What is a recommended SLOT-1 Device for homebrew?

Discussion in 'NDS - Flashcarts and Accessories' started by enigma_0Z, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    I'm looking to run homebrew apps on my NDS Lite, but after looking over the reviews of several SLOT-1 devices (which I have decided I want over a PassMe/SLOT-2 combo), I can't seem to make heads or tails over which is better.

    Specifically, I really don't plan on running any NDS or GBA roms on the NDS, mostly stuff like the PDA app, DSLinux, and whatever else there is as far as homebrew goes.

    So my question is: What would be a good SLOT-1 device for this particular usage.

    Some features that are highly-desired:

    1. Ability to boot into the DS BIOS screen where you can select to run SLOT-1, SLOT-2, PicoChat, etc.
    2. MicroSD Support (although a good amount of built-in memory and a good driverless reader would be fine)
    3. Form factor as close to identical as possible to authentic NDS games.

    Some features that would be nice:

    1. Black or gray (like standard carts) casing
    2. Themeable UI
    3. Nice UI
    4. Ability to run all (or nearly all) homebrew
    5. Relatively low price (like to spend ~$30 USD)

    And some features that aren't particulary necessary:

    1. Cheat code support
    2. In-game menu support
    3. Game slow-mo support
     
  2. hollabackitsobi

    Member hollabackitsobi GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You pretty much listed the R4 cart's features, except some of the last ones, because I'm not sure any cart out now does that. Oh, and the R4 loads after the Health and Safety screen, but you can boot GBA games from within it's menu...
     
  3. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    Why does the R4DS both skip the DS BIOS screen?

    This feature is very important to me...
     
  4. hollabackitsobi

    Member hollabackitsobi GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    If you don't want it to skip it, just pull it out. That's the only way. I don't see how it would be so hard...if you want to access Download Play or Pictochat, just pull it out for a sec.
     
  5. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    The issue isn't really that it skips, but more or less why, as well as how.

    For instance, one (possibly possible) way would be to create a buffer overflow when the BIOS loads the game info that is displayed on the BIOS screen... at which poiint, the overflowed code would then execute the R4DS BIOS... IMO while this may not be literally damaging, it cannot be the best thing for the DS, and furthermore, firmware updates may include checks for these things and block such attempts. At this point, for me, FlashMe is not an option because I want my warranty...

    Of course, depending on the DS's implementation, there are two other possibilities. From a programming cleanliness perspective, the better method would be that that option simply prevents the DS from loading the game, and is entirely DS-side. The other possibility is that the game has the option of respecting this setting or ignoring it and loading anyway, without some fancy trickery (as in the above paragraph).

    My point is that if the R4DS is using some kind of hack that requires it to load before (or in place of) the DS BIOS, then it probably isn't the greatest thing for the DS to execute this hack on a regular basis... Furthermore, videos online of people using the M3 Simply show the screen flashing a couple of times before the actual GUI of the device is displayed. The screens that flash "appear" blank, but it could just be the poor quality of the video, but if they are blank (or contain some message from the DS instead of the flash cart), then that could be an artifact of the "hacky" loading mechanism...

    Anyway, that's why the feature is important to me. If someone can confirm why and how the R4DS intercepts the main DS screen, that would be great, as I quite enjoy the secondary DS "GBA Game or DS Game" menu rather than an auto-boot.

    --edit--

    And, a list of homebrew apps that I would want to run:

    1. Moonshell for multimedia
    2. DSLinux
    3. DSOrganize (if DSLinux doesn't provide enough)
    4. SNEmulDS (I think that's the correct spelling)
    5. Any of the homebrew games (Lemmings?!)
     
  6. SlCKB0Y

    Member SlCKB0Y GBAtemp Regular

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    Can you please explain to me why this would be bad?
     
  7. hollabackitsobi

    Member hollabackitsobi GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    If you don't want it, don't buy it. I seriously don't see why you care, as it does nothing to your DS. It simply autoloads itself, it doesn't interfere with anything DS side. Again, if you don't want it, don't buy it.
     
  8. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    My issue is that if the way it autoloads itself is using some kind of hackish method, a Nintendo DS firmware update could break that...


    and as far as why a hack that loads the card instead of the BIOS screen... if it is using something like a buffer overflow to load its own code instead of the BIOS screen, there are too many unknowns to make this (in my opinion) a viable option to boot, as buffer overflows aren't entirely exact...

    If for instance, the memory addresses used to boot are mapped differently every time the DS boots, then the next address may be something important, like the firmware, or some system call. Then, if the system calls this corrupted system call with a portion of some unverified code, what happens?

    I don't know, perhaps I'm being paranoid, but if there is a SLOT-1 device that behaves exactly like a DS cart, that would be extremely better...
     
