Uplinked: Deus Ex 3’s Hacking System

In the future, we will all have USB eyeballs

One thing we didn’t write much about in our Human Revolution ultra-wittering last month was the in-game security systems, and the hacking thereof. It’s an oddly tricky one to describe, a sort of a halfway house between Uplink and Pipemania. Definitely best seen rather than described, I think: and that’s something you can do below, via the medium of PAX-attendee shakycam. That’s a portmanteau that’s always irked me slightly – it’s not like it’s the camera’s fault it’s shaking, is it? Develop stronger, more stable arms, game convention visitors. In fact, Quinns suggests we refer to it as Weakman Footage from hereon in. SO BE IT.

Anyway, hacking. And guns too!

Hacking’s just a portion of this video, but I think it’s probably the most chat-worthy element in terms of what has and hasn’t been seen previously. Also described (the chap chatting is art director Jonathan-Jacques Belletete, by the way) are the capabilities of some of the other augs. It’s PS3 footage by the way, which is obviously less than ideal for our WASD-based purposes, but this is one of those games were all information is helpful information regardless.

Ah yes, the object highlighting: I have a vague memory of seeing an option to turn it off in the preview levels I played. I may be hallucinating, but will look into it – certainly, I don’t remember the stuff I saw seeming anywhere near as orangey-glinty-outliney.

DXHR is released August 25/26 (depending on which ocean you live nearest to), which is close but not close enough for my liking.


  1. Inigo says:

    The object highlighting seems a little overkill. Couldn’t you just highlight the object whenever the crosshairs passed over it?

    • dolderer says:

      Personally I really liked the way the original game did it.

    • Nick says:

      Hopefully you can turn it off..

    • WJonathan says:

      Yes, I thought the same thing. Hopefully the object highlighting is either some form of augmentation or a game option that can be turned off. It’s like a glowing yellow sign saying “You’re playing a game”.

      On a positive note, it seems like the developers have a better handle on the world of Deus Ex than the IW people did. Everything I see, except for the very fist trailer, is making me want to play this. Conceptually it appears they’re nailing it.

    • Moni says:

      I like the highlighting. It’s like you’re a super-enhanced post-human robot thing that can see things really well or something.

      Makes more sense than ‘Runner Vision’ anyway.

    • wicko says:

      Highlighting only when you’re hovering over the object kind of defeats the purpose of highlighting it: to call attention to useable objects. It would be better to turn it off in that case. However, they could remove the outline from appearing around your gun, and reduce the distance from the crosshair at which they draw the outline. Simple value tweak would fix that.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      Or give us some of the Tab functionality pioneered by Baldur’s Gate 2; hold down a button to highlight usable objects.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Hopefully that’s just the standard for the console toy, and we of the big boy serious adult gaming machines will get options for it being more subdued.

    • RaveTurned says:

      I don’t mind the highlighting, but can we change the colour like the HUD of the original? I’d like it in green.

    • Dervish says:

      I don’t mind a highlight that tells me “This is the item you’re about to use/activate/pick up” (in fact that can be quite useful) but it’s just ugly to have it highlighting objects at a distance.

    • HilariousCow says:

      As devrish says, you need *something* to indicate that you’ll interact with “this” as opposed to “that”. Perceivable consequence. I think it’s a little freer in terms of registry so that you don’t have to pixel-aim to select stuff (which is perfect for mouse, but doesn’t work out so great on console).
      Still prettier, to my mind, than the HUD brackets from DX one. And well integrated into the HUD art style too.
      Not sure about the massive range that they highlight, or the speed at which they fade in/out (would like it to be snappier to avoid visual ambiguity) but it’s looking damn sexy.
      I LOVE the fact that the object grabbing/throwing is oldschool, immediate, chunky, and USABLE, as opposed to a current-gen approach of having a very specific animation to grab, which only lets you grab from one direction, and inadvertently only lets you place in the one level designer designated useful position. And then as soon as you place it, it falls over, and you can’t use it as a stepping stone easily. Damn yoooou realistic physiiiics!
      Extremely excited.

    • Muzman says:

      I’m with those who like these things for games where you’re cranially implanted (System Shock 1&2 et al). Hopefully there’s insano-content and you can look up all sorts of background info on the wall paper just by looking at it. But I do hope it’s quite customisable as well.

      It’s probably dry, utilitarian military vision augmentation though. At some point (when our hero is inevitably captured and stripped of his powers or something lolerskatez) it’d be fun if he has to resort to consumer implant operating systems. Things which are ludicrously customisable and brimming with pointless toys that let you virtually repaint things you look at, recolour people’s hair, hilariously warp people’s faces for no real reason, play scrabble on any flat surface and downloads non stop shovelware skins and themes for the interface including retro ones like Robocop, Terminator, Predator etc. After a crash Jensen gets stuck on the Hello Kitty theme pack for a time and can’t change it because his credit is revoked.

