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Friday Video: Nitrotracker revisited

Korg DS-10, schmorg DS-10 (we don't really mean that). Just because we're all in love with Korg DS-10 right now, that doesn't mean we've forgotten about other great music software. The homebrew community came out with a pretty neat program for music sequencing, actually -- Nitrotracker.

So, before we bid adieu and move on to bigger and better things, let's take a look at some of the awesome stuff Nitrotracker can do (like the Mortal Kombat theme song, for instance).

Want to get Nitrotracker on your DS? Start out by setting up homebrew.

UK retailer pulls R4 after ELSPA threats

It looks like the tide is finally turning against the R4 flash cart in the UK. After yesterday's statement from the ELSPA on the matter, Brit retailer has decided to drop the R4 from its range entirely.

"Since launching them we have reflected on the overall impact R4 cards will have on long-term software sales and I have talked openly to senior people at Nintendo UK about the situation," explained SimplyGames' Neil Muspratt, who we're guessing may have received a grouchy phone call from Nintendo. "We have concluded that they are not at all healthy for software sales."

Muspratt then urged Amazon to follow SimplyGames' example. As we write this, the R4 listing on Amazon's UK site notes that "we don't know when or if this item will be back in stock," though no official statement has been released by the site. As for all you UK-based homebrewers out there, just be thankful there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Rock out with your Guitar Grip out

Considering Guitar Hero: On Tour's required accessory, pirates without access to the Guitar Grip shouldn't be able to play the game, right? Incorrect! As they did with the Nintendo DS Browser and its Memory Expansion Pak, hackers have developed a workaround making the game playable even without the extra hardware.

If you skip to the 1:30 minute mark in the above clip, you'll see Youtube user tinymonkeyt demonstrating his patched copy of On Tour -- instead of using the four-fret controller to hit notes, you can use the directional pad or ABXY buttons. Of course, it's possible for people who legally own the game to apply the patch enabling button controls, but it looks much more awkward than using the Guitar Grip.

In other related news, according to the video, tinymonkeyt's mom isn't letting him buy Guitar Hero: On Tour. He is considering purchasing it anyway, however, and will probably "just hide it from her or something." We'll make sure to update you on any new information that comes up for this developing story.

[Via GBAtemp]

Video Game Hero has the guts, glory

The release of Guitar Hero: On Tour might make homebrew games like Video Game Hero seem obsolete, but this project has two great things going for it:
  1. Unconventional music tracks like "Eye of the Tiger" and the Inspector Gadget theme (after the post break)
  2. It's free (provided you have the hardware to run homebrew programs)!
The touchscreen controls are nice to have, but we'd really love to see Video Game Hero support On Tour's Guitar Grip, especially since we've already seen one other homebrew application utilize the slot-2 accessory. Whether or not programmers Sumiguchi and Daydream decide to add that option, we'll make sure to check this game out when they release it this August 20th!

See also: Music Monstars rocks Europe

Continue reading Video Game Hero has the guts, glory

Super Smash Bros. Rumble in the DS jungle

Building your homebrew project off an already popular franchise has the danger of raising expectations too high for your low-budget production, as was the case with Super Mario Galaxies, a 2D shoot-em-up interpretation of Nintendo's grandiose 3D platformer. Though Super Smash Bros. Rumble has the potential to one day be a satisfactory portable alternative to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it still has a long way to go!

So far, the demo includes only a solo mode, a few stages, and Mario as the lone playable character. Fuzzy, the game's 19-year-old programmer from Germany, seems to have a lot planned for the project, however, as he already has a WiFi button in place and waiting for online support.

Just a quick suggestion -- maybe choose another typeface for the top-screen logo on the menu screen? Though it's resident blogger David Hinkle's favorite typeface, Super Smash Bros. designer Masahiro Sakurai would never sully the series with Hobo.

[Via GamerTell, GBAtemp]

Future R4 firmware to sabotage clones, brick DSes?

It's a funny twist that the R4DS, a product used mostly for pirating games, has found itself now battling it out with counterfeits carts that have infiltrated the market, but we assume that's just how Chinese flashcart companies roll.

