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General Questions and Information Thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Andlabs, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I didn't spot this in the old scan:

    [​IMG]

    Proto Rayman, with claims in official Sega Saturn material that this is an Atari Jaguar screenshot. A double rarity.
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Getting a bit bored of taking Dreamcast title screen screenshots - I've filled in most of the gaps, but the remaining ones either aren't emulated properly, are big games I can't be bothered to deal with, or are a faff to take screenshots of. Again, if you're reading this Redream developers, "pause emulation" and "frame advance" buttons pls.

    [​IMG] -> [​IMG]

    I might make exceptions for clearly broken title screens though. Older emulators apparently couldn't handle the clouds in AeroWings 2, for example. Sega Retro already had dozens of screenshots before I started this exercise - if you see any bad ones and can't replace them yourself for whatever reason, let me know.

    (although it's probably worth learning - these games still need genuine documentation and there are 700+ games for the system)



    In other weird Dreamcast title screen news, the evolution of Evolution
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    So many attempts to fix that "N".

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Airforce Delta (Deadly Skies in PAL regions) uses a 320x480 screen resolution, which is a very rare sight on the Dreamcast.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    By removing the black border, the PAL version of ESPN International Track & Field runs at a higher resolution than its NTSC counterpart, and because 60Hz is an option... may technically be the best version of the game!.. Though whether you'd want to play a 23 year old track and field game is another story.
     
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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    As I said, the Dreamcast has six built-in languages, with the hope being that software was translated. This wasn't much of a thing in NTSC regions, but surely "European" releases cater for all of "Europe", right?

    https://segaretro.org/Sega_Retro:Todo/Languages#Dreamcast

    A crude, auto-generated list of that drags information from elsewhere on the wiki. The numbers are rough, but out of ~150 PAL Dreamcast games with translations:

    147 have English translations
    136 French
    132 German
    104 Spanish
    56 Italian

    Not every variant of every game has been dumped, so we could easily be missing details, but the trends suggest Dreamcast games are more likely to have French and German translations than Spanish and Italian ones. Or at least, of the dumps you'll find online.

    This could mean one of two things:

    a) there's a lot of missing variants out there from continental Europe. Country-specific builds are common in gaming - perhaps there's a truckload of undumped Italian Dreamcasts games we know nothing about.

    b) The Italians were short-changed. The country either didn't get translations, or didn't get the games full stop. That is to say, you might not be able to claim some games had "European" releases, because actually, a good chunk of Europe never received copies. Text-heavy RPGs are usually big offenders.


    It also means the number of games that actually implemented all six language options is shockingly small, to the point where you again question why it's even an option in the BIOS. If you were a Spanish speaker living in Japan, the option is practically worthless unless you're importing games from PAL regions.
     
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  4. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    Screen Digest used to do a sales report for ELSPA where they would break down the sales per region for tonnes of stuff, mostly based off of the main sales tracker in each country. Here's their final Dreamcast hardware sales in millions of units per country / region;

    Austria/Switzerland: 0.06m
    Benelux: 0.01m
    France: 0.31m
    Germany: 0.28m
    Ireland: 0.05m
    Italy: 0.00m
    Nordic: 0.11m
    Spain/Portugal: 0.17m
    UK: 0.60m
    Western Europe total: 1.59m
    Australia/New Zealand: 0.08m
    other PAL countries: 0.01m
    PAL countries total: 1.68m

    USA: 4.20m
    Japan: 2.18m
    rest of world: 0.43m
    World total: 8.49m

    Sega's actual shipments;

    North America: 4.64 (When you take into account that Canada was 11% of US population in 2000 this adds up with the 0.43m "rest of world", so I'll assume that the vast majority of those are for Canada)

    Europe / PAL: 1.63m (close enough when you take into account margins of error when extrapolating tracked sales to 100% of the market)

    Asia: 2.86m (The various Japanese trackers agree with their Japanese numbers [I think 2.18m is specifically from Media Create], so we might expect ~700k in Hong Kong & Taiwan, but I'll ignore those for the purposes of this post due to massive piracy levels in that region)

    Note Italy sold less than 5k Dreamcasts as numbers are rounded to 10k (even Saturn managed 10k), but it must be close to 5k as they sold 30k software, comparing that to Austria/Switzerland where 300k units of software were sold would put them at 6k with the same software ratio. I'll assume 5k for Italy.

