Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

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Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by |darc| » Fri May 30, 2014 9:24 am

About 2 years ago, Marcus Comstedt, one of the trio who wrote DreamSNES and libronin and one of the forefathers of the Dreamcast scene, released "dc-virtcd," a project that runs Dreamcast games over Ethernet via the Broadband Adapter. As Marcus hadn't published anything in pretty much a decade (DreamSNES's last release was in 2002), and it wasn't posted to his site, but only his github account, it went pretty much unnoticed. I decided to give it a go, so I compiled it and tested it out. Sonic Adventure ran quite well. Here's a video of it running, and more information on how to use it yourself is in the post below.

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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by |darc| » Fri May 30, 2014 9:24 am

The entire thing lacks any documentation, but I have compiled it and uploaded it here. It includes a x86_64 Intel Mac build I compiled as well as a x86 Linux build that japanese-cake posted back in February. You'll need a Broadband Adapter to use it, of course. It lacks CDDA track support and I haven't tested the compatibility yet, but Sonic Adventure ran pretty well.

It supports NRG files and ISO files. If you have a GDI dump, you can convert track03.bin to a compatible ISO by using the following command:

Code: Select all

iat --iso -i track03.bin -o Game.iso
If you don't have iat on your system, you can get it through your package manager (it was available in Homebrew on Mac for me), or get the source here.

To operate it, boot your Dreamcast up with a dcload-ip disc with the Broadband Adapter connected (this is assuming you already have your Dreamcast configured to use the Broadband Adapter with the Broadband Passport disc). Send the virtcd.elf file to the Dreamcast with dc-tool, and the loader screen will appear. On your Mac or Linux box, stream a game with the following command:

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dc-virtcd-cmdline Game.iso
The game should then proceed to play. You'll have much better results if your host computer is connected via ethernet rather than WiFi.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by Basil » Fri May 30, 2014 12:02 pm

Wow! Can i use it on Windows?
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by |darc| » Fri May 30, 2014 12:40 pm

It may be possible to compile it for Windows, as it uses Pike which is available for Windows. I'd have to look into it though.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by Dreamcast » Fri May 30, 2014 10:19 pm

I compiled it with Cygwin and Windows sees that it's trying to access the network, but it just shows a black screen in the console when run, so it might not be working. Also, if anyone else gets an address error on the Dreamcast when sending the Dreamcast program, you need to upgrade your version of dc-tool. I had to go to version 1.0.5 from 1.0.3.

Edit: I've uploaded dc-tool and dcload-ip 1.0.5 for Windows users since it's not easy to find them already compiled. I didn't compile dcload-ip. That came from BlueCrab in another thread here.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by SWAT » Sat May 31, 2014 10:51 am

DreamShell 4.0 RC 2 can launch games from dc-load (IP, Serial, custom?).
Just need run DS_CORE.BIN over dc-tool and share some folder for it (with -c flag).
After launch the core, you can see /pc directory in DS filesystem (btw, you can put DS files to it), this is PC directory shared by dc-tool/dc-load.
But for run the games, you need to place the loader in another address at executing (not 0x8c004000, you can do it on settings page of ISO Loader app), because dc-load and iso loader used one same address by default.
In any case, it's a little usability, speed is very low, actually lower than the SD (and especially G1-ATA) and compatibility worse. So it is not more than a toy.
As for the dc-virtcd, judging by the code, the compatibility with games it is at the level of ISO Loader from DreamShell 4.0 Beta 4.

Sorry, I did not want to destroy your Dreams ;) , I just clarified so as not to give people false hope :roll:
To really make the games work through BBA, need an entirely different code. And the result is unlikely to be fully.
Last edited by SWAT on Sat May 31, 2014 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by |darc| » Sat May 31, 2014 11:35 am

Haha, yeah, I wasn't expecting too much considering the code hasn't been updated in 2 years and appears to be abandoned. It's certainly an interesting concept though. I'll try DreamShell's implementation soon.

The G1-ATA looks awesome so far. It looks easy enough to build, I might give that a shot soon.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by SWAT » Sat May 31, 2014 11:54 pm

|darc| wrote:I'll try DreamShell's implementation soon.
I'm sorry, most likely it will not work, because I did not initialize BBA after launching the game in released loaders (I cleaned it), and it is likely it will be reseted. In any case forget about it :) It's not worth your time, it is better to spend a time for G1-ATA ;)
But if there are many willing, I can fix the code.
Although it is possible to fix in a dc-load. Just need to add BBA reinitialization in the second read request from an open file (first read it's a loading binary).
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by |darc| » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:44 pm

Note: I spun off the hard drive testing discussion into its own thread here.
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Re: Testing Marcus Comstedt's dc-virtcd

Post by Christuserloeser » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:03 am

This is really cool. :)

But Marcus Comstedt has always been active. He's maintaining the SCUMMVM port for Dreamcast. 8-)
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