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To run the Pico-8 app, you either double-click on the Pico-8 app icon, or you run it from a command console (aka terminal window). There are minor differences depending on which operating system you use.

Opening the app with the icon starts Pico-8 at the command prompt with default options.

When you run Pico-8 from the command line, you can specify command line flags to control certain behaviors. For example, you can specify the name of a cartridge file, and Pico-8 will load and run the cart immediately.

See the entry on printh() for information about how to locate the Pico-8 command for each operating system.

Command flags:

pico8 [switches] [filename.p8]

  • -run : boot filename.p8 on startup
  • -width n : set the window or screen width and adjust scale to fit if not specified
  • -height n : set the window or screen height and adjust scale to fit if not specified
  • -windowed n : set windowed mode off (0) or on (1)
  • -sound n : sound volume 0..256
  • -music n : sound volume 0..256
  • -joystick n : joystick controls starts at player n (0..7)
  • -pixel_perfect n : 1 for unfiltered screen stretching at integer scales (on by default)
  • -draw_rect x,y,w,h : absolute window coordinates and size to draw pico-8's screen
  • -run filename : automatically load and run a cartridge
  • -splore : boot in splore mode
  • -home path : set the path to store config.txt and other user data files
  • -desktop path : set a location for screenshots and gifs to be saved
  • -screenshot_scale n : scale of screenshots. default: 3 (368x368 pixels)
  • -gif_scale n : scale of gif captures. default: 2 (256x256 pixels)
  • -gif_len n : set the maximum gif length in seconds (1..120)
  • -gui_theme n : use 1 for a higher contrast editor colour scheme
  • -timeout n : how many seconds to wait before downloads timeout (default: 30)

For example, to open Pico-8 and automatically start Splore in Mac OS X:

/Applications/PICO-8.app/Contents/MacOS/pico8 -splore

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