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Subnet: Parkour Basics Complete & Hacking Design

Sat 8 March 2014 9:35

I put a video together on Thursday showing off where I'm up to with the Parkour stuff in Subnet:

Hacking Design

Next, I've decided to work on the in-game hacking a bit more. This part requires a fair bit of planning and paper scribbling, as the probability calculations aren't exactly for the feint of heart. It's a real shame I dropped out of A-Level Maths, as I'm actually starting to use quite a bit of it now! However, as with most things, I tend to work out maths problems as I actually have a use for them.

So, the hacking in Subnet will be fairly complex under the hood - though I intend to design a nice UI to present it to the player. Initially talks centered around how we can make it feel like the frantic hacking you see in movies - plug a device in to a computer, frantically type, some code or some sort of hash flashes on the screen, then you're in... but the only solution we could come up with was a command-line interface with commands and command switches. However, this doesn't port well to consoles (if we decide to release on consoles - we're aiming for the PC first), and I'm not sure gamers would be that interested in having to remember and type a load of commands into a command prompt; and having a "crib" sheet feels a bit lazy. We're not exactly writing this game to appeal to the widest audience possible, but it still needs to be fun. As a compromise I've come up with a way to visually represent the devices in a network, and a mini-game that I can hopefully make interesting. Unsurprisingly, it won't look much different to a corporate network diagram, but I'm aiming to make it exciting for people to play, whilst trying to keep it as realistic as possible. I'm not a big fan of hacking mini-games - their past implementation in other titles range from utterly terrible to ingenious.

The basic premise of hacking in Subnet is this: Byron can hack any "control" device - such as a computer terminal or control panel - which then gives him access to a number of remote devices (which can be hacked). The further away from a particular device he is (in terms of network hops), the harder it is for him to hack it from that current location. If a remote hack fails, the player can no longer hack that device via the terminal they're on at that point - but they have the option to move to another terminal somewhere else in the building, and try the hack again. There will be multiple routes on each device - and each device should have a unique diagram based on where it sits in the network.

Hopefully this will encourage two different types of player behaviour; those who beef up their hacking skills so they can hack key devices from a distance - essentially staying away from high risk areas - and those who will beef up their stealth skills in order to infiltrate buildings more effectively. There is an attribute driven experience system in the background too (e.g. stats such as "constitution", "hacking skill", "agility" etc), which is also tied in with an ESOS upgrade system (at the moment, it's like a piece of modular software - each upgrade grants a new ability or boosts a particular attribute). Both will play a big part in how a player approaches a problem.

Art Progress

In other news, Alex is currently working on the Subnet logo. Once we've finalized it, we'll be looking at the UI and HUD design together, which requires quite a bit more planning than you'd think. After that, I imagine we'll be looking at the network devices design - which I'm quite looking forward to :)

Eric is still beavering away with props - he's recently put together a burnt out car:

... and some wheelie bins - though they need a little bit of tweaking before I'll put them up here. In addition, he's working on various road sign shapes, and having a go at the texturing on them too. The fun part is explaining to an American (that hasn't visited our bleak little island), exactly what England looks and feels like :)

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