TIC-80 tiny computer

1.0.2164 (b09c50c) https://tic80.com (C) 2017-2022


TIC-80 is a fantasy computer for making, playing and sharing tiny games.

It has built-in tools for development: code, sprites, maps, sound editors and the command line, which is enough to create a mini retro game. In the end, you will get a cartridge file, which can be stored and played on the website.

Also, the game can be packed into a player that works on all popular platforms and distributed as you wish. To make a retro-style game, the whole creation process takes place under some technical limitations: 240x136 pixels display, 16 color palette, 256 8x8 color sprites, 4 channel sound, etc.


DISPLAY   240x136 pixels, 16 colors palette.
INPUT     4 gamepads with 8 buttons / mouse / keyboard.
SPRITES   256 8x8 tiles and 256 8x8 sprites.
MAP       240x136 cells, 1920x1088 pixels.
SOUND     4 channels with configurable waveforms.
CODE      64KB of lua, ruby, js, moon, fennel, squirrel, wren or wasm.

|           96KB RAM LAYOUT         |
| ADDR  | INFO              | BYTES |
| 00000 | <VRAM>            | 16384 |
| 04000 | TILES             | 8192  |
| 06000 | SPRITES           | 8192  |
| 08000 | MAP               | 32640 |
| 0FF80 | GAMEPADS          | 4     |
| 0FF84 | MOUSE             | 4     |
| 0FF88 | KEYBOARD          | 4     |
| 0FF8C | SFX STATE         | 16    |
| 0FF9C | SOUND REGISTERS   | 72    |
| 0FFE4 | WAVEFORMS         | 256   |
| 100E4 | SFX               | 4224  |
| 11164 | MUSIC PATTERNS    | 11520 |
| 13E64 | MUSIC TRACKS      | 408   |
| 13FFC | MUSIC STATE       | 4     |
| 14000 | STEREO VOLUME     | 4     |
| 14004 | PERSISTENT MEMORY | 1024  |
| 14404 | SPRITE FLAGS      | 512   |
| 14604 | FONT              | 1016  |
| 149FC | FONT PARAMS       | 8     |
| 14A04 | ALT FONT          | 1016  |
| 14DFC | ALT FONT PARAMS   | 8     |
| 14E04 | BUTTONS MAPPING   | 32    |
| 14E24 | ... (free)        | 12764 |
|          16KB VRAM LAYOUT         |
| ADDR  | INFO              | BYTES |
| 00000 | SCREEN            | 16320 |
| 03FC0 | PALETTE           | 48    |
| 03FF0 | PALETTE MAP       | 8     |
| 03FF8 | BORDER COLOR      | 1     |
| 03FF9 | SCREEN OFFSET     | 2     |
| 03FFB | MOUSE CURSOR      | 1     |
| 03FFC | BLIT SEGMENT      | 1     |
| 03FFD | ... (reserved)    | 3     |

Console commands


change directory. usage: cd <path> cd / cd ..


clear console screen. usage: cls


edit system configuration cartridge, use reset param to reset current configuration, use default to edit default cart template. usage: config [reset|default]


delete from the filesystem. usage: del <file|folder>


install demo carts to the current directory. usage: demo


show list of local files. usage: dir


open cart editors. usage: edit


run code provided code. usage: eval


exit the application. usage: exit


export cart to HTML, native build (win linux rpi mac), export sprites/map/... as a .png image or export sfx and music to .wav files. usage: export [win|winxp|linux|rpi|mac|html|binary|tiles|sprites|map|mapimg|sfx|music|screen|help|...] <file> [bank=0 vbank=0 id=0 ...]


open working directory in OS. usage: folder


show help info about commands/api/... usage: help [<text>|version|welcome|spec|ram|vram|commands|api|keys|buttons|startup|terms|license]


import code/sprites/map/... from an external file. usage: import [binary|tiles|sprites|map|code|screen|...] <file> [bank=0 x=0 y=0 w=0 h=0 vbank=0 ...]


load cartridge from the local filesystem(there's no need to type the .tic extension). you can also load just the section (sprites, map etc) from another cart. usage: load <cart> [code|tiles|sprites|map|sfx|music|palette|flags|screen]

show game menu where you can setup video, sound and input options. usage: menu


make a directory. usage: mkdir <name>


creates a new Hello World cartridge. usage: new <lua|ruby|js|moon|fennel|squirrel|wren|wasm>


resume last run cart / project. usage: resume


run current cart / project. usage: run


save cartridge to the local filesystem, use .lua .rb .js .moon .fnl .nut .wren .wasmp cart extension to save it in text format (PRO feature). usage: save <cart>


open carts browser. usage: surf

API functions


BDR(row) Allows you to execute code between the drawing of each fullscreen scanline, for example, to manipulate the palette.


