October 13th, 2009 — ds games, music
How do you get songs from your music library to your DSi? We don’t use the DSi much as a music player, although the kids enjoy it. And with Flipnotes, you can use music files in the animations.
You might want to watch a free music library tool/player called Doubletwist, which was just released for beta and which will include in a future release support for the DSi, including converting the file to the acceptable format.
I like, too, that Doubletwist includes integration with Amazon’s music store [though not yet for the Windows version]. I’m always in search of a good replacement for iTunes, and this could eventually be it. [Songbird is still a little rough for my wife's use at this point, who has a low threshold for bugs.]
June 10th, 2009 — 360, ds games
For some games, creating is as fun as playing. Maybe it’s just a carryover my childhood obsession with building blocks, but a couple of creative items have my interest right now.
First up is Mario vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! which I never played in earlier versions. For DSiware, this is a very full offering, in large part because you can edit, upload, download and rate cutomize levels. Like other Nintendo games with level editors, you have to play the game to unlock new features and items in the editor. I have spent almost as much time editing levels as playing the game. Even though the DSi has larger screen, it’s still not a lot of screen real estate for something like level editing. Yet, it works very well and is easy to use. Minis March Again offers enough items that a lot of variation is possible.
Next, if you want more than level editing and more game creation, then get ready for Microsoft’s Kodu which is coming the end of June. It’s a game creator that is aimed at younger kids, but not limited to them, because it relies on icons, not code snippets. IGN has a nice hands-on with Kodu, which is part of the 360′s community games area. One of the nice features is that you can have more one person authoring a game at the same time.
My son already has summer homework, so we’re talking about creating a game for a part of it on the 360. I plan on wasting much time with it myself, creating some short RPGs and the like.
So, get your creative juices flowing.
May 15th, 2009 — ds games
M3 Adapter and Supercard have announced their own slot 1 solutions for the DSi. Supercard’s DSONEi has a usb connection for upgrading the cart’s firmware. You can watch this video to see what the DSONEi interface looks like. The M3 Real i doesn’t have much detail, although some have referred to images of its menu.
Yet, these carts are susceptible to Nintendo updating the DSi firmware and taking away whatever exploit the carts use. This is true for any DSi slot 1 cart. DSONEi’s USB makes updating the cart’s firmware easier, but this is meaningful only as long as the manufacturer responds with a firmware update to counter Nintendo’s update. And this response might not be quick.
tinycartridge has a good interview with Narin from gbatemp on DSi flashcarts.
The DSONEi seems affordable at around $23. We will probably hear more about DSi carts, such as the Cyclo DSi, in coming weeks. But, if you do purchase one, do be aware that some folks sell fakes.
April 27th, 2009 — ds games
A few carts are now appearing for the DSi to run homebrew on, and the more adventurous among us are buying them and trying to make them work–acekard 2i, R4i, DSTTi, EZ Flashi. But it seems that some might not be what they’re advertised to be.
While these carts are sometimes cheap [~$15], you might get something that works but only until Nintendo updates the firmware on your DSi. So, it’s critical that there’s team supporting the cart for these DSi firmware updates. As we saw with the homebrew channel, the response to Nintendo’s update can be rather quick, if sharp programmers are involved. The R4i is not from the R4 group, which dissolved last year, which makes it a risky or unknown cart.The AceKard 2i seems to be having troubles, if you scan the topics in the gbatemp acekard forum.
My advice is this: if you’re a gamer and want to play homebrew, don’t waste your time and money on any homebrew cart for the DSi right now. I think, for now at least, this is something for the programmers and hackers. Wait for a valid, tested, and supportable solution is available.
That’s my 2 copper.
April 13th, 2009 — ds games
Although homebrew for the new DSi is still relatively quiet, here are a couple of resources to keep an eye on.
- DSibrew.org–Like its sister wiibrew.org, this site has the potential to be the place for homebrew developments. You’ll be able to see any DSi-specific tools for developing homebrew as well as more end-user apps.
- DSi google group–A discussion group for DSi homebrew, with some development resources made available.
- gbatemp–This has been an important site for announcements and discussions for GBA and DS homebrew, and I would expect it to remain so for the DSi. As of now, they have a dsi-specific forum, so you have to browse the existing DS forums. However, for now, this thread is worth watching, which, so far, doesn’t have much encouraging news.
- DSi Homebrew Channel–This is a forum for the development of a channel for the DSi along the lines of the Wii homebrew channel. However, this project is probably not relevant until someone discovers an exploit to allow for unsigned, or unauthorized, apps.
- wehackdsi–A blog posting news about DSi homebrew. The bloggers running the site don’t appear to do any hacking themselves but just report on what others are doing [a good service in itself].
- [updated] dsihomebrew–A new website/blog/wiki on DSi homebrew.
What might be encouraging is that, according to Bushing [of team twiizers], the DSi reuses the Wii security, which we know has already been hacked to allow homebrew. Of course, there’s more to it than that, as someone had to find a save file hack, which, more than likely, Nintendo has probably eliminated for the DSi.
