Ludum Dare 31 — December 5th-8th, 2014 — Theme: Entire Game on One Screen

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The Operator

by little-burrito - Compo Entry

Neo. The one. Amazing. Incredible. But what about the operator? Now this isn't just about The Matrix, but just to make a point - what about when Morpheus tells him over the phone where he can hide from the agents? What about when Tank loads the training programs for the sparring simulator? This game is about the hero hacker. The Operator.

I had a much grander vision (surprise!) of this being a multiplayer game, where you're two people playing on the same computer - one person is the agent and the other one is the operator. I didn't get very far, but that's the idea. For now the one agent in the one mission will be remotely controlled by my incredibly incredible AI (Artifical Intelligence). The scripting system came along quite well though, it was my first attempt at a proper console. If I remade one I'd know what to change from this one :)

If you have the energy to download the game and run it in fullscreen, native mode, the console will look much better. Just saying. You don't have to though. Man, I've got to go to bed. I'm doing this from the wrong timezone.

************ POST COMPO ************

I haven't been able to work as much as I've wanted to, but there's been a little bit of post compo stuff done. Most of all, I've reworked the commands system and made some improvements to the missions system, so now it's pretty easy to make new missions. :) I'll keep uploading the latest version in web format here:

There WILL be more coming.

Downloads and Links




Domicuc says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 1:34pm

Just W.O.W .. if you like tower defense,check my project x)

panda says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 7:26pm

WOW, I love it! This is so ambitious! So much potential in there! It'll take a lot more than one weekend to flesh it all out, but I hope you do, because I love what I've seen so far!
I agree that this could make a really fun two-player game. Somehow you have to make sure that every player has something to contribute, something a little bit challenging. For example if there is time pressure then the operator is all about quickly figuring out what to do, what to type, all that.
This reminds me a little bit of (and that's a good thing!)

Dec 8, 2014 @ 9:50pm

Thank you!
I'm totally thinking along those lines - in fact this type of concept first came to me when a friend of mine tried my Oculus Rift, and as he started getting overwhelmed by enemies, I tried to give him god mode through the console. We both saw exactly the same thing (both the enemies and the console output on top), and that's when it occurred to me something like this would be awesome. I envision something like the players needing to defeat a giant 8-armed killing machine, and the agent has to get close enough for the operator to read the ids on its arms. The agent has to survive for long enough for the Operator to disable the shields or something, and then the agent can start taking the machine down. Then the operator needs to lock on to a specific piece of the machine so that the agent can fire its target seeking missiles. Or how about a scenario where the agent would get overwhelmed by small enemies as the operator would try to open and escape hatch. I think it would be so cool, and I think the Rift would be perfect (but not necessary) for this idea. The agent should use some other form of controller as as well, like a ps3 controller, and I want them both to look at the same monitor, seeing exactly the same image. When you get to see what the Terminator is seeing in the movie, that's a huge inspiration :)

Wezley says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:12pm

I REALLY like this game! The console is incredibly confusing, but the game is really nice! Good job!

Blockers says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:19pm

very merry christmas to you too :)

really fun game, once i figured it out, the original idea you had in mind sounds like a REALLY fun game, so if you ever get around to prototyping it, ill totally try it <3

okkolobr says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:31pm

Great job man (or woman, for that I know) !
This is exactly the kind of brilliant idea I wish I had this week end !
Good take on the theme, nice mechanics and cool realisation. Would love to play a more complete version, when you will have time to work on one !

Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:36pm

Really ambitious game ! Awesome concept !

DaRaziel says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:42pm

This is amazing! I like the idea very much!
You should definitely put some more time into fleshing this out. For the confusing console problems: Probably simply update your map as soon as you have scanned the target so people can recall those IDs even if they don`t see it any more in the console.
I would like to see a follow-up version of this! Great stuff!

Dec 9, 2014 @ 12:13am

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the positive feedback! I can definitely see what the problem is with the console. I want there to be walls of text loading because it looks cool, but at the same time it's in the way because there's so much you need to sort out. I should try to build some visual hierarchy there.
I'm getting the feeling I should try to add a more advanced mission. Maybe tomorrow, as a little update, who knows!
Thanks for all the feedback and tips!

pixzleone says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:38pm

Very very cool!

stray says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:38pm

Wow. Amazing. just polish it. I'll play it for a long time.

floorman says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:39pm

Wow! I love it! Really fun little game and your adaptation of the theme is awesome! =D

raisedmedia says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:44pm

hey it doesn't seem to load for me on the web or mac download, after username and password verification it freezes.

Dec 10, 2014 @ 1:18am

Thanks guys! I'm working on some little extra stuff, first off all rebuilding the console to make it easier to extend and with a clearer visual hierarchy inside.

Raisedmedia, that's weird... it's not really loading anything, it's just doing a WaitForSeconds command, so it's probably Unity + OS related. It works on my MacBook Air. Are you able to input anything?

LabOne says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 7:48am

Very cool concept. If you know, the same concept was in one of the James Bond promo site, but you did much better!
It's hard to find the link.

