The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

The most commonly asked questions will appear here. This is a good place to check first if you need help.
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The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:04 pm

There have been a lot of questions all over the place lately as we get closer to the release of the Dreamcade Replay. In order to help as many uses as possible, and keep things as neat as possible I have tried to keep a list of what a lot of people make threads to ask about. I hope this helps. I will slowly edit this as more questions pop up.

Hardware

What is the Replay?
It is essentially a mini PC based around the ACEPC AK1 It will be a fully functional Windows 10 based PC with a custom front end that it will boot straight into upon turning on.

What happened to the retro inspired design?
Due to legal issues the design had to be changed. To help curb production costs and meet deadlines a more readily available solution was chosen.

What are the specs?
It will feature an Apollo Lake 2.4Ghz CPU, with 4GB non removable RAM & 32GB eMMC , HDMI, VGA, 5Ghz WIFI, NIC, Micro SD, mSATA, & USB 3.0

Why was there no VGA port in the review videos?
The VGA port will be added in the final product. Go to this post for a picture of the port installed

What are my storage options?
The Replay comes with a 32GB eMMC, a Micro SD card slot, a mSATA slot, and four USB ports. Two are 2.0 and two are 3.0 that you can connect external hard drives to. You can also purchase a Hard Drive base with your Replay that will accept a 2.5 inch hard drive.

Can I buy the hard drive base separately?
Yes recently ACEPC the manufacture of the AK1 has started selling the bay by itself. You can buy one from Amazon here A few users have purchased them. They have not mentioned any issues using them with the Replay.


Can you go into detail about the hard drive?
The replay will accept a 2.5 inch laptop style SATA hard drive. However you need to keep an eye on the mm sizing. Drives come in 15mm (typically for servers), 9.5mm (most common form factor), or slim 7mm (usually for ultrabooks, etc.). Since most users will more then likely just be running older games a 5400 RPM drive should be fine The Replay will not fit 15mm drives and will only accept up to a 2TB drive at the moment.

The brand and model number number of the hard drive included in the available package deal on the store have not been mentioned. However the included mSATA drive is a KingSpec model.

What about the base connector?
The base connector is physically a USB-C port, but acts as a SATA connector.

Why is only 32GB of space included?
This was done for Windows licensing terms. There was a rumor that the Replay got free Windows activation. Mike has mentioned that this is untrue. They are reduced in price however.

What about the included plug?
If you need to replace the included plug the specs are 12V, 2500mA.
DC plug 5.5mm x 2.1mm, center positive.

What about boot time?
Steve mentions From cold to our picking a game to play is less than a minute. This isn't an average, mind you, this is the time it took just now.

How about light gun support?
Dreamcade has tested using the Ultimark AimTrak Light Gun. They will not be selling them directly, but you can visit here for more information and to purchase.

What about the decals?
If you are a kickstarter backer you are guaranteed to receive a set of six stickers in total.
You can read more and see pictures here

Software

What OS?
Windows 10

Do Windows updates take up space?
Yes any thing downloaded and/or installed on the Replay will take up space on the Replay. You should be able to install a mSATA drive. Then clone the eMMC drive and move it over. Then tell the PC to boot from the mSATA in the BIOS menu.

You can also tell Windows to only download important updates, and it ignore Windows application updates. You can do this through PC settings> Updates & Security> Advanced> Uncheck Give me updates to other Microsoft products. It is not recommended to ignore Windows updates over space concerns.

What kind of front-end is this?
An in house design used by DreamArcades on their more traditional arcade cabinets.

Can I install X program?
Yes as long as it's system requirements are not higher then what the Replay has you can locally access the OS under the front end and use it as a computer installing both PC programs, and local games.

What about the CART phone app?
The CART app is currently in testing phase. You can view members testing results here

What about Anti-Virus?
Most Windows PCs come with Windows Defender. You can of course install any other you would like. However some Anti-Virus has flagged the Replay front end exe as a virus and deleted it.

What if I need to factory reset or reinstall Windows on my Replay?
There is currently no officially way to factory reset the Replay that includes the front end. The best choice would be to create a full system image. You can use the Windows Media Creation Tool to reinstall Windows. However doing so will cause you to loose the stock front end.

Wouldn't using a flavor of Linux make the Replay more snappy?
In general Linux preforms better on most PCs over Windows due to the way it was built. You can disable Windows visual desktop enhancements to help free up some resources.

Then why wasn't a distro of Linux used?
From a company stand point Linux would be harder to support for the wider customer demographic looking for a plug and play system that the Replay is aiming for. Also there is more support for obscure consoles and computer systems under Windows.

However I encourage everyone to at least give Linux a try on a secondary machine. Look at Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Distro Watch for more information and free downloads.
Also check out this thread on the forum to help you get started.

