CLI for simplifying PICO-8 game development in JavaScript
Last updated 3 months ago by agronkabashi .
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jspicl CLI

jspicl CLI is a command line tool that simplifies PICO-8 game development in JavaScript.


  • Comes with its own set of build pipeline so you don't need one.
  • JavaScript to PICO-8 Lua transpilation through jspicl.
  • Treeshaking which prevents unused code from being included and increasing your token count.
  • Allows a PNG file to be used as a spritesheet, no need to edit your assets in PICO-8 anymore. Use your image editor of choice.
  • Live reloading of PICO-8 cartridge whenever code or spritesheet is updated. See your changes live!

Future goals:

  • Importing audio files to be used as SFX or music.


npm install jspicl-cli -D


In order to generate a cartridge you need to supply at least four mandatory options:

  --input <entryfile.js>
  --output <outputFile.p8>
  --spritesheetImagePath <pathToSpriteSheetFile.png>
  --cartridgePath <pathToExistingCartridge.p8>


Name Type Description
input string Your game's entry point. This file can then import other modules. [required]
output string Where to output the PICO-8 cardridge [required]
spritesheetImagePath string Path to a spritesheet file. Only PNGs are supported. [required]
cartridgePath string Path to an existing cardridge to reuse sound, music and state flags from. Normally you would point this to the generated cartridge so that you can save the assets directly and reuse them. [required].
includeBanner boolean Include a short comment at the very top of the generated LUA code that contains info about jspicl. Does not affect token count.
jsOutput string Where to output the flattened and transpiled JavaScript code. You may use this with astexplorer to inspect the AST, just make sure to select Esprima as the parser. For debugging purposes.
luaOutput string Where to output the transpiled LUA code. For debugging purposes.
showStats boolean Display statistics about the generated cartridge. Useful for determining how much resources your game is using.
pipeOutputToConsole boolean Output all console.log to terminal that launched PICO-8. For debugging purposes.
reloadOnSave boolean Reload PICO-8 when the cartridge has been updated.
customPicoPath string Custom path to the PICO-8 executable.
prettify boolean Format the generated LUA code.
watch Runs the cartridge in PICO-8 and rebuilds it when the source files change.

Watch mode

The CLI will listen for changes when the --watch option is passed.

This applies for the spritesheet aswell. Simply save your image and your changes will be reloaded in PICO-8.

NOTE: Reloading the cartridge is currently only supported on MacOS.

Other jspicl related projects

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