Frequently Asked Questions

Here I answer many of the most common questions people have about playing Dreamcast online.

What is the best way to get my Dreamcast online?

DreamPi! Not only does DreamPi support every game, but it's far easier to set up and more reliable than a PC-DC server, much cheaper than a broadband adapter, and has a faster connection speed than a real dial-up connection. In addition, it has many refinements to make connecting to the private game servers easier and supports the Dreamcast Now service which tells you who's online and what they're playing. To see a full comparison of all the different connection methods, please see the Connection Guide.

What exactly is DreamPi?

DreamPi is custom software created by Luke Benstead for the Raspberry Pi which takes your high speed internet service and converts it into a dial-up connection which can be used by the Dreamcast. It also has many additional bits of software built-in which makes getting connected much easier and adds features such as Dreamcast Now. You can think of it as tiny, much more refined and polished PC-DC server.

Can I just buy a DreamPi kit instead of building it myself?

Sure! Check out the Dreamcast Live Shop where you can purchase complete DreamPi kits. You can also just purchase a line voltage inducer which is the only part that requires soldering.

What USB modems are compatible with DreamPi?

The recommended modem is the Dell NW147. This same modem is also sold as the Lenovo RD02-D400. They both use the Conexant RD02-D400 chipset. It's not recommended to purchase an unbranded modem even though they look very similar. Many are not compatible and it's impossible to tell them apart.

Do I require a line voltage inducer if I have a model A modem?

Yes. While the model A Dreamcast modem itself doesn't require line voltage, the USB modem on the Pi does.

Can I use Wi-Fi with DreamPi?

Yes you can! Check out my video tutorial here which explains how to configure a USB Wi-Fi dongle for use with DreamPi. This same process applies to the Raspberry Pi 3's built-in Wi-Fi.

How do I configure my Dreamcast Now username and avatar?

Check out my DreamPi video tutorial at the 10:11 mark for instructions on how to set your username and avatar on Dreamcast Now.

Can I use DreamPi with my Xbox, 4-slot toaster, or fax machine?

No!

Why isn't the broadband adapter the best option for playing Dreamcast online?

The broadband adapter was released late in the Dreamcast's life so many games simply don't support it. Out of the 12 games that you can currently play online, only 3 support the broadband adapter. It's also very rare and expensive. Unless you're hardcore into Quake III Arena and want the best connection speed possible in order to dominate your opponents, it's simply not worth the price.

Can I use an actual dial-up connection?

Yes but your experience will vary depending on the ISP you choose. The main issue you may run into is that some ISPs will ignore your DNS preference and use their own. A specific DNS server is required by many games in order to redirect them from the now defunct official servers to the new private servers. In addition to this, the connection speed will be slower and you'll experience more lag than with the other connection methods like DreamPi or a PC-DC server.

Do games lag when playing over a dial-up connection?

Not really. You have to keep in mind that these games were designed to be played over a 33k/56k dial-up connection so they actually play very well over that connection speed. While you may experience noticeable lag when playing with people from other countries, this is true of high speed connections as well.

What is a DNS server and what is its purpose?

You can think of a DNS server as the address book of the internet. Every server on the internet has an IP address but rather than having to remember something like 173.44.125.236, we have easy-to-remember domain names such as www.google.com. Whenever you type in a domain name into your web browser, it looks it up on a DNS server and finds the IP address. So how does this apply to online Dreamcast games you ask? Well when a game tries to connect to a server, it looks up the server's domain name in order to find its IP address. This is a problem when the server no longer exists and the domain name is still owned by someone (in most cases Sega). This is why we create our own custom DNS server which will tell the games where the new private servers are instead of the long-gone official servers.

What games can I play online?

You can find a full list of games that are playable online here under "Online Now".

Are more games coming back online in the future?

Absolutely! Work is being done to bring back many of the Dreamcast's online games. Keep an eye out on the News page for all the latest announcements and check the "Coming Soon" section of the Games page which shows which games are likely to come back soon.

Are there many people playing Dreamcast online?

We have a good size community of people playing online regularly. There are currently over 200 players listed on Dreamcast Now (which is only counting players using DreamPi) and that number is constantly growing. There regular games played every week (see schedule here) and people playing randomly most nights and weekends.