The idea behind PICO-8 is pretty amazing in that you can make the games in the same environment you play them in. The pico-8 webpage itself says, and I quote: "Create a whole game or program in one sitting without needing to leave the cosy development environment"... except if you wanna look at the docs, then you gotta do awkward switching between a text editor and the pico-8 environment. Thus, I think the documentation should be embedded into the IDE. On a second note, trying to find any particular function in the docs is not a fun experience. For example, if I want to know what arguments "print" takes, I have to search the readme file for "print" (of course), but there's a ton of references to the function before the actual documentation for it, which means I have to go over all of them before I find the actual line which explains what the function should be called as. It could be nice to have the usual thing for function documentation in the IDE -- you type the name of the function in your code, hit F1, and it shows the reference for this particular function. I know that pico-8 is still in alpha, but I feel like this is one feature that is a must-have for comfortable development.
Nice suggestion for built-in documentation.
One tip, if you want to look up parameters for a built-in function, try searching "[NAME] " instead. For example, "rect ". This should limit your results a bit.
Also, this cheat sheet/wiki is pretty helpful: https://neko250.github.io/pico8-api/
It even includes some of the non-documented features, like grabbing mouse inputs.
@miscbill: Oh wow, I remember that dog-eared book! Sadly, I was probably too young (and impatient) to make the full use of it, back in the day.
But that's the beauty of PICO-8; the simplicity of BASIC, but the power of SO much more! :D
Count me in for a plastic-bound PICO-8 Programmers Reference! ;)
Also don't forget the wiki, which has a thorough API reference organized both by category and alphabetically:
I've looked into doing a comb-binding manual for Pico-8. Full color is expensive, and nobody offers comb binding and full color together with print on demand services. So it'd probably be a limited bulk print run and a fulfillment service of some kind. Maybe next year. :)
@Tim I agree completely. Pico-8 would feel more complete with built-in documentation. I usually program on my PocketCHIP so I never leave pico-8 (except for looking at the printh output).
It would be fun to make a cart to show the idea and hopefully inspire Zep to add this to pico-8.
I dunno, I feel like it fits fairly well to have onboard docs; the self-contained nature of the system is one of my favorite things about it, thematically.
If you need a lore justification, the idea that the docs are stored in a firmware utility chip on the motherboard of the console itself would justify having the information sitting around and readable without otherwise compromising the constraints of the cart system itself.
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