do one of two things: 1. Continue playing without saving, or 2. Download an NTSC Brawl save without custom stages from the Internet (or just download one from me by clicking here – make sure you unpack it first), open Dolphin –> “Tools” menu –> “Import Wii Save” –> Browse to the downloaded save and open it.
A friendly Reddit user by the name of beefforyou has posted a great tip on /r/SSBPM: After you have entered the “Versus” menu and changed the match options to suit your needs, save the emulator’s state by invoking the “Emulation” –> “Save State” –> “Slot One” menu option within Dolphin, or by pressing Shift + F1. Later, you can simply press F1 after starting emulation, and your game will be ready to play. Thanks, Beef!
Please leave a comment below if this tutorial helped you out or if you require assistance. I have verified these instructions multiple times – if you’re still having trouble getting Project: M working using Dolphin, please verify you have properly completed all of the above steps!