Open letter to the Dreamcast scene (attention: 100% emo)

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Open letter to the Dreamcast scene (attention: 100% emo)

Post by Freeze » Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:44 am

I start this kind of topic because I am a bit uncomfortable with the current situation within the scene and see that the single websites and supporters, such as DCEmulation, DCEmu.co.uk, Consolevision, Dreamcast-Scene and others drift slowly apart and it seems to me that the scene becomes smaller and smaller.

I feel this way because Dreamcast-Scene was founded as a database where everyone can submit and edit articles which are Dreamcast related. We put a lot of energy in this project, participated at games conventions and demoscene events in the past and present (we're going to be at the DemoZone demoparty in the Netherlands this month and -maybe- have a booth at the Games Convention this year again) and even opened a bureau in Munich this month (see our press release and photos) to centralize our energies.

Still I have the feeling that nobody really cares from outside. 90% of the articles on DCS are done by me (which doesn't mean that I want to stick a knife in the back of DCS' forum members and supporters; you all are great and I thank you a lot!) and it seems that we can't motivate people to participate in this idea like on Wikipedia for example.

So what's the thing I want to say? I'd like to see people more active in what they are doing and because of that I want to help out on DCEmulation, DCEmu.co.uk and others as well, to get the scene back together the way it was and everyone helps others out.

So what are your opinions on this case?
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Post by typoEDR » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:18 am

Hate to break it to you, but I don't think the scene situation will improve. People move on. Unless the DC scene gets a release on par to the effect of Beats of Rage, it will slowly continue to shrink.

But that's life.

EDIT: for typos...
Last edited by typoEDR on Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Hobbes T Tiger » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:35 am

I would try to help, but I'm not sure where I'd even find some new DC news? There isn't much of it around these days to be honest :cry:
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Post by Mr. Jones » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:14 am

Warning: Brutal opinion ahead.

Outside of core members of the scene who've showed an interest for years like yourself, BlackAura, Warmtoe, etc., There's really nothing to hold a public's interest in the Dreamcast. I think it sucks, because it's a fairly powerful piece of gaming hardware, and its a cool and unique way to learn how to program game software for a console, but really, the scene isn't there. It doesn't have the fanbase like the Atari 2600, where original programmers can give tips about doing opcode to do tricks that weren't thought of in the 80s. It doesn't have the portability and public appeal of the Sony PSP, and it doesn't have the huge power and memory specs of the Xbox.

The programmers who don't have much experience in DC coding (or programming, in general) don't have a lot of resources to call upon for help. The programmers that have the skill to program the Dreamcast, can't find the time to do it. If its not school, its the job. If not the job, its personal issues. If its not personal issues, its contractual agreements that keep them from making freelance game software. You have games that are put on hold indefinitely. Ambitious projects that have no real planning or management. The games simply aren't there.

And that's what it comes down to. The games aren't there. I'm one who likes and supports the indie scene, and I've purchased both Maqiupai and Inhabitants. But honestly, I've played both for a couple hours, and they've since sat on my shelf. The last game that truly had me excited for the DC scene, was Beats of Rage. Besides those, and Feet of Fury, most of the other game software made by sceners are more novelties, than games.

I know there are sceners that are looking at my post screaming "what about all the cool tools like DCTool, DCMP3 and Self-Boot Inducer? What about the emulators like SMS Plus, Nester DC and Stella DC?!" C'mon. Its original games that bring folks to a game console. Everyone has emulation now. You can play 2600, Game Gear and Gameboy games on the PSP. You can play MP3s, Master System and NES games on the Playstation 2. You can play Divx movies, Neo Geo and Super NES games on the Xbox.
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Post by abydos1000 » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:20 am

This reminds me of some TV shows in the past that were actually quite good, but only lasted for about 3 years or so. My wife was (is) really into the Beauty and the Beast TV show that aired at the end of the 80s. While it was generally considered to be quite good, it only lasted 3 seasons. There was a strong fan base. Over the years, it has dwindled and there is not much actitvity now. The DC's life span was cut way short... I guess 2.5 years was how long it was on the market? So as people have played out their games and have moved onto other things, the fan base has dwindled. Had it lasted twice as long with twice as many games, the fan base post-discontinuation would have been much larger and lasted a lot longer.
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Post by typoEDR » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:51 am

I see two key (okay, three key) releases in the future which will kick the DC scene in the arse...

