Log In  

Cart #tinyrogue-6 | 2021-11-22 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Decided to use Pico8 to lay down the initial design work for an RPG designed for the Thumby which runs using the RP2040 chip. This means I have 264kb (actually probably 232kb) RAM to work with, about 1.5mb of disk space, and a 72x40 screen. So I restricted the display area and made use of poking in an 8x8 font to simulate a lot of the final look of the game.

Version 0.1a is just about pre-alpha, as you have an endless dungeon to explore (max size 10x10) but no victory condition quite yet. There is still a few bits and pieces to finish off, code to tidy up but it's coming along.

Version 0.2a is now pre-alpha. Added in graphical updates, hooked in most abilities, added in some more user feedback, balancing is faaaar from done yet. There are likely still be be some bugs floating around as I haven't gone through a complete bug test yet.

Version 0.3b is now beta. Should be feature complete (and down to about 120kb), win/loss conditions, all abilities in and coded. Slowly starting to work on balancing the game now and completing the last tweaks.

Version 0.4b is getting close to final build. Fixes up some more bugs, added new "dodge" passive ability, tweaked some things for balancing, added in list of enemies at the start of a fight.

Version 0.5b is pretty much the final build. Balancing is basically complete, audio (a single beep) has been added, finished off modding support (for Pico8 requires editing load_data section). All that's really left to do is refactoring the code to improve the structure of it rather than any other major changes.

Version 0.6b added might passive ability and tweaked a player to go with that. Found a few bugs which I've fixed (such as monster movement, monsters not casting spells etc). Last big change was refactoring the code to streamline some things. Code is still a bit messy but way better than it was before overall. Now on final testing before porting.

Version 1.0 made last few tweaks to the game before release


  • Arrow keys for menus or movement
  • Z/X to interact with menu (flashing element is current option to use)
  • Hold down Z/X for 1+ second to bring up item menu when outside of a fight

==Active ability==
These abilities can only be used during combat.

1. Fury         attacks number of times equal to level but decreases accuracy by 25%
2. Pray         random effect: cast known spells, heal 1hp/level, flee, nothing
3. Flee         allows user to escape to nearby cell without damage
4. Cast         allows user to cast known spells (!!not suitable spell effect!!)
5. Burn         damages all enemies for 1hp/level, *2 if single enemy
6. Drain        damages 1 enemy for 0.5hp/level (min. 1) and restores hp equal to damage to user
7. Void         damages all enemies for 0.5hp/level (min. 1), *2 if single enemy, and restores hp equal to damage to user
8. Shift        gain abilities/passives of random monster <= level until end of next fight
9. Heal         heals user for 2hp/level
10.Aura         attack that automatically hits for 0.75hp/level (min. 1)
11.Slay         damages 1 enemy for 9999hp

==Passive ability==
These abilities are used automatically when appropriate.

1. Resist       reduces all damage by 1 point
2. Regen        regenerate HP over time (automatic outside of combat)
3. Disarm       disarms any encountered traps
4. Learn        learn unknown spells from scrolls
5. Strike       increases accuracy of any attack by 50%
6. Immune       takes minimum damage (max. 1)
7. Dodge        decrease attackers accuracy by 33%
8. Might    increases all damage by 1 point

Scrolls can only be used in combat, with no cost to hp, except if the player has the learn passive in which case the spell added to the players known spells. All items are consumed after use

1. Potion       heals user 2hp/level
2. Map          reveals map
3. Tools        disarms any traps
4. *xxxxx       scroll of the spell of the same name

All spells cost the caster 1hp to cast.

ID NAME         EFFECT  
1. Missile      same effect as the ability "smite"
2. Bless        same effect as the ability "pray"
3. Blink        same effect as the ability "flee"
4. Fireball     same effect as the ability "burn"
5. Siphon       same effect as the ability "drain"
6. Vortex       same effect as the ability "void"
7. Reshape      same effect as the ability "shift"
8. Heal         same effect as the ability "heal"
9. Holy         same effect as the ability "fury"
10.Slay         same effect as the ability "slay"
P#98405 2021-10-08 21:11 ( Edited 2021-11-22 22:01)

All Comments

This is really impressive. I might be out of the loop on this type of rogue -- I didnt know what a lot of things meant until I found out the hard way. Obviously the size of the UI is a factor and once you learn it makes sense. Like, R is Rat. Makes sense, but you don't know until you kill it. Anyways, this is very promising. Nice work! 😃

P#98413 2021-10-09 01:46


That's some funky resolution. If it's just something to dream up I was expecting maybe 64x32 or something that's a power of 2.

