The Arcade game designer, AGD, for Pokitto?

I have spend some time investigating MPAGD, the Multiplatform AGD. It can be used to generate assembler games for ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, etc.
I think we need a low-entry environment for game dev with Pokitto. Something like Bitsy (but more versatile) what also non-programmers can use for making great games, and use the full potential of Pokitto. AGD looks very promising to me. The features include a sprite editor, a map editor, a screen/level editor, events, a script language etc. There are about 200 games made with it for Speccy and others.
Porting to Pokitto is doable, I think, but it is not easy as currently the system is based on finally generating the ASM code and that needs to be changed to use C++.
What do you think?


Is it open source? I briefly jumped through some of the links on the itch page but couldn’t find anything relating to sources. Would that mean it would need to be requested of the developers?

I see this specific AGD is for Windows only. While not probably the biggest deal, there are a number of folks that don’t use Windows (those with a Mac, Chromebooks, or Linux based OS’s)

I like the idea of promoting FemtoIDE and adding more features (plugins?) to that, and possibly porting it to more systems. I’m still working to find the time to try building it on my aarch64 based Pinebook Pro for example.

FemtoIDE I’ve seen comments about missing documentation, in particular a useful getting started guide, as well as the missing which could help the project as well (such as build instructions and links to places like the forums and wiki).

Some of those things I could also help with I suppose (wiki, links, PR’s with documentation type stuff).


I agree. I have the feel that adding another tool could have more drawbacks then advantages.
Also my personal objective when choosing Pokitto was learning c/cpp for low spec game platform and not another scripting/visual language.
Femto scripts just show there is great potential in integrating assets import (tiles map and animations music etc) .
At the same way the learning step is still a big one for tech agnostics, and clustered documentation doesn’t help.

Programming is not easy or enjoyable for all. But they still might want to make games. So C++ or even Python is not an option. It needs to be more visual programming. Blockly might be a good option for some, but it is not good for making old school action games.

The idea of AGD is that you just configure (visually and using e.g. event scripts) the engine to create a new game. But it is quite versatile; you can make many kinds of games.

We could make an own IDE (e.g. in Femto) and even replace the scriping language with our own (Pine2k :wink: ). But that means we lose the current AGD user base (over 1000 users in the facebook & forum but less active users than in Pokitto) and easy porting of existing games (about 200).


I think what you might be seeking is actually more of a flexible level editor.
Or perhaps something like Game Maker or Unity (both of which I loathe with a passion :P).

Something like the Forge editor that me, @filmote and @Dreamer2345 worked on earlier in the year, but with more flexibility and features.

This year I decided to attempt a bit of modding so I’ve been learning a bit about how to mod Grimrock II and they have a really nice level editor.

There’s a nice set of videos about it here,
and here’s a screenshot of a really basic unfinished level:

There’s still programming in the form of Lua scripts, but the event system makes some of the more basic things easy to do without any scripting, so it’s possible for someone without any scripting knowledge to make some more basic puzzles and battles using pressure plates, levers, buttons, doors, secret doors and traps that trigger when you remove items from altars, pedestools or alcoves.

The whole level is actually stored as a Lua script before being compiled into a data file that I presume consists of level geometry and Lua bytecode.
(If something similar were made for Pokitto, there’s no reason it couldn’t generate a .bin file with precompiled machine code, though achieving that would probably be quite some effort.)

No it isn’t.

Which is why I think we’d be better off making our own.
We certainly aren’t lacking the talent to make one.
(I don’t want to put anyone on the spot, but I’ll casually drop in the words Leikr and TIC-80.)

But that is a lot of effort of course, so perhaps tweaking something that is already open source would be better.
Perhaps we could find something we could scale down to be suitable for the Pokitto’s specs.

Unless it already generates ARM assembly it would have to be changed anyway.
There’s no reason it couldn’t generate ARM assembly, but C++ is probably easier to verify.

I think that saying we’d ‘lose’ them is a bit presumptuous.
We’d have to actually gain them first, and supporting AGD wouldn’t mean that we’ve automatically gained those users.

Assuming the system worked correctly and the Pokitto had the resources to play all the games, we would certainly gain those 200 games.

However, that’s not an automatic win either.

Remember those hundreds of Game Boy games that the Pokitto can run?
When was the last time you saw someone mention them?

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Certainly more an “extended” level editor that those two others. It should contain the sprite editor and tile gfx editors too.

Could be, I have not actually used it. The UI should be very simple and clear as I aim this to be used by beginners and children also.

Another possibility would be a Femto plug-in but I do not currently have enough Javascript and HTML5 (?) knowledge to make it. (That is a big reason why I would like to use existing UI )
Also I might want to hide the normal Femto UI menus and the file tree to make it more focused and usable for the task and I do not know if that is possible in Femto.

Probably not, and that is a major problem. I am sure there will be something we would like to add to UI and that is not possible. I can make sure by mailing to the author.

