Two Games From Konami For North American
Launch of Dreamcast!
Here is what Gaming Age Online had
Yesterday, during our
Konami E3 meeting, we were lucky enough to be provided with some excellent
new information concerning Dreamcast development. A Konami rep confirmed
that there will be two Konami titles available when the Dreamcast console
launches in the US. The rep went on to mention that the Japanese developers
have already received a few DC development kits, and have begun working
on assorted projects. However, the genre of these titles is unknown at
Hopefully we will see an improved version
of Metal Gear Solid on the Dreamcast!
(Source: Gaming Age Online article)
Yamaha: World Class Sound
Here is a new sound card for the
PC that gives you an ideal of some of the sound capabilities of the Dreamcast.
BUENA PARK, CA (May 26,1998)
- Yamaha Corporation of America, announces the WaveForce 192XG PCI soundcard
for PC compatibles. Designed for the most demanding gamers and music enthusiasts,
the WaveForce 192XG has all the features necessary to satisfy their needs.
On-board 3D positional sound delivers a fully immersive gaming experience,
while Yamaha's wavetable synthesis engine provides musical resources as
deep as those of a professional studio.
Be sure to check out the rest of the
press release on this great PCI card for $100 US. Just a sampling of what
to expect from Dreamcast sound capabilities.
Drawing on Yamaha's vast experience
in the field of professional audio production, the WaveForce 192XG features
an extremely flexible and high-quality sound source based on the company's
wavetable synthesis technology. The hardware and software synthesizers
of the WaveForce 192XG each have 2 MB of waveform ROM featuring 676 instruments
and 21 drum kits. There is an additional feature of downloadable sounds
that will allow users to fill the card with sounds of their own creation.
Software developers can also take advantage of this immensely powerful
(Source: Yamaha press
release and Adrenaline Avault article)
3D Editor for Dreamcast Shows
As reported earlier, the LithTech
3D game engine is going to be ported over to the Dreamcast by Monolith
Productions. Here is some news on the editor that creates levels for
the LithTech 3D engine:
The level model editor
was also shown, and was very cool. You couldn't actually create the geometry
for a model in it, but when you opened a model you could loop through whichever
animations you wanted to and tweak them. There was also a feature to "create
level of detail" where he took a 500+ polygon model and told the machine
to make 150 levels of detail, with a minimum number of polygons and a minimum
thickness for them. A few seconds later the machine spat them up, and you
could move a slider to see the full 500+ poly model at the high end, the
100 polygon model at the low end, and everything in between. You don't
have to actually create different models for the low-poly models, the game
does that for you, These models are switched too intelligently depending
on how many models are on the screen and how far away they are from the
user--and this decision is automatically handled by the engine.
(Source ORG.com article)
Then he showed me what power this
affords the level designer. A square flat level was opened up with 110
full-sized enemy units in it. They all looked very good, and didn't lose
any apparent detail with distance. The engine chooses how to allocate resources
smartly enough to use lower polygon models where they won't be noticed.
Moving around these fully-animated figures (stuck in a running animation)
was completely smooth, without a single hitch in framerate. The mass mayhem
that this power allows in the game is on a level not matched since Doom
Capcom Monthly RPG
Capcom plans to release a RPG every
month from the start of the Dreamcast release on Nov. 20th in Japan. The
RPG installments will all be related to each other by story or character.
It is unknown how many installments total there will be. This should go
over really well with the RPG-crazy Japanese public. It seems that Capcom
have been working on this project for over a year, since these games were
original meant for the Saturn. Here is quote from UGP Online:
Yoshiki Okamoto heading
up development on a series of monthly role-playing "novellas" for Sega's
next machine. Yoshiki Okamoto, head of Capcom's development divisions and
the planning group Flagship, has revealed that his company will release
a series of 'bite-sized' role-playing games for Sega Dreamcast.
(Source: UGP Online article)
Unreal for Dreamcast?
Rumors from Gamefan suggest Messiah,
Unreal and Metal Gear Solid will make appearances on SEGA's Dreamcast as
this article indicates:
Messiah may be coming
to Sega's new Dreamcast system, Hisashi Suzuki, senior managing director
of AM R&D and Shuji Utsumi were given an exclusive demo of the game
and its awesome technology and gameplay. Other unconfirmed reports have
GT Interactive looking to bring out Unreal for Sega's Dream cast system
and not do a cartridge based Nintendo 64. Details have not been finalized.
In other news unconfirmed reports suggest Metal Gear Solid will come out
for Sega's Dreamcast next year.
(Source: Gamefan article)
Capcom's Resident Evil 4 for Dreamcast
As reported on May 22nd, 98 at this
site, Capcom is working on at least four games for the Dreamcast and now
we know what one of those game is going to be. Strangely it is Resident
Evil 4 and not RE3 which is due later this year or early next year. The
timing on the release of RE3 would fit in with the release of the Dreamcast.
Then again, since RE3 is being designed for the Playstation, it would not
be a game that takes full advantage of the Dreamcast abilities. RE3 will
most likely use static backgrounds as did RE1 and RE2. RE4 would most likely
use dynamic backgrounds and with the detail that Capcom uses in its previous
RE backgrounds. Here is a quote from UGP Online:
Capcom's Yoshiki Okamoto
confirms plans to bring the Resident Evil series to the next Sega console.
As reported yesterday, Capcom has Dreamcast development kits in its possession
and already has a large number of titles lined up for the machine. Capcom's
head of R&D, Yoshiki Okamoto, today told IGN what one of those games
will be, and the name has a familiar ring to it.
(Source: UGP Online article)
Resident Evil 4 will obviously
succeed the as-yet unreleased Resident Evil 3 for PlayStation, and it's
interesting to note that Capcom would commit such a huge franchise to an
equally unreleased format.
First Demo Now Available
The first demo of SEGA's President,
Mr. Irimajiri head, is now available by SEGA as gif/jpeg pictures and also
a QuickTime video/AVI video. Here is the link to a directory
list on SEGA of Japan's server. Warning: it is a very slow connection
from North America! SegaNet also
has the information here.
Lets hope that SEGA releases the 'Tower' demo also in the near future.
Update: Another place to download
with fast download speeds (server in Texas). Thanks GunneR!
(Source: Dean Kalerantes and Yusaku
Microsoft to Provide Development
Kits In Late July
In late July, Microsoft Japan will
start to provide Sega with a development environment for Dreamcast. Third-party
vendors under partner contract with Sega can obtain this development environment
Dreamcast runs a customized version
of the Windows CE operating system developed by Microsoft Corp. of the
United States. This operating system corresponds to Win32API, a subset
of DirectX5.0, and TCP/IP.
The development environment provided
by Microsoft consists of Visual C++ 5.0 and Windows CE software development
Further, Windows CE SDK is composed
of: (1) Windows CE Toolkit including the compiler and other tools for SH-4,
a processor of Dreamcast made by Hitachi Ltd., and (2) Windows CE-DirectX
SDK, including software such as libraries.
This development environment doesn't
require dedicated tools or workstations as in the case of software development
for the existing game machines. Development is possible on an ordinary
Windows PC, which leads to a significant cost reduction on development
when used by game software vendors.
(Source: Nikkei BP AsiaBizTech article)
NEC's PowerVR Second Generation
PowerVR Second-Generation offers
peak three dimensional graphic processing performance of over 3 million
polygons per second and a pixel fill-rate of 200 million pixels per second.
This is a polygon throughput more than 7 times higher than the first generation
PD62011 PowerVR chip NEC announced in September 1997, and approximately
double the pixel fill rate of the earlier chip.
Main Features of the PowerVR Second-Generation
Use of Set-up Engine
By putting the calculations for polygon
setup all in hardware, the PowerVR Second-Generation significantly reduces
the computational load of the main CPU, and halving its overall 3D graphic
Vector Quantization for Texture
For realistic 3D graphics, a large
amount of texture data is required entailing large memory and long data
transmission times, and therefore data compression techniques are used.
In PowerVR Second-Generation, use of VQ compression allows data to be reduced
to 1/8th producing both high picture quality and dynamic performance.
Enhanced 3D Graphic Processing
1.Tri-linear & Anisotropic filtering/texture
Providing the correct texture for
small objects on screen has required filtering in order not to lose the
effects. Previously bi-linear filtering was used (4 point filter) but in
addition, tri-linear filtering (8 point filter) and anisotropic filtering
(16 point filter) enabling the PowerVR Second-Generation to utilize the
filter best able to reproduce the highest quality image.
To recreate the effects of uneven
surfaces, with the effect of light reflection and shading, the PowerVR
Second-Generation offers bump mapping support. Previously only seen in
workstation-class graphic systems, PowerVR Second-Generation brings this
to the home entertainment and PC game markets.
Shading and light are recreated in
objects drawn with polygons with the use of modifier volume to adjust for
the effects of shading and light, adding a significant capability to the
PowerVR Second-Generation chip.
4.Hidden surface removal
PowerVR Second-Generation improves
the on-chip hidden surface removal without need for a Z-buffer and has
full support for all blending modes such as translucency sorting, provided
for in Microsoft's Direct3D and OpenGL.
Ubi Soft And Konami Onboard!
Ubi Soft is producing an action
adventure game called D-Jump that is due next March in Japan as this NGO
A spokesperson for Ubi
Soft this morning confirmed that Dreamcast projects are indeed underway.
The first title confirmed for the system is D-Jump, an action adventure
game. According to the game’s producer, D-Jump will be ready for a Japanese
release on Dreamcast in March of ’99, and will be released in US and Europe
when the machine finally debuts.
Konami is producing four titles by the
sounds of it and the first will be a game called Dragon as this NGO article
Several US-based projects
for Dreamcast are already underway by Konami. The first game for Dreamcast
currently has the working title of Dragon, though further details are not
yet known. There are allegedly two other projects underway for the system
by US development teams, but again, details are still unknown.
