Sony Playstation 1 (PSX)

Edit on Github | Updated: 11th November 2019

Introduction to Hacking the Sony Playstation One

Interested in learning more about the the Sony Playstation? Excellent! This section will guide you through the basics, starting from basic MIPS assembly language all the way to an introduction to reverse engineering your first game!


Retail Playstation hardware

The PS1 was competing against both the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn during its lifetime and in some respects was the underdog in terms of processing power and graphics. However don’t be disillusioned the PS1 was still a very powerful machine for its time and when programmed correctly games could look stunning, sometimes even better than the Nintendo 64!

PlayStation 1 Hardware Architecture

For more information on the PS1 hardware architecture check out this post.

Geometry Transformation Engine (GTE)

The Geometry Transformation Engine or GTE was what allowed the Playstation to handle 3D graphics, it specifically designed to do the sort of fast mathematical calculations used for Vertex/Geometry processing. Without it the Playstation hardware would not have been able to pull of the excellent 3D graphics it was known for in its time.

Playstation 1 Geometry Transformation Engine (GTE)

To find out more about the the Geometry Transformation Engine check out this post.


Games

What would the Sony Playstation be without its excellent line-up of games? It was the games that attracted many people away from the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn and on to their very first Sony console.

Playstation 1 Games with Debug Symbols

An excellent way to start reverse engineering is to find games where the developers accidentally left the Debug symbols in the retail release of the game. While this is not very common it has happened for a few games released for the Playstation One and gives you access to all the original function and variables names that were used in the retail source code.

Playstation 1 Games with Debug Symbols

For a list of PS1 games that have debug symbols available check out this post.

Crash Bandicoot

Crash bandicoot was one of the first 3d platformers that managed to deliver quality gameplay while looking impressive for its time.

It was created by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin for release on the original Playstation console, and both developers have been kind enough to share ample amount of information on how the game was implemented.

Crash Bandicoot

To find out how Crash Bandicoot was developed check out this post.


Development Kits (Hardware)

Development kits are released to game developers before the launch of the system to allow games to be developed for the system’s launch. These systems would evolve over the systems lifespan and contained useful features for debugging and optimizing games for the platform. These systems were not just limited to the official offerings by Sony as a few other publishers had their own versions of development hardware.

Official Development Kit

The official development kit for the PS1 was a partnership between Sony and SN Systems which allowed developers to use their PC to interact with the real PS1 hardware.

Official PlayStation 1 Development Kit (Hardware)

For more information on the official Sony Playstation Devkit check out this post.

Official Consumer Development Kit (Net Yaroze)

The official development kit for the PS1 was only available for licensed game developers but there was a stripped-down version available for the general public known as Net Yaroze.

Net Yaroze - The PS1 Consumer Dev Kit

For more information on the consumer development kit known as Net Yaroze check out this post.


Software Development Kits

Official Software development kit

The Official Software development kit was developed by a partnership between SN Systems who are known for excellent 3rd party development kits and the Game Studio Psygnosis who are known for excellent quality games.

It was called PSY-Q and even although it was owned by Sony it was actually a cross-platform development kit which included support for the Sega Saturn!

Official Playstation 1 Software Development Kit (PSYQ)

For more information on Official SDK for the Playstation 1 check out this post.


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