Dreamcast Technical Pages
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Thursday, January 28th, 1999
News From Japan
Gary Evans aka Gaz sends news from Japan on SEGA's latest updates to their website:
Sega of Japan's webpages for the Model 3 game L.A. Machineguns by AM R&D Dept. #3
  • 3 screenshots in the introduction section
  • 6 screenshots in the story section
  • two different arcade cabinets shown in the specifications section.
SEGA of Japan's webpages for the Model 3 game Magical Truck Adventure by AM R&D Dept. #3
Sonic Adventure Music:
Sonic Adventure sound section website
  • music CD section has details of the 4 Sonic Adventure music CDs: 
    • SONIC TEAM "Power Play" -Best Songs from SONIC TEAM-
    • SONIC ADVENTURE "Songs With Attitude" Vocal mini-Album
    • SONIC Adventure REMIX
    • SONIC ADVENTURE "Digi-Log Conversation" Original Sound Track
  • lyrics for the 7 Sonic theme songs: Sonic Adventure, Sonic, Miles, Knuckles, Tails, Amy and Big
  • details of the "Digi-Log Conversation" Original Sound Track released on 1.20 at Y3,360.  The two red links on that page show lists of the 36 tracks on Side A & 33 tracks on Side B in English.
Latest SEGA Rally 2 commercial playing in Japan:
The latest Sega Rally 2 TV ad shows a young salaryman walking down a street.  Suddenly, a noodle vendor pulling his cart, schoolgirl on a bicycle, mechanical digger and toddler on a tricycle go skidding past him rally style in quick succession, scaring the life out of him.
A big thanks to Gaz for the above information!

SEGA Rally 2!
A couple previews and movies:

SEGA Rally 2 for the Dreamcast has 17 tracks and 19 cars:
    Tracks
  • Desert - SS1, SS2, SS3
  • Mountain - SS1, SS2, SS3
  • Snowy - SS1, SS2, SS3
  • Riviera
  • Muddy - SS1, SS2, SS3
  • Isle - SS1, SS2, SS3
  • Super S Stage
    Track Variables
    Road Surface Percentages
  • Tarmac
  • Gravel
  • Dry Mud
  • Mud
  • Snow
  • Ice
    Environment
  • Rain
  • Visibility
  • Time
  • Temperature
    Cars
  • Toyota Corolla WRC 
  • Toyota Celica GT-Four ST-205 
  • Toyota Celica GT-Four ST-185
  • Ford Escort WRC 
  • Subaru Impreza WRC 
  • Subaru Impreza 555 
  • Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 5 
  • Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 4 
  • Mistubishi Lancer EVo 3 
  • Lancia Stratos 
  • Lancia Delta HF Integrale (from SEGA Rally) 
  • Lancia Delta Integrale 16v 
  • Fiat 037 Rally 
  • Fiat 131 Abarth Rally 
  • Renault Maxi Megane 
  • Renault Alpine A110 
  • Peugeot 306 Maxi 
  • Peugeot 106 Maxi 
  • Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 (legendary car from Paris-Dakar) 
    Car Adjustments
  • Co-Driver - Male or Female (voice directions, for example "Hard right", "Easy left", etc.)
  • Transmission
  • Final Gear Ratio
  • Front Suspension
  • Rear Suspension
  • Steering
  • Brake
  • Tire
As you can see, SEGA Rally 2 has lots of depth, and lots of options to keep you busy for a long time! This shows you that SEGA is not just doing a straight arcade port, but are adding lots of extras for the home market like they said they would. Thanks to all those who provided this information!
(Source: Hawkmoon, MetalGear, Eug, Luya and James Gavin by email)
 
Tuesday, January 26th, 1999
SEGA Rally 2 Rated!
It seems that SEGA has another winner on their hands with the Japanese publication Weekly Famitsu, who are known for being very critical of games, giving SEGA Rally 2:
SEGA Rally 2 - 9 9 9 9 (36/40)
Other recent high scoring Dreamcast games by Weekly Famitsu:
Sonic Adventure - 9 10 9 10 (38/40) - highest rated DC game!
VF3tb - 9 9 9 9 (36/40)
Evolution - 8 8 8 8 (32/40)
So SEGA Rally 2 is tied with VF3tb. SEGA Rally 2 is due to be released this Thurs., Jan. 28th, '99.
(Source: Richard Ho aka NoriPhd, by email)

