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Krantastic

List of Hackable Universes and what might be drawn from them

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I love this game's concept. I thought it would be interesting to try and make a list of other hackable universes, for inspiration and for fun. Many of my brainstormed applications (inspirations, somewhat blatant stealing) would be outside the scope of the prototype, and I understand the scope has to be very tight for these two weeks.

Hackable Universes:

Digimon universe: In the Digimon TV show, the Digital World is hackable. One of the characters finds strange symbols on a wall that are actually the code for the (digital) power plant the characters are exploring. When he erases a line with his finger, the plant ceases to function. He's able to restore the plant by drawing back the line with a marker.

Applications: Hell, code/config-files as artwork or code/config-files as environment would be entirely in place. Maybe bits, fields or objects could be abstracted in the environment. The boolean value for whether a door is open could be a single tile somewhere that you set to high voltage, perhaps.

The Matrix universe: Free humans can enter or exit the Matrix. They can run separate simulated environments for training or other virtual experiences. They can download knowledge and experience to their brain.

Applications: Maybe the character can modify their own list of skills, and some of the files they decrypt are skills they can use. Perhaps they "download" skills to learn them, without editing their own internals right away. Modifying your character's own attributes (move speed, attack damage, health) sounds like a super-fun unlock that should maybe be later in the game, unless the game quickly passes the point where speed and health help you progress. Which might be hilarious.

Mogworld (book by Yahtzee): The hero is unknowingly a character in a World of Warcraft-like game. Characters in the game increasingly get taken over by real-world players. The main character is exposed to the game's code, developer e-mails and the real-world through a glitch. The character eventually escapes the game and confronts a programmer.

Applications: Could break the 4th wall in references that Hack 'n Slash is a game. Development artefacts (design docs etc) could be hidden within the game. The book also subverts some tropes in fun ways by changing the standard game mechanics. For example, the character need not say all the syllables of a spell without a break in order to complete the spell, and so is able to creatively slip spells into conversation.

Honorary Mentions:

Tron: (haven't seen; need backup)

Snow Crash: Has a virtual 3D internet plane (the Metaverse) where anyone with a connection can be present as an avatar (their body or otherwise). The main character has programmed daemons for this world and has a motorcycle, as I recall, that can go arbitrarily fast. Avatars can take damage and a user is ejected when their avatar is damaged sufficiently.

Applications: Programming other agents or hacking for control of other agents? Starting to sound like Autonomous, but if you can modify enemies maybe you can switch their allegiance. Letting players eventually set arbitrary movement speeds, etc, sounds super fun and within the nature of the game.

Star Treck Holodeck: Simulate anything

Applications: Maybe the character gets to edit the environment or create entire rooms or levels. You could trick a patrolling enemy into thinking they were about to enter their own stronghold and thus give a password to your facade, giving you the password to the real enemy stronghold. If the character could spawn arbitrary items the game would be getting into scribblenauts territory. Any items would of course have to be in the game for a reason, probably, in the first place - so never quite holodeck or Matrix levels of variety.

PurePwnage (webseries): Characters can manifest their uber micro in real life, firing the Sega Phaser peripheral, for example. Similar to Street Fighter, where the world's top fighters can manifest their abilities in fireballs or other phenomena.

Applications: Attacks that are a physical manifestation of intangible skills. For example, if the hero has a keyboard it might shoot lasers in the style of the original Legend of Zelda (from Link's sword at full health).

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That's what I've come up with for now.

Hackers in fiction list on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(computer_security)#Hackers_in_fiction

Simulated reality in fiction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulated_reality_in_fiction

Aside: I suppose magic could be seen as hacking the universe. Less rule-based systems seem more like unintended hacks.

I'm sure there's lots more examples, maybe even in games. If anyone else is inspired by these or another universe then this is the place to share :)

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.hack// series had an interesting concept of hacking by reversing hp and mana from like infinity to zero.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.hack sounds cool!

How could I forget ReBoot? Had to read through the article for a refresher. Possible takeaways: cloning characters or items, hacking the environment, viruses or other software messing up your hacks. All sound like they could belong in a full game! I think an antagonist that cleans up your hacks or locks down areas with encryption would be fitting ... I need to review computer security principles for more ideas!

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Has anyone mentioned The Young Lady's Illustrated Primer from The Diamond Age (by Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash) as a source of inspiration for this project? It seems like such an obvious connection (young girl learns programming from an interactive environment that casts her as the heroine of a story that is a series of metaphors for increasingly advanced computing) that I'm surprised that it hasn't been mentioned yet (or if it has, I missed it).

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The upcoming game Remember Me has some interesting ideas on hacking, As did Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While overly simple, I enjoyed Fallout 3's take on hacking, and the Mass Effect universe's look on hacking while not as good, had some ideas as well.

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The upcoming game Remember Me has some interesting ideas on hacking, As did Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While overly simple, I enjoyed Fallout 3's take on hacking, and the Mass Effect universe's look on hacking while not as good, had some ideas as well.

Actually, I loved Mass Effect's hacking.

If you look closely, you will see that the points you connect are linked by the traces on the board.

In other words, you are physically ripping the front panel off the board, and hacking the hardware by shorting out the security chips.

At least, that's how I like to look at it.

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The upcoming game Remember Me has some interesting ideas on hacking, As did Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While overly simple, I enjoyed Fallout 3's take on hacking, and the Mass Effect universe's look on hacking while not as good, had some ideas as well.

Actually, I loved Mass Effect's hacking.

If you look closely, you will see that the points you connect are linked by the traces on the board.

In other words, you are physically ripping the front panel off the board, and hacking the hardware by shorting out the security chips.

At least, that's how I like to look at it.

I was actually thinking of the first game, as I couldn't remember how hacking was handled in later games(at the time). Now that I remember, yeah I did like both versions of their hacking, both for doors, and finding the right segments of code, were both a lot of fun.

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