No Time To Play

Tipsy Turtle

Artists welcome! This is a turtle graphics program that can load and save image files in the usual formats. It can make banners and such, or draw decorative patterns on top of existing pictures. While I made it for fun, it's capable enough to generate the official cover art and logo for itself.

Screenshot of an application window showing a pattern of colored lines on a black background. At the bottom is a text box with a line of code presumably used to generate the image.

Tipsy Turtle uses familiar turtle graphics commands, though some of them work in unusual ways. However the programming language is a Forth dialect.


The current version is 1.0 beta. Beware, it might eat your homework!

Tipsy Turtle is available as native executables for 32-bit and 64-bit Linux, and also as source code. On Linux, it requires the Gtk3 library to run.

This program is written in the Nim programming language, with the NiGui library. You need a Nim compiler to build it, which in turn requires a C compiler. A copy of NiGui is included with the source code; it's a snapshot from late March or early April 2021. You can get a newer version from GitHub, or the Nimble package repository.

It should be possible to make a native Windows build. You're on your own there.

How to use

In a turtle graphics system, you draw not with the mouse, but by directing a virtual "turtle", that traces its path while moving, with an equally virtual pen. Directions are usually of the form: "walk forward this many steps, turn right this many degrees, repeat n times". But since our turtle is kinda tipsy, it only understands directions given backwards:

    50 forward
    50 forward 90 right
    [ 100 fd 90 rt ] 3 times
    { [ 100 fd 90 rt ] 4 times 36 rt } 10 times

You can enter the above one by one on the command line, or all at once in the Forth console.

Speaking of which: Tipsy Turtle understands a Forth dialect named Ripen. More details about the language proper are available on its own website. For a few examples, load the files with a .RPN extension included with the program. A little documentation is also available.

Keyboard shortcuts

(and at the Forth console)

License and support

Tipsy Turtle is open source under the MIT License (and so is NiGui). See the included file for details.

I'd love to hear from you. Drop by the #ctrl-c IRC channel on sometime, or see inside the archive for my e-mail address.

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