Panic, creator of the quirky Playdate handheld, has a public beta of its Playdate Pulp in-browser game builder. The company describes it as “a friendly tool for creating small yet visually and narratively rich games for Playdate”, in the developer documentation.
In the Pulp editor, you can do things like create pixelated graphics, build levels, write music, and even create custom fonts. While you’re working on your game, you can test it right in your browser, and when you’re done, you can export your game as a .pdx file (a clever reference to Panic’s Portland roots) so you can loading on a Playdate handheld. You don’t have to write any code to make a game in Pulp, but if you do want to try some coding, you can use the PulpScript scripting language.
I’m not a game developer, but Pulp seems relatively easy to use in the few minutes I’m messing around with it. I’ve already figured out how to change the player sprite in the default game Loading Pulp with a capital J, which will of course be absolutely necessary for my future masterpiece. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people cook up with the tool once they’ve spent some time with it, and have my fingers crossed for some off-the-wall, undertalestyle games.
Releasing the Pulp public beta now could also mean that the Playdate will have a ton of fun games for people to try when the device comes out. Panic has only announced one 24-game composite season so far, and you’re only getting two new games a week. Thanks to Pulp, you may have many other games to choose from that you can load onto your device.
Panic says it expects to ship its first shipments of the Playdate in 2022. You can still pre-order the device, although Panic warns about his Playdate store page that pre-orders placed now will not ship until the end of this year.