February 28, 2022
As you know, last month we released Pulp, our easy-to-use Playdate game making tool. And today, as promised… it’s time for even more developer news. The full Playdate Software Development Kit is now available for free to all!!
The full Playdate SDK is for folks already comfortable with coding — but we’ve worked hard to make it as easy and approachable as we can. It gives you two choices of languages: Lua, for a higher-level scripting language experience, or C, for improved performance.
It’s also packed with helpful functions for things like drawing font handling, animation, sprites, tilemaps, collision detection, A* pathfinding, audio synthesis, crank handling (of course!), and really quite a lot more!
The SDK also includes a key tool: the Playdate Simulator, for Mac, Windows, and Linux. This app allows you to run and test your Playdate games on your computer, without needing Playdate hardware. Simulate the crank. Log errors. Check memory usage. It does it all.
(PRO TIP: a quick heads up! The Simulator does not simulate the actual hardware speed of the Playdate, so a complex game that might run smoothly on your PC, might not be so smooth on-device. So, until you get hardware, if you post your .pdx on our Developer Forum, we’ll be happy to test it for you!)
You can use any text editor you want to code for the Playdate. But, if you’re using macOS, we *ahem* also jussssssst so happen to make a code editor that’s best for writing and debugging your Playdate games. (And much more!) Give Nova a try if you’d like!
The release of the Playdate SDK also means an expansion of our Playdate Developer Forum, where folks can ask questions, show off their work, and hopefully feel fully supported and welcomed while making great things.
We’ve also written up some new Playdate Design Guidelines, based on the knowledge that we, and our Developer Preview folks, have accrued over the years. We’ll keep expanding this document over time!
Once you’ve made a game, then what?! Well, anyone can sideload games onto their Playdate without us, so really, you can do anything you want with it. But, we ARE working on some new ways for people to find and download games… directly on the Playdate itself. Stay tuned!
Finally, sincerely: your interest in our handheld gaming system SDK means so much to us. Nothing has energized us more on this long (and often difficult) adventure than seeing people make incredible things for Playdate out of nothing. We can’t wait to see what you make. Dig in!