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jakpandora

console dev questions

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ok, a few console development questions. first off, is it possible to make games for any console at all without modding it in anyway? even the old ps1 would be fine with me.in fact, im actually interested in modding ps1) second, I need someone to point me to a good site for info about modding that particular console. and last, if any type of tools are needed, I need to know where to get them. keep in mind I live in the u.s.a, so if its not available there(like the inux dev kit) then I dont want it. thanks!

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Yes, it's possible for a few consoles.

A bit off topic, but the ps2linux kit is not a dev kit. It simply lets you use the PS2 as a mips based linux computer, and comes with some information about the hardware to allow you to write linux programs which use it. However, there is some tricks people figured out with the bootloader to use it for running native homebrew (i.e. not linux software) which you can write using the free homebrew toolchain. This may seem like symantics to you, but there is actually quite a big difference.

On the subject of the PS2... There are a couple ways to do homebrew without a modchip, the best way IMO being the PS2-Independence exploit, which allows you to run homebrew code but requires you have a way to copy a custom save file to the PS2 memory card to begin with (such as a commercial memory card backup tool, approx US$30)

Like just about everything else out there, you will want to use some linking software to run your homebrew to make developement many times easier. For PS2 you can use either a Prolific PL2301 USB<->USB networking cable (~US$20) or the official Sony network adapter (~US$40) plus PC side components if you don't have them (~US$12 + ~US$5 for NIC and crossover) but chances are you do.

All of the needed software tools (including the toolchain) and libraries are available on www.ps2dev.org.

The PS2 is a monster of a system though, and there isn't tons of written documentation out there.


The Dreamcast is probably one of the best choices. No mod is nessicary to boot homebrew, just a decent CD burner. There is also plenty of homebrew tools and libraries for it as well.

Unless you want to waste a huge amount of CDs, you'll need to link to your PC. The two routes are the BBA, which can easily go for well over US$100. The other option is to build a serial link, which can be made by canabalizing a NeoGeoPocketColor<->DC link cable or directly modifying the console. Depending how you build it price will range from ~US$5 to ~US$30 for the parts. You can pickup a used Dreamcast for US$20 if you look around.

I don't know of a central site for Dreamcast Homebrew (if someone else does, please let me know) but there are a lot of places out there and a google search does wonders.

Between the simplicity of the hardware and the available homebrew libraries, the Dreamcast seems pretty easy to work with.


I don't know a lot about GameBoyAdvance but it seems like another good choice. You can easily develope and test your projects in an emulator with reasonable certainty they will work on the actual hardware as well.

To run on the actual hardware, there are two ways I know of. If your project is written to be multiboot compatible you can run it over a link cable that is created by canabalizing a GBA<->GBA link cable (~US$10), otherwise you need to use a flash cart. Flash carts can be quite expensive but eventually you'll probably want one, otherwise you won't be able to use anything you write without being tied to the computer. Hopefully some day someone will donate one to me...

As I mentioned, I really don't know a lot about the GBA, however these two sites seem to be good places to check out: www.gbadev.org and http://www.devrs.com/gba/

I've heard numerous complaints from pro developers about the GBA, but lots of homebrew developers seem to love it.


There are other choices as well, such as the gp32. But to be honest, I don't know anything about them so it's best I let someone else chime in for them.

I hope that was helpful.

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Drakonite, do you know anything about the legality of developing dreamcast games? I've been wanting to tinker with console development, but I refuse to mod my ps2 or xbox. I don't even have a dreamcast, but I know I can get one cheap as hell. I assume that since dreamcast is basically a dead console sega wouldn't care about indies writing/releasing games for it. Then again, I don't want to get a "cease and desist" letter in the mail.

- heap

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As long as you are using all legally obtained tools and documentation, and are not using any copyrighted material from them, there is nothing they can do about it. This has been held up in court on at least two seperate occasions (one of which involved Sega, so they definitely know the score).

I am not a laywer, although I play one on tv. (not really, but you get the point) So if you don't want to just trust my word, look up the info on your own and take a look at the Dreamcast scene. There are at least two high profile homebrew games which have been released commercially for the Dreamcast.

For what it matters, there is a ton of unlicensed stuff being sold for all sorts of consoles. For example, none of the Datel/Codebreaker stuff is officially licensed.

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Interesting. I planned on looking into it before actually making a purchases or anything like that. Actually, I think I saw you on that show Matlock about the geriatric lawyer. =)

As if I haven't already been trying to learn a hundred different things at once, now I want to add something else. Just the way I like to do things I suppose, otherwise I get bored and don't end up doing anything.

Anyways, thanks for the info (both posts). Got me thinking.

- heap

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thanks! I really didnt want to develop for ps2, since I heard it was very hard(as I think drakonite said) I meant ps1. does anybody know of anything for ps1? even older consoles, like sega genisis would be fine with me.

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Didn't want this thread to die quite so soon =)

So, I'm very very interested in making some games for the dreamcast! I got my hands on one about 5 minutes ago. My laptop has a cd-rw, and from what I've read I can simply write the code on my laptop, burn the cd, and play the game on the dc. Man oh man this is too freakin' cool!!

- heap

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Quote:
Original post by jakpandora
thanks! I really didnt want to develop for ps2, since I heard it was very hard(as I think drakonite said) I meant ps1. does anybody know of anything for ps1? even older consoles, like sega genisis would be fine with me.

I know I wrote a lot so if you tuned out after some of the PS2 stuff I don't blame you ;)
I did go on to mention a couple other platforms, like the Dreamcast, which is probably the easiest console to dev for.

When I first answered your original post I thought you just meant the ps1 as an example, however if you wanted to specifically know about the ps1 and I misread I appologize...

PS1 is one of the consoles I don't know much about. AFAIK, you need either a modchip or a NetYaroze kit to write PS1 homebrew. I don't know of any links for the PS1, and a quick google search turned up mostly broken links, so I'd have to recommend going with something other than the PS1 even if simply because it would be a lot easier to find information.

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gues ill go with dreamcast then. I wanted a console I already had, becuase there are four tvs in my house, and two consoles on every one of them! I think I can manage a thirs though.

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