    For Austria/Switzerland, Benelux, and Spain/Portugal I'll split the sales based on population in 2000. For Belgium and Switzerland I'll further split the sales by first language speakers.

    PAL Dreamcast Language speakers;

    English: 0.73m (43%)

    UK: 0.60m
    Australia/New Zealand: 0.08m
    Ireland: 0.05m

    German: 0.33m (20%)
    Germany: 0.28
    Austria/Switzerland: 0.05

    French: 0.32m (19%)
    France: 0.31m
    Austria/Switzerland: 0.01m
    Benelux: 0.00m

    Spanish: 0.14m (8%)

    Swedish*: 0.11m (7%)

    Portuguese: 0.03m (2%)

    Dutch: 0.01m (1%)

    Benelux: 0.01m

    Italian: 0.01m (1%)
    Italy: 0.00m
    Austria/Switzerland: 0.00m

    *I'm going to assume that the vast majority of Nordics can read Swedish, because I'm lazy, and they most probably can (excluding some Finns)

    As above, assuming 20% French first language speakers for Canada;

    North American Dreamcast Language Speakers;

    English: 4.54m (98%)

    USA: 4.20m
    Canada: 0.34m

    French: 0.09m (2%)
    Canada: 0.09m

    World Dreamcast Language Speakers;


    English: 5.27m (62%)
    Japanese: 2.18m (26%)
    French: 0.40m (5%)
    German: 0.33m (4%)
    Spanish: 0.14m (2%)
    Swedish*: 0.11m (1%)
    Portuguese: 0.03m (0%)
    Dutch: 0.01m (0%)
    Italian: 0.01m (0%)

    Of course, in the US there's lots of first speakers of other languages such as Spanish, and Portuguese might be a bit higher if we had data for Brazil (but I doubt it sold that much there anyway).
     
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  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I guess it's a catch 22 situation - if there had been more Italian translations, would there have been more Italian sales?

    [​IMG]

    Though step one would be to fix the packaging. Italian is apparently an option in 90 Minutes - you'd never know from the box!
     
  6. Pirate Dragon

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    Late release from when Big Ben were distributors, probably wasn't sold in Italy.

    Edit: So looking through Sega Europe's first party DC games I can only see 3 that had Italian on the box. The launch titles Sonic Adventure & Virtua Fighter 3tb, and Time Stalkers (released 2000-11-10 in the UK).

    That's pretty crappy of Sega Europe, even if they didn't directly distribute in Italy. I get them doing it for their two biggest launch titles, but why Time Stalkers?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
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  7. nineko

    nineko

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    To be honest, I'm surprised that several games got an Italian translation at all, that was extremely rare back in the day, and the translations usually sucked, which is why I always used the English versions anyway.

    Things do look better nowadays, but bad translations still exist, even in many contemporary softwares and games (including Pokémon Go, just to name one).
     
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  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Yeah I'm going to have to do some homework.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    On the left, Redream rendering Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram as the user sees it, when the 640x480 screen mode is selected.

    On the right, the output of Redream's screenshot feature. The borders have shifted.

    This suggests to me that the game actually runs at 640x448. Certainly if you compare it to the Model 3 arcade version (which is definitely 4:3), the logo looks flatter on Dreamcast... but it still looks flat if you stretch the output:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (no worrying about brightness levels on those top-tier arcade monitors)


    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Stretching also makes the geometry of the crosshair is a bit better.
     
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  9. Black Squirrel

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    Guilty Gear X's title screen was mangled in the conversion between Atomiswave and Dreamcast:

    [​IMG] -> [​IMG]

    I thought all those stray pixels an were signs of poor emulation, but nope, looks like they're there on real hardware too. Oops.

