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The State of DS Homebrew (it rocks!) 83

Posted by Zonk
from the wooo-homebrew dept.
Justin writes "PSP homebrew always seems to get all the attention, but the DS homebrew scene is surprisingly active and robust as well. Modojo has an in-depth feature examining DS homebrew, including such things as PDA applications, indie games, and ScummVM DS (for oldschool LucasArts adventure games). From the article: 'My initial reaction to homebrew was little more than a shrug. I summed up the entire idea very simply with: Why? Why waste time on exploring less than impressive independent titles and old emulators when there is already so much new and interesting content for the DS? Luckily, at that time I couldn't have imagined the amazing world of homebrew I was denying myself.'"
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The State of DS Homebrew (it rocks!)

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  • Some great stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by monopole (44023) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:33AM (#15920461)
    I reflashed my DS Phat a long time ago and have great fun with it. I'm going out tonight to get a Max Media Dock for my DS Lite for homebrew and video (using homebrew players)
  • I'm going to buy a DS specifically for ScummVM. A little touchscreen would be way easier to use than a mouse for those games.
    • It is. Trouble is that I forget when to get off the bus if I'm playing Monkey Island :)
      Mostly LucasArts titles and the two liberated games that work yet, but it's pretty
      well ported to the DS.

      The main utility of homebrew on the DS wouldn't really be games, though.
      I'm looking for software/considering writing some that replaces the functionality
      of my Palm. Someone has already used an opensource handwriting input library
      in a demo-project (beats Palm's weird writing!), so there's hope. And twice the
      screensize!
    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:27PM (#15921435) Homepage
      I'm going to buy a DS specifically for ScummVM. A little touchscreen would be way easier to use than a mouse for those games.

      No, it wouldn't. The problem with touchscreen is that it only can do left-clicks, no right clicks. While right-click isn't needed to master any of the LucasArts games, I find it quite important for fluid gameplay, since it removes a lot of unneeded clicking. And another very fundamental problem is that a touchscreen can't do "hover", either you click somewhere or the device has no idea where your pointer is, which means you can't hover and move around like with your mouse to find out which objects you could interact with. ScummVM solves this by letting you toggle via Dpad between over, left and right click, but it really doesn't feel all that good. Last not least there is of course also a resolution problem, LucasArts games are VGA 320x200, DS only has 256x192, not that critical, but yet another annoyancy to add to the list.

      ScummVMDS is still a great little tool, but the NintendoDS is really not a very good device for LucasArts games.

      • I haven't tried ScummVM on my DS yet, but I can say that it rocks on my PSP. Of course if you only have a DS that's better then nothing. And to be fair I think the firmwares you get with the new PSPs are not downgradable (over 1.7 AFAIC) so it wouldn't make as much sense to get one for homebrew if you're not going to get a modchip.

        If LucasArts would make a release with a bunch of adventure games on a UMD I'd be all over it. Even though I already have several of them.
      • The problem with touchscreen is that it only can do left-clicks, no right clicks.

        Mac mouses have the same "problem", but we get the same effect by holding down a control key as we click. No reason the same could not be done with one of the DS's keys.

        As for hover, that could be approximated too. The input routines could be designed such that moving the stylus across the touchscreen was equivalent to changing the mouse position, and to click the user would have to lift the stylus off the screen and then bri
      • The right click only really annoyed me for Sam & Max, in Monkey Island I just drag across the screen to see hotspots. Might trigger an action but usually it's not a problem.

        Can't say anything about the resolution, I'm using a PDA, that can display the games' native resolution when used in horizontal mode.
      • The problem with touchscreen is that it only can do left-clicks, no right clicks.
        Not necessarily true - many touchpad applications use a double-tap method: Tap once, then tap again to the left or right of the first tap to emulate a left or right click. After just a few times getting used to it, it becomes very intuitive.
      • No, it wouldn't. The problem with touchscreen is that it only can do left-clicks, no right clicks. While right-click isn't needed to master any of the LucasArts games, I find it quite important for fluid gameplay, since it removes a lot of unneeded clicking.

