21 September 2012

Uplink 2 ideas by Craig A. Glesner (266-2012).


This these notes are dedicated to [VR] NOBODY who I woke up (because I can't sleep while getting this out) to say don't worry about coming over today, I couldn't sleep but I will be soon. He was very cool about it.

This post has nothing to do with the usual Traveller5 ATU that I am building and posting about here normally. Though in a way it does, because even if they don't use this I will be using for my T5 ATU's cyberspace descriptions and functioning. Go back to the post before this one and later for details on the Permatic Imperium (the T5 ATU). But this post too concerns a game I love and would not mind getting a credit in, the original computer hacking role playing game, Uplink by Introversion. Well, not the original Uplink, it is way done and out for everyone. If you have not played it, go pay for a legal copy (remember: the more copies they sell the better chance of them really doing an Uplink 2) and enjoy it. Then since you too have a registered copy, enjoy the mods for it that I for some reason can't. Grrr. I will figure it out or have my IT guy look at it if he will. I maybe I didn't get rid of something the demo installed. Anyway…

Needless to say one can infer from all this rambling that I dig the hell out of the original Uplink game. That would be correct It was cool and futuristic for its day. Has neat graphics and while the soundtrack seems to be only four tracks repeated, they are damn cool tracks. What follows is a love note for the original Uplink to Introversion and plea that they do a sequel to it. by way of the vast seas of data and information that is the internet humans have really built. From a genuine paying customer. Twice since I lost my already modified legal copy of the game I had on my…oh, yeah, my old school iBook that is now cashed and kitbash waiting to be shipped out to Rustin if ever I get some real money together. Blah, blah, woof, woof. 

So on to my ideas for an Uplink 2 game (even though current research suggests there won't be a game of that name). Note there would be illustrations but I do need to hit the rack. I will try and get some done later and upload them. If some one out there wants to do some I could post those with proper credit of course instead of my rough sketches. The Ides below are presented in no particular order, it is very late for me. 

The Agent should be allowed to work for other intermediary companies. Now Agent starts with Uplink as in the original game, but if they gain enough cred they can work for other organizations. The Agent could be head hunted from Uplink to one of the Corporations to work in their cyber security department. Perhaps the International Turing Examining and Enforcement Board (ITEEB) needs some one to check out an AI protected by some deep security.

Local and Gateway System boots and logon. When the Agent first boots their local cyberspace deck after jacking in they see a single plane of boot codes that then expands to many planes. Or maybe one of those cool circles in circles loading screen like in most of the anime of Shirow's future. Instead of mostly flat system loading it is in 3-d more like spheres in spheres, like a digital Orbitron ride. One leads to the next I think, as you go from the basic 2-d interface to the 3-d. After this they get their local system in glorious 3-d of the mid-future of the original Uplink. From from this local system they link up to their Gateway and then on the Planetary Cyberspace Matrix (PCM). In amazing 3-d! The old school hackers still left from the old days when the internet became a different place will tell you what it meant to have to do command line from a console with text only. And then go on about how beautiful cyberspace is now, how truly wonderful, because in their heyday the 3-d was crudely simulated with shading applied to the programs in the interface. Then they hit you up for drink, but if they are actually that old and not some hustler, they should be loaded. Life support for some that old gets expensive.

3-d programs and system layouts. Programs are polyhedrons with glowing wireguide edges and pale, translucent faces that may be blank or display a function icon. If a System Program has multiple functions a set of controls to spin the faces will be displayed in a muted color matching the faces to below it, but it would be cool if you could move it around.. (Or should they be the glowing color of he edges?) Program type; Monitor, Proxy, or Firewall should be color coded. As should the defenses. There maybe multiple layers of security including Special Monitors that quietly trace you and then send the Feds to bust you possibly in the act. HUD and LAN viewers need to be turned into 3-d representation. It might be good to allow Agent to move from default position. 

System positions on the lattice can be default assigned by type and owner. Allow the Agent to filter the layout and save filter.

Black ICE makes the defending system's protected zones a muted dark gray. Unless cyberspace is gray, but I seem to recall it is only when booting up and then it is a 3d glowing lattice work collection of systems floating on endless deepest black. Like space itself, but with the systems and the lattice as the stars. A system that shows up on this colorful display as gray on its outside face should be avoided. Black ICE can of course not just trace the Agent but if it completes its trace and gain control of the Agents Gateway will try and kill them remotely through the cybernetic connection. 

Multiple sources for Software and Gateways other than Uplink. Sure you could buy Uplink's Black ICE Breaker 6.0, but everyone knows the real pros only use Kazauchi BICE Buster 7.6.5. The Kazauchi BICE Buster 7 series can go up against the sick Mexican stuff you see on some of the high end Government and Corporate Systems. Of course this also adds different pricing for Programs, Hardware and Gateways.

