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PC-DC Server Setup (Win98)

by: lordnikon, Dreamcast ™

What is a PC-DC server? It involves connecting a Dreamcast via its built in modem to a PC modem, routing the data onto a broadband connection. This is a solution for those gamers looking to play their Dreamcast online who do not own a broadband adaptor or have access to a dialup internet service. This tutorial currently works for Windows98 (and possibly WindowsME). At the moment there are problems with this method and Win2000/XP. When a working scenario is available for these other operating systems a guide will be posted. Until then Win98 is the primary option available.
  • STEP 1 - Material Requirements Overview
  • STEP 2 - Configuring your Dreamcast
  • STEP 3 - Make sure Windows Dial-up Server is installed
  • STEP 4 - Make a shortcut on the desktop to the Dial-up Server configuration
  • STEP 5 - Configuring the Dial-up Server
  • STEP 6 - Editing the Windows Registry
  • STEP 7a - Install and Login to WinRoute Pro
  • STEP 7b - Setting up WinRoute Pro's Interface Table
  • STEP 7c - Setting up WinRoute Pro DNS Forwarding
  • STEP 7d - Setting up WinRoute Port Mapping
  • STEP 8 - Making your first connection with your PCDC Server
  • STEP 9 - Special information about Quake III Arena
  • STEP 10 - Building a Line Voltage Inducer

STEP 1 - Material Requirements Overview

It is recommended that you have a 56k modem for both your PC and Dreamcast for optimal connection speeds. PC 56k modems have a cap of 33.6kbps. Thus, your Dreamcast will only be able to download and upload at a max rate of 33.6kbps. Your PC should be around 400mhz with 128mb of ram. Too little ram will result in the PC juggling ram between applications and can result in connection errors.

There are a few different types of Modems that can be used with this process. Note: You must have a VOICE compatible modem!

Internal PCI modems - These modems are often software based modems. Meaning they require software to do some of the legwork. Because of this, there is not enough voltage available to move the data along the telephone cord to the Dreamcast. If you are using an Internal modem you will most likely have to build a Line Voltage Inducer.

External USB modems - These modems are a bit more expensive, but they should not require the use of a line voltage inducer.

Regardless of what modem you use, you will still need to use the "swap" trick for all games that do not support Blind Dial. The swap trick involves 2 phone cords, and the following steps:
  • Plug the phone cord to the wall, and run it to the Dreamcast
  • Plug the second phone cord into your PC 56k modem, and have the other end waiting over near your dreamcast
  • Hit connect on the game/application you are trying to use
  • wait for about 5-8 seconds
  • unplug the wall cord from the back of the dreamcast, and quickly plug in the cord leading back to your PC 56k modem

STEP 2 - Configuring your Dreamcast

1.) Press start to bring up the control panel
2.) select 'Options'
3.) select 'Internet Connection'
4.) configure your network settings

Your Real Name: Put whatever you want here (do not leave it blank)
User Login: Put whatever you want here
Password: Put whatever you want here (write this down, you will need it later)
Dial Up Number: You have to put in at least one digit here
Backup Number: [leave blank]
DNS1: 192.168.55.1
DNS2: 192.168.55.1
Area code you are dialing from: [leave blank]
Long distance call prefix: [leave blank]
Call waiting prefix: [leave blank]
Outside dial prefix: [leave blank]
Modem Init: Use the default "AT&F0" (last digit is a zero)
Dial: Tone
Dial area code: Off
Blind Dial: On
Use Proxy: No
Proxy server name: [leave blank]
Proxy port: [leave blank]

When you are done, save your changes.

