Discovering PICO-8

Couple of days ago I started playing a bit, in my spare time, with PICO-8. We’re talking about a “fantasy programmable game console for making, sharing, and playing tiny games and other computer programs (cartridges, or “carts”). The console provides simple built-in tools for creating your own cartridges” and it is made by Lexaloffle Games. PICO-8 uses a subset of the LUA language for programming.

I didn’t have much time to explore, plus I am totally new to LUA, however I did follow an awesome tutorial made by the amazing ztiromoritz (github) and the “manual” page for PICO-8 and in a little time I got a spaceship game running and grasped all the basics I needed to do more stuff on my own. The BBS is absolutely helpful: it’s such a small, niche community but their members are very talented people I admire a lot. And, not to forget, helpful. I have seen a lot of questions answered in a kind manner and so many great games to play and test that I couldn’t help it but feel grateful for all these skilled people spending their time online willing to help others and/or sharing the stuff they made :)

Other than the existing code which I tweaked a bit for educational reasons, I added sound effects, a custom message, a very primitive score system, limited the field so the spaceship doesn’t fly out of the screen boundaries… What it is missing? Bonuses (increase health, increase velocity?), random penalties (decrease velocity?), bosses, different enemies, maybe levels? More bullets? A hall of fame? An awesome chiptune? All of this?

Honestly, not sure when I will approach it again for new, exciting stuff. I have too many other projects up my sleeve right now, but it has been awesome to meet PICO-8 for a while. Until next time!