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I learned how to move an "object"/"pixels" around the screen while working through the Pico-8 Zine paddle game example. It seems to work well and I was quickly able to move the paddle back and forth. Very satisfying.

While looking at the source of other games I noticed they used a pretty similar approach. One thing they did use that seems more segmented is to use Tables to create key/value pairs for attributes of an object.

Coming from web development this looks suspiciously like an object...

The Hero

In this case I created a hero table and set some starting attributes:

-- hero
hero = {}
hero.x = 58
hero.y = 100
hero.sprite = 0

So the hero will use sprite 0 and start at x 58 and y 100 which is the lower middle of the screen.


With the hero placed the move_hero() function does the heavy lifting:

function move_hero()
  if btn(0) then
    hero.x -= 1
  elseif btn(1) then
    hero.x += 1
  elseif btn(2) then
    hero.y -= 2
  elseif btn(3) then
    hero.y += 2

Notice that moving along the x axis is incremented/decremented by 1 instead of 2 along the y axis. I thought it'd be interesting if the hero had main engines and smaller maneuvering thrusters for side to side movement.


I thought it would be cool to have an exhaust sprite coming out of the ship depending on which direction it's moving. To start that off I created four different versions of the hero ship. One with the "aft" engine lit, one with the "fore" engine lit, one with a starboard thruster lit, and a final one with a port thruster lit.

Like the nautical terms? Don't worry I had to look it up on Wikipedia to remember which one is right and left.

The move_hero() function now looks like:

function move_hero()
  if btn(0) then
    text = "button 0, left..."

    hero.sprite = 2
    spr(006, hero.x + 8, hero.y)

    hero.x -= 1
  elseif btn(1) then
    text = "button 1, right..."

    hero.sprite = 3
    spr(007, hero.x - 8, hero.y)

    hero.x += 1
  elseif btn(2) then
    text = "button 2, up..."

    hero.sprite = 0
    spr(004, hero.x, hero.y + 8)

    hero.y -= 2
  elseif btn(3) then
    text = "button 3, down..."

    hero.sprite = 1
    spr(005, hero.x, hero.y - 8)

    hero.y += 2

As you can see I also added a text "element" that will change depending on which button is pushed. This seemed like a nice debugging technique to make things clear while in the game.


_update and _draw

The _update and _draw functions are pretty simple:

function _update()

function _draw()


  -- draw hero

I'm calling move_hero() in _update and _draw because it wouldn't show the exhaust sprite unless I called move_hero at least once in _draw. I guess that makes sense, but my first thought was that you could call spr in any function and have it draw to the screen even if the calling function is only executed in _update. Guess that is not the case.

Also, the little debugging function updatetext is:

text = "welcome to rumpus blaster"

function updatetext()
  print(text, 12, 6, 15)

Lastly, gotta have the cls() call in _draw to clear the screen. Pretty interesting if you play another game then load yours without calling cls...


That's a quick rundown of what I have so far. It's been a fun to allow a character to move along both axis. To improve the exhaust I'd like to make it sort of sparkly. We'll leave that for the next post.

Party On!

P#25652 2016-07-21 05:20 ( Edited 2016-07-21 15:52)

I treat P8/Lua tables just like JS objects, essentially. Just made it easier to translate.

Just a quick thing that you can also declare your initial objects pairs without having to retype the parent object every time.

hero = {

And then you can still set their values later with normal dot notation.


Same syntax works for methods too

P#25660 2016-07-21 09:51 ( Edited 2016-07-21 13:51)

If you want to take it a step further, you can make a table of heroes. I like to use the name 'actors':

function add_act(x,y,s)
   a = {x=x, y=y, s=s}
   add(actors, a)
   return a

To add a new actor, you say

hero = add_act(20,20,1)

And then you can use something like

foreach(actors, move_act)

and the function move_act is applied to all actors, so they can all have similar physics.
And since we returned the actor that was added to the table, we can give the hero unique behaviors. Iif we say


it only moves the hero's actor.

P#25661 2016-07-21 11:26 ( Edited 2016-07-21 15:26)

@morningtoast thanks for the tip, I'll definitely refactor to assign "attributes" during creation, much better.

@Connorses, also thanks. I think that'll take some more digesting to wrap my head around, but I'll definitely look into that when I get to adding more items to the screen. Brilliant!

Thanks again, I appreciate your feedback.

P#25665 2016-07-21 11:52 ( Edited 2016-07-21 15:52)

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