last updated on 27/03/2006
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Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says ...

"if anything can go wrong, it will."

Unfortunately our own experience with using the DDH for our own programming purposes told us that the beast isn't 100% working like intended. For that reason (among others that we don't feel to discuss about really), we decided to postpone the public release until further notice. (Just ask yourself if you'd like to build a gadget like the DDH without knowing for sure that it will work afterwards...)

Additionally, to rival some rumours, we would like you to notice that...

  • The DDH is NOT available for sale from Hitmen. Please don't bother sending any emails to us regarding this topic - you won't get a reply.
  • We do NOT know WHEN or IF the DDH will be released at all. Please keep yourself updated through this website, we don't have the time to answer the same questions over and over again via email.

Thanks for your attention.
Groepaz/Hitmen, 28.10.2000

The Story of "Dreamcast Debug Handler" and the "A.G.E. - Demo"

(Alles Ganz Einfach - everything's f...cking easy)

by Skywalker of Realworld Technology / Hitmen

Hello everyone !

This is the story about the first known Dreamcast development hack by Skywalker of RealWorld Technology / Hitmen. After 5 months of reversing and development we are proud to present YOU the ultimate hardware for the dreamcast called ...

"Dreamcast Debug Handler" (DDH)

The hardware is currently an interface between a Host (PC/Amiga,...) and the Dreamcast itself, but its designed even to run standalone on the DC to give you the built-in functions without the need of a Host. All functions are menu driven on the DC like an "A*tion R*play" on other consoles.

(This is the main menu of DDH)
Functions in the main menu:
Boot game (quick)Boot up without original Dreamcast animation stuff.
Boot game (normal)Just boot up...
Enter handlerEstablishes link to host (link establish is available anywhere within the DDH menus by just starting the host program).
PreferencesEnter preferences menu. There are many features which can be easily de/activated within the Preferences menu of the DDH.
Some useful information is also displayed here:
Media typeType of inserted CD.
Memcard #0Free blocks/total blocks of the first VMU inserted in Controller #1.
ConfigStatus of loaded configfile from VMU (ok / not ok).
PatchlistStatus of loaded custom patchfile from VMU (ok / not ok - number of patches loaded).

(This is the Preferences menu)
These are the settings you can change on your Dreamcast:
Country protectionGuess what...
GD debug screenEnable the internal GD debug screen on the main menu (see picture later). (only available on japanese systems right now).
Display bootpictureDisplay an initial bootpicture at startup.
Do patches on bootPerform various patches on bootup (internal and custom patches).
Start game -> HandlerEnables the jump-into-handler routine after pressing "start game" on the DC main-menu.
Ingame controlPatching games for unlimited lives is fun :)....
Quick startupJust does the necessary steps and boot without displaying the menu...
RTS/VBR addressInternal info.
Patch setting numberUsed for boot stuff.
File patchaddress"
Directory Sector"
Receive patchlistGet your personal patches from the host and store them on the VMU.
Apply patches nowPerform the patches right now.
Reflash handlerInternal usage.
Exit preferencesBack to main menu.
The hardware is currently connected to the Dreamcast using a 50pin SUB-D connector. Nearly all pins are used (40), so its quite a little work to solder this connector inside your Dreamcast!

(Connection between DC and DDH)

The connection between host and DDH is performed using a standard Parallelport. This allows you to easily connect your DDH to a host system which offers a single ParPort, even unidirectional protocol is supported. Using this, you have powerful control over your Dreamcast from the hosts side !

(Parallelport connector to host)

"This is the main deck !"

This is the host control program (currently on PeeCee DOS) ! It allows you to gain full control over you Dreamcast like ...

  • Memory dump/edit over the full range.
  • Disassembly over the full range.
  • Up / download of files between DC and Host.
  • Search engine (ASCII / Hex).
  • Console mode.

and many more....

(DDH control program on host )

At last, some general information about all this:

  • The development is done without any prior information about the Dreamcast (no schematic plans, just a bit of legal information about processor and architecture).
  • The hardware consists mainly of standard parts (no mumbo-jumbo special parts required).
  • Its a hard work to build one of this cards / to do all the connections inside the DC, because everything is done by hand ! So don't expect mass production right now ! Currently i'm trying to improve the hardware to a routed design to offer you the possibility to get one of those systems, but this is still in progress !

(Dreamcast mainmenu at MS2000)

(Remember the GD debug function ?)

(The audio menu with inserted MS2000 demo CD)

The picture above shows you the CD-R from which the A.G.E.-Demo was booted at MS2000, thus the information on the net that we started the demo from a host is wrong ! Just imagine...
To make this possible, you need to set up a few parameters within the preferences menu of the hardware DDH !

(DDH funstuff on the controller within menu)

All this stuff is in no way licensed nor endorsed by SEGA.

Everything is done freely in amateur way by

Skywalker of Realworld Technology / Hitmen.

Don't ask me / us about ANY illegal crap like the possibility of copying games or the availability of any form of the SEGA development software - we don't have it, we don't need it and any questions about this will be directly routed to the responsible persons ! We don't want to build up another pirate crapware part, this is just some funstuff development to open another amateur programming door on a cool next-generation console...

Feel free to ask legal questions, offer jobs :), give useful information, etc at... mike_bee@yahoo.com

That's all for now...many things have to be done...and such less time to do...:)

Skywalker of Realworld Technology / Hitmen

Hi everyone!

As i promised, here is some information about the current state of the DDH:
(sorry, i had much trouble this weekend, so only some few informations instead of a complete update)

The "lite" version of the DDH is ready! What means "lite" ? :

  • The hardware is in fact much smaller than the original one shown on the pics.
  • Its easier to build, and the connections needed to the Dreamcast was reduced to 16 (instead of 40)
  • It has *ALL* the functions like the original DDH.
  • It no longer uses the parallel port but the CommsLink card, which is well known from PSX side. This improves the speed for up/downloading by 200% (!) and makes the HW even easier to build.
  • and at least: The plans for this will be made public! (this is what i wanted to do this weekend, but i ran out of time)

We need to do some minor tests on this hardware (which i wanted to do this weekend too), but it seems to run stable enough to release.

At last some words to a few ppl, emailing/asking me about GD stuff...:

  • general: The GD track can contain more than 650MB of data - thus it's mainly not possible to copy it!
  • If we had the possibility to do so, we won't ! It's not our task/goal...
  • After the release of the CDX package, many ppl think that this will open the door to copies!
That's not true ! DC discards the filesystem after booting this CD, and they just restart it by using some special reset- trick to re- enable the GD (!) - filesystem ! GD - not CD !
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