Future of NDS flashcarts: simple cartridge emulation?

Discussion in 'NDS - Flashcarts and Accessories' started by StarTrekVoyager, May 5, 2017.

  1. StarTrekVoyager
    OP

    StarTrekVoyager Soon™

    Member
    995
    1,085
    Jun 19, 2016
    France
    Paris
    Well, I'm in the community since a few months and I've been really interested in the different ways to launch NDS games from a 3DS or DSi or DSL... you know what I mean. And with that nds-bootstrap story, I've come to a conclusion: the optimal way to run DS games would be through the only way it's been intended: like a cartridge. Let me explain this. The 3DS has several ways to launch its gales, through a cartridge or throuigh CIAs (digital games). But NDS games have never, ever been intended for that. The only way to bypass that limitation is by recompiling the entire game's code into a DSiWare, like Nintendo did with WarioWare: Touched! DSiWare edition. But it would require extreme Reverse Engineering and would be ultra-specific to each game. The other way is by interpreting all the Slot-1 read/writes on-the-fly to the SD card, that's what nds-bootstrap does. But there is another much better method. A method that Sky3DS+ uses since several years and which can be pretty useful: cartridge emulation.

    A DS/DSi game is supposed to be played right on tghe cartridge, by selecting the cartridge's icon on the DS/DSi/3DS menu. Thing is, traditionnal R4 cards (not DSTWO+ which is worse in terms of accuracy), with for example YSMenu, the best kernel out there, play their internal firmware to boot games. But that means several things: The 3DS doesn't know that you booted that particular game, and can't even access it from an external software. This is especially important with Pokémon Dream Radar, which needs a Pokémon Black 2/White 2 cart inserted, and Poké Transporter in the same fashion. If done correctly, one could also reverse-engineer DSi/DSi-enhanced cartridges to allow playing those games. A future fglashcart should really go in this way, that would be the first breakthrough in DS flash cartridges since a few years. A Sky3DS+-like flashcart with a switch to change between games.

    What do you think? Is it a good idea, and would it be easily doable?
     
  2. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo WiiUaboo

    Member
    3,366
    1,619
    Feb 13, 2015
    Italy
    Imola
    The idea of something closer or potentially equal to 100% accuracy with originals is never a bad thing...

    however, how popular will it be?
    A 6 € original R4 (or a 20 € R4i Gold) already have excellent game compatibility;
    for the few games with transfer features (Animal Crossing catalog transfer, between generations Pokemon tranfers, Pokemon BW2 memory link are the only ones I can name) there already are homebrew alternatives (which usually are better than the official way) - and those games are common enough to be bought original at a honest price;
    there would be by definition no cheat menu, and no game list either!

    The only non-collector market for them will probably be running TwlNMenu on retail DSis - and even then it would probably be cheaper to ask a bootleg card maker to make 100 or so :)
     
  3. StarTrekVoyager
    OP

    StarTrekVoyager Soon™

    Member
    995
    1,085
    Jun 19, 2016
    France
    Paris
    I see where you're going, but there are also a lot of problems with current flashcarts. First, STWO(+) is a battery drainer. And when using SDHC cards, it auto-patches the ROM and that can cause havoc in animations for example. Tghen, R4 cards are a bunch of whacky clones, with fake support, teams that appear and disappear after 2 days, and no evolution in the software since many many years. Plus no one has ever published a TWL-mode flashcard. Pokémon Black/White/Black 2/White 2, and also Art Academy are all DSi-Enhanced, and have some features such as the use of the DSi camera that doesn't work on current flashcarts. There's also Internet/altwfc support which is whacky, random firmware timebombs, and DS-Wii connectivity (WarioWare) which is most of the time not supported. The flashcart that I've suggested isn't that hard to make -- it would work similarly to Sky3DS+, and would only require drag&drop.
     
  4. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo WiiUaboo

    Member
    3,366
    1,619
    Feb 13, 2015
    Italy
    Imola
    That (and price) are why I find it a poor deal :)

    Most of them indeed are, but the two ones I (and others on this forum) recommend are rather solid products;
    Wood hasn't been updated in a while, but compatibility is still well above average (even the GBA was allegedly incompatible with some GB/C games according to the instructions - 5 Japan-only ones and a Disney game, I've heard - and no significant amount of people complained! :) )
    Add the fact no new DS games are being released anymore and that Wood is allegedly developed by a person who is not directly working for any flashcard brand, and "no support" (for a cheap product that is technically illegal in most countries) isn't a big deal IMO

    CycloDS iEvolution :)

    You can still buy them for 36 €, but they were blocked 2 DSi updates ago and compatibility is below average (in part due to an old kernel, in part due to the DSi title permission system) -- this one is the product that was killed by no support!

    Can't remember any (DS-mode, slot-1) flashcard having trouble with that, except for the fault of bad rom trimmers like the official R4 one...

    Again, a "feature" of poor R4 in-name-only cards, not of the 2 recommended types :)

    Warioware DIY has the Wii connection feature programmed into the game and shouldn't have any problems if you can get the game itself to work (zero issues with Wood!)

    Games where you use download mode to launch a program from the Wii that then tries to read slot-1 (Animal Crossing, Pokemon Battle Revolution with some versions of the DS games, ...) will indeed not work and will be fixed by the flashcard you propose, but again at which price?

    Correctly doing card emulation (especially if DSi mode is wanted) in realtime, or even guessing the correct save type are not easy tasks - or at least they weren't before Martin did them and mostly explained them in gbatek :)