Fleshing Out Hardware

Today was mostly spent fleshing out the skeletal hacking system I've setup. I finished adding the cheapo cellphone items, as well as the lamp-specific smartphone and tablet items (I've decided to go forward with unique art for the "modes," to aid in quick visual recognition). I also added device-specific cracking software to the game, so the laptop has special tools for each device type.

Once all the pieces were in place, it was time to hook everything up. First on the list was the hacking encounter:

IMAGE(http://bluebottlegames.com/img/screenshots/screenshot-2013-09-04.png) Hacking for fun and profit.

The above is a snapshot of the encounter I've setup for laptop usage, as it looked at the end of the day. At the center of all the nodes is the home screen, and from there, each of the device types can be cracked (if the user has applicable software and hardware). Each of the quadrants is for a different target device, and the gold nodes are successful hacking attempts.

It's a pretty basic setup, but it should enable players to access locked items with the right tools and skills. I still need to work on the pay-data items, plus a few other software items, so unlocked devices can have random software "treasure" when unlocked.

There's also a stray node on the left side for players without the hacking skill. It basically amounts to "I don't know what I'm doing" if they choose to hack any items. And the rest of the nodes are the requisite "exit/cancel" nodes in case the user changes their mind.

While testing this out, I came across a bug in the discharging code, so I fixed that. I also found a better way to initialize new objects, to avoid some redundant item-swapping (better for performance, and prevents accidental switching-off of newly-spawned, powered items).

Finally, I updated the flashlight and night vision goggles to switch on/off via context menu, instead of automatically when equipped. During this process, I added indicator lights to the art for each to show when they're on/off.

For tomorrow, I'll be looking into the non-hacking stuff on tablets and smartphones (namely, the lamp software and GPS). I also need to start creating some pay-data items. And once all that is working, it'll be time to do some test runs to see how things feel in practice (e.g. balancing the economy).

Hope everyone has a good night!


Kaaven's picture

It just came to my mind it could be very helpful if the first time using hacking showed a tutorial screen, similar to the one that shows up when player tries to do standard scavenging for the first time.

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dcfedor's picture

It might actually be pretty self-explanatory. If you can picture yourself being in the central node above, it's basically a screen that says "Choose your desired software below." If the user chooses the laptop cracking software, it follows the green arrow to the right. There, the screen says "Choose target device" and the user is presented with a list of applicable devices. From there, it either succeeds (gold node) or fails (gray node), and both return home when done.

Hacking only succeeds sometimes, but if the user tries enough times, it'll eventually work. Failure is basically meant to simulate using the wrong hash when decrypting, and the user will have to try again with a new hash.

Of course, this might not be very obvious to new users, particularly since all the hardware needs to be up and running for this to work. So you may be right.

Maybe I should put a "readme.txt" file as an option on the home screen :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games