Several months ago I pulled out my old Uplink game and decided to play it again. There is something about the game that makes it fun to play for me. The music and the atmosphere appeals to me, not to mention that cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres. I’m not sure exactly how much of Uplink would be considered cyberpunk but it shares some characteristics. While Uplink might have turned seven years old in August, I can’t help wishing there was a multiplayer version of this game. I know there are at least some other people that feel the same way.
So after being inspired I set out to look to see if anyone has already created something like Uplink. I ran across JLink (Java based clone) which appears to be practically dead. There are some other web based hacking simulations but they aren’t anything like Uplink. The two that I’m talking about are Slavehack and Hacker Project. None of the web based simulations appear to be anything like Uplink and while they have similarities, their game play is different. There is one other one that caught my eye and it’s iHacker but it appears to be single player only and filled with a lot of eye candy.
I want to make a clone but I don’t want to make an exact clone. I want it to have the feel of Uplink but the game play must be different. I don’t think many people want to play the same game entirely so it must be different enough. The game play also must change to support a large number of users. All of the users can’t be hacking banks and stealing tons of money or framing users for crimes they didn’t commit. The speed of the hacks must be changed to take a longer period of time and I don’t want to force limits of the number of computers or jobs you can do in a period of time. The most important thing is that it should be fun and it shouldn’t be horribly repetitive. It is nearly impossible to prevent that but I don’t want it to be something that happens soon. In Uplink it was more of a real time simulation and if the user disconnects and the latency took to long then that might effect game play.
Right now I have a lot of ideas and cool things that I would eventually add but nothing that makes it a “game”. I mean there is no clear objective other than to gain money and possibly appear as a top ranked player. I want to do something with alliances and make certain hacks require more than one person. I’m thinking about making a portion of the game like CTF or maybe if having something where there are specific computers which you have to keep control of or protect. It is hard to say right now. I’ve made a sample video of what I’ve completed so far. I haven’t worked on it since I’ve made the video and I’ve been very busy with work.
Update (November 04, 2008)
I just wanted to mention that this is about 20 days worth of development.