[Updated] How should we host the Pokitto games?

Hello all

I’ve been looking at the alternatives of how to host the Pokitto games & apps (meaning the place where they can be downloaded from).

Ofcourse, we can just make a games section on www.pokitto.com by using some sort of a wiki system (like Gamebuino). But wiki has its limitations.

One of my main requirements for the hosting systen is that you as contributors can easily create and edit your own entries. This means there needs to be a system for you to upload screenshots, game files, possibly links to your project on github etc.

So here comes a crazy idea, and I’d like your feedback:

What if we host all the games on itch.io ?

Before you turn the idea down, think about this. Itch.io has the following benefits:

  • a good editor for creating your game page
  • we can create a Pokitto collection / collections according to genres
  • everyone can easily create an itch.io account
  • including simulator files (so that you can show the game on a PC) is simple
  • you can even sell your game through itch.io if Pokitto turns out to become a success
  • itch io games can be embedded as widgets on the pokitto.com site easily
  • other itch.io users will be exposed to our game creations and find out about Pokitto

Can anyone think of downsides to this idea?


The only drawback I can see is losing some of the community feeling, as posts/comments about the game will be split among two websites.

But, I think the exposure we could bring to Pokitto outweighs this drawback.

Regardless of where the games are hosted, you may wish to define a standard container file format for holding the compiled code, screenshots, banners, license information, author information, source code links, and other metadata. This way a game can be easily moved around from place to place without loosing anything along the way.

We did this for the Arduboy and it’s supported by a number of loaders and repositories. You could use that specification as guidance:


I agree with both @VonBednar and @MLXXXp for what they both said. Itch is a great platform for distributing games, but what Fred said is right. We need a place for the Pokitto community. No one will ever appreciate the games as much as fellow Pokitto geeks. I feel like this shares something with TIC-80 as well. TIC has its own website where you can submit your games, and is THE place to go if you’re looking for only TIC-80 games. However most people who release games for that platform also post the game over on itch as well for others outside of it’s community to see. The website should server more as a database if anything IMO.

Having the game packaged with a required json file for info and a possible icon would be very neat. I know your doing all PETSCII for the loader which is a cool asthetic, but would be even cooler if the loader displayed an icon next to the highlighted title.

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@trelemar @VonBednar @MLXXXp Thanks for the valuable feedback. This is exactly the reason why I ask these things. Nobody is as smart as a group of smart people. This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way in working life, and I really believe it.

So, in summary, I figure it should be something like this

  • we need a standard package definition in the style of the Arduboy (Gamebuino also has one)
  • we need a upload system on Pokitto.com where users can “drop” their game package
  • the upload system will parse the file & create a game entry with links & info
  • the package needs to contain an optional description file used on the SD card for the file browser. It should describe at least game icon(?), perhaps even more (screenshots). The format for this description file needs to be easy to parse, because there is no memory for a JSON parser on the device itself

How does the plan sound now?

I’m pro itch hosting. Lots of benefits even if outside pokitto website. It could be enough embed the game links on a common page here or in the main site.

But please, avoid duplication and fragmentation. We are not a huge community and see a lot of empty or outdated page it’s not a good advertising.

Better small and vibrant as is here.

Another great thing to attract user could be the ability to compile Pokitto Sim Games with Emscripten to allow user to test game in a browser.

Emscripten sounds very interesting and there exists even SDL port for Emscripten. Pokitto sim uses SDL too. Being able to run Pokitto games on web browser would potentially get more people aware of Pokitto.

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You mean like this? :grinning:


Compatibility with SDL & Emscripten was one of the first considerations. This is an early version of Pokitto lib running a Gamebuino game by using the fakeAVR layer.

Transpiling from Pokitto to asmjs using Emscripten is very much possible. The problem is the generation of Emscripten makefiles needs to be automatized using python or something. For this example I wrote the makefiles by hand.


Woot! I helped design the Arduboy wrapper! :smiley:

Listen up everyone.

I’ve though long and hard about this.

There are so many benefits in using itch to host the games.

  1. Games can be put as itch.io widgets on pokitto.com/games/
  2. The Widgets can be customised (working on it). I would add links to game Github (if available) and a link to discussion on talk.pokitto.com
  3. Game authors can maintain whatever kind of an artistic page for their game they want. The interface is all ready and done
  4. Windows/Linux executables can be maintained alongside the Pokitto binary - and it doesn’t use the resources of Pokitto.com
  5. If someone sometime wants to sell their software, the whole business end is already implemented on itch.io
  6. Much, much more people pass through itch.io

Of course, I can write a custom upload page where people can drop their games and update that on the games page but:

  • authentication ?
  • maintaining a page for the game?
  • how to sell your game/app if Pokitto ever takes off?

