REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 16, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the Microsoft® Windows® CE toolkit 2.0 for Sega Dreamcast, a powerful, fast and flexible environment for creating high-performance game titles. The new version of the Windows CE toolkit for Sega Dreamcast offers games developers significant performance and feature gains, introduces two new modules for interactive music and Internet technology, and is optimized to take advantage of Sega Dreamcast hardware capabilities, Sega Enterprises Ltd.’s next-generation console. With the Windows CE toolkit 2.0 for Sega Dreamcast, proprietary barriers that game developers encounter are shattered. Armed with an integrated Windows-based environment that uses familiar tools to simplify title development and cross-platform conversions, Windows CE enables developers to bring their hottest PC technology to Sega Dreamcast and vice versa for maximum revenue opportunity. This gives Sega Dreamcast customers a larger selection of games and a better experience on both the console and PC.
Windows CE toolkit 2.0 for Sega Dreamcast is the smallest, most feature-packed release yet, hand-tuned for Dreamcast hardware to minimize the memory footprint and maximize system resources and performance. Essentials from a suite of DirectX® 6.1 API libraries provide advanced 2-D, 3-D and audio special effects, input devices and online multiplayer capabilities, making Windows CE the only console development environment to address the explosive growth in online games. Also included is the heralded DirectMusic® API, which enables developers to compose high-quality custom music that responds to user action – further impacting the immersive experience for players. New Internet technology is provided to connect game developers to a host of Web technologies for creating customized user interfaces, access to Internet-based game servers and home page content.
“Our goal is to create real competitive advantages for game developers by providing a familiar environment with the best of DirectX and Microsoft’s Internet expertise in a highly compact, performance-tuned environment that is optimized for the hardware capabilities of Sega Dreamcast,”
said Chris Phillips, director of Business Development at Microsoft.
“The performance advances and powerful features of Windows CE 2.0 combined with the ability for title developers to leverage costs and derive revenues from both the Dreamcast console and PC will lead to the broadest selection of high-quality entertainment ever seen on the home console.”
“Microsoft Windows CE offers a premier development environment for developers who want maximum flexibility to deliver best-of-breed titles for both Sega Dreamcast and PCs,”
said Neal Robison, group director of third-party licensing at Sega of America Inc.
“The popularity of ‘Sega Rally 2 Championships’ confirms that Windows CE features – including networked multiplayer support, force-feedback, and fast, eye-popping special effects and audio – drive consumer sales. The industry benefits tremendously from having a common environment in which to take advantage of the many unique and powerful hardware capabilities of the Sega Dreamcast console.”
Already such leading developers as Acclaim Entertainment Inc., Infogrames Entertainment, Kalisto Entertainment, Konami Company Ltd., Majesco Software Inc. and Sega are developing more than 70 titles using Windows CE. The number of titles using Windows CE is expected to soar as the industry game developers currently using DirectX on PCs become exposed to the Dreamcast platform. For these title developers, Sega Dreamcast offers a huge incentive: It requires minimal time and effort for them to port their hottest game technology. Consumers of Sega Dreamcast will benefit most, because they will have more games to choose from sooner.
“We have experienced remarkable improvements in 3-D performance, optimization tools, compiler robustness and compatibility with Visual C++® and Visual Studio® on the PC using Windows CE 2.0 for Dreamcast,”
said Lyle Hall, game manager for
“By making Windows CE much easier to use and thereby enabling us to obtain the desired results, Microsoft is helping us reduce our development time and cost on ‘Alpha’ for Dreamcast.”
Fast and Flexing Features
Windows CE 2.0 provides extensive performance enhancements and features, including a significant boost in 3-D performance for greater realism and faster game play. For quicker title development, SCSI performance rockets transport data more than 14 times faster between the PC, Dreamcast and development hardware. Among the many new features supported are Internet Explorer 4.0 HTML Control, hardware bump-mapping, VQ texture compression, generalized modifier volumes, and real-time performance monitors. DirectMusic allows composers to create custom interactive music palettes, directing how music should change or intensify according to how well a user is playing, or associating the music with a particular character in the game. Together, these carefully selected DirectX 6.1 libraries deliver the next generation of high-performance, real-time 3-D rendering and audio technology to fully exploit advanced features of the Sega Dreamcast hardware and deliver realism to the end user.
The Web of Possibilities – A Console First
Along with being the first operating system to connect console users through online and networked multiplayer capabilities, Windows CE toolkit 2.0 now brings browser support to game developers on the Sega Dreamcast. The Internet Explorer 4.0 HTML Control enables gamers to use HTML content from within the game and offers seamless integration with Web content to provide many scenarios of new game functionality such as posting of high scores, linking to hints and tricks, and e-commerce functionality. Browser support along with the online and networking capabilities gives developers the ultimate game design flexibility and makes Dreamcast the most versatile console for consumers.
“Konami sees the new browser support in Windows CE 2.0 that links consoles to the Internet as a logical evolution with terrific market potential,”
said Kazumi Kitaue, managing director at Konami Company Ltd.
The Windows CE toolkit 2.0 for Sega Dreamcast is scheduled to be available in early October. Additional technical information about Windows CE for Dreamcast is available on the Microsoft Developer Network Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/cetools/platform/support.asp . Those interested in registering as a Sega Dreamcast developer should visit the Sega Web site at http://www.dts.sega.com/NextGen/main.html .
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