Germanunkol says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 8:33am

Great idea. You should continue, and I love the idea of a hotseat multiplayer.

Before having read your comment above, I thought "the agent would need to use some second controller - great to see that this is exactly the plan.

I liked the console - but in a future version, colors and tab complete (latter being the more important) would be nice.

Dec 11, 2014 @ 8:47am

Very interesting idea, well worth taking further. I think the challenge will be getting the player familiarised with the various commands (I got stuck on the second door because I forgot I had to target it first). I actually think this might work better as a single player game with an AI agent, but co-op is certainly worth exploring if you can give both players enough to do. Well done!

Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:18am

I've finished version 2 of the input system and converted the current commands to new format - I've totally rewritten it from scratch to make it much more extensible, and I've fixed a bug that was killing me in the missions system, so now I'm ready to build a new level or two, and perhaps make this first one into something that's close to what I wanted it to be.

@LabOne Oh that's cool! I do vaguely remember a really cool looking screen on a James Bond promo site, it must have been the most recent one. Thanks :)

@Germanunkol Thanks! I'm telling you, I had to stop myself from making a tab complete command so many times, but I spent pretty much the whole first day on things like making the input work, adding commands like clear/cls, making the up/down arrows load previous commands, making ctrl + arrow keys jump whole words, making control + backspace and control + delete work too, and then I just couldn't keep going! What I ended up doing was making shorthands for pretty much all the commands, so rather than typing l<tab> for list, you can type ls and it will understand. Unfortunately I never got the point where I could properly communicate that. I'll definitely look into adding it later though, but for it'll have to wait until I've tested some more missions and possibly some multiplayer, as a more in-depth proof of concept. In the new version of the input system I've also added some visual hierarchy to the output, and I think that makes most things easier.

@UrbanLogicGames Thanks! Yeah, that's definitely a huge challenge. The way I've rewritten the input system now is so that if you for example try to do something that requires a target, then it will say how to perform that target command. If you try to target something without a connection, it will tell you how to perform that connection command. If you enter the target command in the wrong way, it will tell you how to enter the target command. The idea is that it should automatically try to figure out what you're trying to do and give you valuable feedback. If you're completely lost you can enter the help command, and if you're still lost it basically says "if you don't know what to do, list the missions" and then you can do so. Then the missions list should guide you from there. That's idea anyway, we'll see how it goes. Hey, now that I think of it, maybe I should make a note taking system, that'd be cool :) But yeah, there's also a balance between me wanting loads of text and commands (so that it'll become almost action gameplay later on) and at the same time allowing new users to enjoy the game and never start by reading through a giant, boring readme file. I mean, this is a GAME after all :) I think for now I'll keep it as a single player game, but although the audience for same-computer-multiplayer-games seems to have been pretty small since something like 20-30 years ago, I think it'd be so cool for this, because it's also a matter of communication and balance of the operator wanting many tools the screen, but too many tools will be a problem for the agent. That kind of stuff. But yeah, giving both players rewarding and fun roles is another huge challenge for this concept. I never want it to feel like you're just waiting for the other one (except when it's a cool feature, like if the agent needs defend itself while the operator tries to hack something - that would put a time limit on both of them, but BOTH players would be benefited by the other player doing a good job).

Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:21am

@Germanunkol again, I think I just figured out an incredibly easy way to make tab complete (and possibly with a visual guide in the command line as well), so I might have to implement it like right now. Ok, so tab complete coming up! :)

Dec 11, 2014 @ 4:43pm

Alright, so tab completion and note taking in the game! Man that tab completion makes a world of difference.

Dec 11, 2014 @ 4:44pm

PS: I'll keep uploading the latest version here:

OldPeculier says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 7:25pm

Terrific. Amazing!

Sh1rogane says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 7:53pm

This is a really good start for a interesting game. It is already fun and with more things to do and more in-depth, this could become a really good game.

Dec 11, 2014 @ 8:37pm

Really neat idea, and well executed. Nice entry. :)

Dec 11, 2014 @ 10:40pm

Thank you guys! I'll keep working and soon there will be some cool new missions! :-)

nassi says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 5:27pm

What is this, an "Install Gentoo 2014"-simulator?!? Just kidding, it was a superb experience, especially so considering it was a compo entry!

I like the idea of different types of people being able to enjoy it, like the agent has to be more of an action game person while the operator is the puzzle-enthusiast. Somewhat reminds me of hacking stuff in Alien Swarm while my friends tried to keep the area clear of the endless swarm of aliens.

Bookmarking the page with the current version for later!

sapermysz says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 6:07pm

Very nice game and concept!

Dec 12, 2014 @ 6:11pm

Haha, that's a good sign though! I think I spent most of the time on extra commands like arrows up & and down, home, end, ctrl+backspace and so on. In a way I hope this, in parallel with being a fun game, could be a good introduction to the terminal for people who aren't used to it. I tried to add in aliases for the commands I know on multiple systems, like list is also dir and ls, and clear is also cls.

So cool of you to do that, thanks for the feedback! I'm excited to keep gong! :-)

chakitp says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 7:17am

I liked the Concept. I think visuals could be more effective..

