I've toyed around with the idea of game design, but I've often been overwhelmed with the thought of learning a programming language and using a game engine. I went through most of a C# course on YouTube and played around with Unity and Gamemaker 2. However, I realized that playing around with the systems isn't enough. I need a goal!
PICO-8 got my attention because of the Game Jam version of Celeste. I had a blast, and as I read more about it, I love the fact that you can do so much with so little. The restriction has attracted me because when I have more options just starting out, I feel overloaded. Now I just have to decide what kind of game I want to try to make when getting started.
I have started looking around the carts that are listed. I'd love to see a game that has a Dragon Quest or early Final Fantasy feel. I know those games are probably larger than 32K, but I'd be interested in seeing if something similar could be done. I tried one game that seemed promising, and while I enjoyed my time with it, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. That game was more on the lines of a push-into-the-enemy RPG. I'd still recommend giving it a try! (https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?pid=48757#p)
IDK it takes some time to get used to the API but for my first projects I did tilebased movement small stuff and then my first Bigish project was a platformer (even though it was super janky).
I would try to just mess around and learn slowly but if you want to make a game I would try to look for a genre that's not super hard,
Like I wouldn't try a RPG or a beatemup maybe... but maybe
small platformers or classic puzzle/arcade games might be a good place to start.
that's just my opinion though, you do you!
Honestly, I think the first thing I did in PICO-8 was open up Game Development with PICO-8 (linked from the Resources page) and follow the instructions to create the Cave Diver cart. And then mess around with it to add my own touches, but typing in the code got me set up on the general feel of PICO-8.
(Neither that nor the lunar lander game use the map, I think, but otherwise they introduce a lot of PICO-8's systems.)
The main resource not from the Resources page is the Lua 5.2 manual (I think Lua is up to 5.4, but last I checked PICO-8 still used 5.2) - between the Lua manual, the PICO-8 manual, and the PICO-8 wiki, I've been able to find answers to most of the questions I've had so far.
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