Hardware and Software Cont'd

I continued my work on hardware and software items today. Last week, I had the laptops up and running, and could switch them on/off, and open/close them via right-click menus. I could also "use" a powered, unlocked laptop to hack another powered, locked laptop via an encounter. And I could access batteries at any time, but software only when the laptop was switched on.

Today, I made a few fixes and adjustments to those systems. First, I fixed a bug in the way charges are removed (from any item, not just hardware). Then, I fixed a bug that allowed software to be removed from a locked laptop (should only be possible when unlocked).

I also decided to obscure inaccessible software:

IMAGE(http://bluebottlegames.com/img/screenshots/screenshot-2013-09-03.png) REDACTED

What we see above are two laptops, one locked and closed (top), and one unlocked and switched on (bottom).

The top one has its software contents blacked-out, so we can't tell what it is. We also cannot manipulate the software at all, even just to move it around inside the same laptop. The laptop must be hacked first to get access to that data, and info on it. This way, the player can't see what they're getting without investing some time and resources into the hacking endeavor. Some of those black boxes might be useless data, others might be valuable.

The bottom laptop shows what it'd look like when unlocked/hacked. We can now see the nature of the files stored inside.

I'll probably make "unhacked" versions of hardware slightly more valuable than the "hacked" versions. Fences will pay a slight premium for untampered hardware, since it could contain a big pay-off. However, they're also aware that most will be pretty boring, so the premium isn't very high. This is sort of like buying a sealed booster pack of collectible cards, if you're into that. There's a slight value increase in the mystery.

Conversely, "hacked" hardware is worth less. Its secrets have been stripped, so there's no potential pay-off inside. That said, any useful data found in the hacking process can still be sold or used individually.

The trick will be finding the right balance of prices and rarity of data such that it's not an easy decision. If the pay-data is too common, nobody would ever sell unhacked hardware. If the pay-data isn't worth enough, nobody will bother hacking. It'll take some time and testing to sort out.

In addition to the above, I also finished adding the rest of the iSlab on/locked items, the collection smartphone items, as well as the batteries for each. I even got a start on the cheap-o cellphone item.

Once I finish getting that cellphone in, there are a few tablet/smartphone modes (lamp, GPS), some software items (cracker software for different hardware types), hacking encounters (to unlock each of the hardware types), and data items (pay-data and useless data) to add. Still a bit more work, in other words.

That's all for tonight, though. Have a good one, all!


Malacodor's picture

How is hardware locked, is it more like a Windows password or rather like Truecrypt? If it's possible for someone to unlock a system it should also be possible to lock it again to get more money for it. Also, for people who can't unlock computers locked hardware is worthless, unlike unlocked hardware.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Maklak's picture

> If the pay-data is too common, nobody would ever sell unhacked hardware.
Well, you still need hacking skill and time to hack electronics, so some people still wouldn't bother.

The space on that Laptop is so small. Come on, those things have hundreds of gigabytes of hard drives, this is a lot of space for more than a spoonful of programs and data.

dcfedor's picture

@Malacodor, I was assuming that laptops are locked/encrypted in ways similar to today's (especially considering they're relics of our time). That said, I'm taking a few liberties with reality to accommodate game rules. So while it's possible to re-lock a laptop, the fence isn't paying more for a locked because it's locked. They're paying more for it because it hasn't been tampered with yet. Basically, they're paying for the first crack at the data.

Also, I'm assuming the fence can unlock the computer themselves (or know someone who can). So receiving a locked computer won't be a problem.

@Maklak, I think that's true. However, it's still possible for me to make a mistake in the price of locked hardware and pay-data. If locked hardware is worth too much, or pay-data is too rare, even hackers wouldn't bother unlocking hardware. They'd just turn them in for cash all the time, since the average payout is better.

And yeah, the space is somewhat unrealistic. In practice, all carried items are limited to backpack-sized carry spaces (10x10), just because of UI limitations. So I tend to start small and adjust as necessary. Keep in mind that most software on a laptop is going to be crap nobody cares about (e.g. Nanosoft Media Player, Nanosoft Spreadsheet, Nanosoft Interweb Explorer, Miley Syrup's VMA Twerking performance in full 4320p super-high definition), so I'm really only leaving space for the highlights on the storage drive.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Malacodor's picture

"Miley Syrup" Lol
You HAVE to write this in a hacking encounter message, something like "You find some Miley Syrup videos, but nothing of monetary or aesthetic value."

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Kitanode's picture

What were all really wanting to know about these laptops is whether we can play games on them!

IkeyJones's picture

Oh shit son, can't wait to play some neoscavenger in neoscavenger.

dcfedor's picture

Ha! Meta Scavenger.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games