VGA Connector
Here are a few pictures showing the VGA box connector that allows the Dreamcast to be hooked up to VGA monitors, and your TV at the same time. Includes a picture showing the insides of the VGA box.
(Source: Richard Ho, aka NoriPhd by email, HK gamer named "valis")

Interview
Dreamcast HQ has an interesting interview with Yoshinori Hirano of Trisignal Communications. Very interesting interview, as it explains that a lot of the modem functionality is actually being executed on the SH-4 processor as this quote indicates:

For Dreamcast, however, we have implemented our embedded controllerless modem design (which is soft/hard hybrid modem) where all the controller function such as AT command processing, call progress monitoring, error correction, and data compression protocols are implemented as software device driver using fewer hardware chips compared to traditional modems.
(Source: GunneR)
 
Friday, January 22nd, 1999
Climax Landers Screenshots
Climax has released 49 new screenshots of Climax Landers at their Japanese website. Go to this page and click on each section of the world map to see screenshots from that section, and click on the three links at the bottom of that page for other screenshots. This is one great looking game! This game is due sometime next summer.

Virtua Fighter 3 Team Battle
February 1999 Gamers' Republic issue rates Virtua Fighter 3 team battle on the Dreamcast as the #1 ranked fighting game for 1998. Dreamcast is already starting to get the recognition it deserves. Tekken 3 for the Playstation was number 2 on that list.
(Source: Suneet Shah by email)
 
Tuesday, January 19th, 1999
Dreamcast Block Diagram
Hitachi has put up a block diagram of the Dreamcast showing all the data buses on the DC motherboard. First thing that is quite clear about this diagram, is that the DC does not have any external buses that can support memory or processor upgrades! Personally I do not feel that the DC needs such upgrades, and such upgrades have had limited success in the past, with the Saturn's 4 MEG cart being an exception. Upgrades also fragment the market, which is undesirable for many reasons. You can check out the block diagram here in the technical section. A big thanks to Andrew Spencer (a.k.a. Joe Musashi on message board) for pointing out this block diagram!
(Source: Andrew Spencer by email, Hitachi's SuperH Japanese website, Dreamcast section)
 
Friday, January 15th, 1999
Evolution
The Japanese publication Weekly Famitsu, four reviewers have given Evolution:

FamiTsu 8 8 8 8 (32/40)
Evolution will go on sale January 21st, 1999 for 5800 Yen.
(Source: NGO article)

EDGE Interview
Here is some excerpts from EDGE's interview of SEGA's President Irimajiri:

Following a successful career heading up one of Honda's car divisions, Shoichiro Irimajiri was hired by Sega Enterprises to lead the firm's renaissance. A passionate believer in the potential of Dreamcast, and a personality strong enough to regain the support of Sony stalwart Namco, Inmajiri-san is the man behind Sega's new sense of vigour. Edge talked to the company's president about renewed strategies in in the wake of the Saturn.

Edge: What do you think is the main difference between the Sega of today and the Sega as it was when it was preparing to release the Saturn?
Shoichiro Irimajiri: Clearly the technology is completely different in this industry four or five years makes a big difference. The Dreamcast is more than 20 or 30 times more powerful than the Saturn, so it's very clear that the machine is completely different. But the biggest difference is not the technology but our mindset. When we started the Saturn project we were not a completely consumer-oriented company - even though we had great success with 16-bit in the US and Europe, the culture of Sega was formed mainly by the arcade business. At the start of the Saturn business we were not ready to go to the consumer market, and that resulted in a terrible experience. So, by reviewing the whole experience with the Saturn, we have already learned lots of things about the consumer markets, and knowing all those facts, and also some mistakes from the past, I can say that we are l00 per cent ready to to the consumer market with Dreamcast. 

Edge: How important are third party developers to Sega now? And what has it been lice talking to them after the Saturn's failure in the west?
Shoichiro Irimajiri: In Japan and the rest of the world, third parties have been developing Playstation and N64 titles, but they know that they have already reached some of the limits of the capability of those machines. Therefore, in so many cases, when creators have wanted to develop a new game, they have been very frustrated because they cannot express their feelings and the images they want. That's the reason why games consoles have changed over several years. And this is the right time for everyone - us, and the creators - for the Dreamcast to appear, because it can open the door for them, they can create completely new concepts by using the Dreamcasts performance. From the start, the developers were so excited to develop on the Dreamcast, but the problem lay with the management people [laughs], because they are always calculating in money terms. So at first they hesitated, but by receiving lots of pressure from the developers inside these companies they soon became very co-operative. Right now, third parties are very excited.

