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Does this make a nerd and a geek?
August 15, 2010 6:49 PM   Subscribe

I want to have my DS and my laptop talk to each other. Is this even possible?

I've been wondering about this for a while. The DS apparently uses IEEE 802.11. I'm a pretty decent programmer but know next to nothing about wireless and video game systems. I'm on a mac but have access to linux and windows.

Specifically, I would want to write a program that trades with the Pokemon DS games. In the pokemon games, there are a lot of hidden stats that people jump through a lot of hoops to figure out. These stats are constant through trading, so if I could trade with a computer, I could see all of these things. It would also be pretty cool (thought obviously cheating) to be able to pull pokemon out of thin air.

If you know nothing about pokemon, basically you can catch different monsters on different games and trade them over wireless on the DS. Presumably, after a few handshakes to make sure the other DS exists, each DS sends over a string of data that describes everything about that pokemon.

Logically, I'm thinking the first step would be to have two DSes trade and somehow listen in on the "conversation", and then somehow duplicate the signal from one of the DSes. I would then change certain variables (like making the pokemon one level higher, etc) until I could figure out what everything does.

I have a bunch of questions about this:
1) Is there anyone doing this kind of thing already?
2) Is it even possible?
3) Is the exchange of data likely to be encrypted? That would seem kind of overkill, but Nintendo is sometimes a little crazy about things like this.
4) How would I listen in to the DS' exchange? Is there a program that does this kind of thing or would it be easy to program myself? Would it be easy to tell which signal came from where?
5) Finally, how would I 'send out' what the DS 'said' from my laptop?
posted by wayland to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know all the nuts and bolts, but I know one entree into the DS hacking community is the "action replay" gadget, which does have a) a website with hacks and cheats and b) a cartridge with a usb wire connector which seems like you could get involved with doing this kind of thing. There is a community of users who are posting stuff, so I would imagine if it's technically possible to do it with a DS, they've found a way.

Sorry I don't know more firsthand - my son has (or did have) one of these and used it to download cheats, but that's about all he did with it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:34 PM on August 15, 2010

It's definitely possible, but if you just want to cheat, it's be easier to just use an Action replay or just hexedit game saves via linker/flash cart.

You could also look at DS emulators that would support network play either at their source (if available) or hacked savegames/memory and transferring them.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:29 PM on August 15, 2010

Use Wireshark to capture the wireless network traffic. You should know the IP addresses of the DS devices on your network, so can filter the Wireshark results to show only communication between them. Then you'll need to work out the protocol Nintendo is using, and as you say, if it is encrypted. Good luck!
posted by hjd at 1:23 AM on August 16, 2010

The forum at GBA Dev is the place to ask. When I was doing DS homebrew this didn't quite work 100%, but that was quite a while ago and I'd be surprised if they don't have it figured out now.
posted by ecurtz at 7:18 AM on August 16, 2010

I own an R4 cartridge for my DS, which looks like a basic DS cart, but has a slot for a memory card. I'm not certain that you can pull in the data you want, live from the wireless connection, but if this data is stored somewhere in the DS memory, you should be able to get it. You should be able to get any data from the DS, transfer it to your computer, analyze it, change it, and then send it back to the DS. (As an aside, my favorite thing about the R4 is that it allows you to download any of the game console emulators, and play old school games from systems like TurboGafx-16 and Super Nintendo).
posted by EvilPRGuy at 8:35 PM on August 16, 2010

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