In order to make a game for Nintendo DS, you should have some knowledge of C and C++.

Before starting to code for our beloved Nintendo DS, we need some tools, like the right compiler (kindly provided by devkitPro) and the right libraries.

Step 1. Download and install devkitPro pacman

First of all we need to download the devkitPro package manager. We will use it to download the devkitARM toolchain and Nintendo DS libraries.

After you installed pacman, you'll need to set up the following environment variables:


If you don't know how to do it, just google how to set environment variables on <your OS>.

Step 2. Install devkitARM and NDS libraries

It's time to open your terminal! Move to /opt/devkitpro/pacman/bin.

cd /opt/devkitpro/pacman/bin

This command will do all the work:

./pacman -Sl nds-dev

Step 3. Emulate!

It's time to download an emulator, if you don't already have one. My personal suggestion is melonDS, it's a very complete emulator, with lots of settings and even some Wifi functions work on it.

Step 4. Compile!

Luckly, in step 4 we installed a bunch of code examples together with the libraries. For making sure that everything works well, let's start with the hello_world example.

Now move into /opt/devkitpro/examples/nds/hello_world with your terminal.

cd  /opt/devkitpro/examples/nds/hello_world

You can rather work directly in this directory, or copy it somwhere else.

Let's compile, type the following command:


If you get an error like Permission denied, type this:

cd ..
sudo chmod 777 hello_world
cd hello_world

Set 4. Run!

Now, if everything went well, in your hello_world directory there's a hello_world.nds file. Open this with your emulator, and you're done!

Hello world

Step 5. Have fun!

Now you can code your personal Nintendo DS game. Here's the documentation of libnds, it will be useful: Feel free to open source/main.cpp file and make some experiments! If yu don't have any C++ IDE, i suggest CLion by JetBrains, or if you don't want to pay (or you're not at university) you can youse Visual Studio Code.


If you encountered problems following this guide (especially during step 1 on windows) you can refer to this guide:

Otherwise just send me an e-mail at, and i will try my best to help you.

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