STEP 3 - Make sure Windows Dial-up Server is installed

- Go to Start Menu, Settings, Control Panel, then Add/Remove Programs
- Click the Windows Setup tab
- Highlight the Communications listing and click Details...
- Find Dial-up Server and check the box (if it's not already checked)
- Click OK and exit out of Add/Remove Programs

Note: If the Dial-up Server was not installed already it will be installed and you will be prompted to reboot

STEP 4 - Make a shortcut on the desktop to the Dial-up Server configuration

- right-click on the desktop
- select New/Shortcut
- In the dialog box enter:

C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE RNASERV.DLL,CallerAccess

- name your shortcut and then click Finish

STEP 5 - Configuring the Dial-up Server

- Open the shortcut you just made, and it will bring up the Dial-Up Server
- Click the radio button next to Allow caller access
- Click Change Password
- Here enter the password you typed into the internet options of the Dreamcast Web Browser
- Click on Server Type
- For the Type of Dial-up Server, select: "PPP: Internet, Windows NT Server, Windows 98"
- Check Enable software compression and make sure Require encrypted password is unchecked
- Click OK, then click No caller access in the main Dial-up Server dialog box, and then click Apply

STEP 6 - Editing the Windows Registry

Note: If you have multiple modems installed they will exist as 0000, 0001, 0002, and so on. Make sure you use the right digit for the modem you want your Dreamcast to communicate with.

Open the Registry Editor and browse your way to:

My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Monitor

set string 2 to:

ATA<cr>

Next browse to:

My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Answer

set string 1 to:

ATA

STEP 7a - Install and Login to WinRoute Pro

First download and install WinRoute Pro. Then open the WinRoute Administration window. You will be prompted with the Open Configuration prompt. At this point you most likely have not setup an account yet, so you can just hit the OK button to proceed.

STEP 7b - Setting up WinRoute Pro's Interface Table

- Navigate to: Settings, Interface Table...
- Select your LAN adapter and click properties
- check "Perform NAT with the IP address of this interface on all communication passing through"
- Make sure you do not have "Exclude this computer from NAT" checked
- Click OK
- Then open up the properties for your RAS interface and make sure NAT is not enabled

STEP 7c - Setting up WinRoute Pro DNS Forwarding

- Navigate to: Settings, DNS Forwarder...
- Check "Enable DNS forwarding
- Select Forward DNS queries to the server automatically selected from DNS servers known to the operating system
- Check Enable cache for faster response of repeated queries
- Under Simple DNS resolution check HOSTS file (more info will be provided on the function at a later date)
- Leave the very bottom text field blank
- Click Apply, then OK

STEP 7d - Setting up WinRoute Port Mapping

In order for data coming in from the internet to reach your PC, and then the Dreamcast you must forward data coming in on certain ports relating to each specific service. An easy way to do this is to forward the entire range of ports available to your Dreamcast. This is mainly for those who only use a PC for their PC-DC server and nothing else, as it will send all traffic to the Dreamcast, preventing normal web browsing from the windows 98 PC.

- Navigate to Settings, Advanced, Port Mapping...
- Add a new entry to include the following configuration
  • TCP/UDP
  • Unspecified
  • port range
  • 1 to 65535
  • 192.168.55.2
  • 1 to 65535
(Note: 192.168.55.2 is the Dreamcast's IP address when connected to the PCDC server. The Unspecified option means WinRoute will forward data coming from any IP address.)

Next you will need to forward the following ports in your Network Router (if you have one), in order to host/play these games over the internet. This data can also be used for those who want to assign a more specific port map setting in WinRoute.

Game / Service Blind-Dial Ports
PlanetWeb Browser Yes n/a
GameSpy - 6500, 6667, 28900, 27900
4x4 Evolution ? 7000-9000
Starlancer ? 2300-2400,6900-7500,47524
Phantasy Star Online Yes 40975, 41231, 41487, 41743
Quake III Arena No 27960-2796X
Maximum Pool Yes unknown

- Games using GameSpy need to have both the ports shown for their game AND gamespy forwarded.
- Quake III Arena does not require forwarding any ports in the Router, as the central game server you are playing on handles the hosting
- Sega Swirl involves more hoops to jump through, which we still need to research
- F355 Challenge currently freezes up after downloading the final replay, we are looking into it
- Blind-Dial means you can connect without having to use the swap trick. It will connect without looking for a dial-tone

STEP 8 - Making your first connection with your PCDC Server

This is a semi-involved process and will require access to both your Win98 PC and the Dreamcast in close proximity. Make sure your Dial-Up server prompt is up on the screen on the Win98 PC. We recommend that you first test logging onto the internet with a Web Browser.

