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Open Source Programming On The UK PSX2 124

Anonymous Coward writes: "According to this article at www.ComputerandVideogames.com the demo disc included with PS2 in Europe will come with a fun programming utility called YABASIC (Yet Another BASIC). YABASIC is an open source language that allows for the creation of simple routines, including rudimentary 3D. The programs created will be saved on memory cards. Isn't the purpose of buying a PSX2 so you don't have to play old- looking games?"
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Open Source Programming On The UK PSX2

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Isn't the purpose of buying a PSX2 so you don't have to play old looking games?

    Oh, for god's sakes. Play games because they're good games, not because they're "old looking." I still play doom and stuff even older than doom because it's fun to do so. Show me someone who claims a game is superior to another game just because it has X-blitted trilinear alpha-mipped gigapolypixels or whatever they think is the latest and greatest, and I'll show you someone who doesn't know how to enjoy a good game.

    This sort of stuff is useful for people who are just learning to program. I would have _loved_ to have something like this when I was young. As it was, I had to make do with Logo :)

  • Man, Now I gotta get one of these CDs when I get a PSX2?!?
  • As far as I was aware the only reason Sony are releasing this BASIC is for tax reasons. They're trying to get the UK authorities to classify the machine as a 'computer' and not a 'video-game' - as a computer has 0% import tax, and a video-game 2.2% import tax.

    See this for a bit more detail [dailyradar.com] - I can't find the original link I read a day or two ago which had more information, I'm afraid.

  • but you can watch your pr0n DVD's on the PS2, now!! so all those pimply fanboys want one!
  • I can just see a new 3-d version of nibbles and gorilla! (Anybody else remember the terrible qbasic games that shipped with DOS?)
  • Since the entire post was in quotes, I don't think you can say either way about what words Timothy likes, now can you?
    There was an article yesterday on /. about using the PS2 as a DVD player... look it up.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
    cheap dvd player?? at $299.99??
    are you nuts?

    I can buy an apex dvd player for $89.00
    I think that is a helluva lot cheaper than a PS2

    I really think you should look at dvd players before saying that a ps2 is a cheap dvd player. (cheap as in quality? yes. cheap as in price? no.)
  • include java? to teach them what? that their code is supposed to run insanely slow and look like a mess?

    no thank you. If we want to teach a kid to program we start with turtle when they are 7-8, then to basic for 9-10 and then start the introduction to C for 11-12 and then revert to assembler for 13-14. A kid following that regiment would out-program any of the self proclaimed leet. anyone that has programmed in assembler has a solid understanding on how things work. Java? the computer becomes a nice puffy cloud.... oooohhh fluffy, pretty... Frame buffering? what's that? fluffy clouds, Mmmm I love java.... access registers directly? why would I do that? fluffy java.... yummy....

    No I would never let a kid touch java. unless I was trying to make them confused and un-productive.

    (Go ahead, write quake in java my friend.)
  • Oh, right... whoops. I got mine in Japan, and did a quick inventory of its ports before posting.
  • I don't know if you were playing with an RF connector or what, but the three games I have have been great:

    Fantavision is a pretty decent puzzle game, and actually has some really good visuals - it doesn't look like much at first but it has more detail than you realize. Plus, it's a great particle system demo!

    DOA2: Hardcore looks great, although there isn't much that makes you say "WOW" it has a lot of detail as well and the animation is well done.

    SSX, however, is just amazing. Playing the first two tracks did not totally amaze me, though I thought the game looked great - playing the Mercury City Meltdown track though is AMAZING. The distance you can see is huge, the jumps are huge, the course is huge. It's just about worth owning the system for all by itself, just as Mario 64 made the initial purchase of the N64 worth while. The fact that it is a first generation game leaves me in awe at what future games might look like.

  • When they do, it will be too late because the X-Box and Gamecube will be out, will be a lot easier to program for, and will be a lot more powerful. And the Dreamcast by then will have a huge library of great, good looking games. The Saturn showed us what happens to consoles when they are hard to program for. The Saturn was more powerful than the Playstation but look who won out.
  • Are you braindead? If games like SSX,Kessen and Tekken Tag are bland then you need glasses. Remember these are first gen titles they will only get better.
  • As has been noted in many articles posted in the recent past: game development is always somewhat lacking when a platform is first released. There is a learning curve for developers on every system, new processors to be dealt with and new tricks to learn. Super Mario 3 was written for the same machine as the first two games, lest we forget. One of the main issues with the PS2 is the major paradigm shift that comes from having two so distinct processors (the Emotion Engine and the graphics processor). Once developers begin figuring out how best to use the immense resources of this machine, we will see much improved performance, graphics and ass-kicking factor in the games released for it. Till then, be patient. No one says you have to buy one, but don't slander something which has yet to be truly tested and exploited.

  • What media did the 3DO system use?
  • I saw this story [theregister.co.uk] first at the U.K.'s voice, The Register [theregister.co.uk]. It seems like it's blatant that that's just what Sony is doing.
  • it may not be too much fun to pound out code with a gamepad with TV resolution

    ...or plug in your USB keyboard. Either way...
  • The PCMCIA port was replaced by an expansion bay for the non-Japanese releases.
  • this is not just plain old apple basic, this guy i know ported basic to PSX, and he provided a 3D library, and with basic you can throw up little cute games fast, I am sure PS2 will do the same, you will get a nice simple 2D and 3D library. This rocks, THis is why I like Sony, they did it with PSX(1) Yaroze, and now they do it again, let the people who play there games get into programming!

