DVD Support Heading To Dreamcast

Artist's impression. Um.
DVD is the one that got away when it comes to discussing the Dreamcast and the age-old reasons for its failure to go stratospheric. One of the many reasons people held out for a PlayStation 2 was because it offered the consumer the opportunity to try out new-fangled digital versatile discs, and it was an inspired tactic if you look at it from a business perspective. Yes, the Dreamcast was (and still is) a hoofing system and plays host to some of the finest vidya gaemz known to humanity; but back at the turn of the century the promise of owning a console that could also play movies out of the box was too great to resist for the majority.
An IDE modded Dreamcast is required at present
Anyway, it seems that the ever-inventive Dreamcast community has worked out a way to allow the Dreamcast to 'see' an external DVD drive as a storage medium and attempts to run games stored on DVDs have been successful. At present, the DVD drive is being used as an alternative to a standard IDE HDD with consoles modified to accept such a storage device, but with more development time it appears that running DVD movies on a Dreamcast is entirely plausible.

The original thread over at Assembler Games tells us a little more, and I also spoke to programmer Luiz Nai who is assisting the DreamShell developers in this quest. Here's what he told me:

"If you have the IDE-Mod in your Dreamcast just connect a DVD-IDE drive on your Dreamcast. You put the ISO files on the DVD and select them as you do on the HDD. At present, games files in CDI or GDI format are incompatible as games that use CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) would not work. Also, the Dreamcast certainly has the power to run DVD movies but at the moment the priority is to get the DVD drive to read games. At present, the project is in the debug phase and the game Millennium Soldier has already been tested successfully."
- Luiz Nai

Probably don't start getting your DVDs in out of the garage just yet then, folks. And if you do you can probably just play them on literally any other device in your house (including some fridges, apparently). However, for another example of how the Dreamcast community strives to add new functionality for no reason other than it can, look no further.

Source: Assembler Games


Playing Mantis said...

What I really want is that sweet spring loaded release spindle like the Gamecube has.

I don't see the point in using a DVD drive instead of an HDD. Slower load times and you have to burn discs with a limited number of games instead of every game you have on a hard drive.

Tom Charnock said...

Yeah I tend to agree. It doesn’t really offer any advantage over the HDD mods already available, but I just thought it was cool that folk way clevererer than me still find new things to do the the DC

Unknown said...

If this leads to a reproduction GDROM (Or even CDROM) disc drive then this could be great. Otherwise I don't get why you wouldn't just use a HDD instead.

fatherkrishna said...

It's the reason I sold the Dreamcast down the river. Much to my eternal shame..

RT Barshaw said...

I think it's really cool that these geniuses figured this out but honestly, who uses DVDs today?

gsquared said...

".... It doesn’t really offer any advantage over the HDD mods already available..." I'd disagree as, at least in my area of the USA an IDE DVD drive and/or blank DVDs are more easily found, and more likely to work than an IDE hard drive.