Can I turn off or shutdown Windows after launching a game to help free up computer power?
No other then disabling visual effects there is not much else you can do. You can do this by holding the Windows Key + R then typing SystemPropertiesPerformance.exe in the Performance Options window select Adjust for best performance.

Things like RetroPie do have an operating system (They are built on top of Debian Stretch.) They just might feel more immerse and snappy because they only include what a game and emulator need to run and function. They do not include a Desktop Environment or other non essential to gaming things.

Shipping
I can not get anything from the store shipped to (country here)
They plan to handle Kickstarter backers and USA/CAN pre-orders first. There are backers in UK, Australia, Germany, and more. You can find the list by country here

I have not gotten an email asking about my shipping details
Kickstarter is very strict about this and only allows one email to be sent. They are currently being sent in waves. Please keep in mind that there are 1,641 backers

EDIT The backer survey is making rounds as of April 3rd. Check your email
Make sure to check your spam folder as well just in case. As of April 30th just about everyone should have gotten the survey. Please make sure you fill yours out to avoid any shipping delay.
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:05 pm

Console Games

What emulators does the Replay ship with?
Most systems use the 0.185 version of MAME

What kind of systems can I play?
You can find the systems that the Replay has been tested for here. You can also find a general list of emulators that run under Windows here. This second list is purely a general list. Some emulators listed may or may not run on the Replay.

Does Dolphin (GameCube/Wii) work on the Replay?
GameCube works on a game by game basis, many games run full speed. Wii will be extremely limited.

Does PS2 work on the Replay?
According to matt support is on a game by game basis

I have my system. Where are the games?
The Replay will ship with the games listed here For games from your childhood read below for more information.

I heard I may need BIOS/CHD files. What are these, and where can I get them?
BIOS files are system files that some computers and game console need to boot and run before you play a game. BIOS files are copyrighted.
CHD files go with MAME arcade games. They stand for Compressed Hard Disk they contain extra data that the rom needs to run.

Please do not ask where or link to any BIOS, CHD, or game files. You can use this page to help you understand BIOS. All credit goes to the RetroPie community.

What is the RetroReload Software, and how can I use it to add games?
There are three ways to add games. You can see more by checking out DrewTalks video here at around 7:20 he explains how it works.

What version of MAME does the Replay use?
It ships with 0.185. The current version is 0.204 You need Roms from the 0.185 set to use MAME correctly. You can either go up or down by getting the MAME version you are looking for here.

Again keep in mind that each version requires the corresponding rom set to work correctly, and that newer versions of MAME while supporting more games require more computer power. If you are coming from a RetroPie you can find more information on the rom sets used here. If you have a set you are using on a RetroPie you could go the the above link and swap out the 0.185 executable for whichever one matches your set. You could also use the Retro Arch core that matches your set.

What is MAME?
MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. It was first developed in 1997 to preserve arcade based hardware. In 2015 it was merged with MESS the Multi Emulator Super System because of this MAME can run an expansive list of arcade, console, and home computer based games. Some of which have no other emulator.
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:41 pm

PC Games

What about Steam?
Steam is installed locally. When booted from the front end menu you will launch into big picture mode. You can locally install games from your Steam Library as long as they do not exceed the what the replay can handle. You can also stream them from your gaming PC using in home streaming.

How do I install any pre Windows 7 PC games?
If they are DOS based you can try DOSBox. If they are DOS based and you are still having trouble try SVN builds here. They tend to be built on the latest version of the DOSBox source code,If they are for Windows 95/98 try using PCem, if you want to try to get them working in Windows 10 take a look at this wiki here, and lastly see if they are for sale on GOG

What about the achievement hunter in me?
Some games on PC through Steam have achievements. You could also look into Retro Achievements here

Steam on the Replay was my first venture into PC gaming, and I want more! What can I do?
I'm glad you asked. The rumors that PC gaming is expensive are not true. There are many videos on YouTube that can show you how to build a 400 or so dollar PC that can out preform a console. If your budget is tight you can grab a Dell Optiplex or HP Compaq 8200 Elite for anywhere from about 120-160 dollars depending on processor (I3 or I5) and amount of RAM installed. Then install a cheap graphics card and game away.

Once you get your foot in the door there are tons of people that will gladly help you feel welcomed, and be more then willing to help you upgrade whenever you'd like. You will also be able to enjoy a bigger library of games to play at cheaper prices with better visuals, no online paywall, and mods.

Media

What media based applications come on the Replay?
At this time Amazon, Hulu, Twitch, YouTube. I am hoping to see Plex get added in, but you can always install it underneath.

Can I stream to Twitch with the Replay?
I am unsure at this time if the Replay has enough power to game and stream. I do not have a review unit to test.

Can I add my own media?
Yes you can add your own media to the the Replay locally. Play videos back with VLC, and use iTunes or MusicBee to manage your music. The Replay front end also has a built in music player.