  • Perl man... get them all sick, twisted, and deranged from the start... they'll code better that way ;)

    Brian Macy
  • This is exactly the kind of unnecessary bragging that gives us nerds a bad name socially. Many of us here have matched or exceeded your accomplishments, yet are too HUMBLE to brag about them in an article with almost no relevance. Think about it, how much did one learn from your post? The only section not laced with boasts is the last, "Of course, if you have a better suggestion for a programming language for kids to screw around with, I am all ears." Well said. NOT.

    You are yet another sign that Slashdot is degenerating.

    That said, I would think the benefit of programming in BASIC on the PSX2 would be less that using a computer, because a large part of learning is seeing examples, sharing with friends, etc. However, for the more intermediate/advanced programmers I can see where it might be fun.
  • after fasttracker2, qbasic nibbles seemed unplayable. ech.
  • well, it's just due to the "hackish" fetish for recursive Acronyms :*)
  • Not just lower tariff, but no tariff at all. Importing computers to Europe is tax-free, importing consoles isn't..
  • Hey, I wrote that program back in 1980! You will be hearing from my lawyer.

    - Michael Cohn
  • If you can enter code by keyword (i.e. select it from a menu) instead of by letter, it might work better...

    No idea how this one is supposed to work though.
  • Does any one know what the import tax is on DVD players in the UK? I presume it's not zero. So what are you selling Sony, a 'home entertainment box' or a 'Computer box'? and no, including 'basic' with it doesn't make it a computer, in my book.
  • We get ripped off because we're willing to buy at that price.

    Believe it or not, the UK is still subject to the laws of supply and demand. If there was less demand at this price, the cost would come down. The answer is simple. Don't buy a PS2 until they half the price in a month or two (which is what always happens after the peak demand has gone)
  • Heh, dont even bother with java on a 386!!!

    Try uhm, Beggining Java from WROX, its not the greatest but it assumes no prior OO nor programming experience..

    Jeremy

  • Allegro [sourceforge.net] is an easy-to-use multimedia library for game programming in C. (No, C isn't that much harder than Basic.) Allegro programs are portable across Linux, DOS, Windows, and (soon) BeOS.
  • installing [the Allegro [sunsite.dk] library] is a kind of rocket science

    What's so hard about this?

    1. Download and unzip DJGPP [delorie.com] (djdev, GCC, Binutils, Texinfo, RHIDE, etc.) and the Allegro library.
    2. Set two environment variables in your autoexec.bat and reboot.
    3. Allegro 3.9.3x comes pre-configured for DOS. cd into .../allegro/ and
      make
      make install
  • And BASIC is supposed to be a good thing to introduce to begining programmers, in this day and age? No way, programming languages in general have advanced since BASIC, and the same can surely be said for beginner friendly programming languages.

    Introducing kids to programming through BASIC or Visual BASIC is doing a great disservice to them. Show them a language that supports intuitive forms of computational abstraction. If the kids aren't taught how to see various levels of abstraction, in programming, then they will never see the power of it.

    I remember when I was taught a version of some line numbered BASIC (can't remember the exact BASIC)... it was my first introduction to programming in a high school class. Yuck! Talk about a turn off to programming. I couldn't see how anything worthwhile could be accomplished with BASIC. Yes, I now know that many people have coded great things in BASIC. My point is that its hard witness the intuitive notion of computational abstraction, which is a trancendental issue for computer science, in most variants of BASIC.

    Give the kids something simple, clean, and yet which supplies intuitive abstraction constructs.

    BASIC was a beginners language in the 70s and 80s. This is the year 2000. Lets move on.
  • Just from memory, nothing to quote from, isn't there something like 14% tax on video equipment imports to EU (hangover from anti-Japanese VCR protectionism in the '80s). Better not shout about that DVD drive.

  • Apples and oranges comparisons are difficult. You can compare, but it's hard to compare figures, it's easier to let the the customer's eyeballs and wallet decide.

    I too am disappointed with the Sony I have, a Japanese import. I'm not a PS2 developer, but I do program VLIW machines with similar complexity and parallelism, and you can see why it's a nightmare to code for by reading any -serious- article about the internals, eg in Microprocessor Report.

    If the games are to get better, it will be because game developers use middleware that has been optimised for PS2 at great cost in time and effort, as opposed to each developer re-inventing the wheel, which must be becoming prohibitively expensive. I'm thinking stuff like Netimmerse, Alchemy, Renderware, Mathengine ...

    It's naive to ask here, but can anyone give me any useful feedback on my opinion regarding middleware?

  • Huh? tolan-b gets a cheap laugh out of my use of the expression "apples and oranges", but redeems himself by posting a funny link, one that can be used as he did to constructive effect. So I reply saying ha ha well done. I get moderated down as overrated for that?

    So punish me more. I've got 5 points and I'll try bring some joy into the world with them.

  • Please don't say those things publically, someone may take it seriously !
  • Try Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckel - free download from Eckel Objects [eckelobjects.com]. There's a C++ book on there as well, for maximum OO goodness.

