Net Yaroze

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Sony Net Yaroze with software development kit.
Net Yaroze System Requirements
Requirements
PC
Operating system IBM or Macintosh
CPU 66Mhz
Memory 4Mb
Hard drive 10Mb
Graphics hardware SVGA monitor compatible
Sound hardware None
Network 28.8kb/s

The Net Yaroze (ネットやろうぜ Netto Yarōze?) is a development kit for the PlayStation video game console. It was a promotion by Sony Computer Entertainment to computer programming hobbyists in 1997. Yarōze means "Let's do it together!".[1]

For about $750 USD, the Net Yaroze (DTL-H300x) package would contain a special black-colored debugging PlayStation unit with documentation, software, and no regional lockout.[2] The user provided a personal computer (IBM-PC or Macintosh; NEC PC-9801 was also supported in Japan) to write the computer code, compile it, and send the program to the PlayStation.

Versions[edit]

While lacking regional lockout, the Net Yaroze console exists in three variations; one for Japan, one for North America and one for Europe/Australia. The Europe/Australia version boots in PAL mode, while the others boot in NTSC mode. There are further differences between the Japanese kit and the others; the manuals are in Japanese, the software for Japanese PCs is included, and the discs and access card sticker have different printing. The Japanese version is sometimes unofficially referred to as DTL-3000 rather than DTL-H3000.

The Net Yaroze was only available for purchase by mail order; but Sony also provided it to universities in the UK, France (EPITA) and Japan.[2]

The European Net Yaroze kit contains the following items:

  • 1 Net Yaroze PlayStation console (black matte texture)
  • 2 PlayStation controllers (black matte texture)
  • 1 AC power cord (with UK plug; in France an AC adapter was also included)
  • 1 AV cable
  • 1 European AV adapter
  • 1 Net Yaroze boot disc (a greenish PlayStation CD-ROM)
  • 1 Net Yaroze software development disc (A CD-ROM containing development tools for PC)
  • 1 Access Card (a black memory card-like dongle, required for booting in remote-controlled mode), with sticker
  • 1 Communications Cable (a special serial cable used to link the console and the computer over a serial communication)
  • 1 "Start Up Guide" manual
  • 1 "Library Reference" manual
  • 1 "User Guide" manual

Additionally, CodeWarrior was ported for the Net Yaroze, as well as LightWave 3D.

The Net Yaroze lacks many of the features the official PlayStation Software Developers Kit provided, such as advanced hardware debugging, special software, certain libraries, and Sony's extensive technical support (including BBS and live telephone support). Dedicated Usenet groups, with access restricted to Net Yaroze members, were maintained by Sony; homepage hosting was also provided. The access was restricted according to the kit's region of origin, which made collaboration between users in different territories impractical.

The Yaroze's primary RAM was the same as a standard grey PlayStation 1 (2 megabytes). Game code, graphics, audio samples and run-time libraries were limited to fit in the 2 MB, as Sony did not allow Net Yaroze members to burn data to CD-ROM's to be booted and run on the console. This however, was not a problem for licensed developers who owned the official SDK. There are many commercial PlayStation titles (EG: Devil Dice) that can be entirely RAM-resident, and have been developed with the Net Yaroze, while using the CD strictly to spool Red Book audio (CD-DA).

Games produced[edit]

Many games made by hobbyists on the Net Yaroze were released on various demo discs that came along with the Official UK PlayStation Magazine (and other official PlayStation magazines around Europe) from December 1997 up to March 2004. The last Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue, number 108, featured a compilation with many Net Yaroze games. A regular PlayStation disc, featuring a number of user-developed games, was produced by SCEE and sent to PAL zone Yaroze owners.

Some of these games were based on arcade classics such as Mr. Do and Puzzle Bobble, while others (e.g. Time Slip) were illustrations of a novel concept. The Game Developer UK Competition, organized by Scottish Enterprise in collaboration with the Scottish Games Alliance, Sony and Edge in 1998, accepted Net Yaroze entries; the overall winner was Chris Chadwick for his game Blitter Boy: Operation Monster Mall. An updated version of Time Slip was later released for Xbox Live Arcade in February 2011 and Windows in January 2012.[3] Some of the system's developers moved into the games industry; "Fatal Fantasy" and "Terra Incognita" developer Mitsuru Kamiyama is currently director of the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series at Square Enix.[1]

Contrary to popular belief, the Net Yaroze was neither the first nor only official consumer console development kit. The PC-Engine Develo pre-dates it, and the WonderWitch followed it. The GP32 can run user programs out of the box. Finally, many earlier consoles (Astrocade, Famicom…) offered limited programming capabilities with BASIC dialects.

Net Yaroze had no direct successors on subsequent PlayStation platforms, but Sony's Linux for PlayStation 2 and YA-BASIC offered a similar feature to hobbyists and amateur developers on the PlayStation 2 console.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Absolute PlayStation, Section I, http://www.absolute-playstation.com/api_faqs/faq13.htm
  2. ^ a b IGN UK, "Net Yaroze", http://uk.psx.ign.com/objects/896/896838.html
  3. ^ "Smudged Cat Games - Timeslip". Smudgedcat.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17.