Mod idea - Balance and Realism

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Spheniscine
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Mod idea - Balance and Realism

Postby Spheniscine » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:08 pm

Some ideas for a mod for improving balance and realism:
Uplink Balance and Realism Mod ideas

"-*" denotes "Would be nice, but not first priority".
"-?" denotes "Doubtful cause, fix, or existence of issue"

Interface changes:
- InterNIC is no longer the place to go to easily delete/change your bounce logs. Light monitor security will be added, and you will be active-traced if you try to hack it. (Maybe also add an elliptic curve cypher. Seems overkill if there's only a log behind it, but it'd serve as a good reminder for veterans used to vanilla that InterNIC's *different* now.)

This functionality will be replaced by the Uplink Public Access Server, which will have a new "admin" button. (This will also appear when you create a new profile, but you won't be able to do anything there.) Just like InterNIC in the original version, it's easily hacked with a Password Breaker, there are no active traces, and the password will never change.

Note: Vanilla InterNIC lacks a back button on the admin login screen. While this is annoying if you accidentally navigate to it (having either to log in and delete the log, or disconnect and reconnect), it would be crippling if the same happens when you're trying to register a new agent.

- Expanded training missions to teach you how to delete logs. These occur immediately after the Test Machine mission.
First mission - Instructs you to complete a few missions from the BBS, and to bounce all hacking connections through the Uplink PAS (aka the new InterNIC). Asks you to purchase the Log Deleter v4.0 once you can afford it. Reply after your purchase to complete it.
Second mission - Tells you how to clear the logs at the Uplink PAS. It will "check your work" when you reply to it, and only complete the mission if you deleted the right logs.

Rationale: These changes increase realism (Why is a government service so poorly defended? It makes more sense that Uplink covertly provides a deliberately insecure system that helps you cover your tracks), and helps beginners understand the important concept of log-clearing without having to read outside guides to do so.

- Add a new gateway; basically the "best of everything" gateway. 16 CPUs, 256Gq Memory, 4 security slots (Only 2 are ever needed, but just for the heck of it), and 10 Gq/s modem. Probably should cost several times more than the TRINITY-1686a.

Rationale: Just something for the bank-hackers to aspire to. :p Also allows you to complete the database copying missions in one trip, without having to sacrifice your CPU power by using the AM-CORE File Server.

- Change cost of 32Gq of memory (4 sticks) to 10000c (from 11000c).

Rationale: If you do the math, you'll find that the 24Gq package is actually more economical in the vanilla! This should address that.

-* Small interface tweaks:
- Retain focus on text-boxes without needing to hover over them
- Admin consoles should not allow you to delete the "usr:>" etc. prompt

-* Internal Service Machines should allow you to actually see logs from the "temporary" accounts that companies give you when they want you to trace a hacker. Log Undeleter should not cause any active/passive trace, since this is its only use. (Log Deleter/Modifier should still start a trace!)

Of course you can still hack into their system to access the logs from the admin end, and you'd have to hack every other system in the bounce path.

Rationale: Just to add a little sanity :p

-?* Bank hacking is rather gripping, but relatively easy if you know what to do. Additionally, the huge amounts of money involved tend to imbalance the game. Don't know what, if anything, can/should be done about that.

Mission changes:

- "Frame a person for computer crimes" mission can no longer be completed by authorising an arrest through the GCD (like the most usual way to complete the Removal Job mission). You must instead hack something like the GCD, a bank, or a mainframe (deliberately keeping bouncing and bypasses to a minimum), then frame them for it by changing logs, like the other "frame" missions. (This is an existing alternative way to complete the mission in vanilla.)

Rationale: Given the higher difficulty rating of this mission, it makes sense that you have to do it in a more specific way.

- "Removal Job" mission downgraded to level 6. (Possibly change "Highly skilled" to "Skilled")

- Database copying and destruction missions that involve LANs should appear more often (currently it's considered a "rare variant" of the regular database missions), and be upgraded to level 8.

Rationale: This better reflects the equipment requirement and complexity of these missions. LAN missions are one of the most interesting missions of the game and therefore should appear more often.

-? If LAN missions appear more often, there may be a need to change their structure every once in a while, or even after every hacking incident (when it gets reported to the news), to keep things fresh, as one of chief draws about these missions is the "randomly-generated dungeon" feel.

- New mission: Release someone from jail.
Mission descriptions:
Associate in prison needs help
Skilled agent required to free fellow agent

Difficulty Rating: 6-7
Required Software: Password Breaker, Proxy Bypass/Proxy Disable v1.0, Decypher
Neuromancer Rating: Positive

The GCD will have a new status line notifying if a man is free or jailed, and the scheduled release date. Releases happen every noon, so to complete this mission, you should modify the date to either today or tomorrow (according to in-game date, of course), depending on whether noon has passed.