    HTH.

  • Certainly I learnt a large amount of clever programming tricks on the ZX Spectrum by disassembling other peoples programs and figuring out what they did from the assembly.

    I doubt the PS2 will come with a freeze machine and examine the machine state / twiddle the bytes in memory one by one tool even if it was understandable.

    Also on the ZX spectrum they did at least tell you what all the hardware was and how it worked, they also had programming books in libraries for people to try out.

  • 10 INPUT "SELECT DVD ZONE:
    20 LET Z = N1
    30 DVDZONESET = Z
    40 PRINT "Your DVD playback is now set to zone", Z

    Note - DVDZONESET is a PS2 specific keyword...

  • Perhaps, if all you want is to play games. But I learned a lot from the sample sort algorithms, and even fixed a couple of bugs in the icon generator, and used an expanded version of the tutorial cardfile in my first business. Years later, some of my students (on the Imagination Network) actually made money with what I taught them in QuickBasic. I'm a serious fan of Whatever Works.
  • Well believe it or not that CGI in the PSX version was actually not in the SNES version... =) I know I know I had to be stupid and say that... Anyhow, as far as buying a psx2 to not have to play old looking games, have you actually SEEN PSX2 games? They look horrible. Dreamcast, now that's a console I'd like to work with.
  • Bingo....

    And since basic is cheap, and they do not want to spend devlopment money.......

    Another advantage is that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to do an opensource game in YABASIC that will compeate with the "real" games.

    Distribution alone is going to be a problem.

  • Oooh...damn. Nothing worse than getting LART-ed Thanks though
  • YABASIC is an open source language that allows...

    Not to be a starched shirt or anything, but aren't all programming languages inherently 'open source'. Or is this Timothy's favourite buzzword for posting articles?

    Now, about the PS2, I'm thinking of buying one as a gift simply because it makes a cheap DVD player...What exactly is the quality like on them? Any experiences good/bad?

  • Or how 'bout this one, so it won't be to dificult for the beginners:

    10 PRINT "Hello World"


    ---
  • incorrect BASIC syntax...

    10 input "Select DVD Zone ";Z$
    20 rem line 20 in above program is not needed, its is filled in by user above
    30 rem this line won't do anything either, YABASIC doesn't know anything about DVDZONESET
    40 ?"Your DVD playback zone is: "; Z$;" Not that this didanything."

    cheers!
    N473

    visit www.n473.com [n473.com]
  • I don't know. Old klunky looking games with rudimentary 3D...

    Kinda reminds me of the old Atari 800. But...

    Atari 800 (circa mid 80's) cost---5-600 PSX2 cost---300

    Besides, if it's just to "play with" maybe, just maybe, people will look at the YABASIC inclusion the same way they look at both Playstation games, and other forms of Basic.

    Fun to screw around with, but do not attempt to apply to real world situations.

    Besides, what if this was just a test market? It's happened before. Maybe Sony is testing the waters with the inclusion of a small language to see what the feedback is on it. If it's good? Maybe they'll throw in more. If it sucks? Maybe you won't see anymore.

    I guess it's time to brush off that Star Raiders code, and see if I can port it to an Analog Joystick with Feedback. THAT WOULD ROCK!!

    krystal_blade

  • I enjoy programming, yet I know that I'll probably never make a living programming because I don't live and breathe languages to their full extent. I just like playing around.

    That said, if I can get a copy of the BASIC language for the PS2 and a keyboard, I would love to play around with something like that. I play around with OpenGL on my Windows box, but it's complicated and blows up frequently. I'd love to abstract my environment out to something simple like some sort of BASIC on the PS2 and hack around with some remakes of old games, yes, possibly even in 3D.
  • Let me explain why programmability is such an important thing by starting with these two quotes:

    Alan Kay ("Computer Software'", Scientific American, September 1984) wrote:


    "The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited. It is a medium that can dynamically simulate the details of any other medium, including media that cannot exist physically. It is not a tool, although it can act like many tools. It is the first metamedium, and as such it has degrees of freedom for representation and expression never before encountered and as yet barely investigated. Even more important, it is fun, and therefore intrinsically worth doing. ... Computers are to computing as instruments are to music. Software is the score, whose interpretation amplifies our reach and lifts our spirit. Leonardo da Vinci called music ``the shaping of the invisible,'' and his phrase is even more apt as a description of software."

    Danny Hillis in his book "Magic in the Stone", Basic Books, 1998 writes:


    "These days, computers are popularly thought of as multi-media devices, capable of incorporating and combining all previous forms of media - text, graphics, moving pictures, sound. I think this point of view leads to an underestimation of the computer's potential. It is certainly true that a computer can incorporate and manipulate all other media, but the true power of the computer is that it is capable of manipulating not just the expression of ideas but also the ideas themselves. The amazing thing to me is not that a computer can hold the contents of all books in a library but that it can notice relationships between concepts described in the books - not that it can display a picture of a bird in flight or a galaxy spinning but that it can imagine and produce the consequences of the physical laws that create these wonders. The computer is not just an advanced calculator or camera or paintbrush; rather, it is a device that accelerates and extends our processes of thought. It is an imagination machine, which starts with the ideas we put into it and takes them farther than we ever could have taken them on our own."