    Doesn't seem to be a problem in-game, but I only touched it briefly.
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I put it to you that Monaco Grand Prix is the worst named game on the Dreamcast.


    To cut a long story short, Ubisoft released three "Racing Simulation" games between 1997 and 2002. They all simulate Formula 1, but only the first game had the full FIA license. The second could only make a deal with the Monaco grand prix (the other tracks are there, but unbranded), and the third... did something. It's the second that made the move from PC exclusive to console game, and because of bizarre marketing decisions, it's a mess.

    [​IMG]
    (Monaco, rich and sunny coastal city with an iconic circuit unlike any other. Let's show the pit lane!)

    Japan went for "Monaco Grand Prix: Racing Simulation 2", which is not an ideal title, but it gets the message across. Second game, has the Monaco grand prix license. Not to be confused with Sega's "(Super) Monaco GP" which doesn't have a license for anything, but was also a fan of Monaco.

    And I mean, it is the most interesting track of the season and people tend to crash on it, so why wouldn't you be.


    [​IMG]
    For its US release, the title was shortened. And it almost makes sense - "simulations" are boring, the first game is a relative unknown, and you might know what the Monaco grand prix is (I mean, it iss the most interesting track of the season). Confusing for future achivists, but capitalism! Sell sell sell!

    It's not great for Europe.
    [​IMG]
    If your language is set to French, Spanish or Italian, you get the longer name with a slightly different logo (the Japanese version came out six months before the others, so whatever). Alright.

    [​IMG]
    but set it to German, and you get this name. Screw Monaco, now it's just "Racing Simulation 2", i.e. the title it should have been called because it's a sequel to Racing Simulation 1 (or "F1 Racing Simulation" as it was initially called but the sequel doesn't simulate the whole of F1 and arghsafasf).

    [​IMG]
    But if you're set to use English, you get this mess of a title screen: "Racing Simulation: Monaco Grand Prix". Three different names for this game exist on the same disc. Also all three screenshots are coming out as 640x479 which means I don't trust the emulation and god damn.


    There were PlayStation, N64 and PC versions of this game and they all made the same decisions. Baffles the mind.
     
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  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Something almost not Dreamcast related.

    I've just started a playthrough of Shenmue I & II, and while waiting for sailors, I killed some time on the Hang-On machine. Did you know they swapped out the Marlboro and Bridgestone advertisements for SHENMUE, DOUBITA and HAZUKI? These changes aren't documented on Sega Retro - better add them.

    But while confirming which signs had changed, a vaguely interesting discovery:

    (PS4)


    (Arcade)

    That... isn't the same course. Was it always this way?


    (Dreamcast)

    but...

    (Shenmue II, Xbox (I can't find footage of the Dreamcast version))

    What's going on here? Did they change things for Shenmue II and back-port the changed ROM to Shenmue I? A mistake in the remaster?


    No, a correction in the remaster. There are two different versions of the original arcade Hang-On (three if you count what MAME calls "Revision A - not sure what the differences are in that one) - the upright cabinet uses the Shenmue I layout, while the "ride on" cabinet uses the Shenmue II layout. Both Shenmue games only feature the ride on cabinet, so should both feature the ride on layout.

    This means the remaster is technically more accurate... as long as you ignore the in-game signage... and the fact you can win the game on disc for your Sega Saturn in 1986. Whether it's an improvement though is another matter - you could argue in their quest for realism, they've halved the amount of Hang-On content across the two games.



    p.s. I have no idea why they made two versions in 1985, and I've no idea if they're swappable.



    Another Shenmue I & II fact: it claims any in-game likenesses are purely coincidental. Which is a lie - some of the NPCs are modeled on Sega staff.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2023
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  12. DigitalDuck

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    A slight correction on this... correction: both games use the upright layout on Dreamcast; it was changed to the ride-on layout for all future releases (including the original Xbox port).
     
