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Hacking should be more integrated into other systems. Here are some ideas regarding that.

Currently with hacking, the big ultimate goal is to get through a door and the big proximate goal is to get to the processor. That's fine for a mini-game, but it seems like hacking is supposed to be at least as much of a 'thing' as Captaincy in Starmourn. So why not have more tie-ins to the rest of the game?

1. Junk Data. Just like bashing drops junk and incursions drop space junk, why not have hacking give you junk data? This would give FRAY information brokers an extra use, since you could JUNK SELL DATA at one in order to cash in your mailing lists, security logs, sex holo tapes and grandma's secret waffle recipes for money. It would give another variation for quest design - think a version of the creeper shells quest from Ixsei, but with Windishu ICE dropping quest items instead.

2. Hacking CAC Quest. Same idea as the current 5/5 Incursion Enemies or Obtain Samples quest, but with ICE instead. It could either be hack a certain number of terminals or (more interestingly) to delete a certain number of a specific kind of ICE 20 antivirus, 10 firewalls, 10 scanners, etc. (Antivirus ask for should be more because of how SRA work.) Alternatively, a contract reward which gives you a sliver for 50 FRAY Credits.

3. Crafting/PVP integration! Add special terminal in Tranquility Deepness where people can do HACK TERMINAL PIRATE <skill> [<org>] in order to get five random designs for a particular skill (and optionally from a particular org) added to a temporary shop in the same room at the cost of earning a bounty from that org. Want bootleg Song jumpsuits for some sort of plot? Data piracy is your answer!


  • Good suggestions. I especially like junk data.

    Let's dig a little deeper into the junk data concept. The creeper shells quest is built on the premise that we want to kill creepers. What premise is the junk data reward built on? I don't think the answer should be deleting ICE, generally. Wanting to take down all the ICE we see is not how hacking works; we want to ignore the antiviruses and hit the honeypots, the unprotected firewalls, the glitches, etc. If the junk data comes from deleting ICE, then I think the system is working against itself.

    Here's three ideas for how to get junk data:

    1. Data repositories within grids. Crack them, get data. Could make them into side objectives, and could guard them with ICE.
    2. Loot pinatas within grids. Targets of opportunity, take them out if you've got ops to spare and want to. Can have a beefy stationary version and a mobile version, if desired. I like the mobile idea better; they'd be like loot goblins, for those of you who have encountered that concept in other games.
    3. And, gleaning junk data from moving around/exploring rooms within grids. Call it skimming, perhaps. This has the benefit of making a long walk within a grid feel less bad than a fast hack. I'd limit the gain from this by making each room within the grid count only once.
    For all three ideas, must complete the password hack to take the junk data home.

    Turning to the idea of quests. I like that idea, too, but separately from the junk data idea. I'm imagining these being either black hat or white hat style hacking, where you go in and clean up a grid. Can you imagine taking a quest where you are given clearance to enter a terminal, clear out 10x malware programs within that terminal's grid, and get paid? I can imagine it. Alternatively, where you're attacking a terminal for someone, clearing out ICE to soften up a target.

    As for how much the junk data would be worth, I'd want to scale it up by terminal level and lean towards generous marks value for time spent.

  • Idea 4: make the data repository some kind of pseudo stealth thing. I'd modify the grid map design algorithm to occasionally include data repositories in which you have a few specific layouts and dedicated ICE, little challenges built into the grid. Move around the little lair getting detected by the dedicated ICE. If detected, the repository closes.
  • Expanding off of some of Steve's ideas, mine are mainly passive hack effects that I would like to see happen. Mainly to enhance/create that L337 haxxor feel. (Also, it should be paydata, not junk data, imo)

    Marks Skimming:
    Baby level embezzling, and passive. Random chance to siphon marks off a non-faction humanoid NPC in the room with you. If it fails you get a notification to move on and that NPC is marked in the system as unskimmable to you for the next 24 hours. This prevents people from just walking back and forth between Cray and Poffy on Omni for example and just raking in cash. Does not incur a bounty cause its a minuscule amount of marks. This should probably be a low amount just to drive home that embezzling is "better". If it isn't, it should be when/if this becomes an option.

    Once per RL day, you can perform a channeled action at any allied terminal to generate a redemption token for any of the factions that accept them. Cryptocurrency math, basically.

    Death_and_taxes.exe (tenative name, i can't think of anything funnier than this)
    When killing a humanoid hostile NPC, you have a chance to perform an autohack and steal some marks.

    Comms Disruption:
    When you hack a faction's comms network, instead of just listening in, you can optionally switch it off for everyone currently on it, doesn't give a notification that this happened.

