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I know this has been mentioned before and while Pico-8 enjoys 5+ years of its release, is it still not capable of exporting to native Android APK format ?

export {cart}.apk

Or is there some easy method to do so effectively, possibly converting both the export of Pico-8 from HTML and JS to an APK ?

export {cart}.html
P#110425 2022-04-18 19:13 ( Edited 2022-04-18 19:14)

:: merwok

making phone apps is quite a bit more involved than simple compilation of C sources for linux/win/mac!

P#110427 2022-04-18 19:42
:: dw817

Hi @merwok. Yet apparently you can convert JS/HTML to APK as Pico-8 does have a HTML export mode.


So it can't be too far off in the future.

In any case for the APK it could create a default interface optional to turn it on or off depending upon menu preferences and recognize amongst other things not just finger presses on the device but external devices such as the KISHI, which I'm going to address in a separate post.

P#110430 2022-04-18 21:09

If running the HTML/JS export in a web view is a good enough Android app experience (is it?), it should be possible to pre-compile the appropriate Java classes and just do the final config templating and bundling step from the PICO-8 binary. Those web-based page-to-app converters (which I would not trust as far as I can throw them, fwiw) might be hiding a large toolchain on the server side that cannot be bundled practically with PICO-8, but from what little I know about APK bundles, you might not need the full toolchain to stamp out webpage-as-apps.

The harder part is building the test suite required to verify that changes to PICO-8 don't break this export option. I don't presume to know what zep actually has in terms of automated tests on the supported platforms, but whether it's automated or manual, there's a lot involved in supporting a new platform. Even if the export tech itself is easy, it'd be a major investment. I suppose you could skimp on tests if you're just exporting the web player, and just keep your fingers crossed that the mobile browser is doing the right thing.

I suppose it's an open question whether mobile platforms need a native player to be performant. Even then, the export is probably a precompiled binary plus all of the templated bundling stuff and shouldn't require a compilation toolchain. But native test suites in Lexaloffle's release process would be prudent.

P#110436 2022-04-18 22:40
:: dw817

I just want the almighty APK, @dddaaannn.

It opens up offline cellphone, Android usage, and of course the ability to post it in Google Play (running through a few flaming hoops of paperwork of course).

Myself personally I would open up the ability to let others get my carts as APKs that run offline direct from downloading at itch instead of requiring running online or only Mac/Windows environs export.

Don't get me wrong. I love me some lexaloffle. Running the original online in your fav browser and computer is great. It's just not so great requiring online for your Android/Cellphone to enjoy Pico-8.

And who wouldn't want to take their beloved .P8 cart and compile it to a single APK that has a custom robust interface to their liking and even include possible background and framed art as listed in example HERE:


And running neatly in both cellphones, Android tablets, and anything else that runs APKs.

P#110444 2022-04-19 03:04 ( Edited 2022-04-19 04:24)

That's quite straightforward to setup by yourself though. You just need android studio and some googling about a webview example if there's not one in there already. I did this a few years ago, it seemed to work well enough (pits of d'oh)

P#110519 2022-04-19 20:11
:: dw817

Let me rephrase that, @ultrabrite. When I say ME I mean WE, meaning others like myself, want the almighty APK, and I don't want to have to do something complex others can't understand.

Now what you did with DOH, I can do that. That's merely exporting as HTML/JS and uploading on Itch. I've done that in the past. And no, while that is not APK - it is still something not everyone knows how to do.

Simplicity in design and function. Not just for myself, but others. The S2 I wrote did as well as it did not because it was a great RPG Maker. It wasn't really. It did well because it was dirt simple to use and ran right out of the box with sample world files, music, sprites, critter definitions, the works.

It was a complete package. Run the single EXE and step back. I had people building in it writing me telling me how much they liked it, as young as 8-years old.

It is the main reason a lot of us I think are here really. Pico-8 runs right out of the box. Just run the EXE and step back.

Few programming languages offer that today. I'm - not sure why.

It's like we all need to be rocket scientists or something to post the simplest games for cellphones and Android. It's not fair and I'm certain I'm not the only one that thinks it.

So if almighty @zep intelligent man that he is, can solve the APK problem of export, he'll have more people purchasing Pico-8 than ever before - for that very reason. To hit the untapped and ripe market.

Providing old-school original and incredibly creative games for the cellphones, Android, and then some. And gain tremendous fame when others across the globe see these games and want to trace them to the source programming language - to possibly write their own.

P#110522 2022-04-19 22:07 ( Edited 2022-04-19 22:13)
:: merwok

ultrabrite’s link was not merely showing an html export on itch, there is an apk download on the page. it was an example of how game devs can make an apk by bundling an html game with a webview to make a hybrid native app. there is a bbs thread where someone links to a solution based on electron (which makes me shudder – hundreds of megabytes of chrome engine and javascript monstrosity to play a 32kb cart!).

as for native support by pico8, answers have already been given. it is not simple to support, and zep has other priorities. in my opinion it would be much better to have an official pico8 player for phones and load regular PNG carts, or use one of the existing player emulators, or just play in browser. pico8 does not live in the same universe as computer phones anyway!

P#110558 2022-04-20 08:37

@dw817 you really described that frustration perfectly. I learned several languages, environments and engines and I ALWAYS have to re-read half of the documentation when getting back into them. I prefer straightforward.exe IDEs with nice exports so i can focus on the creative parts without getting interrupted again and again.
I for example love writing python code, and the export is powerful yet difficult to memorize, i always have to relearn for every single simple game.
Godot is noteable here,it includes easy-ish exports for win,mac,linux and android-and i love that. Having it in pico8 would be a gamechanger for its popularity!

P#111620 2022-05-10 17:26

> Godot is noteable here,it includes easy-ish exports for win,mac,linux and android-and i love that. Having it in pico8 would be a gamechanger for its popularity!

I get wanting an APK export option, but I'm not quite sure what could be easier about PICO-8's general export workflow? There's not really anything to learn. You type export cartname.bin and you instantly have a Windows, Mac, Linux, and Raspberry Pi export ready to go, each in their own folder, nothing else needed. It's a dead simple workflow. (Android APK support wouldn't even change the workflow itself, just the result.)

P#111631 2022-05-10 19:00
:: Xeonic

i think a actual android port of pico8 makes more sense

P#111632 2022-05-10 19:03
:: dw817

I am so sorry, @taxicomics. That you were frustrated. However I was elated that I am not the only one thinking we need a true APK compiler for Pico-8.

@Xeonic: Bit of both. I would still like to be able to convert a P8 to a true single encrypted APK. So you could distribute the APK safely with no worries of people reverse-engineering it.

P#111650 2022-05-11 02:47
P#111653 [hidden by admin]
:: merwok

no need to make wild theories like that.

phone apps for pico8 have been on the roadmap for version 1.0 for a long time, they’re just not the current focus.

P#111677 2022-05-11 11:12

@MBoffin I love pico8s exports just as much, and yes, they're even simpler than godot. I was referring to the missing .apk export, not pico8-exports in general.

P#111684 2022-05-11 13:27

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