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Panic unveils Pulp: a free, no-code tool for creating Playdate games

Panic's much-awaited handheld Playdate has returned to the spotlight as the company shares details on its debut and game-making tools.

Panic's much-awaited handheld Playdate handheld has returned to the spotlight. Today's livestreamed Playdate Update provided details on the peculiar little device, and offered a closer look at some of the games created for the crank-controlled console and the tools developers can use to create their own Playdate games.

The full video above details some of the games developers have already created for the first season of gradual launches, plus some others in development for future seasons. While Playdate has partnered with devs to build out that first lineup, Panic is also launching tools for anyone to take a stab at creating their own Playdate games.

That toolset is called Pulp, and it's Panic's hope that the no-code creation tool will allow new and experienced developers alike to easily turn ideas into playable Playdate games with as little friction as possible.

You can catch a first look at Pulp in action at around the 10-minute mark of the full update video above. In short, Panic says Pulp is a browser-based tool inspired by tools like Bitsy that allows game makers to create and combine audio, graphics, animation, and visual scripting elements into fully playable games for the Playdate itself. It'll be a free tool when it launches, but currently that launch is only narrowed down to sometime in 2021.

Updates on Pulp and other Playdate dev tools are likely to appear on its dev portal in the future.

Meanwhile, the Playdate itself goes up for pre-order in July for $179. The actual ship date is still TBD, however, and will likely depend on demand and the same sort of part shortages limiting production of other game consoles like the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

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