BOOT Startup function.

MENU(index) Game Menu handler.


SCN(row) Allows you to execute code between the drawing of each scanline, for example, to manipulate the palette.


TIC() Main function. It's called at 60fps (60 times every second).


btn(id) -> pressed This function allows you to read the status of one of the buttons attached to TIC. The function returns true if the key with the supplied id is currently in the pressed state. It remains true for as long as the key is held down. If you want to test if a key was just pressed, use btnp() instead.


btnp(id hold=-1 period=-1) -> pressed This function allows you to read the status of one of TIC's buttons. It returns true only if the key has been pressed since the last frame. You can also use the optional hold and period parameters which allow you to check if a button is being held down. After the time specified by hold has elapsed, btnp will return true each time period is passed if the key is still down. For example, to re-examine the state of button 0 after 2 seconds and continue to check its state every 1/10th of a second, you would use btnp(0, 120, 6). Since time is expressed in ticks and TIC runs at 60 frames per second, we use the value of 120 to wait 2 seconds and 6 ticks (ie 60/10) as the interval for re-checking.


circ(x y radius color) This function draws a filled circle of the desired radius and color with its center at x, y. It uses the Bresenham algorithm.


circb(x y radius color) Draws the circumference of a circle with its center at x, y using the radius and color requested. It uses the Bresenham algorithm.


clip(x y width height) clip() This function limits drawing to a clipping region or viewport defined by x,y,w,h. Things drawn outside of this area will not be visible. Calling clip() with no parameters will reset the drawing area to the entire screen.


cls(color=0) Clear the screen. When called this function clear all the screen using the color passed as argument. If no parameter is passed first color (0) is used.


elli(x y a b color) This function draws a filled ellipse of the desired a, b radiuses and color with its center at x, y. It uses the Bresenham algorithm.


ellib(x y a b color) This function draws an ellipse border with the desired radiuses a b and color with its center at x, y. It uses the Bresenham algorithm.


exit() Interrupts program execution and returns to the console when the TIC function ends.


fget(sprite_id flag) -> bool Returns true if the specified flag of the sprite is set. See fset() for more details.


font(text x y chromakey char_width char_height fixed=false scale=1) -> width Print string with font defined in foreground sprites. To simply print to the screen, check out print(). To print to the console, check out trace().


fset(sprite_id flag bool) Each sprite has eight flags which can be used to store information or signal different conditions. For example, flag 0 might be used to indicate that the sprite is invisible, flag 6 might indicate that the flag should be draw scaled etc. See algo fget().


key(code=-1) -> pressed The function returns true if the key denoted by keycode is pressed.


keyp(code=-1 hold=-1 period=-1) -> pressed This function returns true if the given key is pressed but wasn't pressed in the previous frame. Refer to btnp() for an explanation of the optional hold and period parameters.


line(x0 y0 x1 y1 color) Draws a straight line from point (x0,y0) to point (x1,y1) in the specified color.


map(x=0 y=0 w=30 h=17 sx=0 sy=0 colorkey=-1 scale=1 remap=nil) The map consists of cells of 8x8 pixels, each of which can be filled with a sprite using the map editor. The map can be up to 240 cells wide by 136 deep. This function will draw the desired area of the map to a specified screen position. For example, map(5,5,12,10,0,0) will draw a 12x10 section of the map, starting from map co-ordinates (5,5) to screen position (0,0). The map function's last parameter is a powerful callback function for changing how map cells (sprites) are drawn when map is called. It can be used to rotate, flip and replace sprites while the game is running. Unlike mset, which saves changes to the map, this special function can be used to create animated tiles or replace them completely. Some examples include changing sprites to open doorways, hiding sprites used to spawn objects in your game and even to emit the objects themselves. The tilemap is laid out sequentially in RAM - writing 1 to 0x08000 will cause tile(sprite) #1 to appear at top left when map() is called. To set the tile immediately below this we need to write to 0x08000 + 240, ie 0x080F0.


memcpy(dest source size) This function allows you to copy a continuous block of TIC's 96K RAM from one address to another. Addresses are specified are in hexadecimal format, values are decimal.


memset(dest value size) This function allows you to set a continuous block of any part of TIC's RAM to the same value. The address is specified in hexadecimal format, the value in decimal.


mget(x y) -> tile_id Gets the sprite id at the given x and y map coordinate.


mouse() -> x y left middle right scrollx scrolly This function returns the mouse coordinates and a boolean value for the state of each mouse button,with true indicating that a button is pressed.


