I don’t believe that any teams have yet created (or, for that matter, announced the production of) a Nintendo DS scouting system. Well, for the last 2-3 months (on and off), I’ve been working my rear-end off researching the DS homebrew scene. The concept has several pros and cons, but it is a new idea to throw out there for teams. Way way back earlier this year out team bought the tools necessary to run homebrew. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the FRC excitement and completely forgot about our plans, until recently. So, without further ado…
Earlier this year, our team (1726) was talking to Dr. Karen Suhm, a mentor from 842 and owner of !nventivity](http://www.nventivity.com/). She created an incredible scouting system for 842 this last year and it worked wonders at the regionals and championships. Anyway, somehow, someone got the idea of using a Nintendo DS as a scouting platform; it was very efficient with a touch screen and buttons, so my dad suggested I look farther into the subject. We bought the tools to run homebrew and I started experimenting, first loading other’s programs onto the cartridge and then creating my own. Before I knew it, we had a scouting system ready to go!
Here’s the catch: the required tools are
- 6 Nintendo DSs (quite easy to obtain, from what I’ve seen at FIRST competitions. Every team member of every team seems to have one, so this is probably no problem)
- 6 SD-to-GBA adapters (We use the SuperCard, available at RealHotStuff(yes, it’s safe for work!))
- several superkeys (a version of a NoPass)
- 6 SD cards (32mb cards are easily obtained on ebay, but MAKE SURE THEY’RE SD CARDS, NOT MMC CARDS OR ANYTHING ELSE(can be micro with sd adapter))
- all of the software (I’ve added the GNU General Public License to the software, for reasons to be later discussed)
As you can see, there is a lot of stuff needed to get a full system to work. Here’s a picture of everything we currently have (image is missing 5 DSs):
However, the cost of this system is actually quite cheap: under $300 if you buy everything from the right places! A great investment, in my opinion…
Here is an attachment of the software needed to run and sort the data:
DSScouting.zip (116 KB)
Basically, all you have to do is place DSSCOUTv0.3.sc.nds and INFO1.txt on the root directory of the SD card. Then place the SD card in the adapter, plug it into your DS, and scout! When you’re done (this is a problem that I will shortly fix) make sure the SD card is in the E drive and run the macro on the spreadsheet. A simple data spreadsheet will be created with every team sorted. Keep in mind that this is all based on 842’s system. If multiple DSs are being used, the data must be copied to 1 file (that means only the DATA, not the column titles) before running it through the macro.
That’s basically how it functions right now. When you’re scouting, you should get a screen like this:
Follow the program, filling in information, until you come to the save screen. Fill in that information and then hit save. At that point, the program is writing to INFO1.txt, so don’t cut power! It will then return to the main screen so you can scout again.
Fortunately, this is FIRST, and I’ve decided to release everything to the FIRST community. It is licensed under the GNU GPL, which pretty much means you can edit the code and change the project all you want! In fact, I beg everyone who has any interest in this field to join in an fix my code! It was made by, and I quote myself here, a “complete and utter n00b.” The code is probably very inefficient and I want this project to become something that FIRST teams can actually use! All I ask is that any team that edits the program, changes it, or completely redoes it (which might be the best choice…) graciously donates their code to the FIRST community.
Anyway, since I’m releasing it, you may want to know just how to make programs. Here’s what I did:
- Download and install DevKitARM (I don’t think that’s the version I downloaded, but it will most likely work…)
- Download and Install the latest release of PAlib
- If you intend to create graphics, you might want to ensure you have the microsoft’s .NET runtime environment installed…
- An emulator might be nice until you can buy some stuff
- Start programming!
One thing you may want to look into is reading a LOT OF MATERIAL on programming the DS. There is enough stuff out there you get you started, and looking up random files in the libraries is especially useful. Here’s a wiki site on the PA library (which also includes information on installing everything on LINUX!
Also, don’t let me forget to upload the program and all of it’s source code an files:
DSscoutingv.3.zip (639 KB)
Well, that’s about it! I was planning on debuting this system at Battle at the Border, but unfortunately southern California is on fire (I hope everyone is safe!). So I’ve decided to release it anyway.
I plan on creating a small website solely for this system in the near future, so keep checking for that!
Comments, questions, and suggestions of any kind are welcome!