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I'm a game developer. I'm trying to mess around with pico8 because I want to take advantage of your pleasant little community by trying to attract attention so I can sell my other stupid shit to you. Hurr durr, nothing can be just for fun anymore


Cart #deal_or_no_deal-0 | 2020-12-06 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

It's the game "Deal Or No Deal," except with fewer commercial breaks.

The whole game is clicking buttons, so a mouse is required! You probably don't need to be familiar with the show to play, but let me know if it's confusing, and I can try to figure out how to communicate the rules better.

Currently missing some stuff like music/sound and a title screen, but you can go through a full round and it works "pretty much like the show."

P#85103 2020-12-07 00:00

Cart #jump_flood-1 | 2020-09-27 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

I made this for practice, to try out the Jump-Flood Algorithm, but it turned into a little interactive click-through thing, so here it is. It might be a little hard to understand at first, but if you're interested in parallel processing, it's an extremely powerful tool.

Jump-Flood is useful for "parallel-fill" operations. For detailed information, this wonderful article by Ben Golus explains why and how you might want to use the Jump-Flood Algorithm for a realtime "perfect thick outline" post-processing shader, by live-generating a 2D distance field from a rasterized silhouette.

In this simpler example, the input is a 1-dimensional sequence of increasing numbers, with an unpredictable number of trailing zeroes after each unique value. The goal is to "fill-forward" each unique value, so it gets copied over all of its immediately-trailing zeroes. This is easy to do in a serial process, "CPU-style" (just one big for-loop through the whole list, remembering the most recent nonzero value and overwriting any zeroes with it) - but it's much more complicated if you want to solve this same problem with a parallel routine - for example, in a GPU program, for a big list! The naive parallel approaches are very wasteful, and they scale very poorly by comparison.

Note that this demo shows the process running one "slot" at a time in each row (for clarity), but each pass of this algorithm (one row of digits) can be performed fully parallel.

The really compelling thing about this method is that when run in a parallel way, it deals with large amounts of data incredibly well: the cost scales as O(log2(N)), where N is the size of the largest continuous sequence of zeroes in the input list (the maximum "fill distance"). A beautiful algorithm!

P#82362 2020-09-27 05:05

Cart #toboggoban-12 | 2019-12-14 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

It's time for Toboggoban! A Sokoban-variant featuring wintery vibes and sliding toboggans.

This game was made for the 2019 Advent Calendar - check it out for a bunch of other wintery content from other developers, gradually unlocking throughout December 2019!

Arrows: Move
Z: Undo
X: Reset level

Awkward special note: This game uses a music track supplied by Gruber, but it plays a version of his song which I modified to be less melodic (for a less-distracting puzzle-solving backdrop). My edited version isn't as good as the original song, so if you don't like the gameplay music, don't go blaming it on Gruber (check his profile - his work is A++). His original track plays during the final cutscene, so if you beat the game, you get to hear it properly!

P#71027 2019-12-15 02:47

Cart #palette_maker-1 | 2019-09-27 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

A tool for creating palettes!


This tool exports your palette to your clipboard, which only works if you download the cartridge in the local Pico-8 Editor - to download this cartridge, run this command from the main p8 commandline:


Press X to switch between "Color Select" mode and "Color Order" mode.

In "Color Select" mode: Click a color to select/deselect it. Press Z to switch between default colors and "special dark" colors.

In "Color Order" mode: Click and drag colors to reorder them.

At any time: Paste your clipboard contents into another pico8 editor (or a text file) to export your palette as Lua. You can put this Lua in your _INIT() function, or at the very top of your script, or at whatever point you want the palette to change.

Example output:

for i,c in pairs(_pal) do
P#68190 2019-09-27 17:21 ( Edited 2019-09-27 17:31)

Cart #store_rotation_matrix-0 | 2019-09-01 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Quick example of how you can save a sin/cos result for an angle, and then draw a whole rotated object with a bunch of drawing-API calls which all re-use the trig results.

