Here come the third version of my hardware cracking minigame design. I left out the realistic parts after all. I started making some graphics for the prints, chips, coponents and decoration. I’ll still have to add a part about how the graphics will be put together, and didn’t re check everything over, and also need to write the component descriptions.
If you’re interested in developping this, feel free to contact me. Though i’m still not really looking for anyone to do so. Any constructive critics or comments are welcome.
1- Color and direction system replacing the realistic stuff from version 2. Components are all fictive now.
2- Modification of the difficulty levels
3- Inventory concept
4- back to original verion for some parts
The player has to modify implement a hacking device on a print by reconnecting specific eletronic components in a different way.
Aim of the game
The player has to link the power source (P) to both the chips (A/B/C) and the haking device (H) in a logic way, by removing and soldering components on a printed circuit bord ( board) depending on their specificities.
The game takes place on a circuit board. The board is composed of cells. Cells contain either patterns or soldering sectors. Soldering sectors can have either 2 or 3 holes. One of the sectors is used by a power source. Some of the cells where components could be soldered are defective. Defective sectors look a bit diferent from regular emplacements. There can be bridges (wires) shortcutting parts of the patterns. The board also features one or several IC(s). They are represented by black chips.
At the bottom, the hacking device links to the board, represented by a wire soldered on it. The device itself can not be seen from the game port though.
Soldering rules :
Components with 3 pins do not fit in sectors with two holes, but sectors with 3 holes may be used for components with two pins. The soldering is performed by pressing selecting a component to solder and pressing the right combination of buttons. If the player tries to solder a component at a forbidden spot, an alarm (voice) will tell him it is impossible, and the action will be canceled. Components for which the soldering has failed melt away and disappear automatically from the board. If the player soldered a component at a wrong spot, he may remove it using a peg.
If the player uses defective sectors, the connection will not work, even if he soldered the other components at the right spots. However this will not influence the outcome of the game, neither interfere with the winning circuit. Defective sectors can be located either by sight ( they look a bit different) or by using the testing tool.
Components rules :
Components have to respect some placement rules, and can not follow each other at random. If they are misplaced they will also disappear automatically from the board after smoking for a while and melting away.
Some components are polarised, some work only with alternate power, others don’t work with it, some need a diferent kind of current, which is represented by colors.
The components that are used in the game are as follow :
Hacking device (H) : + and – are explicitely mentioned.
Power source : + and – are explicitely mentioned.
Chip type A : works with alternate power (2 connections)
Chip type B : + and – are explicitely mentioned, needs red stream.
Chip type C : + and – are explicitely mentioned, can’t handle full voltage, needs green stream.
Black components are placed on the start of the game, the player has to remove them before he can start putting his own components onto the print.
item_a: alternate stream (double way, sends stream back) 2pins
item_b: lets stream through only in one direction (end alternate stream) 2pins
item_c: creates red stream 2pins
item_d: creates green stream 3pins ( input, output + green)
item_e: creates yellow stream (standart), only with green stream on input. 2pins
item_f: splits a stream into two, 3pins
item_g: merges two streams provided they’re the same color in the first place. Breaks is streams are two colors. 3pins
How to play
In order to solder a component, the player has to select the component he wants to use from his inventory and click the cell he wants to put it in. If the component could be placed in diferent ways on that sector, the player can rotate it before starting the soldering to choose the direction he wants it to point. Then he has to hold down and press keys at the right moments to complete the soldering. Depending on the amount of pins that the component has, the player will have to perform the key combination twice or thrice to solder it. Visual signals such as diods or smoke may indicate the right moment to do so depending on the difficulty level. The soldering tool is dropped automatically when soldering actions have been performed correctly or have failed.
Testing tool :
To check if a pattern is defect, the player has to select the testing tool and click on the patterns he wants to get information about. Press the buttons that are indicated on the testing tool : a short serie of 4 to 6 random keys from the key-set, in order to perform the test. The testing tool will display a number between one and zero that will indicate if it is working or not. If the number is above 0.5 the sector is fine, if it is below 0.49 it is defective. The testing tool doen’t need being selected again each time, to drop it, right click.
Removing components :
In order to remove components, the player has to select the peg and click on each component he wants to remove. The peg does not need being selected again each time. Click on the peg again to put it back down.
It should be possible to play with mouse only (3 buttons and moving the cursor), keyboard only (3 action keys and 4 more for moving the cursor on the screen, customisable), mouse and keyboard (action keys and mouse to move the cursor), or a gamepad.
At the top of the screen, the player can make an inventory show up (sliding down) by moving up with the cursor. The inventory automatically hides when not used. Inside the inventory, buckets with small components inside show within cells. When passing the cursor above them, the description of the compponent shows in the context sensitive help area. At the lower right corner of each inventory space, a small number indicates how many of the components are left. This can also be an infinity symbol.
The player can acces the game rules by pressin the F1 key.
The options screen will appear when pressing escape.
Difficulty levels :
There are 5 difficulty levels :
Level 1 : Soldering actions are guided by leds, there are few components to solder, only one chip on the board, no defective sectors. The map is small.
