Computer Terminals full of lore emails and other flavor additions

So, I’d like to start working on a mod with somebody, only problem is, I can’t code (yet)

Yeah I know, you’ve heard that one before.

However, I am offering to do all the grunt work as far as design and writing goes.

Here’s my idea:

Scattered throughout the world are terminals in houses, businesses, etc. Almost always powered off. What if we could hook them up to a UPS, power them on, and start reading stored emails? What if we could do the same for laptops, and cell phones? Read texts, listen to voice mails (ie: reading more text), get an idea what people were experiencing during the apocalypse, and just before it (when things started getting hairy, and the government denied everything).

Short vignettes, little stories, slices of life, things to show that this was a world that people lived in. Something MORE than stale lab notes that you find on laboratory computers.

I want to read text messages between a married couple trying desperately to find each other in the chaos. I want to read emails about people arguing about whether the government was lying to them or not. I want to read secret messages between hackers trying to get to the bottom of things…

Hell, it’d be cool to power up the radio towers again and watch survivors use a rudimentary internet and try to talk to each other.

I need someone to build a framework for this. Something that is modular, that you can plug in written stories and exchanges into, and then it peppers them throughout the world, appropriate to the buildings the terminals are found in.




Something is wrong with your mother. She called me today sounding sick. They say the military showed up and starting to cordon off the area. You need to come home and deal with this. I can’t handle this right now. I’m sorry, I know I sound callous but… it’s just so stressful what with police patrol bots on the haywire, shooting people in the street. I’m afraid to go outside. Please come home.



<(hey u feelin betr?)

                         (No. I think I'm worse)>

<(u dont think its)

                         (fuck. i hope not.)>

<(its prob just a cold. its that tme of year)

                 (ugh. i cant stop puking.           )
                 (I think I saw some blood today)>

<(y not go see a dr?)

                  (its quarantined)>



<(also what)

            (its also quarantined. i gotta go. feel like im passing out)>

Could potentially have some of those dead PCs in houses still be active, and contain stuff like these when hacked. Could also be a good way to train lower levels of computer skill in a low-risk environment.

Content could be copypasted from anyone’s phone, IMS or e-mail exchange.

if you add those,add also a option to play computer games(if avaible)that would give a morale boost much like the one from the game watch

I assume emails and texts would be piled up in a json much like mi-go speech? That’d certainly be easier for the userbase at large to submit further content, once computers ingame are written up in such a way so as to pull excerpts from there.

Even if it’s just one or two things per computer, it would go a long way to making what’s essentially a dud piece of furniture into something interactive. I realize tables and chairs are likewise just there to look at, but seeing unpowered, undamaged computers unable to be jury-rigged to a power source stands out by comparison.

I’d be happy to write up some content too, once there’s indication we have a couple coders who are interested in laying down the groundwork for this.

I must stress content curation

I really want to follow the essence of the design doc as far as what stories get written.

That means NO EASTER EGGS/JOKES/REFERENCES at least not until we have a large amount of lore to sink our teeth into.

This game is served best when its tone is deadly serious.

References/eastereggs/jokes are fine, but they should be peppered in gently, and rare, rather than the main course like the stupid survivor notes are (I really want to overhaul those as well, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many jokes, way too much meta/fourthwall breaking lines)

I am gnawing at the bit, ready to get started once we have a dedicated coder for this.

So I took a look, and the computers that work are pretty thoroughly hardcoded. What could be a bit more difficult is the fact that its not just the text that computers display that’s hardcoded, its that any building that has a functional computer is also hardcoded. Each computer seems to have to specifically bind to it the actions it wants to be able to use.

I mean, it doesn’t seem impossible, adding the case to the computer wouldn’t be hard, and having it read in from a json a message at random shouldn’t be too hard if I’m understanding how the game handles json right. But I don’t know if the json buildings can bind commands to a computer, or even spawn functioning ones. Any building that wants to spawn a computer that has messages to it would have to be written as code and compiled, instead of parsed out of a json file.

Either I’ve seriously misunderstood whats going on in the code, missed something obvious, or this won’t be very easy.

It would be pretty easy to add into game if all of that was in a specific format:

{ "type": "snippet", "category": "email_common", "text": [ "Text here. Double spaces between sentences, after period. Quotation marks need to be escaped, like this: \"Quote here\"." ] }

Where “category” would be something like “email_common”, “email_science”, “sms_common”, “military_broadcast” etc.

