@zlg well, let's see.
the mess in the middle is my own little particle system, based on pico-ps. instead of names like "emitters" and "particles", i decided to be cute and use "throwers" and "stones".
the circle is a polygon with a little renderer that also modifies each point before drawing, like a vertex shader, but inefficient.
the text-drawing is similar... before custom font support, i made a text renderer with a sort of shader, too: a function called per-character to modify its position.
this is one of the more complex things i've made; the result is built on concepts i've used before in isolation. i've got like 200 of these suckers in the vault. I get a lot of inspiration from other pico-8 creators, as well as #tweetcart on twitter, and are.na.
hope that helps :)
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