PICO-8 is an enjoyable little gem of a development platform, with its limitations pushing you to be more creative. Having everything "all in one" really makes for a neat experience.
With that said, I believe there is room for an adult version of PICO-8. That is, a more advanced version, Which I will refer to as:
Effectively. PICO-8 but with similar power to a 16-bit console (such as a SNES / Megadrive).
My general wish-list for the PICO-16 would be:
SFX: 8 channels, with more control over the sound wave generation
Additional graphical features like mode 7 too, and sprite rotation as standard.
The IDE editing area would be expanded too, particularly for the code editing, which is one of the unfortunate limitations of PICO-8.
Naturally a larger level editor area would ease mapping.
What do you guys think?
I think it's about halfway through zep's talk PICO-8 and the Design of Cozy Spaces, but I think he mentions that he actually made a PICO-16 and why that's not a thing. (If you haven't watched that talk, you definitely should. It's really fantastic and gives a lot of his thought processes behind how and why he made PICO-8.)
@braindead, indeed. I believe there is a place for both. One with the restricted limitations and the other for those of us who would like to venture further.
@MBoffin, thanks for the video and other links.
I have TIC-80 installed here too. I like its more flexible audio options. Pixel Vision looked interesting but it does not have that 'fixed hardware' nature of PICO-8 which I think is an important factor to have.
From that video it seems there is no chance of a more powerful dev environment, which is a shame as things could be done to free up creativity and make developing a little easier too (such as adding debugging).
I don't think a PICO-16 will ever become a thing - one big thing I took from zep's talk was that the goal of the PICO-8 was never to be a retro game dev machine, it was to be a simple, accessible, and inspiring game dev machine, and it is that. Frankly, my first comparison point with PICO-8 is not TIC-80 and the like; it's Bitsy.
I do think, though, that there's space for other fantasy consoles with as clear design intentions as PICO-8 has that seek out other aesthetic goals. It would be fantastic to see something aimed at a low-poly N64/Playstation-gen aesthetic, for example - or, if you want to get strange, 1980s-computer-magazine-tech-demo raytracing a la the SuperRT SNES hack. Or ancient vector graphics. Or whatever else.
I'm not sure there's any other fantasy console that has the degree of intentional design that PICO-8 has, and there really should be many, because zep's is a mindset that produced something really wonderful ... but there's more than one wonderful thing possible.
That's where my head goes re: the hypothetical, anyway.
Y'all might enjoy the Fantasy Consoles Discord, where there's on-going conversation about both creating and developing for a wide variety of fantasy consoles. PICO-8 is the OG, but new ones come and go pretty regularly.
Not to be confused with the PICO-8 Discord, which is also worth joining:
Picotron is something like that: https://www.lexaloffle.com/picotron.php?page=playground
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