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Dreamcast Homebrew Scene Continues To Thrive

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the dream-still-alive dept.

Emulation (Games) 42

wraggster writes "Sega's Dreamcast might have succumbed to a premature death as a mainstream commercial console, but due to the efforts of the amateur and hobbyist fans of the Dreamcast, the Dreamcast Homebrew site, now freshly redesigned, has over 200 free and legal games, demos and multimedia software for use with the Dreamcast. From DC Movie Player through Robotfindskitten, there's still a multitude of good free DC software out there."

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42 comments

NetBSD (1)

Markus Registrada (642224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853444)

And it runs NetBSD, too.

Re:NetBSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7853539)

NetBSD sucks GNAA ass.

Re:NetBSD (1, Interesting)

Lord Graga (696091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853988)

And Linux too ;) [fivemouse.com]

Re:NetBSD (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854551)

Maybe someone would port WinCE to it too? ;) It's been done for the Xbox after all...

of wait.... It already runs WinCE...

Re:NetBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7857254)

wince on dc sucked. Games that used it were very buggy, which is why it was almost never used by anyone.

Re:NetBSD (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7860308)

The configuration menu system on the DC is WinCE-based, and some games run from WinCE, but there's really minimal WinCE influence on the DC.

Re:NetBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7857997)

Fact: *BSD is dying

I have much love for the dreamcast (1)

Vodak (119225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853618)

I love my Sega Dreamcast. The system was and still is great. Just wish I could find more network adaptors.

Such a great deal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7853619)

At an all-time low of $20 at EB.

I wish awesome underground scenes like this received mainstream attention, but then I guess they wouldn't be too awesome anymore... :1

Re:Such a great deal (1)

soluzar22 (219097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853700)

Underground scene - receiving mainstream attention. Hmm, I smell an oxymoron. Besides, receiving mainstream attention is normally the worst thing in the world to happen to any interesting and fun pursuit. It's happened to the internet, to games, to manga, and to a bunch of other stuff. Each time, the mainstream attention has had a bloody good go at killing off the pursuit, and/or destroying whatever was cool about it in the first place...

Carefull what you wish for.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7853726)

I'm one of the few geezers in New Zealand to actually buy a Dreamcast. I love the underground scene so I can use it to show off to my PS2/X-box friends.

DC emulators vs. PS2 emulators (4, Interesting)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853734)

I've recently tried booting emulators of various types on my Dreamcast (latest post [curmudgeongamer.com] and this older one [curmudgeongamer.com] ) and my PS2 (posts on modification [curmudgeongamer.com] and emulators [curmudgeongamer.com] ). The homebrew scene for both of these is interesting, although the Dreamcast clearly has the more lively community. If only the Dreamcast had a bit more power, it could be the ultimate system (short of a Xbox, see the end of this post [curmudgeongamer.com] and the comments below it) for me, since it could handle Atari 2600, NES, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Commodore 64, MAME, Quake, and Doom. As it is, however, the Genesis and SNES emulators (DCGenerator and DreamSnes, respectively) aren't very good. I had to go to PGEN on the PS2 to get a really good Genesis emulator. (Even then it has a bug; Earthworm Jim 2 has a control issue that makes it unplayable.) The SNES-Station emulator for the PS2 is also not as good as it should be, so the Xbox appears to be the only home console which can adequately emulate the SNES.

The DC homebrew folks have made some nice ports of DooM and Quake as well, which I recommend folks check out. It's a great use for your Dreamcast, if you've been letting it collect dust.

If you do anything, however, try out NesterDC (my experience here [curmudgeongamer.com] ). A great, featureful NES emulator which supports everything you could want, including a DC light gun acting as an NES light gun for games like Duck Hunt! (Also, don't forget that you should only download ROMs for the cartridges you own. Even if you don't own any, there are a good number of homebrew NES games in the public domain that you can use to try out the emulator itself. My NesterDC disc has all the homebrews I enjoy playing and the ROMs for my entire NES collection.)