    OK, so then what happens. Sony, Nintendo, Sega, etc. take these wonderful computers and close them off to everyone but licensed developers. Of course, the PS2 is a computer whether YABASIC is bundled with it or not. But it is important news that a computer that has the potential of reaching tens of millions of homes will not be completely closed (at least in Europe). Sony should release YABASIC in the rest of the world as well.

    Is Basic the best choice of a programming language for the PS2? We could argue about what other languages would have been better (and that might be fun), but the important fact is that some general purpose programming language is there. Suppose some other language X is twice as good as Basic. The percentage increase from Basic to X is 100% improvement while from nothing to Basic is an infinite improvement.

    Having said that, I'd like to plug my own language, ToonTalk [toontalk.com], as a much better choice. Rather than typing text with a virtual keyboard and then trying to read a program on a TV screen, in ToonTalk you construct your program from inside of a game world. You train robots, give birds messages to deliver, drop things in boxes, use animated tools, etc. to construct and run programs. No need for a virtual keyboard. No need to try to read text on a TV while sitting 10 feet away on the couch. And children much younger than 10 are making games with it [ioe.ac.uk].

    -ken kahn

  • Agree with you Nexus.

    I have deliberately held back buying, on principle.
  • It is not "an effort to lower costs to the consumer" ! The cost to UK consumer will still be at £299. This is a lot more than the US pay. The use 2 lies for this price difference. 1. PAL circuit. The difference in cost is pennies. 2. Transport. Do they have a seat each on a plane? The truth is, they can send heavier video recorders - complete with the PAL curcuitry - for the cost of the price difference between countries. It is an attempt to justify the fact they rip the UK consumer off.
  • Blitz Basic will support full 3D when the "Pro" version is released at the start of 2001, and it'll be easier to program than any other 3D language out there -- at least, any 3D language that gives good results. There's a public demo with 2D-only support at the moment. See sig.

    This commercial was brought to you by thesurfaces.net :)

    http://www.blitzbasic.com/

  • Er, who are you replying to? Both people in this thread have said Blitz is great...

    Maybe you 'otter' read things first...

    "Maybe I 'otter'"...

    [Sorry, I like puns with no context whatsoever]

    http://www.blitzbasic.com/

  • My spam worked!

    Blitz is intended to be ported far and wide once the "basics" are done for Windoze and some money's come in -- I think Linux will be next.

    The core has been written to be as POSIX-compliant as possible, so porting was planned from the start!

    http://www.blitzbasic.com/

  • I wonder when we will see DeCSS in YABASIC on the PSX2? code your own mod-chip
  • Hey, I wrote Scorched Earth for mine, then the kid with the TI-85 wrote a better version b/c his calculator had more memory (I filled up all of my TI's 2K and used every variable name in the thing).
  • "300 Mhz processor? Give me a fucking break"

    Oh dear. Yet Another Lamer who believes the marketing bullshit that MHz is THE indicator of performance.

    You'd have thought that by now people would have realised that MHz comparisons between disimilar architectures is completely and utterly meaningless.

  • USB ports on front of PS2 + USB keyboard = code
  • I wonder if its usefulness will be significantly impaired if the PS2 doesn't come with a keyboard. I know that video games have decent interfaces for entering names, but I don't think they would scale well to entering programs!
  • You're right about this being a tax dodge. Sone is apparently not happy at all about their games console being classified as a games console for tax purposes, so they're trying to persuade the EU that it's a computer by putting Basic on it. Of course, if they really want to convince people that it's a computer, they should have ported Emacs to it.

    HH
  • Allegro is an easy-to-use multimedia library for game programming in C.

    Yes it is, but installing it is a kind of rocket science, at least at the time I tried it (about 3 years ago). After the second try it worked for me, but about half a year later I tried to install it for a friend of mine and failed (all DOS). The libs didn't compile (no binaries available).

    But when it worked it was very cool. By using my already installed version my friend was able to program a little jump&run game in a weekend.
    The GUI editor is the best text editor every written for DOS.
    It's really a good way starting programming games. Maybe a person already knowing C could help.

  • And does anyone know of Java compilers that would work disant on a 386sx (with no cd-rom support), because I hate being tied to my desk.

    Don't know about Java, but I might still have a copy of Turbo C++ lying around. Worked fine on my 386. I'm not sure how much of C++ it really supports, since I mainly used it as a C compiler.

    I would second the Eckel recommendation, but note that Thinking in Java and Thinking in C++ are almost the same book except for the language specifics, so if you read them both you will have a lot of "hey, didn't I read this already?" moments.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm sure some people must remember it: it was a modified PlayStation (the first one) that came with 2 CDs full of programming tools, libraries, etc. and a serial cable to hook it up to your PC. It essentially put the basic tools available to develop a complete game on the PSX into the hands of anyone. The price was a bit steep for a game machine at $700 or something, but definitely less than any console dev kit you'll ever see. The idea never caught on here like it did in Japan, unfortunately. It was meant to provide an outlet for people who may be creating the next Doom in their basement, but didn't have the time or money to shop their project around to developers.

    I hope this means they're going to do a similar project for the PS2.

