SN Systems (Creator of Development Tools)

Edit on Github | Updated: 31st August 2020

History of SN Systems

SN Systems is a company that specialised in creating development tools for game developers in the UK, it was founded in 1988 by Martin Day and Andy Beveridge1.

They were looking for good development tools for the Atari ST and CBM Amiga but as none met their criteria they decided to create their own, and thankfully they did as without this, game development would not be the same today.

Their first product was the SN Systems assembler (SNASM) which was such a success that fellow British-based development tool creator Cross Products decided to license it and thus it became the de facto standard for Mega Drive Game Development around the world 1.

Cross Products (Creator of Development Tools)

For more information on Cross Products check out this post.

SN Systems worked closely with other companies, especially the Sony-owned Psygnosis to help brand their new development kit known as PSY-Q.

SN Systems were themselves bought by Sony in 2005 to exclusivly create development tools for their upcoming Playstation 3 hardware.


Products

According to the Official SN Systems “PC Development System for the Nintendo 64” guide (Thanks to Ultra64.ca), the list of SN systems development kits are as follows:

  • Sony PlayStation (PSY-Q -> SDevTC)
  • SEGA Saturn (PSY-Q)
  • SEGA 32X
  • SEGA MegaDrive/Genesis (SNASM65k)
  • SEGA Mega-CD (SNASM2)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (PSY-Q)
  • Commodore Amiga 1200 and 600
  • Williams Phoenix Arcade Board
  • Nintendo 64 (SN64 -> ProDG)

SNASM (SN Systems Assembler)

The original SNASM was a custom assembler written by SN Systems to target multple CPU architectures in a similar way.

It was such a useful product that Cross Products licensed it and distrubuted it with their development toolkits, which helped make it the most popular Mega Drive Assembler available.

Cross Products then built upon the product and released their own version called SNASM2, which would later become a competitor for SN Systems next development kit known as PSY-Q.

PSY-Q

PSY-Q was a development kit born from an agreement between popular UK-based game developer Psygnosis and SN Systems to develop a state of the art development kit based on the C-programming language.

PSY-Q for Super Nintendo

The PSY-Q Development kit was available for a wide range of platforms including the Super Nintendo where it was distributed with a custom development cartridge similar to a flash cartridge.

SNES (Super Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

For more information on the Super Nintendo version of PSY-Q check out this post.

PSY-Q for Sony Playstation 1

The Psy-Q development was such a success for Sony PS1 development that it actually became the officially licensed development kit for the platform. This was thanks to the partnership with Psygnosis as they had recently been bought by Sony and used this to present the SN Systems development kit to the Sony Management team 2.

Official Playstation 1 Software Development Kit (PSYQ)

For more information on the Sony Playstation 1 version of PSY-Q check out this post.

Note that PSY-Q for PS1 was later rebranded as SDevTC (Sony Developer Toolchain) sometime before August 1999 as it is mentioned the rebranding in the Official Run-Time Library Overview from August 1999.

PSY-Q for SEGA Saturn

Even although Psygnosis were bought by Sony in 1993 (which held the Psy-Q branding), it supported a competing platform also under the Psy-Q branding, the Sega Saturn!

Psy-Q Sega Saturn Development Kit

For more information on the SEGA Saturn version of PSY-Q check out this post.


SN64 (Nintendo 64 Development Kit)

SN64 was a software development kit for the Nintendo 64 created by SN Systems and was especially popular with 3rd party game developers.

SN64 - Nintendo 64 Software Development Kit (SDK)

For more information on SN64 check out this post.


ProDG

ProDG was the next step for SN Systems and provided development kits for both the PS2 in 2000 and Gamecube in 2001 under this brand name, presumably this had nothing to do with Psygnosis at this stage.

Although the name ProDG was originally used to refer to the SN Systems IDE that supported PS1 & N64 development back in 1998 (released JUNE 1998 3), it seems they re-used this brand to refer to the whole development kit and not just the IDE 4.

ProDG for Gamecube

Sn Systems released their ProDG development kit for Gamecube in 2001 and worked alongside the official Nintendo Gamecube development kit (NR-Reader) by providing a SN-TDEV that was used for efficient debugging on the system.

SN Systems PRO-DG development tools for gamecube

For more information on the Gamecube version of ProDG check out this post.

ProDG for GBA

There was also a version of ProDG available for the Gameboy Advance released in 2001 as an alternative to the official development kit from Nintendo.

Game Boy Advance (AGB) Development Kit Hardware

For more information on the GBA version of ProDG check out this post.


References


All Posts mentioning SN Systems

Game Boy Advance (AGB) Development Kit Hardware

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Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) Development Kit Hardware

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Official Playstation 1 Software Development Kit (PSYQ)

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Psy-Q Sega Saturn Development Kit

Read all about Psy-Q Sega Saturn Development Kit in this s...

SN Systems PRO-DG development tools for gamecube

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SN Systems Network Development Kit for PS2

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SN64 - Nintendo 64 Software Development Kit (SDK)

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SNES (Super Famicom) Development Kit Hardware

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  1. https://web.archive.org/web/19970521224105/http://www.snsys.com:80/  2

  2. Next Generation Magazine June 1995 issue 

  3. SN Systems 

  4. Various goodies for yall :) PlayStation Development Network