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While I've never actually played this game, it has recently appeared for sale on GOG so I've blown $3.55 to obtain a copy.

Some years ago, another copy appeared on my hard drive from elsewhere.

There are a lot of common files:


What GOG seem to have done is package did.dat and the music into a 107MB BIN/CUE disk image, then add the music again in its own folder.

This results in a total size of some 325MB, which is over 300MB larger than the directory on the right.


This game came out after TFX, and did.dat can be extracted using the same rules.


The two files 'clump_3.txt' and 'clump_ss.txt' contain lists of shapes and supershapes and that gives us names of over half of the 5500 or so files straight away.

A few minutes looking through some extracted text files also gives us some level names.


The levels are 200x200 maps as in TFX, and I've produced a bitmap from planet1.asc below together with a couple of ships.



The ships are using a TAW palette, so probably don't really look like that.


Anyway, I don't want to get carried away with this, so will stop for now. :)



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13 hours ago, mikew said:

so I've blown $3.55 to obtain a copy

Your sacrifice is highly appreciated!


Great to see that format again. When I have finally finished moving the TFX stuff to its own DLL, I’d love to get carried away for a few weeks making all these levels accessible with modern rendering :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

...and can you make it cross-platform as well? :)


As I had a few hours to myself yesterday, I thought I'd 'help' by starting up the TFXplorer .sln on my Win10 PC. The VS studio license had gone stale again though, so had to login to a MS account to reactivate it. This probably triggers some OS feature which uploads all my activity on that machine to MS since it was last online.

This may not in fact happen, but such is my disenchantment with these big companies that I kind of assume it does. :(


I checked to see if I could buy a standalone copy of VS, and it seems you can for $500 but there doesn't seem to be much point running it on top of Win10 which thinks it knows far more than I do about what I want to do.

I know that there's things that can be done to reduce the telemetry and nagging, but I don't think we'll ever back to a point where Windows just does the things I want of an OS, which is just handle my files and devices and run my programs.


Needless to say, I achieved nothing yesterday except raise my blood pressure.

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Actually my first comment was a rhetorical question to set up my Win 10 rant. Hard to tell what I was thinking from what I wrote though. :unsure:


I suppose what would calm my soul would be a hypothetical version of Visual Studio that runs on Linux but can target Windows. I'd pay for that.

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I’ve been thinking about checking in the compiler and associated tools into the repository. For one, it means that you don’t need Visual Studio (as long as you just want to compile) – just get the current version and it builds. It also means that we can check out any historical version later and don’t have to work around compiler/language changes.


Anyway; I share your thoughts on Windows 10 and Visual Studio, but there’s not a lot I can do. I noticed that even though TFXplorer compiles with Clang, you still need to have Visual Studio installed because Clang for Windows is a pure compiler and they haven’t managed writing their own linker / resource compiler / shader compiler yet.


A few years ago, the entire Visual C++ toolchain was contained in the Windows SDK / Windows Driver Development Kit. You were able to build your software without Visual Studio. Nowadays the situation seems flipped, like the SDK/DDK have just become plugins for Visual Studio. I have to revisit that one day.

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