Misc

Where can I see some review videos?
DrewTalks
Factory Tour
Unboxing
First Look
1 hour Q&A
Dreamcast Testing
PSP Test & Dreamcast
Steam Test

ETAPrime
First Look and Test
This video has been taken down. I am not sure why, but in it ETA Prime mentions that the Replay ships with SNES9X which seems to be incorrect (Believe it is using RetroArch/MAME)
PSP test

DreamArcades
Recap

What about other products from Dream Arcades?
As most of you know Dream Arcades also makes full sized stand up arcade cabinets. There was a Mini cab and arcade joystick shown off in the original Kickstarter video along with the first version of the Replay. These are not current products, but may be developed in the future. For now there are many DIY tutorials online on how to create your own cabs and controllers.

Are you affiliated with Dreamcade?
No. While I do moderate the forum I am in no way affiliated with anyone at Dreanarcades, and I don't personally have a review unit. I backed the Replay like most of you.

What's your motivation then?
I just enjoy some gaming, i'm glad to see more people experience more games, and I am glad to help others. I hope that the Replay helps to expose more people to the games they played when they were younger, find new games and systems they never got to experience, create memories with their family, and help show how important the preservation of classic media is.

There are a lot of new factors that shape gaming now. The younger generation that is so used to digital media consumption. The fact that once a digital license expires, and a company does not renew it for one reason or another the game just goes poof.
(For a more recent example think of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World on PS3/X360)
Because of this media preservation has become more important then ever.
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by Zee » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:44 pm

Excellent work there, Wheatpasta - you'd do well as a site admin! ;)
Just one minor inaccuracy I wanted to point out (well, from what I understand, at least)...
WheatPasta wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:04 pm
What are the specs?
It will feature an Apollo Lake 2.4Ghz CPU, with 4GB non removable RAM & 32GB SSD, HDMI, VGA, 5Ghz WIFI, NIC, Micro SD, M.2 slot, & USB 3.0
I believe the m.2 was now stated as being mSATA.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:24 pm

Zee wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:41 pm
I believe the m.2 was now stated as being mSATA.
Thanks will fix.
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by bearRimshot » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:30 pm

How do I install any PC games that were first made in either the 1990s or the early 2000s onto the Dreamcade Replay?

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:51 pm

bearRimshot wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:30 pm
How do I install any PC games that were first made in either the 1990s or the early 2000s onto the Dreamcade Replay?
If they are DOS based you can try DOSBox,If they are for Windows 95/98 try using PCem, if you want to try to get them working in Windows 10 take a look at this wiki here, and lastly see if they are for sale on GOG

I'll add this to my questions above.
Thanks for asking. Happy gaming.
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by Shawno » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:12 pm

Nice work wheatpasta. The fact that you are a backer and not affiliated with Dreamcade and did this great Read Me First unofficially.... Definitely put me over the edge to invest in them, and purchasing one for myself.

A Retro design is cool and everything but mainly doesn't matter to me as much as the specs offered and the range of supported systems and games. I just have a couple questions that you may or may not be able to help with which have been holding me up in investing in the first place. Im not very happy with Windows 10, I was all about it when it was released and upgraded as soon as I possibly could but I was let down and do feel that it is a Bloated OS when put on anything.

More so with limited devices like tablets and netbooks with only 16 or 32gb of internal hard drive space, which causes problems when trying to update Windows, and is generally the cause of other unique problems. This version of Windows 10 that Dreamcade is using, is it a custom version?

Would it have been better to go with a custom Linux distro with its own RetroSpin or RetroPie inspired front end designed specifically to run the OS and emulators independent of each other (basically if anything is started from the front end is Windows 10 fully closed then re-opened when returning to the front end?) to make the best use of the hardware specs.

I'm asking because basically Windows is always running in the background using up a good portion of the ram that could be dedicated to and support more demanding emulated games like some newer arcade games, wii, PlayStation, or N64 games. I apologize in advance if you can't answer my techy questions but I do know that some emulators and emulated games can be very demanding. Also I am very excited about the great specs listed for the dreamcade replay.
Thank you very much for your solid work.
Last edited by WheatPasta on Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Split into paragraphs

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by WheatPasta » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:27 pm

Shawno wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:12 pm
with only 16 or 32gb of internal hard drive space.....This version of Windows 10 that Dreamcade is using, is it a custom version?

To my knowledge it is a standard Windows 10 install. There was mentions that they went with 32GB because they got free Windows activation. Mike has mentioned this is untrue in that they are not free. They are however reduced in price.