Bernie Stolar is Not Human
For a guy who was the cause of so
much anger in the SEGA community, he seems to be the perfect person to
be in charge of SEGA of America. In any big company, the President does
not go around to other companies trying to solicate support, he sends his
underlings to do that work. Not so with Bernie the hands on man. Here is
a quote from a NGO article:
So what about those third-party
announcements? Pretty meager, huh? Well, no. "That was just the first wave.
Also, we weren’t talking about third parties in Japan or Europe" What about
EA? That’s some omission. "Bernie’s spent the past few months on the road
talking to third parties, and he’s going out again after the show. There’s
no reason to believe all the major companies won’t be on board."
Bernie Stolar may prove to be SEGA of
America's best asset.
Only SEGA Will Produce Dreamcast's
Companies make either no profit
or very little profit on hardware in the console business, as all the profit
to be made is on licensing fees from software sales. The only way to entice
companies to produce the hardware is to share with them the almighty licensing
fee and that makes no sense unless the hardware manufacturer is producing
software for the machine. Here is a quote from NGO
that says SEGA is the only company that is going to be the manufacturer
of the Dreamcast hardware:
I have one last question.
Last week’s announcement by Sega of Japan spent a lot of time talking about
the partners — Microsoft, NEC, Yamaha, Hitachi — and not much time talking
about Sega itself. Does this perhaps suggest that there might be multiple
manufacturing partners involved in Dreamcast? "Sega, and only Sega will
be manufacturing." That sorts that out then.
D2 Show to be Shown Again!
Warp will be rebroadcasting the
D2 Show from May 23rd on the 29th! Here is Warp's company site
and here is Warp's D2 Show broadcast site.
I do not understand why they cannot just archive the realvideo and allow
people to look at it whenever they want. (Source: Eclipse
E3 Press Releases
Unveils Super Console: Sega(R) of America's parent company, Sega Enterprises,
Ltd., today revealed its new ultimate video game machine with the power
to outperform all in-home gaming platforms and most arcade systems.
Reveals Blueprint for U.S. Dreamcast Launch in 1999: Sega(R) of America
today announced the blueprint for the much-anticipated next generation
videogame system called Dreamcast(TM) at the Electronic Entertainment Expo...
Readies Marketing Allies for Largest Video Game Launch in History:
The recently announced Dreamcast(TM) super video game console from Sega(R)
may still be more than a year away from launch in North America,
but forces are already at work developing a marketing blitz the likes of
which the video game industry has never seen...
Game Developers Stake Claim: Sega(R) of America announced today a distinguished
group of software developers currently working on games for its new console
system, Dreamcast(TM). A quote from this press release:
include videogame market forerunners Acclaim, Midway, GT Interactive software,
Interplay and Microprose. This elite group is representative of companies
with the experience to create innovative, "AAA'' Dreamcast titles in the
genres they know best.
These five companies are expected to
have at least one title ready for the North American launch of the Dreamcast
Dreamcast Sound Chip
SEGA has released details on the
sound chip to be used in the Dreamcast, which is being provided by Yamaha.
The name of the chip is AICA chipset which is comprised of a 40 Mips (45
MHz) ARM7 RISC CPU and DSP. This sound chipset is almost as powerful as
the two SH-2's in the Saturn, which produced a total of 54 mips. The sound
processor in the Saturn had a 68000 CPU with roughly 2 Mips of processing
power, so as you can see this new sound chip is very powerful. No mention
has been made of Dolby Digital Surround sound, so we can presume that SEGA
will not be offering this, as it would be an expensive offering.
The chip can execute 3D audio algorithms
that take advantage of the combination RISC and DSP execution cores. As
mentioned earlier at this site, the sound chip can play Yamaha's XG MIDI
files which are small files that contain synthesized sounds.
The sound system will have 2 MB of
audio RAM and can deliver sound on 64 distinct channels. Compare this with
the Saturn which has 512 KBytes for audio RAM and 32 channels.
To read more about this great sound
chip, then check the sound section of our website here at Dreamcast Technical
Dreamcast’s sound system is supported
by memory dedicated just for audio so game developers don’t have to steal
memory from other components or compromise sound quality.
Dreamcast is capable of CD-quality,
studio produced audio features such as reverb, delay, surround sound and
true 3D audio.
Unlike other console game systems, the
Dreamcast audio chip set is a dedicated component, taking audio tasks away
from the CPU, allowing it to concentrate on graphics and the overall speed
of the system. This had especially been a problem for the N64 which has
no dedicated audio hardware.
The Yamaha chip set has been optimized
for seamless integration with other Dreamcast components for exceptional
total system performance.
SegaSoft and SEGA to Provide a
Gaming Network on the Internet for Dreamcast!
This is a huge announcement in terms
of the potential for the Dreamcast as the ultimate gaming machine. Here
is a quote from a NGO article:
At Sega’s press conference,
the company announced that SegaSoft was joining Microsoft, NEC/Videologic,
Hitachi and Yamaha as a major partner in the Dreamcast system. Segasoft
will be providing its network services to allow for peer-to-peer and client
server online gaming services for Dreamcast. At the press conference, Bernie
Stolar confirmed that Sega was working on the first massively multiplayer
game for consoles though he provided no hint of what sort of game it was.
Here is SegaSoft's website.
"We’re building Sega the ultimate
gaming network for Dreamcast," said Gary griffiths, SegaSoft’s president
and CEO. "We’re taking the experience we’ve accumulated with Heat and focusing
our best resources to help Sega achieve their goals."
SEGA Wows Crowd With Demo of a Game
Using Only 20 Percent of Dreamcast's Power!
SEGA showed a 3D shooter that uses
only 20 percent of Dreamcast's power and the crowd was blown away by the
demonstration. Here is a quote from Game-Online:
Paul Davies and myself agreed that the resolution was unprecedented, and
that we saw no pop-up or fogging at all. This is not in the same league
as 3DFX-driven games, smart-looking as they are. The jellyfish showed how
'real' Dreamcast can be. As for Model 2, Model 3 - these comparisons are
now REDUNDANT. This machine can do VF3 standing on its head. The game we
saw looked better than any Model 3 game out there.
Be sure to check the whole article
here at Game-Online. Next Generation Online has an article on it here
and so does Ultra GamePlayers Online with three very fuzzy screenshots.
Here is a quote from from UGP Online:
Are we susceptible to hyperbole
and over enthusiasm? I don't think so. Until those final moments, I had
been relatively unmoved by the details, and a few years back when I saw
N64 at Shoshinkai I was impressed, but not rabid. I am now rabid.
According to Stolar,
the yet-unnamed shooter is utilizing a mere 20% of the console's total
ability, yet it manages to surpass any current console title visually by
several orders of magnitude.
Hopefully better screenshots will appear
in next couple of days.
Best described as a hybrid of
Psygnosis' Novastorm and Nintendo's StarFox 64, the game appeared only
on video, yet that was all that was necessary to convey its visual majesty.
The game was easily on par with Sega's own Model 3, Step 2 arcade software,
possessing detail only before possible in uncompressed CG animation.
Rumor has it that the shooter
is under development at UK-based Argonaut (creators of the original StarFox),
which would explain a lot about its design.
Dreamcast Domain Names
dreamcast.com - taken July 16th,
96. Pure luck that they had the name.
dreamcast.org, dreamcast.net, and
dream-cast.com - taken May 21st, 98
dream-cast.org and dream-cast.net
If you want to check who owns these
domain names, then go here
to the Whois database search engine at Network Solutions. The dreamcast.org,
dreamcast.net, and dream-cast.com are all held by the same person.
Microsoft Dreamcast Info Pages
Here is a site in Japanese that
has some diagrams showing the interaction of the Windows CE OS with the
Dreamcast hardware. Check it out here.
(Source: Yusaku by email)
How Much Texture Storage?
It is more or less confirmed that
the Dreamcast will have 8 MB of Graphics RAM. About 2 Megabytes of that
RAM will be used for the frame buffer. Here are the calculations for that:
640 by 480 resolution at 24 bits = 921, 600 Bytes and that will be double
buffered, so 1,843,200 Bytes or roughly 2 MBytes. This leaves 6 MBytes
for texture storage. The PowerVR Second Generation chipset in the Dreamcast
has the capability to efficiently compress textures using Vector Quantization
(VQ) compression. Here is what NEC/VideoLogic claim what amount of textures
can be stored in 4 MBytes using VQ compression:
VQ is a compression that
works well for 3D games. It has a high compression ratio and is easy to
use. Even if some of your textures remain in normal uncompressed texture
surfaces, a typical case of 4MB of on board texture memory allows around
20MB of textures to be uploaded.
So going by that above statement, we
can get a rough estimate on how much 6 MBytes can hold in textures. That
gives us 30 MBytes of texture storage. Now compare this to SEGA's arcade
Model 3 board which has 24 MBytes of ROM for texture storage, for the whole
In yesterday's news, I reported that
indicated this: "Yes, Dreamcast is more powerful than Model 3, but has
less memory overall then the Model 3 board, which could result in lesser
quality textures." That statement is actually inaccurate in the sense that
the Dreamcast has 30 MBytes of texture storage due to VQ compression for
each game level or track while Model 3 has 24 MBytes of texture storage
for the whole game. Quite a difference!
Dreamcast will also offer excellent
texture quality due to trilinear filtering, 16 bit or 24 bit textures,
32 bit rendering (lighting and transparencies), and image super sampling
(also referred to as full scene anti-aliasing).
