Daytona USA back Online, Dreamcast: Year Three, Samba De Amigo in VR, and more! - Dreamcast News Round-Up July 2023

Summer is here... not that you'd know in the UK, though, because it's been raining nonstop for two weeks straight. At least the forecast for new developments in the Dreamcast community is looking promising, so much so that I thought I'd round it all up for you in this handy post. There's an overarching theme of homebrew wizardry this month, whether that be in the form of new software or hacking old software, so be sure to thank all the talented individuals mentioned for their hard work.

Dreamcast: Year Three announced!

This piece of news is one I have no shame plugging first! Last month saw the release of Dreamcast: Year Two, a book edited by Andrew Dickinson that features many written collaborations from The Dreamcast Junkyard team and others in the Dreamcast community. Well, for those who were wondering, Andrew confirmed in a tweet that Dreamcast: Year Three is coming, revealing its awesome cover, illustrated by KinkySketch, as well as saying to "expect a [Kickstarter] campaign mid-2024". The plan with this one will be to launch the campaign with much of the content already produced to avoid long waiting times for backers.
Front cover art for Dreamcast: Year Three
For more information on The Dreamcast Junkyard's book releases, check out our dedicated section on the website.

Debug Indie Sampler, Vol. 3

Wave Game Studios have already given away two great demo samplers, each featuring snippets of the latest and greatest in Dreamcast indie games and homebrew. Anyway, here's a heads-up to say that Debug Indie Sampler, Vol. 3 has gone up on Wave's store for pre-order, and as before, the only ask if that you pay for shipping. None of the demos have been confirmed yet (as represented by the anonymous coloured squares on the cover below), but Wave have said that "[we] won't be disappointed". Exciting! The sampler is limited to 2,000 copies and won't be reprinted, so make sure you go and grab one!
Cover art for debug indie sampler, vol. 3
This modern art is getting out of hand...

Reinvigorating the games of old...

While you sleep, talented hackers in the Dreamcast community toil away, tweaking the inner workings of your favourite Dreamcast games to make them more accessible in various ways. You may never have knew you needed hacks like the ones discussed below until this article, so let us know if they went straight onto your GDEMU or a CD-R after reading.

VGA Dreams
This follows on from a topic brought up in Lozz’s last Dreamcast News Round-Up. TapamN has been doing some amazing work making a whole load of Dreamcast games compatible with VGA output. A bugbear of many a DC fan is the seemingly random assortment of games that don’t natively work with this oft preferred method of video output, so what TapamN is doing is a godsend. 

The most recent title to receive TapamN's VGA treatment is the The King of Fighters '99 - Evolution, the Japan-exclusive Dreamcast remake/port of The King of Fighters '99. Here's to enjoying Neo Geo-quality bouts in beautiful VGA on the best console ever made.
Screenshot of King of Fighters '99 working via VGA
The King of Fighters '99 - Evolution working in VGA mode, as shown by Derek Pascarella (ateam).
Also hacked to work with VGA is survival horror title Seven Mansions - Ghastly Smile, another Japan-exclusive game that received an English fan translation thanks to SnowyAria and MrNobody back in 2019. This one is particularly handy, as I'm pretty sure it was the only fan translated game available for the console that lacked VGA compatibility, so this hack is a great addition to GDEMUs everywhere.

A full list of the VGA patches that are available and where to download them can be found on the console mods wiki. With these most recent additions, the number of Dreamcast games that remain incompatible stands at a surprisingly slim 24. 

Let's see what Derek has been up to...
He's not really a myth, but he's definitely a man, and in my eyes, a legend. That's Derek Pascarella, and he's always busy bringing us translations and hacks galore for the Dreamcast, so many recently that in this round-up, he's earned his very own section!

Two of Derek's recent hacks make existing English language options in Japanese games more accessible. First up is Super Puzzle Fighter 2X. Derek's new hack of this game builds on the work of a previous hack done by comradesnarky which translated the game's menu text to English. When used in tandem with a secret menu in the game that lets you change the game into English, the game would be completely in English, with the exception of text and graphics related to network play, which can't currently be used anyway. Derek's hack enables English language from the offset without having to faff around with accessing the secret menu. Nice!
Screenshot of Super Puzzle Fighter 2X
Derek has also done pretty much the same for Puyo Pop Fever, a Sega game which saw Western releases on seemingly every console in existence except our beloved white box. The Japanese Dreamcast release's worst-kept secret is that it not only features a file you can download to your VMU to make the Dreamcast's BIOS all 3D, but it also features an English language setting that not only changes all text in the game to English, but also switches the in-game characters' dubbed voices to the English ones seen in the Western releases! It's a bit cumbersome to navigate to this option in the game's settings menu, so Derek's hack enables it automatically when you turn the game on. Neat!

