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Revision as of 08:56, 2 April 2009 by Vague Rant (talk | contribs) (Custom GBA frames.)

Some of the more advanced features of AKAIO require a degree of technical knowledge to take advantage of them. This article aims to explain in simple terms how to get the most out of AKAIO with a minimum of tech experience.


Listed here are all of the tools mentioned for use within this article.

Acekard Skin Editor

Acekard Skin Editor is the official skinning application developed by the Acekard team.

Dan Taylor's AK Edit

Dan Taylor's AK Edit is a skin editor designed specifically for the Acekard 2 and Acekard RPG, with support for AKAIO. It will automatically save images to the correct specification, and will even detect incorrectly formatted images upon loading a new skin.


GIMP is an open-source image editor available for most major OSes, including Windows, Mac OS X and Unix/Linux. It is often compared to Adobe's Photoshop image editor, however GIMP is freely available for download. It can save images in a wide variety of formats, but importantly in this case, it is able to generate the specific type of bitmap used by AKAIO.


[Coming soon.]

Custom icons

AKAIO has a custom icon system whereby specially formatted bitmaps (*.bmp) can be placed on your microSD and used as a replacement for the usual icons, both those built into Nintendo DS games and those used by AKAIO itself, for example the generic "Game Boy Advance" icon which is displayed for all *.gba files. However, due to the limitations on the DS hardware, the most common formats of *.bmp file (e.g. the types generated by MS Paint) are not able to be used for this purpose, and they must instead be saved with some required specifications. There are several methods of generating this type of bitmap, detailed below.

Using GIMP

The image resolution required for custom icons is 32*32 pixels. If you already have a 32*32 image that you've made previously or downloaded from the Internet, all you need to do is save it in the correct format by opening it in GIMP, clicking the "File" dropdown at the top of the image window and then clicking "Save As...". See below for the specifics on how to save your icons.

If you're creating a new image, then the "Create a New Image" window will allow you to select the correct resolution of your icon. Simply enter "32" into both the "Height" and "Width" boxes on that screen, and hit "OK" to begin working on your custom icon.

If you're editing an image which is currently larger than 32*32, it is possible to change the in-progress image's attributes by clicking the "Image" dropdown and moving down to "Canvas Size". In the "Canvas Size" window, you may enter your width and height, similarly to the way this is done when creating a new image. Note that you may need to click on the chain icon next to these boxes; the chain represents a forced aspect ratio: editing one digit will automatically edit the other in order to make the image stay the same shape when it resizes (i.e. a "landscape" image would remain "landscape", just resized to your chosen dimensions). This is usually great, but not at all helpful when you need to make perfect square images, so unless your source image is already a perfect square, the chain should be unlinked. Be aware, however, that changing the canvas size will not resize the image; it it's not the same thing as scaling the image, which isn't covered here.

Once you're ready to save your image, hit "File", "Save As..." and type your filename into the box. You can either choose your file format by expanding the section at the bottom of the window, or simply by typing it into the filename field (e.g. akaiotest.bmp would save the file as a bmp). Now a "Save as BMP" window should appear, with a collapsed "Advanced Options" section. Expand it and select the "X1 R5 G5 B5" option under the "16 bits" header. Hit "Save" and your custom icon is done.

If you want to use this icon for a specific file (e.g. because you don't like the built-in icon or because you want to give icons to GBA games, etc.), rename the *.bmp to exactly match the file name of the target, minus the extension (so a custom icon for ClIRC.nds would be named ClIRC.bmp). Place your *.bmp in the same folder as the corresponding file, and when you next boot AKAIO, it should appear in place of the default icon. If you want to use this icon for a specific file format (e.g. as an icon for text files), place them in the folder /__aio/icons/ with the file format of your choice for a name (e.g. *.txt files, the bitmap should be named txt.bmp).

Custom GBA frames

With the exception of the image's size, the process of creating custom GBA frames is much the same as that for creating custom icons. Your custom image should be 256*192, which is the exact size of a Nintendo DS screen. The middle 240*160 pixels of the image will be covered by your GBA game, which leaves you with 16 pixels each on the left and right (for a total of 32) and 8 pixels each on the top and bottom (for a total of 16). The middle portion of the image will not be displayed at any point, and can be left blank. Due to the similarities between saving bitmaps for GBA frames and for icons, it is sufficient to say that the same methods of saving them are appropriate.