Here is a list of technical
documents on the PVRSG at PowerVR.com. If you want to understand more
about Vector Quanitization compression then check this excellent article:
Quantization Texture Compression, Hardware Bump Mapping and Generalised
Modifier Volumes (1.08MB). You will need to have Adobe's Acrobat Reader
to read the above technical documents as they are in PDF format and are
also zipped files. You will have to download the files first and then unzip
them before you can look at them in the PDF viewer. To download Adobe's
Acrobat Reader then go here.
SEGA's CD-ROM Patent
Here is a very interesting patent
that SEGA just acquired recently:
An apparatus for reproducing data recorded on a disk (10) has a head part
(12) for reading data from the disk, storage parts (17, 18) for storing
the data read by the head part, and a control part (15) which pre-reads
the data from the disk and stores the pre-read data to the storage parts
so that the reproducing apparatus can output the data continuously to the
outside during the seeking operation of the head part, and controls the
outputting of the data from the storage parts to the outside.
The patent covers 19 pages and
you can read the pages here.
Pages 1 to 14 is mostly technical diagrams and 15 to 19 have written explanations.
The patent is extremely technical and hard to understand. It looks as if
the patent covers a way to load information with no delay during gameplay.
For example if you were in a racing
game, racing along and you see a fork in the road a head of you, with a
road leading right and the other road leading left. You would have to make
a decision to take either road. If either road was not in RAM at the time,
it would have be to loaded from the CD-ROM. This would cause a delay in
the game as it loads the information due to the fact CD-ROM's have a seek
time, which is the time for the read head to get to that part of the disc
with the required information.
This new technique of SEGA's removes
the delay in loading the new part of the level, so the game continues to
play without any interruption. This new technique will have huge implications
in gameplay, as levels can now be of any size and be loaded from the CD
(Source: Dean Kalerantes by email)
Bizarre Creations Racing Game
As reported on this site on May
Bizarre Creations - responsible
for Formula 1 '97 on the Playstation - producing a realistic type racing
game (for Dreamcast)
This Gaming Age Online article
has more info now on this game:
Sources have told us
that they are currently working on a game titled "Metropolis." (codename)
Like Bizarre's previous games, this one will fall under the racing genre.
Since Bizarre is a 1.5 party developer for the DC, Sega will publish the
game when it is released.
Bizarre Creations website.
Game Online also seems to know
some information about this game, and stated some interesting things which
should let people know that this game could be great. They mentioned that
the game has the potential to be "stunning." They also mentioned that is
"features THE most realistic physics game ever seen in a racing game and
promises full freedom of movement in a stunning cityscape."
SNK To Sale Dreamcast Compatible
Here is the press release:
"SNK ANNOUNCES THE OCTOBER RELEASE
OF THE NEW 'NEO GEO POCKET' PORTABLE GAME MACHINE
State-of-the-art portable game machine
compatible with SEGA's new DREAMCAST home system.
SNK CORPORATION will release the
high quality, NEO GEO POCKET and its software in October 1998 entering
the portable game machine market.
NEO GEO POCKET'S basic specifications
are aimed to respond to the need for a variety of game contents and the
future extension of new functions. Also, the realization of compatibility
with SEGA ENTERPRISES' home video game system DREAMCAST, which will be
released this year, enables SNK to make NEO GEO POCKET an extremely unique
and high quality game console which can network both a portable game hardware
and home use console.
Along with NEO GEO POCKET hardware,
software titles are also scheduled to be released. 'THE KING OF FIGHTERS'
series for NEO GEO POCKET along with SNK RPG games, sports games, etc.,
totaling 15 titles are scheduled by next spring.
SNK proposes a new style of gameplay
with our NEO GEO POCKET system. "I am very pleased that SNK's NEO GEO POCKET
has compatibility with our consumer game system 'DREAMCAST'. I truly wish
that NEO GEO POCKET creates a completely new field of amusement for the
users", commented SYUICHIROU IRIMAJIRI, President of Sega Enterprises.
16-bit CPU, 8 gradation monochrome
LCD: For comfortable gameplay, a variety of contents and future extension,
a 16-bit CPU and monochrome LCD with 8 gradations are used. This (enables)more
profound expression of the game characters than other portable game machines.
NEO GEO POCKET proposes new linked
gameplay with 'DREAMCAST' NEO GEO POCKET can be linked to 'DREAMCAST',
the consumer game system to be introduced by SEGA ENTERPRISES, with the
exclusive adapter (optional).
We propose a new playing style with
the new network for both consumer and portable games. For example, in fighting
games, the players can transfer the characters he has built up on NEO GEO
POCKET and they can fight using those characters on DREAMCAST. The players
will be able to seek for the key to solving the puzzle in a
DREAMCAST RPG game using the NEO
GEO POCKET'S software. Linkage between NEO GEO POCKET and 'DREAMCAST' produces
a brand new game playing style that a home console and a portable game
machine could never achieve solely.
The functions of the world time,
calendar and horoscope: Not only is NEO GEO POCKET a game machine, it can
also be used as a PDA (personal digital assistant) and has the function
of a clock, calendar and horoscope teller.
Back-up memory function: NEO GEO
POCKET can backup the data of games such as RPGs with internal lithium
batteries. Also, the internal clock function brings passage of time to
the game even with the power off. Even more peripherals and additional
functions like radio communication kits are coming up."
Weight: 160g/130g (with/without
CPU: 16 bit
LCD: 160x152 dots, 8 gradations
Serial Operation Time: Approx.
20 hours (maximum)
Built-in RTC (clock function)
Back-up memory function
Volumetric Lighting and Shadows!
Game-Online has another screenshot
of the 'Tower' demo which was the second demo shown at the May 21st Dreamcast
introduction. The first thing that stands out in the screenshot is the
lighting. You can tell that the Sun is setting in the scene and areas where
the sun's rays strike directly are lighten up more then other areas. Some
of you may say: "So, it is doing lighting in the scene just as Quake II
does." Games like Quake II and every other game does lighting in a small
area like a room and not over a scene that covers what looks to be at least
a mile in size. Also notice in the screenshot that shadows are present
on each object in the entire scene. This is all a result of the volumetric
effects that the PowerVR graphics chip is able to do and what other graphics
chips cannot do! These kind of volumetric effects will add a lot of atmosphere
to games like RPG's and adventure games, where a day to night or night
to day transitions will have a huge effect on how well the whole environment
looks around you character.
Game-Online Clears Things Up?
Game-Online says in this article:
1. Virtua Fighter 3 and Super GT
are not confirmed launch titles as reported earlier.
2. Yes, Dreamcast is more powerful
than Model 3, but has less memory overall then the Model 3 board, which
could result in lesser quality textures.
3. No games will be shown at E3,
but some demos will be shown and those demos will be different than the
ones shown at the Dreamcast introduction in Japan.
Here is the quote from the Gaming
Age Online article
that confirmed Virtua Fighter 3 and Super GT as launch titles:
At this point Kenji gave
the stage to Sega's President, who went on to speak about how the DreamCast
started development three years ago. How, back then, lighting, shadow and
translucency effects were but a dream, but [loosely translated] "Things
we thought of as a dream have become reality." Hence the name; DreamCast.
He also stated that D2 would be a launch title along with Super GT, Virtua
Fighter 3 and two as yet un-announced games. Thanks to Roushi and Kagami
for the translations.
Here is Game-Online's response to that
in this article:
Virtua Fighter 3 and
Scud Race Confirmed as Launch Titles Apparently Mr Irimajiri, President
of Sega, announced at the Warp Conference that the first two Model 3 titles
are confirmed for Dreamcast. FACT: Having reviewed the tape of the Dreamcast
conference he said absolutely nothing of the sort. He didn't even mention
the games. In fact, at the New Challenge Conference last Thursday he categorically
ruled out ANY game announcements until a special event in August or September...
It seems that Roushi and Kagami at Gaming
Age Online have to brush up on the translation skills. No matter, Virtua
Fighter 3 is almost guaranteed a launch title and it is unknown at this
time if Super GT will be released. SEGA may only have used the Super GT
game for demo purposes.
Hitachi and Sega Take the 3D Experience
to the Next Level
Here is part of a Hitachi company
Dreamcast houses a Hitachi
SuperH RISC architecture customized to deliver the best combination of
floating-point operations capabilities and performance for optimum design
flexibility and affordability. The SH-4 is equipped with a 3D graphics
accelerator engine that enhances its double precision IEEE 754 floating-point
capabilities to give developers unparalleled precision and instantaneous
instruction execution when designing games for Dreamcast.
Hitachi Semiconductor of America's website.
To read more on Hitachi's SH-4 processor, check the CPU section of this
Built to support popular operating
systems like Microsoft Windows CE, the SH-4 gives Dreamcast developers
more powerful and verified compatible silicon to design state-of-the-art
3D video games. The SH-4 ensures a fast, seamless solution that enables
maximum design precision for a realistic 3D experience. The Hitachi 200MHz
SH-4 processor enables the Dreamcast system to perform four times faster
than the Intel Pentium II and more than ten times faster than alternative
game products. The SH-4 achieves a peak performance of 1.4GFLOPS that eliminates
jerky or jumpy movements and ensures smooth, real-time 3D animation.
The SH-4 offers a multitude of
capabilities that Dreamcast developers can leverage to design high-caliber
3D games for the maximum gamer experience, including 1) precision point
plotting for accurate depictions of each character, 2) fast processor speed
for real-time 3D-animation development and 3) a vast array of colors and
shading for effective contrast and highlighting.
Alliance With Sega Positions QSound
Technology as The 3D Audio Solution of Choice for Game Developers
Here is part of a Qsound company
QSound Labs, Inc., the
world leader in quality 3D audio technology, today announced that Sega
Enterprises, Ltd. will provide game developers with Q3D technology as the
exclusive 3D audio solution for the world's most powerful, advanced digital
game console, Dreamcast.
