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Written By: SONY
I. HOW, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE
II. COST, PAYMENTS, CONDITIONS
IV. COMPLETED WORK
V. WHERE DO I SIGN-UP?
I. HOW, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE ----------------------
Q. What does Net Yaroze mean? How is it pronounced?
A. YAROZE (yarozei), or phonetically (ya row zey) vb. means "let's do it together" or "let's work together" in Japanese. The term embraces the Net Yaroze concept of getting members to work together and share their work to reach meaningful objectives in what they do.
Q. When will Net Yaroze be available in the U.S. and Canada?
A. Net Yaroze is currently targeted for release within the U.S. and Canada by late March 1997. It is possible this may change. Interested persons should make certain they register their interest so that they are automatically updated when news becomes available.
Q. Is Net Yaroze planned for Mexico?
A. We want to support and service programmers in Mexico, however, plans to do so are not in place at this time.
Q. Can I license the U.S. version of Net Yaroze to be shipped outside of the U.S. or Canada?
A. Sony Computer Entertainment America will not accept international transactions. Interested persons outside of North America will be referred to other Sony facilities for support if they exist for that region. See the answer to the most popular question of all at the top of this document.
Q. What is the difference between Net Yaroze and a professional developers' program?
A. SCEA's professional developers' program is much more intensive. The commercial package includes a more detailed level of hardware/software tools, hardware with greater RAM capacity, an in-depth array of on-site assistance and on-call technical help.
A. The professional PlayStation development system includes additional hardware and software tools; more in-depth library api; a full developer support program which includes on-site assistance and on-call technical help. The Net Yaroze PlayStation development system provides a simple and easily understood development environment by providing a subset of the libraries and tools of the professional development system.
Q. How will the Net Yaroze system differ from the Japanese version?
A. All the basic elements provided in the Net Yaroze program are universal with the exception of translated text within support materials and the Internet address where members go for support.
Q. So, U.S. Japanese and European users will not be able to trade tips and games.
A. SCEA will be devising ways for information to cross- pollinate between support sites. Until that happens automatically, SCEA will help transport files between systems to benefit all members.
Q. Hardware-wise, how is the Net Yaroze unit different from the North American PlayStation which is sold in stores?
A. The retail (gray) North American PlayStation hardware unit can only play commercially developed PlayStation game titles from licensed PlayStation developers and publishers. The Yaroze hardware offers no territorial lock-out, which means that that it can play both PAL (Europe) and NTSC (Japan, U.S.) PlayStation discs. However, the user will need a multi-format TV to play all of these properly.
Q. Won't Net Yaroze have either an S-Video or an A/V out? If so, won't that straight video be correctly interpreted by the TV no matter what format it is in?
A. S-Video, Composite, etc. are all different ways to deliver the same signal, regardless of whether it is NTSC or PAL. The Net Yaroze system detects whether the software is intended for NTSC or PAL and outputs the appropriate signal. You will need a monitor which is also capable of handling either signal if you wish to use software for both formats.
Q. Will Net Yaroze be available in stores?
A. Net Yaroze is an extension of the services provided by SCEA's Research & Development department. In many ways, Net Yaroze members become a part of SCEA's R&D; activities. This unique relationship with Sony on a developer level will not be available from any independent retailer to insure members get support direct from SCEA and no where else. In short, Net Yaroze is not a mass market product and will not be available from retailers.
Q. Where can I get support while a member of Net Yaroze?
A. Net Yaroze integrates a World Wide Web Site with support areas, file download areas, message areas and more. No live telephone support is available as part of the Net Yaroze program. Access to the Web Site is limited to one year and renewable for a modest fee.
Q. What kind of fee?
A. That information has not been determined and is forthcoming.
Q. How long will Net Yaroze be offered? Is this a limited time offer?
A. SCEA is committed to offer the Net Yaroze system for as long as there is there is demand for it. Based on initial feedback, we expect that may very well be for a very long time.