3-d movable globe for network connections. The globe is still used for mapping routes and keeping track of traces. Should includes the new satellite based systems, like say, I don't know, one of those orbital beam cannon maybe, a space station computer, the hotel internal engineering LAN, things like that. Allow the Agent to move their view point in the Planetary Cyberspace Matrix (PCM).

Of course, new Missions (such as the one mentioned above). The Uplink Agent has been hired to steal the OS and Passwords from the Orbital Beam Cannon (OBC) of the Southern American Defense Alliance (SADA). Which brings us to better Contractor AI (and AI as Contractors) and conversations. The Contact conversations really need more variety. 

New actors in the world of console cowboys. New NPC to sponsor the new Missions. A Journalist want the Uplink Agent to secure some vital data and internal media that suggests a hacker stole dangerous information from the SADA. 

Ability to save multiple connections routes and to be able to assign route IDs. See the section above about the 3-d globe.

Create your own back up ID. If your primary ID gets busted and fired by Uplink activate the backup ID and start with a noob set up. Back to square one and the one CPU and lowest Modem bandwidth. Also be able to pull Bank Heists and other Missions (possibly with friends) that if it doesn't feature Black ICE in the first couple layers it will at the SuperUser level. Also AI cores are always covered in layers of Black and and some say there is an Invisible ICE, but are vague on what it looks like or does. 

A neat option would be Clone Backups. If you get zapped, you can be uploaded into a clone body. Not cheap. Doing the back ups for the clone require frequent visits to the facility that is handling that clone.

Stock Market Plus. You can create a Corporation. Manipulate the International Stock Exchange in whole new ways from the inside. Or maybe just quietly buy your own Servers. As the SuperUser and Owner you can clear and maybe even modify the Logs. 

What's that? You say the SADA has to sell their OBC due to security breaches and the collapse of their stock. They say it has new failsafe system that was being readied for installation before the hacker stole the OS and Passwords, but is it true? And how much do they want for it?

Cybernetics for the Agent. Allows the Agent to have upgrades for them. Now not only can you upgrade the same stuff as the first Uplink, but now you can get stuff for yourself. Imagine if you are your own deck. Maybe you have an internal satellite connection. Could be you are very old and maybe once bold Agent and you have those and more.

More Time manipulation. It would be cool if you could buy a set of special cyberware systems (possibly an experimental or prototype stuff with all that might entail.) that jacks up your reactions and allow you slow time. In the original that plot gets rolling fast. And sadly about when I am getting ready to enter the fray, I get caught for having slipped up somewhere. Or maybe got a bit to bold..and oh yeah, slopped a Mission of course. Not necessary, but it would be neat. 

Should be cross platform. And by cross platform I mean all the OSs out there, Mac, Linux, Microsoft, probably a few I am missing and released to all platforms at once. Not sure if the original Uplink was or not, but it should be possible these days you would think.

Larger Soundtrack. As I said above the tracks in the original are cool and atmospheric but more variety would be a good feature. Needless to say, it needs to be as neat as the first one.

Artificial Intelligence(s) or AI (used for plural and singular).  AI are not only physical infrastructure and a computer system, but they are also NPCs and can give the Agent Missions perhaps with the ITEEB and its Corporation or maybe on the sly trying to stay ahead of the Feds and Turing Boys, using the Agent as a disposable proxy. Maybe it has other employs. They have distinct personalities and methods of communicating with the Agent. If an AI is caught exceeding its proper authority and charter it can be tried and have various sentences carried out on it. Rumor says there is a secret cabal of rouge AI and ITEEB is carefully probing the truth of these rumors. But then that last bit is pretty much its own rumor. Dealing with AI is complicated, but can be extremely rewarding. A friendly AI or one that owes you a favor might help the Agent with a Mission if only to do some digging if it can't actively participate in the Mission. 

Okay, done with proofing, tome for sleep and Archive Tags might have to wait till later. Like I said Introversion may not ever make an Uplink 2, but that does not stop us from hoping some one does something right proper like what an Uplink 2 could have been. If no one has put this forth just yet and the world being what it is probably not, but just in case, I get credit for the original outline of features for the game. And maybe even a cut or some greater input would be appreciated, acknowledged and generally cool.

Well off to bed, smiling at my in jokes. Yeah, they are in there kids. Points for spotting and reporting. (Note: the management of the Thornwood.Daarnulud Institute make no claims as to what points might mean or do.) Enjoy.

Laterness,
Craig.

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Citizen, Subjects, Travellers and others are warned that the Imperium does encourage a certain amount of democracy, but never forget, here you are in the Domain of the Imperium.

Please do not make me be a Tyrant.

Thank you,
Lord Craig A. Glesner,
Count Smoug, Viscount Alell, Marquis Malroy & Phlume, Baron Donu-na,
Knight Retainer of the Emperor for Salla, Inarli, & Bhuur,
Knight Retainer of the Baron Jacha,
Knight Retainer of the Baronet Kiind,
Knight of the Third Imperium for Trane,
Travellers' Aid Society Member # 0543.