What would you change/add to Uplink? (ideas for a clone)

Ideas for future addons and sequels

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Shockah
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What would you change/add to Uplink? (ideas for a clone)

Postby Shockah » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:12 pm

Hi, first, let me introduce myself.
I'm Shockah, a 17 years old teenager from Poland. If you play Minecraft (I guess some of you do), you should know me - I'm one of the developers of the Aether mod for it.

Anyway. Recently I've bought Uplink from Humble Introversion Bundle (but I've played this game first when I was a little child... maybe I was 9?) and finished the Arunmor storyline, but... The game is too short and easy.
So I've started thinking about a clone of the game, that would be coded in Java. But - I can't even start working on it before thinking about all the stuff that needs to be changed/added to the original Uplink, so it will even be worth doing that.
And that's why I'm asking you guys to help me out. What would you like to see added to the Uplink? What should be changed?

Stuff I was thinking about:
- harder bank account hacking. It just breaks the game too badly like it is right now - hack one account and you're a hacking god.
- encrypted connections to the servers - you need to find out which algorithm is used on which server, so you can even use it - otherwise you'll only see some random characters and that's it. And there won't be an "encryption level" - just different algorithms. Some will be harder to decrypt (more processing power needed), but even the biggest companies won't always use the hardest ones.
- some of the apps will just use a set processing power. It doesn't make sense to use less/more processing power for a Trace Tracker / [whatever] Bypass / etc.
- ...no online mode. Seriously, think about it. Now we have a storyline in Uplink, which can end in destroying whole game's Internet. Now, what about multiplayer? It couldn't end with such thing, because it would end the game for all the players. Or the game server would need to be restarted when a player finishes that task, but that would end up in players not having much time / experience and never completing even half of the game.

Also, I'm not saying I'll even make that Uplink clone happen. If I'll get some decent ideas, then it's likely I'll do it, but no promises.
Ah, and - coding it in Java will end up in easy modding of the game. And in working on Windows, Linux and Mac.
Last edited by Shockah on Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mas Tnega
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Re: What would you change/add to Uplink? (ideas for a clone)

Postby Mas Tnega » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Random stream of consciousness provided! Would write more but (a) you'll be sick of it before long, (b) I had plans for this Saturday and I'm already cutting into them with all this.

  • Software evolution: At some point, you will just have the best equipment. This is pretty much where the game stops and yet reaching TERMINAL rank is about 10 more hacks after that. Software should eventually get better and require you to take action to ensure that either that new security never comes out, or you assist in developing its workaround.
  • Software having types: The current model for it appears to something like "Every single Firewall ever can be classified by the specific holes that each level of disable/bypass can or can't exploit" and "Every new version of bypass/disable is an incremental update with some new exploits that it looks for". This makes the idea of companies tending towards level 5 security weird because all it means is that it just had the holes that the hacking software developer(s) just happened to address last. How would they even know that? And why wouldn't you then just release the really, really small version of disable/bypass that only hacks level 5 in response to its popularity among higher profile targets?

