Could 3DS games be updated via DLC?

Discussion in '3DS - Games & Content' started by DiscostewSM, Sep 19, 2011.

Sep 19, 2011
  1. DiscostewSM
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    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I'm not making a suggestion that the game itself would require the ability to use DLC to update, but about 3DS games that lacked certain features to be able to incorporate them via an update to the 3DS system.

    I made a topic some time ago about the possibility of upgrading DS games ran on the 3DS to incorporate features present on the 3DS, like the full 360 input of the slide pad, by taking the source code of the DS games, compiling and adjusting them to 3DS specifications, and having them stored on the 3DS system memory (or SD card) and be loaded instead of the binary on the DS game cards. Unfortunately, I think it was pointed out that such additional features would be quite limited, saving would be restricted only to non-updated components, and having to go back through games that were years old would not be profitable.

    But, suppose 3DS games were to be "updated" in this sort of fashion. The updated binary would be stored on the 3DS or the SD card and loaded from there instead of the game card, along with newer save data. These games are more recent, so updating could boost sales. Take for instance a game on everyone's minds right now. Starfox 64 3D and the infamous lack of online multiplayer. Having the game binary updated could possibly allow the team to incorporate it. People who are playing locally with others with an "older" binary version of the game would get a message about getting the update from either online or from the people they are playing with. Even Streetpass could incorporate this to transmit the update to others, wherein they could accept the update, or leave the game as it is.
     


  2. KingVamp

    Member KingVamp Great... AETHER!

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    Isn't that what DLC does? Supposedly add things that wasn't there before by a patch?

    I'm sure online can be added by dlc or update.
     
  3. mysticwaterfall

    Member mysticwaterfall Streamforce Supreme Commander

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    DLC only works if the game is programmed to look for DLC. So in the case of Starfox, I would say no, since you would have to essentially redl the entire game. There's nothing to stop it from working and just checking to see if you have the real cartridge, but the download ans storage services of the 3DS are not set up for large downloads of this type. The small downloads on Nintendo Video and the eshop already take a while, and your SD card is going to fill up really fast with full 3DS games on it.

    Now, if a 3DS game is programmed to accept DLC like say, MM9 is on WiiWare? Then sure, they could be updated all they wanted. But that's a thing for future games.
     
  4. DiscostewSM
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    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    If 3DS game loading is anything like the way DS games are loaded, then the binaries (that contain the actual machine code) are loaded into memory, and then executed, referencing any external data from the card by loading them as needed. This is why I think it is possible to update games without altering the data on the game card itself, as long as the updates are stored somewhere, and the 3DS can recognize the update when the actual game card is inserted into the system. Any extra data can be stored on the same medium the updated binary is stored, for which the updated binary can access that as well as access the "base" data from the game card.
     
  5. ferofax

    Member ferofax End of the World

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    support for DLC would have to be "hard coded" into the games themselves for this to work, for 3DS games, because 3DS games will probably consume all resources available, whether or not the game uses it. even if not all is used, enough is allocated to be able to suspend the game and launch the web browser, but that's it. everything else goes to the game. DLC, if not hard coded into the game, would be unfeasible, as the only other idea i can think of for DLC is for it to act as the game launcher, loading itself first before calling up game data from the retail card, and then patching whatever data needs to be patched or modified, all on-the-fly. going this route would require multi-tasking, which the 3DS doesn't do, and precious resources, which must be managed by the game launcher.

    although theoretically, i can see its possibility with DS games, IF and only if the firmware was updated in a way that instead of the 3DS loading the game cart directly, it would instead load a 3DS compatiblity app who would then load the game and sort of "cheat" the DS game directly from the RAM, looking out for inputs and translating them on the fly so that inputs from the 3DS are understood by the DS game, whether or not that input is supported natively or not. or, a separate downloadable app which does the same thing: act as a game launcher for DS games.

