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Robert Mion
Robert Mion

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Putting a game on my playdate

In this article I try to do exactly that.

In the last article I used Pulp.

Pulp has a Download PDX button.

What's a PDX?

  • My guess: it stands for PlayDate eXecutable
  • It appears to be a collection of files
  • As stated in the Help guide, a PDX is just like any other game on the platform

Pushed the button.

Have a ZIP file.

How do I get this on my Playdate?

Connect Mac to Playdate via USB-C

My Playdate is charging.

Nothing else happens, though.

What am I missing?

SDK, Simulator and Sideloading

  • I want to put a game on my Playdate
  • This is apparently called Sideloading
  • To do it, I need to download the Playdate SDK
  • And run my game in the Playdate Simulator, which comes with the SDK
  • Then click a button to upload the game to my Playdate

I learned all of this after doing a Google search and finding the wonderfully informative page Sideloading Playdate games.

Installing Playdate SDK

About to download

Launched the installer

Installation complete

Where is it?

  • I've never used an SDK
  • I thought I just installed an executable file
  • I was wrong
  • I installed a collection of files, some of which are executable

Running Playdate Simulator

For now, the only value of installing the SDK was to get this software.

Initial screen of the simulator

Registering my Simulator

I feel like this is a necessary step.

Registration screen

After following the prompts and pressing a button, I'm all set up!

Registration successful

Connecting via USB

  • My Simulator is registered to my account
  • Time to connect Playdate to Mac and see what capabilities I unlock!

I see a new icon in the bottom-right corner of the Simulator:
New flyout menu

The Upload Game to Device menu item is disabled.

That's because I have to load a game into the Simulator first.

I need to find the PDX file I downloaded.

Oh, cool! It has an icon next to it because my computer now understands how to open a PDX file!

Preview of the file

Now that a game is loaded, I can click on the previously-disabled menu item:
Highlighted menu item

Using Mirror as proof of a successful Sideloading

I sideloaded that game onto my Playdate!

Instead of using my phone to take a photo of my Playdate, I want to take a screenshot of what's on my Playdate as seen from my Mac's desktop.

To do that, I need another app, Playdate Mirror.

Thankfully, downloading it is easy:
Mirror landing page

It is an executable, like Simulator.

I booted it up.

I closed Simulator because they can't both be running.

And I saw what was on my Playdate from my Mac!

Mission accomplished

I did it!!

  • I put a game on my Playdate!
  • After downloading and installing the Playdate SDK for Mac!
  • Then registering my Simulator to my account!
  • Then downloading and opening a PDX in the Playdate Simulator!
  • Then connecting my Playdate to my Mac via USB!
  • Then clicking a button to upload the game to my device!

Wow. Lots of steps.

But now it will be easy to put a game on my Playdate any time I want!

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