  • 10 Sin
    20 Go To Hell

    sorry Futurama eating away at my brain
  • No, it's all of those diaper changes and getting chunks hurled at me regularly. And with all that the little type is so cute. I've had some major Darwinian programming cut in.

    Bruce

  • I wonder if Michael and Timothy went to a bar, this evening, met two incredible women, who put them down hard. Their stories this evening seem, well, a bit bitter and negative.

    Bruce

  • Am I the only one thinking that using YABASIC we'll be able to understand PS2's internals well enough that someone will start porting your favorite kernel to it?

    The only major problem could be Sony exploiting of some of the 'features' of the Artistic License under which YABASIC is available (mainly: libraries, linked function and 'embedded version') but given a stable interface with YABASIC, it's only a matter of time before someone will be able to understand how to use these libraries to understand how PS2 BIOS and/or HW work (for an exaple, look at how the windows CODECS for AVI, ASF and DivX are used in linux/unix multimedia players).

    Ciao,
    Rob!
  • Keep in mind that, as dailyradar mentioned, the UK has a 2.2% tax on console system imports, yet it has no equivalent tax for "computers."

    With a programming language shipped right inside the box, perhaps Sony is looking to subvert that import tax by making the PS2 seem more like a traditional computer system (not that "typical" computer systems ship with programming languages in the box today anyway ;-)

    paulb
  • You may have forgotten- the PS2 has USB, firewire (er, i-Link), and PCMCIA ports... Imagine all the applications... like missile guidance, if what the Japanese government says is true...
  • Isn't the purpose of buying a PSX2 so you don't have to play old looking games?

    Personally I find games interesting only for short periods of time - then I get bored. Programming, on the other hand is always interesting. I think this is great - think of all the people who got their first programming experience on a C64 with Basic. Now they can hack away on a PS2.. that is very cool.

  • Ok, I know I'm going to see a lot of posts saying this is a great way to get kids into programming. Kids can use this argument on their parents too, but....
    Firstly, as the article says, this is probably just a way to get around an import tax. It will undoubtably be limited, and kids who try to use it will end up more frustrated than interested.

    Also, this platform is not one that I would want a newbie programmer (of any age) touching. The programming style which should be used differs greatly from pc-style programming. So the games, routines, whatever made will be bad, and asking a non-ps2 programmer about what to do to improve them will give you less than wonderful results.

    If you want to get someone into programming, get them into something like tcl/tk. The interface is easy (it's a scripting language for those who don't know), allows you to draw stuff to the screen easily (compared to X), and still provides the intro to how to lay out a program, how to set up functions, etc. It doesn't write it for you, like visual-basic, so you really have to learn, but the results are immediate. It extends to object oriented design ([incr] Tcl), and when they outgrow it, all the ground-level stuff will be in place for whatever they want to get into.

    Buy a ps2 for games. That's what it's for. If someone (especially your kid) has an interest in programming, get them into something that you know, so they have a solid foundation to draw from.

  • ROckin in the free world. NOTHING beats the fun the old 10 print aksdghf ad 20 rrun mwahahhahahhaahhhaa
  • Uh, perhaps we have forgotten about Frag Island [passagen.se]...

    Ok, so it isn't a complete Quake - but it does show what is possible with the language (and this was in 1997 - I could show other 3D engine examples on the net, but why bother). As for teaching it to kids - heck, it is hard to teach BASIC to kids, esp. nowadays...

    I support the EFF [eff.org] - do you?

  • Oh yes! Blitz Basic for the PC. Excellent!

    Now I can rewrite all those cheesy Amiga games that I never finished, but better and able to take advantage of decent graphics and computers. Quazatron II here I come again.

    I hope it isn't that hard to come up with a Linux version either. I hope that it hasn't been coded in such a way that it ties in too directly with Windows, and that the underlying libraries that interface with DirectX can be replaced with libraries that interface with OpenGL. Still, doesn't mean that a language compatible, if not source compatible version can't be made for Linux.

    Oh, forgot. I was going to get into Amiga SDK programming and then there is the company website, and where will I get the time to do graphics these days! Oh, it was great being at school and being a student - there was time available to do interesting things. Now there isn't any at all. :-(

    Oh, the the PSX2 is shipping with BASIC in Europe to get around a 2% tax on games machines as opposed to computers. They are arguing that if the machine can be programmed by users, then it is a computer, not a games machine. Good on them as well, as there needs to be an outlet for the next generation of games creators.


  • I wonder if staying up until 3 AM getting his gonads irradiated by his HAM radio has mutated Slashdot's most beloved technocrat sage into a "troll"?

    [smiley thing]

  • Recently, the games industry has discovered that
    there are no more games hackers coming up
    through the system. The majority of the coders
    learnt their trade through spending night after
    night playing with their ZX Spectrums and C64's
    in the early 80's.

    These days, with the shrink-wrapped games running
    on undocumented programmer hostile operating
    systems, only the hard core hackers play with
    the machines, and these aren't the sort who
    would be likely to play with writing games.

    Adding a BASIC interpreter to the PSX2 is a smart
    move. It'll give the game playing public a chance
    to play at controlling their own machine and
    compete with their peers about what their latest
    neat game coding trick is.. creating a new
    generation of games coders for the gaming industry.

