Showing posts with label Tech Demo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tech Demo. Show all posts

Want to see a voxel engine running on Dreamcast?

Again I ask: want to see a voxel engine running on Dreamcast? Of course you do. And now you can. See, programmer Luiz Gustavo (aka NaReeZ) has been working on a Dreamcast voxel engine for the past few weeks and has already produced something rather special, currently running in the Flycast emulator (real hardware is in the works):

As you can see, this short clip shows the disembodied camera roving across a rather nice landscape of lush green valleys, rolling hills, temples and rivers. It's all very tranquil, I'm sure you'll agree.

I first heard about this while browsing Dreamcast-Talk, and there's some interesting discussion in the thread about voxel-based games such as Outcast, which was rumoured to be coming to the Dreamcast at one point but then fell off release schedules as time went by.

I guess it shouldn't really come as a surprise that the Dreamcast can handle a voxel engine, especially since the Sega Saturn did it in commercially released title Amok (or A+M+O+K as the game refers to itself); but it is very encouraging that an independent developer is able to squeeze such an impressive looking and fluid engine out of the Dreamcast in a relatively short period of development time.

As it is, the engine - titled 'Voxel Space Engine Dreamcast' - is quite bare bones and is clearly in the 'tech demo' stage at the time of writing, but who knows where this could lead? A homebrew port of Outcast on Dreamcast, anyone? A Dreamcast port of Amok that runs above 8 frames per second? We can but dream...! You can also find the video from pikuma here, which is where the inspiration for Voxel Space Engine Dreamcast came from.

Update: Since posting this article, Luiz has been able to get his voxel engine running on real Dreamcast hardware, with assistance from Ian Michael and Luke Benstead (Kazade), see below.

We'll be keeping a close eye on Luiz's progress, and if any helpful programmers can assist please do follow him on Twitter or get involved over at Dreamcast-Talk.

Examining Yu Suzuki's 'Tower Of Babel' 1998 Dreamcast Tech Demo

Way back in May 1998, Sega of Japan held a conference announcing the impending arrival of its new console. It was to be named Dreamcast. The Sega New Challenge Conference was the first time that the world was formally introduced to Sega's successor to the Saturn, and the hype was very real. The gaze of the world's press was focused on a small lectern on a darkened stage, as Sega of Japan President  Shoichiro Irimajiri revealed the final form of the new console; while on a huge screen behind him tech demos showed off what the hardware was capable of.
1998 was a magical year.
The first of these demos showed a Irimajiri's head rendered in real time, while various effects were applied to it - lighting, textures and morphing effects showed what the Dreamcast could do. It also featured a glimpse of a fully rendered 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, the first time we got to see the model that would later be used in Sonic Adventure. To this day, the 'Iri-San' tech demo has remained undumped and is most likely locked away in a vault somewhere in Sega's Japanese headquarters.
 Image source: Edge Magazine issue 60
The second tech demo, and the focus of this particular article became known as the 'Tower of Babel' demo, where viewers were taken on whirlwind tour of a fully polygonal settlement built around the base of an enormous tower. The squat buildings set on an idyllic isle, the sun setting in the distance while the huge cylindrical tower rose above the winding streets. It really is a striking and curious scene, and while it may not seem very impressive by modern standards, back in 1998 these types of sequences had never been seen running in real time on console hardware; and as you might expect they were spread across the pages of gaming magazines the world over.
Image source: Edge Magazine issue 60
I personally remember seeing the images of the Irimajiri and Babel (or Babylon, as it's sometimes referred to) tech demos reproduced in glorious fuzz-o-vision in the pages of several magazines at the time of the Dreamcast's announcement; and being amazed and excited in equal measure. But then, after the initial excitement made way for the actual launch of the system (and with other tech demos coming along too - which have similarly never been leaked online); I pretty much forgot about Irimajiri's floating head and the mysterious little village huddled on that lonely rock in the shadow of a tower. That was until I finally got to see the thing for myself in real time, and thanks to the power of the internet, so can you...

Defense Commander - Dreamcast Tech Demo

There are quite a few Dreamcast tech demo videos and images knocking around on the internet - from the Irimajiri 'floating head' and Tower of Babel videos to the less well-known Future City sequence (pictured below). It seems there is another one to now add to this list, but this one is quite interesting in that it is actually available to download and is fully playable: Defense Commander from Titanium Studios. I had never heard of it before seeing the video posted below, and it's only down to some pretty impressive detective work from YouTuber and Dreamcast fan pcwzrd13 that we are able to present this demonstration of it. I must point out that the word 'Defense' should really be spelt 'Defence,' but seeing as Titanium are an American studio, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here.
Future City
Defense Commander
As stated in the video below, Defense Commander was created as a demonstration of how easy it was to port PC games to the Dreamcast due to the implementation of Windows CE. The game does look fairly basic and has overtones of the Atari Jaguar title Missile Command 3D (albeit without the massive screaming space eels), but it serves as a nice reminder of how the Dreamcast was technically very easy to simultaneously program for. After watching the video, be sure to head over to Titanium Studios' website as they do have some rather interesting (and probably long forgotten) articles relating to Dreamcast development and experimentation.