Next year there will be a new Sonic cartoon series called "Sonic Underground", and there will be 40 episodes. The series is being created by DiC of France, and the story revolves around a band called "Sonic Underground". Sonic plays a guitar, his brother Manic plays the drums and their sister Sonia plays the keyboard. This is Sonic? I guess SEGA wants to come out with a new cartoon series to help give new exposure to the upcoming Dreamcast console and Sonic Adventure. Here is a site on the web that has some info on this new series: Sonic the Hedgehog Info Page - news section. If you are fan of Sonic, then check out Sonic the Hedgehog Info Page, as it has a ton of information on the blue hedgehog. Great site!
(Source: Brian Eun)
Two More Games
Sonic Video and Brochure
Sega's website (http://www.sega.co.jp/sonicteam/info/video822.html) has released information on a promotional item. This in none other then a 30 minute video of the Sonic Adventure unveiling. This is only via mail-order and can only be ordered by phone between 9/26 and 10/5. The cost is 1500 yen + 500 yen for shipping and handling and tax. It comes with the manual that was handed out at the conference.Not sure if SEGA will ship this promotional material to North America for those that are interested. Any ways the material is in Japanese. Expect parts of the video to show up on the web soon.
Here is a quote from an article at Gamespot UK: "Dreamcast development was ruled out due to the lack of research time with the dev kits". That another way of saying "We are in Sony's backpocket and refuse to contribute to the Dreamcast's success." Don't expect Namco to ever produce software for Naomi or the Dreamcast.
(Source: The Man by email)
Sega Selects The Duck Corporation's TrueMotion For High-Performance Dreamcast Videogame Console
Duck's Video Compression Technology Brings Ultra-Realistic Video To New Gaming PlatformHere is a link to The Duck Corporation and TrueMotion. Expect video quality on the Dreamcast to approach DVD quality!
Capcom Turns to Naomi
In a recent interview for Sega Saturn Magazine, Capcom's General Producer of development, Mr Noritaka Funamizu gives strong indication that Sega's Naomi hardware board will not only be an option, but the basis of future arcade hardware. [more]Both SEGA and Capcom stand to greatly benefit from this relationship, but most all we stand to benefit! NGO made this comment in an article about the Naomi board:
Capcom's first Naomi game is called Power Stone. Specific details of the game are scarce, but it will involve players utilizing vast landscapes within the game.Power Stone looks to be some kind of fighting game, based on the handful of screenshots shown so far.
More July Screenshots
It seems that SEGA is going to release in mid 1999, a machine that can do Karaoke songs (by DVD discs), DVD movies, access the internet and play Dreamcast games. Here is an article from Nikkei's website:
Sega Develops DVD Karaoke Machine With Internet AccessThis is excellent that SEGA can now use better economies of scale to help keep costs low! That makes 3 devices (Dreamcast, Naomi, Dreamsong) that SEGA will offer using the same core technology with the Hitachi SH-4 CPU, PowerVR Series2 (PVR2DC) graphics chip, and Yamaha AICA sound system. For Japanese readers, you can also check this article at Gamespot Japan, which has a few pictures. The Dreamsong is for the Japanese and possibly Asian markets only.
Tech Web has an article on the PowerVR architecture, and here is what was said about Naomi:
At the Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association this week, Sega announced NEC's PowerVR Series2 device, which was designed in conjunction with NEC's partner VideoLogic, will ship as one of two key processing engines for its new Naomi arcade-game hardware platform. Sega claims Naomi will achieve more than 3 million polygons per second, and boasts a polygon fill rate exceeding 1 gigapixel per second. Naomi is basically a beefed-up version of the Dreamcast game-console platform, which will make its debut in Japan in November.The article goes on to talk a lot about the PowerVR cards coming for the PC.
Nashville's Arcade Trade Show
Blood Bullet (name might change to Zombie) is a cross between Resident Evil, Fighting Force, and the original House of the Dead. The action is controlled by a joystick with three buttons that activate a left or right attack and shoot. Blood Bullet was running on the new Naomi hardware.So HoTD2 "looks incredible"! Music to my ears!
SEGA of Japan have released 14 new 320 by 240 screenshots of Sonic Adventure today at their website. The screenshots show three levels in the game: Speed Highway, Icecap, and Red Mountain. You can check the games section for these screenshots, as all have been thumbnailed for easy access.
(Source: Joe Musashi)
The King of Fighter '98
Dreamcast Launch Delayed
Despite what has been rumored and reported elsewhere, Sega has not put a solid price on the Dreamcast. There are ranges being touted by trading houses that range anywhere from Y25,000 to Y30,000. None are committed to any prices at this point in the game however.
