Globeil is indeed working on a new version of virtual game maker DS, which I commented on before.
Check his site for more information about the beta version.
It would appear that the new version will allow you to create games on multiple platforms, as Globeil states in the announcement:
VGMDS (Virtual Game Maker) is a program that allow non-programmer people to make easily 2-D games, like RPGs, Action-Rpg (Zelda-Style), Platform (Mario-style) or any 2-D style Game! This version aimed to work on the most common platforms: - PC - Mac - Wii - Xbox 360 - Nintendo DS (low resources) - PSP - And maybe other versions… And will be collaborative, so I mean that users will be able to create their project together, through the internet. Several people developping the same project in the same time ! Of course, multiplayer is OK. The programmation method is new, and will prevent a maximum of bugs, so I want that each functionnality working will work 100% bug-free. I’m programming a demo, that I’ll release to a few beta-testers to improve the project!
Nintendo released the 4.2 System Menu update a couple of days ago, which seemed focused on removing the Homebrew Channel, Twilight Hack, etc. The problem is that even those Wii owners who don’t have homebrew, updating to 4.2 probably isn’t a good idea because gamers are reporting that the update is bricking their system. Worse, some Wii owners are reporting that Nintendo support staff said that the owners would have to pay for repairing the bricked Wiis.
See team twiizer about their response to the 4.2 update. Even if you successfully updated it, you can re-install the Homebrew Channel. If you have the Homebrew Channel, update it before updating to 4.2.
Update:Nintendo says that they will fix bricked Wiis for free. However, some owners have said that they do not have modified channels or HBC but had their Wiis bricked by 4.2.
I’m not playing homebrew games like I was, but this lot of NEO competition entries has me interested. Smealum’s DawnSeekers looks like an excellent 3D game. If you’re looking for new homebrew to try, go download these and vote.
Also, an interesting new Wii game released this week, Cursed Mountain. I’ve been eyeing this game for a while because it looked like it has atmosphere and a good narrative. It’s not action horror game, like Resident Evil 5, but the pace does pick up after the beginning. The setting and use of Tibetan and Buddhist lore has me the most interested, perhaps. I like the slightly offbeat, different games that might not be a huge hit but that isn’t following the pack. Sometimes, these types of good games are more memorable than the great games.
I started to include just game footage, but this amateur review is good for showing more of the whole game rather than just the beginning.
I’ve been playing with kodu some but not to a great extent. A couple of nights ago, I was finally able to connect to a game sharing room and downloaded several games. Some were good and worth replaying, while I quickly aborted playing others. Invasion RTS, for example, is an ambitious RTS, in which you create two types of buildings which in turn create different types of units, giving you 3 types of defenders/attackers. And you have only 2, unreproducible kodu units to collect coins which allow you create things. Meanwhile, an evil red factory is busy pumping out attacking units.
It’s hard but enjoyable. The author PariahtheGod stopped work because someone else had a produced what he considered a better RTS.
I understand the reasons, but a couple of things interest me. Invasion RTS, whatever its design, was still a different game from the one that he liked [which I've not been able to download and play], as the other gamers have said. What intrigues me is that this pull to create something different is strong.
Yet, with many, duplicating and recreating is perhaps stronger. There are practical reasons, of course–when learning how to create a game, copying or recreating an existing game is a very standard practice. Porting, imitating, recreating dominates the homebrew scene, in fact. Yet, game developers like jayenkai who visit this site do both–they hone their skills while being creative. And many recreations are creative in their own ways, taking a different tact or changing gameplay here and there. Plus, creating a game from scratch can often lead to feature creep, leading to complex games.
With Kodu specifically, we have a game lab that is really best suited for simple games. Yet, I’m seeing people trying to create RPG, RTS, FPS, and other complex games. Recreations of Command & Conquer, of Halo, Diablo and others. And some don’t work very well, mostly due to Kodu’s limitations. I’m not complaining or criticizing, only observing, and it got me to think, well, smarty pants, why don’t you do something.
I like how Shigeru Miyamoto often takes game inspirations from life and not from other games. So, as my dog jumped in bed at 6 am to get me to play with her, I immediately saw a game idea. In fact, I saw in it a theme for several small games, all centered around friendship. I’m still working the first game in the series, but here’s a rough design of the first one.
Friendship 1 – Play with Me
Setting: You are a young, frenetic bike. And you want to play.
Objective: Get at least six different creatures to play with you. When you have played 6 times, you will be tired and have to take a nap.
Gameplay: Many other creatures are in the game world, but almost all don’t want to play, at least at the moment. They have other things they want to do, and then they will play with you. For example, one creature just wants to sleep for a while, and you have to keep other creatures from bothering her while she sleeps.
Controls: You can do several actions with your bike:
Speaking will actually be a large part of the game. The A, B, X, and Y buttons represent 4 general types of speech, such as request, warn, and plead. With these and the few actions, you have to help each creature get what they want before they can play with you.
I’m still working on the controls, because I’d like to use the d-pad to set a tone or mood, like aggressive or sad, that affects the basic speech actions.
I’m not saying this is how creating in kodu should be done or that recreating games is bad. And, no, I don’t consider myself anywhere near Shigeru’s level. But after I tried to work on game ideas in Kodu that were roughly based on other games, working on a game inspired by something personal feels easier and more interesting. We’ll see if it doesn’t suck. Certainly, I welcome feedback.
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.
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.
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].
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.
Version 0.3 of the Homebrew Browser for the Wii is close to releasing. It’s already a great service, but it’s getting a great facelift and some nice features, such as a ratings system and a download queue. You can check out the full list of V.03 features.
