Alexander Villagran?

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Ryuza
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Alexander Villagran?

Post by Ryuza » Fri May 06, 2011 1:59 am

Hello everyone, I wasn't sure where this might fit so I figured I'd post it here. This is pretty much the only really active Dreamcast development forum I could find so I figured some of you might have the answer to what I'm about to ask about.

Basically, I've been doing a massive amount of research over the past few months regarding programming games, programs, etc for the VMU. While researching I came across a ton of posts on many different sites by Alexander Villagran, a sega employee that worked on developing stuff for the VMU among other things. He posted a few times about being close to releasing the official development tools for the VMU at some point.

In the most recent post I could find about the tools (somewhere between late '00 and early '01) he said he had pretty much received approval to release the tools and needed to wait for sega to work out some technical/legal details before doing so, after that, nothing. I can't find a single post by him beyond 2001, no information anywhere about him, like he just disappeared and the VMU development scene just stopped in it's tracks and faded off soon after.

So, I'm wondering if anyone has any idea what happened to him, or if the tools did get released somewhere (which is probably unlikely). At the very least it'd be nice if someone might be able to give me a quick history lesson about the VMU dev scene and why it died so suddenly, cause everywhere I look it all just abruptly ends around 2001, my only guess is maybe cause of Sega's complete pull from hardware development in early 2001, but that hasn't seemed to stop a lot of people, plus I couldn't even find many posts of people discussing things not going well with the dev scene so I'm a bit confused.

Anyway, for those about to say TL;DR, my question is where is Alexander Villagran and why did the VMU dev scene end so abruptly in 2001 while Dreamcast development as still goes on?
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Re: Alexander Villagran?

Post by Jeeba Jabba » Fri May 06, 2011 3:07 am

Moved to DC Discussion.
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Re: Alexander Villagran?

Post by Stormwatch » Sun May 08, 2011 5:11 pm

why did the VMU dev scene end so abruptly in 2001 while Dreamcast development as still goes on?
My guess: because the VMU is such a limited system that even the Atari 2600 lets you to do more interesting stuff.
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Re: Alexander Villagran?

Post by Chilly Willy » Sun May 08, 2011 10:20 pm

Not to mention the tools for it are pretty limited, and the CPU instructions not very nice for programming in. A BASIC or C compiler for it might had helped the VMU be more active.
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Re: Alexander Villagran?

Post by sonicblur » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:39 pm

Sorry to bump this.

I had reached out to him to ask some questions about some other things he worked on, so I asked about this. This thread turned up when I was trying to figure out how to get in touch with him. He said he gave a talk at GDC about it and he believes the VMU Emulator was actually released after that talk. He told me that he remembers a football game that they wrote as an example that was released with the developer tools. I checked the GDC vault and didn't find it, but he thinks the talk may have just been for Sega developers.

I was subscribed to the vmu-dev egroup back then, and I still have all of the emails from back then. But the reason his posts end suddenly is because Sega started their own email list for VMU stuff in-house. Members of the public were welcome to join the list, but I never joined it because I wasn't actually doing VMU development at the time and was just subscribed to the list to see what other people were doing. (I had actually written a program for classic macOS called VMUtil, but this doesn't count.) In retrospect I wish I had because then I'd be able to provide a definite answer, as I don't know when the VMU list formally died.

Hope this helps somewhat. If anyone is doing research for useful purposes, he sounded like he was willing to answer questions. I'm not going to spam his information around for his benefit, but he was pretty easy to find via social media. It just took a few weeks before I heard back.
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