Nintendo DS Modding Thread

Discussion in 'Games' started by crachoar, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. crachoar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #1
    This thread is about the sharing of information when it comes to modding or hacking the Nintendo DS. Please don't post if you are a fanboy with no insightful information.

    What's a good way to get into the homebrew / hacking scene for the DS? I'd like to try some of the homebrew apps such as the VOIP clients, etc.

    I'm also interested in playing my older Nintendo games on the DS. Loading all of my games onto a flash card so that I don't have to drag those annoying boxes with me all of the time is appealing to say the least...

    Another interest I have is watching movies. I haven't been able to find much useful information (reviews and such) of the current imported devices.

    Is there such a device that plays standards? For example, can you simply load XviD or DivX files onto it and play them? Or must everything be re-encoded to a proprietary format or resolution?

    Also, what kind of formats do these players even support? WMV, Quicktime, MPEG4?

    Last thing I read up on was the hyped 'M3' unit. Is there anything better than that for movies / games / everything?

    I'd like to know exactly what it is you bought to perform 'x_task' (be it, music, movies, ebooks, roms, etc.), how long it takes to set up, the functions of the product and a review and the risk of bricking the DS with said method.

    I've read that most mod setups require you to flash the firmware of the DS (which, thankfully, gets rid of that annoying 'health' screen). What worries me is, with games like 'Mario Kart' - Nintendo updates the firmware (to block homebrew and hacking?). It would be rather frustrating to buy a new game that simply black screens.

    So, what do you own? What have you tried? Have you found any interesting applications or sites?

    I'm sure all of us are eagerly awaiting a web browser / PDA-style OS (at the very least, an IRC client or WiFi pictochat). Has anybody found anything in development?

    Again, post here only if you're interested in modding your DS.
     
  2. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #2
    I'm going to mod/play around with my current DS soon as the redesigned models come out. I was thinking about somehow permanently sticking an M3 into my DS or another movie player and just using it as a mini media centre/homebrew DS machine. For Doom DS and that.

    I never knew games like Mario Kart updated the firmware! I knew they changed an previously unknown section for Wireless settings.

    Really I dont think I'll be modding my main DS. I hate the health screen to death but I don't want to mess around with something that works fine for me. I have a mate who's played around with Mario Kart DS and has gotten non-wifi tracks to work online.
     
  3. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a

    kingcrowing

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    #3
    OMGZZZZ!!@@!$@$!!!! I LOVEXORZ MY DS!!!!11!!!111! NIN73ND0 ROXORZZZ!~!~!~~~!!!!!





    ahem... yeah i'm def interested in this as well, but I think my DS is too precious to do too much to it...
     
  4. cubist macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #4
    I have the older movie player (not the M3) and I can play NES games, videos and music.

    I do hope the dslinux.org folks come up with a simple client cartridge that would include limited email, IM and web browsing. On the other hand, a tunneling application for PictoChat wouldn't be too bad, either, and I think some folks are working on that. (Be nice if it could exchange messages with other IM services and/or email too. No need to hack the DS itself, just make it think there's another DS in the room.)

    I am unhappy with racing games on the DS. Need for Speed Underground 2 looks beautiful, but driving with a D-pad is just too difficult. If there is going to be a new model, they should include an analog joystick.
     
  5. crachoar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #5
    Shhh, shhh, shhh...you're doing it!

    No talking about what games you think are cool or what you think would be cool for another system (or revision). That's a sure way to take this baby off topic, and we can't afford that.

    There are thousands of other 'I like/dislike this game/system' threads. Let's keep this one strictly on topic.

    Post only if you're talking about modding the DS.

    It's also nice to provide links to products you've used, maybe write up a nice review of said product, etc.


    So, links to apps or said product?

    How many NES games can you fit onto the device? What's the UI like? What kind of connection does it use to the PC?

    When you mention that you've used something in the thread, please provide a review, addressing all of the common sense questions. Thanks.
     
  6. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #6
    The M3 and Supercard are the best. The M3 has all the capabilities of the Movie Player + 32 MB of RAM and when booted with a PassMe, can run in full screen on the DS and run NDS roms and has a ton of built in emulators. In GBA mode it can run GBA roms.

    The Supercard is the same thing as the M3, without most of the built in software, so you'll have to add third party movie players and stuff. It's slightly cheaper.

    I had every intention to get an M3, until I broke my DS's hinge and sent it to Nintendo. They sent me back a NEW DS. Guess what? The new DS's made after October block PassMe. The M3 comes with a PassMe at $89 from Divineo (Supercard is about $69 and a PassMe is $20 so this is fair).

