Bitsy development thoughts

When I started working on After the End with Miaobot, I was curious how much I could do within Bitsy's limitations, and the answer was: a lot more than I expected! That's largely because of Bitsy's built-in dialogue system for sprites and items, which includes conditionals, sequences of dialogue, random dialogue, and simple text effects. Most importantly, you can set variables through dialogue, which was how I implemented several of the multiple endings in my game. For example, you can do something like use a conditional to check if the player has four coins when they interact with a vending machine, change the ending with {ending_text = "GOOD END: You enjoyed some ice cream!"} within that dialogue option, and then show the ending with {print ending_text} when they step on a certain ending tile.

Bitsy's exits system was also fun to experiment with. Of course, exits let you move the player between different rooms, but they can also move the player to a different tile within the same room. When I first learned that, I immediately thought about the teleportation puzzles in games like Pokemon and decided to make my own. The commercial district was actually the second room I designed, even though it ended up being the final area of the game. I only wish there were a way to label which exits lead where so you don't have to use pencil and paper to plan out a complicated mess of teleportation paths within the same room, but that's a relatively minor concern.

Some of Bitsy's limitations were more annoying, but I was able to work around them. By default, all sprites and tiles in Bitsy have only two colors and no transparency, which most noticeably means the player blocks an entire 8x8-pixel square of the screen each time they move around. You can use the transparent sprites Bitsy hack, which treats the background color in sprites as transparent, but then you have to be careful about any sprites that use the background color in the middle but aren't supposed to represent actually transparent objects. In my game, the player avatar's face is a 2x2-pixel square of transparency, so I specifically designed all of the walkable tiles to use only the background color within that square. As I said, annoying, but not the end of the world.

Still, I definitely recommend making a game with Bitsy at least once to see what you can do with it. You might be surprised!

(For anyone who wants to see my game's source code, you can find it here)

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