Low Mem Sky: L A S T

You awake to find yourself on an alien planet, with the desire to achieve one thing... reach the centre of the galaxy! 

Made in PICO-8 for #DemakeJam 2018, where the original build came 3rd Place.


  • Around 180,383,121,450 unique star systems... (I think!)
  • Each system with...
    • Up to 8 procedurally-generated planets
    • (NEW) Space Station for trading resources, components and ship upgrades (all at system-varying prices)
  • Each planet with unique...
    • Continuous procedural terrain generation
    • Climate-specific resources and collectables
    • (NEW) Seven base alien species (land, water and air-based) + Sentinels
  • (NEW) Five different ship classes - all with different specs (speed, capacity, warp range)
  • (NEW) Auto-save & Restore of progress
  • ...all within a single PICO-8 cart!

Planned FeaturesNONE  (No more room!)


On Foot:

  • ARROWS = Walk around
  • Z = Run (Hold)
  • = Collect Item / Take-off (when close enough)
  • ENTER = Quick Menu, with options to 
    • "Call Ship" to current location
    • (Also an option to delete save/progress - use with caution!)

Space Flight:

  • LEFT / RIGHT = Rotate
  • UP = <Unmapped>
  • DOWN = Open Galactic Map
  • Z = Engage Pulse Engine boost (Hold)
  • = Land / Dock (when close to planet / station)


Additional code snippets that I used/adapted:


  • v1.2: " Low Mem Sky: L A S T " update
    • ADD: Can now dock with space stations
    • ADD: Trading resources, components, ships at space stations
      (with system-varying prices)
    • ADD: Ship paint jobs
    • ADD: Five different ship classes - all with different specs
      (speed, capacity, warp range)
    • ADD: Realistic* wake (and depth) when walking through water
    • ADD: Water ripple effect
    • ADD: Auto-save & Restore of progress, inventory, etc.
    • ADD: Wipe saved data menu option (use with caution!)
    • ADD: Seven base types of species (land, water and air-based)
    • ADD: Sentinel AI
    • ADD: Anti-piracy measures
    • ADD: Resources now discoverable on radar (even if “used”)
    • ADD: Added “Call Ship” feature (only when a distance from ship)
    • ADD: Can now "boost" your ship around the system with Pulse Engine
    • CHG: Improved planet surface rendering
    • CHG: Improved planet surface generation
    • CHG: Optimised star system rendering performance
    • CHG: Optimised planet surface rendering performance
    • CHG: More variety of resources/life on planets
    • CHG: New “shuttle” starter ship
    • CHG: Now inventory is capped at ship capacity
    • CHG: Remapped system flight controls (now more consistent)
    • CHG: Improved radars
    • CHG: Improved warp sequence
    • CHG: Now returns to planet take-off position
    • FIX: Distance calculation bug
    • FIX: Now possible to get closer to galactic core
    • FIX: Planet and station spacing (no more overlaps)
  • v1.1
    • Minor bug-fixes and added surface radar
  • v1.0
    • Initial version
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, HTML5
Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars
(72 total ratings)
AuthorPaul Nicholas (Liquidream)
Made withPICO-8
TagsDemake, demakejam, PICO-8, Space Sim
MentionsA conversation with the curator of the P...


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

low-mem-sky_linux.zip 532 kB
low-mem-sky_win.zip 961 kB
low-mem-sky_mac.zip 3 MB
low-mem-sky_raspi.zip 747 kB

Development log


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i need this ported to a psp


Amazing Work! When I asked for ideas for a retro space trader, NextLevelBanana (Qristy) pointed me here, and I'm so glad she did! 

Had a great couple of evenings flying right, in my pink freighter, realized I'd rolled my money over to negative (Low Mem Finances), and I _think_ I made it to galaxy center. Does the game indicate that you've made it? 

I also got great throwback vibes to playing Starflight on my parent's Atari ST, when I was maybe 10.  Even collecting the rare fuel cells and everything!