        ...introducing the double tap! Oh wait, this feature has been avalible on macs and any laptop with a touchpad for well over a decade. Seems to work pretty well, or they wouldn't have been providing it as an option for all these years. also, as

        • ...introducing the double tap! Oh wait, this feature has been avalible on macs and any laptop with a touchpad for well over a decade.

          Have you actually ever played with ScummVM-DS? I did and last time I checked there wasn't a double tab, changing mouse modes worked by Digi-Pad and nothing else, which was ok, but really not that great. If things have improved, then thats good, if not, then well, not.

        • I pray you never have to interfaces with an engineering department.

          I pray you never have to interface with an English department.

      • Ah, thanks very much for this helpful info. Maybe the GP32x is the way to go for me.
      • by Metroid72 (654017)
        Why not designate A+tap as hover and B+tap as right-click?
    • A PDA combines the touch screen with the native resolution of these games, if you only want SCUMMVM that may be a better choice (of course I don't think you'll find a PDA as cheap as a DS...).
  • Notes & Questions? (Score:5, Informative)

    by aldheorte (162967) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:44AM (#15920554)
    I did some investigation into DS homebrew and took some notes on the information I could find. Could anyone with DS homebrew experience verify that I am on the right track and/or suggest better ways to go?

    Notes:

    "Basically, the way home homebrew and ROMS work is that you have to put something in the DS game slot at top to redirect execution to the CF or SD card adapter that carries the SD or CF memory card and various software in the GBA slot at bottom. Max Media Launcher, which goes in the DS game slot, seems to have a very good success rate at booting ROMs and homebrew when combined with the M3 SD X (what about the M3 CF X?).

    Other products exist to redirect execution that fit in the DS game slot at the top, although ones like PassKey require that you fit a game into the device and then the conjoined entity into the DS game slot. You can also use wifi to do this (or potentially serve up applications), but you need a wireless access point with a certain chipset to do this (does the USB Wifi Max router enable this?). You can also flash the firmware on the DS, but this option seems complex for little gain when you can just put in the Max Media Launcher, plus I believe it voids the warranty."

    Sources:
    http://www.iso420.com/nds/dmax/ [iso420.com]
    http://www.iso420.com/nds/m3sdx/ [iso420.com]
    • by davecarlotub (835831) * on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:00PM (#15920681) Journal
      Yes, you are correct. I have a DS Lite with a Max Media Launcher and M3 Mini-SD with a 1 gig mini SD card. There is a (unfortunately) Win only utility that comes with the M3 for loading roms to the M3. Most things work, however I have not had success with SylphIRC. DS roms work great. I highly recommend the M3. The wardriving app DS2Key is alot of fun.
      • I didn't know there was a wardriving type ap for the DS. I thought DS2Key was for some strange gamepad emulation via wifi. They may have a server browser built in that I don't know about. I did stumble across a program that would do something similar (I really just want netstumblerDS :) called hobito's wifi setup app. Its terribly unfinished right now. Will be nice when it is completed.
        • I believe you are right, but it has a scanning mode which acts similar to netstumbler, at least it displays networks as it finds them. I am not that knowledgeable with wifi, but I know if I drive by Burger King and have ds2key running, I can see the Burger King access point, it's channel, it's ssid, it's mac address, whether wep or wga are enabled, and the singal strength with ds2key.
      • There is a (unfortunately) Win only utility that comes with the M3 for loading roms to the M3.

        If you're using BSD or Linux, then obviously you care about freedom of software, and you should be using homebrew rather than piracy. You don't need to patch homebrew to run it on the SuperCard or M3.

        • I am not spending $30+ to try out a game. I will try it first, THEN decide if I want to buy it.
          • I am not spending $30+ to try out a game. I will [pirate] it first, THEN decide if I want to buy it.

            Given that you quoted a price in US currency, I'll assume that you're eligible for GameFly DS [gamefly.com]. Or for games published by Nintendo, you might want to go to a DS Download Station at your local Best Buy store.

