DeSmuME Manual for the Windows port

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Quick Getting Started Guide

When you start the emulator for the first time, you probably just want to play a certain game. You can do this by going to 'File' in the menu, and selecting 'Open Rom'. This will open up an explorer window, within which you can browse to the rom (nds file) that you wish to play. Once the game has finished loading (and this should only take a few seconds at most), your game will automatically start running. But if you want, you can also compile from source. See the article Installing DeSmuME from source on Windows for details.

Menu Layout

The rest of this manual will be spend on explaining all the other options in the menu.

File Menu

File | Open Rom

This option is for loading games. A game is typically called a rom file. Just use the explorer window to browse to the file, and click on open. The game should just load and start. The desmume windows port is also able to load some compressed formats, like zip, rar, and 7-zip. Just as long as there is a valid game (rom) file in the compressed archive ending with an .nds extension, it should load fine.

File | Recent Rom

This menu option contains a list of the roms that you have most recently loaded. You can quickly access a game that way, without having browse to the right directory with the 'Open Rom' option.

File | Rom Info

This option offers some information about the internals of the rom file, like name, code, manufacturer, and size. This should not concern the casual gamer, but may come in handy for developers.

File | Save State As...

Imagine you have gotten to a certian point in a game, and you need to do something else. The emulator let's you save the current state of the game, so that you can continue the game later at precisely the same point somewhere in the future.

File | Load State As...

Once you have saved a game's position, or 'state', you can load it again with this option.

File | Save State

This option works fairly similair to the 'Save As' option, altough it let's you save numbers instead os specifying a chosen name. Also, All the states saved via this option end up with a pre-determined name of 'game (rom) name'.dsx. So if the game is called MyGame, the first savefile will be called MyGame.ds0, the second one MyGame.ds1, etc.

File | Load State

This option let's you load the states that you saved via the 'File | Save State' option

File | Import Backup Memory

Backup Memory is the data the game uses to remember its own state. It is stored on the cart in a normal game. The file format is '.duc'. .duc is the same thing as .sav but a different format. People use pro action replays to capture it from their card and post it online without using emulators. Go to and find a '.duc' save file for a game you can use that function to import it into desmume. Its the save file. save ram. where your saved game goes. desmume calls it .sav file

File | Save Screenshot As...

This lets you take a screenshot of the current view of the emulator, and specify it's name to save as a bitmap (.bmp) file.

File | Quick Screenshot

This option also dumps a screencapture, but it has a pre-determied filename and location. It will be called printscreen.bmp, and located in the current directory. In Windows, this is probably the same folder as where your desmume binary is located.

File | Record AVI

This option lets you capture what's going on in the emulator, and save it in an avi file.

File | Stop AVI

The 'Record AVI' option continues to record the game, untill you press the 'Stop Avi' option.

File | Quit

Choosing this option exits the emulator.

Emulation Menu

Emulation | Pause

This option will pause the emulation, freezing it at the current moment of execution. Selecting it again will resume the execution of the ROM at the exact moment where you paused it.

Emulation | Reset

This option will reset the ROM that is currently loaded to the very start of the ROM, just as if you chose 'File | Open Rom' again.

Emulation | Shut Up

This option turns off all the sound.

Emulation | GBA Slot

This menu option pop-ups a new window, which lets you specirfy what to do with the GBA slot of the Nintendo DS. It has the following choices : NONE, Compact Flash, Rumble Pack, GBA Game. Rumble pack allows some games to use vibration. Memory extension... Extends memory. And some DS games can have bonuses, unlockable by GBA cart. For example in Megaman ZX you can fight some Megaman Zero Bosses when correct cartridge is inserted. There are also other GBA slot extensions, like... a Guitar hero controller. But these are currently not emulated by desmume. Flash Cartridge is used for homebrew software emulation, for example that uses DLDI ( Dynamically Linked Device Interface).

Emulation | Cheats

This option pulls down a drop-down menu, and presents the options list and search. Be aware though, that cheats are sort of half baked right now. If you are not having luck, wait for some news on an improved cheat system.

Emulation | Cheats | List

Choosing 'list' will list all the currently known cheats. Please refer to the article Using Cheats in DeSmuMe for further details on how to use the cheat mechanism in desmume.

Emulation | Cheats | Search

Choosing 'search' will let you search for cheats. Please refer to the article Using Cheats in DeSmuMe for further details on how to use the cheat mechanism in desmume.

View Menu

View | Rotation

This option will let you rotate the screen a pre-determined amount of degrees. The options are 0 (no rotation),90 ,180, and 270.

View | Window size

This option will let you enlarge the windows a pre-determined size. The resize options are: 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 3x, and 4x the default size.