Level 2 : Soldering actions are guided by leds, there is only one chip on the board, there can be defective sectors. The map is small.
Level 3 : Soldering actions have to be done without help, there can be up to two chips on the board, there can be defective sectors. The map is big.
Level 4 :Soldering actions have to be done without help, there can be up to three chips on the board, there can be defective sectors. The map is huge.
Level 5 : Soldering actions have to be performed without help, there can be up to three chips on the board, there can be defective sector, the soldering components avable are limited (but they can be otten back with the pegs before they melt away, eg when placing them on a wrong spot.). The map is huge.
Additionnaly to that, the puzzle can be timed, independently of the difficulty level. This has to be turned on or off in the options by the player himself, or depends on the context if the puzzle is incorporated in a bigger game for example.
The context sensitive help can also be turned on and off independently.
Win and loss conditions :
The player wins if he connects the mod-chip to the main-chip and gets the current to flow normally in between and through all the components.
The player looses if the time limit is over, if he breaks one of the chips, if he runs out of needed components or if he gives up.
In game interface, appearance :
The center of the screen shows the board. The rest of the screen shows a support plate.
The board color varies depending on the game dificulty from green, blue, yellow to red. The tracks on it are always golden. It is divided into cells by a faint yellowish grid that can be hidden. Each cell of the grid is a placement occupied either by a pattern, a chip, a component or free sector, sometimes defect. Visible defect sectors look like there is a crack on the pattern.
Streaming current is shown by moving « electric flow » a bit like Xmas lights.
On the lower part of the screen lies a multimeter shows, that is partly visible. It displays visual signals giving indications about the soldering and testing procedure thanks to 3 LEDs (one for each action key). Clicking it will select the testing tool. When it is not selected, its screen can display context sensitive help.
On the right part of the screen lies the solderer, and below it can be found the peg used to remove components that have been soldered.
When using the testing tool, the result will appear on the screen of the multimeter as a number between 0 ad 1.
The basic cursor is a simple arrow. However, it will take various other shapes depending on the context :
When an item or tool is selected, the cursor should look like an icon of that item : component, soldering tool, pins of a multimeter, peg ( depending on the one selected ).
When the cursor is above a tool that can be used, it turns into the icon of a hand while the function will display in the context sensitive help bar, if that option is enabled.
When loading / waiting times, it should be a small clock with turning needles.
Start/end screens :
When starting the game, a window with broken white background, partly translucant will appear, explaining the game rules. The game starts when the player clicks on the start button of that window. The starting game also displays the best times for each dificulty level when iddle.
The player can see that he won the game because on each Chip is a green led that lights when the connection to it is right. Besides that, a window will pop up, saying “you win” :)
When loosing the game, a window will pop up saying “you loose”.
The player can set the sfx and music volume independently, and turn either of them off. The player can choose if he wants the games to be timed.
A board is composed of 16*10 cells and above. Each map has Chips, a hacking device and power supply placed, as well as 5 to 30 cells where components can (but not must) be placed. Among the component sectors, some will have an option set to « defective enabled ». The defective sectors can be related by a hierarchy.
Defective sectors as well as native components are placed automatically on the map depending on the dificulty level. The programm should check that the grid it generates is possible to solve before letting the player try it. If it is not, the programm should generate a new grid. In order to prevent that, it is possible to manually assign a hierarchy when creating a map, that will make it impossible for the game to havmake some sectors defective at the same time. There may be different solutions for a riddle though.
Key elements :
Chip A has 6 pins, Chip B has 5 pins, Chip C has 8 pins, however, only two of them will be used for solving the puzzles. The power supply has one input and one ouput (+ and -).
The patern can be added of additionnal components, that can not be manipulated. They can be vents, cooling devices, components that look diferent from anything used in the game itself.
items from a to g
The game will display some animations :
LEDS turning on and off for the soldering and de-soldering.
Smokecoming up from a component if the soldering is messed up or if it is placed in a wrong combination with eventually small sparkles. The component will then melt away leaving the cell empty again. Some smoke should come off the soldering tool from time to time. The text on the multimeter screen should scroll by when context sensitive help is active.
A counter should appear in the upper right corner of the screen when the game is timed, and count down to zero.
The camera is placed almost straight above the scene. It can not be moved by the player. It is at a distance of 30 to 40 cm from the working table.
Audio and sounds :
The background music is some kind of modern technoish noise. The sounds used should be metalic, industrial, modern. They should include parts as static, wire noise, buzzing, sound of various vents. The music should however not sound aggresive, and have a medium rythm ( not too fast, not too slow) .
For each action the player can perform, is assigned a specific sound, that reminds of the action performed. For example, picking up a tool, or putting it down. The sound of pins hiting ( touching ) something. The sound of a hand grabing into a bucket of components , the sound of smoke coming up, the sound of electric shortcircuit, a voice giving an indication about not beig able to solder a component if it has too many pins for the hole it should go into, etc. It should be realistic and discrete, though noticable.
The results of the testing will be notified by two different beep tones.
For each turning on and off of the DELs there should be a small click ( like the sound of an interuptor), different depending on the DEL whose state is changing.
When loosing and wining, a small melody or specific sound will be played ( different depending on the case )