Part 1: Introduction
Game BASIC for Sega Saturn is a homebrew development kit that allows you to program games for the Sega Saturn using the BASIC programming language. If you’re familiar with the PlayStation’s Net Yaroze platform, think of this as the Saturn’s answer to it – just cheaper and easier to get started with.
Game BASIC’s use of the BASIC language makes for a very low barrier to entry in terms of programming skill. Though the Saturn is notoriously difficult to program for, Game BASIC makes it easy to get started and is surprisingly powerful, allowing very easy sprite manipulation and straightforward 3D polygon implementation. It even includes an adapter cable that allows you to communicate with the Saturn from your PC to transfer or save programs and streamline development. For example, here’s a Pilotwings-esque demo, but in Game BASIC:
The caveat? Game BASIC was released only in Japan, so this means a complete setup can be difficult to obtain and all documentation is in Japanese! Moreover, the supporting software that allows you to use your PC for streamlined development was intended for the Windows 95 era and flat out does not install on modern systems. Oh, and the adapter cable that allows you to connect your Saturn to your PC is a 25-pin serial connection!
Who in the world still has both Game BASIC and a Windows 95 PC with a physical serial port? Nobody! (Well, unless you’re Modern Vintage Gamer) But if you’re a brave experimenter who’s not afraid to tinker a bit, there are still multiple options to get everything working, even today! You can even do a lot just via emulation. So, let’s head to the Lab and get started…Continue reading “Sega Saturn Homebrew with Game BASIC”