    Breach Ship:
    This is probably the more controversial idea, but we got embezzling (which only affects NPCs but let me dream a little). With enough skill, and while at the shipyards you can breach someone's ship permissions and enter their ship. If you are caught onboard, you are automatically open to PVP. The owner is notified that their ship has been breached, but not by who. If you are caught doing this before you can enter, you are automatically open to PVP. Basically the scifi equivalent to picking locks, but with a few extras. It's suspicious as hell, and if anyone catches you doing it, you're in for a bad time. Reasons for doing this are left up to the person doing it.

    I forgot I was going to call myself Ike while in chargen, so now I'm Zarrach.
  • That last one is clearly controversial, given there is no current theft mechanic and that I and many others store valuables on our ships. That def should not be implemented before ship doors that actually lock.
    [Cassandra]: Poet will be unsurprised to learn that she has unread news.
  • I like Zarrach's ideas overall and agree with Poet: any means of breaching a ship's security is premature right now, and also we store stuff on ships. Lockable doors and monitoring systems would be important first steps.

    Here's another take on the skimmer. Make the skimmer a program you put into a terminal or a shop (WARES locations) by hacking the terminal (and possibly add terminals to shops). When someone uses the terminal or checks WARES, you gain some junk data. This would be considered criminal, generally, and probably tie into PVP and bounty system. I'd consider enabling skimmers on trade terminals, too.

    This raises another idea: we could have junk data gained by setting up advertising trackers on terminals and shops so that the owner of the terminal/shop could gain some marks when someone uses it. The skimmer would simply redirect those marks.

    The cryptocurrency idea is a fun one.

    Junk data, by any name, is a great idea.
  • edited October 2020
    Awesome, a hacking brainstorm thread!

    1. Remote hacking.

       Successfully hack every node along the way to the final target, hopping ever closer with each successive hack until you reach your target. Imagine a galactic "internet" of connected nodes. Every station will count as a node, every planet will count as a node, and every room will count as a node. The farther away the hacking target is, the more nodes the hacker has to hack, thus making the hack more difficult.

        So, for example, a hacker on Omni wants hack open a door on Song City. They would have to hack into Omni's telecom system, then hack into Danica Station's telecom system, then hack into Song City's communication tower, then hack into the target room, the finally hack the door. If the hacker fails a hack along the way, they will be temporarily locked out of that particular node (just like doors) and they risk losing connection to the previous hops due to timeout. They must hack their way through an alternate path or just wait it out for another chance. NOTE* Every hack along the way is a separate minigame.

        I think it would be more exciting to have many connection paths to and from every place, to encourage hackers to be persistent and dynamic. For example, a planet can have multiple data connections offworld: One or more dedicated communication towers, the PTP system, surface to ship navigation beacons (so a hacker can park their ship above the actual planet and skip a few hops), or even player deployed communication props used to circumvent established data paths.

    2. More types of hacks.

        - Signage. Hack holosigns temporarily to display your own content.
        - Speakers. Take over speakers in a room or area, if it has them.
        - Locked containers. Hack them open.
        - Control of room environment:
             - Lights. Make a room dark.
             - Life support. Make a room inhospitable.
             - Temperature. Make a room hot or icy.
             - Custom area controls. Example, raise/lower water level in an area with water.
         - Alarms. Activate or deactivate alarms.
         - Open and close doors, engage locks.
         - Surveillance. Actively see and hear through cameras or disable them.
         - Private records. See a shop's purchase history, a location's surveillance records, HETE's clone history and database.

    3. Alternate hacking minigame.

    Shortened or alternate hacking minigame for small or low level hacks. Maybe even skipped altogether for certain things. The hacking minigame will  become tedious if we're going to hack small things around the world often.

  • I only just saw this and I just came here to say I lovvve these ideas!! Plz do make. Thx. 
  • Hacking is already tedious and limited by your gigaops, which slowly drain regardless of whether or not you attack or move. So a long distance remote hack - while really awesome - is just never going to be done because you'll run out of ops by about say node three or four all just to open a door? Watchdogs level hacking is a ways off yet still.

    Trivializing terminals of a certain level would be cool though, cause a level 40 hacker shouldn't/wouldn't waste time with a level 3 door for example. Should just look at it and it hacks itself in fear.
    I forgot I was going to call myself Ike while in chargen, so now I'm Zarrach.
  • If somebody from another faction steals a sliver from your faction's CAC will it decrease the effectiveness for you and your fellow citizens? That would be most uncool.
  • Yep, it does and has done so since the CACs were made a thing.

    It's why factions protect their CACs as much as they can and why some get so angry with non-citizens who get caught even just standing in the CAC or surveillance control rooms. Even if you're not doing anything at all, as there's really only one or two reasons you'd be in there and everyone is going to jump to the theft reason, not the exploration reason. It doesn't generate those 3 slivers out of thin air, you're actually stealing slotted data slivers from that faction, which is either a marks investment on someone's part or a time investment of some length.

    I forgot I was going to call myself Ike while in chargen, so now I'm Zarrach.
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