P#67097 2019-09-01 13:43 ( Edited 2019-09-01 13:43)

Cart #waterballoon_physics-1 | 2019-08-04 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Sketched out some water balloon physics - press any P8 button to restart with a randomized balloon size.

P#66345 2019-08-04 00:37

Cart #point_cloud_ladybug-0 | 2019-05-26 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

I took a shot at "demaking" an image made by Inigo Quilez. His original piece draws an animated scene which is modeled and rendered entirely by code which runs on the GPU (note: this link takes you to a webpage which runs heavy GPU code, and it will likely slow down your browser while it's running): https://www.shadertoy.com/view/4tByz3

My version is a lot simpler. It draws a single still image in two passes (first a depth/material-ID pass, then a lighting pass to get the final result), so be patient! Nothing else happens after it finishes drawing the image.

Unlike the original version, which uses Signed Distance Field modeling to describe its shapes, I used a point-cloud generator/rasterizer which uses a z-buffer for sorting (very similar to the triangle-renderers used in almost all current 3D game engines, but it only draws points instead of triangles). Each object on the screen is created by some function which submits a sequence of 3D positions with material values to to the rasterizer.

All lighting operations (diffuse + specular + approximated directional shadows + SSAO) are performed as a post-process, like deferred rendering in modern environments. Since the shapes in the scene are just arbitrary collections of points, they don't have "real" normals - instead, all normals are approximated based on the depth buffer, after all the points have been rasterized.

P#64769 2019-05-26 21:17 ( Edited 2019-05-26 21:20)

Cart #tiny_swordfighter-1 | 2019-01-02 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Tiny Swordfighter is a swordfighting game, and it's pretty tiny, but it's got some fun features:

  • Swords
  • Guns
  • Bump-mapped lighting
  • Flowfield pathfinding (solves shared paths for many enemies at once)
  • Auto-save
  • A bossfight at the end

It's pretty close to finished, but I figured I'd try doing a WIP post to get some feedback for final adjustments. I'm nearly out of tokens, but there's still some room to optimize some more out, so I can do a small amount of extra stuff. I know it still needs some sound effects and a bossfight song, but other than that, let me know if you find any problems - confusing stuff, frustrating stuff, broken stuff, tedious stuff, etc.

P#60506 2019-01-02 19:20

Cart #pico8adventcalendar2018-31 | 2018-12-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

It's the Pico-8 Advent Calendar for 2018!

This is the main menu for a collaboration organized by Bigaston.

Come back on each day from the 1st to the 25th of December for twenty-five different surprises, each made by a different developer! This menu cartridge will link to all of the games as they are released, though the individual cartridges will also have their own threads.

P#59497 2018-12-01 04:12 ( Edited 2018-12-25 03:35)

An entry for TweetTweetJam - a weeklong gamejam where everyone makes a game in 560 bytes or less.

Arrow keys to move, X to reset if you die. Your score is based on your forward distance.

P#59052 2018-11-15 23:44 ( Edited 2018-11-18 18:10)

Cart #winter_golf_2darray-1 | 2018-12-03 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

This is my entry in the Pico-8 Advent Calendar for 2018, a jam organized by Bigaston.

Winter Golf is a short golf game for snowy-minded individuals. Each time you collect a snowflake, your snowball gets larger and larger. Grab all the snowflakes in a course to unlock the goal! There are five courses total.

Press left and right to aim, hold and release O (or, on a keyboard, Z) to take a shot, or hold X to restart the current course.

There's a special surprise at the end...but you'll have to figure out how to get to it!

(little note: this thread originally contained a placeholder cartridge, so there are some comments about that original cart - for context, it was a drawing of an orange.)

P#57221 2018-09-28 13:32 ( Edited 2018-12-03 02:09)

Cart #51642 | 2018-04-15 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Ahoy! Here's a little fishing game for you.

The main goal of this project was to experiment with a bunch of fun rendering effects that aren't super common in Pico-8...