The one I just remembered was "Age of the Beast", the sequel/follow-up to Beats of Rage. The modability of this title is supposed to be tenfold compared to that of BoR, so we will be able to see new compilation discs and perhaps different styles of gameplay from one engine.

The other two are similar in nature, and that is DreamScript and DCBasic, from Scherzo and BlackAura, respectively. We already have Fenix as a simpler programming language, but the English documentation for it is still be developed, and Fenix has a more stronger following in the GP32 community. DreamScript and DCBasic both have the potential to be the 'Fenix' of the DC scene.

I hope there are other titles that will boot the DC scene again (an improved Quake port, for example), but I see those three as being vital releases.

Oh, and perhaps Scherzo's NesterDC SE... but that's been 'on the list' for awhile.
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Post by Sir Savant » Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:27 pm

It would help if our sites weren't plagued with porn and few if any updates. The first part of that sentence was for you, Freeze. I just checked DCS. Under the current highlighted article. Have fun deleting it!

The second was aimed at dcemulation.org No new real updates, not even a site upgrade (in terms of interface).
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Post by zman » Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:15 pm

So what idiot hacked in the porn links...

I don't see it as coincidence that Freeze shows up asking the status of the scene and not a half day later his site has been hacked by some yahoo, who likes asian porn...

As far as what he is saying... It's cool checking out his site... He has some recognition outside of these forums and is out doing something Dreamcast related... If I was in the financial or skilled position I would take full advantage of the Dreamcast's abilities to compete on the game market.

There is always going to be a submarket for cheaper gaming needs. Look at nintendo and sega games still being marketed in different forms and products to sell.

The BOR mods are excellent and still going strong and there is talk about all the variations off of BOR that may be made.

So stick it up your porno arse if ya crack out on this one...

I still see the Dreamcast as a bizzarre and wonderfull gaming experience that is still young and alive.

Watch the scene buzz alive if and when chankast updates itself...

We've all dreampt of the day when we can own super gaming machines emulating all and every game possible ever to never ever run out on gaming goodness...(Maybe this is just my dream.)

Besides the Dreamcast is a great machine to learn how to write games for besides the computer with out needing special dev kit solutions to run it on an actual machine.

Last thing... I would not put it past some company to make a Dreamcast in the box deal for some x-mas season in the future like they did with the intellevision and those little sega controlers that had preinstalled emulated games on them... My guess is they would like to resell the top Dreamcast games again seeing how most of them are still up to par or past the PS2 generation games...
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Post by Link » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:17 pm

Hi,



Ok, I may as well throw my two cents in. I have been around this site for a very good long while now. I have seen people come and go. Gain amazing amounts of interest then lose it and leave. However, it has been stated quite truthfully in the past that this site has its down times. Specifically whenever there are not a lot of new releases. Now I would like to add something to this. There is an ancient law of war that we are seeing take full effect here. Divide and Conquer. Let me elaborate. It has been the history of the people in this community to frequently make new sites.....complete with new forums........that is a real good way to divide. (united we will stand....divided we shall surely fall...) People will only sign up to so many new forums. Once news is announced.....people have no need to hear it again. What we lack is unity and organization. The way to gain these much needed attributes would be to change a bit of how the site is maintained. I can give ideas, however I have no standing to really help unless those ideas are at the very least payed attention to. Freeze has a valid point. The scene is divided and somewhat weakening at the moment and will stay such until we can unite once more. To this end we need to change the entire structure of how the site is kept up to date. As it stands we have a site devoted to helping newbies. Great idea.....however it would be better if it was direct linked into the main site. We have a news site. Another great idea. But again, if it were readily linked through the main page ( via a streaming style direct link posting system) the news would be updatable by many sites. Hence if news was posted in DCemu UK it would appear as news here. This way the people posting the news wouldn't have to make 15 different posts on 15 different sites just to announce some update on one topic. Another problem. The links on the left hand of the main page of this site are by no means the authority of up to date information. For instance, Tekezo's URL.......is hopelessly out of date. (as most know by asking it changed.) yet it remains the same on the link....and hence it is incorrect. So we have a lot of problems. There is a fix but it is not by any means pretty.


