Hacking mini-game?

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jabrams007 jabrams007's picture
Hacking mini-game?
Hi, this is my first post so forgive me if this has already been asked before, but I was wondering if anyone has made a hacking mini-game for EP. Instead of rolling dice to determine if a character succeeds, I was thinking of making my players play a type of dexterity mini-game similar to how you hack things in Mass Effect 2. It could be something as simple as a "memory" style matching game, or having to traverse a maze in a specified time period, but I think something like that would be a lot of fun and add some real tension to the game instead of just rolling a die. As the player gets better at hacking, he or she would have more time to play the "game," and depending on the difficulty of the hack, the "game" would be more or less complex. I was even thinking of making a simple racing game where the hacker has to get to the "finish line" to complete the hack before the "AI" player gets there first or intersects the hacker, which would simulate a "hunter-killer program" trying to stop the hacker. I don't know if this is making any sense, but I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts. Thanks!
CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
Personally, my experience with introducing skill based challenges, such as, for example, a blacksmiths puzzle to simulate an action has ended badly. Very badly. It takes the pressure off of the character being good at something and puts it very much onto the player. Instead of being rewarded for having a character being good at something, they are occasionally punished because the player cannot figure something out. It is also very difficult to scale difficulty. How do you differentiate between a neophyte hacker and a grand master of the mesh arts when it doesn't actually come down to the numbers? With maze puzzles, I guess you could have lots and lots and lots of different mazes, each with an assigned difficulty (This maze is if your skill is 80+, this one is if it is lower, and this one here is if it is really low!). But that is clumsy, and a lot of unnecessary work on the part of the GM. So while it seems like a really good idea on paper, I have never seen it done well enough that I would consider including it in my regular game. But that isn't to say that you might finally break it and find something that works amazingly. It's just I wouldn't be surprised if you don’t :p TL/DR, I have always found that taking the challenge off the character and onto the player has been a bad idea. But you should try it out anyway.
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The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
^ What he said. There's probably been lots of discussion of this in gamer communities over the years. It seems to me that it kind of violates the central premise of RPGs in that the character is the agent through which the player mediates with the game world. The player can cognise and direct the character, but what the character can actually achieve inside the game world is determined by the character's (numerically-specific) skills and abilities. If you shift the limits of the character's agency to the player's skills and abilities, well then you should throw away your character sheets as you're no longer playing a role-playing game, and the players no longer have incentive to improve their characters. Personally I would stick with the simple thrill of numbers of a sheet and the throw of the dice as a means of resolving challenges.
jabrams007 jabrams007's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
Codebreaker, the Green Slime, thank you for replying. You both make some excellent points. You're right in that it should be the character making the tests and not the player. I guess I got so caught up in trying to think "outside the box" and to add some new elements to my game that I forgot about that and how hard it would be to really implement. I'm still going to try and think of something, but I'll probably just use the normal hacking tests.
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
jabrams007 wrote:
Hi, this is my first post so forgive me if this has already been asked before, but I was wondering if anyone has made a hacking mini-game for EP.
If you are feeling sadistic, you could always hand that player a laptop running a copy of VirtualBox that has a copy of [url=http://www.backtrack-linux.org/]Backtrack Linux[/url] and a copy of [url=http://www.metasploit.com/community/]Metasploitable[/url] running inside of it. ;)
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
Kidding aside, there are other sorts of minigames that could be used. There used to be a 2D Matrix simulator for Shadowrun floating around the Net. Rubik's cubes would also make good puzzles for players to solve. Or, challenge a player to flip two quarters down the knuckles of either hand - the number of people who cannot do this is fairly high.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
The Doctor wrote:
Kidding aside, there are other sorts of minigames that could be used. There used to be a 2D Matrix simulator for Shadowrun floating around the Net. Rubik's cubes would also make good puzzles for players to solve. Or, challenge a player to flip two quarters down the knuckles of either hand - the number of people who cannot do this is fairly high.
Not only is that 2d simulator still around (look up Decker by Shawn Overcash), but there's also a 3d simulator of the same thing (currently called the Matrix Program Package), designed to be moddable by GMs for use in their games (so that hacker can actually do something while he's being ignored for everyone in meatspace).
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Hacking mini-game?
Decivre wrote:
Not only is that 2d simulator still around (look up Decker by Shawn Overcash), but there's also a 3d simulator of the same thing (currently called the Matrix Program Package), designed to be moddable by GMs for use in their games (so that hacker can actually do something while he's being ignored for everyone in meatspace).
There goes the rest of my afternoon...