August 23rd-26th 2013 :: Theme: 10 Seconds

Ludum Dare 27 — August 23rd-26th, 2013
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NSA's Where's Snowden?

by Will Edwards - Jam Entry

< Satire alert>
A former NSA IT analyst has gone ronin*, sharing the firm's innermost secrets with the outside world and posing a major threat to the agency's credibility with Washington, the public and beyond. If Edward Snowden's leaks keep coming, you can forget the plush Christmas parties, and chances of promotion out of the department.

As the NSA's best analyst-agent it is up to you alone to save the agency from the curse of this ronin agent. Your mission is to ensure that he no longer represents a threat.

Logging in to the Cyber Remote Analyst Portal (CRAP) you can hack flight traffic, track suspects and ultimately guide your own agents onto the same plane as the target. The CRAP has several windows (It is designed to look a lot like Windows 95/ME, the dated feel is deliberate!) which can help you track him down. A bit of detective work is required. In particular, make good use PRISM, a database query interface that allows you search flights and manage a watchlist.
<Satire end>

Gameplay & Dev notes:
You get information and can control your agents via the email app.
Using PRISM is central to the game. The PRISM database allows you to see and even edit fights (within limits!). It understands basic SQL (we wrote a parser for this game!) but if you are rusty with your SQL you can always type HELP" to be annoyed our office assistant. We didn't have time to write all the SQL help, unfortunately. Watch the comments section of this entry for additional SQL hints.
There's a map that shows you the airports (click on the airports) and flights in the air.
The Intel Dossier app gives you an overview of people of interest, including Snowden.

Ways to win:
a) Get one or more of your agents onto the same aircraft as Snowden
b) Use flight manifest hacking (via PRISM) to delete Snowden from the manifest (he's under an Alias!) whilst he's in flight. He'll be detained at the airport he lands at. If it's a friendly airport he'll be arrested and deported back to USA so you win. HOWEVER, if it's a neutral or hostile airport he'll get asylum and you lose, so be careful with this power.

We didn't want to make a game that only lasted ten seconds so we tried to embed the theme inb a way that was fundamental yet subtle. So the game is played out at high speed: TEN SECONDS = TEN MINUTES. Flight times are calculated to be realistic based on the specifications of the aircraft. Exact details like flight plans and embarkation lists is randomly generated. NPCs are based on real life people related to the story (see dossier). A lot of realism has been added, including airport locations, airlines etc. It's not all 100% accurate but it took a lot more research than we bargained for.

The game starts with Snowden and several other characters situated in various major world airports. Snowdon and Assange are travelling under fake identies and heading for a safe haven, which will be an airport in a 'Hostile' country. In an effort to keep you off their trail, they will take circuitous routes. The RV destination, routes and aliases will be different every time you play.

This is a Jam entry by William Edwards (concept, coding) and Wombatica (opinions, artwork, research & content). To be honest it started as a solo entry but Wombatica kept sticking his nose in. We had so many big ideas but we ran out of time.
If you move the windows around (please do!), be careful not to move your mouse too fast.

*Ronin. In ancient Japan a Ronin was a masterless Samurai, ergo an agent who goes freelance.

Downloads and Links




mpath says ...
Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:48pm

Check your submission, I see no links.

Canobie says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:12am


nathanhoffer says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 3:20am

Holy smokes. Very crazy. I appreciate this. Very much.

wombatica says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 5:16am

Thanks guys! Hopefully this goes down well :-)

We ran out of time so the dossier isn't finished and there are few plot setting emails. Might do a minor post compo release just on that.

raincole says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:37am

It seems cool but I dont know how to play.
And the theme is not surveillance.

Lidfrid says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:39am

Where's the theme?! Anyway, cool ambience

Rick Hoppmann says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:40am

Haha :D Now that's good black humour!! :D :D

yetatore says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 8:41am

Holly shit, thats amassing! Its the perfect game of freaks (aka. ME xD)... Only with the 1 letter password, the command interpreter with SQL support and the facking windows clip, you stole my heart :p

dancingflame says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:16am

Crazy idea~ good job~

Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:17am

Great and very, very impressive work! Game is a tad complex for me right now after the lack of sleep induced by the jam, but I will come back and try to really complete it. The theme is not really there though, but you still did an amazing job!

dumasflo says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:23am

Impressive !

Spaceoff says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:37am

Oh my god this is amazing. Glad you made this even though the theme wasn't surveillance in the end.

immanuela says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:44am

5 star's for humor, I burst out laughing from the title itself but the "secure passwords are at least 1 character long" and the emails finished me off hahaha

immanuela says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 9:50am

Athough I'm confused on how to play. I booked flights for my agents but what do I do afterwards?

wombatica says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:04am

Keep up the encouragent guys.

We kinda put the theme to one side and built the game we (read Will) wanted to. The 10-seconds thing is there in the game speed but we wanted it to be a deep game.