    In short, what you said about encryption, but with stuff like Firewall, Proxy and Monitor too, if you even use them.
  • An economy: Money doesn't really do anything in the game other than get given to you, get spent by you, get stolen by you or materialise in another person's bank account with a log that indicates someone else used to have it.
  • Stuff happening: The entirety of Uplink is "You exist and missions exist. Also, there's these guys who are making the only virus in the world and these other guys that actually care to stop it but it's actually kind of optional." All the news is "A hack was done. Also, there's these guys who are making the only virus in the world, only they're obviously publicly denying it. Also, etc." I'd like:
    • Traced hackers being a threat to Uplink's continued existence: There's no way the FBI are going to believe Uplink every time they disavow someone and even then, they'd probably shut that entire warehouse of unattended machines down to investigate. It would be good if there were cover up missions instead of "Screw over your fellow Uplink agent" missions. Simple stuff like "You've got 15 minutes, here's the idiot that got active traced, who he did it to and he did it five minutes ago, break the link in the chain that comes just before us"
    • Hacker identity: The only way to learn another hacker's handle is to check the leader board or get the agent list. The only ways to get a real name of a hacker are check the agent lists or Look up someone's real name on the Academic Database and see if it's on their fucking qualifications. The only part I agree with is that their knowing someone's handle should be a huge deal. On Uplink, you should just be ID numbers to each other. Knowing which ID numbers have better records than others, practically public information. Their real names, something you get from tracing a hack when they have to use a PC. Connecting either to a handle, huge effort, huge deal. More important hackers should have other presence outside of Uplink and you should be able to find out just who in the scene you've just messed with, who you're pissing off and how you could be changing the world.
    • Back stabbing and politics: There's no way the agents of Uplink are completely disconnected from each other, there's no way there's any kind of unity and there's definitely no way that there's only Uplink. That thing I said about ID number, handle and real name? That's the complete information you need to make a tip off that someone did something. Why would you do that? There's nasty people out there that want to do nasty things to people who screw with them and quite honestly, you're probably one of them. That #1 position might not be so public for bragging rights but you know that only the best hackers that the really good paying jobs. You know that all that money is being funnelled into some shit you don't like and that shit you don't like could be anything from a new kind of firewall that can't be beaten for a long time except by the developers, putting you even further out of the #1 position or it could be someone REALLY important like anything but your bank account. You stop them, they don't become a pain in the ass.

      But wait! YOU want in on that piece of software with the magic back door no one knows about! OTHER PEOPLE want to stop you! You need protection! You need allies! You need a crew to keep a lid on this shit and hide each other from the world until you're ready to bend it over and jam in the red hot poker!
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Postby Shockah » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:50 pm

Software evolution: At some point, you will just have the best equipment. This is pretty much where the game stops and yet reaching TERMINAL rank is about 10 more hacks after that. Software should eventually get better and require you to take action to ensure that either that new security never comes out, or you assist in developing its workaround.
Heh, I like that. Or you could steal a beta disabler/bypasser, like ARC did with Darwin technology... :P

In short, what you said about encryption, but with stuff like Firewall, Proxy and Monitor too, if you even use them.
Well, I think it makes sense for them. Because actually, 2 firewalls do the same thing - maybe in a different way, but still same. Most of their code would look the same, so I would just stick to versions when it comes to them. If not, they would be separate apps, each taking some of the CPU. Same for monitor.
About proxy... WHO NAMED IT PROXY. I know newbies could like that name, because they don't know what proxies really are, but seriously... I would rename them to something else.

An economy: Money doesn't really do anything in the game other than get given to you, get spent by you, get stolen by you or materialise in another person's bank account with a log that indicates someone else used to have it.
Well, what else could be money used for? Maybe hiring other hackers to work with you, or something...

Traced hackers being a threat to Uplink's continued existence: There's no way the FBI are going to believe Uplink every time they disavow someone and even then, they'd probably shut that entire warehouse of unattended machines down to investigate. It would be good if there were cover up missions instead of "Screw over your fellow Uplink agent" missions. Simple stuff like "You've got 15 minutes, here's the idiot that got active traced, who he did it to and he did it five minutes ago, break the link in the chain that comes just before us"
Interesting. If you won't take the mission (and other hackers won't, too), Uplink has to run away to their hiding place, you get disconnected, and when trying to reconnect, you find yourself with the basic gateway, without a way to update it for that time... Also, Uplink takes 50% of the money from missions after that so they can buy everything needed to continue normal work in a new place...
And it would need a change to how missions are being taken by hackers. It would require a HUD or something to take missions, with some emergency missions appearing right on the screen and un-fast-forwarding the time, to not miss these missions.

