TerminalFTP and VirtualFTP are a pair of FTP clients for Windows, created to explore two opposite philosophies in the design of user interfaces.
The first program, TerminalFTP, is an exercise in minimalism. With a purely textual interface, where everything is monochrome green and the only possible interaction is typing commands with the keyboard, it is meant to evoke the late 1970s / early 1980s experience of working at a terminal and logging into a mainframe to interact with the remote system. This project was completed in an afternoon, to familiarize with the FTP commands provided by DarkBASIC Pro, with the eventual goal to use them for the second program of the pair.
VirtualFTP, the second program, is instead an exercise in maximalism. Everything in it is polygonal, including the text; the lighting and speculars are real time; there is a reflective surface for the only reason that it looks cool, and its controls resemble those of a modern first-person shooter. Its surreal graphical style (which took longer to create than the code itself) is inspired by Hollywood misrepresentations of computer systems from the 1990s, which employed maximalism in their simulated interfaces to portray technology as so advanced it resembled magic, with the additional irony of juxtaposing a "boring" program like an FTP client and an interface that makes it look and feel like a video game.
Despite being based on pre-existing imagery, it is technically incorrect to refer to this program as a simulacrum, because it has a real function: it actually lets the user explore the file structure of a remote system and download or delete files. On the other hand, the 1990s Hollywood depictions attempted to convey an idea of functionality without actually possessing it: they were copies without an original. They were simulacra.
These programs are compatible with any computer that can run DirectX 9.0 programs. VirtualFTP can optionally be viewed in stereoscopy with your driver of choice (nVidia's legacy 3D stereo drivers, nVidia 3D Vision, iz3d, TriDef, VorpX or ReShade).
If you have not installed it already, you will require the June 2010 DirectX End-User Runtimes.
Download virtualftp.zip (13.8 MB, contains both programs)
TerminalFTP and VirtualFTP are released under the BY-NC-ND Creative Commons License.
These pairs of screenshots show the same directory: on the left, as it appears on TerminalFTP. On the right, as it appears on VirtualFTP.
The last screenshot is a stereoscopic view of a remote system, obtained with ReShade applied to VirtualFTP.
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