After I have been asked by several people about how to set up the Nintendo DS (lite) to work with colors, I thought I'd rather post a HOW-TO here. I'm not an expert and had to work myself through a lot of Google pages and forum archives to make it work, so I'm not taking responsibility if you nuke your DS
Nintendo DS Lite
For those who do not know what the buzz is all about: The Nintendo DS (lite) is a portable gaming device that comes with 2 screens (DS = dual screen), WiFi support and a stylus. But you can use it as a painting device as well, something like a Wacom Cintiq, just smaller, cheaper and with a computer build in. You can use either the original DS or the DS lite, but I recommend using the DS lite. The LCD screens are brilliant, while the DS screen is rather dull and dark. And hands down, it looks hot, while the old DS looks as if a toaster mated a blender.
Selfmade, free appz for portables are called "Homebrew". There are about 5 painting applications at the moment, the best so far is Colors! It is equipped with the basic functions you need to paint digitally.
- 1024px wide document
- 2x/4x zoom
- a colorwheel
- hard/soft brushes
- pressure-sensitivity for both, opacity and size
- horizontal/vertical image flipping
- PLAYBACK function (see the whole process of a picture)
- Saving to up to 8 slots
- Uploading your pics to the official Colors! gallery via WiFi
Accessoires you'll need to get Colors! running on your DS
M3 DS Simply / R4 Revolution adapter cartridge
The DS has two slots that hold game cartridges. A big one at the front for old Game Boy Advanced cartridges (Slot-2), and a smaller one at the back of the device for DS games (Slot-1). It doesn't connect to a computer tho, as there's no way to plug it in via USB. The M3/R4 is an adapter cartridge that holds a microSD card to make the transfer from your computer to the DS. M3 and R4 are the same device, just by two different companies. I use the R4, it works fine.
This one stores the data. The microSD is tiny. I mean, TINY! It's hardly the size of my little finger's nail. You can connect it to your computer either by a capable card-reader, by converting it into a normal SD-card via adapter (first pic), or via USB-stick with a slot for the card (second pic). Make sure you have one of these. Most microSDs come with an adapter or USB-stick.
How to set it all up
1. M3/R4 Kernel
Plug the microSD into your computer. Download the "operating system" for either R4 or M3 and follow the instructions. Basically, you just put them onto your microSD.
2. Test Kernel
I was skipping this step and the programs didn't work. Put the microSD into your DS and turn it on. You should see the M3/R4 menu with 3 selection on your touchpad (Games, Multimedia, Slot-2 or derivates). Turn it off and put the microSD back into your computer.
3. Download Colors!
4. Install Colors!
Copy the .nds file to the root of the microSD. Put the card into your DS and start.
5. Patch Colors! Only if the step above doesn't result in a functioning application!
Usually, you can skip this step. If the application doesn't work, you need to download a so called DLDI-tool to patch all downloaded applications before copying them onto your card. Find them in the second list on the Official DLDI website. The file that has to be patched is the .nds file. It's the only file you need to copy to the card later. When you're asked for the medium that the application will be patched for, select M3/R4 or similar.
6. Run Colors!
Power-On. Select "Games" or "Applications" and choose the colors.nds. Press "A"-button to run the program.
7. Calibrate the stylus
I was shocked to find out that Colors! wouldn't let me paint with full opacity. Press the "Start"-button, choose calibrate!
The eMail function
It seems like Colors! uses the .drw file of the image as a base for the image that is created. It saves the strokes made and that data can be used to generate an image. With the build in eMail function, you can send a copy of your image to yourself. Why would you do that when you can actually just transfer the data via USB? Pretty simple: The eMail function uses a 1024px wide image and redraws your painting, while you can only transfer the 512px wide image from the microSD. You'll receive an non-interpolated 1024px wide image instead of the usual low-res .png file.
1. Set up WiFi on your DS
First you need an original, WiFi-enabled Nintendo game as there is no other way (of my knowledge) to set up WiFi on your DS. So get a cheap game that has a WiFi-function, e.G. for multiplayer mode. Most of those games have a "WiFi"-button in the main-menu or options-menu that lets you connect your DS to your local WLAN-network.
2. E-mail it to yourself
In Colors, open your painting, press the "Start" button and select "WiFi" in the lower right corner. You will be connected to your WLAN-network and you will be asked if you want to connect to the Colors! gallery. Accept, wait, and you'll receive a message that says that the gallery is not yet ready. Tap the screen and you will be prompted to type in an e-mail address. Enter your own and you're done. Enter a friend's e-mail to send love-letters made in Colors!
Frequently asked questions
Where's the f*** colorwheel?
It's mapped to the index-finger buttons on the back of the DS!
yAdam for pointing out the DLDI misunderstanding
donkeyslaver for telling the world that the images are actually 1024pixels wide.
sparth and again donkeyslayer for the email-function hint.