On the weekend, Lunar-Net has made a new Sonic Adventure video available. It is in the mpeg format, and is over 7 MB in size. The video is from a Hong Kong gaming magazine CD, so SEGA will not be yanking this one off the net. Is it worth the download? Yes, as it is quite amazing! Sonic Adventure looks spectacular! In this video you can see a bi-plane that Sonic and Tails are on, where the plane morphs into a jet, then takes off at high speed! Simply one of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen in a video game, and something I do not get tired of looking at over and over again. Check Lunar-Net for the video.
Tecmo has released on their Japanese website some screenshots of Dead or Alive 2 running on SEGA's impressive Naomi arcade board! This looks like a game that will be better graphically then VF3 on Model 3.
VF3tb and SEGA Rally 2 Details
SEGA Rally 2 Championship:
(Source: Gaming-Age article)
House of the Dead 2 and Blood
Bullet: House of the Dead side story Screenshots
SEGA has finally released some information on their new arcade hardware that is based on the Hitachi SH-4 200 MHz CPU and the PVR2DC graphics chip! Yes, this is the arcade hardware that has a similar design to the Dreamcast console. SEGA is showing the Naomi board at JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association), which is taking place now from September 17th to the 20th. So far twenty third party developers have indicated that they will support the Naomi hardware! WOW! This is an incredible amount of support! We can expect to see these games that these companies produce for Naomi, to one day appear on the Dreamcast! SEGA has done an excellent job of getting support for this new arcade hardware! There will be VMS slots in Naomi arcade cabinets to allow colloboration between Naomi and Dreamcast!
Notice that Naomi has twice the amount of main memory and graphics memory that Dreamcast has, so ports from Naomi to Dreamcast may involve making some sacrifice in graphics, sound, etc.
House of the Dead 2 will be the first game released on Naomi, and it will be released November 1998 in Japan, and in 1999 everywhere else. SEGA has an initial goal, of selling 500,000 Naomi units worldwide, with House of the Dead 2 accounting for 9000 units.
The rumored cost of the Naomi hardware is $1995 US to arcade operators, which is quite cheap compared to some Model 3 boards and cabinets going for $20,000 US!
SEGA is going to have standard cabinets for Naomi, with single and dual driving cabinets, and the regular arcade cabinet. Once an arcade operator has purchased a cabinet, he can then add the Naomi arcade board, and then the game. So when a new game comes out, the arcade operator only has to purchase the game and plug into the Naomi board. This will help keep the cost down for arcade operators.
The Dreamcast CD-ROM discs are no larger than a standard CD. I don't know where that rumor started. I think that someone my have misinterpreted a comment that they are "bigger" - meaning that they hold significantly more information.The source for the above quote shall remain nameless, as he requested.
In the latest issue of SEGA Saturn Magazine 1998/vol.27/25(Japan) SEGA officially announces two more titles for the Dreamcast. One, it's Virtual Fighter 3 Team Battle and two, it's SEGA Rally 2! These two titles are not too much of a surprise, as both VF3tb and SR2 were expected. The announcement of VF3tb counters that rumor from a few days back, where an other SEGA Dreamcast hobby site said that there would be no VF3 or VF3tb for the Dreamcast. It has been mentioned before, that the SEGA Rally 2 version that is coming to the Dreamcast will have a 40 stage continuous rally race! Here is hoping that those 40 stages can match the quality of the arcade stages! SEGA has already indicated that all arcade ports will be enhanced for home playing, meaning that we can expect the games to have more levels, characters, etc! This will defeat the biggest complaint that people had about the arcade ports to the Saturn.
Retailers Conference in Nashville
Who ends up welcoming us on the microphone? None other than the President and CEO of Sega himself! After many cheers from the crowd and a few introductory words, he started up one of eight Dreamcast's apparently in existence and the first one to be shown in such a forum in the U.S. 35 glorious feet of Sonic Adventure!!! I am by no means a Sega fan.....I've never owned a Sega anything and haven't ever really paid very much attention to it, but let me tell you, the Dreamcast lives up to it's name! "In a dream" is a perfect description of what the presentation was like. If you've never gotten your lazy ass up from the couch to give a game a standing ovation, prepare to do so the first time you see this sucker. It's what everyone always wished gaming could be, without a doubt.Smart move by SEGA to show up at this Retailers conference! Even non-SEGA fans are blown away by what the Dreamcast can do!
