Sega Dreamcast, A marvel in console history

Discussion of topics related to licensed games, software hacking/modification, prototypes, and development kits belongs here. Includes topics related to emulating the Dreamcast console on your computer or on another gaming console. Discussion of Reicast should go in the Official Reicast Forum.
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Post by DarkGambitX » Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:31 am

Thanks for the input guys, and I myself am trying to aqquire a Saturn. :P
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Post by cube_b3 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:50 am

I am going to a bit broad with this topic and from my very (un)reliable investigations I blame the fall of Sega and the consoles alike to cultural issues.

Americas Aggressive marketing tactics and investing for a long term to gain end result is a bit (or was) to long for Japan and every one thought that Kalinske was going to destroy the company with his marketing plan however I belive it was him who made SEGA what it was.

Sega has not changed much still presidents resign from there posts e.g Bernie Mac(possible type), Peter Moore etc.

Another reason is Sega shot up to fast and came down the same way they could not control there sucsses Trip Hawkins warned Sega back in the 16-bit era only that they did not have the money or resource to progress the way they were going.

But let's see with Sammy controlling the company.
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Post by Lyris » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:40 am

Did piracy have anything to do with DC software sales? I heard that they stayed consistent throughout. I don't buy the piracy thing.
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Post by Sweater Fish » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:06 pm

Well sales staying consistent wouldn't necessarily be a good thing if Sega were selling more and more systems, but not the more and more games they could consequently expect. However, statistics I've seen showed that the Dreamcast was doing very well in North America and even better in Europe; it was in Japan that the numbers were pretty abysmal (actually, they weren't *THAT* bad, but the market was changed by then and Sega had a lot of other pressures, too). I will always maintain that the decision to axe the Dreamcast was a Japanese decision and really had very little to do with piracy. U.S. Sega execs may have used piracy as a fallback excuse, but without Sega Japan they wouldn't have been able to do shit with the system anyway. Not like they did on the case of the Genesis. Especially since third parties--in North America as well as Japan--had already been hyped into a frenzy over the Playstation 2 as much as consumers.


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Post by Nick » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:02 pm

Sega needed an absolutely amazing success to stay in the console market.

The Dreamcast was merely a success, so, therefore, they canned it. Canning it was a better solution than to go bankrupt and fall off the face of the earth, while having their IPs sold off (helllllllllllooooooooo Atari).

The piracy issues just sealed the coffin faster than it would have been shut otherwise.
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Post by Tstyln » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:47 pm

Back up if you will to the spring and summer of 1998. Sega of Japan's R&D divisions are finishing up their work on the Dreamcast. For their convenience and in order to speed up software development on the console, Sega's programmers hide a series of special routines inside the code of the master console BIOS that will eventually be duplicated and burned into every single Dreamcast console produced for all markets. Mind you, this hidden code is buried fairly deep inside the Dreamcast BIOS. You would have to know where it is and for what you were looking in order to find it.

"What was this hidden code?" you eagerly ask. It was the ability for a stock Dreamcast console to boot and run software using standard CD-ROMs instead of Sega's proprietary GD-ROMs.
Remember, these hacks were something nobody was ever supposed to learn about. According to my inside sources (which shall forever remain anonymous), Sega of Japan intended to add protection features to every Dreamcast game released that would prevent it from being booted from CD-ROM should those hidden BIOS routines ever be discovered. The only problem was that they did such a good job of hiding Dreamcast's secret CD-ROM game-playing capability that they soon stopped protecting the software against it. Once official Dreamcast devkits went out to the third parties and everybody accepted doing business Sega's way with GD-ROM, the whole affair was apparently forgotten. Thus, Sega set itself up for its own downfall - one that would take place a mere two years later. You see, it was only a matter of time before software pirates would stumble across a means of unlocking Sega's proprietary GD-ROM disc format for Dreamcast and devise a means of duplicating the software. The key would be getting their bootlegs to work on a real Dreamcast console without any major hardware hacks involved. This is where Sega of Japan's hidden BIOS routines come into play. If a hacker somehow found those BIOS routines and got that code to work with a game that had been dumped from GD-ROM to standard CD-ROM, well then ... Sega's software sales were going to take a royal pounding before all was said and done.