    • hexapodium says:

      @HilariousCow: I suspect the fade-in is due to crosshair proximity, not time, and then the treacle effect of twin sticks to aim results in a slow fade – at least, that’s what my impression from the way the video looks is.

    • Dubbill says:

      There’s a question about the HUD/UI in the Q&A at about 5m 30s: link to youtube.com

      They explain that the HUD is what Adam’s augs will allow him to see so it’s more like an augmented reality display. From a gameplay point of view, that say that it serves to show what can be interacted with. There is a threshold on it so not everything in view is highlighted, which you can see in the vid above if you watch carefully. Knowing the thought process makes it more tolerable, but yeah, yuck. It’s too bright and I’d hope for a toggle or a way to adjust its brightness.

  2. Nick says:

    Why would you take pictures when you are filming a video? Surely you can go through the video and take whatever stills you want?

    • Tei says:

      Still images on a video looks very blurry. Photos could use a longer exposition, more resolution, store all the actual bits, use a lossless compression format.

    • Nick says:

      Digital ones don’t, I could screen caputure that video from youtube and find perfect images (apart from the angle..)

    • hymnharmonia says:

      I’ll just translate what Nick said: “I know absolutely nothing about photography.”

    • Muzman says:

      Although, depending on what camera it is, snapping during a video probably only captures using whatever settings the video mode is currently using. So you’re just getting a higher res image of the same stuff (which may be to little advantage if you’re, say, shooting in low light at the slowest shutter speed video will allow while being hand held. Our shaker here may have just forgotten what happens when you do both. It’s easy to do *ruefully tugs at collar*).

      The key moment in the hacking demonstration does appear to be missing. Dude or dudette should have liased with whoever was snapping away beside them. Live and learn.

  3. ZIGS says:

    Please, tell me the highlighted objects can be disabled

  4. McDan says:

    I’m not a fan of the highlighting at all, hopefully there is that option to turn it off. It’s far more fun to wander round and try to interact with everything rather than knowing what to do.

  5. Nick says:

    It looks fine other than the slightly annoying highlighting as mentioned, but I imagine that’ll either be optional or you’ll just not notice it as much when playing.

  6. Moni says:

    The camera was actually pretty steady. It’s more like Strongman Footage.

    • Salt says:

      Strong-but-pausing-to-take-photos-man footage.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Eugh! Yeah! At first I thought he was filming it on a mobile or something that could only take 30 secs footage at a time or something. but noooooo!

      Didn’t he know this would be put on RPS? where’s the respect! ;)

  7. Cinek says:

    Maybe it’s just easy-difficulty setting?

  8. Bantros says:

    If anyone has ever played Halo ODST you’ll know that object highlighting can be extremely cool

    • DJ Phantoon says:


    • DeathHamsterDude says:


      Just . . . wow!

      That doesn’t even need commenting on.

    • drewski says:

      Don’t mention the “h” word my friend.

    • Dracko says:

      It was optional in ODST, though. The contention here seems to be whether that’s the case or not in Human Revolution.

      Never mind the childish responses, however.

  9. Baggypants says:

    I thought he was pausing to eat crisps.

  10. kharnevil says:

    This game is taking far too long to ship, did I just dream Feb 2011 dates when it was announced last year? or has it actually slipped 6 months for no apparent reason?

    I mean, what on earth is taking so long, the trailers can only be rehashed in about 3 more combinations.

    • Frozer says:

      I for some reason also thought this game would be coming out in the beginning of this year. I even pre-ordered it without looking at the release thinking I would be playing it rather soon.

      I do not mind waiting for the game though if it can compare to the mastery of the original.

  11. Springy says:

    That looks a lot like Deus Ex.


    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah. The EVERYTHING IS ORANGE aesthetic is pretty ugly and the glowing is worse, but that does look mechanically pretty DX1, which is good.

      Also arrrgh the pausing to take phots at all the interesting bits meaning we miss the bin hit the turret etc.

    • Dubbill says:

      Somewhere out there there’s a really good still of a turret being hit by a bin.

  12. coldvvvave says:

    Within six months?

  13. YanDaik says:

    lol. in last seconds of vid was such bad graphics.

    • Bodminzer says:

      A stylised keypad is ‘such bad graphics’?

    • Springy says:

      No, I think he means the facial close-up looks like an FMV from 1997. Which is good, because in 1997 I always wanted my games to look like their FMVs.

    • Harlander says:

      Yeah, and the hands looked surprisingly poor as well. The bit about disabling the mine made me go “ooooh, deus ex-y”, though.

