Our first season of paid story for Exploit: Zero Day, "Headless Swarm," is progressing. We just released the third hacking job in the season, "Public Key Exchange." It's the story of a clandestine meeting between two amoral organizations with you eavesdropping and interfering.
This job proved a challenge for us! There's a choice in the middle of the job where you have to decide which side you're on. Unfortunately, our code doesn't currently support choices mid-cluster, nor can we modify a system's messages in response to choices. That means we essentially had to fake the choice: you start the job in one cluster, finish that cluster, and (depending on which path you take) end up in one of three near-identical clusters. These clusters have the same puzzles but different story text depending on the consequences of your choice.
It's a lot of moving parts, and keeping it all straight took concentration and lots of hard work! Maybe in the future we'll have a simpler way of doing all this, but for the moment we're making do.
At the same time, we made some enhancements to the back end of story creation. Previously, messages you receive as part of a job were identified only by their fictional email subject line. Needless to say, this gets confusing with long email chains with multiple alternate messages based on player choices. We added an extra field to job messages that lets us give them a label to help keep them straight. Sadly, it wasn't ready in time for "Public Key Exchange," but the fourth "Headless Swarm" job should be easier to write thanks to the added clarity.
We also realized that it wasn't always clear exactly what a certain promo code or purchase was unlocking, so we enhanced the page you see after purchase or code redemption so that it's explicit about each item you're receiving and displays it with a useful message and formats it similarly to how job rewards are displayed.
There are more visual enhancements coming to Exploit: Zero Day soon: in addition to an accessibility adjustment to make text links more distinct from other text by something besides color, we're also sprucing up the look of some of the dialog boxes in the game by consolidating similar boxes into one visual style.
Thank you for following Exploit: Zero Day! We look forward to ongoing improvement and the upcoming release of the fourth job in "Headless Swarm," which will explore the domestic security consequences of the Internet of Things.
Ossuary in Winter Sale
And hey: if you haven't already, check out our creepy, satirical adventure game Ossuary, now on sale for half off in the Humble Winter Sale! You'll get a DRM-free copy as well as a Steam key for only $4.99.
Exploit: Zero Day is our cyberthriller with a living story. The first season of content, "Headless Swarm," will get you instant access to the closed alpha, or you can join the mailing list. and receive an access code to the free story in the next monthly newsletter. YouTubers, streamers, and press, request a copy from distribute().