(Noob question) Playdate SDK is just a simulator?

Hi, I'm new to all this; I installed the Playdate SDK but the only new application on my computer is the Playdate Simulator. I googled how to get started with the Playdate SDK and the top result was someone recommending to run Visual Studio and download some random person's starter project and kinda go from there.

I don't understand - is there an actual Playdate development environment somewhere? An actual IDE like Unity or Visual Studio itself? (Aside from Pulp, I mean). Or is the Playdate SDK just a back end and a simulator?

To be clear, I don't mean to complain or be negative at all, I'm just a little confused.

It's like you wrote towards the end - the SDK contains all of the backend toolchain needed to build games, as well as the simulator. But the SDK is not itself an IDE.

There is good integration with the Nova IDE, but that's Mac only.

You're otherwise free to use whatever IDE you want (or not, nothing to stop you using just notepad... Personally, I am a SublimeText fan)

You're right then that if you want to use some general purpose IDE properly then it will need to be taught how to compile the game, and optionally to launch it in the simulator too. See here Inside Playdate

The basic command the IDE needs to be taught to call is (this is for Lua, for C is a bit more complicated)

pdc MyGameSource MyGame.pdx
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Thanks for taking the time to answer my question!

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You might also want to take a look at our developer links page. We have various getting-started tips and tutorials linked there and we're adding more as we find them.

If you're on macOS, Nova is our not-unbiased recommendation, but this video by @SquidGodDev will help you set up VSCode on Windows (the process is likely similar for Mac or Linux). Good luck!

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I use Visual Studio for non-Playdate stuff, but if you're on Windows and working in Lua, you might try the Atom editor (it's what I use) with the Lua package loaded and a batch file shortcut on your desktop to compile/launch your game (just by double-clicking).


Good luck, and have fun!

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Thank you all for your help!