Pocket PCs have similar results (1)

unixbob (523657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854838)

Instead of purchasing a gameboy advance last summer I upgraded my Ipaq 3630 to a Dell Axim X5. My plan was to use it as an MP3 player as well as being able to emulate SNES + Genesis games on it. After all, most of the decent games on the GBA are SNES ports anyway.

Although the Axim has a 400Mhz CPU in it, it really struggles to emulate the SNES or the Genesis. NES games are very basic. What I have found to be a good play though is a Game Gear / Master System emulator called CE/GG [geocities.com] . I used to have a master system and playing Sonic, Sonic 2 and Sonic Chaos is superb. It's interesting that whilst Genesis games are far too slow to be playable, I've managed to get some SNES games going. (Not sure if this is the quality of the emulator or a reflection of the speed of the original system). Using PocketSNES as an example, by switching off the audio and skipping frames, Super Mario World for example is relatively playable. MODE 7 games such as Super Mario Kart are far too slow tho.

Not particularly related to the DC homebrew scene I know, I just thought it was interesting that 2 separate platforms had similar experiences with emulators.

Re:Pocket PCs have similar results (1)

Josh Mast (1283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7856454)

$300 PDA to emulate SNES games vs. $99 GBA to play ported SNES games + new titles. Great buy there, champ.

Re:Pocket PCs have similar results (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7856952)

But also consider this: $30 cartridge versus $0 ROM... ;-)

Re:Pocket PCs have similar results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7857284)

Yeah, one makes you a game consumer, the other makes you a pirate (unless you own the ROMs already, and are doing the backups YOURSELF - you can't legally download a ROM dump, even for a ROM you own). Either that, or you only play homebrew/public domain games.

Re:Pocket PCs have similar results (1)

unixbob (523657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7858626)

220 quid PDA vs. 70 pounds for the GBA actually. ROMZ for free. GBA games 35 quid each.

PDA can also play mp3's / AVI's from the 1G microdrive I already owned. PDA can browse the net through the GPRS bluetooth phone I already owned.

Seems like a good deal to me.

Dreamcast, Playstation2, X-BOX (1)

Vodak (119225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853915)

The Dreamcast has it's NFS served by the Playstation2 which uses the X-Box for DNS/DHCP and a gateway. =]

RobotFindsKitten (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853919)

Slashdot seems to be mentioning a lot of projects specifically designed to provoke, "But what's the point?" comments. This one has to top the list. First you write a very silly, pointless text-mode game. Then you port it to every platform imaginable -- culminating in Dreamcast, a platform designed for games that are just a little more, uhm, graphic intensive.

Not that I'm sneering. I tried to run RFK on my XP box (my DreamCast is in storage), but the console mode doesn't approve of the DOS version. Had to fire up DOSBox 0.60. Not acceptable! Somebody has to do an NT port! Guess I'm elected...

Re:RobotFindsKitten (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7855174)

I'm more interested in "whats the point" projects than most of what passes for news these days. AT least it is interesting. Lately I've taken to pretending I'm a /. moderator whenever I hear news on the radio. Once you put that additude on it is very rare not to be saying "flamebait" for most stories, with most of the rest as troll. Once in a while, but I've never rated anything as informative or insightful.

Re:RobotFindsKitten (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 10 years ago | (#7855347)

Thank you, I feel much the same way. As important as yet another SCO topic, or "is blah ready for the desktop" article may be, I'm getting bored with them. Even if there is no imediate pratical application for some stories, I welcome them just because they're new, a nice breath of fresh air. I want a story that might inspire me, rather than one which just leaves me depressed at the end as I watch more lawyers march into battle.

Re:RobotFindsKitten (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7855868)

Once you put that additude on it is very rare not to be saying "flamebait" for most stories, with most of the rest as troll.
Too, too true. But is Rush Limbaugh a flamebaiter or a troller? How about Bill O'Reilly? Are those Democratic Presidential hopefuls Redundant or just Overrated?

Anyway, I do agree that most "Important Stuff" isn't all that important. And if your idea of an interesting pastime is learning Klingon or hacking your Dreamcast to play Hunt the Wumpus, I'm not going to sneer. Everybody should grow in their own way and speed.

