ShiftOS

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ShiftOS is a game developed in Visual Basic and Windows Forms by Philip Adams. It has the player using an experimental operating system called ShiftOS, earning Codepoints to buy upgrades for the operating system. It was developed from late 2013 to mid-2017. It is the spiritual predecessor to The Peacenet.

Gameplay

The gameplay in ShiftOS is noted as being extremely lacking. It involves the player using an extremely bare-bones operating system. As the player performs certain actions in the OS, they earn Codepoints which can be used to purchase upgrades in the Shiftorium. These upgrades provide the player with new programs, additional features for these programs, and additional features for the operating system's desktop environment.

Codepoints

The following tasks could be performed by the player to earn Codepoints.

  • Playing Knowledge Input - in each category, every 10 successful guesses the player will earn Codepoints and level up. The amount of Codepoints given to the player is equal to 10 x the current level.
  • Playing Pong - the player can play a modified version of the popular game Pong to earn Codepoints. Codepoints are earned by beating the AI paddle, and surviving each 60-second level. Since each level gets increasingly difficult, the player is given the choice to cash out and go back to level 1, or risk losing all their potential Codepoints in the next level.
  • Writing text files: Writing text files and saving them to disk can grant the player Codepoints based on how much time is spent writing the file.
  • Customizing the OS: Shifting the operating system using the Shifter grants the player Codepoints based on the number of unique customizations made.
  • Image editing: Drawing/editing pictures in ArtPad grants the player Codepoints based on how much time is spent editing the file.

In ShiftOS-Next, Codepoints could be earned by successfully answering questions in MathQuiz, and correctly guessing numbers in Guess The Number. Breakout was also added to the game to replace Pong.

In ShiftOS 0.1.x, the player could participate in Faster-Than-Light-style Hacker Battles. Codepoints were used to buy and repair network nodes, and are earned by defeating the opponent hacker's network.

YouTube channel

Over the years, ShiftOS has had several YouTube channels run by both Philip Adams and User:Alkalinethunder. Currently, the only public channel is the one created by Philip Adams. The latest video publicly watchable on the channel is a development update for ShiftOS 0.0.8 announcing the development handover.

Storyline

The storyline of ShiftOS was never fully-written, however the general plot is as follows.

Phil versions (0.0.x, 0.1.x)

The player's computer is hijacked by an unknown piece of malware. During this hijacking, an unidentified sentient AI tells the player that they have been involuntarily selected to participate in a beta test of an experimental operating system called ShiftOS.

The player's hard drive is promptly formatted, followed by ShiftOS being installed on it. The AI then reveals their name as "DevX," after the OS finishes installing and boots for the first time.

DevX goes into more detail about ShiftOS's gameplay, and instructs the player on how to control the OS. After the player buys enough shiftorium upgrades, a person named Maureen Fenn connects to the player's system to install the ShiftNet. The player is also introduced to some other characters, such as Aiden Nirh and Hacker101, later in the game.

ShiftOS-Next

The general plot of ShiftOS-Next is similar to Phil versions, however Jonathan Ladouceur is introduced as a new character, the developer of the in-game Memphis Desktop Environment. Later in the game, DevX supposedly kills Jonathan after uninstalling Memphis. This is evident of DevX's comment toward the player after the incident, along the lines of "You won't need to deal with Jonathan anymore."

ShiftOS-Next's plot is adjusted to fit the game's multiple desktop environments. Each part of the plot takes place in a different desktop.

ShiftOS 1.0

This game is a reimagining of ShiftOS-Next, without multiple desktops. The focus of this game's storyline is more centered around the game's multiplayer mechanic.

Development cycle

Start date End date Development phase
October 2013 June 2015 ShiftOS 0.0.x
June 2015 August 2015 ShiftOS-Next
December 2015 September 2016 ShiftOS-C#
October 2016 August 2017 ShiftOS 1.0

Reputation

The game has a severely negative reputation. This reputation is a result of its poorly-developed gameplay, as well as its objectively poorly-maintained codebase in the original versions. Further damage to the reputation is caused by excessive amounts of rewrites, as well as a development team notorious for over-reacting to community drama.

ShiftOS is known for being notoriously unstable due to its poorly-maintained codebases.

Trivia

  • Aiden Nirh is an accronym for Artificial Intelligence Do Everything Now. Nobody Is Really Here.
  • Memphis Desktop Environment is the base of The Peacenet's desktop UI.
  • One of the winners of the 2014 developer competition won by submitting a rich text editor when the competition called for games.
  • It is proven possible to develop ShiftOS in a single week, with a far more stable codebase than the original game's.
  • Jonathan Ladouceur is vaguely modelled after a real person. In early Memphis builds of ShiftOS-Next, Jonathan's name was mis-spelled as "Johnnathon Laddeuser."
  • It is possible to find a text file in the in-game filesystem of ShiftOS-Next where the developer shows extreme excitement about implementing Jonathan Ladouceur as a character.