Again thanks to BoosterNL for his efforts in making parts of this interview available from the latest EDGE magazine.
(Source: BoosterNL, EDGE magazine January edition)
 
Tuesday, January 12th, 1999
Dreamcast Development System - Set 5
The latest issue of the British magazine has some information, and a few pictures of SEGA's Dreamcast development system version Set 5. A big thanks to BoosterNL for emailing some scans and information from this article.
(Source: BoosterNL, EDGE magazine January edition)

EDGE Interview
Here is some excerpts from an interview with Hideki Sato, Sega's corporate senior vice presedent of consumer products, at its Japanese HQ, by EDGE magazine:

Edge: What were the first elements of the Dreamcast design to fall into place? 
Hideki Sato: When we decided to make Dreamcast, the most important factor was to display as many polygons as possible especially after the criticism of the Saturn compared to the PlayStation in this area. There were different candidates for the main processor, but for an entertainment machine we needed some particular specifications. For the Saturn we had used Hitachi's SH2, so it already understood Sega's requirements. With other parties things were not so easy with the SH2, Hitachi had become the worldwide number one maker of RISC CPUs, and wanted to do it again. It understand the cost versus performance problems related to the games industry very well and tried to help in that area. The next step was the storage system. To be honest we wanted to use DVD but gave up because it was still too expensive and the development environment was a major problem. We needed to create the authoring tools from scratch! So we searched for a new cost-effective solution, and we came up with the GD-ROM. Then, around the same time, we chose the sound and graphics components. 

Edge: Dreamcast's RAM allocation is high, considering you were trying to save money.
Hideki Sato: At first the project only had 8Mb. But we found that if we wanted to display more than three million polygons, or five million without texture, we had to increase the memory size. So we raised the amount to 16 Mb.

Edge: What are the graphic effects available on Dreamcast that the Model 3 doesn't offer?
Hideki Sato: Fog that can be modulated, 256 levels of transparency, trilinear filtering, bump mapping, it's not real bump mapping, but it looks the same. Among the hardware effects, you have lightning and shadows with modifiable volume. Model 3 is three years old-technology has moved on.

(Source: BoosterNL, EDGE magazine January edition)
 
Friday, January 8th, 1999
Namco Ports
From the rumor page at IGN.PSX:
The saddest news of all today comes from that traitor Namco. Damn YOU, Namco! Where is your loyalty!? The kick-@ss fighter, Soul Caliber, sequel to Soul Edge (Soul Blade on the PlayStation) is rumored to arrive on a different system than yours truly. And to add insult to injury, Time Crisis II is also slated for a "different" system, as well. That system, by the way, isn't PlayStation II, either (hint: think Cinnabon).
Both Time Crises II and Soul Calibur are top rated games, so this would be excellent news! Hopefully this rumor pans out!
(Source: dean)

Sega's President, Shoichiro Irimajiri Interview
AsiaBizTech interviews SEGA's president:

BizTech interviewed Sega's President, Shoichiro Irimajiri, on the company's outlook for 1999 onward, with Dreamcast as the mainstay product for sales. 

BizTech: I assume that you expect Dreamcast to shoulder the future of Sega Enterprises. How far do you think Dreamcast is going to penetrate into the market? 

Irimajiri: I can't come up with any specific figures at this time, but within five years from 1999, we plan to get more than 50 percent share of the world's market for home-use video game machines. With that in mind, we plan to push Dreamcast into the U.S. and European markets during business year 1999. [more]

(Source: AsiaBizTech article)
 
Tuesday, January 5th, 1999
Shenmue Screenshots
The hobby site SEGALine has put up 63 images of Shenmue as taken from the brochure that was handled out at the Shenmue introduction last Dec. 20th, 1998.
(Source: Andrew)

Release Dates

    Delays
  • SEGA Rally 2 - Jan. 14th, '99 to Jan. 28th, '99
  • Climax Landers - Feb. 25th to June 10th, '99
  • Get Bass - Feb. to Apr. 1st, '99
  • Hudson's White Illumination - Feb. to mid Mar., '99
  • Konami's Pop n' Music - Feb. 25th to Apr. 1st, '99
  • Konami's Flight Shooting - Spring '99 to undetermined date
    Due
  • The House of The Dead 2 - Mar. 18th., '99
(Source: Magic Box Gaming news)