Then we have the Pop'n Music 3 and 4 "Append Discs" for use with the rhythm game Pop'n Music 2. Originally, these two releases could only be booted on the Dreamcast by inserting the second game first. But now you don't have to, because Derek has hacked them to boot independently! Top tip: if you want to enjoy these games to their fullest, seek out the almighty Pop'n controller!
Screenshots of Pop'n Music 3 and 4
You can download all of the patches mentioned above on Derek's website, along with a plethora of others from his back catalogue! That man is always busy, I tell ya.

Last but certainly not least, Derek's English fan translation project of SNK's rhythm romp Cool Cool Toon is due to be released imminently. This project was initially announced in August of last year, and nearly a year later, on the 18th of July, Derek confirmed that final playtesting was commencing. Anyway, I will be sure to cover this release when it drops, so watch this space!

Home(brew) and Away

I've got two Dreamcast-related software projects for you this month, one of which actually plays on the Dreamcast, and another which takes the Dreamcast into a whole other dimension...

Top Classic Plaigarized
Top Classic Plaigarized (the misspelling is intentional, don't worry! Our editors wok hard!) is a new demo from Aionmagan, who previously caught our attention last year for his proof-of-concept of Cuphead's assets running on a Dreamcast.

Top Classic Plaigarized is a very early showcase of a new 3D engine Aionmagan is working on that sees you speeding along a road in a variety of different cars, dodging oncoming traffic and shrinking to avoid certain obstacles. The game is clearly rough around the edges, but as an unfinished proof-of-concept of a potential 3D Dreamcast engine, it's certainly a good enough reason to keep an eye on what Aionmagan develops next. You can download the Top Classic Plaigarized demo for free from Aionmagan's page, or check out some footage below of the game in action from our pal, gamesreup.

Samba de Amigo... in VR?
The new Samba de Amigo title, Samba de Amigo: Party Central is due out for the Nintendo Switch in August. News also spread of "Samba de Amigo" coming to the Meta Quest VR in the fall, although on closer inspection, it just appears to be a VR version of Party Central. Bah.

For those wanting the original on VR, look no further than Oneiric Quest, an unofficial open-source virtual reality Samba de Amigo emulator by Ricardo Ferreira that allows you to wield those maracas in VR in front of arcade cabinets of both Samba de Amigo and Samba de Amigo: Ver. 2000. More features are due to be added in time, and it appears to work with all types of VR headsets, so why not give it a shake?

You can download Oneiric Quest from its dedicated GitHub page. There is also a promotional video available that showcases some of the VR gameplay set to an awesome punk cover of Harry Belafonte's "Jump in the Line", so you can check that out too. Finally, to stay up to date on developments to Oneiric Quest, you can follow the project's page on Twitter.
Screenshot of the Oneiric Quest VR game

So Much Cooler Online

It's all happening currently in the online multiplayer world of Dreamcast! With not only one, but two games coming online in the last month, and one being a brand new indie title, no less, Dreamcast Live's library of games with a working online multiplayer mode now clocks in at an impressive 26.

Daytona USA is Back Online!
This is a big one, people. Daytona USA (known as Daytona USA 2001 in Europe and Japan) is playable online for the first time in 21 years on the Dreamcast, thanks to the hard work of Ioncannon and the support of Shuouma and Xiden!

As noted on PCWzrd13's Dreamcast Live post, in order to play Daytona USA 2001 online, you must use a US version of the game, as the online features were sadly left out of the PAL version, and the Japanese version's online play is yet to be restored. DreamPi users will also require the recently released DreamPi 1.8 DLE for the game to function online.

For more details on the technical side of this impressive endeavour, check out Lozz's interview with ioncannon. To get started playing Daytona USA 2001 online, check out PC's post, and to find out when others will be racing keep your eyes peeled on the Dreamcast Live schedule or join the Sega Online discord. You can also check out some gameplay below from PC.

Driving Strikers is Online too!
Now available digitally, and with physical copies shipping as I write this, Driving Strikers is the first Dreamcast release to support online multiplayer in over 20 years. Aside from DreamPi and Broadband Adapter compatibility, cross-platform play between the PC (Steam) and DC versions has been made possible to boot. Keep an eye out for The Dreamcast Junkyard review, where we put the game through its paces, online play included! For more information on the game, check out our announcement post, and feast your eyes on the trailer below too.


Phew! That was a lot to round up, but damn those are some tasty slices of Dreamcast news. Which news item peaked your interest the most? Be sure to let us know in the comments below or one of our many social media channels!


Animated AF said...

I wonder if games not compatible with RGB Scart would ever be a possible hack/fix? If so that would nip the last issue with the systems game compatibility in the bud!

Tom Charnock said...

Excellent news round-up! I'll never get tired of seeing what else comes out of the community. Thanks Lewis!