Crafti: A Homebrew Minecraft Clone For Dreamcast

Minecraft. A game which looks so simple on the surface due to its basic geometric visuals and fairly relaxed gameplay, but in reality is actually incredibly complex and even lends itself to being used as an educational tool. Yes, Minecraft is a true cultural phenomenon. It also made its creator disgustingly rich when Microsoft bought the franchise from Markus 'Notch' Persson in 2014 for $2.5 billion, and the game has gone on to become the second best selling game of all time. Not bad, I'm sure you'll agree.
There are ports of Minecraft available for a multitude of different systems and they all offer the similar gameplay and mechanics found in the PC original, and many people have carved out a career simply streaming gameplay online. The power of Minecraft knowns no bounds it seems, and now the game has come to the Dreamcast. Well...sort of. Crafti is a Minecraft clone developed by DCEmulation forum member gameblabla and is now free to download and burn to a CD-R for playing in a Dreamcast. Naturally, that's exactly what I did...

HDTV Compatible Wireless Dreamcast Gun Enters Production

You may remember the LightConn wireless gun we revealed recently. It comes from hardware modder Chris Diaoglou (the man behind the other wireless peripherals currently available for the Dreamcast), and since the last update the device has undergone a rather impressive overhaul. The LightConn uses the same Bluetooth technology as the DreamConn wireless controller and the KeybConn wireless keyboard, and incorporates a pair of virtual VMUs.
Not only this, it works with modern flatscreen TVs through a reverse-engineered Wii controller which has been incorporated into the chassis of the gun, along with a Wii sensor bar which has been adapted to work with the Dreamcast. The best bit is, the new LightConn does away with the visible portion of the Nintendo hardware seen in the prototype and also adds new functionality, such as PC connectivity for save file transfer. New LightConn specs:

  • Two internal virtual VMUs
  • Support for VMU in-game screen indications
  • Support for Rumble Pak
  • PC connectivity
  • Region-Free : Can be used with any game including NTSC "locked" games
  • Support for any TV (including HDTVs)
  • Embedded VMU menu for calibration
  • Auto-reload feature

In the Line of Fire Kickstarter Cancelled

In the Line of Fire was possibly the most ambitious Kickstarter we've yet seen for the Dreamcast, with a bespoke 3D engine designed from the ground up for Sega's hardware. Not only this, it wasn't a stretch goal for an existing project. A full-on 3D shooter with tactical gameplay elements and multiplayer options specifically created for the Dreamcast. We covered it several times here at the Junkyard, from the first teaser shots to the Kickstarter launch, and we got to preview an early build, and it looked like such a promising game. Sadly, the project didn't get the backing it deserved on Kickstarter and the team appear to have cancelled the game. An update from Wilson Guerrero of Militia Studios was posted on the project page which reads:

"Hello everyone, first I want to thank you all, you are one amazing and generous group of people. 
Sadly I'm quitting the team right now and the sound designer is gone too so basically there is no team now. Best regards."
- Wilson Guerrero, Militia Studios

It's a real shame because In the Line of Fire represented - to me at least - a move away from the myriad 2D shooters and platformers that have come to the Dreamcast. It represented something of a turning point for crowd-funded games and maybe a glimmer that there was a bright future for Dreamcast indie development - even more so when you consider Militia was looking to release the engine to other developers. The level of detail in the enemy character models, and environment in the stage I got to sample was almost on a par with commercially-related software.
However, the failure of something as impressive as In the Line of Fire to gain backing will no doubt make other potential developers question if the Dreamcast is a financially viable platform to put their games out on. Last year the impressive looking Xenocider from Retro Sumus also failed to hit its target, although that game was was resurrected through pre-orders. There are still plenty of games coming - at least at the time of writing - for the Dreamcast, but that In the Line of Fire was so criminally ignored could potentially have repercussions for future development on the system.

