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Ravern Koh

Nodularity - Exploring, hacking, dominating

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Hello! I recently came up with the idea for a game of mine, after recently learning some things about Cybersecurity (Am currently studying at a CyberSec course).
The basic idea is a game which literally puts you in a hacker's perspective, in which you have to defend your own nodes (computers), while trying to hack into others'.
A full writeup of the idea can be found here:
What the core gameplay might look like: https://asciinema.org/a/137273
This is just a example of what the core gameplay might look like. The final product will definitely have a better GUI.
By posting here, I'm hoping to gain some feedback on whether this game might be fun, and how to improve and expand on this basic concept
Ravern :D

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That's quite a lot of talk about atmosphere and side details. What I actually see in the video is really, really basic decision-making regarding what "attacks" to use this time. Essentially, you just seem to be following prompts through a dumbed-down RPG battle. Gameplay is far more important than atmosphere.

I've seen good hacking-based games before. Paradroid, for example (which I haven't played, but I have played Freedroid, which is a clone of it, and Freedroid RPG, which takes that mechanic and uses it as a part of an RPG). The key is to make the experience interesting and fun.

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When you talked about the attack/defense thingy, that first reminded me of the hacking mechanics in Deus Ex (which is much more graphical, though). Maybe you can get some ideas from it.

Besides that, I totally agree with @JulieMaru-chan . You need to make sure that the experience isn't getting boring, especially for the many non-hackers out there. Try to implement a really rewarding system so that the players see some sense and purpose in their efforts. Also, soundtrack can really do a lot of magic here.

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Thanks for the feedback :)

My intention is to go for very very hacker-esque graphics. I agree that Soundtrack will definitely improve the experience.

The gameplay is still very raw, and I absolutely agree that it needs a lot of improvements. The video is an example of a node capturing process. There will be other gameplay like managing your defenses, and CryptoCurrency mining. The intention is to make it a massive open world game (not really sure what the term is; By open-world I mean in the Clash of Clans style, where every player has access to every other player).

I have one dilemma:

Do I go for a true-to-life hacking experience? Or do I implement a set of commands only in the game, that are simpler to understand. The second will make the game more approachable, but the first can potentially increase the depth of gameplay.

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The degree of realism should not in any case impact your game depth. Fantasy games can be really deep, realistic games can be flat as a pancake.
You are probably right about the approachability, though. But then again, commands would have to be learned either way. In addition to that, games that teach you something are highly valuable. The art lies in making that process fun.
To tackle your dilemma, I think, simple unix commands such as ls or cp should totally be fine. You could still have "shell scripts" like "magickHackerTrick" or your "nodes" command to have more speakable names and not require any player to become a linux crack first before playing your game.
The opposite is actually the case here. Players that are used to work on linux systems will find a much quicker entrance to your game as they already know how things work and don't have to learn new fantasy commands first. Non-skilled players will get an advantage after playing your game as they will take real life knowledge out of it. Heck, you could even advertise in that manner.
I would suggest, maybe implementing some smaller algorithm to detect players' precognitions. If the first thing a player does is to get a directory listing followed by finding out on what OS they are, you can be pretty sure they know where they're at. You might even skip some basic tutorials. And if they don't, teach'em! And be sure to reward them with an acknowledging sound effect to provide a sense of accomplishment here.
Of course that's only my opinion. But I'm pretty sure, you can create a simple, realistic and compelling experience.

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