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Robert Mion
Robert Mion

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Playing with pulp

Baby steps

  • Go to the homepage
  • Read the three short blurbs
  • Get excited to try this awesomely accessible game-making tool
  • Click the Try it button
  • Sign in

See this:
pulp default screen

Start analyzing what I see

pulp screen marked up

Before pressing anything, I feel like I understand all but one small section of the screen's controls.

Among the many views, I'm intrigued by the one labeled Room.

Do I want to keep clicking around? Or click on the first link under Help & Docs to get a lesson in pulp?

I gotta play around, right?

Playing around


  • I pressed Export in the left-hand menu
  • To my surprise, it downloaded a JSON file. I know how to read that!
  • I opened it in my text editor and saw a ton of 1s and 0s along with key-value pairs
  • I assume the 1s and 0s indicate whether certain pixels are black or white

Exported game JSON file


  • I pressed Font to go to that view
  • I saw a full character set
  • And several icon buttons with helpful tooltips
  • Clicking on characters shows them as highlighted and selects that character to edit
  • Editing is as simple as toggling a square between white and black
  • The character immediately updates in the other two panels
  • Seems easy enough to design my own font!

Changing the letter E

...Playing the game

  • I clicked through the other views
  • Room was a bit intimidating
  • Song and Sound seem fun...when I want to consider that sort of thing
  • Script is the code for the game. There are only three files. One is empty. The other two contain very little code. And it is all very understandable.

A script in the game

  • I was curious where I might see these text prompts in the game
  • So I clicked Play!
  • And used my arrow keys to control the player, moving around the stage to pick up floppy disks

Playing the game

Back to the Room

  • After playing the game, I messed with some controls in the Script view
  • The script for the game had a button that linked to the Game view
  • The script for the computer had a button that linked to the Room view

Clicking it brought me to this intimidating view:
Editing a room

Well, intimidating at first.

Wonderfully, it seems this view is very self-describing:

  • A stage showcasing the current room - I can edit it directly by drawing
  • An area where I can manage tiles pertaining to any of several layers - these are the objects in the game, it seems
  • An area where I can edit a tile's artwork and animations
  • An area where I can edit a tile's behavior

This is feeling less scary each minute I spend reading labels! Phew!

Adding and deleting/re-painting

  • With the Player layer selected, I clicked on the stage
  • It removed the player and placed him at the spot I clicked!
  • Cool! Will this happen for other game objects, too?
  • With either the Sprites or Items selected, I clicked on the stage
  • It added the sprite without removing any
  • Great, but how do I now remove game objects from the stage?
  • There doesn't appear to be any Delete button
  • However, I can replace the contents of any tile with World - either black or white
  • Viola! Painting a tile with black or white removes any Sprites that occupied that tile
  • Strangely, in cases where sprites occupied adjacent tiles, painting one replaced all adjacent tiles with that color
  • I better be careful of that in the future

Creating and adding a tile

I wonder how easy it'll be.

  • Click the + in the Tile section
  • Give it a name - bug in my case
  • Color in some squares to make the tile have some form
  • Click the stage to add an instance of the tile to the room
  • For Behavior select Say and enter some text
  • Play the game and see what all that just did

Seeing my bug say words

That was really easy!

Giving my bugs behavior

Instead of just saying something, I want my bugs to change the game's state.

  • When I toggle the Behavior from Says to PulpScript I can enter code
  • I move to Script view for a larger code editor
  • Thankfully, I now have an interact script unique to my bug tile

I wrote this code to simulate the bug eating all the collected floppy disks, then saying so:

on interact do
  if disks==4 then
    say "I ate all {disks} of your floppy disks."
    disks = 0
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

It worked as expected:
Bugs working correctly

Ending this play session

  • Pulp is a delight to mess with
  • It was a bit intimidating at first, but now feels very familiar and comfortable
  • It all feels like painting, really

I want to do a few things next:

  • Download the PDX file to my Playdate device to see the launch card and play the game for real
  • Read the Pulp and PulpScript docs to review what I saw and learn how to add more robust behavior sprites and items in the game

May the fun continue!

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