Officially Licensed Dreamcast T-shirts Available to Pre-order at Play-Asia.com

Heads up. Play-Asia.com are taking pre-orders for a range of officially licensed Dreamcast t-shirts now. Expected to ship in February 2017, the t-shirts are manufactured by Japanese clothing and apparel company Cospa so quality is pretty much guaranteed. Made from 100% cotton and coming in either medium, large or extra large (where's the small, guys?!), the t-shirts feature a Dreamcast swirl on the front and a stylised console design on the back. I think you'll agree that they're pretty cool, and for £20 you can't really go wrong. Head to Play-Asia.com for further details.

Trickstyle Heads To Apple Devices...In Sticker Form

Hold on to your hats folks! If you thought the Megadrive emulator thing was good...you ain't seen nothin' yet: Trickstyle stickers for iOS messages are an actual thing! I know, right?! Step into my super-exciting life and I'll explain everything. While I was skulking about on iTunes looking for nothing in particular, I decided to check in on the DreamPod to see if our lovely podcast was troubling the charts. Naturally, it wasn't but after searching 'Dreamcast' and checking to see if any of you lovely lot had left any more reviews (again, nope) I noticed at the bottom of the screen some 'suggested apps.' One of them was called Trickstyle and I was drawn to it like a moth to a raging flamethrower setting a nest full of Facehugger eggs alight.
Jokes aside, I don't even know why I'm writing this as I'm quite certain nobody is going to give a toss, but what I found was a little app that adds Trickstyle-themed stickers to iMessage in iOS 10. It's a bit of a weird one I know, and the app appears to be published by Throwback Entertainment - the company that now holds the rights to Acclaim's decent futuristic racer. Does anyone use the stickers in iOS? I didn't even know they were a thing until I saw this app. Still, it's slightly Dreamcast-related and so I am duty-bound to report it.

"Show your love for a Dreamcast classic to your friends and family! Elevate the conversation with this sticker pack featuring awesome tricks and moves from the hit title TrickStyle!"
- Throwback Entertainment

I took the advice above and sent some stickers to my brother, but it seems he wasn't overly impressed with my Trickstyle-themed messages:
The app has been knocking about since October but it seems literally nobody noticed. If you really want more information - and let's be honest, the chances of that are pretty remote - head over to Throwback Software's website here, or point your iPhone at the Apple App Store and grab them for free. I bet you Android users are raging with envy right now, eh?!

Official Megadrive Emulator For Dreamcast Discovered

Megadrive/Genesis emulation is nothing new on the Dreamcast, and Sega even went as far as releasing an official emulator (of sorts) with the Sega Smash Pack compilation that was only launched in the US. Since the death of the Dreamcast, various emulators have sprung up, some of which were based on the very code found on the Smash Pack GD. It's a really cool story and well worth checking out if you have the time.

It appears that there was an alternative Megadrive emulator being worked on as a joint venture between Sega Japan and Sega Europe, and - like most stories about vapourware - this has never been substantiated with hard facts. Mentions of PAL versions of Sega Smash Pack with a better and more varied library, twinned with superior emulation can be found in Dreamcast magazines of the era but nothing concrete has ever been seen. Until now, that is.
This is all thanks to a Dreamcast fan called Comby Laurent, who recently found a mysterious GD-Rom in a bunch of discs he acquired. He posted a short video and a few images on the Dreamcast Junkyard Facebook group and I recognised the Megadrive emulator as the same one I had played when I visited an ex-Sega employee some time ago to record footage of the unreleased Take the Bullet and Colin McRae Rally 2.0. I did record some video of the emulator back then, but my MacBook went into meltdown about a week later and the footage was lost.

