You have to see Sonic Adventure in motion! It is truly incredible! Sonic can move so fast through the game world that SuperGT and Daytona 2 look slow by comparison. There is even an amazing looking tornado in this game! The video unfortunately is only 15 seconds long as you wish it was 15 minutes long. The resolution is 160 by 120 with a frame rate of 24 fps. Places to download the 2.2 MB MPEG video:
Gaming Age Online
VideoLogic Group PLC is the company in Britain that is responsible for designing the PowerVR graphics chip in the Dreamcast. Today Hossein Yassaie, who is Managing Director at VideoLogic Group PLC released a statement on a financial forum to clarify VideoLogic/NEC direction with the PowerVR architecture. Here is a quote from that statement where he talks about the Dreamcast:
Regarding console market, as I am sure most people know, the SEGA Dreamcast is based on our PowerVR Second Generation technology. As explained in the AGM presentation the Dreamcast graphics performance is a major technological revolution in that it offers a capability of over 15 times that of the game consoles of today. In fact as it has been reported in some recent articles the system is delivering an actual performance 2.5-3 times the latest and the fastest high-end arcade system (e.g. Model 3) at a fraction of the cost.Three times faster then Model 3 Step 2? No, not at all, but three times faster then Model 3 Step 1.
PVRSG Specs Upgraded!
The PC release date is now set for late September. On paper, PowerVR SG is doing all the right things concentrating on DirectX 6 feature compliance, hiding the infinite planes architecture with a triangle engine to make it more games developer friendly, and so on. The new specification of a 2D/3D chip with 125Mpixels/sec fill rate, single-pass multitexture and full AGP2x support should put its performance right up there with the big guns in 3D acceleration.The PVRSG specification now includes single-pass multitexturing!!! It is unknown if the PVRSG in the Dreamcast will have this feature. The above 125 Mpixels/sec fill rate is for the base level PVRSG for PC cards, as the PVRSG used in the Dreamcast is rated at 200 Mpixels/sec!
Hudson's EGG: Elemental Gimmick
Dimension S has a couple interviews with Bizarre Creations. One development team at Bizarre Creations was put together to see how easy it was to start and complete a project in one months time using the Dreamcast development tools. The whole experience showed SEGA and Bizarre Creations at the time that development on the Dreamcast is a piece of cake! Dimension S also has a two part interview about Metropolis, the racing game that Bizarre Creations is developing for the Dreamcast. You know that this game is going to be a really impressive title on the Dreamcast, by just knowing that the company who developed F1 on the Playstation is on it.
(Source: F5 Twister)
At last weekend's Sonic Adventure introduction, SEGA was selling a glossy brochure that contained all the screenshots of Sonic Adventure that have been shown on the web so far. This is an awesome collectors item, and something that you can now flip through and see each page, as Game Informer has but up the brochure on their website. Be sure to check out this beautiful brochure that SEGA has put together! Unfortunately the brochure is in Japanese and not English.
(Source: F5 Twister)
Here is very interesting article on the PVRSG used in SEGA's Dreamcast. Here is a quote from that article:
Sega's new accelerator will be the PowerVR, designed by VideoLogic, a small British chip design studio, and produced by Japan's NEC Corp. How dazzling? The chip, etched in 0.25-micron detail state-of-the-art for graphics processors—fits 10 million transistors onto a space about the size of a fingernail. And these chips will cost Sega as little as $30 or so each, which is how cheap an accelerator chip has to be to compete in the game market. VideoLogic and NEC claim that the PowerVR's new way of creating three-dimensional graphics is so powerful that it can give a game player costing a few hundred dollars the kind of graphics you can get today only from a $20,000 arcade system.10 million transistors!!! That makes this graphics chip the biggest out there, as the RIVA TNT has 7 million, and that was thought to be the biggest. The PowerVR graphics chip has 3 times more transistors then the Hitachi SH-4 CPU, which has 3.1 million transistors. This graphics chip also has more transistors then all the non-memory chips used in the Saturn! The article even mentions that the PVRSG has several megabits of on-chip data caches and buffers, so that is 256 KB of cache!
The wonder of technology when you can partake in a game introduction on the other side of the planet! The Sonic Adventure introduction lasted 45 minutes, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it! Thank you SEGA! The show started with a video of Sonic Team's trip to South America. Then the game was shown. Since the show was broadcast in real video, the quality was quite blurry! Even though it was blurry, you could still see that the levels where huge, with great variety in textures, and objects. One thing that stood out, is that you could see blue light beams on some of the levels, along with fire effects that looked very impressive. The opening video in the game was shown, and it was quite lengthy at about 10 minutes in length. All the game characters introduce themselves and do some running through the levels in this video. The overall impression I got from this game is that it is going to be the most impressive game ever, especially in the graphics department! Here are a few screenshots from the real video broadcast.