      • There is a (unfortunately) Win only utility that comes with the M3 for loading roms to the M3

        This is irrelevant, as, like explained in the manual, you can just put your ROM file on the M3, and most will work.
        If it doesn't work, you can just pick the right patch file found on the CD, and put it in the right directory.
        So the Win only app is more convenient, but you can actually do it by hand, or just launch the app through Wine on Linux.
    • That is more or less correct, though it may be a bit outdated. We're starting to see DS-slot flashcards that don't require redirection and also don't require you to flash the firmware.

      Also, the encryption required for the DS to launch DS-slot software has been figured out, so you don't have to piggy-back a real game anymore even if you're going to use a GBA slot flashcart - the new pass devices are basically the same as real DS software.

      Once a DS is flashed, it can run DS software from the GBA slot without
  • PDA!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:58AM (#15920664) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    DS Organize
    The features of a standard PDA make their way to the DS in the DS Organize application. The program offers a bevy of possible uses including a calendar/day planner, address book, to-do list, scribble pad, file browser, text editor, image viewer, song player, WAV recorder, scientific calculator, and multi-language support. Talk about all-inclusive. This is a DS homebrew must-have.
    This is from the so-natural-it-hurts department. I never liked PDAs enough to get one, but just the thought of being able to do PDA stuff on a DS makes me want to get into this action. Imagine Joe Businessman whipping out his DS at a business meeting, and getting away with it...
    • It not a terribly good PIM app, but it isn't bad. A little more work and a few more apps, and it could replace my Zaurus (which has some pretty bad PIM apps as well)
  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @11:58AM (#15920667) Homepage
    I think homebrew stuff is kewl. I love it. However, I don't like how you have 10 things hanging off a DS for it to work :)

    With that said, I saw this [engadget.com] on engadget last week. It looks promising for a simple *UNOBTRUSIVE* homebrew experience. Which is what I want :) I could use it like a regulary old DS cartridge and not have weird things dangle off my DS for homebrew fun.

    • The DS-Xtreme seems to be just what we needed and it seems they've made it so it shows up as a mass storage device... So my guess would be that it will work with Windows, OS X, Linux, etc...

      I might just buy that instead of waiting for Opera DS... Surely someone's already ported Firefox to the DS already. ;-)
      • by tepples (727027)
        Surely someone's already ported Firefox to the DS already. ;-)

        The Nintendo DS has less than 5 MB of RAM, including VRAM and various caches. Even Opera needs a 10 MB Expansion Pak in the GBA slot to work. How the h*ck will you fit the larger footprint of Firefox into a DS?

        • by Yvan256 (722131)
          How the h*ck will you fit the larger footprint of Firefox into a DS?
          Like everyone's supposed to know the specs required to run Firefox... I thought they could remove plug-ins, features, etc...

    • Once you've flashed a DS, you're not going to have anything weirder than a GBA cart 'dangling' from it.
      Most of the carts that you stick into it now have the form-factor of a GBA game *or less*. The device on
      Engadget only has built-in flash, which isn't as hot as my gigabyte SD chips filled with music :)

      Direct USB connection and claims of not requiring flashing are great, though. Hope they release one
      that can have a CF/SD/mini-SD card of your choice.
    • by Noishe (829350) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:41PM (#15921539)
      That looks like quite the nice piece of hardware, if only it had sd card or cf support.

      I bought a DS Lite a couple of months ago, and decided to get one of the homebrew enabler devices for it.

      This is how they work.

      What you've got to have is basically three things. One, you need some memory. This memory can be flash, a harddrive, ram, it doesn't matter. Most solutions I've seen either use flash that can only be upgraded with a special usb interface, or they use a standard sd card / cf card / mmc card interface. Two, you need an application ( an OS if you will) that will read this memory and select files in the memory to run. Three, you need to trick the DS into thinking it's allowed to run DS code. If the ds doesn't authenticate itself for running ds code on startup, then you'll be stuck running GBA code only.