Dreamcast Fishing Games: The Ultimate Guide

According to the old proverb, there are two types of fisherman: those who fish for sport and those who fish for fish. I'd like to add a third type to this list. The third type is the fisherman who stands in front of his (or her) TV, with a Dreamcast fishing rod grasped firmly in hand, waving limbs hither and thither in the hope they'll snare an elusive digital trout or silicon stickleback. If you fall in to the latter category, then welcome my friend. Welcome to the Junkyard's ultimate guide to fishing on the Dreamcast. I say 'ultimate,' but I actually mean 'blagger's,' so take everything else herein with a pinch of salt...and vinegar. Tartar sauce is optional.
The humble Dreamcast fishing rod is a peripheral we've overlooked for far too long here at the universe's number one repository for useless information regarding late 1990s Sega hardware™, and that's going to change over the course of the following article. From the actual hardware itself, to the games you can expect to play with the stunted controller, don your waders, fill your flask with Bovril and prepare to drink in a tidal wave of Dreamcast-related, briny and fishy goodness. Imagine eating a jar of whelks through a Dreamcast shell and you'll be on your way, oh salty and weary ocean/canal-side warrior. Let us begin by banishing the angry face of Poseidon from our collective portholes with nothing but harsh language, and examine our weapons of choice...

Escape 2042: The Truth Defenders Hits Kickstarter

Here we go. Another independent game for the Dreamcast has hit Kickstarter, this time coming from veteran Dreamcast developer Orion. Orion last graced the Dreamcast with Zia and the Goddesses of Magic in 2016 and that game was a highly competent take on the 16-bit RPG genre.
Escape 2042 looks like an interesting mix of platforming, strategy and puzzle gameplay, and takes a lot of inspiration from Amiga puzzlers from the early 1990s as far as I can tell - stuff like Flashback and Impossible Mission. To be totally honest, I think the Kickstarter trailer looks awesome and the game is planned for the Dreamcast, Gameboy, PC Engine and Megadrive (among others).

"This game is a fast-paced 2D platformer with two mini-games included. The main game features security cameras to avoid, firing enemies, grenades to collect, computer 'hacking' to open doors or disable laser protection fields, and level card based locked door in the first prison levels. If you copy and paste this from The Dreamcast Junkyard you won't even notice this sentence. The game will take place in three different environments (prison, forest and desert) interspersed with two minigames including a reversed shoot 'em up and an original abseiling game."
- Escape 2042 Kickstarter

Escape 2042 appears to feature several different types of gameplay scenario with platforming, puzzling and even shmup style levels included. Here's the awesome launch trailer:


The game has a funding goal of €25,000 and looks pretty impressive from the video. Don't forget that In the Line of Fire is still looking for funding, but what do you think? Is there scope for another Dreamcast Kickstarter or will the entire scene collapse under it's own bloated, underfunded weight?

You decide.

Check out Orion's website here, and our interview with the man himself here. You can also join the discussion at our Facebook group here.

DreamPod - Episode 45

[iTunes][Stitcher][Buzzsprout][UK Podcast Directory][YouTube]

Music in this episode is from Gunlord and Wind & Water Puzzle Battles. You can find information about the Akura VGA to HDMI converter here, Matterrun is here, Dreamcastnoid is here. Information about the Postal story can be found here and the Worms World Party story is here. You can find out more on the Sturmwind reprint here. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving a review on iTunes and if you would like to support the DreamPod on Patreon you can find us here.

Please feel free to join our Facebook group, like the Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Lastly, and most importantly - keep dreaming, and be excellent to one another.

New Dreamcast Game Matterrun Available Now!

Another day, another free Dreamcast indie game lands. This time, it's Matterrun from Fuseki Games. Set in deep space, the game tasks players with collecting 'matter cannisters' and disposing of them before the enemy can use the same canisters to build a mothership that will hunt you down and destroy you with extreme prejudice. It sounds a little bit like Sinistar to me...only without the nightmare-inducing immortal face thing that chases you through the cosmos. Fuseki is no stranger to the Dreamcast, having previously released Primitive Nightmare and a bunch of DOS conversions, all of which are available for free from his site.
"Matterrun, the 2017 release by Fuseki, is a battle between the player and enemy Seekers, both of whom are racing to find Matter Canisters. The player must find them and dispose of them by returning them to the Disposal Ship, and the Seekers are collecting them to build their Mothership. 

