Text mode demos

From Academic Kids

Text Mode demos are real-time calculated computer animations which make use of the native text graphic mode(s) common on the IBM PC. The Text Mode Demo Scene is one of many different facets of the demoscene.

Missing image
Bolognese_-_Alpha_Design.jpg
Screenshot from the text mode demo "Bolognese" by Alpha Design. This demo was the first place winner of Text Mode Demo Contest 6 (2003).

Text Mode as a medium offers several unique challenges for the creators of such a demo. Similar to the constraints of ASCII and ANSI art, the coder and artist both must take into consideration the limitations presented by text mode; a base resolution of 80x25 or 80x50 "blocks" and a mere 16 colors in default text mode. By taking advantage of half blocks in the ASCII character set, one can effectively double the resolution. While creatively making use of the 3 shaded block characters of varying gradients in the IBM PC "Extended ASCII" character set (Code page 437), one can achieve some interesting color combinations with the limited palette. Custom graphics and effects can also be achieved by customizing the character set on a per-pixel basis and manipulating the palette.

The first evident IBM PC demo group to create text mode demos is said to be the Sorcerers. The ever-popular Finnish group, Future Crew, also began by creating some innovative creations which took advantage of text mode, with text intros such as "Yo!" and "Starport".

tAAt ry, a non-profit organization in Finland, organizes a semi-annual competitive event for authors of textmode demos called the Text Mode Demo Contest (TMDC).

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