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Hardware Hacking Portables Entertainment Games Hardware

Hacking The DS's Wireless 173

xNoLaNx writes "Darkain, maker of the remote control program for Winamp, RM-X, has been working day and night hacking the Nintendo DS and its wireless, and making a custom USB power connection for it. He has been able to monitor packets over 802.11b coming from PictoChat and more."
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Hacking The DS's Wireless

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  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:55PM (#10939233) Homepage
    I remember when I was playing King Quest in 80's, when the king has to go to this wizard place to learn some magic. I had to resort to opening up the binary files and read some command lines to know what to do and what to pick up. I didn't have too much luck with Police Quest though, since it's more of an action-based game :)

    So now with these decoded Mario64 packets, we know to wait for yoshi in the middle of kira spa, room 1?

    Other than that, I don't know what is the use of these decoded packets.

    The USB power cable is cool, if not for the fact that we already can buy USB-powered XMas tree, desk fan and whatnot.
    • by FLAGGR ( 800770 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:59PM (#10939256)
      I'm just glad someone is working on the DS wireless, I want some damn documentation on how it works so I can code for the thing without an expensive devkit (I know sniffing packets isnt gonna do much, but its a start)
    • Well, once we get the Pictochat protocol down we can sniff people's vapid IM conversations. Plus, the DS supports multi-boot so eventually we might be able to force game code onto it.
    • Picture someone with Mario64DS playing with someone on a laptop with Mario64DS in an emulator, or with a specially written bot. Really, as a rule, once protocols in use in PCs get involved in gaming, interesting things become possible.
    • Well it would be nice to net boot to Linux through the wireless ;) No computer,console or car is safe from *nix oss
      • No computer,console or car is safe from *nix oss

        I am not so sure about this...
        Running Linux (or ANY modern OS) means that you need a memory manager built into the CPU. This is the magic little device which allows such things as virtual memory and keeping one program from trashing the kernel and every other process around. It also allows for the entire security system, as the kernel can access memory that user programs cannot.

        I certainly do not know much about the processor in the DS, but I do know tha

    • Why decode DS packets?

      Because you could possibly use your DS' touch screen to sketch, then save the drawings on your PC. Maybe someone could even hack together a full tablet driver for it.
    • the usb power cable is OLD. I have one for my advance sp. paid 4.95 for it with a cigarette lighter adapter. and it fit's in the DS just fine.

      What is next, someone going to invent the screen protector for it?

  • Future Possibilities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:58PM (#10939249)
    Imagine sooner or later, with the right development one could load up ethereal on their DS and start monitoring the local wifi connection.
    This game system could turn into a neat little surveilance device.
  • Feel the Magic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I gotta say that the DS is way more fun than I expected, and Feel the Magic puts a grin on my face like few others have in the past few years. This system seems like it has a great future ahead of it, and online capabilities (true online, not just wireless multiplayer) are going to put it over the edge!
  • pictochat/im? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chocolatetrumpet ( 73058 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:05PM (#10939285) Homepage Journal
    So... will I be able to participate in a pictochat with my cousins' DS, while I use my powerbook?
  • by jx100 ( 453615 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:07PM (#10939291)
    The Nitro [] project is actually working on tunnelling games over the internet. I believe they're using some of this guy's data as help, but they're also doing other stuff.
  • Wake-On-LAN (Score:5, Interesting)

    by z3021017 ( 806883 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:10PM (#10939300)
    I hope somebody finds a way to hack WoL capability for the DS.

    I thought one of the best things about these new handhelds (PSP included) was that you could play people you didn't know by just 'beeping' them whenever they were in range.
    • That would be one hell of a battery-drainer, though.
    • Re:Wake-On-LAN (Score:3, Informative)

      by juuri ( 7678 )
      Wake on Lan isn't in the US version and Nintendo has no current plans to add it to future US units.

      Hopefully this can be rectified with a firmware patch included in some popular games in the future.
  • by Cracell ( 788266 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:17PM (#10939326)
    I don't have one yet, but from looking at it, it appears very hackable, which will be nice once I get the cash for one I expect this to be the first of many
    • Nintendo guards its intellectual property very closely. That's why it took so long for GameCube bsd and linux to come out- and they're still not as functional as xbox linux. I'm sure Nintendo has made it so that it would make more sense to "hack" or even just buy peripherals for a Palm/palmtop than to try to make DS useful.
  • by ewg ( 158266 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:19PM (#10939332)
    I was disappointed to learn that the DS doesn't support networking beyond local links to other DSs.