      The solution I bought is two things, a mini-sd card memory interface and the OS built into a gba cartridge, and a seperate DS authenticator that goes into the DS slot. How does the authenticator work? Well you've got three choices. You either flash your ds so it doesn't do a security check, put in a piece of hardware that uses a seperate commercial cartridge to fake the security check, or you use a newer device that knows how to do the security check all on it's own. I bought the newer type of device, and it fits into the ds slot without protruding at all.

      The gba cartridge i bought is from a company called SuperCard. There are other manufacturors, mainly the people who make the movie player, a company called m3. Supercard makes three different cartridges for sd type cards. One for SD, one for mini-sd, and one for micro-sd a.k.a. trans-flash. The sd version protrudes a little from a normal DS, while the mini-sd will fit perfectly into a normal DS. The micro-sd version wasn't available yet when I purchased mine, it fits perfectly into the DS-Lite without protruding. It came out a week after i bought mine. Since I have a DS-Lite, I was just a lil annoyed.

      Anyways, it works great. Every commercial rom I've tried works, and as a result I bought mario and luigi partners in time (I didn't realize it was similar to SuperMario RPG), and a casino game, and decided super princess peach was garbage. I can also use my DS now to play mp3s, videos (after a lone encoding process that I do while I sleep), and tv shows. And of course, there's all the homebrew stuff as well. When I start school in september I'll be seeing if I can do some programming of it on my own.
      • If you haven't yet you might want to check out Mario and Luigi - Superstar Saga for the GBA which will play just fine on your DS. It's the perquel of sorts to Mario and Luigi Partners in Time. There is also the Paper Mario series on the consoles which is simular to Mario RPG but not as simular as the Mario and Luigi games. Paper Mario 2 for the Gamecube is still an awesome game those and worth playing though.
    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:59PM (#15921656) Homepage
      I think homebrew stuff is kewl. I love it. However, I don't like how you have 10 things hanging off a DS for it to work :)

      With something like SuperKey [supercard.cn] and a SuperCard lite, which uses MicroSD, you won't have anything hanging out of a NintendoDS lite, it as the same size as a normal NDS Module and does no longer require to plug an original module in, like a PassMe does and it doesn't require flashing the NintendoDS either.

    • by funkify (749441)
      You don't need 10 things hanging off it, or 2. The information in TFA was obsolete. Old DS passkeys were huge, and required a DS cartridge plugged into them. New DS passkeys are the same size as a normal DS cartridge, and they don't even need to flash your DS. I use a Max Media Launcher that I got for like $20. Works perfectly, didn't need to flash my DS Lite. Max Media Launcher [codejunkies.com]

      You need a GBA flash cart. These are available in various flavors. Mine is the SD version of the M3. I chose M3 because
  • Why would you want to jump through the hoops to get DS homebrew working when you can get a faster handheld designed specifically for homebrew, the GP2X [gp2x.de]? 200MHz CPU with 200MHz second core, 64MB of RAM, SD slot takes up to 4GB of storage, runs Linux. What more could you want?
    "A touchscreen" you say? Just get a PDA. Any idiot can develop WinCE applciations, and anyone with half a brain can install Linux on it to run craploads of OSS games and apps.
    • Re:Why Bother? (Score:3, Informative)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646)
      Because people aren't aware of this or don't want to jump through the hoops, whereas they already have a DS. Don't trivialize the importance of marketing, i.e., letting people know your product actually exists. How many consumers have a DS? How many have a GP2X? How many have heard of the DS? The GP2X?

      When the open source community understands the importance of actually *reaching* people, and bringing the products *to* them, they will have a better understanding of why so few home users use Linux-based
      • by ookaze (227977)
        Because people aren't aware of this or don't want to jump through the hoops, whereas they already have a DS

        These are only a few of the reasons actually.

        Don't trivialize the importance of marketing, i.e., letting people know your product actually exists. How many consumers have a DS? How many have a GP2X? How many have heard of the DS? The GP2X?

