All you need: Lua and C APIs, docs, as well as a Simulator for local development, with profiling and more.
The official reference documentation for programming Playdate games.
Designing for Playdate
Advice on making your game accessible, pleasant to use, and at home on Playdate—from the UI to performance, and more.
Online bitmap-font editor for Playdate fonts. Draw your own typographic characters, edit existing fonts, kern and preview them—all right here.
A desktop app that mirrors the screen of your connected Playdate in real time. Perfect for capturing Playdate video so you can stream it or record it locally. Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux!
You can use any code editor you like with our SDK. We happen to make a pretty nice one for macOS, and it's great for Playdate development, with easy building and debugging.
The place to talk to other Playdate developers about your game and see theirs. Post your progress, or questions about best practices and cool tricks.
Report SDK Bugs
We're constantly improving the Playdate SDK. If you run into a snag making your game, or you have an API idea, let us know!
Playdate SDK is made by a small team here at Panic. Meet them!
Web-based game editor for Playdate. Pixel art, chiptune music, and simple scripting built right in. It's fun!
Ask questions about your Pulp game, share code tips with other developers, and learn from their source code and tutorials.
Report Pulp Bugs
If you believe you've found a bug in Pulp—an issue in our code, not yours—we'd appreciate it if you let us know. Thanks!
Pulp is made by an even smaller group of people. Meet them!
Useful Links for Developers! Tutorials, tools, libraries, and more.
Playdate link badges for developers. Use these to link to your game.
Questions & answers about making games for Playdate
Playdate is a brand-new handheld game system, shipping soon. Our small, yellow console-with-a-crank is the perfect platform for indie games of all kinds, made by people of all kinds.
- How do I get a Playdate devkit?
- Good news: any Playdate can be used to develop games for the platform. There won’t be any special hardware that you’ll need for this. You can pre-order a Playdate today.
- What's the difference between the Playdate SDK and Pulp?
The Playdate SDK is the best way for experienced developers to use every capability of the Playdate. It includes a rich set of APIs, a compiler, and documentation. You can write your games using Lua, for ease of development; or C, for games that need extra performance; or, combine both languages in the same project. Typical SDK features are included: graphics, sound, inputs, text, collisions, etc.
Another neat option is our web-based game maker, Playdate Pulp. It’s a click-and-place game studio with all the tools you need to build your first game—or your twentieth experiment—in a quirky little environment. With Pulp, you’ll be able to create your art and music; use our scripting language, PulpScript; and preview your game, all in the browser. It's not meant to be as full-featured as our SDK, but it's a one-stop editor you can use without installing anything.
- Do I have to pay any licensing fees for the SDK or Pulp?
- No. The Playdate SDK and Pulp are provided for free, and you're welcome to use them for whatever project you have in mind. You can read the Playdate SDK license here.
- How do I distribute my Playdate game?
You can sell or share your own Playdate code and compiled game any way you wish: sell it on your website, through an online game store, or another digital-goods marketplace. Playdate owners can sideload these games over a USB connection; or wirelessly, through our website.
We realize you may be looking for an "official" game store as well, to make sure your game reaches a large audience. We're currently exploring different ideas for the best experience of getting games out to Playdate owners, and we'll have more to say on this in the future.