Sega Dreamcast emulators
|Type||Home video game console|
The Dreamcast is a sixth-generation console released by Sega in November 1998 in Japan and later in 1999 in other territories. Naomi, an arcade system board similar to the Dreamcast, is supported by some Dreamcast emulators. Atomiswave is an arcade system board that is based on Naomi.
Microsoft collaborated with Sega for DreamCast development (which would continue later with the Xbox). The Sega Dreamcast is known for running an optimised version of Windows CE (with DirectX) as an operating system. However, Sega chose to go down a different route than what was originally planned - bundling simple operating systems within the discs themselves. Running games through Windows CE was still an option for developers, but most games used Sega's proprietary software instead out of convenience. This aspect isn't implemented in all emulators.
|Name||Operating System(s)||Latest Version||Naomi||Atomiswave||Windows CE||Active||Recommended|
|DEmul||Windows||0.7 Build 180428||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Reicast OIT||Windows, Linux||Git||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|reicast||Windows, Linux||Dev builds||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|redream||Windows, Linux, macOS||1.3.1||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|Reicast regular||Android, mobile||Git||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓|
- Has the highest compatibility and accuracy, but is Windows-only. It supports Windows CE games, but in general they run worse than standard Dreamcast titles. It's also more resource-intensive than other emulators.
- Can run a lot of games at great speed in mid-end PCs. It's no longer developed in favor of its fork…
- Made by the same team. Runs on Android, Windows, and Linux.
- Reicast regular and Reicast OIT
- libretro forks similar to Mednafen's PCE-fast and PCE-accuracy cores that backport changes from flyinghead's fork of reicast. regular aims to be compliant with OpenGL 2 and OpenGL ES 2 so that it can continue to run on mobile devices and mid-tier PCs. A graphics feature of the Dreamcast, Order-Independent Transparency, can only be properly emulated using recent versions of OpenGL 4, meaning it is limited to Windows and Linux. In the same month of these cores' huge graphics renderer addition, they added support for the Naomi/Atomiswave hardware.
- Has a good interface, is simple to setup, and can run without a BIOS (though it's better to use one anyway).
- One of the only two Dreamcast emulators that can properly play Windows CE games.
Dreamcast emulation is not very good. For the emulators that are either mature or maturing, a very large percentage of games work well, but many games still have problems and glitches.
Fortunately, the first viable open-source Dreamcast emulator that has a near complete graphics renderer began appearing in June 2018 in two newly split cores inside the libretro multi-system emulator. But the more accurate core works on PC's only. Its graphics renderer can be found in a fork of the separate Reicast emulator which it backported the code from.
While current Dreamcast emulators can display the VMU display when the game is running, none of them can be used to play the minigames which were made to run on the VMU. To play those minigames you'll need to use another emulator. There is no complete list of VMU emulators and the ones which can be found are poorly documented and/or closed source.
Emulating the Dreamcast VMU is possible via use of this emulator: Dropbox link
- Daniel De Matteis. Introducing Reicast OIT libretro core + updated Reicast regular core on libretro.com. June 12, 2018.