    • WJonathan says:


  14. frenz0rz says:

    I really like the idea of deactivating turrets, using the strength aug to pick them up and place them where you want, then reactivating them to guard an area. Thats a whole new level of optional tactics right there.

  15. Lars Westergren says:

    I think this game is looking really great so far. Can’t decide if I’m most excited by this, Portal 2 or Witcher 2 this year.

  16. skyturnedred says:

    For a second there I went “LEAN!!!” but then realized it was just the camera angle.

    Also, did anyone else notice the guy who’s talking looked just like Jensen?

    • heretic says:

      actually I thought he looked like one of the duck sauce guys.

  17. Wilson says:

    Surely ‘Staring Eyes’ tag for the bit at the end of the video! Also, you’d better be able to turn off that highlighting. I’m sure you can, since it would be absurd if you couldn’t.

  18. Daiv says:

    I’d hate to have my eyes do that in real life – how can you go through life with everything useful glowing urine-yellow?

  19. Soon says:

    Well, despite the highlighting, the world didn’t look like it was covered in wax and vaseline. Faith increased.

  20. Teddy Leach says:

    The object highlighting doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the possibility that if I look down, I’ll only see a shadow, rather than a body.

    • Thants says:

      Why does that bother you? Most games are like that.

    • Consumatopia says:

      This might be a stupid question, but why are most games like that?

    • Salt says:

      With regards why most first person games don’t display the character’s body:

      A player will look straight down for two reasons. Either they want to see something on the floor or they just started playing and are curious if the character’s body is displayed.

      A big chunk of body getting in the way of looking at stuff isn’t fun times. It also doesn’t add to immersion; if one really were an augmented super-soldier who wanted to check out the floor coverings one would subtly shift body and head to see clearly. The player’s view could be mounted on the body such that they can look straight down and see the floor clearly, but what if the player actually wants to look at the flooring slightly further back?

      It ends up being the same problem as depth-of-field effects during interactive sections: The game can’t always know where I want to be focusing, so sometimes it will blur out the wrong focal range. In real vision of course we adjust focus to whatever we’re interested in without a moment’s thought. As is so often the case, the effect in games mimics how cameras work rather than how our own vision works.

      There’s also a range of technical / art issues with showing the body. As well as needing high resolution textures (as well as specular maps and normal / displacement maps ready for tessellation) the body model and animations need to sort out how exactly the normally magic-floating arms connect in a way that looks right no matter the angle the player places them at.

      A lot of work for something that a player is unlikely to see for more than a few seconds, and who’s only interaction would be “oh cool, I can see my body.”

      Still, I bet it’d be possible (depending on how ‘protected’ the game is) to mod in the body used for the 3rd person view.

  21. TsunamiWombat says:

    I’m such a nerd I got excited when I saw the grid based inventory had returned.

  22. Nyst says:

    Puzzle inventory at 0:22! Yes!

  23. Navagon says:

    It’s looking very polished and without all that orange crap* it’d be looking fantastic. Everything bar one that I’ve seen of this game just screams “must buy”. The only detrimental thing so far is all the crap regarding the different retailer-specific versions they’ve put out there.

    *it shows they’ve got their heads screwed on straight that they let you disable that crap because it would probably put me off buying it if it was mandatory, to be honest.

  24. stahlwerk says:

    I know, different styles and all that, but you people who complain about the orange glow, did you play mirror’s edge with runner vision on or off? I played it with RV activated, and would’ve been completely lost in some situations without it, but still this here is a bit more irritating and I can’t quite put my finger on it why exactly that is.

    • Thants says:

      One problem is that is seems like too many things are highlighted. Does every box and door and vent cover really need to be glowing? I can see the use on little items but this is like half the environment. It seems excessive. And I don’t know why there’s an orange glow around your gun when it’s in front of an item.

  25. razorangelwings says:

    Ugh, all these Deus Ex videos are making me pee myself. So excited for August.

  26. Love Albatross says:

    I’m glad the man talking explained what a security hub does, I was all confused for a second.

  27. yhancik says:

    Well it looks pretty similar to the hacking game hidden on link to sarifindustries.com
    (which means that you can try it noooow – if you haven’t yet)

  28. MD says:

    It’s a bit hard to tell from that angle and everything, but please please please let us increase the FOV. I don’t care what the default is, just make it customisable, even if only by editing .ini files.

  29. mwoody says:

    Shakycam is intended to mean “not steadycam,” and as such it is indeed the camera’s fault that it’s not correcting for the movement.

  30. Jason Moyer says:

    Item highlighting aside, that looks phenomenal. Wow.

  31. Real Horrorshow says:

    Meh @ all the highlighting hate. Original highlighted items too. This is just fancier and jacked up a bit. Couldn’t care less. Do want.