Q3D was originally introduced
in 1991 and has been incorporated in top-selling arcade, PC, and console
games from leading developers such as Activision, Capcom, Electronic Arts,
Microsoft, Psygnosis, and Sega. Currently there are over 100 game titles
using Q3D technology with many more slated for production throughout 1998.
Q3D will work with Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, customized
for the Sega Dreamcast, to immerse players in ultra-realistic audio. Everything
from creaking floorboards to thunderous explosions are fully mapped out
in 3D to dramatically enhance the atmosphere of the game. Dreamcast will
be introduced to the Japan market in November 1998.
"The new Sega Dreamcast is expected
to outperform all in-home gaming platforms and most arcade systems,'' said
David Gallagher, president of QSound Labs. "The incorporation of Q3D in
Dreamcast games positions QSound Labs' as the 3D audio solution of choice
for the gaming industry.''
QSound's alliance with Sega dates
back to 1993 when Sega first showcased the company's patented technology
in a series of video games for the Sega CD and later in the Sega 32X and
Saturn platforms. This latest agreement comes on the heels of the tremendous
success of the best-selling title, "Sonic R'' and the previously released
titles "NIGHTS'' and "Sega Rally Championship,'' both of which experienced
record-breaking sales performance.
ZDNet Article Comments on Windows
Nothing but good news for SEGA's
Despite some doubts that
Windows CE can deliver high performance, Sega's newest brainchild seems
ready to set the standard for computer games.
Check the rest of the article at:
Able to display 3 million polygons
-- one measure of graphics horsepower -- per second, Dreamcast will leap
ahead of Sony's PlayStation (at 150,000 polygons per second) and Nintendo's
N64 (at 300,000 polygons per second). The machine even surpasses the most
powerful PCs available today as well as next year's high-end machines.
"Dreamcast is not designed as
a loss leader," said Lee Caraher, vice president of communications for
Sega. "We intend to make money off the bat by offering better than PC power
at one-tenth the price."
Windows CE has been optimized
to allow the machine to reach its full potential, said Kevin Dallas, product
manager for Microsoft's Windows CE group. "(Any implication that Windows
CE is slow) could not be further from the truth," he said. "We stripped
Windows CE down to the essentials ... Sega is pleased with the performance."
The double-capacity CD-ROMs used
by Dreamcast will have the most current version of Windows CE on the disk,
rather than in the machine itself. This strategy helps extend the longevity
of the machine, said Dallas.
A win for WinCE This also helps
developers speed development and cut costs.
(Source: Yahoo news article)
SEGA pre-E3 Press Briefing
Wednesday, May 27th, SEGA will be
having a press briefing in Atlanta just before the E3 show. The time of
the press briefing will be 6 pm to 7:30 pm eastern standard time. Dreamcast
Technical pages received a press pass in the mail today but unfortunately
Atlanta is a bit far from Vancouver, Canada for me to attend. No matter,
we will be providing news on the event and any other E3 coverage that relates
to the Dreamcast.
SEGA's Dual Operating Systems
for the Dreamcast
SEGA gives developers two choices
in operating systems when developing games for the Dreamcast as mentioned
in parts of this article:
Sega's Dreamcast system,
which will ship in Japan this November and in the United States in fall
1999, contains a number of powerful multimedia components, allowing it
to deliver the performance equivalent of a 128-bit system, even though
the processor is not a true 128-bit chip, a source told Computer Retail
Week. The system will also come with an Internet connection.
As mentioned already in the March 11th
news at this site, SEGA's operating system has the code name of Atlas and
it has a graphics library by the code name of Ninja. To read more about
this, check the March news archive listed below. Here is the whole article
entitled "Sega Unveils New Game System for 1999" at Computer
Retail Week where the above quotes are from.
The console system will use Hitachi's
SH4 CPU, a scalable 32/64-bit RISC processor that has been customized by
Sega, with faster clock speeds and an optimized floating-point unit to
handle advanced 3-D graphics. The system will also include a two-chip audio
solution from Yamaha and a customized version of the second-generation
3-D graphics chip set from PowerVR. It will contain a CD-ROM drive customized
to read discs that can exceed the 680-MB data capacity of typical CD disks,
one source said.
Dreamcast will run two distinct
operating systems, the source said. One is a version of Windows CE, with
its own DirectX development tools so publishers can easily port titles
from the PC to the Dreamcast platform. The other is a custom OS from Sega
for more intense games. Sega has acknowledged that Windows CE will run
on Dreamcast but has not commented on its proprietary system.
SEGA's PowerVR Graphics Chip Can
Render 200 Million pixels/second!
The version of the PowerVR graphics
chip in the Dreamcast is more powerful than the base PowerVR Second Generation
chip that is due this August for PC's. The PVRSG base chip for PC's is
rated at 120 million pixels/second at graphics rendering. It can process
32 pixels by 16 pixels at a time with it's multiple on-chip graphics processors
working in parallel. The version of the PVRSG in the Dreamcast can render
200 million pixels/second by processing 32 by 32 pixels at a time with
it's multiple on-chip graphics processors. Here are some quotes from an
Dreamcast features: Microsoft's
Windows CE environment; a customized SH4 processor provided by Hitachi;
the PowerVR2 3-D graphics engine from NEC; and the XG sound engine from
Yamaha. The system uses two 64-Mbit synchronous DRAMs for main memory,
a 12x CD-ROM drive as a game console and an internal 33.6-kbit/second modem
in its 190 x 195 x 78-mm body, which weighs 2 kilograms.
Here is the whole article
entitled "Sega's spins Dreamcast, its next-generation gaming system" at
Times. To find out more about the XG capable sound generator in the
Dreamcast, then check the May 5th news at this site listed below in the
May news archive.
The system's Windows CE was customized
to deliver faster performance, and incorporates DirectX technology as well.
"[We] removed unnecessary functions and enhanced necessary functions, such
as interactivity and real-time processing," said Sega's Sato. "A large
part of the codes are changed, but at the API level, it is completely compatible
with other Windows CE."
NEC beefed up the performance
of PowerVR2 — its polygon throughput is about seven times better than the
company's first-generation 3-D processor — and can now process over 3 million
polygons per second. It sports a pixel-fill rate of 200 million pixels/second.
"The polygon processing power is about twice higher than that of current
arcade games," Bellfield said.
Yamaha's XG engine is a 32-bit
embedded RISC processor that delivers 64 channel adaptive differential
pulse code modulation (ADPCM) sound. Yamaha is proposing the XG format
as the next-generation sound source format. It maintains backward compatibility
with general MIDI, the widely implemented standard first defined in 1991.
is about 10 times higher compared with conventional processing power,"
Sato said. "But total quality is 100 times better, taking consideration
of various effects which Dreamcast can do."
VM Labs and SEGA at E3 This Week
entitled: "Vendors to Show They 'Got Game' -- Sega, VM Labs Demo New Systems
at E3" at Computer Retail
Week. Here are some quotes from that article:
VM Labs, a start-up firm
founded by former Atari executives, will demonstrate a multimedia processor
that can be incorporated into DVD players, digital satellite receivers
and set-top boxes. The company said the processor, which executes 1.5 billion
instructions per second, is powerful enough to handle 3-D, MPEG-2 video
and audio functions. Richard Miller, chairman and chief executive officer
of VM Labs, said the technology, referred to as Project X, can bring "film-quality
video and graphics" to existing consumer-electronics devices.
The Project X processor sounds very
impressive, but how can the system compare to the Dreamcast when it has
no dedicated 3D rendering hardware. SEGA's PowerVR graphics chip can do
10's of billions of operations per second on graphics operations, thus
freeing the CPU to do other things. The Project X main CPU has to do all
the work for graphics rendering. It will interesting to see if Project
X console can develop a market for itself at the expense of Sony and Nintendo's
game consoles or as a low cost DVD player that can also play games.
The SEGA and VM Labs
product previews may signal a new era for video-game systems in which gaming
isn't necessarily the focus of the set-top box. There is also widespread
speculation that the PlayStation 2 from Sony may include a DVD drive, although
the company declined to comment on the rumors.
With the new consoles coming out with
added capabilities, the console market will be more broad base and not
as niche oriented as it was in the past.
Kenji Eno Rocks Japan
8000 people showed up at Tokyo's
Kokusai Forum to see Kenji Eno newest game D2 for SEGA's Dreamcast. Here
is a quote from GameSpot:
The game was running
at 60 frames per second. You can go anywhere in the environment - as far
as you can see. Every leaf on the tree is made by polygons. This is not
cardboard art. You can explore the fields, and enter the houses. Facial
expressions are emphasized. Laura can express her feelings with detailed
Check out this article
at GameSpot news, which describes more about the D2 showing in Tokyo. There
are three great looking screenshots also!
3 Launch Titles Known Now!
Kenji Eno indicate at the D2 Show
yesterday, that D2 will be a launch title. Mr Irimajiri, President of Sega
at the same show indicated that Super GT and Virtua Fighter 3 would be
launch titles! There is suppose to be 5 launch titles when the Dreamcast
goes on sale next November 20th in Japan. Those two other titles most likely
are a Sonic game of some sort and game that AM2 is working on exclusively
for the Dreamcast that has been reported earlier. This AM2 title in other
words will not be an arcade port but a new unique game for the Dreamcast.
Bernie Stolar has already indicated that of all the years of being in the
video game industry he has not seen such a game like this one! Sounds Impressive!
1) SEGA's Super GT
2) SEGA's Virtua Fighter 3
3) Warp's D2
4) SEGA's Sonic title?
5) SEGA's AM2 title?
Only 1 third party game. It has
already been reported that SEGA would provided half the titles at launch.
