PICO-8, fantasy console

You can talk about almost anything that you want to on this board.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
GradualGames
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:18 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by GradualGames » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:16 am

This looks like a lot of fun. I actually got a copy just so I could check it out, not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe prototype a future NES game.

Pico 8

User avatar
dougeff
Posts: 2712
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 7:17 pm
Location: DIGDUG
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by dougeff » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:19 am

Cool.
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

User avatar
rainwarrior
Posts: 7824
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:03 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by rainwarrior » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:24 am

I thought it was kind of interesting, though I was never interested enough in it to spend $15 on the tools.

I've played a bunch of Pico-8 games, though. (You can play for free, you just can't make.) Some of them are pretty neat.

The scope of these games is kept pretty small by the fixed "cartridge" size, which is actually a restriction on the source code size, I believe.

User avatar
NovaSquirrel
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:35 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by NovaSquirrel » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:40 pm

rainwarrior wrote:The scope of these games is kept pretty small by the fixed "cartridge" size, which is actually a restriction on the source code size, I believe.
There's an uncompressed code size limit (65536 bytes), a token count limit (8192), and a limit on what the size of the code is after compression (15360 bytes), and your game has to meet all three.

Token count is a really abstract thing that's hard to account for when designing a game, and I feel like it'd be easy to hit a brick wall where it just turns out that the game you tried to make isn't possible, and you won't know until you're mostly done. In contrast, if you run out of space in an NROM game, you have plenty of options available to you.

User avatar
infiniteneslives
Posts: 2100
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:49 am
Location: WhereverIparkIt, USA
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by infiniteneslives » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:48 pm

I was pretty interested in the pico-8 till I learned about the size limit. I really don't get why they choose to impose such a minimal size.
If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers

tepples
Posts: 22019
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:12 pm
Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by tepples » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:41 pm

The size limit is presumably to give all developers a level playing field comparable to the early NES era. Limiting the complexity allows projects with the complexity of 1- or 2-person hobby projects to have a chance of competing.

This is opposed to the "bigger is better" mentality that pervaded part of the industry after cartridge games reached 2 Mbit. Meg-itis started with "The 2 Mega Cartridge" on Master System and then spread to Neo Geo.

User avatar
tokumaru
Posts: 11770
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:43 pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by tokumaru » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:08 pm

infiniteneslives wrote:I was pretty interested in the pico-8 till I learned about the size limit.
Same here.

User avatar
rainwarrior
Posts: 7824
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:03 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by rainwarrior » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:21 pm

The size encourages quantity over quality, I suppose. It's a really "game jam" oriented platform, and that's the style of game you get from it. Little experiments. I actually kind of like that part.

What kills it for me is just the price. I have no shortage of "restrained" platforms to play with already. If I was feeling the itch I'd probably play with puzzlescript or any number of other similar things.

User avatar
infiniteneslives
Posts: 2100
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:49 am
Location: WhereverIparkIt, USA
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by infiniteneslives » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:30 pm

Sure putting some limit makes sense, but their choice seems excessively low. Graphically it's very comparable to the NES, but the size limit restricts one from creating a NES scale game.

I realize they have their reasons, it just seems like a silly decision to me that has more significant down sides than benefits. People make games within the constraints of NROM all the time and are perfectly happy. I don't think the availability to step beyond 40KB deters people from developing on the NES, why would it deter people from the pico8? People enjoy making games for the NES knowing full well they'll never compare to the grandure of their favorite NES titles. The presence of bigger better titles on a console doesn't seem a significant deterrent on this level of console IMO. It's not like the console is on par with N64 or later..

I talked with someone who hand made a decent game/demo for the pico8, but they wanted to start working on a NES game because of the attraction to move beyond pico8 size limits. It just seems like missed opportunity to me.

A person looks at the console and thinks cool, it reminds me of the NES. Maybe they had an idea to make a game when they were a kid, and this is a reasonably easy platform to learn game dev and maybe start making that game you've always wanted. But no sorry, we only want tiny games for this virtual console. Just seems counter productive to what appears to be the goal of the project to me.
If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers

User avatar
Myask
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:04 pm

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by Myask » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:50 pm

size of the code is after compression (15360 bytes)
This seems the more important limit than 64KiB.

User avatar
NovaSquirrel
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:35 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by NovaSquirrel » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:55 pm

Myask wrote:This seems the more important limit than 64KiB.
Also much harder to fix when you find out your game is over the limit.

User avatar
Myask
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:04 pm

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by Myask » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:47 pm

NovaSquirrel wrote:
Myask wrote:This seems the more important limit than 64KiB.
Also much harder to fix when you find out your game is over the limit.
Agh, I'd had the vain, fond misperception that tokens was just identifiers. (Apparently I was also wrong in recalling delimiters to not be tokens.)

User avatar
GradualGames
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:18 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by GradualGames » Tue May 16, 2017 6:33 pm

I wound up getting a little bit obsessed with Pico 8. Here's a WIP of a demake of an old Atari 400 game I'm building for my sister. Playing that game with her is probably my earliest memory of a video game. You can't do much yet, just open chests and collect inventory. Press x or z to advance past title screen.

http://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=29280

User avatar
GradualGames
Posts: 1107
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:18 pm
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by GradualGames » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:54 am

Speaking of new consoles, I wasn't willing to wait around for a new console to be designed, so I built myself a dedicated Pico-8 raspberry pi, complete with 3D printed logo:
picopi.jpg
Coding from the couch with a wireless keyboard and mouse with this thing hooked up to my flatscreen tv is my new favorite way to unwind in an evening.

User avatar
FrankenGraphics
Formerly WheelInventor
Posts: 2032
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Contact:

Re: PICO-8, fantasy console

Post by FrankenGraphics » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:18 am

Looks good! And fun :) I was going to pick up a pi for similar reasons (selfeducational/recreational .py coding) when i get back home a month from now. Might aswell ad pico8 to the list.
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog

Post Reply