Q. I have a Web Site or I am a magazine writer and want to interview someone about Net Yaroze. Who should I contact?
A. Contact Molly Smith by e-mail at: Molly_Smith@Interactive.Sony.COM
Note, this address is for the press only. Non-press inquiries will not receive replies.
Q. May I post this FAQ file on my web site?
A. This document may be redistributed in whole in any environment that is supportive of Net Yaroze and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
II. COST, PAYMENTS, CONDITIONS --------------------------
Q. How much does Net Yaroze cost?
A. Net Yaroze will be available for $750 in North America plus applicable taxes and shipping. Other costs may be associated to using Net Yaroze if the developer does not have other tools that may be required such as a personal computer or, perhaps, a more robust C compiler than the one provided.
Q. Can I save any money if I already own a PlayStation?
A. The Net Yaroze black PlayStation is different from those sold in stores. It is not interchangeable for development purposes.
Q. Can I purchase more than one Net Yaroze PlayStation?
A. The unique PlayStation designed for the Net Yaroze program is not for sale as a typical consumer product. Although the special PlayStation is sold to the purchaser, some components of the system are licensed for use and not sold. SCEA cannot offer these components separately accept as advised by SCEA if any component is ever in need of repair.
It is perfectly acceptable for one individual to obtain more than one for unique applications, however each one must be registered separately and all terms and fees remain the same for each.
Q. Can I purchase the Net Yaroze PlayStation for resale?
A. Net Yaroze is a developers network available and serviced directly by Sony Computer Entertainment America. It will not be licensed to any party for the purpose of resale.
Q. So, I can only sign-up for Net Yaroze from Sony Computer Entertainment America?
A. Within the United States and Canada, yes. Members will demand and expect support tools which can only be made available under license directly from SCEA.
Q. Why does Net Yaroze cost as much as it does?
A. Net Yaroze is an economical version of professional packages which are licensed for many, many thousands of dollars. Net Yaroze includes all the essential elements of a comprehensive development package plus support tools have been streamlined to bring the price down to a level that dedicated enthusiasts and aspiring developers can afford. Net Yaroze is not a toy. It should be considered only by those people wishing to seriously engage in software development projects.
Q. Will SCEA accept planned payments?
A. Sony Computer Entertainment America will only ship Net Yaroze products when paid in full. SCEA will not have a financing program available.
Q. What forms of payment will SCEA accept?
A. It is anticipated that American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard may be used to pay the required licensing fees. Of course, money orders and cashier checks are always welcome.
Q. Is Net Yaroze refundable if I don't like it?
A. Net Yaroze is not a mass market consumer item and will not be available on any trial basis. SCEA will stand behind every unit from a manufacturing point of view, honoring any warranty (90 days) issue that may arise. On the other hand, Net Yaroze is a license. The black PlayStation is just one small part of the entire agreement to share information. It is not refundable and members are held accountable for their agreement to protect proprietary information shared with them. Those interested in Net Yaroze should consider their investment carefully in advance.
III. TECHNICAL ---------
Q. What else is required to develop software using Net Yaroze?
A. A 486 DX2 66MHz IBM-compatible personal computer with one or more serial ports, 28.8 bps speed modem, an Internet connection, 2X CD-ROM, 10MB of hard disk space, 4MB of RAM, mouse and an SVGA monitor is minimally required for Net Yaroze. In addition, members will need to be familiar with the operation of such a computer as well as a basic background using the C programming language and the ability to access the Internet and the World Wide Web. SCEA does not offer any training for using a computer or the use of the programming language.
Q. Why 66MHz? How about on slower systems?
A. We recommend a minimum of 66MHz for optimum performance. Choosing any configuration other than the minimums recommended are at the developer's risk.
Q. Can I use the Yaroze system on my Macintosh?
A. Yes. The Net Yaroze system can run on an Apple Macintosh with the aid of a complete development environment called CodeWarrior designed by Metrowerks Corporation. They also provide the same software development environment for Windows 95/NT. More information will become available soon.
