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Classic Emulator Setup on a DSi Handheld


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I've been asked (fairly often!) how  to get my emulators (StellaDS, A7800DS, A5200DS, A8DS, ColecoDS, DS99/4a, Nintellivision) running on their DS handhelds.


There are a number of DS models out there - from the original DS (known as the DS-Phat), DS-Lite, DSi, DSi XL/LL, 2DS and 3DS (and XL models of those last two).


While my emulators will run on all models, the method of launching the menu system and emulators differs (some methods and models are easier than others).


The easiest model to get running is the DSi** - you can tell if you have a DSi by the presence of a full-sized SD card slot on the right-side (in addition to the normal game cart slot on the back) as well as the DSi logo on the bottom (the (i) here is a very important distinction).  With a DSi model, all you need is an old full-sized SD card that can you format and load up.


If you have such a unit, here are some streamlined instructions for getting it running:  https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/ds-emu-setup


image.png.dca66b065011bf79f24897cfd795bbeb.png    image.png.85e4bf4ddfc324443921d6186159377e.png



**The DSi (specifically the larger LL or XL model) is my favorite and is the handheld that I use for my own personal handheld gaming.

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The 2DS XL and 3DS XL screens are wider than a traditional DSi XL (or LL which is just the Japanese model) but not taller.


The DSi XL is a 4:3 ratio and is 256x192 (same aspect ratio as a classic TV and same exactly pixel-perfect resolution as the Colecovision and same vertical resolution as the Intellivision) and so the extra wide 3DS XL screen doesn't really help anyway.


The 2DS/3DS models are designed for more modern gaming. I think they are great units - but the DSi XL/LL remains my handheld of choice for classic emulation especially given how easy they are to setup and use via an SD card.



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2 hours ago, fdr4prez said:

are all the XL models using the same size screen?


Or is the 3DS XL larger than the DSi XL?


Or are they different sizes, but negligible in difference of size?


Both screens on a DS are 256 x 192 regardless of physical size.  On the 3DS the upper screen is 800 x 240 (though each eye only sees 400 x 240 when playing a 3D game) and the lower screen is 320 x 240.


I have a 3DS and when running DS software, like @wavemotion's awesome emulators, the screen is by default upscaled to 640x240 (pillarboxed on upper) or 320x240 (lower).  Neither are an even multiple, so there's some distortion. Compare 3D Tic-Tac-Toe on my Mac:




vs. my 3DS:




Specifically the HMOVE comb and the pixels in the diagonal lines:


MACHMOVE.png.dfb382b8ef9d7711d06997b3b8da3b1a.png  MACdiagonal.png.9f97e7b8d73cd89f691b766f169643a2.png


and the non-integer scaling for the 3DS:

3DSHMOVE.jpeg.ca67cbfa4c316b139e6542359877b560.jpeg  3DSdiagonal.jpeg.fd9f2e368e96590d4b144f4048130a48.jpeg



There is a way to tell the 3DS to not upscale - hold SELECT when starting DS software.  The HMOVE bars look much better, though the diagonal still shows non-integer scaling of the 2600's 160 horizontal pixels to the DS's 256.




These show the difference between scaling and not scaling DS software on a 3DS:






3DS software uses full width of upper display:



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