Wheel Runner - MORE Updates! πŸ›ž

Hey all!

I'm posting the first update for a game that's been in dev for almost a year, it's called Wheel Runner! I first published the official playtesting version last week, and in the meantime have been looking for playdate fans and owners to test the game and give their feedback.

[If you're interested in playtesting, download the game on itch.io and reach out here, there, or anywhere with your feedback! Any feature requests and ideas for next steps are appreciated!]

This is the first of many devlogs, which will be posted weekly, for the game's development progress. In this update, we have:

**Update 1: **
15 December 2023

  • Feature: New menu music and updated SFX (thanks to the team at WIZZFX, more about them below!)
  • Feature: Updated transition & loading screen appearance, as well as improved animation timing and accompanying SFX
  • A few bug fixes including ones that caused the game to crash on our poor playtesters
  • Performance enhancement: Added "drawRect" implementation of dirty-rect-redrawing to the "Widgets" framework so that it now supports partial redraws
  • Performance enhancement: sprite config including collision groups and disabled update callbacks

Check out the video update here:

Thanks for reading! Download the game if you haven't already:

[ ––– Unrelated story warning!!! Read at your own peril! ––– ]

I really don't want to make it seem like I'm sponsoring them or that they're sponsoring me, so let me take a minute to explain the details of my collaboration with WizzFX, who they are and why they're working on Wheel Runner with me.

I used to work for a start-up in the Radio Industry (called "MusicDatak", they're still going), and from there I had met loads of people in the industry, in multiple countries, notably the UK. One of those teams was WizzFX, who do "Radio Imaging", a.k.a. the cool sweepers, intros, outros, and audio logos for radio stations including some for the BBC and tons of others. They are insanely talented audio artists and really have a gift for this kind of thing – and the team is essentially composed of musicians, sound designers and engineers, with one developer who I'm good friends with now.

Anyways, Chris, who originally founded WizzFX 15 or so years ago, once told me, back in the day, that he would be interested in diversifying their audio work, notably into video games.

At the time, I wasn't working on anything in the genre, but my interest in game development stayed strong. Which is why, when I bought my playdate for the PlayJam 2, and received some high-octane platformer music from the original composer (Arthur, not part of WizzFX), but was lacking good SFX, I knew there lay an opportunity for collaboration. And to my surprise, upon the first proposal, Chris and the team were more than excited to get working on the game with me!

So that partially explains why I put so much energy into this project: both the music and SFX are so good, and were made specifically for this game, I feel like it's my duty to make a game that lives up to them! Meanwhile, Chris and the WizzFX are taking this as their first step into the video game industry, so they will be happy to hear any proposals for video game work in the future, in case any of you reading this may eventually interested.

That's the end of the story. I hope it wasn't too long.

[ -- end of story warning -- ]

So go check out WizzFX's portfolio of radio imaging work! (Go listen to that demo on their home page!!!!)

Stay tuned for weekly updates from me! Leave any notes, comments, questions or more in the thread below!


Hi everyone!

As CEO of Franchovy corporation, I'd like to formally apologize to all our die-hard fans that this week's update has been a FAILURE. Our senior engineer (me), has introduced in this week's update more bugs, more framerate drops, and a more complicated widgets system. Unbelievable!!!

But if I were you, I'd consider myself lucky. Update 1 was basically not even an update. We added like, a new sound and a new music track or something. Meanwhile, in Update 2, we've really changed things around!!!

Update 2 introduces:

  • New Settings Menu

  • more clickbaity title (for this post)

If you haven't already, make sure to follow our updates closely to make sure you catch all the wheel-runner updates! Watch out, they go so fast you may miss them altogether! :wheel::dash:

Update 2: The official video

Make sure to download wheel runner and give it a test! – BUT WAIT, don't do it yet! You're not ready!!


Ok, now you're ready. Here's the link:


Find us on the Playdate Squad Discord server:

Playdate Squad Discord (Playtesting)

Playdate Squad Discord (Updates)

Post your feedback in this thread, in the discord, or anywhere, really! I can add you in our team slack if that's what you really want! (gonna have to ask the boss first though)

So, post your feedback, stay tuned, and keep rolling, everybooty!! See you next week!!