However, the THUMBY is a real thing ! You can find it HERE:


Personally I think a one-button system would be perfect. There are a great many Pico-8 games that only require one button to play and that tiny cross with UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT is WAY too small for adult hands.

So you would have one button for games, A side button for mode, and there you have it. That's it. 2 buttons altogether.

Hold both down to power up. Both down to power down. Anything else is regular input.

And it wouldn't be uncommon for the system to recognize the difference between a tap and a hold on either button and do something entirely different based upon that.

The game you wrote, however, for Pico-8 is mostly chance. Might be nice to add a key that can activate carried items when desired for any room where you're not in combat.

If your game was a single key input. let me think. You could have HOLD to go and highlight the options North, South, East, West, or take stairs.

Combat is automatic so that's fine. Tap to continue or HOLD to escape. Escape is in opposite direction you just entered.

And there you have it. All down to a single button input.

P#98422 2021-10-09 04:15

I like the res and design, don't like having no idea what I come across or dying to a trap because wynot.
But still I like the graphic design

P#98424 2021-10-09 04:29

@enchiridion The size of the UI does have a lot of challenges, giving the name of the creature after you kill it was one way to try and help out. I'm still thinking through how to get as much information up front, looks like I need to figure out more ways XD

@SmellyFishstiks Traps were a first implementation, though I've been scratching my head on that a bit. I think the idea that was provided by dw817 might work, something along the lines of it only triggers if you try to go to an area different from where you entered. It means you won't randomly trigger the trap, and becomes an active choice. One thing I haven't implemented yet is randomly knocking out some of the walls which would then allow you to possibly bypass some of the traps by taking a different route.

@dw817 I've been thinking in the background of some separate one button games which would rightly, as you stated, work well with the system. I'd been toying with the idea of doing TAP/short press for one action and HOLD/long press for a different action and thinking over what you are saying it might be a good idea to find ways to put that in. The sticky point there is how to convey that in a simple way to the player via the very limited UI.

One bit of information that I didn't put down is that I was also semi-developing this for the Pico Display Pack as well which has only four buttons. That meant I was reserving all four buttons for movement outside of combat then allowing all other actions such as using items inside combat. This does limit the player considerably. If I use the long press then I could, regardless of the platform, open up the options of player actions far more.

P#98458 2021-10-10 05:11

@RyanC: Your work and information about the THUMBY here has encouraged me to make a "proof of concept" showing it is indeed possible to make a game using only a single button keypress.

P#98707 2021-10-15 19:38

@dw817 definitely go for it, would be really interested to see your take on it. I have seen some games that do useful functions such as auto-equipping the best item you come across (usually RPG styles that replaces armour+1 with say armour+2).

P#98712 2021-10-15 20:36

@RyanC: You're describing an RPG Maker I wrote years ago for Windows 3.1. Very massive project. Over 10 years of work involved. It started Windows 3.1 and ended at Windows XP.

And that method of auto-equip, I had that. You had Weapon and Armor and values from 1-20 for each. If you "found" a weapon, your weapon class increased by one.

Forging a "new" weapon always costed more than the last with the 20th being millions of gold coins, if you could afford it.

Despite its simplicity in data handling the scripting system was very complex indeed, while ASCII had Ruby I had my own Sprite Messenger with over 80 icons you could mix and match commands with.

I'm going to wrap a game around my Pico-8 "proof" engine. Likely call it, "I'll Be Back." no relation to Terminator. :) It's going to be interesting where you enter your name easily and effectively in for high-score using only a single button, however I think it can be done.

P#98724 2021-10-15 23:29

@dw817 interesting. My first thought on inputting name would be that you take the alphabet and split it in two, say a-m and n-z. Then give the player a short or long press to choose left or right. If you broke the choice down each time I think you could do that in five presses. If you wanted to put a timer on it you could have no press, short press, long press and split the alphabet up into three chunks each time. That would get it down to three presses (or not as the case might be). Definitely a lot of ways you can implement a one button system, and has me thinking of some of my own.

P#98727 2021-10-16 00:02 ( Edited 2021-10-16 00:03)


This is definitely not what I'm going to do - but wow, what an idea you have there ! Very creative.

It's easier than that and hopefully quicker input too. Nope. I'll reveal it when I post the game completed.

P#98752 2021-10-16 17:55

[Please log in to post a comment]

Follow Lexaloffle:          
Generated 2022-11-29 10:38:53 | 0.057s | Q:31