Half of five is two and half. Strange. I have four titles listed, so maybe
the Sonic title or the AM2 title will not be ready for the launch. Most
likely Sonic will be ready and the AM2 title will not be ready, as Sonic
has been in production already for a long time now. Bernie Stolar indicated
that he saw Sonic running on the Dreamcast prototype hardware last August
A Couple Interesting Tidbits
Here is some information from Gaming
Age Online on the Windows CE versions and the amount of memory the
The double-capacity CD-ROMs
used by Dreamcast will have the most current version of Windows CE on the
disk, rather than in the machine itself. This strategy helps extend the
longevity of the machine.
So this more or less confirms my article
from yesterday, where I indicated that there is a total of 26 MB of RAM!
We know the system has 16 megs
of general RAM, but what about memory dedicated to other, more specific
tasks? According to some reliable sources, there is another 8 megabytes
of video (graphics/textures) RAM, and 2 megs of dedicated sound RAM. And
in case you don't know, all the memory is ultra fast SDRAM.
Perfect Model 3 Ports?
SEGA says so in this article
Next we were shown a
fast moving camera on one of the courses in an arcade racer. This course
data was directly ported to Set 2 from a Model 3 board. It looks fine for
the most part. Since Set 2 is one third the power of the Dreamcast, Sega
assured us that current arcade games based on Model 3 will be ported to
Well I can't wait to see a perfect ports
of Virtua Fighter 3 and Super GT. Unfortunately SEGA will not be showing
the games till next September.
Kenji Eno Shows D2 to the World
Very late last night North American
time (mid afternoon Japan time) Kenji Eno of Warp showed D2 running on
SEGA's Dreamcast hardware. What was shown was some FMV running on the Dreamcast
of the game introduction. A snow level was also shown with Laura, the main
character, walking around the nicely contoured snowy landscape. In the
screenshots you notice snow covered rocky hills in the distance and trees.
It really looks like you are in this massive environment, a world, that
has a very natural look to it all. Laura her self is made up of about 5000
polygons and her face has about 2000 polygons. Overkill? Well all those
polygons in her face is going to be used for facial expressions. Compare
the polygon count with VF3 characters, which have 2000 polygons in their
whole body. Here is some quotes from Warp's website on the game:
Ultimately, the game
uses a total of million polygons per second, including the characters,
the backgrounds, information display, stage effects, and the rest.
For more information check these sites:
Snow is a good example. It snows
a lot in [D2], with up to 3,000 snowflakes, requiring such large memory
volume that a normal game would start and finish with just the snow.
Gaming Age Online article
"Warped Dreams" - this article has the best screenshots
Gaming Age Online screenshots
- 87 other screenshots, but of poor quality
- no screenshots, just a write-up on the event
Warp's D2 Broadcast site
- not much to see here except some links
Warp's Home site
- information on D2 and other Warp's games
Here is a quote from Gaming
One thing to notice,
there was no fog, and it looked like the sun actually set, with tree shadows
playing along the ground and the entire area being bathed in a fiery glow.
Dreamcast Official Website!
Visit the official SEGA of Japan's
Dreamcast website. It is
in Japanese and there is not a whole lot to look at. There is a message
board at the site too, but good luck in trying to understand any messages
as they are all in Japanese.
Dreamcast News page at PowerVR.com
Here is a page
at PowerVR.com that has extensive links to news items on the Dreamcast.
Dreamcast Questions and Answers
GameSpot has some questions and
answers from Sega's president Shoichirou Irimajiri. Here a few interesting
Q: Can you tell us which
publishers have already signed on to develop games?
Check out the other questions and answers
There is a picture with the article that shows Mr. Irimajiri holding the
console in his hands. This will give you a better understanding on how
small the unit is. It is roughly about 1/3 smaller then the Saturn.
A: I'm afraid we can't, but we
have already delivered a total of 1,000 development systems and tools worldwide.
We can't tell you any specific titles yet, that will be announced in the
conference held in mid-September. Kenji Eno [Warp] will announce D2 tomorrow,
Q: What are the plans for hookups
between arcade and home consoles?
A: Our AM guys are already working
on the Naomi board which is an arcade board based on Dreamcast technology.
Just before the conference last night, Yu Suzuki told me that he had just
achieved 3.5 million polys/sec on that board.
Capcom Working on More than Three
Here is a quote from GameSpot:
We also had a chance
to speak with Capcom's dynamite duo - Yoshiki Okamoto and Noritaka Funamizu.
Okamoto admits that Dreamcast doesn't have any significantly superb features
in any part of the spec, but overall it is the most advanced console yet
and he said he is really interested in it. As for actual development of
games for Dreamcast: Okamoto: Yes. We are already working on not one, two
or three but more. One of the features zombies. uh.. what is it called?
Oh, The House of the Dead! Funamizu: No, that's not ours. Okamoto: Oh,
High Resolution Picture
If you want to see a picture of
the Dreamcast in higher resolution (900 by 700), then go here.
More Dreamcast Coverage
Online Gaming - they have just put up an article with the title of
"Sega Lives a Dream" that gives an overview of the Dreamcast console.
Edge - they have put up numerous articles on the Dreamcast announcement.
Be sure to check out the amazing
at GameSpot of the two demos that where shown yesterday in Japan. The first
demo shows a head of Shoichiro Irimajiri, who is President of SEGA. His
head looks rather spooky in the sense it has this quasi realistic look
about it. The subtle lighting across his facial texture looks amazing!
The head could be manipulated in real-time by morphing for instance the
ear to a bigger size in relation to the head. Also light points of different
colors circled around the head and the light lit the textures on the head
Even though the head demo was amazing,
the second demo was even more amazing. This second demo was about a tower
with a small town around it. I notice right away that the tower is rounded
and even all the houses in the town are rounded, indicating that all the
objects are made up of a large number of polygons. The tower sits on a
hill that is nicely contoured. These scene was being manipulated in real-time
at about 1 million polygons a second, and the Dreamcast was moving the
entire environment at 60 fps at 640 by 480 resolution with no slowdown
anywhere! Wow! This demo was running on a Dreamcast hardware that is 30
percent slower then the final hardware that is due later. The textures
are really nice looking in this demo and reminded me of Panzeer Dragoon.
This 'tower' demo was created by Yu Suzuki and a couple SEGA programmers
in only 10 days! Be sure to check out the screenshots
at GameSpot. Thanks to Howard Shih for point out these screenshots to me.
Windows CE is the Operating System
I have never been a Microsoft fan,
but I must admit that everything I have read about Windows CE in industry
journals has been very positive. Windows CE is not Windows95 and does have
any of the problems associated with Windows95. It is a completely new OS
that was written from the ground up and not a port or a mini version of
Windows95. It shares only one similarity with Windows95 and that is the
Windows CE API calls are a subset of the Windows95 API calls, but the underlying
code for WindowsCE API calls is different then the Windows95 code and that
makes all the difference in the world. Windows CE brings a huge host of
great features to the Dreamcast console and here is a list of them:
Core Windows CE Operating System Components
Kernel - Supports pre-emptive
multitasking and multithreading with priority-based scheduling. Manages
system resources such as physical and virtual memory and MMU. Provides
loader and service interrupts.
Communications - Supports a subset
of the Windows Sockets and RAS APIs, providing TCP and UDP sockets and
File system - Provides access
to Sega's CD-ROM and designed for maximum performance. ISO9660 Level 2-compliant.
Supports memory-mapped files and asynchronous I/O. Designed to allow the
developer to fill the CD-ROM pipeline for better streaming performance.
Minimal USER and GDI APIs - Support
loading and copying bitmaps, rendering text or DirectDraw® API-based
surfaces, input and message handling, string resource loading, and the
Rectangle APIs. Other functions such as window management and cursors have
Japanese language support - IMM/IME
support available (game responsible for providing user interface for accessing
system-level IME support).
Persistent Storage API - Very
lightweight and block-oriented new API to manage NVRAM cards. Desktop version
is also provided for emulation.
C-Runtime Library - Provides
standard C utility functions, string manipulation, math, exception handling,
file I/O, and memory allocation.
DirectDraw - Provides 2-D graphics
facilities, including video memory management and palette management. Supports
full-screen exclusive mode only.
Direct3D® - The Direct3D
API Immediate Mode supports transformation, lighting and rendering of 3-D
DirectSound® - Supports digitized
sound input and output. Interfaces with Sega ARM code to manage Dreamcast
DirectPlay - Supports Internet
and modem communications for multiplayer gaming. Provides APIs to enable
online chatting, the sending and receiving of messages, and maintaining
game state among all players.
DirectInput® API - Interfaces
to Dreamcast game controllers.
DirectShow™ API - Supports digital
audio and video playback and synchronization. MPEG1 encoded AVI playback
is also supported.
SEGA could not have chosen a better
partner or a better operating system for the Dreamcast! Microsoft as a
partner and the benefit of this great OS will factor greatly in the success
of the Dreamcast! For more information of WindowsCE/Dreamcast, then check
Microsoft's WindowsCE/Dreamcast page here.
Note that developers do not have to use DirectX and can develop their own
graphics library or use PowerSGL Direct, which is the graphics API from
NEC/VideoLogic for the PowerVR graphics chip.
Visual C++ - Works within the
Visual Studio development system IDE, offering the ability to edit, compile,
link, execute and debug programs from within a single application.
Windows CE Toolkit for Visual C++
5.0 - Includes optimized SH-4 compiler and tool set.
Windows CE and DirectX SDK -
Provides libraries, headers, run times, samples and docs for building games.
SH-4 Compiler - Compiles and
debugs within IDE. Optimized to exploit SH-4 features. In-line assembler
support and SH-4 assembler also provided.
Debugging support - Source-level,
integrated Visual C++ debugger that supports emulation on PC or remote
debugging on target hardware. Provides GUI and features of Visual C++ debugger.