Some play hints.
To play smart you need to figure out the SQL (see help in Prism window).. Look for people who are flying from Moscow (code DME) to hostile locations as final destination (via multiple airports, not direct). Assume Snowden will be under fake ID. then, when your target is in the air on-route to a friendly country, delete their record from the flight itinerary. Bingo.
Or try to get your agents onto the same flight but that's a bit harder I think.

namuol says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:15am

Insanely detailed! I'll have to come back to read through everything. How much of this did you write from scratch for the compo?!

Will Edwards says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:24am

@namuol basically all of it :) I made the SQL parser on Friday as warmup 'framework', but by the end of the contest I'd rewritten a lot of it anyway! Wombatica made lots more content - emails, subplots etc - that we never got time to incorporate. Wasted a lot of time trying to programmatically generate reasonable flight schedules....

Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:34am

lol, crazy idea

Tanser says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 11:26am

Interesting, I did not see the theme though. Also is there any audio? :)

Larzan says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:02pm

Haha, like the political approach you took, although i have to admit that i lack the patience to go through all the text, a bit too slow paced for me.

Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:42pm

Hah, completely unexpected this) What can I say, you sir are genius) Theme is just awesome!)

Headless Hobo says ...
Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:43pm

Awesome idea, but not so much with theme or game to do :/

Aug 27, 2013 @ 11:03pm

Sweet. Excellent style.

BlackBulletIV says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 5:58am

Wow, what an intricate game. I'm very impressed you managed to code a UI and SQL system within that timeframe. Must admit I didn't have the patience to see it through to completion, but I did experiment for some time (I think I missed the flight or something).

Anyway, well done.

hoqjed says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 6:04am


BadgerPriest says ...
Aug 28, 2013 @ 6:20am

Doesn't quite fit the theme, but this game is absolutely brilliantly done. I am in awe at just how much you've managed to implement and will have to check out your source code sometime. You guys deserve a medal or something.

Erhune says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 2:52pm

Very interesting (and frightening, and funny, yeah it feels weird to have both at the same time :p) concept. Props for aiming for realism!

ratalaika says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 5:16pm

good job

wombatica says ...
Aug 29, 2013 @ 6:32pm

Top four SQL queries, in this order.



DELETE FROM manifests WHERE flight = 'xxxxxx' AND pass = 'yyyyy'

udo says ...
Aug 30, 2013 @ 7:58am

That was excellent, very entertaining! Thanks for making this :)

darkshadow says ...
Sep 1, 2013 @ 7:54pm

Fun, like a more serious version of uplink. being a bit of a SQL noob, I had nowhere enough time to do anything more than run a couple of queries before Snowden escapes every time! If you work any more on this please add some way of changing how quickly time flows. Thanks to clippy and @wombatica for offering useful querries. How do you move your agents?

megashroom says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 1:33am

Wow! This was insanely deep, entertaining, and difficult.
People should suggest this game to those wishing to learn SQL.
Good luck with the increased surveilance at your house now!

wombatica says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 6:15am

darkshadow, look in the NSA internal email window. At the start there are two mails, one from each of your agents, telling you where they are and where they can fly to from there. Click on the flights you want them to take and it'll say "BOOKED". Crude by hey, it was built in quite a rush! They'll take the first one to leave and will only take the others if they return to the same airport. Each time they land they send you another mail. If you are super-keen you can plan their routes using PRISM flight details beforehand but takes some detective work.

Re speed, agreed. Just one of those things sacrificed for a) the 10 seconds theme and b) build time.

klianc09 says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 10:11am

Wow, really impressive work, writing an own SQL parser is something I would have never expected to happen within a weekend.
I mean I like such games, (I also had a similar idea if the theme would have been 'Surveillance') but at the moment this is too much SQL for me. Better get some sleep and then try it again.
(It may sound crazy, but maybe this could be used to teach SQL to students...?)

TheMaster99 says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 1:11pm

Seems like an interesting concept, but I couldn't really do much as I don't know SQL (and the help isn't particularly.. well, helpful) Good work though! Not many can say they've made a parser in a day.

darkshadow says ...
Sep 2, 2013 @ 1:17pm

@wombatica Thanks I was able to book now. Ah okay if you do anything post jam, prehaps highlight it blue like a hyper-link or something to indicate it is functional rather than just plain text.

Slowly getting to grips with querying faster, still got loads to learn. I'll let you know if I have any success catching people.

zconnelly13 says ...
Sep 3, 2013 @ 3:23pm

I feel like this was good, but I think I'd like to be lead a little better with the gameplay, at least at the start. I think this was an amazing idea and very innovative, but something to really pull me into the game would have made it better for me :)

vladimirdlc says ...
Sep 3, 2013 @ 3:50pm

Wow, this was so ambitious. I loved the idea, completely original. I found hard the instructions, specially booking a flight for the 'agents'. The use and inclusion of pseudo-sql was really cool, and I believe this could be a great didactical tool, in the lines of Oregan Trail.

Btw, it is "Caracas Simón Bolívar, Venezuela", on the game it's named a little different the site, or you did that on purpose?

Sep 4, 2013 @ 12:33am

Found this game interesting and original, sadly I could not figure it out in merely a minute. I featured it in my video compilation series of LD27 games, if you would like to check it out :)

Sep 16, 2013 @ 4:04pm

Ahaha, incredible!

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