Old hardware, old software, new game

For a long time I’ve been accruing a lot of different hardware and software running up until the year 2001. May 31 2001, @999, more specifically.

I have this very specific time period in mind as a hard limit for getting together the hardware and software for a period-correct Dreamcast game. Of course, the Dreamcast’s production run stopped during February 2001 before SEGA became a software company. There was a promise of software still to come, which was true for Japan going all the way until 2007. Europe and the Americas didn’t fare as well.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to create a multi-player co-operative survival horror game. This has been in the back of my mind since around 2004. During E3 2005, I thought that the game I had in my mind was arriving in the form of George A. Romero’s City of the Dead. This was cancelled shortly after E3 as Hip Interactive filed for banckruptcy not long after.

Over the years, I’ve tried to create that game a few times. Mostly I get caught up in the technical details and want it to run on as many platforms as possible. Falling into the trap of creating an engine and not a game many times over. Anyway, that’s part of the reason I decided to impose this limit on the game’s development. I started this in earnest during mid-2019. Before then, it was mostly a lot of floundering around and procrastinating during 2017.

In doing so, however, I created another problem of getting as much as possible together in terms of development tools. I already bought a Katana development kit and a relative gave me a Pentium III-based PC years ago. New hardware I’ve been getting my hands on are things like the Wacom Inutous 2, SGI Octane2, Sun Blade 1000, Sun Fire 280R, Apple Macintosh G4, Adtran 600, and Lucient PortMaster 3. If you haven’t heard about those last two, don’t worry, I hadn’t until I came across them in the Dreamcast R11 SDK. Software is mostly just things like Visual Studio 6.0, Sun Workshop 5, Solaris 8, Windows 2000, OS9, Mandrake 8, Red Hat 7.1, MIPSPro, Maya 3.0, CVS, GIMP 1.2.1, and various drivers.

There’s still more hardware and software to go (mostly audio related). Though, I’ve had enough for a while to just focus on developing the game. Before this project, there was another Dreamcast game I was working on that didn’t have the time limitation.

It should also be mentioned that until recently, Resident Evil Outbreak wasn’t an influence. Since watching people play through it over the last four or so years, I thought: yeah, the Dreamcast could have done that.

Right now, the main focus is to get a very basic online game server running. My initial goal is to get four players milling around an empty world and interacting with the environment and each other. Simple things such as being able to pick up items, put them down, and exchange items between players.

Next time, I’ll talk about the networking setup (and some repair) as I’m currently in the process of replacing some bad capacitors with the FXS boards on the Adtran unit.