Bushing in the gbatemp thread above notes that folks need to keep in perspective how long it took to get the homebrew channel working on the Wii, which was roughly 18 months. He wrote:
Yes, there are some similarities [between the DSi and Wii] — but not enough that you can just skip a year’s worth of hard work. Putting together the final artwork and coding is one of the last bits, and if history is any guide, it will just sort of fall into place once the technical side is ready. Even if you do put together a team now, you’ll probably lose half of them due to attrition before you actually have a chance to start coding.
The point is it’s going to take a while, so don’t get ahead of the first steps, and be patient. Okay, that’s two points.
April 6th, 2009 — ds games
Well, I picked up my new DSi [black--the blue was a tad the wrong shade for me], and after playing with for a day, I think it’s an upgrade over the DS Lite. The larger screens are definitely a plus for me, and some features are much better than I expected.
For example, even though you cannot crop images, you can apply several filters that transform the image, including erasing and creating picture frames from images. A few of the filters, such as merge, require very good pictures of faces from the front. When I took a picture of my son at 85% profile, I got an error message saying that the portrait couldn’t be recognized. [It also doesn't take much to blur a photo, as the camera seems very sensitive to the slightest movement.] Still, the photo editing is better than I expected. The sound editing is not quite as useful, but it’s fun, at least for a while, as my son and I took his recording from Darth Vader baritones to chipmonk highs.
The interface is also very simple and usable, which is not surprising given that it’s adapted from the Wii Menu. I like that I can somewhat personalize the interface with pictures appearing in the top screen. The DSi Shop is also very clean: although I didn’t use any of my 1000 free points, I downloaded the Opera Browser, which took a while, not unlike the early days of the Wii Shopping Channel. Again, Nintendo leveraged the Wii Shopping Channel for the DSi Shop. [I liked the default categorization of titles by prices--free, 200, 500, and 1000 points. Sometimes, you shop for what you can afford, not to mention, who doesn't like free stuff?]
As for the web browser, I’m actually impressed: it’s faster than the Opera browser that was available for the DS Lite and faster than the homebrew browsers, not to mention that it supports forms better. In fact, using the touch keyboard [which is much faster and easier to use than on the Wii], I drafted most of this post from the DSi. I’m not going to do major surfing on the web with it, but it’s nice to have as an option, for trips or even around the house.
The DSi feels overall more compact and well made. My only nit is the SD slot–the cover opens and bends back for inserting and removing the SD card, something I can see cracking or breaking. I certainly love the matte finish.
If it weren’t for the homebrew issue, I’d upgarde our other DS Lite for the DSi. The camera and recording is fun for the kids, and I can see DSware having a bit to offer in the coming months. So, all in all, this is not a purchase/upgrade that I regret.
March 30th, 2009 — ds games
The DSi is coming to North America in a few days, and it’s hardly surprising to see that Nintendo is promoting it. Sure, we know that the DS has about half the market penetration in North America than it does in Japan, but that alone doesn’t explain the hard sell.
Maybe it’s that Nintendo wants this more powerful DS [2x CPU speed and 4x the RAM] to take hold so that game developers can kick it up a notch.Note, though, that the DSi has two modes, ‘native’ which is for DSi-specific processing and ‘compatible’ for DS games. So, your DS games probably won’t see any benefit from the improved RAM and CPU.
No, the most obvious answer for the hard DSi push is two-fold:
There’s also that fear that some DSi-specific features and games will be coming soon, which, of course, we don’t want to miss out on.
Because we have two DS’s [one for the kids and one for me], I’ll probably do the trade-in offer at Gamestop and get the DSi, just so that I can see what it’s like. [Plus, as my eyes worsen, the larger screens are an appeal.] Even though I still have the means to play homebrew games, I don’t doubt that this change will have some impact. For many, though, I don’t think giving up homebrew is much of a sacrifice, either because they don’t play the games or don’t play them much. And that is a shame because, as I’m in the midst of repackaging updates for my recommended homebrew games, it’s chock full of gaming days.
The DSi offers several obstacles for homebrew:
- Nintendo has taken a page from Apple by creating a whitelist and requiring apps to have registered signatures to play.
- DSi firmware that prevents booting up on a flash cart.
- The DSi firmware can now be updated, which means that Nintendo can counter hacks. The PSP has had this, yet the PSP homebrew scene has thrived.
Homebrew on the DSi seems dependent on the flash carts. Acekard has already found a way, although a firmware update could nullify that. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see someone hack a solution through the second SD slot so that, although the DSi boots up normally, you can switch over to play homebrew, a la the homebrew channel on the Wii.
But a software is hack is feasible, as someone has already gotten homebrew games to work on the DSi, supposedly using a saved game hack, a la Twilight Princess hack. The folks at hackmii already their hacking wheels turning.
So, there’s reason to think that homebrew will eventually run on the DSi, and DSi won’t have to miss out on all the homebrew loveliness.
FWIW, I will probably stay with black for the DSi, although I’m somewhat tempted by the light blue.
Update: I went at lunch to Gamestop and did the trade-in. However, the clerk confirmed that reserving a DSi doesn’t guarantee you one on April 5. I know the clerk decently well, and he said he couldn’t confirm how many they were getting, but they had already had a lot of people reserve one, with the trade-in or not. He said he hoped it wouldn’t be like the Wii, but he didn’t know.