    On top of this, it may also be a ploy to persuade
    the EU commission that the PSX2 is a computer and
    not a games console, so they don't have to pay the
    2.2% levy, of course.
  • I'm 15 and I code using OpenGL under C++... Then again, I use Visual C++ and GLUT so that makes things alot easier :P

    That's cool when I was fifteen I was learning assembly langauge on an outdated C64, basic, and C on an 8086. I'm sure in its way OpenGL is as complicated or more so then assembly language. I'm quite sure the math involved with some of the more advanced OpenGL programming is more complex. Keep it up maybe you'll get most programmers dream job and work for a game company.

    By age 15 a smart young person should be able to handle C/C++ and a good graphics library with some work. But at age 12 just being able to create a game as simple as pong in basic would be really cool.

    I remember the first animation I did in basic. All it did was make a line move around the screen and bounce off the edges but I was very proud of it. After that I was sure that I wanted to work with computers. Now I'm a college student about to graduate with a degree in computer science. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. Stay with it James.

  • I think this is great!

    If I hadn't started programming on my C-64 (or, heck, my Sinclair ZX81) I probably wouldn't be programming today - at least, I wouldn't have been doing it for the last 15 years and have the job that I always wanted today.

    There is a substantial difference between people who discovered programming as a kid and learned to appreciated it, and those who decided to take it at university for the job opportunities.

    With the barrier to entry so high to get into programming these days, I think it's great that they're putting a free language, no matter what it is, in with the system.


  • Perhaps the tariff is so high because Sony had previously convinced the Japanese govt. that the PS2 might be
    usable for missle guidance systems [slashdot.org]. DVD player, 3-d gaming platform, computer, missle guidance system, is there anything out there that this black slab can't do?

    From the UK Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk]:

    However, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry has decided that PlayStation 2 should be the first game console to join a list of 130 export-restricted items of Japanese computer technology. People hoping to take two or more PlayStation 2 consoles out of Japan will now need permission from the authorities.

    The government's concern centres on a powerful processor responsible for the console's realistic graphics. Experts believe this could be converted for use in missiles that read visual information to home in on targets. Sony said it did not expect the restrictions to affect PlayStation 2's release in other countries.



    Seth
  • For proving all the naysayers wrong.

    They said you'd never support open source or provide a quality programming environment for your PS2.

    Well, you've certainly showed them. Now that hackers everywhere have a rudimentary basic that does a primitive 3D, golly, you're just gonna take the market by storm.

    A call to developers : gorilla.bas clone needed.

    [OT] Some people were helping me get video capture working on linux box...just so you know, I've got both realproducer and bcast2000 cranking out .rm's and mpeg1 videos on my linux box now! everything is working now. Thanks.

  • Well, aside from bypassing a tariff, I can see another reason for Sony doing this. They want the PS2 to become the center of your wired universe. Programmability is an important piece of the home automation and home networking that Sony sees their box being capable of.
  • Hey, Sony was first because they used CD in the
    computer, not outstanding graphics. Because now
    they have propietary API and non-disclosure to go
    with it, Dreamcast seems more attractive, because
    of semiopen DirectX like graphical interface.
    OpenGL is better, but hey at least I can tell
    anyone about it! =)
    DOWN WITH PS2.
    PS: I do not have anything against PS1, which is great platform, and expect Indrema to be the rocker. =)
  • Someone will get those region bits shifted and hack out an ISO in just a few hours. Of course, it may not be too much fun to pound out code with a gamepad with TV resolution -- maybe just a bit more convenient than than programming the TI graphing calculators. Still, it's a fun idea.
  • Oh, c'mon. I've played a few games on the Dreamcast, and I've got both SSX and DOA:2HC for PS2. From what I've seen, PS2 whups the llamas ass, hands down. From what I've heard, the differences between the two versions of DOA are minimal, but consider: it's a PS2 launch title, but a game released a year after Dreamcast launch.

    Bottom line: PS2 has the 'oomph' and the backing of the gaming companies, and will no doubt be a kickass system a short way down the road. Hell, Square alone would lead me to buy the system. Dreamcast has a great library of games, and will still be well worth it's price for a good while to come, but don't bother arguing it's technical superiority: the facts (and games!) don't lie.

    Aw, blast. Look at me, I've gone and gotten into that mindless console war argument. People, spend what you can afford, and enjoy what you've got. There are more than enough games to go around. Let's just all agree that Japan is cool, and be thankful. ^_^
    ---
  • "Isn't the purpose of buying a PSX2 so you don't have to play old looking games?"

    Nope. Just finished FF5 on my PS2, and I'm currently halfway through FF6. Great games! I'm continually floored by what they could pull of on a SNES for FF6...
    ---
  • Well, I'm probably feeding a troll here, but...

    I don't know if you could consider it a Beowulf cluster, however Sony is releasing a graphics workstation based on its Emotion Engine and Graphics Sythesizer technology. According to this here article, they're expecting it to be used for CG scenes and special effects in movies.

    It puts 16 pairs of EE and GS chips together, and and this thing says it can render 1.2 gigapolygons per second in 1920x1090 at 60fps. Two gigabytes of system memory and 512 megs of video RAM.

    So technically, yeah, it is possible to cluster a bunch of PS2 nodes together for high-end 3d processing...

    (BTW, got that article out of a newer issue of PSM, pick one up if ya want.. October issue).