​What's happening, Wheel Runners?

It's time for update #3!

The holidays have delayed the usually-week-long update schedule into an exceptional two weeks, and all that is... to bring you more bug fixes! (RIP new features :headstone:)

In this week's update we cover how we fixed the graphical issue with sprites not properly redrawing (which was potentially an SDK bug), as well as the stylistic improvements made to the level end screen.

Watch the devlog update video here:


And find the game on itch.io:


The FPS and memory management are still works in progress. More fixes to come soon!

See you on the track! :wheel::dash:

1 Like

:star2: Update #4: Technical Triumphs!

Greetings, Wheel Runners! :racing_car: We're back with exciting news on our journey. Our development team has been hard at work optimizing Wheel Runner's performance, aiming for a buttery-smooth 30 FPS experience.

We've specifically enhanced the sprite recycling functionality (we call it "spritecycling") alongside accelerating some of the slower parts of the game.

And in the meantime, we learned to write better Lua. Don't miss this week's video to find out more about how you can make your game run faster!

This week's update video
Wheel Runner on itch.io

Download the game as the performance starts to improve and we move back to adding new features!

:rocket: The Road Ahead: Anticipate Excitement! :rocket:

Buckle up, Wheel Runners! We promise technical triumphs and exhilarating adventures as we listen to your feature ideas and start adding them to the game. As we fine-tune the game's core, make sure to keep playtesting and let us know what you think!

Stay tuned for more updates, and keep those wheels spinning toward an even more thrilling Wheel Runner experience! :checkered_flag::rainbow:

P.S. The next person who comments will get some free chocolate. Or a shout-out in the game. You pick.


**Update #5: Camera upgrade! **

Along with performance enhancements, we've implemented one feature requested by multiple userrs: a dynamic camera! :camera_flash:

The issues we aimed to solve were:

  1. You couldn't see enough of the level in front of you – the screen automatically moves to give the player "look-ahead", with the wheel towards the back of the screen
  2. You couldn't see coins up at the top of the screen behind the HUD – the y-axis camera movement has been enabled

And I have to say that the results are a massive visual improvement! The game feels more fluid and dynamic thanks to this upgrade, and this also opens some doors for more vertical level design.

Y-Camera Movement

On top of that feature, we came through with: bug fixes, improved memory management and performance enhancements. Download the game now and experience the boost! :wheel::dash:

Find the game on https://franchovy.itch.io/wheel-runner

And watch this week's video update where I teach you everything about Lua memory management:

Don't forget! – We need every piece of feedback we can get from you. If you've played the game, don't hesitate to leave a comment here or on discord saying what you liked, what you think needs improvement, and what you would like to see in the game. Looking forward to hearing from you! :love_letter:

P.S. Seeing that nobody has replied in time, the stakes have been raised! (for the record, I've sent myself chocolate for this week). Two bars of chocolate to whoever replies. DM me your postal address after you post and prepare yourself for some sweet goodness.

:star2: Update #6: Unveiling Wheel Runner's Magical Makeover! :rocket:

Greetings, Wheel Runners! :racing_car: We're thrilled to roll out the latest and greatest in Wheel Runner's evolution with Update #6! :rainbow: We're welcoming a new developer to the team (for real this time), and their expertise is paving the way for even more fantastic updates. :rocket: Brace yourselves for the unveiling of a sleek system menu and the world's tiniest widgetβ€”a tiny powerhouse designed for an even smoother gaming experience.


Unlockable levels are now a reality, adding a new dimension to Wheel Runner's gameplay. Conquer challenges, progress through the game, and relish the sense of accomplishment as each level unlocks. But that's not allβ€”we've fine-tuned performance, addressed pesky bugs, and injected an extra dose of speed and magic into the game.


Curious about the magic behind the scenes? Check out this week's update video for an in-depth look at the latest features, improvements, and the creative process that makes Wheel Runner truly special. The Wheel Runner beta is closing in, so download the latest version now and experience the enchantment firsthand. Your thrilling Wheel Runner adventure awaits! :checkered_flag::sparkles:

Check out the video update here: