Frequently Asked Questions
Here I answer many of the most common questions people have about playing 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.
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.
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.
Yes. While the model A Dreamcast modem itself doesn't require line voltage, the USB modem connected to the Pi does.
No. You're going to get 33k speeds regardless of your Dreamcast modem as you're limited to the upload speed of the USB modem, which is 33k.
Yes you can! DreamPi (v1.7 and up) includes a Wi-Fi configuration wizard which makes it easy to configure a Wi-Fi connection for either a USB Wi-Fi dongle or the built-in Wi-Fi for the Pi 3 or Zero W models. You can run the utility by using the sudo wificonfig command on the Pi after logging in.
Using DreamPi with a mobile connection is not recommended. Mobile internet has very high latency which makes it bad for online gaming. You'll likely experience high amounts of lag and possible disconnects. A traditional DSL/cable/fiber connection is recommended for DreamPi.
Maaaybeee... errrr... no!
The broadband adapter was released late in the Dreamcast's life so many games simply don't support it. Out of the 21 games that you can currently play online, only 4 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.
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.
No. Using dial-up through a VOIP service will add a lot of latency to the connection and will cause frequent connection issues and disconnects, if you can even connect at all.
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.
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 188.8.131.52, 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.
Yes it is. By enabling DMZ for your Dreamcast's IP address, you're simply exposing the console itself to the internet. Nothing else on your home network is at risk and it's unlikely that any hacker would be interested in attacking your Dreamcast.
We have a good size community of people playing online regularly. There are currently over 1,000 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.
The best place to find players would be in the Dreamcast-Talk forum; this is where most of the regular players hang out. Just post in the chat box if you're looking for someone to play with outside of the regular schedule. You can of course also check Dreamcast Now to see what everyone is playing at any moment of the day.