Sega Saturn Homebrew with Game BASIC

Part 7: Documentation

Game BASIC came with several pieces of documentation, including two physical books and several electronic documents on the Windows 95 Tools CD.  Due to the fact that Game BASIC was only released in Japan, most of its documentation is Japanese-only.  Thankfully, modern tools like Google Translate do a reasonable job when translating bits and pieces, so you can find a lot of valuable information with a bit of patience.  And since this is just an implementation of the widespread BASIC language, resources that document other flavors of the language generally match well to this one.

Here’s a summary of what’s available:

Physical Documentation

  • Tutorial Manual – A 176-page manual with basic tutorials to get you started with Game BASIC.  There is no electronic version of this manual available, but most of it is covered in the tutorials in Part 5 of this series.  The official manual covers:
    • Basic operations
    • Programming tutorials covering text, graphics, and sound
    • Setting up and using BASTERM
  • Reference Manual – A 421-page manual with detailed explanations of every command available in the Game BASIC language, including names, descriptions, parameters, and usage tips.  There is an electronic version of this manual, available below.

Electronic Documentation

Game BASIC also has several electronic documents available, either included on the Windows 95 Tools CD or distributed online after release.  This documentation includes:

  • GAMEBASIC.CHM – A Windows CHM version of the physical Reference Manual.  So far as I can tell, this was provided online by a fan after release, as it is not available on the Tools CD. (Japanese)
    • English GAMEBASIC.CHM from SegaXtreme (very rough machine translation)
    • The above translation is not especially helpful, but I find that Google Translate works quite well for short segments, if you copy/paste sections from the original CHM.
    • To get this file to display properly, you will need to enable Japanese support for non-Unicode programs in Windows (see Part 3, Step 3) and update the security for the file.  Right-click the file, choose Properties, and check “Unblock” in the security section of the window that appears:
Unblocking a .chm file in Windows 10
  • BASTERM readme.txt – A simple README text file with BASTERM release notes (Japanese)
  • BASTERM.HLP – A Windows Help file, accessible from the BASTERM Help menu (Japanese)
    • English BASTERM.RTF: An RTF version of the HLP file (Coming soon…)
  • DXFCONV README.TXT – A README text file with DXFCONV operating instructions and release notes (Japanese)
  • Game BASIC FAQ – An online FAQ from Bits Laboratory with basic technical information and corrections/errata from the Tutorial and Reference manuals

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