TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Net Yaroze on the Mac OS

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Alternative Environments

Net Yaroze on the Macintosh OS

by Ed Ringel, with Jeremy Vineyard

Is game console development for you? MacTech takes a lightning tour of Net Yaroze on the Mac OS

Introduction

Most of us like to play games, and some of us would also like to write our own. Besides desktop computers, there are console systems on the market specifically designed for playing games. Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Atari are just a few manufacturers of these systems. Until recently, game console game development has been the exclusive domain of commercial developers. Presumably, in this way only the best quality games will be created for their systems, and will thus most effectively promote their product. Sony has created a different option, a way for hobbyists to create games for the Sony PlayStation, without participating in the professional developers program. This program is called "Net Yaroze," pronounced Yah-RO-zay.

Net Yaroze

What it is

Net Yaroze is Sony's development package that gives hobbyist developers access to the PlayStation OS. Net Yaroze comes with a Net Yaroze member's PlayStation, a special Net Yaroze access card, a boot CD for the PlayStation, a software development CD containing sample code and libraries, and paper documentation. Net Yaroze is also referred to as Yaroze. Hobbyists can subscribe to the Yaroze program for approximately $750 by contacting Sony.

What it needs

The Net Yaroze member's PlayStation is a special black PlayStation with an added port in the back for connecting to a PC. In addition to development, the Yaroze member's PlayStation can play any PlayStation game. The Net Yaroze developer kit was designed for IBM compatibles, so it uses a connection that is not directly compatible with any of the Mac I/O ports. To connect a Mac to Net Yaroze, you need a DB-9 adapter cable, also known as a modem cable (around $ 5-10). [Note that the connection is DB-9, not DB-25. --Ed.] CodeWarrior for PlayStation does not come with Net Yaroze and must be purchased separately for around $300.

The Net Yaroze development system uses a serial port, so if both a printer and a modem are already hooked up to the Mac, a serial port switch box or PortJuggler may be an excellent investment. These devices range in price from $20 to $130 depending on their capabilities.

To debug (and play) Net Yaroze games some sort of video system is necessary. Generally, this means an external monitor, an RCA video input (AV Mac's), or a TV/video capture card. There is no "right" decision here. I have been using TurboTV- a cross-platform PCI TV card for either Mac or PC, but I was disappointed by the extra compatibility problems introduced when I installed the card. It can make the computer somewhat unstable, and virtual memory must be off for systems before 7.6. Unless you already have video input capabilities in your Mac, an extra cheap television may actually be a better purchase than a TV card. A "real" TV has the advantage of showing what the images will really to look like, but the computer screen TV image is dithered and interlaced, even in millions of colors. Also, TV cards are convenient and make it easy to capture screenshots and QuickTime movies of your games. Why the extra TV? Although most people already have a television at their disposal, they may not be willing to dedicate it solely to the purpose of debugging and playing Yaroze games.

What it isn't

Net Yaroze is very different from commercial PlayStation development. The vision of Sony in creating this program is that of a worldwide group of talented, programming hobbyists developing games to play and share amongst themselves, connected by the Internet under the help, care, and guidance of Sony. This is not a low end, alternative entry point into commercial programming, but a hobbyist's club with many safeguards (or obstacles, depending upon how you see it) to prevent the dissemination of hobbyist developed games into the protected, quality controlled end user market.

Net Yaroze games will run only on Net Yaroze consoles; they will not run on commercial PlayStations. Obviously, this is Sony's main firewall between the Net Yaroze and commercial development programs. Conversely, commercial games will happily run on Yaroze units. In fact, one perk of being a Yarozian is that any commercial game for any of the target markets will run on a Net Yaroze box; there is no geographical lockout as with commercial games units. (PlayStations marketed for North America, for example, will only run games marketed for North America.)

Another difference is that the code libraries provided are a subset of the commercial development libraries. Also among the main differences is a ceiling on code size for Net Yaroze development. The licensing program, although reasonable, appears to be no nonsense in character and would probably not be tolerant of efforts to breach the hobbyist/commercial separation. The reader is recommended to the web sites mentioned at the end of the article for some excellent FAQ pages that help delineate the specifics of the program.

Thus, although PlayStation development may hold considerable interest for the hobbyist game developer, the up-front cost may be substantial. Furthermore, there may be several hassle factors: loss of a port, Mac OS specific costs, and the pros and cons of various video output solutions.

Learning To Program for Net Yaroze

The Net Yaroze package comes with three manuals: a startup guide that shows you how to set up the Net Yaroze and run sample programs (for IBM PC's); a user guide that explains the various components of the PlayStation OS; and a library reference manual that contains descriptions of library functions that can be accessed when writing Yaroze software.