    With Wi-fi support in every unit, I'd pay $30 for a "game" cartridge with an internet suite based on Opera or maybe the mobile Mozilla technology. Give me a web browser, IMAP client, AIM, and maybe an RSS reader and I'm good.

    Hopefully something like this is on the way, something a little more portable than my laptop.
  • by agtorange ( 804364 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:28PM (#10939375)
    I can already see someone making a LAN tunneler program for the DS that use a good old wireless router and a program on the computer to grant players the power to play online. It might work something like this. You bring up the program and it gives you list of games you pick a game and then pick a "room" depending on the game the "room" might hold more or less players. The room would fool the DS into thinking it near these other player as if they are in the same physical room. Once in the "room" you can simpley turn on the DS load up the game like metroid hunters and its game on!
  • Yes! Now I can finally monitor packets with my Nintendo DS!
  • DS usb power cable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Allison Geode ( 598914 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:05PM (#10939524)
    i read that the DS can use the same power cable as the GBA SP. why bother hacking that together (other than the sheer nerdy joy of doing it yourself)? someone already made one: _cable.htm
    (sorry for not making that html. lazy tonight.)
    • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:19PM (#10939578) Homepage
      yes, they can use the same power cable. yes, you can buy pre-made cables from lik-sang. the one on the site mentioned above is actually a SP cable, not a DS cable, but the mod was done for the purpose of using it on the DS. some people out there have purchased the SP and the DS, and therefor would have two power adapters. instead of having two of the same thing, this could give you a variety of mothods for powering your units, such as gathering friends together in one small location where power outlets become scarce, and because of the akward shape of the power adapter, it will can cover 2 or more outlets on a power strip. using usb instead means you can use any free usb slot available on your desktop computer, laptop, or powered usb hub.
    • URL'd URL here: _cable.htm []

      Nifty idea though, as I bet there are some people that won't want to hack stuff to pieces (can't think who though.....)
  • by shumacher ( 199043 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:18PM (#10939573)
    Nintendo, I know you won't listen to me, but please, do what Sony did with the Aibo and release a consumer-grade development kit!
  • For those of you without the equipment to make your own, you can buy them quite cheaply from a Hong Kong importer called Lik Sang. ucts_id=2994& []
  • AiroPeek NX? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bagofcrap ( 260283 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:15PM (#10939828) Journal
    from the article:

    List of things you need to get started:
    * TWO (or more) Nintendo DS Units
    * A WiFi card of some kind
    * AiroPeek NX software package

    AiroPeek NX?
    hmm... sounds interesting... *click* *click*

    Its 3.5 grand for a copy w/ a 12 month support contract!?!

    Not to sound cheap (cos I am), but um, thats a bit of an investment for what sounds like etheral w/ tcpdump on windows.
    Anyone with experience w/ Airopeek mind sharing all the cool stuff it can do?
    • by chizu ( 669687 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @02:13AM (#10940891) Homepage
      I've been doing most of the same stuff as Darkain has, but under Linux using all free software. Ethereal/tcpdump doesn't keep the raw 802.11b packets needed to see all of the DS data, but AirSnort does. AirSnort will record to pcap format and then you can mess with the packets in Ethereal. Just a heads up for those who don't want to pay for AiroPeek and still want to mess with low level wireless stuff (like the Nintendo DS).
  • If you could hack DS and allow it to connect to a network, than maybe you can install a pocket pc OS on DS. If you could install a Pocket PC OS, than Opera, AIM, Word, and other programs can run off of DS. This would create a super cheap pocket computer, with a touch pad (mouse)!
    • I guess you could, but for a about $50 more you could get this from Dell []. Or better yet older pocket PCs sell pretty cheap on ebay. Or if a pocket PC isn't your thing the Palm Zire is a good price too. I agree though that the DS wouldn be the only one with two screens, but I'm not sure that would be worth it.
    • You can already get Opera for Symbian so why use windows?