Q. Are the Net Yaroze tools DOS-based or Windows-based.
A. Two utility programs supplied with the system are Windows-based. Otherwise, the entire system is DOS-based.
Q. Can I use international CDs on a Net Yaroze PlayStation?
A. One of the "special" features of the black Net Yaroze PlayStation is its ability to play software distributed anywhere in the world.
Q. Can anyone with a PlayStation play the games I write?
A. Net Yaroze applications are only capable of being executed by other Net Yaroze members who have a black developers' PlayStation; however, the use of Net Yaroze applications will be strictly subject to the terms of a license agreement. Net Yaroze developer's applications are shared only on the Net Yaroze Web Site. Q. How long does it take for a competent person to learn "C" as a programming language?
A. That's very similar to asking how long it may take to learn to speak French (unless you already know it). It depends on your background, how good you want to be, how much time per day you allocate to the learning process and what learning skills you have. Please do not purchase Net Yaroze to learn C. You can learn the same C on a PC then consider applying your skills to dedicated platforms at a later time. There are no components of the Net Yaroze package to teach the use of C.
Q. Do you recommend any specific books, links or resources for learning how to program in C?
A. No. Learning how to program requires a lot of effort. Many people have learned on their own and many others find they need to sign up for formal courses in school. SCEA will not attempt to evaluate individuals and their abilities to learn programming skills. We highly recommend that individuals do not join Net Yaroze unless they are already comfortable with the basics in C programming and computer use.
Q. Why is "C" the development language on Net Yaroze instead of ?C++??
A. C++ may be used, however, C is usually more efficient in a game programming environment where active programming space may be an important issue.
Q. Why doesn?t Net Yaroze pack-in Borland?s or Microsoft?s C++?
A. For a number of reasons. Net Yaroze members are expected to come to us with a great variety of skills and experience. Many of them will already own a comprehensive C++ package. Those individuals would certainly not wish to pay more than they have to for Net Yaroze in order to purchase the development language again or to purchase another one when they have one they are pleased with already. In many cases, professional programmers prefer not to use versions C++ for platform game development to help optimize memory configurations.
Those who desire an alternative programming language may consider one on an optional basis and at their leisure.
Q. Is it true that the code for each Net Yaroze program developed cannot be greater than 3.5 MB?
A. Primary RAM in Net Yaroze is 2 megabyte PLUS there are secondary RAM locations that grant programmers up to 3.5 megabyte of working space. Game code, graphics, audio samples and run-time libraries are limited to 3.5 megabyte because Net Yaroze drivers must be installed. There are many commercial PlayStation titles that are entirely RAM-resident and could have been developed with Net Yaroze while using the CD strictly to spool Red Book audio (i.e. Ridge Racer by Namco).
Creative developers apply compression and run-time techniques that accomplish virtually anything they strive for. Again, Net Yaroze can be used as a professional tool, but it is not intended to be as robust as much more expensive machines.
Q. How can Net Yaroze programs be made to run on a normal (gray) PlayStation?
A. Net Yaroze participants can share their work with other Net Yaroze members throughout the world by posting that work on SCEA's designated server, Web Site or any other location authorized by SCEA. The standard consumer PlayStation is not designed to run Net Yaroze titles directly. All commercially available PlayStation titles are developed by "licensed developers" and published by "licensed publishers" using a specialized professional PlayStation development environment. Of course, Net Yaroze members can eventually apply to become a fully licensed commercial developer at any time.
Q. What kind of software can I develop using the Net Yaroze development system?
A. Anything! There are virtually no rules. It may be something popularly asked for or not have anything to do with a game as defined by today's marketplace. SCEA does reserve the right to remove samples from the Net Yaroze Web Site that is offensive or illegal.
Q. Can I design full-working engines not originally provided with Net Yaroze, or am I limited to use the engines provided when I join?
A. Net Yaroze members are encouraged to design and share their work with other Net Yaroze members including engines, graphics, simple/complex routines, programming structures, etc.