mset(x y tile_id) This function will change the tile at the specified map coordinates. By default, changes made are only kept while the current game is running. To make permanent changes to the map, see sync(). Related: map() mget() sync().


music(track=-1 frame=-1 row=-1 loop=true sustain=false tempo=-1 speed=-1) This function starts playing a track created in the Music Editor. Call without arguments to stop the music.


peek(addr bits=8) -> value This function allows to read the memory from TIC. It's useful to access resources created with the integrated tools like sprite, maps, sounds, cartridges data? Never dream to sound a sprite? Address are in hexadecimal format but values are decimal. To write to a memory address, use poke(). bits allowed to be 1,2,4,8.


peek1(addr) -> value This function enables you to read single bit values from TIC's RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format.


peek2(addr) -> value This function enables you to read two bits values from TIC's RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format.


peek4(addr) -> value This function enables you to read values from TIC's RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format. See 'poke4()' for detailed information on how nibble addressing compares with byte addressing.


pix(x y color) pix(x y) -> color This function can read or write pixel color values. When called with a color parameter, the pixel at the specified coordinates is set to that color. Calling the function without a color parameter returns the color of the pixel at the specified position.


pmem(index value) pmem(index) -> value This function allows you to save and retrieve data in one of the 256 individual 32-bit slots available in the cartridge's persistent memory. This is useful for saving high-scores, level advancement or achievements. The data is stored as unsigned 32-bit integers (from 0 to 4294967295).



poke(addr value bits=8) This function allows you to write a single byte to any address in TIC's RAM. The address should be specified in hexadecimal format, the value in decimal. bits allowed to be 1,2,4,8.


poke1(addr value) This function allows you to write single bit values directly to RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format.


poke2(addr value) This function allows you to write two bits values directly to RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format.


poke4(addr value) This function allows you to write directly to RAM. The address is often specified in hexadecimal format. For both peek4 and poke4 RAM is addressed in 4 bit segments (nibbles). Therefore, to access the the RAM at byte address 0x4000 you would need to access both the 0x8000 and 0x8001 nibble addresses.


print(text x=0 y=0 color=15 fixed=false scale=1 smallfont=false) -> width This will simply print text to the screen using the font defined in config. When set to true, the fixed width option ensures that each character will be printed in a box of the same size, so the character i will occupy the same width as the character w for example. When fixed width is false, there will be a single space between each character.



rect(x y w h color) This function draws a filled rectangle of the desired size and color at the specified position. If you only need to draw the the border or outline of a rectangle (ie not filled) see rectb().


rectb(x y w h color) This function draws a one pixel thick rectangle border at the position requested. If you need to fill the rectangle with a color, see rect() instead.


reset() Resets the cartridge. To return to the console, see the exit().


sfx(id note=-1 duration=-1 channel=0 volume=15 speed=0) This function will play the sound with id created in the sfx editor. Calling the function with id set to -1 will stop playing the channel. The note can be supplied as an integer between 0 and 95 (representing 8 octaves of 12 notes each) or as a string giving the note name and octave. For example, a note value of 14 will play the note D in the second octave. The same note could be specified by the string D-2. Note names consist of two characters, the note itself (in upper case) followed by - to represent the natural note or # to represent a sharp. There is no option to indicate flat values. The available note names are therefore: C-, C#, D-, D#, E-, F-, F#, G-, G#, A-, A#, B-. The octave is specified using a single digit in the range 0 to 8. The duration specifies how many ticks to play the sound for since TIC-80 runs at 60 frames per second, a value of 30 represents half a second. A value of -1 will play the sound continuously. The channel parameter indicates which of the four channels to use. Allowed values are 0 to 3. The volume can be between 0 and 15. The speed in the range -4 to 3 can be specified and means how many ticks+1 to play each step, so speed==0 means 1 tick per step.


spr(id x y colorkey=-1 scale=1 flip=0 rotate=0 w=1 h=1) Draws the sprite number index at the x and y coordinate. You can specify a colorkey in the palette which will be used as the transparent color or use a value of -1 for an opaque sprite. The sprite can be scaled up by a desired factor. For example, a scale factor of 2 means an 8x8 pixel sprite is drawn to a 16x16 area of the screen. You can flip the sprite where:


sync(mask=0 bank=0 tocart=false) The pro version of TIC-80 contains 8 memory banks. To switch between these banks, sync can be used to either load contents from a memory bank to runtime, or save contents from the active runtime to a bank. The function can only be called once per frame.If you have manipulated the runtime memory (e.g. by using mset), you can reset the active state by calling sync(0,0,false). This resets the whole runtime memory to the contents of bank 0.Note that sync is not used to load code from banks; this is done automatically.


