Making the Gadgets Work
Making art was fun, but now the hard part: making this stuff actually do what I say.
A lot of the groundwork for these tools should already be in place. Systems in the game include:
- Ability to restrict items to certain container types. (e.g. an app may only fit in a phone/tablet, while a program only fits in a laptop. But I could also make data fit in either container.)
- Ability to launch an encounter by "using" an item (e.g. the Cryo window can be used to explore Exam Room 17)
- Ability to create a new item from one or more tools and consumable ingredients via crafting.
- Ability to make items bestow buffs/debuffs based on whether they are charged or not, and which slot they're in. (e.g. night vision goggles bestow night vision when worn on head, but nowhere else)
- Ability to determine if an item is charged.
- Ability to discharge an item when used, per-hour while equipped, per-hour all the time, or per-hex moved.
- Ability to discharge and degrade an item when used as a tool inside an encounter.
- Ability for player to add/remove charges to an item manually.
Based on the above, I think I can make different hardware types able to store different software items. I can also make held/equipped items bestow a buff/debuff (e.g. iSlab in lamp mode). I'm pretty sure I can launch a hacking encounter, similar to scavenging, by clicking "use" on an unlocked laptop. Once inside the encounter, players could choose cracker software to unlock phones, etc. Or they could use data-mining software on unlocked phones to get data "treasure."
That all seems straightforward. There are a few hang-ups, though, that I need to sort out.
For example, if a tool could be used in multiple ways, how would the user signal a mode change? E.g. how could the user switch between off, GPS, and lamp modes?
Let's say iSlab + GPS app = GPS iSlab. So far so good.
GPS iSlab + lamp app = lamp iSlab. Also good. However, how do we go back to GPS?
Maybe GPS iSlab + lamp app = lamp iSlab + GPS app. That works, as long as there wasn't another app inside the iSlab before crafting. What if there was a botany app, too?
I guess I could just say the apps are tools, like using trapping as a tool to get skin and meat, instead of just meat. That way, whatever apps the player had to start with are preserved. However, I'd have to make sure the newly-output iSlab gets those apps added to it again, because right now, any items inside a container just get dropped on the ground after crafting (to avoid being lost forever in a non-compatible output item).
Doing mode switching via encounters might run into the same issue, as it also adds/deletes items with each new screen.
Then, there's the question of access to apps while the tool is uncharged. Players can add/remove charges from an item in the inventory screen, so they may remove all charges from the hardware, making it useless. However, the game would still let them access apps to move around, illogically.
Plus, the game doesn't necessarily know which app is in which hardware when it comes to crafting or encounters. So any encounter or crafting operation is just going to show all available apps, regardless of which tool they're in (and whether that tool is charged).
So yeah, a bit trickier than I originally thought. Some time away from the problem might help, so I'll see how it looks tomorrow morning. Maybe a fresh brain will reveal something. And if not, there's plenty more to work on while this stews!