Still, there is stuff out there that really does matter. Like whether the media monopolies are going to drive us crazy with obnoxious, expensive, obstructive -- and ultimately useless -- attempts to sequester electronic content. And whether script kiddies are going to force us all to run goatsex screensavers. And whether we have to check with Homeland Security whenever we go to the bathroom. You gotta stay involved!

This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7853990)

I just have a few questions before I buy one.

A network adapter lets you connect it to your network, right? Is that the correct name for it? What can you do once you're on the internet? And is there a way to connect to a wireless network?

How do you connect a keyboard and mouse to one? Is there some sort of adapter, or it is a special keyboard for the DC?

If anyone could answer those it would be great!

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (2, Informative)

sindarin2001 (583716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854080)

The network adapter allows you to connect the Dreamcast to your network. It's also sometimes called a broadband adapter. Depending on you choices of games/software, you can do many things. If you use the linux/net bsd port I believe that you can SSH into other machines...do basic *nix stuff. There are some games for the Dreamcast that utilize the network connection (although few and far between). I've never had any experience with connecting one to a wireless network...my guess is it's not all that easy because the Dreamcast came out before wireless was proliferating as much as it is now. You can purchase special DC keyboards and mice that use the controller connectors...I've also found some stuff online that shows how to rewire a ps/2 device to work with it (sorry, lost the link a while ago...but I'm sure you'll find it if you google).

Hope that helps and good Dreamcasting (it's my favorite system out there).

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854120)

Thanks for your help!

I'm mainly going to get a Dreamcast to emulate games from older consoles I have, would I have any good reason to get the broadband adapter?

Also, what Linux ports are there?
I've seen the one at http://www.m17n.org/linux-sh/dreamcast/index.en.ht ml
Are there any others?

Thanks again!

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854139)

Oh, I almost forgot.

If I got the broadband adapter, is there a way to download files and run them? Like running ROMs under a NES emulator in Linux? Or is it better just to burn a CD?

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7854301)

The Dreamcast BBA is hard to find lately and is usually at least $100. Unless you are a big dreamcast fanatic, it is probably not worth it. Not many games support it. If you only want it for homebrew, the coders cable (special serial cable) is available for about $20 I believe. You can upload games through that and even emulate an iso image as a cd in the drive over serial cable. It is slow but great for development. Otherwise just burn cds. As always, lots of great stuff available at lik-sang [lik-sang.com] . I got an adaptor from them that lets you plug in a ps/2 keyboard, or a ps1/sega saturn controller along with a coders cable and an extension cord for the controller.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (3, Interesting)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854183)

The Dreamcast comes with its own web browser with the broadband adapter, so you can browse the internet on your TV. I browsed with dial-up and it works rather well. You can check your email as well. I know that at GameFAQs and possibly other sites you can download game saves directly to your VMU. The VMU is a memory card with an LCD screen that can give you in-game information, allows you to call plays in sports games on your controller, and even has its own football game for it.

You should be able to use your Dreamcast on a network as well, since you can run NetBSD and Linux on it. There is no hard drive adapter, however.

It should be noted that the broadband adapter will run you around $75-100, with even the browser needed with the adapter costing you quite a bit. The game servers have all been shut down now, and even when they were up, there weren't many broadband enabled games. The adapter came out right around when the system was dying and was only sold directly at Sega's site I believe.

As far as I know, there isn't a way to go wireless.

The Dreamcast has a first-party keyboard and mouse that plugs into your controller port, each of which you can buy separately. You can use your thumbstick as a mouse as well.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7854921)

There is also a vga box available for $25. Makes web browsing just about as good as on a normal computer, and the games look so much better with it too.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

Black Hitler (687112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7858022)

What's the best Dreamcast VGA box? There's a few out there and I'm wondering if any of them have some known problems or if some look better than the other, etc.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7866862)

I have a Naki VGA box (this weird looking orange pod-like thing). $5 on clearance at EB. Works great for VGA. It also has component and S-Video out, but I couldn't get S-Video to work. Not a big deal, as I bought it for VGA only.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

ryanmoffett (265601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7855414)

You can go wireless if you get your hands on the broadband adapter and buy one of the new wireless game adapters which are nothing more than a 10Base-T to 802.11b/g bridge.