Pinpickle says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 8:36am

Wicked. The two player one needs to happen so people like me can finally have fun playing an FPS.

So good that I didn't even think about its relevance to the theme until I came here to write about your game. Now that I do think about it, it's a really creative take on it!

This could easily be some sort of online deathmatch sort of thing - which would save you the need to create a whole campaign and all that.

If I'm going to be picky, the 3D graphics could have used some work. But the terminal itself was beautiful.

Please add tab completion to the new version!

Dec 13, 2014 @ 11:17am

Agreed, everything but the console is totally place holder!

@pinpickle interesting - how do you envision death match gameplay?
Oh, and there IS tab completion in the new one!

Soon there will be another level or two as well. :-)

nesis says ...
Dec 16, 2014 @ 2:03pm

A very promising kind of game, with the potential for interesting and complex strategies played out between operators and agents! I like how well fleshed-out the console was, it felt much like using consoles I've used before.

Dec 18, 2014 @ 10:15am

Thanks again for the feedback, @nesis!

Dec 19, 2014 @ 11:41am

Merry Christmas for you, agent #38321! Very good realization for Compo. There are twist with 3D, clear controls, no timepressing, smooth learning curve and talking character.

camlang says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 12:33pm

Nice job! Fun little game!

Dec 19, 2014 @ 12:44pm

I'm glad you like it! A time limit is actually something I want to add in to the game, but through how the agent plays. Depending on what the agent chooses to do, that could give you a lot of time or barely any at all - that would depend on the kind of team you want to be. I think that could be a cool mechanic if I can make it work in practice.

rantt says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 3:08pm

Really cool take on the theme. Definitely has a lot of potential. I really enjoyed it, wish I could play more :)

Simon says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 3:13pm

This was so cool I felt like a hacker, it's a great game. Well done!

Tuism says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 3:22pm


It's a shame that there's not enough content there, but what little there was I was absolutely blown away. I didn't look at anything before starting the game, and thought "oh look command prompt"

When the 3D view came up OMFG I SHANT MYSELF :D

Awesome :D

VERY inspirational. Always wanted a hacking game that was worth a shit :)

Tuism says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 3:25pm

I mean ever since Uplink got way too impossibly hard because of hidden elements I've been itching at something worth playing. This might be it :)

Kudos kudos kudos! :D

FlipskiZ says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 4:03pm

Very unique idea, shame you couldn't do what you had planned for. But otherwise the game is pretty polished and this could potentially be a very neat concept for a full game.

PapyPilgrim says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 5:45pm

woohoo another command line game.

Ok, I have just one thing to say on the subject : don't fret to much about the lack of tab-completion in your game. I spent way too much time implementing it in my own entry, and the result was more confusing than anything else I think. I actually reworked it a lot in my post-compo version.

I am against a time limit though. It would be very hard for you to balance it properly (since not everyone has the same typing speed) and would be very frustrating for some players if you fail to do to so.

merry christmas to you too!

gre says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 8:06pm

very cool concept and take on the theme

mathmadlen says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 10:20pm

Cool concept, the 3d environment was a nice addition to the console /if slightly making it harder to read/. I love how talkative the agent was...
Some ambient sounds would be a good addition, but other then that, great job!

Dec 19, 2014 @ 10:24pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! I'm really glad you enjoyed the game! There'll be more of it coming up, I just have to find the time to keep working.

I'm really happy with how the tab complete ended up in the post compo version, I think it feels like typing on clouds :)

I think balancing a time limit would be one of the most challenging parts of creating this game, but it's something I want to try, and I think making it dynamic could be a good solution. The agent could either hide a lot and go very slow (essentially giving you no time limit except that you have certain time windows to catch certain pieces of information, but if you miss them, you can try again in a little while), or the agent could just shoot it's way through the level if the hacker is fast enough to more or less get everything on the first try.

Dec 19, 2014 @ 10:26pm

I must also add that I was surprised to see that it turned out relatively well balanced in terms of progression. I had such big visions for the first level, but it ended up a lot less grand than I had in mind. In hindsight, that was great, because it would have been WAY too much to learn for a first level.

Dec 19, 2014 @ 10:59pm

@mathmadlen Yeah, I definitely need to go over the color scheme. The intention was to make the agent just say cool, agenty things, but then when I just tried writing something I kind of found it hilarious with a super serious agent that was really just small talking while the hacker did all the work!

Dec 20, 2014 @ 8:25pm

Very fun! I've never seen a text-based game like this before, and I think you did a great job of pulling it off. I would love to see more levels in the future!

Dec 22, 2014 @ 8:05am

Thank you! I hope to bring some, too :)

Kabukky says ...
Dec 25, 2014 @ 6:13am

I think you have something here. It's a very unique blend of game mechanics. Please flesh it out for a post LD release :)

BlackBulletIV says ...
Dec 26, 2014 @ 12:34pm

Great concept. I've seen a console concept before, but this one was far more fleshed out and fun to use. A shame you couldn't finish your idea.

Dec 30, 2014 @ 1:44am

Thanks guys! I'm very excited to add new features, I might find some time now in the coming days :)

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