        Which company makes the DS ? Which makes the GP2X ? Do you really think the company making the GP2X has as much marketing money as Nintendo ?
        What makes you believe th
        • These are only a few of the reasons actually.

          They're by far the most significant ones.

          Which company makes the DS ? Which makes the GP2X ? Do you really think the company making the GP2X has as much marketing money as Nintendo ?

          WAHHHHHHHH!!!! MOMMY!!!!! It's not FAIR!!!!! We can't sell a product because THEY have more money than we do!!!

          Do you really think any business starts, or becomes huge, relying on only the money contributed by its founders? They can issue what people with a clue call "bonds". They c
    • Because it's a Nintendo DS -- it has awesome games. You don't buy it so it can be your PDA, you buy it for playing games. ...but once you have it, "Hey, look, I can also use it as a PDA... and a web browser, and to play LucasArts adventure games and...".
      • My initial response was going to be: can any of those play the very excelent DS games :)

        I love my ds, and I was excited when I got the hardware to do other things (and play some of the pretty good homebrew thats out there)
        • I had been thinking about the DS for a while, but decided I should save my money (I'm a poor student, working and paying my way through college so I can't afford to spend money on fun). When I looked into the homebrew stuff and found all the other things I could use the DS for, it made me rethink buying it. ...now I'm just waiting for some new colors to come out (come on Nintendo, it's just plastic, you already have those colors in Japan!) and I will probably order one.
    • by tepples (727027)

      "A touchscreen" you say? Just get a PDA.

      What PDA has a decent gamepad for programs that use traditional gaming controls? Or do you claim that hobbyists and shareware companies should make games similar to Kirby: Canvas Curse and Meteos instead of traditional platformers and puzzles?

      Any idiot can develop WinCE applciations

      And test them how? The latest version of Windows Mobile allows the seller of a device to lock it down such that only Mobile2Market-signed apps will run. And no, "any idiot" can't nece

      • Don't forget that PDAs are slow for games as they lack specialized hardware and the OS probably interferes. Even without the control issues I have doubts that my PDA could play e.g. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow at any decent framerate.
      • And test them how?

        Er, by running them on a WinCE device? Failing that, use the CE device emulator that comes with Visual Studio 2005?

        The latest version of Windows Mobile allows the seller of a device to lock it down such that only Mobile2Market-signed apps will run.

        Who the hell would buy a PDA that won't let you install apps on it?* (Or is this more commonly used with Windows Mobile phone devices? I assume not as the original poster mentioned PDAs, but maybe you meant WM phones.)

        * ok, ok, don't

    • Last time I checked, the gp2x didn't have wifi. That was pretty much the dealbreaker for me. The DS got on my wlan with zero problems, which is more than I can say for most of my linux machines.
      • by Sparr0 (451780)
        That was one of my biggest complaints as well. But with a USB wifi dongle all is well.
        • by bunions (970377)
          I'm not walkin' around with my dongle hangin' out in the wind.

          For serious tho, having a big usb thingie sticking out the side of the device is kind of obnoxious.
          • AFAIK the wifi dongle plugs into a PC which can either be on a LAN or w-LAN, which then acts as a gateway for the DS to connect to (using its built in WiFi device.) So the DS keeps the same formfactor that we all know and love, AND it gets teh internets from the PC.
            • by bunions (970377)
              it's the gp2x that needs a dongle. the DS picks up my wlan perfectly - you only need a DS usb dongle if you don't have a wireless ap already.
    • by ookaze (227977)
      Why would you want to jump through the hoops to get DS homebrew working when you can get a faster handheld designed specifically for homebrew, the GP2X? 200MHz CPU with 200MHz second core, 64MB of RAM, SD slot takes up to 4GB of storage, runs Linux. What more could you want?

      What more ? Let me see :
      - touchscreen
      - dual screen
      - microphone
      - protected screen
      - better price
      - quality (hard to break, good lit screen)
      - smaller
      - being able to play new innovative games
      - have a high chance of being compatible with one h
      • by Sparr0 (451780)
        What more ? Let me see :
        - touchscreen

        Yes, this has advantages. I wish the GP2X had one. The single feature I miss most moving from a PDA to a GP2X for handheld gaming.

