Linda's Game Blog

A semester of using Pico-8 to develop games!

First pico-8 game: Great Wall

Inspired by the classic game Tetris

Borrowing the cultural reference concept and block elements from Tetris, I created this game to simulate the experience of climbing the Great Wall of China, which is packed with hundreds and thousands of tourists.

Instructions to play: Press Z to start/restart the game; Use arrow keys to move around and to push other tourists.

Download my cartridge to play & view my code:

Sports Game : Kayaking

Inspired by QWOP

The topic of this week is sports games. We looked at Atari Pele's Soccer and discussed which part of this game successfully represented the sport and which part doesn't work. It was really interesting to see what Atari was manage to do with such a limited computation resources and lack of AI players.

Then we were sent off with a prompt of making a sports game using pico-8.

After writing down a long list of sports names and drawing a few sketches, I decided to go with kayaking, since its more approachable. The controls of this game is inspired by QWOP. Players need to paddle in two directions alternatively and time their paddling to achieve the highest speed. In addition, points will be awarded to the players if they manage to go between the floating yellow balls.

Instructions to play: Use left arrow key to paddle left, and right arrow key to paddle right. Paddling left three times will turn the player to the right, and vice versa.

Earn points by paddle between the yellow balls!

Download my cartridge to play & view my code:

Game Feel : Jelly Fish

Fine Tuning the Game Feel

For this week's game, we need to implement a behavior for a character of our choice. The character can be as simple as a circle, but its behavior should bound to a single verb, corresponding to a single button. Then we need to tune the behavior to achieve a "good" or "interesting" game feel.

I am always fascinated by how jelly fish swim, thus I decided to recreate that behavior in Pico-8. I looked at videos of jelly fish online, and started implement this behavior on a pink circle. To make my life easier, I implemented a simple state machine in Lua, and used different states to define my behaviors, such as "jump_start", "jump_accelerate", "jump_slow", etc.

After I am satisfy with how the pink ball behave, I started to create the sprites of the jelly fish. I realized that once I added the sprite, the behavior feels much different! So I had to go back and tune again. When I added a sprite for the beginning "bulge" state, I found myself tuning the variables again.

Lastly, I decided to add a sound effect to make the game feel better. I tried out all the sound waves in pico-8 built-in sound library and picked the one that feels the best for a jelly fish. Luckily, it improved the game feel without me having to tune the variables again.


Experience the game feel yourself: ziyinzhang.com/game/pico-8/jello

Instructions to play: Use z to float upwards, and left/right arrow keys to move around.

Download my cartridge to play & view my code:

Asian Parents

A game that forces player to put it away