TUNES as The Game

Thomas M. Farrelly
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 21:02:57 +0100

Francois-Rene Rideau wrote:
> >>: Tom Novelli wrote:
> >: Thomas M. Farrelly
> >> So, the first thing we write for Tunes should be a game.
> > I so totally agree with you here.
> Well, actually, the three original applications that originally
> motivated me towards launching an OS project were (ten years ago!
> I'm such a loser!):
> 1) a game
> 2) an integrated formal math & computing system
> 3) a music system and database

Wow, we have the same goals! Is this a common motivation for you other
TUNESers too?

[ The Game ]

I guess the difficult part of this game is to make it not trivial and
not impossible.

Have you played Magic, the card game from the same person who invented

It's a card game, where you design your own deck ( with thousands of
cards to choose from ). Two or more players go into battle, where the
cards are different spells. The goal is to eliminate your opponents. The
whole gaming context can be seen as a virtual machine, which have a set
of predefined phases - for example a draw phase where you draw a card,
an attack phase where you release your monsters, and an untap phase
where you recharge the spells in play. Also, there are different
categories of cards, like interrups, counterspells, summon spells,
enchantments, and so on. The ingenous consept of the game is that each
card can have human-language writen text on it which tell you what it
does - so the whole game is reflective. Some cards even redefine
different phases, for example "Skip your draw phase, and instead pay one
life ( hit point ) for each card you draw".

I have thought of a hacker game which is based on this in the following

Each player is connected to the virtual machine, and can communicate
with it by using "methods". The methods represent the cards, so each
player initially have a bunch of methods ( the deck ). But the players
can only use the methods which are on their "stack" ( their hand in
magic terms ). Every turn a new method is pushed onto the stack.

The goal of the game would be to gain superuser status and kill the
other users:) To achive this the players can use viruses, security
walls, decryption tools, and all the dirty tricks they have at hand to
strenghten their own security and violate the others - hacking the VM.
And different methods would work good together and compliment or require
each other - to motivate the players to form strategies.

The most interesting situation would be one where you could actually
code your own method. This would require some cost messure on the
different actions a method would take. If you view the defintion of the
VM as a graph, it is possible to place costs on the edges, so that the
general information "on top" ( closest to the user ) would be cheap, but
once you get cracking at very internal details the "operations" becomes

The fun/playability/challange of the game would be very dependent on the
VM, though, like The Game. Guess there's no way around this, but the
Magic scene has managed well - they have international turnaments, with
big prices - but once in a while some smartass finds a hole ( I heard of
one whole that got you infinite amount of "energy" in an instance ). I
think they have some system for banning cards which turn out to make the
game unstable. Cannot imagine, though, how they manage it consistently

Just a thought. I think the idea of a hacking/cracking game is very
appealing, and very possible to give a realistic feel to it. In the
context of making a TUNES-game, I was thinking more in the area of a
very flexible MUD, where the players decide the game, motivatated by
greed, selfishness and survival. It could be a world which is concious
that it is just a computer simulation, and interfaces to the "reallity
engine" could be available in the would itself.

    Thomas M.  Farrelly