As promised here is the History of Dreamcast-Talk.com and a "tell all" of what happened in the past 10 years.
I will start with saying that my writing ability is quite novice. Please bear with me as I attempt to explain the beginnings and history of Dreamcast-Talk.com A lot has happened in the past 10 years so I will do my best to mark all the milestones. But the most important part is how the site started and how our members helped it grow. I will preface this with why the Dreamcast became so important to me and why I decided to start a fan website dedicated to it.
Pre dc-talk 1999-2004
The Dreamcast, to me is especially important because of the time it came out in my life. I was young and impressionable, 11 years old when it was first released in 1999. The promotional VHS tapes that I got from eb games with some magazines showed the impressive graphics and most importantly Sonic Adventure. That is the game that made me purchase the console! At that time I had an N64 and PS1 and the upcoming Dreamcast just seemed so much more impressive and other worldly. Having no money as a jobless preteen I managed to scrape up allowance money to rent the Dreamcast from a local grocery store with a game rental section. I rented the console twice shortly after release with Sonic Adventure and F1 World Grand Prix. Needless to say I was hooked. Coming from the N64 and hearing the sound quality increase the Dreamcast had with CD quality audio added to the impressive experience. Needless to say I was blown away by Sonic Adventure and had to have it.
I purchased my first Dreamcast in May 2001. At the time I had no idea the console was already discontinued. I just assumed the price drop to $99 was a promotion. But I didn't care; it meant I could finally convince my parents to buy me the console. It wasn't until reading GameRevolutions.com for E3 news that I found out the console was dead. It was sort of surreal; I didn't even understand what it meant.
I continued to purchase discounted games like Crazy Taxi, Tokyo Extreme Racer 2 (my all-time favorite racer, I’m an import guy), Hydro Thunder, Sonic Adventure 2, Aerowings etc. I managed to obtain some online games such as Unreal Tournament, PSO v2, Worms World Party, F355 Challenge: Passione Rossa in 2003 before the SegaNet servers (along with most online games) and US PSO server went offline. Playing these games online and making friends on PSO strengthened the console's hold on my heart.
I hope you're still with me after all that personal mumbo jumbo. Now we dive into why you're here.
Fast forward to 2003 - May 2004.
I was a teenager in High School. I had moved onto the GameCube when it launched. I purchased PSO ep I&II and was attempting to continue my love of the PSO and Sega. But the feeling of nostalgic for the Dreamcast was already heavy. Sad that the majority of online games disappeared. Desperate to find more people who shared my plight.
That's when I found communities like Dreamcast-Scene.com, OnlineConsoles.com, Dreamcast History (no longer with us) and even Sega.com Boards. I registered on their forums and continued to learn more about the current situation of the scene. I was happy to see many others cling to their Dreamcast and (Hypothetical) Guns
I jumped into Quake III arena and PSO v.2 PAL to continue the DC PSO experience online. Note: I met some really interesting characters on Quake 3 including someone named Young Virgin who claimed to be a woman. My friends and I really got a kick out of that. They even sent us fake pictures of cute Asian girls claiming it was "her". So if you're out there YV, Hello! I think that person may have been masquerading around on PSO as another lady/boy personality. Tweeg knows what I’m talking about!
But we never know for sure hahaha! A lot of our users I met on Quake 3 and PSO. You know who you are
At that time I also started to learn basic HTML and the gist of website design. Even though all the Dreamcast communities were great, I just wanted something to start fresh with. Call it just being a kid. Two passions collided, one of Website design and love of Dreamcast. Dreamcast-Talk.com was born. The name was sort of a spin off Dreamcast-Scene with utmost respected given to those guys.
They have done so much for the scene over the years. Hence their name
I wanted people to talk about the Dreamcast so I figured it would be a perfect name for my website.
*Somewhere in here I started a proboards version of the website that didn't last long. Only had friends from school on it. Ditched that right before making the main website.
I purchased a web hosting plan and dove into getting my website up and running. Dc-talk went live on May 22 I believe. Check the way back archive for some hilarious views of how humble the site's beginning were. I'm quite embarrassed by it actually. It started as a teeny news and review website that was pretty funny looking and the content was worse haha! I quickly added a phpbb forum and that was the focus of the website since the start. From there the main website took a back seat and was gradually ignored more and more. Our original phpbb forum had a life from 2004-2008. It was running on the phpbb 2 platform. I consider this phase: DC-Talk 1.0. The site you know today is much different. I will admit, High school graduation and life took me away from the site and I basically let the forum die with overrunning spam users. They broke the database. When I came back to the site in summer 2008 after my first year of College I found the database was unrepairable at my experience level. We had some great years on there. But it was time to start fresh on phpbb 3.