(Source: dreamcast.ign.com letters section)
BlackBird is the code-name for Motorola's set-top box that will form the basis of a multimedia unit. This was mentioned today at Next Generation Online, but they had very little to say about the technology, and indicated that they will release more information tomorrow. Forget that, as we now give you all the specs for Motorola's new multimedia technology. We will focus on VM LAB's Project X media processor, which is the heart of this new set-top box:
There is no question that this technology
is impressive! The Project X media processor has very powerful (4x4) x
(4x1) matrix transformations capability as the Dreamcast's SH-4 does. The
(4x4) x (4x1) matrix is very important for polygon transformations! At
13.5 Million (4x4) x (4x1) matrix transformations per second, it compares
quite well to the Dreamcast, which can do 28.6 Million/sec. There was some
information before that hinted the Project X media processor did not have
a graphics renderer, but the above specs seem to indicate otherwise, unless
all those rendering specs listed are done in software. To find out more
information about this new technology, visit: Motorola's
SEGA will be publishing both Blue Stinger from Climax, and July from Fortyfive. They have put up Japanese pages for both games. Blue Stinger page, and July page. Today on the Blue Stinger page, SEGA has provided 9 new screenshots of the game. I have put up a preview of Blue Stinger in the Games section of this site, that includes all the screenshots released so far. Blue Stinger looks very colorful, but so colorful that it is verging on garish. Should be interesting to see at 60 fps!
July is a game that has a story line
about the creation of a new type of human being in July 1999. This special
being is neither male nor female, and instead has a special ability that
is unique. The story revolves around certain characters, and the research
that is conducted on this new being. Sounds wacky to me! It is questionable
if this game will ever see a North American release.
That is the peak maximum rendering speed that the PowerVR graphics chip in the Dreamcast is rated at by VideoLogic, as it says in this press release! The name of the PowerVR graphics chip used in the Dreamcast is now officially called PowerVR 2DC. On the PC side, the chips will be now called PowerVR Series2.
When SEGA introduced the Dreamcast console last May, there was a press release that indicated the PowerVR 2DC was rated at 200 MPixels/sec. When they made this claim, there was no PowerVR 2DC chip that could be tested to see how fast it was, as the chip was still in the design stages. So the 200 MPixels/sec was speculation on how fast the final part would go. It was just recently that NEC manufactured the final PowerVR 2DC chip at 0.25 microns. So the rate of "exceeding 1GigaPixels/sec" is most likely a claim that is derived from the PowerVR 2DC performing better then expected, and also a figure that represents a unrealistic peak maximum, that will never be seen in a game situation.
It would be safe to say that the
rendering power of the PowerVR 2DC is rated at between 200 MPixels/sec
average to a peak rate exceeding 1 GigaPixels/sec. What this all means,
is that games should be mind blowing amazing in the graphics department,
as the first generation titles are showing us. One can only wonder how
much more incredible 2nd and 3rd generation titles will be!
After the Sonic demo a video tape was started showing interviews with several European developers who are already working on Dreamcast titles. All of them were very impressed with the hardware and they all stressed that it was very easy and fast to develop games on the Dreamcast.You know that the system is easy to develop for when you continually have developers saying that it is. This is the complete opposite of what developers said about programming for the Saturn. SEGA is very smart in getting developers to sing the praises of this machine at Dreamcast presentations to other potential developers.
If I remember correct there was one screen saying that already more than 300 third party developers are working on Dreamcast games.THREE HUNDRED DEVELOPERS!!! Wow! The Saturn never saw 3rd party support like this before it hit the market, and I wonder if it ever had this amount of 3rd party support.
These clips ended the presentation and we were able to look and touch the Dreamcast console and controller, the hard-core gamers in our group found the controller to be very good indeed.... it handles much better than you would guess by looking at it. We also opened the CD cover and noticed a normal size CD in-there ( gold disk ), the moderator explained that all CDs for Dreamcast would use the 1 Gb format and that they would thus be bigger than the normal PC CD-ROM. The operating system and other vital things will be located at the outside of that CD to avoid piracy.Smart move by SEGA in using non-standard size discs! Hopefully this will be enough in stopping piracy. Be sure to check out the whole article, as Kristof provides lots of interesting info.
The great Japanese software company Climax, that brought us Dark Savior, has a development house called Climax Graphics, and they are going to be bringing an impressive title called Blue Stinger to the Dreamcast! The game looks to be some kind of 3D shooter, with some very neat weapons being brandished about. Gaming Age has some very impressive screenshots of this game! The enemies you encounter in this game look incredible, and the effects being used in this game also look incredible! Check it out for yourself here. The game is due this year! The Japanese site for this game where all the screenshots are available is located here. A preview of the game is also available in the games section of our site.