...so hopefully the gameplay is worthwhile enough to justify its own inclusion.

Some features:

  • 3D character animation (with knees and elbows!)
  • Spriteless animated fish rendering
  • Water which visualizes a flow-velocity field
  • Fullscreen "day to night" transition filter
  • Realtime shadows, including soft shadows from the player
  • "Windy grass" rendering
  • Procedurally generated maps
  • A shop with four gadgets
  • Something unexpected, which I don't want to spoil for you

The version of the code that's included here is obfuscated to be illegible, but you can buy the real source code (formatted properly, with optional comments) on itch.io - the price is "$1 or more."

Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoy the game!

First update - fixed a bug in the minified version which broke all the item unlocks. Sorry about that!

Second update - didn't change the game, but the itch.io page is live, so I added a link above.

P#51637 2018-04-15 15:19 ( Edited 2018-05-04 21:13)

Cart #50802 | 2018-03-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

It's a frosted 3D donut, drawn in 265 chars of Lua!

I'm including the code here, with spacing and indents for legibility (instead of minimizing chars like in the cart).

Variable meanings:
X/Y/Z: Current sample position (moves along a camera ray), +Y is up
I/J: Screenspace position
U/V/W: Ray direction (normalized)
C: Output color of the current ray
K: Raymarch iterator
Q: Distance to the unextruded torus on XZ plane
L: Shortest distance to the surface of the extruded 3D torus
A: Angular position of sample pos around the torus (0-1, repeating)

(Both distance values are signed: a negative distance means that a point is inside a shape)

for k=1,20 do
    if (z>4 or y<-1) then
    if (l<.08) then
goto _
P#50803 2018-03-25 14:12 ( Edited 2018-03-25 20:15)

Cart #50080 | 2018-03-08 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Material Capture, or "matcap" for short, is a really neat technique, and now that I've learned about it, I'm pretty surprised that it doesn't come up more often in gamedev conversations. It's great! Here's a pico8 implementation of the concept: it draws approximated realtime reflections on 3D meshes.

There are three settings that you can change while it's running:

Right/Left: Switch materials
Up/Down: Fast-mode / Slow-mode
O/X: Switch models

Fast-mode is kind of like a vertex shader in modern 3D engines (the material texture is only sampled along the edges of triangles). Slow-mode is kind of like a pixel shader (except there's no GPU to give it a speed boost)

P#50081 2018-03-07 22:54 ( Edited 2018-03-09 18:15)

Hello again!

Here's something I made this weekend - I recreated a pixel art image which was made by @Kldpxl:


I love his pixel art because it often has a really striking photographic look about it, so I tried to carry that effect over as much as I could.

Some features:

  • It's 100% code: all sprites are generated at load time
  • Textured ground plane with perspective distortion
  • Value noise with multiple octaves (used for building all textures)
  • Raymarcher for generating sprites with lighting:
    • Four types of plants
    • Background mountains
    • Horizontally-tiling clouds
  • 3D-positioned plant billboards
  • 3D extrusion for low grass and road lines

I think it even runs at 60 fps!

P#48976 2018-02-04 16:53 ( Edited 2018-02-05 20:14)

Hello there! This is an example project which is intended to help people learn about making platformers in Pico-8.

The game is free to play, but the source code for this version has been obfuscated, so it's not really practical to look through it. To read the normal-and-legible version of the source code (with or without comments), you can buy it for at-least-$1 on itch.io. As long as you make your own map, you can even sell games that use this code! If you didn't already know, itch.io has very nice support for Pico-8 games.

Anyway, it's a cute little platformer with a grappling hook (you get the hook about halfway through) and a big finale! The main goal was to make a piece of illustrative/educational content which was centered around a real and complete game. See, "Madness Interactive" taught me that reading source code for a game that's fun to play can be much more exciting than reading a code snippet in the middle of some online tutorial. Not sure if I succeeded, but I tried real hard!

Huge thanks to David Carney for helping me with the music, and also to everyone who volunteered to test the game! Y'all made the game better.

