Pico 8

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Download

You can download Pico 8 from the website below, it costs $15 for a personal copy:

Pico-8

You can also download it from Moodle using the link below, It can be run from your compiled storage folder in college without the need to purchase it. The license means it can be installed on any computer within an educational establishment for free. You will need to enter your moodle login details:

Pico 8 Moodle Download

Create a Shortcut

Now you have downloaded the Pico 8 files, in the college environment you will need to store these in a folder on your compiled storage drive. Select the 'pico-8.exe' and then right click, and select 'Send to', and then 'Desktop (create shortcut)'.

Now you have a shortcut, we need to edit it. So right click it and choose properties.

Find the 'Target' section, and add the '-root_path ....' as below:

I:\pico-8\pico8.exe -root_path i:\

In the example above 'i:\' is my compiled storage drive, this will be the location for all of your game saves and loads.

Coding

It can be really annoying using the code editor in Pico 8, the font is so blocky and can be difficult to read. This also makes it difficult to see very much of your program at any one time. So far i have created the basic code within Pico 8, and then installed 'Sublime Text' and added the Pico 8 plugin. It can then be used to edit the '.P8' file.

Basic Game Structure

Type this into the Pico 8 editor:

function _init() 

end

function _update()

end

function _draw() 

end

Now switch back to the command prompt and type:

SAVE MYFILENAME

It should give you a message to say 'MYFILENAME.P8' has been created.

Editing

You can open the '.p8' file in editors such has notepad++ or sublime. This might be easier than using the Pico8 editor due to the low resolution and blocky fonts. Some editors have a plugin to use for Pico8, they also tend to have built in Lua features.

Adding Pico 8 Plugin

So in 'Sublime Text' you need to:

  1. Open the command palette with ctrl+shift+p.
  2. Run Package Control: Install Package command.
  3. Search for PICO-8 and install it.
  4. Restart Sublime Text.

Now find where your game is saved, You should be able to double click this and choose 'Sublime Text' to open this file.

Tutorials

On the Pico 8 website it does list some documentation, one of them is a large tutorial covering 2 different games and most of the concepts. The direct link to the tutorials is:

Pico 8 Tutorial

Alternative Link for Above Tutorial(ie in college)

This tutorial covers all of the keyboard shortcuts for Pico 8, A basic game structure, and some individual game tutorials. The game loop example on page 21 would be a good place to start using Pico-8.

Tutorial for a Space Shooter:

Pico 8 - Space Shooter

MagPi Tutorials:

Learn Lua with Pico 8

Sprites in Pico 8

Music in Pico 8

Youtube

Playlists

Pico 8 - Platformer

Pico 8 - RougeLike

Pico 8 - Breakout

Pico 8 - Space Invaders + More Tutorials

Videos

Here is an extremely in-depth Youtube tutorial that goes through all the fundamentals of using Pico 8 and will allow you to create a fully fledged brick-breaker style game on the system.

Pico-8 Hero Tutorial

Other Resources

Wireframe Magazine also had a Pico 8 special, the link to the pdf is:

Wireframe Issue 12

More resources:

Pico 8 Basics

Awesome Pico 8

Eugene Library Tutorials

Pico 8 Fandom Wiki

Pico 8 Cheat Sheets

Pico 8 Fanzine #1

Pico 8 Cheat Sheet Image