• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Coding "cheat codes" into games

This topic is 888 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I remember years ago there used to be whole sections of magazines dedicated to listing of cheats in games.

 

It was a challenge to find and share these cheats, often activated with a combination or sequence of button presses (Konami code anyone?).

 

In more recent years cheats like these don't really seem to be part of gaming any more, sure pc games have a console mode but this is a different kettle of fish as the console is mainly there to aid modding etc.

 

My.questions are three fold, how did these cheats used to get leaked to the world, and how come they aren't really part of gaming anymore?

 

Do you still put cheats like the Konami code in your games own for players to find?

 

"Answers on a postcard :)"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

We havn't added any (intentional) cheats in our games, but we do have a few "easter eggs" that can be activated by specific actions in some of them

 

We don't tell anybody about them, but it usually isn't long before someone has found it and tells the internet. smile.png

 

I think the main reason they are rare now is because of high workload and scheduling reasons... It's easier to fit in something like that, take the decision and implement it, in a small team. It might be hard to argue the business case for adding a feature few players will see.

 

I like them though, and think it is fun to award players for their curiosity and engagement with the game.

 

In the early days, I think they actually did have a good case for being added, for marketing.

It was a time when gaming magazines was a more important channel for marketing your games.

cheat codes might be added for more reasons to be featured in said magazines

 

Maybe the same argument works still, giving people more reasons to share and show off the game to their friends.

Edited by Olof Hedman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've kindof assumed that most cheat codes were a form of development tools from a time when debuggers etc weren't as awesome as they are today. My main memory of cheat codes was Doom 2, where you had things like

  • Invulnerability - Move around on all levels unharmed to see if everything looks alright (including enemies) and if all level mechanics work as intended.
  • All weapons/items - Clear levels quickly as well as test balance etc of items.
  • No Clipping (move through walls) - Easy access to all areas on a level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've kindof assumed that most cheat codes were a form of development tools from a time when debuggers etc weren't as awesome as they are today. My main memory of cheat codes was Doom 2, where you had things like

  • Invulnerability - Move around on all levels unharmed to see if everything looks alright (including enemies) and if all level mechanics work as intended.
  • All weapons/items - Clear levels quickly as well as test balance etc of items.
  • No Clipping (move through walls) - Easy access to all areas on a level.

 

 

Yeah i remember ones like this too, but i remember even earlier, like entire level select screens with their own graphics and sound, built into platform games, invulnerability cheats with their own special animations and sprites, and more.

 

These seem to be more about the marketing that can be had by putting a couple of cheats in, keeping them secret for a bit, then leaking them to the games press. Considering this is back when most games came on cartridges, with no real ability to disassemble them and reverse engineer the code, it was most likely the studio or publisher that leaked the cheats at a predetermined time to the various magazines, knowing that it would get them some mention in print and maybe a few more sales?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At one time long ago (back before the Internetz and game patching) cheat codes were useful for getting past bugs in the game.

 

I could see where it might be considered a player option extention (to add playtime) allowing players to do more interesting things ( I recall in Unreal Tournament I dropped the gravity very low and it completely changed the game play with interesting 3D leaping about)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends how far you go back.  On the 8 bit home computers (ZX Spectrum, C64) a lot of the cheat codes that were printed in magazines were not really intentional and were achieved by directly poking values into areas of memory that held things like the life counter.  This is why a lot of the magazines actually referred to the cheat codes as "Pokes".
On the 16 bit home computers a lot of the cheats were either given to magazine reviewers or discovered by people breaking the game with "Action Replay" cartridges.

 

I have worked on modernish games that have had cheat codes put in that were specifically requested by the publisher too.  Usually things like level skips or things that can help them view all the text to aid with translations.

 

Its not just games that have "cheat codes" either.  I wrote the app for a large international football association that allows you to buy highlight videos or to stream them but, they asked that if you go to a certain page of the app and do a unique series of shaking the device and swipes then you get all the content unlocked for a month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that most of the games that always had cheat codes still do. For example, StarCraft II has roughly the same set I remember from classic WarCraft.

 

Of course, quite a bit of the incentive to have them is also gone - RTS back in the day used to be brutally unforgiving, whereas modern StarCraft has a 'casual' campaign mode that is pretty much a walk in the park.

 

And I thin that extends to most other genres at this point. Very few AAA games do I find myself swearing at the keyboard/controller, and most campaigns are completed in a straight shot taking only a day or so...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm often nostalgic about that. But there's a harsh truth: Internet.

 

Back then as kids (or youngster) we would save up money to buy a couple magazines and get filled with lots of new info, cheats & tricks. Some were fortunate enough to be able to buy lots of these magazines.

 

Rumours were "da kingg!", often fueled by bugs like Ermac in Mortal Kombat (Ermac = ERROR MACRO), or made up stories hard to debunk (like the hidden fighter Sheng Long in Street Fighter, revealing that Akuma/Gouki was a hidden character was quite a shock at the time, so Sheng Long was not implausible)

 

Today... just google "<Name of the Game>" + "FAQ / Walkthrough / Myth name / Wikia" or go to youtube, and you'll find someone who has spent hours or weeks analyzing and documenting every single detail, cheat, bug or glitch.

False rumours only last a couple hours in today's era, maybe a day. Whereas back in the day it could last for years (at least within your circle of friends).

 

Back in the 90's there was internet, but it wasn't as multimedia as it is now (pictures, youtube) nor was it as widespread; and there's a difference from waiting until Friday night to spend less on the phone, to having broadband internet access inside your pocket 24/7.

 

And then there's the technical side, which everyone has already talked about. A debug room or a level select page was useful back then with less than 2MB of ram, today's debuggers are more useful and streamlined engines are much more flexible (eg. open level in the engine's editor).

Edited by Matias Goldberg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement