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Okay, so right now, it's a bunch of design-doodled stuff for the time being; something like a "development wishlist" that I'm hoping to grind myself through soon... and hoping I can squish into PICO's limitations.


Basically, a SMB "demake" comprised of 4 levels, repeated with some factors changed like enemies/placements, coins and platforming widgets. It follows the typical SMB pattern of "overworld, underworld, scarce ground, fortress," except that the bridge battle at the end will require you to cross it once forwards, once backwards, and a third time across. The "and friends" part is for pallette swaps, switching the focus of the game (and maybe, if enough tokens remain, the end-of-level widget, we'll see):

Marlo (red): Flagpole, clearly.
Zonac (blue): Speedrunning, distance jump at end instead of height.
Dunky (brown): Enemy combos, the DKC2 end-of-level prize-hammer thingy.
Roshi (green): Collectables, flowery-roulette wheel except now it's stars.
Warlo (yellow): Coins!! Slot-machine-card thing from SMB3.

I don't think I'll do much with powerups - just one that makes you big, and if you recollect it, you can do a mid-air trick one time. Marlo gets a double-jump, Zonac gets the Fire Shield-style dash from Sonic 3, Dunky... I haven't decided yet, probably the ground slam, though; Roshi does the ground pound drop, and Warlo... don't know about him yet either. There'll be bouncing starmen too, but only for scoring purposes, no invincible crap in this game!!


"The Legend Of Zelda," abridged edition. 20-screen overworld with a set of 9-screen dungeons, caves/entrances shuffled every time except the wood sword. The "guardian" will appear at the BEGINNING of the dungeon... and I'm hoping to use a "Hint, Item, Puzzle, Solution" system past that for the level's item, and the heart container/level end.

It also features a simplified inventory: Boomerang, Bombs, Torch, Bow/Arrows, Whistle/Flute thing, Health Potion; Raft, Ladder, Ring, Power Bracelet. The open-from-the-start caves include the Wood Sword, Level 1, Level 2, the hint for the changing Lost Woods segment, and the first shop (Shield, Bombs, Torch). The hidden levels can contain up to 5 duds, but may also feature: Level 3, Level 4, maybe a Level 5 if it pads out that much, $15 (x2), $50, the Money Game, second shop (Shield for cheaper, Potion, Ring), a choice between a Heart Container or the White Sword, the Magic/Master Sword, a -$35 trap, a trap that costs you all of your bombs, and a trap that costs you your choice between the torch (or significant $$) or a Heart Container.

For reference, I think I'm gonna max the $ value at 99; and do the $1/arrow thing, too.


A Pico take on MegaMan 9/10's "Endless Attack" mode. 9 scenes of 3 screens apiece with generated platforming/enemy trickery (5 horizontal, 4 vertical); and after every 3 sets of that, a boss phase (with a selection of three "boss arenas"). After you beat the boss, you get your choice between a large health restore, or a new weapon. The weapon toggles with Select, but you don't accumulate them like in MM games, or recover ammo for them. The ammo you get is what you get, and when you take another weapon, it replaces that one, will full ammo. After 8 regular you-like bosses, it throws a fun fortress-style boss, and then a Wily-style boss for the tenth.


Kind of a dummy version of Smash Run from Smash Bros, but with 7 challenge gates, each containing a Smash match (ala Classic Mode). Unlikely to feature actual Smash characters (for a plethora of reasons), but it'll give you a lineup of 8 characters (mostly color swaps, it'll show generated special move sets), the ones you don't choose will be your opponents. Master Hand is a bit much, so "big boss" concept will have to be totally rethought.

This will really max out the Map space, and focus spriting almost entirely on the characters, the tileset, and maybe just a couple of platforming widgets and minor goons to keep it interesting. Create-a-character mode is a maybe; but that would defeat the character generator, wouldn't it?

Return to ZWORD

A Palace-focused Zelda II demake... this starts you off in a one-screen town, then you proceed into a generated palace, formed from combinations of 8 (3-screen across) wide sectors, interconnected by doorways and elevators. There's an item/weapon room, a palace shop, and a place to upgrade your three main stats, Attack/HP/Blocking. None of that magic crap in this game!!

The focus is mostly on Z2-style fencing/combat, since that was the meatiest part of the title, and while it may feature a few little creature-grunts, the majority of enemy design will focus on that as well. Also, instead of passive items, or things that affect "map screen stuff" (that isn't featured here at all), you'll be able to collect and change between an assortment of weapons to fight with; maybe each with their own full-HP projectile attack that, unlike in Z2, isn't completely worthless.

Finish the boss fight, place the seal, and the exit of the palace leads directly to the next town (although there's no turning back at that point!), where the next palace is generated.