Seeking to eliminate its knock-off competition, Team R4 has announced that as of September 15, it will release firmware that will only work on genuine R4 flashcarts, according to a statement translated by GBAtemp. As an added deterrent, users attempting to load the firmware on illegitimate carts could potentially damage their DS permanently, leaving their system unusable.

What if you've unknowingly bought a fake R4 (for running homebrew software, of course) and brick your DS after trying to install the updated firmware? Team R4 has stated that it will not accept responsibility, advising that you contact your "unscrupulous" shop to complain. Thanks, Team R4!

We understand that it's annoying to have all these companies drinking their milkshake, but is this really necessary? Won't this drive away potential R4 customers, not to mention people curious about experimenting with DS homebrew? Make sure to look through our (semi) ultimate homebrew guide if you're interested in finding flashcart alternatives that won't leave your system bricked.

See also: Homebrew Glossary

[Via GBAtemp]

Motocross Challenge rides back from the sunset for another go

We couldn't pay Motocross Challenge enough compliments when indie developer DHG Games released the Excitebike-inspired GBA racer last year. For those of you unfamiliar with the game's history, it never saw a commercial release after its publisher backed out of the project due to declining sales for GBA titles.

Not letting its code go to waste, DHG eventually released Motocross Challenge to the homebrew community as a free downlodable ROM and a limited edition flashcart. As great as the game was, we thought, with a tear in our eye, that we would never see it again.

The Montreal-based studio wants another crack at getting its game in stores, however, and has announced a DS remake! The graphics look mostly unchanged, but there are a lot of additions to get hyped about -- a track editor, three new game modes, a skinner mini map on the bottom screen, more AI opponents, a new Challenge Mode mechanic, and a new soundtrack.

DHG is still looking for a publisher, so make sure to direct your industry friends to this arcade racer! Turbo boost your bike up a ramp and fly past the post break for a trailer of Motocross Challenge DS. If you'd rather try it out yourself, you can still download and play the GBA ROM, too!

Continue reading Motocross Challenge rides back from the sunset for another go

Homebrew paint application adds Guitar Hero controller support

There are already several homebrew and even commercial paint/pixel-art programs in development for the Nintendo DS, but BassAceGold's UAPaint (v1.02) adds something special -- support for Guitar Hero: On Tour's Guitar Grip controller.

Artists can use the Grip's buttons as tool shortcuts in UAPaint - blue for the pen, yellow for the paint bucket, red for the color picker, and green for the line tool. Slick!

We saw the potential of homebrew slot-2 accessory tinkering with Mario Kart DS hacked to interface with Taito's paddle controller, but there hasn't been any advancements with that since, possibly due to the paddle's pricing and limited availability. With Guitar Hero's popularity and readily obtainable peripheral, hopefully we'll see more homebrew uses for the Guitar Grip!

RepeaterDS stu-stu-stutters audio samples

It might not be the most pleasant music -- some would even argue that it's not music at all -- but there's definitely, uh, something going on in the above RepeaterDS demonstration video. According to developer Bret (a.k.a. Clone45), the same programmer behind cellular automaton sequencer GlitchDS, RepeaterDS is "a music application that allows you to 'play' a sample by drawing on the DS screen.

The application imports audio files and records your gestures, with vertical movements controlling repeat length and horizontal movements controlling the playback offset into the sample. Messing with the directional pad and pressing different buttons will also affect the resulting sounds in some manner incomprehensible to us.

We're not sure how exactly one would incorporate the stuttered audio into anything, except for maybe in a stop-motion zombie film featuring G.I. Joe figures, but the effect is pretty cool!

Fire on the Water almost as awesome as Smoke on the Water

Having garnered near-unanimous praise and placed first in the NEO Spring Compo's DS game category with Lone Wolf: Flight from the Dark, Project Aon is readying another homebrew port of the Lone Wolf "gamebooks," this time for the second book in the series, Fire on the Water.

Project Aon has already posted a release candidate for the game, allowing users to download and try out the visual novel before its final release. As with Flight from the Dark, the sequel allows readers to take control of the story with RPG-inspired elements, such as branching narrative options and character customization (e.g. skills, disciplines).