Actually, at the beginning of 2000, several pirate groups had obtained full-blown legit copies of both Dreamcast SDKs along with the appropriate hardware through various and sundry means, enabling them to read GD-ROMs directly and figure out how to decode them onto standard CD-ROMs. The key breakthrough apparently came in the spring of 2000, not long before the Dreamcast Debug Developer was made, when one of these groups chanced upon a security hole in the Dreamcast's bootstrap sequence that had been deliberately put there by Sega of Japan. When activated by what has been described by some as "a convoluted control sequence," it enabled a stock Dreamcast to access those hidden BIOS routines. Instead of reading a Dreamcast GD-ROM the way it was supposed to do, from the outside in, it resequenced the bootstrap routine to read the disc from the inside out. This meant accessing the low-density, standard format area of a GD-ROM (the inner hub) instead of the high density area with its proprietarly format (the outer, larger hub). In other words, this group had just uncovered how to make a Dreamcast boot off of a standard CD-ROM. From that point onward, it was only a matter of time until this or another such group devised a means to both enable standard CD-ROM support for Dreamcasts games and to come up with a way to convienently download game program code stored on GD-ROM to CD-ROM.

Piracy was one of the main issues, but at the same time the PS2 was selling 9 units for every 1 Dreamcast. I would fault Sega for their own special routines in the code that led to the Piracy issue, and I think that it was the most important one, but Like I mentioned the PS2 was taking all the attention and most importantly Sega's Marketing of the DC was no good at all, it left developers questioning the company's viability.

Peace :cool:
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Post by Smiley » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:31 pm

Instead of releasing the crappy 32x, like they did, they should have continued making 16bit games (stopping support for the genesis gave ninty a large share of the still popular 16bit market in 1995), and made 16bit games using the svp? chip that they first used in virtua racing. That way, 16bit gamers could have heild onto their consoles, and at the same time, had a taste of 32bitish games before the saturn launched.

Just my two cents..I read an article from http://www.sega-16.com about this whole ordeal, and seriously think that the 32x and the saturn were the beginning of the end for sega...
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Post by Quzar » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:04 am

Tstyln wrote:Back up if you will to the spring and summer of 1998. -snip- Peace :cool:
Um, the CD booting thing was far from secret or hidden. It was designed for japanese companies to use a format called MIL-CD that would be simple interactive programs or simple games. By doing this they could also use the same format to publish demos or whatnot without having the extra cost of GD-Roms.
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Post by Sweater Fish » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:18 pm

Smiley wrote:Instead of releasing the crappy 32x, like they did, they should have continued making 16bit games (stopping support for the genesis gave ninty a large share of the still popular 16bit market in 1995), and made 16bit games using the svp? chip that they first used in virtua racing. That way, 16bit gamers could have heild onto their consoles, and at the same time, had a taste of 32bitish games before the saturn launched.

Just my two cents..I read an article from http://www.sega-16.com about this whole ordeal, and seriously think that the 32x and the saturn were the beginning of the end for sega...
First of all, it always has to be pointed out that the Saturn was by far Sega's best-selling system in Japan and it's the Japanese market that Japanese companies really care about, so I think this "Sega's demise started with the 32X and Saturn" line of thought is flawed from the beginning. Second, even if you assume that it's the Western markets that broke or could have made Sega, then yes you could say that the 32X and Saturn were the beginning of Sega's demise because both of those systems sold worse than the Genesis/Megadrive, but the assumption of saying this is that it was some sort of irreversible process. Like the moment Sega released the 32X they were predetermined from on High to eventually have to leave the hardware market. It's obviously not true. Many things could have been done differently in the intervening years and Sega would have been fine (the Saturn's success in Japan, for instance, certainly forestalled the supposedly inevitable end). People take far too simple a view of causation when they say, "piracy killed the Dreamcast," or, "The 32X and Saturn were the beginning of then for Sega." The world is much more complicated than that. It's easy to look at the past and over-simplify what happened, but the present is always a complicated stream of conflicting causes and possibly futures, none of it written in stone (unless you're a Calvinist).

However, I agree that Sega shouldn't have released the 32X despite the fact that it did see a handful of really good games. I haven't read the article you mention on Sega-16, but does it mention the fact that the SVP chip in the Genesis Virtua Racing could have been accessed by Sega CD games? Technically this was removed from the final release, but it was planned earlier (before the 32X went into development) and the released cartridge can actually be modified to give the Sega CD access. In my opinion, that would have been a great idea, much better than the 32X. A cartridge containing a good game that a ot of people wanted selling for cheaper (though not a whole lot) than the 32X and released something like 8 months earlier. Plus this would have helped sales of the Sega CD. And of course reduced any confusion there was about all the platforms Sega was perceived to have in that period.

But, ah well. Things didn't turn out so bad. The Dreamcast and Saturn were two of history's greatest consoles, we should be happy we can play all those great games and it's not like there's suddenly some shortage of good games now that Sega isn't making hardware of their own.


