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The Playdate SDK has been made public (and it's totally free)

The release means there are now even more ways to create for the resplendent yellow handheld.

Chris Kerr

February 28, 2022

2 Min Read

The Playdate SDK has been made public by developer Panic, meaning there are now even more ways to create for the resplendent yellow handheld.

The SDK is available for Mac, PC, and Linux free-of-charge, and includes C and Lua APIs alongside a simulator for local development, profiling, and more.

The simulator is a particularly nice touch, and lets developers preview their projects -- including crank mechanics -- as they develop without needing Playdate hardware. The SDK also includes a tool for creating Playdate fonts, reams of helpful documentation, example code, and sample projects to help users create and learn in tandem.

"The full Playdate SDK is for folks already comfortable with coding — but we've worked hard to make it as easy and approachable as we can. It gives you two choices of languages: Lua, for a higher-level scripting language experience, or C, for improved performance," explained Panic in a thread on Twitter (where you'll also find more dev tips).

"It's also packed with helpful functions for things like font handling, drawing, animation, sprites, tilemaps, collision detection, A* pathfinding, audio synthesis, crank handling (of course!), and really quite a lot more."

Those of you looking to read up on the SDK before diving in should visit the Playdate developer forum, which contains a useful Getting Started FAQ crammed with pointers.

The SDK has been made public shortly after the release of Pulp, an accessible, (almost) no-code, in-browser development tool that aims to make creating Playdate projects a doddle. 

You can download the SDK here, or check out this extensive deep dive to learn how Panic created Pulp to bring development to the masses. 

The Playdate itself is still slated for an early 2022 launch, and has sold over 20,000 units to-date.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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