Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

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Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby masterchan777 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:21 pm

Redream is a work-in-progress 64bit Dreamcast emulator for Windows, Mac and Linux that's getting a lot of attention lately, and for very good reasons.

One of the best features of Redream, is simplicity. It's one of the most simple and straightforward emulators, as it runs directly without the need to have a Dreamcast bios or to go through a complicated configuration process. It also detects and auto-configures many popular controllers like Xbox 360, Xbox One and PS4 controllers.

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Another advantage Redream has over other Dreamcast emulators, is that it's being actively developed. The lead developer is actively working on improving and debugging the code, and he has expressed to me a special interest in improving compatibility with Shenmue games further.

Redream comes in two flavours: a free Lite option and a Premium which can be licenced for $5. Both flavours share basically the main features, except for high-res rendering which is enabled in the Premium version.

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When enabled, high-res rendering makes a huge difference in terms of visual fidelity. I have been testing Shenmue running in 4K with widescreen and no-clipping fixes by Esppiral, and the main game looks and plays beautifully from start to finish. Redream has a clear edge in raw performance over every other Dreamcast emulator I've used to date, and the latest build performed exceptionally well in high-res on my mid-range PC.

In terms of compatibility with Shenmue games, What's Shenmue is playable however, I noticed some audio and frame pacing issues, the first Shenmue is almost fully playable without any issues, the only thing missing is Hang On arcade game which is not yet supported, but the developer is aware of those issue and they should eventually be fixed.

Shenmue Prologue in 4K widescreen
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Shenmue iconic intro in 4K widescreen
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Shenmue disc 1 gameplay in 4K widescreen
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Shenmue disc 2 gameplay in 4K widescreen
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Shenmue disc 3 forklift gameplay in 4K widescreen with extended draw distance
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Shenmue disc 3 bike gameplay in 4K widescreen
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Another really neat feature I noticed in Redream is the ability to uncap the framerate on-the-fly to fast-forward emulation, which is conveniently mapped to the menu button of the Xbox One controller, this feature can be extremely useful in almost getting rid of loading screens and make loading times almost non-existent with a press of a button.

Sound emulation is decent enough but not perfect yet, I noticed some sound issues especially in some cut-scenes and Shenmue Passport sections, the developer is aware of those issues and told me that they are being worked on.

Shenmue Passport in 4K widescreen and offline patch by Switch
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Official discs of Shenmue II currently boot fine with Redream, and the game is playable in its letterboxed format and in 4K, except for some of the arcade games which aren't supported yet. Widescreen-fixed discs of Shenmue II have currently loading issues with Redream, this has been already reported to the developer and I will provide an update once this has been fixed.

In conclusion, Redream is a great Dreamcast emulator highly recommended to anyone looking for an easy-to-use and powerful piece of software to replay Dreamcast games.

Redream official site : redream.io
Last edited by masterchan777 on Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby GYO6161 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:09 pm

Is it just me or is the redream site down?
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby masterchan777 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:16 pm

GYO6161 wrote: Is it just me or is the redream site down?

It was down but now it's back up
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby GYO6161 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:32 pm

masterchan777 wrote:
GYO6161 wrote: Is it just me or is the redream site down?

It was down but now it's back up

Thanks.

Really digging the emulator.
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby Sappharad » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:33 pm

The author of redream pulled a real asshole move with that project in December.

He started it as an open source project, then basically decided that having it open source would prevent him from ever licensing it to a company or something stupid like that. So he took the project and moved it private, which killed updates to the RetroArch plug-in for it in the process. It's one thing to ask for money for your work (I'm not denying that he should be able to ask for money if he wants to) but completely cutting off the ability for others to use the latest code was a petty move on his part. I stumbled upon this situation earlier in the year when I was looking for an emulator to modify for testing purposes, and started avoiding it once I realized what he did since it was stupid.

Now you might be thinking, "well, if the project is open source then what prevents someone from just compiling it their own copy for free?", but this same situation exists with many other projects so it's not really a valid concern and I don't think it was his primary intention anyway. For example, the paid iOS audio player Modizer is open source, and I've contributed DSF related changes to it in the past. I felt the author deserved to be paid for his work and so I bought it, even though I can (and have) just compile my own builds. The macOS text editor TextMate works the same way, it's a $60 product yet the source code is freely available. The people who are willing to pay for it will still buy it regardless of whether they can get it for free or not.

Anyway, in this scenario, while the emulator is somewhat good for what you want to use it for it's just worth noting that the author has a history of changing his mind on licensing matters and nothing prevents him from screwing you over in the future. I wish there was just a good multi-platform open source DC emulator, as right now reicast seems to be the best option that fits that criteria right now sadly.

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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby masterchan777 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:33 pm

Reicast is a continuation of NullDC with more focus on mobile platforms, and I have to say I'm not a big fan of Dreamcast emulation on the go because of the obvious limitation of touchscreen controls. In case of Redream, I find it a very good choice for emulating Dreamcast games in high-res and very easily through a capable and promising Dreamcast emulator with very good level of support, and I hope it only gets better in the future.
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby Jibby » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:34 pm

Had a bit of a play with this last night and it's improved a lot since the last time I used it (when you actually had to sign up to download it for whatever reason).

It's very convenient. You literally just select a game and go. Not having to load a BIOS or even bind your controller buttons is a huge step forward in making Dreamcast emulation (which is fairly difficult to get right for newcomers) more accessible.

Emulation is solid; out of the games I tried I only encountered a handful of minor gameplay bugs and one game breaking bug (although I suspect a bad rip of the game is to blame for this). There are a few graphical glitches here and there but that's to be expected in an emulator this new and it's nothing that really took away from the experience.

However, by far the biggest problem I had with it was the sound emulation. It's awful and it needs major improvements. Across all the games I tested all of them suffered from audio glitches that made the experience ultimately unenjoyable. Sound and music suffered from issues such as playing too loud, not playing at all, stacking up, distortion and not ending when it should. For example in Sonic Adventure's Windy Valley level, the wind ambience would play much louder than it's supposed to and drown out the music and sound effects (the same effect was in all the levels, but I felt that Windy Valley was most noticeable). You can also hear the 'stacking' effect by activating Tikal which plays a sound effect multiple times and distorts the audio. Obviously I expect this to be fixed in subsequent versions and I get that the main priority is getting the emulator stable, but it's a shame as at the current time it's the one thing that stops me from recommending Redream to emulator newcomers who want to try out Dreamcast games.

Also, something about charging for an emulator kind of rubs me the wrong way. I get that developers should be able to be paid for their work but offering a 'premium' version and paywalling certain features just feels sketchy. I'd much rather the developer just adds a 'pay-what-you-want'/donation button instead.

All in all though, I'm really impressed. Some hard work has obviously gone into this and I can't wait until they sort out the sound issues.
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby TheThirdComing » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:18 am

Is there a free trial for the 'Premium' version? I'm not buying into an emulator only to find it can't run on my PC.
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby Kyo_JP » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:45 am

I have been waiting 10 years to get Dreamcast emulated on OSX, I just tried KOF'99 and it was pretty well emulated, and the easy setup stuff is pretty awesome. I don't think I will pay for just HD rendering, but looks pretty promising.
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Re: Redream: A Powerful Dreamcast Emulator

Postby ShenmueTree » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:00 pm

I take it there is no 32bit/x86 version?.
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