The only ways to get a real name of a hacker are check the agent lists or Look up someone's real name on the Academic Database and see if it's on their fucking qualifications. (...) On Uplink, you should just be ID numbers to each other. (...) Their real names, something you get from tracing a hack when they have to use a PC.
I agree. Heheh, selling hackers' personal data to companies... And trying to not get my own personals sold :D

Another thing I'm thinking about the security - for some of the servers (maybe even half of them) should be so hard to hack, that you need to make a botnet for yourself. And that cames with more risks... These logs you're always deleting at InterNIC? Now you need to delete logs of ALL THE BOTS, otherwise a company you just hacked will either find you by logs on these PCs - zombies (if you won't delete YOUR logs when making them your zombies), or will bring your botnet down. Also, you could hire other hackers to remove the logs.
About the online play... I'm reconsidering it, but not as a MMO. Just with your hacker friends / other players around the world you invited into your game. Obviously, without fast-forwarding, or with "need-to-be-accepted-fast-forward" (or pause).
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Postby Mas Tnega » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:13 am

Shockah wrote:
In short, what you said about encryption, but with stuff like Firewall, Proxy and Monitor too, if you even use them.
Well, I think it makes sense for them. Because actually, 2 firewalls do the same thing - maybe in a different way, but still same. Most of their code would look the same, so I would just stick to versions when it comes to them. If not, they would be separate apps, each taking some of the CPU. Same for monitor.
About proxy... WHO NAMED IT PROXY. I know newbies could like that name, because they don't know what proxies really are, but seriously... I would rename them to something else.
Fair point.

An economy: Money doesn't really do anything in the game other than get given to you, get spent by you, get stolen by you or materialise in another person's bank account with a log that indicates someone else used to have it.
Well, what else could be money used for? Maybe hiring other hackers to work with you, or something...
I'll elaborate. The stock market doesn't change in any meaningful way, companies never die whether it be due to so much hacking that their business falls apart or by their own incompetence, new companies don't appear, people don't seem to ever have well-paid jobs, other hackers aren't obviously earning money without outright stealing it from someone else. Money isn't changing hands and no one seems to be running out of it, as far as you can tell.

Traced hackers being a threat to Uplink's continued existence: There's no way the FBI are going to believe Uplink every time they disavow someone and even then, they'd probably shut that entire warehouse of unattended machines down to investigate. It would be good if there were cover up missions instead of "Screw over your fellow Uplink agent" missions. Simple stuff like "You've got 15 minutes, here's the idiot that got active traced, who he did it to and he did it five minutes ago, break the link in the chain that comes just before us"
Interesting. If you won't take the mission (and other hackers won't, too), Uplink has to run away to their hiding place, you get disconnected, and when trying to reconnect, you find yourself with the basic gateway, without a way to update it for that time... Also, Uplink takes 50% of the money from missions after that so they can buy everything needed to continue normal work in a new place...
That would be a very harsh punishment but that's kind of the idea, yes. The option to refuse should exist but either with a limit to it or at a penalty.

And it would need a change to how missions are being taken by hackers. It would require a HUD or something to take missions, with some emergency missions appearing right on the screen and un-fast-forwarding the time, to not miss these missions.
Emergency missions would be almost exactly like the storyline missions in how they appear and even storyline missions ought to force you back into normal time anyway.

The only ways to get a real name of a hacker are check the agent lists or Look up someone's real name on the Academic Database and see if it's on their fucking qualifications. (...) On Uplink, you should just be ID numbers to each other. (...) Their real names, something you get from tracing a hack when they have to use a PC.
I agree. Heheh, selling hackers' personal data to companies... And trying to not get my own personals sold :D
Glad you do. It creates this feeling that hackers aren't nice people somehow.

Another thing I'm thinking about the security - for some of the servers (maybe even half of them) should be so hard to hack, that you need to make a botnet for yourself. And that cames with more risks... These logs you're always deleting at InterNIC? Now you need to delete logs of ALL THE BOTS, otherwise a company you just hacked will either find you by logs on these PCs - zombies (if you won't delete YOUR logs when making them your zombies), or will bring your botnet down. Also, you could hire other hackers to remove the logs.
Maybe some of those zombies are just PCs that belong to people who don't bother to check the e-mail attachments they're opening or that mp3 they downloaded...?
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Postby Anonymous123445 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:28 am

I haven't been here in a while.

