Update – Work *is* being done

As I have gotten quite a few mails, comments and requests about an update on the status of the work being done (most noteably the status of AFO) I feel obligated to post an update for those who fear that the project is abandoned – it is not.

Work is still being done on creating new software in which the main intent is to support the online functions for Alien Front Online, aswell as possibly others down the road.

Remember that projects like these are done on our free time – its not our job to do it, and noone is paying for it. Therefor, it usually takes longer than it would have if someone was paying for it.

There will be no open/public testing on this particular title, and may take a while to be 100% done in regards to testing, bugs etc. (I dont have an estimate, sorry). Dont worry, an official announcement will be made when everything is ready.

Work related projects, vacation aswell as real life in general has taken up most of my time this summer, but I feel confident in saying that the restoration of AFO is about 80-90% done.

When things are starting to seemingly work as they should, the servers will be up and running along with every bit of information required to get online with the game.

For the first weeks/months of the servers being up, there may be downtime while working on bugs, restarting, improving stuff in general. Updates will be posted to keep you informed about when this will happen, hopefully a few days in advance.

The servers will not be open for the public to download and use until later on in order to rule out instability, errors, bugs and whatnot – this is also to avoid being bombarded with questions about the servers to be able to work more efficient on the actual coding.

15 Comments

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  1. Thank you for the update! Your hard work in bringing these games back online does not go unnoticed. You have been very instrumental in getting other games online so I never doubted you for a moment.

  2. Great, thanks for the update. Looking forward to any game that comes back
    Thanks for the effort you’re putting into this

  3. Thanks for the kind comments. We are trying to do as much as we can when we have the time. However, as work is a bigger priority, things tend to be done in periods, and not continually all the time.

    I am confident that the project is not far away from being finished, and this is due to the sole reason that this is a team effort from both dcserv and onlineconsoles.com.

    As mentioned, down the road, there is a possibility that other games may benefit from this software, but we have yet to confirm this from first hand experience.

    When I first entered the online Dreamcast scene I was surprised of how little information was availabile to the public, and the goal of this site will and always will be to gather as much information possible regarding the network infrastruture that supported the online multiplayer functionality of Dreamcast games, aswell as reverse engineering the software itself. Regarding the latter, we have come a long way so far.

  4. Thanks for your hard work Petter.

  5. I can;t wait. I hope i’m online with you guys when you decide to try it out.

  6. Very interested in this project. I understand you want to keep development focused on the things that matter and creating an open beta early might cause more bugs to arise that you just don’t want to focus on yet. Great job on taking on this project and good luck!

  7. Hopefully we can play a new one online by the end of September

  8. For the people waiting for new games that aren’t in it already; I have a skype group for getting dreamcast games together. Link here :

    https://join.skype.com/wvDTEBu

    It will prove very useful when a game first comes back. There’s 43 people in it now, it’d be cool to get 100+ people

  9. Recently got a shitload of work to be due the next 2 weeks, so my free time is very limited for a couple of weeks.

    Hopefully though, I’ll manage to squeeze in some work here and there, but dont hold your breaths for the end of September. (spelling?)

  10. Well cool, Then hopefully we’ll have more games for the coming shitty winter lol

    But maybe when a release is nearing, or whenever, mention the skype group in a post. So when something’s completed we can flood/crash the servers

  11. Thanks for the update. The work you are doing is great and so important to the DC community.

    A few questions.

    Does Alien Front Online need a dial tone to connect? As the game is Dialup only, most users are gonna have to connect via DC-PC connection these days. Thankfully we have that RaspberryPI project working. But this doesn’t support games which need a dialtone to dial. Will AFO work via this method?

    Secondly, you have said you think this games might influence development of other server software also. AFO was running via SegaSNAP correct? Is it your thinking that what you have learned from the AFO server project will help influence other snap games like Outtrigger, Bomberman, Ooga Booga and Propellear Arena?

    It drove me crazy that the Outtrigger servers went down before the release of Propellear Arena, as it looked like they shared the same servers. :<

    • Thanks!

      Regarding AFO – there are actually some quite interesting features that are left within the game regarding options for connecting that will be revealed when everything else is done, which right now is a couple of steps away (mostly time is the essence here).

      As to wether the game (when using the internal modem) needs a dial-tone, I am not sure as I have not yet tried without, but I do believe it does require a tone.

      Regarding SNAP – it is in fact not as “generic” as many people believe, with the pros and cons that implies.
      During the development of the networking infrastructure for the DC the project you’re referring to as SNAP was under constant development, and was initially called KAGE (Killer Application / Game Engine) and designed exclusively for the DC.
      KAGE later became what is now known in the community as [email protected], but even SNAP has different systems.
      What SNAP essentially was during the Dreamcast era was a system which utilized a bootstrap/authentication server which took a request from a client and redirected it to the correct gameservers based on their gameID.
      AFO uses a similar setup, but does not use rUDP which “SNAP” later on relied heavily on, for example in their servers for Resident Evil: Outbreak (See obsrv).
      To clarify; from what I have gathered from the developers and my own research, the actual gameservers used for Outtrigger is not the same as the ones used for Propeller Arena but was routed through the same bootstrap server to their respective servers.

      With that said, even with the constant development of Kage (and later SNAP), there are absolutely similarities, but those similarities are even bigger for games on other consoles (for example PS2).

      What also makes it a bit more trickier, is that SEGA also allowed developers to create their own servers and systems BASED on their generic ones.

      The good part is that alot of DC games is really just P2P, with the servers used only for matchmaking and lobbying, like the 2K-sports titles. DUring testing, the developers actually just connected P2P without the initial matchmaking servers at all.

  12. Thanks for all the information.

    I’m really hoping blind dial is allowed on AFO, as PC-DC server is going to be the only way most of us can get online. I connect via BBA, but I am planning to get myself setup on RaspberryPI PC-DC server so I can play this online when it happens.

    Thanks for all the hard work, and keep up posted please!

  13. Kazade’s new DreamPi software is supposed to add dial tone generation
    http://blog.kazade.co.uk/p/dreampi.html
    http://assemblergames.com/l/threads/dreampi-software-dc-pi.57954/

    He’s even talked about designing PCBs for easy line voltage induction. So it looks like dialtones may not be a problem soon. Maybe petter3k can add that to the software section

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