I want some serious thinking about this.

I am having a hard time convincing myself out of the “slightly modified itch.io widgets” option

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Mostly we want to browse and download games. So I think itch ok, if we can have a list of games in www.pokitto.com, and:

  • The list of games (i.e. widgets) has game related info text with at least a screenshot (or even gif anim)
  • We should be able to download the game with no much extra steps (2-3 steps should be ok).
  • Maybe sort the games by name, date or genre

The benefits itch will bring sound very nice.


Personally I’ve never used itch.io before so I’d have to look into it before deciding whether to get an account or host games there.

(Truth be told though I’ll probably end up making more tools and libraries than actual games knowing me.)

Most people I know who develop games for handheld gaming systems like the Pokitto tend to publish their source code on Github.

Personally I’m half and half on the widgets idea.
It’s a good idea for demos, but not for the whole game.
If people can play whole games on an online widget they have no incentive to actually buy a Pokitto.

The traffic itch.io could bring might be good (as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the forums).

This is probably going to sound a bit over-engineered and there would be a fair bit of effort involved, but…

Personally I like the idea of having a custom format that’s just a zip/gzip/7z of a folder (with a different extension, e.g. .pokitto, .pok, .pok.zip) and one of the files is full of metadata (credits, screenshots, advertising images, game version, source code url, timestamp).

Then for the repo maybe an established REST API so there can be a centralised ‘official’ repo as well as various mirrors to distribute the load or pick up the slack if the ‘official’ repo goes down.

Then to make things easy, you could have some kind of program (either client or web-based, and again allow both official and unofficial versions) that retrieves the files from the online repos through the API.

That said, I know I’m a crazy person and such an idea would be a lot of work.
It also doesn’t account for people wanting to sell their games, though to be honest I’m not sure how many people would want to sell their games.

Personally if I were to accept money for any games I make, I’d probably make the game free and just accept good-will donations or at the very least make the price really small (£2 or less).

There’s many reasons for my preferring to do it that way, but I won’t go into them all right now because that would be an extra paragraph or two.

As I understood, an itch.io widget is not an online version of the game, but just an download link for the actual pokitto game binary, or a link to the game page on itch.oi.

it would be a good idea to go make an itch account and see what i mean about the interface

which is yet another thing automated by itch. in fact its a standard feature

Oh… Well that’s kind of counter-intuitive.

Usually a widget does something big and fancy, so I was thinking along the lines of an embedded flash game.

Wiktionary’s definition is “Portable code that can be easily installed and executed by an end user.”, which I guess technically describes what the fancy buy button does, but I was expecting something grander.

I know that the pages are customisable a bit like wordpress/tumblr.

Good to know.

(Personally I’d still be reluctant to ask for money anyway, even as a donation. I’m either a very nice person or a very stupid one.)

I really don’t mind how the online catalogue works, as long as it’s fairly straightforward to upload to.

I’ve used itch.io for a couple of small project. I found it perfectly fit all the needs for posting and tracking your games.
It offers an easy customizable page, optional comments from users and useful analytics page (tracking visit, downloads etc).
Hosting there and link with widgets to a common page is a good and easy starting point. Maybe in future we’ll need a more structured place to post and vote games. Dont’ waste time in complex customizations.

It’s also not clear to me how we’ll post our games for pokitto. Compiled file to drop in SD card? Source that every one will have to compile himself? Online emscripten demo? Mbed online?
Pokitto is such an open platform (and full of potential) that’s not easy to find the best way to disclosure its best qualities.
So let’s star easy.

I think that as long as there is a centralized page, where the games are hosted isn’t a big deal as long as signing up for an account on itch isn’t considered inconvenient by developers. However, how would we handle posting games to the games page? Wouldn’t that require some form of authentication?

I’ve only ever put 1 game on Itch.io before, and that was a game jam game called Loop N’ Moove because it was required to upload it.

I’d rather host all my games on my own website, as I do for all my other games. The only exception is actually Loop N’ Moove and Circuit Dude, that I have on Steam. If I put a Pokitto game on my own website, I wouldn’t be able to put up an Itch.io widget, would I? My game would look different. Is there some kind of API that we can use to make our own ‘widgets’ or whatever so that we can have one single, nice-looking downloads page?