ToeJam & Earl 3 Released for DC!!
I awoke from my Christmas slumber this year to find that the beta of ToeJam & Earl 3 has been released by ZakhooiTM over at the Assembler Games forums. You can download the game here and a video is even available detailing how to get the game running on your Dreamcast. The game is completely free of charge. Instead of seeking any remuneration, ZakhooiTM kindly asks fans who wish, to make a donation to the Mardan School.
ToeJam & Earl 3 was initially planned as a first-party exclusive for Sega's ill-fated console and was instead ported over to Microsoft's Xbox system. Interestingly, gameplay in this Dreamcast release is said to be quite different to the eventual Xbox release, and more akin to the earlier Megadrive games, except in 3D.
For the completeists, a mock-up cover has also been uploaded to the Dreamcast-Talk forums although currently only exists in US case variations.
The good news is that game plays extremely well, with few bugs (one person has even reached as far as level 25) so expect a full written review soon. Its discovery is truly a fascinating story and ZakhooiTM has even kindly provided some incite on the game's origins and how you can support this release. Now, fingers crossed for those versions of JSRF and Super Monkey Ball which were said to be in production.
Q: Did you get SEGA's permission?
A: Nope, I didn't get any response. As this is a beta of a game for a console that's already dead for 10+ Years I think they woudn't care. And as long I don't make any money from it, I'm not conflicting their intrests(I hope). I'm releasing this at my own risk.
Q: What about Greg Johnson?
A: There are pieces of the code that Greg and Mark don’t own(SDK's, Katana Library's, stuff that other people from Visual Concepts made) , so even though they don’t object to me sharing this within the community of Dreamcast enthusiasts, they can’t really give permission
As for the Intellectual Property goes, Greg and Mark wont sue me for using the IP in this context. However, there is ONE limitation and that is that it should never be sold or pressed to disc. This would go past the whole "community release" thing. Again, to make it perfecly clear : He did not give me permission for releasing this game, he just turns his head the other way when it comes to the use of the Intellectual Property itself.
Q: What about donating?
A: The donation campaign idea has gone out of the window and the game is released for free.
However, if you really want to thank me, I found a destination where a donation could go to.
And that is Mardan School, its a special school located in America for kids that fall between the cracks with the normal school system.
Kids for example that have Autism, ADD, ADHD and other learning issues, Mardan helps them to get them educated with extra care and time. As you might see in my profile, I live in the Netherlands but when I was younger, I fell between the cracks and had a terrible childhood.
Later I got on a school that simmilair to Mardan and that was a life saver for me.
So, if you wanted to donate to me. Please donate to the school instead, they need it harder then me and do fantastic work. I have been working together with the school to get international donations working so everyone that wants to donate, can donate :)
Here is the link : http://www.mardanschool.org/about/support-mardan.php
A small note here : If you get an error after the donation, DONT PANIC! it's a known issue and is being worked on :)
Q : How did you get your devkit ?
A : I got my devkit from ebay, bought it for around $1200 (plus additional costs such as customs and taxes)
Q : On what medium did you discover the game ?
A : When I received the devkit I was eager to see what was on the internal hard drive (all devkits have one, except older versions) I connected the kit to my PC and opened Windows Explorer, there where the raw files of the game. However, I had to rebuild the GD-M (GD Emulator) project file in order to get it to boot, when I got it to boot I went to AssemblerGames and showed my discovery. So there are no GD-ROMs that are discovered, I just got very lucky to find the game assets AND the binary to boot the game :)
Q : Did you know ToeJam & Earl before the discovery ?
A : Before I had this devkit, I even didn't really know ToeJam & Earl (I got a megadrive in the time, but was a hardcore sonic fan at the time and didn't have ToeJam & Earl)
But when I got it working on the devkit, I found it hilarious and to my amazement it works really smooth and looked quite good for a beta/alpha.
Q: How is the game ?
A : I've seen some video's of ToeJam & Earl 3 version and it's quite different from the version I found on the devkit. The version on the devkit is more like the original on the megadrive but then in 3D. So no bosses, gates, keys, mini-games and hub connected world. Also no cutscenes, you just begin at the begin of the map and go to the elevator then can go to the next level.
Q : What about stability ?
A : I found however that the game is becoming more unstable as you go through the levels. Levels 1 to 9 are stable, none to very few lockups. From level 10 and up, lockups become more frequent, however I was ble to get to Level 12, so it is possible :)
Emulating the game
Q : Help! I can't get it to work with NullDC!!
A : For those who have issues with NullDC, I've found this build that works with TJ&E3.
You can find it here and thank Greg2600 for pointing into the right direction.