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 Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)

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Zer0Morph
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PostSubject: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:13 pm

As we release the public version of TFN 1.2 I've begun getting these crazy ideas for even more new content. As I was looking at the Feats list I started thinking, what Feats get overlooked and are basically useless. Well, Haggle used to be that way til we fixed it. So was Inspection, and that got fixed. So what's left?

Well, Intimidation really needs some serious work and so does Hacking and Lockpicking. I would agree that Dodge and Sneaking are both lacking big time but I can't do much about that. Let's talk about Hacking first.

Hacking is obviously good for getting into computer systems and it even nets a little experience over the course of the game too, but what if someone wanted to specialize in Hacking and get it to 10. You know, be like Mitnick, would that even be viable considering how much experience it would take to do it? Would you even use Hacking 10 for anything? So that got me thinking, what if becoming a world premiere kindred hacker like Mitnick was possible, how would I implement that?

So I began playing around with a World-Wide TCI Online Banking System for World of Darkness. This bank would be "the bank" that most kindred and kine use in the world. I thought, how cool would it be if your character could "hack and steal" the money in both kindred and kine's bank accounts. So, I began working on it, quietly, in the long hours of the night.

Here's how it works. There are a total of 17 hackable desktops and laptops in the game that range from a difficulty skill of 5-10. The harder the bank account is to hack, the more money you will retrieve. The money then gets sent to your haven mailbox, you gain 1 XP point, and lose 1 Humanity if you have 6 or more. Here's the chart.



It's a very simple system and it works well. I've been playing around with it. I need some time to play with balancing but I think this gives the players an incentive to specialize in hacking now and gives Auspex players even more benefit to specialize in Auspex. Smile

Let me know your thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:13 am

I really like it. It's not so big that it would force everyone to become a hacker, but at the same time it provides a nice benefit to those who become hackers for style.

Another thing you could to to promote hacking is if the e-mails you get for Mitnick's Schrecknet questline didn't give you the passwords for any of the computers so you'd have to hack them all yourself.


As for Lockpicking, I think there are two main issues:
- Lockpicking 5 will get you through 90% of the doors in the game and there is nothing really worthwile behind the remaining 10%.
- Everybody has Bloodbuff, which means everyone can temporarily increase their Lockpicking ability. Which in turn means nobody is ever going to max out their Lockpicking feat.

The solution to the second problem is simple enough (play around with the attributes that feats are based on), but it would lead to a whole new discussion about attributes that I don't want to get into right now. Besides, the first problem is a bigger offender than the second (Bloodbuff still costs blood to use afterall).

So let's focus on the first problem instead. One thing that comes to mind is the Fu Syndicate. When you enter there's an inactive computer on the front desk and an unlockable door on the right. The same door through which you later get to exit. And there's even one of those little passcode computer thingies next to it. So why not make the computer on the desk hackable (so you can learn the passcode) and the door possible to lockpick at difficulty 7 or 8. That way hackers & burglars get to bypass the boring linear vampire killing experiment.

And in general you could drop locked loot chests at various locations where it would make sense. Maybe in the Tremere chantry there could be a locked chest with an occult item in it and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:38 am

I've been messing around with both Hacking and Lockpicking all night. I've done some pretty cool little features that add some spice to this, for instance, I created a laptop for David Hatter and placed it on the counter where he stands at the Lucky Star. This is where he writes his papers. When you hack it and steal his money, he's standing right there watching you, so after you're done, he breaks into dialogue and threatens to call the police if you don't leave. From there you can use Serpentis, Persuasion, Intimidation, or a regular response and the situation is handled accordingly.

Another instance is with VV. She now has a laptop sitting on the counter where she initially stands, then asks you to walk upstairs with her. You need a Hacking skill of 9 or higher to crack her bank account and read her emails. If you have a Hacking skill of 9, you can tell her that you'll be up in a moment but you need to check something on her laptop first. From there you can read her emails, which are an easter egg that involves me, haha! And you can hack her bank account too.

I did something similiar with lockpicking and Kilpatrick's new cash box. Kilpatrick paces back and forth and smokes cigarettes so he never leaves the room. If you lockpick his cash chest, he'll turn around and begin shooting you with his new .37 revolver, unless you're Obfuscated of course. From there you can kill him, feed on him, or punch him and he'll freak out and cower in a corner. Over time he'll revert back to a non-hostile state and you can talk to him normally.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:46 am

Dragatus wrote:
I really like it. It's not so big that it would force everyone to become a hacker, but at the same time it provides a nice benefit to those who become hackers for style.

