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Hack ’n’ Slash: Voting Discussion Thread
Posted: 16 November 2012 05:44 PM
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Project Lead: Brandon Dillon

Hack n’ Slash is an action adventure game focused on exploration and discovery, not just of its charming fantasy world, but also its internal workings. Based on my childhood experiences hacking on games in emulators to discover new things (and break others), Hack ‘n’ Slash is a world of puzzle dungeons based on progressively more sophisticated cheating, hacking, and reverse engineering techniques. Instead of a sword, you get a laptop, searching for and building software to help you dismantle and rebuild the world around you.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 03:11 PM
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I love this concept; any chance we can get more informations on how you are gonna implement this idea?

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Posted: 19 November 2012 03:50 PM
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I voted for this! So good, I hope it gets made smile

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Posted: 19 November 2012 04:22 PM
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Doing for my childhood 80’s fantasy obsession what “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One” did for my VIC-20/C64 obsession.

Make this happen smile

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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:36 PM
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Danaroth - 19 November 2012 03:11 PM

I love this concept; any chance we can get more informations on how you are gonna implement this idea?

Here are some bullet points I typed up for the longer version of the pitch!

A classic top-down fantasy world realized in a charming Double Fine art style.

Puzzles that subvert player expectations by denying access to classic tools like bombs and arrows and requiring clever use of hacks and exploits.

A design that teaches real hacking and reverse engineering techniques, starting from simple cheat codes and exploits but working up to sophisticated reverse engineering methods needed to break into the most guarded treasure holds.

All of the tools work directly on the running game engine, not a toy system built for the puzzles. All of the hacking you’re doing in the game is real. Once you find or build the right tools, you can make any change to the game you want.

The general idea is to make an open, explorable fantasy world akin to the worlds in the early Zelda games, but to base the tools you use and the puzzles you solve around hacking and reverse engineering concepts.

For example, you might get a hookshot-like connector cable that attaches to objects and lets you mess with the object’s data tables. A castle may contain a royal library where each book corresponds to a game resource file on your hard drive. I’d like the world to be filled with little things that evoke memories of cheating at classic games. Genies that you can recite incantations to in order to change the way the game plays, glitchy secret areas that reveal something interesting about the world, that kind of thing.

By the late game, the tools would advance to things that let you change the running code of the game and the puzzles would be based on sophisticated software security concepts like encryption algorithms and copy protection schemes. The later dungeons would have creatures and items that actively try to fight against your hacks.

I don’t want to promise too many specifics; if the game gets picked for prototyping, we’ll have to figure out what we can finish in two weeks that communicates the potential of the game, but that’s the direction I’d like to head.

Hopefully that sounds exciting and not just confusing! I’d be happy to elaborate on anything else you’re curious about!

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:44 PM
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This sure has a huge potential and is even more ambitious than I thought. I’d say it has a feel of a notpron/zelda meshup. Will look forward on how you are gonna balance between accessibility for people who aren’t much into the hacking scene and challenge that could be devoided by allowing too much programmability control.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 08:57 PM
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sounds very interesting

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Posted: 19 November 2012 08:58 PM
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I have an idea for a possible plot, here me out here. *ahem*

                              You are Marcus Sturlack; a skinny, unathletic, socially akward geek who loves his computer and computer games. He’s constantly picked on in school by Johnathan and his gang, calling him awful names like “tunahead.” His Grandfather, Arthur Sturlack, was a great inventor though myserioously vanished the day before the unveiling of his seceret 11 year project. Marcus stumbles upon what he thinks is a prtotype of the invention, (which he could stumble upon through some kind of tutorial/intro sequence/various cut-scenes) which acts quite mysteriously around his computer.
                              He plans to figure out what the remote actually does to show this off at the school’s annual Science fair. After being embaressed in-front of Mandy, the girl of his dream when he was going to ask out the girl of his dreams, he storms off home to confine himself in his room playing his game. Time passes, still heavily engage in his game; a giant storm brews outside, taking out trees and houses one by one. Without another word of warning lightning strikes the roof of his house warping him into the game he’s playing.

I have more elaborate ideas, since at first glance this sound pretty generic, though I’m too tired to write anymore; but what do you think of it so far? (Hopefully there’s not already a planned backstory and I’m not wasting my time/embaressing myself.)

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Posted: 19 November 2012 09:29 PM
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Another suggestion of theme, since this idea (possibly my absolute favorite of the list) leans heavy in the meta direction anyway…

Your character begins as a periphery character in a (fictional) forgotten 80s adventure title, and somehow realizes that they are a character in a video game. They then set out to use this knowledge to their advantage within the game world.

Seems like a quick, mildly clever way to get the core concepts across. Yours to use if you like it!

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Posted: 19 November 2012 10:37 PM
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Reminds me a little bit of Avalon Code for the DS, an action-RPG where you had a book with everything in the world in it and could rewrite it to change their properties (or to create new things.)

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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:07 AM
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Ha! I was actually recently hacking through an old game I had played through ages ago using CE and was thinking that I was almost having more fun hacking then actually playing the game. I’ll be really interested in seeing if a good game can be made from this.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:04 AM
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Would it be possible to hack your way into an unplayable state? If so, perhaps the player could go back into the ‘code’ that was modified and return the world to a playable state.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 09:38 AM
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So Brandon, would one actually need to be a good programmer to play this game? Or would the game help novice players to get into the hacking aspect as well and explain everything on the way?