Q. What kind of software can I develop that is most likely to be published commercially?
A. This is hard to answer. On one hand, there seem to be enough baseball games already. On the other hand someone will create a new baseball game like none other before. Successful games seem to be those that offer a high degree of immersion and virtual world interaction. Sports games need to be fast and lifelike. Fantasy and arcade games need to be visually stunning and full of surprises. Some developers start with a remake of an old favorite and hope they can acquire a license later or change it enough to be different such as Doom II or Duke Nuke 'em. Other developers begin with a premise that some completely new idea is marketable such as Tetris, Klax or Zoop.
Q. Is the link cable supported in hardware and software?
A. There are two links that may be referred to by this question. There is the serial link to the PC for the Net Yaroze package and there is the game link cable intended for head-to-head gaming between two different PlayStations. In either case, the same PlayStation port is used and Net Yaroze does not include library functions to directly address either link.
Q. Can I develop a networked application with the Yaroze?
A. Creative and experienced developers will accomplish many things using Net Yaroze tools. Many things are possible. That's what makes a talented developer valuable. The system does not provide library calls for this function.
Q. Are there any restrictions on developing applications that are not games?
A. We hope the Net Yaroze program will allow a lot of freedom in creativity in regard to what content will be created. SCEA does not place restrictions on Net Yaroze members as to what kind of applications to develop.
Q. Does Net Yaroze interface with any memory cards?
A. The Net Yaroze package includes the tools needed to interface with PlayStation compatible Memory Cards which are used in the slots above the controller ports just as they are on the commercial versions of the game system.
Q. Can we access the CD to play audio and/or video?
A. During the boot-up of Net Yaroze, a special CD is required on the PlayStation that contains information for the system. After boot-up, the PlayStation may be used to play Red Book audio from a standard audio CD.
It may be possible to access files on the PC, however, it would be up to the developer to devise such protocols if such functions are desired.
IV. COMPLETED WORK --------------
Q. Who owns the rights to software developed written using the Net Yaroze system?
A. The original author retains legal ownership of all source code that he or she creates as part of Net Yaroze except as protected by applicable copyright law. For instance, users who create copies of Crash Bandicoot or Asteroids cannot assume rights to that work. Individual authors are legally responsible for the work in terms of infringement of copyright, etc.
In particular, source code can be freely shared among Net Yaroze members as desired by its creators -- in accordance with their agreement with SCEA. Indeed, a cornerstone of Net Yaroze is the concept of members sharing their work and ideas, and participating in joint projects. Note that distributed code through the Net Yaroze program can only be downloaded by other Net Yaroze members throughout the world. To formally publish software for all PlayStation owners, Net Yaroze members will need to look at becoming licensed as commercial developers.
Q. Will my software be published commercially?
A. We hope to publish commercial products containing software developed through the Net Yaroze program; statiscally, however, it is not very likely that any one project will be published.
Even a great number of projects which begin as commercial projects never make it to store shelves. It would be misleading to promise a great likelihood, but many of the "big guys" do have modest beginnings. Bear in mind that commercial software must be compelling and not infringent on anyone else's copyrights.
Q. Is there any interest by Sony in working with companies to develop specific applications?
A. SCEA also offers a professional developer program. Serious developers should consider whether a hobbyist grade package really fits their needs. SCEA will not be looking to partner with development programs originating from the Net Yaroze program. When commercial grade work evolves from Net Yaroze members, SCEA will counsel with the developer on an individual basis.
Q. Where should I start if I'm not a programmer?
A. If you are not presently a programmer, Net Yaroze will probably not be for you right away. The best thing to do would be to purchase some books on programming and a BASIC or C programming package for development on the computer. You may wish to look into some local college courses that may be offered.
V. WHERE DO I SIGN-UP?
------------------- Q. Where can I go for more information?
A. People interested in Net Yaroze can register their interest by e-mailing their name, address, phone number and email address to:
Sony Computer Entertainment America is also developing a Web Site in which users can obtain more information about Net Yaroze. The address of this site will be announced soon. See the top of this document for registering interest in other parts of the world.
Please note that the views expressed in this review are those of the writer and not of A.P.I