All that to say: loved it! I even found myself humming one of the songs on my run this morning. 😄

(Picture of my financial overflow )

Hey @hbuckingham,
Thank you very much for the kind words - I'm super glad to hear you had a good time playing (+"completing") it 😊
(I ran out of room for an end state, so... it's either this or "rolling over" the System X/Y coords!)

As for the music, that's all Chris (@Gruber) Donnelly - he did an amazing job at capturing the essence of the music from the original.
(+I agree, very catchy - imagine how much of an earworm it was for me listening while coding the rest of the game! 😅🐛)

Thx again for the review (+also @Qristy also for the referral! ❤)

Super great game!

I just want to ask: How do I open my inventory and drop items? I have a full inventory and I'd want to drop some stuff. Is there a way to do that?



Man, this is very nice. It's crazy about the Picotron announcement yesterday, right? Those carts are going to have a base maximum size of 128k. If you can (hopefully) do multicarts, then that would give you up to 4MB of space with which to work. Imagine what you could stuff into that?


Agreed - exciting times indeed! 🤓

Any way you could provide the uncompiled cart? I'm unable to run it via splore on a Linux handheld I have otherwise. That or I guess I need to figure out how to write my own launcher for it, but that's a bit beyond me...


Sure, the raw cart (p8.png) is available to download from the PICO-8 BBS: 

Of course! Just getting used to Pico-8 myself, that makes sense :d

do the sentinels do anything


Other than "look busy"? 😉 No, I'm afraid not.

Unfortunately there wasn't enough code space left to have them (or aliens) attack you on certain planets. So, they're just there to keep you company while exploring! 👨‍🚀

Hey! Are you gonna stil update this? If so I would buy it.


This is seriously one of my first and favorites on the pico-8 and probably what made me love pico-8 games. It's so simple yet relaxing. I enjoyed playing it with my little brother watching. (We said hi to everything that popped up on the screen lol)


Aww.. thank you for the lovely words. 🙏
Very glad to hear it gives you (and your brother) and enjoyable time! 😊
(...and thanks for looking after the aliens for me - they always enjoy the company! 😉)

i really must know

something make steering this ship so.... fabulous...


Well done with this game! Does anything happen once you journey all the way to the galactic core?


Only one way to find out! 😉
The real Q is... is it worth the journey?

*(No, probably not! 😂)


i love this so much

Yeah i cant turn left.

That's odd. It's the left arrow ⬅ key to turn left.
I just checked and all working fine here.
Either way, thanks for playing!


So I upgraded my laptop to Catalina, downloaded latest version and it didn't work.

Luckily the fix is easy, turned out the executable inside Contents/MacOS didn't have "execute" attribute. 

Just open terminal and run "chmod +x 



I'm a proud owner of a physical copy of this little jewel.
As Mac user, could I ask a simple update: recompile it for 64 bits and update Mac package?

(1 edit) (+2)

Hi Seuck,
I've just refreshed all the binaries (inc. the Mac build) with from the latest version of PICO-8 (v0.1.12c), which I believe uses a version of SDL that is 64-bit compatible.
Please let me know if you have any further issues (and if you do - we might have to wait for the next P8 release)
Thanks again for your support! 😊


New release works like a charm, thanks Paul!


Low Mem Sky was one of the only three apps not supported by Catalina, and the most valuable :-D
That's no more.


I am VERY happy to hear that! 🥳
(Tho all credit goes to Zep, for making the later P8 builds compatible 😅)


Yo you think there is any possible way for someone to port this to a mobile device? Would definitely buy it ;)

"full inventory". Oh no !!!

I'm glad you continued with the project, it's incredible, congratulations. I would love it if you keep updating it at full throttle, but I know that time is running out. Again, congratulations !!


This is great!  Can't wait for the updates.


Hey Tom,

Thanks again - glad you like it :D

The update is getting close & is SO much better than this old build. Can’t wait to let you loose on it - if only to give you a way to buy yourself something nice with all that Solanium! :D

Thanks again for playing, Commander ;-)


Heh, yay! Can’t wait! This is neat.