Just to add, I don't really think that if someone were to make something similar to Uplink, they'd have to follow the storyline exactly. If they were to change it slightly (or drastically, I guess), they could still have an online mode, as well as having meaningful gameplay in the singleplayer (if there were going to be two separate entities).

I also second Mas Tnega's idea of a more fluid economy. I was really disappointed after finding the stock market to discover that I couldn't really do anything at all with it.
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Postby Maxwell » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:50 pm

This looks exciting. I'm an avid Minecraft fan myself (I got off it about 15 minutes ago) so & know about the Aether mod.

I thought I'd include my input & say that I like how simple Uplink was. It wasn't loads of flashing graphics, it wasn't resource intensive & it could run on any old machine. If you could keep it like that, even in Java, then I would be really looking forward to this. Sometimes clones are spoiled because they get done up too much.

Obviously a longer storyline would be better but maybe a more detailed in-game tutorial would help. Maybe you can purchase manuals from the Uplink shop (or whatever you end up calling it) or you receive emails from more advanced NPC hackers as you progress through your ranks.

What I loved about Uplink was the thrill & adrenaline of nearly being caught. I felt like a god when I'd just escaped with a second left. I'm not too sure about the whole making bank hacking thing more difficult. I found it rather balanced & I loved how I was able to purchase everything I wanted. I suppose having a greater risk of being caught, a bit more difficult to get a hold of or a risk of it then being stolen back off you would be cool.

Anyway, I'm excited to hear how this turns out & I hope that you stick with it. Good luck.
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Postby Shockah » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:20 pm

Hmm, companies dying, new companies appearing... Good idea :)

That would be a very harsh punishment but that's kind of the idea, yes. The option to refuse should exist but either with a limit to it or at a penalty.
Well, there will always be a time limit. And unless all of the other hackers are in jail / dead, you can count on them, because they don't want that, too. But some will be busy / not experienced enough to do that, so you need to do these missions, too.

Emergency missions would be almost exactly like the storyline missions in how they appear and even storyline missions ought to force you back into normal time anyway.
I thought you have just too much time to complete them... Other than the last ones.

Maybe some of those zombies are just PCs that belong to people who don't bother to check the e-mail attachments they're opening or that mp3 they downloaded...?
But still, you need to do *something* to prepare your botnet. It won't be created by itself, like that. And that is really time-consuming.

I thought I'd include my input & say that I like how simple Uplink was. It wasn't loads of flashing graphics, it wasn't resource intensive & it could run on any old machine. If you could keep it like that, even in Java, then I would be really looking forward to this. Sometimes clones are spoiled because they get done up too much.
Well, almost clean project which I have right now uses 2 MB of RAM (well, 40 MB in total, but these 38 MB are free and can be used for other stuff, they're just reserved). Right now I only have drawing a blue-black rectangle - the basic and most used part of the interface, lol. Also, I'm trying to not use ANY images, other than people's photos in databases. That's the plan. How well will that work out - I don't know.
(anyway, some game engines, like Slick which I'm using, make stuff so easy for you, that you can't do such rectangles easily; had to bypass most of the rendering code, lol, but it works :D)

I found it rather balanced & I loved how I was able to purchase everything I wanted.
It's cool the first time you do that. The next time it's boring and too easy, because you know what you need to do that, what logs to delete...
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Postby Maxwell » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:54 am

Yeah, I suppose so. I started the game again today from scratch & completed it in a couple of hours (at least it felt like that) so you're pretty much spot on about the length issue. Saying that, I have played the game before but there was still stuff (like the ARC missions) that I had never done before.

As I was playing, I had an idea. I found it annoying how I couldn't search for IP addresses & I could only search for system names. There are quite a few little things that could've been improved just by adding a small function just to make life a bit easier. For instance, the Revelation Tracker: maybe if you click the IP, it automatically adds it to your list so that you don't have to then use IP Look-up blah blah. Maybe that's part of the game but there were a few instances that I thought were more annoying than challenging. I'm guessing that your version won't be a carbon-copy of Uplink so what I'm saying right now is probably irrelevant.