You bring up a good point too! I love how Haggle works now but you're almost forced to invest in Haggle because of how important it is now, almost too important (as Malkav would say). Setting up a Hacking and Lockpicking system that allows you to gain money is a great way to off-balance the importance of Haggle. Now you can earn a big amount of money without ever touching Haggle.

I plan on doing this with Intimidation by setting up a street mugging system that allows you to rob people blind right there on the street, to gain cash. More on that later.
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Childe of Malkav
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:06 am

Yup, allowing the player to get some money without the need for haggling is a good idea. This will allow you to buy the books, and still have money for weapons and ammo...
You might also consider reevaluating the research requirements for the high grade books. Having to pay a shitload of money and spending lots of xp for research often makes it easier to directly spend the xp on the ability.

geek 

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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:45 pm

I agree with you on that, Malkav. Something I've been pondering for awhile now. Maybe the email college could've found a place in TFN after all. Something to think about.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:06 pm

There are 12 books so my plan for them when I tweak TFN is to redo them so there's one for each ability and they're all basic and they don't require any research.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:17 pm

I like what you are saying, Zer0. Don't stop...

*tries to sit like VV, but tail gets in the way*
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:20 pm

Dragatus wrote:
There are 12 books so my plan for them when I tweak TFN is to redo them so there's one for each ability and they're all basic and they don't require any research.

What would research be used for then?

Feral wrote:
I like what you are saying, Zer0. Don't stop...

*tries to sit like VV, but tail gets in the way*

I love you, Feral!  I love you 
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:23 pm

Zer0Morph wrote:
Dragatus wrote:
There are 12 books so my plan for them when I tweak TFN is to redo them so there's one for each ability and they're all basic and they don't require any research.

What would research be used for then?

There will be no Research feat as such. Instead I'll use it to show the blood timer (which I'm going to modify too).
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:37 am

Dragatus wrote:
Zer0Morph wrote:
Dragatus wrote:
There are 12 books so my plan for them when I tweak TFN is to redo them so there's one for each ability and they're all basic and they don't require any research.

What would research be used for then?

There will be no Research feat as such. Instead I'll use it to show the blood timer (which I'm going to modify too).

Whoa huh? How are you going to do that? You've got me curious now, kind've a cool idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:10 am

Here's what I did in my CE installation.

1) In vamputil.py I set
Code:
BLOOD_MAX_COUNT = pc.CalcFeat("Research")
and changed the timer to check every 60 seconds instead of 30.
2) In feats.text I renamed "Research" into "Blood Timer" and set it to be based on Stamina and Humanity
3) And in traiteffects000.txt I gave all clans a -3 penalty to Research.

This gives me the a bloodloss timer of Humanity+Stamina-3 minutes. That's 4 minutes for a character with 6 Humanity and 1 Stamina and in general it ranges from 0 to 12. I had it drop to zero once and it was nasty. Twisted Evil 

If you want to keep your formula you simply leave the bloodcounter to check every 30 seconds and give all the clans a +1 bonus instead of the penalty. Though this won't be exactly the same because the player benefits from having Humanity higher than 6. But IMO that's fine because at the moment keeping Humanity high doesn't give significant benefits. You do get penalized for letting it drop, but you don't get rewarded for keeping it high.

A cool thing this allows me to do now is easily make histories that modify the Blood Timer. I added one that gives a +2 minute bonus to the timer at the cost of a -1 experience modifier.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:04 am

Zer0Morph wrote:
I agree with you on that, Malkav. Something I've been pondering for awhile now. Maybe the email college could've found a place in TFN after all. Something to think about.
Please don't be too hasty about that descision. I had a few ideas about changing the college. I'll create a topic for this discussion in my part of the forum, so it won't get lost in this general thread.

On another matter. You mentioned making hacking more worthwhile. As you might know, for CE I have added an "autocycle" function to the computer for the pump in the warrens. That will shut down the pump, wait 10 seconds, and then restart the pump. Atm, this is only password protected, with a block after 3 unsuccessful hacking attempts. But that won't stop the player from manually trying a password as often as he wants. So there has to be something else. I'm thinking about the problem for future mods.

Someone also mentioned evading the nasty Mandarin experiments for good hackers/looters. Also seems to be a good idea.

Another idea for the warens. When you come up the stairs after the pump, you get to a T-intersection. The left hand path leads to te door to the regular Hollywood sewers. The right hand one just in a dark corner. Maybe a high inspection character can find a direct slipway down to the maze there, and avoid the pump and the first "big mama"

@Dragatus: Interesting idea.

geek

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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:57 pm

Wow guys, you've both been working too I see.