Sometimes, this will be someone you have previously jailed; there also should be some people pre-jailed or jailed through random events throughout the course of the game.

The level 7 variant additionally requires you to go back in and clear their criminal record after they've been released. (but not before, as the gov't would be very suspicious if they were scheduled to release someone without a record!)

If the target is an Uplink hacker, your listed employer may be Uplink themself.

Rationale: The vanilla game suffers from a "sustainability" issue, given how easy it is to throw people in jail, but no way to get them out. I'm not quite sure what happens when pretty much everyone except you has been jailed? Additionally, there is currently no way to find out who has been jailed, unless you did it yourself and recorded it.

Additionally, "positive" Neuromancer rating is harder to acquire; this will add one more source, and would serve as the direct counterpoint to the removal job and framing missions.

Of course, if you want to be evil (as opposed to merely mercenary) and deliberately ignore these missions, and perhaps additionally watch the news to see who has been released by NPC hackers so that you can throw them right back in, that's your choice. :p

- If you're very productive and do every mission as it comes up, it seems that the "Trace a hacker" mission doesn't appear anymore (except for the "locked" ones that appear to be caused by your own hacking efforts), as the NPC hackers don't get a chance to actually hack. Perhaps allow some NPC hacks to occur anyway, to give you a chance to do this mission.

-* Add something to do at InterNIC now that it's no longer the bounce-deletion station; possibly DNS system hacks? Then again there are several other systems in the game where admin access is next-to-useless...

Other changes:

- Increase the number of people.

- When news of arrests due to Removal Job (or performing that action without receiving the mission) appear, stop mentioning "computer crimes", as the crimes you enter in the GCD may not be computer related (and may not make any sort of sense either, but eh!).

-? Sometimes framing missions don't seem to work (the hacking gets reported, but the target never seems to get arrested)... I wonder what's the cause?

-* Add females to the world. (Probably one of the hardest to implement!)

-* Have people generated with "friend" and "enemy" companies? (Management and sysadmins automatically have their own company as a "friend".) This will help avoid sanity-clash issues such as a company asking you to jail then release them again, or asking you to jail their own manager/sysadmin (not sure if this happens; can't be bothered to check, but suspects this would be the case due to the next entry). Not terribly important though.

-* While we're talking sanity-clashes, avoid having a company ask you to hack their own system (except for that one Arunmor storyline mission).
Last edited by Spheniscine on Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Krell
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Postby Krell » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:50 am

http://forums.introversion.co.uk/uplink ... hp?t=33904

Read this first.

Now, having said that, your idea seems sound just know if you want to do it, then you're probably going to be on your own or working with whatever team you can assemble to help you. I can say with 99.99999% certainty that Introversion will not help you in this regard. As the topic I linked said, they have no interest in Uplink anymore -- aside from the iPad port.

Uplink is a great game, yes, one of the cult classics....but it is still a "classic" in every sense of the word. It is OLD!! Look at my join date on the forums. Better yet look at the front page. 2001. What were you doing then? I still remember 1.0 Uplink...it was my freshman / sophomore year in high school. 11 years ago.

I'm not saying don't go for it, just take a dose of reality and perspective first. If you still want to continue after that, well then this should be your next stop:

http://www.introversion.co.uk/store/ and look under "Source Code".
InterNIC: Created to save agents everywhere
Spheniscine
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:31 pm

Postby Spheniscine » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:13 am

Yeah I am aware that this game is rather old... but it's new to me since I first heard of it from Humble Bundle. :p

Nevertheless I do see your point. After searching the net (even using Wayback Machine sometimes) for some information on what's left of the Uplink modding community, it does seem that they've all ran into some... problems. Something about the maintainability of the code (or lack thereof... heh).

Ah well.

I still wish I could find some way of getting the latest version of something like Onlink though, just to see what they've managed to do.

"CodelinkV2" seems to be one of the more successful attempts at making a spiritual successor to Uplink. Unfortunately it's set up as an MMO with PvP aspects, which I have some reservations about. I'm OK with playing with/against others, but I don't really like much "stakes" in them... don't much enjoy destroying people's stuff (that is, real people, those NPC company servers can blow up for all I care :p), or trying to protect my stuff from other people destroying it. If someone here plays that and I'm wrong about this, feel free to correct me.
orillian
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Postby orillian » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:23 pm

There is nothing stopping you taking a crack at the mod anyway, just because its an old game does not mean the game should be left alone.

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