1.) Hit connect on your Dreamcast. If the game is blind dial compatible you can just connect like normal, if the game is not blind dial compatible you must use the SWAP TRICK. Which was explained at the very beginning of this tutorial.
2.) After you have hit connect on the Dreamcast, select "Allow caller access" on the Dial-Up Server prompt, and hit Apply
3.) Now sit back and watch

-The Status field on the Dial-Up server should read "Monitoring"
-If it picks up, it will change to "Answering"
-If the Dreamcast connects successfully, it will read "connected"

4.) You should now have your Dreamcast successfully connected onto the network and transferring web data.

To turn the connection off, click "Disconnect User", then select "No caller access", then click Apply.

STEP 9 - Special information about Quake III Arena

At the moment Quake III Arena freezes while attempting to access the master list when specific DNS entries are in its internet configuration. For now the best option is to run Quake 3 Arena, and click on Internet Game. When the ISP config screen is up navigate to Dialup Setting #2. Fill in the same information used in your #1 configuration, except set both DNS entries to 0.0.0.0. Save these settings and connect as necessary. You will be able to reach the master list, and query individual servers by manually inputting them. The problem of querying the master list will most likely be solved at a later date.

STEP 10 - Building a Line Voltage Inducer


(click image to englarge)

This is basically just tacked together for the sake of the example.

MATERIALS LIST:

  • Telephone cord ( straight... about 10 or 15 feet ( 3 1/2 meters ) )
  • Capacitor ( .47 FD - 1 FD Electrolytic (Very Important))
  • Resistor ( 330 ohms - 390 ohms )
  • 9V battery snap connector(standard or heavy duty)
    I say go with the heavy duty snap connector because the connectors pull out too easily on the cheaper version
  • 9V battery
  • Utility knife ( 'Exacto' knife)
  • Electrical tape or solder w/ soldering iron.

INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP 1
Basically, I took some bundled telephone wire (Don't use the type that's in the picture; that was for demonstration purposes. The stuff in the picture is the wire you run behind your walls. You can't cap that stuff with an RJ-11. It's too thick.) and removed the insulation (about 3'' (about 8 cm)). I did this by using my knife and carefully going around the insulation on each end. Then I cut a slit from end to end and was able to remove it. Refer to the picture below for further instruction.

STEP 2
After removing the insulation, pull all of the wires away except for the red wire. This is the only wire that needs to be dealt with. After isolating the red wire, cut it in half and strip each end of about 1/4" of insulation

STEP 3
Now you must make a decision based on personal preference as well as experience and/or available materials. You can either tape/twist the wires together, or solder them. I highly recommend soldering just so everything stays together and makes a better connection.

STEP 4
Put the capacitor between the two red wires, tacking each wire onto a leg of the capacitor. For what we're using the capacitor for, polarity in this instance is not an issue, so you may put it in in any direction.

STEP 5
Now, solder / tape one end of the resistor (it doesn't matter which end) to the black wire on the 9V snap connector. You may need to remove some more insulation from the 9V leads, first.

STEP 6
Now, solder / tape the other end of the resistor to one of the capacitor's leads / legs.

STEP 7
Now, solder the red lead coming from the 9V snap connector to the other lead / leg of the capacitor.

Congratulations, you're done. That's all there is to it!

EXTRA NOTES:

If you want to use a smaller phone cord to start off with and need to go longer later, you can purchase a male to male RJ-11 connector from just about anywhere. Taget, Walmart, Radioshack, Office Depot/Max.

Also, with the telephone cord, I made the mistake of buying one from the dollar store. Do not buy a cheap cord. Especially if they have to tell you on the back of the box to wash your hands after using it because it contains lead! I shorted a piece of the wire inside over a 9V battery and it instantly caught on fire. BE CAREFUL!!!

In my example, I later tried it out with a 330 Ohm resistor and a 1 FD capacitor and it works great. So who knows. Maybe the person who first came out with this tutorial only had a .47 FD capacitor laying around.

I do suggest finding a smaller Capacitor if possible. A capacitor uses a unit of measurement called the Farad. You get one farad when one volt traveling through the capacitor causes one amp of current to flow through it.

The more farads a capacitor has, the more voltage is requires as well as a greater current draw. So, a smaller capacitance value is a better choice, but 1 MF shouldn't be much to worry about, especially if you have it running off of a transformer.
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