It could be fun if we could get hacked & targeted by other hackers just like we hack other hackers (does that make sense?). I think somebody already mentioned firewalls & such & I reckon that it's a great idea. Being able to block other people accessing your gateway & then maybe trying to trace them back would be great. Or maybe you would spot a mission where a company is trying to get you hacked so you accept the mission to sabotage the company.

It's late & it's been a long day so forgive me if I'm not making much sense.
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Postby HostFat » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:29 pm

I think that the biggest feature should be the integration with the Bitcoin crypto-currency!
I mean, there are already many anonymous services on darknets that only accept Bitcoin as a payment.

Uplink isn't anymore a game :shock:
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Postby runthis » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:16 pm

Alot of ideas poking around here, i hope you dont mind if i use a few for my game being released in January pure2012.com
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Postby koshensky » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:30 pm

So I completely forgot my details from a few years ago when I last played this, but wanted to contribute to these new ideas.

One thing that I always wanted Uplink to have in it was a bit more connection to the 'real world'. Much like hackers in movies, where they hack into the traffic system to aid a getaway, or disable building alarms and plan escape routes. It would be a lot more time sensitive, a lot more dangerous, but a lot more lucrative as well.

Some kind of mission API would be really awesome as well, so we can quickly and easily add new storylines into the mix, to extend gameplay more than just the few hours it takes to complete Uplink currently.

Additionally - as was pointed out, the likelihood that Uplink is the only corporation out there is entirely implausible. It would be awesome if there were the ability to go to war with another company - to pitch them off against one another, or even to act as a mole within Uplink for another group.
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Postby Gemberkoekje » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:45 am

I'm a real fan of 'real' simulations, or at least, as real as possible.

Quick example: I hate it that in 'this sandbox game' cars disappear when you turn around twice. I also don't like it these cars don't have any destination. I also don't like it that gunshops have an endless amount of guns and ammo, and the owner never sleeps, eats, or even sits for that matter.

But I digress.

My point is that it would be real cool if a hacking simulation had a 'real' simulation running behind it. So people in certain areas go to work, work and make money, corporations get money from consumers, workers get money from corporations, corporations loan money, invest money, the economy can get some random news fact which makes the stocks go down, makes people workless, etcetera.

You can go as far and as deep as you like with this idea, including, but not limited to:
- Companies will be less protected if it's the depth of the night in their timezones.
- People will occasionally, but not daily, check their bank accounts. Provided you are not taken by the bank itself, the person might go to the police or hire another hacker against you.
- Companies are affected by a local economy, which is affected by a global economy. Inversely, economies are affected by companies, which are affected by customers.
- Companies may also be affected by logistics and resources, which may be affected by hacking or events.

blah
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E-Mails...

Postby Kitkun » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:15 pm

My major issue that I think needs to be changed are:

1) A way to mass delete E-Mails, or just a Delete Button, then click on the E-Mail Icons to rapidly delete them. When you have 100+ Emails that are pointless, it is a lot of clicking.

I also agree with the Economy thoughts, should be more.

Sorry if I bumped a semi-dead topic.
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Postby Shockah » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:35 am

Not exactly dead, I'm still considering coding this :P. Priorities, though. Priorities. And profit(ability(?)).
EDIT: Oh okay. I was pretty sure I got the month about a reply in this thread a month ago or so... Well, whatever. The thread isn't dead just yet.
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Postby rsgm » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:30 pm

Shockah wrote:Not exactly dead, I'm still considering coding this :P. Priorities, though. Priorities. And profit(ability(?)).


I have been working on a hacking game like this, not exactly a clone for almost a year now, and I am just getting to gameplay. The main difference is that my game is focused on realism. It is written in java and python script, and it is opensource(free). I would love some help with it when ever possible.

I am not going to advertise too much it on here, being a "competitor's" website(I am not really trying to compete though). So if you are interested ask me about it on twitter @rsgm123.

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