In addition to fixes and general improvements, Fire on the Water now features four new music tracks, an improved game engine for handling more complex events, merchants, and mini-games. If you haven't jumped into the homebrew scene yet, now is a good time!

[via DCEmu]

Find a use for that extra DS

Nintendo is pumping out new DS colors with a vengeance, and many DS owners who've been clinging to their original models are finally breaking down and upgrading to a Lite. Still others already had a Lite, but found themselves lulled into spending even more money on a spiffy new shade. We just can't control ourselves in the face of such beauty.

But what happens when you end up with a second DS? Unless you've been retro-fitted with an extra pair of arms, you probably don't need two handhelds. Rather than letting the extra sit around and collect dust, check out our suggested uses for that second DS.

Ten things to do with that DS

StillAliveDS update adds in-game level editor

While Nintendo is busy hampering the momentum of homebrew developers on the Wii, it's business as usual for the scene with the Nintendo DS. Programmer T4ils has put out a v1.1 update for StillAliveDS, his popular 2D remake of Valve's first-person action/puzzler, Portal.

In addition to general improvements and bug fixes, the indie game now features an in-game level editor! The video above demonstrates how easy it is to lay out and test your own stage. After you've saved your map, you can even upload it to the online Custom Game Directory from your DS!

It's strange to see a homebrew title implementing such a relatively advanced feature (for the DS) that only a few commercial games support -- Picross DS, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, N+, Steal Princess, and Bangai-O (sort of). If you have the tools necessary for loading homebrew games on your DS, you should be playing this!

Gallery: StillAliveDS

OtaClock DS is pants-wettingly great

Let the kids with their $600 consoles have Metal Gear Solid 4. We've got the best part of the game -- Otacon's desktop clock application, the OtaClock. And it's totally free! In case you're worried about spoilers or something, don't be: the OtaClock was revealed in the TGS trailer in 2005, and released as a PC/Mac desktop application soon after.

Homebrewer madcat1990 has adapted the app into an alarm clock for the DS, which deviously requires you to solve a math problem before the alarm will shut up. It's an appropriate tribute to the pseudo-Oedipal, incontinent otaku Otacon, one of the most complicated characters in Metal Gear's extraordinarily complicated cast.

Homebrew dev reveals AtYa, Yahoo Messenger on DS

Homebrew developer atomsoft is hard at work on his application, AtYa, which is the first working Yahoo Messenger client for the handheld. While it did pre-release, the files have been pulled due to an issue with the loading page.

With fancy cell phones and other technological gadgets, instant messaging on-the-go has become a reality, so we wonder how viable an application such as this is. Still, we're sure some of you out there are interested in being able to IM from your DS.

No idea as of right now on when the pre-release will be available for download again. But, when it is, you can bet we'll let you know.

[Via QJ]

StillAliveDS: Portable 2D Portal for DS [update]

Following on the heels of Homebrew Week, our coverage of the DS's indie development scene, programmer T4ils has released StillAliveDS, a fantastic 2D remake of Valve's first-person action/puzzler, Portal.

Much like the PC game, players must rely on their wits (and a portal gun) to transport themselves around each stage, aiming shots with their stylus and grabbing pieces of cake along the way. It might not have the graphics of the original, but it definitely has the feel and charm. Hit the screenshots in the gallery below to see what we mean.

Along with the maps included with the game, T4ils has also released an editor for players to create their own levels. We haven't tried it out yet, but there's even some built-in functionality for sharing and downloading maps right from your DS. And it's all free for you to download and play!

Not sure about how to get started with playing homebrew games on your Nintendo DS? Luckily for you, we've written up a (Semi) Ultimate Homebrew Guide with information on the hardware you'll need and how to set it all up! How awesome of us!

[Update: For those of you having trouble getting past the menu screen, walk up to the box in the middle of the room and try to grab it with your stylus. This may take a few tries, unfortunately, but we found it easier if you're just a few pixels away from the box. After you grab the box, carry it over to the "Story" box. ]

See also: Show and Tell: Lies, damned lies, and DS Lites

Gallery: StillAliveDS

[via Dev-fr]

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