Nintendo DS

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The Nintendo DS is a portable handheld created by Nintendo in 2004.

Ripping Tools

DS Tools

  • Wood Dumper (latest is r89)
  • NDS Backup Tool (creates bad dumps)

PC Tools

  • Apicula (Command line tool to convert nsbmd to Collada DAE with rigging & animations) Dev's Forum Post
  • Tinke
  • DSLazy
  • Oil of Vitriol
  • Every File Explorer (AKA EFE)
  • NDSHeader (aka NDS Header Viewer)
  • NSMBe (aka New Super Mario Bros. Editor) (Can view, edit and export NCG, NCL, NSC and NSBTX files and supports NARC/ARC archives. It can also view, edit and export icons.)
  • SM64DSe (aka Super Mario 64 DS Editor) (Can view and edit NCG, NCL and NSC files.)
  • 54634564's NDS Icon Ripper
  • NFTREdit (Can edit, view and export NFTR font files.)
  • NitroStudio (Can edit, view and export most files contained in SDAT files.)
  • VGMtrans (Made specifically for ripping. The only tool that can export SBNK and SWAR files to SF2 or DST.)

Console Tool

Console Tool is a program that allows you to view the files in an NDS ROM, and export them.

MKDS Course Modifier

MKDS Course Modifier views most common NDS 3D and 2D formats (read below) and allows the models to be exported in .OBJ format. It can also view NCG, NCL and NSC files, NARC/ARC archives and SDAT files (including their contents).

Physical Tools

  • NDS backup Adapter+
  • NEO SMS4

Common File Formats

NITRO File Formats

For more details on this file format, please visit the Nitro Files page.

The Nitro file system is a set of basic files created by Nintendo that helped developers quickly and easily develop titles for the console. Because of the simplicity of these files and the way they're created, it is the easiest common format on the DS to rip.

Formats include, but are not limited to, the following:

2D-related:
  • NCLR (Nitro CoLoR) → Color Palette
  • NCGR (Nitro Character Graphic Resource) → Graphical Tiles
  • NBGR (Nitro Basic Graphic Resource) → Graphical Tiles
  • NSCR (Nitro SCreen Resource) → Maps/Images
  • NCER (Nitro CEll Resource) → Tile Arrangement Information
  • NANR (Nitro ANimation Resource) → Animation Data
  • NFTR (Nitro Font Table Resource) → Fonts
3D-related:
  • NSBMD (Nitro Sdk Binary Model Data) → 3D Polygonal Model data
  • NSBTX (Unknown) → Texture image and palette data
  • NSBCA (Nitro Sdk Binary Character Animation) → Skeletal animation data
  • NSBTP (Nitro Sdk Binary Texture Pattern) → Texture-swapping animations
  • NSBTA (Nitro Sdk Binary Texture Animation) → UV-change animations
  • NSBMA (Nitro Sdk Binary Material Animation) → Material-change animations
  • NSBVA (Unknown) → Unknown

The 2D formats can be ripped, viewed and edited by NSMBe, while the 3D formats can be ripped, viewed and edited by MKDSCM (in OBJ format) and Apicula (in DAE format). For ripping, Apicula is prefered since it can export several things MKDSCM can't, like skeletons.

.NARC or .ARC

NARC (Nitro ARChive) and ARC (ARChive) files are used to store compressed filetrees in one file (like any archive format: .zip, .rar, etc.). These files can be opened by MKDSCM and NSMBe.

.SDAT

Sound and music archives which often contain everything sound related in the rom. While they can be partially edited by a number of editors (such as MKDSCM, Tinke and DSSoundStudio), the best editor is Nitro Studio, supporting all formats except SSAR, which is only partially supported. Here are the formats SDAT (Sound DATa) files contain:

  • SSEQ (Sound SEQuence) → Sequences. Can be either on their own or inside SSAR files.
  • SBNK (Sound BaNK) → Instruments
  • SWAR (Sound Wave ARchive) → Sound sample archives. These samples are used by instruments inside SBNK files
  • SWAV (Sound WAVe) → Contained inside SWAR files. Individual sound samples
  • SSAR (Sound Sequence ARchive) → Mostly used for sound effects and short jingles
  • STRM (STReaM) → Full streamed songs

.LZ

These are compressed files (using the Lempel-Ziv compression algorithm) - they can be decompressed through several means/programs, like DSDecmp for example.

NCG, NCL and NSC

These formats serve the same purpose as the NCGR, NCLR and NSCR formats. They are used in New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 DS. They can be viewed by MKDSCM and edited by NSMBe or SM64DSe.

BMG

Text files, often using NFTR fonts. Supported by MKDSCM.

Suggested Emulators

The three currently leading emulators are No$GBA, DeSmuME and MelonDS.

DeSmuME is the most popular emulator at the moment and has the most features (cheat codes, 3D enhancements, some debug tools, audio/video recording, savestates and TASing tools) but is the slowest and isn't as accurate as MelonDS. It has no DSi emulation of any kind.

MelonDS is the most accurate emulator. While the emulator is somewhat lacking in features, it still has 3D enhancements through the OpenGL renderer, savestates and supports online multiplayer. It is also currently the only emulator with experimental local multiplayer emulation. Thanks in part to the OpenGL renderer, it is faster than DeSmuME, but the OpenGL renderer suffers from a number of issues with various games, which is why the extremely accurate but slower software renderer is recommended. MelonDS also has partial DSi emulation on specific test builds.

No$GBA is by far the fastest of the bunch and has the best debug tools by far, however it is lacking in pretty much every other department and has pretty bad accuracy, similarly to most other No$ emulators. Using No$Zoomer alongside it is strongly recommended to make audio emulation more tolerable and changing the screen size. This is also currently the emulator with the best DSi emulation. Only use it if your computer is very slow, for debugging or to play DSi games.

Specific Game Pages