A public beta of Panic's in-browser game creation tool, Playdate Pulp, has been made available by the company that created the quirky Playdate handheld. A description of the tool can be found in the developer documentation, which describes it as “a friendly tool for creating tiny but visually and narratively rich games for Playdate.”
You'll be able to do a variety of things in the Pulp editor, including creating pixel graphics, creating levels, writing music, and even creating custom fonts. During the development process, you can test your game in your browser, and when you're finished, you can export your game as a.pdx file (a clever nod to Panic's Portland roots) that can be loaded onto a Playdate handheld device. You are not required to write any code in order to create a game in Pulp, but if you want to try your hand at coding, you can do so by utilizing the scripting language PulpScript.
Playdate Pulp is now available in public beta!! Pulp is a super fun (and free!) game making tool for Playdate. With a few clicks, anyone can turn a game idea into Playdate reality. https://t.co/cWPGcxFDhi pic.twitter.com/C1qtbJpgGd
— Playdate (@playdate) January 19, 2022
I'm not a game developer, but Pulp appears to be relatively simple to use based on my brief time spent experimenting with it. I've already figured out how to change the player sprite in the default game Pulp loads with into a large letter J, which will, of course, be absolutely necessary for my future masterpiece when it's finished. I'm really looking forward to seeing what people create with the tool once they've had some experience with it, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some bizarre, Undertale-style games.
Pulp's public beta being released now could also mean that when the Playdate is released, it will come pre-loaded with a slew of entertaining games for people to try out. Panic has only announced one curated season with 24 games so far, and you'll only get two new games per week if you subscribe to the service. However, thanks to Pulp, you may have a plethora of other games to choose from, all of which can be side-loaded onto your mobile device.
Panic expects to begin shipping the Playdate in 2022, with the first shipments expected to arrive in 2023. Pre-orders for the device are still being accepted, though Panic warns on its Playdate store page that orders placed now will not be delivered until late this year.
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