It is my understanding that you can install an mSATA drive. Giving you two ways to then move your boot drive. First using software to clone the 32GB EMMC and move it over to the mSATA. Then tell the bios to boot from the mSATA, or I would imagine you could create a complete recovery through Windows and then install it to the mSATA drive.
Shawno wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:12 pm
Would it have been better to go with a custom Linux distro with its own RetroSpin or RetroPie inspired front end designed specifically to run the OS and emulators independent of each other (basically if anything is started from the front end is Windows 10 fully closed then re-opened when returning to the front end?) to make the best use of the hardware specs.
I see where you are coming from. I enjoy using Linux myself. Other then my main gaming PC all my other machines run some flavor of Linux and some with RetroPie on top. (Linux Mint with MATE or XFCE to be exact depending on hardware.)

While I do enjoy using Mint when it comes to comparability there are just a lot more emulators to choose from in regards to odd consoles (Retro Arch and MAME do run on Linux) Also from a company stand point adaptability in general is just not there.

Unless they sold a Debian based box and configured it to boot right into the Ubuntu build of RetroPie I could see a lot of more casual users getting lost just because it is not what they are used to. While the Linux user base is growing, and I wish we were at that point as a computer community in general, but it is just not there yet.

It's funny you mention this because I was looking into to making a post asking if other users have used alternative OSes

Lastly in regards to fully closing Windows 10 Retro Pie is a front end built on top of Debian Stretch running Retro Arch and the Replay is a front end built on top of Windows. On Retro Pie there is a basic Linux system running underneath. It may just feel more streamlined and pull you in as a whole package because the stock Retro Pie image on the Raspberry Pi is purpose built from the ground up with gaming in mind so only what is needed for the games and front end to work is included.

If you download and install the Motion Blue base image on to your Raspberry Pi a full Linux desktop environment is included that you can boot into from the menu along with a lot of nice Retro Pie enhancements. The base image itself is something like a 3.5 GB download and unpacks to something like 6.5 GB before any games are installed.

If you were to fully close Windows the system would crash. I do get what you mean though, and I believe Linux does have less "overhead" if you will. You should be able to go into Windows and disable things that are not needed for the Replay front end to function to free up some resources. You could also turn off some Windows visual enhancements.

I hope this helps explain things, and it means a lot that I have been so helpful
If you are having a software problem be it front end, Windows, or want to try RetroArch and LauchBox but need help feel free to contact me. Post on the forum, PM here, or on Discord. I will be more then happy to do my best to get you sorted.

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Re: The Unofficial Dreamcade Replay FAQ Please Read

Post by Zee » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:40 pm

Hi Shawno
I'll attempt to answer some of your questions - I'm sure WheatPasta, or one of the Replay team, will give their input as well when back online.
Shawno wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:12 pm
This version of Windows 10 that Dreamcade is using, is it a custom version?
Not as far as we know. From what has been stated previously from the Replay team directly, this will be a standard version of Windows 10 Home. If that has changed, then I don't recall reading that anywhere.
Shawno wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:12 pm
Would it have been better to go with a custom Linux distro with its own RetroSpin or RetroPie inspired front end designed specifically to run the OS and emulators independent of each other (basically if anything is started from the front end is Windows 10 fully closed then re-opened when returning to the front end?) to make the best use of the hardware specs.

I'm asking because basically Windows is always running in the background using up a good portion of the ram that could be dedicated to and support more demanding emulated games like some newer arcade games, wii, PlayStation, or N64 games.
I understand, and somewhat agree, with what you're saying here. For a straight-up Retro Gaming experience - yeh, skipping Win10 in favour of another OS (or custom / dedicated OS) would have been the way to go.
But the bottom line is that this device was also promoted to act as a multimedia device, giving the user additional functionality in terms of using other applications like Steam, Kodi, Twitch, Netflix, etc.
Something Windows 10 allows and has greater compatibility with.

Worth pointing out that even without Windows 10 being a factor, the specs of the Replay would still limit the consoles / systems that it would be able to run smoothly. You mentioned playing newer arcade games and Wii - the Replay would still struggle with those (well, the Wii might be OK, but nothing has been tried/tested as yet. Playstation and N64 have successfully been tested, though).
You've got to remember the price point of this device, and what that's comparable to in terms of other devices on the market doing similar things.
For smooth Wii, newer arcades, PS2, XBOX, Saturn, etc you're looking at spending double, if not triple - maybe even quadruple, the money for a machine to cope with the demands.
That's not what the Replay is intending to achieve, or compete with.

I'm not sure if we will be able to set up some kind of dual-boot option via the BIOS settings, if you wanted to load up your own configuration on another storage (mSATA or the optional HDD/SSD base, for example).
You'll miss out on the Replay application's unique selling point and dedicated functionality, though - but if you wanted to just use the specs of the Replay for your own set-up, then it's something to consider.
I guess we'll know more once we have these devices in hand and tested to our heart's content.

----------------------------------------
Bah! You beat me to it, Wheat.
Quick on the draw, as always :)
Last edited by Zee on Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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