The player has a few power-ups and the Concussion Wave weapon to help them with this task. The Seekers will attempt to steal any Canisters that the player has picked up. If the Mothership is constructed, it'll hunt the player down ruthlessly and attempt to destroy it. How long can YOU survive?"
- Fuseki Games

Matterrun was made with the BennuGD programming language and is available as a downloadable CDI image here. It can be burnt with Alcohol 120% to play in a Dreamcast console or played via an emulator. Thanks to Alfonso Martinez of SegaSaturno for the heads up.

Worms World Party Online Services Restored

Another online multiplayer game has been restored to full functionality, this time it's Worms World Party. According to Dreamcast Live, which is a site dedicated to the online gaming aspects of the Dreamcast and a trailblazer when it comes to restoring online and multiplayer features to a host of games, Worms World Party players can now duel with other Dreamcast gamers over the internet.

I've got to be honest - I never really got too far into either Worms Armageddon or Worms World Party on the Dreamcast, but Team 17's series has a very long and storied history and is an important franchise in the grand scheme of multiplayer gaming on both console and PC.
If you want to know more, head over to Dreamcast Live right now. You might also want to check out Pcwzrd's guides to getting back online with your Dreamcast as they are numerous and vary in the amount of effort required, but at this rate the entire back catalogue might end up back online by the end of the year. Probably. Well OK that's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

Arkanoid Clone Dreamcastnoid Available Now!

It's 2017 and what better way to usher in the new year than with a brand new Dreamcast home-brew game? Dreamcastnoid: 128 Bit Wars is an entry to the DCJAM game jam we reported on last year, and comes from indie developer Alfonso Martinez. Alfonso is also working a visual novel style game known as Project Bennu at the moment, but he's obviously a pretty talented chap and took some time out over the recent festive period to knock together Dreamcastnoid.
As the name suggests, Dreamcastnoid is a stylised take on the old classic block-breaker Arkanoid but this version sees you take control of a rampant VMU whose sole purpose is to destroy PlayStation 2 consoles, controllers, boxes and...erm...wads of cash. It's a pretty fun little game and exactly the type of entry the DCJAM was intended for. There's a video below showing Dreamcastnoid in action, and you can download the game yourself here.


It comes as an mdf file which can be easily burnt to CD-R and played on a Dreamcast with Alcohol 120%, or alternatively you can chuck it at an emulator and play Dreamcastnoid that way. I spoke to Alfonso and he also told me there are some pretty cool cheats tucked away in Dreamcastnoid...but I'm not giving them away just yet! You can find more information about Dreamcastnoid over at Segasaturno. Enjoy!

Build Your Own LEGO Dreamcast

In March 2016 I attended RetroCollect's video game market. I mainly spent the day wandering around looking at retro paraphernalia I couldn't afford, and spending the profits I made from flogging the DCJY Collectors Guide on overpriced lager. I also met loads of cool people from the gaming community. One of those people was legendary illustrator and artist Wil Overton, a lovely bloke with whom I shared a section of the event hall and who I harassed almost nonstop with questions about Perfect Dark Zero and his time working at Super Play and N64 Magazine. Another person I met was Michael 'Stiv' Stephenson, an extremely talented artist who is responsible for some of the awesome work over at Sonic the Comic. Stiv had a stall at the market and on that stall I spotted this:
Yes, it's a LEGO Dreamcast. I thought it was a really cool little trinket, so I handed over a crumpled £5 note and ever since that day it has resided on a shelf in my games room. Recently, I was looking at the little LEGO creation and realised that it's actually a pretty intricate replica of a Dreamcast and so I dropped Stiv a message asking how he'd created it. Stiv replied that he'd designed it using the little CAD program you can download for free from LEGO's site and that it was a one-off he'd made just out of curiosity...but that he had the files somewhere. A few weeks passed, Christmas happened, and we both forgot about the whole thing...until now. See, Stiv recently found his set of instructions on how to build the LEGO Dreamcast, and now I'm sharing them with you!