Weapons may include: Sword, Pickaxe, Morning Star, Whip/Flail, Spear, Torch, and maybe Boomerang, Magic Rod, Fireball Rod. I also might throw in passive-effect wings for mobility options that Z2 lacked, but that's more a Gentroid thing; and "if there's room/tokens left after everything."


Okay. So my previous attempt at this, using dynamic map generation, hit the token wall. That's what I get for trying to make such a big world out of so few things.

So in this reattempt, I'm planning to use some prefetched scenes, like in these other titles, rather than scripting them to fill themselves with content. So far, the map space plan involves two of the 2x2 screen hubs, 3 vertical corridors, 3 horizontal corridors... and all the connections between them are lateral. There's also a start screen, a "get the item" screen, a pause/status screen, and a 2-screen across boss arena.

Truth be told, I'm still working out how to get the Metroid/SuperMet sensation out of such limited constraints, and if I want the game to be level-based - IE: beat one boss, do the escape sequence, repeat - or nonlinear - IE: finish the entire set of bosses by having multiple preassembled layouts, and then hub those together, and then finish with a single endgame/escape sequence?

What I do have worked out, is the power set. Morph Balls will include the ability to jump with them, btw. But you can only equip one per set, and your mileage may vary. Charge shots become missiles/explosives.

Head: Dark Vision, Block Scanner, Screw Attack, extra HP > Ammo, extra Ammo > HP.

Wing: Slow Fall, Hover, Slow Rise, Momentary Free-flight, Double Jump, Unlimited Jump, Teleport

Arms: Burst Shot (shoots 3x quickly), Double Wave Shot, Double Bounce Shot (~30 degrees), Triple Spread Shot, Piercing Laser Shot, Shot Eraser Sword, Shot Repel Sword, Grapple Beam/Whip, Double Freeze Shot, Basic Shot (to start), Basic Blade (to start)

Core: Resist Heat, Resist Freeze, Resist Shock, Resist Enemy Collisions, Resist Knockback, Resist Shots, Reserve HP

Legs: High Jump, High Speed, Stomp Attack, Water Weights, Magnet Boots (ceiling walk/wall walk?), Sure Stop

Ball: Basic Ball, Speed Ball, Bounce Ball, Spike Ball (can climb walls, hence the Magnet Boot overlap being unnecessary?), Float Ball (on liquids), Cannon/Launch Ball (think Shinespark, but with the ball)

Etc.: Missiles > Super Missiles, Bombs > Power Bombs, Grenades > Super Grenades (first is charge shot, second is direct upgrade to it), Ammo Up, Health/Energy Up.

I'm also thinking of doing a Gauntlet-style thing where your energy counts down like a timer; but every segment has a place to repower yourself; to be fair, but to keep you moving.


A Spelunky demake is very exciting, but also very difficult to fully concieve. There's a huge difference in the control schemes, and it's a very complex game. That said? I'm still sitting on this (haven't really fleshed it out yet), but some things I'm considering in comparison:

-Up + Attack for Rope, Down + Attack for Bomb.
-No crouching, lifting/throwing, or flipovers. Also, no Kali, because there's really no way to do sacrifices now.
-No fall damage, or at least a bigger fall buffer. Possibly fall stunning instead, without the HP penalty?
-Damsels and idols will collect upon contact, but Idols will also immediately trigger associated traps. Maybe some changes to the traps too, to make them more interesting - like the Ice Caves one making a quake that drops all of the falling platforms.
-No Olmec. Really, it's mostly that he'll eat up FAR too much sprite space, or just look like a really ugly, overstretched idol.


A Binding of Isaac demake, but like Spelunky, the control limitations may be tricky to work with. Here's the thought so far:

-Shot button, Bomb button. Hold shot to strafe while auto-firing that direction. Brimstone or Mom's Knife are the only charge attacks.
-No space bar items. Pills give effects immediately upon collecting them. Cards? Not sure yet. Maybe similar to pills - but with no way of identifying them first, it may be better to just not have them at all.
-Powerups are entirely passives, and/or things that influence shots and bombs. Issac's sprite may change color/size, but not very much beyond that.
-Few bosses with more color variants? And on that note, one level per set, rather than two; Hades, Chest, and Cathedral all branch from Womb. So a whole run is 5 levels, basically.


A similar demake of Rogue Legacy, with things trimmed down and the controls simplified. Map is likely to feature mostly single-screen and two-screen chunk segments; and one boss arena with platforms that toggle on/off. It helps that they're all resized basic goons, anyhow.

