I was a designer and the main character artist for Operation Bitwise, a laptop game designed for CS3152: Introductory Game Design at Cornell. I also designed the entire game manual, which you can access here:
In 2017, our game won the Best Gameplay Award for the introductory division at the annual Game Design Initiative at Cornell showcase at Cornell. Here’s the concept document for our game.
You work for Info Boost as a technician, selling “antivirus software.” In truth, you infect computers and break through their security to retrieve sensitive data. With the help of Vi and Russ, any previously impregnable system is rendered helplessly vulnerable. Take the controls, and you can hack any security system.
Solve thought-provoking slide-until-blocked puzzles
Collaboratively interact between Vi and Russ to solve puzzles
Creatively manipulate puzzle environments by moving around unanchored blocks
Thank you for purchasing Info Boost, your first step towards a fresh, fast, and virus-free computer experience. Please click on the download link to begin your installation. Once installed, our trained technicians will handle everything for you. With our unique and revolutionary 2-Step Process, digital explorers can navigate and clean your entire system. By utilizing two explorers simultaneously, even the deepest file locations are available in a cinch!
Don’t worry; all of your files are perfectly safe and sound.
You’d be surprised by the number of people who fall for the Info Boost ruse. Vi and Russ were just the beginnings of one of the most devastating hacks in the world, but their creation was inspired by a bigger, more sinister ambition.
Operation Bitwise allows the player to embody the role of a hacker. Each puzzle we present to the player has been created by an adversarial security system. The player remotely controls Vi and Russ to defeat the security system and hack deeper into the target computer. Operation Bitwise can be played by anyone who enjoys an interesting puzzle; however, it is mostly targeted towards young adults, since technology/computers have been an inseparable part of their lives.
The player must plan out where and when to move Vi and Russ in order to solve any given puzzle. On more difficult puzzles, the player will be able to manipulate the puzzle environment by bumping into unanchored blocks. Unanchored blocks introduce a dynamic element to puzzles which force the player to devise creative solutions.
Puzzles are initially simple enough for the player to become accustomed to the game mechanics, but challenging enough to whet the player’s appetite. Beating later levels is difficult but achievable, which keeps the player hooked.
The brightly colored game elements will fascinate the player, drawing attention to the screen. The gameboard allows the player to imagine the computer as a digital world, and the clean layout makes for a pleasing visual experience.
Operation Bitwise is a slide-until-blocked puzzle game, which introduces an interesting cooperation mechanic where the player controls Vi and Russ who must work together to reach their respective goals.
Operation Bitwise is played on a computer and only requires a keyboard.
Slayaway Camp: In Slayaway Camp, the player moves to the end of the path. When the player hits (and kills) a camper, the camper’s death causes some elements of the playfield to change. Operation Bitwise depends on more physics-based collisions to move the blocks in comparison to Slayaway Camp’s methods.
Pokemon Ice Puzzles: The Pokemon Ice Puzzles have almost exclusively “anchored” blocks and allow the player to think much further ahead, as the path is immutable. While most are anchored, some of the blocks in Operation Bitwise will be unanchored and will allow the player to solve the puzzles in a slightly different manner.
Catrap: Catrap does not have the the sliding block design that Operation Bitwise does, but it does have some levels that require the player to switch between controlling Catgirl and Catboy during the same level in order to assist one another to complete the puzzle. Very similarly, Operation Bitwiserequires the player to collaboratively move Vi and Russ.
Character Teamwork: Because the player controls two characters, each with a different target tile, we are able to design interesting puzzles that force the player to use both characters in concert. The player must devise a strategy that involves both characters’ advantages and disadvantages, which stem from their positioning among the game tiles, in order to pass each level.
Creative Thinking: To solve puzzles, the player must use Vi and Russ to move the unanchored tiles to reshape the environment to the player’s advantage. This dynamic nature of Operation Bitwise stimulates the player to invent unique and creative solutions to each puzzle.