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Robert Mion
Robert Mion

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Completing another Pulp tutorial


The last article featured my write-ups as I followed along to two of SquidGod's Playdate tutorials listed as resources on Playdate's official website.

This article is a write-up of the third tutorial, where I'll be shown how to make:

  1. Directional player sprites
  2. A short melee attack
  3. A simple enemy pathfinding AI
  4. Lock a room until all enemies are defeated

Directional player sprites

This seems simple enough!

  • Create four Player tiles, one for each facing - really, it's just the eye sockets that move or disappear
  • Write an on update do event listener
  • Leverage the event.dx and event.dy variable members to determine which direction the player is facing
  • Swap for the appropriate tile in each condition

A short melee attack

  • Create four Item tiles, one for each sword facing
  • Write an on confirm do event listener, which triggers when the A button is pressed
  • Create two variables that store the eventual position of the sword tile
  • Leverage the same dx and dy variable members to store the appropriate tile name to be used
  • Swap the tile, wait a bit, then swap it back to white

Fix bug: swinging at walls

  • Move the sword-swinging code into a custom function
  • Store the name of the tile being swung at
  • If it is white or enemy, swing the sword

Fix bug: don't move during sword swing

  • Leverage ignore and listen functions to essentially disable and enable player input before and after sword swings

A simple enemy pathfinding AI

In essence:

  • At a set interval...
  • Determine the position of the target tile...
  • Ensure it is available...
  • Swap tiles only when available

It takes:

  • 3 variables
  • 4 conditionals
  • 4 event members
  • 2 tile swaps

Unexpected bug

  • I made enemy a sprite, as the author did
  • When playing the game, all enemies instantly moved toward the player
  • I checked everything to ensure my code matched the author's
  • After several minutes, I tried one last thing: change the tile type from Sprite to Item
  • That worked!
  • I'm not sure why Sprites and Items behave differently with respect to intervals and the game's loop event
  • But now I know it's something to be mindful of

Enemy damage

  • Time to duplicate a bunch of code from the previous tutorial
  • It was fairly easy to toggle between games and copy code snippets
  • It was wonderfully simple to export and import layer tiles
  • Just a bummer that the names didn't transfer
  • After play testing, my game feels nearly identical
  • The only difference seems to be a delay in shake after colliding with an enemy: it happens immediately in the video, whereas in mine it seems delayed

Lock a room until all enemies are defeated

  • I imported the gate sprite from the other game, placed it in the room, and added the custom event to make the gate disappear
  • I added on enter do event listeners to the game and enemy scripts
  • I set or updated the same variable appropriately in each function
  • I updated the player script to adjust that variable and trigger the custom event on the gate when the variable is 0
  • Play testing confirms everything works as expected!


  • That was another really fun tutorial!
  • When broken down, all of the code is fairly simple: checking tile type, checking positions, incrementing or decrementing values, calling functions from other functions inside conditionals
  • I'm glad I took the time to re-create all the code and play test along the way

Next up - you guessed it - another tutorial!

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