A pixelated spider spins a web between a radish and a carrot in order to chomp on some flies.

8 Legs to Love

Sole developer / Jun 2017

Overview

Spin an elaborate web, catch bugs, and eat 'em for points! The player controls a spider that is able to spin a physics-enabled web to catch bugs that fly in from the background. The six levels in the game each come with their own unique themes and mechanics.

The title screen of 8 Legs to Love, written in cursive font with a pixelated spider dangling underneath.
A pixelated spider spins a web beneath a bridge to capture bugs.
A pixelated spider swings from a web built around a construction site while an exploding bug destroys part of the web.
A pixelated spider spins a web between the moon and the earth itself, catching massive bugs in outer space.

Development

8 Legs to Love was developed over the course of six months in my free time, much of it on the subway to/from my full-time job (when I was able to get a seat, at least). It was the first game I ever felt I "completed" and also my first PICO-8 game.

The levels in the game are constructed using 8x8 tiles, but each tile is given an in-memory mask that controls which of its pixels are solid/climbable. I tried using the pixel color at first, but there were enough cases where it didn't line up that I opted for something more manual.

The strands of web are just chains of points that pull towards each other. Strands can snap if pulled too far apart, which uses a modified Hooke's law to get it feeling nice and webby.

The game was originally intended to be a pseudo dating game, hence the title. Between levels, you'd be approached by a suitor and have the choice of chatting with them or eating them. I dropped that aspect because it wouldn't have all fit within a single PICO-8 cart, but the name remains!

Reception

Players really enjoy the web-building mechanics, but lament that there's no freeplay mode. In retrospect I think it would have been a better game if players weren't put on such a strict time limit since the joy of the game comes from building and crawling around your web.