        - dual screen
        As opposed to just having one higher resolution screen? Of dubious value. 2x 256*192 is barely better than my single 320x240 screen, and 320x240 means I can run a lot more games that require/desire a standard resolution.

        - microphone
        Eh? I have seen many times in this thread that most games don't provide voice chat. It's a nea
        • by Gattman01 (957859)

          And since this entire thread is about homebrew, you can't just gloss over the fact that the GP2X is extremely much faster and has more RAM, larger storage options, more external connectivity options, and a larger existing ported software and emulator base. I have emulators for maybe 30 systems on my GP2X. The DS has a total of what, a dozen?

          If someone is serious about homebrewing, then maybe the GP2X is the way for them to go.
          If someone is more concerned with playing commerical games and maybe try dabbl

  • NethackDS (Score:5, Funny)

    by remembertomorrow (959064) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:27PM (#15920911)
    I plan to purchase a DS, just so that I can play Nethack on it. O_O

    http://xs205.xs.to/xs205/06333/NethackDS1.JPG [xs205.xs.to]
    • Re:NethackDS (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jandrese (485)
      The arrow pad on the screen in that picture worries me. Don't tell me the game doesn't recognise the D-Pad? Also, the keyboard on there looks a bit dodgy, why not just list out the available actions instead of forcing people to memorize the keys again? I know there's a lot of available actions (it is nethack after all), but it seems like you should be able to get them to fit on there somehow.
      • It does use the arrow pad, but sometimes it's just easier to do *everything* with the touchpad.
        And as to listing all the actions on screen, how the would the user select items in the inventory? Not to mention that each action takes a whole lot more space than a key, you'd have to scroll through an enormous list of actions to get to what you want.
        • Oh yes, props to PK from #linux on irc.gamesurge.net for the pic. :)
        • by jandrese (485)
          I don't see the inventory on there now. Really, although nethack has a ton of commands, most of them are used only rarely, I can easily see a popup for rarely used commands. I'd also implement an inventory popup (all of this is on the touchscreen BTW), where you click the button and get a list of your inventory. Then just click the inventory item to use it (or do whatever action you specified). From the looks of the screenshot however you should be able to fit all or nearly all of the common commands ea
          • by SoapDish (971052)
            Have you ever played nethack?

            1. Almost every key on the keyboard is used for a command.
            2. For some commands you need to use the shift key (w is wield, W is wear), or another modifier ie. ^D the d.
            3. There are also extended commands where it's necessary to type # then the name of the command.
            4. Inventory lists are long. I've had more than 26 items in my inventory before.
            5. Why change the interface, and make it harder to play for experienced users?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I really don't see what this article has to do with Distilled Spirits. 'Round here we just call it moonshine.
  • by ShawnDoc (572959) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:49PM (#15921088) Homepage
    When looking at running homebrew, you need to stick with adapters like the M3 or the GBAMP that use CF cards for storage. Right now many homebrew apps are unable to save or load files from SD or Mini-SD based adapters. I'm sure this will change in the future, but it leaves me unable to play Sam & Max on ScummVM DS as its can't read my M3 MiniSD. I can still play games, but I have to combine them via a .zip file with the emulator which limits the file size to 32 megs total, and you need more than that for the games with talking. If I had a CF I wouldn't have this problem. And this affects almost all homebrew, not just ScummVM.
  • DSLinux (Score:5, Informative)

    by stsp (979375) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:01PM (#15921212) Homepage

    From TFA:

    DS Linux is a port of the Linux operating system to the Nintendo DS. The project hopes to bring the full capability of Linux to the DS, but is still in the developmental stages. The project supports a full keyboard on the touchscreen, and will allow users to send and read email, chat online, and play text-based games. (emphasis mine)

    We are actually a bit further than that. Two IRC clients are available (tinyirc and bitchX). BSDgames and other text games are mostly working. The article forgot to mention highlights such as working wifi support, ssh/scp, an algebra system (mathomatic [wikipedia.org]), and text-based web browsing. (To be fair, they contacted us for an interview before writing the article but it seems we were to busy to respond :P)

    The biggest limitation is the lack of an MMU, which means neither paging nor swapping is possible. Hence DSLinux is a port of uClinux to the DS, not of the vanilla kernel. Our current kernel version is 2.4.16-hsc0 with an awful lot of patches and lots of new drivers to support the hardware of the Nintendo DS itself and various add-on devices (mostly storage devices using CF or SD cards).

