Just Another Indie Studio

Demaking R-Type in Pico-8: Part 1


I’ve been tinkering with this classic shoot-em-up in Pico-8 between other larger projects and I think I’ve made some progress worth showing.

The entire game is based around my 2D vector work and code from the vector editing tool here at http://hotmessgames.com/poly

Due to size restrictions, I’ve decided to use sprites too and scale them with the vectors, because I found my vector data was filling the cart space up pretty fast. I’ve found that so far, the entire thing uses up 16k of the 32k cart space. I’m going to have to be more economical or not even the first level will fit. Its likely that due to the data heavy nature of the game, I’ll be submitting it on multiple carts, possibly a level per cart, with lots of compressed vector graphics filling the carts to the brim.

I’ve done some experiments with CD quality audio and I think I can get a full soundtrack as the backing music. I’ll use the technique I showed here, refined with more control: https://www.patreon.com/posts/making-pico8-mp3-14453278

This game will use:

  • 2D vector art with scaling and rotation
  • Compression of assets
  • CD quality audio and background music
  • Mobile version with on screen touch controls
This photoshop mockup for my title screen

Using my vector editing tool I converted this to triangle data for pico8.

The output looks like this:

vectordata = strtovec(“{{{0909{1e6c386c40711e6c4071417941793d813783417937831e841e841b8c128d1e84128d167c1e84167c337b41791e84337b4179337b36784179367833751e6c417933751e6c33751675}}{0c0c{496c6f6c6776496c67765b755b75578c4c8d5b754c8d5175496c5b755175496c51754275}}{0c0c{7e806e6c7c6c7e807c6c867a7d8c7e80867a7d8c867a926c7d8c926ca06c7d8ca06c89837d8c8983878c}}{0c0c{a56cbe6cc770a56cc770c776c776c67cc181c776c181ba84c776ba84a485a485a38c988da485988d9b7ba4859b7bbb7bc776a485bb7bc776bb7bbd78c776bd78bb75a56cc776bb75a56cbb759e75}}{0c0c{cf6cf46ced75cf6ced75d774cf6cd774d677d677f078ea7fd677ea7fd67fcf6cd677d67fcf6cd67fd583d583f083ea8cd583ea8cc98ccf6cd583c98c}}{0707{396b40723a6f1d6b396b3a6f1d6b3a6f246f1d6b246f1d751d6b1d751775}}{0707{327b3678397b157c327b397b157c397b367e157c367e3180157c31801880157c1880148b157c148b108d}}{0707{486c6e6c6c70486c6c704e70486c4e704975486c49754375}}{0707{50795479528c5079528c4d8c}}{0707{6e6c7d6c7f706e6c7f707270}}{0707{887e857a936c936c9f6c9b71936c9b719671887e936c9671}}{0707{7e818284818c7e81818c7d8c}}{0707{a56cbe6cc46ec46ec873c170a56cc46ec170a56cc170a9709d75a56ca9709d75a970a475}}{0707{bb7bbd77c07c9c7bbb7bc07c9c7bc07cbc809c7bbc809f7f988b9c7b9f7f988b9f7f9d8b}}{0707{cf6cf46cf170cf6cf170d270cf6cd270cc8dcf6ccc8dc88d}}{0707{da78ef78eb7dda78eb7dd97c}}{0707{d883f083ec87d883ec87d787}}}}”)

A bit of a mouthful isn’t it? on the game it looks like this, including another vector i made of the ship from the game.

First go at a little intro and title screen.

So now to gameplay. I’ve got a movement system, vector actors, some starter sound effects, screen shake and a little particle engine. Just some juice. I’ve got to get that good feeling gameplay, now i’ve just got to flesh it out.

Some gameplay with collision debug rectangles and stats.

Well whats next? I’ve got the weapon charging that was in the original R-Type. You can see it in the bar at the bottom of the gif. We’ve got foreground vector shapes (the pylons) and a slower moving background (the planet). Next I’m adding in some powerups found in the original game and the array of weaponry too.

I’m sure you’ll remember this?
Both of these are in the Pico-8 colours
Some pixel art to compliment the vectors in this game.

Back soon with more updates.

About the author

Gabriel Crowe

During the day I'm a mild mannered web developer and online marketing wizard but at night I become an indie game warrior and all round badass.

I develop mobile and desktop games with Game Maker in my spare time and I am utterly addicted to Pico8.

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