Ya, haven’t looked at the code in over a year but it wouldn’t be hard to add them if they were associated with a hard drive item.
Make computers function as concealable storage containers and have a hard drive item drop into them.
Disassemble or crack open the computer to grab a drive.
Hard drives would work like unreadable survivor notes, each would just contain the serial number for the drive.
Using a laptop would mount the drive and call a computer+electronics skill check of 2 and 20 battery power to launch the terminal based on the json.

Powering up existing terminals might not be the best thing since players are going to expect all of the hard coded functions and more to be available.

Damn, fair point. Acidia’s approach sounds awesome; it’s just too bad we don’t have a solid lore-related reason for the computers all being roasted so you have to recover the drives.

Lack of a large sustainable power source to run a desktop? Or maybe the mycus or blob destroyed them all to make taking over the planet easier.

maybe with the opening of the portals the influx of energy to the labs were huge,and with that many energy finding no place to escape,the portals were “stretched” on a way they could never be closed anymore,and the excess energy escaped on a huge EMP blast that fried every computer?

uh. guys. the power grid is down.


[quote=“Subhazard, post:13, topic:12815”]uh. guys. the power grid is down.


This is a world in which atomic batteries exist. There are tons of active terminals around already, and not just in secure installations.

Yes, and google fiber exists, doesn’t mean the whole world uproots its infrastructure in an instant to change for it.

Govt wanted total control, aggressively campaigning for scrapping data drives and readers where possible and using cloud instead.
All terminals that are broken are of the type that needs cloud OS to work.
Drives that remain are by the “tinfoil hat” type people collecting legacy technology to avoid being invigilated.

Oh my god the various reasons listed here are amazing. EMPs would be sufficient to knock out computers permanently even if reconnected to a power supply. The everything-is-on-the-cloud argument is hilarious to me also, but only because it implies a potential superfuture where people actually have to use google plus, and i will totally be such a tinfoil-hatter in such a future.

Problem with EMP is that it would wipe out ALL tech, including everything else.

Problem with ‘cloud’ is that you wouldn’t be able to access that data unless you also turned on the entire cloud.

So, those both have massive logical holes.

[quote=“Subhazard, post:18, topic:12815”]Problem with EMP is that it would wipe out ALL tech, including everything else.

Problem with ‘cloud’ is that you wouldn’t be able to access that data unless you also turned on the entire cloud.

So, those both have massive logical holes.[/quote]

Its possible (And even somewhat common) to build a concrete structure to accidentally behave like a faraday cage. So the EMP effect could be nullified at random due to some amusing engineering quirks. Not to mention all the nuclear war preppers that already exist in the universe, they’d probably have caged their buildings too. Military infrastructure would be similarly shielded, as would most vehicles.

Cloud wise, the entire cloud wouldn’t have to be turned on. Caching is an extremely common thing, and would be even more important in a full-cloud world. With the right computer skill plus a bit of game-logic sprinkled atop, you’d be able to view the last few pages accessed on the machine. Doubly so if the computer is running, and they just left it up.

Really, the logic isn’t that hard to work around. Its ultimately all gonna be inferred by the player as opposed to told to them. They’ll see a handful of working machines, or recoverable drives ,and the majority just broken or unrecoverable. If they come to the forums and read lore-posts, they’ll see reasons, otherwise they’ll probably come to their own conclusions which make sense to them. A few might question it, but ultimately its a story telling method, not a critical game mechanic. If there’s any holes, they’d not matter much.

Either way, I’d accept “recovering the last thing viewed” from some machines/drives. Keeps most information relevant to the few days leading to the cataclysm, and makes enough sense internally for me to take it.

I’d forgotten about how EMP’s would affect all the robot things out in the open world, oops. Let’s not use that idea, then. XD

Cloud wise, the entire cloud wouldn't have to be turned on. Caching is an extremely common thing, and would be even more important in a full-cloud world. With the right computer skill plus a bit of game-logic sprinkled atop, you'd be able to view the last few pages accessed on the machine. Doubly so if the computer is running, and they just left it up.

We don’t actually need to address plausibility in a big way, given we’ve been playing with magically nonfunctional computers (except for hardcoded ones) since the game’s beginning. But I really like this explanation as it would also fit Acidia’s proposition nicely.

Alright, sweet! Got a rough idea for how this might be implemented, and a why-it-fits-the-lore. I’d honestly forgotten C:DDA is supposed to take place in the near-future and not some weird alternative history, so the cloud computer theme is a nice touch.