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  13. Black Squirrel

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    [​IMG]
    And for the record, the version in Yu Suzuki Game Works Vol. 1 uses the Shenmue signage. Although this version lets you pick the course layout (among other things).
     
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  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Between 1984 and 2004, Sega was owned by the CSK Corporation. You wouldn't have known - unlike their predecessors, Gulf+Western, they kept quiet about the arrangement in public. And while CSK had its fingers in video games thanks to subsidiary CSK Research Institute (CRI), it was hardly a household name.

    Then CRI got involved in digital audio and video codecs, and produced ADX and (MPEG) Sofdec, respectively. CSK made its children play together, but while CRI's toys made it into a few Sega Saturn games, it was the Dreamcast where things kicked off.


    While never mandatory technologies, Sega funneled developers into using ADX and Sofdec for their middleware needs, and with that came two responsibilities: 1) put the logos on your box, and 2) dedicate an entire screen to them when you start up (for at least 2 seconds). No really, you had to do this, and so the vast majority of Dreamcast games plug CRI's creations, even though you could guarantee the audience had no idea what any of this noise actually meant.

    [​IMG]

    Were our lives enriched by CRI's creations? Sort-of. ADX is a better choice than streaming redbook audio off a disc, and Sofdec was probably... fine(?) for showing MPEG video(??). But if you were anything like me, the assumption would have been that high quality audio and full motion video had been conquered years ago - isn't that why we transitioned to disc-based media in the first place? It's like saying "this game has 3D polygons".


    Anyway with the power of Sega Retro, we can answer the question that nobody in the right mind would ever want to ask: ADX vs Sofdec - which one wasted more of your time when loading Dreamcast games??

    Again, the numbers are rough but if shown for two seconds:

    Dreamcast games using ADX: 332 (~11 minutes)
    Dreamcast games using Sofdec: 413 (~13 minutes)
    (243 games use both)

    (unless you genuinely had an interest in multimedia codecs, in which case obviously no time was wasted)


    About 150-200 Dreamcast games avoided using ADX and Sofdec, mainly simpler titles or games where audio and video were less of a concern. There are some benefits to this - MDK 2 has redbook audio, so you can listen to its soundtrack on a CD player (although it still plays a warning not to). Some also use TrueMotion, which also got preferential treatment from Sega, but judging from the numbers, it seems to have been more useful to Saturn developers and than Dreamcast ones.


    ADX and Sofdec would out-live the Dreamcast, but weren't half as prevalent on other consoles. Their successors are still available through Criware, though given their game examples are from 2016, that doesn't suggest they're super popular. Obviously CSK no longer own Sega, so there's no obligation for its use in Sega's home-grown titles.
     
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  15. Black Squirrel

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    Today on "things you probably haven't seen before":

    [​IMG]

    Running a Mil-CD on the Dreamcast. It's an odd exercise: on a CD audio player there are two audio tracks in Space Channel 5 Ulala The Movie, but on the Dreamcast you get a single video (and some extra guff shown here, and maybe some internet things but good luck emulating that).

    In Mil-CD mode, the software reset just resets the video, so you can't go back to the BIOS. Redream doesn't let you emulate a Dreamcast with the lid open, so I don't think it's possible to treat this as an audio CD and hear the second track. Then again, as wonderful as Mexican Flyer is, there are better ways to listen to it.


    Also for the uninitiated: Space Channel 5 (the game) draws its backgrounds with full motion video. The characters are polygons, but nothing else is (which is almost certainly why it's never been ported to HD consoles).



    The footage on this disc seems to be from a prototype, where the FMV backgrounds weren't finished. There are parts without a background, and parts where the initial spaceport is deserted and much darker than the final game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2023
  16. Black Squirrel

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    Sega Retro's Shenmue coverage is a bit lacking. Maybe it always will be - the scope of the game is insane, but for such an important release, I thought I should add something.

    The main game is a little overwhelming, and perhaps will never be fully understood until someone devotes years of their life reverse-engineering the code, but I remembered the fourth disc, "Shenmue Passport", being more of a novelty item - documenting that one must be doable, right?



