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Lately I've heard bits here and there about a new function called unpack that seems to have some significant benefits, but after searching the BBS, the Pico 8 Wiki, and Google, I've barely been able to come up with any solid infomation on it or how to use it.

If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd much appreciate it.

P#79144 2020-07-11 00:50

https://www.lua.org/pil/5.1.html and https://www.lua.org/pil/5.2.html - both near the bottom of the page - mention it; that's about all the documentation I read on it.

I've used it a few times to unpack a table of sub-tables of data for various draw commands (such as rect or spr). The following example is illustrative of such usage. I've put the pack command into this example as well just because it complements the other; although otherwise I would have used {x1,y1,x2,y2,c}. As mentioned in the recent fast sort thread - https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=38706 - it can also be used for copying tables.

function _init()
 for i=1,30 do
  local x1,x2,y1,y2,c=rnd(128),rnd(128),rnd(128),rnd(128),rnd(15)+1

function _update()

function _draw()
 for i=1,#rectangle do

There's also a thread on stackoverflow https://stackoverflow.com/questions/45238831/lua-unpack-then-pack-an-array that's worth a quick read as answers there mention nil (and a field n that is added with table.pack, which is also added in pico-8 in the example I have given above where I have used pack rather than {} ).

It should perhaps be noted that:

  • All the links I have provided are not recent - the online version of Programming in Lua refers to an older version of Lua, and the stackoverflow thread is 3 years old.
  • The stackoverflow thread is talking about table.unpack and table.pack - I do not know if this makes a significant difference, but even so the fact it highlights nil is something worth checking to see what happens with nil values in pico-8.
  • None of the links are specifically about pico-8.
  • At the time I looked in pico-8.txt the information was no more than a change note: "v0.2.0i Added: pack(), unpack()"

As they are not recent nor specifically about pico-8, the information at the links may vary from how the commands work.

It appears the idea to add it was discussed by Lafolie and Felice (5th May): https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=37761

And zep added it shortly after (8th to 11th May): https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=37695

P#79147 2020-07-11 05:49 ( Edited 2020-07-11 07:00)

seems like this really isn't documented yet, but with some experimentation I got it working for me. I've been working on a system for drawing game logos in real time directly from compressed strings, bypassing the sprite sheet. With the unpack function, I can now draw an arbitrary number of specified colored rectangles from a string for less than 50 tokens! Here's a little example:


function _update()
 for i=0,#s-1 do
P#79155 2020-07-11 07:14

@JadeLombax Very impressive compression again, and well worked in with the unpack command.

Given what I've seen before of your code, I did wonder if what I was typing above would be of any help to you personally, or if it would just be of more help to others. Either way, I figured it would benefit someone.

Thanks for sharing what you've done with it. :)

P#79156 2020-07-11 07:26

Thanks, the main thing was just figuring out specifically what unpack did. I wasn't sure if it was used to turn strings into tables, or simplify plugging arguments into functions.

I've been working on compression stuff lately to see if some barriers with Pico 8 can be surmounted, and it's looking like they can. I'll have more to post soon, but here's the more complete version of the last snippet I posted, as a kind of teaser =).

t1,t2={},{}for n=0,3023 do if(ord(s2,n\7+1)-96&2^(n%7)>0)t2[n]=1 end

function _update()
 for i=0,44 do
 for n=0,3023 do
P#79157 2020-07-11 08:01
:: merwok

That compression is impressive!

P#83016 2020-10-16 18:45

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