      Just think all the functionality on your nokia on a DS, hmmmm sounds familiar somehow....
  • What's the power consumption of the DS?
    I believe the USB spec allows for a maximum 500mA from a USB port.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One of the features of the DS is that only one person has to own the game, and you and your friends can play together on that one cartridge.

    How much would it take to make this technology send out downloaded copies of the game that are fully playable on another system?

    • A lot.

      It has been discussed elsewhere how serious Nintendo is about protecting it's investment from pirates. Take a look at the can't even put a normal-sized disc in it.

      That said, the download play feature you speak of is not an easy way to simply download an entire DS ROM. Where would you put it? The DS only has 4 MB RAM. The only thing that is sent is just enough code for the client systems to run the multiplayer part of the game.

    • The ability for several people to play off one cart wirelessly is the best feature of the DS.

      I remember when the GB first came out either nobody had the same games. As such the only game I've EVER played multiplayer on GB was Tetris which came bundled with the system.
  • travel risks... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:10PM (#10940023)
    Of course there may arise the potential of travel risks for this guy.

    For example, how will this affect is ability to travel freely to and (perhaps more importantly) from the USA?

  • What about sending the Slashdot RSS to Pictochat? That'd be really sharp...
  • DS Server? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blixel ( 158224 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:22PM (#10940082)
    I think it would be cool to setup a Nintendo DS server (if such a thing existed) here in my house on my spare Soekris [] box. I could stick a miniPCI wireless card in it, hook it up to an antenna that I could mount on my roof, and then host a 24/7 Metroid Prime Wireless LAN party to all the people in my area.
    • Please, please tell me you live in Statesboro, Georgia?

      (fingers crossed)
  • by austad ( 22163 )
    If someone came out with a device similar to the DS, where it was clamshell, had 802.11, bluetooth, 2 screens, and possibly GSM, I would buy one immediately.

    I need a PDA that I can toss in my pocket and not have to worry about the screen being hosed. Triple points if I can replace my phone with it also. The Sidekick would be there if it wasn't so crippled and had bluetooth.

    And for christsakes, don't put a damn camera on it. It's going to suck and no one will use it. It just raises the cost and increas
  • Might we see a color hack in the near future? Apparently it uses gba style 16 color tiles. Until you hack up pictochat, I suspect that would be limited to tunnelling and other interference only.
  • I dabbled a bit with GBA programming utilizing the gcc toolchain and libs.
    Anyone know if this will be updated to support DS? or if a gcc toolchain is in the works?

    • I don't know if there will be a GCC toolchain, I have absolutely no information in that regard.

      But the fact that there's a GCC toolchain for GBA might be considered instructive. Also, the DS runs GBA software, and such software may be able to take advantage of some of the DS' extra features, so maybe you could take that route?
    • Re:gcc toolchain? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, DevKitARM [] has compilers for GBA and GP32 development already. Considering that the GBA uses an ARM7 CPU, and the GP32 uses an ARM9, and both CPUs are present in the DS, it would just take a little reverse engineering and writing libraries compatible with the DS hardware to make an easy-to-use development setup for the DS.

      Unfortunately, this info will probably get overlooked since I'm posting AC. But, I moderated in this story, so I don't have much choice.
  • Ok the DS has memory to download games from other DS's over the wireless. You could use that to load other code, browser, games, chats, the only limit would be the amout of memory that the DS has.

    Other things that could be done,a program could be coded to use you wifi on your pc to chat with the DS, or multi player games.
  • 10 minutes after this is perfected, someone will try to install linux on it.
  • So, how long until somebody upgrades the range on this thing to a few hundred metres (a few, uh, three hundred feet for you americans)? Presumably it'd only work if both DSs playing multiplayer had the upgrade or one side would experience extreme packet loss but hell, somebody must be working on it.
  • making a custom USB power connection for it

    Hook it up to a wireless USB adaptor and you'll have wireless power!

  • Instead of hacking together a USB charger, you *could* always go to your favorite large consumer electronics store and pick up a Pelican GBA SP USB charger for $9.00. It's exactly the same as the DS, and it even comes with a spiffy 12V-USB adapter thingy for use in the car.

    Yes, I have verified that it works, and I didn't have to kill a perfectly good spare power cord or USB cord, and hope that I matched the colors right.

    Link for $13.00 []

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