The proposed fix. A front page that links to other pages tended by people who are really not only good at what they do ( be it news, information or hunting down URLs to keep current and keeping the downloads pages current.) but who are also still online. One of my favorite people on the forums used to be The Duckman. However as we see he either rarely or never posts anymore. So is the way with people on the net. They come, contribute then disappear (various reason. Including just real life needs tending their job is getting to be a larger part of their time taken or they are in school and need to tend to that.). It is the ever changing nature of the Internet. So the system we need should be a system of plugin style sites from which information can be maintained by different people and when those people get tired or maybe just have to leave they can be replaced in their job or in other words the links can be readily upgraded to a new site with current information and links. The forums should probably remain here. Yeah, they have some bugs, but most of the people who have signed up have done so on this site. (the main forums page reports over 20k people registered.) That is a lot of people, but to keep it going it needs order. This kind of replacement main page could very well change the way the whole scene is kept for the better. (if one person disappears there is always someone who can and will maitain that job.) This whole post is my opinion. Discard it if you wish, Ignore it if you must.....but I felt compelled to say something to Freeze's post. In no way is it my intention to start any problems with anyone. I merely have watched the scene for a very long time and have formed my own informed opinion.


Also, in development, why only have one or two people working on a project? (I understand some people want it that way.) On somthing like Quake or BOR why not have people throw behind someone who has a project in the works but does not have the time required to finish it? Same goes for something like GPF's GBA emu. If Tekezo wanted to help......I am sure it would speed development and get us a means of linking our community to the GBA homebrew community (note:this is merely an example not to say it can or even should happen but again it could happen). Again, my opinion. These things may help the overall community. So I hope if any of these ideas helps, you will make use of them as a whole community.

Peace, Out,
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Post by Imerion » Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:55 am

First thing, I really appreciate your work. I used to hang around DreamCast-Scene but i stopped when it wen't down some time ago. However, I don't really know why I did not come back. It might be as some people say, there are to little news and to many newspages but I am certain it will change soon. There are a lot of interesting projects ahead which certainly will give us more games. I will start to hang around there as well. Might not be that active on the forum (already have to many forums...) but I might add info and such things. As for petitions, you can be certain I will sign them! Also planning on buying one of those T-shirts...
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Post by Strapping Scherzo » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:50 am

I like the attitude in this topic. Realistic but still hopeful.

I, myself, don't have a full grasp on the current state of the scene as a whole. So it's difficult to see a good course of action. But if we are indeed losing DC fans while at the same time dividing the remainder up, we've gotta put our differences aside and unite.

Speaking of differences, it seems to me that this community has had lots of problems with people getting along. And that kind of attitude makes people wanna leave. I know I've personally read several post where someone says, "That's it. I'm tired of this scene." We've lost both fans and coders in that manner.

One thing that kind of bugged me about a year ago was the creation of dcemu.co.uk. That was a big divide of the community right there. I tried to post at both places for a while but just gave up. I don't wanna have to go to two different sites. I decided to just sort of ignore that site. I don't know the exact motivation behind Wraggster's decision to start that site, but I think it might have did more bad than good. For me, DCEmu is home. I'll admit though, Wraggster somehow stays on top of emulation news in general. Where does he get time for that? Although the ocassional ad-driven news post is annoying, I myself go to psp-news.dcemu.co.uk to keep up to date with PSP.

In terms of coding, I can only speak for myself. I really like coding for the Dreamcast. I honestly wish my development hasn't been as slow as it has for the past year. But it'll pick up when the time is right. Besides the projects I'm currently working on, I still have others that I brainstorm about from time to time. I eventually want to stop the emulation porting/improvement efforts and move on to a full blown homebrew game on a scale the scene really hasn't seen.

In its current state, the Dreamcast homebrew scene is no longer going to attract any coders with previous programming experience. The scene is too weak. We need to encourage the people who read these forums sitting back and waiting for miracle releases to become coders themselves.

