So here it is, the start of my development blog for a game I'm working on called Hack The Planet.
One or more of you out there might notice the blatent Hackers reference, if not, you're missing out on one of the best worst films ever made :]
I'm trying to think of what I consider influences for HTP, but I'm drawing somewhat of a blank, likely because I have very little idea of how the gameplay will work yet. I suppose I am inspired by Introversion's excellent offerings Uplink and Defcon. But as great as those games were, they really just set the scene, and I always craved more realism, scope and emergent gameplay. So that's what I hope to achieve with HTP.
HTP didn't start out as a game project, in fact, it started out as a silly little lunch break project to take my mind off my day job. It started life as a little graphical representation of some command line processes.
I could start a ping process, wire it to a port scanner process, and fire the result over to an echo node. The output produced by the processes would flow around the system, they could be filtered, diverted, thrown away, and consumed by other processes.
This little distraction of a project went on a for a couple weeks of lunch breaks, then one day I found myself in a bar around the corner from work with no Wifi. Annoyed that I couldn't work on my project, I thought to myself "Oh well, I guess I could just fake the internet, yeah.. how hard could that be". So I made my own little internet. It started as a simple fake google.com I could ping and poke at and it would produce results similar to the real thing. Yay I though, I can carry on.
But then I got a little obsessed with the idea of creating a functioning internet inside my computer... even when I had access to the real thing, I kept on developing my simulated one. The project took on a life of it's own, I didn't care about the original idea any more, this thing was almost writing itself. I poured through RFCs, tried to expand my knowledge of the inner workings of the net, what made it tick, then reproduced what I learnt with my net-in-a-box.
Things started to get unwieldy though. Even with a save/load system, creating and recreating these small networks was becoming cumbersome. I must have built hundreds upon hundreds of computers and networks. Carefully placing the PSUs, CPUs, network adaptors, OSs, kernels, individual processes. It became obvious this wouldn't scale. Procedural generation was the only option.
This is when things got interesting, when I realised I knew what I wanted to create. I wanted to make an internet simulator, built around a fully functioning, breathing internet, made up of millions of computers, thousands of networks, hundreds of locations. I didn't and still don't have any clue how I'm going to make this into a game, but it's the most interesting project I've ever worked on in my career so fuck it, here goes :]