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(* Visual Memory System, also named Visual Memory Unit
    or simply Visual Memory, depending on the country)


After a quick discussion with Mr. Bigboss, I was allowed to release some little games I developped for the VMS during the month of July 2000. For those who don't know about it, the VMS is the little thing serving as Dreamcast memory cards.

Developped by Sega in conjunction with Hudson Soft, this small piece of technology has to be the smallest handheld console released to the public. Well, it's pretty simple in fact: it's LC86K CPU runs at 32 KHz in normal mode and 600 KHz in boosted mode (with probably would ruin your battery pretty quickly). So the CPU in normal mode is nearly 120 times slower than the Z80 embedded in 1988's black & white Game Boy! That's a pretty nice challenge to program for such a slow machine, not mentionning the art-enabling resolution of 48x32 pixels :-)

The games below were developed for Evil Twin game, developped by In Utero during 1998 up to end of 2001. They were intended for inclusion in the Dreamcast version of the game (hi Fonfon!). Eventually, various problems plumbered the game development and delayed the game. As I'm speaking, the Dreamcast version of Evil Twin should be on shelves pretty soon in Europe. For various reasons - I suspect because they had better things to do than deal with the added burden of UI/TRC stuff, and the game were not polished - the VMS goodies were finally not included in final game.

The games were developped from stratch by myself, in LC86K assembly and pixel graphics based from Evil Twin. Unfortunately, there wasn't much other games to compare on the VMS. Last time I checked, the interesting games were from Capcom (for Power Stone) and Namco (for Soul Calibur). Those games are heaps better than mine, so go download them if you haven't done so :P Other than that, I can't think of any very interesting software officially released for the VMS. Any idea ?

Paper Attack
(Inspired from Stephos' Island in Evil Twin.)
[Transfert from your Dreamcast to VMS]

This is the first game I made while learning the VMS (and developing libraries for it). Starting up from stratch was really challenging, as you would quickly got lost in the 750+ pages developper documentation that was provided for the machine. I started by plotting pixels around, after figuring out how the screen memory was mapped: weirdly. After pixels came lines, and I got the idea of shifting registers containing pixels to produce a pathetic kind of horizontal scrolling. Paper Attack was born from that: once I got the top line with moving pixel, I started turning that into simple shooter.

(Inspired from Vince's Island in Evil Twin.)
[Transfert from your Dreamcast to VMS]

This is at my opinion the most enjoyable game of the lot. Controlling Swampy the little frog, you wander around swamps and have to jump once and only once on all the lilypads. The game is relatively easy for most bits. By the time I finished developping it, I knew every levels and found it was too easy so I increased difficult by removing the extra life you previously got when finishing a level. As a result you may find it very frustrating to die every three attempts - but I guess this is part of the fun.
Note: whenever you pronounce the name "Swampy" it is a requirement to say it in joyful, high-pitched voice.

Fat Rain
(Inspired from Joce's Island in Evil Twin.)
[Transfert from your Dreamcast to VMS]

Fat Rain (nice name!) is a simple arcade game, comparable to old game & watchs. Except that it has a so weird gameplay that you're going to hate it. Basically, you have to destroy the big Joce by throwing him your ball in the face. In the meanwhile, he's vomiting (..) food and other stuff and you're supposed to catch all the food. Making it a fast game where you don't cease to move everywhere. Probably pretty boring once you finished it once.

Glucky Laby
(Inspired from Dave's Island in Evil Twin.)
[Transfert from your Dreamcast to VMS]

After Fat Rain and Swampy (when everyone was yelling 'Swampy!!' due to a certain requirement), I thought about organizing a contest in the studio to find stupid names for the little games. And someone suggested Glucky Land which really pleased me. Eventually, it was renamed to Glucky Laby, since this game takes place in a labyrinth, and land wouldn't mean anything. As if Glucky meant anything anyway. It is a simple labyrinth game. The game actually uses a nice animated 3-D view - I got this idea from Phantasy Star on Master System - which could feel impressive on a VMS when moving. The game itself, as you would expect from a labyrinth game, gets pretty boring. I'm afraid it is not even finished, so you won't be able to get past level 5 or 6. But you probably want to give this one a try.

Download all games right there [26 kb].
The games are free for download and distribution.

They're in .VMS format and includes corresponding .VMI files. I'm not so familiar with file formats for easy distribution of VMS games on the internet (if anyone can provide a better archive, feel free to e-mail me about it).

Please note also that the games are meant to play on real hardware. As for 2002, emulators don't support them correctly (timing issues makes them too fast).

Enjoy! (and thanks to the VMS hobbyist development people)
Omar Cornut ( omar @ miracleworld . net )