Text Mode 2000 Last Updated:
October 29th, 2016
Text Mode 2000 was a project idea I came up with near the end of 2014. My goal with this was to create a platform from which I could continually develop more and more text-mode based games on a regular basis and with extreme speed. The framework for TM2K took many months to perfect and allows for rapid development of new games, far faster than would be possible with most frameworks!
The way TM2K works internally is through hardware acceleration. The screen you're shown is not actually a text mode, but rather an OpenGL graphics plane with a specially formed mesh being modified every frame of gameplay to emulate a text mode interface. Internally, everything works more like a graphics mode, including blitting functions, drawing functions, painting functions, and others.
The goal of the project was to be released for free with three games to start with, then additional games could be purchased in the future right from inside the program for $2 each. Ultimately, only two games were completed: Jade Fighter, a turn-based game of gladiatorial combat, and Pellet Panic, an action/shooter game which kinda looks like Pac-Man but plays almost nothing like it, short of collecting energy pellets.
So... what went wrong? Why is this project unfinished when it could easily be brought to completion? Well, up to now, I've never had any meaningful measure of success with my work. So, taking this into account, and running the numbers accordingly, I calculated that I would need to finish and sell three games for this project per year to be able to make a livable income in combination with what I already was getting from Patreon supporters who wanted to see me make more of Ancient DOS Games and Shovelware Diggers. Making Shovelware Diggers took time away from being able to work on this, as did getting into social media, and thus it's no longer possible for me to adhere to the production goal I had set for myself, which means it's no longer possible for this project to make enough money to be worth the effort. :(
Now, you can argue both ways on this point. For instance, one potential rebuttal would be, "Why don't you just use Kickstarter to get the funds you need to get this going?" And the answer to that is that I don't want to inadvertently scam people out of their money should a situation arise where I can't meet whatever Kickstarting goals I set. The flipside rebuttal would be, "You shouldn't even be making a game specifically for profit, you should just do it for fun!" And the answer to that is that I have to be able to support myself SOMEHOW. I suffer from a sleep disorder which makes it virtually impossible to maintain a normal job, so it's extremely important that all the "work" I do lead towards potential financial gain in some way, otherwise I have no future.
So, with this unfinished project out and available to everyone for free, I can focus on other ideas. As of this writing, I'm bouncing back and forth between two ideas, but whichever I ultimately settle on, it will be a SINGLE game, which doesn't require me to constantly update it and thus can be sold for a single price upon release, and while working on that, I will still be doing my web shows in the hopes that their popularity will increase and will help continue to support my other efforts. Given how little time I have for game development anymore, working on a single project with an ultimate end seems like a much smarter idea than trying to develop lots of small games for a major project for years on end.
BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD THIS PROGRAM...
When you go to download this, there's a couple issues you might right into. The first is that you'll potentially get virus warnings from your browser and Windows will likely block the program from running, with something called "SmartScreen" claiming it will put your computer at risk. Let me explain why this might happen and what you can do to help make sure it stops happening for other users in the future.
Virus scanners and Windows itself tend to be overly cautious of brand-new, unsigned computer software, and with good reason, since a digitally signed executable cannot be modified without breaking the digital signature, so the assumption is that if there's no digital signature or a broken one on something brand new, it might be dangerous. Unfortunately, purchasing a digital certificate with which to sign my software AND immediately apply the reputation needed to avoid this situation would cost over $400, and would only be valid for signing executables for a year, meaning I'd have to pay this fee AGAIN once my next piece of software is ready if it takes longer than a year to make. For something I intend to sell, I have no problem with doing this, but for something I'm giving away for free, this is a massive chunk of change I simply can't afford to spend. :(
But, all of this is only an issue because new software has no reputation with these protection systems. Not all of the older software I offer on my website have these issues because the executables have been around long enough in their current states that virus scanners and Windows SmartScreen recognizes them. Whenever an end-user downloads and runs unsigned software and then bypasses the warnings brought up, they're helping to tell virus scanners and Windows SmartScreen that this is a legitimate executable file. Granted, if some hacker gets in and hacks the executable, that doesn't help matters, but when dealing with unsigned software that risk is always present.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you as an end-user whether you want to deal with those potential headaches or not, but I can't digitally sign my software until I can afford to go through the process of purchasing a signing certificate, and it's still going to be awhile before I'm able to do so, and I may not even have to if my future software is distributed through third parties like Steam or GOG. Until then, if you want to run this program (or some of my others which haven't built up the needed rep) remember to allow them past any sandboxing your virus scanner or firewall software puts them into, and as for SmartScreen, you need to click the "More Information" option to be given the option to "Run Anyway".
The second potential issue is that you may attempt to run it and you'll get a message box about a missing DLL file. This has to do with the fact that the game uses DirectX 9, but also uses advanced controller features present ONLY in proper distributions of DirectX 9. DirectX 10 and greater include backwards compatibility with DirectX 9, but don't include all of the files necessary for FULL compatibility. Fortunately, DirectX 9.0c can still be installed on most Windows systems, all the way up to Win10, without any issues and without breaking later versions of DirectX. In fact, if the download for it wasn't about 100 MB, I would've included it in the TM2K installer, but that would've been a 1000% increase in the installer's file size for the small number of people this will be an issue for, so... yeah. I decided to leave it out. If you have issues with missing DLL files, simply follow this link to download DirectX 9.0c straight from Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8109
And if you'd like some screenshots of the two games available to play, simply scroll down and click on any to enlarge them!
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