|Type||Video game console|
|Generation||Sixth generation era|
|First Available|| November 27, 1998|
September 9, 1999
October 14, 1999
|CPU||200 Mhz Hitachi SH4 RISC|
|Online Service|| SegaNet|
|Units Sold||10.6 million|
The Sega Dreamcast was Sega's seventh and final video game console and the successor to the company's Sega Saturn. While it was in development, it was known by the codename Katana. This name was retained for the main official development kit for the Dreamcast. The other official development kit was a proprietary version of WinCE that was customized for the Dreamcast hardware.
The Dreamcast used proprietary discs, known as GD-ROMs (Gigabyte Disc Read Only Memory), for their games. They also developed a format called the Mil-CD (Music Interactive Live Compact Disc) that allowed music CDs to have interactive features when played on a Dreamcast. It was soon discovered that the Mil-CD format could also be used to boot independent code. The GameShark CDX (the North American version of the Action Replay CDX) was the first product revealed to use the Mil-CD format, when it was displayed at the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show, which ran from January 6th to January 8th of that year.
After the Action Replay CDX was released to the public on June 2, 2000, independent developers inspected the disc to discover how to boot their own code on the Dreamcast. The first publicly available code was released on June 20, 2000, when Marcus Comstedt released his "Hello World" demo and example code. This example code would be expanded by Comstedt and Peter Bortas to become the libronin library, and by other coders in hzlib and libdream. Libdream would in turn become KallistiOS, which would become the most used development library for independent games developed for the Dreamcast.
Simultaneously with the independent developers, software pirates were also inspecting the Action Replay CDX, to use it to boot pirate versions of Dreamcast games on CD-ROM format rather than the proprietary GD-ROM. A pirate group known as Utopia released a disc that would boot pirate game code ripped from official GD-ROMs, using a modified teapot demo from the Katana development kit, on June 22, 2000. Shortly after that, other pirate groups released ripped games that did not need a boot disc to play.
Because of the rampant piracy, dwindling third party support, and low sales, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in 2002, and official game production halted in 2007. However, independent games continue to be released for the system.
- CPU: SH-4 RISC|RISC CPU with 128 Bit FPU functions for 3D graphics computations (operating frequency: 200 MHz, 360 MIPS, 1.4 GFLOPS)
- Graphics Engine: PowerVR2 CLX2, 7.0 Mil polygons/second peak performance, supports Trilinear filtering. Actual maximum in game performance (with full textures, lighting, gameplay, etc...) of 3-5 Mil polygons/second. Tile rendering eliminates overdraw by only drawing visible polygons. This allows more efficient use of polygons and can make games appear to have 2-4 times their actual polygon count (depending on amount of overdraw eliminated).
- Memory: Main RAM: 16 MB 64 Bit 100 MHz, Video RAM: 8 MB 4x16 Bit 100 Mhz, Sound RAM: 2 MB 16 Bit 66 MHz
- Sound Engine: Yamaha AICA Sound Processor: 22.5MHz 32-Bit ARM7 RISC CPU core, 64 channel PCM/ADPCM sampler, 128 step DSP
- GD-ROM Drive: 12x maximum speed (Constant Angular Velocity)
- GD-ROM: Holds up to 1.2 GB of data. A normal CD-ROM holds 700 megabytes.
- Inputs: USB-like "Maple Bus". Four ports support devices such as digital and analog controllers, steering wheels, joysticks, keyboards and mouses, and more.
- Dimensions: 189 mm x 195 mm x 76 mm (7 7/16" x 7 11/16" x 3")
- Weight: 1.9 kg (4.4 lb)
- Color: Majority are white. Some late models from a sports package are black.
- Modem: Removable; Original Asia/Japan model had a 33.6 kbit/s; models released after September 9, 1999 had a 56 kbit/s modem
- Broadband: these adapters are available separately and replace the removable modem
- Color Output: Approx. 16.78 million simultaneous colors (24 bit)
- Storage: Visual Memory Unit ("VMU") 1 Mbit (128 KByte) removable storage device and 4x memory cards that hold four times as much data.