PC & Mac Shooter Postal Now Open Source, Original Developer Appealing For Dreamcast Port

Postal hit the PC 20 years ago and instantly earned a reputation for its gory, death-filled gameplay. An isometric shooter with Robotron-style trappings, the game caused something of a stir back in 1996 due to the mechanic that involved players having to slaughter a set number of NPCs per level before moving on to the next. Unperturbed by the somewhat negative press, developer Running With Scissors went on to make no less than three follow ups, commission a range of spin-off games, books and even a movie based on the franchise. Apart from a few blips in quality control, the core series was generally met with encouraging sales and critical acclaim. Why are we telling you this? Well, it appears that Postal has been made open source by Running With Scissors...and they are appealing for a developer to port the game to the Dreamcast.
The appeal came via a series of tweets from the official Running With Scissors Twitter account, and after communicating briefly we can confirm that this is not a drill. Repeat...not a drill. The Postal source code has been released through Bitbucket and is freely available to download. Running With Scissors tweeted the following:

"As a slightly belated Christmas present to you all, the original classic POSTAL is now Open Source! All we ask in return is a Dreamcast port! Someone, please - get on that. There's probably some kind of reward in it for ya!"
- Running With Scissors

When asked why the Dreamcast, the reply was that it's 'Krotchy's favourite console.' Who is Krotchy? Well...he's a walking ballsack and mascot of the Postal franchise, and he certainly looks happy hugging that PAL unit!
Are you a Dreamcast developer? Reckon you could bring yet another new game to the Dreamcast? Head over to Running With Scissors' official website or grab the source code for Postal here and get on it! You heard them - there's probably some kind of reward in it for ya! Tell them The Dreamcast Junkyard sent you and we'll all be laughing (probably).

Akura VGA To HDMI Box Coming Soon For Dreamcast

Getting the best picture from a Dreamcast has always been a point of discussion in the Dreamcast community. The Dreamcast's ability to output a VGA signal has long been viewed (no pun intended) as the best way to get a crisp and clean image, and I'm not one to argue with that - indeed, when using an old-skool CRT monitor in conjunction with a VGA cable or box, the image quality is positively stunning. Not everybody has the space for a hulking great VGA CRT monitor though, and as time goes by they are becoming harder to find. Not only this, but finding HD or 4K televisions that have a VGA port is becoming more difficult as the standard falls further into the realms of obsolescence.
The options for getting a decent image out of a Dreamcast (and other older gaming systems) are getting narrower with every passing generation and the move away from analogue to digital signals means gamers are coming up with ever more ingenious ways of using classic consoles with newer televisions and monitors. However, the path to achieving a fantastic image is littered with pitfalls - I know first hand from my own recent experiences with VGA to HDMI signal converters just how frustrating it can be.

It appears that creators of the Toro, Kuro and Hanzo range of signal converters Beharbros feel the same way, and have recently unveiled the Akura VGA to HDMI converter for the Dreamcast.

KeybConn: A Wireless Dreamcast Keyboard

You'll no doubt recall the recently revealed LightConn, the wireless Dreamcast lightgun that works with flatscreen televisions. It's the work of talented Greek modder and programmer Chris Diaoglou, creator of the DreamConn wireless controller we looked at in 2015. Chris has been busy implementing his Bluetooth tech into all sorts of other Dreamcast peripherals over the last few months and now he's revealed the next one to be stripped of its wires - the keyboard.
Dubbed the KeybConn, this prototype utilises the same wireless dongle as the gun and the controller and allows users to play any number of keyboard-compatible games from the comfort of a couch or desk without being limited to the length of the cable. While this probably isn't a problem many of us have encountered in the recent past, it's still a very cool addition to the Dreamcast's growing collection of wireless peripherals.

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas once again and to celebrate, here's a little something special from our very own Aaron Foster: a specially drawn comic strip! This is the Junkyard's 11th Christmas and we'd like to thank everyone who continues to visit and support the blog, either through Patreon, downloading the podcast or simply just following and sharing our stuff on social media.
Click for a larger version!
In case you didn't know, Aaron is a professional animator and a damn fine artist too, so we hope the image above raises a smile. You can find Aaron's website and portfolio here and his YouTube channel Lucky Hit here. Go and check them out - you won't be disappointed!

Once again, Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Junkyard - here's to many more!