by Scott Bullock
As we approached the end of our 2018 season, we knew we had to go out with a bang to cap things off. Throughout the season, an omnipresent thread had been the LUX Cube, a piece of tech that everyone wanted and that had to be dealt with. What better way to deal with a piece of tech narratively than have a big dumb hacking sequence? There is no better way, and so we decided that our final event of the season would basically be one long big dumb hacking sequence.
So the Cyberpunk Hacker faction of the LUX Universe, the Buddy Resistance, teamed up with everyone they could and summoned the ‘best hackers in the state’ to an underground cyberpunk hackathon, and we had our excuse to hang a giant chandelier made out of computer monitors from the roof.
We pulled out the stops and tried to hit every 80s cyberpunk and 90s hacker movie trope all at once. We had a VR ‘enter the Grid’ chair complete with Matrix Operator and Hacking Glove, Laser Tag Robot Uprising Training Sim, old computers hooked up to a website riddled with exploits to take advantage of, and a PS1 running Madden 2000. One of the most popular elements of the event was the first thing to greet you when you came through the door: LUX has ears everywhere, so to maintain operational security, every attendee needed to generate a hacker name that characters would refer to them as by picking two halves of nametags out of hats, a mechanic that would be brought back in the next year’s UCC14.
The event revolved around a team-up between the Resistance Hackers and the IT-themed Troubleshooters, with each trying to gain access to the internals of the cube by their own methods. The Audience could participate in the event and play with the installs and games in order to earn ‘H.A.C.K.s’, codes that could be turned in to either side to improve their position and earn fabulous prizes like sticky hands, glowsticks, and posters. A live-updating scoreboard showed which side had more HACKs throughout the night, and the night’s finale was determined by which side had earned more of them.
People drank, danced, Hacked, and made merry. The event featured strategic deployment of piñatas and the “synthwave//chiptune//vaporwave//darksynth” DJ Faith in the Glitch. When the event wrapped, the Resistance deployed their accumulated HACKS to brute-force the Cube and capture a giant cache of classified LUX secrets before retreating into their underground hideout. The Cube was fried, LUX was on its way to shut them down, and it was time for Future Proof to enter energy-saving mode while people trickled out for the holidays.
While it was by no means perfect (there were some issues with lines forming, limited character interaction, and an admittedly convoluted core mechanic), but it was a fitting send-off for the year and for the year’s primary McGuffin.
Along with some online wrap-ups and “to be continued”s, we had finished the 2018 season. Even as we settled into our various December celebrations, we were collating the many lessons learned, determining what worked best, and beginning to plot the year to come.