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Funkymunky

HACKED

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This recent attack has wafted up old memories for me of the stereotypical cinematic hacker. They're always frantically chattering away on some multi-tiered keyboard setup, zooming through a spectacular 3D "mainframe." And there's never enough time. What hackers have appeared in games throughout the years? Of course there's the hacking ability in Deus Ex, which added a broader style of gameplay. There are the hackers in C&C Generals, who get you lots of money. I'm stuck after those two; it seems the character-type hasn't been used as much as it could have been. How would you design a hacker video game? Would you be the hacker, or would you be some kind of anti-hacker force? Would you hollywood-ize it?

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I remember this: http://www.introversion.co.uk/uplink/ game.
Its hacker simulation of future. Most is simplified, but you can be catched.
It has story, but not so visible. You can work for company to destroy or save internet.

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Quote:
What hackers have appeared in games throughout the years? Of course there's the hacking ability in Deus Ex, which added a broader style of gameplay. There are the hackers in C&C Generals, who get you lots of money. I'm stuck after those two; it seems the character-type hasn't been used as much as it could have been.

In both Generals and Deus Ex hacking is a matter of pressing a single button, not even as realistic as the 3D mainframe hacking you describe. In Generals the hackers were just an element to make China as powerful as GLA (black market) and USA (supply drop zones) later in the game. The gameplay wouldn't have changed if they were called economists instead. In Deus Ex the fact that you're hacking does aid the story a little, but the hacking part isn't really a part of the gameplay.

The only game I have tried where hacking is actually a part of the game play is Uplink.

Quote:
How would you design a hacker video game? Would you be the hacker, or would you be some kind of anti-hacker force? Would you hollywood-ize it?

Personally I don't see how an anti-hacker force game would work, are you to stop them as they go around in your mainframe? And how would you not "hollywood-ize" it? A realistic hacking game would basically be a simulation of a computer connected to an internet. Impossible to even get started for anyone who didn't have a lot of knowledge about computers.

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In System Shock 2 -- which I highly recommend checking out -- you have the option of playing either as a character specialises in hacking or of aquiring some hacking skill if you're playing as a different character type. The player character in the original System Shock was a hacker, but I havn't actually played the game and can't tell you if there was any actual hacking gameplay.

Hacking in the game allowed you to do a number of useful things:
- Shut off the security system if you accidentally triggered an alarm. The alternative to this is to wait till it shuts down itself.
- Temporarily disable security. This would take both turrets and cameras offline for a period of time.
- Hack offline turrets (I assume you could try it on an online turret if you had enough health, but I've never tried). Hacked turrets would fire at enemy units rather than at you.
- Hack security keypads. Get's you through doors or into security crates (containing supplies, usually much more useful than what you could find lying around or in non-security crates) which you were otherwise unable to access without finding the correct password or an alternate route.
- Hack 'replicators'. Replicators are placed throughout the ship and allow you to purchase various supplies, and a hacked replicator would often give a more appealing range of options to choose from and/or better prices.
- Upgrade weaponry. Not hacking per-se, but a technical skill the character could have that would allow the modification of most of the weapons in the game. Most of the weapons has 2 different upgrades, and common things included increasing clip size, increasing damage, or descreasing reload time.

There were psionic (one of the 2 other skillset options) equivalents for some but not all of these abilities, but the gameplay was quite different for each of the character types, and you could do some things as a hacker that were difficult or even impossible otherwise. All in all I'd consider it an excellent example of in-game hacking done right.


I'd certainly be interested in seeing other variations on hacker gameplay or even simply more usage of it in FPS games (assuming it were integrated at least as well as in System Shock).

I can certainly see potential behind the idea of working against hackers, but I also think it's probably more easily adapted to current gameplay if the player is or is working with the hacker.

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Not that this is any more realistic a presentation of hacking than the movies, but you might want to see Dystopia, a mod for Half Life 2. In it, you can fight in the real world, as well as cyberspace, but when jacked in, your body is left vulnerable at the terminal.

It's pretty rad.

EDIT:
Despite the wanton rape of a beloved IP, I'm still looking forward to the 360 version of Shadowrun. I don't know how much hacking will be in it, but there will be some if they don't completely disregard the original material.

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I'm still hopping/praying that someone (or anyone actually) will make a pure 3D hacking game :/

Something like: you would play in a game similar to GTA where you can go into phoneboths or internet-cafes and use your laptop to hack into systems or building, knowing -as you are hacking- that the other side is trying to locate your location and guiding the cops to the 'general area zone' that you are in, so you better get out of there before they find you :/ Of coures you have to keep cleaning your tracks and hide your ID, cause if they find out your real name or what you look like it's pretty much 'Game Over' :/

*sigh*
Fingers crossed -_-

[Edited by - Farraj on February 14, 2007 2:50:47 AM]

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If anything, I imagine the act of hacking in a game would be portrayed as an abstracted action. You wouldn't be typing into your computer, you'd be playing a puzzle game, or perhaps an stealth maze game where you find bits of information around an unknown system and avoid being caught by the sentinels. Other than that, the only real way would be to post you up a telnet prompt and let you get to work typing in router commands.

I actually like the abstracted notion of having the stealth game; you could creep around a corridor looking for a certain door only to find you don't have the key - do you smash it in (brute force), or find a location elsewhere in the system that holds the key (and is possibly less secure)? This way, it's an immersive experience that can be likened to the act of hacking.

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My favorite hacking game of all time is the old classic Neuromancer. I think it did a good job of making hacking "fun". You had to track down network addresses for computers, upload and download software to make cracking sites easier, and later on you had to fight AI's.

The game was very well done, and the writing was flawless. I remember how you spend the first 3/4ths of the game dreaming of getting access to some hidden network site that was the main hangout of all the really cool hackers, then when you finally get there, it is empty cause all of the other hackers in the world had pretty much been killed off. When I logged into that site and saw the message board postings from people trying to find old friends who were now dead and whatnot, it made me shudder.



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