I'm new to the Pico-8 community and just downloaded it with the intention to explore some games but to mainly create some myself. I have a good amount of coding experience, although not much experience in the area of art/visual game design (but my intention is to improve in that area).
I'm open to any and all suggestions and/or tips for designing games for Pico-8 and games in general. Really anything can help, even things that may seem obvious to most Pico-8 game-designer "beginners."
Looking forward to hopefully having a game playable sometime in the future!
Here's maybe an unconventional first tip, but because there's not much space on PICO-8 cartridges to really design an elaborate game with, it is often best to make games that get their strength out of solid play mechanics and infinite (randomised) content.
Arcade/competitive puzzle games lend themselves extremely well to this. Imagine for example Tetris. That entire game takes place on one screen. The piece movement, rotation and line clear mechanics are the only explicitly programmed elements, and the longevity of the game comes from the randomised order of the pieces you build with.
For the same reason, roguelikes/-lites work very well on PICO-8, too. They can be infinitely replayable because they don't rely on pre-made levels for their longevity. This is perfect, because unless you start employing sophisticated compression methods, there is simply not much space for levels in the map data you get in PICO-8.
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