The manuals are thorough, but they describe a complex environment. PlayStation game developers must deal with most of the same problems as do game developers for PC's; game console development is far from easy. Proficiency in C or C++ is required to be able to understand the documentation and sample code. C is strongly recommended as the development language by Sony. C++ is not officially supported, although can be used.

Net Yaroze has its own web site specifically designed for Net Yaroze developers. This web site contains sample programs written by other Net Yaroze users or by Sony, documentation concerning PlayStation data formats, and other useful information concerning Net Yaroze development. The web site also contains utility programs for Net Yaroze developers, but for now they are mostly only for IBM PC's.

Net Yaroze on Macintosh

Setting up the system

To set up Net Yaroze for Macintosh, the prospective developer needs to follow a few simple steps. First, insert the Net Yaroze access card into the PlayStation. Next, connect the PlayStation to the Macintosh serial port using the DB-9 adapter cable. Then, install CodeWarrior for PlayStation and the supporting Yaroze libraries. Finally, boot the PlayStation with the Net Yaroze boot CD. After following these steps, programs and data files can be downloaded to the PlayStation. Let's take a moment to look at the Mac OS specific development system, CodeWarrior for PlayStation.

CodeWarrior for PlayStation

CodeWarrior for PlayStation is a plugin for the CodeWarrior IDE environment. By maintaining a standard interface, developers familiar with the CodeWarrior IDE will have little trouble writing code for the PlayStation. The CodeWarrior for PlayStation package includes the IDE and plugin for both Mac and Windows platforms along with on-line documentation explaining how to target the PlayStation platform. It also includes a tool for converting graphics to TIM, the PlayStation graphics format, and one sample program for Net Yaroze.

CodeWarrior for PlayStation is still in its early DR stages, so developers should be cautious when considering a purchase of this product. The environment itself is stable, but the tools are sparse and not very well developed at this point. Fortunately, Metrowerks is working on improving tools for PlayStation development.

Currently, it is impossible to run many of the sample programs that are posted on the Net Yaroze web pages because source code is not available, but Metrowerks plans to fix this shortcoming in the near future.

PlayStation technical support was variable. I posted several technical questions on comp.sys.mac.programmer.codewarrior and had replies from several

people that same day. An e-mail to tech support however, received no response.

Let's Write Some Games!

To write games for the PlayStation, a developer must understand the PlayStation OS and libraries which are described in the reference manuals included along with the Net Yaroze environment. The developer must then convert any graphics or sound data to the appropriate PlayStation data formats using the tools provided with CodeWarrior for PlayStation. Conversion tools can also be found on the web. After the PlayStation code has been written in C or C++, it can be compiled into a PlayStation executable file which is then opened into the Metrowerks debugger (the release that comes with CodeWarrior for PlayStation must be used). Once a PlayStation file is opened in the debugger, it can be downloaded to the PlayStation. At this point, you will be playing your very own, custom-made PlayStation game! Now, let's stamp out the bugs.

Figure 1. Net Yaroze Sample Program.

Debugging PlayStation Games

Cross platform development can tax even high end host computers. Environment limits are especially noticeable during the Net Yaroze debugging process. Because the debugger must communicate with the PlayStation through a serial cable, the debugging process, even at its fastest terminal speed, can be painful. Stepping through in the debugger is slow even on a 200 MHz Mac. It is not possible to switch programs after one has started running. Instead, the PlayStation must be reset manually every time a new program is to be run or the same program is to be rerun. This is particularly inefficient and slow because of Sony's startup advertisements. Metrowerks plans to fix this in an upcoming release.

Perhaps the most serious problem with the debugging process is that breakpoints cannot be set or edited while the PlayStation program is running. The implications of this are that developers must decide exactly where they want their breakpoints before starting debugging, something that is difficult to do with larger projects. According to Metrowerks, this is a hardware limitation and cannot be fixed.

Summary

Net Yaroze provides hobbyists with the opportunity to write authentic console games. Until now, that has been difficult to accomplish. Metrowerks is currently working on new tools that will make Macintosh Net Yaroze development much easier in the near future. The would-be console game programmer should be aware of the limitations of the system, the steep learning curve, and the costs involved. Nonetheless, Net Yaroze development might be a new and satisfying undertaking for the hobbyist, and give the would-be professional a chance to test the waters.

Products Reviewed

Net Yaroze, Sony Corporation. See URL's for contact information. CodeWarrior for PlayStation/Net Yaroze. See URL's for contact information.

