It's the most wonderful time of the year, when we honour the ancient Roman goddess Saturn for her bountiful harvests and superlative 2D software library. Where masters and slaves come together to eat, get drunk, puke, eat some more, puke again and then eat some more. Don't worry about the mess, the slaves only get one day off a year.
|She's the reason for the season. No joke.|
But I digress. An equally important aspect of this time of year is gift giving, and more importantly, gift receiving. And lucky for you, I've been beavering away on a little surprise for you all, our fantastic community, with a little Dreamcast related gift this year. Note: if you're a Sega lawyer, you can skip to the last couple of paragraphs now.
After revisiting the enigmatic Dreamcast Video Disc in a prior article, followed by an impassioned plea to Discotek Media to revive the format here, I decided to take matters into my own hands and have a crack at it myself. All of the software and code has been lying dormant on the interwebs from an ancient age when Video CDs were an attractive prospect, handily archived in one place at Russian Dreamcast website www.dc-swat.ru (and muchly appreciated). Most of the technology also specifically requires a similarly ancient single core PC system to run, but luckily I built a Windows 98/XP machine earlier in the year. Once I got past some teething problems and my own inexperience, it was relatively easy to transfer a movie to a self-booting DcVD.
|Any excuse to make Tom festively green with envy over mine own |
Sega Sports DC
With the festive season looming, it seemed only appropriate to cut my teeth on the infamous public domain Christmas themed C-grade movie: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964), once featured on cult TV classic Mystery Science Theater 3000.
|Watch out Santy Claus!|
It's far from perfect (besides the actual content of the movie). The source video isn't exactly "digitally remastered" and the resolution and bitrate are pretty poor in order to fit the whole movie on a single CD-R (512x384p @ 656kbit/s average VBR). Also, forget about modern conveniences like "pause" or "rewind," this just auto-plays on boot and you have to just sit there and watch it (or else!). In the future, I think multiple discs with higher quality "chapters" will be the way to go, especially until some brighter chap than me can set up a DcVD template that features playback control.
|I got lazy with the back cover, and the spine should be thicker. |
Feel free to improve on this and show us the results.
You can find the .cdi image, the disc label, and the blu-ray style case cover I hastily slapped together here. So with a little CD burning and a little printing, you too can own the hottest Dreamcast Video Disc released this year!
|Some assembly required|
P.S. A few tips for those who have trouble creating self-booting Dreamcast discs. In my testing, I had a 3 out of 3 success rate with different CD-Rs and different CD drives using the Alcohol 120% Free Trial. Make sure to set the write method to "RAW/DAO" and chose a write speed of about half your drives rated maximum.
|Used up one of my precious lightscribe discs - |
I need to invest in a proper CD label printer
Note to Lawyers #1: "Sega", "Dreamcast", and the Swirl device are all copyright, registered trademarks, and intellectual property of Sega Corporation Ltd., also known as Sega Sammy Holdings, Sega Enterprises, Sega Games Co. Ltd., and also inclusive of subsidiaries Sega of Japan, Sega of America and Sega of Europe. All rights are reserved for them only, and usage of said terms and iconic logos are done so without permission, are not licensed and are not endorsed by said legally entitled corporations.
Note to Lawyers #2: "Sofdec," "MPEG Sofdec," "ADX," and the associated logos, proprietary software and codecs are all copyright, registered trademarks, and intellectual property of CRI Middleware Co. Ltd., also known as CRIware, and CSK Research Institute. All rights are reserved for them only, and usage of said terms, logos, software and codecs are done so without permission, are not licensed and are not endorsed by said legally entitled corporation.