Pico Froggo: Hop Across the Seasons

Published 2023-06-12

Join Froggo on his seasonal platforming adventure!

Z - Jump
X - Tongue
Arrow keys - Walk

I've always enjoyed watching documentaries and what not on how developers in the past has to work with technical limitation with their games. These limitations often results in weird quirks in the game and also its unique style. So I decided to take a small break from my main project and try out pico-8 to see what it's like to work around these limitations.
I went into this knowing there's a heck ton of limitations, but not the specifics. I figured I would find out as I go along.

One of the first things I thought about is how I should handle the map.
Since I already had knowledge on how to construct a game from the ground up, It shouldn't be difficult for me to do some level compression wizardry.

But In the end, I decided to went with the method of just reusing level layouts to create new levels. I thought that since this is my first game with pico-8, I don't have to go nuts with everything. And even if I do use map compression, I would have too much level space to work with and not enough unique mechanics to make them interesting. Also this is arguably more creative than doing level data compression.

I couldn't draw a frog that looks remotely good in an 8 by 8 pixel tile so I went with bigger sprites, which takes a lot of space.
Thankfully I have learned the forbidden space saving jutsu from hacking an NES game.

Just this portion of the sprite sheet, I managed to fit the graphics for the title screen, 2 of the enemies, most of the player graphics, and the HP graphics.
Chunks of it are combined together to create new sprites without taking a lot of space.

Other than character sprites, pal() is really useful for making different aesthetics with little amount of tilesets, which is why i went with the seasonal theme.

Code sucks. It's unorganized and unoptimized spaghetti code overall. Just like all my other games 👍

In the end, I ended up using 6884 out of 8192 tokens, which makes it the only aspect of pico-8 that I didn't really push to the limit, which is why I decided to add cheat codes that you can input in the title screen to have some fun with the game. 6k is what I end up with after adding cheat codes. I could add more but I feel really burnt out after this and just wanted to finish this game.

Other than that, I don't have much to say about it. It's a videogame with codes that makes it function.

Me - pretty much everything
I also drew some inspirations from an SMW romhack called A Plumber for All Seasons with this seasonal theme.