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Tech questions on Dreamcast/PS2 emulation
#1
Hi!

I have some questions that have been driving me nuts for a while, hope I can get some info from the fine people on this board. Basically, I've been using emulators for many years, but only recently have I gotten into Dreamcast emulation. I guess I never had an interest, but booting up my old Dreamcast system recently it went and, well, just died on me Sad

Anyway, I have legit copies of over 20 games, so I decided to mess around for a while with Dreamcast emulation. The very best I could find after trying several was NullDC. However, the emulation isn't really all that good to be honest, and NullDC, my emulator of choice, seems to have stopped development. Now, is there any reason why:

1: There never seemed to be much headway made in DC emulation? NullDC isn't bad, but it is a long way from perfect. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the DC a far less powerful system than the PS2? Shouldn't emulation on modern machines be relatively trivial, or is there something I'm missing? Is it because of the lack of popularity that the system never attracted the interest to try and make it more perfect?

2: Looking at the "about" icon, I noticed these names for the Beta testers:

emwearz, Miretank, gb_away, Raziel, General Plot, Refraction, Ckemu,Falcon4ever, ChaosCode

Are some of these guys the same that have worked on PCSX2? If so, maybe they can give some more info, as I'm finding it very difficult to source good info on the Dreamcast.

Thanks!
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#2
NullDC development has slowed down considerably/stopped, the last update was in April of this year as you can see here http://code.google.com/p/nulldc/source/list

NullDC is a very good emulator however, i have hardly any problems with it at all.

I will say however, the dreamcast was a more powerful system than the PS2 and capable of much better graphics, it was the reputation of sega at the time which failed for the console, but by all means that doesnt make emulation of such a machine easy, nor does having a modern machine, but DrkIIRaziel did put in some speedhacks to make the console run much quicker which will help Smile

If you do require support with the emulator, i suggest you direct your questions to their official forum here: http://forums.ngemu.com/forumdisplay.php?f=83
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#3
I second ^. The problem with NullDC is most people download the outdated stable release, which frankly doesn't work with Windows 7. The newer SVN builds are rather good, despite the obvious lack of motivation since the Dreamcast is a niche platform.
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#4
Hi;

Thanks for the replies. I wasn't saying NullDC is a bad emulator, however it does lack the polish of some other emulators like Dolphin. But definitely not a bad emulator!

However, I am very surprised that you consider the Dreamcast to be a more powerful system than the PS2? I know for sure the PS2 was a more complicated design, which I would think would make the DC easier to emulate, as it is more straightforward in its architecture, is it not? The PS2 was also capable of more polygons per second, had a bit more ram, faster cpu etc. than the DC

Don't know a great deal about which games were possible on PS2 that weren't on DC, but I do remember some developers stating that the more fill-rate intensive games wouldn't be possible on DC. But hey, fill me in! Thanks.
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#5
Afaik the PS2 had a distinct advantage in raw power over the DC.
Maybe we should pick some nice games and compare their looks Tongue2
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#6
Powervr > graphics synthesizer. Dreamcast had far superior graphics at better resolutions (or better antialiasing)

just found some comparison shots from i think its DoA 2

PS2:
[Image: DOA2-PS2-closeup2.jpg]

Dreamcast:
[Image: DOA2-DC-closeup2.jpg]


PS2:
[Image: DOA2-PS2-closeup1.jpg]

Dreamcast:
[Image: DOA2-DC-closeup1.jpg]

There were some other shots on the site, but they didn't do the PS2 any justice with some of them lol
http://www.hardware-one.com/reviews.asp?aid=173&page=4

(on which note, finding a direct comparison of games without giving an unfair advantage (due to how its captured) is a nightmare lol)
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#7
One of the cool things about the DC was it's possibility to output video in VGA mode. If you used one of the widely available VGA adapters, you could hook it up to your computer display and take advantage of clean, progressive output. Of course, that really only works well on CRTs due to the 640x480 resolution, but it was really cool back then. Playing something like Soul Calibur hooked up to a computer display looked amazing.

Of course, some PS2 games can produce progressive output over component, the difference was that a lot more games on the DC supported VGA mode.

Er, that's really only tangentially related to any performance differences, but my point is, setting those aside, the DC definitely had the upper hand when it came to actual picture quality if set up right.
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#8
i never did actually even get around to having a dreamcast, nor did i even know anybody with one

it wasnt until recently i even knew they existed - i know sega didnt have the best rep at the time.... but surely a console as good as it was should have done SOMETHING...
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#9
The dreamcast was awesome. It had some really good games and looked very impressive, but Sega's reputation is what destroyed the console. After the sega cd and the saturn, everybody had lost faith in sega and refused to buy another one of their consoles expecting it to be a failure and alas it's downfall was set Sad

I have a dreamcast right in front of me now, though i haven't played on it in a while.
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#10
Aw come on ref, you picked a Dreamcast to PS2 port for comparison? Tongue2
I've googled for some fair examples but the problem seems to be the way longer system life of the PS2.
The best looking DC games simply can't keep up with any of the PS2 shiny titles, mostly because they're too old.

Edit:
An old tech specs comparison has the PS2 at roughly 3x the memory bandwith, 32 instead of 16MB RAM and the floating point performance is 4x as much.
The DC has 8MB of video memory instead of the 4MB on the PS2 but the GPU can only push 3M polygones/s versus the 20M on the PS2.
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