It amazing how a little blue hedgehog can generate this much excitement. So many previous Sonic games, so many emotions. Now some incredible new hardware, and we have the making of the greatest game introduction in video game history! A game that clearly will be the first that shows us what the Dreamcast can do. The Sonic Adventure introduction will be broadcast live over the internet using Real Video! Next Generation Online have indicated that they will have information on the Sonic Adventure introduction sometime Saturday. Be sure also to keep an eye on Game-Online, as they too will be having information from the event available on Saturday.
The french site Kamui Ten No Ryû webmasters have issued an explanation of their actions concerning the release of the Sonic Adventure screenshots on the web. Seems it all comes down to a misunderstanding, where they were told by Joypad, a french video game magazine, that they could put the screenshots up. Well, SEGA then contacted Joypad, and told them to remove the screenshots from that site. Check the Kamui Ten No Ryû news section for an explanation of the whole incident.
Sonic Adventure Screenshots Are
GameSpot has some screenshots of Sonic Adventure that could be early screenshots of the game. Here is a page on the message forum that shows the screenshots along with some comments. Note that Game-Online will have some information and most likely screenshots of the game late Friday night (North American time) at their website, as Yuji Naka has visited their office already and showed them the game. They are holding on to the info till after SEGA makes the official Sonic Adventure introduction in Tokyo.
Game-Online Interviews Dave Perry
Game-online: Dreamcast. What do you think?The above text is just a small part of a much larger interview.
Sonic Adventure Theme Song
Here is a quote from an article at Next Generation Online that indicates SEGA of Europe is working hard in getting european developers for the Dreamcast:
Early on, that meant a lot of legwork. Going to see developers, talking to them, convincing them that Dreamcast was going to be the next big thing. But after the E3 announcement of the machine, when the Dreamcast hype kicked into overdrive, and suddenly developers were knocking on Maslowicz's (third party licensing and acquisitions manager) door.Just shows you that if you build it, they will come. There is no question that the reason why SEGA has been incredable successful in attracting 3rd party developers at this date is due to the high level of 3D technology used in the Dreamcast. It seems that SEGA is well on it's way to signing up more 3rd party developers before the launch of the Dreamcast in November then SEGA had for the Saturn over its entire existence. Interested european developers can go to this page at SEGA of Europe's website. The latest Edge magazine, which is a british based video game magazine, says that SEGA has 250 developers lined up for Dreamcast development already! Wow!
NFL Blitz Confirmed for Dreamcast
As Blitz 99 is just now preparing to hit arcades (and wow, does it look good), we've learned from a Midway source that Blitz is also on its way to Sega's Dreamcast. In fact, the Blitz team has already begun working on Dreamcast development hardware. The version that appears on the system will not be the version we see on the PlayStation and N64 this fall, but a version enhanced above and beyond even Blitz 99.The way things are going with the amount of software that will be ready for the North American Dreamcast launch, the Dreamcast launch will most likely be the most successful console launch in history!
One of the first games to be shown running on the Dreamcast will be the big PC title Incoming by the british software developer Rage Software. Incoming will be shown running on the Dreamcast at ECTS 98 show in London, England. Here is the list of games that Rage will show at ECTS, as listed at the ECTS website:
Rage Software is a leading-edge developer and publisher of highly original PC, Sony Playstation and Dreamcast product. ECTS 98 will see Rage clearly demonstrate its product width. Titles on show will be Expendable PC and Sony Playstation, Hostile Waters PC, Ruud Gullit Striker PC and Sony Playstation, Incoming Dreamcast, Savage Arena PC.The ECTS show runs from September 6th - 8th, 1998. Thanks to Windows CE and DirectX, expect a flood of PC ports to the Dreamcast. More is always better, but here is hoping that the developers enhance the Dreamcast ports.
(Source: Ian Ridley by email)
As reported at an earlier date, Monolith Productions LithTech Engine is a 3D game engine that will be ported to the Dreamcast. The original source of this information was Monolith Productions website. The first game to utilize this 3D engine will be Shogo: Mobile Armor Division and this game will be arriving on the PC in October. OGR has provided a preview that discusses some of the more impressive features of the 3D engine, that this game uses:
An expansion pack for Shogo will be released only a few months after the game ships, around Christmas time, and we can expect LithTech 2.0 further down the road. Monolith promises that LithTech 2.0 will be, bar-none, the top of its class upon release. It's quite possible that if Sega's Dreamcast console appears in the U.S. early enough, that the LithTech engine and Shogo will find their way there as well.
It might be a concern to some people that Windows CE on the Dreamcast would take a long time to load, as Windows 95 takes a long time to load on the PC. Surprisingly Windows 95 load times is not due to the amount of data having to be transferred from the hard disk, but to the fact that Windows 95 has to read through the registry file and check for all hardware that is attached to the system. Loading Windows 95 from a solid state memory drive takes only 5 seconds less then from a hard drive! Windows CE does not have to check for the multitude of different hardware devices that exist in the PC world, so expect the optimized Dreamcast Windows CE load times to be extremely fast!
