Most gamers probably don’t realize this but the Sega Dreamcast is still alive and well with new games being released for the system by a handful of independent studios. If you’re a long time reader than you know I’ve been covering the DC scene for Diehard GameFAN since 2007 with reviews of games like Wind and Water Puzzles Battles, Dux, Last Hope: Pink Bullets, Rush Rush Rally Racing and Irides: Masters of Blocks. Here in 2012 we are getting two new Dreamcast games – both of which are traditional shoot ’em ups. The first is Gun Lord by NG.Dev.Team (makes of Last Hope) and the second is Sturmwind, by a company called Duranik. We reported on the original announcement of Sturmwind a year and a half ago, but now that the game is closer to publication, I wanted to reminder our readers of its imminent release, as well learn a little bit more about the game myself. Roland Graf, head of Duranik was more than happy to take time out from his day to chat with me about Sturmwind and here is what he had to say.
Diehard GameFAN: Duranik makes games for “dead” systems and has been doing it since the mid-90s. What appeals to you about making games for the Jaguar, Lynx and Sega Dreamcast?
Roland Graf: These are still interesting pieces of hardware from the technical standpoint. Just beeng old doesnÃ‚Â´t make them boring. Also, developing for a console is always something special compared to a PC. From uploading your programs to the limited ways to debug things for example.
<DHGF: What inspired you to not only make Sturmwind, but to release it commercially for the Sega Dreamcast in 2012?
RG: It was the plan from the beginning to have a “physical” package, not just something to download. Something for the Dreamcast fan.
We have never been fans of the digital distribution way. What do you do in, let’s say fifteen years down the road? You can today still play all these old console games without a problem. Grab an old Genesis game from the attic, plug it in, and it works. Do you expect the same for your PS3 or Xbox 360 in fifteen years? Well a lot of stuff wonÃ‚Â´t work anymore because the servers will be long gone.
DHGF: Tell us a little bit about Sturmwind. What does it have in common with other traditional Shoot ’em ups and how does it differ?
RG;:It is what some would call an “euro shmup.” It is heavily influenced from the old Atari ST/Amiga or SNES area. We liked games like Blood Money and Axelay for example. So donÃ‚Â´t expect a bullet hell shooter.
We also think it’s very accessible. Even if you are not the typical shmup player, you can still see a lot of the later levels.
DHGF: Sturmwind does things even a lot of first run Dreamcast games didn’t do back in the day, such as SD card support and the ability to save your gamer in a shooter. What made you decide to implement those features?
RG:The SD Card support is implemented because we had the time to do it after all the production delays. We are eager to see if the community is doing something with this feature like creating their own little story line.
DHGF: How different was it coding/programming for the Dreamcast compared to other games you have made?
RG: Of course the Dreamcast is a much more modern piece of hardware compared to, let’s say a Lynx. In this respect it’s not like finding the last bytes and processor cycles and fighting for every kb of memory. Apart from this, SturmwinD. is programmed in C where our other games are coded entirely in Assembler.
DHGF: Sturmwind is Duranik’s second traditional shooter, with the first being Native for the Atari Jaguar. What things did you learn from Native that you were able to apply to Sturmwind and which system was easier to make a game for?
RG: Well Native was just a one level demo, and it was done many years ago.
We started with a white sheet of paper and went from there. There are not a lot of similarities between the games, I would say, apart from the same people working on it. Of course the Dreamcast is much easier to code for than the Jaguar, but they are from a different time period, so it’s understandable.
DHGF: Who is doing the music and sound effects for Sturmwind?
RG: There are two different musicians. In-game music is done by “505.” (http://www.fiveofive-music.com/) He is a very well known guy in the Atari “Chiptune” or retro music scene.
DHGF: For people that had no idea Dreamcast games are still being made, what about Sturmwind should inspire them to dust Sega’s last system off and give it a whirl?
RG: If you are a Dreamcast fan and always liked the system and want to see, it working heavily again, then this game is for you. Sturmwind is a game you can play without the need to invest a lot of time in. Just some mindless action :)
DHGF: How much will Sturmwind cost and what is the expected release date?
RG: Sturmwind will cost 34.95 Euro. There is also a limited edition with a little 3D printed ship model and an audio CD which is a bit more expensive. You can get more info here:
DHGF: What’s next for Duranik, once you’ve released Sturmwind?
RGWe have currently no plans for new games. Perhaps we will find a another quirky old hardware to do something ;)
So there you go. Hopefully, like me, you’ll be picking this up as soon as it’s made available to the public. You have three purchase options for Sturmwind. the deluxe limited edition for 69.95 euros, the regular version for 34.95 euros and a two game set of Sturmwind and Wind and Water Puzzle Battles for 44.95 euros. We’ll definitely have a review of Sturmwind once it is released. In the meantime, you can learn more about the game by visiting Duranik website. Long live the Dreamcast!