    I can use PassMe 2 that gets around that block- but unfortunately, Divineo does not sell M3's alone, and other sites sell the M3 individually for $89. I'm not going to buy PassMe 2 for $20 and an M3 for $89 AND buy a CF card, so I may be stuck buying the SuperCard which is $60.


    It should be noted that the SD card version is fine for most homebrew, but CF is better for certain homebrew because it is read like an IDE drive, thus allowing, oh, DSLinux to natively work with it like a hard drive. Other than that, no difference.


    If you have a GBA or GBA SP, you can buy a $10-$15 cable to rip all your GBA/GBC/GB games- otherwise, if you only have a DS, you can buy a $20-$25 adapter to plug the cartridges directly into your PC, and rip them. Then you can copy these legally backed up roms into your M3 or Supercard or Flash cart and run the GBA games directly with a multibooter and GBC and GB under emulation.

    Unfortunately, the MP can only play NES games under 250k or so in size because of the limits of GBA RAM. The DS is 4 MB- the M3 and SuperCard boost it to 32 MB, which is plenty, and IIRC it can load parts of it and it can be whatever fits on the card (I forgot how that worked).

    You can however hack the firmware on the GBA MP, boot it with a PassMe on the DS, and run NDS homebrew on it, I should mention. It's not as good as an M3 or Supercard or flash cart but it works.
    The GBA MP takes CF cartridges- it would take as many as he puts on but they have to be small to fit in the RAM. However, if you boot in DS mode with a hacked MP, or an M3 or Supercard or flash cart with a PassMe, and run an emulator, you can run anything you like.


    That's not true. You can just use a PassMe. Flashing the DS simply removes the need for you to carry around this PassMe.

    The problem that occured was that the new firmware people flashed onto the DS used up ALL the space on the firmware. Mario Kart did not update the firmware to block homebrew- it wrote WiFi settings into a previously used section of the firmware. However- the flashed DS's used up that section of the firmware, and thus the first people to run Mario Kart encounter the bad situation where Mario Kart overwrite part of the flashed firmware and the DS was bricked (though you can restore the firmware, so they lived).

    An updated version of FlashMe was released, that works fine with Mario Kart and the other online games.

    I'd never flash my DS- I'd just use a PassMe, as flashing it violates the warranty.

    However- the newer DS's made after October DO have a newer firmware that blocks PassMe. Thus, you need to buy PassMe 2 which takes a little work to set up.

    You need a PassMe to run FlashMe, ironically.
     
  7. thumper macrumors 6502

    thumper

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Location:
    Under the Sea
    #7
     
  8. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #8
    crachoar,

    Really good post. Two quick questions... can you flash the firmware of a newer model DS with a Pass Me 2? I know they just came out.

    Also, do you know if there is a physical difference in the M3 Compact Flash and SD versions besides which media they take? I was wondering if the SD version was physically smaller, etc.

    Thanks :)

    Also, there are rumors that the NDS:SP will be announced Monday, but probably just a rumor.
     
  9. shadowmoses macrumors 68000

    shadowmoses

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    #9
    I hope thats true cos as soon as it is announced and shipping i am ordering one as they are sure to look a darn sight better than the current DS,
    By the way where did you hear this rumor from?

    SHadow
     
  10. ijimk macrumors 6502a

    ijimk

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Here
    #10
    kool I wasn't aware of some of these mods. I will be a bit cautious though because i want to make sure my DS still works with my Revolution when i get it.
     
  11. iRhyknow macrumors member

    iRhyknow

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    #11
    WOW :eek:! great post I didnt know that stuff was possible. I may have just been sold. I have been really thinking about buying a DS lately, maybe I should hold off just a bit longer to see if the design is changed.
     
  12. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #12
    Yes. But like I said, I'd use PassMe 2, I don't like risking messing with the firmware especially since you have to short some connectors inside to do it.

    Yeah, SD is smaller.
     
  13. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #13
    This is where I saw the rumor:

    Lik-Sang

    BTW, thanks GFLPraxis.
     
  14. crachoar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #14
    So the Pass-Me devices (which allow you to basically do everything) require you to disassemble the DS unit? That's kind of intense.

    Do you have any links with detailed installation guides?
     
  15. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #15
    No. PassMe simply plugs into the DS slot, then you plug a game into it.

    FlashMe (the firmware patch) requires you to disassemble the DS to allow it to write to the firmware.
     
  16. crachoar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #16
    So PassMe does not flash the firmware - it simply bypasses it. The downside is that the newer DS units block it?

    What about Maro Kart then? Does it effectively block PassMe from being used then? Does that require you to purchase a newer version, or can the PassMe card be updated just as easily?
     
  17. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #17
    Okay, I'll explain.

