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Showing posts with label SD Card Reader. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SD Card Reader. Show all posts

Four SD Reader Indie Gems

Dreamshell and its uses are well documented on various sites around the internet, and for me it represents one of the most interesting facets of the Dreamcast. If you aren't familiar, Dreamshell lets you boot the console into a PC-like Unix GUI and allows for the loading of various applications. Dreamshell can be burnt to a CD-R (or installed into the BIOS of the Dreamcast if you really want to) and then used alongside an SD reader to access all manner of fantastic homebrew and indie software. I did have a look at Dreamshell in the recent past, but with this post I just wanted to give some exposure to games that have been kicking around for a while but that you may have missed.
None of these games are particularly new, but if you're a recent adopter of a Dreamcast or have only recently decided to dip your toe into the world of homebrew games for Sega's final system, this article may be of interest to you. Possibly even more so if you also happen to own an SD card reader, as these games are all readily availible in ISO format and can be played simply by dropping the files onto the SD card and then executed through the Dreamshell loader interface. The internet is a fast-moving place and people join the Dreamcast community all the time, learning of the many uses for the console that Sega never intended. With this post, I really just wanted to give a mention to the games that are out there, but that rarely get a mention when people discuss this awesome machine.

Guest Article: The Great Serial Connector Hunt

Luke Benstead is a man on a mission - and that mission is to get the world's Dreamcasts back online without the need for a broadband adapter through his DreamPi project. We've covered DreamPi here at the 'Yard a few times and even had Luke on the DreamPod to talk with him about his masterplan. Luke isn't just interested in the online aspects of the Dreamcast though,  as he's now embarked on a side quest to create new system link and coders' cables. It's a grand vision and will hopefully end the drought and inflated prices that these items command. There's just one tiny stumbling block...

The Dreamcast is a highly extensible system shipping with more ports and connectors than most consoles. This extendability shows itself in the sheer number of unusual peripherals that are available or were announced. Everything from Zip drives to console link cables, from maracas to karaoke units were released or under development at some point; and since the demise of the console these extra connector ports have allowed modders to create peripherals such as Dreamcast-compatible hard drives and SD card readers.

Indie Review: Powder

I'm going to level with you: I don't particularly like RPGs. While I can totally appreciate why a lot of people love them, I've just never got on with sprawling story arcs, random battles, item collection and all of the other aspects one would generally associate with the genre. I'm also totally aware that there are many, many sub-genres within this particular channel of gaming and that to say I don't like RPGs is probably a little bit short sighted on my part. I mean, I really enjoyed Link's Awakening on the Game Boy and Ocarina of Time on the N64, have battled through all of the Mass Effect games and even got pretty far into Virtual Hydlide on the Saturn before the desire to vomit explosively enveloped me...but those aren't really the kinds of game I'm talking about.

I'm talking about learning spells, calculating hit points and wading through loads of text. Frankly, I just find traditional RPGs boring. That's just my (admittedly ignorant) opinion and I totally respect that people reading this may have just spat either cornflakes or a Pot Noodle (or both?) all over their computer or phone screen, but I haven't even attempted to play Skies of Arcadia yet because I just know what I'm going to get in that particular package; and I spent about 8 minutes playing Final Fantasy 7 before I removed it from my PlayStation and stuck Alien Trilogy back in. You can take a horse (me) to water (RPGs), but you can't make it drink (play them). Brackets were used in that last metaphor to clarify what I was trying to convey with my cack-handed grasp of wurds and stuff. Keeping that last sentence at the forefront of your cerebellum, allow me to explain that very recently I was made aware of a home brew roguelike RPG that has been ported to the Dreamcast and can be played using an SD Reader.

Powder started life as a Game Boy Advance project and is the brainchild of programmer Jeff Lait. Writing on the Powder website, Jeff explains that the game was borne out of his desire to play a roguelike RPG on his handheld:

"I created POWDER for one simple reason: I wanted a roguelike on my GBA. The standard RPGs were annoying me with endless battle screens against weak enemies to unfold a drug induced plotline. I wanted a game I could just jump into, and start killing things. Having had more hours than I'd care to log playing Nethack, ADOM, and the Diablos, I knew the exact type of game I wanted. The problem was I didn't see anyone publishing it any time soon."

Since the GBA original, Powder has been ported to various other formats including the Nintendo DS, Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Recently though, Dreamcast.es forum admin Indiket successfully translated the source over to the Dreamcast and the source has - rather helpfully - been turned into an SD Reader-compatible ISO file by DCeric so that morons like me can get involved and begin dungeon crawling.

Once Upon A DreamShell


I bought a DreamShell SD card reader for about £5 from an eBay seller some time last year. After a few days, it turned up in the post (in surprisingly good condition too, considering it was sent wrapped in a folded piece of A4 lined paper) and I had a quick glance at some forum posts regarding ways to use the thing. All I could fathom was that I needed to burn some disc or other, and put some files on the SD card that should be inserted into the device before implanting it into the serial port on the back of the Dreamcast. And I won't lie - it looked like too much work; my mac wouldn't burn discs that the Dreamcast would see as anything other than a music CD and I couldn't really see what the point of the contraption was anyway. And so, the SD reader went into a box and was never thought of again...until now.

The Light Fantastic

Today's post is a bit of a cop out, as it has required minimal creative input from me. Other than, y'know, browsing Youtube, watching people fire M&Ms out of their belly buttons into cups, realising what the hell I'm doing and then looking for proper stuff...like this:



Yeah, a guy with a blatantly obvious talent for electronics (and a truckload of patience, I'm guessing!) modded a VMU so that it has a cool backlit screen. Reminds me of the Game Boy Light...only smaller, and I would probably buy one if he was making them to order as it looks fantastic when plugged into the controller. I was actually planning on doing a post about this:

Please ignore the dust on the TV. The butler hasn't been in yet.
It's a Dreamcast SD card reader I managed to acquire through a very odd series of events that I won't go into here, but after wasting a shit-load of CD-Rs and trawling various forums I still can't actually work out a) how to use it; and b) what the point of it is if you've already got 90% of the DC's game library and enough VMUs to fill a quarry. I understand it can be used to run other operating systems and games from, but to be honest I'm not really overly interested in that kind of thing...so it shall remain in my box of Dreamcast-related paraphernalia as an odd little curio, alongside the tissue holder and the jar of pickled eyeballs.