🐜 The trailer for Grounded almost makes me want to buy an XBox 🐟 You know you’re in a kiwi fish and chip shop when… 🔫 “If anyone likes the Pico-8 and Doom, make a port because Doom can run on anything, so if you have an open weekend why not try”
In the spirit of showing my work, here’s a peek at a game I’ve been working on: codename SPADE.
SPADE started out as a cut down clone of Shamus, an annoyingly hard yet oddly addicting game I played for hours and hours on my family XT clone in the late 80s. Despite all those hours I never got close to clocking the game. I want SPADE to be a game I can actually beat.
I’ve been making the game in pico-8, the same tool I used to make yet another version of robotfindskitten last year.
I started out building the maps manually using pico-8’s sprite and map editor. It looked kinda like this. Pretty fussy and complicated to write code around.
For some reason I decided it would be easier and more fun to do procedural generation of the maps. Darius Kazemi’s articles on how Spelunky’s levels are generated provided the recipe. I expected it would take me a few hours to implement.
It took a lot longer. Like ages. Like a “how the fuck did I ever consider myself a programmer” amount of time. I got really good at logging and debugging.
I’m now at the point where I have any number of levels and a character that can move through them.
I have a TODO list and whenever the mood takes me and I have some quiet time I try and knock something off the list. Adding robots is next.
I’m not sure when the game will be playable. Working on it is a relaxation thing more than anything else. It’s been quite satisfying to do little bits at a time. I’m collecting screenshots of the game, photos of notes, that kind of thing. That archive has already brought me joy.
I know I won’t be putting SPADE on itch.io like I did for robotfindskitten. I think it’ll just be for me. I hope I can beat it.
In 2018 I discovered Pico-8 and decided to replicate the experiment. 30-odd days ago I uploaded a working version of robotfindskitten to itch.io. It is very bad Lua code but it works. As of writing, dozens of people have tried it. Dozens!
You can play the game online at itch.io or download versions that will run on Windows, Linux, and macOS. And, you can get a “cart” that will run in the Pico-8 virtual console.
I really enjoyed making the game. I wrote the code, created the sounds, and named almost all of the non-kitten items. Like I said, it wasn’t good Lua code but it was very satisfying to build it from nothing and get it onto something like itch. I’ve started the next game which I think will be similar to the surfing and BMX mini-games from the 80’s California Games.