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Subject: Working on "Theme" rss

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Sturv Tafvherd
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the current Jacked-In "theme" reads:
Quote:
Jacked In is a solo game in which you send your digital avatar through cyberspace to hack the protected data node of the evil company known as ToxiCorp. As your avatar moves through the matrix it will encounter data nodes with useful programming code but decrypting the necessary passwords can be time consuming and time is not on your side. Almost at once, ToxiCorp's intrusion countermeasure electronics (ICE) will sense your avatar's presence and begin to zero in on its location. If the ICE captures your avatar then that you've got a backup to give you a second chance. You must make it to the ToxiCorp Node and decipher the final password to succeed.



I'd like to spice it up a bit. Especially now that I'm considering the possibility that what we can actually have are a series of games all along the same "look and feel" of hackers travelling through a network.

Basically, what we have right now are the following 3 games

1. Hack'n'Run -- the portable solitaire game

2. Jacked In -- this game, with all it's variant rules

3. Counterstrike -- a player-vs-player game, still brainstorming



Drilling down...

1. Hack'n'Run is supposed to be the fastest and simplest of the three. Also, since you're essentially drawing "ciphers" and "decrypts" straight out of your deck, it feels like the hacker has easier access to the tools he needs to hack through. The firewall and corporation nodes are also easy codes to crack, relative to Jacked In.

So, I think that fits the 1980s / early-90s hacker. And back then, it certainly felt like the average high school teen can break into the rudimentary network security that corporations had.

The game is also intended as a gateway / promotional tool to get players to look at Jacked In. So the idea is that it would be a very light, very fast game; getting you used to how the hacker and the ICE move around the network.


2. Jacked In is a step forward. Now the hacker only has a few tools in his pocket when he starts the game, and he has to get into "sites" on the matrix to get more/better tools. The cipher tool, as an example, is "unlocked" only by getting a virus onto an ICE. The firewall and corporation nodes are also pretty well defended if you don't have the right tools -- especially those ciphers.

So, I think that fits the 1990s feel of the internet. Corporations have worked up network security, and there's now a theme of "if you want to get in, you gotta fool (virus) the ICE, rather than just evading them"

We could actually work up some kind of "movie/plot" underlying the game. Like ...

Quote:
You are an infamous Hacker, and your reputation is known through most of the Matrix. One day, as you surfed through the waves of cyber information, you receive a message: "Break into ToxiCorp, trash their data server, and you will be rewarded handsomely." Confident of your abilities, you set off seeking to add more to your reputation.




3. Counterstrike can be themed as a sequel to Jacked-In...

Quote:
Years ago, you broke into ToxiCorp and trashed their data server. You managed to escape, but just barely. Looking through the news and blogs the next day, you suddenly realize the true danger in that mission. The Federalists passed a new law that year, creating the Matrix Information Bureau ... also known in the Matrix as the Men In Black. It turns out that ToxiCorp was working with the nation's defense department, researching who-knows-what. When you trashed their system, you made the Federalists aware of their vulnerabilities. And now the Matrix is a dark place for a hacker.

Fortunately, the art of war has evolved. Instead of waging physical war against each other, nations and corporations vie for power in the cyber world of the Matrix. Hackers such as yourself are now recruited as officers and generals of the electronic warfare. Publicly, nations and corporations would disavow of their employment of hackers; after all, the MIB still seek them out. But in the secret dark corners of the Matrix, hackers fight against each other -- protecting the secrets of their employers, but also seeking out the secrets of their rivals.

 
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BTW, in case anyone's wondering, I co-opted Sturv as a co-designer on the Jacked In games project. He has full authorization to work on this project with a goal to see one or more versions reach actual publication through Clever Mojo Games.
 
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