Ian Micheal Legacy


This section in dedicated to Mr Ian Micheal and all of his work for the Dreamcast console. First on this page you will find a download section (links to further down the page,under the interview) with software he have developed. Below that you will find the interview with the legend himself.

Support Ian via Patreon here.

Games

-> Ghosts N Goblins / Ghouls N Ghsots Driller Mini-game
-> Ghouls N TriX
-> Whispered Secrets

Aug 30 , 2021 by FlorreW

Interview with Ian

FlorreW

First of all thanks for giving me the honor to put your work up on my page , and also that you agree to this interview !

Ian

That's not a problem :)

FlorreW

Okey, so for all the people who might not be so much into the Dreamcast scene, can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?

Ian

I am an Australian, born 1976.

As far as coding goes i first started on mattel aquarius, a very low spec computer lol.I wrote my first game that was called march men and it was a bit like Load runner ..

I suffer from aspergers autism which makes people think my text when i write, and the the way i type, i am ot that smart lol.. I had 136 IQ at the age of 8 so that's not the case..

I moved on to the sega 3000 and wrote some programs for it,all lost thou.
Then was the first love, the C64 where i wrote graphics adventures about a magical HQ holden (a car model) that could fly in the sky lol.. all lost..

Moved on from there to the Amiga ,i never did much amiga programing thou. When i was twelve years old i joined a C64 cracking group and use to make the scrolling cracks you sometimes see on some games. Our group was W.A.R and i was known as reaper lol. Ewen G was the main coder. From there i had a gaming time where i played 16 bit games and then i moved to pc with windows 95.

Started on dreamcast 2002 april, i was not happy with the Wonderswan port and tiny screen and that's when i thought: "why wait for others to do stuff ? i will do it my self ! " lol. Coding has always been there, i use to code C64 basic at school in my txt book and go home and type it in, i got in trouble for basic coding day dreaming in class. Teacher said "if you spent more time doing your work and not coding basic in class you be top of it" lol, hence my lack of txt skills.

So i am a 45 year old Dreamcast lover lol. But mostly for homebrew, not retail games, they had there time with me on launch when i played each at the time when they came out. That's a little about me.

FlorreW

Joining a C64 cracking group when 12 years old sounds really cool , for sure you do have a big passion for developing stuff.

Ian

Being creative at something, i went the other way for years and was in a rock band, i was leadsinger and song writer for trikkjustic.

As long as i was doing something or creating something that no one had before, that was my passion.

FlorreW

Yeah i have heard some of your songs as well , you have a great voice Ian !

Ian

Developing for the Dreamcast gave me that feeling, every port was a world first.

It's like a drug gives you that little good feeling.

FlorreW

So that was kind of a trigger while starting developing for the Dreamcast ? Be the first doing certain things ?

Ian

Same as writing a song and doing in front of people yes.

FlorreW

"Doing it in front of ppl" hold your horses Ian :D

Ian

My Neogeo cd emulator was a first, anything after to me is copy of proof.

I was told Neogeo cd was impossible and not to even bother with by many people, if a snes cant run how can you make this run even half as good i was told.

I had many people just saying it will never happen and that drove me, still does. I use no frameskip that's why i dont like the other if it needs frameskip it's not running properly.

FlorreW

Yeah about the Neogeo cd project of yours, i was just about to ask you what project on the Dreamcast you are most proud of.

Ian

Radquake is so polished, it has every feature including turning the dreamcast bios menu into radquake logo!

First with rumble pack and VMU animations, first to load mods with 4mb maps, first with stereo 44khz sound.

Bero had released the first quake working homebrew port 1 month before me. So it was not a complete first lol.

Back then most only cared about being the first to do something.

But i think it would be Dreamneo cd as that was flat out told to me it can not be done.

FlorreW

No but your port (Radquake) is 100% accurate and also got the extras if i understand it right ?

Ian

Yes, and working cdda where in other ports the audio stops when you load or go to a new level even thou they say "working cdda".

FlorreW

I have been speaking to you for some time on and off ,and as far as i understand you always want to be as close to 100% perfect emulation / porting before you consider it done ?

Ian

YES this is true, if it is using tricks it is not really running. I cant stand frameskip or things like this, it is better to tailor one game perfect then make an overall emulator that plays all games but not perfect.

With dreamneo cd that's the goal. If the game cant be made to run 60fps i dont release a version of it.

Some are ok with jerky scrolling but fullspeed, but i just cant take it lol.

FlorreW

Thats a good point of view imo !

Tell us about some of the emulators you have improved, i am thinking of Chuis Uae4all Amiga emulator.

Ian

I like Chui's coding and it fits with me as it is using SDL which i have 18 years experience of using. This makes it easy for me to see things he might of missed.

His Amiga emulator (Uae4all) had problems with screenposition, no stereo sound and some games not working. I added 2Mb (more internal memory in the Amiga) to allow more things to work, or be preloaded into memory for smooth gameplay.

