Net Yaroze is a Sony PlayStation, hobbyist development kit which allows anyone with a knowledge of the programming language C to make PlayStation games.
In addition to the Net Yaroze hardware (black PlayStation, two Controllers and an access card), Members got PlayStation 3D object creation utilities, maths and sound libraries, plus access to an exclusive Net Yaroze Members Web site for support and Net Yaroze information exchange.
See the Net Yaroze Web site at www.scee.sony.co.uk for more details.
I was a Net Yaroze member and this site is mostly based on my own experiences, recollections and research on Net Yaroze and my aim is to bring everything Net Yaroze related together here and open. It is run as a hobby to publicly document and preserve that legacy, it is in no way affiliated with any Sony subsidiaries or employees.
This site would not be possible without Qobol's support, who finds and packages Net Yaroze games and demos into a CDROM image. They are presented in the same menu that was originally used on PAL region cover discs of the Official PlayStation Magazine.
Feel free to sign the guest book or leave feedback.
Net Yaroze's ethos.
Below is a list which highlights the main Net Yaroze ethos and principles.
The Net Yaroze was offered without any promise of a publishing deal, it was strictly sold on the premise that the buyer is not a business and it was not for commercial use.
Although there were path ways to commercial releases via official channels, this was not the goal of the Net Yaroze program.
Paraphrasing Phil Harrison- By removing the expectations of a commercial product, Net Yaroze breaks past market norms and takes creative technologies outside of these conventions.
Today with the ease of self-publishing and the rise of indies, this concept is more important then ever. Focusing on business, marketing and markets is great for serious people, but for hobbyist, students and beginners it’s a huge distraction and a waste of time. Money, sales and donations changes the experience and expectations.
Because Net Yaroze wasn't made to make commercial products, this resulted in most members being inexperienced, it was also used in universities around the world, so it is well documented with a lot of guides and examples, but more importantly a community willing to support each other.
While most Net Yaroze games look simple they served as a launch pad into careers, whether in games or not.
Members were given web space to publish and share work and information. This included utilities, demos and games etc, it was also common for people to share source code in the interest of helping the community.
Because Net Yaroze membership was limited to niche hobbyist game dev's, beginners and students, this created a very intimate community where the same people talked and ask questions via the Newsgroup provided by Sony.
Sony put on special events, ranging from an online presentation to invitations to game development events. There were also many competitions ran by Sony, Edge magazine and members.
Being a console means development was specific to one hardware target (as opposed to the myriad of PC configurations).
PlayStation created a high-level library to get developers producing content very quickly, the Net Yaroze is actually most of this library, missing are a few features and formats, low-level rendering, CD video streaming and multi-tap libraries.
The limitations were for two reasons:
1) So it didn't compete with the professional kit.
2) To focus on game development, design and creativity.
The main goal of Net Yaroze was to foster creativity, new ideas and experiences, with next to no creative restrictions. Because no low-level libraries were included, performance and impressive visuals were not the goal, but the opposite. Where a small team or single person could produce a rough idea relatively quickly.
Sony promoted Net Yaroze games by often publishing them on Official PlayStation Magazine’s cover discs for many PAL regions. In the US region Japanese Net Yaroze games were included in one issue of PlayStation Underground. Over it's time, the industry had a somewhat fascination, interviewing developers in magazines and web pages. Net Yaroze games are unique and still to this day has a following for it's quirkiness and creativity.
Sony never forced Net Yaroze members to create teams, however it was suggested and encouraged here and there. But if you're interested in a career in game development, working as an 'indie' or starting a studio, then creating a team of like minded individuals will result in a better and more productive experience for everyone involved then working alone. The idea to forming a team, is that it functions like a real world game development studio, but without the money and the office issues. Read more about teams here.
Working remotely on a hobby like this was possible in the late 90's, with email, file sharing and instant chat protocol etc. However, the biggest constraint to doing team online work is usually the different time zones.