@Draggy
I'll have to think about what you've done. I was planning on creating more books to give even more options for high research characters and your plan would obviously conflict with that. I'll have to put more thought into it.

@Malkav
I most likely won't do the college, it was just an idea. I just wish there was a better way to use Research over simply using it to read books. I'll keep contemplating ideas. Maybe use Research in dialogue more often perhaps? Like I did with Haggle and Bribery?
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:08 pm

I thought it wasn't possible to create new items.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:45 pm

Dragatus wrote:
I thought it wasn't possible to create new items.

It's not, I would be reusing old items no longer used in the game, to create more books. I removed many occult items from TFN so I can reuse those.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Zer0Morph wrote:
Dragatus wrote:
I thought it wasn't possible to create new items.

It's not, I would be reusing old items no longer used in the game, to create more books. I removed many occult items from TFN so I can reuse those.
It also seems that items like _w_werewolf_attack, _w_tzimisce_claws, etc. aren't really needed for these creatures to fight. Wesp and Entenschreck have used those things for other things in the patch.

On the other hand, I'd be careful with more books. It means more xp bought instead of earned in quests.
That's why I invented the college in the first place: So players can choose which stats to rise, but the amount of buyable xp is set.

geek 

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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:48 pm

There are a few things to consider in regard to books. One is the balance between XP required to upgrade Research and the XP you save by learning from books. Obviously in order for Research to be of any use, it has to save you XP and since you have to buy all the books it saves it at the expense of money, which is fine. But you need to be careful it doesn't save you too much, otherwise a Finance+Scholarship build could become too strong (Persuasion for early game, then use money for books and become good at everything). So the balance here is delicate and it gets additionally complicated because as designer you can't forsee just how many books a player is going to buy in a playthrough.

Another issue to consider is how books guide characters into a specific skillset. This is influenced by both the availability of books (Melee is well covered, but Subterfuge is not covered at all) and the Research requirements. Whatever research requirements you set, they will make certain books easier to use and that promotes whatever ability the lower research books teach you. And for availability, you will promote learning those abilities from books instead of spending XP on them.

This isn't as much of an issue in TFN as it was in vanilla/plus patch, because you may not be able to afford all the books and are forced to choose which ones to buy, but still. Adding more books would also reduce this issue, but at the same time it would make the first issue worse (because now you can buy more XP).

tl;dr: Balancing books is hard.

And IMO it's not worth the effort. Much simpler to create a basic book for every ability (representing them all equally and saving people up to 49 XP in return for money) and use Research to display the Blood Timer.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:46 pm

Well I broke down last night and created a new Kindred for TFN 1.2, except I used the files for Hacking and Lockpicking for TFN 1.3, so it's more like playing TFN 1.2+. My Assamite is a straight computer hacker with no social skills whatsoever. It will be interesting to see how he progresses through the game without being able to Persuade, Intimidate, or Seduce. His ability to crack computer bank accounts and steal money is top notch though.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Wed May 14, 2014 9:29 pm

Anything new on the TFN 1.3 front? ^^ You know I'm waiting for it Smile  cheers cheers 
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Thu May 15, 2014 1:07 pm

kyoden wrote:
Anything new on the TFN 1.3 front? ^^ You know I'm waiting for it Smile cheers cheers 

Not so far, I'm not even playing it right now. I downloaded Civilization V a few nights ago and started fumbling my way through that. After I get bored with it, maybe I'll start modding TFN 1.3.

Actually I already started 1.3 with the new bank hacking system and money boxes to lockpick.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Thu May 15, 2014 1:11 pm

Civ Modders are in the thousands Smile Be something special and work on TFN 1.3 Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Thu May 15, 2014 1:18 pm

HAHA! We'll see how it goes. I spent 4 hours playing Civ V last night and feel like I barely scratched the surface on how to play it. Maybe I'm just stupid but it's a very complicated game. There's still so much I don't understand about it. It's my first Civ experience so the learning curve is high.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Thu May 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Zer0Morph wrote:
I downloaded Civilization V a few nights ago and started fumbling my way through that. After I get bored with it, maybe I'll start modding TFN 1.3.

Did you get it on Steam? If so when you get bored of it, I can trade you Orcs Must Die for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Online Bank Hacking System (TFN 1.3)   Fri May 16, 2014 7:59 am

And I can give you some pointers regarding Civ 5, if you promise to continue work on TFN soon  Wink 
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