Dreamarena Authentication Cracked, Quake III Arena & Toy Racer To Be Playable Online Via Dial-Up

If you're a European Dreamcast owner and had a system back in the day, you'll no doubt be familiar with Dreamarena. For those who don't know, Dreamarena was the online portal that PAL Dreamcasts would connect to when you wanted to go online; and many games used the service to authenticate your details when you wanted to play multiplayer games via the 33k modem attached like a disgusting carbuncle to the European system. I have fond memories of Dreamarena as it was the first thing I saw whenever I wanted to go online and browse the internet looking for cheats and...erm...the latest news from the international stock markets. Yeah, stock markets. Um.
Was it the Bismarck? Couldn't help myself, sorry.
One thing I don't have fond memories of is that horrendous 'disconnected' sound that used to play as soon as the connection dropped out. That, and the ominous noise of my mother booming up the stairs to see if I was online without permission again. Anyway, that's all irrelevant - this post is about the awesome news that many people (including me) never thought they'd hear: Dreamarena authentication has been cracked and will allow you to once again hook your Dreamcast up to your phone line and, using nothing more than the bundled dial-up modem, play both Quake III Arena and Toy Racer with other people. This isn't an April Fools.

Thanks to the hard work of programmers Jonas Karisson and Luke 'Kazade' Benstead (of DreamPi fame), Dreamarena has been reverse engineered so that these games will run through the original 33k modem and interface as if it were 2000 all over again. Luke explains:

"Recently a guy called Jonas Karisson contacted me about the Dreamarena authentication protocol, he'd read on Assembler Games that I'd attempted to reverse engineer it but I hadn't got very far.

He's spent the last week reverse engineering the protocol and he's succeeded! He has a proof-of-concept server which allows Toy Racer and PAL Quake III Arena to work online over dial-up. The protocol has been documented on the new Dreamcast Development Wiki.

I'm going to spend the next few weeks implementing and hosting a multi-client capable server which will allow everyone to play Toy Racer online. When it's done, DreamPi users will gain this support automatically!

Basically Toy Racer and PAL Quake III Arena only worked with the BBA since Dreamarena went offline, because they try to authenticate you (get you to sign up/log in) with Dreamarena. This lets us build a replacement server which we can redirect the games to transparently."
- Luke Benstead

If that sounds confusing as hell, you're not alone. But what it means in a nutshell is that soon you'll be able to plug that crappy phone cable back into the wall socket, put either Quake III Arena or Toy Racer in your Dreamcast and start playing online again. And that my friends, is awesome.
Dust those mice and keyboards off!
Obviously, The Dreamcast Junkyard will be here to keep you posted as to when this service will be back up and running.

Be sure to check out the Dreamcast Development wiki for more information.


Eleazar López said...

Thank you for the information. I am longing to play them again online. :D

Chris said...

I Know that the note is being very specific regardig pal, but, is there a chance that American dreamcast can access too?

Red Ring Rico said...

Chris: You could probably access it on a non-European system, though you will of course need a European copy of the game you want to use for it to work.

Brainbeat said...

Can I use modem still on modern phone line. We were on adsl but upgraded to fibre I'm sure I remember reading adsl phone-in not compatible yrs ago

Brainbeat said...

Can I use modem still on modern phone line. We were on adsl but upgraded to fibre I'm sure I remember reading adsl phone-in not compatible yrs ago