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:14 PM
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VicOfAges - 20 November 2012 03:04 AM

Would it be possible to hack your way into an unplayable state? If so, perhaps the player could go back into the ‘code’ that was modified and return the world to a playable state.

This is definitely one of the tricky things about the idea!

One of the items the player would get very early on is something to take a snapshot of the entire world state. This will double as a save system and a way for the player to roll back to a safe point if they mess something up in a way that breaks the game.

I’m not too worried about trying to prevent crashes, though; crashes are part of the fun of hacking the game! (as long as there’s an easy way to recover)

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:20 PM
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kaio - 20 November 2012 09:38 AM

So Brandon, would one actually need to be a good programmer to play this game? Or would the game help novice players to get into the hacking aspect as well and explain everything on the way?

I definitely would strive to make the game playable by anyone who’s interested in solving puzzles and lateral thinking. It would be important for the design to gradually introduce the hacking and programming concepts, and for the tools to work in a way that someone unfamiliar with writing code can understand how to use them.

My thought is that the main quest should be designed to teach players everything they need to know in order for them to see the entire story, but good action adventure games have lots of secrets hidden in the world, and I think it’s okay for the extra stuff to be hidden behind challenges and puzzles that require a deeper understanding of hacking and programming concepts.

I’m not sure how much of that can make it in in two weeks. If the game gets picked, we’ll try our best!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:28 PM
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I dig the story suggestions, too, folks! There’s some definite overlap with my own thoughts, and the metafictional ideas would definitely fit very well with the mechanics.

One thing I would want to make sure to do, though, is not overburden the game with too much story, especially in a prototype. I really love that feeling you get when you boot up The Legend of Zelda for the first time and you’re right in the world, with no one telling you what to do, free to explore to your heart’s content. I think it’d be important to evoke that feeling with this game as well.

The story wouldn’t be revealed up front, but the way NPCs act and the places you explore would give hints as to what’s really going on. I think a story that you gradually uncover through play fits well with the theme of the game.

And it’d get us out of having to do a bunch of writing up front wink

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Posted: 20 November 2012 02:59 PM
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There were several pitches which made me think ‘nice idea maybe i will vote for it’.
When i watched yours, my thought was “I WANNA PLAY THIS NOW!”
Awesome idea, i hope you can pull it off.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 08:22 PM
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I like this idea so much I made a little fan art doodle for it.  Is it okay to post it here or should I put it in the fan art subforum?

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Posted: 21 November 2012 09:11 AM
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Spacedad - 20 November 2012 08:22 PM

I like this idea so much I made a little fan art doodle for it.  Is it okay to post it here or should I put it in the fan art subforum?

Awesome! Feel free to post it here :D

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Posted: 21 November 2012 10:44 AM
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I actually can’t express how cool this project sounds.

A game, based around hacking said game.. It’s just too cool for words.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 04:52 PM
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DF Brandon - 21 November 2012 09:11 AM
Spacedad - 20 November 2012 08:22 PM

I like this idea so much I made a little fan art doodle for it.  Is it okay to post it here or should I put it in the fan art subforum?

Awesome! Feel free to post it here :D

Thanks!

I have no idea what the game is going to be like other than what you’ve shown and said so far, but I wanted to try pencil doodling a raw “what I picture it might be like in my head” thing and then compare it to whatever comes out.

2ewjhwl.jpg

The laptop apple is a zelda heart.  smile

I always have been amused with how 8bit games would sometimes glitch out with text or sprites being garbled onscreen - I hope there’s some of that going on in the game.

Anyway as I watch this thing developing I will be likely doing some proper fan art following along.  It looks like yours is way out ahead - can’t wait!

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 04:54 PM by Spacedad ]
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Posted: 21 November 2012 04:55 PM
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Could Missingno. conceivably be an enemy or boss? Is an unintentional glitch in a videogame even protected by copyright?

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 05:15 PM by Stig ]
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Posted: 21 November 2012 05:47 PM
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The originality of the majority of the games from the Amnesia Fortnight astounds me. I love, love, love the concept of this game. I hope it does not end up being too hard to come to fruition.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 06:41 PM
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Stig - 21 November 2012 04:55 PM

Could Missingno. conceivably be an enemy or boss? Is an unintentional glitch in a videogame even protected by copyright?

For those who haven’t seen the “let’s break pokemon blue” saga I suggest checking it out: http://lparchive.org/Pokemon-Blue/

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Posted: 21 November 2012 09:13 PM
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Spacedad - 21 November 2012 06:41 PM
Stig - 21 November 2012 04:55 PM

Could Missingno. conceivably be an enemy or boss? Is an unintentional glitch in a videogame even protected by copyright?

For those who haven’t seen the “let’s break pokemon blue” saga I suggest checking it out: http://lparchive.org/Pokemon-Blue/

I just spent 3 hours reading that. Thank you.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 10:13 PM
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The fan art is hilarious too - though one piece I remember from back in the day puzzlingly isn’t there.  It’s one with Ash running in terror as the world is devoured behind him by a large wall of glitch.

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