Driver development kit - Allows
development of custom Windows CE system-level components.
120 Developers and 1,000 Development
This is very good news indeed. SEGA
has an impressive number of developers on board with an huge number of
development kits shipped. Shoichiro Irimajiri, who is President of SEGA
had this to say: "I am reluctant to announce developers until the September
conference," he stated. "120 developers are already involved and we have
already delivered 1,000 tools [development kits] worldwide."
Naomi = Dreamcast and Sonic!
There seems to be some indication
that the Naomi arcade hardware will actually be the same hardware as the
Dreamcast system. Earlier it was rumored that the Naomi would be using
a MIPS CPU instead of the Hitachi SH-4. Here is a quote from Game-Online:
Asked about the involvement
of the arcade side, he revealed that Yu Suzuki's AM2 department are currently
investigating the Naomi platform which is based on the same hardware as
Dreamcast. He confirmed that already the programmers have managed to out-perform
Model 3. But specs are irrelevant - he mentioned that a good arcade conversion
may not be good enough for the Dreamcast philosophy… it has to work as
a home game too. But regardless of the new strategy, there's room for an
old favorite too. "No question - Sonic will remain as Sega's major character.
We want to create lots of new characters."
Here is hoping that the Naomi and Dreamcast
are the same because then this will lead to perfect ports! Notice the little
thing about Sonic, well I really do hope that there is a Sonic game at
launch. During the demo shown yesterday of Mr. Irimajiri head and the 'Tower'
demo, there was also a 2 second clip of Sonic! Bernie Stolar did mention
last year that they were working on a Sonic game, so it looks like Sonic
may well be at the Dreamcast launch and most likely a pack-in game.
It seems that the Japanese public
would not mind a system called 'Guppy'. The horror of it! Most people find
the Dreamcast name strange and less then ideal, but Guppy is down right
horrible! I would be embarrassed to own such a system! Yes, I would still
buy this system but I would scrap the name off with a chisel. :) I would
hardly clarify the name 'Guppy' as something that represents awesome gaming
power. Here is a quote from Game-Online:
A source tells us things
could have been even more off-the-wall. Apparently, out of the 1000 odd
names in testing, the Japanese public loved 'Guppy'. The reverence from
tropical fish in Japan propelled it to the top of the list. Apparently,
SOE execs believed the name might prevail: a nightmare scenario to try
and sell in Europe. However Dreamcast it is - globally.
The Dreamcast name, while being strange,
is a name that most people in the west could grow to accept as I am finding
that the name is gaining appeal with me as time goes on. Now the orange
swirl which right away represents to me confusion or disorientation, but
the execs at SEGA seem to believe that it represents "It symbolizes the
universe and the infinite power of human beings". Hmmm, I can see that
Japanese culture and the culture of the west is a world apart. It funny
how the Saturn logo and name fitted in with no problems at all, but the
hardware had it criticisms. Now Dreamscape has a questionable logo and
name, but not the hardware, except for maybe that controller. Clearly this
controller was designed to please Playstation and Nintendo owners.
How Much Memory Total?
Good question. Next Generation Online
indicated before the announcement yesterday that the system was going to
have 8 MB main RAM, 8 MB graphics RAM, and 2 MB sound RAM for a total of
18 MB of RAM. A day before the Dreamcast announcement, Next Generation
Online indicated that an extra 8 MB of RAM was added to the system so that
bring the total to 26 MB of RAM. The extra 8 MB was most likely added to
the main RAM and not to the graphics RAM or sound RAM. Some sites yesterday
indicated that the system has 16 MB total RAM and other sites indicated
that the system has 16 MB main RAM. SEGA gave no indication of 'graphics'
memory or 'sound' memory. My guess would be that they only indicated how
much main RAM there is and forgot to mention the graphics RAM and sound
RAM. Hopefully they did forget this, as 16 MB total RAM is a bit on the
low side. Well, Next Generation Online has been correct about everything
on this system so far, so I doubt they are wrong about the amount of RAM
in the machine.
SEGA will be using a special 1 GigaByte
CD-ROM media and not the standard CD-ROM media as one other hobby site
indicated yesterday. SEGA says that they will charge extra for the games,
as the cost of this media is higher then regular media. This is highly
questionable logic as the new media is most likely going to cost SEGA a
dollar or two more extra and it would not be unreasonable for SEGA to charge
us Nintendo64 high pricing. Hopefully this new CD-ROM media will make it
harder for people to make copies of the games.
June 8th and 9th - announcement
of favored developers working on Dreamcast projects
September (mid month) - game announcements
October - playable Dreamcast games
at the Tokyo Game Show
November (early) - Dreamcast price
November 20th, 1998 - the Japanese
Software Modem or Hardware Modem?
I was told by someone who I will
not indicate (top secret) that the modem in the Dreamcast is a software
type modem. In other words, a modem that executes on the SH-4 processor.
Here is a quote from Game-Online:
DREAMCAST MODEM UPGRADABLE:
Mr Irimajiri told European journalists that Sega were fully aware "of the
hype, particularly in America, for the cable modem." The use of the Microsoft
CE operating system indicates that the system is ready for advances in
technology when it comes to gaming on the Information Superhighway - faster
connection times are only an upgrade away.
Well if it is upgradable in the sense
you have to plug a modem into the back of the machine, then this might
indicate that the modem is hardware or can you just change the connector
in the back of the machine and upgrade the modem software? I will let you
know when I get more information on this.
$200 million - $200 million -
$600 million dollars, is the type
of money you need to successfully launch a console system in todays market.
Here is a quote from Game-Online:
A key lesson is marketing.
Irimajiri has a background in engineering, previously working for Honda.
"To develop a new car costs $200m in development, $200m in tools and $200m
in marketing - and that's what we're spending on that little box!" he laughed,
pointing at the tiny Dreamcast unit in front of him.
Strange that it costs the Japanese 600
million to launch a new car when I heard once that Chrysler spends 2 billion
to do that.
Dreamcast Is Greater Than Model
SH-4 can calculate 5,000,000 polygons
per second. The PowerVR second generation graphics chip used in the Dreamcast
can render 3,000,000 polygons per second. Model 3 Step 2 can calculate
2,000,000 polygons per second. Both systems are close and it will be interesting
to see what system is more powerful. Another consideration is the rendering
quality (texture, lighting, shading, transparencies, etc.). Which is better?
We will have to wait and see with our own eyes the games on the system
moving before making such a judgment. Here are some quotes from Game-Online:
Finally, definite word
from the top Model 3 does 1,000,000 polygons a second. Dreamcast does 3,000,000.
However, Model 3 produces squares, Dreamcast displays triangles - meaning
that two Dreamcast polygons are required to make up a similar one on the
Model 3 board. So says one of the most powerful men in Sega's R&D departments.
This is final confirmation that
the Dreamcast has the power to out-quaff Model 3 - by 50% based on these
crude calculations. Dreamcast's spec of 3,000,000 polygons per second was
confirmed as being full textured triangles with every visual effect enabled.
All of these effects, such as specular lighting, bump mapping and anti-aliasing
are performed by the PowerVR hardware "for free".
The now legendary Tower of Babel
demo was offered as proof - it runs on a lower power version of the final
PowerVR hardware, using 1,000,000 polygons, but still looks up to Model
3 quality… Expect 30% greater efficiency from the final board. By way of
an aside, we should point out that both the Tower of Babel demo and the
Iri-San head demo run at 640x480 and at a rock-solid 60 frames per second
with no sign of pop-up, glitching or fogging whatsoever. This is the real
McCoy… and the finished unit's going to be better still!
Five European Developers
Dreamcast Press Release
1) No Cliche (formerly Adeline)
- owned by SEGA and producing two games - an adventure game and an action
2) Red Lemon - a new british
game company producing a first person strategy shooter
3) Bizarre Creations - responsible
for Formula One on the Playstation - producing a realistic type racing
4) Argonaut - arcade type
shooter set in a 'real' 3D world
5) Appaloosa - game unknown
but hinted at being a sequel to Ecco the Dolphin
of America press release:
SEGA UNVEILS SUPER CONSOLE;
"DREAMCAST" SENDS WAKE-UP CALL TO VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY
Sega Partners With Microsoft,
Hitachi, NEC, Videologic, Yamaha, on Powerful New Console
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- May 21,
1998 -- Sega® of America’s parent company, Sega Enterprises, Ltd.,
today revealed its new ultimate video game machine with the power to outperform
all in-home gaming platforms and most arcade systems. That power, driven
by Sega’s revolutionary system design, will deliver gaming experiences
previously impossible on any home entertainment platform. The super console,
christened today as DreamcastTM in Japan, launches November 20, 1998, in
Japan and in the fall of 1999 in North America. [more]
No games where shown at the Dreamcast
introduction. SEGA indicated that games will be shown in September! Three
months from now!. We do not know that D2 will be shown later this month
and is actually being shown in Japan on commercials with Laura seen walking
through snowy scenes. SEGA did manage to show a couple demos, here is a
quote from Game-Online:
The first demo was clever:
it was a full 3D rendition of Mr Irimajiri himself, similar in concept
to the start of Super Mario 64... but the thing is, it looked like a real
face! The animation and expression was absolutely superb and you could
discern every wrinkle as the camera zoomed in on his face. Then ball lighting
of various colours spun around his head, with lighting cast on his face.
Other effects, such as the entire head turning into reflective metal (and
then shimmering liquid style) were also on offer. Best of all was when
the head descended into a cityscape with twin helicopters arriving to intercept
it (replete with searchlights). This is followed up with the head of Mr
Irimajiri breathing spectacular fire, spinning around and banishing the
city completely. Awesome stuff.
