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Pico-8 QR-code distributable games (How to)
With the addition of the Save @Url feature along with the web runner for educational purposes we got a mobile optimized means of sharing games via a URL. And one thing that QR codes are decent at is allowing users with phones to scan the symbols and redirect to webpages.
Here are the steps to make it happen.
1. Have the right version of Pico-8
You should be able to accomplish this from any version of Pico-8 that is (0.2.4c) or above. This includes the free educational version.
2. Limitations and considerations
While you will be limited both by Pico-8's 2048 limit for using this method & QR code limitations depending on the type of QR code used this is still a very unique and interesting alternative to cartridges to share your Pico-8 games with a quick scan immediately playable on a friends phone.
When saving the game as a URL only the code and graphics will be stored. That means other elements (like sounds) will probably need to be handled directly in code perhaps with print control codes.
3. You need to save your p8 file first
Make sure you have saved your creation so it has a title. A standard Save XYZGame will suffice.
4. Use the new Save @URL command
From the command line type Save @URL. This will copy the URL you will be using to your clipboard which we will later use to create your QR Code.
5. Create your QR Code
There are many ways to create your QR codes including many online sites like https://www.qrcode-tiger.com/ which let you create your downloadable and printable QR codes online for free. They also include some nice features that let you add a logo and tweak colors to style things a bit.
6. Share it with the world
When you are done creating your QR code make sure to save that image for use on whatever medium you want. It could be a picture you store on your phone and someone else could scan your phone QR pic to immedietely play your game on their phone or you could print it on business cards, the back of your phone case, create cartridges with QR code labels that you can etc... As long as someone can scan the QR code you should be able to easily share your game.
The web runner provides a built in mobile touch interface when viewing on my iPhone (and I presume the same is probably true for Android phones. Here is my Hello World app running from the QR code scan.
Here is the QR code if you want to try scanning it from your phone. It may be a bit difficult to scan directly from your monitor but you should be able to get it with some patience and run it directly from your phone. If this was printed on a business card or other paper surface the scans should be quicker and more reliable.