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Cart #58272 | 2018-10-23 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

The rumour races through Petra's town: a Fony Music rep will visit at the close of 1988, handing out a record deal to the band with the fans. Meanwhile, if Johnny doesn't "shape up", his dad's gonna send him to military school. So Petra's getting the band back together.

Hi folks, I'm very pleased to present "Signed by '89". This is my first PICO-8 game, and it ended up being quite a full cart! It's a short-form mini music management game. Hope you have as much fun playing it as I had making it.

I originally started working on this for #LOWREZJAM 2018 (that's why it's in 64x64 resolution), but the deadline sailed right on past months ago. Think of this as my very, very belated entry. ;-)

Arrow keys: Move Petra
Z/🅾: Perform Actions
X/❎: See Band Statistics

Game page on itch.io

P#58273 2018-10-23 09:15 ( Edited 2018-10-29 04:35)

Pretty neat ! Great music, mapping, and dialogue.

Reminds me a lot of Bratz: Rock Angelz


Now you just need a SAVE GAME feature.

P#58304 2018-10-23 18:44 ( Edited 2018-10-23 22:44)

Thanks, really glad to hear you enjoyed it! Ha, I had no idea that there was a Bratz music game. :-D

Yeah, save game would be real nice. I wonder if I can grovel up the Lua tokens I'd need? I hit the token limit a bunch while I was making it, and had to learn more and more token-saving tricks as I went.

P#58309 2018-10-23 21:17 ( Edited 2018-10-24 01:17)

Cool game. I feel like there should have been some time aspect that most of management games have. I felt like there was no reason not to practice after each show and put up flyers and all that. Without a limit on my actions buying the metronome is nothing but a small convenience.

I had fun with it though.

P#58310 2018-10-23 21:37 ( Edited 2018-10-24 01:37)

This was quite a bit of fun! Very enjoyable and somewhat relaxing too.

P#58317 2018-10-23 23:47 ( Edited 2018-10-24 03:47)

chickenmaker: Yeah, I went back and forth on having a real time limit (in various forms—realtime and quasi turn-based), but in the end decided that the game felt best as a low-pressure experience. It's certainly possible to play more or less effectively, but the only real penalty is that building the fanbase takes longer. (One of my friends kept playing trying to get the "lose condition", and I had to break the news to her that... there isn't one!) Glad you had fun with it all the same!

PicoLate: Thanks for posting! Great to hear that you had a good time. :-D

P#58369 2018-10-24 16:33 ( Edited 2018-10-24 20:33)

haha this was fun. the "getting inspired" mechanic made me laugh :D

i like that you can open the display at any time and see your numerically quantified levels rising; it's neat that a simple UI thing can contribute to the humor like that

P#58373 2018-10-24 20:44 ( Edited 2018-10-25 00:44)

I feel your token limit pain :) In case you do try to save some more, you can reclaim a bunch by doing things like:

local fq,fr,fs,fv,ft,fu=0,2,false,0
local my_made_up_variable=fq -- this has to stay, as we can't read fq before it's been declared

instead of this

local fq, fr, fs = 0, 2, false
local ft, fu
local fv = 0
local my_made_up_variable=fq

It'll make things more unreadable and also more trap-infested when you start factoring in nil values and functions that return 'lists' of values (I don't know the Lua terminology for it, but I mean things like 'function fn() return 1,true,"3" end'), so I generally only do this as a last step for code that I know won't change.

Also there's a slight perf hit if you do this with variables that are already defined, but not for the initial declaration.

(edit: now I think about it I'm not sure I could have picked a poorer example for the code, but I wanted to keep it short - there are plenty of places where you can apply this though and save more than just one token :) )

P#58374 2018-10-24 20:57 ( Edited 2018-10-25 01:07)

Cool, thanks! Yeah, I applied that one in a few places. There are probably more, though.

This list was a helpful resource.

By far the biggest win for me was inventing my own (very ad-hoc!) markup language for presenting text and UI elements. This kind of thing:


That example prints "hello" at 4,2, goes to a new line (so position 4,8), prints "world" in colour 2, and then puts sprite 18 at 40,40. Occasionally it ended up as more readable code than individual statements would have, but mostly it harmed readability. However, it did save a heap of tokens. :-)

I used Feneric's fork of picotool. picotool causes some token overhead from its simulated modules, but I'm not sure I'd want to do without it!

P#58379 2018-10-24 22:45 ( Edited 2018-10-25 02:45)

Oh hey, I didn't see your post earlier, kittenm4ster. Yeah, heh, quantifying rock and roll felt just the right kind of ridiculous. At one point there were even 'buzz' and 'x-factor' stats too. :-D

P#58468 2018-10-27 05:36 ( Edited 2018-10-27 09:36)

That was very cool! Always neat to see more unique and unusual concepts here, and I definitely can't say I've seen anything quite like this in PICO-8 before.

If you can scrounge up the tokens, I think having an optional challenge mode (or an alternate version of the game) where you do have limited time and actions per day would be a good addition. Currently it feels like it has all of the groundwork to be a game with challenge except the actual penalties that would cause that. I get that you want to have a chill version of the experience, but having the option to play a version that has strategy involved would be cool.
Random events that alter the group's tightness (and maybe more drain after each show to encourage practicing more) would also be neat but that'd take even more code to add.

P#58488 2018-10-27 15:41 ( Edited 2018-10-27 19:41)

Very good indeed - was really surprised by the animation (yes) and the song variety!

Note: you could have used @Liquidream SCUMM engine port to built a AAA game!

P#58491 2018-10-27 16:09 ( Edited 2018-10-27 20:09)

Jusiv: Oh cool! To be honest, I hadn't really surveyed the PICO-8 landscape very much before starting, so good to hear that it came out feeling original.

Yeah, I hear you on the challenge mode thing. A couple of friends have requested this as well. You're right about nearly all the groundwork being in place to do a strategic version. I'll have a think about it, though it all may be a moot point with the tokens being so tight! (I'd also like to offer pathfinding, unlocking mouse or touch-based play, but that'd chew through a lot as well.)

Initially this was supposed to be a slice of a much larger music game that I have in my head, and that imagined game certainly involves penalties and random developments: "Another band stole your cool riff!"; "Your singer got hooked on cocaine!"; "Your bassist trashed the hotel room!". And other, y'know, 80s rock tropes. ;-) But somehow "Signed by '89" ended up pretty sunny in outlook, at least in its current form.

freds72: Thanks heaps! Yeah, I had to work hard to squeeze in all the music. If you look at the map area in the cart, most of the rows are full of extra music data. :-D There were initially a few more animations as well, but I just ran out of sprite sheet space. A few lessons learned for the next game.

I hadn't heard of SCUMM-8 before! Looks amazing. Point and click adventures are dear to my heart.

P#58517 2018-10-29 00:35 ( Edited 2018-10-29 04:35)

whaou what a charming game, music are really cool and all the process to make a record--- art and animation are so cute... congrats

P#137810 2023-11-23 08:41

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