If you haven’t installed the Homebrew Channel, you can see from the video just how much Wii homebrews have grown. While many are ports or simple puzzle games, the variety is increasing. And a ratings system is a great addition to the community.
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:
The DSi Shop offers a way to sell [and resell] apps and games in a steady stream of offerings.
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.
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.
Several months ago, I tried an earlier version of DS Game Maker. It was good, but just getting through the installation was a pain. A couple of nights ago, I splurged and bought a license to view the whole feature set. And man, I was greatly impressed. Version 2.4 seems much easier to use [because of familiarity?] than v1.0.
I made a cruddy little non-game, and I spent far, far more time working the graphics than adding the controls to move the sprite and add collision effects. There are a few nits with the app; for example, I wished that I could copy and paste actions that were frequently reused. [Perhaps this is my ignorance of programming . . . I almost wished I could create a function with different actions, such as playing a sound, change a variable, and move a sprite, and then call that function each time rather all the individual actions.] Yet, this is a very good tool for creating homebrew, although you should have some basic idea of programming.
James has a great tool in DS Game Maker. You will have to make use of the forums on the DS Game Maker website to get help, but there are good posts there already, as well as this nice sprite overview. If not, James and others are pretty responsive. And version 3.0 is in development, so this app bears watching.
I’m now wishing I had an idea for a little DS game. Even so, I’m having a hard time putting DS Game Maker down.
There have been some very good complex DS homebrew games, such as a Touch of War. But I think there’s a trend for excellent homebrew games: take a simple but entertaining game, and do it very, very well with the ability to add to it. For example, StillAliveDS and Warcraft Tower Defense follow this model, as both offer level editors and ways to get new content to keep the game fresh.
Add to that the very excellent Marble from Noda. The game itself is simple–you have tilt a gameboard to move a marble to its goal, dealing with obstacles along the way. Marble placed third in the Neoflash summer 2008 competition [which StillAliveDS won].
Marble is quite a game, one that you can easily play for a long time. The game has some beautiful textures and backgrounds, and the game physics are really well done. But what is truly impressive is the level editor, in which you can edit the marble, board, and game elements:
Board — Adjust size, border size and width, texture [8 available], and diffuse light color
The kids’ computer has died, so I’m now faced with hours of troubleshooting, which isn’t how I imagined spending my time off this week. The fact that it’s a Shuttle PC makes cannibalizing somewhat difficult.
Fortunately, there’s the ds to play to have some fun. Yes, I’m in the middle of Chrono Trigger, but I’ve taken some time to try some homebrew. Now I loved acromage, but bodom-child’s v0.99 had some problems. So, when cravesoft released Castle Wars v0.9, I knew I had to try it.
The game is based on a card game found in Might & Magic VII. It’s a castle destroying/building game in which you win by either building your castle to 100 points or destroying your opponent’s castle to 0 points. You have a hand of 8 cards that have three different resources–weapons, magic, and bricks. And you have builders, soldiers and magicians that produce these sources. For example, if you have 2 magicians, you gain 2 magic points each hand. Your cards have a variety of effects: building walls or castles, removing resources from your opponent, adding to your resources, and destroying walls or castles.
The graphics are very simplistic, especially compared to Acromage, but it largely works well, offering 3 modes–computer vs human, human vs human, and the enigmatic computer vs computer. I wish it had some difficulty setting as I tend to beat the computer 80-90% of the time. But still, it is enjoyable, and the outcome is never certain. It does have some bugs if you play 2-3 hours of the games, but that very acceptable. Because of the problems with Acromage, Castle Wars is a more than acceptable replacement, and I highly recommend it.
DSKiosk v1.11 is potentially an invaluable tool if you have a lot of DS homebrew. The problem with homebrew is that you can’t always put everything in one directory because some games have to be in the root directory. Plus, it’s always nice to have a graphic interface for selecting games, which is what DSKios offers. From what I can tell, you can use DSKiosk to find all the games on your ds cart and create links to launch those games using thumbnails. You can download thumbnails Kornflexx offers, or the DSKiosk can create thumbnails based on the .nds file.
However, so far, this is theory. When I installed and ran DSKiosk, I got a ‘missing ini file’ error, but I couldn’t resolve it since the download didn’t include such a file. I found and downloaded a version patched for the R4/Simply DS cart, and it started, allowing me to add games. However, when I click a game to start, DSKiosk seemed to hang in a perpetual white screen state.
So, for now, DSKiosk has a few problems to be worked out, but its potential warrants keeping an eye on its progress.
I have a few other DS homebrew games to try out now.
If you’re like me and only have a slot 1 cart for playing homebrew, you’ve been missing out on some good GBA homebrew games. But one of them is not available to play on slot 1 carts. Anguna is a nicely done Zelda-clone adventure/RPG.
You can download the DS port from Nathan Tolbert’s website, as well as read tips and guides. Be sure to look at the readme for the game controls.
This is a well done game, one definitely that you should download and play. The graphics are well done, and the gameplay is solid. If anything, the game might leave you wanting more when you are done. Still, there are lots of hidden items to find, if you think the game is too easy. Anguna definitely is on my ‘keeper’ list. I need to update my zipped file of the best DS homebrew games, and I’ll be adding this one.
Linux is ubiquitous. And now it has a rather nice Wii presence. Xwhiite-linux0.2 by bertjan is now available, providing users with a graphical interface, remote desktop support [VNC and Microsoft], and other improvements over 0.1.The videos show multimedia apps, but I’m curious to see what other apps it includes or could support.
Why run Linux on the Wii? Because you can. Actually, for folks like me, when the PCs are occupied, it’s nice to have this option. It might be time for me to invest in a wireless keyboard.