Hacking/Computer interface in a game



I’m trying to come up with a system where the player interacts with a computer/electronic interface on doors, vaults, etc, to sort of hack around and get access to various devices connected to the system. Think Watch_Dogs but without the poor connect-puzzle-nodes-to-hack crap.

I want it to reflect some actual but very basic hacking/coding but without it being too convoluted for non-coders to understand. The closest implementation I could find is Quadrilateral Cowboy but I don’t want to rip-off the whole thing from the game. Some Are there any other games with similar mechanics I can check out? Any other ideas that you’d suggest?


Zachtronics has some games that might fall into this space, although they might feel a bit too hardcore rather than make it easy for the user :stuck_out_tongue: - http://www.zachtronics.com/ But it may give you some more ideas :slight_smile:

Duskers is something you might want to look at as well - http://duskers.misfits-attic.com/

Also Gunpoint had a puzzle like hacking(?) mechanic as well. - http://www.gunpointgame.com/

Introversion made Uplink a long time ago and then there are other games (Hacknet, Hacker Evolution etc) along those lines. - https://www.introversion.co.uk/uplink/

#shamelessplug - I made something for the last Ludum Dare :smiley: which is hacky and puzzly - https://yadu.itch.io/crabbot


One game that comes to mind which sort of uses programming to hack into devices is Else Heart.Break()

It gives you a minimal syntax to use to access / hack doors, terminals and even everyday objects like coffee mugs :stuck_out_tongue:

If its something along the lines of simply programming maybe do something with flowcharts? Like have a mechanic that can allow flowchart manipulation. Since programming can be seen as managing the flow of data maybe have a visual way of doing that and make it act as a puzzle?

Curious to know what you come up with! :slight_smile:


Pony Island has a simple programming interface that you could look at.


Wow, thanks for all the replies. I’ll look into as many of those games as possible over the weekend. I don’t want to overwhelm the players but at the same time I don’t want to end up with something like that stupid hacking mini-game from Arkham Games. I need it to be tightly tied to the actual gameplay instead of being a standalone thing.



I think I’ll go with a nice balance of GUI (C.S.I. style click-to-hack) and pseudocode of some sort (Door.Open(), Lights.On(lightIndex), etc).

For example, if the player has ‘explored’ enough (checking manuals, notepads, other interactive items in the game) and gathered enough information, they’ll get a branching GUI interface to navigate through the options in the computer to connect and alter the states of the connected devices. If not, they’ll have to use some ‘code’ to to “hack” their way in through some parts of the GUI which won’t be easily accessible.

Just the framework for an idea. I’ll try and build on it.

I’ll make a post if/when I’m satisfied with what I come up with (for some feedback :P).