I think the Dreamcast has a great draw to the wannabe coder. Relatively speaking, it's easy to get up and running compared to other consoles. But the documentation and tools that make it possible are scattered and/or incomplete. We've gotta get more people coding. That should be our focus. I think any future efforts in restructuring this site should have a huge section dedicated to development.

We've got to sell people on this idea. "Make your own video games like you always wanted" "You can do it" "Discounts on coders cables"

There are a lot of people with potential out there. We've gotta find em. That's my take on the situation.
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Post by bizzle » Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:09 pm

Strapping Scherzo wrote: One thing that kind of bugged me about a year ago was the creation of dcemu.co.uk. That was a big divide of the community right there. I tried to post at both places for a while but just gave up. I don't wanna have to go to two different sites. I decided to just sort of ignore that site. I don't know the exact motivation behind Wraggster's decision to start that site, but I think it might have did more bad than good. For me, DCEmu is home. I'll admit though, Wraggster somehow stays on top of emulation news in general. Where does he get time for that? Although the ocassional ad-driven news post is annoying, I myself go to psp-news.dcemu.co.uk to keep up to date with PSP.
Do you want the honest truth? Ad revenue. Same with all of his nine million sites.
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Post by SiZiOUS » Fri Jul 08, 2005 2:04 pm

My opinion :
We need to encourage the people who read these forums sitting back and waiting for miracle releases to become coders themselves.
You right. But, to be honnest, setting a fully working dc developpement evironment's too hard for a "normal" person.

For example, me : i have too many difficulties to configure this cygwin sh*t, i tried mingw but doesn't work, i'm feel sick of that stuff. It works better on Unix right ? But i don't like unix very much. I installed SuSE v9.2 but i never tried to use it (...). And my "native" language isn't the C so i have another difficulty.

I love the dreamcast, and i can't dev for it so i dev pc tools for the dc.

So what's the conclusion of that sh*t in bad english ?
Dreamcast coding is too hard for a person who don't have a "high" level on C coding. Configurate a DC environment (on windows) is boring !

I hope you understand what i'm saying because i make serious mistakes.
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Post by D-Roc » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:33 pm

a gamers opinion...

Even though I only first registered a few weeks ago, I've been visiting these sites since the beginning. At first it was extremely exciting. Emulation and homebrew games were something I never saw on a console before. Sure, emulation on a PC is great but it lacks that original feel of using a console. New, High-quality releases were coming out all the time. In 2002 when the Dreamcast commercially died, it lived on strong in my house and still does untill this day. My PS2 is boxed in my closet while my DC remains on it's throne by my TV.
The past year I've noticed a definate lack of new releases and a lot of the releases seem half complete or border line unplayable. The last really good release I can think of was BOR. This game almost seemed like a commercial games but there are too many people focusing their energy on modding it and basically rehashing the same game over and over again with different graphic hacks other than working on a new game entirely. Don't misunderstand me, I think a lot of coders bust their ass on these releases and am very greatfull to them but as said before by Scherzo, there needs to be more coders. I, myself was inspired by these sites and am in the process of trying to teach myself how to program for DC.
Egos also seem to be destroying the scene. So many times I'll read posts in forums of Newbies asking legitimate questions and getting flamed for not being as knowlegable as other members. I can definately see that turning a lot of people away.
I think the DC Scene will never completely die. A good system will always be a good system.
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Post by goatdan » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:50 pm

This seems to be more of a question of why Dreamcast-Scene isn't used as much as it should be, and I'll toss my two cents into the equation. I'll be as honest as possible...

The first problem is that Dreamcast-Scene, while being a GREAT looking Web site is hard to navigate. From a usability standpoint, when I look across the top, I see the following:

News - Okay, I know what that is.
Announcements - To an outside observer, you wonder why this isn't part of news. It is the Dreamcast Scene specific updates. Why are they in their own category, and why call them announcements then? Maybe "Dreamcast-Scene Updates" or "DCS Updates" or something to distinguish them.
Database - Database of what? Is this all Dreamcast games released? US only? PAL only? What's going on here?
Scene - Links to other pages, apparently. At the least, this page needs a header explaining what this page is about.
Lifestyle - Again, until I click on this I have no idea what it is.
Actions - Again, until I click on this... also, some of the things are unrealistic. We're really going to expect people to show up at the Game Developers Conference and get a company like EA to make a new game for the DC? It needs to be more realistic.
Community - They are forums. Forums is much more recognizable.
Merchandise - Change this to DCS Merchandise or something.