  9. Rayder

    Former Staff Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

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    First off, Nintendo will never update a DS's firmware that is already in your hands, only internal updates before they sell it to you. I have read official statements from Nintendo themselves stating this. (no, I don't have a link to such a statement)
    Second, if they did make a DS that somehow defeats the R4's ability to auto-boot like that, the R4 team would likely just release an update to their firmware loader to address the issue.

    You know what? I'm not going to pick through your list of pre-requisite features. No card fulfills ALL the criteria, especially not for no 30 bones. None of them can do that. You're awfully picky for wanting a pirate cart to have a bunch of games/apps for free. A little too picky for your own good, if you ask me. I mean, once you get it, it will pay for itself many times over, regardless if it has every nit-picky feature you want or not.

    It sounds to me that you have 3 choices for a DS flashcart; the R4/M3 Simply (essentially the same thing), the CycloDS Evolution or the Supercard DS One. Either that, or you're are somehow trying to justify even bothering to purchase one in the first place. You'll just have to investigate as to which of those fills the majority of your needs in the most tolerable fashion and just deal with the fact that no slot1 will have every feature you want.

    This site has a comparator for slot1 flashcarts, I suggest you check it out. http://gbatemp.net/index.php?dynamic=39

    A couple of the slot1's aren't in the comparator, you can read reviews for them here: http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showforum=99

    Depending on what you consider most important, make your decision based on those two links and any other online info you can find.

    You asked the community and they gave you their opinion....the R4DS comes the closest to meeting your requirements, yet you picked to death one little thing that you didn't like about it, the way it auto-boots itself. And I would imagine that any other suggestion the community would make to you would be picked to death too. That will make people start getting a little hostile towards you, and you don't want that. So, you're only option is to just choose for yourself using a little research.

    My personal recommendations would be the R4DS or the CycloDS Evolution. You can read the reviews for those cards at this site as to why.

    I may sound like I'm being sarcastic or subtly flaming you. I'm not. I'm just stating the facts as I see it.
     
  10. iq_132

    Member iq_132 GBAtemp Regular

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    Erm... if you mean the on-SD card firmware (_ds_menu.dat), I am quite certain that won't work. The bios skipping
    is done by the software in the on-cart rom. This would require a different hardware revision. (Proof - delete your _ds_menu.dat and it still boots to the card, but displays an error)

    As for enigma's statement that it can't be good for the DS, it isn't any less safe for your ds than downloading & running non-Nintendo-certified softwares off of the internet. If it does work by exploiting a software glitch, then yes, it may be fixed in future bios releases, and no, it isn't unsafe -- it is essentially what soft-modded xbox owners have been doing for years.
     
  11. SlCKB0Y

    Member SlCKB0Y GBAtemp Regular

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    You want something "unhackish"....ha, do you understand the nature of the devices we are talking about? By nature they are all "hackish".

    I would assume all the slot one devices boot themselves using a similar method.
     
  12. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    Among the ones available, I was trying to decide between the M3 Simply, the R4DS, and the CycloDS. Which would you recommend? (And for already-users of the CycloDS) the Auto-DLDI patching in the CycloDS has me worried--according to the review alot of homebrew took a long time to load...

    Oh, and if there's any linux users here (or anyone else that knows), is there a patch utility for Linux to accomplish what the DLDI patches do for the various SLOT-1 Cards and homebrew?

    (and to the people I've frustrated...)
    I really don't mean to be irritating or nitpicking... I just want to figure out what would be the best on a price vs. features vs. availability scale. It seems like alot of these devices are designed to run "backup" NDS games, and homebrew is secondary... I do know that the nature of what these homebrew devices do is somewhat "hackish", but I don't understand why they don't have the option of booting to the DS menu first, after all, on the homebrew device is NDS software, why couldn't they follow the rules and boot up like normal?

    As an aside, does anyone know the actual method these auto-load devices use to boot up?
     
  13. TLSpartan

    Member TLSpartan Kills threads

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    Any Slot-1(SCDS,R4,M3,EZ5) would be fine. The SCDS works with all the really old homebrew(since its made by Supercard which is known for excellent homebrew capability). I have Ubuntu Linux and don't bother patching homebrews since my SCDS does it for me.
     
  14. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    Does this affect homebrew apps?
     
  15. arctic_flame

    Member arctic_flame GBAtemp ATMEGA8 Fan

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    Most of the reviews need updating. The SCDS1 is much better with the new firmwares than shown in the review.
     
  16. enigma_0Z
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    Newcomer enigma_0Z Member

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    I think I'm leaning more towards the SCDS1... but what bout the protruding chip and inserting/removing it from the DS? how does that go down exactly?

    And, where to buy? Specifically what stores are recommended, and what stores to avoid? I read that modchip shops in the US are getting raided, so should I buy it from Canada, or what exactly?
     

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