On the Road with Dave & PocketC.H.I.P., Plus PICO-8 Live Coding with The Verge

Dave on the set of The New Screen Savers pretaping

Dave on the set of The New Screen Savers before taping

Every product has a story and it’s always exciting to get opportunity to tell it. Recently, Dave was invited on the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast and The New Screen Savers to share C.H.I.P., PocketC.H.I.P. and the stories behind them.

From C.H.I.P.’s origin story, to how the $9 price point is possible, and why all the pink, these interviews answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the company. And, as a bonus, check out Paul Miller from The Verge and Circuit Breaker programming a PICO-8 game live on PocketC.H.I.P.!

O’Reilly Hardware Podcast


Early last month, Dave joined O’Reilly editor Jon Bruner on the O’Reilly Hardware podcast. A typically O’Reilly Hardware podcast covers companies working to build hardware and the tools they use to get the job done, and Dave’s episode is much of that. He covers the origin story of C.H.I.P. and reveals how it’s possible for us to sell a computer for $9.

Bruner’s podcast format also included two particularly fun segments: discussing the guest’s favorite tools and their most recent click spiral, a fancy term to describe the random online links that have been a distraction from daily work.

Dave picked two tools: a Wera wrench set and Rotring pens, both of which are in good supply at the office. Plus he revealed his click spiral obsession with the PBS series, The Machine that Changed the World, which blog readers may remember was featured in a Links We Like post.

The New Screen Savers


Dave’s next fun adventure with PocketC.H.I.P. took place in the Petaluma, CA studios of TWiT TV, a tech focused network founded by Leo Laporte. It’s Dave’s second appearance on the show, but it never gets old. Dave grew up watching Laporte’s This Week in Tech and The Screen Savers when it was on the cable TV network TechTV.

The first time Dave was on the show came way back in 2015 during the end of episode 4. He showed off OTTO, C.H.I.P., and an early version of PocketC.H.I.P. (skip to 1:05).

This time around, Dave appears on episode 62 and joined Laporte and Fr. Robert Ballecer to talk about all things PocketC.H.I.P.. One interesting note, and one that I didn’t even know, is that C.H.I.P. has shipped to over 140 different countries!

Note: At the time of the show’s taping, PocketC.H.I.P. cost $49, a limited time offer. PocketC.H.I.P. costs $69.

BONUS: Live Coding on PocketC.H.I.P. with The Verge

A few weeks back, Paul and Sean from The Verge decided to live-code a PICO-8 game. Paul does most of the coding, which starts about the 7:00 minute mark, and you can also see sprite editing at 8:20. Unfortunately, Paul ran out of time to code during the first video. This isn’t the first time he has been tripped up by technology, but Paul persevered!

Thankfully in the second video, Paul’s super-friend Ashley was around to help out. This seems to have made all the difference. By 12:00 Paul has a working demo where his character falls from the sky, hits the ground, and can jump straight up and gracefully fall back to the ground. Yes, he’s basically programmed an allegory. It’s also a decent sprite collision demo. Ashley admits she’s satisfied with the game, but Paul has a bigger vision!

By 19:00 Paul adds scrolling ground terrain and a special effects noise that plays when the character jumps. These new features seem to have gotten Ashley interested in the demo again, though it turns out she was working on a big story about a fancy Dell monitor the entire time.

Overall, the two videos do a good job of showing what it’s like to program a PICO-8 game. Lots of typing and trial and error. If you’re looking for help getting started with PICO-8, check out our blog post with suggested resources for beginners. And for inspiration, make sure to download and play all of the carts from the 2nd PICO-8 Game Jam.

Have you seen PocketC.H.I.P. or C.H.I.P. in the news? Let us know about it in the forums, Twitter, or Facebook. And while you’re sharing, don’t forget to include any projects that you’re currently working on.

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