    Menacer

  • In the 80s when I first starting messing around with computers, mostly on 8 bit micros, most of them has a BASIC interpreter has an integral part of the operating system - such as Sinclair BASIC [lovely.net]. 8 bit micros were so cheesy that only kids really took them seriously, their BASIC interpreters being way superior to MS-DOS's gwbasic at that time. By emmbedding a BASIC interpreter it will allow PS2 gamers to get under the head of their computer. This openness of the OS is what attracted me to GNU/Linux and Open Source originally. Again we could gain control over our computers. However I no longer believe that BASIC is the best language for children to learn - maybe include a Java SDK would be a good idea.

    Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code still lives on! Although I won't touch VB with a foot long pole.

  • Well, try reading these 2 papers and maybe that will better explain what i failed to get at:
    http://arstechnica.com/cpu/2q00 /ps 2/ps2vspc-1.html [arstechnica.com]
    and
    http://arstechnica.com/ rev iews/1q00/playstation2/ee-1.html [arstechnica.com]
  • After reading tons and tons of articles and hype about the PS2, and spending the last weekend monopolizing the PS2 down the hall. I am really disappointed. The graphics, compared to Dreamcast, or even just Playstation are pretty bland. One can only hope the GameCube and Xbox are better. For now I will stick with my N64 and Zelda 2 :-)

    At least my friend down the hall can justify his expensive purchase with the nifty yabasic programs he can write. WOOHOO! Maybe someone can write some sort of utility to load up CD-R games on the PS2. :P

  • by root ( 1428 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2000 @06:12AM (#643880) Homepage
    And this was back in 1980! You had to buy a pair of 12-key keypad controllers that locked together and insert the overlays. The shift key was a 4 level shift key to make 24 keys cover all the needed BASIC keywords and alphanumeric characters. Programs were limited to 9 lines[*] with a whopping 29 bytes of free memory available for user programs[**]. And I could write a working PONG game with those resources! Pansy VB l0s3rZ can't do fscking "Hello world!" with less than 16MB on a Pentium 233MHz or better. 29 bytes. PONG game. Suffer you un-studly one! When you ran your code, you could do neat things like watch the interpreter fetching code, and watch data being pushed and popped off of the stack. Save programs? For 29 bytes? Why? We just re-typed them in everytime we powered up the 2600 again. These kids today, I tell you whut.

    [*] You could do more but lines 10+ showed up as "funny characters" as writing such large programs was never intended.

    [**] out of total system RAM of 128 bytes. Also note, the 2600 had no video memory either. The code had to shovel data to the video chip as the scan line was drawing the screen. This consumed all CPU attention so your code only had about 20% CPU to run during the vertical retrace interval. Take THAT PSX2!

  • by qnonsense ( 12235 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:43PM (#643881)
    The graphics on games NOW are bad. Do you remember what the graphics on the PSX were at the very beging? They were REALLY bad. It's just that game designers haven't figured out how to use the PS2's unique (and it really is) graphics pipeline. When they do....
  • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2000 @02:53AM (#643882)
    Naah - they will combine the YABASIC with Tekken - you will have to fight each letter you choose to type .

    --
  • by |deity| ( 102693 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:23PM (#643883) Homepage
    To some extent your right. However many young people just thinking about programming might try PS2 programming while the idea of downloading a C compiler, the Allegro library, and setting it all up might seem intimidating.

    While I agree that C is not that much more difficult then basic just setting everything up and understanding what's going on right away is a little difficult. Getting instant gratification with basic can be a big plus for young people. I suspect that anyone that learned how to program on a PS2 would quickly decide that they wanted to try something more powerfull. That person is more likely to try C, C++, or Java.

    And with this a young person would not even have to own a computer. Most american households have at least one computer but sometimes parents are a little uneasy about letting Jr. set up new software on the computer.

  • I know BASIC isn't the ideal language for beginners to work with. But seriously, it was the first thing I learned when I was 10, and I didn't turn out too bad. The point is, it was fun to write my own moon lander game on a Timex Sinclair (ZX81)... I even started playing with Z80 assembly.. that was fun, too... Then I got hold of a Commodore 64, a Radio Shack Color Computer.. OS-9... Pascal(!)... Almost picked up the C compiler for OS-9 Level 2 when I was 16, but Radio Shack was sold out and they didn't have any in Fort Worth at the time either. Then I went to college and found Unix...

    For kids to screw around with, BASIC is still a decent language. Any 10 year old who's gifted enough to be doing serious programming isn't going to be trying to learn BASIC on a PlayStation 2 anyway.

    I don't think my power of abstraction has been crippled by my exposure to BASIC. I easily grasped object orientation. I rewrote a 6,000 line C++ program in 350 lines of Python.

    Of course, if you have a better suggestion for a programming language for kids to screw around with, I am all ears.
    ---

  • by DrWiggy ( 143807 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2000 @07:32AM (#643885)
    BASIC was probably the most important thing that ever happened to me. When I was 11 at Secondary school, I was pretty typical of most geeks (without realising it) and just didn't "get along" with most other kids. So, I went and sat in the library, and had to pretend to read. The books were crap, until I came across one called something like "Programming the BBC Micro in BASIC" which was a real '10 PRINT "Hello world!"' kind of book.

