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A Net Yaroze Postmortem and gamedev lessons learnt

In 2016, I spent most of my spare time hacking away with the old playstation, Net Yaroze.
You can see all my Net Yaroze blog posts here.

My previous experience with the Net Yaroze was back in 1999.
I bought it after seeing a UK OPSM (Official PlayStation Magazine) demo disc video saying it was discounted.

At the time I was a IT student (Computer Science), I started in software development, programming C, C++, win32/mfc/OpenGL and Java.
But I majored in information systems, ie Enterprise, in the mid/late 1990’s ERP products were all the rage!
It took me about a year to go through the manuals before actually starting anything substantial.
On my Christmas break of 2000 for 3 months, I was crunching hard, I remember being locked away in my room and actually looking forward to the start of uni!
I learnt how to master the clunky 3D formats and made a 3D side scroller demo, with animated block people, very much like minecraft.

Click here to see/read more.

After that experience, I remember thinking, “if game development is this hard, I don’t want to do it!”
Also 2000 wasn’t a good time for IT work, with the dot com crash, I remember hearing about a few local game companies going bust.
So, I chose the enterprise/database field instead.
I moved to a bigger city, got a better job, bought an old house and I literally renovated everything myself that wasn’t structural! (yes even water, gas and electricity ).

Fast forward to 2013 and with major renovations were finished, I had spare time again, then I heard of the Ouya and the promise open development.
But I was very disappointed with the hardware cheapness and the scandals of “free the game fund”, so I never bought one.

Instead I got a Madcatz MOJO, it was the best Android TV box (’microconsole’ as they were called) and to me it was the Nvidia Shield TV of the time!

So that sparked an interest in game development again, I looked into open source engines I settled with Gameplay3D(C++) for a while, but the creators removed older OS support which is obviously wrong!
So, next I bought Esenthel(C#) rapid development but the owner decided to put always online DRM.. pfft, no thanks!
Then, I moved to Urho3D(C++), a lot of features but I didn’t like the C++ template design.
By this stage it was late 2015 and I didn’t have anything done, just little tech demos and the youtube videos that I randomly uploaded of them.
Around this time, the retro gaming and ‘lets play’ (aka twitch) scene became a big deal.
Not many were covering the PS1 though, until a few of the bigger channels started doing history and/or obscure gaming videos, which the Net Yaroze featured.
So, knowing when it launched, 1997 (UK/US), I thought to revisit it for the 20th anniversary and see if I can find some of the old members.

Getting set up wasn’t to bad, everything worked fine, in fact better!
Software like 2D/3D art tools and programming IDE’s where a lot better then 20 years and free!

So, I became reacquainted with the hardware, libraries and tools.
I wouldn’t say it was difficult, especially once the hard work of learning the basics (formats, fixed maths, performance testing etc)
So relearning ANSI C, GCC and make all had their challenges, but not impossible!
“Retro” game development, has made me a better programmer all round, for sure!
I got a 3D, 2player, split-screen, FPS, platformer working on it, although it’s very buggy and unfinished.

Yes, I ripped Doom sprites:

From DOOM 95 CDROM and I never distributed this!

Back then I think most people thought of it as a technical challenge.
I’ve recently started putting old Net Yaroze magazine articles on the old official UK Net Yaroze member’s site domain, it was expired for a few years! :/