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FAQ by Crazyreyn

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 03/24/05


                                P I C T O C H A T

                                   Nintendo DS
                                FAQ, Version 1.1
                           Last Updated - 24/03/2005
                    By Crazyreyn (crazyreyn_faqs@hotmail.com)
             Copyright (c)2005 Matthew Reynolds. All rights reserved. 


Legal Notice
The ONLY sites that may have this FAQ and all my other FAQs are the following..


You will find the latest versions here. If you DO see this FAQ on a site other
than those above, then please contact me straight away.

Contact Details
If you see a fault of ANY kind or you want to contribute some data to me, then 
either email me at crazyreyn_faqs@hotmail.com OR speak to me on 
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If you are emailing me, then please have the subject title as 'PictoChat
FAQ' or something similar, otherwise it will not be opened. Full credit will be
given in due course.


Hello and welcome to the PictoChat FAQ. This text document will give you the
full lowdown on the chat software that's built in to the Nintendo DS, which
will include how to use it and what possible uses it has. It's not a long
or particularly in-depth guide, as the software itself isn't that
complicated. Either way I hope it assists you in what questions you might
have about the software.

Pointless Trivia: I was the first person to post on the PictoChat board on

                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Version History
2. PictoChat Overview
3. Possible Uses of PictoChat
4. FAQ's
5. Conclusion and Special Thanks

                              1. VERSION HISTORY

Version 1.1 - 24/03/2005
General update; Added some more FAQs, and general bits and bobs.

Version 1.0 - 28/02/2005
The first complete version of this FAQ. Everything is complete.

                              2. PICTOCHAT OVERVIEW

PictoChat is built in chat software that allows you to send images and text
to 16 other people in one room using the wireless communication. To open
PictoChat, go to the Main Menu on the Nintendo DS and click the PictoChat

You will then be taken to a screen showing you four chat rooms, labelled A to
D. Each room can house up to sixteen users, and it will display how many users
are in each room and the signal. Select a room to enter. If there are no users
then you can enter anyway and talk to yourself; not very social but ideal
if just want to mess around and draw stuff. If it's full (16/16) then you
can't enter.

Here is the PictoChat screen -

                      |1 |  2                         |
                      |--|                            |
                      |3 |                            |
                      |  |                            |
                      |  |                            |
                      |  |                            |
                      |  |                            |
                      |  |                            |
                      |--|                            |
                      |4 |                            |
                      | 5|           9            10 X|
                      |  |¯¯11¯/¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯|
                      |6 |¯¯¯¯¯  12                   |
                      |  |                            |
                      |7 |                            |
                      |  | 13                    |14  |
                      |8 |                       |----|
                      |  |                       |15  |
                      |  |                       |16¯¯|

1 - Signal Strength
    This shows how strong the signal is in the chat room for communicating
    with other people. More bars mean the strength is stronger; try having
    two or three bars for optimum use.
    0 - No signal
    1 - Weak signal
    2 - Good signal
    3 - Strong signal

2 - Message Display
    This shows the messages entered into the chat room thus far. You can
    scroll through these using the arrows on the touch screen. Each message
    also has the nickname tagged on to it so you know who said what.

3 - Scroll Bar
    This shows a column of lines; different colour lines represent messages
    from different users, and the bold set of lines show where the messages in
    the message display are located. You can scroll through this using the
    arrows on the touch screen.

4 - Chat Room
    This tells you what chat room you are in - either A, B, C or D.

5 - Scrolling Arrows
    Use these arrows to scroll through the message list.

6 - Pen Tool
    Here are two icons; a pen and an eraser. If the pen is selected you will
    draw lines, whereas if the eraser is selected you can erase drawings.

7 - Thickness
    Here are two icons; a large and small dot. These represent the size of the
    pen or eraser on the input board.

8 - Keyboard Styles
    Here you can change the keyboard styles via five buttons; these are
    Alphanumeric, International, Japanese Hiragana / Katakana, Symbols and
    Pictures. Click a button to change the keyboard to that style.

9 - Room Members
    This displays the nick names of those in the chat room. Click a name to
    view their personal message!

10 - Exit
     Click this button to exit the chat room.