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Post by Sultan of Saturn » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:23 am

I blame the PS2 hype machine. When you've got guys like George Lucas saying that the PS2 will deliver Episode I graphics, how much more hot air does your emotion engine really need?

The Saturn, although difficult to develop on, still had way too many sweet games made for it that simply lingered on in Japan while we were left to toil with the likes of sports games ad-nauseum and other uninspired American games. Not to hate on US game development (as there were certainly some awful Japanese games too), but when you've got some games like Shining Force III scenarios II, III, and the premium disc, Konami's Policenauts, Snatcher, Castlevania Nocturne in the Moonlight/SOTN, Suikoden, Game Arts Lunar SSS, Lunar 2 EB, Grandia, etc. etc. etc. plus all of the great shooters (only 3 good shooter type games came out in the states....In The Hunt, Galactic Attack, and Darius) then it isn't too hard to tell.

Sure, the Sega CD and the 32X can be hated on, but where was the love from developers? However, there were still some cool games that came out in Japan. Shadowrun came out over there. Cosmic Fantasy Stories (which Working Designs brought to the US for the TG16CD) also found a home on the Mega CD in Japan as well. A system is only so good as its games. If you don't deliver the games, what do you expect?

The Dreamcast, sure it had its share of Playstation 1 ports, but take a look at the present with games getting released for the PS2, Xbox and the 360. The same argument can be made, but the good one's had graphical updates, for example: the Resident Evil series, Dino Crisis, and LoK Soul Reaver. However, back to what I said before, you've got to bring the good games over from Japan. Too much cool stuff sat on their shores. Do we really need another Namco Museum or Urban Chaos? How about Omikron the Nomad Soul. Ugghh!!! Give me Hundred Swords. Give me Flame Gride. Give me Rez.

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Post by Cid Highwind » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:32 pm

Most of the PSX ports basicly did the same Bleemcast did: 640x480, texture filtering and AA.

Soul Reaver looks great on DC and I really love this game, but graphically although it has style, it is in no way a game that shows off what the DC can do. It's just a very solid port. It doesn't show the amazing texturing the console can do, at least not in my memory. I haven't played any of the RE games that have been ported, but I doubt they were any different, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Post by Dreamcast4life » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:55 am

I remember peole were like "OMG Ps2 OWZ THE HOUSE" During this time I was like, you can have your PS2, the DC is my baby. The Ps2 hype was ONE of the main factors. I think if Sega would have focused on their franchise and didn't release mediocre games during the end of the system, DC would have been more enjoyed. like if sega released a Nights,Panzar Dragoon,Vectorman,Ristar, the Unreleased SOR 4 and possibly a new Gunstar Heroes then I know the DC would have been the system of choice even during the Ps2's craptastic game launch.

My question is why are so many DC games mediocre. I never thought this until I expanded my collection and played some more of the titles that I always wanted to try and hardly any game grabs my attention. That is just my opinion. I love the DC but sega when it came to making games for it, didn't do its fullest in which they could have.
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Post by ?И?H&#1028 » Wed May 03, 2006 3:47 pm

Quzar wrote:[insert stereotypical comments about the DC's demise that have been discussed to death a million times and are so indeterminant that nobody could possibly claim with any good reason that one thing was the 'main cause']
the main cause was sega just bullshits to much. they favor the jpn crowd despite the fact we kept them alive, they diddnt do enough to fight piracy, and they cancelled to many good games and not enough were online. there! and saturn/cdx failures dont mean shit. they could stickk milk anything that is genesis.
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Post by ace » Sun May 21, 2006 5:30 pm

No offense DarkGambitX, your heart is in the right place, but your writing style needs a lot of work.
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Post by Green Ranger » Sun May 21, 2006 10:07 pm

Look at it this way: It was a combination of many factors which contributed to the end of the Dreamcast. Despite the loss of Sega in the console business, focus on the fact that the Dreamcast's library is still so massively impressive that there are those that still enjoy the system's choices more so than what is currently on the market for other consoles.
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Post by Master Yoda » Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:22 pm

Oh but does it all matter? Mourn the loss and live in the past, but don't go over all the agonizing details. Sega chose to shut it down, and down it is shut. And things will never change. Still, that doesn't mean we have to go out and buy xboxs to support Bill Gates...
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Post by Cid Highwind » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:34 pm

Well, nothing against Bill Gates here, it's just that his console doesn't interest me that much. And I have no room for his coffin :P
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