    Super Mario 64 DS analog support theory
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    another example would be this:
    Super Mario 64 3D Widescreen support/HiRes texture pack theory
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
    tl;dr it's doable, but it's a lotta work. and the 3DS will have to cheat the DS game, but doing so can potentially enable the 3DS to have its way with the DS game, and vice-versa by letting the game have full access to the 3DS' resources.

    nb: i really, really should've been a game developer. this gut feeling, this passion... seriously. true story. knowing how to do it without actually knowing how to do it... man. what a waste. :/

    EDIT: these are great ideas, i think, that should definitely REACH game devs, even Nintendo, so that they can see which routes to go to enable full DLC support. somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody else who can reach people who can do something about this, please, send the ideas their way. claim it as your own, if you want to, but send it their way. 3DS, and maybe even DS gaming will benefit a ton from these ideas.
     
  6. Shuji1987

    Member Shuji1987 ~

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    You assume way too much fero.

    With the 3DS DLC is more then possible. However, my bet is that games do need to have a reference so they know where to look for the DLC or how to handle it. Everything else could be read from the SD-card.

    I think your assumption is pretty bad when you think that a game would be fully loaded into the system memory or clogging up all resources, cause in reality they only use what they need to be using. It pretty much defeats the purpose of loading screens otherwise [​IMG]

    So yeah, you could extend the game from SD-Card and have it refer to 'old' content or settings or maps from the gamecard but adding new to the SD. It's not rocket science.

    However, my bet is that Nintendo is purposely holding out on these things. Because it can potentially open up more hacks. Just look at how DLC is added right now through spotpass, it's allready in the game and just requires a simple command to unlock it. I think that's how far it will get on a Nintendo handheld in terms of DLC.

    edit:
    p.s., the 3DS can multitask, the system itself up 'till now is just a poor example. And I don't think your ideas are that good.
     
  7. ferofax

    Member ferofax End of the World

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    ah well, they're ideas, just that. and yes, that goes to show how little i know, or how much i assume, about the 3DS as well.

    however, i think other than the game being launched by another software, i really can't see how released games, like Starfox64 3D, can support DLC or that much-wanted online wifi update without it going the roundabout way. unless it's already hardcoded in. or the firmware is updated to act like that middle-man app that i mentioned, where it patches the game on the fly to support online wifi.

    and DLC right now isn't even DLC, as you said it just unlocks stuff through spotpass. that's because they're all hardcoded like that. what i'm talking about is true DLC for published games. heck, i'm writing a letter now to people i don't know, trying to break my ideas down and polishing them best i can so that i can present my ideas better, in the hopes that somebody somewhere decides to do something about it. nothing will happen unless i try, right?

    as to the 3DS multitasking, heh, i suppose you may be right. but then again, i don't think Nintendo will make a fancypants multi-tasking firmware for the 3DS, ever, so until then, no. the 3DS cannot multitask.
     
  8. Shuji1987

    Member Shuji1987 ~

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    Theoretically it's possible to add DLC to old games like Star Fox 64 3D, but it requires you to boot the game through an external application on your homescreen while it adds an enchanced system menu through SD and adds a bunch of things while it (re-)uses content found on the cartridge. It's simply impossible to do it through any other way seeing the gamecards are read-only and the code in the game hasn't been optimized to recognize and adapt the game according to the DLC found.

    But it's still possible to write an application that supports DLC for games that didn't support it to begin with. The question is, would Nintendo ever do this? [​IMG] Being the least experienced in the interwebz and dlc and what not, this is something that is just never going to happen. Which is a shame, cause it would really up the replay value of certain games.
     
  9. FIX94

    Global Moderator FIX94 Global Moderator

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    Oh yes, that's true [​IMG] We all know about nintendo. Well I don't think they'll release DLC for their games, maybe some 3rd party games will get DLC from the beginning but nothing more...
     