11 - Nick Name
     Displays your nickname above the input board - selecting it displays
     your personal message.

12 - Input Board
     Here is where you input your drawings, and where your text goes when
     you use the keyboard.

13 - Keyboard
     Here be the keyboard, argh. This is a standard qwerty keyboard with
     functions such as backspace, enter, space, caps and shift. Caps will make
     all the letters capitalised and shift will replace symbols and numbers
     with other symbols. Either use the stylus or buttons to enter text -
     if you are using the stylus, you can drag and drop letters on to the
     input board anywhere you like.

14 - Send Message Button
     Add the message on your input board to the Message Display (to the rest
     of the chat room).

15 - Retrieve Message
     Clicking this button will retrieve the bottom message on the top screen
     and copy it onto your input board. So if the last person started a game
     of noughts and crosses you can retrieve the last message and add your
     move, then send etc. Use the Scrolling Arrows to change what message is
     at the bottom of the top screen for retrieving.

16 - Clear Input Board Button
     Purges whatever is on the input board.


You can use either the D-Pad and Buttons or the stylus to use with PictoChat.
With the stylus you just tap buttons to do whatever it does and it will be
done - sorta like having a magic lamp, except you get as many wishes as you
want and there is no blue genie to piss you off.

Using the D-Pad you can pretty much do everything the same as the stylus
bar drawing and dragging and dropping text. And it takes about 4 minutes
longer to type words too. Here are the controls -

D-Pad   -  Highlight text
A       -  Insert Text
B       -  Backspace (delete text)
Y       -  Scroll through Keyboard Styles
X       -  Alternate between Caps and Shift
L       -  Scroll down through messages
R       -  Scroll up through messages
SELECT  -  Retrieve Message
START   -  Send Message

Adding people to the chat room

Although the title is somewhat false, basically for people to enter a chat
room just enter one and on other people's chat room screens it will add
a person to that room; people then just enter to start chatting. No invites
or passwords required. The DS will constantly search for other users in
PictoChat, so people can come and go at any time.

Retrieving Text

Here's a quick low down on retrieving text. Clicking the retrieve text button
(or pressing SELECT) will retrieve the bottom message on the top screen
and copy it onto your input board. So if the last person started a game of
noughts and crosses you can retrieve the last message and add your move, then
send etc. Use the Scrolling Arrows (or L and R) to change what message is at
the bottom of the top screen for retrieving.


There are different sounds that occur when using PictoChat - you get clicks
and such when using the keyboard and pressing buttons, a scrapeing-esque
noise when drawing and a bell will chime when someone enters or leaves the chat

Wireless Use

The Nintendo DS can connect wirelessly with other systems for multiplayer
games or PictoChat. It uses radio frequencies to connect (802.11) and is a
Class 1 product. To start transmitting wirelessly to other DS systems then
just open PictoChat; it will search for other PictoChat users constantly.
When using PictoChat an icon will appear to show the strength of the wireless
signal. The more bars in this icon, the higher strength and the greater the
connection. Try having two or three bars for optimum use.

0 - No signal
1 - Weak signal
2 - Good signal
3 - Strong signal

To get a stronger signal, try lowering your range. The DS is said to travel
from 10 to 20 metres (30 - 65 feet) but there are rumours stating it can go as
far as 100 feet. To get stronger signals then avoid obstructions, get closer
together and face the systems together. There is also a chance of getting
interference off other wireless networks and devices.

Creating new symbols and shapes

Insert a symbol or shape from the Keyboard styles, then send it. Now recall
it and drag and drop another symbol onto the one you put in last time, to
merge them together into a funky new shape. Pretty cool! There are loads of
possibilities to try out, so have fun! Thanks to some guys on the PictoChat
message board for finding this. You can get credit guys if you give me
an email, I couldn't find your topic.

                          3. POSSIBLE USES OF PICTOCHAT

PictoChat can be used for several things other than chatting, such as simple
games. Here is some inspiration, but the possibilities are pretty much
endless. Although when using PictoChat you have to be in talking / seeing
range with other people so it's not MSN or anything.