A first run seems to take 20-45 minutes or so, but it depends on the player, and a fast runthrough is around three and a half minutes. If you record a video of a run that's faster than that, I'd love to see it!

P#48607 2018-01-27 18:52 ( Edited 2018-01-27 23:52)

Cart #47254 | 2017-12-10 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

A particle effect that spawns streams based on the music that's playing!

The song is a chiptune cover of "STONEFIST" by HEALTH.

It never stops repeating once it starts, but the music loop is maybe 45 seconds long.

Here's an example of how to do some basic stuff that reacts to music:

// pick a channel - a number from 0-3
// (0 is the far-left channel in the music editor)

// get the sfx index that's playing in this channel
// (the number at the top of an enabled music channel's column)

// get the current timeline position of this channel (0-31)

// get the two bytes representing the channel's current note

// now we can extract the note values!
// all three of these return 0-7



More info about the audio memory layout is available here.

P#47257 2017-12-10 16:15 ( Edited 2017-12-10 21:32)

Cart #44285 | 2017-09-17 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

I made an animated self-portrait!

Some of it is rendered with drawing functions (the head shape, eyeballs, "ear beams" on the glasses, cheek-lines, etc), and other stuff done with sprites (frames of glasses, eyelids, most of the hair).

Had a lot of fun making this - I recommend making one of yourself, or of someone else!

I also added a fullscreen trail effect for some extra pizzazz, because it's an easy addition. Here's the code for that part, in case you want to use it in your own stuff - note that this will only allow you to "fade to black" over time, but you could modify it a bit to make it fade to a different color. It's...probably very difficult to control what colors it moves through as it approaches your target color, though, since it's abusing the two-pixels-per-byte format that pico8 uses for its screen buffer (which is also why it produces vertical stripes).

for i=1,1100 do

    local x=flr(rnd(64))
    local y=flr(rnd(128))
    local m=8192*3
P#44286 2017-09-17 17:55 ( Edited 2017-09-17 21:55)

A barebones implementation of the FABRIK algorithm ("Forward And Backward Reaching IK"). Move the mouse around to control the IK target point.

I think there's something kind of cute and coincidental about the way that it actually sorta looks like fabric.

FABRIK is a clever trick that's surprisingly straightforward to implement, and it gives some really natural and performant results. The general principle is that instead of doing gradient descent or other fancy math for IK, you just imagine that your IK chain is a string (for 2D strings, imagine that they're resting on a table, and you're viewing from above).

At each tick, you perform two loops through the chain: First, you "pull the string" by the end point to the target position (and some amount of the rest of the string will get pulled along with it). After you've done this, you do the same thing, but this time, you pull the root of the string to the anchor point. (If the IK chain is a person's arm, then the anchor point is the shoulder.)

The source code also includes a 2D-distance check that tries to avoid number-overflow (by sacrificing some precision) when you give it a large enough vector. Might not be tuned perfectly (I really just guessed about the "safe range"), but maybe some motivated party can math out a more rigorous version of the function!

P#42901 2017-07-29 19:09 ( Edited 2017-07-29 23:09)

A weird animated image generator, based on the screensaver "Electric Sheep" (except way less powerful).


Press Z to generate a new flame.

Press S to save the current flame.

Press X to view saved flames.

When viewing saved flames, press Up/Down to move the cursor between saved flames.

When viewing saved flames, press F to select/deselect a flame.

When viewing saved flames, press Z to load the selected flame (instead of generating a new one).

If you have flames selected and you close the saved-flame-view (by pressing X), then any new flames that are generated will be bred from the flames that you've selected (as parents).

For example: If you select one flame, close the selector, and generate new ones, they will all at least vaguely resemble the one that you selected. If you select more than one parent and generate new ones, then the new ones will inherit traits from all selected parents (plus some randomized mutations).

Post me your prettiest children in the comments!

P#42361 2017-07-10 21:42 ( Edited 2017-07-12 02:02)

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