    This "longplay" is 35 minutes, 20 of those minutes being devoted to the only feature I remembered - the talking heads. This was the main draw for the Passport disc at the time - the Dreamcast rendering what appeared to be photo-realistic character models. I wasn't totally sure why it was included, other than to let AM2 gloat - I naively thought that because PAL Dreamcast boxes always had space for four discs, once you got to three discs... you might as well "fill the space". Like there was some unwritten rule about shipping four discs instead of three - idk I was 10 years old at the time.

    Passport also contains a music player and a load of videos, which are populated based on your Shenmue save file. What I didn't know, because it wasn't viable for me back in the day, is that there's an online component where you can be fed information about everything, and send off your minigame scores to compete in leaderboards. So spoilers: an extra 2 hours 20 minutes of information, which you'd have to cross-reference with the Japanese disc to make sure the dogs are the same age between regions.


    Speaking of Japan

    [​IMG]

    its Shenmue Passport disc goes beyond the scope of Shenmue. Unique to that region is the "F355 Challenge VM Operator", which lets you download race data for F355 Challenge. Apparently this only appears if you have F355 Challenge data on your VMU.

    Even more complicated is that Shenmue released 8 months before the Dreamcast release of F355 Challenge, so this feature is for the arcade version. Because the cabinet accepted VMUs:
    [​IMG]

    So you'd have to travel to an arcade with a VMU, play F355 Challenge, save some stuff, go home and fire up Shenmue Passport, save more things, then go back to the arcade so you can race against a fancy ghost car. At least until the home version of F355 Challenge arrived.


    (p.s. Shenmue Passport is the reason the player starts off with a dozen small toy animals in Shenmue I & II - bits of the Passport disc are incorporated into the main game, but a lot of it was left behind)


    The moral of the story: nothing is simple in Shenmue.
     
  17. biggestsonicfan

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    I have a vhs recording of a glitch I once found in Shenmue 2. I need to find it again somehow, and I know I didn't get rid of it. Basically, you asked a particular character where something was, and they would say "Oh, I can show you the way", but for some reason their Z-Axis wasn't working, so they kept floating in the air as they lead me down walkways and stairs, only to teleport in front of me at the end to tell me that we had arrived.

    I need to touch Shenmue 3 someday, my name is in the backer credits (some of the first, I think?)
     
  18. RyogaMasaki

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  19. Black Squirrel

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    You are the best human


    [​IMG]
    Quick one since I'm in a Shenmue vibe - many eons ago I read somewhere that Tom Johnson, the guy seen dancing outside his hot dog stand, was invented for US audiences. "Someone to relate to", or an equally something dumb reason. It's almost believable - Tom magically teleports between Doubita and the harbour, and almost feels like he's just there to give extra clues, but it's provably false... because he's in the Japanese version of the game. And the What's Shenmue? playable demo released a good three months before the final game in Japan.

    (also at this stage Sega of America was seriously considering just subtitling the whole game due to the cost of hiring an English voice cast, so they probably weren't making demands of Yu Suzuki)

    Anyway that's not news, but something more fun - Tom probably pre-dates many of the NPCs. He was one of the first characters the public saw talking to Ryo:


    (6:38)

    Shenmue was first playable at Tokyo Game Show '99 Spring in March 1999, and one of the segments involved Tom teaching Ryo his tornado kick move (which means potentially the first conversation in Japanese was with someone who doesn't speak very fluent Japanese). It features on this promotional VHS (which might not be TGS footage but it's close enough).

    Incidentally there were big questions over that showing. There was a QTE chase, a "free battle" and this tutorial segment - nothing showcasing the freedom that Sega kept advertising. Even in 1999 there were concerns it was a glorified Dragon's Lair (although to be fair, the game was 9 months away from launch, so it probably was at that point).
     
  20. biggestsonicfan

    biggestsonicfan

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    I think I posted images of that a few years ago, not specifically of Tom, but the TGS presence in general, in which Ryo was at TGS in some sort of demo? I doubt that will ever surface.