    When the DS boots from the GBA slot, it AUTOMATICALLY turns off one of the screens, the WiFi, the faster processor, the touch sensing, etc. and becomes a GBA.

    The NDS slot is too small to put anything in, so all homebrew has to be loaded off the GBA slot. But if you boot any homebrew off the GBA slot, the DS boots in GBA mode, so you can't DS apps.

    What PassMe does is simple. You put PassMe in the top slot and a game on top of PassMe (this sticks out a little, obviously). When you turn on the DS, and tell it to start the NDS games, PassMe feeds it the headers from the game that is in it so the DS starts thinking there is a normal game. Then, PassMe tells the DS to run whatever is in the GBA slot like it was in the DS slot.

    Thus, PassMe enables you to run homebrew from the other slot.


    If you don't wish to have PassMe sticking out of the DS, the solution is FlashMe, the firmware patch. What FlashMe does is it changes the DS firmware so if you boot holding down a button, it will run whatever is on the GBA slot like a DS game. Simple as that.

    The early version of FlashMe conflicted with the Mario Kart settings. The newer version of FlashMe doesn't.

    However- to install FlashMe, you have to put it on the GBA slot and use a PassMe to run it, so you have to have one anyway.

    The newer DS's now will detect PassMe and prevent it from booting the stuff on the GBA slot. The homebrew community has since released PassMe 2, which is more advanced and requires a little bit of configuration (supposed to be fairly simple) for whatever you're going to use it with, and PassMe 2 bypasses the security on the new DS's.



    Mario Kart doesn't change your firmware at all- all it did was add WiFi settings to an unused section of firmware, and since modders had written flashme in that section, *accidentally* broke FlashMe.

    If you have an older DS, PassMe or any of the clones (PassKey for example) will work fine with a flash cart, supercard, M3, or Movie Player.

    If you have a newer DS, you need PassMe 2.
     
  18. crachoar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #18
    MAX Media Player

    Ooooh - shiny.

    Well, looks like it beats the M3 out of the water. I'll be ordering this methinks...
     
  19. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #19

    We don't know about compatability yet, and the M3 can go higher with the big CF cards out there.

    I just got my M3 and I'm happy with it at this point :) Awesome.
     
  20. dwishbone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    On the Moon
    #20
    I have an M3 Adapter and so far, other than a few emulation problems, it works great. The only thing that really drives me up the wall is that I have to use a windows pc to prep the roms for play on the device. is there any mac bases patching utilities out there?
    M3 claims the devices has emulators, but it seems to me that the management software actually embeds and emulator into each rom. other emulators for the DS take a similar route.
    M3 just released some new firmware for their device. i havnt tried to see if it can just play straight roms now. i believe they still have to be converted to the .gba format to play.

    also, not that i watch videos or music on there (i have an iPod Video for that) is there a crystal engine converter for the mac?
     
  21. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #21
    I'm not touching that MAX drive thing. Mainly because I have 2 4gb Microdrive's myself and it would just be a waste of money when an M3 will be brilliant.

    Not sure about getting an M3 just yet. I got my girlfriend Animal Crossing for her birthday so we've been playing that on wifi a lot. for me now, I'm happy with AC. then we'll both be hooked on wifi Tetris and Metroid. :)
     
  22. kerpow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #22
    Nothing much to say, just want to be informed of DS developments.

    That Media Player does look very good for the DS. But, as it s more expensive than the device itself I'm not sure of its value. By all accounts Apple are releasing a new Video iPod soon which would have far larger storage capacity.

    If there was a cheaper way of doing it and using the 1gb SD card in my camera I'd be willing to try it.

    I use my DS quite alot, just can't get the wireless to work:(
     
  23. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #23

    Some uses for the M3:

    1) Animal Crossing level editor.
    2) Hacking Mario Kart DS, like I did :D
    3) Buy a $10 flash2advance cable and rip all your GameBoy games to your computer. Run them in emulation at 800x600 resolution with antialiasing and filters on. Gorgeous. Then use DS2Key on your DS and use it as your wireless controller for your GameBoy Advance games. I've been doing this, it's amazing.
    4) Open source and freeware games
    5) Download the E3 demos Nintendo was broadcasting.
     
  24. litosclone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    City of the Crosses
    #24
    I'm thinking about getting the Play yan, it's cheaper than the M3. I know the M3 has a emulator, but I just want to watch movies on the DS. Does anyone have a Play yan? What's the video quality like between the Yan and the M3?
     
  25. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #25
    Theres an SD version of the M3, IIRC. So yes! You can use that 1gb SD card.

    it's a toss up for me. CF so i can use my cameras 4gb Microdrive... or SD so I can steal my parents range of SD cards (total at about 1gb). :D
     

Share This Page