- Chatting
- Chatting in a quiet place
- Chatting between rooms
- Sketch Pad (just for drawing in one player)
- Roleplaying (or PictoQuest as it's known on message boards)
- Tic-Tac-Toe / Naughts and Crosses
- Hangman
- Fill the input box black, then use the eraser to write / draw things
- Anagram games
- Countdown (you know, the channel 4 quiz?)
- Crossword
- Pictionary
- Three Word Story (start with three words, someone adds three, then another
  three etc. to make a story)
- Picture Story (somewhat same as above, but with pictures)
- Fast Typing game (see who can type out a sentence the fastest)

...and so on. If you have any really good ideas then give us an email. =)

                                  4. FAQ'S


Q. What is PictoChat?

A. PictoChat is built in chat software that allows you to send images and text
   to 16 other people in one room using the DS's wireless communication. It's
   a pretty cool piece of software.


Q. How do I open PictoChat?

A. Boot up the DS system in manual and select the PictoChat panel on the main
   menu. A few seconds later the program will start and you will be presented
   with four chat rooms. Enter one to start chatting.


Q. I cannot find PictoChat in the shops! Has it been discontinued?

A. Nope, it comes free built in with every Nintendo DS system. When the DS
   was first announced and shown at E3 PictoChat was classed as a separate
   game, but Nintendo decided to have it built in (a wise move). There is
   another chat program out called Ping Pals, but it's pretty much the same
   as PictoChat (which is free anyway).


Q. Can I try it out if no one else is in a room?

A. Yes. Just enter an empty chat room and you can draw and send messages like
   normal. However if someone enters PictoChat they would see you in the room


Q. How do I add people into the chat?

A. They simply invite themselves. Go in a room and when they open PictoChat
   it will show that there is someone within one of the rooms; they then enter
   and you can just start chatting from there.


Q. How do I view other people's personal messages?

A. Above the Input Board (touch screen) are people's nick names; select the
   name and their personal message will be displayed. If you want to change
   your own personal message, then you can do within the options from the
   DS main menu.


Q. I've lost my stylus! Can I still use PictoChat?

A. Sure, you just cannot draw or drag and drop text onto the input board.
   Check the controls within the PictoChat Overview section above. Remember
   though that you can just use your thumb, nails, or a cotton bud / Q-Tip
   for a stylus (thanks to Tim Larsson for the funky info).


Q. How can I improve my signal strength?

A. Limit the number of obstacles between systems (walls for example) and
   have the systems face each other as best as you can. Getting closer
   will improve the signal of course, and also staying away from other
   wireless stuff too.


Q. What's the wireless range?

A. 10 to 20 metres (30 - 65 feet) but there are rumours stating it can go as
   far as 100 feet. Try it out and see.


Q. Will the DS come to life if I leave Pictochat on standby? Say, if anyone
   enters the room?

A. Nope, although Nintendo said that was one of the features when the DS was
   first announced they didn't impliment it in the final version. Shame.


Q. Are there any Easter Eggs?

A. Yes; if someone in the chat enters on their birthday, Happy Birthday
   messages appear.


                      5. CONCLUSION AND SPECIAL THANKS

If you could, please either ask me questions, suggestions, comments or 
contributions at crazyreyn_faqs@hotmail.com. Also could you rate this FAQ so I
could get some feedback. Thank you for reading.

Special Thanks to these who have contributed to the guide in some way...

CJayC (Gamefaqs) - For accepting this guide and for creating the best site on
                   the internet. Thanks! http://www.gamefaqs.com

IGN -              For accepting this guide and for creating an awesome video
                   games site. Thanks! http://www.ign.com

Nintendo -         For creating the DS system and PictoChat. Ta!

Tim Larsson -      For the email about using the touch screen with other items!

A Special Thanks to my good GameFAQS friends for help and support, and everyone
else at the FAQ Contributors board! :)

If I have forgotten you, then please contact me and I'll fix your name up here!

  C R A Z Y R E Y N - http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/27600.html
By Crazyreyn (crazyreyn_faqs@hotmail.com)
Copyright (c)2005 Matthew Reynolds. All rights reserved. 

Copyright Notice
This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed 
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other 
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a 
violation of copyright.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their 
respective trademark and copyright holders.

                       ======== END OF DOCUMENT ========

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