-Traits and visual effects (somewhat) intact.
-Gear and passive effects available on the manor.
-No Classes/Class Effects. :( This hurts, but I don't have enough buttons for it.
-No dashing/dash runes. Same reason.
-No Magic/Subweapons, and with that, there go the minigames. UNLESS - that replaces the sword entirely, and then you have no sword (or the sword becomes another subweapon?). Not certain on this yet.
-Maybe no fairy chests. It's not that they aren't fun - they're kind of the heart of the game, when you think about it! But having to set aside so much map space for dedicated rooms constructed for many of the challenges will kill the level generation; especially some of the funner ones. The "kill all enemies" thing isn't THAT compelling, is it?


It's just Bejeweled 3. Classic, Lightning, Butterflies, Poker, Diamond Mine, Blitz Modes. shrug Maybe with 360-Blitz style controls? Second puzzle classic after Tetris now, no?


A DDR demake that tricks the SFX/Music data by rewriting it on the fly; and editing the framerate to coincide with song tempos (there's a 7.5 factor differencial between FPS and BPM; and it doesn't have to be 1:1 perfect). That said... I wonder if Pico allows L+R or U+D inputs, or prohibits them by default? That could be a problem if it does...

"Feature creep" includes dynamic remix generation (altering the tempo, looping the stepcharts?) or course mixing (basically, chaining one song chorus/verse to the next on the fly, only does the final song's outro). Likely to feature "abridged versions" of popular songs, and only the most vital thereof. At least the spriting is simple in theory!


A somehow-more-minimal Mini Metro?! A Pico-version of Coin Crypt? No idea, just spitting things out now.


Could really use more discussion/insight on the scope of these, and their feasability; or smarter ways to pull this kind of thing off. I see some really incredible stuff already being produced here!

P#23020 2016-06-16 17:29 ( Edited 2016-07-22 13:40)

:: n0dev

I'm new to Pico-8, but I got my feet wet in gamedev with Gamemaker a couple of years ago.

The best thing I can tell you is, don't spend so much time on ideas. Coming up with a big, fully-fleshed idea takes a lot out of you, and makes you feel like you've accomplished something.

This is poison, and will turn you into a nodev quicker than anything. Just start coding. Start simple, then add one little idea at a time.

That said, these all seem like totally feasible ideas. Pick one and lets see how it goes! I'm interested to see what you come up with.

P#23027 2016-06-16 18:57 ( Edited 2016-06-17 02:22)

As someone that's still learning the Pico8 ropes, my plan is to just go through the games I loved as a kid and remake/demake/tweak them so they work and maybe have a few extras that I wished they'd have when I was playing them.

Although in general, as long as the game included bullets, spaceships, robots and/or all the above, I was happy, so that's primarily what you'll get from me until I get better and knowing what I can/can't do with Pico8. Thankfully, right now it's just a bunch of "cans" because I haven't really hit a "can't" yet :)

P#23028 2016-06-16 20:02 ( Edited 2016-06-17 00:02)

Yeah, I started with a deeper dive, and hit the "token wall" about 60% into what I was going for. But then, I was taking a few room "frames," and then trying to place all of the terrain/objects with conditional code, and making tables to cross reference... usually around 125-160 "scenes" like that, which is clearly making the world waaay too big. Trying to make a "Small Metroid" is akin to trying to make a 10 minute JRPG. Which may be something I attempt someday! Just not right now.

I gotta get into a groove where I can push one of these out every week or two if I'm gonna burn through them. I also gotta get a LOT better at sound-tracker/music editing. XD

P#23039 2016-06-17 01:09 ( Edited 2016-06-17 05:09)
:: matt

I'm wondering how far you would be through making a game if you'd have done that rather than write the huge OP? Just saying ;)

Ideas are just a multiplier of execution

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

P#23058 2016-06-17 08:25 ( Edited 2016-06-17 12:27)

Well, I'm a lot more of a designer and content-creator than a programmer (still wrestling with that part, tbh)... so it helps me to have some solid on-paper structure to reference before I start blasting through code.

For instance, I was going over the idea for ISAAC!! earlier today, and it occurred to me how many of the room types overlap, and how the dungeon itself could even just be structured as a numeric string that toggles certain tiles on and off, or to certain states (pits, spikes, poops, etc.).

Codifying the dungeons like this lets me focus more shared memory on the spriting. And the transformative effects that I was considering throwing out might be possible - or at least a number of them - just by carefully planning how I use palette swapping, and by seperating heads from bodies.

Now THAT becomes something I can use in ZWORD and Return to ZWORD as well; which simplifies many enemy designs to headswaps, too! That saves me more spriting space, which in turn, leads to more map data I can use THERE.

See how this works?

