PICO-8 and TIC-80

Since I asked for tips for open source games I've received quite a few.

Then I remembered the fantasy consoles PICO-8 and TIC-80.

I bought PICO-8 a few years ago and played a few games. They're really small, but many are fun. And the source always comes with the game, which is quite a nice culture really.

When it comes to fantasy consoles I heard that there was an alternative: TIC-80. This was recommended to me on the basis that it's open source, unlike PICO-8.

I'm probably going to install both on my console. Since I've already bought PICO-8 it makes sense to use it, and TIC-80 is free anyway.

I don't really know what to think of either of them from an ideological developer standpoint. On the one hand I don't like that PICO-8 is closed source, although I do understand and respect that the lone developer wants to benefit from their work and make a living. And the ecosystem is truly open, imaginative, and friendly. There's a huge amount of documentation and help to get if you want to develop your own stuff.

Now TIC-80 is open source. Well, at least the basic version. There's a PRO version too, though I don't know that I'd ever need it. The main problem is documentation and, from an ideological standpoint, opacity regarding guardianship. I've looked around the website and have been left with questions.

There's an API here, but how do I use it?

There are quite a few code alternatives: "64KB of lua, ruby, js, moon, fennel, squirrel, wren or wasm." But how do I use any of them with this API? I... Well, I just don't get it. How are games installed? PICO-8 includes a portal to all the games uploaded to the main site and you can install them directly from within the console. Can you do the same with TIC-80? I guess I'll figure a lot of this out if I have time to fiddle with it but I'd prefer to read about it first. Some tutorials and examples would be nice.

Regarding opacity, the guardian of the project is apparently "Nesbox" though I have no idea if this is a one person operation or a foundation or a larger corporation. I assume the first alternative, but who knows? And what does it mean that there's a PRO version? If a pull request adding the same features to the main repo, would they be merged?

Any and all opinions and experiences of any of these two that you'd like to share are greatly appreciated.

Here's PICO-8 by the way.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal