The Wi-Fi link on the Nintendo DS makes it possible to harnass the game unit as a software controller, made more appealing by the DS’ two screens and touchscreen/stylus. In one very cool student project at the University Of Applied Science Hagenberg, a three-person team (Matthias Zauner, Ralph Windischhofer, and Martina Karan) has developed a homebrew app enabling the DS to function as a VJ controller:
ndsvisuals Project Page (with movies, screenshots, and all the technical resources used)
An open wi-fi library lets the DS transmit via TCP and UDP, which enables the use of multimedia software on your computer; this could be easily applied to Processing, Flash, Max/MSP/Jitter and Pd/GEM, or various other options that can handle the data. In this case, the creators chose the superb, free interactive visual package for Windows, vvvv. That enables many features, like:
- Showing an overview of footage on the DS screens, arrangable in sequences via drag-and-drop with the stylus
- Color, opacity, blends, and blend modes
- Stylus scratching!
- 2D cross-fader controlled by stylus
- Plug-in support for your own vvvv patches (very cool, for custom control)
- Use of vvvv patches and video files
Of course, the DS is basically a controller; the magic is all happening in vvvv — but the functionality here and polish must have required a lot of work on both ends. The results aren’t ready for download yet, but they demonstrate just how much promise homebrew development offers for mobile platforms like the DS. (And how else can you control VJ sets, interactive installations, and Mario Kart all on one device?) Stay tuned for more; we’ll be watching this one.
If you want to try your hand at this stuff — and be forewarned, I’ve been told by multiple developers that DS development is not a good idea for programmers just getting started — the creators have a comprehensive list of resources used to build this.
A number of related stories over on our sister site CDMusic, starting with a rough equivalent using PSP + Ableton Live: