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Cart #op-0 | 2021-10-15 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

TO LOAD THIS cartridge in the Pico-8 system, from the immediate mode type:


Having seen the THUMBY device (see links below) I thought it surely must be possible to make a device just as small yet instead of using a very small up, down, left, right and (A) and (B) buttons, can't this all be done with a single button instead ?

So I set out to write a proof of concept example in Pico-8. In this it has only two buttons. A MODE on the side and a main center single button.

Button (O) is the center MAIN button and button (X) is the side MODE button.
For the IBM-pc this is key "Z" and "X."

To turn the system on, hold both for a moment. Hold both again to turn the system off.

Once your ship appears there are 2 displays. The upper-left-hand corner shows the number of shots you have fired and the bottom-right shows the direction the ship will move in.

Hold the main button to move the ship in the direction shown.
Tap the main button 2x to reverse the direction.
Tap the main button once to fire off a shot.

I hope this will encourage someone to make a device similar to THUMBY but make it easier for us with bigger hands as the whole thing can truly be controlled from a single button press.

This is where the THUMBY device can be found:


I first saw this device example HERE:


If someone is interested, I can rewrite this code so it uses only the single button - no mode button at all. In that if you held the main button say 2-seconds, that would signify an ON/OFF signal.

P#98706 2021-10-15 19:34 ( Edited 2021-10-15 21:25)

:: RyanC

@dw817 XD got confused at first, had to read your post to figure out the two button press to turn it on. Cool proof of concept though!

P#98728 2021-10-16 00:20
:: dw817

Thanks, @RyanC !

I am definitely going to break it down to one button removing the MODE button. Of course this means if you place the device in your pocket, you want to make sure no pressure is occurring on the main button or it might turn on in your pocket. :)

While it's pretty straight-forward how to make turn-based games using a single button, this will indeed be an action game, a topview shooter, 8-levels of play. Winning the game after the 8th level and will feature experience points and increasing difficulty w faster enemies.

P#98751 2021-10-16 17:51

This is a very cool and artsy project,nice!

P#99725 2021-11-07 11:32


A dedicated power button could also work and avoid confusion. For a physical device it could also be recessed and require a good deal of pressure to actuate, making it difficult to accidentally turn the unit on or off.

P#99731 2021-11-07 15:34 ( Edited 2021-11-07 15:35)
:: dw817

Glad you like it, @taxicomics. :)

This is important information to me, @JadeLombax. So - you do want to keep the power button then ?

Okay. Now the RG-350 I have you must hold the power button for 2-seconds for the system to turn on.

What I was thinking earlier is to have one button only and you must hold it 3-seconds to turn on and off. Would that be good, or do you want to stick with two buttons. A side for power and main on the front ?

P#99733 2021-11-07 16:40 ( Edited 2021-11-07 16:40)

I think a dedicated power button is convenient and less likely to cause confusion or erroneous inputs, while also leaving a long press available for gameplay features.

For on-screen usage, though, a side button is less than ideal because you can't see its labeling, so if you decide to keep that, you could use a pop-up power icon or label whenever a user mouses over it.

P#99735 2021-11-07 16:53
:: dw817

Sounds like a split, @JadeLombax. Here, when I post my game with this, I'll boot it with an option asking for 1- or 2-buttons input that will appear with the device.

Thanks for your feedback on this !

P#99738 2021-11-07 17:14

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