Enter, our Administrator Radkin. While playing pso on schthack server we decided to make a move to Quake III and have some frags. We got to talking about our Dreamcast Websites. At the time Radkin and Bob DObbs were running DC Survivors. I was expressing interest in finding someone to help maintain dc-talk. Radkin and I started collaborating on the merging and revival of dc-talk and dc survivors. Radkin and Bob Dobbs worked on providing content while I revamped the site design and created a new phpbb forum. This is exactly the partnership I was looking for. We all worked hard to spread the word, in the process we might have pissed off some other forums. I apologize if we spammed your forum, I understand the promotion of a website should be done more gracefully. Many old members came back but all the new faces were a pleasant surprise.
This is Dc-Talk 2.0. Back from the grave just like DC!
The online years. This is when Dreamcast-Talk entered the area of providing game servers for the remaining online games. We worked with quite a few people to get our servers up and running. Special thanks to brourke228, smith, Neoblast, Indiket, Dr.Pariolo. For the first year or so so we hosted everything on an old Sony VAIO at my home that I turned into a dedicated server. Dr.Pariolo graciously donated to us part of the VPS so we quickly switched to his platform as it was much more reliable.
As I look back, to my regret we started using a leaked version of schthack PSO server software.
Definably not an honorable thing to. We caught some flak for that. At the same time schthack was going under, no longer supporting anything for DC/PC versions. Blue Burst seemed to be their main concern. We felt like it was our duty to take charge and give support to the DC PSO players. An open place to play, unlike the other servers that were available. The onlineConsoles server was private in the sense that you needed to have a post requirement and be a member for a certain time to play.
Those restrictions may have been lifted by now but don't quote me on that. It was also rumored that OC was using an early version that schthack created. So, after being hacked due to schthack hack staff knowing how to exploit and login to their own server software we decided to stop using the software.
At the same time BlueCrab was starting to develop his Sylverant PSO server. We began to use a beta version of the open source server through the help of someone who had been privately testing it.
Another operation I regret doing without the direct consent of BlueCrab. On the other hand we certainly ran Sylverant through the paces and made sure it was awesome! Now we have a great partnership with Sylverant. I thank BlueCrab for his understanding and willingness to work with us after that.
Now our Game Server Admin is brourke228. He hosts our dedicated FreeBSD box with all of our Dreamcast Game Servers. Very reliable and well maintained server on Fiber Optic broadband connection.
In the years to follow we experience some great things happening for the Dreamcast. Our community helps them live and thrive. New homebrew games, old online games coming back online, forgotten beta game releases, Japanese game Translations to English, new Dreamcast hardware add-ons, etc. These are exciting times. I'm hopeful for the future. More and more people are rediscovering the Dreamcast every day.
Some may wonder how Dreamcast-Talk was involved with the Planet Ring revival. Originally Neoblast and Indiket started working on reverse engineering the server. There was no server encryption so it made everything easier to code. We saw that it was possible to bring back online with some time and effort. They even spoke with some former developers of the server which helped things along. They came to me to ask for help in locating a developer and someone who knew socket programming. After reaching out to some individuals it appeared nobody was able to help at the time. I stayed around for testing and Neoblast recruited the help of Dreamcast tm and he pushed the project much further.
After some years of inactivity Neoblast and Indiket returned to finish the project and released it open source as originally intended.
Interesting fact - the website averages 20-30k unique visitors a month. Pretty cool
seems to be our biggest years yet. We also average 50-60 active forum users every 48 hours. I'm super happy about that!
Thank you to everyone that has visited this website, especially our dedicated members who have made this community strong, you know who you are
I have made a lot of friends through the forum and built some strong relationships. This console and website are a big part of my life. Here's to meeting more Dreamcast centric individuals and another 10 years of Dreamcast excitement!
Special thanks to Radkin, Bob Dobbs, SMiTH, brourke228, Dr.Pariolo, Neoblast, Gary_b, Indiket, VasiliyRS, mazonemayu, pcwzrd13, BlueCrab, game_player_s, Warlord, tbone, Mytho and everyone else who helped out over the years!
Also a special thanks to all the YouTube content creators who are bringing the Dreamcast to new audiences! Fantastic work AdamKoralik, pcwzrd13, Vampyre Mike and everyone else who makes videos here.
Also, another special thanks to all the Indie Game Developers out there! We love you guys and really appreciate the new games you bring us.