News PIG_IRON Log-001: Breaching the Surface

Spider traverses a lush underground jungle

Alien Worlds

After some time, I'm revealing a project I intend to release on that I call PIG_IRON. You assume control of the "Spider". You aren't from around here, but your purpose is clear.

Speed through various flourishing ecosystems on an abandoned industrial planet - with an insatiable appetite, the world is your buffet. Feast, grow bigger, split into more spiders, repeat until only you are left... then move onto the next.


Spider hunting a Jellyfly

A variety of creatures fill specific niches and pose a varying level of threat to you.

The example in this GIF is the "Jellyfly" - a nearly harmless creature known to hang from ceilings and use its tendrils to filter feed particles carried in the wind.

This world is primarily inhabited by enlarged bugs due to the unusually high supply of oxygen, but not all will be as simple to utilize as reaching out and eating them.

Predators and Prey

Spider is killed by a swarm of spores

You do not begin at the top of the food chain, learning is an integral part of overcoming this world. With even the smallest creatures having evolved to defend themselves fiercely, satiating your hunger will be an uphill battle.

Showcased in this GIF are the WIP "Sporehives" - Plants that have spread like tumors across the underground jungle's ceilings, the Jellyflies often disturb these so they can use their chemically charged tendrils to feed on the spores.

You have no such natural acclimation to them, and will be torn to pieces in seconds, as these spores spread their hives through corpses. A clever spider could maybe pick one up and throw it at a nearby creature to redirect their rage though...

Behind the Curtain

Two screenshots of the editor

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This game is made in Pico-8, a "Fantasy Console" that mimics many limitations of early hardware, such as only having 4 sound channels, a 32 color palette (which you can't customize), and a screen size of 128x128.

For this challenge I've opted to code directly within Pico-8, meaning all animation and creature visuals done here has been entirely through code with no previews aside from running the game itself.

...It also means I've been coding in a 4x6 pixel font, I wouldn't recommend this approach for those of sound mind.

The physics engine for the game is written from scratch, with help from the Pico-8 community, and the procedural animation is completely custom, utilizing a system of interpolating physics joints to targets that collide with the environment.

The game will be open-source when finished, for anyone interested in some of the smoke and mirrors at play here.

Stay Tuned

I hope to cover a larger creature variety in the next log, as well as elaborate on mechanics such as feeding and splitting into more spiders. Ideas and suggestions are welcome in the post comments.

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a month ago

lov u virtua


5 months ago

VirtuaVirtue is next up 🔥🔥


5 months ago

wow looks really cool reminds me of rain world


5 months ago

wtf that looks awesome


5 months ago

can't believe they added virtuavirtue to ezcha net


5 months ago

Looks really cool!


5 months ago

duper cool

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PIG_IRON Log-001: Breaching the Surface

Written by VirtuaVirtue
Published Feb 17, 2024, 7:46pm CST
Edited Feb 24, 2024, 10:17pm CST


The first devlog of PIG_IRON - Coming to an near you! A procedurally animated and physics-based simulation of an alien ecosystem. You're the invasive species.