I don't have the answers of how to better organize this, but I think that the usability suffers thanks to the fact that it is hard to navigate to what you're looking for. I very often visit a few other Dreamcast sites, and rarely visit DCS just because I never know where I'm going.

After that, I would suggest trying to get some more exclusive content. I know that I, as well as a good number of developers would be free for interviews. Have someone ask us questions. Make features about the development of a new game. That is what the people that are still hanging around the scene want to know more about. For as good as some of the reviews are, if I want to read reviews on NFL2K, I'd rather look at a review from back "in the day." It is the _new_ content people want to see.

As for the old content, it would be a great benefit if you could add certain new things in, for instance -- where to get new games for your old Dreamcast would be a great service. I know the GOAT Store has a great new affiliate program that we created where you could even link to our database, and when someone browsed it could show up at the DCS site saying, "Hey! You can get NFL 2K at the GOAT Store for only $2.00 right now!" or something. We haven't been taunting this yet because we're working out the bugs, but I know there are other affiliates that offer the same type of thing. Not just does it add content that would really help people, but it has potential to return more money to you from orders placed. Sites that have old reviews generally don't have links to where you can find the games.

There is enough of it for at least one article a month, and probably one thing every two weeks. You just need to find someone dedicated to taking out the time to do it.

The scene is far from dead, it just looks like it because a lot of the programmers have moved on, and the more interesting things that are happening in the scene aren't being widely publicized right now. I think that if done right, there is huge potential for there to be a very popular "new update" Web site for those people that aren't programmers and are just interested in the other stuff going on in the scene right now.
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Post by LyingWake » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:32 pm

Not to put anyone on the spot, but I see SiZiOUS having good potential (just naming someone who hasn't release anything for the Dreamcast specifically), and having something like a easy way to setup a Dreamcast development environment (take the DC Dev ISO for example) would be great and would be a big step in the right direction. I agree with scherzo when he says we need more coders. I finally got my DC environment set up and running but I haven't done much yet cause I get discouraged when the examples won't even compile without giving errors (a different subject). But along with getting more devvers, we need a bigger fan base to enjoy the games these devvers create, which is where the DreamOn magazine comes in (not trying to put any pressure on the magazine, but again, it's going in the right direction to get people to realize that there's a lot more to offer on the Dreamcast then just knowing, in their minds, it is a has-been).

And there is a lot of people who don't get along. There's still bad vibes between Consolevsion and DCEmulation still. Why? I can think of one thing - it's not up-to-date, which is pretty hard when there's only a few people who are willing to give it a good push. If coding's not their thing then there's plenty of other things that they can help on, such as being a site mantainer. It would be great to see all the major sites merge or at least help each other. You don't even see that happening, and I think that's killing the scene. Personally, I think that if there was only 1 strong site, then we'd have a huge community. We wouldn't have scattered users each in their own favorite site. Then, no one would have to jump from one site for the benifits of this coder's experiance or that coder's experiance.

There's my rant.
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Post by GyroVorbis » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:47 pm

I agree with scherzo and SiziOUS in particular. I started at DC programming at the age of 14. If I wasn't so in love with Dreamcast at the time, I would've given up. I still find DC Devving very difficult at times. It wouldn't bother me so much but everything is so scattered.

If there is one thing that really depressed me as a newbie, it was the severe lack of organized information for developers. It seems like all useful information is scattered all around the internet on a dozen different sites.

What I propose is that the Dreamcast scene needs another website. In a way like DCEmulation, DC-Scene, Consolevision, and DCemu.co.uk, but focusing on the development of Dreamcast rather than the homebrew/emulation part.

We need a site that has all of the required information and development resources on it, not just links to other sites. We need a site with a development based forums that all devvers want to be a part of.

Sure, this probably won't make the "getting started" process easier, but with a large population of developers on the forum ready to help out, it'd go a lot smoother.