    At the time it was Lent (coming up to Easter), and so it being a Catholic school, there was the oppurtunity to not go for school dinners, and instead spend the money on getting into the computer room by donating it to charity. I thought, what the hell, I'm a fat git anyway (still am as it happens) so spent the whole of Lent in there. After 4 weeks, I had learnt the BBC inside out. I was by far ahead of most of the school (including those much older than me), at programming, and from then on I used to spend the small amount of pocket money I got on computer magazines and books. For the last 11 years I have lived, breathed and loved technology, programming and everything that was a part of it all. Even my grades in Maths and Physics went up. At GCSE level under the new national curriculum I was given an A* (top 2% of the country), in Computing, and ended up doing a degree in Software Engineering.

    I'm now, at the age of 22, the Technical Director of an ISP and I get to write code as much as I want. I get paid a decent amount of money, I'm happy with my life, and I've certainly escaped the poverty trap that was waiting for me if I hadn't got out early enough (I started working part-time at the age of 15).

    In short, if I hadn't picked up that book and just started learning BASIC - even just the "Hello World" stuff, I would not be here right now. I think that as a result, giving people that first taste of the possibilities - that they don't need to be good with a pen or a brush to be creative, and to show them that they can actually create things, is fantastic. And yes, this is probably waffling bullshit, but I will quite happily physically fight any person to the death who says that any initiative to teach kids the basics of coding is pointless. We haven't all got Daddy to buy us the latest laptop (PSX2 will drop to $100 within the year, making it affordable to all), nor are we all endowed with the fantastic skills to be anything that we want to be.

    Sometimes kids just need to be shown that they can do this complicated shit and be like us when they grow up if they want to be. In the UK at least, geeks are respected by everybody with any sense.
  • by lethalp1mpslapper ( 238264 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:30PM (#643886)
    Apples and oranges.... The PS2 doesn't have a PC processor in it, MHz don't mean shit. I mean the "Emotion Engine" was built with 3d games in mind, PC CPU's aren't, that's why you have a video card. Also if this helps any, remember when the GeForce came out? It's core clock was slower than the TNT2 but it would perform 2x or more compared to the TNT2. Now, tell me again how you can compare a custom chip against a general purpose CPU? I would really like to know. Also please don't bag on something you have no experience with. Its obvious you don't own a PS2 or have even used one. Assumptions based on nothing don't go very far.
  • by |deity| ( 102693 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:43PM (#643887) Homepage
    When I was just learning to program I remember the coolest thing was figuring out how to make simple games. Kids today have a hard time making graphical programs under windows or even linux. If this makes it easy to make quick fun programs maybe more kids will become interested in programming.

    I support anything that allows people to look under the hood and see how computers are programmed, this could be a good introduction to programming logic. Children could quickly learn the limitations and abilities of computers.

    I don't particularly like basic, but it is an easy language to use for beginners.

  • by psocccer ( 105399 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:01PM (#643888) Homepage
    This is definately a good thing as maybe it will get those demo coders off their butts, maybe, just maybe, Future Crew will make a re-appearance. :)

    Add kidding aside, this is a good thing, however you look at it. First off, it lets all us geeks play around with the PS2 without getting out a custom burner and forking over thousands of $$. If someone figures out how to pull the programs off the cards, I could easily see some people learning some nifty peeks and pokes to make the PS2 do some tricks and it could build a community.

    Which get's me off to the other good thing. Allowing something to be modified by end users has always proven to be good, just look at the popularity of mods among the FPS's out there. I don't know how you would input code on this, but if it's easy then someone's gonna get bored and come up with some cool stuff. And if they've found an easy way to create code on the PS2, then maybe mod development would extend to the consoles. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to reprogram those street fighter characters or the snipers in syphon filter?

    Game programmers are learning that scripting brings about easier content creation, leaving more for the artists requiring less programmer intervention, making better games in less time, and with some of the more creative mods, things that the developers probably never dreamed of, and since the power gamers eat this stuff up, it forms more of a gaming community and can only help to push the creativity of gaming further. I just hope other companies see this, and hopefully implement something similar for their games.

  • The usefulness in this isn't to play old looking games, or even to port classics like Asteriods, even though I'm sure a few people will do just that. Think exposing the next generation of kids to game programming. Or programming in general.
    ---
  • by fonebone ( 192290 ) <jessephrenic AT ninjaguy DOT org> on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:37PM (#643890) Homepage
    Sell this to sony:

    10 PRINT "Pick a number: ";
    20 INPUT num
    30 PRINT "You typed ", num
    40 GOTO 10
  • by confidential ( 23321 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:56PM (#643891)
    "The European launch of the PlayStation 2 isn't far away, and in an effort to lower costs to the consumer, Sony Corp is striving to negotiate with the UK to reclassify the PlayStation 2 as a computer, which will put it in a lower tariff category. With it's current classification, the PlayStation 2 will carry a 2.2% levy. Sony is even willing to take this issue to the World Trade Organisation. The UK has already rejected the idea that the PlayStation 2 was a computer, commenting that it was not significantly different from the PlayStation." Think i'm blowing out of my arse, look here [ign.com]... They're doing it to get into the lower tariff's, not to encourage newbie programmers =P. If you can program for it, the more you can make an appeal to call it a computer.

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