I'm zeroing in on a place where I'm about ready to start constructing sprites and code though. It's just been a tough month where my 8hr/5dy workweek has become a 7hr/6dy one, and I'm just putting the finishing touches on setting up my home, too. I'd like to get to the point where I can crank out a project like this every week or two (partly because they're laid out already, and ready to burn)... and that'll get easier in July because a) my home internet gets turned on (I'm currently using McD's, Starbucks, the library here ...in what little downtime I do have!), and b) I preordered a PocketC.H.I.P.; so I can start doing this on the fly, or during my breaks at work.

I'm INTP 3w2 if you're into that sort of thing, but I guess that's no excuse! ;) But yes, July is looking to be my major takeoff point.

PS: I'm also trying to engineer these with some date-seeding in mind... if possible, I'd like to feature creep some weekly variant/leaderboard kind of mode into many, if not all of these. What's a web-based game without some of that, no?

PPS: I suppose I could try some Issac-variant of Metroid/SuperMet... that could be interesting, different, and yet still really fun, maybe?

P#23131 2016-06-18 16:32 ( Edited 2016-06-18 21:01)

Well, two more idea creeps came along: THE PICO IS EIGHT - some derivative of The Price Is Right (IE: the pricing games really); and PICO YOUR PRIZE - a derivative of Press Your Luck.

For the latter, I think I'm gonna replace the quiz segment with a quick, 10-second sequence of "fill in the blank" things with trios of homonyms (there, their, they're; your, you're, yore; I, eye, aye... suggestions?), do five as fast as you can, but every wrong one will cost you 2 seconds - remaining seconds will become your "spins."

That said, I'm hoping to crunch one of these every two weeks or so, with a nice little routine I'm gonna begin in July (since having better internet might result in me getting access to help more when I need it, because I WILL!!)...

Spriting Sunday
Music~Mapping Monday
Title Screen Tuesday**
Writing Wednesday
Troubleshooting Thursday
Feature-Creep~Finishing Friday
Submission Saturday

*For those of you making cool title screens without sprite data and more than just colorful "Print" commands... HOW YOU DO THAT!? I'm guessing* it's a colored square/circle to begin with, and then lines are drawn to make them resemble letters or something? O.o Or do you just commit sprite data to it?

EVENTUALLY, I'd like to get to the point where I can pop out one of these puppies a week - but I'm not gonna lie. There's a lot of tricks I gotta learn to correctly implement this stuff, and this is on top of an already exhaustive 48-52 hour workweek that's very physical and grueling.

P#23643 2016-06-25 22:29 ( Edited 2016-06-26 02:33)
P#24344 2016-07-02 21:04 ( Edited 2016-07-03 01:04)

Well, this past week did not go AT ALL as planned. Work shot up to 7 days a week, sometimes 10 hours a day. Not the least bit helpful or constructive. No time to dev, no time to play. Just eat, work, shower, eat, sleep. :/

Our work crew is dropping another person next week, too. Backlogging projects is one thing, but this is ridiculous. I gotta crunch at least a few of these mini-projects so I'll have stuff I can play during my lunch breaks once winter comes. Because at that point? I'm bringing an air bed to the locker room, and only leaving to buy food and pay my rent, basically.

P#25173 2016-07-12 13:01 ( Edited 2016-07-12 17:01)

I still hope to make this something really cool, someday. :)

P#25177 2016-07-12 13:24 ( Edited 2016-07-12 17:24)

What about a galaga remake? galaga is awesome.

P#25178 2016-07-12 13:28 ( Edited 2016-07-12 17:28)

Galaga really IS an qwesome game that never really gets old, huh?

Looking at the core design - half the fun is in shooting the waves as they enter the screen - so after planning population control, the second thing will be making some simple, but fun entrance pathways - enough variation to keep it fun and fresh, but also simple enough to implement with only a few tokens.

As far as depth goes? I'm tempted to do a Missile > Shield > Laser kind of thing. And the second half that makes it fun is the Tractor Beam Drama! :D I liked that thing in Galaga '88 where recapturing your own ship gave YOU the tractor beam, too. Maybe make for double/triple formations?

I AM liking this. Talk with me, mickio1!

P#25352 2016-07-15 14:01 ( Edited 2016-07-15 18:01)

The arcade game Killer Queen makes me want to make a platformer/Joust-like, too. And something halfway between "Aquaria" and the TMNT dam level; maybe a little influence from the DKC water levels too? But a watery swimming game.

P#25353 2016-07-15 14:03 ( Edited 2016-07-15 18:05)

@TonyTheTGR thanks for sharing your process. It's very interesting to read how others approach game/app development.

P#25603 2016-07-20 06:41 ( Edited 2016-07-20 10:41)


I feel you on the design tip. I'm working with a group of programmers right now on a game as the lead designer/composer. I'm just getting into programming and thought Pico-8 would help me get my feet wet as it is a limited system.

P#25716 2016-07-22 09:40 ( Edited 2016-07-22 13:40)

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