Useful URL's

http://www.scea.sony.com/net/index.html is Sony's home page for Net Yaroze information. The interested reader is strongly recommended to this page. In particular, the FAQ page can really help you make a decision regarding purchase.

http://www.Metrowerks.com/products/cw/playstation/cwps/index.html and http://www.Metrowerks.com/products/cw/playstation/netyaroze/index.html are two pages are Metrowerks index pages into CodeWarrior for PlayStation and CodeWarrior for Net Yaroze. Again, the interested reader is vigorously recommended to these pages. Both the Sony and Metrowerks pages have links to related sites, email contacts, registration forms, etc.


Ed Ringel, eringel@mint.net, is Contributing Editor for product reviews for MacTech Magazine. In his spare time, he is a respiratory and critical care physician in Waterville, Maine.

Jeremy Vineyard, jeremyv@screenplay.com, is a software engineer at Screenplay Systems. His interests include developing games, software utilities, and application class libraries.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BBEdit 11.1.1 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
CrossOver 14.1.3 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.3 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.2.3 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniFocus 2.2 - GTD task manager with iO...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
Cocktail 8.4 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.3 - Edit and print password...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Kodi 15.0.beta1 - Powerful media center...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.4.12 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.3.0.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more

Moleskine Timepage – Calendar for iCloud...
Moleskine Timepage – Calendar for iCloud, Google & Exchange 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The most elegant calendar for your pocket and wrist, Timepage is a... | Read more »
QuizUp Gets Social in its New Update
Plain Vanilla Corp has released a new and improved version of their popular trivia game, QuizUp. The app now emphasizes social play so you can challenge friends from all over the world. [Read more] | Read more »
The Deep (Games)
The Deep 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Swipe Controls Delve into the deep in this retro rogue-like! Swipe to move your diver around and keep away from the enemies as you... | Read more »
Battle of Gods: Ascension (Games)
Battle of Gods: Ascension 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: TURN-BASED TACTICAL COMBATFight tactical battles against the forces of Hades! In Battle of Gods: Ascension you play... | Read more »
Shadowmatic's Latest Update Adds a...
Shadowmatic's shadowy shadow-ness is getting a little shadowy-er thanks to a recent update that adds an Arcade Mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Sunrise Calendar and Slack Have Assimila...
Wunderlist is perhaps one of the most populat and beloved productivity apps on the App Store - and now it's gone and incorporated itself into other useful services like Sunrise Calendar and Slack. [Read more] | Read more »
Crossy Road Devs Hipster Whale are Bring...
Hipster Whale, the minds behind the rather popular (and rather great) Crossy Road, have teamed-up with Bandai Namco to create PAC-MAN 256: an absolutely bonkers looking maze runner chaser thing. | Read more »
Meet the New Spotify Music
Spotify Music  has a lot going on. They're introducing 3 new modes to serve all your musical needs, with the "Now" start page  gives you curated playlists based on your particular tastes. As you listen the app will learn more about your tastes and... | Read more »
What the Apple Watch Gets Right, and Wha...
| Read more »
Celebrate PAC-MAN's 35th Birthday W...
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America is celebrating PAC-MAN's 35th anniversary by releasing updates for PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN Lite for iOS. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
What Would the ideal Apple Productivity Platf...
For the past four years I’ve kept a foot in both the Mac and iPad camps respectively. my daily computing hours divided about 50/50 between the two devices with remarkable consistency. However, there’... Read more
PageMeUp 1.2.1 Ten Dollar Page Layout Applica...
Paris, France-based Softobe, an OS X software development company, has announced that their PageMeUp v. 1.2.1, is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99. The license can be installed on up to 5... Read more
Eight New Products For USB Type-C Application...
Fresco Logic, specialists in advanced connectivity technologies and ICs, has introduced two new product families targeting the Type-C connector recently introduced across a number of consumer... Read more
Scripps National Spelling Bee Launches Buzzwo...
Scripps National Spelling Bee fans can monitor the action at the 2015 Spelling Bee with the new Buzzworthy app for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. The free Buzzworthy app provides friendly... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $120 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $979 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model (except for Apple’... Read more
27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899, $10...
B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $50 on iPad Air 2, NY tax only, fr...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
New 13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
Engineering Manager for *Apple* Maps on the...
…the Maps App Team get to take part in just about any new feature in Apple Maps, often contributing a majority of the feature work. In our day-to-day engineering work, we Read more
Senior Software Engineer - *Apple* SIM - Ap...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.