Why I Use TIC-80 and not PICO-8
If you’ve looked at learning games programming you might have come across a piece of software called PICO-8. It’s quite a popular package so you might be wondering why I’m not using it for my courses.
Both PICO-8 and TIC-80 are types of fantasy consoles; virtual simulations of imaginary games consoles. PICO-8 was the first and there are a number of others available in addition to TIC-80. But they all follow PICO-8’s lead in having a complete, built in, development system so you can both play and write your own games.
These consoles were designed to strip away the complicated software and hardware features of modern games machines leaving us with an easy to use and program system. This lets us focus on the fun bits of designing and creating games without having to spend weeks learning how to use the console. This also makes it possible to write a game in a matter of days rather than months.
There are 2 main reasons I chose TIC-80.
Firstly it’s free. This was an important factor as I didn’t want any barriers in learning to code. As long as you have some sort of computer or an Android device you can download and use TIC-80. There is a Pro version for $5, and if you can afford it I’d recommend buying it simply to give something back to the project. But even this pro version is available for free; I’ll put up a post on how to get it later.
Secondly TIC-80 has a slightly higher screen resolution than PICO-8. This makes it much easier to use the code editor and gives you a bit more room on screen for your games. It’s still easy to create and animate your characters but feels like a better size for games development. PICO-8 can feel a little cramped in my opinion.
Other than that the 2 are almost identical in terms of how they work and what they can do.
So grab yourself a copy of TIC-80 and get started here.