We've got the cure for your hacking headaches with our starter guide.
Last week we reviewed Introversion Software's classic hacking game Uplink for the iPad, awarding the game 4.5 Stars and praising its unique and challenging gameplay. Challenging it certainly is, and so we've put together a guide based on our extensive time with the game.
Become the untraceable
There are two types of tracing in Uplink: Active and Passive. Active traces are easy enough to understand and are outlined in the tutorial. With these, your Trace Tracker will tell you how close you are to being busted while you're in the middle of a heist. You'll have to disconnect and rethink your strategy if the timer approaches zero.
Passive traces are invisible to you and continue long after you've finished a job, and so it's essential that you cover up your tracks immediately after finishing every mission. If your targets find you from a passive trace, it's game over and all your hard work will evaporate. To avoid this, make sure that you always set up Inter NIC as your first node when bouncing calls around the world.
Why? Well, first of all, the password for Inter NIC never ever changes so you don't need to keep hacking the server to delete your presence from the activity logs. Secondly, you don't need to delete your details from every server that you bounce calls through, just the one closest to home. Your enemies can trace you all the way back to there, but if they can't make the critical connection to your gateway, it will all have been a wasted effort.
So, you've just completed a mission, what should you do? Start up a new connection to Inter NIC and access the security logs. Make sure you delete the two entries marked:
Connection from 127.0.0.1 routed to XXXXXXX (this will be the IP address of the target you've just attacked)
From 127.0.0.1: Password authentication accepted.
Basically, you always need to delete the first and third entry on the access log. Why shouldn't you delete the second entry? Well, that tells the server that you connected to change the logs. When you disconnect from Inter NIC, you'll leave a disconnection log. If this doesn't match up with a connection, it looks very suspicious indeed.
Spend money to make money
You should always buy the very best version of each software upgrade. As targets get tougher, you'll need a higher version of each tool, and its a false economy to start with the weak version and work your way up. If that means you need to run a few more boring jobs before progressing deeper into the game, then it's still worth the extra effort. You'll need some serious bucks to upgrade your hardware later on, so the quicker you can do the more lucrative, high-end jobs, then the faster you'll make money in the long run.
You should definitely prioritize getting the best versions of the basic tools introduced in the tutorials as fast as possible. After that, investing in the pricey but profitable HUD Connection Analysis and Firewall / Monitor Bypass should be your next step as these allow you to take on some very profitable missions. Again, save enough money so that you can buy the very best versions of these.
Getting more missions
The upgrade plan we've outlined in this guide may mean that you run out of simple missions rather quickly. Use the time controls at the top of the screen to advance time to the fastest setting. After a very short period, the screen will start filling up with jobs that you'll be able to take on.
Time is money
You lose nothing by trying to negotiate with the client before formally accepting a mission. Always hit the Contact button before taking a job on and try to angle for more cash. It won't affect their relationship with you, and once your skills and experience increase, they may give you more cash as they know you're a safe pair of hands.
It takes time to cause trouble
Whenever you take on a mission that involves arranging for someone to be arrested, framing them for a computer crime, or destroying a corporate database yourself, you can't just do the job and collect your reward immediately.
Instead you'll need to connect to the Uplink Internal Services System, watch the news ticker and wait for news of your target's arrest, or your corporate espionage, to appear on the feed. Only once the job has been publicly recognized will your client respond to your e-mail and send you the cold hard cash. If you've become slick at doing these jobs, use those time controls at the top of the screen to accelerate time forward to when the news breaks.