Re:This convinced me to get a Dreamcast.. (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 10 years ago | (#7860372)

The adapter came out right around when the system was dying and was only sold directly at Sega's site I believe

Nope.

When the Dreamcast died, I bought one for USD$69 (or USD$49, whatever it was right at the end) along with a bunch of games. I didn't know enough about consoles to understand the need to snap up cheap accessories at the time. However, I looked 'em over. At the local Fry's (Houston, Texas), there were a couple of cases of those broadband adapters going for, iirc, USD$29.95. I thought to myself "Why would I want one of these things?" Two weeks later, when I'd googled and studied and figured out that accessories like alternate input devices, VMUs, and broadband adaptors might be good things to have, *everything* was gone from the store shelves.

I don't really use the thing anymore, but it's still a fine, cheap Tetris machine that houseguests can pick up and play.

Fun hardware. (5, Interesting)

drwiii (434) | more than 10 years ago | (#7854171)

Without the hard work of Dan Potter [allusion.net] , I wouldn't have gotten into it.

Back in the early libdream days, you had to write your own routines for 2D graphics (3D was still off-limits) by writing directly to video RAM. Today, KOS supports 3D acceleration via the PowerVR chip, as well as support for various other pieces of once-mysterious hardware. And the SDL port lets you take a break from writing directly to video memory if you're doing 2D.

dcQuad [min.net] is another Dreamcast project which I started working on after finishing the DC version of robotfindskitten [min.net] . I've been messing around with SDL in Windows a bit lately, and I look forward to getting up to speed on the KOS implementation for my next project.

Totally Cool (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7856725)

This is totally cool. I just checked out the refreshed DC Homebrew site, downloaded some .sbi's and burned a CD. Then fired up the ol' DC so me and my son could do a test drive.

This is some cool stuff, I may just add the DC to my list of platforms just for the pure fun of it! Kudos to all the DC homebrewers out there!

You Need To Check Out IMR Technology (1)

jjct1 (703682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859743)

What made me dust off my own Dreamcast is the great work being done by I.M.R. Technology [ngemu.com] . The 80's WOWpack - MAME [ngemu.com] is excellent and they seems to keep adding new project and versions almost weekly. Check it out.

The Dreamcast doesn't need a modchip either... (1)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7860130)

Both homebrew and commercial games can be burned and booted without any modification to your Dreamcast. Note that you won't have any success with simply placing a Dreamcast game in your CD drive and trying to copy it - they're special discs called GD-ROMs. People dumped the games over the Dreamcast's serial port/broadband adapter, downsampled the movies, and put up selfbooting ISOs all over IRC. If the disc you get does not have two tracks (audio/data or data/data), you'll need to use the Utopia Boot CD. That homebrew boot CD might work as well - no guarantees.

Re:The Dreamcast doesn't need a modchip either... (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7860350)

Shouldn't that be two sessions? I seem to recall DC discs have a first session with the boot information and a second session with the actual game on it-- when they're bootable. They just have the second session if you need to use the Utopia disc with it.

Re:The Dreamcast doesn't need a modchip either... (1)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7860565)

I guess...two sessions implies two tracks, so I'm definitely correct either way =P

DcDivx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7860324)

I personally think that DcDivX totally rocks. Alot of folks will claim that the movies are unwatchable as you must encode at lower bit rates, and mp3 audio must be encoded lower as well. But I believe if done properly, the movies look pretty darn good, I have had the best luck using transcode under Linux to do the encoding. Set the bitrate to 700 and your good to go.

30% Off At GameStop (1)

Benedick (737361) | more than 10 years ago | (#7862459)

I stopped by a GameStop today looking for a Dreamcast Lightgun. Turns out all DC games and peripherals are 30% off. With the system and a controller running $20 (before discount), you can get a great system cheap. The old saying is that variety is the spice of life. Pick up a Dreamcast and a bunch of games for less than it costs to buy one new $50 game for the current consoles. Then go home and try all kinds of new things from the homebrew folks. The Dreamcast was abandoned by Sega but is far from dead.
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