Hardware and Software

I managed to overcome a few more obstacles with hacking today.

First of all, I decided to move forward with the encounter-based hacking system. The player can "use" a powered, unlocked laptop to start doing things with it. The encounter will then show available software. Choosing hacking software then shows all available, locked, powered laptops, and choosing said laptop results in an unlocked laptop. Charges are deducted from the host laptop when software is chosen, and the target laptop when the target is chosen.

In order to make this work, I have two new item subclasses: hardware and software.

Software is a pretty simple subclass of a regular item. It just passes any charge requests to its parent, the hardware that holds it. And since software can't exist outside of hardware, that's about it.

Hardware is a bit more involved, but still basically a regular item. The main difference is that any software items inside it become inaccessible when the hardware is closed, off, locked, etc.

The changes necessary to the encounter system turned out to be pretty simple, too. I just created a new encounter flag called "hacking," to differentiate it from "normal," "combat," and "scavenge." The main difference with "hacking" encounters is that whichever item was used to reach it gets it's mode changed to the specified treasure, rather than the whole item replaced with treasure.

When all was done, I was able to hack one laptop with another, provided the hacking laptop was powered and unlocked, had the correct software (a laptop cracking app), and the target laptop was powered and locked. I was unable to add nor remove any software from laptops unless they were powered and unlocked.

I also made some changes such that draining an item switches it off automatically. This was already semi working before, for things like flashlights and goggles, but I formalized it a bit to work with the mode-switching system I built yesterday. I'll likely be changing flashlights and goggles to use this system, too. That way, they can be switched on and off at will, rather than always/only on when equipped.

So, we're getting there! There's still the niggling issue of being able to see software while the laptop is locked and/or shut off, and it's a bit weird to be able to see a battery's charge with one's eyeballs (as opposed to a voltmeter). However, those are minor issues I could live with if need be.

Next, I think it'll be time to start adding more hardware and software, to make sure the system holds up. And then, tying it into the economy/junk store. Hopefully, hackers will have more stuff to do soon!

That's all for this week. Hope everyone has a good weekend!


Kuranes's picture

Its fun, or horrible, depending on your view on it. Everytime I get some news saying something "Hacking" I immediately have half a second of terror as I imagen your work being lost because your pc getting hacked or something.

JustcallmeX's picture

Sounding better and better. Can't wait to hack out a fortune and rule the junk market.

I had a thought (at 2 in the morning) that doesn't quite warrant its own thread in the suggestion area and I didn't see any "mass idea" threads or what have you. Anyway. Do you/are you planning on being able to distinguish different types of tracks/prints left behind? I tried doing a bit of test before asking but had no luck in finding any deer. I hope this makes sense.

Kuranes's picture

I like the sound of that!

Malacodor's picture

Does that mean that if I forget to switch off a flashlight it will consume all charges unnoticed? In this case you should add additional graphics for activated flashlights and nightvision goggles.

@JustcallmeX: Tracking definitely needs some improvement after hacking is done. It would also be funny if it was possible to craft shoes out of dogman feet, so the tracks from the player would look like from a dogman, and if necessary an AI upgrade to make humans avoid dogman tracks.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Scavenger's picture

Maybe one could also just get a message from time to time, if carrying a lit flashlight/activated goggles into area where character does not benefit from it (if not downright turning off of such as a possible options toggle).

Anyway, the new developments seem quite interesting. I just hope that the bank data and so on will be very rare. Even currently, between selling meat, scavenged junk and dogman pelts it becomes increasingly easy to amass great wealth, up tot he point that medicines or implants stop being a luxury for anyone short of newest characters.

As for the hardware and software thing - I like it, especially since it may be fit for things beside laptops/smartphones (end-game biometrics-locked locations, once-in-several-games rare weapons, armors and other equipment? Helmets sporting electronics supporting some field combat algorithms? Plenty of possibilities).

Kuranes's picture

Relevant: http://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Monster-Slipper.jpg
Please make it a reality Dan! But I do agree, I'd love to see some Tracking improvements.

dcfedor's picture

@Kuranes, that actually occurred to me as I was typing. I also wonder what sorts of automated searches and such will find these pages because of certain keywords.

Re: tracking, that's an interesting idea. I was considering adding pop-up info when rolling over hexes, to show movement cost. If I get around to that, I could probably add that tracking info easily. I'll make a note.

Re: flashlights and goggles, I was thinking the same thing. Flashlight might be a bit tricky, as there's little room left on the sprite to show bright light (about a 1-pixel strip along the business end). Goggles should be easier, though, as I can add some sort of indicator light or something.

Re: getting rich too easily, this sounds like the biggest issue here. I was obliquely aware that the economy was getting out of whack again, starting after the introduction of corpses. With creature-spawning altered in scavenging, I think this became more so. And data-mining via hacking could just exacerbate things.

I guess one approach might be to embrace the runaway economy, and provide some high-roller things to do with money (e.g. apartment in DMC, bribing an official for info, a more expensive vehicle or tool, etc.).

On the other hand, it might be a better game if money was harder to come by, so rich players were more rare. This does feel safer and more natural, if less exciting. Finding a way to keep money-making down might be hard, though. Especially without making the game unfair or too hard (e.g. monsters everywhere, random hardships).

Once the hardware/software stuff is in, I can take a step back to see what levers we have to pull for balance.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Scavenger's picture

In regards to the money:

Both actually would be better - high-roller things and hardships in acquiring money. I'd like there to be things for the player that require days if not longer (weeks?) of playing to be able to purchase some luxurious boon - a thing to strive for, a goal in mind.

Personally, I do not think that not having riches easily is taking away from excitement, as well - and I am willing to bet that considerable part of the community would share my opinion on this since the game seems to cater to the survivalist 'make do with what you get' type more than to 'grind yourself a castle made out of gold' one. Even before corpses it was sometimes too easy to achieve wealth yet when I didn't, I also didn't mind at all, well, scavenging around to make my stomach full.

Kaaven's picture

Yeah, I totally agree with Scavenger on that.

To be honest, while finding a lot of cool stuff can obviously be fun, the most memorable play-troughs are the ones where I have a bad luck and the game is not too generous with valuable items.

Arriving to DMC only to decide if I should sell my last antibiotic pill or the left boot to get myself a backpack is simply more fun to me (by being more challenging) than selling whole cart-fulls of iSlabs and year's worth of pills and buying all augmentations in a single run.

But then, a long term plan - like a flat in DMC (could cost money every week to keep) or some really rare gear would be great to, a nice goal to work towards, just like eye augments are now.

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

JustcallmeX's picture

This might be a bit cheesy, but you could see about making the hacking a risk/reward kind of thing. Possibly automated malware or some such could result in the player actually losing money by trying to gain it through hacking.

As for "high-roller" type things, couldn't hurt also even if money would be hard to come by, would gives players a long term goal to obtain a nice cubicle home in the DMC for which to fall off their balcony.

Keldoclock's picture

I think all that really needs to happen is to have the Junk Shop not purchase human meat, and that should basically solve the problem of farming Looters until you can buy an eye aug (takes about 3 days)