  10. I am dark link

    Newcomer I am dark link Member

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    if it would work i bet people woud want to see more maps and addons like weapons clothing dungons and other stuff on zelda 3ds like time shareing on boss mode and mabey multi player only mapps [​IMG] they would have to do a major update like microsoft did to allow you to install you xbox 360 games on to the hdd
     
  11. koji2009

    Member koji2009 GBAtemp Maniac

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    Err... this topic is moot as it's already been confirmed that there will be game demo downloads and DLC for 3DS... Obviously the title will have to be designed to take advantage of it, and undoubtedly a lot of it will be in the vein of "unlocking" content already on the cartridge (see nearly all wiishop DLC)
     
  12. DiscostewSM
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    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I must not have explained it very well, as people are taking this in the sense of DLC concept that games must have it built-in already in the first place, so how about this take on the idea.

    What do patches do for games? They add or make changes to the existing executable machine code and/or game data. How is that any different from what I'm bringing up? The main difference is that it doesn't actually make any changes to the game card, but comes as a pre-patched binary stored on the SD card that contains the newer executable machine code and extra game data, but can still reference the "base" data supplied on the game card. For something like this, the 3DS system would have to be updated to incorporate a check when a game card is inserted, that if the SD card does contain a newer version, it'll load that up instead.

    Even take a look back at some of the older PC games that installed just the minimum stuff on the computer while retaining the rest on CDs. Patches would update the code and add extra data, but the game still used the CDs as it held the game's core assets. Even if Nintendo doesn't plan to use something doesn't mean other developers wouldn't. Considering the slider pad attachment came about because Capcom coaxed them into it because there was profit to be made with Monster Hunter on the 3DS, if profit could be had by giving existing games extra functionality, like online play, wouldn't that be reason enough?
     
  13. Shuji1987

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    Have you even read what I posted?

    What you said is exactly what I did, but you need to realize this will never happen on a Nintendo console, ever.
     
  14. DiscostewSM
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    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    It's not like this sort of idea hasn't been done by Nintendo already. WiiWare/DSiWare/3DSWare and VC titles are all capable of being update-able, and many downloaded 3DS titles have the benefit of Spotpass notifications of when updates are available. Plus, this isn't just for the benefit of adding, but also of fixing. There are still games being made that have hidden bugs that even testers don't find upon release. When such things happened on the physical DS/Wii games, for instance, the bugs get fixed, and the new ROM gets applied to all the newer cards/disks being manufactured. People who bought the game prior to that were stuck with what they had, and wouldn't even know if a newer version of the game would come out. I remember when SF64 on the Wii VC first came out. It ran faster than it was originally intended to (though people actually liked it), so it got updated to fix that issue. Imagine if Metroid: Other M (please, no flaming here) could have been updated in a similar manner so that nasty door bug was gone.

    I know you feel Nintendo isn't savvy with the internet or DLC to have such a capability, but this sort of update process doesn't require a whole lot of flair. It's just an extension to a framework they already have.
     
  15. Shuji1987

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    I was referring to my posts that actually got into detail about updating 3DS games. Mind you, replacing a complete game through eshop, wiishop or triggering spotpasses isn't what DLC is. I was purely talking about extending the life of a 3DS gamecard, which requires additional content on the SD card without simply replacing the whole game.
     
  16. NaokiKitsuhine

    Member NaokiKitsuhine GBAtemp Regular

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    So...

    When you load a game, the 3DS logo appear in the screen... Lets supose that in this screen, the system is searching for any DLC for the game that is being loaded? I guess that if nintendo make a simple system update that add this routine before loading the cartridge, then future games can be altered with DLCs...

    Correct me if i'm wrong, but i think this can be done.
     
  17. Shuji1987

    Member Shuji1987 ~

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    No, that's just silly.

    That would mean that Nintendo would have to make every game compatible (even those not of nintendo) and keep those updated. Which would mean tons of firmware updates with just stupid bug fixes like "DLC support added for Ponyz3D" or "DLC bugfix for The Smurfs".

