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

The new version of the LightConn is totally wireless, works on HD TVs, looks exactly like an official Dreamcast gun...and has a few other features with regards to the VGA compatibility, as Chris helpfully explains:

"As you can see, this particular unit is made from the original Dreamcast light gun. Of course, as this is the final product, you can see some new additions and refinements. These include an ON-OFF switch, power LED at the side of the gun and charging LED, and a charging port on the bottom of the gun's handle. Also, now there is no need for crude extra parts at the front of the gun.

In the prototype version I mentioned that LightConn will be using custom VGA cable.
I reconsidered knowing that this could be quite inconvenient for some users that already have their setups. So as you can see, the base unit now has an extra cable, with a small VGA pass-through adapter. This will be just plugged into the user's existing setup VGA box/cable as an intermediate connection."
- Chris Diaoglou

After the recent cancellations of certain Kickstarter projects through lack of support, it's encouraging that hardware development on the Dreamcast is forging ahead and even outdoing what can be seen on current gen systems. The LightConn represents a leap forward that no other console can boast - a fully functional, wireless light gun that works with flatscreen TVs.
Chris will be offering a modding service so people can send their own guns to him and receive a fully augmented peripheral in return; while those without a gun to supply can purchase from his eBay store in the very near future. I pressed him on pricing and current costs are $135 for the modding service and $185 for the complete package without supplying your own gun. While this may sound high, Chris puts the pricing down to the need to acquire additional parts such as Wii sensors, remotes and the creation of the Bluetooth dongles and passthrough connectors as the reason for this.
I can already see the comments about the price on the LightConn, and I actually thought twice about even writing this article because of it, but for some people the ability to play House of the Dead 2, Death Crimson or Confidential Mission on a brand new HD or 4K television will outweigh the outlay. Just don't shoot the messenger (now that's a pun I can legitimately be proud of).


Tamás Illés said...

Cool. But because of the need of that extra VGA pass-through, does that make using 2 of these at the same time for 2 player mode impossible? (Not that even 1 wasn't expensive already, lol.) Also, VGA connection is a requirement then to use this. So with the upcoming AKURA HDMI box, it can't be used I assume.

Tom Charnock said...

You're probably right - I doubt this will work with the Akura. There's always likely to be compatibility issues with stuff like this. I'm guessing the VGA connector was the only way to get this to work for some reason or another, otherwise I'm sure Chris would have used something else. That said, I'm in no way technically qualified enough to speculate, and for me the fact that this even exists is impressive enough.

sega max said...

THis is very impressive, intersting indeed, unfortunately it is too pricy like for the pad..(for the pad you have to pay for the service mod $125, gun here 135$, keybord at least 35$..) i would have taken the whole bundle both if the price was twice less.. Rich people will enjoy

Bjorg said...

The amount of work and effort that was put into this is amazing! I bought the DreamConn and Chris Diaoglou was super responsive to any questions I had. I will happily send him my lightgun and finally be able to tap again into my catalog of lightgun games (all original GDROMs)! WRT the price, remember that these are hand assembled one by one. Chris needs to get something out of it for his R&D time and labor. I'm pretty sure, greed is not the motivation. This work would never happen if he weren't a Dreamcast fanatic! :)

Bee Aye said...

People complaining about the price need to realize what's going on here. These are not mass-produced Hong Kong items, but hand crafted out of individual components that even by themselves aren't particularly cheap.

I'm just thrilled that a console I love so well is receiving this kind of attention and dedication from inventive people like Chris.

hoogafanter said...

Love this... it's a shame I'll never own one...

OneStar said...

God I want one of these, along with just the regular DreamCON. This is quite impressive, and one day maybe when I have some disposable income I can purchase one of these.

I TOTALLY understand the price of this, but I'll have to wait. Honestly the only downside is that you can only use one at a time, so no 2player which is how these games really shine. Nonetheless I love that this exists! Being able to bypass the USA lockout for the official light gun is also nice.

Chris Daioglou said...

I wanted to clear this out : Actually, the LightConn is designed to work for 2 players as well.
A user can plug and use two LightConns at the same time by plugging the two VGA adapters to each other (since they're just pass-through) and then both of them as an intermediate connection (like if there was only one).

Tamás Illés said...

** Actually, the LightConn is designed to work for 2 players as well.
A user can plug and use two LightConns at the same time by plugging the two VGA adapters to each other (since they're just pass-through) and then both of them as an intermediate connection (like if there was only one).**

Nice. After asking the question, the thought that that might work eventually popped into my head but didn't want to post again asking that. That pass-through solution is pretty ingenious.

Bee Aye said...

When will these appear for sale?

Chris Daioglou said...

In a few days - probably within the weekend. I want to make some final arrangements like preparing and include a printed user's manual and also include two important checks for warning the end-user in case of an issue:
1. For the VGA sensor (i.e if he forgets to plug it or something)
2. For the sensorbar (i.e if the batteries run out the gun will become unresponsive, so he should get a warning on this).

Rafael Reis said...

Will it be compatible with DC emulators, for NES os Master System?

Chris Daioglou said...

If these emulators supported and worked with a normal wired lightgun, then they will work with LightConn too.

Unknown said...

one question, will this work with a vga projector setup?

chris said...

one question, will this work with a vga projector setup? blasting away lifesize zombies would be a treat!

Chris Daioglou said...

Yes it could. But due to the large size of the screen, you will have to stand far from the sensor bar - which - with the standard sensor bar - will degrade the aiming accuracy. So, most probably you will have to go with a custom sensor bar.