Hopefully some quicktime videos will
be made available soon of these demos.
HOWEVER... this is as nothing
compared to the majesty of the "Tower of Babel" demo which followed soon
afterwards. This demonstration sees an entire town built up in a desert
around the eponymous tower, in sunset. The camera goes everywhere - it
literally swoops in between buildings before flying out, allowing you to
witness the entire town in all its glory. This truly was one of the most
incredible pieces of 3D rendering yet seen... and Dreamcast was performing
it in real-time. Although the flight course was pre-determined, Mr Irimajiri
had full control of the camera angles, thus proving its on-the-fly 3D rendering
PowerVR - SEGA - Questions and
has put up a FAQ on the PowerVR
technology that is going to be used in SEGA's Dreamcast. The PowerVR graphics
chip will provide some amazing quality visuals with 32 bit rendering and
a whole slew of graphical effects.
That's how long it has been since
the Saturn was introduced into North America which was May, 1995. Today
SEGA introduces a powerful new console with these specifications:
CPU: Hitachi 200 MHz SH-4
(360 Mips/1.4 Billion Flops)
GPU: NEC/VideoLogic PVRSG
(120 million pixels/s, 3 million polygons/s)
Sound Processor: Yamaha Sound
Processor with built-in 40 Mips CPU (64 voices)
Operating System: Optimized
versions of Windows CE and DirectX
Main Memory: 16MB (64Mbit
SDRAM x 2)
Graphics Memory: 8 MB
Sound Memory: 2 MB
CD-ROM Drive: 12X speed (1800
KB/s), 1 GByte storage capacity
On-board Modem: 33.6Kbps
Controllers: Red, Yellow,
Blue, and Grey
Visual Memory System (sold separately):
A liquid-crystal display PDA for game data backup and data exchange.
Console Dimensions: 7 7/16" X
7 11/16" X 3"
Memory 128 KB
Display 48 dot (W) x 32 dot (H) Monochrome
Display size 37 mm (W) x 26 mm (H)
Case dimensions 47 mm (W) x 80 mm (H)
x 16 mm (D) - roughly the size of a business card
Power source 2 x button batteries, w.
Sound 1-channel PWM sound source
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Release Date: November 20,
1998 in Japan, 1999 for everywhere else.
Price: TBA, 20,000 to 30,000
yen (roughly US$150-$225)
Saturn 2 Technical Pages Name
As you can see, we are now Dreamcast
Technical Pages. SEGA officially announced the name of their console today
as Dreamcast. This name will be used in all markets which includes North
America and Europe. Dreamcast means roughly "the broadcast of dreams".
It seems the execs at SEGA have been putting in a lot of hours playing
"NiGHTS into Dreams". SEGA has a new logo for their console, which is an
orange swirl and this is suppose to represent 'infinity' or "the vastness
of space, the potential of mankind.". Hmmm, I tend to see orange swirls
after I have spent too much time playing video games. Well I am sure with
time that we all will grow to like the Dreamcast name and the orange swirl
for what it represents and that is an awesome gaming console!
Sites With Extensive Dreamcast
How Much Does it Cost?
Some sites reported the other day
that the Dreamcast will cost SEGA $320 US. Well I come up with a rough
price list for the components in the Saturn. This price list does not include
the assembly costs or packaging costs.
PDA memory device, Visual Memory System
(VMS) will be sold separately for around $20 US. At the Dreamcast introduction,
SEGA only mentioned the system main memory and did not indicate how much
graphics memory or sound memory is present. We will assume 8 MB graphics
memory and 2 MB sound memory, as this is what has been reported already
from rumors. All my assumptions above are most likely a bit on the high
side for a system that is going to be produced in huge numbers. If SEGA
makes a loss on each system, it will be minimal.
Yamaha Sound Chip
16MB Main Memory
8MB Graphics Memory
2MB Sound Memory
Case + Power Supply
The original specifications for
the Katana as indicated by NGO
that there would be 8 MB RAM for the CPU, 8 MB RAM for the Graphics Processor,
and 2 MB RAM for the Sound Processor. Now another 8 MB have been added
to the machine as indicated in NGO's Q&A section from yesterday:
Q: What do you make of the recent
claim in a Japanese newspaper that the Katana will launch in November at
a $150-200 price point?
Now where would the logical place be
to add another 8 MBytes of RAM? Yes, it would be nice to have 8 MBytes
of extra RAM added to the graphics processor as this would allow for the
storage of more textures. Most likely the RAM was added to the CPU because
of the memory requirements of Windows CE and DirectX. Kudos to SEGA in
adding the extra RAM, as I believed that the original 18 MB total RAM was
a bit on the low side.
A: Given that the RAM specification
has recently changed (it's another 8MB larger) and that the decision for
a modem still hasn't been finalized, we believe that claim would be a bit
premature. Sources have indicated that a $250 price point is far more likely
($300 if they bite the bullet and put in the modem).
Tomorrow is the Big Day!
Forsaken For Katana?
Tomorrow will will see the birth
of a new console! Hopefully a console that will have a long life (4+ years),
tons of quality games, and sell in the 10's of millions! Tomorrow morning
SEGA of America will be having a teleconference to announce the new console.
This teleconference will be taking place some hours after SEGA of Japan
has made the official introduction. It should prove to be one exciting
Reported today at Next
Generation Online was a showing by Microsoft of the game Forsaken running
on a set-top box at the Cable '98 NCTA National Show which occurred on
May 3rd to the 6th, 1998 in Atlanta. Strange that NGO is reporting on this
12 days after the show ended. This clearly shows that they were not at
this cable industry show to see this game running on the set-top box. What
set-box Microsoft was showing is most likely some new hardware from their
division. This is known for sure, that the game was not running on the
Katana, as SEGA would never allow Microsoft to show games running on the
Katana hardware before they would. This new hardware from Microsoft looks
like it could be a competitor to the Katana. The good news in this story
is that Forsaken was running on Windows CE, so that means that Forsaken
can be ported to the Katana in very little time!
The Competition Heats Up
Glaze3D: Incredible Graphics Chip!
Project X for $300 US as FGN
Online reported this morning. This sounds like a very good price for
a system that is going to allow you to play DVD movies and also be a game
console. There is no question in my mind that the success of the Project
X system is not going to rely on the fact that it can play DVD movies,
but the success of this system will rest completely on the quality of the
games and the quantity of them. The fact that the Project X console does
not contain any dedicated 3D hardware makes you wonder how it will be able
to compete against a 3D monster like the Katana which will have amazing
3D visuals. Well at least the DVD player in the Project X console will
guarantee that the system will not be useless if it fails as a game console.
Oy is a company in Finland that designs graphics chips. They have this
impressive graphics chip called Glaze3D. Check out the specs:
Will a console come out one day with
this chipset to provide the Katana with very serious competition? Here
is a quote from the Bitboys Oy site:
Simply put, Glaze3D™ is four
times faster than any consumer-level 3D-graphics chip available today.
The fastest chips available today can render 90 million dual textured pixel
per second. With 400 million rendered pixels per second, Glaze3D leaves
others standing in the dust.
The Glaze3D™ has been designed
for screaming performance in games and business applications, not just
in benchmarks. The architecture allows features to be turned on without
compromising on speed.
400 Million pixels/second Gouraud
shaded pixels, no texture
400 Million pixels/second single
texture with trilinear mip-mapping
400 Million pixels/second dual
texture with bilinear filtering
200 Million pixels/second dual
texture with trilinear mip-mapping
200 Million pixels/second quad
texture with bilinear filtering
200 Million pixels/second bump
texture + surface texture
100 Million pixels/second quad
texture with trilinear mipmapping
Diffuse and specular shading,
fogging with vertex or fog table fog, edge anti-aliasing, alpha blending
and Z-buffering can be enabled in all modes without any performance penalty.
The architecture is not tied
to the PC environment. A next generation super console can be built around
the Glaze3D graphics engine, providing ten times the performance of today's
highest performing consoles. The architecture has been designed to be fully
OpenGL® compatible, allowing game developers to easily port their games
to this console.
When is this chip due? Year 2000, so
SEGA does not have to be worried any time soon. Check out BitBoys
Oy site for more info.
Sonic R 2 for Katana?
As indicated in yesterday's news:
SEGA has worked very closely
with a group of developers by providing them with early development kits
and allowing access to SEGA's Japanese designers.
Based on the above information, one
would expect that Traveller's Tales would be one of SEGA's favored developers,
as this game development company worked closely with SEGA's Japanese designers
on Sonic R. SEGA did provide to Traveller's Tales the layouts of each level,
and gameplay information. It has already been rumored that a Sonic R sequel
will be headed to the Katana! One can only hope for this, as this was one
amazing title and continues to amaze me on what the head programmer: Jon
Burton of Travellers Tales was able to do on the Saturn!
SH-4 Manual is Top Secret!
It is already known that Hitachi
added a matrix math unit on the SH-4 processor. A number of new instructions
have been added to the SH-4 which take advantage of this unit and those
instructions are referred to as single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD).
These instructions as their name implies can operate on more then one piece
of data at the same time, and this is the main reason why the matrix math
unit is so powerful. Earlier I have read that these instructions for the
matrix math unit included a lot of instructions to aid graphic operations.
Well a quick phone call to the local Hitachi supplier to see about getting
a programmers manual for the SH-4, so that I can provide more insightful
information to you on the SH-4 processor. The answer I get from the local
Hitachi representative is that the instruction information on the SH-4
is confidential and will not be released till next year! Hmmm. I wonder
if SEGA has anything to do with this as this is very unusual. Programming
manuals can be easily had for many other processors with no problems.