time() -> ticks This function returns the number of milliseconds elapsed since the cartridge began execution. Useful for keeping track of time, animating items and triggering events.


trace(message color=15) This is a service function, useful for debugging your code. It prints the message parameter to the console in the (optional) color specified.



tri(x1 y1 x2 y2 x3 y3 color) This function draws a triangle filled with color, using the supplied vertices.


trib(x1 y1 x2 y2 x3 y3 color) This function draws a triangle border with color, using the supplied vertices.


tstamp() -> timestamp This function returns the number of seconds elapsed since January 1st, 1970. Useful for creating persistent games which evolve over time between plays.


ttri(x1 y1 x2 y2 x3 y3 u1 v1 u2 v2 u3 v3 texsrc=0 chromakey=-1 z1=0 z2=0 z3=0) It renders a triangle filled with texture from image ram, map ram or vbank. Use in 3D graphics. In particular, if the vertices in the triangle have different 3D depth, you may see some distortion. These can be thought of as the window inside image ram (sprite sheet), map ram or another vbank. Note that the sprite sheet or map in this case is treated as a single large image, with U and V addressing its pixels directly, rather than by sprite ID. So for example the top left corner of sprite #2 would be located at u=16, v=0.


vbank(bank) -> prev vbank() -> prev VRAM contains 2x16K memory chips, use vbank(0) or vbank(1) to switch between them.

Button IDs

| ACTION | P1 | P2 | P3 | P4 |
|     UP |  0 |  8 | 16 | 24 |
|   DOWN |  1 |  9 | 17 | 25 |
|   LEFT |  2 | 10 | 18 | 26 |
|  RIGHT |  3 | 11 | 19 | 27 |
|      A |  4 | 12 | 20 | 28 |
|      B |  5 | 13 | 21 | 29 |
|      X |  6 | 14 | 22 | 30 |
|      Y |  7 | 15 | 23 | 31 |

Key IDs

+------+-----+  +------+--------------+
| CODE | KEY |  | CODE | KEY          |
+------+-----+  +------+--------------+
|    1 | A   |  |   37 | MINUS        |
|    2 | B   |  |   38 | EQUALS       |
|    3 | C   |  |   39 | LEFTBRACKET  |
|    4 | D   |  |   40 | RIGHTBRACKET |
|    5 | E   |  |   41 | BACKSLASH    |
|    6 | F   |  |   42 | SEMICOLON    |
|    7 | G   |  |   43 | APOSTROPHE   |
|    8 | H   |  |   44 | GRAVE        |
|    9 | I   |  |   45 | COMMA        |
|   10 | J   |  |   46 | PERIOD       |
|   11 | K   |  |   47 | SLASH        |
|   12 | L   |  |   48 | SPACE        |
|   13 | M   |  |   49 | TAB          |
|   14 | N   |  |   50 | RETURN       |
|   15 | O   |  |   51 | BACKSPACE    |
|   16 | P   |  |   52 | DELETE       |
|   17 | Q   |  |   53 | INSERT       |
|   18 | R   |  |   54 | PAGEUP       |
|   19 | S   |  |   55 | PAGEDOWN     |
|   20 | T   |  |   56 | HOME         |
|   21 | U   |  |   57 | END          |
|   22 | V   |  |   58 | UP           |
|   23 | W   |  |   59 | DOWN         |
|   24 | X   |  |   60 | LEFT         |
|   25 | Y   |  |   61 | RIGHT        |
|   26 | Z   |  |   62 | CAPSLOCK     |
|   27 | 0   |  |   63 | CTRL         |
|   28 | 1   |  |   64 | SHIFT        |
|   29 | 2   |  |   65 | ALT          |
|   30 | 3   |  |      |              |
|   31 | 4   |  |      |              |
|   32 | 5   |  |      |              |
|   33 | 6   |  |      |              |
|   34 | 7   |  |      |              |
|   35 | 8   |  |      |              |
|   36 | 9   |  |      |              |
+------+-----+  +------+--------------+

Startup options

--skip           skip startup animation
--volume=<int>   global volume value [0-15]
--cli            console only output
--fullscreen     enable fullscreen mode
--vsync          enable VSYNC
--soft           use software rendering
--fs=<str>       path to the file system folder
--scale=<int>    main window scale
--cmd=<str>      run commands in the console
--keepcmd        re-execute commands on every run
--version        print program version
--crt            enable CRT monitor effect

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MIT License

Copyright (c) 2017-2022 Vadim Grigoruk @nesbox // [email protected]

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.