PICO8 HTML Template
Touch controls + standalone detection + offline-cache for your PICO8 games
Open it on your smartphone, it works fine :)
Check out the Demo-game sourcecode if you like.
About and why
In my opinion PICO8 is the perfect fit for mobile devices - with it's small resolution, input restrictions and good performance. The square screen leaves enough space for touch controls.
The existing HTML-export however, by the time of writing, doesn't come with touch controls. Also, the touch controls provided on the PICO8 site itself never really worked for me.
This is so you don't need additional tools to build the code or link a lot of files. I tried my best to provide a good code structure and comments - so it should be easy to follow what is going on.
Override game.js and icon.png with your own files and set your title and description in the index.html file.
Your icon.png should be 200x200px. This will work ok as Favicon, AppIcon and for most sharing sites as "Card Image".
Different button layouts
Don't be confused, the template contains different touch-control layouts. Just use the one that fits your game best and remove the others.
But you can also switch between different button-sets from within your PICO8 game while playing.
To set the layout from the PICO8 game, simply set the first GPIO:
function html_buttons(buttonset_number) poke(0x5f80,buttonset_number) end
This may sound like overkill but allows you things like giving players a layout with (←, →, X, O) during platforming sections and (↑, ↓, X) in the item menu.
If you don't need this, simply set your preferred buttonset and never change it afterwards (look through the HTMl for
changeButtonset(...);) or remove everything you don't need from the HTML markup.
The HTML-Template also provides an Analog-Stick for mobile touch control. At first I thought that this is a little against the spirit of PICO8, but I figured that a touch-D-Pad often isn't as precise as needed for top-down-games. As a compromise, a button-control for desktop computers and a virtual analog stick for smartphones can sometimes to the trick.
The HTML-Template writes values 50 to 150 to the addresses 0x5f81 (x-axis) and 0x5f82 (y-axis). The unusual values are due to the fact that only a range from 0 to 255 is supported and a clean range of 100 (-50 to 50) seems nice, you just have to subtract 100 from the value. If the values at these addresses are 0 you know that the analog-stick is not used.
In your PICO8 game you can get each axis value from -50 to 50 with:
function analog_x() if(peek(0x5f81)==0)then return 0 else return peek(0x5f81)-100 end end function analog_y() if(peek(0x5f82)==0)then return 0 else return peek(0x5f82)-100 end end
To also support normal buttons (so your game runs with keyboard and virtual analog stick), you can do something like this inside PICO8:
speed_x = analog_x() / 5 -- gives values from -10 to 10 because input ranges from -50 to 50 if(btn(0))then speed_x = -10 end -- overrides speed if button is pressed if(btn(1))then speed_x = 10 end -- .. this also ensures that the game can still be controlled via keyboard
Which button-layouts work best?
A touch device is a totally different input device than a controller or keyboard. It has a lot of disadvantages (e.g. not so precise, no haptic feedback) but also some great advantages: You can use the button layout that is perfect for the current game situation and you can change the button-layout on the fly.
Your side-scrolling platformer is probably best controlled with only ← and → directions, no need for ↑ and ↓. So users only have to have to worry about the horizontal position of their thumb.
Maybe your main or pause menu displays the menu-options below one another? Why not only display ↑ and ↓ directions?
More tricky is the situation for top-down games when you need both x and y movement. For a game that only uses straight directions without diagonals the virtual D-Pad might just work fine. But for most top-down games where you control a character in 8 directions I never found a mobile game with a great feeling virtual D-Pad. A good solution sometimes is to use a virtual Analog-Stick on touch devices and the cursor-keys on desktop-computers. There is not much needed to make your game support both and the result can feel great.
If your game is still under heavy development and you frequently update it, you should remove the link to the manifest-file in the html-tag until you are "done". Otherwise you have to update the manifest each time you want to test your game.
To check the game locally in your browser while you are still developing, it is usually enough to append a (changing) parameter to the url to force the browser to load your changes (and not load them from cache). E.g
?2 and so on.
Current iOS unfortunately reloads the page when used as webapp everytime you switch back to the the webapp from another app (while multitasking).
This means, your PICO8 game restarts everytime you switch back to the app. The only workaround at the moment is to save and restore the players progress within the game. At minimum you should save the current level number and accumulated score and restore it on gamestart (or give the player the option to continue the game).
If you clone this repo, you can directly push/merge the master branch to the gh-pages branch, it will work for Github-Pages out of the box. Make sure to update the og:image URL to your URL!
License (basically: use it if you like, do with it what you please)
Copyright (c) 2017 Dennis Treder
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.