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Introduction Sega was the first manufacturer to release a new generation system following the 32/64-bit systems (PlayStation, Saturn, and N64). The Dreamcast launched in Japan in the fourth quarter of 1998 and hit Western Europe and the United States toward the end of 1999.
It was one of the few consoles to have 4 controller ports built into the unit and it is the first console to have shipped with hardware that would allow it to play online games. The Dreamcast had a built-in 56Kb modem installed.
Games Sega Dreamcast
In fact, Sega later released a broadband adapter (in very limited numbers) as a replacement component for the modem. The system utilized a disc format entitled GDRom, which was touted to hold up to a gigabyte of information on a single disc. The operating system for the Dreamcast was actually a ported version of Microsoft’s Windows CE. The Dreamcast’s controller was very similar to the 3D controller realeased later in the Saturn’s production life. Though rather large, it is a well-balanced device and is fairly comfortable.
Much like the Nintendo 64, Sega housed the memory card in the controller, rather than directly in the console itself. The rumble component (also like a N64) was added to the controller at the user’s discretion. However, unlike the Nintendo 64, the Dreamcast could hold both devices simultaneously. In addition to preserving game save data, the Dreamcast’s memory device had an LCD screen that could provide information to the player during play and that enabled the player to play mini games offline from the system itself. This device is known as a VMU (Visual Memory Unit). In some ways it is very similar to Sony’s PocketStation that was only released in Japan. In spite of some very impressive hardware and some excellent titles, Sega was finding it more and more difficult to compete with Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft for a stake in the hardware market.
So in order to cut their losses, Sega announced that they would cease production of the Dreamcast at the end of March 2001. They continued to develop and release software for the system for another year before abandoning it altogether. Sega’s strongest suit had always been their software, so they reinvested their hardware dollars into development for titles for the three remaining consoles. Papers & Manuals Images. Sonic Adventure 2 Specifications General Sold: 1998-2001 Price: 260 USD (1998) Dimensions: 18.5cm (w) x 19cm (l) x 7cm (h) Processor CPU: 64-bit Hitachi SH-4 CPU speed: 200 Mhz Clearing Capacity: 360 MIPS Bus Bandwidth: 800 Mb/sec Graphics Processor: 128-bit NEC PowerVR 2DC Speed: 100 Mhz Max Resolution: 640 x 480 Max Bit Depth: 24bit (16.7 million colors) Polygon Rendering: 3,000,000 polygons per second Memory System RAM: 16 Mb Video RAM: 8 Mb Release history 1998 November - Japanese Launch 1999 September - North American and European Launch 2001 March - Discontinuation.
There are certain aspects of game development that, unless you're in the business, you probably wouldn't ever be aware of. Just like every industry, there are rules and procedures that must be followed, specifications and standards that must be adhered to. I'm sure everyone reading this who works in a particular sector will know things about their own line of work that others outside would be completely unaware of; rules that need to be followed, boxes that need to be ticked and all manner of bespoke forms and checklists that need to be filled in appropriately in order to meet the requirements of the particular field. As stated, the games industry is no different and by extension the Dreamcast falls inside this remit.
Ever wondered why certain Dreamcast games allow you to hide the pause menu with X + Y but others don't? Or why it doesn't matter which controller port the keyboard is plugged into? Or even why the splash screens that appear when you power on a Dreamcast appear in a particular order? Well, it's because Sega - like every console manufacturer - set out all the rules of producing games for its system in a 'developers guidebook.' A precise set of do's and don't's for putting software out on the Dreamcast. And now, you can download and have a read through this fascinating publication.
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Weighing in at over 100 pages, the Sega Dreamcast Software Creation Standard Guidebook goes into minute detail explaining how developers should order game intro screens and demo modes, how the software should react if a controller is removed during gameplay, best practices when including violence and gore in Dreamcast games, and how best the VMU should store save data. There are schematics and flow plans of how boot sequences should work, and even offers guidance on the reasons why the official Dreamcast light gun from PAL and NTSC-J regions is hardwired not to work with US light gun compatible games. As you can probably tell from the images dotted throughout this article, the guide is very much a utilitarian publication, eschewing fancy graphics and images for pages of text meant to be used by developers. That said, it does have some nice incidental graphics (such as the orange triangle motif which echos the US Dreamcast packaging) and is very clean in overall layout. I'm not totally sure if this document has ever previously been made available online for us - the great gaming proletariat - to cast our unwashed eyes over, but by hitting that lovely download link below you can now grab a copy for yourself.
Naturally, this appears to be a US-centric document but I'm sure the PAL and NTSC-J arms had their own versions. In any case, maybe print this one out and keep it on a shelf or something.