    DLC support has to be added either hardcoded so that it can look itself for DLC on the SD or through a second gamelauncher on the SD card if the game never supported DLC to begin with. There is no other alternative.
     
  18. Apache Thunder

    Member Apache Thunder I have cameras in your head!

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    Loading DLC is no less of a security risk then downloading DSiWare or 3DSWare. The DLC downloads will be encrypted just like full DSiWare/3DSWare titles. The game in question does have to be programmed to accept DLC in some form. So for games like Zelda OOT and Starfox, they likely will never support DLC as they were never set up to accept it. But future games can be. It just depends on if Nintendo decides to set it up for some of their games or not.

    The real question would be if 3DS games have any access to the SD card or System NAND at all. I recall DSi cartridges did not have SD access. Only DSiWare that booted from the SD had SD access. If 3DS game cartridges are not allowed to access the SD, you can pretty much count out any possibility of DLC as there would be nowhere for the DLC to be stored. They could add flash based storage on the cartridge itself, but this would add to the cost of the cartridge and may not be as secure as the DSiWare/3DSWare method of security as each game would end up having their own encryption scheme and could be opened to exploits and such exploits can't be fixed!
     
  19. DiscostewSM
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    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    And that's where I think some people are getting the impression that my idea wouldn't work. I'm not talking about giving a game DLC when it couldn't accept it in the first place. I'm talking about DLC in the sense of a game patch, or downloading a newer, pre-patched version of the game code + extra game assets if needed (all encrypted of course) that gets stored elsewhere than on the original game card and is loaded up instead when a game is launched. In that sense, the games can be update-able and could add extra features not originally present on the retail card, such as SD card access, online multiplayer, etc, while also being used as a way to fix bugs.

    I think the thread title may be misleading people into thinking about the idea differently than how I was trying to describe it. [​IMG]

    EDIT: The idea of how this would be done is through an update program (available on the eShop, but requires the 3DS firmware to be updated as well to use it) that is stored like any 3DSWare title. When launched, it will create a list of 3DS games you've played from the Logbook, examine the SD card to check for any prior updates to those games and recording the "version" of those (if none exist, then it would set as v1.0), connect to Nintendo's servers, and make a comparison between the versions it found with the versions available. Then, it grabs the list and displays them to the user so they can select which games they wish to update. Those that are selected are downloaded to the SD card, overwriting if necessary. When a physical 3DS game is launched, the OS examines the SD card to find if it has an updated version of the game code. If it does, it loads that up instead of the game code from the game card.

    Like many downloaded titles, this update program could also come with Spotpass functionality, giving notifications of what games you can update before you even launch the program.
     
  20. ferofax

    Member ferofax End of the World

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    Reading through some of your posts, i think we are all coming to terms with the underlying idea, it's just that some of the process is different according to each of you. a few like myself suggest a separate app, but one suggests that the firmware do it, but they all do the same thing. let me break it down like this:

    instead of:
    That's the underlying idea, and i think everyone seems to understand that doing it this way, it becomes possible for updates to already published games without resorting to republishing of updated cartridges.

    basically, what the game launcher does is it has a list of data it can update, intercepts requests for that data and instead points it to updated data and assets from the DLC and feeds that data to the game engine requesting it.

    example, for fighting games, when the game engine asks for assets for the character selection screen, the game launcher intercepts that, points it to the DLC where it finds an updated character selection screen with an additional row of new DLC characters and feeds it to the game engine. of course, the game launcher must satisfy a few conditions:

    1. it must have the ability to override the game engine, because the data requested will be different from the one it receives, and this almost always ends up with an error. the game launcher must be able to "persuade" the game engine that the data it just received is okay and workable. i actually thought about everything possible to think about this idea, from the way it works with game data, to who must provide the information the application needs in order to "cheat" and "hack" the game (the game devs), to how multiplayer can work, to security issues, to download play, to profit from DLC microtransactions--everything.
     

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