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In order to expand Pico-8's scope of influence and interest, I was wondering if it was possible to compile a Pico-8 cartridge to a new kind of EXE. Not one that requires Windows as it can now but runs perfectly well in DOSBOX ?


Is this possible ?

P#125442 2023-02-06 23:19


Seems like that would be a lot of effort for Zep with not a lot of return. I get that people like DOSBox for old DOS games, but what's the benefit of running a PICO-8 game on DOSBox vs. on the host OS that DOSBox itself is running on?

P#125444 2023-02-06 23:49

Hi @2bitchuck. The last thing I would want to do is give ZEP extra work. I think releasing the latest version of Pico-8 is quite the effort in itself.

This might be something that is done in time, give or take a year or two.

The only reason I asked, which should be obvious, there are a great many portable consoles that cannot run Pico-8 in any form yet can run DOS BOX.

Instead of compiling to native APK which could be quite some time off, perhaps DOS BOX might be more easily achieved.

That is the only reason. And certainly it would not be now. Taking care of the immediate problems NOW in Pico-8 is clear for anyone to see.

P#125446 2023-02-07 00:24

Well, lua 5.4 can be compiled for dosbox, in dosbox, with a few minor adjustments (needs to be told to use c89 stuff only and needs exactly 2 comments to be converted to proper old-style comments). I can't imagine what in pico-8 would need much more than that. Whoever codes it would just need to look up some tutorials or public domain code to find out how to do all the multimedia stuff in a fast way. From there it's just a matter of implementing the difference in pico-8's dialect, loading in pico-8's library (probably the easiest part), then reading in the cart data.

In case anyone reading this is curious, I used Turbo C++ 3.0 just now to test it. I initially tried 1.0 to see if the easiest to get version works (that one's on wikipedia), but unfortunately that one runs out of memory. I don't know what the legality would be of just grabbing 3.0, though I seem to recall there being a watcom compiler that's also free and has a version that works on modern windows.

If anyone's interested in getting a dosbox emulation working unofficially, pemsa's source probably has a lot of code that'd already get a good portion of the way there.

P#125479 2023-02-07 16:28

Hi @kimiyoribaka:

Thanks for giving this serious consideration ! :D

I suspected it could be done. I mean Pico-8 is not too far away from the old 8-bit Nintendo or Game Gear outside of different ways of handling the screen.

I'm just always trying to find ways of expanding Pico-8's architecture - so more people can enjoy it.

And if you're curious, yeah, I tried to run the EXE it makes for Windows in DOSBOX and as expected, it does not run.

We should not forget that two of the best and fastest videogame emulators were in fact written for original DOS. That of Nesticle and ZSNES.


If it can be done here, it should be possible to run modern Pico-8 in true DOS that DOSBOX can execute.

Certainly I would prefer APK but that could be a long ways off from now ...

P#125480 2023-02-07 17:15

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