(Source: F5 Twister)
More on Dreamcast Demonstration
at ECTS '98
Also to give you any idea of the graphical possibilities of DreamCast and thus PVRSG : one of the developers had pre-rendered several shots of a game including all the graphical effects he would like to use in future games... he was very surprised that within two weeks he was able to create those graphics in real time on the Dreamcast... while only using a small part of the power of Dreamcast. He was actually forced to sit back around the table with his colleagues to discuss extra graphical effects that would be included.I do not know about you, but I love reading news like this! Developers who throw lots of effects around, and they have barely touched the power of the Dreamcast! Dreamcast is limited only by the imaginations of the developers!
SEGA showed off Sonic Adventure running on a Dreamcast unit at the ECTS '98 show in London, England today. The presentation took place in a suite, in a nearby Hilton hotel, and the event was by appointment only. So no public showing of the Dreamcast unit took place at ECTS '98. Here is couple quotes from a Game-Online article on the press-only event:
In a specially prepared video, Sega Enterprises president Shoichiro Irimajiri unveiled his vision for the launch of Dreamcast in Europe. Mr Irimajiri also stated in no uncertain terms that Sonic Adventure WOULD be a launch title.It is uncertain if Mr. Irimajiri was referring to the European launch (September 1999), or the Nov. 20th launch in Japan for Sonic Adventure availability. It has already been indicated that Sonic Adventure might make the Nov. 20th launch, or it will be a few months after that launch. Here is some more of Game-Online's comments:
However, the showpiece of the event was Dreamcast itself. A pre-production machine was revealed - composed of final components, but put together by hand as opposed to a factory production line.Sounds better and better all the time! SEGA did indicate also that the main announcements will be made at the Tokyo Games Show on October 9th, 1998. At this show SEGA will show 15 to 20 titles, and the games will be playable by the public!
The new site is called Dreamcaster, and it is a site devoted solely to SEGA's Dreamcast console. So far they have quite a bit of content in the form of news, hardware section, previews, reviews, etc. The site currently has previews of many games! There are a number of articles too that describe the technical aspects of the Dreamcast hardware. The site also has a contest where you can win a Dreamcast machine. Hope you like the color blue, as the site design goes heavy on that color.
Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation is the name of this F1 racing title from the French game developer UBI Soft. Gamespot news has 6 screenshots of this game taken from a Japanese game magazine. UBI will be getting advice for this title from French car maker Renault. This game is clearly aimed at the F1 racing crowd who are into simulations, and not arcade style racing.
SEGA Rally 2 To Be Enhanced
AM3 is adding a 40-stage Rally Championship option to supplement the roster of all the original tracks and cars. This will help add long-term challenge to the title.Now if only SEGA would come out with a Paris to Dakar Rally! That would be by far the best rally event for SEGA to have in a Rally game.
Virtua Fighter 3: Team Battle
To Be Enhanced
One of these enhancements, according to our network of contacts and insiders, is the team battle mode. Basically, players get the opportunity to select three different fighters and challenge other players’ teams over the net using Dreamcast’s built-in modem. Fighting takes place sequentially: each player fights with a character until he or she is beaten, and then takes control of the next contender. The bout continues until one of the teams is victorious.This is great news! Now with VF3 you will be able to challenge people all over the globe, and you will be able to see how you rank globally in this great game.
IGN have a website now that is dedicated to bringing news on the Dreamcast. Some interesting things at the site now is confirmed Dreamcast software list, rumored Dreamcast software list, Dreamcast technology demo with screenshots and a preview of Sonic Adventure. The name for the site is IGNDC. They indicate on the site that they will not be updating everyday, as currently there is not enough information for them to update everyday. So far the site looks quite good!
There has been some mention before of a game that Yu Suzuki, and AM2 are working on for the Dreamcast. This game has been described by Bernie Stolar, as being so unique that he has not seen a game like it in all the years he has been involved in this business. Well, Next Generation Online has this in their Q&A section today:
Q: Forget Sonic. Will I be able to play an arcade perfect conversion of Virtua Fighter 3 when Dreamcast launches?Two years they have been working on this game! Anything from AM2 should be very impressive. One wonders if this game or Sonic Adventure will be the big game for the Dreamcast.
The slow, symphonic tracks are beautifully composed, and each instrument sounds amazingly well defined. High production quality is in effect. To my surprise, however, there are several killer drum & brass and breakbeat-ish tunes on Sketches as well, each conveying a sense of atmosphere as effective as the slow-paced music. I can definitely imagine playing in snowy valleys to this impressive score.