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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:59 pm

Load81 - SDL based Lua programming environment for kids

Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:42 pm


looking for something suitable for my kids I discovered something called 'Load81'.

Load81 - SDL based Lua programming environment for kids similar to Codea

its a throwback to the old 8-bit computers with built in basic (hence the c64 color scheme and application name) that were the starting point for many a bedroom coder. ..or perhaps even QBasic?
However it doesnt use BASIC, it uses LUA instead.

Theres no prebuilt Windows version so I thought i'd give building it a try on my Pi2, and it works great!

if anyone is interested in doing the same, here are my notes:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-gfx1.2-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev

git clone

cd load81

(if you get a pkg_config error):
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/pkgconfig/

./load81 --full mynewprogram.lua  (will create a new blank file)

./load81 --full examples/text.lua
I noticed that it runs quite a bit slower under X / pixel, running with the --fps flag i'd get 22ish FPS, but if I rebooted to CLI it would run at 30fps.
I'm not sure why X causes so much difference, but I noticed love2d ran extremely poorly in X compared to CLI too.. probably some sdl issue. I'm not familiar enough with linux to know why this might be. If anyone has any advice i'd appreciated it!

I'm going to try it with the kids tomorrow but I enjoyed faffing with it tonight, theres something very cozy about the retro interface! 8-)

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