Yes, but there is an audience for 1000 users already. I am afraid otherwise we would be end up again making something Pokitto spesific that less than 10 people will ever even try…
In the other hand, I just looked what reaction a release of a new AGD game receives from the audience: A bit over 10 likes, 1 or 2 comments. Thought, in addition to that it might be covered in the ZX Spectrum fanzines.

This is a bit difficult to predict. I think the missing interest in GB or Arduboy games might be due the fact that they do not use the Pokitto resources fully (screen resolution, colors ) and that they can be played in other, perhaps more suitable, devices too. They do not “feel” like Pokitto games.
That might be the case for existing AGD games also. Even if we might have the ablity to change the resolution, gfx, the screen and map layout etc. in porting. So maybe maina remake is a better work than porting.

I know it doesn’t touch on all the main features you’ve mentioned, but what about something like GB studio ( ?

It targets the gameboy so I’m almost wondering if the games would already just work :eyes: might have to try that out sometime.

Also, MIT and electron. Which makes me wonder if it could be integrated into femtoide and altered to build directly for Pokitto?

Note: looks like there was discussion about it before but the generated GB projects are too big for Pokitto. So maybe just the scripting stuff can be used as a start for a custom Pokitto one?

Where abouts?

I don’t think anyone has, sadly. (Dark & Under’s editor didn’t get used much either.)

That seems like a sensible option to me.

If it’s just JavaScript and HTML5 then I don’t think it would be too difficult to learn how to make a plugin because there’s plenty of tutorials for those, but if Electron has some custom plugin system or API and the documentation isn’t very good then it would probably be relatively complicated.

Unless you can get the author to actually agree to license it to you (and agree on the terms of that licence) there will always be a risk that the author could decide they’re not happy with the way the software is being used and demand you (and other Pokitto users) stop using it.

By the same token we could do the work of porting AGD and still have none of the AGD userbase get involved with the Pokitto.

Think of it from their point of view for a moment: the tool they’ve been using for however long now suddenly targets this ‘Pokitto’ thing that they’ve never even heard of.

How does that affect them?
Does it make them want to learn more about the Pokitto,
or is it a complete non-event that doesn’t even slightly affect them?
What incentive do they have to investigate the Pokitto versus continuing to do what they were happily doing before?

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that it might not achieve what you’re thinking it will.
I.e. if “making something Pokitto specific that less than 10 people will ever even try…” is a problem then this might just be another entry in the list.

In fairness that’s not much different to what game releases here get already (most of the time).

To pick a few more recent examples:

  • Virus Buster, 10 likes
  • The Villainy of Catfood Inc, 10 likes
  • Catacombs of the Damned, 12 likes
  • Scopa, 12 likes
  • Pomifactory, 13 likes
  • Anarch, 19 likes

All have more than 2 comments.

I think it’s certainly possible that the same thing might apply to AGD games.

Again, I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that if it’s supposed to be a means to an end then it might not achieve what it’s supposed to. If it’s worth doing then it should probably be worth it for the journey rather than the presumed destination.

(If nobody ever uses those level editors, at least I have fond memories of working on them. :P)

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Or the Pokitto GP track editor.

They might be intrigued by a modern device they can carry with them and has some capabilities and properties common with the HW of the 80ies they are fond of. For some it can be a different experience than carrying a more capable handheld that merely emulates the old HW. But yes, there might not be many such persons.

Yeah, It is a tough decision. In any case it is a big project, so I need to still test AGD and get familiar with it to know if it is really worth it and if I am motivated enough to make it happen.

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Here specifically: [Tool]Gameboy Emulator

This is true. I still need to finish my Pokitto Cup of tracks for that :eyes:

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Perhaps the next game jam should be about making a level for one of our existing games?

Between Dark Ritual, Pokitto GP and Anarch we have a good selection of level editors, and it would make a nice change from the usual kind of jam, particularly since it wouldn’t require any programming skill.

(Make a note, @jonne. :P)


At least, assuming they’re not one of those “I don’t need that, I have a smartphone for that” heathens people.

Presuming they were even alive in the '80s. :P

This is partly why I’m experessing doubt.

If the project is fun in itself and just something you want to do then fair enough,
but if your primary motivation is the possibility of getting more people interested in the Pokitto then it’s a lot of effort to go to for something that doesn’t guarantee results and I expect it would be disappointing to go to that effort and not get the results you hoped for.

Ah, I see.

The only GB Studio game I could find a ROM for was too big to fit in the Pokitto.
- FManga

I just made ROM of a blank project and it was 512 KB … It’s a nice tool, but the result seems be too “bloated” for the Pokitto emulator
- ServalKatze


Thanks. That is a very interesting tool also. Amazing it is open source!


Trying to build the gb studio sources in my Linux machine. Crashes every time. Noticed that Electron wants node.js v10.x.x but only v8.x.x is available for Zorin (“Bionic”). Oh, my… :frowning:

Why not use nvm instead of the package?

I just installed the RPM to play around with myself. Looks like the demo GB Rom is 256kb