Matthew Broderick simulator Exapunks got a sizeable update yesterday, adding nine more puzzles to the code scribbling hack ‘em up. Developers Zachtronics are calling this a bonus campaign, since it focuses not on the AI pal who features in the main story, but on the hacker pals who appear in a chatroom between levels. In short, you’ll be helping your hackmates do dodgy stuff. “Like NthDimension getting his driver’s license,” says Zach Barth of Zachtronics, “and hydroponix looking for the truth about the Roswell UFO crash.” That one involves hacking the Department of Defense, naturally.
Other puzzles will see you building a wardialer or hacking a new MMO, we’re told. The update also features code tweaking of its own, with fixes and changes to the game alongside the new cyber misdemeanours. You can see the patch notes in this Steam post. The biggest improvement is probably the opening up of the “size limit”.
Previously, if you wrote an absurd amount of code into your little spiderbots, you’d be unable to beat the level because there was a limit on how much the game would accept. But the developers found that people were still writing ridiculously long-winded bits of code in an attempt to complete the level. Zach Barth explained this when he spoke to our man Alex Wiltshire about how Exapunks represents hacking without limits.
“The problem is that people still do bullshit cheesy stuff and there are people who are so bad that they run up to the limits and they’re emailing me and upset,” said Barth.
Now the size limit has been lifted, so you’ll be able to cheese your way through the levels, no problem. The downside is that your solution won’t appear on the online leaderboard. In other words: optimisers and perfectionists will still be competing for the top spots, but idiots like myself can still write a billion lines of code and feel good about getting through level 4. Barth has admitted it’s not a perfect solution.
“If we set the limits too low,” he told Alex, “people won’t use the leaderboards and histograms, but it allows them to be really bad without ruining it for people who are optimising.”
There’s also some useful things, like special buttons on your in-game desktop that’ll take you straight to ПАСЬЯНС (a solitaire minigame) and the Redshift (a programmable Game Boy style console on which people are already programming Asteroids clones). The patch also includes the delightfully cautious note: “Improved the game’s loading speed, hopefully.”