View | Screen Separation

This option controls how far the two windows should be apart of each other, in other words: how big the border between them should be. Valid choices are: None (which is the default), narrow border (which is slightly larger), DS (which is about the wsame amount of room there is on a real Nintendo DS).

View | Force Maintain Ratio

Here you can choose, when re-sizing the windows, if you wan to maintain the ratio of the windows. You can select or de-select this option.

View | Display Frame Counter

Selecting this option causes a counter to run, that counts all the frames that have been displayed.

View | Display FPS

Selecting this option causes the 'frames-per-second' (or 'fps', for short) to be displayed.

View | Display Input

Selecting this option displays the keys you press on the keyboard, which is the input

View | Display Lag Counter

This option causes a counter to display that counts frames where the game doesn't poll input.

View | HUD Editing Mode

This option will let you drag around hud elements to pick their position.

Config Menu

Config | Save Type

This option lets you specify the save type of a particular game. The default is 'automatic'. However, this is not fail-safe in all cases, so you might need to manually select one of the other savetypes.

Config | 3D Settings

This option lets you select the method that is used to draw the screen. You can choose between OpenGL (an open standard) or SoftRasterizer (a desmume specific method).

Config | Control Config

This option lets you configure keyboard keys or a joystick. The joystick support is implemented using a DirectInput control interface.

Config | Hotkey Config

This menu option lets you define keys, that can be used to quickly select other options without having to go through the entire menu structure. Some examples are A hotkey for 'pause', or a hotkey for loading a specific savestate.

Config | Sound Settings

This option lets you choose between different sound generating methods, which currectly are 'Direct Sound Interface' and 'WAV Write sound Interface'. it also let's you specify the size of the buffer to buffer the sound.

Config | WIFI Settings

WIFI support is currently under heavy development, but it is not deemed ready for inclusion in the general public releases yet. Therefore, you may find this option missing, or simply 'greyed-out' for now.

Config | Firmware Settings

This option provides you with the same set of options that a real Nintendo DS firmware does. The most important here is the language, for multi-langual games will often look at how this option is set.

Config | Emulation Settings

These options let you boot from the extracted BIOS and Firmware of a real Nintendo DS. unless you have extracted/downloaded the firmware or bios from a Nintendo DS that you actually own yourself, these settings have no value for you qas desmume does not require them to run correctly.

Config | Frame Skip

This option lets you select how many frames should not be displayed, in order to gain speed improvements. The default is 'Auto'. If you have speed problems, you could decide to skip (not display) one or more frames in order to improve the speed. 'Limit Frameskip' let's you limit the frame rate to 60fps maximum. 60fps is essentially the speed that the game plays at on the actual console itself. So by selecting this option, you're limiting the framerate to the actual speed of the actual console.

Config | Language

This lets you set the langguage the emulator displays it's menu's and options in.

Tools Menu

Tools | Disassembler

This option displays the ARM9 and ARM7 disassembler. Be aware though, that the windows are drawn exactly on top of each other, so that you have to move (drag n drop) the first windows before the second window shows.

Tools | View Memory

This tool displays the ARM7 and ARM9 memory. Be aware though, that the windows are drawn exactly on top of each other, so that you have to move (drag n drop) the first windows before the second window shows.

The "View mode" radio buttons allow you to choose how the memory will be shown:

  • 8-bit : shows the memory as bytes
  • 16-bit : shows the memory as words
  • 32-bit : shows the memory as dwords

The "View address" textbox and button allow you to jump to a different address:

  • Enter an hexadecimal address without 0x prefix, with up to 8 digits
  • Click "Go" to jump to the entered address

The "View dump" buttons allow you to dump the current view:

  • Text dump : dumps the view to a text file, in an human-readable form
  • Raw dump : dumps the memory directly to a binary file which can be read with an hex editor

Note that if you dump memory to a file already containing (a) dump(s), the new dump will be appended to the existing one(s).

The scrollbar... well, you surely know how a scrollbar works.

The viewers additionally allow to edit the memory. For it, click on the value you want to edit, then type the new value. The new value is applied only once you've entirely entered it.

Tools | View Registers

This option lets you view the ARM7 and ARM9 I/O registers.

Tools | View Palette

This option lets you view the palette in detail.

Tools | View Tiles

This option lets you view the tiles in detail.

Tools | View Maps

This option lets you view the maps in detail.

Tools | View OAM

This option lets you view the OAM layer in detail.

Tools | View Matrices

This option lets you view the matrices in detail.

Tools | View Lights

This option lets you view the lights in detail.

Tools | View Layers

This option lets you view the Layers one by one.

Help Menu

Help | Website

This option directs your browser to the desmume homepage.

Help | Forums

This option directs your browser to the desmume forums.

Help | Submit a bug report

This option directs your browser to the SourceForge bugtracker for desmume.

Help | About

This option displays the authors of the emulator.

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