Is this project dead? It would be sad if it was :(


No, not dead (yet) - I do have a update that is currently WIP.  However,  as I mentioned to you previously, this project is subject to my available time, which has been limited lately.  Thanks again for your interest! :-)

Thanks for the reply. Extremely glad this is still being updated and cant wait for the new update. Can you spill any details about the new update or is that a secret?

Love this game.

Thanks a lot! :D


Two planets in one place? ;D

P.S. Game is very nice


Yeah, during the Jam I was doing ZERO checking for positioning
(there's also nothing stopping a spinning Space Station to be right on a planet as well!)

One for the "Todo" list - thanks for reporting (and playing)! :D

BTW... this was fixed in the FINAL version! ;o)


I love this so much! :D

Glad you like it - thanks very much! :D


Bloomin' great. With the proposed additions you mentioned, this will be awesome.
Very nice, Paul.

Thanks Roy, much appreciated.  :D
I do hope to get those features in (one way or another!)


Congratulations, this is a fantastic game. I like the simple controls. I hope you can add more features, while retaining the perfect simplicity of the controls. Brilliant.

Thank you very much - glad you like it. :D
Yes, that will be the challenge, for sure - but I agree, simplicity is key!

Potential :)

(2 edits) (+1)

This is fantastic! I really love what you've done there. How did you manage to store all those cool planets in the very limited Pico-8 memory? Do you generate them with your algorithm when the game launch?

I can't wait to see the new features you plan to add. Congratulations again :)


Thanks a lot! :D

Kind of - it's all generated on-the-fly (procedurally).
For example...
- when you scroll around in the Galaxy Map, new "pages" of systems are generated
- when you enter a new system, the planets are generated (using a consistent Noise generator)
- when you land on a planet, the initial surface area is generated
- when you walk around the planet, new "areas" of the surface are generated.

It's all down to using unique numbers to "seed" the random number generation. By seeding the RND() function, you will always get a consistently-random output. So, each system, planet, surface tile will always end up with the same seed (number). It's predictable, therefore you don't ever need to store it, just trust that it'll always come out the same.

Check out some linkson Procedural Generation and you'll disappear down the rabbit-hole for this stuff - it's fascinating (though I've only just started to dabble in it myself). Have fun! :D

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks a lot for your answer! I'm definitely going to learn more about this.

This is a great game and with a few updates it will be a favorite of mine. Will hostile spaceships be a thing, and how do you plan on making the plant material usable?

Hopefully, yes, enemy ships (if time/cart space allows) will get added at some point, but my priority is more for planet-level AI for now.
The plant material may change. They were added to be directly recognisable from NMS, but I think I'd prefer there to be less variety, and for each to have a specific "refill" purpose (e.g. refill health, oxygen, mining laser, weapon, etc.). Leaving the stuff you mine to be more for trading perhaps. Dunno.

(1 edit) (+1)

awesome. If I may, an interesting idea could be to use different plant material as special ammunition to use against the sentinels or native life. such as the frost crystal slowing/freezing them, or something like that. Im sure there's a better way to utilize it but i might as well suggest it.

I would love a Galaxy s9+ background for this game!! So when people see my lock screen and ask about it I can tell them!!! Amazing game would love to see how far it will go!

i've been considering buying No Man's Sky (in it's original form), and came across this. 

This. Is. Amazing.

I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited for updates. This inspires so much curiousity. I see a space station and I "oooo". This, just...

Thank you. Please continue to work on this.

Thanks, but... you haven't got NMS yet? *shock face* ;o)
Well, while I understand it may not be everyone's cup of tea (or within everyone's budget) - if you liked any of my game, I *strongly* urge you to pick-up a copy (even 2nd-hand if you must), as there is SO MUCH more to explore there... especially since the "NEXT" update.

I've been following No Man's Sky since before its launch, and was suprised with backlash with its launch, but I never could pick it up because I've always been an Xbox user. Now that it's on Xbox I am for sure going to purchase.

(1 edit)

Wow this is a great project. If you keep updating it to add the features you wanted to add plus farming, base building and fleets then this would be AMAZING and by far my favorite project! Like a 2D more simplified NMS. Havent seen gameplay on youtube yet but I bet all the NMS youtubers will eventually play it. Wish I could support but dont have the extra money but as soon as I do I will domate as much as I can.