SEGA's Independent Developers
More great news on SEGA continuing
to do the right thing to make the Katana a huge success. SEGA has worked
very closely with a group of developers by providing them with early development
kits and allowing access to SEGA's Japanese designers. This close working
cooperation has occurred over the past eighteen months! There is no question
that this is vital for SEGA to work closely with 3rd party manufacturers,
so that the games of these manufacturers, can stand on an equal footing
along with SEGA's great games. Thursday of next week is the big day for
the Katana announcement. (source: FGN
Two More Games to be Easily Ported
As reported earlier, the LithTech
3D game engine is going to be ported over to the Katana by Monolith
Productions. Well, Monolith announced yesterday that two new developers
are designing games with their LithTech engine. The two companies are:
Dimensions which is developing Vortech - The Ancient Technology and
Entertainment which is working on another title that has no name at
this time. Both games will be for the PC market but both should be ported
quite easy to the Katana if the LithTech engine is available on the Katana.
eXodite have no screenshots of their game yet, but do provide some text
information on the game. Be sure to check out the screenshots of Evermore
Entertainment's game, as it looks quite good. Check this link
to see more news of other companies who have license the LithTech engine
to develop games.
Unreal on Katana
Developers Like Katana Development!!!
This game has not been announced
yet for the Katana, but there is no question that we will most likely see
this on the Katana, due to the fact that a version for the PowerVR chipsets
is being developed by NEC for the PC. Any PowerVR game for the PC using
the PowerSGL Direct API, which is NEC's specific API, will allow for a
relatively easy porting to the Katana.
It what could only be considered
fantastic news, is that one developer is so happy with their Katana development
kits, that their Project X development kit sits in a corner gathering dust!
SEGA is doing everything right this time and one of the most important
things is designing a console that is easy to program along with having
great performance and visuals! Here is a quote from a someone who works
at a major development house commenting on what he thinks of their Project
X development kit:
It has its limitations. It's
sort of like two Saturns bolted together, and we can't be bothered with
it right now, we much prefer Sega's kit at the moment.
Yesterday VM Labs released some
performance figures for their Project X's console. The console is capable
of executing 1.5 billion instructions per second which they claim is comparable
to a Pentium II running at 500 to 1000 MHz. How many instructions can the
Katana do per second?
-1.4 Billion Floating Point operations
per second with the matrix math unit on the SH-4
-360 Mips with the SH-4 integer
-40 Mips with the sound chip integer
Total = 1.8 Billion instructions
All the units listed above can operate
in parallel. The graphics chip which I did not include because no performance
specs have been released yet. We can make an educated guess though based
on the first generation PowerVR which could do 9 billion operations per
second (max.). The second generation PowerVR is rated at 5 times more powerful
then the first generation PowerVR, so that gives us 45 billion operations
per second (max.). The graphics chip can operate in parallel with all the
other units of the system. So even if we added a conservative guess for
the PowerVR graphics chip of 20 billion operations per second, it is easy
to see that the Katana is much more powerful then the Project X console.
It seems that Project X will not
be getting a release too much earlier then the Katana console based on
The big surprise of the press
conference this morning was the timing. Instead of the previously reported
Q4 ’98, the launch seems to have slipped into the first half of ’99. The
reason for the slip was not discussed but it’s likely to hurt initial sales
by missing the pivotal Christmas season and narrowing its head start over
Sega’s Katana (in the US) to less than year.
Day of the Katana is Confirmed
SEGA has now officially indicated
that the Katana will be unveiled on May 21st, of which the details on the
machine will be released. Ten more days and we will final get to see the
Katana in all it's glory. As reported earlier the official name of the
machine will be released on that day also. We had Black Belt, Dural, and
then Katana. Maybe Phoenix will be the name as rumors have suggested. Will
the SEGA Phoenix be the bird the rises out of the ashes?
CEO of VM Lab's Speaks Out
Richard Miller, CEO of VM Lab's
had this to say recently: "we're developing a next-generation game platform
and it's certainly going to be a generation ahead of anything that's around
currently" More powerful then the Saturn, Playstation, and N64? I should
hope so. But will Project X be more powerful then SEGA's new wonder console
is highly questionable.
There is an interview with Bernie
Stolar in the latest issue of Next Generation Magazine. Some of the things
So check the magazine for other details.
Katana will not be the name of Sega's
next generation console
the system will go on sale for a price
of less then $299 US
will be released in North American in
the Fall of 99
AM2 is doing an exclusive game specifically
for this new console
PVRSG Performance With A SH-4
interviewed Trevor Wing, who is the Group Marketing Director at VideoLogic.
Trevor hints at the fact that the Katana will perform much better with
a PVRSG then a Pentium II 333 MHz PC system due to the high floating point
power of the SH-4.
So what we've done is "let's
be absolutely reasonable about this" and with the second generation slide
presentation (which we can send you) for the 0.25 micron, 100 MHz implementation
the chip itself will do 4 million polygons a second. However, we then say
that on a Pentium II 333 MHz with Windows running and a game running it
is only going to achieve 1.2 million. That's not a function of the chip's
rendering performance, it is a function of the CPU's ability to supply
Here is the whole
We have been criticized in saying
that 1.2 million polygons isn't very much with Riva claiming 5 million
for the ZT, 8 million for TNT and Voodoo claiming 3 million for Voodoo2…what
we're saying is real, sustained throughput to deliver polygons to the screen
for every frame in the game.
On the console-based systems
it will be much better than that because the CPU in the console-based systems
is a lot more powerful than pentium in floating point performance.
I am confident we can deliver what we have said in terms of performance,
I think in reality when all the chips are benchmarked together, the high
performance chips no matter what I put in that category…the new Riva chips,
the Voodoo2 chips and ourselves, we will achieve similar benchmarks in
the popular benchmarks because we won't be rendering limited but we will
be CPU limited.
SH-4 Provides Powerful Geometry
A lot of next-generation rendering
features require software assistance from the main CPU of a system or a
dedicated geometry processor. The SH-4 with it's 1400 MFlop matrix math
unit is perfect for assisting the graphics processor in doing features
like volumetric lighting, real-time radiant lighting, curved surface tessellation
and real-time object deformation.
Volumetric Lighting - this is similar
to the lighting we receive from the sun in the sense that a huge area is
lit with shadows occurring where objects block the light. The shadows are
not just black areas but are areas that vary in intensity depending on
how much reflective lighting exists in the scene. This lighting is dynamic,
so when you move through a scene, the shadows move also.
Real-time Radiant Lighting (Radiosity)
- can provide scenes that are very realistic looking. This form of lighting
is considered to be more complex then ray tracing, as ray tracing tends
to produce images that are more specular (shiny) in appearance. Radiosity
produces images that use a combination of specular and diffuse lighting.
Depending on the computational overhead to implement this, maybe only parts
of a scene may utilize this type of complex lighting.
Curved Surface Tessellation - allows
simple objects made up of a low number of polygons to appear smooth and
rounded. A dinosaur made up of a small number of polygons would be a good
example of where to use this feature, so the dinosaur would look more life
like. If this technique is used instead of high polygonal models, then
the SH-4 has to spend less time doing general polygonal transformations
and all the objects used in a game can consist of low number of polygons.
This would then allow more objects to be stored in memory.
Real-Time Object Deformation - This
is where objects can take on the aspect of a liquid and morph from one
shape to another or even morph through another object.
World Class Sound Technology From
Yamaha which is providing the sound
hardware in the Katana is a company that also has a wide range of sound
software technology. One of the big sound technologies that Yamaha provides
is the XG format of General Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI
or GM). XG MIDI allows synthesizers to record music in a format that can
then be replayed later with a sound chip like the one in the Katana. The
greatest benefit that XG MIDI provides is that music file sizes can be
quite small as compared to digital recordings. For example, a 5 minute
red book audio (44 KHz) format song in stereo would take up 50 Megabytes
on a CD-ROM, while the same song would be around 100 KBytes in XG MIDI
format. That is 500 times smaller! Note that XG MIDI applies more to synthesized
music and not vocal recordings. To understand more about Yamaha's XG sound
technology, then go to this site.
Will RSA Communications Provide a
Soft Modem for SEGA's Katana?
Communications demonstrated a 56K soft modem at the Windows CE conference
last month running on a Hitachi SH-3. There have been rumors that the Katana
will support a modem, and it is almost guaranteed that SEGA will use soft
modem technology, as the SH-4 could easily handle modem communications
in software. Another major benefit of the soft modem is cost, since no
modem hardware is needed, and this crucial in a low cost game console.
Here is a quote from RSA Communications press
release where they indicate that their soft modem technology can be
used in a game console:
RALEIGH, NC (April 3, 1998) RSA
Communications, Inc., today
announced that it will be demonstrating 56Kbps capabilities
for its Native Modem TechnologyTM (NMT) at the Windows
CE Developers Conference to be held April 6-8, 1998, in San Jose, California.
NMT software provides a full-featured,
high-performance 14.4Kbps fax and 56Kbps data
modem by utilizing the power of advanced RISC processors,
and eliminates the requirement for dedicated modem
hardware in size- and power-constrained environments.
NMT can be customized to fit the processing requirements
and cost structure of various RISC processor-based
products requiring communications, including
handheld PCs (H/PCs), organizers, set top boxes, games
and multi-function peripherals (MFPs).
Katana Hits North America May 1999?
Here is a quote from a news wire:
They said the Sega Katana will
be unveiled at a trade press launch in Japan on May 21 and could also feature
at the E3 Expo in Atlanta from May 27-30. Release dates for the Sega Katana
machine are expected to be Autumn of this year for Japan, May of next year
for the U.S. and Autumn of next year for Europe.
Now this news article seems to be accurate,
in the sense I have also been told by a couple of people that the spring
of 99 is the time for Katana's North American release. Poor Europe, always
the last to receive new console systems. (source: Hadyn at Infinite