Unreal Engine for Dreamcast
Sources at Epic have suggested that the Unreal engine is already up and running on the Dreamcast development kit. Reliable information has surfaced to the end that the engine is already up and running on one of the available development kits for the mega-console. Although a spokesman at Epic refused to confirm the rumors, the company is said to be "very excited" about the possibility of launching the first person shooter on the platform.We look at the games currently in development on the PC with the Unreal engine, as each one of those games becomes a potential port to the Dreamcast:
Here is a little something that the webmaster at PVR-NET, which is a PowerVR hobby site, had to say about what a British developer thought of the Dreamcast:
I was at a social event last night and found myself talking to a UK developer working on a DreamCast/PVRSG project. He said that they received their DreamCast developer kit last week and were blown away even by the demos which were provided. He said that even the experienced console/PC developers in the company were most impressed with what they saw running on the new kit. The company will start work on titles running jointly on PC and DreamCast hardware, which is facilitated by common 3D hardware. Their first title is due Christmas 1999 for both DreamCast and PC running PVRSG.Having impressive demos on the new system can only entice more developers to be interested in producing games for this console.
It seems that Dave Rees believes that the Dreamcast can produce visuals that rival CG sequences, as he reported in the August issue (No. 3) of Gamers's Republic:
"The truth is, SEGA rescued the show (E3) from being a huge disappointment by revealing the newest addition to their family behind closed doors: Dreamcast, which I fortunately got a glimpse of. What were my impressions? "Am I dreaming?" I asked myself as I leered in utter amazement at the demonstration of an untitled 3D shooter running on SEGA's upcoming console. The footage on display equaled some of the highest quality CG sequences I have ever seen. It was flawless, seamless, beautiful, and just hard to imagine as an actual real-time environment. I almost felt as if we weren't ready for this technology; it was just too much power for us to handle. How could this system be affordable? With a cynical peer aimed at Neal Robison, SEGA's Director of Advanced Developer Support, I asked, "Are you telling me that this is an actual real-time engine running on Dreamcast?" His return was a vehement "absolutely".Gamers' Republic is a new magazine that I would highly recommend picking up, especially the August issue, as it has a seven page report on the Dreamcast! The best Dreamcast coverage I have seen in any magazine so far! This magazine is well written, has beautiful screenshots and is very well designed! The first video game magazine I have bought in a long time.
There are two Quicktime movies of Sonic Adventure on the web. One look at these movies and you say to yourself, "Is this video or the actual game world?". If it is the actual game world then, WOW!!! It looks like the most amazing game environment of all time. The cars, buildings, characters, and water are full of incredible detail! The Quicktime movies shows road sewer covers blowing their lids off due to a huge volume of water bursting through, and the water goes sky high into the air. People on the sidewalks react in shock to what is happening and cars start to wipeout due to all the water appearing before them. The scene ends with water pouring out of the buildings upper floors onto the streets below. Very, very impressive! Both Quicktime movies are similar, with the second longer movie having a bit more footage. Better to just download the second longer movie, as it has all the scenes in the first movie and them some. You do need Apple's Quicktime installed on your computer to see these movies.
(Source: GunneR by email and SEGA World)
What began in mystery is ending in mystery. What was known at the beginning of this fiasco is that SEGA did break a contract it had with 3Dfx Interactive, where 3Dfx was working on a graphics chipset for SEGA. Did SEGA have to use this chipset from 3Dfx Interactive in the Dreamcast or did SEGA just commission the chipset? That will remain unknown as the contact has never been made public by either company. Now SEGA and 3Dfx have settled their differences and the details will not be released. Most likely SEGA had to pay what ever money was owing on the contract that was broken. NEC and VideoLogic was named in the lawsuit, but it just boggles the mind on how they where responsible for anything, and most likely did not have to pay any damages to 3Dfx. Here is the press release on the settlement.
There has never been an easier time to become a console developer then now! Thanks to the release of Microsoft's DirectX 6.0! You can order Microsoft's DirectX 6.0 API (Application Programming Interface) SDK (Software Development Kit) here. Here is the price as Microsoft indicates:
The cost of the DirectX SDK, version 5.2 or 6.0, is $8.65 for residents of the United States. If you reside in the United States and would like the CD-ROM rushed to you via air-mail, the charge is $12.50. If you live outside the United States, you can order the CD-ROM for $11.15. These charges cover Microsoft's manufacturing and shipping costs.As you can see it is dirt cheap to get a fully functional graphics API for game development. Note that the DirectX SDK is for game development and it is not used by end users to play games. For that you need the DirectX 6.0 run-time, which just became available today. You can download the DirectX 6.0 run-time here. To create games for the Dreamcast, you would also need Microsoft's C++ and Windows CE. Once a game has been created on the PC, you can then port it over to a Dreamcast development system for tweaking and enhancement. Talk to SEGA for Dreamcast development systems.
Dreamcast Hardware Development
Q: When did development of the Dreamcast start?