    At the moment we are stuck with 4MB RAM, which makes things a bit tricky. There is work going on to expand the available RAM from 4MB to up to 32MB for storage devices that sport on-board RAM, for example the Supercard. We also have someone on the team capable of building custom RAM expansion carts for the DS's GBA slot. Once we have more memory we'll have much more possibilities (there's talk about a GUI, for example, but that is still far off). Accessing RAM through the GBA slot involves gcc modifications, which have already been made. We still have to rewrite some of the assembly code in the kernel and the C library (uClibc). You can read more about this here [dslinux.org] if you are interested.

    As you can see, this project is quite fun and challenging. Tasks on the TODO list [dslinux.org] range from shell scripting and cross-compiling applications to hacking ARM assembly in the Linux kernel. Progress is slow because we only have 3 very active developers at the moment (myself included), and some people who occasionally send patches. There is a lot of work to do. Get in touch if you are interested in helping out.

  • by gtmaneki (992991) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @04:10PM (#15922685) Journal
    I bought a used Nintendo DS about 6 months ago, because I liked Nintendogs and I wanted to be able to play my old LucasArts games on it. Here's what I did to get things working:

    Step 1. Ordered a SuperPassKey and SuperCard SD off the web. The SuperPassKey goes in the DS card slot at the top between the DS and a game. The SuperCard goes in the GBA slot in the bottom and holds an SD card up to 1 GB in size. The SD card must be FAT16, I think. You can also get an adapter for a CF card.

    Step 2. Went to the SuperCard SD home page (eng.supercard.cn) and downloaded a firmware update and a program called SC that patches ROMs and other homebrew to work with the SuperCard. (Unfortunately, this step isn't mentioned in the packaging.)

    Step 3. Got some homebrew working. My favorites are MoonShell (read .txt, play .mp3 and .ogg, watch videos, view images) and PocketNES (NES emulator).

    Step 4. I got tired of the SuperPassKey sticking out of the top, so I downloaded FlashMe and flashed the DS. Not only do I not have to use SuperPassKey anymore, but FlashMe also gets rid of that warning screen when you boot up. This program has gotten hard to find on the net, though.

    I haven't tried ScummVM DS yet, since it the current version can have some problems with SD cards. Also, I was hoping to get to play some Genesis and SNES games, but those emulators are still works-in-progress.

    On the whole, the state of DS Homebrew is great from the standpoint of a user -- the hardware is easy to use, and there's a lot of useful and fun software. The online documentation for various things can be confusing, though, so beware. It helps that the DS can run programs designed for the Game Boy Advance, too. My only disappointment so far has been the Genesis and SNES emulators, but I'm sure they'll eventually work around their challenges.
  • I've been looking around for a long time and seen a great deal of DS and GBA cards to choose from. ( http://wiki.pocketheaven.com/Category:DS_Flash_Car ds [pocketheaven.com] )

    The Max Media player look interesting but then I saw one that instead of the DS passthrough and the flash on the GBA card that there was a new DS cart that had flash memory on it.
  • by Croakyvoice (986312) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @05:15PM (#15923100)
    Those of you interested in Nintendo DS Homebrew and Emulation should check out Nintendo DS Emulation [dcemu.co.uk], which has to be the most updated site for DS Related News, also Drunkencoders [drunkencoders.com] is another great site for Homebrew news. Those 2 sites are all you need to keep fully up to date with all the latest homebrew releases and news.

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