Also, I think maybe we're being a bit too emo here. There are a lot of developers out there that are actually coding away on their DCs and we just don't know it. I'll use Tvspelsfreak as an example. Every day, I get on AIM and talk to him. He's working away on the DC at all hours of the day even though he doesn't post or show anything he works on.

Sure, you might not know about lots of people who dev in the background, but they are there. Maybe a site based more on the programming aspects of homebrew would be an open invitation for some of these people to start stepping up?

The scene needs its sites like DCemu.co.uk, DC-S, DCemulation, and Consolevision, but I think these sites are too broad and general to satisfy the serious developers who wish to concentrate more on programming.

I had been planning to make TheChaosRift into what I hoped would be that more development based site, but I've given up. I hate web design/development and I have absolutely no motivation to work on it when I can be devving for DC.

If there's a serious web guy here who wouldn't mind making a site, I think lots of developers would be more than willing to lend a hand to the making of a more development-based site.
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Post by SiZiOUS » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:18 pm

I tried DC Dev ISO but... I doesn't like DevCpp.

So i decided (not for the moment) modify this program (because DevCpp is open source and written in Delphi, my "native" coding language).

I'm currently devellopping a "debugger" for DC develloppement, based on DC-TOOL.

This's DC-TOOL GUI 3 (very old pict).
Click

Why i'm doing that ? Because debugging on dc's and still be a problem. I hope this program'll be helpful, for "beginner" on dc develloppement.

This application is better than this :
Image

When a begginner see the command line, that beginner "accustomed" to use a "click and compile" IDE, like DevCpp or MS VC++, when he see that stuff, he says : "That isn't for me, too hard". And when the only documentation is written only in english, that's another difficulty for people don't know speak english.

So what can be done?
- Like GyroVorbis said, a website "focused on the development of Dreamcast",
- KOS translated in anothers languages (with DC-FRANCE team, we are about to translate it in french),
- A fully dedied develloppement environment, ready to use, on windows (and unix, that could be great for unix users, but already exists) with a setup, and a real Dreamcast dev IDE,
- EXAMPLES. That's the black point. MORE Dreamcast sources EXAMPLES.

Edit :
I get discouraged when the examples won't even compile without giving errors (a different subject)
When LyingWake says that, it shows the real problem with dc dev. I tried too, and how do you want dev on the dc, when the samples won't compile ??? :o
A beginner give up immediatly. Because dc dev isn't a job. it's only a "game" (..). So if it doesn't work, he give up.
Last edited by SiZiOUS on Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by GyroVorbis » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:29 pm

:o Whoah, that's awesome SiZiOUS.
SiZiOUS wrote:When a begginner see the command line, that beginner "accustomed" to use a "click and compile" IDE, like DevCpp or MS VC++, when he see that stuff, he says : "That isn't for me, too hard". And when the only documentation is written only in english, that's another difficulty for people don't know speak english.
Those are some great points. I'm guilty of not even considering the language thing since I'm American. I agree 100%.

Yeah, I think there should be more examples and sources as well. These should be things that are on the site focused on DC Development. The site could even have something that allows developers to upload their own sources and examples to be viewed by others. Maybe they can be added to a collection of examples that other developers have contributed.
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Post by SiZiOUS » Fri Jul 08, 2005 5:40 pm

I'm guilty of not even considering the language thing since I'm American.
That's normal. But for example me, i have difficulties to write in english (not read and understand)... now. Before, i was the worst in english at school. Thanks DC-Scene :kiss)
Maybe they can be added to a collection of examples
You right. That website could be very interresting. But when i see the dcemu dev private forum dead - yes it's - that it could be really a good idea ?

So for me, the problem is that proggy, made for me feeling sick with dos commands. i never said that command lines are too boring, but dc deving is only that at this moment, because when you try to compile with DevCpp for example, it doesn't work... :/ So you open a bash and write again and again "make all".

Boring. Really boring. (i'm too lazy :P). When you see Delphi (for example) with this amazing IDE, full working, click and compile, you feel sick with that commands lines. Normal, Delphi's a real product for entreprise developpement. But, we can do it for dc, with this dc configurated environment project !

SORRY FOR THIS ENGLISH !! gr :evil:
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