Sega Dreamcast Discounted
In May 1998 Microsoft announced it would be collaborating with Sega on its new home video game system the Dreamcast which saw its European release in October 1999. As a result of the collaboration Microsoft provided an optimised version of the Microsoft Windows CE operating system with integrated DirectX services as the operating system for use with Dreamcast
The Microsoft and Sega collaboration marked a leap forward in game console technology. Dreamcast included advanced hardware technology in 3D graphics sound and input devices as well as an on-board modem to support internet access and network gaming. The inclusion of Windows CE with DirectX provided a flexible versatile development environment supported by Microsoft development tools that eased title development and makes possible true cross-platform title compatibility with Windows-based PCs. The result was a powerful platform that enabled creative and technical advances in video games to reach entirely new levels.
Windows CE and DirectX
With the inclusion of Windows CE Dreamcast brought the benefits of an advanced Windows-based development environment to the world of console game development for the first time. Using Windows CE developers were able to create cross-platform titles more efficiently by taking advantage of well-established Win32 and DirectX APIs that were source code-compatible with the Windows operating system on the PC. Incorporation of DirectX also allowed the Dreamcast system to capitalise on the momentum toward PC gaming and the ever-increasing body of developers creating games for the Windows platform.
An additional benefit of the new software platform was the key services provided by the operating system and DirectX-based game libraries including support for input devices sound 3D graphics and memory and CD file management. Support in Windows CE for standard internet protocols Winsock and the DirectPlay API allowed developers to take advantage of the Dreamcast system’s modem capabilities. In addition the modular architecture of Windows CE meant operating system components and DirectX-based services could be eliminated if not required or replaced by the developer’s own custom libraries.
The development tools provided with the Dreamcast system’s Windows CE Software Development Kit (SDK) were built around the Microsoft Visual Studio development system version 5.0 with well-tested and refined Visual C++ development system-based tools. The tools enabled video game developers to develop Dreamcast games on Windows-based PCs taking advantage of the productivity and convenience features of the same advanced integrated development environment (IDE) used by developers for the Windows desktop.
The controller and VM
The Dreamcast controller was truly unique featuring a slot on the front for the Visual Memory (VM) unit. While it primarily served as a removable storage unit for saved game data the VM could also function as an auxiliary display during gameplay and even sometimes as its own bespoke handheld device. Features of the VM included a small black and white screen speaker directional pad and four buttons.
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