Sound was only 16khz on his release so i optimized it to allow 22khz stereo since it was mono.

So it took lot of optimizing to allow this. As he used mono and 16khz to gain the speed it had along with other things but it's a trick he did on most of his projects.

Same goes for snes4all. This is why there was missing sounds. Music would be missing things, this was fixed and is why TMNT now sounds normal on the beta release i did.

There is more todo with it, i just know SDL very well. And SDL Dreamcast not PC, and how it works. One example is loop check that's broken in all versions but mine, TapmN just started using it for gens emulator to fix sound and take the load of the emulator it saves one memory copy SDL_DREAMHAL.

FlorreW

How lucky we are to have a developer (you) thats so into SDL that develops for Dreamcast, considering one of the best developers (Chui) have made alot of great emulators that might be improved upon made with SDL as well.

Ian

Yes, i knew Chui when he first started. I share all of code and know how at the time from neogeo cd sdl.

He took SDL much further and it is now the bases of all the good SDL projects. Not the SDL included in kos which is rubbish.

I have taken SDL forward to now include full gpu rendering with GLDC opengl. So not just 2d anymore, all that is based on chui's wonderfull SDL.

Just needed porting to kos 2.0, sound and threading fixed and the loop check on the acia.

Also moops great dreamhal with sh4 asm memory routines and blitspeed now is 2x times what Chui had. This is why the new amiga version will shine but that's not out yet.

FlorreW

Chui also released the first 3d homebrew game recently, Xenocider. That was a great release in my honest opinion.

Ian

One of the best, one of my hero's (Chui). Also not talked about, he was the first person to use MMU in the dreamcast in homebrew development. I use mmu based on his code as examples.

FlorreW

MMU whats that ? Does it have something to do with memory ?

Ian

Dreamcast can address 512Mb in virtual address space. Tech link. And that's what allows aes to work and load 100mb roms.

He is the only person to do this (Chui) thats why I'm talking about it.

I use MMU to catch null pointers and stop the dreamcast from crashing, like a safe guard.I only use it on dcmc to stop it crashing.

FlorreW

I know you have alot of projects going on at the same time Ian , its Snes , Bleem, and Amiga emulator , you got the neogeo cd you want to do more with , and also the DCMC by Phenom you are improving. Could you tell us what your future plans are , are you gonna do them in a specific order or "as it comes" ?

Ian

With how i am i do them when i feel up to it which might fustrate prople but it saves me from burning out.

The 3 months on DCMC sent me into depressing, remember aliens lol (I was testing the video function for "a while" with Alien for mr Ian, and it was hard to make any progress /Florre )

It worked fine on demul, not so much on real hardware, there is bug i have to find but it alluded me for 3 months working on it every day. Thats why i have to move about people also get bored first.

I also do katana and getting games working and making them boot on hardware.I did this with Agartha cdi release.

Last few months is about making API's (API is SDL that talks to kos gldc etc) that other dev's can use and helping others giving back. Like the upcoming game Shadow Gangs, i provided advice and also for the titan engine.

FlorreW

Is there anything you would like to ask me or anything you want to say before we end this interview ?

Ian

Thank you to all that support me, and for the best scene there is and dreamcast forever :)

FlorreW

Thats what we want to hear , The Dreamcast will always be there ....thinking. Thank you so much for letting me interview you Ian , it was a pleasure.

Ian

Thank you as always.

Screenshot Developer Genre Format Download
Unknown Japaneese
Ported by Ian
Puzzle/Action Cdi image Here (3,2 Mb)

Ghosts and Goblins Driller is a mod port of Miss Driller made by Ian. It plays in the same way as Namcos Mr Driller game.

Screenshot Developer Genre Format Download
Greg Kennedy
Ported by Ian
Puzzle Cdi image Here (8,9 Mb)

Greg-Kennedy quote:

"Probably the most interesting thing about this game is that after writing, i pushed it to the SDL webpage, which (at the time) had a gallery for people to post their games Made With SDL.

From there it caught the attention of a Dreamcast homebrew developer Ian Micheal, who was porting SDL games to the DC.

He altered the graphics and added more sounds and cool effects to create “Ghouls ‘N TriX” – a Tetris game for the Dreamcast!

It was really cool to know my code was running on a video games console, and I made sure all my friends knew about it."

Stack the bricks under a scary music. Ghouls'n Trix was developed after fifteen years, in 2004.


Thanks to Mrneo240 for making the images.

Screenshot Developer Genre Format Download
Ian Michael Adventure / Horror Cdi image Here (43,5 Mb)

"Whispered secrets is a "Choose your own Adventure" style game. The graphics are in retro-amiga-style, hand drawn by GabbiAngel. All of the music is composed by Ian Michael. If you have ever sat down with a choose your way book, you will love Whispered Secrets! Various endings and scenes make it playable over and over."

Covers: Front Back