Hack ‘N Slash; Learning how to hack

April 4, 2014

Hack 'N Slash

I frequently come across comments that indicate a large portion of this site’s visitors would like to be able to “hack it.” Wololo.net even has some nice tutorials that can help those who are looking to find an user/savegame exploit. But with all the different coding languages out there, each with their own advantages and field use, I can see how for the vast majority of gamers “learning how to hack a game” remains wish. Enter Hack ‘N Slash – in development at the esteemed game studio Double Fine –, the core gameplay of this title will allow you to hack and play around with its source code.

Double Fine

I understand that a lot of people don’t necessarily concern themselves with who was lead developer on what game let alone which studio is responsible for which title. So for the sake of it here is a brief brush up of Double Fine’s most well known work since the studio was established back in 2000.

Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, The Cave and of course the recently released Broken Age (part one).  The studio is currently working on the second and final part of Broken Age and Massive Chalice a title that I myself am very much looking forward to. And of course the aforementioned Hack ‘n Slash.

Learning how to hack with Hack ‘n Slash.

Brandon Dillon, the project lead on Hack ‘n’ Slash, explains how he has always liked games with a lot of secrets. When he first discovered an emulator with a hex editor, he felt empowered and able to find the deepest secrets a game could hide in its source code.

“No game could keep even its deepest secrets from me if I adventured log enough in its code and memory” – Brandon Dillon

Hack ‘n Slash revolves around playing around with the code’s variables but has the aesthetic of a top down adventure game like Zelda.  When Alice, the game’s heroine, comes across certain objects outfitted with a USB port she can insert her sword – which doubles up as a sort of USB drive – into them. This gives Alice access to the variables that define the object’s characteristics effectively giving her the tools to solve the puzzles in Hack ‘N Slash throws your way.

Hack 'N Slash reverse engeneering  with the sourcecode

In a conversation with Polygon Dillon said “Double Fine plans to ease players into Hack ‘N’ Slash‘s mechanics gently, exposing them to programming concepts through puzzles that are easy to digest at first.”

“I want non-technical people who like puzzles and lateral thinking to get through the entire critical path of the game,” Dillon said. “And then there are a lot of secondary puzzles you can solve if you really want to dive deep and get that technical knowledge.”

On the Hack ‘N Slash website I found a conversation between Brandon Dillon and an inquiring fan that went a little more in depth to how this concept will work .

Hack 'N Slash core mechanics

Hack 'N Slash breaking the code

If this kind of stuff tickles your fancy you might also be interested in the lines of code above ; The people at Double Fine have whipped together a treasure hunt of sorts – I know the pictures are small but they you can click on them to get a better view of there contents -. I can’t promise it will be as fancy as the easter egg hunt wololo.net currently has but I am sure the collective smarts of this community can work together to find the solution.

What do you think. Could this Hack ‘N Slash be the game that gets you to learn about coding? Look for the game this summer on PC, Linux and Mac. Show your support for articles by sharing them through social media (Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc.) or by telling your grandmother about what you’ve read. You can weigh in your thoughts in the comment section or contact me directly on twitter @italkgame

Hack 'N Slash Zelda like Glyph Room

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