Thanks a lot. :D
Alas, there is a very real limitation in the PICO-8 platform (which I very much agree with) which means that, alas, I'll never be able to go THAT far with it. However, if things work out - perhaps this game could find new life using a different engine, on different platforms. Time will tell - absolutely no promises.

How much support would it take to get it that far? I would love to see this game become a 2D more simple NMS! It would be amazing. I can just imagine myself base building in 2D. Also thanks for responding.

Not really down to support, really - mostly down to my available time and enthusiasm for the project.
I really don't see base-building as possible in the available scope of this "Jam" game.

However, if you like space base-building in a retro-style, you may wanna play this other PICO-8 game, created by PixelCod: https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=28994
(Though, it seems this is the final version)


Oh I see. Well if this does well, and you are motivated to keep updating it and still enjoy updating it, do you think transferring the game to another engine would allow you to add these more advanced features, base building, fleets, and farming? Sorry for kinda spamming you just interested.


Wow, this is seriously fantastic! The music is beautiful, the sense of scale is HUGE, the movement is smooth and ... well, I guess the whole thing just feels so darn cohesive! I know you mentioned that there's still a lot of stuff you'd still like to add - I really think that when this is complete, it will count as one of PICO-8's all time classics! Great job! :)

Thank you Andrew, I really appreciate your kind, encouraging words.
Much appreciated! :D


The music is just *perfect* for that "I am alone in space" vibe.


This game is so chill and nice. The music is nice and the vibe is so comfy. Thanks. 

What incredible thing, I do not understand anything about developing games, I wonder if to make something of the graphic quality of stardew valley? I will support for sure, and please if the project continues bring to smartphones :)

Thanks a lot :D

I agree, something with cute graphics like that would be really cool.
Who knows what the future brings, but either way - something like that would take a long time to create!

I imagine this started just as a joke, but I loved the idea, if you decide to continue the project will have my help :)

I really like the game. The simple assets, the music, the generation of planets. It feels kind of like the actual game even though I haven't played the actual game.

There are clearly some features missing from the game but thats ok. I'm just not really sure what I'm supposed to do in the game and what the things I pick up do or how I use them. 

I'm wondering if its even possible to beat the game and get to the center of the universe?

Thanks a lot! :D

Yeah, the plant resources are kinda pointless in this build (ran out of time).
But the Warp Cells are important if you wanna travel to other systems.

As for the game being beatable, who knows?
(Nah, not really in this build - more of a glorified tech demo in it's current state)

Thanks for playing :D

But how do you get Warp Cells in game?

You can find them dotted about in red containers/cargo drops on the planet surface.
Alternatively, you can purchase them at Space Stations - but your credits will disappear rapidly! :D

Great work! Loved just chilling out and exploring in my ship. The music pairs with the game really well. Excited to check in later and see where you've taken it!

Cool stuff!

So currently, I assume you can't really do anything with any of the stuff you pick up?  

It's more about exploring?

Alas yes, for now.
I was focusing more on making the procedural system/planet/surface generation, that time got away from me.
You can use any Warp Cells you pickup (and can't really warp without them!)
Hoping to update this in future to allow you to use/trade any resources you collect (+allow mining, etc.)

Anyway, you've already cornered the market on Space Trading! :P


Hahaha!  I think you focused on exactly the right things for now.

Amazing!  Can't wait to see what else you can fit into that little memory!  :D


That's a super impressive number of star systems to explore (spending about a minute in each one, it'd take over 343,194 years to see them all!!) For that reason alone I think you have nailed this demake, great job. Looking forward to seeing where this goes NEXT :D

Thanks bud - you are the King of Play-Testers!
#LeavesNoBugUnfound #Hopefully


AWESOME!!! I'm gonna have to take my laptop on holiday now just so I can play this!!!!!! Yay! You're my hero!

Thanks Roy, as always :D
Have a great time away!  ;o)

You know, I'm sat here alone drinking Jack Daniels and coke. I've had a little play and the music at this point in time is so chilling. I'll post a video later though.